On that 2020 insight

Surprise, surprise: it’s New Year’s Eve and here I am again, writing a post after months of silence.

I’m not sure what it is about the New Year that gets me thinking I can reinvent myself, change myself, better myself, as if I’m not already living a life I’m proud of. I also get this weird itch to clean everything I can see. For example, today I swept under my bed for the first time since I moved into this place (it was wild). I also have plans to go through and refold everything, audit my knickknacks, and really become a minimalist. It’s not even like I don’t love things the way they are, but there’s something soothing about resetting everything at the dawn of a New Year.

I have also been in deep reflection about what I learned this year and how I’m ready to use this knowledge to move forward. My biggest lesson this past year was that I need to learn patience and mindfulness. I cannot rush into rage or frustration. That reaction isn’t sustainable; taking a breath and processing what is happening and how it’s effecting me should be my first step.

This coming year I want to release myself from my self-loathing tendencies. I have outgrown them and they no longer serve me. I will not judge my past self for turning to tearing myself down, instead I will learn to comfort myself and bring myself up. I also want to learn how to sew my own clothes, and how to cook better, and how to eat more locally and to eat what is in season. I really want to challenge myself to do these things this year because putting time into myself teaches me that I’m worth the time.

This year I want to be more caring to myself and to others, and I really want to own my actions to help ease my anxiety. Being honest and taking responsibility will be at the forefront of everything I do.

It’s wild to think how much I have grown in the past decade: I learned to drive, graduated high school and university, I have loved, gotten hurt, hurt others, I learned a lot about my sexuality, I’ve made some of the most amazing friends, and maintaining an amazing relationship with my mother, sister, and father. I’m really lucky to be able to live in my dream city with the most incredible support group around me.

Congrats, gang. We made it to a new decade and a new year. Let’s crush it.

xo

Lea

Passive Acceptance

One of my biggest challenges has been learning to accept that, much as I wish and try and try, I cannot control everything. In fact, all I can really control is my reaction to what happens around me. And because of this, I have been practicing accepting [things as they are and just letting go of the stress of overthinking.] If you know me, you’ve probably had me ask you if we’re okay—I genuinely cannot always tell, and that’s how my anxiety manifests: it tells me everyone is unhappy with me and that I am the reason everything is wrong. Even if that’s true, all I can do is accept that, if there is a problem, it will be brought to my attention.

And so, I passively accept what happens around me. Trains are running late? That’s too bad; I certainly can’t make them faster, so I accept that that’s how it is. I can’t sleep? Some nights that’s just how it is, you always get everything you need to get done regardless of how much sleep you get so instead of stressing about it I passively accept that this is how it is. One of my biggest long-term goals/desires/intentions is to learn how to “chill”.

I have always been a little on edge, and although I’ve gotten a lot better, I still have a few kilometers until I’ve mastered the art of “chill”. You can’t make everyone like you, you can’t make people hire you, and you can’t make the sky green. What you can control is how you approach life and how you handle adversity. You are a gift: never let that be disputed. Likewise, you have the power within you to release the stress and anxiety that doesn’t need to be yours. You attract the energy you provide therefore, if you approach situations with a calm, level mind you’ll be able to receive that information in a calm and level fashion.

New dawn, New day, New post

It’s been awhile since I wrote you last, huh folks? Seems like only 8 months ago that it was January and I was writing to you all stating that I was gonna pick up my keyboard again and let this creative project flourish. And in true Leandra fashion I put it off. This is not a personal judgement, however, it’s simply the truth: I needed time to figure out what I even was passionate about. For years it felt like I was floating out of my body experiencing life second hand. A big part of this was me not being honest to myself and not being myself.  I have been really struggling with what I wanted to write about because what I used to write about, aka fashion, no longer feels like me.

What feels like me is learning how to do things myself, learning how to live cleaner, learning how to fix things while still being the most accident prone human alive. What feels like me is being uncomfortable and trying new things to push myself to be more uncomfortable and empower myself to learn more everyday. What feels like me is seeking a life that is lived lovely

As I approach my three year anniversary living in Vancouver I feel it is now that I come to you refreshed, revitalized, and ready to bring a little joy with every post. To celebrate this renaissance I commissioned my friend Sofia Solis Bautista, @sofiadidit on Instagram, to create me a new logo and I couldn’t be happier with it.  I mean seriously!! It’s gorgeous!!

It’s a new dawn, a new day, and a new intention, friends,  and I’m feeling good.

Much love,

Lea

2018: A Year in Review

Here we are again, folks! It’s the end of yet another year, and like most years here I am again attempting to relaunch this dang blog. I wish I had a better excuse for you all as to why I have been so absent, but honestly excuses are pointless. Life is a lot: I think that is a statement that most people my age can agree with.

