I remember being interviewed after applying for this teaching job and not knowing what to expect….they asked me where I wanted to work and I told them straight away Tokyo. They weren’t sure that I’d like Tokyo because it was expensive and overcrowded. Okay. I knew I wanted to be some place where the nightlife was amazing and where I’d never have a shortage of stuff to do BUT I knew then that Osaka’s where I wanted to be.
The interviewer showed me a map and pointed out the distances between cities and showed some of the main attractions of each major city. He made mention that all if not most of Osaka’s comedians, musicians, artists and entertainers came from there and I knew that was the better option. He had lived in that city he told me that they had a MASSIVE Tower Records store and that I could walk right in and lounge there like a Chapters/Indigo or Barnes & Noble. I read up about Osaka but none of the textbook info got my attention as much as the recruiter did that day!
When I returned to Toronto I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to go back and wasn’t too sure if I’d visit again. Ten years was the perfect time!
Special thanks to Sojourner Travel (8A-1444 Dupont St in Toronto) for the research! So many very different things I experienced the first time while I lived there. My StepMom came with me…..we had some awesome memories together. The trip to Japan was something we tried to plan for years BUT 2016 was the perfect time!!!
Finding Your Flight
This trip took a few months to plan. I started looking at flights in July for October. The air carrier options provided by the travel agent were China Eastern, Air Canada, Air China, ANA or Korean Air. Some of the rates were EXCELLENT. But after checking and browsing I saw the layovers were a day or more. China Eastern had a whole day stay so I looked into roaming the streets once we arrived to see what it was like in China but (in order to stay a day or more in China a visa is required.) Air Canada was the best option. The 13 hour flight went from Toronto–Tokyo-Osaka. Instead of booking additional travel from Toronto I decided to book within Japan. It’s so much cheaper and a little more accessible. I asked one of my good friends within Japan (Hey,Kina Jackson!Thanks so much!) and she recommended Vanilla Air and Peach Air ! Vanilla Air didn’t go to many places that I wanted and I didn’t see Okinawa on the list. The prices on Peach Air are amazing! Depending on the day,prices range anywhere from $100-$250 roundtrip! Naha, the capital city is quite small so the airport is tiny and the flights are infrequent. If you are interested in booking on Peach Air-be mindful about the way you book when you select the day of the week, location and times-the website is a little tricky.
I looked at my itinerary and realized that it was the same month and week I had left Toronto 13 years prior. (insert nostalgia here.) I really hoped I’d be able to see friends that I had contacted in such a short time. I saw so much shit I didn’t notice the first time around so it was like visiting a brand new place. There were English speaking support staff EVERYWHERE and at every info desk!! I was so concerned about my limited Japanese….I didn’t have to use it as much and when I did-I forgot how much I remembered!! Props to Google Translate for assisting us in areas where people don’t talk to tourists as much!
Our flight arrived into Haneda (Tokyo) Airport and after an hour we got a flight connection to Osaka (Hitami) Airport! The connecting flight was quick and the food was awesome (choice between Japanese or Western cuisine).
Book Your Accommodations From Home
At the time of the trip I forgot that Air BNBs were not legal in Japan. The Japanese government is reviewing their decision to have the business operate legally within the country. Be prepared to call ahead once you arrive to your city in Japan. The addresses listed on the website booking aren’t the same once you arrive and Taxi Drivers are not too helpful when they can’t find the address you listed. Call your Host to be sure that the address listed is the one you will be staying at. It helps you save time.
I went back to the old office building I used to work in (Downtown Namba, Osaka. The (Nova) office is no longer there but the building is still there. Lots of hustle and bustle at the OCAT (Osaka City Air Terminal). In #10years Osaka has become busier, more densely populated and more tourist friendly! The underground walkways (Shotengui) are filled with flags from all over the world. This wasn’t the case before.
Osaka is one of those cities where there is ALWAYS something going on and there is ALWAYS somewhere to eat.
We visited an awesome Indian Restaurant that I used to frequent with friends. Whenever we wanted a very heavy and spicy portion of food we used to go to Asiyana. Surprisingly, Asiyana was still open! It’s not that the restaurant wasn’t good it’s that foreign food restaurants don’t always stay open for long. Asiyana doesn’t cater to the Japanese palate.It’s spicy, flavourful and authentic.
Osaka is known for it’s Tako-Yaki balls. They are battered and crepe textured with bits of Octopus, shrimp and a parsely like seasoning. In that crepy textured batter they put puffed rice, green onions, chopped octopus. This batter is poured into circular shaped grills, oiled so they don’t stick and they are rotated as they cook with little skewers. After they are removed and drizzled with Teriyaki Sauce and fish flakes.It tastes amazing! It’s had been a long time since I had them.
Mobile Phone Rental/Pocket Wi-Fi
Most Air BNBs should have pocket wi-fi units. IF it does- it’s great and saves you money and time. The pocket wi-fi can be carried around the city with and you can hook your mobile phones to it to browse the net or use Google Maps. Pocket wi-fis look like old Nokia flip phones and must be charged daily. Not all airports have rental kiosks/booths so one of the first things to do is find a kiosk or station in the city. I used my phone quite a bit to find buildings, shrines, shopping malls and restaurants. My bill when I returned was HUGE! Your phone carrier may not have a great international plan especially for a country like Japan. Japanese phone carriers Docomo,Vodafone,Sofbank all have centres to set up your SIM cards and phone rentals. Find the best for the duration of your stay. I wish I knew……
Okinawa Was a Last Minute Add-On
I found some amazing Air BNBs all over the island but settled for an apartment on the main road in Naha, Wakasa-Dori Wakasa (若桜町, Wakasa-chō) has everything on it food shops, 24 Hour Conbinis (convenience stores), clubs, the post office (where you can use your international ATM card for withdrawals) and many, many clubs, Karaoke Bars.
Naha Port is One Straight Path (Everyone told us to go straight)
This main road runs straight through from the highway from the airport to Naha Port. Naha Port can be reached on foot in less than 15 mins. All the Ferry boats that travel to the smaller beaches and islands near Naha leave 3 times a day! Passengers can choose whether they’d like to stay overnight for a few nights or return the same day with a Travel and Tourism board of Naha. There are money booths that look like ATMS where you can check for the exchange rate for whatever currency you have and exchange it for Japanese Yen! It’s such a lifesaver-you get the exact rate for whichever country’s currency you need!
Spending a whole day there felt like a whole weekend! What can I say about it? It’s beautiful! I’m not sure why I never visited there when I lived there. It’s pretty breathtaking. It’s an island next to an island. The ferry boat takes about an hour and 45 minutes and it’s a comfortable ride on a fully equipped mini cruise liner. The cost is about $60 CDN with a television and luxury seating. You can sit indoors (AC) and outdoors (AIR). Going from the urban city to the Tropics on one island is amazing! When the Ferry boat arrives you find your seat, secure your day bag and go to sleep or enjoy the sun!
Shuttle vans and taxi drivers are waiting for guests to drive you to one of the 8-10 beaches across the coast. It’s not a long ride but depending how much time you have it’s an amazing experience to visit at least more than two!We stopped at the first beach and there were at least 10 people on the beach.
The Food is Amazing
My favourite restaurant was an Okinawan style place. The special thing about Okinawa is it’s island location, history and close proximity to Taiwan. The food is AMAZING. Spicy,full of variety and unique from the usual Japanese cuisine! So tasty I went there twice! Each set of tables in the restaurant were like mini Izakayas (Gastropub) with curtains (small food pubs). What an incredible culinary adventure! Look at the food! We headed over to Kokusaidori (国際通り, Kokusaidōri, literally “International Road”) All souvenirs are there! Every souvenir that you can find signature to Okinawa is on this street. You have to walk up and down the street to compare prices. You’ll find sea salt products; cakes, cookies, chopsticks,Blue Seal Ice Cream German Bundt Style Cake and all kinds of tropical destination clothing. One of Okinawa’s gifts to Japan is the Okinawan Sweet potato or ‘Imo’-it’s one of the tastiest things EVER! There are samples of those cookies EVERYWHERE!
