S

I’m sitting on a stone ledge that saves me from falling into the rocky sea. I have never felt more lost. S just left. He feels lost too. He was asked to come out and dance with everyone but his life is so messed up right now, he really didn’t want to go anywhere. I feel for him like he was the personification of my own soul. Walking with him was all I needed for tonight. I didn’t need sex, I didn’t need to dance, I just wanted real genuine connection with someone who understands how hard life is. I feel so happy with S. I want to know his troubles and learn how to take care of him. I really wish I had more time with him. I leave the island tomorrow and all I can think about is how timing is such a beach.

I want to spend days and nights with S talking about divorce, suicide, purpose, work ethic and other deep topics that can only be discussed with the right people.

Although, I can’t expect him to fix all my problems. He is still figuring out his own. I want to be involved in his thought process and know him through the pain.

I met you at a time when I was certain a genuine connection meant sexual interaction. I thought that having a one night stand would help me plough through my problems better than a conversation about mental illness. As if a penetration of body parts could solve a calculus equation so complicated in my heart. As if the way you moan had anything to do with my happiness.

I should have remembered that you were sad and fragile like a wonderful teenager. You couldn’t have had enough energy for both of us. Life takes so much from us. How would I feel if someone older than me tried to depend on me at that age? But regardless, when I sat next to you on the boat ride into town and my head nudged into your shoulder blade as you watched the lights fade on the sea, I had hope. Your back was a million miles long. I saw definition in your spine that caused me to define myself differently. Better. A better me with you there.

You let me hold your hand in mine. You never said no, you never pushed away. Did you want to or was it weird? Was my energy helpful to you? I have hope that I helped in some way.

And you asked to walk the rest of the way home by yourself. But I knew that something was changed in you when we sat in silence. I knew that my life was changed for the better when you let my neck seep into your collar bone. I have hope.

Bring the light that you felt next time you have someone in your arms. Bring hope. I know I will.

WW1: A War that was Out to Get Women

A woman of today’s time could easily be labelled as an independent force, due to the advancing freedom of expression and changing workplace conditions. However, a century ago, this was definitely not the case. In the early 20th century, a woman was not yet able to vote and had only just begun working alongside her male companions (Dodd 330). These modifications created a complicated divide between the sexes and put women at risk for being viewed as second place to the men fighting on the front line. As well, it is worth mentioning the extreme pressure women faced to withhold the demands of their respective countries while armies marched elsewhere. The major inequalities women faced while the First World War was in bloom caused historians to reflect differently on the development of feminism. In comparison to the modern day woman, the governments’ regulations around the world manipulated how women were to feel and be treated as to cater to the intensities of the First World War. Women felt helpless in secret services, felt lonely due to the diminishing population of men, and were likely unaware that the government was using them as puppets for war propaganda.

When looking at the historiography of how women are portrayed during the First World War, there is a distinct contrast when the 1970 revolution became a place for American and British women to speak out about the issues surrounding sexual harassment and the objectification of women. Writings published from then until now, have brought about critical discussions on the subject of women being mistreated in the First World War, helping to initiate feminism as a significant social movement (Metinsoy 19). For example, an article written in 1975 by Oxford University openly argues that although women were finally allowed to work in occupations other than a mother, their positions as munition workers, typists, janitors, or railway employees were simple, low-level jobs at the bottom of the economic hierarchy (Greenwald 156). As stated in a more recent publication by Canadian author Diane Dodd, wartime meant that men would be away from these duties and thus, women had to step up, although paid less than what men would have earned (Dodd 328). Therefore, it was only until the last quarter of the 20th century that sexist workplace conditions were brought into the light of the public eye. Before then, as the Second World War and Vietnam War finished, women were still depicted, by the United States and United Kingdom governments’ standards, as less than men (Redmond and Farrell 331). The portrayal of women has transformed over the past century in historians’ eyes, helping more women to speak out about the inequalities between men and women.

