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leslie nikole
photo taken by the one and only ghost

22/F/MTL.

leslie.nikole at icloud dot com

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obligatory "i just paid the renewal on my domain" post
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this is guilt.

i could have taken that 10$ and put it towards lunch. i could have gotten proper groceries with that.

i don’t know where i am with writing. i’ve fallen into the cycle that many refuse to admit (oh baby what is you doing?) we’ve both gone through: lying about writing. am i really doing research? when exactly does « research » become « i’m avoiding getting to work » ? maybe that’s the next thing for me to research. i downloaded this app called me.time which is an interesting little prompt generator that lets you respond anonymously, but i’ve been using it sparingly during my commute. i’ve been catching a few extra moments of sleep or trying to commit my grocery list to memory instead of writing or reading, i worry that i won’t get anymore projects out before the end of the year. i’m nervous about my credibility in claiming that i’m a writer; do you still live up to your title in this day and age? do i lose myself in my lack of production (by definition)? i’ve been questioning if i pass the test in all aspects of my life so the nagging feeling that clinks and clanks as it drags behind my ankles comes as no surprise here/anymore. have i gotten so comfortable that it’s haunted my writing? has my sporadically busy life halted my creative process? i wonder how much of my work has been about trying to understand, trying to capture emotions and situations or making sense of trauma. i wonder if i’ve stopped writing because committing things to paper makes them real.

my birthday was saturday. i had lot of fun. i appreciate everyone who took the time to call, text, email, whatsapp, tweet, hug, squeal, and send me love. i started drinking at 08h00 and kept drinking until the following morning (i had a double rum for breakfast), the plantain and green banana were not enough to line my stomach for a day of drinking. if there’s one thing i miss about being home is the food. you’ve never tasted avocados so delicious until you go back home. i don’t know if it’s primarily the air or just the difference of limited familiarity, but everything just tastes better back home. the first week back i spend my time trying to recreate perfection with imperfect food, and it’s truly depressing. i haven’t bothered trying to recreate chefette chicken roti, i wouldn’t survive the heartbreak. i cooked for my birthday; i’ve been cooking since last monday and it just hasn’t stopped. time in the kitchen has been relaxing, even while stressful; i really do enjoy feeding people. macaroni pie, coconut rice, baked chicken, plantain, green banana, kale chips, butternut squash and sweet potato purée soup, mango coconut sorbet, etc. i just want everyone to give my my mother’s tupperware containers; one day i found her in the kitchen counting them.

i’ve been thinking a lot about love and relationships while staring into pots waiting for ground provisions to boil up. i’m almost done reading communion by bell hooks, and YO. talk about a book coming to you and the right time and giving you life while saving your mind. i was shamed once by someone in my own age group for wanting love and for trying to find it. i was berated for searching and for being honest wants; i've never felt so ashamed to want to love and be loved. now i'm looking for it in even worse places, and the hunger for it is real. recently i've been thinking about i really want, things are really going well for me right now and i don't want anything in my way. i'm blocking numbers and cutting ties, and it feels liberating. that, however doesn't take away from the fact that i still want to share all (okay, not all but you know what I mean) of these new things with one specific person here in the flesh with me. i've been thinking about the way i love, what i expect in love, and setting standards for platonic and amorous relationships. it definitely hasn't been easy, but stumbling upon this book has seriously been just the right thing at the right time. reading hooks' thoughts on the female search for love and the yearning that is suffered in silence by those with and without partners has confirmed to me that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me; it's nice to see someone else agrees with you on published paper. my copy had only spent two weeks in my bag and already the cover took a proper beating. love, besides of self, won't complete me. it took a very long time to learn this, but luckily for me i did/am doing the work of realizing my own completeness as a person, as difficult as this was. to be honest, it's a daily thing, a real constant practice. it's a daily chipping away at the idea that you're only worth something with someone (and this gets more dangerous if you replace this with "anyone") beside you, or that you are incomplete without love. It's taken a lot to transform my thoughts from « i'm incomplete without this in my life » to « my life and i are complete, but this is an extra i'd be interested in »; i can't even put a finger on exactly what i did to get to this point, but the journey isn't linear. i thank every example, positive and negative, every person that sat down and talked some real sense into me (esp. rianna, amel, and shanice, unlimited blessings to you), and finally this book which i wish i found a long time ago. there goes black women (and black women friendships) saving the day again. i really am blessed.

i wonder about black men dating black women in this city. i wonder about black men and commitment, and why commitment doesn't seem to hold the possibility of having short-term contracts. thank god for yearly trips to new york, jolting reminders that yes you are attractive to men who's colour matches yours as soon as you reach port authority. i try not to think about what it dos to you when you grow up in a city where the men you put first and find almost exclusively attractive put you at the bottom of the list; the wave of migration in the 1990s by west indians from montreal to toronto has done a number on me that i don't know if i want to talk about. let me stop, lemme keep quiet.


