If you had told my 8-year-old self that at the press of a button, someone could access my “radio show”, I would have said “Sign me up – Now.” I used to talk to myself and “my guests” in the bathroom mirror as I brushed my teeth. The toothbrush was my microphone, and the mirror was my audience. (I believe I also ate the toothpaste as we chatted. What can I say, I was a curious kid.)
We would talk about the world, as I knew it. I would pretend to be an adult treating the mirror as my very “grown-up” cocktail party. It was a fabulous show (obviously) and it made my mom laugh. I was oblivious to having a real audience. I just wanted to be lots of different people.
This was the amazing age where I was free to write short stories, direct plays and choreograph dance numbers. I played my electric keyboard and wrote music. It continued throughout High School where I joined the theatre club and I dared myself to embarrass myself in public. My writing skills got the attention of my English teacher who encouraged me to apply for the Alternative Learning Program where students could learn more independently than in the construct of a regular classroom. I got in. What a gift. We got to push our desks together and talk about limitless subjects. We had the freedom to go outside the box and focus on creating our own opinions. History was taught as a story, not simply as dates to memorize. I could go on. I remember laughing in class and it was ok.
After High School, I went to Dawson College to study theatre. I had the dream of becoming an actress. I absolutely loved creating a character and telling a story. I loved this time in my life. I then auditioned and got accepted into York University in theatre. After a year, I got kicked out of school. They said I was “too independent and didn’t fit in with the group”. Whatever that means. I was heartbroken and cried every day for a year.
What followed was a wondering about if I would ever return to the theatre. I got a few parts in plays but ultimately, I moved on. I wanted to have a voice. I didn’t know yet what I wanted to say, but I knew saying other people’s words was not enough for me. It came from a deep knowing that only made sense many years later. I remember watching other actors work and trying to remember our conversations so I could write about it later. Part of me was just happy observing others.
At 21, I saved up my money working in a bar and sent myself to Hollywood so I could study for the summer at UCLA. I worked as an intern at Paramount Studios reading scripts. It was an incredible summer of A-List celebrity sightings, the coolest bars, amazing theatre and lots of beach bum time. We ran track at the school (I use the world run generously) and I ate a lot of yoghurt, granola and bagel chips. I loved the lifestyle. I loved the sunshine. I loved all the shiny tall buildings on Wilshire Boulevard where I knew all the green lights got lit. I loved the feeling of possibility. I loved how dreams could be made in an instant. I loved the pockets of artist communities, beachside rollerblading and of course…palm trees. I’m so glad I did that.
Back in Montreal, I wanted to get into the Communication Studies Program at Concordia but I was rejected twice. It was only with a letter of recommendation from the producer I worked for that I finally got in. After two years, I graduated and bought the photography equipment we used and set-up a small business. Following a short stint as a photographer, I moved on to the world of making tv and movies. I helped out behind the scenes and met some amazing women who had figured out how to make good money in this industry.
I decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like getting fired and rehired. I think I wanted to stay still for a while so I spent many years in marketing where I could still tell stories and collaborate. When my position was cut in 2017 from a company full of women I still adore, I decided I would keep writing. I had started this blog on the side, and I decided to go for it. I had the amazing opportunity to write for The Beat 92.5. I continued to write for MitsouMagazine. I even got an amazing contract with a huge international company where I collaborated with amazing women living in England and Australia.
Writing this blog, I got to interview successful actors who had figured it out and talk about their craft. It was exhilarating! I started making videos of some of those interviews and shared them on Instagram. I interviewed musicians I admire. I even got sent on assignment to Paris!
Then a dream came true and I became a mom. I had the incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly to beautiful China and adopt my daughter. What an honor. How terrifying. How lifechanging! I took a maternity leave. And as I came up for air from the bottom of the ocean floor, or the motherhood dimension, where the whole world fades away and all that matters is your little one; and the world had stopped. Stories I was set to write got cancelled. Everything was cancelled. I went into a tailspin. I had no plan for this. None of us did, of course, but I tried to blame myself as a true control freak tries to do. But no luck. My plan was to keep writing. I just couldn’t find the right gig. I started to question if the label of “writer” still fit.
In this time of feeling truly lost, with the added financial pressure of being a new parent, I had to ask myself what I wanted. I had no inner compass. I had no inner voice. I was tired. I was anxious in this new world.
I reached out to a life coach who held my figurative hand as I felt my way through the dark. We only had two sessions, but our time together gave me the semblance of an anchor. In our two hours, he asked me to do some simple exercises. He told me to breath. He told me I was in a transition. He recommended this phenomenal book. A book that helped me make sense of what I was feeling. The book explains that when you are in a transition, you will experience three parts of a process. An ending, an uncomfortable middle, and a new beginning. What I felt was then normalized and framed in a way that I could turn my emotional torture into a pleasurable underwater dance. I learned to enjoy the uncomfortable middle.
As I wrote here, I wanted to write my book that’s been knocking at my heart’s door for decades, and I wanted to host a podcast.
I wrote the book in five hours, so that’s done. I have no idea if I’ll ever read what I wrote, but I feel like it’s out of my system, for now. I cried out some old wounds that were holding space in me, that whispered to me that I hadn’t properly mourned. And then I had the issue of the podcast reality to contend with.
Issues I faced.
1 – “My IG audience is too small, so what’s the point?” I asked myself. Then, I heard a helpful quote that I will paraphrase. “Don’t focus on the size of your audience. Serve the audience you do have, and they will find you.”
2 – What is my unique angle, my hook? How do you find one when the world is on pause?
I brainstormed with my husband and realized it was staring me in the face. What about this enlightenment I had just experienced by reaching out for help, and learning that humans need to let themselves transition like nature. We are not machines. We must learn to rest. Take stock. Get off social media for a while. Ask “How can I help” (Are you watching New Amsterdam? This show is therapy.)
I also realized that I was making myself more miserable not starting a podcast than publicly learning how to make one. I had the fear that the technology was too confusing and that since I do not do this professionally, nor do I have a professional editor, publicist, or anyone to help, I wouldn’t do it “right”. I would have to do it alone. Ok, I figured it out in an afternoon, and I will continue to learn. That’s ok. Can’t we treat life like an education, and spend our time exploring, instead of pretending that we have it all figured out?
I think what draws me to the podcast is that it is the Wild West. It is intimate. You can hear a person breath, and try to figure what they want to say. There is a certain imperfection in even the most highly produced podcasts that appeals to me.
And so, here we are, two episodes in, and decades later, and I am using my voice. Not just as a writer that edits a billion times before she hits “publish”, but a messy, learning, vulnerable voice fueled by the intention to help others transition, transform, and change the world. I chose the title Flipflops because it makes me think of the beach and because it is a synonym for transformation. (As I reread this article, I wonder if it can also be an ode to the old Hollywood of my dreams.)
I hope you will listen. I hope you will rate and review, if you are so inclined. I hope you will join me on “my show” if I invite you, because you have a gift to share with the world.
If you have already listened, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And to my 8-year-old self who hosted her own show in the mirror. I see you.
Now…..GO! No toothpaste this time. But honey – Everything else is on the table.
Here is the link on Apple Podcasts.
Here is the link on Spotify.