A Cautionary Tale…

I was tasked recently with writing… everyday… whatever was in my mind/heart.
So… today’s stream of consciousness happened to be related to this portion of my life. (apologies in advance again for the distinct lack of actual racing stuff on my racing blog as of late)

A cautionary tale

I realized recently, that my ability to pull off a daily “everything is fine” performance in the eyes of the world is actually doing me a disservice. “Fake it till ya make it” has backfired in a big way.

I was told by someone that they all thought I was this really successful motorsport photographer. Ha! That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Yes, I bust my ass every year, and at every race I attend, to capture the events and promote the drivers, teams, and series, but that’s where the successful part ends. Apparently I’m successful at looking successful.

Back story: It took me forever to be deemed worthy of a hardcard. I get it. When the series merged, despite having a hardcard on the ChampCar side, I was low man (er… woman) on the totem pole again. I had to prove myself. Fair enough.
Did I think it would take 5yrs? no. (first one issued was last year)
One of the conditions was that I had to attend 75% of the races. But since I could never guarantee that I would be credentialed at events so as to secure gigs in advance (often media credentials are not confirmed until 1-2 weeks prior to the event) it was often too costly to make travel plans on “probably”.

But I did, many times. And I worked three “pay cheque” jobs in-between races, to fund my dream of working in motorsports. And though some gigs did fall into my lap, they were few and far between, and barely covered the cost of one race weekend, let alone the season.

I’ve paid my dues along the way, and rightly so. I’ve provided shots for no charge for charity events. I’ve helped out smaller teams, and cash strapped drivers, only to be passed over for someone else when the money became available. I’ve even, as life is cruel in very ironic ways, managed to get other people paying gigs and secure employment.
But now, sadly, years of broken promises, lack of reciprocation, and missed or non-existent opportunities and payments have taken their toll.

Through the kindness of some very generous friends who I was able to bunk in with, I was able to escape my unbearably complicated at the moment life and get to some races this spring. Much like a driver sitting on the couch at home telling everyone he’s a good driver and they should hire him, rather than proving it on track, a photographer/writer sitting at home doesn’t stand much of a chance securing work if they aren’t onsite, building their portfolio and relationships. So with just enough money to cover gas, and a meal a day. I headed to my “happy place”

In return I actually got attitude from some because I haven’t been to as many races so far this year. (for the record, I have attended the same amount of races to date this year, less one, the season opener)

What those in judgement are not privy to, is that in trying to live up to the expectations of the card hanging around my neck like an albatross, and prove myself worthy of covering the series, I actually bankrupted myself last year. I over extended myself to make it to as many events as I could, in an attempt as well to secure some actual money. Midway through the season, I lost one of my main sources of income, but carried on with my race plans unaltered despite the financial hardships, again, the promise of future paid work being dangled in front of me. This sent me into the off season with giant debts, which only got worse with the loss of another source of income coming into 2014 (thus the missed season opener)

I write this not for pity, but in solidarity with others who may be going through the same thing and think they’re alone, and also as a warning. I’ve seen some of my colleagues fall by the wayside this year, with similar hardships and disillusionment, while a fresh new crop of dreamers with hope in their hearts and stars in their eyes enter the fray.

You know that quote:
“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” ― Maya Angelou

Live this. Please.

I made championing this series and this sport a priority in my life, only to discover after spilling litres of blood, sweat and tears, that I was only ever an option to those I worked with and for.

So here’s some free advice, take it or leave it:
Get it in writing. Whatever it is. Get it.
Get the payment first (or at least a retainer)
Don’t over extend yourself for a “maybe” or a “probably” or a “next time”
If your particular skill, product, or service will benefit THEM, make them pay for it! Don’t be their whore. Swag doesn’t pay the rent.

I still hope to finish out the season as planned, but with $50 in my wallet to last me to the end of the month, and my final source of income dangling dangerously close to the edge of the cliff (I’m actively job searching) realistically, I’m rethinking my future, at least in the short term.

My race plans for the season are still in my calendar, because without those to look forward to, life is pretty hopeless at the moment. Of course the irony is that I may have to sell my camera gear soon to keep a roof over my head for another month.
Unless by some miracle, a race weekend paying gig falls in my lap (newsflash: I’m available!) Toronto is the only 100% next race at the moment.

And that’s my Debbie Downer post for the week. Might as well get it out of the way on a Monday right? LOL! Oh well, no where to go but up right? #alwayslookonthebrightsideoflife #itsonlyafleshwound

oh, and since they may be my last racing shots for a while, might as well take a moment and go enjoy my latest race albums https://www.facebook.com/Pit2Podium

And with that, I’m off for a run. Thankfully that costs $0 😉

I swear I will start yapping soon…

and y’all will start bitching that I talk too much… But please indulge me one last non-racing related post before I kick off my racing season.

This just dropped into my inbox!

Image

This is my strappingly handsome nephew Dylan!
This is who I was running for last year, and the subject of my last two blog posts of the year in 2013. His journey has been my focus over the winter.
Last time I saw him in person he was bald, and weak, and pale, full of chemicals.
and now he is healthy, and happy, and follicularly filled out!!
This makes me so happy.

And I just wanted to share with all of you who supported me, and him, and SickKids Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Toronto.

And say thank you.

This is what your efforts went towards!
I am most humbly grateful.

Happy Easter everyone!

Dusts off the blogwebs….

