Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself.

W. C. Doane

Monday, December 19, 2011

Real Men Do Rape

  We believe this notion that:

But after reading this expert from Something Kate Harding (co-author of Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body) posted.... I think on her blog....maybe she's right in saying "real men do rape." Thoughts?"

"So here's a message to some of the men out there who as they're reading this may be thinking, but i'm not that guy, I've never raped a womon, i've never made fun of one, i've never called one names. But have you ever sat back silently while someone else did? This message is for you:

“Cause’ the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have… all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.”

-Kate Harding

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What do you think?

I saw this video today, a friend of mine found it funny. I don't know... am i being overly critical in feeling like this is Slut Shaming? Just as a quick definition Slut Shaming is the act of ridiculing a woman for having several sexual partners, having one night stands,  and generally acting on sexual urges. "It’s about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming)

Check out this you think this falls into that category?

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 6th 2011 Let us Always Cherish our Lives...

This day is an important one to me and I wanted to take some time to share it with you all.

On December 6th 1989. 22 years ago, Mark Lepine walked through the halls of École Polytechnique, a Univesity in Montreal Quebec, and opened gunshot on the students. Enraged that he had been rejected from the Engineering program, he stalked the hallways ready to fire when necessary. He walked into a classroom and demanded that the men and women be separated by sex into two lines and asked the men to leave the room.

"I am fighting Feminism"

He shot 6 of them from right to left and continued through the hallway where he proceeded to walk through the rest of the school, targeting womyn in his rampage. He entered another classroom and shot and killed another 8 womyn. In total he killed 14 womyn, injured another 10, and injured 4 men, before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide.

Every year on this day we commemorate the deaths of these young womyn and remember others who've died at the hands of violence. I think what i carry the most in remembrance of December 6th is the structural violence people of all genders face, and the hatred that some people carry on a daily basis. We live in a world that teaches us to hate, that teaches us that for one reason or another if you don't conform to certain standards set by society, you dont deserve to be a part of it.

I was involved in organizing the city wide vigil this year and about a hundred people came to morn with us. They gathered to Ottawa's Women's monument, to share a moment of silence for the 14 womyn that died at École Polytechnique.

Police came in uniform. It always pleases me to see police officers coming to take part in a night like this. Particularly knowing the way the justice system treats issues of violence against women.

A group of native womyn held pictures of their missing or murdered loved ones as a choir sang a song of remembrance. There are over 500 missing and murdered aboriginal womyn in Canada today. Let us remember that this land once belonged to them, and was stolen from them.

We began to name the women that had died all over Ontario this year. As each name was read out loud, along with a small story about who they were, a rose was placed at the base of the Women's Monument to represent each of those lives lost.

A native woman started to spread something around base of the monument where the lanterns and flowers were placed. I just stood and silently wondered what she was doing.

 Soon after, I ran up to her and asked what it was she had scattered. She told me it was tabacco. Apparently tabacco is sacred plant to the Aboriginal tribes of Ontario. She told me that the roots of a tabacco plant run deep into the ground but the smoke, once burned can rises into the sky, making its way to the heavens, therefore connecting those on earth to people in the afterlife.

As the night came to an end, everyone made their way home, ready to end the night in a nice warm bed. I went to bed grateful to be alive, grateful to be fighting this battle for equality, grateful to have never faced such extreme violence in my life. Most of all, i was grateful to know there are people out there who love me, know me, treasure me. While my life is far from a perfect one, on Dec 6th every year i'll be thankful to be alive.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

I'm going to write a longer post about this with more context to the meaning of this day but for the moment for all the Candians out there and even those who are not Canadian. Please light a candle or have a moment of silence to remember the 14 womyn that we massacred at École Polytechnique on December 6th 1989.

Genevieve Beregron, 21 years old

Helene Colgan, 23

Nathalie Croteau, 23

 Maryse Leclair, 23

 Annie St-Arneault,  23 

Anne-Marie Edward, 21

Michelle Richard  21

Annie Turcotte 21; 

Barbara Daigneault 22

Anne-Marie Lemay, 22;

 Maryse Laganiere, 25 

Sonia Pelletier, 28;

Maud Haviernick, 29; 

Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31.

May you all rest in peace. Know that we remember you every year on this day and your death was not in vain.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Well ya like to bring me down, don't you? But I ain't laying down, Baby I ain't join' down.