Blue Seal Ice Cream
Sea Salt Milk Cookies
Sea Salt Cookies in Sweet Potato,Ginger,Butter Flavour
Goya (Champlu) Okinawan Styled Dish
I set out to check out the nightlife and I was pleasantly surprised. Shocked even. Most if not all venues look like dive bars from the outside and hold at least 200+ people. While walking down Wakasa St. I stumbled on the area’s ONLY record shop. It’s cute! Naminoue Record Shop is well equipped with all genre CDs and vinyl with new shipments arriving everyday. They run most of the city’s block parties, street festivals and club nights. I went to most of their events all weekend while I was there. Local and international talent come through all month. I was shocked and excited to sift through their selections. I went straight for their Japanese artists and production section and found VERY good stuff! I’m mostly interested in Japan only releases! The place is pretty chill with all kinds of people passing through. I returned twice to pick up goodies. The shop was a lot smaller than King Kong in Osaka but the selection was very unique. I picked up a few mix CDS of really great DJs from other cities in Japan! They are excellent at promoting their local artists around town, in other parts of Japan and to tourists…..there’s a little photography display and artwork with t-shirts; all kinds of stuff! There’s a little DJ booth for live DJs to play out the hottest tunes! One of the highlights of my vacation! I went to a great party- the guest DJ Moochy Juzu (Crosspoint Japan/Juno Records) played the stuff I loved. Four all you SOulFul and Deep House heads. He played Josh Milan, Osunlade, Vikter Duplaix and added in his own production which was interesting. It’s Tribal House but from a more Okinawan and Traditional Japanese sound. I was surprised. IT was very unique and to hear a set that spoke to Japanese Heads was refereshing. Here’s his SoundCloud if you wanted to check it out. He’s an excellent DJ/Producer!!
Department Store Shopping
Visiting department stores in Japan is quite an experience. When you’ve been to one of them in Japan, you’ll never look at them the same again! It is a fully loaded one stop shop. They’ve got prepared food in the basement. All kinds of foods! All Flagship store brands are definitely available all over Japan! The best and most inexpensive things to look for are cosmetics, Body Care tools,perfume and face care! Make sure that the day you go around any of these shops-make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes and dedicate a whole day or more to look around. These department stores are enormous! One of the biggest Department Stores in the City (Yodobashi Camera) has the most products and best prices in the city! The recliner section is filled with people taking naps and ‘trying’ out the merchandise!
Tourists get tax discounts at some stores and either the taxes are taken off ahead of time-and you’re given your taxes back in cash. Goods are re-packaged and prepared for your departure. If a store chain doesn’t offer the tax breaks right away, you will be given a map to locate a city tax centre. This is done so it’s easier to clear customs at the airport.There are tax-free stations at most large retailers where you can claim your taxes on some purchases. At those stations associates check them and pre-wrap them for your trip and a clearance form is stapled to your passport. It’s a great system!
I could go on about my trip BUT definitely it’s a country worth visiting. #10yearslater it’s still growing and still as fascinating as it was then. It’s great to visit again when you’re no longer a resident. You notice things more. Late October is an amazing time to visit. The weather is fabulous! It’s like July. Pack light, pack Summer stuff. Pack a few great sweaters and don’t forget to stay hydrated. Eat as much as you want! You’ll do a lot of walking! Have a great time!
Biggie said it best. He had quite a few musical gems that he dropped before before he passed. For those that don’t know him enough in the ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ he outlines strict rules to follow…..
So let’s talk about Narc Abuse: What is that? Would you be able to recognize if it was happening to you? Ultimately it’s about supply and demand. You supply time, supply concern, supply support and are demanded always-one way,one direction.Your time is never appreciated.Your willingness to be helpful,supportive and even caring is disrespected. Attention is always granted in one way.
You feel like you’re running on empty eventually…….the situation forms itself like a kind of heavy reliance “on drugs to boost self-esteem at the expense of the people around them.” Doesn’t make sense does it? It’s a substance/dependency issue, it could be a psychological issue, it’s a trauma issue, it’s a spiritual issue. For some people this is their reality for most if not all of their lives. For others they have a chance to change. It comes with a HUGE realization and a whole lot of reflection to create this kind of awareness.
This is probably one of the most pervasive articles I will ever write on this blog. My Stepmom didn’t want me to write this. She actually wanted me to focus on more ‘positive things’. This is a positive story, I promise! I wish I understood this in the past the way that I understand this now. But by sharing this story-I hope it helps the right people. Everyone has a story. This is mine. By sharing this story I intend to make this blog a little more personal. This is what ‘The Shine Project’ stands for………to inspire with passion.
When you are not able to recognize narcissistic abuse for what it is-unhealthy,dark,covert,twisted,confusing and destructive you may go on the rest of your life not understanding why you are served this dish repeatedly. You start to see that you are victimized unknowingly. Recognizing this pattern of abuse has helped me in many ways and has played a part in my life over and over.You won’t see visible scars but the damage is there. The abuse can often continue well after the public has moved on but the abuse replicates over and over again. To the general public this abuse is not apparent but when the abuser finds ways to direct the abuse towards you- they’ll use ways that most people won’t know or fully understand.When the victim reacts is what people see. IT has not only made me stronger but has had me recognizing what it is when I see it NOW and I get it. And I’m not here for it anymore……Sooooo how do you know you’re being abused or you’re in an abusive situation?
-when progress in areas of your life is thwarted by people around you with distractions,interruptions,diversions:family can do this to you (surprise! that’s abuse)
-using money,backhanded flattery,favours to sway your opinion when you begin to realize that the situation isn’t healthy, safe or real. (Family can and will do this-it’s deep covert abuse)
-when recent situations trigger memories of abuse in your past-abandonment,physical,emotional,verbal (all together they cause anxiety you may not be used to (you’ve been abused or have been in abusive environments.)
-when those around you dislike you and say they want to help but they don’t (it’s abusive)
-when you second guess people and their intentions towards you (you’ve been abused)
-when friends and family members cover the abuser’s actions and mishaps towards you “enabling”(that abuse)
-when you are subversively compared to another person or family members to show how much better or worse you are (it’s manipulative abuse)
-when the things that make you unique and damn amazing are projected as weaknesses….Are you mocked,mimicked or copied? Often times the abuser hates the good things about you and may twist those things to make those qualities look bad. (deep covert abuse)
-when you’re told to forgive, let it go, don’t take it personal, you’re too sensitive or you’re imagining things (sorry, it’s abuse-yo, don’t second guess your intuition.) #gaslighting
-if you find this article online, see some key phrases or words that make you continue to read this article……chances are (you are in an abusive relationship or have been abused.)
-when the abuser has others around them whom they share techniques on how to abuse you if you notice the same situations happening repeatedly (you’re being abused)
-when the same cycle repeats over and over again….most narcissistic situations aren’t unique. The pattern is the SAME with no resolution. They seem to all behave the same,we all have narcissistic traits. This is different though. (It’s abuse at the DEEPEST level-it’s probably gone on for waaay to long!)
Growing up in a narcissistic home is quite interesting because as you grow, you know something isn’t right.Surrounding yourself in narcissistic environments though?….. You look at other families and see that something is off BUT you can’t quite put your finger on it. (Every family is different.) As a child I was VERY observant and I wondered why my home environment was off. Everything looked great but the dynamic was strange. By learning to observe/feel people in their fear, anger, happiness or emotional detachment-I knew so much. Why didn’t I do anything to guard myself?
Where does ‘narcissism’ come from?
This word’s been thrown around lately when talking about the newly inaugurated president of the U.S. You’ve read about the Greek Myth…. a handsome Greek youth Narcissus who falls in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Although the story talks about ‘vanity’;narcissism runs much deeper than self-admiration. It’s more a maligned sense of self-worth thriving off of the addiction or supply of (admiration,reverence) from others. The supply can be material, physical,emotional or other. A narcissist needs very specific types of others to make sure his/her whole self can function. Without the supply there is no individual. Without that constant supply……..things get ugly. It’s just the world we live in. Once you’ve made peace with this. It’ll be okay.Narcissists are ‘created’. Depending on one’s early upbringing (the most crucial time in a child’s life) there is not much that can be done to change unless they understand that they have a challenge and WANT to change. Did you know that a narcissistic personality disorder is a personality type? It is often developed as a coping mechanism in children by age 12 who may have had a traumatic life or an entitled childhood. Sometimes parents are too busy, too unaware, too wrapped up in their own issues to make sure kids are taught healthy boundaries and either the child becomes a victim who doesn’t set boundaries with people or a predator who plows through the boundaries of ‘nice’ or ‘kind’ people. When the two dynamics cross paths it’s not a great combination. Usually the end is the worst when the victim realizes what has happened. On the other spectrum…..a child that is victimized while growing up can uncover an ’empathic’ or ‘hypersensitive’ side to them. They can sense environments,vibes and nuances. These nuances actually protect you from saying more than you should about yourself or doing more than you should for your own personal safety. (and privacy is absolutely okay.)
