Dear Diary

After seemingly endless celebrations and special treats (with more still to come- hello One Direction!), the big day is finally here. Today is my 25th birthday, and to be honest it feels altogether different than I ever imagined it would.

Last year I remember reading Kelly from Studio DIY’s post about turning 25, her “goal age”, and feeling like there was no way I’d be able to accomplish everything I wanted the way she had in only a year’s time. Last August I was totally broke, in denial about being in a relationship that was very obviously coming to an end, and really lost as a person in general. I knew that I had dreams of starting a family, of owning a home, of building a career that I could actually live off of, but I had no idea how those things would ever materialize on the path I found myself heading down.

For the first time in a long time, I couldn’t really visualize what my future would hold, and it absolutely terrified me.

The past year, it turns out, has been my most challenging, exciting, and intense year ever, and though it came with a lot of very high highs, I’m pretty excited to be turning the page onto a very promising new chapter. It feels like the past 12 months have been on fast forward, with so many massive changes: I ended a very long-term relationship, started living alone after relying on my partner for support and company for 3 years, and got to the point where I was so depressed and penniless that I started to make plans to move back to Vancouver. I was eating terribly, barely making it to workouts, and things I had always loved, like snowstorms and Christmas started to lose their lustre. I tried to get back into dating, and after 6 years I opened myself up to the possibility that I might have interest in cisgender men, but the whole idea seemed really scary and out of reach. I went on a few dates, signed up for Tinder, and even asked my friends to set me up, but every disappointment left me feeling more lonely and unwanted than ever. Essentially, I let my self-worth, my confidence, and the amazing life I’d built slip away. I almost completely gave up.

But then something shifted, and it all turned around.

As a last ditch attempt to save everything I had built here in Toronto, I started freelancing anywhere I could, signed up to work with an agency to help me get blog-related jobs and partnerships, and pitched myself to a tea company as their new social media manager (a position that didn’t exist until I came along.) Once I had successfully done one partnership on my blog, more and more inquiries started to show up in my inbox, and after only two months I graduated from my job running one social media account for the the tea company to my current job at Deck Agency where I get to run accounts for some of the most followed bars and restaurants in the city. As I became a little bit more comfortable with my life in Toronto again and started to pay off the massive debt I had created trying to stay afloat, I fixed up my apartment, started going out on more dates, and forced myself out into social situations to make friends.

Somewhere around January things started to pick up speed at a rate that I never could’ve imagined, and since then I feel like I’ve been running nonstop on a hamster wheel trying to keep up. I’m an energetic person at my core, but I just have so many ideas and plans and dreams, and being the most impatient person I know, slowing down has yet to really seem like a valid option… that said, I really wouldn’t have it any other way! I have the most incredible girl gang of friends behind me, my first RAOP “employee” (who also happens to be one of my very best friends) helping me keep this colourful world turning, and most importantly, I get to do what I truly love every single day. I get to live in a magical, sparkly, pastel world where dreams come true, love can last forever, and anything is possible. Sure, there’s still a lot on my to-do list, but those plans and dreams keep me going full speed ahead, and if this much can happen in 1 year, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 3/4 of my life.

Thank you all so much again for your love and support- I couldn’t do any of this without you, and I’m so excited to kick off another colourful year!

Dear Diary

So this month I’m kicking off something a little bit different, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. In the interest of keeping it simple, here’s where I’m at:

For the past year I’ve really lost track of myself, and I’ve recently decided I need to make some big changes, just in time for my 25th birthday later this month. From diet and finances to mental health and relationships, I’m going to be getting into anything and everything on here, and there isn’t much I’m going to leave off of the table. Though I may appear to be mostly visually driven, I’m actually a writer at heart, and though I love spilling out little blurbs about outfits and cute cafes (don’t worry- those aren’t going anywhere) I really miss getting into the real life stuff. So from now until September first I’ll be sharing new plans and dreams, plus special memories, fears, and maybe even a few confessions. It may not be quite as sparkly as what you’re used to, but I’m hoping in the end it will mean a little bit more.

Introducing… My August challenges.

Dear Diary

*Trigger warning- this post deals with mental health and self harm*

When people talk about my blog, they always use the same words: bright, colourful, happy, and fun.

And for the most part, they’re absolutely right. I have such a happy, magical, exciting life, and I’m constantly pinching myself in case it’s a dream. But just like everyone else, I also have darkness in my life, and though I generally keep that part of me under wraps, I’ve decided to bring more of myself to light.

I’m going to be sharing more honest thoughts and feelings on social media with the hashtag #RAOPrealtalk, but I thought I’d start off with a proper introduction here. I’ve just decided to begin working on a project that’s very near and dear to me- a partnership with CAMH to help promote their new Darkness to Light fundraiser. Created to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, and to help raise money for awareness and research in the field, Darkness to Light is a one night no-sleeping marathon- a challenge that aims to shine a light on mental illness. From their website:

“Mental illness can take some people to the very edge of darkness. For the most fortunate, family members and friends are at their side, often staying up all night to provide comfort and support—a bright light amidst the chaos and despair.”

