Food Collages by Julie Lee

There is something that is so satisfying about seeing an array of food arranged in collage format. I love things organized neatly, so when I came across artist Julie Lee’s work, I was enamoured instantly. The bright coloured fruits and vegetables compliment each other while promoting sustainability and healthy eating.

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Happy New Year

Hi friends!

Please accept my sincere apology for not posting since Christmas. I’ve been quite busy this holiday season, busier than I had ever imagined, but it was refreshing. Who knew that a girl plagued by anxiety would one day thrive on constant busyness? I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful start to 2015. I’m confident that this is the year all of our dreams will come true. We just have to start by living them a bit more each day.

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Mental Illness Awareness Week

You wouldn’t do that Jenna, kill yourself or anyone. You don’t even have the balls to begin with. What you need is me, someone to talk to, uh, it’s been a while since our last session. So, tell me what’s been going on…

Tyler, The Creator’s song Goblin off the album with the same name starts off with those lyrics yet I can say that I’ve had a voice tell me the same thing. I suffer from manic depression and anxiety, and as a result from that, I have been suicidal in the past and attempted suicide. Not many people know this about me but every time something like Mental Illness Awareness Week comes along, I feel more intrigued to share my story in hopes of ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Tyler is a 21 year old rapper from Ladera Heights in California. Known internationally for his solo work and being a part of Odd Future, he has a fan base that millions are a part of, myself included. I’ve had the opportunity to see Tyler in concert twice and I met him in Toronto in 2012. He was only 19 then, but he didn’t act like I imagined he would for a famous musician. He seemed anxious, like the crowd wrapping around Seneca of fans waiting to meet him and the other members of Odd Future, might be too much. Perhaps he was tired after the week long tour they were just finishing up, but it didn’t feel right. After going to the concert and hearing some of my favourite songs, on the drive back to the house I was staying at I began thinking about Tyler as a person. For someone who’s so young, the way he raps about his emotions is intense. In Goblin, he tells his therapist about how he’s been feeling lately:

They claim the shit I say is wrong
Like nobody has those really dark thoughts when alone
I’m just a teenager, who admits he’s suicide prone
My life is doing pretty good, so that date’s postponed for now

tyler the creator{myself with Tyler, The Creator}

When I heard that song for the first time, I didn’t take the lyrics seriously. I thought “this is just some rich kid who’s not grateful for what he has” but over time, I realized Tyler is another troubled young adult like myself. I began to like his music more and more after listening to it and realizing that although his choice of words may be graphic, it’s just the way he gets his feelings out. The way I try to curate my posts on here is the way he puts together verses for his new songs. Everyone has a coping mechanism and luckily, we have our creative realms to keep us grounded.

1 in 5

 

{image via TheCannon}

This isn’t about music though, it’s about bringing the conversation about mental illness awareness to the front lines. If someone like Tyler, who has millions of fans, can openly talk about being a depressed teenager then it opens the door for other people to say “hey, I can relate, and I’m not alone.” Mental illness affects 1 in every 5 people and those numbers are staggering. For a world that has never taken mental illness seriously, it’s about time we change that. But the only place to start is with us. Open up your ears and listen to your friends when they say they’re not okay, reach out to people if you’re worried about them, but most importantly, never let anyone you love feel alone and know that you yourself always have people who love you.

It can be difficult to come to terms with your mental illness but recovery is better than the alternative. In retrospect, I thank God that I’m still here today. If I would have left years ago, I would have missed out on all the incredible opportunities that life has presented to me and that I have worked hard for. I hope that by sharing my story, you will be able to share your own story as well.

A New State of Mind

Hi, friends!

At this stage in the game, hiatus could be known as my middle name. Yet my hiatus is the reason why I am writing this post for you all today. Over the past few weeks, I have been dealing with a lot of personal issues. I’m not the type of person who tells people their problems as I have a hard time trusting people and believing that they genuinely want to hear about what’s making me upset. After seeing countless status’, comments, and posts on social media and in the blogosphere, I thought it was my turn to join the conversation. I have never been one to put myself out there, but I hope by doing this it will help people come to terms with their own demons.

It’s weird to type this out and know an audience that’s bigger than myself could possibly read these words. I want to hit backspace or save this post as a draft, but I am going forward writing this because I know I’m not the only one who feels the way I do. I am currently suffering from manic depression, anxiety, and I self-harm. If you knew me in high school, you may not have noticed, but I was struggling then as well. It was a lot easier to hide my unhappiness then because I did have friends around to lift me up and keep me busy, but more recently, my own personal demons have got the best of me.

Once I left my small hometown to venture off to university, I was stricken by anxiety. A new city, school, and environment was something I had been patiently waiting for for 4 long years, and here I was regretting the decision to move. I managed to keep my head on straight and persevere, but I didn’t have any idea what was coming next. As the months went on, I found it increasingly difficult to be happy as I had been before. That’s the thing about depression… it never really goes away. You can go from having a string of rainy days and wake up one morning and have the sun shining through your window and feel like a changed wo(man). Having a sunny day had me believe that everything I had been dealing with was behind me. Yet, that wasn’t always the case.

