Pep Talk: Mentors & What Not

I’ve been searching for a mentor for a very long time, since probably the the age of 5. So as you can imagine I have a lot of rejections. A slew of them. I am incapable of hiding my fandom for the potential mentor’s craft and accomplishments. The rejections were rejections in my approach. If I made it past the approach, they were rejections to my personality.

I use to be hot and bothered by this but not anymore. Because I found a mentor. And I have literally zero difficulties jiving with this fantastic person.

I’ve learned a lot because I use to think it was me. There’s something wrong with me. I’m not doing it right.

For the most part I now know that this is not true. They were wrong for me. They were people who had no interest in mentoring. I was trying to force a formal one sided relationship.

And you can’t do that. You can not force it. It has to be mutal like falling in love. You just jive with the person. You respect them and they respect you right back. They want to help you. You don’t have to ask for it outright. But it’s important to have something to offer them too; a coffee, a good book recommendation, a great joke. It doesn’t have to be much.

It’s like the beauty thing I struggled with all my life. I was a goofball and a tomboy and didn’t like dresses. People didn’t like that. I now like dresses and can put powders and dyes on my eyes lids and look like a cutie-petwie. But it doesn’t matter cause those people still don’t like me! I’m still a goofball behind the heels and the updos. No amount of pretty or any product will ever be enough to hide my jokester, squirrelly, le freak c’est chic vibe.

You are who you are and its better to surround yourself with people and mentors who like you for present day you. The only changes you make should be for yourself. Other than that you’re not doing anything wrong and it’s all going to be okay.

Woman at Finch Subway

Before all of the photos and videos and nonsense goes viral, I hope that I can provide a different perspective from someone who was there at the incident.

On Friday, September, 26th around 10pm an elderly white lady with spiky short white and gray hair wearing a long black dress began shouting “This is bullshit, this is bullshit”. She shouted this in the subway on the top platform where buses are loaded and departed. People began looking at her. Soon she walked up to a young pair of individuals and did something that cause the crowd to roar. I was curious but I didn’t want to be involved. I didn’t want to look in case I saw something  I couldn’t unsee.

She began walking around, dancing. She was surrounded and it was hard to see what she was doing but it was lewd enough that young adults with cell phones in hand were video recording and picture snapping.

I don’t plan to make excuses for her. She might have been in her right mind but through the glimpses that I did see it was very possible that she was drunk or mentally ill. In any case the laughing, the smart phone waving, the pointing and talking was enough to make me wish it would stop, or that I wasn’t there.

She’s a human being. To me she looked like someone who needed help. We always talk about mental health, especially in Toronto. There are CAMH (Center for Addiction and Mental Health) bus ads and Bell Let’s talk billboards to promote against the sigma of mental illness and raise donations for mental health issues. However when it comes down to the facts, and to the face to face incidents like this, everyone laughs. They photograph. They instagram. Young black men standing near me were throwing dirty drink cups at her, half empty bubble teas and dark roast Tim Horton cups. When they ran out they fished more from the TTC garbage.

It took me about 10-15 minutes before I saw a TTC driver on the phone in his stationary bus that it dawned on me I could tell him what’s happening. I could help. I wanted to help her. I didn’t want to be recorded. Even if I was recorded helping her, I wouldn’t have known what to do once I reached her face to face. If she wouldn’t come down from the bench. If she refused to stop dancing.

The TTC driver informed me he was already calling it in. I got off his bus to return to waiting for my own when a woman strode towards me. She was middle age, Indian and had the look of motherly worry that told me she too was thinking of reporting what was happening inside the station. We talked briefly. I asked her if the woman in question had been flashing people with her chest. She confirmed to me she had.

Eventually my bus came and I saw that the crowd had dissipated as I got on. I thought that getting on the bus meant I could just forget all about the incident and push it aside in my mind. I sat in the back, in the first top row. A woman quickly sat down next to me. She chatted very excitedly with whoever was on the other side of the line. She was speaking in her own language but I was beginning to fear that she was talking about what had happened. She giggled and squealed as she spoke.  Then when she finished she happily looked through her phone, confirming to me I was right. There were pictures of the incident on her phone.

Do I say something.

I really wanted to tell her this wasn’t okay. I really didn’t want to be involved. After a few bus stops I decided I couldn’t accept staying silent. It was wrong and if that’s what I believed I should say something.

You should delete those pictures.

