Siren Song

Today is my 31st birthday. It’s also “just a day, just an ordinary day.” A day like any other. On my birthdays my mum always asks me “How do you feel? Do you feel different? Older?” I would shrug it off, growing up, but it has stuck with me. And mum? I feel calm today.

 (Do you remember Vanessa Carlton? She’s still a musician. And she still hits the same weird “emo-girl pop” bullseye for me, somehow. Next step after Avril Lavigne, perhaps? Or maybe I’m over complicating it. Lol.) 

Today I woke up on the couch in yesterday’s clothes, to the click of J’s toenails on the parquet. She wanted to climb up, but I was taking up too much space. I shoved over and started to come into consciousness. A dog is a blessing. As I woke, I watched G getting ready for work; rushing around purposefully. Teasing, inciting (and insightful, too), he waited until I asked before he wished me “happy birthday.” It’s a game we play: who amongst us can withstand the most petty, petulant, brattiness? And who will be crowned World’s Brattiest Baby? (I’m rooting for G.)

Today I’m unemployed again. It feels shitty, but I also know that my last job was a bad fit for me. They wanted me to be someone I’m not, and they were (strangely?) angry that I wouldn’t crack, cower, be cowed. I’m glad they broke up with me: my heart was never really in it. 

Today I miss the kids, though. And I feel so sorry for leaving them without explanation. That part wasn’t my choice, wasn’t part of the plan. Not that I really had a plan, when I took that job. It was an opportunity, so I took it. But not every opportunity is the right one. I’d love so much to send the kids a letter, but that would probably cross umpteen boundaries. Maybe they’ll find my blog one day. (What’s going on, kiddos?)

Today I feel as ready for the future as I ever have. We’re in the midst of a pandemic I can’t comprehend, and many things that I really (truly) took for granted are completely out of the question. So the next question is, what’s left? What do I have, today, when everything’s made to be broken…? 

Welp, today I’ve got me, G, J, and SP. And that means there’s more than just one exception.

So today, I’m not wasting time, I’m enjoying it. 

And if I be wrong? 

Well then honestly, fuck it. 

It’s my life.



Field Tripping

This past summer, alongside my colleague Christina Jewell, I had the opportunity to work as Garden Program Coordinator for Green Thumbs Growing Kids. One of the highlights of my summer was planning, developing, and leading educational field trips for Toronto youth. I had no idea that I would become so invested in this project, but it was an incredible experience. I would be honoured if you would read about our trips!


Figuring

I have often described my mind as being like a murky fishbowl. I squeeze my eyes tight, plunge my hand in, and clutch at water in the hopes of grasping something. Often, when I pull that “something” out of the water, it is only tenuously related to the concept at hand. 

Sometimes I am caught off-guard, but I try not to falter. I lay my slippery concepts out on the floor, consider their forms, and imagine the connecting pieces. I call this process “figuring” and by using it, I’ve learned a lot about how we are all connected.

“Figuring” is a cyclical process, a spiralling loop of informal, iterative, experiential learning. If you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can create it, you can test it out. And if you can test it out, perhaps you can evaluate it. Evaluations provide data snapshots, and those images fill my fishbowl brain. The puzzle pieces don’t form a cohesive image, but they’re all there.


I love figuring. I’m captivated by its cyclical process - of puzzlement, exploration, making connections.  I would sit and figure all day long, if I could. 

I haven’t found the perfect career yet. My favourite jobs have been ones where I’m in charge of developing, analyzing, and refining processes. I have been a dancer, a visual artist, a curator, a writer, a children’s educator, a floral designer, and a production assistant, among other things. I am proud to call myself a Child & Youth Care Practitioner. 

But no matter which field I’m working in, I have concentrated on the “how” of social learning. 

How do visual artists develop their skills and ideas? How does 2D design translate into the 3D sphere? How does the corps de ballet come to move in unison? How do living materials change the process of design? 

My STEM education has been limited, so I haven’t had significant access to quantitative methods of evaluation. My “figuring” has mostly been qualitative. What I’m beginning to realize though, is that qualitative measurements are valid.

The word “figure” refers to the container itself. A “figure eight” is a shape, a path, a movement. It does not specify dimensions, but instead, form. The quantity is only relevant once the form has been established

I understood from an early age that human beings could take on many different forms, but what interests me most of all is the “how”. 

My question is this one: How does a person come to take on their form? Are there known shapes? Known paths that can be traced to achieve comprehension? 

How do you figure?

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