On Goosebumps, Belonging & Hope

As February lurches on with a brittle cold snap, I’ve been resisting the urge to hide under the covers and pray for the supple breezes of summer.

Instead, I’ve been bundling up and heading out to events designed to keep folks connected in the real world.

Last week, it was the launch of the Women in Film and Television Film Festival at the penthouse of the Sandman hotel. As mingling events go, it was superb. Each room of the 35th floor had snacks, wine, and beer and the suites provided juicy views of the West End and North Shore mountains with the pearly lights of the Lion’s Gate bridge rising over Stanley Park. I stepped briefly onto the patio to take in the view and was overcome with vertigo from fear of heights so I shimmied back inside to safety. Not my kind of goosebumps, but it affirmed my desire for life. I get why people like being so high in the sky. But I’ll take my thrills a bit closer to the ground.

A conversation with fellow creative Anna-Lisa Jones got me excited about screenwriting again so I’ve signed up for a day long workshop offered by Raindance on March 3rd. Even though I’ve been writing for years, the technical structure of screenplay writing has eluded me. I’m looking forward to learning.

Braving the frosty winds of False Creek last night, I was delighted to attend the #linkedinlocal Vancouver Meetup at Science World. I’ve walked by the impressive geodesic dome countless times since moving to Vancouver five years ago, but it was my first time inside. I was immediately struck with the vastness of it. Everywhere I turned, I felt space to move, something to look at and ponder. Giant blood cells, a wildcat leaping after a pheasant, drones buzzing overhead. (The event was documented by Joda Creative)

Drones and wildcats, not pictured

Networking events can be nerve-wracking. I’m never quite sure who to approach and I’m still working on my ‘elevator pitch’ so I was relieved to chat with others who shared my anxiety. It was also refreshing to munch on a delicious salmon wrap instead of a pallid veggie tray (cheers to Culinary Capers for that) I would have liked to chat more, but the speakers were starting so we dispersed to the auditorium.

An impressive panel took the stage: Colleen Hardwick of Placespeak (which is beyond cool and useful, I just signed up), Debra Lykkemark , chairman of Culinary Capers, and Dr Alan Rabinowitz, cofounder of PHEMI. Eric Termeunde blew my mind with his compassionate and articulate approach to social media. He pointed out something that I’ve been squirming with lately. What’s the point of trying to get all the attention on Linkedin, or Instagram, or even WordPress? Why are we doing it? Is it to help or is it straight up vanity? As I’m getting back out into the online world, I feel hesitant at times. I don’t want to be annoying. I also don’t want to be defined by likes, comments, followers.

Science with wit in the bathroom stall. Bravo, Science World.

Which brings to mind the razor sharp analysis of Brené Brown. I read Braving the Wilderness on a flight back from Toronto and felt like the lady saw me. If you haven’t yet, cue up her chat with Krista Tippet.

Here’s the rub: I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time chasing after people that either didn’t want, or didn’t have the space for me in their lives. It felt crappy. But reading Brown’s book helped me understand both the folly of that, and the potential for belonging in my own skin, no matter what.

So much of it can be traced to family of origin stuff. Of not feeling a sense of belonging within our own homes. I’ll save the details of that for another day but suffice it to say, I never felt accepted by the constellation of people who were my earliest influencers. And it screwed up my self worth in complex ways (hence the chasing after toxic people).

So why does this matter? As I’m leaning more into my entrepreneurial side, it’s crucial for me to provide real value. The best way to accomplish this is by coming from a place of authenticity and devotion to the craft of writing. If I’m too busy trying to prove my worth to noncommittal clients, I’ll be too exhausted to put quality copy on the page.

So kudos to Science World for holding  such a stimulating space for this kind of event, for reframing failure as learning, and for the organizers, Andrew Griffith, Mohammed Asadi Lari, and Yonden Sherpa. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stick around for the other speakers, but I’m sure they were also stellar.

It’s February 20. Eight more days. Why does the shortest month of the year feel like the longest?



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