Perhaps that’s ageist.

Life is a lot for all of us – time gets away from us, daylight fades faster and faster this time of year, and all the intentions and desires we had set out in January now seem unattainable and silly. And perhaps they are, perhaps they were, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps! And you know what? Who cares? Desires and intentions are not things that we should layer onto ourselves like weights keeping us buried in anxieties and regrets, rather desires and intentions should be things that excite us and fill our hearts with joy! I never want to start a day with dread already sitting heavy in my heart and I am sure you feel the same way, dear reader. So this year let’s set ourselves kind desires full of self-love and warmth.

This past year was a year of change. I got a new job, twice, I moved, twice, I dyed my hair, twice, and I started taking my battle with self-worth more seriously than I ever have in the past. I started seeing a doctor regularly to help stabilize my mood; I have started branching out creatively trying new things to test my limits. I have also started expressing myself more fully.  I am even flexing my logical side of my brain by learning how to code, who is this arts student am I right?!

2018 taught me a lot about myself. It took me by the shoulders, slapped me across the face, and made me take a good, hard look at my health especially surrounding my anxiety and how that bleeds into every aspect of my life. At one point my anxiety reached such extremes that I stopped being able to eat which has left a permanent scar on what I can and cannot eat now. Like most, I suffer from a chronic sadness that seemed to spiral out of control this year. I try not to judge myself for my mental health because ultimately that will get me nowhere. Instead I got help: through my meditation coach and an amazing doctor I have started balancing my brain chemistry and I am finally taking care of my needs after years of pretending they weren’t real or serious enough. Everything in your life is real and serious enough, and if your loved ones say they’re worried about you and your wellbeing that’s a pretty big sign that it’s time to take care of yourself.

I have never really been someone who sits back and lets life take me like a leaf on the breeze, and for a long time I thought that was being I was uptight and neurotic, but that’s such a negative way of looking at yourself you know? My ambition and determination, and my willingness to live life hands on are the essence on my being: it’s my vitality, my will to live, my perseverance.

Life is scary and a lot, this past year taught me that. It taught me that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of trust. Accepting help from others is honestly the only reason I’m still here smiling ready to kick 2019 in the butt with awesomeness. You and me, dear reader, we’ve got this. We’re gonna make it through this stronger than when we went in I can feel it.

My heart goes out to you as I know yours goes out to me. With love I remain yours,

Lea

Learning how to ask for help

Asking for help is garbage. It is the literal worst because A. I am an adult and B. I should be able to do things on my own and the fact that I can’t makes me want to scream and sink into the deepest pits of despair.

Because I am an adult and that is what adults do. Duh.

I can analyze and cross-analyse why I feel this way, but I think the easiest and probably most ludicrous way I can explain it is through the game Catan. The point of Catan is to build colonies on a plot of land along with other players who you can trade with and steal from and such in the hopes of winning the game. But when I play I always try to create a self-sufficient colony that doesn’t need outside help. We make do and survive off our own means. And yes: I almost always lose. Because in life, much like in Catan, you need to work with others to achieve your goals.

If I’m being honest this desire to be independent stems from a deep-seated fear that I am not enough. That I’m not smart enough, healthy enough, interesting enough, and not good enough. And by needing help I am proving to myself that I am not able to solve my problems from whatever I have within myself which to me constitutes as a failure.

Now, I am aware this is not true, and I acknowledge that having the privileged to ask for help is indeed a privilege that not everyone has access to and that I should be grateful and thankful to have the connections I do and the opportunities I do. But getting over this feeling of inadequacy takes time and it is incredibly frustrating.

I have always craved the acceptance and affirmation from other people. Especially when I was younger I would find myself looking to others to validate personal things in my life. And then I moved. I moved so far away from home and i was hard and I just started getting so worked up over not knowing how to do everyday things. Like guys, why did I never learn how to work with the CRA or banks in school? Where was the course where you are taught how to adult?! This sudden change made my desire to be capable and successful on my own flourish: a modern day Michelangelo if you will.

The best part about this weird thing I do is that if it’s about someone else I am a champion of seeking and getting the help you need. I am a strong believer in getting the help you need especially with mental health. But I am more patient and loving towards others than I am towards myself, and that is something I am working on. Alas it seems my hamartia is my pride.

Paradigm shifts take time: growing, learning, and healing take time. And getting the help you need is a gift that I am learning to embrace.