In Britain, espionage was a useful tactic so that secrecy could remain a part of their offensive strategy. Considering this, it is vital to delve into the remarkable imbalances between male and female spies. In Tammy M. Proctor’s book, she examines the way British women in espionage were seen as too emotional to be taken seriously for the job, adding in that the government thought women would fall in love with the enemy due to their “romantic natures” (Proctor 43). Indeed, this speculation that women are more emotional than men has been floating around society for many years, and continues to be an issue in current political situations (Ladkin 402). On the other hand, it is unintelligent to diagnose all women with this problem. This stereotype classified women as unfit for the secretive role and caused women to face disadvantages against the idolism of men in espionage (Proctor 50). When a woman missioned to double-cross an enemy line, she could use her sexuality to pre-maturely gather information for the government, but was then pushed aside (Proctor 149). It seems, that men were actually the more emotionally-driven workers due to the fact that they could be persuaded by a woman merely based on her sex appeal. Thus, women were wrongfully judged as too sentimental for an occupation as perilous as espionage because they were the most successful at the tasks they were given. Emotion should not be historicized as a weakness that kept women from performing their duties as intelligence workers. As mentioned above, female sexuality was used in British spying as a tool for targeting a man’s pleasure for having sex. Not only is this an extreme case of the objectification of women, but female spies agreed to pose as prostitutes because it was the only way women could exercise their patriotism. According to Proctor, the British media’s portrayal of women caused their secret service work to be demoralized and ineffective to their constant battle for equality: “Media portraits of women as virtuous, martyred heroines or avaricious spy-prostitutes made it difficult for real women to assert patriotism… without suspicion. Official secret service work for allied governments was one route to validation as “true” patriots, but even then, women’s work was suspect and their loyalty to their nations questioned” (Proctor 125-126). Further, these women who worked so desperately to be treated in a serious manner wanted their government to succeed in the war, and that meant accepting the profound sexism in this domain of military forces. British women everywhere, but particularly in espionage, were deemed similar to prostitutes with diseased reproductive organs leading to a strong regulation of women as a marginalized group (Kiere 250). This included curfews, and police officers were given the freedom to conduct strip-searches whenever they pleased (Proctor 31). All in all, female spies were unfairly treated as over-emotional prostitutes, causing their accomplishments as secret service workers to be viewed as invaluable.

Another example of how the First World War made the government act differently towards women stems from the population on the home front. Moreover, the women in the United States of America had to make do with the diminishing population of men who left for the battlefield. This is clearly stated in a book titled Singled Out, written by Virginia Nicholson: “The anguish of the surplus two million was exacerbated by the sense that they were unwanted by men not only as wives, but also as competitors in the workplace and social stakeholders” (Nicholson 24). It was standard, at this time in society, that the woman performed house work and motherly tasks, so that the man could provide for the family and greet his wife when he arrived home (Dodd 331). As men started to leave their families to fight for their respective countries, women began to feel a sad solitude because the normal household needed a mother and a father. American women became the majority in their communities, and that meant single women were not as likely to find a husband who could raise a family with them (Nicholson 83). Due to an extensive divide of the sexes, women were solely educated in areas such as needlework and languages rather than trades or economics (Nicholson 28). So it was not the woman’s fault that she could not handle a family by herself, but the control that the government had over their female civilians. This societal belief is to blame for why women on the home front had such a difficult experience living without a partner (Kiere 248). Equally, marriage as a whole became an implausible choice for women because they would just be left alone anyways. Nicholson exclaims that the mental health of women, as a whole, started to decline because they were stuck between choosing a life of poverty or a miserable marriage (Nicholson 147). The thought of marrying out of a loving relationship disappeared during the war, and depression arose throughout the minds of the surplus woman. Some women tried to use their allurement skills as a way to make money, leading to men in local nightclubs to treat them like prostitutes (Kiere 260). Consequently, this led to more oppression of women wanting to be open about their sexuality. In sum, there was not enough men to go around for the amount of women that stayed home to take care of the family, making the home front a very depressing place for American women.

