Web comics, mental health and self representation

Title : Eliza and her Monsters

Author : Francesca Zappia

Pages : 385

Publisher : Greenwillow Books

Published on : May 30, 2017

Synopsis :

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.


Eliza and her Monsters was a very interesting novel that talks about mental health and being an artist and creator.

To be completely honest, I had high expectations for this book. I saw so many people on Booktube (AKA, the corner of Youtube dedicated to books) who loved the book and some people, of whom I really trust their opinion, said it was one of their all time favorite YA (young adult) books. (see video below starting at 7:10)

I checked the review on Goodreads (link here) as I debated about reading this book since it’s not my typical genre and the ratings were 4.29 on 5 stars. This was pretty much the deciding factor that I indeed wanted to read Eliza and her Monsters and pick it up. However,  with school and a mile long TBR (To Be Read) pile, this book sat on my shelf for a little while.

Fast forward to recently, when I found the opportunity to use the book in a University class project. I naturally jumped at the chance and got to reading.

The thing is, even with those great reviews I didn’t really like the book. For the first 3/4, the book just kind of fell flat for me. I wasn’t invested in the plot or characters and the book was really slow. I had to forced myself to read it. However, the last 100 pages were worlds better than the rest of the book. There was some beautiful prose, nice imagery, a more in depth analysis of certain issues, such as mental health, and I found myself enjoying the book.

The bad:

  • The comic pages in the book were disjointed with no continuity.
    • I would have like a snippet of the story instead of pages that were everywhere and didn’t follow the last comic pages.
  • Slow
  • Not invested in the characters
  • The plot wasn’t engaging
  • Not enough backstory for the characters (excluding Wallace)
    • Characters were a bit too two-dimensional for me

The good:

  • Realistic demonstration of mental health,  the life of a web content creator, and Fandom life
  • Overall good messages on following your path, mental health, family, love
  • Beautiful illustrations
  • I liked how they included the pages formatted as a “Chat room”

Example of Image from the book. ***Image belong to the book Eliza and her Monsters.

In the end I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars . I feel like without those last 100 page I wouldn’t have liked the book at all. If someone knew more about the web comic world they might have enjoyed it more. I also think that this book might be suited for a younger audience. However, Eliza and her Monsters brings up some things that can make the reader think, which I liked. Some of these things were geared into personal life, such as like the path you want to take in life.  Some other things were more broad like mental health. I think many aspects of this book could be a good starring point for interesting discussions, which is exactly what I will be looking at in the next section of this post!

FUN FACT: The author of Eliza and her Monsters is an artist! Go check out her Deviant Art page here.


Now having read this book I want to make a more of an in depth analysis of the subject matter. As the title of this post suggests, I will talk about web comics, our self representation in media, and how media can effect mental health.

Web comics:

So let’s start with Web Comics! I am not a reader of web comics. I knew they existed but I never thought about them in the way they are portrayed in Eliza and Her Monsters, where Eliza posts a chapter of her web comic “Monstrous Sea” every week. The amount of work and discipline that must take to get that work done on time is impressive.

Fan art from of the fictional comic in Monstrous sea
*** All credit to the creator

So as a newbie to this world of web comics, I was intrigued after reading Eliza and her Monsters so I did what most people would do, I used the power of Google.

The first thing I found is an article by BuzzFeed (Link here) that shows a wide variety of comics in many different styles. But I was trying to find something that connected a bit more to the book, so I kept searching and found this site called Hiveworks, (Link here) which has many different creators and pages posted every week, like Eliza does in the book with her comic Monstrous Sea.

FUN FACT: Did you know that the author of Eliza and her Monsters is making a “Monstrous Sea” (the fictional comic Eliza is making in the book) into possibly a real novel? Go check out the two first chapters here.

Having been a bit more educated on the subject, I then looked back on a class reading from my digital media class. One article by Daniel Goodbrey called “Digital Comics New Tools and Tropes” mentioned how comics have drastically changed with the use of technology. Now, not only can comics be in a regular format with panels but also be larger, have animations, etc. Eliza’s comic in the book seemed to be a normal comic but what made it so in tuned with the digital age, and so different from regular comics, is the fact that she makes the comic at home and publishes it every week. Then there is the fact that the whole platform for her comic Monstrous Sea is so interactive. It has forums, fan art sections, merchandise, chat rooms, and more, which can all be found in one place. When you think about it, this dramatic change from regular paper comics is really cool and can really made a community out of a comic, as again shown in Eliza and her Monsters in many different ways. In other words, digital media enhances the whole idea of fandom when it comes to comics.

FUN FACT: Did you know that the author actually created a real website for the fictional comic Eliza is making in the book? Go check it out here.

Self representation:

Another really interesting discussion point that can be seen in Eliza and her Monsters is the aspect of self representation. In an article from my class by Douglas Eyman, he mentioned the idea of digital rhetoric, which is basically how people communicate. Eliza and her Monsters, shows this in how some of the best friends are online. There are even parts of the book written like a group chat, instant message, or text.

Like Eliza texting in class because she is more comfortable online than talking in person ***All credit for this image belongs to the creator

Digital rhetoric is also seen in the Monstrous Sea website since everyone speaks through these forums. As discussed in the book, people sometimes have a completely different life through these discussions, which is really interesting. In fact, the whole book is about Eliza and her changing perspective of herself as two different people, Lady Constellation (her online persona) and Eliza Merk, to just being herself.

Learning to be ourselves all the time is something to work on.
***All credit for the image belongs to the creator

So then comes the question of how people represent themselves on social media. I think most people are like Eliza in the sense that they have a different personality online. Probably not to the point of Eliza’s online personality of Lady Constellation, but in the way we want other people to see us in our online worlds.

An example of two different people online and at home. ***All credit for image belongs to the creator

I bet you didn’t see this coming, but there was an article in class that  talked about this as well! One was by Nancy Thuman, which showed the large evolution we see in history of how people choose to represent themselves. The other one was by Jill Rettberg, which talked about the visual, written, and quantitative versions of self representation. One thing I thought was really interesting in that article by Rettberg was how he showed how selfie and self representation has evolved and how people show themselves differently depending on what platform they use. In a sense, we create ourselves how we want to be seen on social media and not many people can see through that veil we put in front of us unless they know you in real life. A good example of this is seen in Eliza and her Monsters where Lady Constellation (Eliza’s online persona) starts off by being both anonymous and the complete opposite of Eliza’s personality. When her online identity is revealed, it completely affects her personal life, which brings me to my next point.

