Monthly Archives: April 2012

Owning It!

Today I went back in time: I got a retainer.

See, since the time that I had braces many years ago, my teeth decided that they weren’t quite happy with how they were being forced to be positioned, and, as a result, kind of moved back towards where they started from. Therefore, Joyanne needs to get not one, but two retainers in order to fix this rebellious movement. I only got the bottom one today, though, because the orthodontist said that two is a bit much and it would most likely be more comfortable to do them one at a time.

Well, comfortable or not, I definitely was having a bit of a pity party as soon as I left the orthodontist’s office. Once again, I had this appliance in my mouth that felt awful and gross and made me feel ugly and like I had to hide it. I mean, I’m 22 years old! I shouldn’t be getting a retainer; I should be spending that money on something else, something adult, like, I don’t know… like a martini… lots and lots of martinis at this rate…

And I was sitting there in my car looking at this thing in my mouth and I was starting to think about what people were going to say and how they would look at me, and then, I stopped. Again, here I was thinking about what other people were going to say about my having a retainer at 22. I started to feel a bit silly. After all, this retainer is going to help my teeth get back in line so that I don’t have to go and get braces again (and some people have to do that). I should be thankful that at least I don’t have to go get braces again. And other people (if they’re really my friends) will recognize that this is something I need to do in order to be more comfortable in the future. Yes, my teeth moved and now they’re going to move back. So what?

So, after having my little tantrum and complaining to select people, I am now deciding to own my retainer and be proud that at least I have the guts to take this little problem and nip it in the bud. Sure, I might look a bit silly, but, heck, I act silly in any case. This retainer will just add to my whole personality.

So, to all those who might try to make fun of me for having a retainer at 22, check this out:

Here’s me owning my new retainer!

Joyanne 😀



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The Birds & The Bees (But Not What You’re Thinking)

Let me tell you about one of my favourite sounds: birds chirping after winter. It’s such a happy sound and it brings a great, big smile to my face because to me, birds signify the end of winter, of cold dreariness; and the beginning of warmth and light, of playfulness.

Have you ever watched Warner Bros’ version of Thumbelina? There’s one song Thumbelina sings about the sun:

Once there was the sun/Bright and warm and wonderful/Shining like the love within my heart/Now there’s no more sun/Winter has killed everything/And although it’s dark December forever/I’ll remember sun.

Actually, now that I write the lyrics down, I see she’s actually singing about her long-lost love, Prince Cornelius, but I am going to take a literal approach to the song. All this winter, I’ve had such a hard time living without the sun. I am like Thumbelina, waiting for the light to shine again because when it does, maybe everything will be all right again. And I don’t mean to imply that this whole winter was shit. I don’t. But how much easier it is to see the light when it’s visible.

And of course, as soon as I write that, I can hear a tiny voice saying, “Ah, but the point is to see the light within the darkness.”

Grumble, grumble, grumble. Well, jeeze… what do I say to that? Am I not allowed to enjoy the sun while it’s out?

Tiny voice: “Of course you are, but don’t forget that even the darkest times have some light in them.”

Oh. So, I guess what this means is that I need to find what joy I can in the dark times too, or at least have hope that things will get better. Kind of like how Thumbelina only remembers the sun (or her love) even when everything seems hopeless.

Well, this is something I didn’t expect. I thought I was going to write a nice, little piece about spring and how I’m excited that goodness seems to shine again. Crazy brain. But I guess this tiny voice has a point, so I’ll try to remember that so I’m ready to go when winter comes again.

Just, please, snow, please wait until November this time.

Joyanne 😀

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Ah, Post-It Notes

Before you read any further, check this out:

Yes, friends, I am a huge fan of the Post-It Note. Why? Glad you asked. They are such a simple invention for the most everyday task as taking down notes and yet they can be used to create such beauty as you saw above. Seeing this kind of imagination from people puts a wonderful, light feeling in my soul because if people can take the Post-It Note and create something new from it, think of what people could do if they thought outside the box all the time. The world could be a much better place if we took a step back and saw the potential in all that is around us. Maybe we’d be able to see how the simple can indeed be beautiful and complex.

Yes, this thought came from thinking about Post-It Notes… yay for random philosophy!

Joyanne 😀

P.s. Post-It Notes are also excellent to doodle on:


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A New Look At Chastity

I wanted to share a brief story that really spoke to me when I read it:

“At the age of thirteen, Hannah received a purity ring from her parents. Through the difficult years of high school and college, she often looked at the silver band as a sign of hope – that no matter how depressing her situation might be, she was holding out for something greater. Years later, when her fiancé proposed to her, she took the ring off and gave it to him, telling him that she saved it for him, just as she saved herself for him. He thanked her for the gift, and without her knowing, had the jeweler who was making his wedding band melt the silver of her ring into the gold of his. As her husband, he now wears the two metals blended together as one ring.”