With all my love as always,

Lea

Happy Belated Birthday, Sailor Moon

This past Saturday, June 30th, was my girl Sailor Moon’s birthday and to celebrate I wanted to do a little something special and share a couple of the things I found most impactful about the show and franchise. Growing up in the 90s I was exposed to a lot of cartoons (little did I know that this young exposure would become a lifelong passion of mine). Looking back at what I watched most religiously I am often inspired by shows like Cyber Six, Pokemon, Gargoyles, and of course Sailor Moon. These cartoons gave me a glimpse into these other worlds that were often a refuge for me. Looking back at everything I watched I remember Sailor Moon being the show that left the biggest impact. It wasn’t just the catchy theme song or the stunning animation, it was the risks the show took and the characters created that really stuck with me.

Sailor Moon really taught me was that you don’t have to be good at everything to save the world. More plainly put: you don’t have to be the best to be a good person, a quality that is perhaps the most important. Sailor Moon, known as Serena while I was a young girl watching the televised dubs and later as Usagi watching the show in its original context with subtitles, is a character that is both badass and hilarious. Apart from fight evil by moonlight Serena/Usagi is pretty much a classic teen: tired, hungry, lazy, not the best at math. She doesn’t necessarily scream “Hey I am here to save the day look at how great I am”. That’s because her strength of character is so much more important. It isn’t her brains or her brawns that make Sailor Moon so inspiring, it’s her heart. She gives a shit about people and about her planet. She is courageous, kind, and thoughtful towards friends and foes alike.  She taught me that you don’t have to be the best, or the smartest, or the most athletic to save the world: all you needed was kindness and a good heart. But she didn’t work alone and the friends she did work with had qualities that made them dynamic and inspiring all on their own. The fact that all the members of the Sailor Scouts had complimentary skills and qualities lead them to be a successful team of fighters and friends was impactful. Being a team unit instead of individuals crusading to save the world alone fostered my love of team work because to me the best and most successful times in your life are often when you’re supporting and being supported by others.

There’s so much more I could say about my love for this franchise, but I want to keep it short and sweet. Sometimes shows we watch as children do not age well, but I feel as though Sailor Moon really does transcend from then to now. If you haven’t watched it I encourage you to give it a try, the franchise just released a reboot series, Sailor Moon Crystal, a couple years ago and it’s really hecking good.

Here’s to you, Usagi! Thank you for being the realest!

xo

Lea

Feeling at home

In an unforeseen chain of events I have fallen in love with a city that I can barely afford. Vancouver is expensive… I mean, that’s a pretty obvious statement for anyone living in Canada, but it is still I remain. There is something about Vancouver that pulls me in and fills me sense of belonging. Maybe it’s the kombucha talking or maybe there’s something in the air, but I have never felt like I was home as much as I do now. Obviously I feel at home when I’m with my family, but that sensation was not tied geographically to any one place like it does now.

A couple weeks ago my mom asked if I ever thought about moving back to Ontario to save some money to go on adventures overseas and such. And honestly as much as I would love to fill the coffers I don’t feel like I need to go somewhere else for an adventure because I feel like I am living my adventure. Everyday feels different and exciting, and even on my worst days there’s something about seeing mountains and sitting by the ocean that comforts me.

The distance from my family is tough: it’s always going to be tough, but it’s worth it and I know I can make it work. There is so much potential for change and for myself in this city, I feel it everywhere. I have met some of the most inspiring and knowledgable people while I’ve been here that have opened my heart and my mind to my own prejudices and ignorance, and have since helped me become better mindfully but socially. There are triumphs and tribulations in every city and by no means do I wear rose coloured glasses: there’s A LOT that needs to change and even more that needs to be better in Vancouver, but the people I have met have given me hope that these changes can and will occur.

I guess what I’m saying is that I have a big old crush on this city and if any of you want to come visit I will talk your ear off as to why. Cue that song from Disney’s Hercules: I’ve found the place where I belong.

Much love as always,

Lea

Checking In

New posts two weeks in a row? Who am I?! Shockingly that is not a rhetorical question because I really do not have an answer to that. Like, yeah okay, I know I’m Leandra, but that is pretty much it. So how do I resolve this personal crisis? The only way I know how: trying a bunch of new things to see what sticks.

I have a pretty terrible fear of messing up and of not succeeding, and while they are perfectly valid and reasonable fears, they really do limit me and my ability to grow. A friend of mine told me that the only way to get over that was to make as many mistakes as I can, to get my feet wet and try a variety of activities because I won’t know unless I try. So here I am, trying new things. But don’t worry, friendos, I will keep you in the loop about what worked, what didn’t, what I learned etc. You know, wholesome fun for the whole family stuff.

This weekend I tried painting with some watercolours and it wasn’t terrible. I grew up painting, but was never especially great at it so I stopped doing it. But a few months ago a friend of mine got me into doing painting nights with her and it was fun. The same friend gave me my own set of watercolours for my birthday a few weeks ago and I thought “heck it, let’s give it a go” and you know, friends, it wasn’t that bad. I had some records on, the sun was out, I found this experience almost meditative.

