Calgary RAW Talks

I literally walked into a room on April 22, listened to people talk for 8 hours, and came out a completely different person.

Why? How?

The Calgary Raw Talks event was a gathering of performance industry professionals who came to speak candidly on their challenges and successes. I was a speaker at the event, surely I already knew what other fellow industry pros were going to say? Surely no one had struggled as much as I had?

But the truth was, I didn’t know everything, and I hadn’t struggled like others had.

So why did it change me so much? Who’s words stung my brain and said “listen!!! Are you listening!!!! I’ve been trying to tell you this forever!!!!”

In all honesty, since becoming a mom, I lost myself. Most of us do. Who the hell takes the time to focus on themselves when they’re chasing a colicky newborn or a toddler around? I had written 3 blogs since she was born. I had so many ideas, but my brain was absolutely drained. I was being a good mom, but I was forgetting who I truly was.

Of all the speakers, the one who changed my world the most was Peter Skagen. Strangely enough he’s also who sat on my right side throughout the whole event. I had come in at the last minute and slinked to a seat in the back of the room, next to Peter. His speech was to be shortly before mine. He said something along the lines of “people get uneasy around people who aren’t being true to themselves” and it hit me.

I wasn’t being true to myself. I was giving up on me to give to my daughter, when really, I should be finding ways to do both.

Since attending the talks I’m making changes in my life. Dr. Patricia Truong stood up there looking fabulous, discussing how she trained so hard to be a WBFF pro, and that too inspired me. I wanted to look my best again (I don’t want to fitness compete, but I do want to be nicely toned)

This past few weeks I’ve done 10-15miles of cardio a week and joined another boot camp called SLIMFIT 2018, by my trainer Nate- The Prototype and his college Yenny Adepoju (seriously it’s kicking my ass).

Edward Ross pointed out how draining and negative it can be scrolling social media, another note that hit me hard. Why worry about other people’s lives when there’s truly people out there who wish they were you? Why not be the best you you can be? Really though? Why the hell would you want to be like someone else?

Andras Schram reminded me that there are likeminded people still in this industry, who live to create photographic art, who are real and authentic. It’s an honour to work with someone like him.

Everline Aboka in all her magnificence reminded me to connect with my people and the earth. To take time for the universe and the soul. I don’t think I’ve done that since I was in therapy and alone. I remember how soothing it was, and now I am craving to get back to nature.

Sean Liv showed me others people’s struggles. Turns of events that made my issues seem so small (even though they’re huge to me in perspective, really…) the lady she brought with her made me tear up it took everything for me not to cry before my speech. What amazing fortitude the human spirit has? If we can just believe in ourselves?

Everyone brought a piece of them to the table, and none of us spoke prior to our speeches. But there was one commonality among every single presentation, and that was a theme of authenticity. Everyone in there in one way or another encouraged everyone to be themselves, to push what makes you great.

When it came time for my speech I was terrified. Not because it was public speaking, that doesn’t bother me one bit.

But because I was about to tell my story, my whole story, to strangers, for the first time. And I was scared.

I almost cried two or three times during it, and was probably more emotional than I’d like to be, but hey, I did it. It was easier having two of my rocks from the industry, one of my fave photographers, and one of my favourite designers in the crowd. Catherine Larose and Matt Laprairie have been backing me since I started in Calgary, Zev Abosh has been one of my most loyal companions in town and Kenzie Housego helped launch me with Team Phis amazing designs.

From here, I’d like to look into motivational speaking on topics like: modelling, bullying, ptsd, mental illness, pcos, god the list could go on for days. If you know of an event looking for a speaker let me know!

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