Monday, 24 September 2012

Feeling Good

Hello friends and fans! So much going on to share!

In the mermaid world of things I got to test out the mermaid creations tail. I wrote a review you can see for my full experience. In short, it took me a bit to get the feel. It'll probably require a bit more practice to adapt to the thickness of the tail and a smaller monofin. But my goodness was I lucky enough to get some excellent photos and video thanks to my lovely mer-tender. Check it out!

I'm getting the hang of it. On Tuesday I'll be doing a photoshoot with BOTH tails and a lovely local model who I think will make an excellent mermaid. We're going to the ocean though so I'm a tiny bit nervous. It's only supposed to be 18 degrees so I'm expecting the water to not be warm at all!

This past Saturday I got to be in my first music video! It was such an awesome experience. While I have done professional modelling and also been interviewed on film- this was my first try at acting. To be honest- I didn't feel like I was acting, just being the usual mermaid me! I got a lot of positive feedback and I got to meet some amazingly talented women. The video is expected to go live in 2 weeks or so. I can't wait to share it. I'm nervous- you never know how these things will turn out but I know I did my best. My lovely boyfriend was there every step of the way too. How lucky am I to have someone so supportive?

I've had a few birthday cancellations which is too bad. I have a few more booking up though. Still making my living as a mermaid but looking for professional work in my field. It's a tricky time. The market is flooded and though I have done my best to be specialized with special needs, esl, and other things they really don't set me apart. I'm starting to worry I may have to settle for a minimum wage job despite my experience, education, and skills. At least to pay the bills for a while.

On the environmental side of things, I will be attending the Bedford meeting regarding the reef. I'll be in costume and hoping to aid in support. If I feel it appropriate I have been invited to ask questions of the panel and say a few words. I'm going to play it by ear and see how things go. David Suzuki (one of my environmental idols) actually spoke about it on CBC radio today which is awesome. So many people don't even realize this is happening and the damage it can do. Of course, I'm still reeling from my experience with Rob Stewart's film and the message he left me with that we NEED TO FIGHT NOW. Now is the time to stand up!

On the health side of things I haven't been doing very well but thankfully today I feel good. I need to take a test to determine if I have developed a syndrome called Adrenal Fatigue which can come with my already established chronic illnesses. The test is very expensive so I have been feeling like it's an unobtainable goal. I have been doing my best to stay feeling well but being tested and found positive would mean I could get some meds to cure this. That would be nice. Thankfully and luckily for me a local photographer jumped in to sponsor me! We're going to arrange a family photo day with a pay-what-you-want type deal to raise money for the test and treatment. How lucky I am to have such wonderful people take an interest in my health! We'll be making a FB event so keep your eyes peeled.

I've been starting to scope out and collect articles for the next issue of Tail Flip. If you aren't familiar with it my peer Sirena and I run it (volunteer) and we're always working hard to find, write, and assemble interesting and relevant articles. I like to keep busy and this project has been such an amazing experience. Make sure you like the page on FB to keep up to date on how you can be involved! <3

I think that's all for now fishies. I'll let you know how things go and be sure to share the results! <3

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Fall is here!

Hi fishies!

I hope you're all doing well today. In my city I think Fall has finally hit. While we've been experiencing a later than normal summer the frost has kicked in, the leaves are changing, and the air is brisk. I do enjoy Fall- but my body doesn't. Finding myself a little stiff and working hard with physio and yoga to stay pain free.

It's crazy what can happen in a few days! Since my last post I've had some lovely things happen. Let's take a look!

First of all, In the mail I received a tail from Mermaid Creations. It's very different from my current tail despite having a similar inspiration. Take a look:
The tail is also made of silicone and has a foil monofin inside of it instead of a competitor. It's easily double the weight of the tail on the right as well as thickness. Because I haven't been feeling well I haven't had much of a chance to put it on or test it out. I am hoping to do that soon.