Credit: Title Mr.Know it all. Kelly Clarkson

I'm not often triggered and as a support worker, I pride myself on keeping level headed in many situations, but every now and again something slips through the building blocks i've created to get here.  Several months ago, due to a train wreck of events I found myself feeling broken . If you read some of my older posts you'll understand. People i called my friends walked away, some I had known for a lifetime others, i had met within the year.

Unfortunately it didn't end at simply walking away. They began to spread rumours about me, they told people lies that admittedly they may have thought to be the truth. But not one of them or the people they subsequently spoke to, came to me. Not even one asked me if the words that were spread about me were true. In fact when i wrote  these people asking begging them to explain to me what i had done wrong, i received nothing in return. They decided to play the game we as womyn are socialized to play. The gossip game. I was never told directly, they told people namely my family, several other friends, who then told me. I spent days crying...sobbing, feeling so alone I didn't know what to do with myself. People have left me before, friends have vanished, people who have promised to be around for life have turned their backs on me. But this mass exodus was more than i could take.

Just when i thought it couldn't get worse, one of the womyn, attacked a piece of me i had held so sacred I had always assumed nothing could touch it. She told me and the organization i volunteer for that i was an inadequate support worker, that I had broken confidentiality, that i was not fit to continue support work. She went through all my connections and did her absolute best to destroy my image as well as that of the  Collective I'm a part of. Weeks went by and couldn't bring myself to get back on that Support Line, or attend any of the workshops i had organized. I was supposed to facilitate a workshop on how to support a friend but was asked by members of the collective if someone else could facilitate because there was a possibility this person might attend. In short she made my life as close to a reflection of hell as she could. Eventually she moved out of the city and I was glad to see her go.

I guess what hurt me the most was her attack my skills as a support worker. She said that I was awful at this that, she didn't feel supported at all when I was with her, that I was not fit to continue this work. My goal in life is and always has been to help people. To help them find their way through tough times and even through happy times. I've always thought myself to have good shoulders to lean on when someone needed support. All my life I've known that I want to be a person that others could reply on when life became rough, when roads got rocky, and when battling things they may not feel they can conquer alone. When that person said, in so many words, that I wasn't at all who i thought i was. Somehow it very quickly cut through me, it's taken me a few months to re-build that confidence, but here i am today feeling better about life than i have in a long time.

It recently came to my attention that she would be interviewed for a position with yet another organization I work for. Here i was thinking i'd never have to hear her name again, but of course life has this funny way of keeping me on my toes. A friend of mine told me he was recommending her for the same postion I currently hold, that will be ending in December. The problem is, that I will still be very involved with the this organization and would more than likely run into her on a regular basis.

As soon as i heard her name my breath caught in my throat, my heart began to pound so quickly and so hard it hurt. My hands began to shake uncontrollably, i felt like something was sitting on my chest keeping my lungs from expanding. My body completely stiffened up.  I wasn't very nice to the person who told me. Someone who's actually a pretty good friend of mine. I was curt and angry and just not myself. I told him that i thought she was gone, I was under the impression that she had moved months ago. He explained that she needed a placement...blah blah blah, i really didn't care. All I wanted to know what would she get in my way. I later apologized for my tone, being a support worker himself he understood.

But this incredible reaction, all at the simple thought of her being in the same city as me, working at the same place I do, being around all the places i regularly attend. The last thing i want is to feel what i did months ago. To go back to being no more than a reflection of who i am now. My friend Scott once told me I have this funny way of growing where i tend to remain stagnant for periods of time and then very rapidly grow over short increments, (think of a staircase) and I think I've recently been through one of those growths. God has recently granted me the ability to gain clarity over everything that happened to me. I've been able to move on peacefully, and look back at that situation with rational thought rather than raw emotion but every now and again these feelings just creep up and surprise me.

Is it awful that I hate her? Not even hate because the feeling of hate is surrounded by sadness. While the pain has certainly dulled, I'm not ready to face her. To see her even once in a while, would be painful, and just something i'm not willing to face. She's part of a world I used to be in, has a group of friends that used to be mine. They all bonded over hating me, as of course females do. I know I don't wish for things to back to the way they were. I quite enjoy the amazing friends I now have in my life, but at the very least could we be friendly with one another? Is that too much to ask? I hate feeling negatively towards another person, emotions like that just rot in your system till the all those adverse events gather and spread through your soul like a cancerous tumour. i've seen people carry pain with them, i've seen the haunted look that never leave their face. The smiles that never reach their eyes. I don't want that to happen to me and yet, when the thought of this person crosses my mind.

