this is paradise cameron street

Well, the end of January is here – and I had planned to post this review of 2015 a few weeks back, but then David Bowie died – and it felt wrong to post about my year when I (and the world around me) was feeling so sad about losing this music legend. So I put it off… but then I wasn’t sure if there was any reason for me to write about Bowie after literally anyone and everyone wrote everything that could be said about him.

But then I remembered how shitty I felt (in retrospect) for not writing about Lou Reed when he passed away. Lou’s I don’t give a fuck attitude made him arguably even more of a personal icon for me than the colourful Bowie, so I wasn’t expecting Ziggy Stardust’s death to hit me quite as hard as it did. I am well aware that I will be a mess when Dylan (and Springsteen) leave this world, but I wasn’t expecting it with Bowie. Maybe because I had never thought about it, because he really did seem like a beautiful immortal alien.

What I will say, is that I hope everyone can exit the physical world with the level of creativity, grace, humour and acceptance he did with Blackstar. As he always did, he used his fame to shine a light on something seemingly scary if you’re struggling with it (gender, sexuality, diversity… being different in any way, and now death) and made it into something beautiful.


Now for that 2015 year in review I wrote…. Well, the last one I posted was all the way back at the end of 2012.

By the end of 2013, I was working my ass off during Christmas break for free – the year end was so stressful I just didn’t have time to write about the year as a whole – but the majority of the year was actually some of the best times of my life – I traveled for free to many festivals, I attended all the events, ended toxic friendships, met someone special, and opportunities came my way that I will remember forever. While I don’t know that this Weakerthans song really summed up 2013 for me, it was an important one for a few reasons, so it gets the title.

In 2014, some shady shit went down. I made mistakes, for sure, but something so vile was done to me that I didn’t feel it would be a positive thing to write about. My privacy was violated in a huge way and lies were spread – I could have sued (and some say I should have because of the proof I have) – but my decision was instead to let it go and use my time in more positive productive ways. The experience made me understand completely why so many Ghomeshi victims chose to stay silent about what happened: you can try to get justice, but you will only stress yourself out more – and after the months I had already spent being in a constantly stressed out state, the last thing I wanted was more stress. I chose to focus on being happy, and put it behind me as much as I could. As the year came to an end, I was very happy. My song of 2014 was Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. It was the anthem I needed, right when I needed it. Just remember, if you address the lies, you are playing into it. Don’t spend your energy on negativity, it will only drag you down with them.


So here I am at the end of 2015 start of 2016. My song of 2015 is Ryan Adams version of Shake It Off, because 2015 was hard as well, but for personal, rather than outside reasons. This song fully exemplifies the way it feels when a truly important relationship ends and you’re trying your best to move on. Taylor’s version is the anthem you need when people that don’t matter are fucking with you (haters gonna hate), Ryan’s is the version that feels exactly right when it’s someone who matters the most (players gonna play).

2015 was a hard year. I hadn’t fully healed from what happened in 2014, and it’s quite possible I used my relationship to ignore it. If I had someone, I was okay, and I could forget what happened to me and how it tainted my relationship with the thing I had always loved most – music.

As my relationship ended, I struggled deeply to be happy. I had lost my passion for the local music scene, and now I had lost my best friend.

I am lucky enough that I had great friends to pull me through the hardest days. They lifted me up and invited me out, stayed up with me until the sunrise made it safe to sleep again, and reminded me to shake it off, and to know my worth. I also have amazing parents, a family that loves me, and a pomeranian who is still the light of my life. So, while I felt a giant void from the events of the last 2 years, I am well aware how lucky I am, and how the ones that matter never go away, or make you feel like you’re unworthy of their time.

2015 was also the year that I moved to a new apartment. When facing heartbreak, a new home is a good way to wipe away memories and start fresh – but after 7+ years living on Cameron street in the literal heart and soul of the city, I really did not want to move. I started my blog there, ran my business from its moldy, damaged walls, and watched my life radically grow from something I was bored of into the purpose driven, opportunity drenched one I created.

Basically, all the good things that happened in my life happened while I lived there. My life only started to feel like it was mine when I was able to wake up every morning and see that big THIS IS PARADISE Cameron House sign out my window – reminding me that it was paradise – and that my life would never again be like it was before I lived there. Before I knew how to be me. Before I knew who I was supposed to be. I had graduated University when I moved there at 22, and here I was, newly 30, having to leave my first real home behind.

I am now 4 months into the radical shift that is Liberty Village life, a whole 20 minute walk away from my former intersection. And I’d be lying if I said I love this neighbourhood even half as much as I loved Queen and Spadina – but I do love my new apartment – and no longer living in a dilapidated, rundown 3rd floor walk-up (that briefly had mice) is actually quite nice. My giant balcony has a view of Lake Ontario, and I have about double the space of my former place, along with a game room, an onsite gym, free parking, storage, and a park for Mr. Bojangles to play in – aka I giant change from Cameron Street. Oh and I have so much counter space, so I can fulfill all my cooking dreams #growingup.

Speaking of cooking – I set out a bunch of hefty goals in 2015 – and I think one of the only ones I successfully completed was learning to cook. I had a goal of cooking one new from scratch recipe a week – 48 total – and while I didn’t hit that number – I still did pretty damn good. I didn’t want to be 30 and still eating chemically modified food from a box, and thankfully I will never have to worry about that again.

My intentions for 2016 are, as always, quite large, but I finally feel like I am back in the headspace to make them happen. I have no more distractions and I know the path I need to take to reach the next big goal.

A redesign of TTRO is in the works, and when it happens, things will feel different – but the content itself won’t change because it will still be my thoughts, ramblings, experiences and opinions. I might be writing more about healthy living, and less about drinking all night watching bands, but that’s because I am no longer 24 – as I was when I started this. My life goals are a little different now, so as I change, the blog changes too.

This is my 2016 manifesto: I will not waste a minute of 2016 on people who don’t have a minute for me, as I have done so much in the past. On guys who don’t text back within a respectful timeframe, on “cool” people I think I need to impress, on writing I don’t want to do, on anything that doesn’t inspire me and anyone who doesn’t give me back as much as I give them and want me in their life as much as I want them. I will spend more time working on the big projects I am excited to produce; with the people I know will always be there for me; and doing more things that are good for my health and well-being.

I hope you had a great 2015 (or at the very least, one filled with big lessons as mine was). Here’s to a productive and kind (rest of) 2016.