July 9, 2019

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WOMEN IN FORTNIGHT: Patricia O’Callaghan

Photo Series by: Arden Wray


Women in Fortnight x Patricia

1. Who are you and what do you do?

I am a singer – a communicator and interpreter. I love languages and music is my language of choice. I also write words and music, co-conduct a community choir, play piano, teach, lead retreats, and artistically produce and curate shows. I’m originally from the far north of Ontario, and now live in Toronto, and am on tour a lot.  I am also in transition – I feel like almost every aspect of my life is changing and I have to go with it…and this seems to be happening to most of the people I know as well. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that we’re all right around age fifty – it seems to be a turning point age!


Women in Fortnight x Patricia

Women in Fortnight x Patricia
Women in Fortnight x Patricia

2. What does feeling beautiful mean to you?

Feeling strong and healthy makes me feel beautiful. As does wearing beautiful clothes (and underclothes!) made of natural fabric, things that move beautifully – a skirt catching  and moving in the breeze, a strap falling off the shoulder…I’ve discovered as I get older, that I care less about how things look on me, and much, much more about how they feel!

Feeling trusted and honoured by the people around me helps me feel beautiful, perhaps because I feel I can really be my deepest self, and I believe that’s when we’re all the most beautiful. 

I decided to leave my insulin pump on for this photo shoot. Having to wear one all the time is something I struggle with, but diabetes is a part of my reality and I didn’t want to take it off to look more ‘normal’, because it’s my normal. I have had people come up to me at the beach or at a spa, asking about it, and saying that their diabetic friends won’t go to the beach or spa because their pump won’t allow them to…It’s true I have to brace myself for people staring or looking oddly at it, but come on, it shouldn’t stop you from doing such fun stuff!


3. What do you wear to feel most like yourself?

I like to wear colours that I love – any shade of green or blue really, pieces of jewelry that mean something to me, a ring given to me by my mom for example.  Pieces that fit well, clean lines, natural fabrics, things I can move in, and not be too worried about getting dirty or damaging! Because I’m a performer I have my stage clothes, which can be quite over the top, so when I’m not performing I tend to dress very casually and low key.

4. When do you feel most confident?

Hmmm, when I’m relaxed, but also focused, surrounded by people I love and admire – when I’m prepared but also open to whatever may happen in the moment. I have really struggled with stage fright over the years, and I find I just have to stay out of my mind, in my body, and PRESENT. – when I’m strong, healthy, and…well, c’mon, it really helps if I’m wearing an awesome outfit that I love and feel comfortable in!


Women in Fortnight x Patricia

5. What makes a place feel like home?

I have asked that question a thousand times.  The obvious thing is that it has to open the heart and enter in, for any number of reasons – but usually because of the people. I have lived in many places and have thought I would make my life in various countries other than Canada, but it really is my home here, and it’s hard to put into words why – the particular smells and weight of the air at the changing of the seasons, the specific colour of blue of the sky in northern Ontario, the feeling of the first swim of summer, the smell of pines in the forest. Other countries have become a part of who I am and I will always miss them and pine for them at times – Mexico, Australia Bali, but they are not my home.  I was born in a little town called Dryden, and I don’t get back to visit all that often, but when I do, and I sit down on the grass under a particular tree on the banks of Lake Wabigoon, there is a feeling of home that I can’t even describe…I feel like part of the landscape there, I am aligned with it like nowhere else. I decided recently, since I move around and travel so much, that perhaps I should write a song, that is for no one but myself, that is my ‘home’ song, so that whenever I sing it, no matter where I am, I am home. I guess I have to go back to Dryden to write it!


Women in Fortnight x Patricia
Women in Fortnight x Patricia

6. Are there any self-care rituals that are important to you?

Absolutely! I feel much better if I meditate and exercise regularly. I also like to swim in oceans and lakes, and sauna in the wintertime, get out into nature whenever I can, and do more in depth ceremonies every now and again. These things keep me sane and grounded and I really don’t fare very well if I neglect to include them in my routine.


Women in Fortnight x Patricia

Women in Fortnight x Patricia


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