What do you think has been the biggest influence in becoming happy with who you are?

I am completely comfortable saying to whomever asks to hear it that I am not happy with myself and maybe never will be. I think that feeling has developed due to two different circumstances: for one, I’m never happy with anything, I am insanely hard to impress; I laugh out loud probably once a day, and my “resting bitch face” is genuine, I am literally that grumpy. And two, I have extremely high standards for myself;

nothing’s ever good enough in my eyes, something can always be improved, someone’s always better. And because of these factors, it’s essentially impossible for me to be happy, especially when it comes to who I am. On the bright side (there is one, this time), this allows me to never settle and constantly be pushing myself forward.

How do you see yourself in the world?

My first thought to reading this question was “Uhh…. I don’t?” I’m not really sure if I even view myself at all, if that makes sense. I imagine myself as some tiny little insignificant entity passing through, who sometimes documents things but never needs to be documented herself.

 

What is your fatal flaw?

Literally everything about me will probably bring me to my tragic demise (cue laughter). I honestly can’t think of one terrible thing I have or do, but instead feel that I’m made up of a million little faults that somehow manage to balance each other out so that, although I push everyone away and can’t stand when it’s sunny outside and hold myself on an unstable pedestal, I’ve manage to get this far in life without falling flat on my face. When everything is flawed, I guess there’s a leveling factor in there somewhere that makes it so nothing’s fatal.

Do you think by making honest decisions in your life, you’ve made positive changes in the world? (what has making honest decisions in your life done for the world/your world/ what does it mean to make an honest decision)

I think that there are decisions I’ve made that at the time I prayed they were honest – I hoped to God that I wasn’t making a huge mistake, or just being a dick, but was instead doing something vital and important. And I can see now that a lot of them did work out for my benefit. Some of them are still working out, still unfolding. And I think what makes these decisions so important and so honest is that I haven’t forgotten them and haven’t let go of that hope that they will change me; decisions like choosing what school to attend to better your career plan or whether or not to leave a messy relationship are not the type of decisions you make and then forget about and then wake up one morning and say “Oh hey, that totally worked out and bettered my life, cool!”. They’re the type of decisions where every single day you’re reminded that you had to make them, and every day they challenge you to challenge yourself and question your actions, and to me that is what makes them honest and what makes them so important in your life – they evolve and they grow with you. I think the fact that you carry the consequences of your decision with you for the rest of your life and continue to use it as a strategy or maybe even as an excuse is what makes it so honest… Did that even make sense?

What is the most important thing women do for each other?

Support each other!! Remember that quote in Mean Girls when Tina Fey was like“You guys need to stop calling each other sluts and whore, that only makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores” – that was the pinnacle of that cinematic masterpiece. Women need to stand together and protect and support each other, because let’s face it, men aren’t really gonna do that very often, and the government probably isn’t gonna do that very often either – but that doesn’t even matter because so long as you have ladies on your side, you’ve got all you could need and more.

 

What are the defining traits of a woman?

Someone who defines herself as a woman, simple as that. I don’t believe in the whole“Women are the nurturing ones, women are the sensitive ones, etc.”, I don’t believe that there are specific boxes that you check and at the end a little answer pops up that says “You got: you’re a woman”. I believe the only trait that defines a woman is someone who will comfortably, happily, and proudly define themselves a woman.

 

What are your defining traits?

One time in grade 5 gym class we had to pass around a blank cue card with our name on it and everyone in the class had to anonymously write down a positive quality about that person, and when mine came back it said “funny” in about 28 different hand writings. So apparently I’m funny. Which is a trait of mine that I purposely put on display front and centre as a defence mechanism because I like being automatically liked and also because when people are funny everyone else makes the general assumption that there’s nothing else under the surface that could be more interesting than humour so said funny person gets left alone, unbothered. On that note, is solitude a trait? Because if so, it definitely defines me.

What do you wish you were more of?

Confident. About everything. I’ll never be one of the loud talkers in a group, I’ll never share my idea first, I’ll never pose for a picture, I won’t send the first text. But I wish I was, and I wish I did.

How would you describe your perspective of the world?

I have a tattoo on my leg of a quote Michelangelo said when discussing his statue of David that goes “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free” – that’s my perspective on the world, and life. The way I see it, things will always be hard, there will always be a challenge, there’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna wanna make it move (quotin’ Michel n’ Miley, two great art historians of the world), but you need to find the beauty and the love that brought you there, and you have to fight until you get to what you want.

What’s the worst thing the media has done for you?