On the other hand, maybe it was the case that, at the time, women were unaware of the lack of fairness. The legacy of British women, as well as Ottoman and American, has been studied and analyzed by historians in a variety of ways (Jensen 198; Metinsoy 20). Many believe that propaganda was a defining feature in the empowerment of women, in lieu of it being shameful for women (White 52). If it is true that women could not imagine their lives being any better, then it is possible that the government was brain-washing them. For instance, the White Feather Campaign, explored by Susan Grayzel, had an oxymoron kind of effect for women who participated in it because, in actuality, they were not given any real power at all (Grayzel 20). When a British woman gave a white feather to a man who had not enlisted in the army, she was just aiding the government in their twisted way of recruiting more soldiers. Rather than exercising her power as an influential woman, she was being innocently abused by the government by means of propaganda. Likewise, if a woman gave a feather to a military man who happened to be out of uniform on a particular night, she was ridiculed for her mistake (Gullace 202). In addition, the British government meticulously planned that women would never achieve the same status as men, no matter what field of work they pursued. In her book Women and the First World War, Grayzel writes that “women could join the military’s auxiliary corps [to construct ammunitions] and be ‘the woman behind the man behind the gun’” (Grayzel 13). In regards to this, women were never the intended superheroines at all. Instead, they were tricked into being the government’s toys and were perpetually treated as second priority to men. If the White Feather Campaign intended to make women feel less included in the war, it succeeded in more ways than one. This is also exhibited when enlistment posters were filled with women as an excuse for a man to sign up (Gullace 184). Similar to the ways modern advertisers use the sexuality of women to sell their products, the government thought they could market from displaying women in the media so that men would feel more personally connected to the war (Grayzel 10). As a final point, there are many oxymora to be found in the governmental structure of the war, including the fake power that was given to British women in the form of a white feather or a recruitment advertisement.

In conclusion, the First World War took a lot out of the wishes and aspirations of women because the governments of many countries required women to live in a regulated way. Whether it was because of female espionage workers being treated like overly sensitive prostitutes, because of a wife feeling incapable without a husband, or because of the government providing inauthentic ways for women to succeed in social status, the years of 1914-1918 mainly pandered to the needs of the war and the men fighting in it. The historiography of how women were portrayed during this time has evolved over the last century, resulting in authors writing from a modern day perspective. When comparing the treatment of women during the time of the Great War to the progressive movement of the “Me Too” campaign, there has been an extreme shift. It would be foolish to look at the accomplishments of women in 1914 as a victorious milestone for feminism because there were still many issues surrounding sexism. This is similar to the way Christians sacredly follow a book that was written ages ago. More important milestones have come along and shaped how society treats women today. As history constantly evolves, it is imperative to evolve one’s judgment of the progression of society. The years of 1914-1918 are not on par with the forward thinking of today. Simply put, World War One was out to get women.


Works Cited

Dodd, Diane. “Canadian Military Nurse Deaths in the First World War.” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, vol. 34, no. 2, 2017, pp. 329-363. https://muse-jhu-edu.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/article/671547.

Grayzel, Susan R. Women and the First World War. Pearson Education Limited, 2002.

Greenwald, Maurine Weiner. “Women Workers and World War I: The American Railroad Industry, a Case Study.” Journal of Social History, vol. 9, no. 2, 1975, pp. 154–177.          JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3786250.

Gullace, Nicoletta F. “White Feathers and Wounded Men: Female Patriotism and the Memory of the Great War.” Journal of British Studies, vol. 36, no. 2, 1997, pp. 178-206. JSTOR, https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/stable/176011?pqorigsite=summon&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.

Jensen, Kimberly. “Women’s ‘Positive Patriotic Duty’ to Participate: The Practice of Female Citizenship in Oregon and the Expanding Surveillance State during the First World War and Its Aftermath.” Oregon Historical Quarterly, vol. 118, no. 2, Summer2017, pp. 198-EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ahl&AN=124209916&site=ehost-live.

Keire, Mara L. “Swearing Allegiance: Street Language, US War Propaganda, and the Declining Status of Women in Northeastern Nightlife, 1900-1920.” Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 25, no. 2, May 2016, pp. 246-266. EBSCOhost, doi:10.7560/JHS25202.

Ladkin, Donna. “How Did That Happen? Making Sense of the 2016 US Presidential Election Result through the Lens of the ‘Leadership Moment’.” Leadership, vol. 13, no. 4, 12 July 2017, pp. 393-412. http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/doi/pdf/10.1177/1742715017714841.