FUN FACT: Did you know that the author of Eliza and Her Monsters, Francesca Zappia, has a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics? More cool facts here.

Self representation and Mental Health

A last thing I wanted to mention was social media and Mental Health. In the book, Eliza’s online identity is revealed to the world and she spirals into deep depression and anxiety. I think that this theme in the book  is really important to mention, how the pressure we put on ourselves to produce content online or in other aspects of our life can have negative effects. More specifically, in social media it can feel like there are so many people depending on you and what you post. It is important to sometimes take a break from the online world. Ask for help if you need it. It’s not really discussed in the book but, as a last note, if you are struggling with mental health don’t be ashamed, get help. Talk about what you are struggling with to people you trust.

Need help? Online resources for Mental Health in Canada here.

All right,  after all that, I would love to hear your thoughts! Did you like Eliza and her Monsters? What did you think of the ideas I discussed? Have any web comics to recommend? Let me know in the comments or on my social media, which can be found here.

Until next time, be part of a Powered Crowd. Look at the world around you and create some positive change. Utilize the power of social media and your online content and help those around you who are struggling with mental health. Remember YOU are amazing.

Getting out of a funk and Productivity

I have been in a funk for a while. Funks might not seem so devastating but they can definitely range from serious to less serious. For a while I would get up procrastinate all day and then stress that I had done nothing and my anxiety would rise and because of that I was paralyzed and couldn’t do any work because I was so anxious. It is a viscous cycle.

I was definitely tired of that I tried of doing that. I decided enough was enough and made some progress on getting out of my funk but when I made progress it had trouble sticking and sometimes days later I would fall back down the rabbit hole of funk.

Then one day I saw a Youtube video about a girl who woke up at 5am and showed her morning routine. It looked good and peaceful a good way to start a day. So I decided to give it a try. I was at a point I would do anything to get out of my funk and fully live my life. I made a plan to how I could do my version of a morning routine that would be relaxing and get me ready for the day ahead.

The next morning I woke up at 5:30 am and did that morning routine and what did you know I was super productive that day and happier as well. Since then I have woken up early every morning before 6:00 am and most of my days where really productive.

I have to say I am now hooked on this routine. I love getting stuff done. I love that feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish my to do list. I make the time I have in a day count while still giving myself time for fun and relaxing activities.

Now why am I telling you this?

I am stating all this because I know that pretty much everyone gets in funks. Some funks like I said are easier to shake off than others. Some funks last months or years but there comes a time when I think everyone realizes that they are in a funk and like a bird trapped in a cage desperately wants out but doesn’t know how.

It took me a long long time to start getting out of my funk. I am not saying it won’t every close in on me at times but I have had more joy in my life recently than I have had in a while.

So while everyone’s way to deal with things are differently. I will show you my how to get out of a funk tips that worked for me in case it might helps anyone else struggling against the bonds of their funk.

1. Give yourself some forgiveness.

Let yourself make mistakes, let yourself claw your way of the funk and fall as long as you forgive yourself and get up again.

2. Get knocked down and get up again

Like this song(see below) when you get up and the funk knocks you down again get back up and keep trying to be the best you you can be.

3. Find your inner self

sometimes we lose ourselves when things happen in our life. We lose that carefree, happy, smiling part of yourself and only let us feel those “safe emotions”. Be brave and let your inner self shine. Face those obstacles that are blocking you.

4. Rock your talents

Learn what makes you happy what you excel at and do those things.

5. Find your routine

Planner or not have a routine that gives your brain some main cues like: The day has started it’s time to wake up. The day is over it’s time to sleep.

6. Ditch procrastination

Ditch procrastination and use every moment for a reason. Here is an example. I did a big study session and was kind of drained. I had options. Sleep, eat junk food, watch Netflix or read a book that I liked and I could use for my online platforms. I choose the book. It gives me a break, I enjoy it and at the same time it’s productive!

7. Give yourself a break

Going with my last point. Schedule or leave time if you aren’t a planner for those much need and essential breaks where it’s ok if you sleep. It’s ok if you binge on Netflix.It’s ok if you mindlessly watch a reality Tv show or surf the net. No guilt involved.

The main thing with all these examples is that you need to be kind with yourself and not let your funk pull you down. If it does gte you down, don’t give up, keep on fighting and get back up!

I hope this helps if you are reading it and you are in a funk. Do you have any tips to get out of a funk that I didn’t mention? If you do let me know in the comments below or on social media!

Until next time be part of a powered crowd for positive change!

Millennials Rock

Hello everyone,

I am long overdue for this type of post. So let’s jump right into it.

I will start this post with a little story. The other day I was driving with my mother and we were listening to the new in the car. I recall it being something about the environment but I can’t recall the exact details. The main thing is that we were listening to this story about something going on in the world and I was hit with the idea that Millennial and the younger generation are pretty amazing.

Now a lot of people call the millennial generation spoiled, lazy, unmotivated. But I see the exact opposite. We are a generation which has grown up with technology that can connect us to people across the world in a instant. We know how to mobile change using this technology and I feel that a lot of people in my generation have a strong sens of justice.

Now of course this isn’t everyone. There is some millennial which are entitled brats but every generation has those. What I focus on is the waves of change I am seeing in the world right now all led by youth.

Let’s start with the example which is in a lot of the new channels recently. The Florida shooting at a high school. Now at my school here in Canada we had lock down procedures and practices at my school. I saw in an interview with a teacher from the school in Florida that they had practices for this kind of scenario as well but imagine it actually happening. I read some stories of the teenagers at the school and what they saw is something that will probably be with them for their entire life. I can’t begin to understand what they are going through only imagine how I would feel to see people I went to class with everyday suddenly not be there, imagine the sound of the shots and the fear in my classmates eyes.