This post has gotten very long....I tend to babble when i'm feeling a lot. I guess in conclusion, It's been about a week since her name was uttered, since the threat of her presence surfaced. She's being interviewed for that position, she's quite qualified for it. I guess it's all a waiting game now. My friend who told me she was applying promised me that he would ensure my safe space wasn't violated. I'm trusting in that and can only hope to deal with this maturely and rationally.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest we forget...

" In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row...".It's remembrance day here in Canada, a day to remember the men and womyn who have died for us in war. Though i do morn the death of these individuals i can't help but feel as though...i guess i'm unsure about using this day to remember soldiers that have fought in past and current wars.

Though it is a noble thing to fight for your country, would it be just as noble to fight a war that we should have never had in the first place? I think Micheal Moore said it best "We live in fictitious times," he said while receiving the award for best documentary for his 2002 anti-gun film, Bowling for Columbine. "We live in a time with fictitious election results that elect fictitious presidents. We live in a time when we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons..."

Without getting too deep into the political nature of that statement i wonder...can i still morn the death of those who died even if i dont agree with the reasons behind the war? As a Mulism, I've felt as though America went into Iraq, under the guise of "freeing" the citizens, and imposing Western ideologies of 'Democracy'  when all they really wanted was oil, minerals, and other such resources.  Now these countries are left in conditions so dire that it would be a greater threat for America to leave. 

According to a study conducted by Brown university, 132,000 civilians have died from 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a conservative estimate, by even by the Institute’s own admission. The death toll is in fact much higher. The study only examined direct violence that killed civilians — bombings, gunshot wounds, missile strikes. It did not include the  indirect deaths that occur when war creates refugees that can’t find food, clean water or adequate medical care. Nor does it include the lost limbs and emotional suffering that are a part of every war..( 

I guess as i write this what i'm recognizing is that what i'm looking for is not worship of those that have died for our country, but a recognition that there are womyn, children, men.....fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, that have innocently died because of this unreasonable war, who don't have their names written on a plaque... or even a cross in Flanders Fields. No one wears a poppy for these nameless individuals. So if you have time, please take a moment of silence for the civilians that have died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel, the Congo, Sudan....i could go on but you get the picture. Lest we forget....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ad in the National Post....I am appalled

I don’t have much time to write about this but i did want to post this in as many of my networks as possible. An enraging and disgusting ad was run on September 19th 2011 in the National Post by a the right leaning Christian group "Institute for Canadian Values" asking that children not be taught to question their sex, gender or sexuality, particularly in the classroom. The National Post has since released an apology, and are donating money to an LGBTQ organization. I am nonetheless horrified and disgusted.  The damage has already been done and to apologize for it now does nothing to diminish the fact that it was published in the first place. I just want to clarify that when i mention that this ad was placed by a Christian group it is not an attack on any religion, but on people who use religion to as a means to discriminate against others. These are not part of the teachings of any scripture.

According to Loschiavo, The National Post, Senior Account Director they “generally wouldn’t run this [and will] probably take a stance on not running it again.” As a reader I am completely dissatisfied with this ridiculous excuse for an apology. Was that really any way to take accountability for their actions? He goes on to defend these actions by stating “We obviously don’t want to offend anyone, but I also understand that everyone has a freedom of speech” How shocking that a member of the public media would hide behind our basic rights to free speech. While I very strongly believe in those rights I believe just as strongly that we should not abuse it by spreading hate and this ad was very clearly an act of discrimination and bigotry. The use of a little girl, asking the reader not to confuse her is manipulative. It insinuates that you should never explore or question your sexuality and that children dont have the intelligence to make deductions of their own. The ad also advocates to end LGBTQ inclusive curriculums in Toronto schools,  quoting directly from the Toronto District School Board Curriculum resource document called “Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism,” which suggest that several optional lessons to become mandatory.

When groups hiding behind “Canadian family values” push for the reduction of education surrounding issues their children will deal with throughout their lifetime, not only within themselves but amongst their peers, you deny them the tools they require to understand and cope with these situations as they present themselves throughout the course of one's life. Allowing these children the space to explore the ideas of non-traditional family structures, gender and sexual identities in safe(r) environment such as a classroom, creates a normalization of such notions which can then prevent confusion later in life. It by no means forces children to adopt these values, it simply opens their eyes to different ways living. It is oppressive to silence the voices of the vast population we have in this beautiful country, and to use “Canadian family values” can only be seen in my eyes as a form of cultural appropriation. Those are not the values this great nation teaches.