In both situations,children must find ways to adapt and cope. In one situation a false self is created to separate from their reality. In another case the child finds ways to ‘get along’ with everyone so that they can co-exist with other people (and eventually walk on eggshells-especially when the situation isn’t healthy.) Empaths always see the good in people and tend to see the world in a VERY positive way. (Cue rose-coloured glasses) They often notice things; but still want to hope for the best. If a situation isn’t going so well they try to sort it out or the biggest thing they don’t vocalize the problem because they don’t want to create chaos. Narcissists tend to see the positive point of view as stupidity,weakness or absolute lack of knowledge.This is where the covert or overt abuse comes in. A narcissistic individual creates a self and needs tools to make sure that this self exists in the real world but within that world there is trauma,anger,darkness,hatred, shame and deep pain from their past.
How do the two mix together? Let me discuss. We’ll start with family-usually this is where the first situations related to abuse start. My father felt he had a VERY tough childhood. He felt abandoned as a child. He was the last of 8 kids and again felt he was not ‘tended to’.He has always said he was treated like the Black Sheep of the family. The other siblings within the same family unit didn’t see it that way. They all felt that he was loved and given the care he needed and spoiled even- being one of the youngest-they thought he was lucky because he was permitted to do whatever he wanted.With so many older siblings, parents don’t have to really do anything with that child right? Either way-a narcissistic child is created by either being treated as entitled (The Golden Child) and given everything they want or by being given very little and neglected. (Either way the outcome is no good.)
Fast forward to the very near present. He tried to cover his feelings of inadequacy by getting married, having a child (children), getting the material goods (the house, the degrees, the luxury cars-everything to keep up with the Joneses’). All of which just made things look ‘normal’ but those were all surface bandages to temporarily patch up a soul that really didn’t know where it belonged and never healed from the lack, pain and suffering he says he experienced. The problem with a person like this is that they damage things, relationships and situations around them. Everyone around them is altered because either their family members walk on eggshells and enable their demands OR they abandon the abusive family member to save themselves.Children usually fall into the ‘eggshell’ category because underage children can’t always walk away from parents and parents are supposed to build strong foundations and teach healthy boundaries. But if one parent is trying to keep the peace or protect themselves the privacy/boundaries of children become completely eroded.
I was altered in a few ways-I went more into myself and became driven to succeed (especially when the abuse directed at you is designed to hold you back.) at whatever I did. I became very, very self-sufficient and even now have a hard time relying on others and even if I do it means I REALLY need the help. Sometimes I’d rely on others not knowing they were abusive and I trusted way more than I should have. The downside….I give more than I should-even when I’m given VERY little. I always hope by giving more to to others-that a rough situation will change.When my intuition kicks in to alert me to something that doesn’t seem right-I used to tell myself I’m being too critical.This comes from the dynamic of giving to make things ‘smooth’ and to ‘go along to get along’. This dynamic with a manipulative person starts with me and ends in shambles. Once I decided to make the change and put myself first-I started to see soooo many things. Things you wish to un-see or un-feel. It is always a tornado. Narcissists RAGE once they are met with a boundary setting action. I’ve understood for the last time and it will NEVER happen again.As a child of narcissists its a mixed bag because it makes you tough,sensitive,ambitious and a ‘go along to get along kind of person’. The downside is that throughout your life you are targeted (or put yourself around people) who dislike those things about you-and eventually you think the relationship you have with anyone can be fixed with patience or sacrifice or hope or mediation or attention or communication. Over time, people around you ‘take advantage’ of that sensitive side. By even speaking up and voicing your opinion you become a target. If they give something big or small to you-you are a target. This is the portion of the friendship or family dynamic where boundaries are eroded. What you give may never be of value to them the way it is to you. And when you enforce your position it’s a loss.
For the past decade or so I’ve had so many friendships that just died or that I’ve walked away from and for months even years I wonder what I’ve done….and I realize that I don’t see the signs early enough and that I’m reliving the dynamic of my childhood over and over again. The last 3 years have been trying for me because I’ve wanted to tackle this situation for so long. And as this identical dynamic had been playing out in 5 or more directions, I finally understood that I was constantly walking into VERY poor situations. You see ‘red flags’ but you subtly ignore them. In most of these situations I’d been discarded and in a portion of them I’ve had to walk away.Once this happens you take apart the scenarios so you can see why….once you see why you don’t need to alter your point of view and walk on eggshells. The information comes to you and just realize it.
With a manipulative or narcissistic person you could start out being yourself-kind, warm,giving,sympathetic,genuine,open,helpful and outspoken but by the end of it……..all the things that attracted the person to you is used against you. During my childhood I was called all kinds of names by my father to control my actions and thoughts. I was ‘labelled’ selfish for thinking of myself. I was stalked often to and from school or at jobs (up until VERY recently) but it was what I thought was a ‘strict upbringing’. And the number one thing that really hit home was that I was silenced for being outgoing,chatty,talkative,creative. I was told ‘writing will get you no job,stop writing’. Fast forward to the future the same thing happened again. When you live under those circumstances you become ‘agreeable’ or ‘independent’. It always feels like two extremes. When this happens it’s time to move away from that.I’m fiercely independent but raised to be an agreeable individual.I’ll work with you. But when boundaries get eroded. This is when the truth shows up. My father hated when I talked to people. He hated when I took care of my own financial needs. He hated me doing for myself. He wanted to silence my ability to share with people. It was hard to handle because I don’t look for the attention-I just speak my mind and talk about what I love and until this day….I’m still like that. Imagine when you do for you and your called ‘selfish’ but then when you’re forced to be completely dependent you’re given terms and conditions to have ‘nothing’. It’s a twisted dynamic. But for some you become STRONGER for it. And this is what narcissists don’t understand.
For others i’ll even offer up information,advice, a helping hand, an ear, a shoulder, a platform,direction,pointers to help others. But what I get are crumbs. The crumbs from the manipulation. Within the family the crumbs you’re given are not because they can’t give. They want to control how much they give, when they give and to some extent how far they think you can go successfully if they give or take from you. It’s about power and control. If you have a parent like this-you learn to find your way. Parents can physically be present but offer so little emotionally.How could you want to continue giving to someone like that? HOW? I’m learning to not do so much anymore and re-direct it in a way that’ll be beneficial to me. But what happens when you’ve got to spread your wings? I ended up having to provide him (My Dad) with supply (admiration,attention,constant agreement,zero point of view) and at the same time (fend for myself because there’s so much I wanted to do for me.) It’s hard to be self-reliant when your family member is thwarting your ambition…….Some of this shit was way beyond my years. I understand it now BUT growing up I did not understand how to articulate this dynamic to anyone. It made me grow up fast. He would try to make it up to me in other ways (Money?) terrible bait. Compliments? Terrible bait. And most importantly erase the things he did. (You can’t erase the abuse that happened.) Either way it’s still all about MANIPULATION and CONTROL and by adulthood you’re so used to doing for yourself and you wise up about what it means to be manipulated.
By 12 years old I became ‘shy’ and ‘reserved’ but the one thing that remained with me was my ‘intuition and ambition’. As a young adult when friendships would reach the ‘discard’ stage which is unheard of in my world (as I cherish friendship). I’d panic trying to figure out why and how and to provide solutions and find out what I could do to ‘fix’ things…..but when you’re dealing with a narcissistic situation you can’t fix anything. You were meant to be discarded once you ‘think for yourself’ and ‘choose for yourself’ or ‘voice your own opinion’ or ‘don’t do as I say’. I did well in school, did all chores, got a job, paid for my own tuition to not have to depend on my family; but it just wasn’t enough. To a narcissist you are not your own entity-you’re a part of the hand, you’re a finger controlled by the hand. Remember: You ARE not someone’s hand. You have your own hands right? When you try to work together and ‘get along’ it only works when you follow the rules as laid out to you. As this ‘formula’ expired, I’ve had to walk away. I used to give it time and re-visit to fix things over and over again and each time the covert abuse was worse. And I had to learn how to do it with personal relationships also. As soon as you begin to expand or your self-identify shines through with a narcissist or in a narcissistic situation you’re doomed. And that ain’t right. No one deserve abuse.
