When I was about 9 the family went to Florida for vacation. My sister and I were excited to visit Disneyland and Busch Gardens. On the first day of our stay my dad broke his neck. He was teaching me how to dive at the hotel pool, but forget we were at the shallow end. I remember how guilty I felt, thinking it was my fault. Thankfully he got to a hospital which was experimenting with a new technology (called the halo brace) and to this day you’d never know how close he came to being fully paralyzed.
Around 16 I was deep into my fifth or sixth COR (Christ and Others Retreat), which looking back was a Catholic cult. I was coming to terms with being gay and could no longer reconcile my belief in the god I had been taught to accept without question. I had asked for help from the priest during confession and received no acceptance or understanding in my moment of doubt. During one of the final group sharing sessions, a candle was passed to me, signalling I could share what was on my mind. I spoke honestly and disapprovingly, then with a flare of the dramatic I blew out the candle, passed it to the next person, and left the room. I was done with god.
After high school I worked for a year and a half and then went to Europe to visit a friend for a two week trip. Thankfully, I prepared for a longer stay and wound up backpacking through various European countries, and made my way to Israel and Egypt. Until that time I had been saving my money to buy a 1969 Porsche 911; the car of my dreams. I never bought the car, but the extensive travelling was one of the best investments I ever made.
In 1986 I attended Cooking School. I loved what I was learning even though I quickly learned I did not want to become a chef. I was accepted at Carleton University for the following year. My plan was to get good grades while completing my portfolio to apply for Architecture school in the following year. I didn’t get accepted, but I fell in love with German language and linguistics. I went on to pursue my Master’s and worked on my thesis for a year in Germany. I eventually withdrew, unable to prove my thesis, and in need of a change.
In the summer of 1993 I volunteered at Capital XTRA, the Ottawa publication of Pink Triangle Press (PTP). I was hired on full-time in December of that year as the Office Administrator. I was eager and thrilled to be working for a gay and lesbian media organization. I held a number of positions and eventually, after moving to Toronto, took on the role of Audiotext Director, a fancy title for managing PTP’s gay male telephone dating service product.
In 2004 I left PTP and started on my journey in the health and fitness industry, where I still find myself today (for the most part).
Key Life Lessons
Along the way I’ve learned a few things about myself.
In 1995 I was living on my own for the very first time. I was 30 and up until that time I’d either had roommates or a partner. It was the BEST and coziest bachelor apartment ever (as it often is with the first)! I had more sex in that apartment than in any other period of my life!
That same year I was on a business trip in Toronto and went to an art show of the now deceased artist, Steve Walker. Hidden away in the back of the curators office and sitting on the floor was the painting. It took my breath away. It was me, my life right at that very moment! With crushing student debt, how could I afford a $4,000 painting? It’s been with me ever since.
Since then I’ve almost gone bankrupt, twice. I spent much of 1998 “partying” with a boyfriend I should have never been dating, but I learned a lot about myself from the experience, and the pain of losing someone to addiction.
About seven years ago I walked into a lamp post. I didn’t see that coming, having been overtired and unwell for months. After numerous tests to no avail, a sleep study showed I had severe sleep apnea. Why? I didn’t meet any of the conditions. It took over a year to emotionally accept having to use a CPAP machine, but I’d probably be dead (or insane) if I didn’t have it.
In 2011 I met Christiaan. I was smitten. He was not. Not that he didn’t like me, but he wasn’t looking for a relationship. But I grew on him. Certainly from my perspective, my perseverance paid off handsomely.
I’ve had two Boxer dogs. Buster was my first and he was something special. He helped me become a better person and was my “best friend” during a period of my life when I was working through emotional challenges.
Reggie was our dog. Christiaan and I adopted him together, a rambunctious, loving, sweet rescue dog. He was about two when we got him and nine months later was diagnosed with lymphoma. 13 months after we adopted him, we had to put him down when his pain became too much. It’s been two years this December that we’ve been without him, and without dogs.
And here I am, today at 52.
This last year and a half have been transformative. I’ve realized what a wealth of knowledge and skill I have. I’ve been working more as a coach, to help others break through what’s blocking them and to take decisive action. I realize I have many more stories to tell, and a lot of knowledge to share. I don’t know how that will turn out, but I am working on a project around mindset and helping people raise their consciousness for what’s possible. And in the last few days I’ve had to swallow my pride and accept that I too need to get out of my own way. I have taken action to make for a change to improve my financial well-being.
As a client said to me last week, you get better or you get bitter. I chose to grow, evolve, learn, and to become best (and happiest) person I can be.
Want to break out of the box that fucks with who you want to be? Get my free “Un-Box Your Greatness video course.