It's exciting for me to have another professional tail. Not just because I like being a mermaid but because I love being able to give others a chance to be one too. My little sister will be trying this tail out. I wont be surprised if my boyfriend does too.

Next, I received a weight belt in the mail from Nerine. It's only 5lbs but should make the difference for me when it comes to being able to stay on the bottom of the pool and actually stay under the water. I always float the minute I stop moving.

On the environmental end of things I had a really amazing experience last night at our local film festival. I got to meet Canadian film maker Rob Stewart the man responsible for Sharkwater. Sharkwater was a documentary film that really got the issue of shark-finning into the public eye and spotlight. The movie has been tied to many shark-fin bannings. I remember seeing it when I was first trying to learn to be a mermaid with my fabric tail. It was one of the things that really inspired me to keep pushing.
Sharkwater is the #1 Canadian documentary, and #3 worldwide. Third to only Supersize Me and Fahrenheit 9/11. I got to see Stewart's latest film Revolution which just showed at TIFF. The movie takes up where Sharkwater left off. It opens with Rob screening Sharkwater in Hong Kong and asking for audience questions. A young woman asks why we should bother stopping shark finning if the UN predicts that we'll be out of ocean resources by 2048. To which... Rob has no answer. So he sets out to find one.

The film follows Rob on his journey all over the world seeing the affects of ocean pollution, ocean acidification, bycatch, and deforestation. It really makes those issues tangible to any person- not just the marine biologist (of which there were a lot of in the audience). I was shocked to learn that there are a number of ocean dead-zones where thanks to carbon pollution there is zero oxygen and zero life. The areas were very scary. I also learned a great deal about my own government and how our parliament shut down a  bill to protect the environment. Every year an award is given out to the country that is basically ruining the environment- Canada has won 5 times thanks to our no laws and the Tar Sands. We follow the journey of youth rallying to raise awareness about these issues.

Personally, I focus so much on what goes on in Halifax and what I do as a person that I was a bit ignorant to the tar sands issues. I knew about the pipeline business- but I really didn't grasp how big a problem this is. It was terrifying to see. Pollution aside- it was still terrifying! Even though Rob focuses on issues in the states as well seeing what was happening in Canada really shocked me. As if I needed any more evidence that our prime minister is doing a terrible job :(

Parts of the movie left me feeling pretty hopeless. But other parts certainly renewed the spark for me. We see a lot of youth taking action including a boy who started his own NGO to plant 1 million trees. This kid speaks more eloquently than any adult I have ever met. While youth are often thought of as immature kids who don't know enough yet to be jaded by the world- Revolution certainly spins it around to show you that they are what will save this planet. I was brought to tears several times. Having spent so much of my life working with kids and youth a lot of this really resonated with me. Just the fact that the film even chose to focus on youth was incredibly affirming.

I wont give away the ending or other key points but suffice to say I walked out of there feeling affirmed in my choice to focus on youth both as an educator professional and a mermaid. I am lucky to have the skills and training I do that I can help form and mold young people. I am excited to be empowering them.

I got to meet Rob after the film. We'd had a few exchanges through his public FB and twitter. He seemed like a lovely man but I wasn't aware of how much of a rockstar he was in the community. He's a very good looking man. 2/3 of the audience was female and my boyfriend and I both heard more than one comment about getting boobs signed or wanting to marry him. Statements like that just make me ashamed and embarrassed. Seems like they're there for the wrong reasons. But, if a good looking guy can get them involved in the environment- then I'll have to endure it and try not to roll my eyes haha.

Rob answered a lot of questions, explained future plans, and even talked about his own underwater experiences. I got a photo with him as you see above and we chatted for a moment about making connections from the film into a teacher's guide and lesson planning materials. I was so overwhelmed by the end of the movie at that point though that I was trying not to cry. The entire time I spoke to this man I stared at his teeth haha out of a nervous reaction to keep myself from blubbering. And of course, the first thing my boyfriend says when we leave was "He sure had nice teeth".