The bus was pretty loud and full.

You should delete those pictures.
What? Why are you looking at my phone?

You should delete those pictures.
It’s none of your business. You shouldn’t be looking at my phone. It’s my phone. I have a right.
One day you’ll be drunk and people will be talking photos of you and you’ll know how it feels.
Why did you look at my phone? How would you like it if I looked through your phone.

I didn’t want to see her pictures but since she was sitting next to me everything she did was in my range of view. I almost offered her to took through my phone just to null her point. I was hoping to guilt her, or make her empathize. I knew I had upset her.

I wasn’t the only one to say something. Another guy spoke up at the station as he was getting on my bus. He looked at the air cadet smiling to himself about the whole thing. They were both Asian and looked like teenagers.

You shouldn’t be smiling you should be helping. You’re in uniform.

What if we were all in uniforms. What if we all obligated ourselves to focus on helping rather than ridiculing. Can this be possible?

Linkedin – Why I Rewrote My Profile Summary

I rewrote my Linkedin profile summary today. Yes that’s right. I rewrote my Linkedin Profile. I’m living on the edge!… Honestly I can’t remember the last time I found a memorable Linkedin Profile. That’s partially why I did it. And because a professional Linkedin Profile Summary doesn’t achieve anything. I don’t think there’s a purpose to pretending to be professional on one website anymore when it’s the 21st century and everything and anything about a person can be found and read. Any incongruousness in how you portray yourself is just delaying the inevitable. So yes I wrote a kind of silly, and sarcastic and slightly over the top profile summary, all of which are still 100% true (the last line of the summary is debatable). This is me saying screw it to the carefully repetitive industry jargon. This is me saying screw it, I have a personality and it’s going to show. This is what it currently reads on my profile page:

Li is highly resourceful crafiter and hobby writer that engages in a slew of ordinary activities, of which those that end unfavourably are storified. After being a cashier for ten years, Li decided to pursue her dream of being a cardboard artist. She now works as Structural Packaging Designer for corrugated board. To support herself through college for cardboard artistry, Li sold free products to the public (brand ambassadorship) and retouched the awkwardness out of high school students on picture day.

Li is currently studying Improv performance (Level E at Second City) and is the founder of an improv troupe Genetically Modified Five (GM5). GM5 combines musicals and video games (the two things everyone loves the most) into one: musical Nintendo improv. She also co-stars as a novice game player in a web show called “Let’s make a gamer out of Li”. In the show she is haunted by the Spirit of Gaming who forces her to learn the art of video gaming. A release date has yet to be announced.

For those who have never seen the Statue of Liberty riding a T-Rex holding a bouquet of cats in chartaceous form, Li commissions origami sculptures to suit such needs.

That’s the new summary. I’m positive that a) No one will notice because profile summaries aren’t that important b) I should be hired as a professional Linkedin Profile Summarizer.

August 15th 2014

I am tried of waiting for the right moment to make a choice. I’m tried of trying to connect with something that isn’t there. I’m tried of connecting with things that are only time wasters. I’m tried of this sick hungry feeling. I’m tried of being a coward. I’m tried of being stationary, and running the same old  routine. I’m tried of the discussions on problems that will never change and the answers that exhaust pointless energy. I’m tried of the how-to’s and fix-it’s. I’m tried of lethargy. I’m tried of Samsung. I’m tried of not letting myself be seen. I’m tried of getting bored so easily, I just want commit to something for the next one hundred years. I’m tried of the discomfort and the confusion and the unsureness. I’m tried of my slow, shity, squiggly, progress. I’m tried of my own aggressions. I’m tried of being in a man’s world. I’m tried of women judging women in the new world. I’m tried of being apologetic. I’m tired of being late all the time. I am really tried of the new found fear and emotional difficulty dreading me from improv class. I am tried of plants dying.

I Remember

I remember falling in love over words. I remember feeling like I was part of something bigger and more special than I ever was. I remember thinking I was better than addiction and better than my friend’s addiction and that writing about the red picket fences on her arm would solve it all because I was one of those people that thought love could solve all problems. She did read it. And it did mean something but it couldn’t change everything, as I had hoped.

I remember writing Cashier’s log and how for the first time I found a way to be authentically myself without needing someone or something else.

I remember sitting on the kitchen floor crying at 4 am and feeling more afraid than I ever have in my life.

I remember the first day of class and how the rush of it took away all the pain from going to my last school.

