Except My Own Confusion

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As I sit here searching through quotes of those that were just as angst-ridden, crest-fallen, bat-shit crazy, and fucking confused as I am trying to find something or someone to explain to everyone where I am at – at this very fucking moment i contemplate why I posted this one. It hints at where I am at – slightly. But than, as I read it over and over again.. analyzing its every word, connotation, and style I realize that it is not where I am at this very moment. It can’t be. I didn’t write it – Jack Kerouac did.

So where am I right now? Well, it’s not going to be summarized in some Haiku-style work of art like Kerouac could do. Mine is much more detailed, and messy, and exciting, and devastating. Kerouac couldn’t write this shit. I am not certain that I can either – but I am going to try.

If there is one thing that I have learned throughout this two years of self – preservation, self-hatred, self-discovery, self-care, and just being by myself is that no one person can make me ok. I have to do that. You can’t be anything for anyone authentically unless you are nothing but authentic to yourself. This is actually that just came to me while I was having sushi with my dad here in Comox about 20 minutes ago.

I am an analyzer. I will tear down one idea until it is nothing. This is some parts my personality and one part my crazy. I have explained the crazy over and over again and am, quite honestly, tired of explaining it. But anyways.

I wonder about my actions. I wonder what other people think. I always wonder what other people think. I ruin great days by over analyzing text messages that I sent and that were sent, or times between texts, or Facebook messages, or Facebook posts that I do of great writer’s quotes. I wonder if other people will read it the wrong way. For example, Kerouac’s quote above. What does that quote say about me? Am I confused about other people? Am I unreliable? Am I a bag of shit?

No! What I was trying to say is.. I am ready to just get going, I want to get going.. but I have baggage .. so please be ok with me working through it. Not much magic in that quote so you can see why Kerouac won in the quote department.

So.. here is where I am at right now for all those that want to know…. including myself.

I am happy, I am sad. I am confused, yet calm. I am terrified at potential because I am terrified that it will backfire over and over again. I am certain that I question your intentions not because of you, but because I question my own authenticity. I am only learning how to stand up for myself. I am only starting to peel the layers I have built onto my self to reveal that heart of who I am. This authenticity is new .. and I am only learning who I am right at this moment. I know that I am in this inner turmoil of questioning only because I am not happy with my current situation. And I am changing.. right as I sit here. I am losing my comfortable madness to uncomfortable goodness, and I am scared. And I am grieving. And I am lost in this new found beauty of self discovery.

It is necessary. It is necessary to scare myself this way to keep going. It is necessary to keep going this way to test my trust issues. It is necessary to be vulnerable to prove that I can fucking do it.

And this is where I am.

 

 

Except My Own Confusion

Hurting and Healing and moving the fuck on…

So here’s the thing…

When you are crazy (and I am, and it’s mine and I fucking claim the word), you question everything about yourself.

Some questions that have actually occurred:

I know my throat is raw and I can’t breathe but seriously depression does that right?

Did I really make plans to go out tonight or did I just make that up in my head?

Who am I?

Where am I?

I can’t believe I said that.. is she going to hate me forever?

Am I the only person in this world and everyone else a part of my imagination?

Why am I the ugliest person in the world?

So when you are in the here and now.. wanting and working your fucking ass off to be better.. (day by day) you really have to figure your damn head out in order to function like a human.

The problem lies in your ability to be ok with yourself.  When you question everything around you, you forget how to understand yourself as a thinking thing,  a human, a valid voice. You forget (in fact may have never known) that how you think and feel is ok.

When you are sick. . You are sick. .fucking period. You didn’t make up the 103 degree fever or the constant stream of…well you get the point. You did not make this up because you are not some superhuman with the ability to inflict imaginary germs on yourself.

When you are upset.. you are upset. Your set of okness values were not met.. you’re sad, angry, frustrated. To feel that is ok.. more than ok. When you close off your heart for long periods of time to avoid potential cataclysmic events that most people call life (you just can’t deal) and have the fucking courage to open your heart up and it be stomped on by all means.. MOTHER FUCKING CRY! Cry for your delicate yet powerful heart for its ache but also for its courage to open itself up to possibility. . To beautiful life! You have become a part of the majority (but are so happy that your still a little weird).