Over the years as I matured I started talking to older family members who knew my Dad from the early days and I realized that they hid so much from us children. They even covered a lot of information from my Stepmother when she married my Father. My biological Mom and Dad had such an aggressively intense and veneered relationship. A union with two disordered Narcissistic people may look good on the outside but that marriage was filled with issues and didn’t last.My Dad never wanted anyone to find out about the way he REALLY treated others. The reason for this is because they all knew my Dad had extreme challenges and they didn’t want to ruin his chances of getting remarried so that he would no longer be their problem. It’s so tough dealing with someone who can only survive off of ‘supply’.In some ways I thank my extended family today for their decision to hide the info because my Stepmother came into my life when I was really young and that she stayed. On the flip side family willing to step forward directly would create a feeling of trust and perhaps less damage. Our family is TIGHT. My siblings who I love so much-we’re like three peas in a pod. The downside to covering up for someone this way is that the victim is made to feel like they did something wrong or that something isn’t right with them. And it (my hunch) was always absolutely right. Sometimes in a manipulative situation it doesn’t matter what you do. My Stepmom happens to be a tenured Psyche Nurse and because we’ve been through this as a family unit-we all understand how this has each affected us. We still talk about it now. She endured so much to keep our family together. She endured tons of emotional and physical abuse that she probably doesn’t talk about today but she’s healed and she’s made our family stronger because of it.
Without darkness especially with a person who writes,like myself-your writing material doesn’t have any depth. You must have a good measured amount of experiences you can share to touch lives in different ways. I started a section on my old blog (Health/Wellness) in hopes of writing about health regimes,protein powders,shakes,foods and all that but GOTDAMN……2016 had me understanding that I will be writing about way more than that!When something like this happens to anyone…life is seen so differently and the most amazing thing does occur out of some bad/uncertain times:you come out of the fog and and see things as they are not as you hope for them to be. Not only do you see things as they are-you become reflective and gain absolute clarity with work,family and friendships among many things. Along with absolute clarity you realize your intuition is STRONG. And not only that-you realize how much your story,your path,your destiny,your ideas and experiences can create an effect that changes your life forever. Bad or good. If you look at what’s happening in the U.S.-people who would never align themselves with certain groups of society are coming together to speak up about Human Rights, Immigration, Health Care and even how they can improve society. That would not have happened if they weren’t shown the new direction their country is going in. Trump’s pending absolute control (self-centred nature) is forcing people to see the reality of what they’re about to face. It’s ironic.
An empathic and highly sensitive person with a bold personality and ambition is not a bad person but can be targeted for ‘destruction’. To be ‘destroyed’ means that you have a chance to grow and expand. Your true qualities-things that make you good; are a bittersweet combination in a Narcissistic World.Narcissism is deeper than posting selfies on Social Media. Being abused when you are strong is hard to see on the exterior but it’s there. As a survivor of abuse one becomes more reflective, more introspective, more aware-hobbies, dreams and wishes now become even more REAL. I don’t wish this on anyone but when you do experience something like this as frequently as I have- you become a changed person,a stronger person and a more EMPOWERED individual. Knowing yourself and re-asserting your identity forces you to truly seek very little validation from anyone. Self-care becomes more important than any other priority. And to prioritize oneself is not selfish.
I write this not to be further victimized OR not to be given sympathy but for those who have not yet understood what they’re going through and needs that stepping stone to open the door and understand what it is to be set free. So many unanswered questions may even swirl around in your mind about what this/that was……Narcissistic emotional abuse is more common than you know. Know that you’ve been groomed for awhile before all THIS happened.Sadly, Social Media is a breeding ground for abuse BUT if it wasn’t for the many online communities-I wouldn’t know or understand this.So Each One, Teach One right? Just read up after this blog post and you’ll see what I’m saying.
I’ll leave some of the excellent sites and Youtube channels by those from the online Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Community so you can discover more.I can’t explain all of this but the more you look up key phrases you’ll see that plenty of people have been searching for answers…just like you! Tons of Youtubers (regular Joes and Janes share their experiences and experts within the industry share a lot of useful and eye-opening information.)
Some would say that being open on the world wide web means you expose your weaknesses or blah, blah, blah BUT by putting it out there in writing you can understand who is reading your material and what it’s being used for.There are many perspectives to this subject but I’m simply speaking MY truth. With that being said: this article serves as a milestone for a closing chapter in my life and a new ass BEGINNING! Imagine being able to manifest what you DO want in life. Imagine being stuck at the same level and knowing you can be your better self year by year. Imagine being able to compete with you and only YOU and where you were 3-4 years ago and top that. You can! Sometimes abusive situations and low vibrational thinking hold you back. There reaches a point also where all that negativity and bullshit can just push you forward. It’s only until I looked back the last 15 years that I was the common denominator in all the abusive situations I’ve encountered. Being nice isn’t always nice.Being nice can even cost you your life. Sooooo through growing pains, I’ve come to understand that it’s been due time to change.
Going through repeated abusive situations (during my childhood up until recently) often slowed me down and I would fearfully choose not to reach outside of constraints or limited perceived boundaries within toxic situations and people…..Thankfully, I understand it and I’m even stronger now.A lot of the narc abuse stories tend to fall in a few categories:
‘Narc’ family units (this is how it all begins-where children can and do become victims or much later on abusers),‘Friendships’,’Peer Groups’,‘Dating’,‘Married Couples’,‘Romantic Interests’,‘Workplace Bullying’,’Bullying’,’Partners’, ‘Neighbours’, ‘Co-Workers’, ‘Roommates’,’Bosses’, ‘Landlords’,’Hospitals’,’Schools’Nursing Homes’,’Employers’,’Business Partnerships’. (I put quotes around everything because these roles are sometimes fluid in an abusive situation and most of these bonds aren’t real. They are not so defined they can shift around sometimes you don’t even know…..this is how the abuse works.)
Since I’m all about the Social Media….how I discovered this phenomenon is by Google searching for these words. Have a look at the hashtags below for a minute-look at them anywhere…on Twitter,Instagram,Tumblr,Facebook and watch the amount of stuff that pops up. For something I’ve never formally heard of-there’s mass amounts of info out there. For something I thought I never heard of-I know this damn too well. To see that much info was jarring BUT to know that our world’s societies are being run and affected by this epidemic makes me wonder how many scenarios are triggered by this.(cue:recent elections in the U.S.) Stats say that 6.2% of the world’s population suffers from this PD. It’s much higher. That’s 1 in 6 people around you and I. So how many people do you think suffers at the hands of this? I am no researcher but that’s a hell of a lot.
A victim (scapegoat) in an abusive relationship with a narcissist often doesn’t know what’s being said about them during the relationship, most often they have no idea what’s going on but they eventually find out the falsehoods shortly after they’ve been discarded or when they walk away. Sometimes it’s revealed in earlier conversations ‘when things are good’.And you still don’t even understand what’s happening because you don’t live life to manipulate people. Other times people around the victim may suggest or imply to see if the victim recognizes what’s happening. They (enablers) often refuse to speak up for fear of becoming a target like the victim OR they want to watch and see a victim ‘become unraveled’ OR they don’t see how bad the abuser really is.It’s like free entertainment. The truth is:If this is happening around you with family, you now understand what you are dealing with and its hard but straightforward to remove yourself from the situation completely.
Toxic people put you through an idealization phase until you’re sufficiently hooked and invested in beginning a friendship or relationship with them. Once they feel or see that you are beginning to notice that you’re being manipulated and it’s not successful anymore-they begin to devalue you while insulting the very things they admired or pretended to admire about you in the first place. This occurs when you no longer want to join in on the game created when you didn’t know what was going on. This is when the smear campaign begins, or (at least when you become aware of it.)
