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Here To Mars

  • September 8, 2016
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To my friends, fans and followers: From the bottom of my heart thank you for all of your continued support. You’re my everything from here to mars.

 

***

The happiest year thus far for me has been manifesting since my last birthday (sept 2015), when I stepped out from underneath my armour a little more and started sharing with the public not just my successful moments, but the darkness and vulnerability that are a part of me too.

Those who’ve been following my journey have seen a lot more raw footage of me singing on InstagramFacebook and Twitter, and behind the scenes of my REAL life on Snapchat & Instagram Stories. I’ve published blogs on my website revealing my battles with anxiety and fear. I’ve posted videos on my YouTube channel about my less than ideal eating habits, tips on meditation & wellness, and advice on continuing to strive for greatness. I have released personal songs that I’ve been hanging onto for years because I didn’t think they were perfect enough.

These are all different ways I’ve chosen to put myself out into the world as an artist, wellness leader and human being, who genuinely wants to connect and share with whoever will be inspired to watch and listen.

However, even though it may seem like it’s easy for me to be this ‘public’ with my life because I’ve been performing for 20 years- it’s absolutely not.

Sometimes I feel like such a loser. I ask myself why I bother. I tell myself my dreams are stupid and far fetched. I get frustrated and impatient with my process. I criticize and judge my progress. I compare myself to others that are “further along than me.” I pray for shortcuts. I get scared. Claim I’m unworthy. Have shame. Fail.

Most people don’t even know that I used to battle with such severe stage fright that I took medicine for it. Even though I’ve never let my extreme performance anxiety get in the way of doing my job onstage, and even though I no longer take medication due to the help of my meditation practise, I still get excruciatingly nervous before going onstage sometimes if my mind isn’t in check.

Most of the time no matter how much energy I give to people, or how much hard work I put into developing my goals, I never feel like I’m doing enough.

It hasn’t been easy building two careers over the last 10 years and I’ve had a lot of doubts about being able to make this work along the way. However, in the moments of doubt causing me to hide from the world, or beat myself up, or stand in the way of my own story, voice, song, truth… you guys have been there to give me the nudges I’ve needed to move forward.

You’ve told me that my tenacity has inspired you to follow your dreams. You’ve told me that sharing my struggles has made you feel brave. You’ve told me that my yoga classes, guided meditations and seminars caused you to improve your health and your life. You’ve told me that you’re certain I wrote my songs from the memories of your own heart. You’ve told me you believe in me. That you’re proud and to keep going.

You’ve watched closely and stood by me from that time at age 8 I used the front porch of my parents’ house in the Thousand Islands, to perform “Rapunzel” (the musical) for the whole neighbourhood. You were in the audience at the Brockville Arts Centre watching me sing “We Refuse To Fall Asleep” at 10 years old. You saw me land on my first professional stage at age 18. You sing along to my performance of the CFL “Friday Night Football” anthem every football season on TSN. And here you still are. Cheering me on as I sing in my room with no make up, on Instagram at age 30.

Well I’ve been watching too. Every like, share, comment, add, mention, repost, clap, whistle, scream, whisper, nod, and beating heart.

I see and feel it all. Every piece of art given to me, picture taken with you, every hug, every signature you’ve asked for, every message or letter that I’ve been able to open, every quote repeated, song or video replayed.

All of these things have left a signature of their own, branded into my mind and spirit.

The inspiration and uplift you have all given me all along the way drives me to keep going when I have lost all hope. I would not be as far along on my journey or as happy in my life without this support.

My achievements are your achievements. My happiness is your happiness. So let’s celebrate the victories as OURS, because alone I’d be stuck on the moon, but together we’ll make our dreams a reality all the way from here to MARS.

Every word I say I truly mean: Thank you for loving me.

2 Makeup Looks in 2 Minutes

  • August 30, 2016
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Celebrity makeup artist Roxanne DeNobrega worked on my very first professional photoshoot and music video 10 years ago, and has been the makeup goddess of my life ever since!
In this 2 min behind the scenes vid she takes me from “girl next door” to “Bollywood”. Enjoy!

Balance

  • January 21, 2016
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Janey Brown side crow balance

Believe it or not, this is actually a very controversial topic, which is why I’m writing about it again.

People who use the word “balance” in relation to how they live life, more often than not actually mean “compromise.”
I hear a lot of statements like “I don’t believe in balance because it promotes a life of mediocrity.” I’m inclined to believe however, that BALANCE itself does not promote mediocrity in one’s life. It’s the perspective of the word balance that does.

