The best gift I ever received was my very last happy thought.

Although this sounds quite dire, it is actually a celebration of possibly the most important group of people I have encountered in my life. A reminder that there are some friends that will be with you forever, whether by your side or just in thought and somehow, always know exactly what you need.

Winter 2015 was a rough one for me, I was living in Sudbury, Ontario where I had been working at a group of radio stations for 7 or 8 years 5hrs away from all of my blood relatives and although this particular period of my life was difficult, Sudbury itself was a special place for me.   I had found a group of rather artsy people, some highly educated while others just loved a challenged.  The majority of us were transplants, people who had moved to town for work, relationships or school as well as  several who originated from the Sudbury area but had moved away for a time and somehow found their way back. We were a family and  it was home.    There is something spectacular about living in a small community, people realize how important life’s relationships are because in the thick of winter  when the bitter cold hasn’t relented for weeks or months, those relationships are what keep you sane.

This gift came on my birthday,  February 5th 2015 and traditionally I was the life of the party but this year I was simply disinterested.   I had entered my mid-thirties,  I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my life and I wasn’t happy with who I had become on and emotional or physical level.  One of my dearest friends, Sasha or Alexandra as some know her always found a way to bring me around.  Technically I had known of Alex before I was in Sudbury, we had both studied music at The University Of Toronto at the same time but didn’t become friends until we both randomly ended up in Sudbury.  Sasha, knowing I wasn’t in the party spirit had put together an intimate gathering of my closest girlfriends  followed by a sushi lunch at our favourite restaurant where some of our closer male friends could join and she also put together a group gift that I have carefully cherished for the last two years.  It was a jar  of happy thoughts with a contribution by each person who attended.

At the time of the party I had no idea I was sitting on the precipice of new life adventure, that I would get an incredible offer to move to London and start a career as a morning show host.  Yet, for some reason I saved those happy thoughts only opening one or two at a time when things got rough.  IMG_4170

These little pieces of paper helped me through the loneliness of a new city, the end of a love I thought would be for life, they helped me through the start of my autoimmune disorder and days when I could barely dress myself or get out of bed.  Today they help me one last time.  It seemed so fitting after my gastric bypass I would untie and unroll the final tiny scroll and it would be from Sasha and be this poem by Maya Angelou.

IMG_4172

Phenomenal Woman
By Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

No matter how far you are from those you love,  no matter where you call home now.  You are always in my heart and always with me. Xoxo

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