The Canada I live in , does not promote homophobia and in fact teaches acceptance in having laws that allow for same sex marriage. My Canada is not transphobic, it certainly isn’t perfect however does cover sex reassignment surgery in several provinces. This includes hysterectomies, mastectomies chest contouring for womyn wishing to become men in Ontario Quebec and BC (other surgeries are covered in other provinces). For men who wish to become womyn, in Quebec, Ontario, Sakatchewan and BC  they are eligible for coverage for a penectomy, orchiectomy (removal of testicles), and vaginoplasty. Though our system is far from perfect, I feel as thought this country makes great strides towards progressive values. The Canada I know and love says that discrimination against anyone based on sexuality is punishable by law.

I will end my post with this, a quote from an article on Gawker “Am I shocked and outraged that this ad ran? No. Not really. This is the same awful, religious-tinged advertising that gay [and trans] people have been subjected to for years and that some news outlet or another is always willing to run. Am I surprised? No. Saddened. Yes.”

If you or anyone you know is looking for information regarding SRS this is a great starting point. It's not the most official place to look but it has all your basic information in one area:

The Original ad places in the paper

A Closer look at what exactly it says...

Trans activist Chase Joynt launched a spoof ad. in response...

Again a closer look.... The bottom part is exactly the same so all you need to see is this

Just a few stats showing why we need an inclusive education system:

33.2% of transgender youth have attempted suicide. (Clements-Nolle K., Marx R., Katz M. 2006).

55% of transgender youth report being physically attacked. (GLSEN. 2003)

74% of transgender youth reported being sexually harassed at school, and 90% of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression. (GLSEN. 2001)

In a survey of 403 transgender people, 78% reported having been verbally harassed and 48% reported having been victims of assault, including assault with a weapon, sexual assault or rape. (Wilchins, R., Lombardi, E., Priesing, D. and Malouf, D. (1997)

If you’re interested in reading the apology:

Where I got alot of my information:

Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm not Perfect but....

Thank you to my beautiful friend Caro and her partner Nora, i love you both! Caro helped me load this....well actually she did everything. She changed to video format and did a bunch of computery things i dont know while i sat on their couch and ate with Nora. She told me that the quality of the video is a little low but it still works.

Now on to the video. I tried to post this about two weeks ago and it wouldn't work and as time went by I chickened out of posting it. I was finally given the opportunity to move forward with the plan when Caro mentioned her computer skills. I'm not going to say much because, as per my habit i rambled on quite a bit in the video so i apologize for the 11 minutes. I'll just say that it's about my struggles with perfection and this video is far from that and i was so nervous! I keep thinking i coud have done better but that's the point. So... Enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm no Beauty Queen I'm Just Beautiful Me!

I wish people would be more kind to themselves. We are surrounded every day by self degrading messages, we live in a world that doesn't really give you the room to grow as an individual. We are bombarded with distorted images of nonexistent people, leaving us to believe that these are the standards we must live up to. I wish i could scream out to every girl out there, You Dont Have To Live Up to These Ridiculous Standards!! Somehow we internalize this inability to live up to nonexistent standards and assume it means we are lacking. But what if we're not lacking, what if they are? Personally i love a good pizza, or Big Mac every now and again. I refuse to withhold the food i love from myself. Mind you i dont go out and buy a bag of chips every day but about once a week i'll treat myself to dinner at Hard Rock downtown or some tasty chocolate. I remember a time not long ago where i woud feel terrible for poppig anything in my mouth that wasn't a fruit or veggie. Now it doens't seem so bad anymore.

How many positive thoughts do you think a day? How many times can you look at a picture of yourself and not criticize? My hair looks gross my body looks lumpy, my breast look too small, too big, i wish i looked like...But WHY do you need to look like person X person Y Person Z? I used to look myself in the mirror daily and proceed with a million self deprecating thought about things I felt I needed to improve. I used to hate everything about myself and was so desperate for people to love me that i realized that I was trying much too hard.

I recently suffered from the loss of several friends. They all decided they no longer wanted me to be a part of their lives. They spread rumours and hate like the damn plague. I would sit alone in my bed at night and wonder what did that was so awful. I begged a pleaded for them to let me in. For them to explain to me what had made them so angry that would allow them to come to the conclusion that they would no longer forgive me. Then a realized. It doesn't matter. I'm not perfect (though i like to think i'm quite near to it ; P) The people who want to be in life will be. The people who love me will continue to do so despite my flaws.

