Posts Tagged ‘self-exploration’

CC CHRONICLES: Thick Skin & Lookin’ Within

Published by cctadmin on July 30th, 2015


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?




ARTSWELL : Motions and Potions / Week 1: MANDALA MAGiC / “To learn about Mandalas is to learn about YOURSELF.”

Published by cctadmin on March 4th, 2012

Yesterday ARTSWELL launched the first of ten workshops for Motions and Potions, a series of workshops for youth ages 16-25 (see and for further information).  These 10 workshops, as I have mentioned previously incorporate photography, visual arts, sculpture, dance, mandalas and more – and together the goal is to implement these expressive arts workshops for youth struggling with distorted body image, low self-esteem, social anxiety and depression.  Statistics show that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and that suicide is the leading cause of death among Canadian youth.  Youth who directly experience challenges in society can often identify solutions through the “talking arts” (movement, color and narrative).  With any success, they will be able to express feelings in a safe, trusting environment.  These 10 workshops will increase self-esteem, encourage social interaction, combat isolation and develop new skills and healthy habits.

If yesterdays first workshop, on Mandalas was any indication – Motions and Potions will be a great success, although participating numbers were lower than had been anticipated.  Note: for anyone who knows of youth struggling with identity issues and believes that they know someone who might benefit from expressive arts, I encourage you to put them in contact with Artswell as there is no doubt there is a need for these workshops, however I do also understand that it takes a lot of courage for youth to step out and share very personal things, especially in a group setting and with strangers.  Yet I whole-heartedly believe in Artswell’s vision – and that there lies a lot of healing power in the expressive arts and I do see a need for these youth programs.  Please spread the word!


As for yesterday, Josee Robillard facilitated our first workshop on Mandalas, and to provide a little history:  a mandala, meaning “sacred circle” is a geometric representation created from two basic essentials: a circle and the central point called a “bindu”.  The word mandala is rooted in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India and symbolizes the womb of creation.  It is a visual representation of wholeness and it represents the endless cycle of life, with no beginning and no end.  According to Robillard, mandalas have been used across different cultures and faith traditions for centuries for purposes of healing, contemplation and meditation and have always been viewed as a path to enlightenment.

Creating mandalas with the participants yesterday was exceptionally fun as well as interesting.  I know I learned quite a bit myself – that the mandala is a unique method of visual self-expression offering an inner self-portrait.  The process itself is part of the creator’s journey and I could tell that it did expand all of our states of inner-awareness.

 As everything that is said within these workshops remains confidential, I will wrap up this reflection by saying I am extremely proud to be a part of ARTSWELL and Motions and Potions – the artists and professionals involved are incredibly gifted and insightful, the youth brave and full of a lot of promise.  Today’s youth have a lot to contend with and Artswell recognizes the arts as essential to the well being and health of everyone – I couldn’t agree more.

Stay tuned for more on Motions and Potions – next workshop (March 17th) is called Making Waves and incorporates silk painting!  I’m looking forward – and with any hope, more youth will be in attendance – help us spread the word about Motions and Potions!  Check out selected images from yesterdays workshop!


NEW DiRECTiONS / ARTSWELL & Envisioning the world where the arts are recognized as essential to the well being and health of everyone

Published by cctadmin on February 15th, 2012

Although I have a big interest in the creative arts, rarely do I get the opportunity to speak specifically about my interest in art as a form of therapy.  Personally, I’ve used the arts as a coping device for years; music, film, creative writing, have all been a great source of support through my youth, and even today.  A lot of the photography and music I do is connected to the use of arts as a form of self-exploration and discovery.

Over the course of time I have achieved my education in social work, getting my Social Service Diploma from Algonquin College and my BSW at Carleton University.  At the time of these educational chapters, I did not fully make the connection of the arts as a form of therapy – I believe I gradually pieced this together – in the end, determining that if I continue my professional career as a social worker – I would have to do so while connected to the arts.  This makes more sense to me now than ever; after all, I still utilize arts as a form of self-discovery and support – why not transition my career towards art and/or music therapy?

Since graduating nearly two years ago with my BSW I’ve spent a great deal of time nurturing the artistic side of me – submerging myself in writing, music, photography – at the same time developing my own sense of who I am as both an artist and social worker.  These exploratory years have been beneficial; not only have I accomplished a few things but I have also developed a clearer sense of how to move forward with this aspiration of mine to connect with people via the arts.

While a longer term goal is to eventually get a Masters in Art/Music Therapy – a shorter term goal is to gain hands-on experience in the art therapy world.  I believe I have a lot to learn but I am very excited at a new opportunity on the horizon.  ARTSWELL, a non-profit charitable organization here in Ottawa, is dedicated to improving the quality of life and well being of individuals living with the effects of age, illness or injury.  Over the past year I have volunteered with ARTSWELL as a means of staying connected to the helping profession – and what appeals to me about ARTSWELL is that they carry innovative, interactive art programs, workshops and projects for the benefit of people all ages.  The professional artists and therapists that work at ARTSWELL use various mediums that allow participants to discover the creative process in a safe and friendly environment.  I’m all about that, and how ARTSWELL’S intent is to provide a vehicle to develop communication, validate feelings and encourage social interaction.  I know that when I was a youth and struggling to connect, this is a program I would have been very curious about.


