Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Same Love / Diversity, Sexuality, Youth, Empowerment

When we raise our kids with definitions, with prescriptions, on whom they should be; we rob them of, and commit the greatest disservice to, their purity and character. I am diplomatic when I say this; careful to avoid the depth of the pain of identity and it's crisis - because it can't be contained in so few words. Through stories, and only stories, can we begin to comprehend even nearly what it must feel like. By not recognizing the diversity of sexuality, of character, and of identity itself; we create division, exclusion, the reality and abnormality of "difference" (and the intolerance therein), and very real depression. In it's extremes it isn't surprising anymore that this behaviour, and the mentalities associated with it, can lead to severe bullying, violence, self-harm, and even suicide. But it's sometimes the apathy; the fear of being human, of being whom you are at the core of what that is, that is sometimes the saddest part. We have a responsibility to encourage the evolution of a society, of a generation, that is aware of sexuality that exists far beyond the limited roles we prescribe on what we define as proper gender; that is, sexuality of the mind, the heart, and the body. A world where who we choose to be, as a realized individual, is as invaluable as any other human quality we possess.

Today was Day Of Pink - an international day against bullying, discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia; meant to raise awareness in our schools and communities! Over 8.5 Million Canadians petitioned against bullying in all it's forms this year by wearing Pink! What will you be wearing next year? We hope to see many more amazing people, and amazing organizations, participating for this very real cause.

Stay Healthy,

Monday, 11 March 2013

Letter to a G.I. / Sleep Well My Love

This is a letter written by Brian Keith, a World War II Veteran, to a fellow soldier named Dave of whom he fell in love with while they were both stationed in North Africa in 1943. It is a moving and candid glimmer into the relationship between the two men; now forever held as piece of their history in poetic prose. It's my honour to share this letter with you, and it's my privilege to be a part of a time when "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been repealed. There is a future that I long to see, and there is a world I pave the road for every day; where people like Dave and Brian need never be apart, live in fear, nor be forgotten.

Always love,

The Sacred Earth

Is it already March 11th? Amazing! The first part of the year always starts out grudgingly slow then exponentially springs forward come the changing of the Season, I think! I've been remarkably busy this last month or so, and if you've been paying any attention at all to my sister site, you might see why. Fashion Week is coming up for me and with it a flurry of events, shoots, and projects that are slowly manifesting into spectacular things. But that's another story, and one that you'll probably hear a lot about if you follow me anywhere besides here.

I spoke about change in my last post here, which was a while ago (I apologize); but the burden of change had been weighing on me heavily, as it does all of us. It kept me from properly communicating how I was feeling; and although I am in much the same place, I have definitely come up for air this week. When I decide to change what I do, everyone will know about it. Doing so will most likely be a gradual thing, although it will take me some fearlessness. It's just that it's sad thing too, isn't it? As much as it is a wonderful thing. I've spent years building something that I knew was me and was everything I wanted, and at one point it certainly was! I've always been driven to achieve that which I desired, and I've always been stubborn to it as well. It took me a while to create what I wanted but in many ways I actually did; which something I can be no less than proud of. But, as human as I am, of course it cannot be the end all. I've come to a place that I dreamed about, and though I perhaps haven't done completely all I wanted to, I find myself not wanting those same things anymore. Goals have changed, ideologies have evolved, paths have been created and shifted. Changing at this point is like breaking up with someone I love, so it leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I know, however, that it's the only way to move forward for me. Not in terms of just success, but in terms of being happy with what I do, who I am, and where I'm going. I assure you; although I work in a very materialistic world, the reason I work for it at all is an undoubtedly spiritual one. It is connected to me in energy, and if I don't change now it would be like I'd be turning my back on my spirit. I still have faith within me, and so, I'm not willing to do that.

I still have so much that I've been waiting to say on here. Topics and videos have been piling up for me; and I've been aching to be a part of this incredible, human revolution that's clearly happening. I can see it everywhere; and even though darkness is almost always louder than light, remember that you can see it everywhere too, should you choose to. I really believe that people are changing, and that it's a matter of letting the dream you have for the world, or perhaps your world, become the present reality. I don't want to lose myself if a verbose dream-sequence of words like I can sometimes do, so I won't go further than that. I wanted this post to be nothing more than a lighthearted refresher; to remind this blog that I'm still around though I've been incredibly busy. When the time is right the things that I want to feature will come to light, and then you can really tell me what you think; which I am very, very interested to hear.