When you tell someone you’re depressed, it’s hard for them to understand the full seriousness behind your words. When someone will tell me “cheer up” or “things get better,” I realize they are trying to help but at the same time it infuriates me. How can someone tell me to cheer up and act like everything is okay when in my mind, my world is collapsing around me? Although those reactions are a mixture of anger, fear, and envy; you can’t let them get the best of you. The first thing you have to do is realize that although someone may not be able to understand your situation, they don’t want you to feel the way you do.

I wish I had an answer, or knew a way to banish mental illness, so many of us could lead happier lives. I think the number one thing to do though, or that I can personally do, is talk about it. I honestly believe that people have been approaching mental illness in the wrong way. The severity of mental illness changes from individual to individual, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a serious issue. A huge reason behind why people don’t get help is that they don’t think someone will take their problems seriously. Discriminating against someone with a mental illness is just as bad as discriminating against a cancer patient, or someone suffering a different disease. The negative connotations surrounding depression, anxiety, self-harm, etc are what hold people back from reaching out to get the help they need. Believe me, I would know.

In high school, I had the opportunity to talk to a therapist. I gained the courage to make an appointment, but I never went. I had always been afraid that the person on the other end was only listening to me because they had to, not because they wanted to help. I never looked back and fought my battle on my own, which was only to my detriment. If I wasn’t blessed with some amazing friends who helped me find my way, I don’t know if I would be here writing this post today. That’s why I’m here in hopes that my words and experiences will help make people think about mental illness with a new state of mind. Help put an end to the stigma associated with mental health and remind people that although we are suffering, it doesn’t define us, nor confine us to a certain way of life. Each day is a brand new battle, and everyone has something they’re dealing with, so let’s band together so when we look back; we can say that we were a part of the generation that moved headfirst towards positive change.

Don’t forget, if you need someone to talk to, I will always have time for anyone who needs an ear. If you aren’t comfortable talking about the on-goings of your life in the blogosphere, there are many other outlets available to you:

Kid’s Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255)
International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred)
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Self-injury Outreach and Support

PS. I’m back this time, for good. If I can use my words to help people and make myself feel better at the same time, why would I ever leave this platform again? X

A Fresh Start

The beginning of a new month always puts my brain into overdrive, thinking of all the resolutions I want to keep. You know how it goes.. “I’ll start my diet tomorrow” or “I’m never drinking again” quickly gets put on the back burner when an invitation to a new restaurant comes up, or a friend calls you saying they’re bringing over a bottle of vodka. It’s quite easy to brush these resolutions off without giving them a passing glance. One resolution I am determined to keep is to write every day. Not on this blog or OhWowYouWoreThat necessarily, but in my journal or anywhere else. I am a firm believer that in order to produce great creative work, you must continuously strive to be creative and be inspired. Over the last few months I have been dealing with personal events that have kept me from finding inspiration and motivation to work on my creative ventures. Although I haven’t been writing or taking photographs as much, being an observer has opened up my eyes in an all new way.
Many of my close friends are in university or college. Fortunately for some, they love their program and have found the one thing they want to pursue for their entire lives. Yet others are studying a program they hate and it burns me to the bone know this. In a world like ours, where the world is your oyster, why get locked into a program then career you aren’t passionate about? Has money replaced the dire need (ed. note: I say dire need, as for myself, I believe it is life or death) to pursue happiness? I almost fell into believing this, until I realized that I needed to look at the bigger picture. In order to find purpose in my life, I had to say yes to change and it has been the scariest but also most rewarding decision I’ve made in the last year. Jumping headfirst into the unknown isn’t easy for anyone but it has made me realize who and what I need to make the most of my life. So, being cliché, I have decided to start my creative resolution today. This is something that I should have been implementing daily for years now, but I believe that it takes one big push to jumpstart a series of events. 
April, be kind. Help me prove to myself that I can start on a clean slate, and write the most beautiful story of all.

Are You Ready to Get Lost?

In 2014, a teenage girl starting a personal style blog is the norm. Yet for this teenage girl, it has been a work in progress for the past year and a half. Picking the right platform, finding a photographer, scouting locations that haven’t been Instagrammed 100 times before, were all things that I thought were incredibly important before launching this blog. One of the most difficult tasks of all was finding a name that I found represents myself, the journey I’m on, and what I want this blog to be about.

As previously noted, this is a personal style blog. I have been enamoured by the fashion industry since I was seven years old and now that I’m turning 20 this fall, I’m realizing how this is definitely the industry I want to spend my life being a part of. Beyond posting outfit photos, I want this blog to be a visual diary for myself and the experiences I have. I have always followed the philosophy that a photograph speaks a thousand words but I have loved writing since I was able to hold a pen in my hand. I hope you all bear with me and follow along for the ride. Prepare for an adventure through my mind and life. It’s time to get lost in reverie…