This story comes from a new book I’m reading called How To Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul: 21 Secrets for Women by Jason and Crystalina Evert. I got it on Good Friday from one of the priests in our eparchy, the one that wants to make sure we all marry well. From what I’ve read in this book so far, this priest sure knows what he’s doing by giving the youth this book because even though I haven’t read very much of the book yet, I really like it. The husband-wife team that co-writes this book presents such a breath of fresh air when speaking about relationships and how one can make sure they last.

Right now I’m reading the chapter called “Love Your Spouse Before You Meet Him.” It deals specifically with the concept of chastity. Yes: chastity. I can just feel people cringing at this word. To a lot of people the word ‘chastity’ is synonymous with the word ‘prudery,’ and to some extent, before I started reading the chapter, I agreed. But reading the Everts’ words is opening my mind to a new perspective, that chastity is not prudery at all, but actually a freeing phenomenon when it comes to intimacy. The specific quote that comes to mind is as follows:

“Chastity is not about repressing one’s desires or refusing to acknowledge the goodness and beauty of human sexuality. Instead of giving into the shamelessness of Playboy or the shamefulness of the prudes, it rejects and rises above both unbalanced attitudes of intimacy. Chastity does not blush at the sight of a female ankle, nor fail to blush when too much is shown. It frames human sexuality within the context of human love – which is something that both the puritans and the playboys forgot to do” (p.56).

I must say, I really like this concept. I don’t know how many times I’ve been called a prude because I don’t go throwing myself at men or sleep around. But according to this quote, I’m not a prude at all. I’m actually hitting the balance point. And this is a good thing. Granted, the Everts do state that living the “pure” life is not an easy one because many won’t understand, especially in the midst of a society that honours lust and promiscuity. But you know what? I wear a ring too, and even though it’s not a purity ring per se, maybe when I look at I’ll remember that I’m not alone and that greater things lie ahead for me as well. Hopefully you realize you deserve this as well.


Joyanne 😀

P.s. MEN: read this book too. So what that it says “21 Secret for Women”; this book is written from both a male and female perspective, so I think it’s worth taking a look. What’s the worst that could happen?


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Living Paradox

Do you ever listen to a song and feel like it’s talking about your life? I get that all the time, but today I discovered something different.

I’m listening to Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Yes, it’s quite popular now, but until today I hadn’t looked at the lyrics, so I didn’t really get the full meaning of the song until about 3 minutes ago, or at least what this song means to me. You know how there’s Gotye’s part and then Kimbra’s part? I am both these people. I am both Gotye and Kimbra.

How can that be? How can you be two people at once? HA! I reread that and then I retort to myself, “What are you talking about? You’re, like, three or four different people ALL THE TIME.” Already I can see myself digressing from what I was initially going to say (I’ll briefly say it: I was going to say that quite literally I am the one who’s “addicted to a certain kind of sadness” and the one who’s “reading into every word” AKA the one holding on and the one trying to let go).

But as to where this new post seems to be taking direction, three or four different people at once? How? It’s actually quite simple, although very complex. Let me illustrate it this way: I have many different people in my life, all from different parts of my life; these include family, church people, drama people, dance people, work people, etc, etc, etc. Every group is different and as a result I act differently with each respective group, therefore, I am various different people all rolled up into one.

What happens? I get exhausted! It’s an endless task trying to be everything to everyone, to show the ‘right’ face to the ‘right’ group at the ‘right’ time. I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this; there have got to be more people pleasers than just me (or is it ‘I’?).

I don’t even know why I’m writing this. It seems that I keep getting reminded that I can’t do everything and not everyone is going to like me, no matter how many faces I put on, and that really depresses me. But why? Why should that depress me? If anything, having this knowledge should help lift a weight off my shoulders, for if I know I can’t be everything to everyone, then the responsibility is gone and so should the pressure. Obviously I still have a lot of work to do with this ‘authenticity’ resolution. Granted, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to live up to myself and caring enough not to care; I just don’t know that I knew in my body just how hard it was going to be, and I have a sneaking suspicion it’s only going to get worse before it gets better…

I better not become an alcoholic (I can just imagine what my mother would say…).


Joyanne 😛

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My Human Addiction

Hello. My name is Joyanne and I am addicted to people.

This may strike some of you (okay, probably all of you) as extremely funny. But I’m here to tell you that truly, I am a people addict and that it really sucks.

I didn’t always know that I was a people addict; in fact, I only realized this about a month or 2 ago. I was reading this fantastic book called Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood (available at your local library, I’d expect), which focuses on women who have an addiction being needed (many of these women grew up in dysfunctional families or had some exposure to alcoholism or other addictions, including drugs, workaholism, etc.). The men they find themselves attracted to and attracting are those that in some way, shape, or form recreate the same environment they had while growing up. This is turn creates a cyclical phenomenon that they can’t get out of unless they then seek outside help.

