Be an artist and be damn proud of yourself

This. This is why I do what I do. I never doubted arts/creative writing/reporting as my career path, but several people a day throw arguments at me why I shouldn’t do it – not because I’m not qualified, or passionate enough, or ready – but because they fear for me and they care and they are worried and they are my "friends". They’re worried I’ll live on canned tuna alone or not have an overflowing supply of Bath and Body Works exfoliant like I do now. Because the latter would be an ultimate tragedy. A girl’s gotta exfoliate. There’s virtually no going around it.

I tell them they should be way more worried having me do their taxes or perform open heart surgery on a loved one. For me, poems can mend hearts. Magazines are medicine. Do you know how much money I’ve saved on therapy just from reading Cosmo alone? Not that I need therapy, because I absolutely don’t (not that there is anything wrong with it at all if you need it).

Speaking strictly on preventative terms, my psyche and overall well-being would be a lot different had I not had the authoritative final say of the magazine to have my back during iffy times and even not-so-iffy times while getting a pedicure (which is more often than not Fiji by Essie, in case you were wondering. Baby pink on toes still works for fall, and I'm living proof!). Anyone who tries to argue the validity and importance of women’s magazines can meet me in the schoolyard at 3 p.m. We’ll duke it out. Come at me, bro.

When you’re passionate about something, the money follows. I send all the hugs in the world to those of you who have chosen a certain field strictly for money or stature or whatnot. Own up to what you love and stop putting yourself down for enjoying endeavours people don’t conventionally deem prestigious. You are great and you will be successful.  So, for all of y’alls who think you’re doing me a favor by requesting me to rethink my career choice, I invite you to read this quote by my man Kurt Vonnegut. I’m sure you’ve heard it, but I’d like it to come from me. Love to all.

"Here is a lesson in creative writing.

First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.

And I realize some of you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding or not. So from now on I will tell you when I'm kidding.

For instance, join the National Guard or the Marines and teach democracy. I'm kidding.

We are about to be attacked by Al Qaeda. Wave flags if you have them. That always seems to scare them away. I'm kidding.

If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."


Higher education made me a better person. You?

Okay so today I went to this weird ceremony called “graduation.” It was this anti-climactic gathering that happened four months after I actually finished my final Quebec Anglo Literature class, so receiving my diploma (with distinction, holler) felt so unwarranted, out of the blue.

School is a very weird thing. It feels like an obligation to me, a basic necessity to survive, something like food, water, and nail polish. Getting rewarded for it and having my whole family watch me shake hands with old men and pose in pictures with my hair done all nice because I completed something so essential to the basic function of what it means to be human felt very off and boastful.

I understand in many countries, education is a luxury. In Canada, where tuition is like buying a couple pairs of designer jeans (I’m not kidding), it’s something that we honestly have no excuse for not doing. School isn’t right for everyone – I know plenty people who haven’t made it past the first year of their undergrad before realizing their heart lay in entrepreneurship. And this is a very noble feat. For the most part, kids who chose an alternate productive, practical route are doing very well for themselves. I am just saying that lack of funds is a poor excuse to not pursue higher education. There are bursaries, student loans, heck – go set up a lemonade stand! – that can help you along the way.

I was raised in a household where going to school and trying your ultimate best and receiving no less than top grades was not an option. This sort of atmosphere was oddly not oppressive at all. It is comforting to know your parents are behind you 100% when it comes to expanding your knowledgebase and as a result, allowing you to have a more informed foundation of ideas upon which you can build your future.

Did I change over the past three years? Heck yes. For the better? I hope so. Three years ago I certainly couldn’t write a news feature without sweating the Niagara Falls out of my armpits. Today, I only sweat the Saint Lawrence River. Cheers, to Higher Education!