The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, August 2018 — In the Belly of the Beast

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, August 2018 — In the Belly of the Beast — Casey at JapanQuakeTO
Photo courtesy of Chris Luckhardt.

I told myself that once I made my way through my never-ending pile of paper, I’d get myself a Nintendo Switch with the latest Mario and Zelda games to reward myself for all the hard work. Which is great, because getting months ahead in my content by getting all of this done is the only way I’d find the time to play them.

But if you’re new around these parts, my problem with paper’s not entirely new.

It’s not the paper itself that’s the problem—I’m my most creative when I write things out by hand—but all that creativity leads to a ton of unfinished ideas, piling up to the sky as they await the finishing touches that’ll let me share them with the world! I’ve kept a high standard for my work—easy wins like question posts and blindly following trends isn’t my style… I’m trying to create content that’ll forever outlast me. We’re in a world right now where few want to invest in anything needing more than a few minutes of their time, but I’d rather not sell my soul for the sake of popularity.

There’re bigger prizes at hand.

Small But Mighty: My Experience at 2017’s BConnected Conference!

I am small but mighty.

Small But Mighty — My Experience at 2017's BConnected Conference! — My Packing List
When I pack for a blogger conference, I do not mess around!

You wouldn’t know it to look at me on the surface, but I went to 2017’s BConnected Conference feeling kinda down about my brand. I was doing better than ever, yes, but I didn’t feel like I was growing anymore. I had a wealth of contests out, consistently put content out that had people paying attention, and found myself able to do things with my blog I’d have never thought possible. If I were the Casey from five years ago, I’d be living the dream.

But you see a lot on any journey you take, and the year spent getting to this point still had me unsatisfied, feeling like I could still do so much more.

The first day of the BConnected Conference didn’t quite help. There were plenty of amazing things that went down that Saturday, like meeting Elayna Fernandez and her daughters, a family I’d love to keep in touch with, or Dani Gagnon showing me how to find value in Instagram Stories in ways I never really did with Snapchat. But it was Susan Getgood’s talk that stuck with me. The one that said the jump from microinfluencer to mid-tier content creator was having 100,000+ fans and followers.

100,000.

Small But Mighty — My Experience at 2017's BConnected Conference! — My Reaction to Susan Getgood's Mid-Tier Content Creator Description

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #28, Ardean Peters, Photographer, Photography by Ardean

This year’s been a challenging one for Tales from the 2.9.

Last year was bad timing—putting 29 daily posts out right after becoming a Dad for the second time is no simple feat, and we somehow pulled it off. I was eager to build on that success and keep it going well past February, but life as a quartet caught up with me, and my time and energy soon found themselves committed… elsewhere.

So I stood this year determined to learn from my mistakes, and I thought I had it all figured out. I started looking for contributors weeks earlier, hoping to get everything lined up at the beginning of February to make time for other things. I tried to build awareness for the project, putting out a press release and landing interviews in several major Toronto media outlets with both luck and a noteworthy story. Everything felt perfect for an amazing Tales from the 2.9… until we reached the end and I suddenly found myself without enough contributors.

Fortunately, I had access to unpublished work like Ardean Peters’ piece below, but I’m surprised that things worked out this way. I definitely get it—some were too busy to write; it is Black History Month, after all. Some too overwhelmed by the questions’ gravity in a polarised world. And I’m sure some started writing, but life had other plans for their time and they never got to finish.

Whatever the reasons, I’m just glad we got to see 28 unique stories in 2017, and it’s taught me a valuable lesson—don’t expect miracles when you’re spreading a message only one month of the year!

But these are words befitting a wrap-up post; this is not my soapbox right now—the eyes are squarely focused on Ardean. Her story mirrors that of many Black children born here in that we don’t really recognise our Blackness until we’re older. We know we’re different at first, but don’t often understand what that means in the larger world until we have the life experience to get it.

do hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s Tales from the 2.9, and we’ll wrap this up tonight with one. More. Post!

See you then,

–case p.


Many Black Canadians come from families who sacrificed plenty to give them the lives they have today. What do you know of your family history and how has it shaped your current self?

