still I grow (a poem)
Shakira, Shaquiera, Same name, 2 very different people. One of them acclaimed. The other feelin a bit of place in her own domain. A struggle to maintain…
Born in the city. Childhood melodies tinged with a melancholy ring. Be safe, don’t do that, These fields are gonna swallow you. Travelled to the country. Different context but teen melodies had the same sting. Be safe, don’t do that, These fields are gon’ devour you
Don’t give them your power, continue to bewitch. Now Switch. Tell me how it feels, To be somebody else. Now switch, Code switch. Am I even real? An imposter performing in this endless reel. Someone please… Tell me who I have to be? To get some reciprocity
They attach the word “ugly” to my complexion. “You’re pretty for a black girl” they tell me. “Smart for a black girl” much to my teacher’s delight. “bright”, “strong”, “exceptional”, “bisexual”, “Black”, “fast”, “angry”, “loud”, “underclass”. Must surpass. So many different labels, don’t know which one to believe. I can’t breathe. Tired woman, always in a fright, ready to take flight. Questioning everything like the greats that came before me. I wonder why we take from our women? Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
Losing my mind on a tiny error. No, no, no, no,
Can’t be mediocre. Over and over, they tell me “no”, “don’t go”, “don’t grow”
But everything inside me screams No, no, no, no. Don’t lose who you are.
No need to hide your scars. It’s okay not to be okay. Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart. Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising
Nowadays adult melodies are confusing. But I’m not losing. Gratitude is a must. Family, friends, and mentors are what I trust. When I look at where I’m coming from, I know I’m blessed. Still a bit stressed. But It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day. And with the more I know, I’m feeling it in my soul. Something is changing. The future is out of my control but still, I grow.
Spotify: Still I Grow
Where you can find my art: When I began writing my bio I noticed how important music has been throughout my life. Not only is music one of my absolute favourite hobbies, it’s also an important tool I use to help me process my emotions and our world at large. I decided to take lyrics from some of my favourite songs to help write the above poem about my life. This includes music that speaks a bit to my Black Indo-Caribbean heritage, helps me process, makes me happy and keeps me motivated. The playlist with all the songs included in my poem can be found here.
Have fun listening, I hope you enjoy the journey! Can you figure out which lyrics came from each song?
Hey there, I’m Tam 🙂 I’m an entrepreneur with a passion for baking and a high interest in Japanese culture. Life has been a rough one if we’re being honest. I can’t say I’ve seen it all but I’ve seen enough to break me internally. A fake smile has always been my best talent and it hasn’t been an easy road to shake off. The past few years I’ve learned a lot about who I am individually without others and what I want to do to be better. Loving myself is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to achieve but I’m getting there. I refuse to let the minor things in life keep me from being happy. As Lilly Singh has said “Happiness is the only thing worth fighting for in your life”. I firmly believe in this to the point that it’s tattooed on my arm. So these days I’m just enjoying the achievements, relishing in Japanese culture, traveling, and being the me I want to be. Not the one people expect me to be.
I wrote a book that might be the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s a poetry book that reflects trauma in relationships. Poetry has let me release some of the baggage I carry from day to day and I hope this book tells someone their not alone and that someone understands.
Hey I’m Marcela, a passionate advocate for mental health and well-being. I have a degree in Psychology and have dedicated my career to helping vulnerable populations like women who have experienced gender-based violence and people with neurodevelopmental disorders. I believe in the power of giving women and young girls a voice and that now more than ever, women are speaking up and are being heard. I am dedicated to causes related to women’s empowerment, self-acceptance, body positivity and self-esteem. Recently, I decided to make a career move into Digital Marketing and I’m excited to bring my experience and values to the digital world. In my free time, I enjoy reading, going to the movies, spending time with my family and friends and as a good Mexican, enjoying good food!
Hello there! My name is Lia and I am an aspiring photographer and graphic designer as well as changemaker, originally from Toronto and living in Montreal for the past four years. My drive to support the young people in my community started for me when I was thirteen years old, when my good friend Tessa and I began the We Give Consent campaign. Seeing and learning the prevalence and normalization of sexual assault and harassment that women had been facing in my community and outside of it, the two of us decided to advocate for consent to be taught in Ontario schools where the conversation had been nearly nonexistent. Though the fight for this policy continues in Ontario and elsewhere, we had the opportunity to create a successful petition and speak out at several occasions on the importance of teaching consent in schools which I am beyond grateful for. Fast forward to now, as I am finishing my Bachelor of Arts in psychology, I maintain my passion for supporting and centring the voices of women, especially those whose identities lie at the intersection of various oppressive structures of race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status, and have become passionate as to how an element of community can be brought into the world of clinical psychology which often seems to over emphasize the individual. At Grow Still, my goal is to combine my passion for the arts, writing, psychology, and social activism, in hopes of fostering a space and community that is safe, accessible, and future-driven.
