Approaching Fear

I do my best not to push my fear to the side. I feel as though ignoring it will only make it much worse when I have to inevitably face it. Lately, I’ve had a lot of fear. Graduating high school did wonders for my self-esteem and stress levels, but definitely did not help the impending sense of dread that accompanies adulthood. It’s all about balance though.

You see, I don’t let fear stop me from doing much. Every once and a while, my fear will paralyze me. Fish, for example, really freak me out. I have always hated swimming with them, eating them, or touching them in general. The only exception would be fish tanks, but that’s really an aesthetic thing. Because of this extreme dislike and fear of fish, I rarely swim in the ocean. I will work myself up to be able to do it, wade into my knees, and freak out at the sight of a little cichlid. It’s really unfortunate, I love everything about the ocean except those finned freaks.

The fear I’m experiencing now is a lot different. It’s less of a fear of something tangible and real, like a fish, and more of a fear of the potential. The potential for failure, for loss, for missed opportunities, that scares me.

But I still won’t let it cripple me. I have to keep moving forward no matter what I fear may stand in my way. My determination and resilience are two qualities I refuse to give up. They sustain me, they inspire me, and they took a lot of work to develop. I have these qualities for moments like this, moments when I need my strength more than anything. I will hold onto it and fall back on it like I am meant to do.

Eventually, when I do face my fear, I will only be stronger because I acknowledged it and didn’t allow it to paralyze me.



Sometimes I wonder how my energy levels are doing. My gauge is strange, I can only recognize when it is at one extreme or another. I’m aware of my hyper-energetic state and my fatigued state.

Today, I woke up with a lot of energy. I was ready to do some work, run some errands, and enjoy my city. I was so happy to finally be in Montreal, I wanted nothing more than to ride the subway and sit down at a cafe on Le Plateau.

I did all of those things. The metro quickly lost it’s charm after four different people sneezed in my general vicinity on the same train. The cafe at Le Plateau was terrific, but my father was not enjoying it. I started to wonder if I would be better as a solo traveler, but that is another blog for another day.

Anyway, we picked up some Bixi bikes after brunch. Bixi bikes are rentable bikes with docks all around Montreal, they’re quite convenient but can be a pain in the ass to return. The docks aren’t too spread out, but they can fill up quickly. My father is also averse to listening to me or letting me take the lead in finding a place, so we ended up taking way more time than needed due to his lack of ability to follow a map.

My energy waned towards 4 or 5 o’clock. We hopped back on the metro but stopped at Berri-UQAM (the massive station that connects three different lines) to see if we couldn’t get my student metro card set up. We ended up leaving the station and walking an extra four blocks to find the right metro office, only to be told that I have to wait until August 1st because I’m not a summer student. My lack of energy then turned to anger which my poor father had to suffer from.

I should probably apologize to him. Although we both messed up in different ways today, I definitely overreacted a few times. But this type of behavior is standard coming from me when I am low on steam. I tend to get irritable, frustrated, and sometimes irrationally angry. It makes matters even worse when I can’t get any privacy to chill out.

Living in Montreal will be a new experience and will most definitely test my energy levels. Walking everywhere, dealing with people all day long, and navigating public transportation will force me to adjust and possibly increase how much bullshit I can deal with.

It’s worth it though. This city is amazing. If you ever stop by, please go to Le Plateau Mont-Royal.


French Variation

Around 11:30am EST, I drove onto the island of Montreal, QC with my father. I’ll be living here until July 25th to participate in a ballet intensive. I came a few days early to set up a bank account, get my McGill student ID (yes, my picture did turn out awful), and get my social insurance number for when I move up here permanently in August.

We’re staying in a VRBO until I can move to my long-ish term apartment, so we went down to the Marche Jean-Talon to get some groceries. Montreal summers can be brutal, but we were lucky enough to arrive on a mild, breezy day. As we walked down the streets next to the market, I thought about the parallels between Quebec and Senegal, another French-speaking place I visited recently. I also noted how French colonization had influenced both areas differently.

For reference, Senegal was a French colony until 1960 when it gained independence. In places such as Thies and Saint-Louis, the architecture and culture mimic French style very clearly. Much like Montreal, becoming independent didn’t mean losing the French lifestyle or development, it just meant political and economic freedom. The difference lies in how each country has changed since becoming its own nation.

