Blog My Life.

If you’ve been anywhere near YouTube lately, I’m sure you’ve seen a million “Draw My Life” videos. I love watching them and had thought about doing my own, but I’m not really a YouTuber so I decided to do a written version… blogging style. I’d love to hear your own life stories too, so if you want to take this blogging prompt and go with it, feel free to link up your own post below!

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

I was born in the city and my family moved us to the country when I was two years old. I lived in that same house until I was able to move out on my own.

My brother is three years, three months, and three days older than me, and growing up we were never really that close, but I looked up to him and thought he was the coolest person.  In our early years, both of my parents worked so we were babysat over at my neighbor’s house. She was a mean woman and thinking back on it I don’t know why we didn’t tell our parents about how cruel she was. I distinctly remember one time when she brought all of the kids over to our house to use the above ground pool in our backyard. We were running around the edges making a whirlpool and she was standing on the outside. As I ran past her, she grabbed my head and dunked me under the water… holding me there. She knew that I always refused to stick my head under so I think she did this to humor herself. One day, my brother and I were outside waiting for our parents to arrive home and he told me that he found some coins and that we should bury them in our garden so that when we break out of the babysitter’s we will have some money. So we did, and they’re probably still there.

A few years later, my mom left her job and decided to start her own home babysitting business.  My mom was always involved in helping out at the school I went to and was basically just known as being a nice person. In fact, I cannot ever recall her getting angry or swearing or anything like that when we were kids. I’ve never heard my mom swear, ever! My dad was the manager of a metal plant and we used to build things together. Barbie houses, cat houses, wood crafts. I used to think he was the best!

I went to a public school that was just up the street, so was lucky enough to never have to catch a bus and usually rode my bike with friends.  Since our town was so small, my class grew up together. The exact same people beside me in the same classes in every grade for my entire kindergarten through grade 8 life.  I enjoyed school, but I also was mysteriously sick all the time. I remember moments before my mom sent me off to school where I would just stand there and think to myself “I can’t go to school today I feel sick.” so would tell my mom, and actually physically make myself sick. Now I realize that this was the earliest days of my anxiety and I wish that somebody would have noticed it earlier. I had 65 sick days one year, and thankfully my grades were always good and I was always able to keep up with the work because otherwise I’m sure they would have failed me. My mom spent countless days taking me to the doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me, and there were never any answers, and there wouldn’t be because I now realize it was all in my head.

Around grade four, my life started to change. My dad was an alcoholic and it was the first time I began to realize what that actually meant.  I discovered that he had this secret life where a bottle was more important than his family and wasn’t the awesome person I thought he was. I realized that my mom wasn’t happy.  The school had me see a therapist every Tuesday, and we just talked about life and stuff, and him. My classmates didn’t understand why I had to leave the room every week and I never told them.

About a year later, I got really into drawing and writing. I was always drawing, but this is when I actually decided that I wanted to get better and had my mom sign me up for these cartooning classes for kids. My teacher’s name was Gary and he used to play the voice of a rat character in the Muppets. He was amazing and I was so inspired by him and his attitude. The classes were held in the back of his art supply store and those were probably some of the best times of my childhood.

Soon after, I wrote a book called The Dust Bunnies and created all of the artwork for it and everything. It was about a fluff of dust (with bunny ears) that ran away from home and had a great adventure along the way. There was a life lesson in it and everything! My principal got a hold of it from my teacher and called me into his office. I thought I was in trouble when he asked me “Did you write this?” I nodded. He then proceeded to tell me that I should get it published. I didn’t get it published, but it was the encouragement I needed to continue writing. I wrote and wrote and wrote.. Poems, stories, even attempts at novels.

In high school, it was hard for me to make friends with people at first. I think that having been split up from that one group of kids that I shared classes with every day and thrown into this sea of 2500 other people was overwhelming to say the least. There was one girl who I had met at an orientation and we totally hit it off because we were huge fans of the same band. We became instant friends. I had made it into the school’s art program after auditioning (you had to audition in my school… it was a special school for the arts) and she was in my class! I met another group of awesome friends who lived in my area and we had some of the best times together. We spent what seemed like every moment hanging out at each others houses and just being crazy teenagers. I still miss those days. They were carefree and full of laughs. I even experienced my first kiss (it was gross by the way… saliva all over the place! I laugh every time I think about it), and first high school boyfriend, which I think only lasted 2 weeks.

The next year, everything changed. I felt like that tight group of friends abandoned me and went their separate ways. I became closer with that girl I mentioned and we started going to concerts together. We met two new guys in our school who were a year older and dated them. This was my first longer-term relationship and it felt magical. We all had so much fun together.  And then one day something tragic happened.  We were out at the movies when my friend’s mom called and said that my boyfriend’s mom needed him to go home immediately. She picked us up and drove us to his house. There were cop cars and lights flashing. We were scared but she wouldn’t tell us what was going on. After we let him out of the car she turned around and told us that his dad has just killed himself. He shot himself in their shed. After that things weren’t the same. I tried to help him out the best I could, and even got the school to let him stay after they told him he could no longer attend there (I think because he was missing classes or something and like I said before, you have to audition to get into the special programs and when not pulling your weight you can be dropped). We were okay for a while, but then things came to an end.

