A fresh start…

The winter months are the hardest ones for me and they have been since I was a teenager. Back then I didn’t know much about depression, all I knew was that winter sucked. I dreamt of having a small garden of grass (the green lawn variety) that I could simply smell and rub my hands across, something tangible to remind me of spring. And now I have my room to remind me of summer, with it’s teal walls, big windows, and lots of greenery.

I have depression and anxiety all year round but winter means colder, shorter days with less time for walking. Plus the cold is a good incentive to stay home. And then there’s the carb cravings. I’ve gained thirteen pounds this winter and I’m pretty sure I’m having a brownie baby. One studded with chocolate chips.

Right now it’s still blah, all greys and brown. It’s still chilly too and the forecast for this week is mostly rain. It’s not the first of the month or even the start of the week. It’s got nothing going for it to be a fresh start but it is, simply because I feel like starting again now.

I’m not going to track my food intake. I tend to get obsessed over what I’m eating and anxious that I’m eating too much or not enough. Instead I’m simply going to use my Fitbit to track my steps. I got my 10 thousand steps in yesterday and, depending on how hard it’s raining, will get them in again tomorrow.

I am determined to be healthier and feel healthy. This summer I’m going to be back in my favourite t-shirts. This summer is going to be amazing!

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When the past hits your heart…

Colin saw the Chiquita banana sticker on my bananas this morning and gave me a lecture on the evils of banana corporations and how they destroyed Guatemala with the help of the US government back in the 1950’s. It wasn’t exactly the conversation I’d expected but he has eclectic tastes and a love of politics so I wasn’t too surprised. That being said, all I’d really planned on doing was making banana bread.

I got the banana bread in the oven, chatted with my sister for a bit, then got ready to wait for Kait to come over for a visit. The wait segued into a browse on Facebook and a trip through memory lane via the “On This Day” feature. One of the first things that popped up was this…

Lenny

It was a few years old (obviously) which means I made friends with him seven years ago today. I don’t know what I expected to feel when this surprise post popped up. Grief? Anger? Disappointment? What I didn’t expect to feel was nothing more than a vague sense of sadness.

It’s been just under two years since he blocked me. At the time I was devastated. We talked all the time, stopping only for sleep and work. I’d message him on my way to work, during both my breaks, then on my way home again… only to start up again after dinner and right through to bedtime. He was the first person I talked to in the morning and the last at night. He was my love and I was ready to pack up my whole life, leave my family and friends, and move halfway across the world to be with him.

I was actively suicidal when he blocked me and I couldn’t grasp the thought that the block might be forever. I hadn’t done anything to him, surely he’d calm down in a few weeks… maybe a month or two. But the days continued, each one without him. It almost physically hurt at first because I was coping with losing him on top of gaining a couple of serious mental illnesses. My entire life had flipped over and the person I talked to the most was gone.

I slowly started rebuilding myself, piece by piece. I began spending more time with family, made amends with my daughter, and coaxed Colin to try new things. I reached out for help and gained three groups to attend each week and a care team that checks in on me every two weeks. I have a friend in the building next to me and go to karaoke with her and her husband about once a month, among other visits. My life has almost completely changed from what it was before.

I don’t know what I’d do if Lenny unblocked me at this point. I wouldn’t be mean or rude by any means. Goodness knows he has his own issues to work through. But it certainly wouldn’t be the same. I can’t imagine devoting almost my whole life and all my attention to one person anymore. It’s a moot point since I can’t imagine Lenny unblocking me now. And, for the first time in several years, I’m okay with that.

Colin’s #metoo…

At first the man seemed innocuous.

“Hey! I like your red shoes!” he called from across the aisle, quiet enough that Colin didn’t even hear.

“Colin?” I asked and he turned. “The man says he likes your shoes.”

“Thank you,” Colin said dutifully.

“I like your green coat,” the man continued. “It’s very bright”. Colin simply nodded. “And your hair,” he added. At that point Colin put in his earbuds.