When you question your set of values.. just stop. Your values are your own. When a girlfriend (now ex) tells you that you are ‘too gay’ (she was the one with the mullet) or another one tells you that ‘you are just too much to handle’.. fuck ’em. Fuck them and their bullshit attack on who you are. Fuck them for not embracing the everything that is you. You earned this badge  .. you fucking earned it.

When you think you are not good enough and feel like you have to hide so you won’t be hurt.. go out! Test yourself, force yourself. Not everyone is going to like you and even if you go on some manic tangent (because you are after all deliciously crazy) don’t fucking worry about it. Not everyone is going to like you, but those that do are yours for life.

When your girlfriend (s), now ex (exes) cheat on you once,  twice,  three fucking times.. get out. Don’t hate yourself because you went back… you went back because you believe (and still do) in the sanctity of commitment and love. You were willing to fight for it even when it wasn’t pretty. You loved and loved hard and were willing to try… but don’t lose faith in your potential to love and be loved back. Your person(s) are out there.

When you look in the mirror and seriously fucking hate what you are looking at (and may go for days without ever looking) don’t beat yourself up. Just live.. maybe without looking for a while until your ready.. (baby steps). You hate what you see because you are not looking at yourself.  That person is not you. That is the sad, beaten down, and exhausted you. You are hiding in there.. you will come out.. (still working on that). Remember that this reflection is what is holding you back from doing things .. being alive. . Drinking with drag queens, protesting bullshit homophobes,  dancing until you forget that there is gravity, loving and being loved by your people, finding those people you desperately yearn for.

The problem lies with the fact that you have not been to be ok because some ridiculous piece of shit chemical in your brain is tearing you apart. You have been fighting for so long just to walk out the door and survive.. you’ve gotta fight. You have to fight for yourself.. for your rightful place in the world. No one is going to do this for you.. but if you let them,  the good ones will help you along the way, but you have to let them in. You have to trust the process. You have to live. You have to fight.

And if you feel like your whole world is going to crumble.. because it will.. we aren’t immune..fucking cry.. Cry alone, cry with friends, just cry with every ounce of you. And than take a breath… and get up..

Hurting and Healing and moving the fuck on…

…..

When I don’t know what to say… i say it with dots. When I don’t know what to say, I write it here. When I don’t what to say, I write. I want to be heard, I just don’t know how to say it with my shaky and uncertain voice.

I have been perusing through my posts lately, trying to figure out where and what I am trying to say. There is a direction there.. and it is so glaringly clear.

The thing is.. I have never felt so vulnerable as I do now. Never.

And I want to be heard. I want to do everything… I want more.. so much more than I have ever allowed myself to do.

This past month has challenged me in so many ways. So many perfect, and scary, and amazing ways. It has taught me patience and a will to fight for what I believe in.. wholeheartedly, without my somewhat selfish and terrified soul in consideration. My fear and extreme self doubt has taken second place. And this has never happened before. And it is good. It is what I have been fighting for my whole life. A belief in something greater than me.

These recent chaotic, brilliant moments have allowed me to practice my authenticity. To declare loudly that I am vulnerable and strong and worthy of love. That I am not afraid to say with the written word that I am ok.. I am better than I ever was because I am not afraid to fail.. or to try. That I have had moments that have made me melt in so many delicious ways.. and I am not afraid to talk about it or feel like I am not deserving of it.

So with this, I am going to continue to just go… go forward and hope and fight for all things deserving. I will continue to take the needs of others close to my heart and welcome them, because we are all the same really… just looking for love and acceptance and meaning in this world. I will practice patience and above all else respect for those that I simply adore.

And, above all else.. I will write.. unashamed, unafraid.

…….

 

 

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Mona Lisa’s Eyebrows

Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. I have seen the Mona Lisa twice in my life (for real) and about a million times (for fake). I have been to the Louvre, where the original is kept behind thick layers of plexiglass, two times. I have been to my Grandma’s house, where a tiny little replica of the Renaissance cover girl was kept more times than I can count.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, early 20th Century feminists, painted thier lips as a symbol of emancipation when they marched in the 1912 Suffragette Rally in New York City. Today the average woman spends about $2000 in thier lifetime on lipstick. I think I have paid about $40.00 in my lifetime on the waxy pigment. The taste and smell make me want to gag. When I was the Team Lead of the Toronto Dyke March two years ago, I met a fierce group of folks that called thier liptick ‘war paint’. I think Stanton and Gilman would be proud.