Metinsoy, Elif Mahir. “Writing the history of ordinary Ottoman Women During World War 1”. Apasia, vol. 10, 2016, pp. 18–39. doi:10.3167/asp.2016.100103.

Nicholson, Virginia. Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War. Penguin Books Limited, 2007.

Proctor, Tammy M. Female Intelligence: Women and Espionage in the First World War. New York University Press, 2003.

Redmond, Jennifer and Elaine Farrell. “War within and Without: Irish Women in the First World War Era.” Women’s History Review, vol. 27, no. 3, May 2018, pp. 329-342. EBSCOhost,doi:10.1080/09612025.2016.1223311.

White, Bonnie. The Women’s Land Army in First World War Britain. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

You will bring me home.

My favourite animal is a giraffe. They are so tall. Not only that but they are so lanky. Objects that stand higher than my head have an inevitable power over me. I used to think that was a scary thought, especially while I was a kid. Everyone seemed to cover my entire existence with their shadows and I was frightened by that for so long. Now, I find tall bodies to be the perfect challenger. I can access their instincts better.

Giraffes don’t march through villages like Godzilla on a rampage. They eat grass. Sometimes even reaching all the way down to the ground to eat it. Giraffes have so much power over humanity and yet they choose not to abuse it.

You are my favourite giraffe. Your skyscraper-like stance puts me at ease. I want to dive into your embrace and feel the complete warmth of your arm span. It is special in so many ways. A gentle giant. A sweet creature.

Today, he…

Today, he sighed of relief. The back side of his body pressed against the front door, blocking out the partyers who had just left in chaos.

“I thought they would never leeeaavee‚” he said, dragging out the last part of the sentence as he usually does. It adds emotion, he would explain to me. At this point my drunkenness had reached its max point of exhaustion. I was on my knees on the floor right beside the comfy rocking chair. As he walked past me to sit in this chair, I noticed he wasn’t horny for me. There wasn’t a bulge this time. I would have to work for it, and use my god-given talents as a woman. I hate working at it; I want sex to be easy, like popping a pill. Alas, I found some energy and drove it straight to his eyes.

Looking at him above me in the chair. His body covered it whole with a sense of royalty and dignity. We could have fit in at a bougie brothel like the ones in Game of Thrones. I stared down his gaze and brought my hands to his knees. This triggered him to look at my position and realize where our night was going. Slowly and carefully I brought my face near the inside of his leg, brushed my cheek against his jeans and tried to get an arousal out of him. Nothing. He waited for my next move.

Okay, next move would be to use my hands. So I did that. Grabbing and rubbing in the appropriate places. There was a bit of a change after this but I could still feel his guarded energy. I had to REALLY entertain him. So I stood up and strip teased like the girls in porn. All the tricks and treats that I knew off hand. We were still in the main area of my apartment so my roommate could have come in at any moment. I would have to save some things for the bedroom. There, bra and underwear still on, I checked his body language again and found that he had sat up a bit to rest his head on his hands. He wasn’t particularly amused but he watched.

He could sense I didn’t have a next move. Vulnerable as I was, I still felt like I needed to dominate the experience. Be in charge of how the story unfolds. I came over to him and straddled his pelvis to initiate a direct sensation. Maybe he just wasn’t letting himself relax?

‘That’s all I can do on my end‚” I whispered. He chuckled with his head back.

“You’re missing something, though. C’mon… It’s not that hard to think of.”

What did I miss? I was stunned because usually I can get us going in less than a minute.

“Use that brain of yours‚” he joked in my ears, causing me to fill up with desire for him. He knew how to play with me and get me excited.

“Would you rather my hair be down? I can take it out of my ponytail….”

“Kiss me.”

I suddenly realized we had never before. Three weeks of causal sex and talking but no lip action. Shoot, how could I have missed that? Have I become a monster? I showed him a smile and came close to his face like I was supposed to do. The movies always taught me that. When we were millimetres from making contact, I freezes and pressed my lips together. He was stunned now. Aha. I got him.

“Actually, I think we should just hang out tonight. I’m kinda tired anyways and my legs feel—” but I couldn’t finish cause his hands clasped my jawline like a magnetic pull and we felt each other’s mouths. We didn’t have sex that night.

