My familia

Family 2This past week I spent in San Francisco celebrating my Grandpa and Grandma Marston’s 60th wedding anniversary. It has been just over 5 years since the last time I went to San Francisco and to be honest I am sad to say I don’t really have the opportunity to go down to visit with my Dad’s side of the family.

My Dad moved to Canada from Pakistan over 40 years ago at the age of 19. Needless to say this is still mind-blowing to me, the 33 year old freaking out about moving across the country in about 3 weeks here. Every now and then he tells me stories about the culture shock he experienced and how hard it was those first couple of years here on his own. He lived with relatives and friends all over the country until he settled in Winnipeg and returned to Pakistan to marry my Mom (Happy 35 years Ma & Pa) and bring her back to Canada and about a year and half later, I was born. All of my Dad and Mom’s families immigrated out of Pakistan to join us in Winnipeg or move to England and San Francisco.

My childhood in the lower-middle class was not often filled with the riches and spoils of some of my friends. We didn’t go to summer camps, fly off to many tropical destinations and were not involved in a ton of extracurricular activities available outside of school. My childhood was filled with playing pretend with my cousins, trips to the lake with my big weird Paki family, the best stories from my Dad on long greyhound bus trips to San Francisco and a lot of love and laughter.

Visiting with my family in San Francisco, seeing my frail Grandparents so excited to tell all their old dirty jokes and songs to all their grandkids, getting to know the fine young humans that I am blessed to have as cousins and my hard-working and uncles and aunts; I realize that I am made from some pretty sturdy stock. It gives me faith in myself coming off a year where I spent most of it doubting myself, and sending me into a year where I need to believe in myself more than ever.

I have been playing it safe for too long because I just don’t believe in myself. I worry that I am not capable or worthy of my dream. This week,however, reminded me that I am the daughter of a badass, hustler of a Dad and supportive, loving and strong Mother. I belong to a community of insane, neurotic, hilarious, beautiful, talented and strong people that I am blessed to be tied to by blood and all the comedic material they supply me, is icing on that sweet cake. Every time I worry that I am not worthy of all the things I hope for in 2016 and the years beyond, I am going to remember WHO I am and WHO I come from.

2016 is already shaping up to be a year that is going to change my whole life as I head off to Toronto soon. I  am so excited to break free because this weird, funny, smart and creative human being is ready to live her passion and not doubt or deny who she is and what she wants to do with her life anymore. My New Year’s Resolutions is to honor my family by positively contributing to the world with my gifts and passions. I want to use my words to help those less fortunate than me, make people laugh and maybe even inspire someone.  I want to add that light to the world for my family.

23 days and counting…

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Free to be me

I wrote this song, poem or whatever you want to call this…

I woke up and can’t play this game anymore
I know there’s more for me outside that door
My soul is aching to break out of this damn rut
Time to follow my instincts and trust my gut

The wind whispers to me
The sky sells me on dreams
It’s my time to be free
To find out what it all means

There has to be more than to settle like this
How can I find my way towards my bliss
Because I’m tired of living for nothing at all
My soul longs for light and love afterall

The wind whispers to me
The sky sells me on dreams
It’s my time to be free
To find out what it all means

So I’m setting out hoping to find something
Brave enough to change and inspired to sing
To create a life I have been waiting on for so long
Adding memories to my days and lyrics to my song

The wind whispers to me
The sky sells me on dreams
It’s my time to be free
To find out what it all means

I got laid off!

Free

Guys,

The craziest, scariest and best thing just happened to me. I got laid off! I have tried my hardest not to bringing the doom and gloom of work to this blog. The truth is my expiry date for that job was long before today. I was way too scared to leave the security of my regular paycheque, even though I was miserable and working in a place that was no longer bringing out my best work but my bitterness.

This 9 to 5 version of myself was in vast contrast to the happy, confident and joyful person I have been allowed to become in my evenings and weekends, since I have gotten involved with the Kinkonauts. I would spend half my day feeling like a shitty version of myself to getting to be the best version of myself at night, it was exhausting on my soul.

Today I got laid off and that should be a bad thing or some sort bad reflection on me. The truth is I didn’t fit the mold of what was needed in my position and they did not fit the mold of the kind of company I feel excited to work for. And the thing about me is I LOVE TO WORK! I am a loyal, hard-working person to a fault and I would not have quit. I would have stayed there miserably secure. I would have kept threatening to leave but never have left.

So, much like the last time I lost a job after many years of employment at same place where I was happy, this punishment of getting fired is a ticket to the next part of my life. Last time I went on a European adventure and came back alive. Now I want to answer a question that I have had since I was 16 years old, Second City? Toronto? A career in television, comedy or marketing? I have no idea what is next and that is SO exciting and terrifying. But the last four years of working my way up in a career that was always a fight, meeting the people I have met and taking a chance on getting back on stage; it has all set me up and it all meant something. This day is the universe kicking me right in the ass to show me that I am finally where I need to be to answer those questions.

I am scared. I am excited. Most of all I am grateful that all the other attempts to go never worked out because I would have not known what and who I have come to know now. I would have not have met the Kinkonauts, my cat and all my lifelong dear work friends. It all happened to get me here and now my life is in my hands.

