Hi, and thanks for stopping by! I’m Emily, a 30-something British expat currently living under the giant, beautiful skies of the Canadian prairies. I’ve lived here since 2000, and thanks to the miracles of modern technology, EastEnders, and Internet radio, yes, I still have the accent.

By day, I work in marketing and also own a wedding photography business, Stardust Photography, having taken years of formal education in psychology and medieval literature (because those things will land you all the jobs). By night, I’m a full-time everything else – life’s far too short to spend sitting around watching television, so I like to take photographs (and edit them to give my subjects super powers), make music (in some kind of act of rebellion to my anxiety-ridden younger self who was always too afraid to), write stories (current projects include a full-length psychological horror novel set in my former, thoroughly haunted apartment, and a children’s book involving kittens and the night sky), get tattoos, and venture into forests.

I’m a very firm believer in developing a constant awareness of our own ephemerality. (I’m a real hit at parties.) For a large chunk of my twenties, I (am not proud to say that I) had a pretty significant anxiety disorder that led to many nights overthinking, crying, sitting in silence, throwing up after speaking in front of people, wishing things were different, and generally living a bit of a miserable existence not doing all the things I dreamed of. At 25, after reading books and seeing counsellors and getting pretty tired of it, I made a big list of all those things and gave myself a year to try everything I was afraid of and everything I wanted to do. It changed my life. In recognising the sheer waste of time worrying and wishing is, realising how full of regret you’d feel at the end of your life, and switching “but what if it goes horribly”s to “but what if it’s brilliant?”s, the fuel with which you’re suddenly filled to grab life and live it to pieces becomes exhilarating. Nobody has to sit and be sad about life not being what they hoped for. Everyone can get up and actually do something about it. This goes for bad days, too.

I’m really enthusiastic about a lot of things. (I actually had packages delivered to “Happy Clap” at a friend’s house while I was moving for a period.) UK indie music, great songwriting, kick drums, the colours of an evening sky, the stars on a moonless night, my friends, my awesome husband, cat and daughter, beautifully woven sentences, unexpected kindnesses, great theatre, the scope of the universe, the mysteries of the human mind, and spontaneous adventures are very dear to my heart. I’m an INFJ – probably the most sensitive, sappy, extroverted introvert you’ll ever know. I’m an idealist and a striver for harmony. I get more excited and more disappointed than most. But I’m really enjoying practicing a lesson I learned of recently: when you make it all about you, you’re ultimately less happy. When you shift your focus, no matter whether you’re thankful or heartbroken, excited or disappointed, to the other parties involved, and simply accept things for what they are while trying to walk in another’s shoes – far less can actually bring you down. And who doesn’t like feeling heard and understood rather than arguing over misunderstandings? The need for peace should always outweigh the need to be right. And we can create our own if we just learn to let go of the need to feel wronged, and just accept.

I feel things really effing deeply. Occasional quietness on the surface masks a rapidfire of thought and emotion beneath, and though this does tend to lead to a higher than average number of sobbing fits, I also get incredibly thrilled, excited and genuinely exhilarated about relatively ordinary things. And, as I once read, “isn’t it better to be extremely happy, even if just for a short while, than just to be okay for your whole life?” I try to be an eternal optimist – no matter how hard things may seem, I believe there’s a choice of reaction with anything that life may throw at us, and a learning experience in the toughest of challenges.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life, look back on my map and see that the ship never left the harbour. Someone once said that ships are safe in a harbour, but that that wasn’t what ships were for. I want to look back and see trails across stormy seas through torrential rainstorms and bands of pirates, up to new countries and through new sights and civilizations, stopping for treasure and beautiful sunsets and meeting a plethora of all sorts of fascinating people with whom I’ll share stories and build memories and from whom I’ll learn great lessons. I want to see it full of adventure and culture and colour, and I want to be left with battle scars that tell the story of a life well lived. And if someone stumbles across my blog, and feels inspired to challenge themselves, push their boundaries and see how life can change… it’ll probably be the most rewarding thing in the world.

I’m not religious – in my early twenties, I was briefly married to someone who introduced me to (and became my reason not to join) the church, and I could never get behind anything that fundamentally fuels division, that uses unknowns as a crutch instead of personal accountability, and that offers such a breeding ground for hypocrisy. I’ve had more than a few run-ins with religion, most notably being banned from all catholic churches three weeks before my wedding (high five?), but I’ve come to the conclusion that faith in science, fact, truth, love and kindness is the religion for me. I think Richard Dawkins said it perfectly: “There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.” 

There isn’t a great deal I dislike, but people who kick the back of your chair in cinemas and/or on planes, being stuck behind slow walkers, the cold, willful ignorance, animal cruelty, closed mindedness, unexpected explosion noises and people who take pleasure from hurting others are all surefire ways to make me one very sad panda.

I’m definitely a HUGE nerd. I love to curl up with a good book, spend Saturday nights stargazing, throw Star Trek parties regularly, and on occasion, break out a life-size TARDIS. I’m a devout Trekkie, Whovian and sci-fi geek extraordinaire, and proud of it—I have a home-made WoW Night Elf costume, various starships in my office, and may or may not have travelled all the way to America solely to go to a Star Trek convention.

One of my biggest beliefs is that every single person can make the choice to live the life they want to any moment they choose to—happiness isn’t about the right circumstance, it’s about the right attitude. Life can be exactly what you want if you have the courage to take action toward making it materialise.

Phew! High five if you’re still reading!

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