Life is strange and unpredictable. You never know what’s coming for ya. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. A few months ago, you’ll remember I was interviewed and photographed for a Toronto Life feature , which itself was a lot of fun. Well, more people saw that interview than I bargained for.
I was contacted by the good folks over at TFO 24.7, the Franco-Ontarian TV station here in Canada. They noticed that I speak French, and that many of my love letters are in French, and they asked if they could come over and film me for a Valentine’s Day segment.
They came over and interviewed me for 5 hours. The finished TV segment is less than 4 minutes, it’s a lot of work that goes into making a mere 4 minutes! They filmed me in my bedroom here in Toronto, which I have decorated with the letters, old photographs, antique furniture and typewriters, and then they filmed me at an antique shop and a café.
I really like the way this came out. The music they use is super sweet and it makes my 9 x 15 bedroom look much larger than it actually is! I’m also a little embarrassed, just because this is my bedroom and I’m inviting all of you strangers into my tiny little corner of the world, but hey…. I WOULD DOOOOO ANYTHING FOR LOVVVVVVVE. Har har.
I think this is my favourite shot in the entire segment.
Anyway, watch the entire segment below! It’s in French, of course, but you will probably still get the gist of it even if you don’t speak French. Enjoy! Savourez-le!
Back in January, I performed at The Moth storyslam in Brooklyn, New York City in front of 400 people. The theme of the night was ‘Cravings’ so I spoke for 5 minutes about being heartbroken, homeless, and hustlin’ on the streets of Europe. It’s basically the conclusion to this spoken word piece I performed at Spark London in the UK back in 2013. I got a standing-O from this crowd, and people were approaching me afterward to give me high-fives and fist-bumps. The crowd was so kind. As I’ve said before, I’ve developed a taste for Spoken Word and live-storytelling, so expect more from me on this front.
My life has been pretty strange over the past two years, but I’ll tell you one thing, it’s never fucking boring.
Live a life less ordinary, munchkins. There are no rules to this thing. Go out and make it yours.
Fanks for watching.
I’ve been sitting on this news since OCTOBER you guys. I’ve hinted at it in the past, but couldn’t say a word until now. I was selected to appear in an episode of Channel 4’s documentary series First Dates, a fly-on-the-wall documentary show about singletons going on first dates in London. They’ve featured me in the commercial advertising the show, which you can watch above.
My episode, where I went on a lovely date with Paul, will air this Wednesday, February 12th at 10pm on Channel 4 in the UK and Ireland. After, it will be available to watch online on 4oD. I’m afraid it won’t be broadcast internationally, nor is 4oD available internationally, so unless someone uploads a torrent of this, you won’t be able to watch it unless you live in the UK or Ireland. But hopefully a bunch of my British munchkins will watch and enjoy and share!
EDIT: They’ve also uploaded my “dating profile” to the First Dates website, check me out here!
Since the commercial started airing, I’ve been inundated with messages from people asking, “Did I just see you in a commercial for First Dates on Channel 4?!”
Haha! It’s nice to know that even though I have 2 seconds of air-time in this commercial, I’m instantly recognizable . . . The Canadian accent must be the give-away.
I’m really excited about this because I feel like I’m starting 2014 off right. First, I am invited to lecture at an academic conference, then I am invited to do a spoken word performance at Spark London (which you can listen to here on their podcast, I’m the first performer on it!) and now I’m featured on a brilliant documentary series about love.
That’s what I love about life: it is always exquisitely unpredictable, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There are no rules to this thing, go out there and live your life, make it your own, fill it with adventure and extraordinary experiences until it’s bursting at the seams, and never look back.
Onward and upward!
“Love is kind of like…
… when you see a fog….
… in the morning…
…when you wake up…
… before the sun comes out.
It’s just a little while…
… and then it burns away.
Love is a fog….
… with the first…
… of reality.”
When I was wandering around Amsterdam this summer, I rented a Dutch bicycle for a few days so I could cycle to and from the parks. I would bury my face in the grass so no one would pay attention to me. They would think I was sunbathing instead of dying (which is what I thought was happening). Then one evening, I was strolling by the Prisengracht when I noticed this rusted Dutch bicycle, consumed by florid blooms and foliage. It was like the two things keeping me alive had melded into one thing.
