We all have our own journey and only time will tell where we end up or in this case who we end up with.
A couple of years ago, when I completed post grad, had a good job aligned and I had a good relationship with my family and friends. I decided it was time to look after myself and I came out.
At first, it took a little getting used to these new feelings that I have moved to the side for a very long time. Co-workers become your family when you spend so much of your waking hour together. With the motherly support that I had, I found the confidence to talk to them and let them on my “not so secret anymore.” I’ll admit I hit depression for a few months, and man oh man, does that bring you down to rock bottom.
I reached out to the LGBT Youthline, (which is an amazing anonymous organization with a chat room option and a hot-line) to have someone to simply, talk to. It was a great deal of help and allowed me the confidence to tell my friends.
In your lifetime, you’re lucky if you make friends. Some you lose due to lifestyle beliefs, but the ones that stay are meant to be. You shouldn’t have to impress or prove to anyone who you are. A couple months later, my family and close circle of friends and those who matter won’t mind and those that mind, don’t really matter.
Fast forward three years later, I am proud of who I am. Love my family and friends to the moon and back. Because without them, I would still be hovering near rock bottom. It does get hard at first and eventually it’ll get easy (pun intended).
You are the best version of you, when you are who you are. #NationalComingOutDay
A couple years ago, while working on the Free the Children - Me to We moment in Ontario. I was surrounded by individuals that have each earned their way to the event by: raising money to build a school, collecting clothes for those in need or anything/ everything that make a difference in someone else’s life.
I told myself I would start something of my own. And that’s how ProjectSmile was started. On November 15th, 2017 I set the intention to give back this Holiday Season and give up a bit of time to volunteer at a Soup Kitchen (which landed 20 spots at the Good Shepherd Ministries in Toronto) and collect needed items for those that could use the support.
Why the Good Shepherd Ministries shelter? Well, everything and anything helps. With a lot of the support from Toronto and the east end of the city. Good Shepherds also was looking to fill a couple volunteer positions, this worked out amazingly!
As humans, we consume so much! All be do is buy and make purchases, which results in clutter and producing our own form of “waste.” I wanted to do something about it so with some research and planning ProjectSmile launched it’s pilot project on December 30th, 2017.
- Fact: Shelters of any short will not accept used items due to safety/ health concerns
Why should you donate to your local Salvation Army? The Salvation Army in Canada is a great non-profit organization that provides anything and everything in the support of others through: Food Services, Emergency Disaster Services, Housing and Shelters, Social Services, Thrift Stores and much more! (to add to the list, the SA provides discounts and shopping vouchers to shelters to provide a shopping experience to those who know what they needs and can buy what they want!)
The idea started from one group of friends and led to another. Soon we had many communities interested in participating and collecting for the clothing drive. Many more wanted to come out to volunteer which was a great problem to have and something really fun to organize because everyone was doing it with their best intent first.
With everyone’s combined efforts, hard work and warm hearts we made any impact of:
- 45 bags to the Salvation Army (used articles)
- 12 bags to the Good Shepherd Ministries (new articles)
- 3 hours of Soup Kitchen volunteering
To everyone who made a difference, THANK YOU!
For more photos and inspiration… Let’s connect on your next idea - [email protected]
(I read this great article, that wanted to share with everyone)
Solo travel is growing in popularity. In fact, the number of first-time travelers who choose to go solo has more than doubled in recent years. Despite that, solo travelers are still a niche minority as most travelers prefer to go in couples or groups.
Traveling alone is a whole different experience. There are certain benefits you can only get from waking up alone in a totally unfamiliar place and charting your own course deeper into the unknown.
Even if you’re not traveling long-term, venturing out for a solo vacation once in awhile can help you build skills and competencies that you can bring back and apply to all areas of your life.
Here are six benefits you can get from traveling alone:
1. You Learn to Rely on Yourself
You’ll get organized. Nobody else will be there to fold your laundry for you. You either do it yourself and take pride in the process or you stuff it in your backpack and content yourself with wearing wrinkled clothes.
You’ll learn to organize your finances. Without proper handling, your cash can easily slip away in a matter of days. You have to pay attention and track your spending.
Watch your own back because you’re the only one responsible for your safety. In fact, you might be the only person on the continent who cares whether you live or die! Learn to exercise caution and self-care and you’ll start becoming empowered.
You fall and pick yourself back up. You get extremely frustrated. You miss your family back home. You wonder where you went wrong and what the hell you are doing all the way out there anyway.
And you deal with those emotions while getting overwhelmed with joy and excitement, too.
Ultimately, you’ll learn that the world isn’t causing your emotions. You are. And, unfortunately, the world can’t solve them for you.
Traveling alone will help you learn to experience immense moments without being clumsily demonstrative. It’ll help you go through your emotions and deal with what’s really causing them.
3. You Build People Skills
You’ll encounter different kinds of people and build social-emotional intelligence along the way. This is a powerful tool you can use anywhere you go.
You’ll soon learn how to have a calm and pleasant conversation with the bank officials even when you’re panicking because you can’t access your account. Calmness and sweetness are more likely to win their assistance.
If you’re only in town for the weekend, you can make friends fast. You can even find a relationship quickly, too. You’ll have someone to bring to a festival or that local restaurant you’ve been wanting to visit. Even when traveling solo, you don’t really have to be alone all that much if you don’t want to.
You’ll also learn cross-linguistic communication. Even if you’re not planning to learn the language by immersion, you can always pick up the basics. The rest, you can do with body language, visual aids and a lot of patience. This is a delicate process as you’ll have to overcome your fear of looking foolish.
Traveling solo can increase your awareness of the body signals you’ve been unintentionally sending. And, because of that, you’ll be able to work on your posture and how you approach other people so that they will be more willing to engage.
4. You Chart Your Own Course
As a solo traveler, you can watch your decisions become plans, train tickets and then memories. You don’t have to wait for anyone, hurry up the experience or postpone your trip just because someone doesn’t want to go with you. Your destiny lies in your own hands.
5. You Come Face to Face With Your Smallness in the World
The world is big. It’s not just its geographical size but the magnitude of the people and their willingness to help you when you are a vulnerable stranger. It’s one thing to say it and another thing to encounter it.
There is no humility and openness like that of a well-traveled person. When you see how big the world is and the magnanimity of its people, it’ll make you realize how diverse the world is. Strangely, this makes you both more humble and confident.
6. You Gain a Sense of Confidence
Traveling makes you more aware of how powerful you are than the first time you strapped on that backpack and walked out the door. You have seen yourself in dynamic, dangerous and unimaginably foreign situations and you’ve handled it.
You’ve tested yourself. You know your power and you know your limits. And you know that whatever you were so worried about in your life before you ventured out, you can handle that now, too. It’s not a problem anymore.