All in all, I think it's an experience that I'll be reliving for a while. The movie comes out on Earth day. I'll be writing several teachers and profs I know to encourage them to take their classes. If I am lucky enough to be employed as a teacher by then I will certainly be taking mine.

Honestly, I walked away from this wanting so much to do so much more than I already do. I was talking to a peer after the film and I said something along the lines of "It makes me want to start a youth program." to wish she laughed and responded "you already did!". I have to stop and remind myself that the Stewart family is well off, that the film also received funding, and that I have chronic health issue, massive school related debt, and currently no professional full time job. I'm not in a position to start something like that right now so I'll continue pouring my efforts into my mermaid environmental work, my health, and gaining full time employment. Still... it did light a fire in me :)


In other local enviro news... don't be fooled by today's headline that the Bedford waterfront work is on hold. It isn't. As quoted from the save the reef FB :

"This article implies that WDCL has initiated a public meeting on Sept. 27th at the Bedford Legion, when in fact, this meeting is being hosted by OUR group. Made up of concerned citizens who are members of this very Facebook group.

We have invited WDCL President Colin MacLean, HRM Councillor Outhit, NS MLA Regan, MP Geoff Reagan and members of the media to attend OUR meeting.

It is our belief that yesterday's letter from WDCL and subsequent posting of documents to their website is a direct result of our efforts to make residents aware of the potential project slated for the waterfront.

WDCL can at it's discretion continue to dump acidic pyritic slate in to the Bedford Basin. The only way this can come to a complete and full stop is by the Province of Nova Scotia. The best way to have the province take notice is for YOU, the concerned citizen of this city, to make yourself heard at OUR meeting, September 27th, 7pm at the Bedford Legion. We invite all residents to attend this meeting to get informed, voice your opinion and enact a change to the way YOUR waterfront will look in the future.

it is not too late to effect change in our community, but we must be heard and loudly!"

To stay up to date on all things Bedford Reef check out their official recently launched website.
Keep on fighting!

I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. – Muhammad Ali

In future news I'm planning on teaming up with Glass Dharma in the future for a guest blog post about single use plastics and their great glass straws. I've also got that music video shoot this Saturday which should be pretty neat. I'm not sure what to expect and trying not to have too high expectations. I'll just go in and do my best and see what happens :)

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day today. I love this day. When I worked at a book store all the staff would dress up as a mermaid (even though I didn't have a tail) and play pirate songs on guitar. How're you celebrating today?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

First Entry

Hi everyone! I can't believe this is finally my first entry. I am very excited to be launching this blog and sharing with you a little peek of my crazy mermaid life!

This summer in Halifax sure has been busy. If you've been watching my facebook page you know I've been up to a lot! I got to participate in some AMAZING things including:

The Multicultural Festival: Where I spoke about mer-myths from around the world and the environment
World Ocean's Day: I got to speak about our oceans, conservation, and empower kids!
Mount Saint Vincent Kid's Carnival: Did my eco thing for excited children
Dr Sketchy: This year I modelled with Mermaid Mimi
Tall Ships Parade: Got to ride in the TS parade with the Pirates of Halifax
Tall Ships & Premiers: Spoke outside of the Fishering Museum and met some Premiers!
Pride Parade: Supported LGBQTA on the Casino float
Photoshoots: Lots, for different things!

And lots of private events, functions, and kid's parties!

I have such a wonderful time  participating in all these events but I was also working a full time job with children who have special needs. I worked specifically with a 2 year old who had autism. I also worked with a 5 year old who had gigantism (the child was nearly as tall as me!) It was a unique experience, one I learned a lot from and reflected on frequently. However- between the full time work and 2-3 mermaid events/gigs a week I was feeling pretty worn out by mid August so I took a 2 week vacation away from mermaid stuff. It was perfect as I celebrated my 5 year anniversary with my mertender, and we took a lovely trip to PEI

I was also fortunate this summer to receive a bit of publicity. Check it out:

My Disguises
Sea & Be Scene
The Coast

As it stands I am currently experiencing my first time being unemployed! Unfortunately the job I had was seasonal, and with certain road blocks in my way I wont be able to apply for regular teacher work again til January. I am lucky as some of my peers are waiting longer. In the meantime I've been lucky enough to pay my current bills being a mermaid, I've been volunteering, and focusing on my health.  