I've recently discovered something about myself,(thanks in part to a good friend in Toronto and some folks i met there as well) a huge discovery that is actually relatively inconsequential but significant to my life nonetheless. I like myself! Sounds silly doesn't it? But it's true. I'd say i'm pretty darn awesome. Those negative thoughts that used to plague my mind. The persistent negative self talk about why i cant look like this or that, are quiter than they used to be. Even on this blog i remember writing about how much i wish i looked like someone else. I dont anymore. I want to look like me!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You can always tell when Allah remembers you, Just remember Allah that's all you have to do

It's that time of the year again for us Muslims, i actually love this month. I've been going through some hard times this past year and even more so lately, so Ramadan i feel helps bring some peace to my heart. I've learned so much recently about Islam and Ramadan that i thought i'd share a bit. So just a bief side note, I fast from sunrise to sunset every day for a month. I have to say, it's been a huge help to my soul. That emptiness i feel at times seems to fill with...something i dont have words for. I guess it's just a matter of filling that void.

I spoke recently about feeling like broken glass, I'm still broken but those pieces i'm welding seem to be a little stronger. Today i found out that friends...or ex friends have been saying these things about me that are truthful a degree. But have been twisted version of the truth. They whisper things in my sister's ear so she can come back and pound me in the head with the things they told her. I just wish she understood that just as i have a void to fill so do they and the way they fill it is by making someone hurt like they do. But rather than hurting me they hurt my sister.

I feel like what's gotten me through this is prayer. My faith in God or whatever you believe to be a similar entity lifts my spirits. I was listening to this song the other day.

You can always tell when Allah remembers you
Just remember Allah, that’s all you have to do.
All you have to do to have Allah remember you
Is just remember Allah, Julla Jullalahu. (May His greatness be exalted.)

So my goal is to continue to remember God as often as i can in a day. A good friend of mine taught me the other day that if you dont pray the 5 times a day that you should you can also try saying little things about him 33 times. YOu can say things like
Alhamdulillah "Praise to God" or "All praise is due to Allah," similar to the Hebrew phrase Halelu Yah (thank you Wikipedia!)
Bismillah which is a shortened version of Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim, " in the name of God, the merciful and compassionate" Some tranlsations say :The most merciful the most gracious"
Mashallah 'Whatever God wills" Which often you say when your wishing someone well.

I think it'll be the quickest and most effective way to make it through these hard times. I think there's something about the knowledge of a higher power that allows me to feel better. I guess i just feel like no matter what happens and no matter how many times people try to knock me down, i'll have faith to bring me back up again. I guess it's just difficult when negativity surrounds me and it almost overwhelms me. It's one thing to try and knock me down but to do so in this underhanded way by bullying my sister so she can do the same for me in return? I just dont get why this is satisfying for them.

I know i'm a good person, i know i'll go far in life. But why is it their goal for me to be left alone...that's one thing i dont think i'll ever understand.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dan Savage on Stephen Colbert

So i was recently watching this clip of the incredible Dan Savage on The Colbert Report. It's so fascinating because he talks about the institution of marriage and how monogamy isn't always necessary. Not that you cant be monogamous but that it's ok to have more open relationships. I think that he makes some really valid arguments, people are so hung up on this idea of monogamy that they forget that "till death do us part" is a long time. For some (not all) they might wanna experience different things that their partners may not. So without further adieu may I introduce Dan Savage...well and Stephen Colbert.

Check out the video HERE

Close Enough To Start a War, All That I have is On The Floor

Who am i?
Isnt that a loaded question? Who am I? Well…what can I say I am…for some reason my first thought was “lost.” Which leads to the sharing of my recent self discoveries. I know who i am, in fact i know myself better now than i have in the past. However, I believe that road to self discovery is till quite long and winding. I used to be someone who hated who I was and what I thought I represented. Insecurities plagued my mind, and left me searching for external means of validation. Now I feel as though I have a goal, I have a purpose and somehow I feel as though I’m closer to attaining my life's purpose.

Have you ever felt like something is so close within your grasp and somehow it's just too far to touch? That's how i currently feel, the problem is i have only the faintest idea what it is i'm reaching for. Maybe self acceptance? I was taking a walk the other night and looking up at the stars. It was so interesting to look and only see a select few. I began to wonder what it was about those stars that seemed strong enough penetrate through the atmosphere of our world? Even in a city cast so full of lights, these individual balls of candescence shine so strongly that a person can see them from any street, any rooftop, anywhere on earth. People look to them for guidance, people wish on them, when lost just look for the North Star and you'll find your way home.