If applying ‘balance’ to your life means to you that you have only a finite amount of excellence that you’re capable of achieving and you have to divide it up and disperse it to all aspects of your life equally (which by the way is impossible, because perfect balance doesn’t exist), then yes, you would live a balanced, average life. The irony is that this very thought process is likely causing mediocrity in your life anyway because you’re only focusing on being excellent at one thing.

Balance and excellence are not binary though. If your goals are clear, you plan creatively and you follow through with massive actions, you can live a balanced, exceptional life.

Most people who “don’t believe in balance” have the limited perspective that in order to be exceptional in one area of their life, another area will suffer.
They refuse to put as much energy into their relationships as they do their business because they’re afraid they won’t have the energy to achieve their financial goals. They neglect their work responsibilities in fear of losing their love relationship. They’re so health conscious that they avoid social activity… and the list goes on.
This narrow way of living proves that even if these individuals were achieving world records at the one thing they’re putting energy into, inside of them- perhaps unconsciously- they still feel limited.

The fascinating thing is that believing there’s only enough excellence for one important area of life, is the very thing that could prevent the balance boycotters from reaching their maximum potential in the exact areas of excellence they’re striving for.
Think about it, if your perspective is limited in any way, that existing neural pattern has the capability of leaking into even the areas of your life where you feel the strongest. In basic words: if your thinking is limited- you’re limited, not matter which way you want to dice it.

If you truly only care to be excellent at one thing, then this blog won’t resonate with you and hopefully you’ll be ok with the fact that the other components of your life are mediocre.
But if you- like me- want to achieve maximum success in your health, wealth, love life, business, spirituality and intelligence, you need to change your perspective about what the word balance means.

If you know that your potential success is LIMITLESS, then “balance” becomes less about ‘picking and choosing’ select areas of your life in which you can be successful, and more about committing 1000% to acquire success in ALL important aspects of your life.
When you make love, you can give 1000% attention and effort in that moment, and then later in a business meeting give 1000% percent effort and attention in that moment. One does not have to negate the other.
In fact, the beautiful thing is success and greatness in one aspect of your life will FEED another.
When you’re successful in your career, you feel purposeful and bring your best self to your relationships. When your love life is successful, you become emotionally energized which gives you more focus and motivation to succeed in your work life. When you’re successfully healthy, you’re confident and productive. When you’re happy, it’s easier for you to help others become happy.
These are just a few examples of how demanding excellence in ALL important aspects of your life is the very act of creating balance.

So what if you knew that you had the capabilities to be extremely successful in every important aspect of your life?
Would you have the courage to work harder to achieve this? Would you get up earlier, sacrifice more, push yourself beyond your safety zone, risk falling in order to fly?
Or would you blame balance for being the reason that you’re living a mediocre life, just so you can stay comfy striving for success in just one area of your life?

When people say they avoid applying “balance” to their life, I think it’s a cop-out, a way to give into laziness. If you broaden your perspective and have the courage to give 1000% in all the important areas of your life, you will bring your life into balance with elite greatness.

– Janey

Really Wanna

  • December 30, 2015
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Janey Brown pink and brown Really Wanna album Art

Download Really Wanna on iTunes!

Really Wanna is a sexy, laid back R&B collaboration between myself and my long time musical partner, DJ, producer and MC Miles “Runaway” Jones.

The song reflects our early understanding of what it feels like to fall out of lust and into love with someone for the first time. It’s about shifting out of a young minded approach to being in a relationship for the sake of sex and company, to truly exploring and connecting with the soul that lies behind someone’s eyes.

While Really Wanna was written by our younger selves in the summer of 2007, the lyrical content and classic instrumentation provides a sweet and sexy vibe that has proven to be truly timeless and relatable to all ages, in any season.

There was a lot of emotion behind the song’s creation regardless of how concise and catchy it seems, but sometimes when it comes down to telling the one you truly love how you feel- less is more.

Simply saying “I just Really Wanna be with you” can be the difference between your loved one having a good day and a bad day. It can be the difference between them feeling alone or connected to you. Most of all, it can be the difference of a relationship that may have never existed without that honesty.

Be brave and vulnerable enough to tell the people you care about how you really feel. Otherwise, you run the risk of never finding out that they really wanna be with you too.

