casey jo

I went to high school with one of those amazingly charismatic people, you know those unicorn people who just seem to effortlessly, almost accidentally, attract people to them through their vulnerability, humour, and intelligence? We would sit together in French class throughout Grade 12, chatting and laughing, then tear out of school as soon at the bell rang to pile into her giant boat of a car to go to acting class at the local university. The acting class consisted of  a funny mash-up of people; we had some pretty comical and memorable times, but I’ll never forget those times. They were some of my favourite memories.

Casey-Jo continues to be a dynamic individual, a radio host, personality, and producer for 102.7 The Peak, and describes herself online as “ambassador of awesome, director of sass, and forever chasing sunsets.” She is a spiritual person,  who never shies away from exposing her imperfections and human existential challenges to the world through her candid, courageous, and inspiring Facebook and Instagram posts. She’s a force and has the biggest heart one could ever imagine, while maintaining her sarcastic and hilarious persona. Often, we feel unworthy of gratitude…like we somehow have to be something or do something to deserve it. I believe in my heart that gratitude gives way to feelings of belonging…we don’t need to be or do anything profound to belong…we just need to sit within the essence of who we are and project that bravely onto the world.

She recently posted this on Facebook and I thought, what a perfect story to share:

“a stranger paid for my tofu on a random friday night in the cafe. when I got to the till they said “don’t worry about it. that guy over there paid.” I looked to see a balding bespeckled gentleman in a pink polo shirt. I went over and almost confrontationally said, “you paid for my food? why?” he had kind eyes. “because. it’s pay it forward friday. enjoy your dinner,” he said genuinely. then he went away.

of course, the interaction didn’t stop there in my mind. it poked me. thoughts of random generosity and what it means flooded in. did he do this to feel good because he feels bad? or did he do this because he feels good and wants to spread joy? maybe he’s doing a social experiment. why must I even always doubt and question. every. little. thing?

I noticed the inclination that I felt inside to immediately do something nice for someone else [admittedly, I tried to pay for the next persons food and they wouldn’t let me]. I fought to not cry into my kale, for the confusion of helping others or doing nice things. is it totally selfish? why do I deserve this? what is that […] word, “deserve” anyway? “you deserve it” or “you don’t deserve that” or “you deserve better.” who’s to even say? I’m done with it. memories of not having any money to eat dinner floor forward. dire struggles that seem far away but not so distant.

sure the salad was $9; it was never about the $9. but I am thankful for this random stranger for bringing these things up inside of me. for the unworthiness that I felt from a seemingly small and innocent act. I find it hard to live and not want to pay it forward to everyone I come into contact with every day, yet it was so difficult for me to understand why someone would do something for me in this way.

we don’t need to always understand. we won’t always understand. sometimes we just have to accept life’s gifts and lessons with a grateful heart and let it be. whether they are good or bad. whether we feel we deserve them at the time or not. they’re making us who we are.”

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