Posts Tagged ‘Flin Flon’

CC CHRONICLES: Thick Skin & Lookin’ Within

Published by cctadmin on July 30th, 2015

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I was walking home along the boardwalk yesterday; enjoying the sun on my face and in particular, time to think about and reflect on what it means to have ‘thick skin’. I’ve heard it said that to have thick skin is a ‘gift from God’; that it takes time and learning to acquire it, and finally, that in order to face life’s rejections, haters and obstacles, it’s all but essential to have it. The very definition of ‘thick-skinned’ is “insensitive to criticism or insults“.

Why the contemplation? Well, I can identify things I want in my life; like strong family connections, a healthy relationship with my partner, financial security, education, a home and a fulfillment from music. The list goes on. I’ve never expected any one of those things to come easy; and in fact, they never have. I continue putting time and effort into my life’s ambitions with a quiet confidence that there’s worth in that patience and dedication.  Hopefully that worth is the joy experienced along the way.

On the other hand, within our passioned pursuits there is also much opportunity for disappointment; the ‘nothing comes easy’ part existing in the form of obstacles like a door-slam to the face, criticisms or the many hoops we often have to jump through in order to succeed in our goals. There’s always an opportunity to give up. Rationally, I understand that ‘nothing comes easy’; stumbling blocks are a given; and it’s with this I contemplate how to acquire a hardened sense of logic.

I recall how scary it was in my youth when I was just forging out on my own and having to establish security; similarly, going to University in my 20’s and facing all sorts of intellectual pressures. Being an independent artist without management or a band to my credit also beholds tests of my inner strength. Given this and more I can acknowledge the ‘thick skin’ I had to personally attain in the face of these things yet, on my walk home, I still couldn’t help but feel briefly overwhelmed at the realization that ‘thick skin’ is not only a goal in itself; it’s an on-going process.  There is no end.   I may have some of it, and I’ve strengthened over the years but I could use some toughening up even still.

It can be discouraging; I certainly began that walk feeling daunted about some of my musical pursuits in particular. In fact I felt downright deflated; but it only took some time and reflection on route home to consider that like anything else worth having, I was, and I am going to have to remain patient; I’m going to have to keep my head up and trust in the process of my future pursuits. Regardless of weather things in our lives turn out exactly as we want them to or not, I’d really rather keep trying, keep getting back up on the horse and giving it another go – than opting to fall to my knees in defeat. With that in mind I found a way to turn around my inner doubts and see them all as part of this process. It didn’t necessarily take away all my discouragement however it did just enough to have me feeling less defeated.

What do you guys think about the thickness of your own skin?

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / Man’s Best Friend circa 1991

Published by cctadmin on July 30th, 2015

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Once upon a time CC Trubiak had a dog named Karma.  They say ‘man’s best friend is his dog’ and I can attest to that most definitely.  As a family growing up, and as an adult I’ve always loved animals and had nice history of great pets over the years.  See there was Maggie (the cat), Felix, Seymour, Saishia, Carl, Sheba… today there’s Doobie, Poppy and Smokie the dog…. but at one time there was just Karma.

In the early 90′s our family was on route back from Winnipeg.  We stopped at a farm just outside of the city and picked her up to bring her all the way out to our Schist Lake home.  Schist Lake was the perfect place to raise a dog because we never had to keep Karma on a leash; nor did we fear she’d run away.  She was a naturally wild one yet she was loyal, loving and about as intelligent as a dog can be.

I was a fairly solitary kid in those days; I loved living out a Schist because it was a golden nature and by golly, nature is like being in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory to me – eye and ear candy all over the place with the sights and sounds of the lakes and the trees and all the paths on which I could walk on with my dog Karma by my side.