I feel free, happy and hopeful. What’s next? WHO THE HELL KNOWS? Stay tuned…

Lady Strap – Election Selfie

Linnea is one of my favourite people. It took me a while to get her because she lives on a different vibration than most and I was hesitant of that until I realized how fun it is up there. Linnea brings out a silly, weird and fearless side of me and she is one of my favourite people play with. It is free and fun! Linnea is also an amazing singer and a way better student of the uke than I am and she is kind enough to let me sing with her.Today we were doing crafts, doing improvised music and watching the election when we came up with this song. Looking rough and raw this Lady Strap’s Debut song…

Giving thanks

Thank-You-1-500x408Today is Thanksgiving and I am not spending it with my family because my parents went to Winnipeg and my brother is with his girlfriend’s family. In the past, when this has happened, I would have been alone on the couch, in my sweats eating take-out all weekend. Instead I am going to a friendsgiving dinner just four floors down from my apartment with a group of wonderful friends from work and friends I have met through them. And the last two nights I have got to spend with my improv family, doing sketch shows, improv sets and just being lucky enough to be in their company.

Last night in the glow of getting to play in my first Armando with people I have been huge fans of and getting to chill with them after, I remembered the sad lonely person I used to be just a few years ago. I was living on survive, I was heartbroken and beaten down by a lifetime of rejection… I felt hopeless and alone. I was in a very dark place for a very long time and after some self work and travel I was fighting my way back to the light. Then I connected with a guy and it was a tumultuous and I got my heart broken once again and I could have gone down the old hide away and wallow path. But for some reason, maybe just out of pure boredom of living my life on survive, I made different choices. I went to shows alone, I said yes to making new friends and I pursued something that I used to love and left behind (improv). Those choices made a world of difference in my life.
After a lifetime of being an outsider and insecure victim of bullying, I am finally finding my own voice and I have found people who support and love me for it. Life is far from perfect but today I am thankful for exactly where I am. I have always been blessed with a wonderful family but now I have a community of friends that I never thought I would ever be a part of. You have all helped me find a fire in my soul and joy in my heart that I never knew existed and for that I am eternally grateful.

Lessons from our first sketch set

SketchLong time, no blog y’all!

I guess I have spent the last few months doing stuff and that has made me too busy to come here and write about it all. Even with the Kinkonaut’s on hiatus this summer, the group was pretty active playing around with musical improv, new formats for the show season and oh yeah, RENOVATING THE LAB!

We also made our first endeavor into sketch comedy and a group of us produced, wrote and performed a 30 minute sketch set and three themed sketches for the inaugural Alberta Sketchfest put on by the amazing Bull Skit Comedy in Red Deer. We decided to take on this task with a month before the show. That deadline put me into manager mode at first which eventually turned into pure and utter panic. Every insecurity I had about myself as a comedy writer, producer and performer bubbled up and I freaked out and wanted to give up. Luckily I had the support of my loyal, supportive and immensely talented tribe to keep me a little sane and drag me back from the edge. We trudged through brainstorming, writing, rewriting, reads and rehearsal and got shit done through all the stress.

Once we got to Red Deer, we were warmly embraced by the lovely and friendly Bull Skit Comedy and their wonderful fans. Jenna Goldade, co-founder and artistic director of Bull Skit, has created a dynamic sketch and improv scene in Red Deer. She is as humble and hardworking, as she is talented and driven… a truly inspiring woman. Everyone at the festival was eager, supportive, unique and freaking hilarious and it was a true honor to play alongside them and watch and learn.

Our set was ummmmm weird but in a way that totally warmed my heart and made us all giggle as a troupe. Luckily, it made other people giggle too. We got a lot of great feedback and warm support and the lovely Bull Skit crew awarded us the Best of Fest award. After all the stress and nerves that went into our first ever sketch sets, this was a immense honor. The clock shaped like Alberta will forever be stuck on 12:16, the time we got the lovely award.

This project taught me a lot about myself, jumping outside my comfort zone and trusting the people I work with and my own instincts. It also reaffirmed my opinion that a good attitude enhances talent and hard work, while bad one diminishes it. While I will always try to work on producing shows to make audiences laugh, I also promise to always try to be someone people WANT to work with because of my commitment, work ethic and most importantly good attitude. I am taking this all on to create things to make audiences, my fellow players and myself feel good and add a little light and laughter to this world.

I want thank the amazing Bull Skit for creating this opportunity for sketch groups across North America to play together and being such gracious hosts. I hope that I get more chances to work with your warm, welcoming and dynamically talented crew. Thank you to my fellow Kinkonauts Linnea Ward, Jennifer Danvers, Rob Janowski, Josh Bertwistle, Dominic Pinney and Kaitlin Kirk for your contributions from your weird brains, your support of my weird brain and the super cool journey we went on through all them ups and downs. I’m excited to do more cool stuff with y’all.

I am eager to work more on my writing while finishing up my Calgary Improv School Sketch Writing Course with the hilariously meticulous, Jeff Kubik, and taking on more projects in the future.

I am also SO pumped for show season to start and to see what other things this amazing Kinkonaut’s group is capable of! It is going to be a great season. Check out our shows starting this Friday and Saturday night in the brand new LAB! Try something new and fresh to lighten up your day!