Renaissance Goddess: A woman’s journey to find her Rhythm

Carly Greene Hill, a poet, dancer, researcher, and yoga teacher, learned to trust herself through her time as an undergraduate.

The pen is her most precious tool, but that hasn’t stopped her from exploring other ventures that have presented themselves. At first glance, her passions don’t seem so congruent. That makes her so fascinating. For Carly Greene Hill, Victoria’s Renaissance Goddess and UVic Alumna, her life purpose remains an open-ended question. It once made her feel insecure and scared — now, that feeling is just fine.

“Tiny Writer, that’s my pen name,” Carly stated, her eyes squinting with a cheeky glisten. She took a sip from her coffee mug. In it, an Americano. Light Cream. Hint of sugar.

Words are her thing.

Now defining herself primarily as a poet, Carly’s interests, and passions extend beyond the notepad. Through her life it has taken her time to hone this into something palpable and find a sense of purpose.

“These were hard times, where I didn’t feel right in my skin,” said Carly.

She tried her hand at university before taking a year off. It took a feeling in her gut, but she returned and finish her undergrad. The University of Victoria drew her back in, re-enrolling in 2011.

“That was a defining moment, coming back to school for a second time. It was a part of growing up, choosing it for myself,” Carly remarked, “It was very overwhelming.”

She landed on a unconventional but compatible double major: Gender studies and Psychology. When asked about how she decided that this was the path she wanted to take in her undergrad, Carly laughed and her face lit up.

“I knew I wanted to do gender studies after accidentally taking a course in it for my first year. It was life changing. I thought it would be kind of ‘hippie-dippie’, extremist, and cliche,” Carly said, “my teacher had a very pragmatic view, and just talked about all there is to talk about. This was some real shit I hadn’t had the chance to talk about until now.”

Carly was hooked.

She found her groove in her academics, taking a psychology and gender studies double major, combining two topics that are important to her. She was able to study sexuality, who the people are that make the rules, and who gets to determine what is unhealthy and healthy sexuality. This fascinated her. It felt natural to pair this with psychology.

In 2014, Carly was picked for a Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award. In exchange for funding, she conducted a research project of her choice. This terrified her. In a time when she was already wrestling with anxiety, the self doubt began to further creep in.

“[The project] was very daunting for me. As many others have experienced, I wrestled with trying to overcome those negative words saying ‘you can’t do that,’ ‘you should definitely say no to that,’ ‘you’re not well organized, you are terrible at being on time for assignments, terrible at being on time for anything, you are going to take this on and you are ultimately going to disappoint everyone involved in the program because you are going to mess up your project,’” Carly reflected, “I did muscle through it, and pulled something together.”

Her project focused on urban food production and consumption, how gender, race, socioeconomic status, and age influenced food consumption and sharing. She found the process of coming to this topic very beneficial as she pushed through her insecurities to find a project that not only interested her, but impressed her supervisors.

PC: Audrey March

“I was so proud to graduate,” she beamed.

When asked about how she felt her university experience affected her post graduate work, she reflected on the skills she learned and self discovery she went through to come into her own skin.

“Your school experience will drudge up a lot of things, I think that is kind of the point. You have so much going on, and you’re such a young little soul. You have to figure out how to make choices and be responsible for these choices.”

“Trust your process even when you have no trust, I was so tempted to say that I wasted a lot of time being sad or anxious, but the fact is there was no other way it could go”

And trust she did.

Carly went on after graduation to refine her writing, and now speaks at major events in the city, sharing her wisdom and beautiful poems.

In 2015, she was asked to speak at The Illumination Event for her first ever speaking engagement sharing her writing. Terrified, Carly agreed. And nailed it. Looking back with fond memories, she said she would not change a thing about that performance.

“There’s parts that feel juvenile,” admitted Carly, “I wouldn’t change that because i think that juvenile feeling is very important. It’s important to hear the words of a young girl. That’s the stuff I was feeling, the wounds or sadness or first internal conflicts of a much younger version of myself. Any conflicts, any struggles that come up later in life, are often a reflection of those felt things we felt when we were tinier humans.”

Following her graduation, Carly’s fiery personality and diverse skill-set has captured the hearts of the Victoria community. Her foot is in many doors: yoga teacher at various studios around the city, educator for LuluLemon, speaker and coordinator for TEDxVictoria, and influential writer.

If there’s a key point to learn from Carly’s experience, it’s to explore your passions. Stick your nose into everything. You might find yourself, accidentally, right where you’re supposed to be.

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