Wow. Yesterday. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do this right now - SO exhausted but let's try. Where to start?
As you may know, I had received an incredible opportunity about 1.5 weeks ago to participate in a local art show, RAW. It's an international show that comes to various cities. This one broke all Ottawa records in ticket sales and it was packed! Thank you to all who contributed on my part, for braving the downpour (and the crazy line up to get in apparently?!?!), for showing your support, for staying up late on a school night, and especially to the many who can't handle the noise and the crowds! You are all troopers!
The Lead Up
It has been a very hectic 1.5 weeks as I was trying to get everything done that I was planning to do over a 3 months period. Going through photos, printing, organizing, book cover, various marketing, presentation, etc. It got to the point where I physically couldn't form sentences and if anything, it reminded me why I'm here doing this. The last night before the show was easily one of the worst symptomatic days I've experienced. My husband literally had to repeat everything, in simple sentences like to a toddler, in 3s and I would just stare at him blankly. The messages I was getting in texts, emails, FB, was completely incomprehensible to the point that I stopped even reading them - my eyes wouldn't follow a single line and I would drift off about 5 words in - if that. And I'm not even starting on fatigue or headache. 1.5 weeks is not a lot of time for anyone to organize a show, let alone throw a few concussions into it.
That said, we did it. And I would like to emphasize "we". The support I've received leading up to the show as been unreal and I couldn't do it without you. I know this isn't a big award show or anything, but it was my first show, presale launch, and it was a first true acknowledgement of where this project is going, so it's a big deal to me. So let's pretend I'm at the Oscars and they're not playing me off the stage with some gradually-getting-louder tune. Or if they are, I'm going to pull a Paul Langlois from this year's Junos and talk right through.
First and foremost, I'd like to thank my wonderful husband, Justin. You have to live with this, and I try to say it here and there, but it's probably never enough. So thank you for putting up with it, as much as I could say in general to which I could write a whole blog post on its own (oh wait, I did!), let's narrow down to this show then. The late nights, the taking things off my plate (also, literally, cleaned up every meal because I was pretty out of it by then), running errands, macgyvering various things required for the show (display, all the electrical requirements at the show), presentation, setting up and tearing down the booth, the site, the presales. For not getting mad when I continuously broke things this week (including the car <\3) and just taking it in stride and acceptance. For shaving and cleaning up pretty freakin well for the show, maintaining my wine intake throughout the show, and just overall being patient when I stressed, panicked, or gave up. I love you, you're my rock. You're going to let this get to your head though, I can already picture the look on your face when you're going to come home from work after reading this. I will allow it just this once.
Mom, you are amazing. So patient, so helpful and always within arm's reach - nearby but also not hovering. Always ready for whatever needs to get done and provide whatever needs to be provided (that Ferrero Rocher pile didn't even last the car ride from your office, it was just what I needed, thanks! Actually, I probably didn't even need it, at least not after the first one, but it was gobbled up regardless). Thank you for all the arts and crafts I put you to work on, going through an exuberant number of photos, your wise words (that I sometimes may not admit, but I know), and for checking up on me at all the right times. Love you!! Also need to thank Dad who got dragged into most of the helping sessions and was probably dying of boredom. Thank you for sucking it up and not complaining, coming in when asked, and your overall support and enthusiasm.
Joanne, for the sake of repeating myself, thank you for your unconditional support and constant words of wisdom! I know you're extremely busy and have so much on the go, especially right now, and yet you still constantly offer to help and give up your evenings - even offer to run errands day of! And cupcakes. Those cupcakes saved my ass this week. Actually, they probably killed my ass, but the sugar intake was much needed when I was, literally, crashing. Shout out to Margaret as well - I know weekdays are rough and you made it out to a late night show regardless! Thanks for all the support, your words before, during, and after the show! This whole family, I love you guys <3
Marie-Claude, I already said it all but I'm saying it again. The circumstances sucked, but I'm SO happy you've come into my life. You are truly inspirational, beautiful (inside and out), and I completely blanked at the show on saying it, but because I could only feature so many people on stage, I had no doubt you were going up there. Both as a friend, and as a contribution to this project. Your great ideas, creativity, words, support, and the need to help never ends. I have no idea what my booth would've looked like last night had it not been for you. You were beyond spent this week and you still insisted on helping when you, yourself, should've been resting. I don't think I've ever met a more selfless person (and I know some pretty amazing people). <3
Christina (CM Photography) and Lisa (Lady on Fire Photography), I had no doubt you were coming on stage with me. It was a hard decision who to ask, but you're part of the reason this project took off. Lisa reached out to me when I first made mention of the idea in 2015! I then took a year off, but you were still in regardless of being slightly out of your comfort zone. I love that. Christina was the first to jump in and do a session when it resurfaced in 2016! You both donated your time, again and again (and again), when you were going in blind as I had nothing to show for this project. You are the reason other photographers have jumped on board. It's not hard to gather people with concussions wanting to tell their story, but photographers are a whole different story. So thank you. You have been phenomenal to work with (prompt, quality, available), but work aside, you two are incredible (I guarantee Christina is crying by now, haha <3), sweet, kind, so caring, and fun! So so glad we met.
