Living Life Authentically: Loïk Raymond Shares The Joy of Being a Weirdo
“Just find what you love, and then stick with it,” urges Loïk Raymond, a Two-Spirit outreach coordinator at St. Boniface Museum. He lives in Winnipeg but is originally from Northern Quebec. At work, he arranges museum tours and rentals, sets up for events, coordinates social media and advertising and keeps the website up to date.
Museum work wasn’t on his radar but he applied to work at the local art gallery when he moved to Winnipeg. They didn’t have a posting at the time but they ended up hiring him eventually, giving him a foot in the door of the museum/gallery world. Meeting people, and being part of the museum world that is full of diverse specializations are aspects he enjoys.
As a kid, Loïk didn’t have a dream job and now works to take care of his financial responsibilities. He always disliked school but saw the value of having a high school diploma. His mom encouraged him to go to trade school but he wasn’t interested in doing so.
He encourages youth to do work they enjoy and says once you leave school, you realize how many jobs there are in the world. “You only have one life. life is long, but it's also short,” he explains. His oldest sister has done a bunch of different jobs and is now a substitute teacher in her 30s, which showed him it's never too late to go back to school if you change your mind. His other sister is a microbiologist.
His mom has had six different careers, including selling houses, working with optometrists and now working as a travel agent. “You can do anything in life as well. It's so long and you can change like every 10 years if you wanted to,” he continues. Raising three kids, his mom took university courses to change paths, putting the effort into making the life she wants.
Originally, Loïk went to school at the University of Ottawa to teach English as a Second Language but did not enjoy the classroom setting. Through Connected North, Loïk teaches art and really enjoys it because he can share his knowledge without being responsible for a class for more than an hour. While teaching wasn’t his ultimate joy, he does love linguistics and still nerds out about words with his wife.
Going broad and not specializing too early is something Loïk suggests when it comes to post secondary education to avoid feeling pigeon-holed by your degree program. Working in a small museum and working your way up is a way to advance in the museum world, with most large museums wanting to see five years of experience before they bring someone on. Eventually, Loïk will be able to do this work on a bigger scale.
When he first moved away to the city, he found transit stressful but quickly learned he’s more capable than he thought. Moving to the city can be intimidating in the same way, but after time he learned it’s not so bad and it’s possible to find your people within a city’s communities. Changing provinces was a big adjustment just because processes were different from one place to the next and he felt a strong sense of culture shock. “Seeing it as an adventure, I think, is the best way of doing it. It's scary, but at the same time, you’ve just got to jump in sometimes in life,” Loïk advises.
Navigating transit in Ottawa and Gatineau was challenging, but now in Winnipeg it’s second nature to get around town. He loves the city and all the great food, many free events and ways to stay busy year round. The winters are shorter than where he’s from and he tends to hibernate and lay low in the cold.
For health reasons, Loïk has had to cut down on screen time, which means less video gaming. Loïk goes to the park now to relax or listens to audiobooks instead. “The way we've been brought up is you always have to be doing something or being productive to have value or something. Because of my eyes, I've had to step back and be like, ‘No, I can just sit here for like an hour and be fine,’’ Loïk reflects. In the winter, he draws and in the summer he can’t seem to sit still and prefers to be outside.
“You only have one life, right? Why worry about what others are thinking? I don't have time. I’ve got other stuff to do.”
In closing, Loïk’s advice for viewers is, “you have to try to live your most authentic self. It's really hard and there's always going to be someone that judges you. I still strive to forget what others think about me and just kind of jump in and do what I like. I often tell my wife, ‘I'm a weirdo and there's nothing wrong with being a weirdo. I actually kind of like it’. If you're confident, no one's gonna say anything. They're just gonna look at you and they can think whatever they want. I don't care. It's literally not my problem.”
It took time for Loïk to find that confidence, a lot of unlearning and decolonizing and staying away from social media. In limiting screen time, Loïk has learned to prioritize what he dedicates his time to to make sure it’s worth it. That’s why he sticks to shows, movies and games he loves and avoids online interactions that aren’t beneficial. The other benefit has been sound sleep at night.
Finding what he loves and sticking with it has helped Loïk Raymond find a career in the museum and gallery space he never imagined growing up. Finding his place in new cities and the things that make him feel alive, he’s learned to be his own kind of weirdo and celebrate that, encouraging others to do the same. With just one life to live, he’s making it count.
Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.
Future Pathways Fireside Chats are a project of TakingITGlobal's Connected North Program.
Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.