I want to discuss my top 3 achievements. For me, it's hard to look at what I've done and accomplished because I'm always more focused on goals, and the next thing I need to accomplish. I'm taking the time to talk about my successes. When I start talking to someone, these are my top achievements that are usually unknown. It's not something I share first thing. Folks are usually surprised by these particular achievements, I wonder why...
When I was 9 or 10 I started Taekwondo. I loved it, I eventually climbed up the belt ranks so I could do weapon training, I went to a few tournaments which I didn't exactly like but I won a few matches. I really really liked weapon training tho. I was skilled with sharp reflexes. I learnt how to use a baton stick, nun chucks but also my favourite, the bow staff. I still have all my weapons today and on the rare occasion I take them out, I get back to it, It's all muscle memory. When i was 14, I got my black belt. I trained 5 days a week, minimum an hour. Saturdays I remember doing several classes in a row, kids/youth class, adult class, youth weapons and then adult weapons. I was between ages and attended more classes and I worked really hard to get the black belt. I was talented at sparing and I could remember my patterns for each belt. When we did our tests for our belts, I broke many (7?) boards at once, I did trick kicks to get high boards. Depression come over me at the age of 13. My parents had to help me achieve my black belt by a little bit of bribery and encouragement. I wish I could get back into it a lot. Whenever someone has a punching bag, I'm all over it and I can kick pretty hard and high as well as do combo kicks quickly still and I've got a swift heavy hitting punch. Maybe one day when I have the money, I'd love to join a club again. I love martial arts, It's grounding, exhilarating and stimulating.
Somehow, with determination, courage and accountability I acquired 2 (Canadian) university degrees. My first degree I started straight after high school, I finished on time with everyone else, some semesters taking more classes then needed, making my full course load even fuller. I commuted a good hour and a half into Toronto, to go to art school. I studied the advertising and graphic world. I graduated on time and finished my thesis. I was then chosen to be one of the 10 people of the cohort who got to present their thesis in front of a panel. For the record, I don't remember at all what I did for that presentation, I was dissociating so much I actually just have the memory of being in the lecture hall leaving my seat for the podium and that's all for the day. After that presentation, I landed myself in the hospital for the first time in the mental health ward for 2 weeks I think. Despite being unmediated and just starting therapy in my whole art school career, I worked relentlessly. I mean it when I say it, in school, any school i had to work extremely hard to get acceptable, passing grades. Art school refined my craft, I learnt about numerous things, I learnt work ethic and I gave it my all and that gave me a Bachelor of Design, majoring in Advertising.
After my first degree, through working in an internship as well as through school, learnt that I did not want to be in the big corporate advertising or design firms. I felt too stressed and I was overworking myself. I didn't enjoy working in the field all the time however, still, i take the occasional design job or volunteer opportunity. I use the skills I've learnt are so transferable in my life.
I started working in a school and I loved the bonds I created with the kids I worked with. I took a year break after the my Bachelor of Design to work a little bit and to start actually recovering. I then applied for a program in education. I got in for the following September. I has signed myself up for a condensed 2 year program, summers included. My Bachelor of Education took 2 extra semesters. After the first year, I did a reduced course load which i finished this summer. During this degree I definitely learnt about the education system and how to teach etc. However one of the most important skills I learnt for myself was to advocate for myself. I was out the the entire cohort and staff at that school as transgender, to call me the names I had chosen (which changed during the program) and to use my pronouns. I also came out in placements, sought support to do that as well as advocate for accommodations for my mental health. I'm proud of myself for working so hard and completing something I really wanted for my career. During that degree for 7 months, I did intensive DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) twice a week and I had moved in with a girlfriend at the time. I was away from home for the first time and commuting all over the region for therapy and class. You can imagine I was extremely busy and stressed however, my heart was in it. There was A LOT of speed bumps but in the end, I did reduced course loads and was able to focus better. That focus lead me to succeed my last 2 placements as well as my last classes with flying colours.