Sometimes i look up and wonder what it takes to be that star. What do i need to do shine that brightly? How can I ensure my place in life? So many thoughts on my mind I find it difficult to focus on just one. I feel lost as of late. I feel as though my instincts are deceiving me, playing tricks on me and I'm so unsure as to what I should believe. On one hand i feel as though this soliloquy that ruminates daily through my mind is the only truth i should listen to, but are my personal thoughts truly that accurate? I feel like i know myself, i feel like i love myself and yet somehow a cloud of doubt still lingers within me.

I recently the target of this huge fight with several of my friends. All of which had incredibly negative things to say about me. They attacked me mercilessly and as each one shot a bullet of words i felt a piece of myself break into shards on the floor. Then they left me, and all i had were those tiny little morsels of my soul scattered around me like broken glass. For days i held on to those pieces, hoping somehow I could place them back together. I think that's when the greatest realization came. I don't have to. Maybe this was a sign that it's time to rebuild and weld new pieces, but i'm not a patient person however and i'm in a hurry to get on with life. It seems like those fragments of myself were so quick to shatter and fall and i just don't understand why it has to take so damn long to heal and grow and just move the hell on. I just wanna yell at these people. YOU broke me YOU attacked me, YOU made me feel like i had lost control over everything. Now I'M left to start over? How is that fair? Do you know how difficult it was for me to FINALLY love myself and in one fell swoop, you destroyed what was already so fragile. Even the most solid thoughts in my mind, even what i felt most confident about, they left cracks in. I hate them for it.....I hate myself for it. Sometimes i wonder why i'm so quick to move to self deprecating thoughts.

As a member of a collective that runs a sexual assault support line i was so solid, so sure in my beliefs that i was a good Support Worker and i'm not so sure at all. One person was all it person to tell me i'm not, for various reasons of her own and i soaked it all up. Such an integral part of my heart and i just watched as that crack seeped it's way through my heart and broke it.

Maybe i needed this. Maybe i needed to break so i could truly be whole. Maybe next time someone tries to break me i'll be able to stand up against the poison arrows. As Adele said: "Next time i'll be braver i'll be my own saviour, standing on my own two feet" How that song seems to ring so true to how I feel lately. Tomorrow is another day and as i place these new pieces where the old ones fell out i'll be sure to make them stronger, more durable. So one day i'll be able to believe that i'm someone special, that i'm worth fighting for. Even if i'm not all that sure right now. I know i will be. In the mean time there are people who love me as I am. Even as this crazy, insecure, unsure individual. But i'm ready to grow and though it'll take time, the foundation i build this time will be stronger

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cause there's a side to you that I never knew All the things you'd say, they were never true, And the games you's play, you would always win

So just for some perspective this letter is to someone i was involved with. I initially thought that we would end up in a relationship only to realize that they chose to go back to their previous partner.

I feel as though I have a ball in the pit of my stomach; one that seems to tighten at the thought of you. As it tightens it seems to spread, and never fails to reach my heart, this heart of mine so vulnerable and ready for the taking. Why do I do this to myself? Why must I leave this precious part of me so open to pain? While I use all my energy to heal others, who’s left to heal me? I pour my soul into the healing of another human being and yet when I looked to you for a little affection a little indication that maybe you can give me a piece of what I so long for, you leave me disappointed.

You who walks like you own those around you, as though you have something superior to them all, when in reality you are just as lost as I am. You think you can hide it behind those shadowed blue eyes that you excel at making look strong and empty. You think that it will keep you from experiencing pain? I think you hide behind a mask of anger to keep people from knowing just how alone you are. You express yourself through cryptic messages almost as though you’re begging people to see you, the real you. The thing is, they don’t and they never will. Not through these one lined messages you post on a social network people use to escape reality. Though for you that message is a small indication of what your reality looks like and yet not enough for people to really truly understand what lies beneath your façade.

Isn’t that interesting? I let people in too much and you don’t let them in at all. You don’t allow them to touch your soul for fear of pain and I allow everyone a piece of myself, which chips away each time someone comes in a little too deeply. Neither are any better than the other but both keep us from the happiness we deserve. Why do you allow yourself to remain so unhappy? Almost as though if you keep yourself in this state, so you can remain in control of yourself and your emotions. The thing is I know you’re attracted to me. I know that we have something good, but somehow you’re missing the big picture when you communicate your lack of desire for a relationship. I could rid you of that anger, I could rid you of that wall you build to protect yourself. But you chose to look the other way, you chose to move towards a what was already a once failed relationship all the while silently turning your back to me.