Both my mom and dad are from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and emigrated to Canada in 1968 and 1971 respectively. I think what I remember most is, while my parents had a strong connection to their home and instilled in us those traditions, they also always encouraged us as ‘Canadian kids’, making sure that we knew that we were Canadian and this was our home. To that end, I see myself as Canadian first, sewn and stitched together with a rich and diverse history and culture, which informs who I am today.

The Black Experience we’re largely exposed to in the media is that of our southern neighbours and the struggles they’ve faced. What’s your experience been as a Black person in Canada, and what have you learned from it?

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #28, Ardean Peters, Photographer, Photography by Ardean — Ardean Standing
Credit || Michel Eberhard

Interesting question, because it wasn’t really until I was an older child, that I saw myself as ‘black’. As a child growing up, I just thought of myself as ‘Canadian’ and my skin colour was an afterthought. I grew up in the most diverse community in North York at the time, Jane and Finch. On top of that, the school I was in, really encouraged the belief that we were ALL Canadians and equal. I was so lucky to experience such a diversity of people and culture, which has shaped how I treat and connect with people as an adult.

On the flip side, as I’ve gotten older, had more experiences, worked in many different environments and experienced more of the city, its people and neighbourhoods, I’ve come to realise that I am a minority, which I honestly didn’t see as a young person. Because of this, and the realisation how strong an impact media has on shaping the opinions of people that have limited access and contact with black people (and people of other ethnic backgrounds), I realise the importance there is in promoting positive and normalising images of Black Diaspora people.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #27, Rachel Lambo, Owner/Designer, Smthng New Studio

If I can agree on one thing with Rachel Lambo’s Tale from the 2.9, it’s our need to expect more from ourselves as a community.

It’s 2017, and there’re so many options to help a people thrive. We can bolster our business with think tanks and workshops. Or pool our resources to give opportunities to those who wouldn’t have them otherwise. We want to see the Black community thrive and prosper, but with other cultures so ahead in the game, we’ll need some creative solutions to bridge the gap!

With the second-last Tale, we’re looking for a paradigm shift—making use of tools, technologies, people and methods to excel beyond the limitations thrust upon us. It’s easy to dwell on the things that’ve held us back and cry foul on the situation… but it’s time to rely on our strength and resilience to reach out for the future that’s completely attainable.

We just need to work for it. Together.

Enjoy today’s Tale and we’ll see you tomorrow for one last go at 2017’s Tales from the 2.9!

Until then,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

It represents and means community to me.

What’s your experience been like as a Black Canadian and how has it shaped who you are today?

It has been a great experience to see so many people get involved and how much information is being shared on social media, radio, and TV. Last year’s Black History Month was very uplifting, learning about the great achievements of Black Pioneers in Canada and Worldwide.

What’s something you’d like to see more of within the Black Canadian community?

More events that include think tanks, tech- and business law-related workshops. There is certainly a need for more opportunities so people cannot only network but have discussions and build consortiums.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #26, Alicia Bell, Kinesiologist, Online Personal Trainer, Strength Coach and Track & Field Coach, Train it Right

Having lived in the Toronto area my whole life, I’ve had the benefit of a highly multicultural Canada.

Half of Toronto’s made up of visible minorities, with 8.5% of that pie being Black. It’s quite possibly the best place in the world to raise my mixed race family, in a city known for its diversity and acceptance. There’s something for everyone in The Big Smoke, and I don’t see my family living anywhere else!

But what about the rest of Canada?

Toronto’s but a 7.7% sliver of Canada’s population at 2.8 million strong, yet the 220,000 Black people who call it home make up more than 23% of the country’s total Black population! In fact, 80% of our country’s Black people live in a mere 0.1% of the country’s landmass, which makes you wonder what life is like for the 20% in the rest of the country.

Hailing from Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Alicia’s view is one of optimism, seeing how far she’s come and filled with hope for her years ahead. Check out what she has to say below!

And me, I’ll be prepping for tomorrow’s penultimate Tale from the 2.9!