And then I found this scrawled across someone’s front window. It’s a Muhammed Ali quote. I seem to have taken that to heart. I am doing such amazing things right now, that the life I was leading earlier this year feels like it never happened. It was a nightmare I can walk away from, unscathed. I am becoming the woman I’m meant to be, and there’s no thumb pressing me down. I’m starting to think walking away was the best decision I ever made, especially since everything these days is going to plan.
Some big news to announce soon…. when I have more details, so will you.
In the meantime, enjoy this Franz Kafka quote that I typed up on my lovely typewriter!
After my last post where I mentioned being homeless and a waif, I got quite a few private messages from you, my munchkins. It’s been about four months now, and I haven’t really talked about why I’m not in Germany anymore. In fact, most of my friends didn’t even know I had left until weeks (and for some, months) after the fact.
Truth be told, I couldn’t talk about it.
I figured the only kind of catharsis I could afford was to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and tell my story. So I did that a few weeks ago at Spark London, a live storytelling event in London. All the stories are true and told without notes. So, the above video is my true story.
I posted this on Facebook the day after the event, and the outpouring of comments and private messages from people on there was so supportive and heartwarming to affirming. Here’s a cross section:
-“I just watched the video. Then wept.”
-“your video really moved me. i watched it three times and it made me cry. you are such a brave woman.”
-“I watched your video. it was artful and cathartic…you are honest, and blunt as hell. and have fire and i like it.”
-“I’ve watched your video a couple of times and it really moved me. You are wonderful and brave…You have a lovely soul, which was visible when you bared it. Xx”
-“I just watched your video and while I knew so much of that I’m sitting on a bus, bawling.”
-“OH MY goodness. I just watched this piece you performed and it made me cry. I bet tons of people have said that. I don’t have the words to express how much empathy, anger, compassion, sadness and love that I feel for you but also for everyone who has gone through something like this – it’s so universal….just watched it again and now I’m in tears AGAIN..”
-“It may not be much of a concillation, but you are a brilliant storyteller, and we’re all very lucky to be able to hear your stories.”
-“Just wanted to say that killed me and I’m bawling at 9:45 on a Wednesday. You’re a gift to art.”
-“Oh, sniffles, your video is amazing. I don’t know how you told your story with an even voice. You’re incredible.”
-“That was amazingly profound. I am Verklempt.”
-“you are a good one, Estima.”
-“good for you for recognizing a situation that was wrong for you. Many wouldn’t have the strength to leave.”
-“your video shook me and awoke a memory in me I thought I’d long ago purged. I’m ok knowing there’s still peace to come.”
I feel like a digital age Blanche Dubois, in that, I’ve always depended on the kindness of random internet followers;)
I’m okay now. I’ve been okay since I did this event. It’s like I let it go. I’ve moved on and I’m so happy now. My life is so charmed and wonderful, and I’ll never let someone make me feel anything less than wonderful again.
And besides, I’m living here!
So I can’t officially complain.
Anyway, the lesson herein is this:
Live a life that you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, find the strength to start over again.
Yesterday, at the Jeu De Balle flea market in Brussels, I bought this love letter for €1. It was written August 20th, 1945 from an unnamed man to an unnamed woman. It was written in French but I will do my best to translate it here. This reminds me of a letter I once had to write.
I love you so much that it is necessary to tell you that again and right now. It’s 11:30 am, maybe you are thinking a lot about me right now — I don’t know. But I feel your love around me like a protection and a caress. Forgive me my love for not loving you more, but I still have a heart very much broken. I still feel quite often alone and abandoned, very close to hopelessness and craziness. I very much need your softness, your warmth, your presence. You should treat me a bit like a sickness. I still suffer a lot, without end and I very much need that you don’t switch on me too much. Now, you are to me peace and calm; near you, I can finally calm my nerves. I pray that one day you will be complete happiness to me.
It’s when I take you in my arms and kiss you that I feel so much happiness and that the world could turn around me without destroying my happiness.