I hold no ill feelings towards you….or at least I try not to. I get it, it’s much easier to pick what ‘s been so familiar. It’s easier to look at a person who’s eyes you’ve stared into many times before. But what I cant get rid of is the feeling of “why not me” why could you not choose something new, something different? As I look deeper into those thoughts as I analyse the very origin of those thoughts, I begin to realize my heart feels empty, hollow, void of the affection I so long to feel

The difference is while you turn your back on what would be a leap of faith, while you continue to claim you have no faith, again a means of protecting yourself, mine grows by the moment. I know that along side my footprints in life are His, what do you have? That mask. I hope that mask keeps you warm at night, I hope that protective layer you put up in front of yourself protects you from whatever it I you fear.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Letter from a 40 something to a 20 something

I found this article...well more like an advice column the other day on a friend's facebook page.I've been struggling alot lately with myself and trying to find peace and tranquility in this soul of mine.Interestingly enough it feels as though i stumbled upon this at the right time. Sugar is an advice columnist and someone wrote in asking what advice she would give, now at approximately 40, to herself in her 20s. What came out of it was insightful and beautiful and uplifting. I felt like she was talking to me. All these doubts that have recently clouded my mind, it was like she heard them and answered every one of those little demons in my head. Without further adieu i introduce to you, Sugar.

Dear Sugar,

I read your column religiously. I’m 22. From what I can tell by your writing, you’re in your early 40s. My question is short and sweet: what would you tell your 20-something self if you could talk to her now?

Dear [Writer]
Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this, sweet pea.

In the middle of the night in the middle of your twenties when your best woman friend crawls naked into your bed, straddles you, and says, You should run away from me before I devour you, believe her.

You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.

Click here to purchase a Sugar Shirt.
When that really sweet but fucked up gay couple invites you over to their cool apartment to do ecstasy with them, say no.

There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. It’s good you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues while in your twenties, but understand that what you resolve will need to be resolved again. And again. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.

One evening you will be rolling around on the wooden floor of your apartment with a man who will tell you he doesn’t have a condom. You will smile in this spunky way that you think is hot and tell him to fuck you anyway. This will be a mistake for which you alone will pay.

Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.

You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.

Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.

Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.

When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.

The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.

One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.

Say thank you.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Canada goes postal

A great piece from a friend of mine

Canadian politics piqued the interest again of the international community and gripped the nation by their mailbox. The debate in parliament that fixed time and set a new record for debate was over the issue of the mail.

It all began on the 2nd of June when the Postal Workers Union went on strike (CUPW) over negotiations over their contract and concerns regarding the health of their workers surrounding new machinery that has been introduced for sorting the mail. The Union launched a rotating strike that went around the country freezing paper communications in one city and then the next. This action lasted for twelve days to no avail.

Canada Post then took the step on the 14th of June to ‘Lock Out’ their workers once the strike hit its Toronto Office, the reason they claimed was that it was costing them millions of dollars. They were planning in a move that has been echoed across numerous public bodies in Canada and the West in an attempt to bring down costs, they suggested new employs begin at a lower pay grade than before but are able to work up to the same pay point as their colleagues. This claims the Union would have lead to a clear ‘two tiered’ system where two people doing the same job would get different pay.

Other mail companies such as Puralator were counting their lucky starts as soon as negotiations broke down between the two sides as neither one were willing to budge on principles. With increases in their deliveries reaching the triple digits as people desperate to pass on messages and packages had to turn to the private sector. The government however and its vast bureaucracy was left caught in the hell fire caused over the lock out.

On Monday the 20th six days later a Bill was introduced to Parliament, the get Canada Post back to work bill was immediately deplored by the new Opposition the New Democrat Party as draconian and an attack on the principles of fair bargaining with clauses covering final offer binding arbitration. They also opposed the fact that the Bill specifically outlined the wages for the workers, which was set to lower to than what Canada had offered the Union at the last negotiations. The Conservative government however retaliated claiming that the debacle was costing the economy between 9 million and 35 million a week and was particularly troublesome for those depending on government assistance.

What happened between the 23rd and now is monumental. As debate opened on Thursday the 23rd the parliamentary calendar was set to that work day, the NDP however were determined to call the Conservatives to account for perceived anti-labour overtures. The ensuing filibuster lasted over 3 days and two nights. The epic 56 hour debating session broke the previous record set in the 80’s and the true hero of it all must truly have been Elizabeth May, the only and also the leader of the Green Party she represented a caucus of one and remained at the debate for at least 30 hours only leaving for brief breaks. The two entrenched oppositions parties battled it out, at one point with the NDP tabling a ‘hoist’ motioned which would have pushed the issue back six months. The Liberals and Conservatives however shot it down. Eventually the Conservative majority steam rolled the Bill through and at 8pm on Saturday it was passed through the lower house. It will be going to Senate on Sunday morning and is expected to face no real opposition there. It looks set that the now unedited Bill will be ordering the 46 thousand postal workers back to work by the middle of next week.