My parents decided to separate. My dad’s alcoholism had become too much for any of us to handle anymore, and his many failed attempts at rehab became frustrating. I hated him for this. He had lost his job due to his problems and it was useless trying to help him anymore.  All of the stuff we dealt with over the years emotionally were because of a stupid drink. I was so happy that my mom finally put her foot down and decided that it wasn’t worth her (and her kids) being miserable all the time. When he left, the house felt like a weight had been lifted. I remember my grandmother saying that we all had a different vibe about us. It was what needed to happen.

During this time is when I discovered my love for music and rockstar stalking. Going to events and concerts with my art school friend turned into a whole new life outside of class. We skipped school some days for shows, stayed in hotels, camped out at venues, and just had an all around crazy time while chasing band boys.  I met some of my best friends during these years, all of which to this day I still talk to, as well as my best best friend who was almost like my sister. I stopped hanging out with the arty girl eventually for various reasons, but when high school ended, my new groupie friends and I had just started our adventures. We snuck into shows, had hotel parties, drove far and wide for events, we became friends with some of our favourite musicians, we experienced things that only us would understand and remember for a lifetime.

I went to visit my dad for the first time at his newer place with my brother. It was probably one of the worst memories of my life because he said hello to my brother, and then asked who I was. He didn’t even know who I was! I felt so small and angry. By this time, the alcohol had pretty much taken over his mind. Like, seriously ate away his mind.  He had hallucinations and would call our house all the time saying the weirdest stuff. He truly believed that I lived with him (only I think I was a younger version of myself, and apparently was 2 inches tall and lived in a potato chip bag) and he would ask my mom time and time again to come and pick me up because I wouldn’t leave. I honestly don’t even know how he managed to live on his own for so long. If there is anybody who has seen the full extent of what alcohol can really do to somebody, it’s this girl! I realized at that moment in his apartment that my relationship with him was over.  That was the last time I saw my dad.

I met my new boyfriend and was head over heels for him. I got my dog, Bear, and then I decided around that same time to get my own place in Toronto and leave the nest. I was terrified and excited. I couldn’t wait to have a place to call my own but I had never lived anywhere else before, and I had no idea what I was in for. My new apartment was a couple blocks away from my boyfriend, so I’m pretty sure I was most excited about that. Moving day came and went, and that night I felt like I was living that Taylor Swift song Never Grow Up. I laid in my bed all alone and wondered if I had done the right thing. It felt so weird. I was no longer down the hall from my mom and I was in the middle of a random city. And all of my stuff was there. There was no going back, and I freaked out a little bit. It didn’t take long to get comfortable with my new space though and soon I was fine with being on my own. Although, every weekend I visited my mom she would cry when I left!

Around this time in Toronto my anxiety started to come back. I didn’t want to go out anywhere besides my boyfriend’s place. I would never admit this and was always quick to make an excuse about why I didn’t want to go out. Everyone was oblivious, and I was great at hiding it. About a year and a half later, he randomly broke up with me. I was crushed. The worst part was that he didn’t even have a reason. He just kept saying that he just didn’t want to be in a relationship, and I didn’t understand because we were supposed to be in love. We did love each other, which is why it was so strange. Or at least we thought we did. There were no signs at all.  It took a long time for me to get over that. The worst part was meeting up with him a month later to and having him tell me that he was dating somebody else. Burn.

I became isolated. I turned myself off from friends and even my best friend in the entire world, who had been by my side since our band loving days. I made the decision to move out of the apartment and buy a condo in another part of town. I thought it would be a good investment and would have rather paid a mortgage than rent. My realtor and I found a place on the first floor of a nice building. I signed the papers and it was mine! I lived there for about 2 years I think. Had another relationship, and ended it when Dustin came along. You can read that story on my about page.

When Dustin moved in it was life changing. I’d always been on my own and didn’t really know how to have a room mate. Thankfully we made it work. Since he was American, we struggled with immigration documents and getting him legalized so he could actually work here and stay for good. That part of our relationship was stressful, and took about 2-3 years just to get his permanent paperwork.  After a year or so of living together I decided that I wanted out of the city. I couldn’t stand it anymore and wanted to be back in the country. I found a new development that they were building by the beach and bought a house. We are going on three years living here now. My mom still lives in the house I grew up in, my brother and his wife had a baby, and my dad is now in a care facility somewhere.  I’ve recently reconnected with that old best friend again and am pretty happy right where I am.

So there is my life story, in a nutshell. There is obviously so much more to it but I did the best I could of condensing it into one blog post!

Note: I didn’t talk about my business endeavors in this post because I already covered all of that here, in my Building a Business series.

I’d love to hear your story too! Add a link to your post below. You don’t have to link back to Wonder Forest, but I would love it if you did 🙂


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By Dana Fox

Founder of the Wonder Forest blog and brand and bestselling author of the Watercolor With Me book series.