Archaeologists recently found a 2000 year old sandal with specific impressions on them that looked like woven material. This Roman artifact clearly proves that socks were worn with sandals back in the day. Last month, when I was visiting my dad in Vancouver, he was wearing sports socks with his sandals. This contemporary artifact clearly proves that my father has continued the tradition on proudly.

Dorothy’s gingham dress in The Wizard of Oz is actually blue and pink. The movie executives thought that white looked underwhelming in the new Technicolor process that was being used so they used pink. This phenomenon was kind of replicated during the epic “Do you see Gold or Blue?” dress debaucle taking over the internet, however there was no camera trick. It turns out we all see colour different.

I saw gold by the way, and I have eyebrows.

Mona Lisa’s Eyebrows

An Ode To Mom

ODE TO MOM

 

French writer Marguerite Duras once wrote, “Our mother’s remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.”

Author Maya Angelou wrote, “To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colours of the rainbow.”

And finally, actress and writer Tina Fey says, “Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.”

I am sure that all you have felt all of these ways about yourself or your own mother’s at some point. The truth of the matter is as mother’s you are all extraordinary humans. You have taken on the weight of the world and have been entrusted to mould the future generation into upstanding individuals that are ready and able to take over and thrive in the remnants of our worldly mistakes.

You have sacrificed ever single ounce of solitude and complete independence to make sure that your children are never without.

Let’s face it, motherhood is not easy. There are barriers at every corner that you must tear down in order for your children to soldier on. The battle is endless, and as mothers you often lose your own hopes, dreams, and desires in the process.

For these sacrifices us children – your children – thank you with everything we have. For this Mother’s Day I invite you to remember who you are, not just as a mother, but everything else that makes up your wonderful self.

Mother’s Day hasn’t always been around. The appreciation for Mother’s was never celebrated until 1908 when Anna Jarvis, of West Virginia decided to honour her mother’s life as well as continue the peace activism her mother did during the Civil War. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day as the second Sunday in May. Mother’s Day is now globally recognized and celebrated on assorted dates throughout the year.

My own mom’s first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1974. I was about 8 months old and I am sure it was a great day as most first Mother’s Day are. My mom was barely an adult herself, as she was only 23 years old. My parents were highschool sweethearts that decided to marry as soon as they graduated. With that came the expectation of children and I arrived, 2 weeks late to 22 year old parents.

My mom dreamed of being a costume designer. Her talent was outstanding even as a child, but her mother, my Granny, a first time mother at the age of 16, would not allow Jacki, my mom to pursue those dreams because there was no future in that. Jacki chose career training in administration instead. Neither of those careers came to fruition, however, as Jacki became a full time mother to both myself and my brother who was born two and a half years later, three months premature, and a full time annoyance to my formerly ‘only child’ life.

My mom’s talent was not lost regardless of the fact that her career dreams were altered. I was the kid with the knitted sweaters on the first day of school. I was the kid with the handmade prom dress. I was the kid who had the mom that made all of the costumes for our school play. I was a lucky kid.

When my brother and I had grown up and moved out of the house, and at the young age of 50, my mom, in a nod to her favorite movie “Shirley Valentine”, split from my Dad, died her hair blonde, got a face lift, and went back to school. She finally got to realize her dream and finished a degree in Textile Arts and Art History.

Regardless of her new found independence, my mom always included us in her aspirations. When her mom passed away, my mom came into an inheritance. She was able to buy things she had never been able to before. She got to fulfill her lifelong dream of travelling. She furnished my brother and sister-in-laws new apartment, and paid for me to accompany her on a month long trip to Europe to see all of the famous paintings she discovered while getting her art history degree.

Mothers are the most important people in the world. Cheryl Strayed, author of best-selling novel Wild, may have said it best when she said about her mother, “she is the most essential person in my life.” When I was a child, all things lead to my mom. She was the one I woke up to, came home to, cried to, and screamed at. She was Brown Owl in my Brownie Troupe, my taxi, my enforcer, my biggest champion.

