Random thoughts

legacies

The idea that after all our long life lived, all that we’ve seen and done, felt and heard, the relationships we have formed, broken, and people we’ve loved, it all means nothing in the end.
The truth is, unless you bring something to the table, something that will earn you notoriety, in two generations, if that, you will be forgotten. Your children and their children will remember you. After that, there’s nothing. No one will remember the food you made, the jokes you told, the way your eyes lit up when you smiled. No one will remember how you smelled, no one will remember the sound of your laughter. No one past your grandchildren will remember your hugs.

The adventures you’ve experienced, the stories you lived, the things you created, the dreams you followed, it all means nothing in the end. No one will remember your memories for you. No one will retell them and keep you alive. For that is how we live on. Our legacies are our stories. They live on in our friends and family. When they’re no longer told, we’re no longer alive.
You will eventually be insignificant so you must make your now amazing.
In the telling of their stories, we do so with love, humour, honour. When they pass and we lose them, we stop telling their stories so that we can keep those memories close to our hearts. Like little gifts. We think that if we keep them inside that they’ll be more precious and special. That they will be more meaningful to us. It’s not true, though. They will only fade that way. They will fade with us, along with our memories and stories that other people tell.

Your people, your ancestors, your history. It matters where you come from. WHO you’ve come from. By saying it doesn’t matter you’re saying that someone’s life was insignificant. No one’s life is insignificant. They, and their legacies, are just far away from you.

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memory and memories

Time is a thief. I have memories of my childhood that are beautiful and sweet but minute details have failed me. How a lamp looked. How tall someone was. What their teeth looked like when they smiled. Details that seem unimportant are lost to me.
Feelings we remember. We’ll never forget how something or someone made us feel. And we’ll never forget what it feels now to look back on a memory, as we remember it, as we experienced it, and as we experience it now.

Smells can instantaneously bring back to us our forgotten memories. The sandbox in our kindergarten class. The smell of my Nana’s perfume. The smell of my grandparents property in the springtime. I remember these things and suddenly feel in awe of how amazing the universe is.

But I feel cheated when I cannot remember, without assistance, the dimple in someone’s smile. When I can’t recall what my favourite lamp looked like. What hung on the walls above a couch. What the upholstery looked like on a favourite chair. It feels as if my brain and memory are cheating me out of a piece of my heart. These memories are insignificant in the grand scheme of things yet these minute details are the pieces of a larger puzzle. To lose those means to lose a piece of magic from my life.
It’s tragic that you can forget something that was so beloved for so many years. It’s a reminder of how easily we forget, and how much we take for granted: memory and memories.

The Long Game

We don’t know the long term effects of any of our new technology. Just as the inventors of penicillin didn’t originally know the long term effects. Or the telephone. Or the bomb. Or the gun. Hell, typewriters were probably frowned upon for taking away from the handwritten letter when in actual fact it made business easier, more efficient. 
We think we’re seeing the demise of humanity because we’re comparing to the past. It’s the only vantage point we have and we’re using it for “the end is nigh” campaigns. We think the world is worse off because we’re comparing it to the knowledge we have of the past and glorifying how easy, simpler, and better things were. But the truth is, there were numerous reasons to think a skirt above the ankles would bring about the ruin of society. It didn’t. Nor did women voting. Or emancipation. Or Elvis Presley’s hips. 
We have to play the long game, which is what humans are good at. As long as we keep our humanity and compassion in the process then we will survive, just as we’ve always done. 

My Tits Are Not Your Visual Amusement Park

Yesterday, two things happened. Actually three, but two of the things have been lumped into one incident.

1. I had, on two separate occasions, men obnoxiously stare at my tits (at the gym and then the moaner on the subway).
2. Of the men I’ve told this to, almost all of them asked what the issue is.

Before I get started I will say this – I don’t expect men to understand why this is such a problem for women. I just hope you’ll respect the women around you. Even if they’re sluts. Even if they’re hookers. Even if they’re stay at home moms. 9 to 5 women. Unemployed women. Doctor women. Nurse women. Lawyer women. All I ask is that you just. respect. women.

*

The issue is that my bags of fat are not here for your own amusement. Yes, they’re pretty, and they’re pretty big, but when I go to the gym I am not there to add to your spank bank, or whatever the reason is that you have for staring at my tits in such an obvious and disgusting way.
To make matters worse, I was inches away from a man on the subway who was moaning every time he looked at my tits and another woman’s legs. How do I know this man is not unstable? I don’t. I told him to fuck off and moved two cars away from him. He then followed me, moaned a bit more and got off (no pun intended) at Bloor station, all the while looking at me with a demented smile on his face.

While telling a female coworker (not my direct coworker), her male coworker chimed in and asked what the big deal is, he does it all the time. Then he proceeded to tell me how when he went to the clubs he would place his beer bottle just so and then that way he could grab women’s boobs in the nightclub.
He didn’t particularly like it when I pointed out that he was sexually assaulting women and said it wasn’t like that. I again pointed out, and added, that sexual assault could result in jail time. Again, he assured me, with a smile on his face, that it wasn’t like that.

PLEASE READ THESE WORDS:
I am NOT talking about just checking out a girl’s body. I am not talking about glancing while her back is turned so you can check out her ass, or checking out her boobs while she’s got her head turned.
I am talking about craning your neck while trying to walk on the treadmill, to the point that you have to hang on to prevent you from falling, just because you want to see how my boobs look while I’m running. If you think it’s okay to do that then you, my friend, are a piece of shit for a human being and I hope you get stuck in a small room with a very big and scary person who thinks you should be their sexual bitch.

Men. I have to ask, is this behaviour okay with you? Do you not know what sexual harassment is? Do you not think that just because I have tits that I don’t hate every unwanted set of eyes looking at them?? If this were your daughter, would you stare at her tits the way you stare at mine? Would you be okay with men staring at her tits the way you stare at mine? Yes, there’s a huge difference between your daughter and my chest, but it comes down to respect. Treat me how you would treat your daughter.

But, because some men don’t get it, here’s what the problem is:
It’s not that you’re looking at my chest. Everyone looks at everyone else. That’s just human nature. Admire beautiful things.

The problem is that I shouldn’t be made to feel so uncomfortable, so disgusting in my own body, so disgusted BY my body, just because, just for being, a woman.
You see, every time a man disgustingly ogles a woman’s chest, or ass, or whistles at her just for walking down the street, we feel gross in our own bodies. Our bodies are bringing us shame. And no, you don’t see it like that because you are not me. You are not the woman who was raped, or the girl who sexually molested. You don’t understand. All you see is that you see a pretty girl, or a girl with a great rack, and you think about what they look like undressed. Or whatever your reasons are for looking at my chest for 30 seconds.

You see, it’s a power thing. It’s a physical thing. For the same reason that many men aren’t okay being hit on by a man: Because someone who is stronger than you could actually hurt you and make you do things that you do not want to do. Because you have.no.control.
Rape is a very real thing for women. And it has absolutely nothing to do with what we’re wearing and everything to do with the asshole behind the prick. It has everything to do with control and taking away from the woman, disrespecting the woman, taking away her power over her own body.

You may not have any respect for women because somewhere along the way, some woman treated you with such contempt that you now hate all women. Chances are it was your Mommy or the first woman you had sex with, and she made fun of your premature ejaculation. God only knows what your issue is. But I am done. I am done giving you the satisfaction of knowing you make me uncomfortable and I will now start calling you out every time you check out my tits in a disrespectful and disgusting manner. I will call you out publicly and I will publicly shame you. Why? Because if you’re going to try and take from me the power I have over my own body, then I will take it right back.

Dear Women

It occurred to me earlier just how valuable female empowerment is. And no, I don’t mean the kind that bashes men. I disagree with the bashing of anyone, especially those I love and live with.

No, I mean the kind of empowerment that lifts women up and helps them to see the value in themselves, as well as those around them.

I was having a conversation with a friend earlier and we spoke about how hard it is to parent in today’s society. In a world where children, tweens and teens, young adults and even adults alike are bombarded with negative thinking from all angles. To raise a child in a society that says a size 6 for a tall woman is fat. Where the words “fat shaming” even exist. Where judging someone based on their outward appearance alone is completely acceptable. And where racism and prejudice, sexism and agism, religious persecution even exist at all.

To have my friend tell me, despite my 35 years, grey hair and extra 60 pounds since she last saw me, that I am beautiful and that I am doing a great job, is empowering. To have her say to me, “I understand where you’re coming from” when I talk about how in my youth I thought, at that size 6, that I was fat. I subscribed to the media’s message of “thin is in”. I subscribed to the shamers. The haters. But now, in my 35th year, I know and feel, truly, that it is not the outside that matters but the in. That’s not to say that we don’t feel the pressures to surrender to the scrutiny the media* would have us believe is real beauty. Even Dove, with its real beauty campaign, is targeted at a certain demographic. That being a size 8. I’d love to see them using women of ALL sizes, not just thin ones.

When my husband tells me that I am beautiful, I believe him. And, to his discredit, I feel that maybe sometimes he says that when it isn’t the truth. I know that I have gained, in the 8 years we’ve been together, 20 – 30 pounds. Physically, I am not the woman he fell in love with. And there’s a certain amount of guilt that goes with that. I feel badly for him that his wife is the size she is.

But to have a woman tell me, “It’s okay. You’re doing a great job. You look fantastic.” It makes me realize that the words my husband tells me are true. Because guess what? Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love was right. He doesn’t leave the room when I take my clothes off. He isn’t repulsed. Though I may feel, wrongly, that he should be. He isn’t and he loves me still, is attracted to me still, as I am to him.
Despite the negative thoughts I feed myself with.

Those thoughts aren’t nourishing for the body, soul, and mind.

It is time, ladies, that you realize the media hates you and wants you to hate yourself.

When you look in the mirror today, smile at yourself. Flirt with yourself. Ask yourself, “How YOU doin’??” If someone holds the door for you, say thank you. If someone offers to help you with your bags or the stroller, say thank you and accept the help graciously. Just because you CAN do it yourself, doesn’t mean you should have to.

And then, in turn, offer those same kindnesses to strangers. Because what better way to go through life than to love?

The power is not in the fact that you CAN, but the KNOWLEDGE that you can. Flaunting your power merely lowers your own worth.

* by media I mean magazines that photoshop their photos and tell us how to get thin in 25 days and how to fit into that summer dress. The shame should not be on women for their size but for the magazines who would have us believe we are less than we are just because we don’t fit into their mold.

isn’t that heartwarming?

After I hit publish on one of my posts, a page came up that said:

“This is your 4th post. Marvelous! This post has 186 words.”

I love a site that encourages you by telling you it’s marvelous what you’ve just done and then counts all the words in your oh-so-cool blog, when really it’s reminding you that you still haven’t published your book.

Fuck off, wordpress. I KNOW I haven’t finished my book. Thank you.

Enter title here…unless you can’t come up with one…

I used to have two previous wordpress blogs. I deleted them both and decided to start fresh, much like a new scribbler and pencil for school. There’s nothing better than sharpening a new pencil and writing on the first page of a scribbler. (that’s PEI speak, by the way. A scribbler is a notebook or a Hilroy)

Rather than just delete the posts in both wordpress blogs, I decided to just wholly delete them. However, coming up with a title that hasn’t been used before? It’s frickin difficult!!

I came up with Hidden Valleys after about 20 minutes of thinking, typing, deleting and thinking some more of names that I could use. I really thought I was going insane. I began typing in the silliest titles I could think of. Nope, they’re all taken.

Finally, after swearing that my sanity was on the verge of running away, I decided I needed something serene. Calm. Zen. Peaceful.

Hidden Valleys-
finding my sanity in an insane world

Because let’s face it. This world is definitely insane.

Hmm….I pressed publish but it didn’t go through…well, better late than never.