After The “But”

As my “Class of 2021” graduation initiative comes to a close this week I will have sold AND delivered over a thousand lawn signs since it began last spring and raised over $15,000 for youth mental health. 

During this time I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing and kind people, some of whom I now call my friend. 

I’ve also made some incredible connections along the way. 

I’ve started relevant, much needed and VERY important conversations. 

And I’ve listened as many others have shared with me some of the most heart-wrenching struggles they’ve faced or are currently going through with their own mental health or that of a loved one. 

Overall this has been one of the most purposeful, meaningful and rewarding experiences of my life, especially knowing that I have helped bring smiles to so many faces (both young and old alike) and maybe even brightened up their day. And it also feels really good knowing that in some small way I am helping to make a positive change for our young people today.

BUT, (and there is always a “but” with me), there have also been many, many days throughout this process where the overwhelm of what I do behind the scenes and the hours upon hours I’ve spent making sure that my campaign is the greatest possible success takes a gigantic toll on my mental health. 

And this past week while already feeling vulnerable and defeated has been no exception. 

As many of you already know, I was placing my final order to go to print earlier this week. This included a sign for someone who had literally contacted me last weekend only hours prior to my twelve midnight cutoff. 

We ended up having a friendly chat back and forth for a good hour during which time she chose which sign she wanted to purchase for her son who is about to graduate grade 8 from the same elementary school that I attended, she gave me her address for delivery and before we signed off for the night (which was now midnight) she asked me if it was okay if she sent me her payment in the morning. I said sure, not a problem.

So, in good faith I put her order through with the rest of them first thing the next morning which she knew I would be doing. After our friendly chat the night before I saw no reason not to trust that she would pay me as she had promised (which I’ve done before for others).

Several days lapsed and my shipment would soon be arriving for delivery (which it did this afternoon) and I still had not received her payment so I followed up with a friendly reminder (people forget or get busy etc., I get it) and as though it was no big deal she told me that she had decided that she didn’t want the sign anymore and could I cancel her order. Like WTF! 

She knew I was placing her order first thing the next morning.

Did she just think the sign and me would miraculously disappear?

Did she not think it would’ve been a nice and simple courtesy to let me know she had changed her mind at some point before I would have possibly delivered it to her?

Does she not have a conscience?

Did she not care that the money from the purchase of the sign was being donated to charity?

In case you’re wondering, I confronted her and asked her those exact questions and guess what; she didn’t care! I’m sure you’re not surprised “but” I trust too easily I guess.

It really set me back even though this had been my first time experiencing this during my entire campaign so I guess that’s pretty good odds eh?

I was really trying through all of my upset and anger to remind myself of all the positive experiences I’ve encountered talking to well over a thousand people over the course of my campaign “but” instead there I went right down the rabbit hole again.

I wish that the word “but” didn’t even exist in my vocabulary and that I could finish both my thoughts AND sentences before the “but”; “but” it always feels like an impossible task. 

By connecting a sentence or statement with the word “but” for me is kinda like deflating a balloon with a sharp object. 

Those words before the BUT, you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones where I praise myself, see my strengths and acknowledge all the good I try and do for others just end up feeling completely meaningless. 

“But” I will argue that I have a really good excuse for it, I swear I do!

Or at least that’s what my depression and anxiety seem to want me to think.

#afterthebut #depression #anxiety #suicideawareness #gradsigns #mentalhealth #classof2021 #graduationday #stayathomeorder #lockdown #forouryouth #ouryouthmatter #campaign #initiative #lawnsigns #kindnessmatters #itsoktonotbeok #bekindtoyourself #selfcare #letitgo #selfdoubt #justbreathe #startaconversation #endthestigmatogether 

A Quick Rant: A Fairer, Healthier World, My Ass

Today is World Health Day. Its campaign has become a day of recognition around the Globe since 1948 and was first created by the World Health Organization (WHO), a name that has become increasingly more and more familiar to all of us since the Pandemic started. 

This year’s campaign is focused on building a “fairer, healthier world” for everyone but living in Canada right now it doesn’t feel fair at all.

The vaccine rollout in Ontario (and Canada) has been a complete and utter disaster (imo) and I can’t believe that I am actually about to say this after what we have all witnessed over the past year in the United States but I am beyond envious of all my friends and family living south of the border right now as I witness the success of how their vaccines are being rolled out (and Israel, well they deserve a fricken gold star!). 

Earlier this morning both Rich and I were able to book appointments to get vaccinated simply because the Government has now deemed our postal code a “hot spot” along with several others in our region which has afforded us and anyone else in these select few areas who are between the ages of 45 and 59 years old to do so as well. 

I’m not gonna lie, once we both received our confirmation emails with our appointment times set in place I became super emotional (surprise, surprise there were actual tears) that this was actually about to happen.

I am beyond grateful to be given this opportunity and I feel that it is my duty to get vaccinated when my time comes in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19; but I’m angry all at the same time.