I'll leave you with an absolutely mesmerizing film I stumbled upon the other day. If anything it'll shed a little light your way, maybe a little humility, and even some gratitude. Created by master filmmaker Sean F. White, Terra Sacra is a stunningly candid, visual journey through 24 countries in inspiring time lapse. 6 years in 6 minutes; the visuals in this film are a testament to the grandeur of Earth, and perhaps even our absolute smallness in the shadow of it's magnitude, grace, and stunning beauty. It is a small piece of magic, so enjoy it.

Stay Healthy,

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Courage to Change & The Joy of the Journey / Life of Pi

I'm sorry I haven't been as active recently on here. But to be honest, ever since I returned home from New York I haven't been quite sure what to say. New York was an experience that brought me a clarity I didn't expect; and although it was fleeting, it forced me to re-examine the path I'm headed down right now. So, I ask you candidly, how do you change your life?

Change is a frightening, magnificent constant. We change all the time as we grow, quite naturally. The interests we hold, the people we meet and let go of, the places we live, and the work we do. But what happens when that change is a choice and not an inevitable progression? When the change is a risk regardless of the direction but is the only way forward? I know risk, and I know change, but it's different this time. I have faced many paths but at the same time I was always determined and aware of what I wanted. For the first time, or in perhaps quite a long time, I find myself unsure of what it is that I want now, and if the path I've chosen will lead me to that phantom place. I can't speak in too much detail, for obvious reason, but I know now that unless I make a choice I will live in this stagnancy. I know, I feel it in my heart, that I've taken all that I can take; and I must change direction or live within it. The choice is a human choice, not a fateful choice, and in both cases I will lose something. But I do not fear the leap, I fear the transition. Nervousness has replaced conviction, and this stress has caused a division within myself. If I haven't been speaking like myself lately, it's inherently due to this. So, then, how do we change?

To change is to be courageous. We are so finite, being human, at least physically. Bound by the world that we live in and bound, even greater, but the social roles we often choose to adopt. It's a simple thing to imagine the lives we want to lead, but it takes an immeasurable amount of conviction and courage to adopt the cause, and eventually the role. Along the way we are faced with the constant reality of the effects our decisions will have; not only on ourselves but to those around us. The reality of living day to day and building a life while searching for a dream is a path that can never be simple. Though without it, and without the pain that it promises, it would perhaps be quite difficult to truly appreciate, with utmost gratitude, all that we had done. With the darkness the light is brighter, no?

I watched Life of Pi in theatres recently. It was magnificent, to say the very least, and was masterfully composed by director Ang Lee into a stunningly visual display that evolved with as much grace as the narrative itself.  There were wonderful metaphysical aspects of the film that resonated with me. The isolation of Pi and his dissociation from not only his origin but his relationship with God. I thought it was brilliant; the juxtaposition of his internal abyss with the pristine beauty of the Pacific "abyss". I don't think I completely grasped the power of Life of Pi when I originally viewed it; totally taken aback by it's beauty. But I think I understand it now, having internalized those images. The juxtaposition is more than just a dialectical and interesting balance; I think it signifies the beauty of struggle alone. That Pi's life, like ours, is filled with abyss, loneliness, deserts, and isolation as much as it is dotted with light, joy, and perpetual love. We yearn, strive, and leap towards the top of the hill, the peak of the mountain, to rid ourselves of the weight of existence. An idea, a hope, that at some point joy will be all we have. But the reality is that that cannot be. And it isn't that joy cannot exist on that level, it is more that life itself, the act of living, is the true joy. Pi's journey is an epic tale of grandeur and unimaginable conflict, but without his desolation he could never nearly comprehend the purity and grace of the light he felt at the end of it. The reason the journey is so stunning is because it is the beauty of the story, both figuratively and literally. God, in essence, was never away from Pi. As with the glow of the jellyfish painting the sea in a neon aqua, or the massive whale that leaped over Pi's small body without disturbing his voyage, or the simple island silhouetted in the shape of a Goddess, or perhaps Buddha, as if inviting Pi into itself. The lesson is that God is the journey; the divinity of life is the divinity of God. The peaks are our reflection of that beauty, but the beauty itself are the valleys in between. The details of the painting, the history of the painter.