Namaskar! I was born and raised in Mumbai, India and moved out at an early age. After spending several years overseas and some unplanned events later I moved to Canada during the lockdown. I’m a software engineer at an Artificial Intelligence company based in Boston. It allows me to develop my analytical and creative skills. To complement my technical job, I work with CFIC and Ashtanga Yoga Montreal. AYM gave me a sense of community as a newcomer in Canada and provided me a space to continue my Yoga and Dhyaan practice so I could work on my physical and mental self.
It is my pleasure to join Grow Still because I can relate with its mission and identify with the team members. Being an emerging adult, it’s difficult to navigate through life and I think Grow Still is providing a valuable service backed up by well thought out principles and carefully planned workshops. I especially want to reach out to young adults who are also newcomers in Canada, like me, so we can support each other and contribute to the communities we have chosen to be a part of.
Where you can find my art:
You can find my music on Instagram and SoundCloud.Instagram: @rohitriffs
My favourite song right now: Youngblood by Russian Circles
I am a nomadic, pansexual, polyamorous community leader on a Mission for Human Transformation. Throughout my life, since I was just a baby, I had various health issues, which got worse when I hit puberty. I was a high-functioning anxious person, dedicated athlete, enthusiastic and stellar student, and partying became the perfect way to let go and be free. Alcohol allowed me to be less shy, and was usually shared with good friends and good music. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, especially because I was still managing to perform in all aspects of my life…until one day I couldn’t do anything. The effect of substance abuse was insidious, because what was developing within me was a chronic invisible illness, which Western medicine labels as ‘fibromyalgia’, a condition that is deeply-rooted in one’s nervous system and therefore initiates widespread, diverse and pervasive symptoms. Grow Still was born within my spiritual awakening, which unsurprisingly coincided with the beginning of my path to healing holistically through alternative medicine. Listening to my body, seeking professional help within the community (instead of following the chaotic maze of the quebec healthcare system), and committing to sobriety are just a few of the elements that colour the direction and values of the organization. I feel blessed to be alive and so grateful for the cards I was dealt, because they allowed me to find balance and purpose at a time when humanity really needs emerging adults to be Awake, empowered, and responsible for their own health and happiness in order to shift global consciousness.
Where you can find my art:
My playlists can be found on Apple music as Jazzi. They are special to me because they are the soundtrack of my life for the past 5 years, sort of like a musical journal. There is one, sometimes two, for every season. I don’t make them with a specific intention, mood or genre in mind – they simply reflect the vibe I was in and the music I was discovering and which was calling to me. Listen on shuffle and enjoy the journey!
My favourite song right now: Yes by David McAlmont & Bernard Butler
I’ve been a corporate lawyer for over a decade and have participated in a couple of boards.
In my previous roles, I served as legal counsel for top tier bank BNP Paribas and for the Canadian government at the Embassy in Berlin advising on a wide variety of legal matters affecting the business and managing legal aspects of these organisations corporate, legal and transactional activities. During the course of my career, I participated in numerous corporate and investment banking operations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. I also served as board member on the Québec Bar Association regulating the legal profession in Québec. The discovery of Grow Still was coincidental but I feel really lucky about that. It follows the footsteps of my last board Fondation Marie Robert in the sense of working with mental health, rehabilitation and well being. I received my Juris Doctor and Law Degree from Université de Montréal and my degree in International Law and International Relations from University of Quebec in Montréal. I am an avid diver and yogi, and my next goal is to learn how to sail – if you have any tips let me know!
Woman of the world, Young mother, Domestic Abuse survivor and supporter of youth focused health and wellness.
Certified Teacher of English as a second language I have spent most of my emerging years travelling, learning and settling into motherhood. Bilingual work experience started in Nantes, Fr teaching business English to civil servants before returning to Canada in 2015. Upgrading the skillset as a customer service representative for VitalAire (AirLiquide) Specializing in home healthcare: Respiratory care. Realizing the healing power of the lungs I deepened into the knowledge of breathwork with Yoga teacher certification after a series of personal somatic downturns. In 2020 I took a leap of faith and opened my first business alongside a fellow yogi – creating safe spaces for women to shop, enjoy strengthening invigorating free speech while swapping upcycled goods at our pop-shop style gatherings – The Lab Collective despite the chaos of the “demic” we gradually grew into more mentorship themed activities as we noticed our communities need for connection and guidance. Early 2022 was when the cleaning component expanded our vision as living in tourist town in western B.C brings many Air BnB turnover opportunities creating healthy emerging youth focused income solutions for seasonal structure. In addition: the program offers meditation and contemplation for mental health and stability. Joining forces with GrowStill will help us reach more like-minded people in need and tackle the systemic issues from East to West!