“End of the Day” by One Direction

I feel attached to One Direction songs at this moment in my life because they are simple. Formulaic and easy to listen to. From the time I was 14-18, when my life got messed up, all I wanted to listen to was indie/alternative/jazz music. I wanted complex rhythms and touchy concepts. I wanted to feel my sadness head on and sob every time I heard the first guitar chord in “Robbers” by The 1975. Now, I feel less strong. I am scared to jump into my thoughts out of the fear that I will be damaged by music. It still is my most perfect gift in life, but I can’t seem to listen to my indie playlist anymore. Does that make me pathetic? Or is it just not the right time in my life? I know it will always be there for me when I need it, and I am free to use it whenever.

The best I can do right now in terms of “indie” music is Harry Styles’ new album even though it’s fairly more pop. He is doing well by shifting into solo work and I feel very happy that he is still making music. Niall too. The others don’t seem to do it for me…

When One Direction sings about a particular girl in a particular setting (which is every song of theirs), I feel like I can relate to it on a superficial level and enjoy it rather than learn from it. One girl, who does something to them, in a new circumstance. How do they keep track of all their relationships? Haha.

While I know One Direction has died and gone to boy band heaven, I never was able to “fan-girl” over them due to my state of mind back in 2011. I only saw them as unapproachable pretty-boys who spewed out songs like a machine. And maybe, they are. But I’ve tried to go back and really understand the idea of a pop song and why the public clings onto it so tightly. I wanted to know why my high-school friends went to every concert and knew every song lyric. Was it an escape from their minds?

This song has a very accessible message to it: By the time the sun sets, I want you to be with me. It’s a clear way to express love for someone and yet, I find myself having to remember that love can be that simple. There doesn’t have to be complicated affection if the person can give you comfortability. Listening to this song, I have re-wired my thinking when I consider another person as a partner. Would I want to spend my last moments of every day with this person? Do I find refuge in their smile? As much as I can take from them, I would also want that person to find this kind of relief in me.

One line that sticks out for me is in the bridge of the song:

And when the city’s sleeping, you and I can stay awake and keep on dreaming.

I love to think about being so comfortable with someone that everyone else seems to disappear. This line gives me the giggles to think about walking around a sleeping city with a person who drives me to dream farther than I could ever imagine.

So, as much as I would feel embarrassed about choosing a One Direction song for serious exploration, I feel connected to the themes that they investigate throughout their five albums and I praise them for their dedication to the public.

 

Poros/Athens, Week 4

What makes you unique?

I guess what makes me unique is the length of my eyelashes. I have seen longer lengths than mine but I have always found a sense of confidence with them. It takes me awhile to put mascara on and I have to make sure I give myself the time to do it. I find it nice to feel a sense of security with my eyelashes because I have so many insecurities everywhere else.

What kind of world do you want to see?

One with more love. I think it is a no-brainer that love is the answer to all problems. And it doesn’t have to be romantic or sexual love, but kind, thoughtful or warm love. The more that humans can connect to their capacity to love, the better the world will be on all fronts.

If greed and money didn’t get in the way, I think it would be much easier for humans to love. I’m guilty of that too. I know that feeling accomplished is also a primitive instinct for humans but I think there is value in helping another person. You can find a purpose in the success of others. I know we can.

What would you ask for if a genie gave you three wishes?

  1. A personal chef. I hate cooking. I really don’t know why. It gives me so much anxiety and stress, I would rather someone else choose what I should eat. I understand that it gives some people a great deal of pride to cook, but I feel uneasy about it. The best I can do is pasta and even then, the recipe better be simple.
  2. A lunch date with Julie Andrews. She is my idol and inspiration in my life and career, and it would be an honour to sit down with her for tea. I would ask her about filming The Sound of Music in Austria, about what the industry used to be like, about her favourite song, about her thoughts on religion and purpose, about her darkest thoughts; I have so much to ask. Her elegance and gait amaze me every time I see on the screen. She is perfection.
  3. For my memory to erase after I watch the movie Across the Universe so I can be surprised by its beauty. I absolutely adore this film but I hate the fact that I already know what’s going to happen. The first time I watched it, I felt so changed as an 11-year old. Now, I watch it and find more incredible discoveries but nothing will beat the first time.