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I had really written something off because I didn’t feel that I was good at it and that frustrated me. Not that I’m saying I’m a master at it or even that good now, but I found myself just painting to paint not to please anyone or reach any goal and it was nice. It was nice to do something just to do it. Sometimes you’ve just gotta slow down and paint some flowers, you know?

I can’t wait to fill you all in on my next endeavor, so until then with lots of love I remain you fave purple haired princess perfectly poised at her PC penning this for you, my peeps.

Much love as always,

Lea

So I Dyed My Hair Purple

So I dyed my hair purple.

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Which is no surprise for those of you who are my friends and have my on social media, but for those of you who don’t then I guess the proverbial cat is out of the proverbial bag. I guess I wanted to make a little defense for it, and I might as well post it here as it’s been forever since I’ve written anything for my blog (sorry, blog!) and because, like for all things in my life, I feel that I have to justify it (but we can unpack that later).

So why did I dye my hair purple? Honestly because I wanted to. I won’t lie; there may have been a few drinks involved for the first installment of ‘Fun Colours in Leandra’s Hair’, but when I touched it up to the full, deep purple it is now, I was stone cold sober and I knew this is what I wanted.

If I’m being more honest, it was because I feel as though I am in a creative rut. All my life I have prided myself on being artistic and on finding ways to express and channel my creativity: dance, theatre, photography… heck, even making random things with my hands. There have been so many ways I have lost count. But as of late I have found myself restless and angry and incredibly frustrated that I cannot put a name to what I want to create next. I have the essence of it I THINK in my head, but articulating it? That’s a nope. In fact, articulating anything these past few months has been really hard. My mind is mush; I lose my train of thought if could get one together in the first place. My tongue is heavy in my mouth; I stutter and lose words, and all I hear in my ears is static. I haven’t really felt like myself, but even if I did I’m not really sure I would be able to recognize who that is anymore. So I dyed my hair purple to show myself I am creative. I guess maybe that sounds a little stupid or naïve, but I needed a push and having hair that I can’t ignore whenever I catch my reflection is a push towards figuring out who I am, who I want to be, how I want to be, etc. Classic quarter life crisis stuff, which oddly enough leads to ….

My last and possibly MOST honest reason for dying my hair purple: I felt old. Hello, my name is Leandra and I just turned 24 and I feel so incredibly old. NOW BEFORE ANY OF YOU GIVE ME THE “you’re so young, 24 is not that old, why when I was your age,” save it. I know. A part of me knows I am being whack, but another part of me felt like my time to do stupid, impulsive things was running out so I seized the opportunity to do something spontaneous. The last time I had crazy coloured hair I was around 18 or 19 and I loved it, but I did not love my life and a few situations I found myself in, so to escape that I took it out on my hair. It was fuchsia, blue, purple, a little green, orange, baby pink; I think I hit almost every colour at one point or another. Not all of these colours were great (a lot looked horrible) but it was a way of expressing myself and forcing myself to accept my mistakes and to not take myself too seriously. And man, do I take myself too seriously. I am so hard on myself and I expect the best of myself, and recently this has become a bit of a problem. I have always wanted to be the best or the prettiest or the nicest or the anything-est because I have always wanted to have the feeling of ‘I am enough’, but it’s always evaded me, and with this awful sense that my time is running out, I just wanted to feel something. So I dyed my hair purple. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to some of you, maybe it does (at this point I’m not even sure it makes sense to me), and I know I don’t actually need to justify anything so I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end.

I know it doesn’t matter because I am happy with my decision. So yeah, I dyed my hair purple because I wanted to, because it makes me feel creative, and because I’m ready to figure out who I am, and purple spoke to me. Life is too short to justify every decision I make, even though I’m (clearly) still learning to be okay with this.

I hope you’ve enjoyed me rationalizing something that I’ve wanted to do and I hope you all feel better about doing something that you really want to do, WITHIN REASON. At the end of the day if you’re happy, if you’re fulfilled, and if you’re safe, then that’s all that matters.

 

Much love as always,

Lea

 

The glory of a turtleneck under a jumpsuit

It stopped raining long enough for me to take some photos, so I thought that I will make the best of this dry situation and present to you my favourite outfit combination: turtlenecks under jumpsuits. This isn’t the first time I have raves about this combo and it certainly won’t be the last time either: it is the easiest outfit comfortable mobility and it transcends the season. This pinstriped jumpsuit with that little bow in the front can be worn for a more springtime look or I could easily be made into a more fall/wintertime look. It’s an easy look and it’s crazy comfy.

Also please note that it was dry enough outside for sneakers so it really was an amazing day!

Hope February sees you all well!

xo

Lea