Introducing... arianek.com!

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Hello and happy late spring!

I've been a bit quiet on here lately, but it's not because I've grown tired of writing online, or any of that nonsense... I still love having a way to "talk" to you and share, and with Facebook "pages" going down in flames, this feels like the right place to keep doing that. The reason it's been quiet is because Bruno and I were giving my site a spruce up! A new design that's more colourful and has an inviting vibe.

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A few quick things to update you on:

  1. My site is no longer at westendgirl.ca, it's now at arianek.com! It felt like it was time, since it's been years since I lived in the West End and I've been using the arianek handle around the internets for a very long time now.
  2. Your RSS feed should still work, but if you want to update it and skip the redirect, the new feed URL is: http://arianek.com/feed or you can also follow my blog with Bloglovin.
  3. SpendLocally.ca, which has been offline for a while now has been officially retired, and the posts have been merged into this site. Now, when you go to the old URL you'll be redirected to http://arianek.com/category/spend-locally where you can find all the old posts. (Individual post URLs also redirect, so if I reviewed your business, Google will still get people to the post about it!)
  4. Finally, on the homepage and some other pages on the site, you'll now see three tabs - "Creativity", "Health", and "Life". All my best post on these topics can be found through these tabs, so if you have a particular interest in my posts on creativity, health, or everything but those, then these should help you read more of what you're interested in!

Huge thank you to my super talented sweetie, Bruno, who made my design ideas into a functional and beautiful new theme - one that is just as easy to read on a smartphone as on your laptop. And also to thanks to Damien at CanTrust Hosting Co-op, the local worker-owned web hosting co-operative where my site is hosted, for his awesome support and server wizardry.

Tying it all together: art + health + life

I've been tinkering with a subtitle for the site, and settled on "Finding meaning in life with chronic illness through creativity + self care". I wanted a way to tie together and give context to these two topics - health and creativity - that are so important to me but at-first-glance unrelated. That's what my journey is all about right now: immersing myself in my creative endeavours and figuring out how to take care of myself and my health needs. I'm searching for ways to live well and have a meaningful life, not once I recover my health, but right now. The future is a complete unknown, so I'm focusing on what I can do to make each day as good as it can be.

At some point, I started to avoid writing about my health online, after feeling judged and even bullied on several occasions by people in my (offline) life, who had opinions about whether or how I should be talking about it. My precarious, newly discovered sense of self-worth took a good pummeling, and I felt ashamed and broken and wrong all over again. But after receiving some pretty powerful gratitude from various friends over the past couple months (not to mention working hard to develop my self-acceptance and self-love), I remembered how much my speaking up publicly about my experiences with chronic illness has meant both to me and to others.

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I've found it incredibly liberating and strengthening to share openly and honestly, and to connect with others who are going through similar challenges. So many people - both chronically ill and not - have thanked me for helping them to understand what loved ones are going through, or how to cope with and navigate this adventure themselves. I can't let the few naysayers overshadow that. I'm re-committing to continuing to tell my story and sharing the things I learn, so I can keep turning this thing that at times feels pointless and unfair, into a way to help others and create a sense of community and belonging.

While my physical challenges are ongoing, I've been going through some major healing on the emotional side this past year. A huge part of that healing has been thanks to allowing my creative side to really come alive again after a long slumber. As I continue to explore who I am as an artist, and develop my craft, I'm excited to share that side of my journey with you all as well. Here's to creativity and taking care of ourselves - two of the most important parts of life!

xo,
Ariane