Advice to get through this type of situation:
Hunker down and let it rip. You spend months or weeks, years even-trying to prove to those around you that you are not guilty or innocent or not at fault or have not done anything that the rumours suggest. Oftentimes it takes awhile to understand and realize that it’s a waste of energy. Listening to the rumours can allow you to understand what is really going on and where it’s coming from. Can’t be hurt and offended by something that isn’t true right?
Know your square (not circle.) A square allows you to see all corners to know who really has your back and who never did.It can give you a slow but gradual fresh start in the right direction.
Expect a smear campaign, a ‘Hoover’ or possibly 4 of them. The smearing happens much earlier than you think. Often times when you start to understand what’s happening around you back track 6 months to year. (That’s when the devaluation started.) The Hoover (like the vacuum cleaner) is used to suck you back into the relationship (to fix things? not really). It gets worse. It’s just more and more abuse.
Tell your trusted family and your really close friends like family. Often times they might’ve been through it before so they’ll know exactly what’s happening.Sometimes family is aware of the abuser but no one speaks up. If you trust the family member enough to talk they will give you some insight about dealing with the person. And if they don’t understand at all….they love you, they’ll be your support system once all the shit flies. This is not something to discuss with just anyone. The person abusing you may not be the best person to talk to either.When they know how you feel and your general way of thinking which is more on the human side they’ll manipulate even more.It’s no use. Be discerning. Once you know you just know. As Narcissists get older they get worse. To my Step(MOM): thanks Mom, you’re a blessing! Crystal, thank you!
Don’t be alarmed if you are being watched at the places you frequent or your place of employment. Sometimes people within the family or circle want to see if you are balanced, crazy (like the rumours suggest) or healthy and take information back to your abuser. Also, they don’t want anyone to know that you’ve realized what they are. If you feel you are in danger; report it to the police. In the past I did.
Have a strong spiritual foundation. Believe in something (yoga, meditation, prayer,church,volunteerism,singing,writing,dancing) it helps you see past the smoke and mirrors and focus on what’s TRULY real and important. The world we live in is changing at a rapid pace. Don’t let anyone mock your willingness to embrace spirituality. This is a natural part of life and through spirituality, the best of your inner being comes alive and will propel you to heal and help others as well as yourself.
Curiosity doesn’t kill. Sometimes you need to find out more about what’s happening around you and it can’t happen by asking questions. Sometimes you wait to see who will tell you something so you can have a better understanding.Sit back and just observe.Don’t absorb.Truth shows itself without you having to do anything.
Anything you post online or say to your abuser will be used against you. You still have to live your life. As long as you understand this you won’t be as shocked when it does happen.Don’t allow yourself to be silenced by anyone. You’re not a bad person.
It takes time to heal and be who you were before this happened. You will get better, you will heal, you will laugh again. They say it takes about 18-24 months to heal.It really depends on who you surround yourself with.You’ll be stronger;trust me-this has nothing to do with being at the gym. But being at the gym will help you get through this stage in your life! Focus on you passions, what makes you happy, what makes you feel at peace, what you are good at, what feels good-those things will help you achieve success!You’ve been through stuff before this and you have much more to experience in life.
If you’ve got something going for you-your smile, your harmonica skills, your shoes,your blog, your voice,your attendance schedule,your eyeshadow,your clothes- whatever. You will be a target. Understand this and still be YOU. My biological mother hated my love of PR and communications stuff.She hated that I worked hard. She hated my ambitious nature. She pretended she was interested but secretly loathed it. She hated when people took a genuine interest in me. It used to happen all the time when I went out with her. I’m glad I got to know her much later on in life but I got to see what I would’ve gone through as a child. And more importantly she envied my life. (I love travelling,I work hard,I love the music scene,I love this blog,I love networking,I love knowing all types of people) Hobby type things may seem like a waste but if you want to build something it’s what must be done, build on those things. What she didn’t realize is how much I suffered growing up with a disordered parent and how hard it was to grow up under the same roof with one.Narcissists won’t ever admit or acknowledge how hard it is to live with them. They take you through one hell of a journey. Sometimes they are aware of what they do, and enjoy it,sometimes it’s habitual. Either way, YOU survived!
Have hope (they don’t want you to) have it anyway. It makes for a better environment.Once you recognize the repeated patterns you’ll have your many A-HA moments and the reality of the situation sets in. Place that hope in the right people and of course first and foremost in yourself. This abuse, if you survive it IS meant to strengthen you and help others. It’s not selfish it’s an act of self-love.
Know Yourself Don’t let anyone force any kind of circumstances,distractions,potential partners, ideologies on you.Don’t let anyone try to erode your privacy. Know how you feel, know who you are,know what you see, know what your purpose is and most importantly stay grounded. You become familiar with how this energy and attitude feels. This situation will pass-it’s rough when you start to understand things as they happen. In the end the only person you can be responsible for is you!
Being Discarded is A Blessing It forces you to face reality. You start to see all the ways you were treated and abused. It’s not a loss. You are being set free-the only thing left is to process the occurrences. You begin to set boundaries so you aren’t manipulated in the future. You develop a thicker skin and become EVEN more self aware. You learn to detach from the outcome of situations and stop holding on to people or things that can never change. You grow and become more expansive.You look at things with a discerning eye. Most importantly you see things you don’t want to be in and change direction. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to truly understand this dynamic and can move forward towards my future. Your intuition will show you what a discard and a manipulation looks and feels like. I want to have a family and partner of my own but I absolutely do not want to re-create the dynamic of my past again! Healing from deep-rooted emotional abuse ensures that another cycle of abuse doesn’t happen with another generation of adults. Kids don’t deserve that kinda life-it’s easier to raise a child than to change an adult. Parents: If you sense you need more assistance raising your kids- get help. Engage with your kids in a healthy way. Be mindful of who they hang around with. Make sure that they aren’t becoming abusive towards others also! Build experiences with them. Get healthy with your past. Children often subconsciously re-create the patterns they see with their parents. If you stay they think it’s okay to stay and work out that friendship, relationship or toxic situation. If your partner is on the abusive side-GET OUT! (This includes covert, physical,sexual and verbal abuse.)
Have you seen a trusted and highly sympathetic friend about your past and or current situation? Please know this:Highly sensitive persons (HSPs),Doers,Fixers,Helpers,People Pleasers-make excellent targets. We seem like push overs to many. People don’t understand that those are strengths. As a Highly Sensitive Person you can lose yourselves in a narcissistic world. They will project their negative feelings onto you. That’s what they do. Don’t be sad either. Understand that once you recognize the patterns you’re free. You can start a new life deeply rooted in truth and REALITY.Yours.
If you are newly discovering what has happened to you, I’m sure all of this is overwhelming. Start looking back. Reflect a little, reflect a lot…spend time on your own. Start a journal.Find a new shitload of hobbies. Revive healthy friendships. That dream you’ve always wanted to achieve and take the steps to make it happen. Once you find stuff to do you begin to grow and new opportunities, experiences and people come into your life! I’ve been bumping into super duper old friends from back in the day and re-connecting. Some of those old and new friends have helped me out sooo much!!! Shout out to ya’ll!
Here are some of the awesome expert abuse survivors and Youtube communities online.
I’m overjoyed nothing happened to me physically and that I’m GOOD-not many people overcome this type of situation because it can be dangerous. What this situation does is that it catapults you to the next level in life. I think what spurred this article was the shock of really making a strong effort to change the way I looked at things and I became more aware that I was actually IN a series of manipulative situations and choosing not to participate anymore. Am I narcissist HELL NO. I do like to share my knowledge and interests and do like to create exciting experiences to make life more amazing! I understand what makes me who I am and it’s absolutely okay to exist around people who would love for me to play small.
By the time this article goes live on this new blog design, January would’ve come and gone……..I wrote this last year (2016) Here’s to a more musically inspired and powerful 2017!
Read up on this,
Start From Scratch,
Explore New Things,
Get help from the right places and people,
If it don’t feel right it probably isn’t, (and if it’s right you’ll know)
Remember the Good Things about Yourself,
You’re not a Victim,
(Nobody Needs to Feel Sorry for You-not even You.)
No matter where we are there’s always a starting point…..these ladies here revisited memory lane to talk about how they started doing what they’re doing today!