These young adults took this experience and decided to make it into something good. They decided that they weren’t going to stand with having an education where each day at school there is the fear that because of gun laws someone could come in and put all their lives into jeopardy. As some of you might have seen in the news they are demanding change and also planning a walk out and other demonstrations to prove their points. There is some people on US news channels that I have found through looking around that are saying that there is no way that these “young people” are doing this on their own, that they are backed with someone who has a political agenda. I think that is complete nonsense. Don’t ever underestimate a young person who is driven for making positive change. Everyone has the power to make an impact if they put in the work and the time.

There is so many other examples of youth trying to make some impact, trying to get our voices heard and be the voices for those who can’t speak. To name a few Malala, Little voice books(link),Zach Makes Tracks(link) and sooo many more.

All image rights belong to Zach Makes Tracks

I think me and other millennial see that our world is messed up. There is a lot of work to do and young people are rising up to answer that call. While it’s sometimes hard to see the people working hard to make a change there is a movement of young people rising up and taking action. This is why I created powered crowd. To join this movement and do my part as everyone should in helping other people, In creating change to make this world a better place. So what are you waiting for? Join the Powered Crowd for Positive change. If you are already answering that call email me and I will feature you on my site.

Together we can be the change not tomorrow but today.

The Lighthouse a children’s book about Mental Health

The Lighthouse Review and thoughts

Hello everyone!

Today I will be talking about a really cool book. As you might already know the purpose of this website is all about encouraging other to make positive change in their personal life, their community and globally and this book fits perfectly in those goals.

The Lighthouse is a book written by Amanda Bernardo and Illustrated by Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor. It’s their second book that they have published together the first one being called Little voice. Following in the footsteps of their first book this book is all about sharing a positive message and also helping to raise funds for a great cause. Their theme this time around is mental health and parts of the proceeds for every book goes to the National Canadian Mental Health Association.

Alright now that you know a bit more about it I will go into my review! A small disclaimer to start, I was given the ebook version to review but my review is a completely honest representation of my personal thoughts on the book.

When I first heard about The project Samantha Clusiau and Amanda Bernardo were working on I was super happy to see their theme was mental health. It’s something I am passionate about having struggled with mental health for pretty much my whole life. I love when people create awareness about mental health and help reduce the stigma. However, I won’t lie, part of me was questioning how they would pull off a book for children that covered such a tricky subject. Having worked with children for over 7 years now I know how hard subjects like that can be to address. You want to give enough information to make the child you are talking to know that there is nothing wrong with struggling with mental health but at the same time the line between being supportive to a child in your care at a daycare or what not and the line of saying too much is a very fine line. A book is a bit different because a parent can read it too and make the judgment based on their child but still there is a fine line to walk on.

Saying all that I am happy to say that I think the little voice team did a great job! Amanda’s writing really showed how it was OK to feel bad sometimes and struggle with mental health but also showed how you shouldn’t loose hope because there was always light to be found in those dark places. In other words if you looked closely enough you could find that light to help guide you through though times. Saying that can you guess where the lighthouse fits in? Hint hint. I won’t say more because I really think you need to read the book to get the full impact of the title but I couldn’t resist throwing a little teaser in here.

Getting back to the writing I also really liked how there was a call to action in there for people to speak out about their experiences with mental health and be the change they want to see. Overall the writing for me stood out because of it’s message and how it seemed to be very inclusive to anyone struggling with mental health. They didn’t go into details about specific illness but took a global approach that I think many people will be able to relate to.

Next stop the pictures. The illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor is pretty amazing. The pictures complemented the words perfectly and really made everything come together. I think sometimes as a reader we take images for granted and focus on the words but I immediately was drawn to the pictures in this book. They depict the emotions and messages that Amanda puts in her writing perfectly. You could practically feel the pain some of the characters were feeling for yourself and the hope that some of the other image depicted. I think one of the main reasons for that is that the images are easy to relate to, at least they were for me. The fact that there was a lot of diversity in the book also makes me really happy! I think it will add to again having a wider audience be able to connect to the message. Mental health does not segregate so it is more than appropriate and might I say about time that I find a book that’s aimed at reducing the stigma on mental health and inspiring/helping people who are struggling with it that has obviously done a lot of effort to be inclusive.


So to sum this all up I really enjoyed the book. I think that the message it’s trying to share and the way Amanda Bernardo and Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor went about it really turned out well. Not only that but the fact that parts of the proceeds go towards a mental health initiative is an awesome bonus.

I would also like to add that I think that this book can great for more than just children. It’s a great reminder for people at any age who are struggling with mental health that they are not alone and that they can be change makers to help make some much needed change when it comes to mental health, the stigma associated with it etc…

If you want to go check out “The Lighthouse” or “Little Voice” you can find all the information on their website here.

That’s it for today! Until next time be part of a Powered crowd for positive change and help those around you, also don’t forget to take care of yourself! Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Get help if you need it and help those around you who are struggling.

Women March 2018 disappointing?

Women's MArch 2018

This post won’t be as positive as I would have hoped, but I want to give my honest and real opinion on the subject matter which is that I am disappointed with the Women March this year.

I think the main thing is that it just didn’t “feel” the same as last year. I don’t know why exactly (though I will try to process it here) since I love the March and what it stands for. It wasn’t all bad and I will discuss this in more detail during this post.

To start, I want to say that before going to the March I was really excited. I was up at 6 am because I couldn’t sleep and I was playing the song “I Can’t Keep Quiet” (link here:) as well as a girl power playlist on repeat. I got there and there was a good atmosphere but by the time the March started that energy was almost gone and by the time the March was over I didn’t feel motivated or ready to fight harder than ever for gender equality.  It was a bit of a let down, very anti-climatic (which was the opposite of last year).

First, let’s look at some of my main thoughts on the March which will answer in more detail why it was disappointing but also a good experience.

1. The hate.

I made the mistake of following social media all day and the hashtag #womensmarch2018. While some messages were positive, the amount of people, mostly men but a few girls too, with so much hate speech toward the March, is astounding to me. I usually ignore these things but sometimes you have to stop and think, what is going on in the world^ Are there really people who thrive on making other people, angry, sad and upset?