It's difficult to plan life out for ourselves when the paths we take wind and twist unexpectedly. But without the challenge we cannot find the fulfillment. Struggle is a purity that equals the beauty of peace, in a sense, because it teaches us peace. It is hard and perhaps impossible not to feel fear being human, full of dreams and full of doubt; but true positivity comes from the courage to live with that fear, and then, eventually, surpass it. We live within the darkness but we must light our way through it. That is the courage of change; because, in essence, to live is to change. So I guess, regardless of my indecision, I will have to take that leap.

Stay healthy,

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Beauty of New York, The Spell of Manhattan

Right now I'm sitting in my sweet, little spot of heaven in the heart of Manhattan; a modest, boutique hotel at the corner of 44th and 6th in Midtown. To summarize my experience in New York would perhaps not do the city the right amount of justice, but being as descriptive as I often am, I will surely attempt it! My short stay hasn't gifted me the right amount of time to experience the true diversity of this city, but regardless I have been privileged enough to see so much of Midtown, where most of my work has taken place, while being here.

New York feels like a different country; and I'm not just saying that because I'm from Canada! I mean a different country from the Continent itself. The energy is electric, and though you've probably heard so many people say that, it's more than just that. There is a visual majesty to the city that is like magic. Almost every street in Manhattan is lined with dramatic, bold cityscapes of iron, glass, steel, marble, and stone. The visual impact alone is so beautiful it feels otherworldly! It breathes and moves with a vibrancy and an ebb like that of a living creature; sighing, singing, and pulsating with a core of life. But it sits in absolute prominence; a towering city core that engulfs all who enter it - absorbs all above, below, and within it like a massive, sparkling entity. In that sense it almost exists out of time itself; out of reality itself - like a cave of wonder.

Midtown Manhattan by Andrew C. Mace

Being an urbanite from Canada's busiest cosmopolitan core, I found that the energy of New York is not so unlike that of much of Toronto. The same vibe of urbanity and the movement of the streets exists in the same frequency; and in that sense I feel like Toronto prepared me for New York. However, New York is at a much, much higher level of the same - vastly more dramatic, more visually stunning, faster, louder, crazier, more ridiculous, more luxurious, and more diverse. It holds together communities of incredible variance and spreads across a vast expanse of land that can take you from the tallest buildings you've ever seen to the densest and oldest communities in North America. It shines with a prismatic identity of liberation, uniqueness, and oneness. It almost felt like a fantastic dream world; a greater, bigger, more amazing Toronto. In other words, it fit me perfectly. Every bit of it flowed with me, and I felt almost immediately at home within the tight gridlock of Manhattan's impressive streets.

Streets of Manhattan by Philipp Klinger Photography

There's a huge wet storm right now in the city and a massive snow storm that's hitting Toronto at this moment! So to be quite honest I'm not even sure I'll be able to catch my flight tomorrow! But regardless of where I end up this weekend, New York has given me quite a gift. A new insight; complete with some fantastic experiences in the industry and fantastic experiences in the street. I think I could be here and make it work; I think New York could be for me. It's too wonderful to give up. But until that moment comes, I'll have to keep fighting for that future, that place in my head and that feeling in my heart that I want so deeply. The dream is the gift, really, and the journey is the adventure. What are your big city dreams?

Today I had the honour of being invited to Heather Lawton's Studio following her amazing presentation at New York Fashion Week yesterday in Chelsea. I plan to write a full article about how fantastic her Collection is and how wonderful it was to meet her and see her work space. A true inspiration! Keep your eyes locked on my sister-site, DylanInTheCity, for full coverage!

Stay Healthy!

P.S. See my journey through New York this week through these easy outlets!

Vine / @TheDylanDias

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Majesty of Toronto & A New York Dream / #1♥TO

Time has escaped me yet again my friends. It's been too long since I've been here, forgive me. But I assure you, as I seem so often to do, it's for good reason! A lot has been happening -  a lot of projects coming together, and a lot of new beginnings that seem to be just peaking over the horizon. But I have yet to see where they will go, of course, which is why I'm not putting those words into any context really. It's funny, I live my life in a bit of a blur. If I'm in one spot for too long I end up trying to jump to other areas; trying to keep things fluid. But nothing really ever comes to me quickly, or spontaneously. The progression I've achieved, both personally, professionally, and otherwise; have consistently been steady, paced things. I wonder, if that's a part of life I'm just going to have to accept and live with; that my mind and my heart move faster than my life. But my life, characteristically, never moves faster than what I can handle either. Divinity? Probably. I'm just a human with big dreams.