And Karma was indeed often by my side…. for 18 years our family included Karma; and how beloved she was by all of us.  She was an incredibly loving dog, smart as they come.  Any time I’d prepare to go for a walk along the dirt roads to clear my head, Karma would be there right by my side.  I could talk to her.  I could bounce my troubles off of her and she’d connect with my eyes and it always felt like in some way she could understand the dilemmas, or at least, how they might be affecting me.  She knew when I was my usual contented self or in a state of distress.  There were even times I’d stop and cry, down on my knees, troubled by things that felt very overwhelming – and Karma would trot back to me if she had been up ahead, and she would gently lick my tears and sit right there by my side… until I felt the strength to stand up again and continue on that dirt road.  She really was a best friend.  And I could always get back up again; we could always continue on and she’d have lifted my spirits.

Pictured below are two shots: one of Karma right around the time we would have picked her up as a puppy.  Look at how small she was!  The other is random shot taken of her and I when she was much older, I was on a visit in 1991 from Ottawa and she was begging me to put down my book and take her for one of those walks.

Once all of us left home Karma remained living at Schist with Mamma; like I said she lived for 18 years with us so you can imagine my mom’s pain when Karma did pass.  Mom also describes Karma as her best friend – and I doubt that Karma could ever be replaced.  Not entirely.  There was a specialness to her; a gentle and wise knowing-ness that I miss to this day.

Here’s to all the dogs in the world who give us that gentle companionship and who even lick away our tears from time to time; waiting for us to pick ourselves up and continue our journey.

Love you Karma!! xoxoxox

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / Weekends with Dad circa 1991

Published by cctadmin on July 23rd, 2015

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Once upon a time CC Trubiak spent every weekend with his dad. My parents were divorced by the time I was approaching Kindergarten and it became regular routine to have dad pick us kids up after school on Fridays. We’d usually spend both Friday and Saturday nights with him before heading on back home to mom’s house where we’d live and go to school throughout the week.

There’s nothing quite like the memories I have of those weekends; they were some of the best days of my youth and I don’t believe that’s nostalgia talking. Very fond recollections of grocery shopping after school at Eddie’s IGA and getting all the goods for the weekend ahead; dad would make a pit-stop at Candy Bar so he could pick up a pack of cigarettes and the Reminder (which back then came with the television schedule in every Friday issue) and allow me to select an Archie comic or two.  Maybe up to Rex Video where we could rent a Betamax tape too.  Up at dad’s place itself I was usually busy drawing pictures and writing stories inside or climbing rocks and making forts, skipping stones down by the water and generally killing hours upon hours at play. Dad could be found inside the garage tinkering on an art project (usually involving a buzz saw) with CFAR radio full blast, a cracked-open beer and a half-finished cigarette sitting on the ashtray. It’s easy to remember the sun shining and the feeling of dirt on my skin after a full day, and the comfort of knowing this was my weekend home.

Pictured here I stand with dad, circa 1991. I would have been around 12 years old, right about to embark on those God-awful pubescent years. Oh the emotional turmoil and insecurities that were about to transition youthful days into adulthood as I would come to know it. I remember standing there by dad’s car for this photo, the wind blowing. Dad’s gone now but I need look at the picture for only a moment to recollect many life details of those days gone by. The dreamer in me sometimes imagines what it would be like if we could time-travel; oh the options of where we could go again… I know that I would certainly want the chance to be in that moment again just to take comfort. Here’s to our youthful pasts.

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CC CHRONICLES: The Mix playing @ The Hooter THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY

Published by cctadmin on July 20th, 2015

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The Mix plays two nights at the Hooter this weekend.

Come out ya’ll!

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / ‘Prairie Boy’ & the Victims Voices Matter Conference 2010

Published by cctadmin on July 15th, 2015

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Once upon a time, CC Trubiak wrote a song called ‘Prairie Boy’.  The year was actually 2010.  The setting, Ottawa, Ontario.  At the time I was a full-time social work student at Carleton University, working my way through the program in hopes to one day become a qualified counsellor.   However, as a singer/songwriter I was just getting my feet wet in terms of working on the independently recorded They Say I’m Different (Torrid Productions).