For example, if I hated let’s say a political figure. I have a right to say I dislike “blank” because of “blank” but I should also have a responsibility to say it in a respectful way so that people who like “blank” understand my point but don’t feel attacked by it.

Some posts are just nasty and they were not only about “I hate the Women’s March” but attacked everyone who supports it. Because of this, looking at these posts gave me a fire to work even harder to make positive change in this world and spread kindness and understanding. I am determined to not let these people make me sad (like they did for the two days after the March) but serve as reminder of why I am working so hard on making a Powered Crowd that supports one another and strives for kindness and understanding even if you don’t agree with someone else. Having said this, here are some posts that I saw. I am not putting those posts here to give a spotlight to hate speech, but to demonstrate why it needs to change. I have covered the names to keep the identities secret. Like I said, I am doing this to show why we need to change the way we express our opinions and things we don’t like not to get the people who tweeted these things in trouble.


womens march photo 6

How about equal pay? Equal Rights? Being able to walk at night without being sacred. To name a few.

womens march photo 5

Sorry? Can you say sexist?

womens march photo 1

Sorry but the illegal immigrant part says it all.

womens march photo 2 womens march photo 3

2. Fighting hate with hate

There was so much hate speech about hate speech this year it was ridiculous. Now how does that make sense you might ask? Hate speech about hate speech? Yes it’s a real thing (at least in my opinion). Let me give you an example. If you support for example LGBTQ2 rights (which I do support even thought I am not a member of the community) or are a member of the LGBTQ2 community and you want to see more representation of your group and not often represented in the community of events. This is a great goal and I think everyone should have equal rights to be represented. The problem is I have been seeing people who comment hateful things, on for example, the event page or social media like “You guys are stupid, you are marching for gender equality but not all genders are present. You guys are laughable and not very educated. We want more LGBTQ2 representation!”. I see their point and agree 100% that they should be given equal representation. Also, obviously, this is just one example and the majority of people seem to be respectful when defending their point and their right to be represented. However, I have been seeing this kind of post coming up more and more. If you don’t like when people direct hate speech at you (which of course is wrong) use a language that is kind to prove your point don’t hate speech the hate speech. Here is an example “I was looking at your website and find there is not enough representation of the LGBTQ2 community. Could you please elaborate on what you are doing to represent the LGBTQ2 community more this year. My suggestions would be …..” in this case it’s saying your point but also saying it in a respectful way, a way where anger is not seeping through the lines. The difference between examples number one and number two are fairly obvious in the first example, someone is frustrated, upset, angry and in the second example, someone might be feeling these same emotions but is saying it in a way that will be much better understood and accepted from the person(s) it was addressed to. I know that personally, as a human being, I make mistakes. I might have the best intentions but sometimes I might represent someone wrongfully by accident or forget to include someone who should be included. But I would like the people who notice this mistake to tell me kindly what I did and how it affected them and not assume I did this to spite them.

So to summarize all this, I didn’t like the backlash I saw when a) some people bashed on the March organizers without considering all the information  and, b) bashed on the organizers when they made an honest mistake and were quick to apologize and try to change it. I know from speaking to the organizers, they did a lot of work to make things inclusive for everyone and I am sure that the comments that where hateful did nothing to prove their point.

Fight hate with love. Not more hate (and again I want to clarify that not everyone uses hate speech when talking about hate speech. The LGBTQ2 example was just an example. I could have chosen many different ones.)

3. How the March was organized.

Now I want to start by saying I have nothing but respect for the organizers. I actually met them because I got to the March early and offered to help out. However, there was some logistics issues that kind of made this March fall flat.

For example, the intro to the March. This intro was so long that I estimated 1/2 to 3/4 of the people left before the March even began. How do I know this? Like I mentioned before, I offered to help out and one of my jobs was asking the crowd to leave a lane way open in order for people to be able to walk up to Parliament (which is where we started the March in Ottawa) as well as to let the drummers pass when they were set to start the March.

Unknown Origin *Not my picture/ full credit goes to the person who took it.

Unknown Origin *Not my picture/ full credit goes to the person who took it.

At one point, there was so many people that the volunteers gave up making a lane way because there was no more space. As the intro dragged on, it got to the point where we didn’t have to do our job of clearing the lane because so many people left that there was A LOT of free space.

I understand that from the organizers point of view they had some speakers that represented different groups. They wanted all of them to speak so that the theme of equality and inclusion were present. They were also interrupted by the Parliament bells countless times which wasted time. There might also have been some other problems that I wasn’t aware of that made the intro so long but as someone who was wearing a volunteer vest, I had people come up to me and ask “Are we still marching or is this event just speakers?” All the volunteers experienced these same type of questions.

The intro was actually so long that we were supposed to arrive at 12:00 and leave to march at 12:30 but instead the March left closer to 1:20 which was 5 minutes after we were supposed to have arrived at our end destination.

Towards the end, the organizer went up and said I will do a last speech to get everyone pumped up. Now personally I would have seen how late we were time wise and how the crowd was getting smaller by the second and made it a short speech. This speech however was really really long and 3/4 of the people could not hear her. Not to mention that the speech wasn’t very motivating and most people didn’t seem more excited or “pumped” during or after the speech. The speech made by the organizer mostly did the opposite of it’s intent and only got the crowd even more antsy and angry.


A woman even started chanting “Let us march, let us march.” which was picked up by some other people saying “We want to march” in another chant. These same people came up to us (the volunteers) angry saying we lost a lot of people. Which again I realized earlier and I was as upset as them about it too.

I think if the March left when it was supposed to, we would have surpassed last year’s crowd by leaps and bounds but as it stood, the photo’s of the crowd marching this year look small compared to the ones of last year.

When we finally started the March it was like a ghost town. Everyone’s energy had kind of left them after that really long intro (me included). Everyone was just walking in silence with their posters while some participants tried starting chants which sometimes worked but most often fell flat. I feel like there should have been much more effort in having loud speakers or something to get the crowd going before and during the March. Also, as I mentioned, the timing of the beginning could have been greatly improved.

