IT ALL STARTED WHEN...
My friend Lana asked me a very silly question.
"if you could send one message via a single tweet, all the way back in time, to your 14-year old self, what would you say?"
After a few minutes of really thinking about her question I replied with:
"Art Matters. Trust your heart. Go to film school."
Lana's immediate reply was "You know it's not too late." I laughed and quickly told her how impossible that would be. I was 28 at the time and there were just too many bills and responsibilities to entertain such a ridiculous idea. Impossible, no possible way. That was a fun thought experiment, but time to get back to reality.
Fast forward 6 weeks and somehow I had been accepted into one of the best film schools in the country, with a $20K scholarship and I was getting ready to move my entire life to Vancouver. This part still sounds unbelievable to me, but guess what, it really happened.
Suspending disbelief and leaning into the "impossible" idea of going back to film school at almost 30, was one of the best decisions I have ever made. That led to falling in love with cinematography, which then led to stumbling into fashion photography in 2015 and finally got me to portrait photography in 2016 and then writingin 2017.
Prior to life with a camera in my hand, I was incredibly lucky to work with some of the best people I know, as the Director of Programming and Co-chair of TEDxToronto.
Before that, I was a lost puppy trying to figure out who I was. For most of my 20's I was a part of the Toronto start-up world, which was really tough, but also some of the best years of my life.
After that I spent some time in advertising, which honestly was probably the darkest time in my life. I was paid exceptionally well, had many perks, but I was miserable for the majority of it.
At the time, I did not have the courage or the tools to communicate my emotional state, so I suffered in silence. I did my best to always look strong and put-together on the outside. This meant a lot of breakdowns in the parking lot alone. It also meant a lot of drinking and numbing myself from the pain.
I've never publicly talked about this part of my life before. It's a chapter full of pain and disappointment. But if this last year of writing has taught me anything, it's that I'm not the only one that feels these things. Sharing hard truths, that have been buried deep inside, can be terrifying. Standing there alone, raw as fuck, you can feel energy everywhere. Every breeze sends chills up your naked body.
But here's the thing, if you sincerely share from your heart, with the intention of healing, sooner or later someone else will step forward, in solidarity and strip off some clothing too.
Naked can be terrifying, but it can also be one of the most liberating human experiences - if you let it.
Here's to being naked more in 2018.