"I'VE BEEN UNDERWATER FOR SEVEN YEARS", A ZINE BY LESLIE NIKOLE.
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leslie nikole’s i’ve been hiding underwater for seven years has finally reached the surface.

following a nervous breakdown, leslie nikole picked up the pieces of the last seven years of clinically diagnosed depression and arranged them in a twenty-eight page zine. compiled of poetry, photography, and prose, leslie nikole digs through her depths and explores love, intimacy, heartbreak, and depression; even when it stings like saltwater in a wound that hasn’t toughened up yet.


SHIPPING TO CANADA | SHIPPING TO THE US | SHIPPING TO THE UK

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HELLO 2017, HERE'S TO STICKING TO THINGS I PROMISED LAST YEAR!
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green tea + plants on the windowsill // making banana fritters, we don't use measuring cups bout hay


well, here's to keeping up with resolutions; happy new year everybody.

first and foremost, shoutouts to the amazing rebecca for throwing such a lovely new year's celebration at her new crib (they have this huge ledge with all the spices laid out alphabetically; i stood there smiling at the line-up so long i almost started to cry)! saturday, sunday, and into early morning monday was spent laughing, cooking, drinking, and cracking jokes with old and new friends. 2016 was a mess, but ending it in a celebration with a bunch of smiles and bringing in the first two days of 2017 with friends was...i can't even put it into words.

one of my new year's resolutions is to really get into a daily home practice (peep these articles from yoga international and yogajournal), especially since i don't have to run and get up to go to work in the morning. starting my day off calmly and more at ease in my body is the kind of peace i need. i've signed up for wanderlust's 21 day challenge (yes, it's free) which runs from january 9th, and i'm also super excited for this friday's intro class to kesha's six week yin yoga series. idle hands are the devil's play toy, so i guess it's better that i'm trying to deepen my practice instead of being petty,

right?



working on alignment, getting into bowed half moon pose/ardha chandrasana chapasana

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THE FIFTH / LAST POST OF 2016.
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Yes; I know. 

The last time I posted something it was literally twelve months ago. I don’t really know why I keep torturing myself like this. I’ve become one of those “boys who cried wolf” in regards to getting back to blogging. 

But to be honest, I don’t want to give up. 

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making vision boards (i like them on paper more than pintrest, those dollarstore scrapbooks are boom for this)
learn something new (you seriously have a choice of like 30+ things to choose from, you're welcome) 

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i think i have every single writing prompt book created by the san francisco writer’s grotto. i’m off work until march/april (yay for seasonal working, oh yeah, new job, i’m living my dream of being a dark humoured and witty, passport wielding, and office managing twenty-something; yikes.), so i figured what better way to spend my days hibernating with tea (these are caffeinated, in order of preference) and writing. you make a new (lol) habit in two weeks right?

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I do what I want with semi-colons. Fight me.

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I have a new Twitter to highlight my wholesome behaviour; I might have recently followed you (@asanamami). I’m really trying guys, seriously. Eat well, yoga, be nice, work on my yamas, same old same old. Hold on, can we talk about that for a second?

So basically whether you’re going in accordance with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (five yamas) or the Upanishad (ten yamas, more “complete” aka harder for me to try to make loopholes), yamas are like the first step towards living in harmony with everything around you. I refuse to say that the yamas are like the ten commandments because the yamas in my opinion are more general guidance based and the commandments are…well they’re just that, direct commandments. 

If you’re interested in the yamas seen in the Upanishad, Eknath Easwaran has a great translation, much easier to understand. For Patanjali, I’ve heard really good things about Iyendar’s Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, but I’ve never read it. I have Edwin F. Bryant’s The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, but I wouldn’t suggest it unless you’re into deep analysis or doing self-study (it kinda reminds me of one of those academic bibles). 

