get inside my head and take a look around

“Hey monkey.” “You guys need to stop having so many kids and being deadbeat dads.”

“Why can’t you guys put away the guns and stop killing each other?”
These are comments I’ve personally received in the span of 24 hours this weekend. 
The fact is, these words don’t hurt… I’m not even mad. But simply put, I am tired. I’m tired of having to explain and defend myself against extremely ignorant and one-dimensional opinions using a blanket statement based on stereotypes. I’ve become immune to hearing racial slurs being shouted my way while using transit in a city considered to be welcoming of other cultures. My experience, my education, my choices, my words, my thoughts, my feelings… all overlooked when the colouration of my skin is used to classify me within a very narrow “ideal”. 

When I’m told all lives matter, I wholeheartedly agree. All lives should matter, but they clearly do not. What happens when I’m told repeatedly by strangers that my life isn’t worth as much as theirs because of the amount of melanin my body has produced? Why is it wrong to say #BLACKLIVESMATTER in response?

If you feel uncomfortable with people using this hashtag, asking why there is a disregard for the security of Aboriginal women in Canada, or the importance of having gender parity… let’s have a positive and constructive discussion about it. 

Difference in thoughts and opinions are guaranteed to happen since we are all different individuals. However, respect should be a mandatory foundation instead of a luxury given to a select few. 

Peace, Love and Happiness y’all. 


You Don’t Complete Me

I recently went to a dinner party attended by some of my nearest and dearest friends. Always a nice pick-me-up, especially considering we haven’t all been together in spot in a very long time. What made this dinner a different was was a +1 affair. Everyone was encouraged to bring their significant other and after dinner there would be some party games. Although it probably didn’t stick out to my friends, I was the odd man out with no +1 to accompany me. I have no significant other, no major romantic love interest… nada.

I had a fun time and my lack of accompaniment was a total non-issue for the night. However, it did provoke some thoughts about love, relationships and romantically involved significant others. I’ve come to realise (a long while ago actually) that my views on love are quite different than the norm. These views that tend to stop me from the desire to pursue romantic endeavours with absolute seriousness.

My main views are this:

  • I don’t believe in someone being my “better half” or completing me
  • I think it’s totally possible to have more than 1 “soulmate” and not have said soulmate be someone you’re romantically involved with
  • I do value the ideals of companionship and love but… meh, I’m lazy.

I think for these reasons, I find myself not much into dating. Any when I do date… it doesn’t end well (HAHAHA!). Most people I mention some of these views to tend think it’s because I haven’t been in a serious relationship or found “true love”. And you know what, this could be very true! But at the same time, I feel like North American social norms keep telling me that I need to find someone to start a family with (-_-)…

I chalk up my viewpoints on love/relationships to a few things in my life. I’m a super introverted & independent person. The type of person who would go without if I couldn’t do something on my own. I don’t really see myself being “fulfilled” by being with someone’s husband & dad. Those are titles I may have one day but would never solely define myself with… at least not in this point in time.

Am I jaded? Am I going against the flow? Have I just not found “the one” yet?

I guess time will tell…


The New Guy

People around me know that I embrace change and I’m a fairly confident person. However, one thing that makes me uneasy is being the new guy. Walking into a situation/environment where you are the only new variable is nerve wracking for me. 

I recently started working with a new department at my company. Although I knew of my future coworkers, I didn’t know them. I was very nervous how I would fit in with the rest, if they would like me and etc. I guess I wasn’t as confident as I thought I was. 

From this new “new guy” experience, I learned a few things about being the situation and myself. I realised how great a new beginning can be. It’s a chance to redefine yourself, motivation to make the changes you talked about but didn’t start… just a fresh,  clean page.

+Positive Vibes Only+

A lot of my friends will tell you that I’ve changed a lot over the years. One of the biggest changes is that I made a conscious decision to make myself happy. It’s a decision that took a lot of work though. I spent a lot of time thinking about what happiness is and means to me and how to achieve that feeling. The number one thing I learned is that I need to be positive and stay positive. I think it’s easy to underestimate the role of your state of mind in our everyday life since we usually don’t put conscious thought into it.

To me, it’s important to be positive because of the binary system of positivity vs. negativity. By being negative, you’re not really doing anything to help yourself get out of the situation you’re in or change the circumstances. You’re literally stopping in your tracks saying “I am defeated, this is the end, there’s nothing I can do”. However, being positive in my opinion is acknowledging that there is a chance of a happy outcome or that things may not be as horrible as you see them right this second.

I’ve been asked a lot over the past year how I am able to be so positive all the time. (That was actually a weird sentence to type out. Not boasting, but it’s really is a question I’ve been getting a lot lately!) So here is my unofficial guide to those glorious positive vibes.