I've been posting random Toronto Tourism videos on my Facebook Page recently. If you're a friend and you actually pay attention to what I say then you must have seen them! The videos were created by Canadian Tourism as part of a new, visual series of fantastic short film-esque adverts to entice Canadians to continue exploring their own country. Toronto was just one of many cities/regions featured on the website and Youtube Page. There's no real, solid reason why I was doing this; I feel like Toronto is a different place in the Summer, and I guess I just wanted people who don't spend enough time in the city to see what it could be for them. I find many people I know who live in Toronto and the GTA don't really know their city all that well; and that's largely due to the fact that Toronto is a city of villages; and unless you actually spend the time and make the effort to travel about, you probably know very little about it. Most people in this part of the world tend to spend most of their time in their respective neighbourhoods, because we aren't as interconnected and dense as older metropolises; especially since we've expanded. However, Toronto is a city you can only see from the streets, essentially. It would wonderful to see the mega-city come together in a celebration and exploration of all that is has to offer and all that it is. A bustling metropolis and a cosmopolitan hub; a multicultural and prismatic community of heritage, tradition, and culinary diversity; an artistic, trendy, socially progressive, and environmentally conscious World City; and an enigmatic, thriving core of an evolving architectural, urban, and social landscape.

Incredible shot of Toronto from the Islands by Murphyz

My adoration of Toronto (Toronto proper; the inner-city, Downtown) has only grown since I've moved into the city; although close friends will say that it's been a love affair for quite a long time. Toronto was always like Oz to me. Growing up in the distant suburbs, never quite fitting into the world I lived in, and never feeling comfortable in my own skin - Toronto stood as some grand beacon. A place where I was allowed to be myself in this unimagined totality, and not be afraid of it. The CN Tower stood like a spire of liberation; I used to stare at it from the highway as a child, saying to myself that it'd only be a matter of time until I was there; until I was home, essentially. A lot of people don't understand the connection I have with Toronto for that very reason; because I've never really mentioned very much about who I was as a child. But, without boring you with an overly verbose autobiography, I can just say that I was never quite in sync with my life. I learned very young who I should be and shouldn't be, and most of my childhood and adolescence was me trying to be the person I should be, without letting myself blossom too much. I kept myself consistently under control, and I never quite understood my own skin, like I said before. I used to travel into the city with my parents and see kids who were more daring, more androgynous, more creative, and of course, gay; and I felt like they were a me I couldn't be (although I didn't quite understand why at the time). Toronto was a symbol of freedom for me, and it always has been up until this very moment. As I sit here, turning 26 soon, being an active member of the inner city for the last 4 years - Toronto remains that vibrant, musical, bright, and liberal core of life that simultaneously inspires me, challenges me, and sustains me daily. It really is my absolute home, if I could be so candid; and it will always be in my heart for that very reason; regardless of where I may end up.

In the spirit of worlds within a city, I'd like to do a feature every now and then on DylanInTheWorld come Summer. Once a week - a post that celebrates a different neighbourhood within the city. A photo spread, and a description of what makes it uniquely what it is. From The Junction to Leslieville and beyond, the anatomy of the city. What do we think? It'll give me a good excuse to perhaps run into corners and cracks even I haven't seen yet. Like I said, Toronto is a city you can only see from the streets. It's very likely there are small spots you never imagined existed, hidden like gems in the diverse visual landscape of Toronto's cultural fabric.

Aside from all this at-home love, I should mention that I have some exciting projects coming up! My freelance work is almost entirely Fashion related, so you can keep up to date with my creations and projects on my sister-site, DylanInTheCity. But since this is a personal moment of giddiness, I feel obligated to mention it here as well - I'm heading to New York City! The city of cities beckons. As part of a project I'm producing in partnership with Jossyl Bacalla, Toni Francis, and New York-based designer Heather Lawton, I'll be heading down for Fashion Week this Wednesday. I'm going to have the honour and privilege of attending Heather's Runway Presentation as well as meeting her for the first time and seeing her Collection first-hand. An exciting venture for me; I'll be sure to update everyone on it's progress. When it's ready, it'll be seen.