A real record has been set this week, as the Parliament calendar passes onto the next work day confused to discover its now Sunday, the crunch on postal workers to clear the back log by Canada Day will be a gruelling task and probably highly opposed to the now further disgruntled Union. The Conservatives have flexed their muscles to get this Bill through, but there has been little doubt at all that the 56 hour filibuster is just the beginning of the fight that going to be put up by the novice Official Opposition Party.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I am what i am, and what i am needs no excuses! Life's not worth a damn till you can shout out I AM WHAT I AM! :)

Admittedly i wont take credit where credit should not be taken but i would like to take some time to discuss the dichotomy in gender. My friend Luke, recently posted something on facebook in relation to this topic and it inspired me to do the same. Have you ever had to fill out a form for maybe a passport, or even a credit card application. Several times in all of our lives we'll be placed in a position where we must check off one of those boxes. What do you check off when you dont feel like those two are not enough? What if neither of those choices fit within the space you've defined as "you"? Is there such thing as an inbetween when it comes to gender?

I've been doing alot of work lately with the GLBTQ community and i guess i wanted to take a moment to share what i've learned to be one of the most facinating topics i've ever had the pleasure of being introduced to me. Can you imagine looking at yourself in the mirror and knowing that God...or science or ...whatever...somehow placed you in the wrong body? Can you imagine looking at breasts and a vagina, or seeing a penis and knowing that through some fluke of faith you ended up with the wrong body parts?

Let's break this down into perspectives. First of all, you are born as one of two things...maybe three. Boy, Girl, Inter sex (aka hermaphrodite.) My blog in itself describes a world in shades of grey recognizing that we live in a world where things are rarely dichotimous, yet how do describe gender? in two boxes "Male" and "Female" yet there are such a vast number of individual who absolutely do not fit into the conforimities of those two choices. There are several people who choose to ID as androgynous, meaning they have no preference one way or the other and choose not to conform to one side of the coin.

But why are we as a society so ultimately obsessed with prescribing to these gender binaries? From childhood girls are given a set of toys to play with. Usually they're pink or purple or any other colour we assume to be considered "feminine". When a child is born the very first thing they announce is the sex of the child. But have you ever encountered someone who doesn't feel as though they fit within the body given to them? How do you act then? What do you say?

For me the answer seems fairly obvious. You accept that person as they are. You can definitely find alot of pride associated wit the Trans community. One of the people i respect the most is a Trans womyn, and she's absolutely beautiful. She's a huge activist in the community and has alot to say. She's so full of light and education and I have learned so much from her. But it hurts that every time i introduce her to someone new, as soon as we turn around they ask me...."Was that a man?". Who the hell cares? She was born a male, but to me she has always been a womyn. No more no less than someone born that way.

I think one of the ways i live my life every day is to be more accepting of people. I think that's part of what makes me who i am. I have this great ability to love and find the beauty in everyone. Even if they cant find it in themselves. I guess the one thing i'm trying to get at in this post. I t doesn't matter what you look like, it doesn't matter what norms society has taught you. Live your life exactly as you please and the inner happiness you find within yourself will be contagious to those around you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

close your eyes make a wish...

So i've started about 5 or 6 blog postings and have never bothered posting them. I'm never satisfied with y quality of writing. But i figure there's no point in having a blog if i'm not going to use it. Just to give a brief update of my life currently. I am involved in several on campus activities and loving every minute of it. So my expectations of what this blog may develop into are talks about what is currently on my mind. For example, i've been involved with the Coalition for a Carleton Sexual Assault Centre this past year and have struggled and rejoiced as we have fought for a centre. I advocate every day to end gender-based violence and i think i would like to make this blog something that surrounds those activities. I'm also very involved in the GLBTQ community and watch friends of mine enjoy every minute of being gay. I myself dont identify as GLBT maybe Q Queer is a nice encompassing word and as someone who doesnt quite feel like i'm "straight" i think the Q would fit nicely within the spectrum of my identity.

I feel like my life is changing. While certain parts of my myself have remained stagnant while there are other parts just itching to come forward, so i'm itching to share that with the world. So stay tuned and hopefully you can watch as i develop the blog, and myself along with it.