Until then,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

Being Black Canadian means that I’ve never had to worry about the colour of my skin or who my friends are. I’m proud to live in an amazing country that accepts everyone regardless and I feel blessed to be Black Canadian.
Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #26, Alicia Bell, Kinesiologist, Train it Right — Alicia Doing Lunges

What’s your experience been like as a Black Canadian and how has it shaped who you are today?

Being Black Canadian has shaped who I am today because I grew up in an area of New Brunswick that was predominantly all white. Even though I was different I was proud to be different and happy to educate people on my background. Being diverse and Black in Canada opens me up to influence so many people with my passion for helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #24, Natalie Bell, Lifestyle Blogger, PegCityLovely

Part of the duality of being Black is that you don’t want to be defined by your melanin, but you also don’t seek to forget everything that’s come before you to make you who you are today.

Natalie’s post reminds me that the world will inform you you’re Black no matter how you’re raised, but it’s up to us not to let the disadvantages of being Black Canadian hold us back. Instead, we must work hard to overcome them so we can shape the tomorrow we want.

Even through this series, we’ve seen examples of a number of Black professionals and the things they’ve done to carve their own paths—who’s to say you can’t do the same?

I hope Natalie’s story—like many of the stories we’ve shared this year—inspires you, and as for me, I’m off to prep tomorrow’s Tale from the 2.9!

Until then,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

Funny enough, I’ve never thought of myself in that context. I’ve always been Canadian. I was never taught to label myself in such a manner. If anything, I would state that I’m a Jamaican-Canadian, because I have been heavily immersed in my heritage from a young age, thanks to that good, good “broughtupsie’! I knew I was black, kids in school were quick to tell me, and I may not have completely understood what it was all about then but I knew was different, I just didn’t dwell on it. My parents would tell me afterwards how important it was to get an education and that I would need to work harder than others because I was a Black Canadian. I understand it now more than ever. Being a Black Canadian means I need to be a role model for my children and help guide them to see their worth in this world as they will be labelled the same way.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #16, Jackline K, Blogger, Sincerely Miss J

If you’ve read the Tales from the 2.9 ’til now, you’ll have likely noticed some common themes that tie every narrative together:

  • The need to overcome the negative portrayal of Black people as depicted in popular culture
  • That all Black people aren’t the same but are the sum of people from dozens of countries, hundreds of cultures, and countless different personalities and mindsets, and
  • Our community needs to work together and support one another if we ever want to change the world we were dropped into

One thing in particular from Jackline’s submission really resonated with me—”our accomplishments need to weigh as much and have the same meaning as everyone else’s.” We need to elevate—we can’t just compare ourselves to our fellow Black people and see that as a measure of success; we need to excel in general and show the world what we’re capable of! It means writing series like this. Or talking to Black youth about what’s possible in this world—I did a chat last week at Youth Employment Services on personal branding and I’ll be on a panel later this month doing the same. We need to keep raising our standards and let no one tell us of all the things we can’t accomplish.

Enjoy Jackline’s thoughts as she explores her Black Canadian experience—I’ll be back tomorrow with another Tale from the 2.9!

Until then,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

I consider the term “Black Canadian” a very broad term because I don’t really see myself as just that. Calling me just black leaves out a lot of vital information about me that is actually very important in understanding who I am. I’m not just black. I’m from Africa, Ghana to be precise, and I have many intricacies about me that are like or unlike most black Canadians out there. Therefore, I tend to use the term “Ghanaian Canadian” more often to describe myself.

Being a black Canadian means I need to grab every opportunity that I’m given. It’s almost a daily battle trying to disprove the many stereotypes that exist for black Canadians. I usually need to work harder than my counterparts to achieve the same goals and I have a bigger burden to be a good model for those younger than me.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #15, Lian “Reese” Wright, Blogger, Reese Speaks

One point I’ve made a number of times while running this year’s Tales from the 2.9 is that I don’t wake up each morning with my Blackness at the forefront of my mind. Am I aware of it? Obviously—it’s an integral part of my identity of the beliefs, behaviours and biases I have today. But I don’t let it define me—my race is part of the whole that is Casey Palmer, and that’s something I believe today’s contributor would firmly agree with.