I will reiterate. The organizers are lovely women who made all possible measures to be prepared but things don’t always go as planned and I think, in this case, it really hurt the March.

4. Confusion/ Mixed Messages

People were confused as to what we were marching for. The reason for marching was on the website but not mentioned at the really long intro (if it was I didn’t hear it), apart from the speeches that covered global issues.


During the March we had people chanting against Trump. Some were chanting about how sex work is real work. Basically it was all over the place. I know everyone has different causes that they are passionate about, but when you are a large group and everyone is fractured in the reasons they are there it’s hard to show a united front or start chants, as I mentioned. The theme was supposed to be women’s rights, inclusivity, gender equality, and women in politics, but again they were not often mentioned.

5.Wrap up/ The good!

Now to wrap this up. There was some GOOD. I loved seeing people marching for a cause. As a semi-volunteer I talked to some wonderful people and everyone in the crowd (not counting towards the end when people got impatient and angry), who were very nice!  There were some awesome posters and I could hear some interesting discussions, which is so great because change comes from working together and having those discussions on various opinions and how we can work together to make this world a better place for all.

The BAD? It didn’t feel empowering and kind of fell flat, leaving me disappointed. Now, was it just me? Maybe. I could have built it up too big, romanticizing my experience from last year. But to me those two marches didn’t compare. It was like people forgot what we were marching about and only wanted to be there because they heard about it being a good experience or saw it on TV. It lacked the energy of people passionate and ready for change. All this is odd because, like I said, most people there were passionate about the subject.


At first I felt angry with myself. Why didn’t I enjoy it? What is going on? I support this cause but the March, supporting this same cause, didn’t motivate me like it did last year. This doesn’t seem normal.

These thoughts troubled me but I realized liking or not liking the March doesn’t make me a good advocate or a bad one. There could have been many factors that made it so the March was not as motivating this year, many of which I already touched on. Also, just because it was disappointing doesn’t mean I will stop supporting gender equality and equality in general. I am still as motivated as ever, even if the Women’s March didn’t play as big a part in that motivation this year as it did last year (which by the way was my first ever march! That could definitely have made it more impressive than this year when I have done a couple.)

So what do I take away from this march? I want to continue working towards gender equality and equality for all in general. I have no doubt in that fact at all. I also learned that I want to work on making a difference in this community to and encourage people to not speak from hate but kindness, to try to be understanding, even if they oppose or disagree with something. The biggest lesson I learned is that a march is a march. It is a great way to get motivated, to make a visual demonstration of the number of people who support the same cause. But what is important is the work that is done the other 364 days in the year. It doesn’t end with the march, it starts with the march. Whatever you feel about the March, motivated or slightly dissapointed, let’s all strive to make those other 364 days count as much as that one day a year were we gather together for a visual demonstration.

Let’s work together towards positive change. Remember to be kind to others and understanding even if you don’t agree with something. Let’s be a Powered Crowd that supports each other. Motivated or not after the Women’s March let’s make those 364 days count so that at the next Women’s march we can have more things to celebrate.

Last but not least I want to mention that this post is a collaboration with Step Up Magazine. Step Up is an Online magazine that promotes positive change much like Powered Crowd. In their own words “Step Up is an online destination whose content is created by and for young professionals, high school, and college students who aspire to be the next generation of founders, innovators, philanthropists, changemakers, and leaders. Step Up is their platform to tell their story, and inspire their peers. Our ultimate mission is to deliver material that motivates young people to step it up and make the world a better place.” Go check out their website here for all the details and to read some great content.

Define or Defining? The Path of Life in Outer Space

Define or Defining_

You might see this title and think to yourself, well aren’t these the same words. I used to think that too but a couple weeks ago I found out how to me, these two words mean very different things.

I was sitting and daydreaming about something or another. I think I was going to an event and I was thinking of how to represent myself to all those new people. Do I talk about my open heart surgery? Do I talk about mental health or bullying? Do I talk about my blog and business? Do I pretend those parts of me don’t exists? All these questions were going through my mind and more so I tried to separate the ideas. Yes I had open heart surgery, yes I was badly bullied, yes I have battled with mental health etc… but today who am I? Am I defined by my open heart surgery, does the open heart surgery equal Maya Lemaire? At this point I stopped and thought no, the open heart surgery did effect me and my life but today, at this moment on this bus it is not how I see myself. I don’t see myself as Maya Lemaire Open heart surgery survivor. Instead I see myself as Maya Lemaire, 21 year old, big dreams, with a drive to make positive change and help others.

So I tried to find a way to define this feeling. How I was indeed affected by all these experiences but how today, I see myself as both separate and as a part of these past experiences. It was then on this long long bus ride that I came up with this phrase (I am assuming I have come up with it but I haven’t researched to see if someone came up with this phrase first) “I have have been through defining moments but they do not define who I am today.”

To me this phrase shows how a moment can completely change the path of your life but at the same time, when you are at a point when you can look back on that certain moment you can see how while it did change your life, today, looking back, you are something completely different. Something that grew out of that defining moment.

Visually I see life as a path in outer space. That might sound odd but let me expand on that idea. Let’s start with this quote which is said by the Doctor from Doctor Who (A British Tv show)People assume that time LIFE is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a nonlinear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timeywimey… stuff.” . If our path(our life path) is in outer space and we apply the Doctor’s very “specific” quote we could see that a path in outer space would not go in a straight line. Very much unlike a path on earth and solid ground, this outer space path could go up, down, disappear, reappear, go in a circle, fracture and be glued back together in a weird order etc... In theory you could even jump onto someone elses path and then back to yours. Basically it would be a really messed up path that makes no sens and seems to belong in a nonsensical place like Alice in Wonderland where anything is possible and nonsense makes sens.

Photo credit goes to Giphy, The Doctor Who show and the creators name in the top corner.

Photo credit goes to Giphy, The Doctor Who show and the creators name in the top corner.