What would you do if money were no object?

I think I would donate it to third-world countries and charities that support mental illness. Theses two causes have impacted me the most and they deserve attention from wealthy people. I would be too much pressure for me to have an infinite amount of money so I would want to share it and give back to those who are living with disease and/or physical and mental limitations. There isn’t any material or product that would feel satisfying as a purchase, so I’d rather go about my current life and help others with this crazy wealth.

If I could solve world poverty and still have money, I think I would buy my cottage property and put on parties every summer. Just like Gatsby.

If there was still money to spend, then I would move to New York City and live in my own apartment with two cats. ONLY THEN would I do that.

Who believed in you even when you didn’t?

My counsellor. She has helped me push through a tough year and still keeps me at bay when things are rough. Her support and patience was exactly the kind of help I needed. My family and friends were a big part as well but when it comes down to the dark, disturbing thoughts, I found it more efficient to speak to an unbiased third-party. I don’t want my problems to cloud over the people I care most about.

I lost all hope in living last year. I found life to be difficult every single day and nothing had meaning anymore. I didn’t want to get out of bed and I struggled to keep with my training and studies for most of last year. My counsellor was there to listen to these thoughts and suggest positive thinking exercises to guide me towards the light. I am still recovering from the aftermath of that year. Panic attacks and depressed nights still come over me but they are fewer. I’m so grateful she could be a sense of direction for me.

How are you building your clan?

I think I haven’t built one yet. So I will plan for it.

If I understand this question correctly, a clan or a network or a family is the community of people that I choose to surround myself with. These people should challenge me, encourage me, and respect me as I do the same for them. Right? Because when we talk about friendship, I am past the idea that a friend is just someone who shares a marker with you. A friend has complicated feelings who accepts that I do too.

So, it would be ideal if my clan was made up of my closest friends, my family (and extended), my professors and classmates, my fellow artists who may be more successful than me. and the role models that I look up to. To be a part of a community as crazy as the artistic one is, is a blessing.

How do you stand out from the crowd?

I would say by being a confident woman. As a “minority” (even though we make up half of the population), women are treated as a second position to men. The amount of oppression in our current society tears down the self-esteem of most women. If I stay grounded but proud to be a female, I know things can change. It really only takes one person. I try to be comfortable in my skin and I take independence very seriously. I don’t need another woman to come with me to the bathroom. I don’t need a boyfriend to follow around this world. I can make my own choices and fall in love as much as I want to.

Ελλάδα σ ‘αγαπώIMG_2542

 

Hydra, Week 3

Who do you need to forgive and why?

Last summer, I was run over on my foot by a car that happened to not see me when I was walking across a driveway. I was on my way to work as a dance teacher and had to stop working for 3+ weeks because of the damage. Although it was an accident and I’m lucky to be alive and healthy, I still feel hatred toward the driver. He didn’t speak English and tried to rub my foot immediately after the accident. So, he probably caused more swelling and stress to my ankle. I need to find a way to forgive him and not hold a grudge. I just think it was something that took away my ability to move for at least a month and it made me so unhappy during that time.

What is calling you?

In my life, I think there are many things calling me. I feel an urge or a burst of inspiration from somewhere and I have to follow it. I can’t let it dissolve or else my frustration starts to build. I start to lose my sense of self if I don’t follow my intuition.

In my career, I think I listen to instincts that gear towards many projects at once. I don’t want to do only one thing and I hate being bored. I think I am called by opportunities that come my way and I don’t want to pass them up. Even if it means that my schedule is jam-packed with meetings, rehearsals, appointments, etc, I like to stay occupied. My dad always said that every opportunity has the potential to be an important one. He is wise in knowing that I should always keep doors open. Never limit myself.

In my daily life, I am called by the energy of other people. I love to sit and “people-watch” so I can silently learn from the body language and interactions that I observe. I hope no one thinks I’m stalking them… haha. I find I can always feed off of what is going on around me and I find new changes in myself once I’ve experienced a new person/circumstance. I love to be alone, don’t get me wrong, but as my depression started to grow, I didn’t like being by myself anymore. It scared me. I want to feel comfortable to balance time as an introvert as well as an extrovert.