Made me see the world in black and white, the good and bad. Made me feel like there was no room for grey matter, no in between – there was a right and there was a wrong. You were either the size on the mannequin, or you weren’t good enough for the clothes it was wearing; you either looked like the girls on the cover of a magazine, or you should never have your photo taken ever. I felt, and still feel like I am the wrong. The media has a tendency to segregate things into what is and what isn’t, and not only is that bad enough, but it then brainwashed me into believing it was right and there was no fault in what it was doing.

What’s the best thing the media has done for you?

I think the media’s relationship with social networking is where it has shined for me,because social networking has done wonders for my career path. The media emphasizes the use and popularity of sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. and although some people are from 1962 and yell ‘go outside’ to everything technology-related, I disagree with them and love the popularity of those sites. If it wasn’t for them, I would have no platform for my work, I wouldn’t be able to make the connections with other artists that I do, and building a name for myself would be a much more trying journey than it has been.

If you could change something in your past what would it be? Why? How do you think it would change things now?

I wouldn’t change anything about my past, and that will always be my answer to this question. It’s not me saying I like my past and that’s why I wouldn’t change it – it was messy, scary, lame; it’s not me saying I like who I am now and therefore don’t want to change – once again the adjectives messy, scary, lame come to mind. But the reason I wouldn’t change it is because I hate hypothetical thinking: you can’t change the past, so why even bother muddling over it, why waste time thinking about it. The past happened, it’s done with, bye. You are who you are now, deal with it; if you don’t like it, you can’t change the past, so aim to change the future. But  if I had to answer this question, I would change going to prom. I really didn’t want to go to prom, but I went because my friends made me. And I’m super bitter about that. I had a terrible time and I didn’t like my dress. And now I’m stuck forever with this annoying memory of my prom that I can’t even derive some painful but smart life lesson from. I literally just went to prom and had a shitty time.

 

Advice you would have given yourself in the past: 

Don’t go to prom.

Advice you think you will need in the future:

“Chill the fuck out, girl”. I get so stressed so easily, and it has started manifesting itself as physical symptoms and it really sucks; I started losing mobility in the right side of my back because my muscles are so constantly tense and now I have to see a physiotherapist. So clearly I need to chill out. Not entirely, because I kind of like that my intensity and drive pushes me forward and keeps the posers away (Camp Rock quote). But I’ll need the reminder to at least moderately chill out every once in awhile because my physiotherapist Craig will get mad at me for leaving my muscles tense.

 

Advice you would give yourself now:

“For whom is it well, for whom is it well? There is no one for whom is it well.” It’s from Chinua Achebe’s book Things Fall Apart (which some of us were forced to read in high school), and the original context of the passage isn’t the happiest but I’ve always felt the quote has its upside. It’s a mantra for me lately as I often get the overwhelming feeling that everyone around me is succeeding and winning and not suffering, except me. And that isn’t true at all: everyone has their faults, everyone is going through a hard time, so stop taking up all the oxygen in the room and move on. Life is hard, but on the somewhat bright-er side, it’s hard for everyone. (I’m a big fan of quotes, in case you haven’t noticed.)

 

What are, in your opinion, the most important things to life? How have you achieved or are trying to achieve these things?

(These questions are making me notice that I’m apparently very apathetic because my initial answer to everything is “Eh, nothing”.) I think passion is the most important thing in the whole world. When you’re passionate about something, you’re able to both love it and hate it, and those emotions allow you to explore it and delve inside of it and let it become you. Passion is so important because it can stem from anything: you can be passionate about something tangible like food or art, or you can be passionate about emotions like faith and love; you can be physically passionate, you can be emotionally passionate, you can be passionate with someone. You can sob and wail into a pillow and that’s expressing passion, and you can cheer and encourage and that’s just as much an expression of passion, and that alone amazes me. I get told I’m “too intense” very often, but that’s never been something I’ve ever wanted to change. I’ve always hated the idea of someone being laid back – why would you not want to feel everything, every emotion and desire and craving so intensely and passionately that it fills your veins with heat?

Do you feel like you know what you’re doing/that you have a path?

I need to know what I’m doing. I need to have a concrete life path, and I need to have six backup plans in case something fails. I know what I want to do as a career, I know what age I want to have children at, I know what outfit I plan on wearing tomorrow – I’ve always been the girl who knew what she liked and didn’t like, who knew all throughout high school what she was going to do when it ended, the girl with a plan. I crave structure, I need it constantly; most people would associate this behaviour with some kind of OCD, but it’s quite the opposite for me – a teacher once told me my thought process was like a spilt glass of water: once flowing, I run all over the place, in no concise pattern, with no way to recollect myself. So I attach and ingrain a path and schedule to everything I do because I don’t trust myself to live without one.