– Janey #janeybworld #janeybrown

LYRICS:

Lyrics by: Jane M.D. Brown
Produced by: Miles G Jones
Photographer: Maz Mohajer
Album Art: Steven Aldred

How did I find you
Where are you from
I barely know you
And I wanna’ taste your love
When I see you
I’m so caught up
We could fall for this lust
But would that be enough
And I know and I know
I was told not to rush
But it’s hard to hold back
When I’m feelin’ your touch

I just really wanna’ be with you
Oooo
I just really wanna’ be with you (you) (x2)

It’s so amazing
How time has flown
Hot summer blazing
Has now turned cold
And we remain together
I hope we stay
One of a kind forever
Ill never trade
And the closer we move
I adore what I find
On my mind all the time
Boy you’ve changed my life

I just really wanna’ be with you
Oooo
I just really wanna’ be with you (you) (x2)

You’re eyes reach mine
It’s a beautiful design
You’re eyes
Reach mine
Who said
That love is blind

Psycho

  • October 30, 2015
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To celebrate the 8th year anniversary of my Halloween tribute “Psycho” I have written a blog to share the story behind the song and my alter ego who performs it “Marella Jane.”

Psycho

Download Psycho on iTunes 🙂

 

Introducing Marella Jane:

Ok I admit it…. The star target in “Psycho” is a guy that I once loved, in fact my first love. (If you’re reading this, thank you for the inspiration.. I truly couldn’t have done it without you. 🙂 )

Of course I didn’t actually mean the things I said about following him home, choking the soul out of him, throwing a knife at his throat etc., it was just something I took prodigious pleasure in fantasizing, writing and singing about.
I don’t support violence against others (unless it’s in the ring, self defence, OR towards the guy who was crinkling his chip bag just a little too loudly on the TTC today,) so the whole “killing my X in his sleep” gesture was just an act.
The hard edge industrial rock instrumentation and creepy, raspy vocals were frankly an angsty early twenties 3 year phase and all part of the ‘alter ego’ I was performing under at the time: “Marella Jane.” So fear not, the real me isn’t a “psycho.” Although if I’m honest, I certainly have the potential of acting that way given the right or wrong circumstances.

Marella has many facets to her personality; she’s as up as she is down, left as she is right, cute as she is ugly, friendly as she is ferocious. She’s as straight forward as she is twisted. Takes no shit ever and gives zero fucks always.
In short, she has no ‘in between’. Through and through, she lives in extremes.

I can’t say I chose Marella Jane and all the characteristics that go with her as an alias for any particular reason. To be honest, she kind of chose me. In fact when I think back, I realize she’s actually always been there.

Like the time in 6th grade I gave a boy a bloody nose because he tried to kiss me. (I actually feel really bad about that still. I hope this boy has learned to love again.)

Or the time at 4am I unscrewed a hot light bulb out of its socket and smashed it against the wall a little too close to my significant other’s head, because I didn’t feel “heard”. (This stunt definitely commanded undivided attention, but it turns out nothing is worth being talked about or even thought about at 4am.)

Then there was the time I lit an entire cross country ski chalet on fire just because. (It was more like a “hut” then a chalet really and the thing was falling apart. It needed to be demolished before it collapsed on some jolly cross country adventurer.)

Like anyone, Marella can at times be disruptive, volatile, unpredictable, sarcastic, rash, irrational, irresponsible, defensive and even a little scary. Amidst these qualities though, she’s always been there for me, protecting me from potential danger and helping me to be brave when I really don’t feel it. I’ve grown to love her as a friend instead of someone I’m ashamed of. Rather than suppressing her, I give her a voice so we can reason with one another and find compromises about the actions we’re going to take.

I’ve come to accept however, that every now and then she is going to have the last word and I will have to end up being the bigger person and apologize for her behaviour.
So yes, she is difficult to live with and I work hard to manage her every day, but she’s a part of me and is half the reason I am where I am. As frustrating as it can be to come to terms with, I understand that when I embrace my dark side it actually enhances my light side.

If I’m a star, her darkness helps me shine brighter. If I’m the sun, her rain turns me into a rainbow. If I’m happy, her fear of loss helps me appreciate what I have more greatly. Without her I’d be dull, incomplete and probably a Psycho.

 

Fun Facts about the making of “Psycho”

–  This is the longest journey I’ve ever been on with a song: Psycho was written in 2008, recorded in 2009 and released to iTunes in 2010. The music video was shot and edited in 2010 and released in 2013.

