I was born on the 7th floor of the Montreal General Hospital on the seventh day of the fifth month of 1975, specifically at 12:12 PM. Somehow, these details seem convenient, easy to remember, and I think I retained this wanting to remain pleasing and convenient for most of my life.
Now 46, a wife and mother of two teenage daughters, I am quieting the other voices in my life to hear more of my own. Now, it is time to pay attention to my singular voice, to seek out and understand my truths, and to manifest the dreams I have for this precious life I have been granted.
I studied psychology, and have held a variety of jobs entirely unrelated to that field. Having always loved the arts, I have practiced creativity in multiple forms throughout my life. Growing up, I wanted to work for Jim Henson, so there was a time when I made puppets. As I grew older, I explored writing, drawing, painting, even hand-quilting. At the age of 32, after giving birth to my first daughter, I purchased a camera. For more than a decade, I explored this medium. Armed with my self-taught skills, a single lens and camera, I started my own business in documentary family photography, a medium unique in my area, and one that would eventually lead me to travel to places I never imagined it could. My photography journey taught me that the most magical things can happen when you simply choose to begin.
But, at the age of 42, the shining light of photography dimmed for me. For nearly three years, I have barely picked up my camera, nor have I picked up a pen, a brush, or a needle and thread. Instead, my creativity bubbles up in unusual ways, in the way I started to care for myself, how I do my hair and makeup, the palette of my wardrobe, the way I decorate my house, and especially in the way I speak up. I have begun to look at Me, Elisa, with fresh and loving eyes, capturing mental images of myself, allowing to see my beauty, and my imperfections, too, when exposed in less-than-flattering light. It doesn’t feel like creativity, per se, but it may very well be my most important work of art.
This new, unknown, transformational time has made me take pause, and like any great creative project, it has made me think out of the box, beyond the confines of how I once painted my image, and to examine my life, my hopes and dreams, from a new perspective. I am setting out to encourage this transformation in myself, this “New Me” the same way I encourage my own children in their own growth. My hope in taking this course would be to learn how to write the book that I most want to read right now, for women like me, and one that my children could one day read and see that growing up is a life-long, imperfect, non-linear process, and that it is ever-evolving.
Yes. I would write it for myself, and for them, too. This will be my legacy.
Two weeks ago, after pulling my beloved copies of “Spilling Open” and “Brave on the Rocks” from my bookshelf, I was hit with an idea so intense, so overwhelming, I wanted to explode. I felt like a suitcase, busting at the seams, begging for its contents to be discovered. I divulged my grandiose secret to a friend: I would write a book, a multi-media memoir. I would use my art supplies that had been sitting in storage for years- my watercolours, pastels, the variety of papers I have gathered over the years, old family photos, and new ones, too. I would make collages, something foreign to me. I told her I did not know how to write a book, or when I would write it, either. With the same excitement one feels at the beginning of any new journey, I purchased a journal, and, pen to paper, the words have flowed out of me like water ever since.
My story wants to be told. I just need to begin.