Now going back to my phrase, if you have a defining moment, your outer space path can change directions or even become a completely new path. Now, let me paint a picture with an example. You have a problem with mental health, this is one of your defining moments, your outer space path switches directions from the one is was previously on and you are now in unknown space, a new path. Slowly after many steps backwards, many times up and down going through some space craters and space mountains this path leaves far away from this dark mental health turn that you had found yourself on. But then one day, all of a sudden,there’s a trigger or maybe there is no reason at all but you are back to the start of that mental health path. You follow the steps I mentioned of leaving that path behind but some time passes and you find that you are back to the start of the mental health path again once again. This cycle repeats and suddenly this path becomes no longer a line but a circle. Now, not only is this confusing but it makes the person never know where they are going because the path keeps switching as they are on it in weird and sometimes explainable ways. Things can happen so fast and without reason on this path of life that you are indeed in a weird unknown section of space at all time.

Let’s now add another layer to the mental health idea and the path I described. A defining moment set us on this outer space path and I mentioned how we appeared back to the start after walking very far away. Do you think we are the same person when we get to the beginning of this path for a second time? How about on the third, fourth and fifth time? Of course you aren’t. You learned on that path away from the mental health starting point and when you get back to that point your path away from that mental health situation will be different from before. Every time you get back to that point it will change in some way.(if you are a sci-fi fan think of almost like alternate realities with similar yet different versions of a same path) Seeing this imagery you can see that the defining moment sets a new path but if you revisit it you are not the same person who started on that path the first, second, third, fourth time.

Now I hope all that explanation made sens. If not, basically I am saying that like space our life is unknown, the path metaphor we almost all know makes sens but I think it should be set in space because life makes no sense, it’s full of unknowns and a path is never ever a simple line.

Wrapping all these ideas up. I have had moments in my life that were defining, some are still define parts of who I am today. But does defining moments don’t define how I see and represent myself today even though they are still a part of me and my journey. This is such a small but important difference because it leaves space to grow, to see where you have come from and know that today your are a whole of all those individual events which creates a beautiful and unique person. You.


Progression of Maya 1/3


Progression of Maya 2/3

Progression of Maya 3/3

Progression of Maya 3/3

Accept that life is full of unexplained things. That our path is like outer space and cannot be explained but that every weird, freaky or normal seeming turn brings you something extra. Something that defines part of you to create a whole.

If I would say these last two paragraphs in a line it would go something like this “We are all made up of many defining moments which permits us to define who we are today.”

I hope you enjoyed this post. Remember that you are beautiful and that every flaw and experience are not to be ashamed of but embraced when you are ready to do so. Every experience makes us stronger than before in many very different ways. We learn everyday, so today let’s learn to love ourselves and be kind to ourselves. Let’s also learn from this to be kind to others navigating their own intergalactic outer space path.

Physical Health

Physical Health(1)

Hi everyone!

So I made a post a while back on “What is health anyway?” I talked a bit about the broader sens of health and how there is a balance between being healthy and overdoing the health lifestyle (i.e workouts, healthy eating etc..). This blog is about making positive change in your life community and abroad so in this post I will talk a bit more about my physical health goals and how I will be trying to make positive changes in my life towards a better lifestyle which is sustainable and gets me toward a physical well being that doesn’t hold me back.


Right now, my body is not my ally but it is in fact holding me back in doing what I want to do, like travel, go for long walks, being able to fit on small seats, having energy to get through a long day and much much more. This shouldn’t be the case you should have a body that can keep up with you and your dreams. While some people have physical limitations like sickness, disease, paralysis ect.. in which they find ways to overcome their bodies limitations. I am lucky enough to have a body which is in working order and I need to start dedicating myself to making good use of it and taking advantage of the good fortune I have in being able to run, walk explore and the possibility I have of more energy and less time feeling sick and tired if I start taking care of my body.

Know knowing all this I want to make this change something that is sustainable and something that I can maintain. If I am going to create some positive change in my life I need to do it in way that will do good to me and not harm.(which some diets and training regimes seem to do both physically and mentally)

So here are my current top 3 goals for a healthier lifestyle:

1. Drink more water

This one seems easy but I always find myself forgetting to drink water. It’s not until my mouth goes dry or I feel really thirsty that I pick up some water and by then you are already slightly dehidrated (one of my friends I met at the gym told me this so I do not know 100% if it is accurate)


2. workout 4-5 times a week

For this one it can be as small as going for a walk or as big as going to do weights at the gym. I am going to try and do some kind of physical activity everyday as it will not only help me with my physical health and weight loss goals but I have heard that working out can also be positive for mental health as well.


3. Healthy food choices

This one varies for everyone. For some people it’s just not eating fast food 3 times or more a week. For some people it’s cutting sweets, others go on different diets. For me I am going to try to cut down cheese and sweets, add more vegetables and the big thing to work on is portions. I think portions is the key to starting this journey and getting where I want to go. As the saying goes, everything in moderation.


These are the goals I am starting with. They will probably change overtime and I am sure their will be ups and downs as life is unpredictable but I think it’s a great way to start.

What about you dear reader? Any goals in the physical health department that you are working on to make positive change in your life? Let me know in the comments!

Starting the University Semester right!

Starting the Semster right

It’s that time of the year when the holiday’s are over and people go back to their regular schedules. Some might already have been back for a little while but for me university started this week. As I am writing this the first day back is tomorrow. The start back to school brings the blues to many people which is kind of sad because shouldn’t we be doing something we love enough that the idea of going back to it should be at least a teeny, tiny bit exciting or/and backed by happy emotions?

For me the start of university again comes with motivation to get ahead early so I don’t fall behind, motivation to stay organized but also a sens of dread which sinks me into a deep funk. I am blessed to be able to go to university, I know this. Some people are in places where girls are not allowed to go to school or there is too much corruption or fighting for it to be possible. Some people would sell their right leg as the saying goes to be able to make enough money or to be in a living situation that permitted them to go to higher education of school in general. I know all this and try to keep it in mind but for me university is synonym with stress, anxiety, depression etc… I am someone who does not learn well by sitting in a 300 people classroom listening to someone speak in monotone for 1h30-3 hours. Some of these classes have no visual aids or class participation as well. I am someone who strives and learns by conversation, by doing, by visual aids, by teaching others. Knowing this and what I have described as my university experience so far you can see how they don’t exactly fit. Which is why fairly often my mental health suffers.