Basically you assemble a team, try to raise money for this important cause, and stay up overnight (no matter where you’re located) to show your support. You can throw a pj party, a board game night, go camping, anything really, and in the morning everyone participating all over the world will post a #sunriseselfie. I’ll be up all night with my team (more on my plans later), but if you can’t manage, you can always sponsor a team, or “buy” a night of sleep instead.

It’s obvious why this challenge is important, but why is it so important to me?

So here’s where that honesty part comes in: I’ve personally spent some time in a mental health facility similar to CAMH, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, it saved my life.


Just like every other teenager, I always felt odd, out of place, and not quite right. As the years passed by I became more sensitive, more controlling, and ultimately more depressed. I felt like no one could possibly understand me, like everyone around me was fake and living life on the surface, and I had nowhere to turn. I started sneaking into my parent’s alcohol cabinet and taking swigs before school, and I stopped wearing shorts to ensure the cutting marks on my thighs were always kept hidden. I felt constantly let down, and like I would never be anything but alone. I even started seeing an expensive therapist, but all she did was sell me her book and suggest my issues were just related to “the plight of being a woman”.

In the end, being the hopeless romantic that I am, it would be a heartbreak that would push me over the edge from self harm to something more permanent. I fell in love with a boy in my final year of high school, and we had an amazing couple of months together hanging around the skatepark, meeting up at the mall, and driving around his neighbourhood in my car with Postal Service blasting on the stereo. The day before high school graduation, he broke it off- I was moving too fast, and what had once enchanted him had suddenly, inexplicably, scared him away. I was left with no date right before what (at the time) felt like one of the most important days of my life, and all of my plans for the future melted down into a sloppy puddle before my eyes. I was absolutely devastated.

I just barely made it through prom- in fact if memory serves correctly I ended up sleeping on the table at the after party between bouts of calling the boy who had broken my heart over and over again. I got home safely, had a good night’s sleep, and the next morning when my parents had left for their biking excursion outside the city, I decided I couldn’t take the pain any more. All the years of struggle, heartbreak and disappointment caught up with me, and suddenly cutting and drinking wasn’t enough. I didn’t think I could physically live with it anymore, so I decided not to. I assembled all of the prescription pills I could find in my house, a bottle of pine sol, and called my best friend at her boarding school to say goodbye.

I don’t want to get too heavy into the details, but needless to say my best friend called her mom who lived nearby, my mom was contacted, and later that day I found myself being checked into the psych ward at a local hospital. At the time it was the single most terrifying thing that had ever happened to me. I was in a room with a woman who constantly told me her ex boyfriend was coming to kill us, and I was taking so much medication that I half believed her. I wasn’t allowed to wear slippers because they might help me run faster if I got away, and as friends and family filtered in to pay me visits, the same look of horror registered on every single person’s face. I can still remember my cousins repeating over and over, “You don’t belong here lyss.” I even missed my final exams, which meant I could not longer attend the creative writing program that I’d been admitted to in Montreal.

I told myself I would pretend to be better, get out, and try again, but without any phone calls this time. I was determined to die.

But a few days in, I experienced a shift. With the help of a team of therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists, I was finally diagnosed with OCD, a disorder that had been pushing me into a pit of depression and anxiety without me knowing it for so many years. Suddenly my need to control my friends, to never set clocks to an uneven number, and my inability to cope with changes in plans or disappointments all started to make sense.

I left the hospital with a proper care plan in place, with a better understanding of myself, and with medication that would help me get to a healthy state. Flash forward a year, and I was attending Journalism school on the opposite side of the country, exploring my sexuality, and learning to cope with OCD. Push forward a few years more, and I was completely off medication, and learning how to use my “illness” as an advantage. Flash forward to now, and you’ll find me living my dream, building a career, and living a life filled with joy and glitter amongst inspiring friends and a whole bunch of cute animals. While OCD had once plagued me, it now helps me be what I am- a hyper curated dreamer with a very specific idea of what I want reality to be. I harness my anxiety into energy that drives me forward faster and better than ever before, and when I feel depressed I try and do something healthy instead of self destructive, like going for a run, taking a bath, or cuddling my pup.

Even now, it’s not all rainbows and confetti. Sometimes I still have lows that I can’t get past, and days where nothing seems to make any sense and I just need to shut down for awhile. I’m extremely awkward in social situations, but I’m trying to get better by forcing myself out of my comfort zone as much as possible. I know that exercise, alone time, limited caffeine, and healthy eating make me feel better, so I am prioritizing those aspects of my life. The difference is that now when I struggle, I know what’s going on in my head, and I have that tools to cope with it, and that awareness makes all the difference. Without that team in that psych ward all those years ago, I honestly don’t know where I’d be and what my life would look like, and though I was miserable at the time, I am so thankful I was able to get the help I needed in that moment. That week helped to shape the rest of my life, and that’s why safe spaces with trained professionals are so imperative- to bring those lost in darkness with nowhere else to turn back to the light.

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please send me an email at

*top image via myself, bottom image via Pinterest