Canada has undoubtedly had a much longer time (93 years longer) to expand its economy and form its political system than Senegal has. Canada also has a much more diverse economy, with lumber, fishing, and oil being just a few of its many resources. Senegal really only has its fishing industry and phosphate, a mineral that many westerners travel to Africa to mine and sell. Canada has little regulation and restriction on trade and business relative to Senegal, which has made it very difficult to export/import and nearly impossible for an average citizen to become an entrepreneur.

There are certainly more aspects that make up the difference between these countries. Just their geography alone has a great influence on the relative wealth of each former French colony. The fact that Canada is technically still within the British common-wealth probably helps as well.

I’m no expert on either country, but my thoughts often wander to these ideas when in a French-speaking country/province. I think my history classes definitely neglected the scope of influence that French colonization had on the world. The education I received focused mainly on England and, while the English obviously had a giant impact through exploration and expansion, other countries such as Spain, France, and Portugal also established themselves as countries of expedition and growth during the same time.

My blogs usually come down to this idea, and maybe I’m nitpicking here, but this is yet another flaw I see in traditional education. There are never enough school days to develop a thorough understanding of any period of history. In homeschooling/unschooling environments, students have the freedom and time to learn as much about anything they want without sacrificing the exciting details for the big ideas.

But that’s just my opinion.




Cool People Magnet

The man in the featured photo for this blog is Rosey. He is a “cool people magnet,” as my teacher Beth described him. I attended professional development with him, Dr. Yonty Friesem, and several teachers from all around Northern New Mexico yesterday. It was a privilege to get to see Yonty again, I have a lot of respect for him and his dedication to student-driven media education. During the first two hours, the teachers were working on the curriculum, while I was helping Rosey with some side projects.

A man named Ferdi Serim attended the PD to promote his project Levers, which reminded me a lot of Praxis, an apprenticeship program I am very much interested in. Anyway, Ferdi showed up and started talking about how he had played with Dizzy Gillespie when he was younger. He tried to show us this technique Dizzy taught him called the “human metronome” but we couldn’t find a single video demonstrating it. Ferdi just ended up showing us the method himself, but then Rosey proposed that we shoot a video and see if we can’t get it aired somewhere.

So, for the next hour or so, I was in a separate room helping them film the “human metronome” that Ferdi so desperately wanted to document. It was interesting, I felt like I was on a real film set. Any area with a camera rolling is a real film set, but this felt different. The cameras were placed with care and intent, the background was adjusted until it was perfect, and we shot from two different angles to give a clear view of his hands.

This may sound like a simple set up, and it was, but there was something about how much thought was put into every detail of this two-minute video that made it special to me. Watching all of these cool people create something that seemed so professional in such an informal space was exciting and insightful. So many people shun their passion for jobs such as media production because they don’t have “professional equipment.” Working with Rosey and the UNM Taos Digital Media Arts Lab has taught me that a good producer will work with what they have and still make a phenomenal product.

On my way home, I was wondering if a magnet was the right word to describe Rosey. The word magnet made it seem as though he couldn’t help that those amazing people and opportunities gravitated towards him, they just did. It undermines the incredible amount of work and pride he puts into what he does.

He created a non-profit education initiative called True Kids 1 that helps students develop skills in media and then shows them how they can build a career out of it. He is dedicated to teaching young people that their passions and interests are theirs to conquer. Rosey continues to advocate for young people’s voice to be heard and considered on topics that affect the state, the country, and the world. He believes in empowering the people that will make up the future, not destroying their free thinking.

TK1 is the reason I did my radio shows, worked with Yonty, and moderated panel discussions on a classic film series. I cannot even begin to explain how much Rosey has done for me or how much my confidence has grown since working with him. He trusted me with so many projects and tasks that I never thought I was capable of. He always wanted my help and my participation in events because he knew that I would show up and I would do the work he asked.

Rosey is not a “cool people magnet,” he’s a hard worker, a forward thinker, and a fantastic delegator. I aim to be as ambitious and creative as he is in his work and I am so grateful that I got to work under him as my mentor.

As I write this blog, I am on a flight to Montreal. Rosey has made it clear that my departure from the mountains is not going to be easy on him. It is nice to know I will be missed, but in some ways, I am drawn to the growing group of innovators located in my little valley. McGill seems so far away from the people I worked so hard to connect with. I have promised to always be available for remote work, but I know that can only go so far in a media environment.