Have you always known what you wanted to do?

I’ve wanted to be a photographer since I was 14, which isn’t exactly “always” but it seems like a fairly long time to me. Before that love took over, I wanted to be a teacher, or an actor, or a screen writer. The only thing I see in common between all of those careers as to why I would be drawn to them is that they’re all something I would want to do. I’ve never pondered a career because I knew it would make me a star, or because it would make me rich, or because it was merely what I was good at. The only thing I’ve ever cared about and known is that I plan on doing what, at the end of the day, I want to do.

Whats been the most challenging obstacle to over come?

Being alive. Honestly, life itself is an obstacle, consistently. You’re poor, and then you’re overweight, and then you’re underweight, and then you’re depressed, and then your family is having trouble, and then there’s global warming, and then you have no friends, and then you drop your cellphone in the toilet, and then you feel like you chose the wrong university to attend, and then someone gets an illness, and then

your significant other isn’t the right one and you let the right one get away, and then you have to move houses, and I could go on forever. The obstacle isn’t whether you can handle some one thing but whether you can handle everything, all the things, for the rest of your life, throughout it, consistently. Because you can always end it, everything, if you want to. The obstacle is to make that decision.

 

What inspires you/ Where do you find inspiration?

Yesterday I was walking around Dollarama, and I said to myself “Dollarama is like,my number one inspiration” – and I don’t think I’m kidding. At least when it comes to my art, Dollarama is literally an inspiration: it has everything, it’s filled to the brim with colours, and patterns, and shapes, it’s fun, it’s cheap, it’s reliable. Dollarama is a very cool place. Other than that, my inspiration is art. That stuff you learn about in classes, that stuff you see on the walls of museums, a balloon stuck to the top of a bare tree branch floating in the quiet wind – I want to be that, all of it, all the time.

 

What do you see for the future? How would you like to be a part of it?

I can’t imagine the world changing that drastically while I’m still alive. There’s probably gonna be some more weird but insignificant technology inventions, like more watches where we can type in our latest Facebook status. Of course I wish for us to see world peace and for everyone deserving to have full human rights, and that I would definitely like to participate in. I don’t really think about the future very often, though. Aside from brief, vague timeline plans I map out for myself, I don’t ponder advances in society, technology, or even myself. I’m not entirely sure how much I want to participate in the future to be honest.

What is your greatest personal achievement?

I don’t really like to set goals or achievements or even be proud of myself really,because I find that personally quite limiting. I don’t want to feel accomplished or achieved, because I associate that with settling. I’m moderately proud of some things that I’ve “achieved” or done, but if I hold on to this notion that one time I took this one great photo, it’ll box me in: I won’t be able to let it go, to move on from it, to progress and become better if I’m clinging on to standards set by my past self. If I have achieved anything at all, I’d suggest you refer back to my answer to question 19: I’m still here, and that’s a pretty substantial achievement.

Would you consider yourself successful or inspiring?

Can I answer this by saying I think other people consider me successful and inspiring? Because that’s my answer. I have my definition of “successful” and “inspiring” and I don’t meet them, yet. But I’m aware that in other people’s eyes I’ve been quite successful compared to others, and I’m aware I inspire people, for some strange reason I am yet to understand… I wonder if me knowing I can be conceived as successful and inspiring thus makes me indeed some level of successful and inspiring… Is that a paradox?

Who would you like to see celebrated?

More people who have come from nothing and achieved so much. I want to hear more success stories about people who came from abusive relationships, or from broken and poor families, and felt hopeless and deserted, but are now a household name. There just aren’t enough of those stories, but we know those people are out there: millionaires in penthouse condos who found their way off the streets, or people still on the streets who have the hidden potential to be a millionaire in a penthouse condos. Those are the people I want to see celebrated,who breathe true hope and success into the world.

 

What does your work mean for you? What does it embody?

For me, my work is an expression of myself and a way for me to never have to stop learning and discovering. If I have a vision or an idea that I like, it doesn’t have to stay locked up inside of me, I have this wondrous creative outlet that allows me to embrace these inner feelings and show them to the world via pretty picture or video. And with each pretty picture I make, I learn something new about myself, about what I can or want to do, or sometimes I’m even just learning a new camera trick, which is equally great. My brain never grows tired, it’s always moving forward with my work. And for that, my work embodies me. My touch, my thoughts, are a part of every picture I’ve ever taken. What you see on your screen is what I see every day in my mind.