Micaela, I only just met you yesterday and I think that speaks for itself. You were an incredible model! Thank you for bringing life to my booth, and at such short notice!! You are so incredibly brave, kind, fun, and easy to work with. My models have all been fantastic, but you moved just right, where I needed you to without me having to say much - which is great on a regular day, but is infinitely more helpful on an overwhelmingly busy day like yesterday. It was such a pleasure meeting you and your mom (who deserves a shout out for driving 3 hours in on the day of and driving home after the show to support her daughter!!). It was such a pleasure to meet you and work with you! Please post your information in the comments so people can reach you! If you're in Ottawa, check out Epic Fitness on St. Laurent for 3 free 1 hour concussion rehab sessions with Micaela!
Andrei and Annie, life savers. Another one of those "where have you been all my life". I'm so glad we're seeing each other more and more, you're the kind of people I want to surround myself with. Your need to help (as was demonstrated with the slow cooker) has continued to grow and you were unreal yesterday. Thank you. From taking our mopey pooch in, to dealing with Bertie, coming in to support me, mouthing words and filling my sentences in during my presentation, and taking my entire booth down without me even noticing it's all gone. You are amazing, and I love you guys.
Lara! I wasn't sure what to expect when we sat down, but you were AMAZING! With Justin Van Leeuwen's (JVLphoto) and your talent, I had something to show for the book design! I LOVE the look of the poster, the business cards, anyhow the overall feel of the project now that everything is synchronized. You were easy to work with, and so incredibly fast whenever I asked anything. Thank you thank you thank you.
I want to acknowledge PaperStudio. They sponsored majority of my display last night which on a volunteer-based project, is huge financially. Thank you Cheryl! But also, it's the time Mila put in to organize and print the posters. I was pretty scattered and unorganized, so thank you for putting up with that, and for the quick turn around. The amount of stress that reduced vs sending it off to a printer and having to wait a day or two on such a short timeline is unbelievable and you can't imagine what a life saver that was. Thank you!
A few other acknowledgements I wanted to make:
Jen, I can't even count how many years I've known you, and you just keep getting better and sweeter every time I talk to you. You warm my heart and I can't thank you enough for making it out last night to support me all the way from the far away land of Carleton Place. Thank you for believing in this, donating your time, body, and words. Every time you send me anything, it puts a smile on my face and you seem to have a tendency, or a voo doo 6th sense of sorts to always do it at the right time <3
Frances, you're an incredible and kind person, and the amount you give back to the community is unreal especially considering what you've gone through. It was an honour to have you on stage with me, your parents should (and I know they are!!) be very proud!
Paula, amazing doesn't even cover it. You are such an incredible individual and you've practically adopted this project from the moment you heard about it. I'm sorry we didn't get your shoot in with all the rushing around but it will definitely speak for itself when we release it. Beautiful concept (thank you Claudybel), beautiful setting (thank you Dean, northernramble.com), beautiful photos (thank you Patrick, blakephotography.ca), and thank you to Randy for taking care of everything that day so I can have Paula for the whole day. Paula, keep believing, staying so positive, and being so unbelievably kind hearted. You are a hustler, even if there are days you don't feel it.
Doug, you are the newest addition to the people I've met and your support is astounding! Thanks for believing as hard as you do and encouraging me to go big, big, bigger! You have already connected me with more resources in the 3 days since I've met you than I've had in a year of doing this on my own. It's an honour to have stood on the stage beside you, to have you as a mentor, and to drink your beer. It hit the spot right where I needed it and capped me off properly for the night.
Of course, thank you to David and Celeste for reaching out and inviting me to be a part of RAW. It was truly an experience, a first, and a great launch for the book. Thanks for your patience as we were all running around like chickens with its heads cut off. David, your words meant a lot, thank you for believing in me, my project, and my cause.
To everyone who came out on behalf of my project, thank you!! I wish I could've talked to each and everyone one of you! Pros and cons of live painting - something to sort out for a future show. Meagan, Stephanie, Brian, you're all troopers for withstanding the music and the people. Bill and Cheri, Irina, Lesha, Liora, Adam and Nando, Patrycja and Pieter, Adriana, Mark. I know I'm completely blanking but I'm crashing and going cross-eyed. Thank you to those who purchased tickets to support even if they couldn't make it! There were 50 tickets sold on my behalf, thank you everyone for believing, supporting, and giving me a reason to keep going.
Ok. Music over and out. I'm pretty cross-eyed at this point - going back to bed. Oh wait, HA, already there - and not getting out for the rest of the day.