A note to 2022: reflections, thoughts, and gratefulness

2022: a year rife with uncertainty – both personally and globally – but it’s been a hallmark.

Poetry has taken a hold on my life multiple times, and 2022 was no different. Planning a poetry roundtable and workshop to support others on their creative journey was a blessing.

It reminds me of the quote,

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
– Muhammad Ali –

Val and the LEAD organization brought together a trio of poets: Kimanni (@kimanni_brown), Shabhnam (@humble.m1nd), and myself. With our diverse backgrounds in advocacy and social justice, we chatted about our heart-forward approach to poetry creation.

We did this. We used our talents for good.

An extension of this is my continued partnership with CMTO: Creative Mornings Toronto. What an absolute ride. Though I’ve been the Talent Coordinator for over a year, I hadn’t attended an in-person event – which was the pre-pandemic norm. But that all changed in July when we restarted our live gatherings at The Society Clubhouse. A first in many ways.

Despite reeling from the social quarantine hangover, the team and I brought our minds together. We put community at the forefront. From the performers to the presenters, everything was purpose-built. “Creativity is in everyone” and we drove home that message.

Creativity is possible in every facet of our everyday lives.

Finding my truth and living up to it stayed consistent from the previous year. I worked, lived, and played while focussing on my purpose the entire time.

Despite a rocky start with a client without legs (doing $3000 worth of work before they made like a ghost), I have to say, things really turned around. Working with Toronto Community Housing, TechNation, Goodness Me! Natural Foods, Wildlands League (CPAWS), and many other client partnerships ensued.

Even my relationship with Grafton has flourished, as additional responsibilities were added to my to-do list. Originally their product description writer, I’ve began writing content and fine-tuning their meta descriptions for SEO.

It’s moments like these do I realize that I’m inching closer towards my ultimate goal: working with dream clients in the outdoor space (*ahem* Patagonia *ahem*)

But the word “dream” is interesting to me. In my everyday life, I’ve stopped using “dream” as a verb. That is, unless I’m talking about my slumber wonderland. I continue to live my dreams everyday – no regrets or efforts half-attempted.

I am the manifestation of my dreams. Which means I don’t have to dream anymore – I don’t daydream of the past or fetishize the future. I love simply being alive… Right Here, Right Now.

Even the unexpected fell inline with my intentions. I was randomly asked to road manage my friend and incredible soulstress, the della kit. We went stateside to the Electric Forest Festival where she laid down buttery vocals from her 2022 debut EP, moonbeams & frequencies.

And then the culmination of my life’s work came to fruition with “Beige Babies” – my radio story for CJRU. It premiered on Saturday. I still get teary eyed when I re-listen to it. Who knew I would get emotional over work I spent the last 6 months with?

All this is to say, I’ve stopped dreaming about doing things. I am doing THIS! All the poems, discussions, and hardships have finally burst from its cocoon. It’s beautiful to be free.

This was the story I was meant to tell.

But the biggest reflective point over the past year is being with my person, artist and therapist Phuong Nguyen (@toomanyphuongnguyen).

She’s been the support any man could ever want – dually impacted as we come together as creatives.

I feel more grounded around her. I’m inspired to think of the world more critically. I’m inspired to create more critically.

She continually motivates me to create new things. She is the fuel to my embers.

Our engagement marks more than just two people coming together. It’s two creative minds fostering a healthy environment for even more beautiful things.

Phuong is now the bearer of my grandmother’s old engagement ring; she serves as a daily reminder of how far my family has come and how she’s now a part of this story of perseverance and strength.

My grandmother had always been an important person. But in the last 5 years of her life, she became a knowledge keeper to me. I asked her endless questions.

My grandmother’s ring is a physical manifestation of her story: a reminder of these precious moments.

As Phuong and I continue our own story, we will add onto the great narrative my grandmother started.

Though they are not with us, our grandparents never left. They are embodied in our self-encouragements, gut feelings, and meditative thoughts.

As we enter into 2023, we’ll continue to carry our ancestors with us. We wouldn’t be here without them.


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