I had a few blips through the summer and more than a few with my health this fall. I have several chronic illnesses including Interstitial Cystitis, multiple chemical sensitive, environmental illness, an inability to metabolize acid, and we suspect adrenal fatigue. On top of those I have minor scoliosis- (not noticeable from the outside) and the way it's combining with my IC puts a lot of strain on my hip causing it to be out of place and my entire left side is mega weak! Been doing physio, yoga, massage, and hopefully soon chiro. I can usually go a good long time symptom free but sadly I just seem to be in one of those states where it all flares up at once. I am finding myself in a lot of constant pain and exhaustion- and with that comes a bit of a mental fog too.

I will admit  I get frustrated. I am 26 and I have *never* felt healthy as these conditions have been around most of my life. I am used to them yes, but I see what the people do around me and I get frustrated I can't do the same thing. It's also difficult to deal with an  invisible illness- if people can't see very often they don't understand. I'm still coming to terms with the fact there are no cures and treatments have a low success rate at this time. Being a mermaid keeps me motivated though. I don't want to lose my range of motion or my ability to swim so I am always working on those things so I can do it. I hope it inspires other people with chronic illness to keep trying to be a mermaid too!

I get frustrated also because I feel like I can't do what an average person does and I am an over-achiever. I am also a person who feels emotionally the best when I'm helping or contributing to something. Right now I'd like to be involved with some activism going on in my local city where they're trying to save a local reef. But I've just been so sick feeling and exhausted- I haven't made it to any of their meetings :( I do try and share their stuff constantly though and invite friends and family members to go participate.  Sometimes all I can do is share information and it has to be enough for now. I always try to balance my need for activism by making sure my birthday parties and events all include some form of environmental information :) That helps!

Getting away from the doom and gloom, I co-run a community magazine called "Tail Flip". You'll see it linked on the right hand size- please click away! Sirena and I worked super hard on this issue and we're already gathering articles and resources for the next one!

I also picked up an extra monofin for fitness and it slips easily in a tail skin I own. My little sister has been taking up tail swimming with me and it's been great. I have a Mermaid Creations Tail coming on the way too. It'll bring the tail count up to 3 which will be nice as I can hire helpers and standins. I'm planning on modding the fabric tail to be covered in sequins.I have a weight belt on the way too

I have some exciting things coming up, and exciting plans for the winter too. This week I'll be going to see film maker Rob Stewert at the Atlantic Film Festival. He is the Canadian responsible for the world's #3 topping documentary (trumped only by Supersize me and Fahrenheit 9/11)  Sharkwater. I get to meet him and have a bit of a fan girl moment. I also get to be one of a select few to see his latest documentary, Revolution. I wont write too much about it now as I plan on making a blog post once I see it. But yes, I am so excited. This man is just a year younger than my boyfriend and it's AMAZING to see what he's been able to accomplish.

I am also very excited that on the performer end of things I have booked a music video. I begin shooting on Saturday and I'm playing a mermaid who wants to be "American". Haha should be cool.

On the educator end of things I've been booked for two different speaking events. One will be focused on ocean mythology and will go hand in hand with a private school that does theme based learning. The other will be public school and based on ocean conservation. We'll also be watching The Little Mermaid that evening as a fundraiser. So excited.

Other things and events are on the horizon- and of course birthday parties. I think I'll do a post specifically dedicated to birthday parties later on since so many people have questions for me.

Speaking of questions- for specific ones you can ask me here.
Also, check out the links on the right hand side of my page. You'll see a fin-tastic resources link- check it out and email me if you have something I should add. I am focusing  a lot on local charities etc. 

I think that's it for tonight little fishes & sea monsters. This little mermaid needs to hit the kelp bed. Much love!