–  I worked at a strip club as a waitress for 2 years to pay for the song production and music video costs, as well as the production of 5 other songs that were meant to be released on a 6 track EP along with Psycho. These 5 other songs have never seen the light of day. (The struggle is very real.)

–  I have never been as cold as I was on day 1 of this shoot (the band scenes and solo shots of me in the chair). We were in a deep freeze at the beginning of January and the building we were shooting in didn’t have heat. 14 hours of a fan blasting -15 degree wind on me, all the while strutting my stuff in 6 inch heals was an experience I’d rather not repeat. I remember near the end of the day not being able to move my face to sing. It was all worth it and I’d do it again if I had to.

–  4 months after the video shoot, the building from day 1 got turned into a yoga and fitness studio known as “energyXchange” which I taught at for 4 years.

–  Day 2 shooting took 17 hours, but was in heated buildings, one of them being my yoga client’s loft.

–  The room with all of the newspapers and burnt curtains was decorated by me. I bought curtains at value village and scorched them outside my apartment at the time. I dug a crap load of newspapers and magazines out from any recycling bin I could find, stole a shopping cart and spent an entire evening taping newspapers to all of the walls and the floors. My roommate was a saint.

–  The little “hat” I’m wearing in the performance scene with the band is actually just a bra pad with a bow on it.

–  Alexander Patrick Johnston A.K.A. “Pony” (the drummer on this song and the most wonderfully insane human I’ve ever met) was in a metal band at the time called “Baptized in Blood”. In honour of this, I arranged to have “fake blood” drinks on set. Near the end of the night, Pony had been drumming so hard and for so long in the cold that his hands, drum kit and -even a little bit of his face- were bloody. I wasn’t sure whether it was the fake blood or his own, but it didn’t matter to him because he would just say “keep it rolling!”

–  Mark Taylor known from the classic tv show “Student Bodies” and modern tv show “Flashpoint” and I met by chance outside of another gym that I used to teach at. We became friends and then he, and his bum graced us with a beautiful performance on this video. I still owe you for this one friend!!!

–  The guy playing lead guitar on my right with the bandanna around his head is Darryl “Daz” Coppins. We met for the first time that day on set and have not only become best friends but have also created some amazing music and videos together that are coming at you VERY soon!!! But that’s another story… stay tuned. 🙂

A special Thank You goes to Alfio Annibalini and Andy Curran for believing in me during some of my darkest years and for helping me find my way in the years that followed. Your time and effort in this project will be remembered forever and I will find a clever way to get our tunes out there! Just know that I’ll always look up to you guys because you’ll always be climbin’. <3

 

Psycho
Lyrics by: Janey Brown
Composed by: Andy Curran, Alfio Annibalini
Recorded and Mixed by: Alfio Annibalini
Music Video directed by: Ingrid “Monday” Johannson
Hair: Timothy Meerman
Makeup: Roxanne DeNobrega
Music Video Band Members: Coz Sullivan (bass), Jeff Glowacki (keys), Shawn Rock (guitar), Alex Johnson (drums), Daz Coppins (lead guitar)
Stalker victim: Mark Taylor
Lead vocals and Performance by: Marella Jane

– Janey

Balancing Act

  • October 21, 2015
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What does it mean to be a health and wellness professional?
Well to some, it means being a Saint:
You preach about healthy habits, so you should be engaged in those healthy habits at all times. You’re a leader so you should have all the answers.

To me it means the ability to create balance.
However, there’s no such thing as perfect balance.

In order to create a reasonable balancing act in life you need to experiment and like any practise, you’re not always going to “get it right”.
For your entertainment, here is a little tale of a time in my life where I got it dead wrong.

 

It was October 2013 on a Saturday and I had just gotten out of a very serious relationship, in a seriously terrible way.
My then freshly branded X and I had been together for close to 3 years and I had decided that it was time to enjoy my freedom to the fullest.
A Torontonian DJ named Deko-ze whom I had always wanted to see live, was playing that night in Little Italy and my girlfriend (who had also become recently single) and I were in need of some dance therapy.

Before the dance festivities were to take place, I had an all day photoshoot for the promotion of my up and coming Halloween single “Psycho,” directly followed by teaching a hot power yoga class- in which, most of my students may or may not have been questioning if their instructor in full blown hair and makeup was really a stripper in disguise.

Unfortunately, the busy schedule paired with my emotional disturbances around the break up resulted in me forgetting to eat altogether. By the time I got home after teaching to have my first meal of the day it was 9p.
I opened the fridge to a handful of spinach, one chicken breast and a bowl of gluten free spaghetti.
My girlfriend hadn’t eaten dinner either, so we split the meal to save time and start getting ready for the night.