I kept waiting for something to prompt me to step back into my “office” and put pen to paper fingers to keyboard… Not that I haven’t written a bunch of stuff lately, it’s just that it wasn’t for public consumption. (you can all thank me later)

Anyway, earlier this evening I grabbed a random pile of papers to sort through, and this fell out onto my laptop keyboard on my desk:

photo

Bizarre… I have no idea where it came from, or why it was in this nondescript pile of papers, but yet, there it was, like a little time capsule.

Even more odd, the fact that this weekend is the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Sadly, I’m not there this weekend. It just hasn’t been in the cards to get to a west coast race again (no money honey) But I was there for the final Champ Car race.
I remember everything about that race.
It was a big transitional weekend for all of us.
It was a weekend of goodbyes… to teams, to a series, even to friends and colleagues.

It was a weekend to make memories.
It was a weekend to move on.
It was a weekend of endings and new beginnings.

Things changed, people changed, I changed. For the most part, we all survived.

Funny, since the page turned on the new year, I’ve been struggling with a lot of the same things. Transitions, endings, beginnings, etc… etc…

anyway… finding this ticket, as melancholy as the memories are, gives me hope.
It lets me know that as dark as things may appear at times (and those were some dark days), it will all work out in the end, one way or another.

Calling all MOtorsports fans…

meeshstacheIt’s MOvember Bitches! And this year it’s personal! I’m on a mission to educate, motivate and eradicate! No one should have to deal with cancer. Especially a 15yr old boy with testicular cancer. It sucks. And It pisses me off.

Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer, behind skin cancers, in young men aged 15 – 29 years. It starts as an abnormal growth or tumour that develops in one or both testicles. It is a highly treatable type of cancer with a very good cure rate (over 95%) if found and treated early.

• Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29
• Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer
• Because treatment is so successful, the overall long term survival rate is about 96%
• 940 new cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed in Canada in 2013.

My nephew is one of those statistics this year, which is why I mounting a personal charge for MOvember!

I wasn’t going to post about this here, but I have spent too many days over the last month watching clear plastic bags of poison drip into my nephew. I feel angry, and helpless and I just need to do something, anything, to feel like I’m helping in some way.

#fuckCancer

So back to MOvember. I can’t grow a mustache. (Ok, I actually probably can, but NO one needs to see a picture of that. But I will and will post one if that’s what it takes! ) But I’m coming up with things I can do, provide, auction off to raise funds for this cause.

First up: I’m running another 5K this weekend! If I get some pledges to my MO-space, I will run the entire race wearing a fake moustache. (my comrade in arm has pledged she will do the same!) AND I will post pics!
It is cold, it is NOVEMBER IN CANADA, it may even snow, and I will be out at the crack of dark EXERCISING!! That alone deserves a couple of bucks 😉

If you’re so inclined, and would like to support the cause, you can do so here:
http://moteam.co/meeshbeer

OH, and if you’re participating in MOvember and want to join our wolfpack, we’d love to have you!! (we’re looking for some MEN to join our cause and grow some facial hair) That’s right, I’m looking for other MO-Bros and MO-Ho’s to join my team!

MOtivationNation

Grow a great stache!
Grow an awful stache!
Grow the hair on your legs, chin, mole(!), under your arms!
Whatever works!
Let’s DO this people! Join my team here:
http://moteam.co/motivation-nation

This is a month long effort. I will continue to post facts, videos, challenges, etc…

In the meantime, for all my male colleagues and friends, stick your hands down your pants and fondle your boys. Check em good. And if something doesn’t feel right down there, go get yourself checked by a medical professional.

http://testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org/self-exam-how-to/

self-exam

A different kind of race…

Those that know me, know that I don’t run unless I’m being chased or there is bacon or a margarita waiting for me at the finish line. However something very personal is motivating me this month. (which is part of the reason my racing season ended in Baltimore) So instead of attending and shooting the season finale in Fontana, I will instead be hanging out with my nephew at Sick Kids Hospital next week then running a race of my own that weekend in his honour.

Team Cargill and myself take the green flag at the The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday Oct 20th to raise funds for charity of choice: Ronald McDonald House in Toronto.
As a group our goal is to raise enough to cover a family’s stay for 30 days at Ronald McDonald House. (As a team we are only $270 away from our goal!!!)
Each night in the house costs $125 (of which the family is charged $15 for, the rest is covered by donations from folks like us!)
My personal goal to $375* (a 3 night stay, a mere drop in the bucket for most families, and only a fraction of the stay my family has used/will use while my nephew gets treatment at Sick Kid’s Hospital just down the street.

In addition to running, Team Cargill also volunteers several times a year to participate in the “Home for Dinner” program, where we go to the house to provide and cook a meal for the families staying there. (Our next one is coming up soon!)
Click for more info on Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto
http://rmhtoronto.org/

If you’re so inclined, I would love your support of sponsorship (every little bit helps) towards raising funds for RMcD House, and I would be personally honoured if you would rally around my nephew Dylan as he courageously undertakes another round of chemo next week #FUCKCANCER
Just click the link to make a donation! (can be done online for US/International sponsorships too)
http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=2148812

All pledges will receive an official tax receipt (either electronic or in the mail.)

OH, and check out my “racing” shoes!! ->> Chrome Stripes baby!! #PT #ChromeHorn

2013-10-04 17.57.47-2

If you don’t want to toss a donation my way, please consider supporting your local children’s hospital or the fine folks over at Racing for Cancer

Thanks in advance on behalf of my own #ironman/#lionheart
I now return you to your regular racing talk…

EDIT: because I have awesome friends and colleagues, my personal goal was met, but we’re still shy on the group goal, so I’m upping my goal to $500 to put us over the top!