While I was studying at Carleton I got word that a two-day conference called Victims Voices Matter was being put on by the Ottawa Police Service queer liaison committee and Ottawa’s queer community centre project.  The conference itself would cover a wide range of topics from reporting homophobic violence to letters from victims of hate crimes and workshops on queer terminology.

I thought the conference idea itself was a great one; not only did it seem progressive but somehow I thought anything that encourages the breakdown of gay stereotypes and the building of bridges between the ‘gay community’ and the larger society was good in my books.  You could imagine my surprise when one of the organizers contacted me directly to invite me, as an openly gay singer/songwriter/social worker to write a song in honour of this two-day conference.

I took the opportunity seriously – and thus went home and worked on a song that I felt would hopefully encapsulate my story in a snap-shot.  After experiencing bullying in my own youth growing up in Flin Flon, I could appreciate how the conference was about building support and understanding between the queer community and police officers.

Out of it came ‘Prairie Boy’; a song that draws a lot of visual images of feeling like a loner in an unwelcoming world.  A young ‘fairy’ boy who’s a vulnerable, yet resilient dreamer.  Not only did I get the chance to perform it at Victims Voices Matter, but I was able record it as well – produced by The PepTides band leader Claude Marquis.

I recall about 150 people attended the conference, with RCMP officers joining police from Hamilton, Cornwall, Peterborough and Waterloo.  It seemed to me that the conference generated discussions and broke down some barriers.  I for one, was honored to be a part of it and looking back on it today after some time – I can’t help but be proud of how this little song was born.

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CC CHRONICLES: Family Matters

Published by cctadmin on July 13th, 2015

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Happy Canada Day!

Published by cctadmin on July 1st, 2015

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CC CHRONICLES: The art of letting go vs. pushing away

Published by cctadmin on June 29th, 2015

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Sometimes I get ‘letting go’ confused with ‘pushing away’. Do you know what I mean?
Life seems to be a series of lessons in learning the art of ‘letting go’; be it from the small scale of releaseing your soother as a baby or sharing toys with siblings as a child – to larger scale of learning how to to say goodbye to someone who passes away or surrendering to the expectations you have on the people or world around you … maybe even washing your hands of anger or pain. Certainly existence presents us all with times where we truly do have to ‘let go’ verses holding on to the emotions, presumptions or the people who it would serve us better to separate from.

I’m still discovering that art; ever considering if there is in fact a sure fire formula in which to ‘let go’. I used to hold on to childhood confusion (perhaps there’s residue even still) but years away from home provided opportunities to ‘grow up’ and experience life completely separate from boyhood, resulting in time to broaden my life perspective. Blessed with a newfound understanding that life and people can evolve, as could I –  I feel gratitude and peace with that.  Nothing is ever completely black or white.

Experiencing the feeling of letting go is liberating, if you know you’ve done it.  Personally I want to live life with as little baggage as possible and instead live it with as much joy and love as is avaliable; but joy and love are difficult to achieve when you are attached to old wounds, right? Or new bruises you don’t know how to communicate much less heal.

As someone who understands this much, I’ve not found it any easier to let go per se, but I have gotten better at spotting those things which I cling onto; like expectations I put on others without knowing it, or flawed thoughts. Life has always presented me people and places in which my error-ed beliefs are directly challenged.

On the other hand, because I’m no expert on the art of ‘letting go’, and given I’m still learning that dance – I recognize my  own ability to potentially drive people away.  Put up walls and push people away in confusion.  My intention may be to come from a place of ‘letting go’ and yet I can still wind up sending people away – leading me to wonder – what gives?  How do I learn this complicated dance between letting go and pushing away?

It had me thinking:

If ‘letting go’ is waving goodbye, giving a hug or coming from peace…
Pushing away is turning your back, putting a hand up in protection or coming from fear…

In the end – all I can do is keep dancing, figuring things out trial and error; knowing nothing is black or white, we’re all allowed to make mistakes and grow –  and that the ultimate goal is to learn and live with love and joy.