Now, this may come as a surprise, but at the beginning of the night we had actually intended on leaving the house earlier so we’d want to come home earlier. We were more interested in the dancing component then we were getting obliterated. However, being the excellent conversationalists we both were, 2 bottles of red wine and 4 Patron shots later certainly changed our motivation to stay at least kind of sober. (FYI: On top of the fact that I was likely dehydrated from hot yoga, had basically zero substance in my belly, and consumed a fair amount of alcohol within 2 hours- I’m also a really cheap drunk. Furthermore, anytime I drink with this particular 5 foot nothing girlfriend of mine, I always feel like I’m drinking to save my life. This chick is German/Irish… Enough said.)

Before we knew it, we were attempting to cap a tequila filled flask which we had completely over poured, stuff said flask into whoever was wearing the tallest boots and on we rode in a taxi to the complete opposite side of the city.

On the way there, it dawned on me that the magical booze fairy must have come for visit somewhere between stepping out the front door and about 10 meters from my house, because faster than you can say bippity boppity BOO- we were fuckin wasted.
(You know the night is set up for disaster when the person who is always able to outdrink everyone is passed right out in the backseat beside you.)

The itinerary then went as follows:
* Arrive at venue
* Wake up mini German/ Irish booze ninja and get out of cab
* Become self conscious that we might be too drunk for bouncers to let us in
* Get side tracked by the shop next door selling cinnamon sticks
* Eat cinnamon sticks
* Forget about previous lack of courage, smile at bouncers, enter venue
* Take a hard sideways stumble into 3 people on way down the spiral staircase to DJ party
* Arrive downstairs, sway back and forth for 20 minutes, hear a godly inner voice that says if you don’t leave RIGHT NOW, you are going to be that person face down in a public toilet, in the basement of a club that is at the other end of the city from where your toilet is.
* Crawl back up spiral stairs like you’re in last place of Tough Mudder, while mini booze ninja assists you like a wounded soldier
* Get in first cab spotted
* Ask for plastic bag bag “just in case”
* Almost get kicked out of cab, but convince driver it was a joke while holding back dry heaves
* Tell mini booze ninja to keep slaying the dance floor alone
* Pass out until arriving back home

The cab driver tried to pull up beside my driveway, but upon peering into his rearview mirror and witnessing the haggard individual who couldn’t even figure out how to unzip her vest pocket to get her cash, he went ahead and decided to drive right on in.

I gave him far too much money because I left the house with $100, spent no money on drinks and woke up in the morning with nothing in my wallet. However, the gigantic tip must of helped, because this angel cabby was courteous enough to get out of his car, carry me to my doorstep, unlock my door and help me inside. It was truly the only way to get the job done.

In that moment, there was no where else I would have rather been than on the cold, filthy tiles right inside the door of my apartment, so gently that is where he let me down.
“I think this is as far as either of us can take this sir. Thank you for everything.” I say with slurred sincerity.
“Goodnight Ma’am”. He said concerned, coupled with sheer relief that he was able to shut the door and walk away forever.

The next 5 hours or so were rerun episodes of me vomiting, passing out in it, slithering a few feet closer to my bedroom like I was in a muddy war trench, and repeating the ritual.
I finally made it into my bedroom, somehow managed to take out my earrings and remove my false eyelashes, and slept for the remainder of the night.

In the morning, when I finally decided that I wanted to open my eyes and continue living, I was greeted with no money, no phone, no memory of DJ Deko-ze playing, no dignity and no food in my fridge.
I did however have possession of the completely full flask inside the boots I was still wearing, just in case I wanted to start up round 2.
My lurching stomach forced me to stagger my way up the street and get some take out after all.
Yep, still human.

The worst part of this story is really more about what COULD have happened instead of what did happen; you don’t need to tell me twice that giving a stranger my house keys and letting them take me into my house in the condition I was in was a dangerous idea. I know it was and I’m grateful he was so kind to me.

Either way, after an event like that, my harsh inner critic questions not only my credibility but my integrity in leading people through an empowering, enlightening yogic experience, when I’m seemingly incapable of even feeding myself.
Leader or not though, no one has their balancing act down pat and sometimes you need to experience what it means to go “too far”, to establish middle ground and boundaries.