Before the official interview I spoke to Ticky Ty and for some odd reason- I discovered some interesting facts. For those of you who actually know me I’d lived in Japan for a bit and after talking for a bit I learnt that she also lived there! She worked at a local franchise club/bar Sam and Dave’s. They had many locations all across the city and country and I too worked at that same location many years ago. She had lived in Fukuoka/Osaka and I lived in Osaka. Two really happening places in the Kyushu and Kansai areas- this was an awesome surprise!
Cool facts about Miz Megs:
o She met Ticky Ty at Andy Poolhall;she booked her for an all girl DJ line-up
o She just found out about the term ‘New Jack Swing’ this year! She’s loved it long time.
Some cool facts about Ticky Ty:
o Used to listen to Happy Hardcore and Chill out. Did you?
o She started with a 2 channel Stanton Mixer and Battle Mixer Turntables
What struck my interest was the energy they had behind the decks. I wondered what it would be like to talk with them. I’d been to their shows a few times-Li’lys, CODA and Geary Lane. You see, sometimes it’s not so much what they play or how they play…it’s the passion they put into what they do. It shows. They keep the crowd going. I’d seen them spin separately and finally side by side at Love Buzz this past July! They absolutely make a great team. They took a bit of time to chat about how they got started. I’m truly inspired. I asked them what keeps the passion for music going and eventually we talked about how it all started …..
Me: What’s you earliest connection to music?
Megs:I remember being 6 years old, listening to Dance music, pushing the couch aside and watching my reflection in the TV while my parents played cards with their friends. I just loved Pop-you know, Debbie Gibson and Paula Abdul. I would turn on the Pirate Radio Sessions (Energy 108) and listen to Chris Sheppard! (I think everyone started with that.) I also danced Ballet from ages 3-16, that was very similar to Ticky Ty!
Ticky Ty: I started dance at Toronto Dance Theatre at 3 years old. All my early music connections were dance-related. ‘I went back to visit almost 24 years later and the same pianist and drummer was still there. Rhythm came naturally to me.
One thing I loved about talking with them is that they followed each others’ cues. You can see how connected they are. It’s then that I understood that these two had one of the foundational pieces that demonstrated a deep interest in music at such an early age.
Me:Which music era speaks to you the most? For me, I really Iike the 70s……
Miz Megs: 90s Euro and New Jack Swing. ‘I never knew there was a term for it until this summer’ I offered Blackstreet as the more well known groups that was known for this style in the 90s. She spent some time on Youtube listening to songs to see more groups. She never knew there was a term for it until this summer.
Ticky Ty: She says ‘Guys don’t laugh at me, but I really love the 20s. She mentioned the movie Chicago. And the truth is the 20s sound has been sampled quite a bit in Dance music. She is hilarious because she adds ‘ I probably wouldn’t do to well in that era or even be alive then. ‘I still really like Jazz and Swing.’
Me:When did you realize you were into House?
Miz Megs: Dancing at home and thinking I was in a club….’I wanted to be a GO-Go dancer’ and Ticky cheers her on and says ‘It’s not too late girl it’s not too late’ This was the interview highlight.lol
Ticky Ty: ‘For me it would be with an old friend of mine, we used to steal her older sister’s Happy Hardcore CDS and pick raspberries in the backyard and zone out.
Me:How did you both meet? Andy Pool Hall! They were both booked for an all girl Dj line up and Flipside/Andy suggested she ask Ticky for that night. Meg booked Ticky. ‘Thanks Flipside!!’
Me: Who do you wanna work with? Any production yet? ‘We’d love to work with Duro. ‘I had a song out with Jerome….We’ve worked with Flipside. Internationally they’d love to work with Chus and Ceballos and Channo.
Me: What kinda music are you both listening to right now?
Ticky Ty:‘Stuff comin out of Brazil… Groove to Light and all that dirty and hard stuff.(Okay!!!???lol) Megs-‘ Luciano is my all-time favourite but lately I have been especially inspired by Loco Dice. I love that hip hop flavor he adds to his sets.
Me:The one thing that comes to mind ladies; in the industry doing your thing spinning- Meeting people at the party, meeting people in and around the scene. What’s it like? You know, doing business?
They break it down to two trains of thought:
You get the ‘Wow, chicks that’s hot… let’s watch it OR ‘Oh mi gawd chicks;they’re probably gonna suck’…’You get a little bit of both. It’s either you don’t get the same sort of initial responses as with a guy. You’re either a chick or you’re a commodity. Or you suck. ‘You have to prove yourself past those barriers. Every. Fucking.Time. Which is fine-because every time we do it-we show what we can do…..’
Me: You ladies take what some would consider very sexy photos…..what’s up with that? They (the pics)look good by the way…
I got in shit for that a few weeks ago…..Meg said ‘someone called them out for showing side boob and abs’ they were told that on TRC….. that no one would be attending their gig because they actively/purposely used their bodies to sexually try to get a gig’. Their comment got destroyed by people defending us because they are just press PHOTOS and anyone who has actually seen us in person knows we usually wear baggy clothes and are so not like that. The guy eventually apologized. <<<interesting, yes.
Me: Wasn’t the gig already got?
Miz Megs/Ticky Ty: Yes! We didn’t make the flyer. A group discussion ensued and one of our fans supporters told the person where to go….fans are awesome that way!
Me: Where can we find you ladies?
Miz Megs/Ticky Ty:Nest, CZ (Comfort Zone) and various parties across Toronto or in cities out-of-town.
What do you both like about Dj’ing? Meg-‘The music and getting to be a part of something that has to do with the music you love….‘Just being there to dance. And creating a new sound with what you love.’
Ticky Ty:‘I love the connection I have with everybody. It’s really intense. You can almost feel the energy of this group of that people or that group of people. As long as you let go you get into a meditative thing. You can just feel it. Everyone moves as one. Not over thinking it. It’s really nice to be the catalyst of something like that. Spurring a movement, its healing for me and so many others.You can go to an underground party and a CEO of Microsoft can be dancing beside someone homeless. And it doesn’t matter. No one cares what you do in the daytime. No one asks.’ What do you do in the daytime?’ Meg says ‘I hate when people ask that’ they both agree. ‘Shut your face we’re dancing right now.’
It’s a challenge for the music/entertainment scene to really delve into current issues and/or politics but very necessary so I asked anyway:
In light of everything that has happened in the last week. (Orlando shooting) How do you feel about it as a musician/artist/House enthusiast?
Ticky Ty:I wanted to take it back to pride month because the House scene did come from the Black Gay Scene. She played the night and remarked at how special it was to spin for so many.’There are no cultural and sexual boundaries. We don’t give a shit about that stuff. We’re blessed to be part of an Underground Community that embraces everything. No cops standing around at the outdoor party. No one is being searched at the door. People are enjoying the music…..it’s such a gift….……The vibe is really connected. You can’t fake it. It’s visceral. You either don’t like it or you totally enjoy it.And beats is their gift to us.Entertainment people don’t really like to make comments about political shit but they did! So much has happened since then…..
We’re half way through the year what’s in store for 2017? At the same time they answer: Production! That’s the next step, albums will happen once we tour and produce more!!!
Alright ladies, DO YOUR THANGS! You can find them on most social platforms! @DjTickyTy @MizMegs
It’s been a minute (like 3-4 years) and glad I went this summer! So much to do out there-tons of new food places/establishments to see! My return to NYC was amazing! I’m nostalgic because this is kinda the reason why the blog started. Travel provides a sense of wonder and inspiration. This is probably where my motivation comes from.
As always its essential to figure out where to stay. I’ve stayed at different hostels, homes and hotels but this time I chose to stay somewhere accessible, comfortable and a little swanky…..It’s a smaller hotel located on the Lower East of Manhattan the best things about it is mainly it’s location. The Smyth is located at a point where three stops east you’re in Brooklyn four-seven stops west you’re in Chinatown. This makes travelling around on foot, Uber or NYCT cheaper and safer. The Smyth (Thompson) is a small but stylish hotel on Broadway Ave next to subway, Whole Foods and a Barnes & Noble.
The service is amazing there! The staff is on point and the Bellman knows where to send guests for the best inexpensive/expensive food, nightlife and the nearest Duane Reade! The exchange rate wasn’t too great- for Canadians visiting make change at home. There are 2 other Thompson locations in Manhattan and this area is the best to get to BK, Bronx or Coney Island! The hotel lounge has a homey feel-looks very much like a cozy living room.