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CC CHRONICLES: Thank you for the music

Published by cctadmin on June 25th, 2015

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Thank you for the music.  I sometimes think to myself that I’m lucky to have music in my life, as a way to express things inside.  In actuality I have the hardest time telling people how I feel, particularly if how I feel includes anger or confusion or resentment.  Pain.  Its easy as one-two-three for me to listen.  But to share myself honestly all the time?  It can be a difficult thing to do, and perhaps especially for those of us who are very sensitive people to begin with.

That’s why I love coming home and picking up my guitar, weather I’m just fiddling around or seriously working on songs.  I write from a very personal place but I also love story-telling.  It helps me to focus on melodies or create them along with  the words inside that get otherwise very scrambled up in my head whenever I’m faced with opportunities to actually say them in life.  There are many times I go through writers block, which gets irritating when you might have a slew of thoughts inside that are all cluttered up but you’re incapable of speaking.  Even just humming along with my guitar gives me an anchor and an appreciated feeling of comfort.  I’m also very excited about a batch of songs I’m working on;   and I’m proud to say I have some very special people in my life who I’ve been collaborating with more, as a way to share and make some hopefully stellar music in the collective process.  I think there are going to be some special things ahead.

Special thanks to my Dad for buying me this guitar last Christmas and to my sister Ebony for helping him with the big surprise.  I’ll always cherish this guitar.

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CC CHRONICLES: Throwback Thursday / Camp Stephens 2001-2002

Published by cctadmin on June 25th, 2015

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Once upon a time I worked at a children’s camp.  Growing up in Flin Flon, there was no luxury of going off to a camp with programs quite like Camp Stephens; a YMCA/YCWA camp located in Lake of the Woods, Ontario. I did however, find myself working for and residing on the island over the summers of 2001 and 2002.

At the time I was working at a YMCA daycare center in downtown Winnipeg; seeking adventure and challenge. It became an opportunity I couldn’t resist and at 22 years of age I was a bit of a free spirit, in fact it was after these two summers that I landed myself permanently in Ottawa, where I then stayed for ten years.

It did not matter I had no summer camp experience nor did I come equipped with that sense of encampment history, much like the alumni and staff I eventually came to work with. It mattered not that it paid little and was located on a remote island where they had to boat staff/kids out. Experience was what I craved and I do believe I got it over those two summers. Beginning as a camp counsellor, I ended up working as the Head Cook for a period of time too. So many good memories of those dog days: all the children playing and laughing; youthful camp counselors who seemed to be hooking up with each other left and right; sleeping in cabins on bunks and waiting for letters to reach me from family or friends back home; and those weekends off where we’d all boat back into Kenora for the day and eat at Boston Pizza and stock up on luxuries for weekends of planned debauchery. That is, until the new batch of children came and it was time to get back to the grind in our respective roles.

There are a couple of stand-out memories even today: I recall crying by myself on the swim dock one sunny afternoon while everyone else gathered in the food hall for lunch, likely surrounded by laughter and camp cheer. It was my inherent loneliness.  In spite of any mission to live on the edge I felt out of place for not being a life-long ‘camp kid’; especially remote in the belief I was the only identifying gay on the island; an isle otherwise full of boys and girls bursting with hormones and sexuality. And that was just the other staff!! On the other hand, I call to mind many unique people, having a lot of conversations with peers and eventually feeling included and a part of the amazing tradition that is still Camp Stephens. I have reminisced about walking in the dark back to my cabin from the food hall, giving haircuts to new friends on cabin floors and soliciting free love advice; dancing to Destiny’s Child in the kitchen while we all slaved and prepared meals for over 120 kids and staff around the clock. I remember skinny-dipping at night with girlfriends in escape the hot hot heat; feeling liberated while treading water in the moonlight.. only to rush back to the cabin before the onslaught of mosquitos or sand flies. So many special people. THANK YOU to Camp Stephens and all of my past friends and the children whom I have long since lost touch with; the summers of 2001/2002 were the stuff youth is made of and I’ll gladly continue to cherish the memories.

Below is a photo from back when, of myself and my kitchen ‘girls’.  I still hear them laughing and talking.

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