ARTSWELL has graciously invited me in on the wonderful action – I will be volunteering and doing some facilitating with MOTiONS & POTiONS, a series of ten expressive arts workshops for young people struggling with distorted body image, low self-esteem, social anxiety and depression.  These workshops will increase self-esteem, encourage social interaction and group participation, combat isolation (I’m all about that) and develop new skills and healthy habits.  I, along with ARTSWELL’S professional artists/therapists will explore the concept of self-worth through story-telling, art-making, photography, journaling, drama and dance.

I know that this program will positively impact the young Canadian participants involved, and I am incredibly excited to see it kick off beginning in at the end of this month.  This is an experience I’ve been waiting for, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as more than ever I feel ready to put my education and experience into practice.  I’ve also received a big vote of confidence from ARTSWELL as I will also be running one of these ten expressive art workshops, specifically focusing on SELF-iMAGE and PHOTOGRAPHY.  This will give me a chance to speak to my own use of photography, meanwhile working with youth to facilitate their own self-discovery and exploration.  It’s really an honor when I think about it.

As these workshops begin, I will likely spend time reflecting and journaling my experiences – so for anyone interested, stay tuned and check out ARTSWELL’S website for further information on this charitable organizations programs and goals.


For more on MOTiONS and POTiONS –


Published by cctadmin on February 10th, 2011


Online Phenomenon C.C. Trubiak launches Visual Masterpiece

“Hail the Narcissist” is a remarkable look at one man’s drive for self discovery. It is a pleasure to see what he has accomplished so far, and I wait with baited breath to see what comes next.”

- Danniel Oickle (Visual & Performance Artist, Torrid Productions)

Ottawa (February, 2011) – Premier artist and online phenomenon C.C. Trubiak announced today that his visual compilation of personal portraits and narrative stories is finally complete.

Hail the Narcissist is a celebration in self-perception and self-discovery. This book represents the definitive collection of Trubiak’s work. Through the use of personal portraits, Trubiak uses his photography to convey messages about self expression and letting our dominant selves come out to play.

“I chose to do this (present my photography) originally as a way to ‘play’ with my own image, explains C.C. Trubiak, author of Hail the Narcissist. “As a lifetime fan of pop culture, film, music and fashion – I was fascinated by the idea of stepping outside my most dominant self (as most people see me from day to day), and playing with the many other ‘sides’ of my personality and character that were still existent, however less dominant to the eye.”

Through this process (which developed over a two year period), Trubiak would utilize props around his home, and ‘dress up’ into whatever ‘side’ of himself that felt dominant at the moment.

“I allowed that side of me to shine through – in an effort to embrace another thread of who I am. Otherwise that side of me may have laid dormant or remained invisible – to myself and my community.”

Born and raised in the Prairie province of Manitoba, Trubiak spent much of his time surrounded by an extensive tract of land covered in rocks and course grass. As a result, he had a penchant for being alone and making inanimate objects like a broom, into his most trusted friends.

His bedroom was a sanctuary from the bitter cold winters and town locals. Alone in his room, Trubiak immersed himself in photography, music, film and book, often finding escape in the world beyond his little town.

Trubiak learned at an early age how important it is to nurture those sides of ourselves that many of us feel the need to keep hidden from the world.

“C.C. Trubiak’s work is undeniably dense; it is full of emotion, power, and remarkably original creativity,” says Danniel  Oickle, Visual & Performance Artist for Torrid Productions. “His ability for self-expression and internal examination, when mixed with his vision of a completed work, has lead to his burgeoning popularity as a new personality within the artistic community.”

This photographic series is meant to capture the viewer’s attention through visually documenting images of the dominant and submissive self.

Trubiak rationalizes this multiple duplicity by explaining, “I chose to let many sides of me come out to play in an effort to celebrate them in a way that would hopefully capture others, but as well encourage people to think about and embrace their many ‘sides’ – however dominant or passive they may be.”

Trubiak has been residing in Ottawa for eight years. He completed his Bachelor in Social Work from Carleton University in 2010 and his Social Service Worker Diploma from Algonquin College 2007.

He is interested in Aboriginal issues, and using Arts-based methods to contribute to youth suicide prevention initiatives. Photography and storytelling are only a few of the tools he has embraced. Trubiak has plans to launch a musical compilation in the spring.

About the Book

Key Terminology: building self-perception, self discovery, self-expression, Art-Therapy, resilience

Having first started by taking photographs of himself for a profile on an online social-sharing site, C.C. expanded his vision and began to dig inside himself to discover who lay beneath the surface.

Upon looking, he found that inside each of us there are personalities that are trying to show their dominance. Together, they make up who we are. Inside himself he found sorcerers, warriors, and hundreds more. He decided to let them out, each in turn, and show their dominance. A celebration in self-perception, this book represents the definitive collection of his work.

Purchase the book: