Author: nanilani05

I write about things in various places, and do things with other things.

But what are you

Race was not something I was taught to see. I was not taught to see a persons skin colour but their heart, in front of me. Their worth. Their value. Those could not be found in how much pigment their skin held. Those could not be found in the weight or their height, the size of their bank account or house, where they went to school or where they worked. 

My parents believed in a persons heart and soul. My brother and I were told to not judge based on skin or hair, eyes or mouth. The God they pray to. The partner they lay with. We were taught the most basic of religious preaching. To love. To love your neighbour. Even if he has AIDS. Even if she’s gay. Even if they’re black chinese muslim first nations. 

When I moved to Toronto I was shocked by the number of times I was asked, but what ARE you? What the fuck does that even mean? I’m a woman. Are you blind? No, what are you? 

What are you? 

What are you so I can judge you and classify you and put you in a labelled box because I can’t live in a multicultural international metropolis without putting every person I meet into an ethnic category. I need ethnic order and you need a label so I can understand where you stand on the hierarchy that exists only in my mind. 

And I responded with Human and they didn’t know how to process it. They didn’t understand when I responded, again to their What are you? with Canadian. They didn’t understand why I didn’t live in a white neighbourhood with all the other whites. They didn’t understand why I refused to put myself into their classification, why I refused to accept their ready made labels to stick on my forehead: straight, woman, white – irish, scottish, First Nations.

They couldn’t understand why I didn’t step into their ethnic little box and why I didn’t answer their question. They didn’t understand why I refused to let them label me.  

Because I didn’t see their imaginary labels.

(Originally written in 2015)

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Counterbalanced 

They say that everything takes time. Trauma takes time. You just need time. It wasn’t something that I could’ve believed then, though. Hell, I still don’t. Some things there just isn’t enough time for. 

In the Aftermath, friends who’d suffered trauma said I just needed time and I didn’t believe them. And I want to ask them, when is enough time enough? How does the soul repair itself when it’s been through hell? And not just a one off moment of trauma but a lifetime of heavy, soul weary, trauma? When does the breath of ones being finally free itself from the binds of hell?

No one has an answer. Those well meaning friends don’t have an answer. The psychiatrist I was sent to could only tell me to read books but the answer I wanted, the answer I still seek, cannot be found any text – it never heals. 

We enter into this world with a soul, one we believe is all shiny and new, freshly polished. Depending on what religion you follow, however, that soul is as old as time or new as the days sunrise. 
What baggage has each soul carried with it from previous lives? What do we do to ourselves? What do we continue to put ourselves through? No soul is untarnished and with each passing day, with every little bruise, our souls become stained. With love? Trauma? Pain? Is it weary? Is it hopeful for a new life? A new day? 

I have been thinking of you a lot lately. I don’t know if it’s because this is 5 years, if this is date and day, or if I just feel your strong presence because our world is in turmoil and I seek something comfortable that I know. But I feel you and think of you daily. Repeatedly. And then, when I’m alone in a room and doing something, I see something moving out of the corner of my eye and I look and there’s nothing there. Is it you? Someone else I’ve picked up? I spent a childhood with dead people. I had dreams of people before they died. Am I a conduit? If only that were the case. I’d speak with my grandparents again. 

I don’t understand your pain but I understand my own. The anger. The absolute rage that I have because I was molested and people would deny that truth. For their own protection? Self preservation? I don’t know. I only know that I see you, your face. I see your pain, your death. I see your rage turned inward and onto yourself. 

You beautiful girl. How I wish I could ease your pain. 

You are with me every day. We are bound together. The girl who lived and the girl who died. 

I sometimes wonder if I don’t purposely hold on to you, your death, the gore. Like a security blanket, it’s something I can cling to for safety. A bit of an oxy moron to those who’ve never suffered but it’s a safe pain. Something you know and understand. 

I worry that I’m keeping you with me on purpose. And then for five minutes I’ll forget about you. And for five minutes I’m free. I can breathe. I don’t feel a weight tugging at me, a niggling reminder of my own impending death, my own expiry date. I am a helium balloon and you are a weight. We are counterbalanced. 

I used to worry that talking about you and what happened, that people would see it as attention seeking. I would go out of my way to not talk about what happened, to not even mention it. Again, how terrible that I worried more about the comfort and opinions of others instead of myself.  

First Nations believe that as long as someone tells the story, nothing is ever dead. And so I will tell my story. Maybe I won’t shout it from the rooftops (an unlikely pun) but a quiet whisper from my heart instead. 

Let’s Talk

Edited to include a picture taken of me, a week after the suicide. I’d ot slept more than 28 hours the whole week. 
I don’t support the Bell Let’s Talk day because Bell doesn’t give two stuffs about the mental health of their employees. So they can shove this day up their rears. They’re hypocritical jerk muffins who are only in this for the PR. 

Having said that, I do think everyone should take the opportunity to discuss mental health, be it a personal story of their own, or a story about someone they know/love. 

I have had my own struggle with mental health. The causes have been varied but the one everyone knows because I’ve been somewhat vocal about it is – I witnessed a suicide. 
The woman who took her life was 30, beautiful, a successful lawyer at one of the best law firms in the country (basing this on how often their lawyers are nominated as top lawyer of something or other). She grew up in an affluent family, travelled, went to the best schools. On the surface she had everything going for her. Beneath the surface, however, she was living a personal hell that she probably kept secret from everyone she knew. 

Like many women, myself included, she was molested as a child. For many, there is a disconnect and you brush it under the carpet and hope you get over it. You know what’s happened and just hope to slough it off like dead skin, but you have not acknowledged it. The pain exists in a sort of limbo. It slowly poisons you and you make subconscious decisions based on that poison, without even realizing it. 

When you do wake up, when you do fully and consciously face the abuse you suffered, it makes or breaks you mentally. You either become stronger or the pain wears you down. 

Sadly, the young, intelligent, beautiful woman could no longer cope. And so she attempted to take her life. Unsuccessful, she checked herself out of the hospital, came to her workplace on the 27th floor, got to the roof through an access window, and jumped. 

Her pain ended with her life, yes, but that only started the pain for other people. Her family. Her friends. Her coworkers, one of whom ended up taking three years off work because of her own breakdown. And then me. The unfortunate witness to her death. 

In the movies it is portrayed as a slow moving and beautiful fall. The wind whipping her hair. Her fingers floating on the wind as you would out the window of a moving car. Perhaps a tear falling down her cheek. Some flighty dramatization of what we wish suicide by jumping looked like.  
The movies are bullshit. Death is ugly and suicide is painful, for everyone. 

For the briefest of seconds there is silence, then the most deafening noise, and then the quietest silence again as your brain, soul, eyes, and ears try to put together all that you have just witnessed and heard:
A body hitting the earth. 
That someone chose to place themselves there is beyond comprehension and yet, you saw it happen. You know what you’ve just seen is true yet your mind is lagging, unable to compute. 

Death by suicide is ugly. It is gut wrenching but not vomit inducing. There is an immediate pain inside you, location unknown, that exists, still to this day. That pain would be PTSD. 
In total I took five and a half days off work, what amounted to two weeks. I forced myself back to work because I was afraid of what people would say about me. I was afraid that people would think I was scamming or milking the time off. 
I was dying inside, trying to piece together the broken pieces of my soul. But I worried about them and what they would say about me. How insulting. That I spent even an iota of time on their opinions instead of my own health is insulting. But indicative of where we are as a people when it comes to illness, time off, mental health, and trauma. 

We take for granted how fragile our minds are. In one split second I went from a confident, take no shit person to someone who was afraid of the dark and tall buildings. 

The anniversary of her death is this Saturday. We have come full circle and on the 5th anniversary, the date of her death coincides with the day of the week on which she died. This is not lost on me. At the minute of her death I will be where I was then. I will try not to think of the pain I suffered, an impossibility, clearly, but I will try to think of her family instead. Because while I witnessed it as a bystander, some poor shmuck in the wrong place and time, they must live with the guilt they place on themselves – of not seeking treatment, not helping her, not calling her enough. They live with self induced torment. 

We tell ourselves and our friends, I’m here for you. I love you. Whenever you need me, just call. The fact is, though, we get busy and those who suffer with mental health issues, they suffer alone because they don’t want to burden anyone. 

We need to be a better society and take better care of our people. An illness of the heart is just as worthy of medical attention as an illness of the mind. People still look at mental health as either a joke or something to be feared. A man or woman living with schizophrenia cannot divulge their mental illness to a potential employer, are in fact terrified of them finding out, for fear of not being hired. Meanwhile, a heart patient thinks little of it. 

We need to talk. We need to normalize. Accept. Understand. We need to open our damn hearts and love. 

Don’t isolate someone who is suffering because you don’t know what to say, think it’s an awkward conversation, or it would make you uncomfortable. The best thing that you can do is shake their hand or hug them and offer them support with a mere few words. Because for their entire lives they have felt alone and isolation will only make that worse. 

Unresolved 

When you witness a suicide, you’re changed forever. You’re altered. It’s almost as if your DNA has been changed because things are no longer the same. The way you think, the way you feel, the way you approach life. The things people say. What once meant nothing to you now has more meaning than breath itself. Because sometimes you are left breathless by the tiniest of happenstances. 

I navigate around tall buildings and size them up. Where is the roof? Where would a body land should someone decide to kill themselves? I approach my own and plod forward, pushing myself to walk where she died. At times I am sleep deprived, still afraid of silence, still waking up to non-existent people standing over my bed. I still feel her around me, no longer a pest but a guide. It is not actually her that I feel but the shadow of her, burned into my soul. She is with me, always. 

Tonight, so close to her anniversary, a contractor needed access to the very roof she used to end her pain. I asked one of her (former) coworkers where the roof access was and advised there’d be contractors accessing the roof. 

I don’t know if they’re as hyper aware of people being on the roof since she died but I know I would be were I them. 

But then the contractor jokingly said to the coworker that when they were done they’d jump off the side of the building. 

Something changes inside you when someone you know kills themselves. You are forever altered. And the look on her coworkers face was evidence of that. He is forever altered. I bit my tongue and didn’t tell the contractor off because how was he to know? How could he? You don’t know what another person has seen or felt and we cannot traipse around the world, for all our given years, on egg shells. Life is meant to be lived, enjoyed, loved. A simple comment that has such intense meaning for us but none to him. It shouldn’t be held against him. 
And yet, it affected me still. More than I wish it could. And so I cried, losing my appetite as my tears fell into my pasta, I cried because I so wish his comment and her death could wash over and away from me. There is no 12 step program to death and grief. There’s no timetable of expectancy when it comes to loss and suicide. It just exists within you. Your DNA. Your fibers. It’s as much a part of you as your freckles and scars. 

Tonight, after I took that first step in overcoming my fear of heights, I sat down for my lunch break and cried. When I could breathe again, when I let it wash over me, I checked my email. There was a message from a complete stranger who had read my writing – not even the good writing that has been hidden from view – saying that my writing was a gift. How could you have picked today, of all days, to contact me?, when I chose today, of all days, to take that step out there?

I am forever altered, yes, but on this day my heart is full. 

Knits, I’ve made a few…

I have been making more of an effort to get photos of knits I’ve completed and posting them, rather, scheduling them to my fb page. Thus far I’ve been good. A picture/item a day, which I try to also simultaneously share on Instagram, and I’m a few weeks scheduled in advance, with more knits on the way, both creation wise and photo wide. I’ve also reshot (finally!) some items that were in the shop (those bloody reds!!). So it’s only fitting that I start getting back to posting knits here, too. I believe it’s been several years since I’ve posted knits here so let me catch the blog up to speed on the ones already posted. 

First up is a baby hat in a thick and soft dusty rose yarn. I used the lace ending pattern for a baby sweater (posted later) and just went with that for an alternating pattern. I was winging it but it turned out pretty well, I think. 

Next is a scarf made with a hand dyed tencel yarn from Yarntopia Treasures from New Mexico. Her yarns are to die for! This scarf has a pivot edging on both sides and the colours are gorgeous. Oranges, greens, and yellows. 

Just a standard grey scarf but I love how thick and cuddly it feels on the neck. And it goes with everything. Grey is so classic. 

Another hand dyed yarn from Yarntopia Treasures. These colours are just stunning. Greens, blues, and purples. I believe this is bamboo tencel mix. 

A newborn unisex baby sweater with one wooden button with a fern leaf burned onto it. The button comes from Brickbubble and her buttons are so adorable. 

This yarn was sent to me from my friend Kare at Intellexual Design Custom Footwear & Accessories. It’s a black cotton yarn but there’s this amazing metallic thread woven into the yarn and it changes colour. 

The colour of the metallic strand is actually reminiscent of the rainbow in a soap bubble. Green/pink/purple. 

Here’s that baby sweater I was telling you about. So this can be a matching set with the baby hat but that wasn’t my intention when I knit them. This sweater has more Bruckbubble buttons…

Bruckbubble buttons with little baby chicks burned onto them. Aren’t they adorable??

My friend Aimee at The Little Bird Designs needed some yoga socks in hot pink! I was happy to oblige. I knit them in a ribbed stitch because a little birdie (heh) told me she has thin feet. Rubbed stitch is better at hugging you so if you need to make it a better fit, go with the rubbed. 

These mittens were part of an idea that didn’t work out but I’m not done trying to the idea. The pattern is actually just a repeat pattern used in a baby sweater but I thought it was pretty for these Snow White mittens. This is the Downton Abbey Lady Mary yarn. It’s got a strand of metallic silver woven through it but it’s extremely hard to capture that in a photo. 

Here’s that same patter but in a purple hat. This yarn is so soft that it would be perfect as a chemo cap. 

I had just finished knitting a hat with this vibrant yarn but only had the one skein. I hate to waste yarn so I turned the remainder into a coffee cozy. I used to make these all the time (I once made 35 for a group of friends in Europe) and love using a yarn that changes colour. 

This scarf was already in the shop but had to be reshot. Red is the most difficult colour to shoot. I love these scarves and am going through my UFO (unfinished objects) bags and found quite a few of them. Apparently I didn’t feel like weaving in the ends of a number of scarves. (Insert eye roll)


I knit this rainbow baby blanket for a lady who is having a rainbow baby. I’d never heard the term until a few years ago. A rainbow baby is a baby born after the loss of a baby. Very sweet and I’m honoured she’s asked me to make it for her. 

More hand dyed bamboo yarn. This baby sweater, also with wooden Brickbubble buttons, also using that repeat pattern we saw in the mittens and hat, is for a dear friends daughter. I’m reading a pair of arm warmers and a sweater for a custom made leather belt. Check out @leoninestudios on Instagram or http://www.leoninestudios.com – she just came back from working at the Invictus Games!

I was asked by a customer if non-slip slippers for tots was possible so I made my standard newborn to 3 months booties, and then a pair of booties for a 6-18 month old. So sweet!

I took a barre Pilates class and these were for the instructor. Her favourite colour is orange (and her class is hella hard! Pilates by Bernadette in Pickering). 

This past winter I made so many Star Wars hats it was pretty crazy. The best part was customizing the saying. 


Here are the arm warmers I made for my friend in exchange for the leather belt. 


And today these were scheduled. This blue is just gorgeous! Tardis blue fingerless gloves for all the whovians. 

Facebook Scam Pages

Ok, folks. It’s time for a lesson in how to easily spot a Facebook scam page.

If you’re a small business then chances are you have a page on Facebook. If you haven’t yet, you will eventually be hit with a scam page trying to convince you that you’ve violated Facebook’s terms or policies. You will then be given a link, asked to click on the link, and threatened with an account block if you don’t click said link.

Normally I wouldn’t care about these pages but I see a shocking number of people who are falling prey to these scam pages and I find it baffling. A great number of people who’ve spent a large amount of years on the internet and they don’t know how to spot the signs. Since I’m a small business owner, I feel it’s my duty to help a brother/sister out by showing them how to easily spot the signs of a scam page.

First on the list is one I personally received two days ago. I was quite excited to finally get mine because I’ve watched everyone else get these scam pages so this is me, finally making it in the Facebook pages world!

The most important thing you need to notice is that the people who are sharing your posts are just pages. Pages JUST. LIKE. YOURS. You honestly think Facebook would tell you that you’ve violated their terms and services by sharing said violation for all the world to see? Come on, guys. That’s like your doctor telling the world about that thing he found.

So. Take a look at this screen shot and really look at it. This isn’t your page so you don’t need to panic. Take your time and go through it, word by word, line by line.
privacy

Second. It’s important to pay attention to the font of the page name. Does Privacy Policy’s page name not look weird to you? Of course it does. That’s because they’re not using normal letters in their title. It’s the ‘i’ that’s weird but it’s so subtle that if grammar/punctuation/spelling/English isn’t your strong suit, you’ll miss it.
Third. Next in Privacy Policy’s post is their blatant inability to figure out what words Should be Capitalized and Which Ones Shouldn’t.
Come on. The name of a person (Lindsay) or a place (Naples) gets capitalized, or an organization (Facebook, MySpace, iTunes). Not Page or Disabled. You can’t capitalize random words all willy nilly.
Third point a. Lack of English skills. Read this sentence out loud for me, word for word: “It is caused someone has reported you that there were irregularities of content, for violating terms of service.”
THERE ARE WORDS MISSING AND OTHERS MISSPELLED. It SHOULD read, “It is because someone has reported your post” or “Someone has reported your post as spam” etc. etc..
Third point b. Not really an issue in this post but punctuation. In a post about your violation, Facebook is not going to use an exclamation mark. They’re a business. That’s not to say that Facebook hasn’t had obvious typos, because they have and I’ve caught them. That’s just human error. But in scammy pages like this, improper punctuation, grammar, translation from (random language) to English, and spelling are your tell-tale signs that they may not be as legit as they would like you to believe.

Fourth. Count how many times the word “confirm” or “re-confirm” shows up in this picture. Go ahead, I’ll wait. (It’s 6.)
The people who write these posts are scaring you into thinking that if you do not confirm your page, that your account will be blocked or disabled. That’s why the second line is, “Your Page will be Disabled!” Note the use of the exclamation mark, as well as Page and Disabled being capitalized for emphasis, and then there’s 6 ‘confirm’s telling you to confirm your page. If there are more confirms and disabled/blocked account, then you’re more likely to be psychologically bullied into thinking you need to confirm your page. You do not.

Fifth is a scammy link that does not start with the words: http://www.facebook.com/
All Facebook subpages begin with http://www.facebook.com/ followed by whatever area you’re looking to navigate to next. Here are some examples:
https://www.facebook.com/about/basics/
https://www.facebook.com/help
https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy&privacy_source=privacy_lite
Note the fact that every link begins with Facebook.com but there’s also that https thing. Hmm. Haven’t seen that before? You have and you should know what it is. Whenever you go shopping, if you do not see https then you shut that shit down and shop elsewhere. https is Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is, basically, security that protects the information that’s being sent.
So now you see that the link that’s included with this post? Scam.

Sixth. If you’ve honestly violated Facebook’s terms and conditions in ANY way, they would investigate the claim; notify you in a post, one that only YOU can see, that they received a report from an anonymous user; what the report claims (nudity, scam, abuse, etc.); they’ve investigated said claim; and then what their outcome is. But that’s all done in a manner that only you can see. No one else should be able to see that and, if you click on Privacy Policy’s page, or any scamming page like it, you’ll see the violations of other people.

Scroll through the photos I’ve included and you’ll see different scammy page names but the message is all the same. Some sort of violation, please click the link, we’ll steal your info.

They’re asking you to click on the link and I assume re-enter all your Facebook, such as login email as well as your password. If you HAVE fallen prey and have clicked said link, CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD NOW. You can find that in your Security Settings under General, or here:
https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=account

You’re going to log yourself out of all devices. Facebook will ask you if you want to do that and you will say yes. Next you want to take yourself through a thorough Privacy Basics and what that will do is go through and check any apps you have added, any suspicious activity, and then you have the chance to remove them.
The next step is going through your Activity Log. You can find that on your profile page. Go through that and see if there’s anything you’ve posted, anything you’ve commented, anything you’ve liked that YOU haven’t done. Remove it.

Now, the obvious last step is if you have received one of these notifications, go to the actual page and report it as harassment or abuse, or as a spam/scam page. In the right hand corner you’ll see three dots. You click that and that’s where you’ll find the Report option.

Now that I’ve armed you with information, please either share this post with your biz friends, or share the information found therein.

scam

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A short fable about a pebble 

once upon a time there was a flat little pebble sitting by the seashore, all by himself. He was very envious of the seashells that got picked up by the beach goers. They oohed and ahhed over how pretty the seashells were and the people took them home. Their happiness over the shells’ beauty made him envious and sad, for he was but a flat rock.

One day, a bunch of people started picking up all the flat pebbles. The pebble was very happy because finally he made someone happy. Finally, someone wanted him. The people began throwing the flat pebbles into the sea, skipping them along the water and they all sank to the bottom of the sea.

The pebble then spent ten thousand years waiting for the tide to push him back onto the beach.

Moral of the story: shut up and enjoy the view.
(Hubby told me to tell him a bedtime story. This is what I came up with)

Edit – Thanks to Chris Lindsay for the suggestion on changing “jealousy” to “envious”. Check out his blog for a collection of beautiful essays and short stories.

https://christopherjohnlindsay.wordpress.com/