I remember wanting jobs and opportunities so badly I wouldn’t sleep for weeks designing an infographic resume, and a video game case resume, and a multi-media interactive cover letter, and whatever the hell the idea of the week was.

I remember friends. I remember love. I remember loss. I remember falling apart. I remember the family and loved ones that gave up first. I remember feeling like I was crazy.

I remember all of this.


“Through the following decades, I struggled to conform to the identity I thought the world wanted me to have. I became acceptably pretty, but then needed to work on being more outgoing. Once I became outgoing, I needed to work on being sexually adventurous. Once I became that, I needed to work at becoming a good housekeeper. And so on. Frankly, I’m exhausted. It turns out being pretty is just the beginning of a lifelong set of ridiculous expectations imposed on women.” – To je smůla

Low Confidence

Low confidence is bullshit. It’s fucking bullshit. Because at the end of the day if you really want to do something, you’ll do it. You won’t need someone’s confirmation, you won’t need the stars to align, you’ll just do it because that’s how bad you want it. You can’t help but do it.

“I have low confidence” – is a bullshit answer to life’s restraints. You just don’t want the result/change/circumstance bad enough. Low Confidence  is “I can’t”. Low confidence is nothing but bullshit and we need to stop feeding this crap to ourselves and everybody else.

The Game

I was playing a game inside my mind. Taking the games I play in class and using it real life. High status, low status, low status, high status. And for the a while the game went on and I played it right.

I won the game and thought I was a winner. Then I saw the rulebook and realized.

The winners are never the game players. The winners are the ones who write the game. The fate holders of players pitched against each other in the spirit of an unattainable prize.

A player already in the arena spoke this as I entered:

Fight for control of the pen writing the story of your life. And when you have it. You need to use it.

On Shame

There is nothing quite like a childhood lived in shame. Parents who never understood and never will understand that their hopes were disappointments, their guidance – lessons in shame, and their love a guilty weight. I have lived being ashamed of who I am throughout my life, and it is within only the last few years that I have began to see my own filter. My progress in shame has given me expertise, and I sense it like a sonar ripple from those around me. I have used it to gain access to the heart, and as a way to command obedience. It is easy to inflict shame when you know it so well. And so I have a number of relationship built around shame except one. I have let those relationships define my life.

The world makes it clear that women are shameful, and as a girl I was often imprinted so. My father was ashamed I wasn’t a boy, and I spent most of my life trying to make up for it. My mother was ashamed I wasn’t a porcelain doll. I spent my entire life fighting her over it. My friends were ashamed of the way I dressed (baggy), and my best friend told me to feel shame for it because they all did. To this day I still have one friend who insist that I wear a push up bra, put on makeup, straighten my posture and get with the program. I look at her and I am no better, shaming her for being such a blind conformist. Women have embraced the culture of shame, shaming each other until self destruction. We live to antagonize each other. We have become so good at it, it is not a conscious part of our behaviour. When will I be able to share the same space with my friend and we are able to mutually accept our differences and not bombard the other to change?

I can’t tell you much about why people shame each other but I just know they do. A long time ago I tried to escape from my life and my family but I ended up 60,000 miles from home with so much sadness and shame that I was dizzy from crying for 5 hours. My body felt like a towel wringing itself tight and hard. It was trying to squeeze out shame like a cancerous virus, forcing every last drop out the sockets of my eyes. At 7am I decided that I could keep going or I could forgive myself. The act of forgiveness is such a conscious choice it took every effort in my spongy brain to choose to see life with forgiveness rather than not. Forgiveness does not just happen. It doesn’t come to you, you go to it.

We’re all ashamed of something, but vary in the different amounts we carry. I live with a specimen that compared to me has no real gauge of shame. I have to spell shame out like simple words forgotten from disuse. And though his positively and lack of shame can split us from seeing eye to eye, most of the time I couldn’t be more appreciative that I do not have to feel ashamed of myself around him. He gives himself permission to execute goals despite fears and shame and inexperience. Though I judged his unwavering optimism, he does not take on shame and only advances where most hesitates because of it. He has given me permission to live without shame of who I am. I have only been crossing off wants and accomplishing lifelong regrets since then. It has made me become more optimistic, a gift that is resilient. He is both my opponent and my hero in shame. He is a bridge across the present letting me cross to the future with more ease.

He is not ashamed of me. I am ready to be too.