I first came across Lian “Reese” Wright when I put 2016’s series together, and she’s staunchly supported the series since. As mentioned last year, parent bloggers of colour aren’t that prevalent—especially not in Canada—so when we can learn from each other, it’s truly a beautiful thing.

Without further ado, please enjoy some of Reese’s thoughts on what her Black Canadian identity means to her, and I’ll be right back tomorrow with another Tale from the 2.9!

Until then,

–case p.


Tales from the 2.9 — Lian 'Reese' WrightWhat does being Black Canadian mean to you?

For me, being a Black Canadian means so many things. I feel unique because I am usually the only Black Canadian in a group of people. I feel proud because of the all of the accomplishments Black Canadians have achieved and continue to pursue. For me, being Black Canadian also means that I have to overcome challenges put in front of me to be successful and to change what others perceive of me due to the stereotypes that are believed about our community.

Tales from the 2.9 — The Black Canadians Sharing their Stories in a Digital Age — Vol. 2 #12, Cassandra Chambers, Blogger, Curvaceously Ambitious

Unfortunately, we aren’t all one big happy family in the Black Canadian community—its fragmented nature and the disadvantaged origins of its people mean dealing not only with the conflict and stereotypes that come from outside the community but also dealing with it internally as well.

Popular culture’s painted us as dangerous. Untrustworthy. As a people unwilling to lift a finger to help themselves, instead sponging off the efforts of other hardworking Canadians to get by. And many of these came to mind when I read Cassandra’s entry.

Now—those biases don’t mean she’s entirely wrong. It’s because we don’t come from a unified front that dissent, distrust and contempt can breed between us.  And it doesn’t have to take much—you have Jamaicans who dislike anyone from Guyana or Trinidad. You have Caribbean immigrants who distrust anyone from Africa. We spend a lot of time focusing on the ills that’ve been done to us from outside the Black community, but we can’t ignore the shifts in attitude and healing needed within the community if we want to collectively grow past what’s holding us back.

I didn’t put today’s piece out to vilify anyone, but to shed light on a simple fact—if unification’s something our community’s seeking, we’ve still got a long way to go.

Until tomorrow,

–case p.


What does being Black Canadian mean to you?

To me, being a Black Canadian means diversity and being part of a country—a city, especially—that accepts black people, is cultured, and celebrates the achievements of black Canadians.  Over the years, Black History Month’s become more recognised; we also have our first black-owned radio station G98FM as well as different black-owned businesses and companies. Opportunities are available as long as you are willing to work for it.

The 2017 100 — It’s Not WHAT You Do, It’s How You DO It.

Unless my life sees some major changes this year, 2017 may mark the last list of 100!

It’s January 13th—I’ve spent nearly two weeks of my new year agonising over 100 items that matter enough to hit a list of goals and aspirations for the year ahead. And that’s a key difference from the lists that came before it.

Before it was a task list—I’d look around at everything that needed doing and jot it down, because my life would obviously be better with them out of the way.

But task lists aren’t inspiring. They’re not motivational. As a creative, that’s like dropping a pile of 100 things I dread on my lap and nagging myself to get ’em done by the year’s end.

Once I realised what I was doing to myself, so much so that I just went through my least successful year yet for my list, I knew I needed to make a change for 2017.

The 2017 100 — It's Not WHAT You Do, It's How You DO It. — New Year, New Perspective

I’m particularly proud of the list I’ve put together for The 2017 100. I didn’t take any shortcuts—I wrote out 100 things that’d help me live the life I’d like to lead and prove instrumental along the path there. Rather than hurriedly scrawl out a list I’d likely ignore ’til December, I wrote one that I’d happily check off, knowing that each accomplishment would take me a step closer to a far better 2018. I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time, and I hope that shines through as you give it a look for yourself!

But that’s enough of my chatter—I’ve already made you wait long enough. Here for your consideration is The 2017 100—because it’s not what you do… it’s how you do it!