I didn’t wanna stay on the premises for long BUT decided to have breakfast at the restaurant connected to the hotel one morning. It’s a quaint French-style Bistro looking small from outside; when you walk inside it’s filled with people ALL day. The menu is amazing and all breakfast items have a little variation to it. This restaurant is inspired by famous chef James Beard, this you’ll notice from the decor to the meal presentation. It’s good food. There’s a full service bar and patio on the premises. The whole restaurant is quite an experience.
Little Park – 85 W Broadway
Walking around the city and also with how HOT it was there; There were many stops for water, snacks and more food. Favourites include any Afro-Muslim food places. They are clean and have a crazy variety to choose from. Speaking of African food, I purchased tickets to the Afropolitan NYC Food Festival! It was held at The Brooklyn Navy Yard quite a ways deep into BK but for a fairly new culinary event to the city, it was very interesting. Foods from all over Africa made from local NY rising chefs and well-known establishments in the area were in attendance. The restaurant booth with the most line ups were the Eritrean and Ethiopian foods. There were South African wine samples, Afrobeat DJs and refreshments. It was a hot-ass day. Any refreshments they sold were a welcome relief. The food actually looked like the picture and tasted amazing.
One more noteworthy food place Brooklyn Greenery-a hidden gen on Flatbush Ave. You can take the B,Q and S trains to Prospect Park Station. It’s a healthy, healthy place but what got me is the Hip-Hop Smoothie and Green Juice names. You have your choice of a small or large Supreme Clientele (Pineapple, Carrot, Green Apple), Mos Def, Queen Bee or Redman drinks. And to make your taste buds multitask you also hear your fave Dead Prez or Method Man playing for support. The place is immaculate and earthy. They run live shows in the shop and it is treated like a community meeting place. This shop has an each one teach one concept-they have a shelf filled with books where you can drop some off and pick some up. Besides it’s Hip-Hop enviro, the main reason it’s a gem is that it’s located amongst dozens of Popeyes’, Pizza joints and Golden Crusts-all of which have one too many calories to eat on a hot day! They really stand out on that block. Here’s a quote written by a Yelper about BKG: ‘The names of the smoothies and drinks are relevant and fitting for the times. The price is worth it.’ TOTALLY.
Now, on the holistic tip. I visited Namaste Bookshop. Wasn’t too fond of the name but the amount of people there……you’d want to walk in just to see what the hype was about. Lots of books, Crystals, incense EVERYWHERE. There were mini workshops and Tarot card readings going on. From the looks of it-it was as if everyone is looking to expand their minds at the same time. There people asking associates all kinds of questions about body ailments and meditation tips. This shop smelled amazing. It’s sensory overload when you walk in there! Lots of trinkets to see……
I ate so much but burned it off with walking and dancing of course! This was my favourite part of the whole trip. There’s always something to do anywhere/somewhere in Williamsburg,NY. My favourite record store (Dancetracks) is gone so I headed over to the newer ‘gentry-fied’ Halcyon in BK. The music is still the focus. One thing I love about many establishments in New York are that they double or triple as a few things. This is wonderful for business as it brings many people to one spot at any given time. Over at Halycon you can drink coffee, listen to live DJ sets, sample records you’d like to purchase, party on the rooftop or party inside! (Output) I arrived when sound check was going on before the big event-their soundsystem was ridic……..I brought back some goodies-can’t wait to spin with them!
On of the main things I do down there is shop at the black beauty supply stores for cheaper or larger sized products and summer clothes. I visited a very neat flea market. A very stylish one with handmade but fashion forward. Who needs a mall? I found plenty of that EVERYWHERE!
The highlight of the whole trip was BBE’s 10th Anniversary celebration for JDilla’s ‘The Shining’. Parties for this anniversary celebration were held all across the U.S.and I’m sure the others were just as amazing! It was an incredibly epic night. All kinds of freestylin’, all types of horn players. Guest birthday boy/ bad-ass drummer Daru Jones (Jack White of former White Stripes) killed it! Subrosa NYC hosts an event ‘Soul in The Horn’ on Fridays where Soul, Jazz,Hip-Hop and any other genre meet. Hosted by Dj Natasha Diggs and friends, I was blown away. The Shining was celebrating FULLY that night. Guest DJs Rich Medina & DJ Scratch attended. Have a listen to a snippet from that night at>>>>>> Soul In The Horn
There’s so much more I can share here but if you’ve been to NY, you’d know that your adventures/travel preferences would completely differ from mine! If you head to the Big Apple, I’ve mentioned some places definitely worth checking out. Come by and visit shine2u.wordpress.com every now and then to see what I’ll be listening to and where I’ll be!
It’s amazing to have a blast from the past……a lady I met about 7-8 years ago we talked about turntables and vinyl. We stayed in touch. Look at what she’s up to now…..
Who are you? DJ Typical Cat
What’s Her Story?
As far back as she could remember her Dad was a drummer. He collected records. Her aunt was a country music singer. ‘When I was younger I was listening to House Music and stuff…I’d turn on the radio and I would just feel it in my heart…stuff like Electric Circus or Much Dance…you know that kinda shit?’ When she first heard something she liked she says, ‘I felt it in my chest, I felt it in my heart…. in high school about grade 8 or 9, Freaky Flow was the first guy I heard of when it came to Jungle or Drum N Bass. In high school I heard his ‘World Domination’ album and it got me hooked. I heard Nelly Furtado on a track with the drums and bass and I wanted to understand this type of music more. So I got into guys like Andy C, Dj Craze, Dj Hype. I’d always loved this music without knowing what it was. I wanted to know about it and I started to go to raves by myself and I just knew that I wanted to DJ and I was just there for that.
About her first gig…. Her very first event and it was bigger than she expected. This was one of her very first BIG events at Velvet Underground. ‘I was nervous as hell but I had fun with it and opening up for Plastician was a huge deal for me because he was a DJ, I looked up to in so many ways.’ She noticed that people loved what she was doing. She mentioned that this is something that women go through. She remarked that women should be confident especially when wanting to pursue a thing like Dj’ing. Some people will like that. Focus on the positives.
About raves….I wasn’t going to party and do drugs. I would just watch what the DJ was doing- I just knew that I wanted to DJ.
What did you do the first time around? In grade 9 my mom asked me if I wanted to sign up for-those program books for summer classes. And right away I was like I’ll take that! Then in grade 11 when I had enough money, I bought tables!
How were those classes? What did you learn? ‘I took that class and actually Oscar ‘DJ Grouch’ was the first person to teach me how to use a turntable. He taught me VERY basic stuff-he taught me motions like scratching and stuff, not cuts but feeling it out with drums and using levels. He was an awesome connect because he’s pretty big in the city. Knowing him made me feel like I was on the right path. He wasn’t just some guy turned DJ. He was part of the scene, he was a great teacher. He would even give me records. I started with Hip hop and I went from that to Jungle.
What kind of music do you like? ‘My heart’s with Drum N Bass. I love listening to the radio. I love top 40. I love funk. I love listening to things I’ve never heard. My sound right now is Bass.’ She plays unreleased dubs straight from producers-I love things that are brand new!
How’d you find your style? It was a journey. It’s taken her a few years to know her musical taste. She plays a more Housier Bass style now but for awhile she went through a Jackin’ House style even. But really, mostly ‘I need that Heavy Bass…I think I found my sound at Plastician-it has the same BPM as House’ (Yes, it does.)
Working with Alan Lam-what’s that like? Her partnership with Alan Lam (Stranjah) didn’t just happen, It came after some time. ‘He’s got a wikked business sense and very passionate about his work. I’ve thrown parties with him and I know there’s a huge following. Regardless of that-I love this music! She is grateful for her crew because they know what they are talking about. They are pioneers of Jungle. It makes her feel confident. When they’ve produced tracks he asks her opinion. She never questions his decisions when putting together events or tracks. She recalls her first ever event headlined party with Demuir which was a huge success.
