Day 83 - Janie (1st person I approached)
March 24, 2014 - Janie was born and raised in the Rosemount area of Montreal, Quebec. She is an only child and was raised by her mother, a single parent. Janie attended one elementary school and one high school. I asked Janie if she had any thoughts about being an only child, in comparison to her friends who might have siblings. She told me,
“I think that maybe I had a bit of an advantage, but I never really thought much about it. It was just the way it was. I think though that when I have children, I will definitely have more than one.”
When Janie finished high school, she went to CEGEP, which is the French equivalent of college. It is designed to help prepare students for University.
“I went to study Humanities,” said Janie.
“I was interested in Psychology, and had an idea to become a Psychologist. I really had a difficult time during my CEGEP.”
Janie told me that she had done very well in high-school, and was a good student.
”In high-school I was very into sports, and active. I also was involved in synchronized swimming. But in college, I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and I really wasn’t in a very good place, mentally.”
Janie told me that she had some difficulties around this time with her relationship with her mother. She said,
“My mother wanted me to do things her way, and while I knew that she was probably right, I wanted to try things a different way. I wanted to broaden my experiences. I got messed up with the drugs and drinking, and after one year in college, I left.”
It would be four years before Janie would go back to school. As we talked, Janie’s eyes filled with tears. She talked with me about the struggles with her mother, and doing what her mother wanted, and her own struggle with getting her life organized. Janie worked while exploring other options. After four years, she went back to college, again to study humanities.
“I still wasn’t ready though, and I only made it one session (term),” Janie said.
In 2009 Janie decided to move to the West coast, to reinvent herself and start fresh and new. She moved to Vancouver Island and began coaching young girls in synchronized swimming, a passion that stayed with her from her high-school days.
“I also started to get into my own fitness and eating well, and taking better care of myself. I began helping some of the girls from swimming with their fitness and weight goals,” Janie said.
Her ex-boyfriend from Montreal moved to the Island and they tried to rekindle the relationship, but things didn’t work out.
Janie moved to Vancouver and really focussed on her own health and well-being.
“I took a three month course to get certified as a personal trainer, and started working at a local gym. I’ve been doing this for four years now and things have really turned around for me,” Janie said, smiling, and with no more tears.
Janie is currently training for a body-building competition, and has taken things to the next level.
“I watch everything I eat. I’m on a healthy diet and weigh my food as well. I have ten weeks before the competition, so it’s all about that right now,” she said.
I asked Janie if she was still in contact with any of her friends from school.
“Well, I still know a few of them, but we don’t really keep in touch. I was just in Montreal three weeks ago, and I spent most of my time with my family. After being away for almost six years, it’s harder to have things in common. People are busy with their own lives,“ Janie told me.
I asked how her relationship with her mother is these days. Her eyes welled up a bit again, and she shared
“It’s ok. My mother has stage four cancer and it’s not good. We try to spend the time we have together not fighting, so not getting stressed and enjoying the time we have. It’s easier if we do it in moderation.”
I thanked Janie for her time, and for sharing her very personal story so openly. We hugged, and said our goodbyes. The best hug I had all day. #notastranger