Balance doesn’t mean that everything in your life is calmly flowing down the stream at ease. It means that you have been able to stabilize yourself amongst the deep and the shallow, the high and the low, the hectic and the mellow. It means that you accept all of the extremes within yourself and your surroundings and choose stand with confidence in the middle.

There’s no such thing as perfect balance. If you need sway back and forth a little to find your equilibrium, so be it; life is and will always be a balancing act!

– Janey

Miss You

  • October 13, 2015
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When the absence of someone is fresh, it doesn’t matter how angry you choose to stay at them, or on the contrary how empowered or successful you feel within yourself. It doesn’t matter how many cuties smile and wink at you, tell you you’re amazing or ask to take you out. It doesn’t matter how busy you make yourself, or what you dive into, which direction you move, what time it is or where you are. When you pause, you will still miss that person. It’s just how it works. Annoyingly, that ‘freshness’ of someone’s absence can sometimes last for months, maybe even years. But like anything, the only way you can heal it is to feel it.

I’ve been looking through many of my original works lately to choose what I’ll be releasing in the weeks to come, and I found this A cappella demo called “Miss You” that I wrote for someone very dear to me, but never showed them. I’ve since decided to re-record it and release it later this year. Stay tuned!!

I hope you’re out there reading this and if you are… I still Miss You. 😉

– Janey

Anxiety

  • October 7, 2015
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When you share a vulnerable piece of yourself with someone else, there’s always a possibility they’ll forevermore define you as being only that thing you shared, instead of seeing you as an imperfect, yet whole person. Worse, there’s a chance they could use that piece of information against you to hurt you, instead of having compassion for your struggles even if they can’t relate to them.
There was a time in my life where sharing something like this was out of the question, as I was barely able to accept the magnitude of pain I was experiencing let alone try and share it to help others. Now though, after a lot of consistent, personal work I’m in a place where I feel safe enough to do so and more importantly my fear around this has been outweighed by my heart’s desire to show others who are struggling with something similar they’re not alone.

I’ve suffered from an anxiety disorder for my most of my life. It took me several years to identify this in myself because at times it manifested into depression, anger disorders, dysfunctional eating and ADD.
After many failed attempts at finding methods to aid or eliminate these reoccurring issues, I discovered that they were in fact just side affects of the real problem: uncontrollable anxiety, which was deeply rooted to unresolved wounds from my past.
This anxiety has been known to strike at any time and can be triggered by any thing. However, the more I understand the deeper layers of my unconsciousness, and learn that my present pain is most powerful because it’s anchored to my past pain, then the less of a physical, emotional, neural and chemical reaction I have when I experience an attack.

My biggest ray of hope on this journey of healing myself, has been learning that the majority of people are capable of managing their mental illness, if they can identify, accept and heal the things in their past that caused it. Let me be clear in saying that the PROCESS of healing may be a multi-pronged approach, depending on the individual. Each and every person will have their own unique set of methods to heal; there is no fixed ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ formula.

Below is a journal entry I wrote shortly after an attack, where I attempt to describe what it feels like for me in the moment that anxiety strikes.

Boom.
I never see it coming, and it scares the life out of me every time. 
Cold as ice and crippling.
Like an invisible sledge hammer demolishing my chest, sending numbness to my extremities.
A black snake slithers in through the shards of my pounding, broken heart, and up to my neck where it coils itself around, choking off my voice. I am small and helpless compared to the monster inside, eating me alive. 
I could die. I know I need to feed myself soon, but I can barely swallow my own spit let alone think about nourishing myself with food. 
It seems like I’ve felt like this forever, and always will. 
Battling. Losing. Shrivelling.
My face is burning.
Flames creeping into my eyes, tears threatening to put out the fires.
As I stand in the middle of this crowded subway train, I try to hide behind the thickest skin I can find. I can’t rely on my own; it’s raw and too exposed.
I can’t breathe.
Why is everyone looking at me?
I get a flash: The guy that’s stepped in way too close behind me- I lose it on him. I elbow him hard in the stomach, turn around and knock him the fuck out with my right.  
But I don’t.
I won’t.
My anger is just a bi-product of the malfunctioning defence mechanism I’m clinging to for dear life to protect what’s really inside me. 
The deepest vulnerability known to man: my unresolved wounds. 
The voices are too loud to hear the music from my headphones. Worthless. Unloveable. Weak. Inadequate. Stupid. Outcast. Irredeemable.
I’m trying not to believe they’re real, but I’m confused, terrified and out of control. The pattern repeats. I feel so alone. 
Tidal waves of dark emotion keep rolling me over, crushing my body until it feels like my spirit disconnects and fades to black.