Greece has helped me call other things into my life. I look for nature as a guide more frequently, and I make sure to keep a healthy mind-set whenever I can.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

If I could not fail in any way, I think I would steal the spot of a concert pianist and play for a crowd of thousands at Radio City Music Gall. My fingers would hit every key perfectly as the petal bounced under my foot. My trolls would sound effortless and my body would sway with ease as I become one with the sounds. Piano was most of my life as a child and I finished some exams by just barely passing. I wasn’t amazing but I learned a lot from the discipline it takes. It has so much to do with perfection and it can only be done well with practice. But I usually got lazy with it, and would refuse to practice. I never liked the polishing, only the performing. That’s why, if I had the most magical fingers for one night, would serenade a NY audience with a Chopin or a Brahms piece and everything would be PERFECT! Sigh… if only. My grandpa would be so proud.

If there was a natural disaster and you had to evacuate your city, what three things would you bring with you?

Without a doubt, my first precious object would be my stuffed bear. His name is Beary and he has been with me through it ALL. He is the only boyfriend I’ll need when I’m gone from my city.

Secondly, I think I would grab my computer. Now, I know that seems materialistic and pathetic. However, I use my computer mostly to download music, organize it, and edit it. All the songs and playlists I’ve built up over the 5 years I’ve had my computer mean so much to me and it would be a shame to see them go. I’ve worked hard to develop a library that I know will only keep growing and I cannot say goodbye yet.

For my last prize possession, I would bring my favourite book, My Most Excellent Year. I’ve read this novel maybe six times and it is so fun and cute that I can’t stop reading it. The characters go through a coming-of-age story and at the end there is a musical being put on! My kind of book! It helps me to relax and enjoy the wonders of making mistakes. I think it would be useful to have on hand if a sad natural disaster strikes.

Also, if we are getting technical, I would bring my anti-depressant pills… but I’d like to think I could function without them at that point…

What is your wildest dream?

My wildest dream is to be a bird. I wish so much to feel the wind as I fly through the sky. I really wish I was a bird so I could see things differently. Literally, and figuratively. I want to laugh at puny humans as I soar above the clouds without any interruption. This dream comes to me when I feel trapped by the limitations of being a human. My need for airtime stems from the idea that maybe in a past life, I was a bird. I like to imagine myself knowing the best lookout trees, and the best worms and seeds to slobber down. I imagine myself communicating with my bird friends as we take off towards the sun. The concept of reincarnation has a huge effect on me as I try to understand death. I want to believe there is more life after I die and I think it would be wild and amazing to return to my animal spirit for another go.

If I were a bird, I would be a swallow.

If you could become an expert in any subject or activity, what would it be?

I would choose figure skating with Scott Moir. He is an amazing partner and I would love to take Tessa Virtue’s talent for myself so I could glide in his arms. I watch them both with such awe because they are the perfect pair with so much trust in each other. To have the skill and training that they have would be incredible, and it is my most precious fantasy to be lifted into the air by Scott. If only I could get on the ice without falling…

What would you do if you could live a day without consequences?

A day without consequences… what a thought. We are encouraged so strictly to always think of the pros and cons of our choices as it will help us make moral decisions. Therefore, I feel as though I have to abandon everything I know. But I’ll try.

I would immediately take off my clothes and go about my day, naked. I feel so free without the weight of clothes and if I can’t get arrested, it will feel even better!

Next, I would go sky-diving because everything would go smoothly. Maybe bungee-jumping or jet-packing too. There is always a fear that there will be consequences when danger is a possible outcome, so it would be nice to feel immortal for once.

If there’s time, I would write a letter to my ultimate crush Cole Sprouse, confessing my love for him and everything creepy I’ve ever wanted to tell him. As a famous child star, he probably receives these kinds of letters a lot but mine would affect him differently. He would not send a restraining order, hehe 😉 It’s fun to think this way. We would run away together.

As a final hoorah, I think I would eat as much as I want. I would eat ice cream, pasta, cookies, pizza, cinnamon buns, burgers, french fries, cake… because the obvious reasons: I would not gain a single pound. WOO HOO!