Central Park South  in NYC by Grey van der Meer

If Toronto is a beacon of liberation at home, New York might just be that beacon for the World. I have yet to see what I will take away from this experience, but regardless of how fleeting it may be, I can only hope that Fashion and New York are somehow intertwined in my future. I certainly have the passion, work ethic, and drive for it; being such an active member in Toronto's creative market. I hope that the work I've done will lead me to something greater in a city where Fashion exists and its beating core. I will be LIVE during my entire trip to New York, from Fashion Week to the streets of Midtown. Stay connected and share my journey.

Vine / @TheDylanDias

Stay Healthy,

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Age of Love & Sadie's Letter

I recently wrote an entry on my other blog, DylanInTheCity, addressing the evolution and necessity of androgyny in Fashion, specifically male-centric. Even though the expansion of the issue and all that it holds (genderism, gender-identity, social roles, inclusion) is extremely dear and quite personal to me, I wanted to include it on my Fashion blog because it reaches a Fashion audience. It isn't just about humanism, it's Fashion and humanism, so to speak. I would absolutely love if you guys checked that entry out; give it a read if you haven't already. I might come off a little passionate, but I try to be concise and clear when I talk about something that's really important to me.

Following that wave; today on my usual scour of the interwebz, I came across a touching letter from a transgender girl named Sadie. Posted by the fantastic team at, an organization that fights the mistreatment and manipulation of LGBT rights worldwide with uninhibited passion; Sadie's letter is a candid reflection of the steps we have yet to take to work towards becoming an inclusive society. I could elaborate, but it's best that 11 year-old Sadie speak for herself; she has a lot to say.

This is Sadie's dream for the world. A fantastic, colourful world that embraces the diversity of humanism with open arms and graceful love. Does it seem unattainable?  Because I don't think that it is. There were many, many times in the past when we were faced with same issues, just under a different light; a different mask. At the end of it all, humanism is still humanism; and it crosses all borders, countries, ages, and eras, at a rate we cannot even fully comprehend without comprehending the expanse of diversity itself. Transgender youth are as real as any other youth, and it is only through conscious inclusion can we encourage the proper integration and acceptance of true sexual diversity. The Age of Love is something that I believe in, something that drives me. It's amazing how powerful love can be, how much we all yearn for it, and yet how hard it can be to come by in a world that holds strong much of it's unconscious rigidity.

The only way to encourage love is to spread love. Remembering that humanity is a word that includes all of us is the first part of that. Living, breathing, and embodying the change you wish to see creates that change; just like living with love creates love. Darkness, hate, and negativity will yield to hearts of light if we carry it with us every hour of every day. Speak for those who aren't as fortunate as you, and remember their humanism as you would your own. Sadie's letter is just one, small example of the incredible effect a simple act of inclusion can have on one, brave child with a bold, brave dream. I ask you again, what would you do if you knew you could change the world?


Stay Healthy,


Friday, 18 January 2013

Living With A Light Heart / Dining In The City with Canteen

Feels like I've been away for much too long! It's amazing how fast days pass you by when there is so much to do. Many things are happening right now that are exciting for me, both personally and professionally, that much of the Blogosphere has yet to hear about! But I assure you, all will be revealed when the time is right!

I was wondering how everyone has been doing on their first month of the year? January can often be a time of slow energy and mild depression; not just because the majority of people tend to dislike the bitter cold, but because it comes immediately after a time of heightened excitement and holiday parties. I for one never quite understood the ailment. I love Winter, I adore Winter style, and January is almost the perfect time to take extra time away from work to enjoy Winter spoils without the financial worry of the Holiday Season; not to mention the time crunch for most. There are many wonderful things Winter can give you, and it's a beautiful time to explore the city and find those hidden food gems. There's nothing quite like a fantastic, warm meal during Winter in downtown Toronto.

Photo Courtesy alexanight

In fact, just last night I headed out for a modest but wonderful meal with two awesome friends of mine. We dined casually at Canteen, a rustic but cheery bistro-esque staple that sits underneath the acclaimed LUMA (which we love!) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Nestled snuggly at the ever-evolving corner of King and John in the heart of the Entertainment District, Canteen seems to pride itself on the ability to host casual fare with pristine service to a diverse crowd of inner-city professionals and theatre-goers.  

I opted for one of the more rustic dishes on the menu, which the waitress assured me was almost completely Vegan (and that she would make it totally, for my sake). The Vegetable Tagine was a sweet, playful, and texturally magnificent dish that was almost a mix between a salad and an entrée. The dish was served ice cold with a mixture of dried fruit, quinoa, cilantro, root vegetables, and an herbed sauce; all topped with fluffy and warm chickpea fritters that added a richness and depth to the light fare. It was so yummy, so totally Vegan, and a lovely treat!