Forgive me for stealing your life and for giving you worry. I hate myself sometimes for the bad stuff I have done involuntarily to you, for the worries and the pains I have given you, but I can’t do anything about it, it’s stronger than me. I would like so much to change and become more normal, I want so much to be worthy of you.
I detest all the moments in my life where you weren’t there, and that I am now in exile from you.
Goodbye, my dear.”
The original French:
Je t’aime tellement qu’il faut que je te le dire encore et tout de suite. Il est 11,30h. Peut-être pense-tu tellement à moi maintenant — je ne sais pas. Mais je sens ton amour autour de moi comme une protection et une caresse. pardonne-moi mon amour de ne pas t’aimer plus, mais j’ai encoure le coeur tellement déchiré. Je me sens encore si souvent seul et abandonné, tout pret du désespoir et de la folie. J’ai tellement besoin de ta douceur, de ta chaleur, de ta présence, il faut me traiter un peu comme un malade. Je souffre encore trop et sans arrèt et j’ai tellement besoin que l’on ne me bascule pas-trop. Maintenant, tu es pour moi, la paix et le calme; près de toi, je puis enfin une reposer détendre mes nerfs. Je prie pour qu’un jour, tu sois pour moi le bonheur complet.
C’est quand je te tiens dans mes bras et que je t’embrasse que je me sens tellement heureux que le monde pourrait rouler autour de moi sans détruire mon bonheur.
Pardonne-moi de te voler ta vie et de te donner du souci. Je me hais parfois pour le mal que je te fais involontairement, pour les soucis et les peines que je te donne, mais je ne peux faire autrement, c’est plus fort que moi. Je voudrais tellement changer et devenir plus normal, je vourdrais tellement devenir digne de toi.
Je deteste tous les moments de ma vie où tu n’a pas été et que j’ai passé en exil de toi.
Au revoir, Chérie.”
I’m going to keep this letter safe.
This was printed on the back of a menu at a restaurant that I went to last week.
“After dinner or lunch or whatever it was — with my crazy 12-hour night I was no longer sure what was what — I said, ‘Look, baby, I’m sorry, but don’t you realize that this job is driving me crazy? Look. Let’s give it up. Let’s just lay around make love and take walks and talk a little. Let’s go to the zoo. Let’s look at animals. Let’s drive down and look at the ocean. It’s only 45 minutes. Let’s play games in the arcades. Let’s go to the races. The art museum. The boxing matches. Let’s have friends. Let’s laugh. This kind of life like everybody else’s kind of life: it’s killing us.'”
-Charles Bukowski, Post Office
“My dear, find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.”
In 1920, Ernest Hemingway, then a freelance journalist for The Toronto Star and struggling writer, wrote this letter to his wife Hadley:
“You can make me jealous—and you can hurt most awfully—’cause my loving you is a chink in the armour of telling the world to go to hell and you can thrust a sword into it at any time—”
And then he goes on to say,
“‘Course I love you—I love you all the time—when I wake up in the morning and have to splash around and shave—I look at your picture and think about you—and that’s a pretty deadly part of a day as you know and a good test of loving any one.”
You can read and view Hemingway’s letter in all it’s original handwritten glory here.
I have been reading simultaneously The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast, I cannot get enough early Hemingway, and this letter is an excellent example of why his writing, while sometimes indulgent and dawdling, is also very evocative and moving.
Yes, he betrayed Hadley, and married four times, before shooting himself in the head, but as he writes in A Moveable Feast, “I wish I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.“
I left Canada six months ago without a return ticket, not knowing where life would take me. I have been living out of a backpack, rationing food, sleeping on buses and railway station benches. I have written, I have photographed, I have filmed, I have run, I have swam, I have danced all night, I have cycled, I have froze, I have bronzed, I have planked, I have made 13 different countries know my name, I have coughed up blood and screamed til I was hoarse… After a very sad September, I just wanted to feel the Earth moving before my eyes again, carrying me with it to some unknown destination.
Today I move from London UK to Cologne Germany for the beginning of another great journey…
Don’t wait up.
El Mac’s hombre mural on Hewett Street in Shoreditch, right next to the Vhils.
Donde esta el Huevos Rancheros.
No habla espagnol (obviously).