Yesterday was not the last time I will see Rosey. I’ll be coming back to the Rockies in August to work with him and TK1 as an organizational manager. That month, however, will be my last hurrah with my team. I’ll miss them, maybe enough to come back. The future is uncertain, but I know it is rich with opportunity.



Busy Days

Wow, I had a busy day.

I woke up at 6am to register for classes, got to Taos by 8am for professional development, researched Senegalese curriculums, sent a lot of emails, had a doctors appointment, and took my last ballet class at my home studio.

Tomorrow, I leave for Montreal. I still have yet to finish packing, but I know I’ll be fine. Sometimes I forget that I can also buy things if I forget them. In my town, you have to have everything you need with you, because you won’t be able to buy it there. We have absolutely nothing in terms of grocery stores or pharmacies.

I’m excited. Going to Montreal, even just for a month, is a step towards independence. I yearn to be my own person and I am finally getting the chance to be.


Pissed Off

I was pissed off today. I’m not really sure why and I couldn’t shake it. I went for a 40-minute walk, which was quite a lot compared to what I usually do. I took 2.5 hours of ballet, thinking that would calm me down. It didn’t.

Some days the reality of your shitty situation hits and you finally understand that every decision you have ever made has led you to this point in your life. You can blame anyone you want, but it’s your fault in the end. That’s what sting so much, I’m pissed off and it’s all because of me.

I’ll fix it, I’ll do what I want to do eventually. Waiting is the hardest part of realizing a dream or removing yourself from a bad situation.

I leave for Montreal on Wednesday. I’m spending all day tomorrow at professional development for the curriculum I’m working with. I am not even close to done packing.

Yea, I’m angry.


Doing Others Work

I spent the majority of my day creating three separate spreadsheets to organize the courses I’m allowed to take at my university. Yes, I took my time to sort them into terms, class days, registration numbers, and class times. I did this because the list of approved freshman courses had no options to filter through the classes, making registration – an already frustrating process – even worse.

I’ve already written about my initial struggles of registering for classes in my blog Registration, but I had no idea the depth of my problems when I wrote it. I have created at least four separate schedules that have all been disrupted due to classes filling up, teachers leaving, or other students taking priority. I decided to make these spreadsheets so I could create 10-12 possible schedules for both my fall and winter term. As a freshman, I have the last registration date, meaning that I will most likely get stuck with classes I am not incredibly happy with. I wanted to minimize my boredom and the amount of time I spend in classes, so I decided to take the majority of the process into my own hands.

However, I don’t think I should have had to make those spreadsheets. Every category I used to sort my courses could easily be converted into a filter system on the approved courses page. I sat there, wading through class after class, putting every single one into the schedule builder to find it’s code and times and days. I felt like an idiot. Ever since I enrolled at this school, I have done more work than ever before and have been paying to do it.

I thought a lot about how I would optimize my university’s website. Because of its range of students and degree options, it has a lot of different pages that students need to access. It’s great that the university has worked so hard to have all of the information available, but it is not easily accessible. I remember finding pages a few months ago that I cannot seem to find again. The maze of hyperlinks and PDF files that every new click takes me to is overwhelming. This lack of structure, organization, and efficiency has left me feeling disillusioned, yet again.

A lot of people have questioned my doubts about college, blaming them on “manipulative” friends, people I admire who I “could never be,” and “propaganda.” When I look at their concerns, I see legitimate care in the form of less caring remarks, but then again, I also see my time already being wasted by an institution of higher education that claims to be “different.” Just the fact that I have to make 10-12 backup schedules to make sure I get a course load I can live with is ridiculous. I have been shoved to the back of the priority line and told to be grateful for it.

So far, I am unimpressed. I can’t get over this idea of losing priority or being considered lower in comparison to more senior students. I worked for four years to achieve some level of respect, only to have it stripped away in the name of security. Security that doesn’t even exist anymore! No wonder college students are so depressed and weary. After dealing with borderline bureaucratic tasks such as registration for four years, all we will have to show for it is an insufficient degree, low wages, and student loans.

It’s becoming a lot harder to see my money and time being drained by a system that has made it clear they don’t care about me and won’t care about me until I’m a senior. I went through this once before, and I am less than eager to do so again. Maybe I’ll finally snap and leave college, or perhaps I’ll stick through it for four years and leave the burden of my student loans to people who are more than willing to pay for them. It will all come down to this fundamental question: how much is my sanity worth?