The subject of mental health and university is a large one which I will try to do at a later date but they main thing to keep in mind with this post is that it effects a lot of people.

Now getting back to the title of this post I want to start off this semester right. I am sure I will have my down moments during the semester but as always I will do my utmost to be positive because I find that having a positive mentality can lead to great things and is beneficial in many ways.

Here are some ways I will start my semester off right.

1. Readings

University has a lot of reading. Sometimes these readings are literally the class content(ex: profs who stand in front of the class and read form the textbook) or these readings are necessary to pass the course. But there is literally almost an impossible amount of them. (See picture below of 3/4 of my readings for 3 of my 5 classes)


Now everyone had different ways to this. I have had a prof do a whole lecture on how to skim a reading and still get the main points while I have also had professors test me on a specific word on a specific paragraph of a specific page. My way of things is a bit in the middle of these two approaches. I skim the title of the article, the opening explanation, the section titles, the first two and last two lines of a paragraph and the conclusion for some classes which gives me all the main information and some classes I read in detail as well as highlight and annotate it. It depends on the professors and if they are more like my first example of a professor or my second example.

Because of all the work involved in this my plan for this semester is to stay up to date on the reading because when you fall behind there it’s very unlikely you will catch up. I plan on reading everyday even If I am ahead so that day’s when I am sick or something I couldn’t predict happens I will not need to stress about it.

2. Organization

I spent a long time on my agenda organizing everything. I have my page with daily reminders, work, change in schedule, appointments etc… I then made a sheet on my computer for a weekly checklist of things to do. For example I have the word school readings and underneath 7 boxes so that each day I can check that I have done some school readings for the day. I did a bunch more things to get organized but again I would need another post on the subject which I might do if there is enough interest.

I think this method is really great because A) I won’t forget when to do things, which happens often for me since I am so busy. B) You can visually see what you have achieved when you are feeling low. C) You can set goals for a day and when they are achieved let yourself have some relax time for yourself, this way you won’t work until you crash because you know you are on track and can take that night off for yourself.

3.Take care of your health

This point varies for everyone. For me, I eat when I am stressed and the my body hates me and I start feeling sick and stressed. Because of this I don’t do my work, I then fall behind, feel stressed about falling behind, do nothing because I am stressed and it all goes in a viscous circle where I fall so behind I have trouble catching up or even believing it is possible.

So my goal is to eat healthy(aka limit the junk food and stress eating), drink a lot of water, exercise(which is also a great way to reduce stress).These things will come back around and help me stay on track with school and be able to keep up with a crazy schedule.

So there you have it my main three goals to start the semester right with a healthy mental health and physical health. The main thing to know is that university can be though for everyone in different ways but making the time for yourself and your health is important. On that note when it comes to physical or mental health it can be easy to try and ignore it until you finish that midterm or, finish that essay etc. In reality there is never a good time to go see that doctor, talk to a friend, get some help. There will always be something going on that seems more fun or more urgent. If you need help, don’t wait, go get it there is a ton of resources on almost all university campus’s if not help lines and walk in clinics and more. A google search will bring you some online resources as well or international numbers to talk to someone on the phone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Of course I hope no one will need to get help and that everyone will have a fantabulous semester but the reality is that’s not the case for a lot of people. I am sending out encouraging thoughts to all of you out there going back to school, work, daily life.

Let me know any goals, tips or how you are starting the semester right if you’re re in university in the comments below or on social media using the #poweredcrowd .

Remember be part of a Powered Crowd and aim to make positive change in both your life and other people’s lives. Take time for yourself, be there for a friend and have a great first part of 2018!

A day at the Canada Science and Technology Museum


The Canada Science and Technology museum is very known in the town of Ottawa Canada. Having opened in 1967 people who are in their 20’s like me have not only grown up going to this museum but out parent’s have as well. Needless to say it is pretty well known, not unlike most of Ottawa’s museums.

Unfortunately the museum had a nasty case of mould and it was forced to shut down. The museum seeing the extent of the mould problem decided to update the whole museum at the same time. It was closed for three years where it was pushed to the back of my mind as life went on. But now it is once again recently open, so of course I needed to check it out! It was one of favourite museums as a child that and the kids section of the Museum of civilization (Now known as the museum of Canadian History) so I couldn’t wait to see what the new museum looked like, especially since it was advertised that the only two things that where the same was the crazy kitchen and the antique trains (don’t worry I will expand on that below).

When I got there I was already loving the exterior. They have some cool projections and sound effects on the side of the building.


Inside it’s drastically different but also very nice. There is so much to see it’s almost hard to know where to start. When I went it was very busy, a long line up was almost to the doors. (see my Youtube video which will be on the bottom of the page) When I got ot the front I saw the prices and my wallet cried a bit. It’s 17 dollars for an adult which isn’t too bad but as a student it’s a a bit hard to afford. However did they have student prices, membership prices and a family deal all worth while. On top of that my sister who is a teacher got in for free after showing her teacher’s card. So there is definitely ways to save money on the entrance fee.

The first thing we went to see was some old cars and modes of transportation. All around there was a million other things to look at. You could easily spend a whole day there with lot’s of activities for young children and adults alike. We spent 2 and a half hours but like I said we could have spent more time.

So not to make this an endless post I will highlight some favorite parts of the museum. Firstly the Crazy Kitchen. This is one of the two original exhibits. For those who have never heard of it (which is basically anyone outside of Ottawa) it’s an old style kitchen that looks like it’s straight but it’s actually on a 12 degree slant. As soon as you step in it makes a cool effect. I used to spend a lot of time in there as a child and while they literally kept it exactly the same as a 21 year old I got too dizzy to even walk in. So embarrassing but I am not the only one as they have a huge poster warning people of that possibility outside the crazy kitchen.


The next part to highlight was the trains. It also is pretty much unchanged except they added some more features around it. You can take some awesome selfies outside the trains and go inside one of the trains as well. There isn’t much to see except the engine rooms. For some reason my childhood memories remembered it to have more than that but I might be imagining things.