A few months back I was approached by a young girl, around the age of 10, asking me to help her find a book. The book was a bit advanced for her age, but we found it nonetheless. I watched her take it to her mom, and her mom than came up to me. She asked me my honest opinion on the maturity of the book and weather or not it was alright for her daughter to read. I was honest about the content, but was even more honest to point out that most ages were reading it regardless. As I was saying all of this the 10 year old was motioning me to say that it was ok to her mom. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take that upper hand. Her mom said no to the book. The girl was completely shattered and looked at me as if I was the most heinous person in the world. I felt like I was the most heinous person in the world because I had sold that book to younger girls than her. Out of nowhere, I heard myself say to the girl, “You’re mom knows what is best for you. You may not believe me now, but in time you will.”

For some reason that exchange has stuck with me, and I have finally figured out why. I am who I am today because of my mom. Every word I write, every sentence I speak, every moment of silence I give is because of my mom.

I currently write a feminist blog for an online publication. I majored in Women Studies in University, and I am an outspoken women’s activist. My mother had often differed with me on my political stances. Regardless of the differences, she never told me to stop. She was very proud to stand next to me during Pride Parades, Human Rights Conferences, and would clip out every newspaper article I was in.

I am very strong in my opinions and I actively seek out justice for those that do not receive it. The only reason that I am able to fight is because my mother, Jacki, gave me the tools to do so. My mother taught me to be humble, and powerful. She taught me to be loving and effective in my convictions. She taught me that money didn’t grow on trees, but I had way more than most people in this world. To me, whether you want the label or not, mother’s are the finest feminists in the world. My mother made me all of those things and I am forever grateful.

Mother’s Day 2014 was the last Mother’s Day I will be able to celebrate. Jacki took her last breath 9 days later resulting from a cruel disease that took her away far too young. It is awkward when you are faced with the impending death of a mother. You watch as the woman that pounded the pavement for you to follow triumphantly slowly fade away. You hold her hand and tell her that everything is going to be ok. Myself and my brother are going to be ok, so are your two grandkids.

Those were the most tragic days of my life, and my greatest heartbreak. But, I would never think of being anywhere else. My mother sacrificied and gave everything she had to me. She held my hand while I crossed the street. It was time for me to hold hers.

One year later and I miss my mom more than anything in the world. What I wouldn’t give to talk to her about the return of the X Files, or the impending birth of the newest Royal, two of her most favorite things. What I can tell you though is that I feel her presence everywhere I go. She is in my dreams almost every night. I talk to her like she is right next to me. Sometimes I could swear that she is.

Like a mother, she is with me all of the time. She dedicated her life to me and even after she had gone, her voice still guides me every single day.

My wish for all of you this Mother’s Day is to celebrate yourselves for the true individuals that you are. Understand that you are the single most important people in the world. Your words, your guidance, and your love are all that are needed to shape the next generation. You, as mother’s are who will change the world for the better. My mother made me who I am today, and for that, the world will become a little more beautiful.

 

Thank you Mom’s for being you.

An Ode To Mom

My Latest PinkPlaysMag Blog Post: Dear Gay White Males. Check Your Priviledge and Do Something About It.

Last night I volunteered for a really fabulous queer event here in Calgary. When you think of Calgary, you may not think ‘Canadian queer central’, and compared to cities like Vancouver and Toronto it isn’t. What it does have that I find many larger cities lack, is a sense of cohesiveness and camaraderie that seems to get lost as communities get larger, and ‘tolerance’ by our heterosexual counterparts becomes more apparent. Calgary is at a pinnacle of capaciousness as the city is becoming more mainstream, and the sense of ‘queer community’ is on the verge of liquefying.

This event I was at, Apollo Friends in Sport, Western Cup, is one of our biggest queer events all year, next to Pride, and was a genuine success. One thing struck me though, the ratio of male identified folks compared to female was immensely skewed. In fact, my friends and I joked that we were the only four women in the place. One friend refused to dance because she kept getting pushed around by  the conflux of well-dressed and well-cologned gentleman dancing to DJ Mimi Imfurst. I have been to one of these events before and from what I can recall, the ratio has been the same. I find myself wondering why I never noticed before. Or more concerning, maybe I did notice, but just accepted as fate.