#1) Being positive is a choice. We could debate this, but I firmly believe that you need to choose to be positive. It’s the first step to acknowledging that you can do it, that there is a way out, that it’s not a hopeless cause. By choosing to stay positive, you’re giving yourself a stepping stone towards an outcome in your favour.

#2) Being positive takes work. We all want good things to fall into our lap out of the sky. But the reality is, 99.99% of things take work. Positivity is no different. Staying positive goes against our primal human instincts of worrying about what’s next, jumping to conclusions and seeing the big picture (IMHO). That’s why positivity needs to be a conscious effort. You constantly have to remind and motivate yourself to stay positive. 

 #3) It’s okay to be sad and have negative emotions. It’s unrealistic to say we can all be happy and positive 100% of the time. Situations come up, life happens, and shit hits the fan. I think it’s important to acknowledge your feelings of sadness/anger/depression. At the same time, I think it’s unproductive to dwell on them too long… you need to acknowledge and move on. And that takes you back to step #1!

 All in all, this is just my viewpoint. I’m in no way saying I’m perfect or discreding mental health issues. This is just a system that has worked for me.

Putting the ‘Hi” in Hiatus

It’s been a while!

The end of summer brought about a lot of changes, challenges and learning. And while I thought about updating my online journal, time did not permit. However, I’m back!

We’ll see how things develop with this reboot 🙂

Vegging Out

It doesn’t feel like 3.5 years have past but that’s when I first started my vegan life. I spent most of December 2013 and January 2014 watching documentaries about food and it really got me thinking about what was on my plate and going into my body. It wasn’t just all slaughterhouse documentaries. I grew up in a family where food was very important culturally, but somehow over the years it lost it’s importance on me. I was eating a lot of processed foods and had no idea what was on my plate or how it even made it’s way there. What was the story behind this meal? I think that question is how veganism made its way into my life. The more I thought about the “story” of my food, the more I didn’t want to have formerly living animals on my plate. Some vegans have labelled this as becoming conscious of your choices. By the end of that January, I made up my mind that the only way I could be truly satisfied with my meals and food choices was to become a vegan. At that time, I was also getting ready to move into my first “big boy” apartment so it was nice to have this change also be part of my new beginnings.

The last week in January while finishing packing my belongings, I made a little outline for how I would start this vegan journey. I did research a bit into it and also watched even more documentaries about it. Some people may see a vegan diet & lifestyle as restrictive but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was making a willing and positive change to my lifestyle and I think this also helped with my thought process along the way (and shut down the skeptics). Over the course of February, I was going to eliminate one type of meat from my diet and would be eating fully vegan by the end of the month. I also allowed myself one non-vegan meal per day but tried to eat vegan whenever possible. I decided to make it a point when buying groceries to buy only vegan items.


My transition plan
-Feb wk 1: no red meats or pork
-Feb wk 2: no chicken/poultry
-Feb wk 3: no fish/seafood
-Feb wk 4: no dairy/eggs or other animal byproducts


At the start, the hardest part wasn’t actually trying to eat vegan, it was more so trying to blocking out the negative feedback from family and friends. Suddenly everyone cared and had an opinion about what I was eating. I truly believe that becoming a vegan made be more resilient to negative. At the same, to be going against the norm and eating food that made me feel good was empowering. I began to win over family and friends when they noticed that my food was not bland and had plenty of colour and variety. I was also still able to indulge in my food favourites such as cupcakes, cookies, ice cream and chips in a vegan way. There are also so many “accidentally vegan” foods around that most people don’t even recognise that they are eating vegan food.


My vegan path has changed quite a bit compared to when I started 3 and a half years ago. I have posted over 100 photos to Instagram using my hashtag #cookingwithdoryane in an effort to document the foods I personally make. I also have hosted plenty of family dinners and holiday parties for friends featuring a fully vegan and down right delicious menu. It’s also been exciting to see new vegan friendly spots in Toronto and exploring some of the older ones I didn’t know existed.


If I were to give advice to a new vegan, the veg-curious and omnivores would be this: you do you. It’s your decision what gets put on your plate and goes into your body… at least it should be. I never try to push “vegan propaganda” onto my loved ones, but at the same time they’ve come to an understanding that they should not push a pro-meat stance onto me. I’ve made myself open to questions and answer them as positively as I can to the best of my abilities because I know that I would want that person to make an informed decision too… even if it ends up that that still consume animal products. It’s also important to say that adopting a vegan lifestyle may not be for everyone. Culture, social pressures, accessibility, food security, lifestyle… these are all major factors that influence someone’s diet and no one should be shamed for choosing and having what they do.