In the toughest parts of 2016, what I started doing with my agenda was using one of those long post-it notes to write out all the yamas and then wrote out a little piece of commentary on the sutras (according to Patanjali) and used it sort of like a bookmark. My agenda is always open on my desk at work, so having it in a place where I was constantly looking at it and flipping back to it throughout the day really served as a great reminder. A few years ago when I was still at Dawson (SMFH) I had this amazing prof Sarah Allen who gave a class called Body, Mind, World: Western Encounters with the Yoga Tradition (aka the only class that was keeping me before I left for good), and I don’t really remember what it is she said, but in regards to living your yoga practice she said you have to remember that your yoga practice is supposed to continue on even when you’re not doing physical and entering asana practice (doing yoga poses). 

The yamas don’t disappear just cause you’re not on the mat. The same way you get on your mat to deal with life, the same way you need to take what you’ve learned on the mat and take it back into the world when you step off.

I have to email her. I wish I could get more instruction from her, sigh.

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I’m using a Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter (translation: red-threaded bag companion) agenda this year. Yes when I heard about this brand from Deutschland on the Pen Addict podcast two years ago, I made note of it. When I saw it at Papeterie Nota Bene (where I spend way too much time plotting how to pull the biggest stationary heist known to man) I squealed. Paper is important. Yes, I dusted off my old German dictionary to translate begleiter. 

The one I have sorta feels like the Moleskine weekly in medium. This A5 recycled paper (128pgs // light 70g in off-white, not for fountain pens tbh) agenda is lovely for 2017, and they have an academic option! I also noted that they have address books (I just got back from five weeks in Barbados, where my auntie Ann rationalized the use of address books because tbh, sometimes my phone dies and nobody memorizes phone numbers anymore), to do/shopping lists and even a midwife calendar! I’ve never seen anything like this, but I know there’s a surge of black women becoming doulas and interested in bringing life into the world, so this could be great for you if that’s where your interest lies. Basically the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter is my childhood dream, you get one of the Taschenbegleiteren and it lets you put different books you want together into one sorta pocket folder thing. It’s genius. If I had more money, I’d give it to them. 

I’ve accepted my embarrassing admission of nerdom. Fight me.

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I’m going to really try hard to not spend any money. Being home until March/April, waiting for the ground to thaw so I can go back to work (hint: I work for an irrigation company, and with the ground frozen from December to March-ish…mad vacation time) means I’ll probably be on Amazon a lot and clicking numerous random links all leading me to things I want but can’t afford.

I’m limiting myself to 100$ a week, cash. NO CARDS.

Basically, on Sunday morning, I wake up with 100$ in cash in my wallet, and it’s gotta hold me until Saturday. Anything left over on Saturday night gets put in a savings account, be it 10¢ or 100$. If I really need to purchase something with a credit card, I gotta be able to cover it with whatever cash I have on hand and put said cash on my card ASAP. 

I’ve already got a pretty great budget (as much as I bounce around, the budget has pretty much stayed the same) so this definitely seems doable. I’m only getting older you know, kinda gotta get my spending and everything in order. There’s no more Oprah to cry to when you’re deep in the hole anymore.

I also need to stop buying so much food; I really act like I can’t cook you know. Luckily, the lovely chef extraordinaire Ahlexandria makes not only takes amazing pictures of the mouth-watering food she makes but she also hold you down with simple recipes and grocery lists (when she sends them straight to my DMs I feel special, can’t lie). Speaking of food, have you heard of Cooking in America? Basically Eater has this new series with the mother of 5food1 and Mrs. Guavababa herself (congrats again!) taking you through the delicious and different foods immigrants are blessing America with. I’m always really interested in new restaurants but I don’t trust Yelp because some people would find the water in my Brita spicy, but I trust Pelin. 



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So last night I was coming home on the train right, and after meeting up with my yoga mentor, Kesha (hey boo!) and talking about some upcoming projects I’m working on, I started thinking about blogging again. I think I’m taking it too seriously again. Tbh, I wrote this in my Notes on my iPod and I’ve just been adding little quips throughout the day. I used to “blog” like this, drafting things in my Blackberry notes before dragging the .txt file over to whatever host I was obsessed with at the time (once the Tumblr for Blackberry app dropped… #SOCLUTCH). Blogging should be this intense. I shouldn’t recoil at the thought of it. It’s not that serious. Just write. 


Peace.

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JANUARY 28TH
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