“I love your shirt” a stranger says smiling.
It’s the shirt my mom bought me when we were in California together during an extremely challenging time in my life. A sentimental piece. 
My heartstrings have been plucked and snapped back into place with a velocity that vibrates in my throat and into the whole world around me.
The tears come.
I can’t stop them any more than I could stop an avalanche.
They’re deep. Breaking free from being locked in my cells for years.
Maybe it will seem like my eyes are watering if I keep my face poker straight.
I put my head down; there’s nothing I can do about it now. 
It’s too late to give a fuck. Let the pain show all it wants.
The snakes start to retreat, my breath gets deep.
Finally a space opens up. I move to it. My chest opens up.
I’m exhausted and now I hurt.
I’m angry.
Fuck depression. Fuck anxiety.

 

It’s a powerfully alone feeling.

You decide people won’t understand you, so you shut down.
You worry that they wouldn’t want to be around you if they knew the real you, so you turn into someone else.
The stigma, the judgement, the discomfort is all you see occur in others when they don’t know how to help you because they simply just can’t relate.
But you’re not even asking for their help. You’re asking for a connection. You’re asking to be heard. To be seen. You’re asking to be accepted and loved just the way you are.

Instead, you’re told to get over yourself. That you’re too in your own head. That you must be attracting your unhappiness.
Accused of being irrational. Prompted to think of all you have to be grateful for. Reminded “it could always be worse”, which ultimately makes you feel even worse.
You’re completely misunderstood and part of you doesn’t even understand yourself. Part of you wants to abandon yourself, always looking for a way out of your own skin, out of your own mind.

Every time you have a genuine laugh or smile the darkness is just around the corner waiting to entirely consume you.
You scramble to keep yourself together so your loved ones don’t become frustrated and start to pull away, seeing you as a hazard to their happiness. A burden.
You’re paranoid. Positive they’re going to drop you. It’s only a matter of time. They’re going to decide you’re really not worth it.
You’re terrified they don’t love you enough to put energy into trying to understanding you, or to forgive you for your mistakes, or to be patient with your healing process.
You can only pray they love you enough for you to survive, because you sure don’t love you enough.

 

If you just resonated with any of this, you know you’re not alone; you and I are one and the same.
The truth is, there will be people that can’t relate to your pain, just as you may not be able to relate to a pain that you haven’t gone through, but it doesn’t mean you’re unloved, unworthy or alone. Your experiences, good or bad, don’t make you any less or any more, they just make you human. And everyone, is fighting their own battle.

Time heals all wounds. It takes deep digging into your heart, courage, patience, vulnerability, compassion, acceptance, self kindness, love and grieving of past hurt.
But day by day, one foot after the other, we’re healing.
We’re on this journey together.
You’re not alone.

– Janey

 

Facing Fears

  • September 30, 2015
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I was born to lead.
And after a lot of years of feeling stagnant and confused about my purpose, running around in circles learning the same harsh life lessons and losing faith in my adequacy as an independent person, I’m leading again.

When I say “leading” I don’t just mean coaching a group of athletes, getting onstage or preparing people for a live performance.
I mean being the leader of my own life.

When you make the commitment to pave your own path, it takes a lot of deep digging, defeat and the bravery to face fears and try again after failure.

Here’s a story of a moment in my career where I was called to level up in my position at the Joga Company, but not without first getting leveled!

After 4 years of working as a JOGA Coach (JOGA is a kickass brand of yoga designed for athletes), it was finally my time to take on the roll of a JOGA Head Coach and lead my first 40 hour JOGA coach training.
(FYI: the training was an absolutely incredible experience. I’m thrilled at the success, positive feedback, appreciation and bravery my students took in facing their own fears. However, less than month prior, this was not the same song I was singing.)

I was with the founder and creator of the JOGA program, Jana Webb, at a summer volleyball camp where on the spot she had asked me if I would be so kind to demonstrate the program for the athletes so she could assess my level of expertise.
Despite the unwelcome and unexpected surge of anxiety I felt, I thought no problem. I’ve totally got this.

Now, it’s never easy presenting a creation that someone else has put their blood, sweat and tears into, in front of the creator themselves.

It’s like singing At Last in front of Etta James.
I can actually sing a pretty mean version of that song and it would be an absolute honour to perform for her, but without question it would be terrifying.