Pride Parade

So what had changed, and why was it so apparent to me last night that the lack of women in that particular space? Was it because that space was not a space we were particularly welcome in?

For a short time between 2012 and 2014, I lived in Toronto. As soon as I arrived I immediately looked on the Pride Toronto website to see what opportunities were available as I had a long history with Pride Calgary and wanted to continue to be involved with Pride in any capacity. To my surprise, the Dyke March was advertised as looking for a Team Lead. What surprised me more, was the fact that Pride Toronto was in charge of the Dyke March.

The Toronto Dyke March 2014.

The Dyke March is generally not part of any Pride organization for a reason. The first Dyke March was created to increase visibility of dyke identified folks including bisexual, lesbian, and transfolks. Of course the Pride Parade attracts a large crowd representing the diversity of our community, but is this really the case? Not so much. The Pride Parade, at least in large North American cities has turned into nothing more than a corporate mecca targeting the gay man. We are inundated with visions of flaming mascots like ‘Trojan Man’ and the ever multiplying ‘TD Boys’. These corporations are baiting you for your money, and they are now the norm at each Pride Parade, queer event, and ad campaign.

Trojan Men

TD Boys

So again, I repeat, the Dyke March is generally in direct opposition to the Pride Parade because we are simply not included in the contemporary Pride Movement. So when I became part of the Toronto Dyke March, I quickly learned that the Dyke March serves a purpose that is in direct opposition to a large Pride festival.

Take Back the Dyke Toronto 2010

While my team consisted of some kick ass Dyke activists, our mandate belonged to Pride Toronto. We were financially controlled by them and their sponsors. We were told when our march began and when it ended. Every single decision we made as a team of dykes had to be okay’ed by the entity known as Pride Toronto. Pride Toronto, of course, was doing their job. They were operating as a large, corporately contained event management organization with a queer focus. These were, and still are, a group of fine people doing a fantastic job. I mean last year alone, World Pride welcomed millions of visitors. Pride Toronto knew no better. The event I attended last night knew no better.

So why are these organizations and event planners missing the mark when it comes to reaching the masses, meaning everyone else that isn’t a gay guy?

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The problem is systemic sexism. This isn’t a general queer problem. This is a world problem that unfortunately reflects in our community just as much as any other. The gay white male wins the race. The gay white male has the money and therefore has the power to control almost everything, like Pride Toronto and like the event I went to last night. There is no room for us because the gay white male does not understand that it needs to be created. Instead the lack of our presence is chalked up to catchy phrases such as “lesbians don’t go out” or “there aren’t really any trans people in the city”. Both of these statements of course are completely false, but sadly they are commonly spoken.

So, before you decide to chalk up the lack of our attendance on ‘woman issues’ or ‘trans issues’ perhaps take some things into account. We do not make as much money as you. In fact trans women of colour make way less money than we will ever make. They also face much more violence. Is your event a safe one? Does it cost more than I make in a day? We also make up the greater percentage of caregivers. Did you give us enough time to find a babysitter or did you plan your event a couple of days ago? Again, after paying a babysitter can I afford your event? Do any of your organizers identify any differently than as a gay white male? If there are a couple of these folks do you give them the space to  contribute? Do you really listen to what they have to say, and give them a safe space to do so? If you don’t have any of these people as part of your team, why not? Have you actively searched for a few good, diverse folks to balance you out?

These are just a few examples of checking yourselves out. What is apparent is that the bulk of us are not included in your events. We simply aren’t given the space to become a part of it, and at this point in the game I can imagine it would be easy to write us off because without us you are doing just fine. Well  I would like to argue that you are actually doing a horrible job at being a good queer. We as a community are doing so many great things in the fight for human rights, but we still suck at gender acceptance and equality. You as queer organizers need to step back and check your privilege. You need to reach out to those that aren’t included and do something about it. If we don’t, then we are just like everyone else.

– See more at: http://pinkplaymags.com/2015/04/dear-gay-white-males-check-your-privilege-and-do-something/#sthash.wLZsEnbF.dpuf

My Latest PinkPlaysMag Blog Post: Dear Gay White Males. Check Your Priviledge and Do Something About It.