We also caught the pyro show. There was zero seats and we had to stand at the back. The girl who was doing the show announced it was her first show and she did a really good job for her first solo show. It is of course very geared towards children and the parts where she explained things I zoned out a bit but it’s definitely worth it as an adult to to see someone playing with fire quite literally. She had three main experiments which were all interesting to see. ( see my Youtube video at the end of the post)

A last example I will give is the energy use section. They had a bunch of light up images which showed how water and or electricity household items used. It was made in a way that you had to press a button to see the answer and kids where having a blast trying to guess. It’s such a good way to teach young and old how our consumption of daily products and our choices in keeping a tap on or flushing multiple times or even starting a dishwasher for one dish effects energy consumption and in return our planet, climate change and even more.


Here are some extra honorable mentions, the Tiny house demo (I am honestly seriously considering that as my first house), the cool hands on activities like the sound exhibit where they had this awesome sound proof cube (see video below) and the concussion visual demonstration (see video).

This is of course a Powered Crowd post so I will now be giving it my Powered Crowd Rating.

  • As far as addressing some important issues such as climate change, the importance of being safe (in science and sports and more), supporting women in sciences and stem etc. I would give it a 3.5-4 out of 5 star rating. I of course didn’t have time to fully see the whole museum or read everything in detail since I was there with my younger cousins and only stayed 2:30 hours so this rating is affected by that. I did however see women doing science activities such as the show and exhibits talking of important issues that our world face. I would have just liked to see a bit more of it. Maybe a women in science exhibit or a lesser know science and technology hero’s exhibit where we could see some diversity which was lacking from what I saw.

  • Accessibility: There was not really any stairs leading to exhibit (exception of the trains and the show viewing space) I also saw some ramps(crazy kitchen, going down to the train area etc..). Everything seemed accessible for the most part as far I could see. Rating 4 out of 5 stars. *Disclaimer I do not have a physical disability, if you do and want to contribute to this rating let me know!

Youtube Video to come.

So that’s it for this post today! What is your favorite museum as a child? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed until next time be part of a Powered Crowd for positive change!

Breadwinner contest entry – We are girls, We are Strong.

I wrote this story for a contest ( see details here http://stories.thebreadwinner.com/#signup1 ) but also because I think it’s a great movement to share our stories and encourage one another. I hope it can inspire someone.

We are Girls, We are Strong.

Sixth grade is a though year for a lot of people. Being the oldest students, you are told that you rule the school but in reality, it’s only those with enough influence, those on the top of the popularity pyramid that are the holders of this power. If you are unfortunate enough to be on the bottom of the pyramid, things can be very though indeed.

Like this girl, for example. She is a normal girl of normal size, blond hair and blue eyes but she is different. She likes to read and suffers from anxiety. These traits and other differences which are currently unseen to her eyes, but seem very apparent to her peers who mock and poke at these imaginary flaws makes her feel sad and lonely. When these feelings come, this girls picks up a book and loses herself in the pages. She loses herself in stories of girls who are different and go on big adventures, solving the problems that they and their society face. This girl learns through these stories to see through other eyes and her heart learns to love and she manages to forgive what has been done to her that day. As the year comes to and end and her yearbook lies almost empty with a few generic lines scribbled from people of her class, she feels a sadness rush over her. She can’t understand why she feels this way, everyone around her are laughing and running, hugging and crying, teachers are handing out sweets and treats. Yet she can’t seem to be grateful for the insincere words written in front of her or for her one dear friend she has had since grade two who is playing not too far away. All she can think of is the consuming want to belong.

As the summer starts, dark slithering doubts start creeping into the girls mind. Maybe something was wrong with her. Maybe she wasn’t good enough. There had to be a reason why people hated her and picked on her. Now she was starting to see what those people on the top of the popularity pyramid saw. Now she saw her flaws, her overweight body, her cumbersome habits, her strong opinions which no one agrees with. She should be more like them she thought. No, she absolutely needed to be more like them she thought. Not another year would she let pass on the bottom of the social ladder. Not another year would she let pass being ridiculed and sad. She would change. She would be more like those girls on TV. She would be thin and she would be fashionable and after this summer she would start a new year, at a new school where not one knew of her past. She would have friends and she would finally fit in.

Unfortunately things never go as planned. The girl, a mere 11 years old, stuck to her goals but they consumed her. These thoughts and this pressure to change who she was ate at her. She soon lost herself and fell into a dark place. She didn’t eat. She developed severe OCD. She became violent and aggressive and her own mind turned on her until she was so lost that those close to her brought her to stay in the hospital in the hopes that the girl they knew would find her way back from the battle she was slowly losing in her mind.

As always, there is a hero to most stories and in this story one of the main heroes was the girl’s mother. Her mother had always been there. Like most adult women she had survived a childhood of almost identical pressures to those of her daughter to change who she was in order to fit in, to change who she was in order to be successful and loved. She had survived and become the amazing woman she is today, uniquely herself. It was this girl’s mother who eventually saved the day, planting her feet and refusing to budge from her daughter’s side, getting back up even when she thought she had lost all hope. A breadwinner for the family, she still made time for her lost daughter and even when this girl lashed out and screamed, the mother held on tight and new that her girl was still there, somewhere in this whole mess of a situation.

When the girl was released from the hospital, still thin as a stick, she had already missed the first two weeks at her new school. She arrived there on the first day of the third week and found that all the cliques had already been made. Her efforts to fit in had backfired and now not only was she alone at school and on an even lower position on the social pyramid, but she was also fractured in both body and mind trying to reconnect the puzzle pieces of who she once was. This was no easy feat. She then had to contend with the mental and physical abuse from her peers as they picked up on her broken self and ridiculed the strangeness of her ticks and odd ways of acting.

This girl is me. This girl represents girls all around the world facing social pressures that dictate what they should be, how they should act, what they should do, who they should love, and like most of those girls, this girl pulled through. This girl surpassed those obstacles and trials even though they seemed like an Everest that she would never surmount. She persevered and is now stronger than ever. We are all unique in our own way and that is our real source of beauty, it is also our source strength. We are girls, we are strong!