In my mind, right there on the court as demonstrated, I gave birth to a symphony of words that seemed to trip over themselves, movements being executed in turbo speed and a group of athletes who’s expressions represented concern for the melt down that was happening before them. Basically I shat the bed.

“It wasn’t that bad” Jana said, but the 2.5 hour run down of the areas in critical need for improvement convinced me otherwise, and in any case my brain wasn’t buying the “we’re all just our toughest critics” mentality.

So I came home and cried. I felt inadequate, frustrated, embarrassed, and certainly not the leader she would probably expect me to be by now.
I felt completely underprepared and I was now afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep it together in her presence during the 40 hour training.

How could I, who’s been performing in front of all kinds of audiences for the last 19 years, who’s been teaching fitness and yoga for the last 8 years and who’s taught this particular 60 minute sequence for the last 4 years become this disordered?

Well. The double espresso right before teaching certainly didn’t help.
But also… because I’m human.

The lesson for me in this experience was learning one of my biggest fears is not getting things perfect.

Because perfectionists have a very narrow definition of success, our mistakes are much more extreme in our minds than to other people.
Due to the unrealistic expectations we have going into the activity and the overreactions we have when we make mistakes, we actually end up causing ourselves to fail more.

Life coach Victoria Turner says it well: “The only thing we can be 100% perfect at is failing, because we will never be 100% perfect at anything.” And that itself is perfect.

I found success in this challenge because in the days to follow, I made the decision that this was going to help me propel forward.
This experience ultimately helped me level up, not only in the Joga Company, but in life because I no longer see the value in holding tight to being perfect. Instead I see that that real courage is in being seen for flaws and all.

I now classify myself as a recovering perfectionist.

At the the end of the day, I am the only one that has to face myself and the repercussions of not stepping through my fear and pain when they confront me. It doesn’t mean the same fear or pain won’t return again even once I’ve faced them for the first time, but the feelings won’t be as strong and at least I’ll have proven to myself I possess the ability of overcoming them.

Remember: It’ll hurt either way. Whether you face your fears or hide from them. So just face them.

– Janey

Sharing the Journey

  • September 21, 2015
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On my Birthday this year I made a commitment to myself to start letting the world a littler deeper into my heart. I believe one of the best ways to do this is through my writing, so I decided to start a blog to allow everyone out there who’s been supporting my dreams for so many years get to know me better. Enjoy and thank you for continuing to come on this journey with me.

It’s never been like me to share my vulnerability with people. I’ve always had an incredibly hard time admitting when I’m afraid, sad or confused, even to the ones I’m closest with. I’ve always wanted to appear strong, fearless and at my best – not only to inspire others to be the same, but primarily to avoid the terrifying experience of being judged, misunderstood and most importantly alone.

The reality is there will always be judgements passed around, but these 3 major realizations now outweigh my concern for that:

1) People are able to connect with me a lot more when I share my whole experience rather than my 3 second highlight of the day through an Instagram post. This isn’t to say that every time I’m cold or hungry I need to present a life story to go along with it, but I see that it’s most inspiring to others NOT when I live and love from a painless or fearless place, but when I live and love in SPITE of my fears and pain.

2) An uplifting pep talk, quote or motivational picture can distract people from a painful and desperate situation, but it won’t end the battles they’re fighting with themselves in the long run.
This type of outreach teaches people very little about finding strength, courage and transformation THROUGH their pain, heartbreak, fear and regret. Instead, it insinuates that those things shouldn’t exist in the first place. Rather than being helpful and inspiring to others, it then becomes an unhealthy, destined to be derailed bandwagon that everyone jumps on to follow suit in making themselves feel like they have all their shit together.
Let’s be clear: Unless you’re the Dalai Lama you probably don’t have all your shit together.

3. Whether I control my anger or lash out, whether I face my fears or suppress them, whether I tell someone how I truly feel or keep it to myself, it’ll hurt either way. Often times the latter leads to more pain, so it makes most sense just to be vulnerable with people because then at least there is nothing to hide or protect.

So my promise going forward, is to share more of myself in my music, my posts and my writing. I’ll share the imperfections, the insecurities and the failures, as well as the polished creations and peak moments. In other words, I’ll share the actual journey instead of little doses of end results.

I hope you will be able to learn from my mistakes and understand that they are part of the reason I’m finding success. Most of all I hope that this will inspire you to share more of your heart with the world too.

– Janey

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