I’m angry that teachers and admin staff have not been prioritized to receive a vaccination first or the factory workers, grocery store clerks, wait staff in restaurants, construction workers, immune compromised individuals, those in more marginalized communities, the 20 something year olds who have been blamed most for spreading the virus and everyone else who works in an essential service and CANNOT work from home.

I just hope that soon enough all Canadians (and many other parts of the world) can celebrate World  Health Day together by actually building a fairer, healthier (and more united) world to live in.

Ok, Rant over

#worldhealthday #vaccinations #vaccinerollout #ohcanada  #ourgovernmenthasfailedus #weallmatter #anotherlockdown #covidfatigue #staysafe #covid19 #coronavirus #pandemic #wearamask #overwhelm #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate @fordnationdougford @justinpjtrudeau @celliottability @slecce

Paint The Town

Today Rachel will embark on a new chapter in her life as she begins her first day of University; working towards her lifelong goal of becoming an Interior Designer (in LA!).

Today you leave behind a once in a lifetime cancelled Graduation trip, a brand new Prom dress with the tags still on, a High School Graduation Ceremony that is still TBA and a summer like no other. 

And although today as you begin this new chapter in your life very differently from how it’s meant to be, it will still be filled with new beginnings and endless possibilities.

Today is your day to start anew and wipe the slate clean. Today is your day to focus on the journey forward. Today is your day and I know that you are going to paint the town with every colour of the rainbow.

#todayisyourday #mondaymotivation #paintthetown #ryersonuniversity #interiordesign2024 #futureinteriordesigner #focusonthejourney #onlinelearning #zoom #followyourdreams #youvegotthis  #youareenough #youarenotalone

Dear Teachers, Educators, Parents and Children:

***Grab a tissue before you watch*** 

Listen closely to the real “experts” tell us how they are feeling right now as they prepare to head back to the classroom (either virtually or in person).  Listen closely to the real “experts” talk about their fears of the unknown ahead and their growing uncertainty of the future. And listen very closely as they send a genuine, sincere and incredibly powerful message to our teachers about how important they are to them and just how much of an impact our educators can make on a child’s health and wellbeing. 

These “experts” of all ages, races and ethnicities are speaking with truth and honesty from their heart on behalf of youth everywhere to let teachers know how truly missed and respected they are and how much their guidance and support keeps them feeling hopeful both in the classroom and beyond. Thank you to our teachers for giving our children a safe and inclusive place to turn.

Don’t forget to grab your tissue first; you’ve been warned!

#schoolmentalhealthontario #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #kindness #goteachers #staysafe #youvegotthis #youareenough #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone #kindnessmatters 

School: To Be Or Not To Be?

You’ve probably heard the saying before “You can’t please all the people all the time.” It’s nearly impossible for anyone to be able to please everyone at the same time because we are all unique individuals with our own unique set of expectations, experiences and perceptions and that’s perfectly okay. 

This fall will be the first time in almost 20 years that I won’t have a child in my home entering a new school year in the Pre to K, Primary or Secondary School system. Both of my daughters fate were determined for them several months ago as the Post Secondary Educational systems all made the decision early on to begin the upcoming school year mostly online, but right now many other anxious Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff and children are eagerly awaiting their own fate as to whether or not schools will reopen, will continue online or will do a combination of both.

As a parent I am quite torn with the decision that was predetermined for my girls months ago and especially for my youngest daughter who has already lost so much in her graduating year from High School to now not be able to experience the excitement and comradary that comes along with this next milestone in her life. 

Sadly there is no right or wrong, risk-free decision as to whether or not or even how our kids can safely return to the classroom this fall or if they should continue their studies online, nor am I here to debate it either way but I know that when the decision is finally announced there will be plenty of Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff and children cheering in support of the decision and many more yelling with rage.

Whatever decision is made (there will be no clear winner or loser), just remember that everyone has a right to their own opinion and even if that opinion differs from yours that no one has the right to judge you for that. We’re all in this together but as I said before we will never be able to please everyone all of the time.

Therefore it is more important than ever, no matter what the outcome is, that we focus our attention on keeping our children (and family’s) mental health and wellness in check above all else right now which may very likely look a whole lot different for each of us as our expectations, our experiences and our perceptions are all unique to us, and guess what; that’s perfectly okay.

#cantpleaseeveryone #ouryouthmatter #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #bekind #kindnessmatters #schoolkids #distancelearning #backtoschool #wearamask

One Final Thank You

Just one final thank you to @cbcthenational for sharing my story so perfectly.  Thank you to @kidshelpphone for making a difference in so many young lives and thank you to the “Class of 2020” Graduates for teaching the rest of the world the true meaning of resilience while learning to face adversity head on in a time of so much uncertainty. You may forever be remembered as the “Graduating Class of Covid-19” but the lessons you will take with you as you transition into the next phase of your journey will carry you far beyond what any classroom ever could.