Now, even though this book specifically talks about women’s romantic relationships with men, I believe this concept can be extended to include all types of relationships. One could be in a friendship and experience the same kind of feeling of, “I must help this person or else they won’t get through,” or “this person really needs me and that makes me feel good.” Well, guess what. According to M. Scott Peck, M.D. in his book The Road Less Traveled, being needed or not being able to live without someone is not love; love is being able to live without someone but not wanting to. Same thing with a truly healthy friendship. If one person keeps feeding off the other, that’s parasitism, which Peck speaks about as well (please forgive me; I don’t have his book anymore and can’t quote the exact pages, but his book is at the library too).

If I look at myself with respect to this concept, I feel it to be true. I am a people pleaser. I always want to help. I feel best when everyone else is happy, especially if I was the one to bring around the joy (pun maybe intended). However, I’m finding that the more I say yes and don’t set boundaries, the more tired I become with all this responsibility I feel I have for other people’s well-being.

At this point (if you know me well enough) you may be thinking, “But, hold up! You didn’t come from a dysfunctional family. There isn’t any alcoholism or addiction to drugs.” You’d be right. There isn’t. Interesting thing that a therapist once told me, however, is that addiction or dysfunction doesn’t have to be at the root in order for a woman to become one who loves too much. As long as something exists in childhood that then makes one begin to try and compensate for the bad feelings, that’s enough.

I was a bullying victim (and in turn, I feel like I can be quite a good bully at times as well, to my chagrin) and as a result I became so concerned with people and what they thought about me. I began to learn that if I did things for people that made them feel good, then maybe they’d be my friend and therefore I’d be worth something.

See? There’s the problem: “maybe they’d be my friend and therefore I’d be worth something.” Do I not have my own, inherent worth? A lot of the time I don’t feel I do, which is why I say I’m addicted to people.

Now, I don’t pretend to know a lot about addiction. I really know nothing. But I believe the concept of addiction is that you start with a little bit of something that gives you pleasure, and then when that something is gone, so are the happy feelings. When you crave the happy feelings again you seek that something that gave you them in the first place and you begin to crave more and more until you can’t seem to live without it because living with yourself is unbearable. If I’m by myself for a long period of time, with no people to distract me from me, I can feel pretty lousy. At that point, I will try to text, call, or Skype someone so I can feel alive again. If that doesn’t work, I’ll dive into a book (hey, there are people there too). It’s a vicious circle that goes round and round.

However *big breath* there is light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not a fast approaching train, at least I hope not). At least I know what’s going on now. It’s painful, and what’s more, it’s painful to know that I probably have a good deal of responsibility in getting this way (okay, not probably; I do). But the fact that I have this knowledge is a start and that’s something.

So, why did I put this sad tale on here (that many of you still probably think is a joke)? Because I needed to get it out there. And maybe this will help you understand a bit where I’m coming from if something seems a bit off.

Also, read Norwood’s book. Men, I’m talking to you too. It really is interesting.

Peace and be happy! (So I don’t have to work so hard ><)

Joyanne 🙂

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Gimme Some Peace!

I am now thoroughly exhausted. After being in a show (Titanic: The Musical… WOOT!) for the past 2 days, followed by a rigorous Good Friday schedule, so would you. But I wouldn’t change anything about it. At least if I’m exhausted then I know I did something.

But, even though I’m super tired and just want to go to sleep (yay for work tomorrow), I wanted to get this down because I want to remember it. For Good Friday, our eparchial youth group goes on a Plashchanystia (Holy Shroud) Hop. We’ve got about 10 Ukrainian Catholic churches in the city, so on Good Friday we make a point of getting out to as many of them as we can in order to venerate the Holy Shroud in each ‘tomb.’ At each church we do a different activity; sometimes the church’s priest talks to us, or we sing some hymns, or do the Rosary or other form of prayer, etc. I know this isn’t appealing to everyone, but I enjoy this event for a few reasons: 1. I get to see what different shrouds look like and how the ‘tombs’ are set up, which is kind of neat; 2. I get to hang out with some good friends; and 3. I always feel so peaceful after (seriously, one year as I was driving back home from this event someone hit my car with an egg and I really couldn’t be bothered to get angry, but that’s another story). Speaking about feeling peaceful specifically, I really honed in on something as we were gathered at the last church on our ‘hop.’

We weren’t the only ones there; in fact, I had never seen so many people in that church on Good Friday at that time (approximately 10:30pm). However, you wouldn’t know there was a single person there because everyone was so quiet. Actually, that’s not exactly what I mean… I knew there were other people there because I could just feel everyone’s presence when I had my eyes closed, and that to me was very powerful. Not only was there peace within me at that moment, but there was peace among all of us sitting there. No one was rushing to get out of there; everyone was just so.

The reason why this peace among the community is so staggering is because we don’t have a lot of peace in our lives, at least I know I don’t. I usually despise silence. I almost always have music on or some sort of background noise. I need the presence of other people. Maybe that’s why this silence was great for me, because I wasn’t alone in my silence. All of us were sharing in it.

Hopefully at some point I will be able to bear my own silence alone and realize that even when I’m physically by myself I’m not totally alone. But for now, communal silence feels pretty good.

God bless and have a wonderful Easter!

Joyanne 😀

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