I recently moved to the big city of Toronto. And let me tell you, it’s a different world here. On one hand, I love it. On Saturday, I did a full day of Fringe shows with a friend from out of town. On Sunday, I met up with my roommate from undergrad and we went to a café with board games. Plus, living with Ashley is the absolute cherry on top. Actually, scratch that, it’s like a whole other sundae.

But. Like any other big city, this place can be soul suckingly awful too. Dramatic? Perhaps, but I like to give both sides of the argument.

Thankfully, last week I picked up a copy of Starkid’s own, Julia Albain’s book, A Glamorously Unglamorous Life. In it, Julia recounts her adventures of living in New York City. What I didn’t know when reading the book was that it was like taking a glimpse into my very near future while simultaneously letting me know that I wasn’t alone. There were others who understood.


So, I recommend this book to any artsie who’s losing steam under the woes of the big bad world. Here’s what I took away from it:

Lessons I Learned from Julia

  1. This one’s not really a lesson. Just something I completely agree with. In the chapter titled “Quarter Life Crisis”, Julia says that people tend to fast track the decision of what they are going to do with their life “without really looking at all the details involved.”

    I have been saying this since my senior year of high school. Who at sixteen has figured out what they want to do for the rest of their life? You’ve barely experienced it! Julia brings up a valid point: take some time. You don’t have to decide everything right away.

    I don’t mean to say that you should wander through life. (Though I don’t think a little wandering ever hurt anybody.) Explore your options, but give yourself a date. Be it one month, two years, however you see fit. Decide when you need to have a plan and go from there.

    Phew, sigh of relief.

  2. The Ugly Cry.

    It’s okay to have them. Anywhere. At home? Yup, shed away. At a café? Bust out that sob. On the subway? Why not?? Set those crocodile tears free!

    My immediate reaction to this part of the story was “preach sister”.

  3. What you do doesn’t define you.

    Yes! I recently took a job as a telemarketer and, well, it’s… it’s soul crushing. Last night I had four hours of people saying no. So needless to say, it was a huge confidence booster. After my shift, Toronto decided to go apocalyptic on me and flood. The subway shut down, there were no buses, and I did not think to bring my umbrella with me when I left home. Awesome.

    So, I threw my cardigan over my head and, thanks to the wind, looked like some version of superwoman with my cardi-cape flying stoically behind me. Which brings me to part two of this lesson: LAUGH.

    This wasn’t even the worse day I’ve ever had. So there was a little rain. So I was wearing a white satin blouse that was soaked through. So what? Laugh. It’s just easier. As Julia says after discovering a mouse and a nasty leak in her apartment, “laughter trumps fear always.”

  4. “Your problems are not real problems. They are just challenges.”

    This might be my favourite. We are so focused on ourselves these days. And it’s not just our generation. Everyone, young and old, is at their own center. Like yesterday, sure I had a bad day but compared to a friend of mine who worked 12 hours, I had a great day! It’s all about perspective.

    I was really inspired by Julia and her honesty. She lays out all her struggles, breakdowns, moments of weakness, yet combats those with moments of pure gratitude and love. If this book has taught me nothing else, it’s that you have to embrace the good with the bad. Life can’t always be rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes those damn clouds are going to show up too.

So thanks Julia. Thanks for being an artist and sharing your story.

Hope you have a week full of rainbows!


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