Though it's a modest example, Canteen reminded me of why being a Vegan in Toronto is such a great gift. We, I, am lucky enough to have the opportunity to live in one of the most progressive cities in the world. We are dense, liberal, extremely diverse, and house some of the best Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, and Vegan restaurants in the country. There are so many wonderful options to explore healthier eating in the city that offer incredible flavour, quality, and presentation - a little something for everyone, even if Vegan isn't to your taste.

It's my belief that Vegan fare should be regarded as a different type of food, as opposed to a limited food. Many omnivores and avid meat-eaters will steer far and clear from Vegan restaurants or Vegan food just from the notion that if it lacks certain ingredients it can't be good. But that simply isn't true! Quite often Vegan food is prepared with utmost care into every ingredient; manipulating vegetables, grains, and seeds in new ways to create new flavours. As a result, the end product is usually incredibly flavourful, full of nutrients, and more than satisfactory to almost anyone's taste regardless of diet. In other words, add Vegan to that list of ethnic options! One day you might feel like Japanese, one night Indian, another Italian; why not view Vegan in the same vein? I guarantee that you'll end up finding a culinary niche you never quite knew existed - and it's fabulous!

Stay Healthy!


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Hungry For Change & The Vegan Misconception

It's been 10 days since I started this path to embrace Veganism as my new nutritional lifestyle. I've been gorging on an abundance of the freshest vegetable produce I could find at a price I can afford; starting with some basics like tomatoes, kale, spinach, mushrooms, squash, and carrots. On a week where I'd normally dive into store-bought, prepared food, take-out, pastas, sandwiches, and carb-rich breads; I've instead replaced with home-made salads, roasted vegetables, fruits, and grains. And I can say this, perhaps expectantly so; though the transition is never a simple one, the rewards are immense.

I recently watched a great documentary on Netflix called Hungry For Change; a passionate film about the significance of healthy produce. Hungry For Change puts together individuals from very different walks of life to share their stories about how vegetables changed their lives. Although the film doesn't quite dive into specific diet-lifestyles, like Veganism or Vegetarianism, it points out that the best possible thing you could do for your body is eating the best food possible; and claims that many of our modern ailments are because of a lack of proper nutrition as a result of our hectic, consumerist lives. It's a great watch for anyone who simply wants to be more educated and made more aware of the positive effects a great eating regimen can have on their lives. I'm afraid to use the word "diet" here, because I don't want people to get the wrong idea. It's not a diet in the sense of reducing the amount of food you take in, or depraving yourself of things that you love so that you can reach a certain size; it's simply about making more aware choices of what you consume, and realizing the incredible value of being a conscious eater. When you actively choose to live a healthy lifestyle that involves the right food, the notion of a diet becomes obsolete, because it isn't required anymore. If everything you put in your body is beneficial, you don't have to worry about extra fat, because there simply won't be any. If that means being a Vegan for you, then that's fantastic. If it means being only mostly Vegan, or being a Pescetarian, or even a selective-Vegetarian, then that's great too! What matters is how much you care.

That being said, I feel like there's much misconception about becoming a Vegan, or rather just diving into a lifestyle devoid of animal products. A lot of Vegans tend to embrace their subculture and can sometimes use it to provoke separatism; criminalizing those who choose to eat or use animal-based products. On the other hand, many meat-eaters by nature, based on their cultural and social upbringings, can sometimes view Vegans or Vegetarians as anti-culture abnormalities; as unnatural or the odd minority. None of these are actually true to what the lifestyle represents; they are only true to the few extremists that exploit it. Veganism is also about your spirit and your body; it's about nourishment. When you nourish your body properly, you also nourish your mind. Becoming a Vegan, for me, is like telling your body "I'm ready for you to be the best you can be". It very quickly for me became an act of self-respect, whether with permanence in mind or not. It is about understanding that our natural food sources are the best available to us.

I just wanted to say that, as an add-on to what Veganism is consistently associated with. I do not in any way denounce the importance of the ethical messages that are also behind it. I just want people to be aware that being a Vegan doesn't just mean one thing; everyone has their own reasons for leading the lives that they do. Animal treatment and the deplorable condition of North America's food industry is undoubtedly the birth-mother of the Vegan movement; but I wanted to outline the actual nutritional and physical benefits of such a change, just in case the ethical movement isn't your cup of tea. Veganism can be so much more than just that; from what I've seen, it can change your life as well.