#classof2020 #graduationday #grads #strongertogether #togetherapart #wereallinthistogether #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok  #makingadifference #ouryouthmatter #pandemicdiaries

Honour Thy Graduate

I’m getting ready to deliver another trunk full of lawn signs to so many awesome “Class of 2020” Graduates. When I first started my Initiative a couple of weeks ago I never could have imagined the outpouring of support and appreciation I’d receive from so many parents, grandparents and loved ones alike.

Many of these parents and loved ones, like myself, are feeling truly helpless right now as we look for ways to help our child(ren) cope with their feelings of loss and disappointment from missing out on so many significant events in their lives and so many meaningful milestones.

The interview I did last week for the Thornhill Liberal is now available online. It is a perfect reflection as to why I began this Initiative and after reading it, it has given me the extra push I needed today to make sure I continue to put a smile on the faces of as many “Class of 2020” Graduates as I can and to raise as much money as possible to ensure that no child ever feels alone during Covid-19 and beyond.

https://www.yorkregion.com/community-story/9986006-vaughan-mom-sells-graduate-signs-amid-coronavirus-cancellations   

#youarenotalone #youareenough #startaconversation #checkonyourlovedones  #togetherapart #stayhome #flattenthecurve #grads #graduationday #classof2020 #covid19 #itsoktonotbeok #selfcare 

@kidshelpphone @bellletstalk

Class of 2020 Graduation Initiative & Campaign


In my recent blog “It’s Raining On Prom Night 2020″(https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2020/04/18/its-raining-on-prom-night-2020) I spoke about my daughter’s High School Prom being cancelled and her Graduation Ceremony postponed indefinitely and although neither came as any big surprise they were still a hard pill to swallow nonetheless. 

She, along with millions of youth are all dealing with so much emotion right now from anger to sadness to frustration to anxiety to disappointment and depression; all feelings which are perfectly valid and perfectly okay to feel as we continue to self-quarantine; unable to see our friends or family, unable to watch our favorite sports, unable to swing from the monkey bars, unable to participate in extracurricular activities or unable to attend Proms and Graduations. 

After hearing so much emotional feedback from my blog I wanted to come up with a way in which we could still somehow honour our “Class of 2020” Grads from PRE-K to Post Graduate while at the same time making sure that no young person ever feels alone during Covid-19 and beyond.

I truly believe Kids Help Phone has helped revolutionize the meaning of #togetherapart by providing ongoing, confidential Mental Health support to our youth via phone, text and online as well; throughout Canada, 24/7 for the last 30 plus years now. They were made for this Pandemic and now they need our help more than ever to ensure that they can keep up with the ever growing demand for their services. 

I find myself left with a heartwrenching feeling lately knowing that our young people (under 25) are at their most vulnerable right now while trying to navigate their way through this new norm and that this crisis could leave the greatest effect on their future selves between now and when this is all over; my only hope is that they all come out stronger than ever. But for now we need to keep lifting them up and reminding our young people every single day that their feelings matter, that it’s okay for them to feel sadness or disappointment, that it’s okay to be scared or unsure and that it’s more than okay to ask for help.

So let’s all celebrate a special someone in our life or community with a “Class of 2020” Graduation sign for your front lawn or anywhere else that you wish to display it and let’s make sure that every young person knows that help is never further than a phone call or text away. 
Please feel free to share 😘

*All proceeds/donations for my “Class of 2020” Graduation Campaign/Initiative will be given to Kids Help Phone* 

*Signs will be set up or delivered right to your front lawn or porch; options available for image to print too. etransfer is preferred; $30 each* 

*Available in Thornhill & GTA*

*Choose from 6 different designs*

*Kids Help Phone is always open: 1-800-668-6868, Text: 686868, or connect with someone online; adults welcome too*

*Message me on Facebook/Instagram or email me at: youthareenough@gmail.com to place your orders*

#lawnsigns #staysafe #stayhome #youareenough #graduationday #prom #motivation #bekind #ouryouthmatter #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #flattenthecurve #socialdistancing @kidshelpphone @bellletstalk 

A Beautiful “Pick Me Up”

A beautiful “pick me up” email I received today on what feels otherwise very sombering. I always love receiving emails from Amazon informing me that I’ve just sold a book, but when I see that one person/organization bought 5 at one time makes my heart overflow with joy.

#wheredidmommyssmilego #amazondotca #author #youareenough #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #blogger #advocate #mentalillness #mentalhealth #depression #family

Pink Shirt Day

Today is “Pink Shirt Day” which is celebrated every year in support of anti bullying. This year’s focus is to “lift each other up” so whether you’re heading off to school or to the gym or to work today let’s all show our solidarity by wearing pink and that we lift each other up. We must take kindness to new heights today, tomorrow and every day and we must celebrate what unites us; not what divides us.

And in case you missed it please check out my blog “Zero Tolerance – Bullying Is Never Okay”; Oct 16, 2019 at: https://wp.me/p965a2-bm.

#antibullying #advocacy #pinkshirtday #campaign #lifteachotherup #showmesomepink #kindness #kindnessmatters #youareenough #bekind #wheredidmommyssmilego #amazondotca