About Vinyl and Serato ‘I really need to learn not to carry records everywhere that I spent so much money on. I went switched to Serato. It’s the next best thing. It’s like faking records. So now I just stick with Serato. It’s funny cuz I feel like I’m stuck in the past with all of this. People are all up on their shit with CDJs and all that. There are USBs wherever you go. Something about the CDJs are just not my thing….I’m a record and turntable person…it’s not the same feel. I need to feel it. People now know that if they’re booking me I won’t show up without turntables….I made it that way.’ She doesn’t care that it’s a hassle. ‘People have told me I wasn’t gonna make it anywhere because I insist on turntables. So many people say it’s not industry standard.’ She thanks and shouts out club owners who come through with turntables.
About Old Skool tunes…. Some old heads have said that they’ve heard some parts of her mixes/sets. They listen to her mixes and they say that the samples or funk records are from back in their B-Boy days…..’If I hear it and I like it and it’s usually from an older genre’.
Vocals? No vocals? ‘I like some singing but not too much of it. It must be subtle….not too overdone. It’s hard when you have a set with too many vocals. Actually, it’s just not my style. Sometimes I like vocals every 2 or 3 tunes. I usually like vocals at the beginning of my mixes because it draws attention to the crowd.’
How do you prep for a gig? ‘You overcome your nerves. Even if the bar is empty I used to get nervous but like always I’m still riding off of it. The rush you get from it is amazing. You break walls after the first gig. You reach out to people you don’t even know. People tell me they’ve downloaded my shit and bump it in their car. And I’m thinking…. I did that just for me….I’m still riding off the gig I did 2 nights ago’ lol
Your Mom and Cousin were at your last gig…..
She told her Mom to wear black to fit in. She thought it was everything that her Mom felt it would be. I talked to her about what my mother said also. It was something out of a movie. ‘I didn’t think my cousin was gonna stick around but she stayed ’til the end of the show!’ She remembers how her mom used to yell at her because all she would hear is Bass shaking the entire house and she’d tell her to stop. Shockingly she kinda yells out ‘Now she’s coming to my parties?!!!! It was very weird. I haven’t even heard her opinion yet. I’m so scared. I don’t even think she has an opinion it was just something for her to experience in the moment. It was amazing. My mom would ask me back in the day about the Bass shaking the walls. I think my mom was very proud of me.’
Cat, who do you wanna work with? She wants to work with anyone specifically with the people who throw Promise parties. She wants to bring her sound to Costa Rica. She sees herself in Europe. (Anywhere in the UK) and many of the people she works with are always touring there. We talked about the Underground and how our scene is quite different from across the pond. For example how progressive and genre flexible the musical tastes are.
Any advice to those in the creative field who want to venture into production, promotion, Dj’ing anything related to the industry/scene? (As a woman to the ladies out there what would you say?) Throughout our talk she kept referring to the old her…’. I was so concerned what others thought about the music I played-now I don’t give a shit’….You don’t always have to play for everybody else just play for yourself. The people who like it will enjoy it….!
How about people who have an original skill/sound….We talked about upcoming female producer Wondagurl she comments ‘I can guarantee you she’s doing shit she loves. I’m not big time nothing but I’m just doing it cuz I love it. I wasn’t ready for it before. I’m ready now. And all the things I’ve always wanted are coming to me. I love this music!’
Cat emphasizes….‘I can’t stress enough…you need to stop caring what other people think of you. Just do it. Reach out to whatever connection you have-because not everyone has them-and if you know even one person that’s into the same thing as you or if you know one person that you’ve looked up to, reach out to them’. She’s reached out to people from across the world on Facebook alone…. ‘It’s that easy, some are flattered and will do everything they can to help you. Take the plunge and just ask. She realizes that she’s the only person holding her back and if it’s meant to be it’ll come’.
Typical Cat spins next at Round Venue in Kensington Market, August 25th 2016
I’d never been to the West Coast to stay-so I stayed for a bit. Definitely a sleepier vibe than Toronto but VERY beautiful! I’m a city girl at heart but visiting a place like this, right here in Canada is AMAZING!
What’s going on over there? Plenty and not much at the same time. One of the things Vancouver is known for the beauty and landscape. It was a lot cooler than expected for June but still mild. I ventured over to the main spot over there (Stanley Park.) It borders downtown Vancouver…..so wherever you are in the core you still get a glimpse of the water and some smaller mountains. Tourists from everywhere usually venture here first….just like I did!
The bridge above is also known as the Lions Gate Bridge because of the (pair of mountains to the North.) It’s a suspension bridge that connects North Vancouver, the North Shore and West Vancouver. Instead of going over explaining what all these photos are-have a look!
All this fresh air, space and trees had me itching to head back over to the city…..so many awesome places in the city! One of the things about Vancouver City is that most things close early. (Early like Toronto early!) Each spot delivers a unique experience where places have to close early. Each has a style or vibe that is very unique to that neighbourhood.
I visited the Shameful Tiki Bar in the Soma or South Main Area of Vancouver-a trendy and upcoming strip/area looking very similar to the location on Queen St. West! I walked into this spot and there was nothing shameful about it all! It’s tucked away and the windows are completely covered. I opened the door only to find a mini South Pacific Island indoor bar that looks like it’s outside! The drumming, the grass thatched roofs and the mini replicas of Giant Moai Statues really add character and finishing touches.
It’s all covered up!
This was much smaller than the photo!
Under the grass hut!
One signature thing about The Shameful Tiki-is the mystery drink offer on the menu. Each time a group of people order this massive bucket with long straws, a Polynesian drum goes off to announce which table purchased it! This drum went off all night LOL. For $40 CDN-you receive an unknown drink for 6-8 people. You just try to see what it tastes like!
A few blocks down, we headed over to El Camino’s. From Hawaii to Latin America all on one strip. Definitely even more lively than the first. They boast an incredible Taco menu-all kinds of tacos almost too many to decide what to order. The food was great, the aperitifs were tasty (white wine & tequila), the appetizer (lime & pepper flavoured popcorn) got things going before the tacos!
I was on the transit and saw the infamous Hastings street and couldn’t pass up the vinyl shop visit! I spotted Vinyl Records and walked right in! What a great selection of records! I saw some very rare items-but I did notice that we’re definitely lucky to find some serious deals over here in Toronto! If you’re looking to splurge, looking for something you can’t find online or looking for collectors pieces, Vinyl Records is your spot! I only stopped off at this one BUT there are so many in Vancouver.
Every time I travel…I love checking out the same stuff. I really like ’em. I headed over to Robson and Burrard St. and walked right past Bang On! -a custom t-shirt print shop. I walked into the largest vintage store in Canada! (Special shout out to Riem the shop manager for allowing me to film and photograph inside the shop!) The merchandising in there is phenomenal!
If you can-check it out over there it’s worth the trip! 🙂
CDR (Create, Define, Release) – The night of ideas and tracks in the making at 805 Studio
I decided to re-cap the first CDR event of 2016. CDR thrives on genre differences and a lot of that was played a few weeks ago. Musical differences are what CDR is all about.
The idea is for all participants to hear other sounds and maybe connect each other to the musicality of sound. CDR speaks to collaboration. The last session has seen a steady progression in participants reaching out mostly on the night of the event. Gavin mentioned that it was great to see extra layers of music people coming out of the word works.
‘We’re starting to see a bit of an organic development. There were a larger number of listeners. People are bringing in gangs of friends who are also interested in making music….It’s a discovery for everyone’
Some of the submissions are spontaneous and most were last minute. Gavin and Ramon specifically sent a shout out to Peter Delorum from Kingston, Ontario. He submitted a wikked track ‘Iliad’. He drove from Kingston, Ontario! CDR Toronto had an amazing Akai software giveaway. (Just one of the few reasons why it’s a great place to be!) The reason is to empower good production people and increase the potential to make great music!
The Dego event in April really helped CDR expand their reach! One of two mandates is to promote CDR artists at other clubs/events followed by the other to create a visual understanding of other artists’ creative process.
CDR continues to focus on supporting local Toronto/Canadian-based artists. Gavin believes that Canadians are poor at self promotion. Events like these are a great way to get your musical projects out there. Ramon shouts out DJ Gareth (Snafu 76) who is always ready and attended all 3 CDRs and as always the team is excited to see more new faces. Special thanks to Elizabeth Da Costa for allowing CDR to run events at her community arts building! (805 Studio) It’s an amazing space which personifies CDR-be sure to check out the next event on June 16th! Have your submissions ready!