Anyways, sorry for writing so much about food and vegetables! I don't mean for this blog to be Vegan-centric, but I do mean for it to be a little bit of an anthology of my journey. Being a new Vegan, I am consistently faced with social situations that question what I've chosen to do; and I have the pleasure of learning a lot about people who both understand and don't understand my choices. As I progress down this road, whether I stumble or not, or whether I choose to break away or not; I hope this blog will act as a guidepost and a reflection of where I've been and where I've come to. My new embrace of Veganism is just a small part of my journey, and I'm excited to see where it'll take me.

Stay healthy!

★ Dylan.

Monday, 7 January 2013

The World is Yours, The World is Ours

I'm so excited and thrilled to have finally started this new blog. Many of you will know me as an avid contributor to the Fashion Industry in Toronto; both as a creative and as a media source from my blog DylanInTheCity. Despite the fact that Fashion and Beauty consume my life in many, many ways; I wanted to create an outlet that served a different purpose. 

There are so many more avenues and elements that drive my creative inspiration and social growth that go much further than Fashion; though in essence, I suppose, they are somewhat all related - Art, Food, Poetry, City Life, Travel, and Activism. DylanInTheWorld will represent that which is my world to yours; whether that means a brilliant lecture that moved me, a cause I believe we should fight for, a great book, or even just a fantastic recipe! I want this blog to represent lifestyle beyond the industry I work with so closely, and rather on the humans we are; the human I am.

I've recently adopted a lifestyle change that I hope more people will become braver to try; that is, Veganism. The people who know me closely know that I've been a Pescetarian for the last year and a Vegetarian for the previous 9. I slowly began adding more food into my diet because, to be humbly honest, I absolutely love food! But I've been making the effort recently to re-balance my system. Busy shifts at work and a busy schedule of freelance work has lead me to poor food choices in the not-so-recent past. I adopted Veganism in an attempt to start eating healthier, more colourful food options once more - nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts. It began as a choice to become a healthier person and raise my quality of life consciously in a temporary manner; but now I feel I have an obligation to make it more than just that and have been considering the permanence of such a change.

I should note however, before other people may bring it up - I am aware of the challenges I face between the relationship I have with Fashion and the new relationship I am building with food. I am fully aware that adopting Veganism implies that I also should adopt it's practices in terms of what I celebrate in clothing on my blog. But, before going into too much detail, I want to specify that Fashion for me is a creative freedom the runs through my veins. Although I do not support the acquiring practices of fur, leather, and other animal fabrics - I do sometimes celebrate the designers who create pieces that may use them. I am still in the beginning stages of this great change, and I hope to become stronger in the future - but for now my sole focus remains on the nutritional level of being a Vegan. That is, changing the way that I eat.

Being a Vegetarian for most of my adolescence, I studied and was aware of the state of our food industry, both ethically and nutritionally, for quite some time. However, it's easy to let that information slip by you, and it's even easier to indulge in choices that are not only harmful to you, but to the environment, and to the social fabric of our culture. I was reminded of the seriousness of much of this while watching a fantastic and charming documentary, Vegucated, which outlines very simply how significant food production truly is, and how deplorable it actually is. There is a lot of social stigma behind a movement like this; but I implore you, it isn't about cutting out the things we love, it's simply about caring about what we're putting in. I've only just started, and believe me I am as much aware of the challenges I face as anyone. But I'm hoping this blog will act as a guiding tool; so that people can see my struggles and my accomplishments, and also how adopting this lifestyle has affected who I am.

I could elaborate for ages, but I suggest everyone instead simply have a quick watch. It isn't as heavy and difficult to watch as many other food documentaries, and will therefore appeal to that percentage of people who believe change is important but refuse to see why. It is easy, whimsical, and outlines the seriousness of our problems with a great, little challenge for regular, meat-loving New Yorkers not unlike many of us. At the very least, you will walk away with a greater understanding of where your food comes from and perhaps an enlightened, new responsibility to yourself to make more aware choices. And, if I could be so wishful, it will instill in you the potential for positive change. 

The world truly is ours, so we need to take care of it - to ensure a great life for ourselves and an even brighter one for our future; it's imperative that we care. We are, after all, as much a part of Earth as every other life form and inhabitant on this graceful planet. What would you do if you knew you could change the world?

★ Dylan