“I really like your shoes,” the man continued then repeated it again as Colin stayed silent. I wondered when he was going to get the hint that Colin did not want to talk.

“He’s wearing headphones, he can’t hear you,” I pointed out, hoping that would be the end. It wasn’t.

“He can hear me just fine,” the man said with a chuckle. “See?” he added as Colin took out the buds.

The bus stopped. I hoped the man was leaving but it was just a woman getting on. She took a seat nearby.

“Are they Converse?” he asked once the bus started again.

“No,” I replied. Colin stayed silent.

“They look like really bouncy shoes. I bet you’re bouncy too.”

With that he got up and walked across the aisle, rubbing Colin’s arm before sitting down beside him. The lady looked at them and moved farther down the bus.

“I really like your hair,” he said softly as he stroked Colin’s hair. Colin looked as stunned as I felt.

“I think you’re so pretty.”

His hand moved to Colin’s arm again and the stroking continued.

Colin snapped, “Stop that! I don’t like that!” while I said, “Hey! Leave my son alone.”

“I want you to go back to your own seat,” Colin said forcefully. The man laughed.

“No,” he said simply. It was clear Colin had no idea what to do.

I was sitting in a section with only three seats so I moved to the middle seat.

“Colin, come sit beside me,” I said. He stood up and came over immediately.

“Thanks,” he whispered once he was settled.

The harassment didn’t end there. The man had been on the phone that whole time, pretty much ignoring whoever was on the other side. Now he gave them his full attention, detailing how gorgeous Colin was while flipping between referring to him as male and female.

“There’s two pretty girls,” the man continued. “The other one has blue hair and it looks really good on her. Matches her big blue eyes.”

At least we were almost to our stop. I tried to ignore the man but he was speaking loud enough for us to hear his every word. I knew it was on purpose.

“Can you skip going to Marshalls?” Colin asked earnestly, studiously looking everywhere except at the man seated across from us.

The plan was for me to take a peek at Marshalls and see if there was something there for Colin’s birthday in June while he bought snacks at Dollar Tree.

“Why don’t you wander around Marshalls while I look and then we can both go to Dollar Tree?”

“That’s fine,” he said with relief.

We got to the shopping centre and went to climb off the bus. Colin made a brief stop to tell the bus driver what happened. She looked bewildered, as if she had no idea what to do with that information. The man remained seated the whole time and stayed on board as the bus pulled away. Colin gave a visible sigh of relief.

“Where do you want to meet?” he asked.

“Umm… how about in the food section?” I asked, trying to picture a place in Marshalls that he could find easily.

“There’s a food section at Home Depot?” he asked in bewilderment. Then I clued in. Now that the man was gone, Colin felt fine to go on his own.

“How about at the key cutting place,” I said and he agreed.

It wasn’t until we’d paid for the keys and were on the way to the grocery store that Colin brought up the bus incident.

“I don’t like what that man did to me,” Colin blurted.

I doubled checked for cars and kept walking beside him, “I bet you don’t,” I agreed.

“He made me feel uncomfortable,” he continued. “Some women wouldn’t think that was sexual assault because it only happens to women.”

“Except you’re a woman,” I pointed out.

“The man didn’t know that,” Colin retaliated. I shrugged, even though he couldn’t see me.

“He called you a girl too.”

Colin didn’t have a response for that. We walked in silence a few more feet.

“I don’t like what that woman did,” Colin said, confusing the heck out of me.

“What woman?” I asked.

“The woman on the bus,” Colin explained. “He started touching my arm and she just got up and walked away.”

I nodded. “A lot of people are like that. They don’t know what to do or they don’t want to get involved so they ignore the situation.”

“I really didn’t like that,” Colin murmured under his breath. We stayed silent until we got to the grocery store. He hasn’t brought up the incidence since. Although I doubt he’s forgotten. I don’t think he ever will.

By some luck of the draw, Colin is a very feminine looking man, despite his height. Maybe that’s what attracted the man? It would make sense considering that he kept alternating genders for Colin.

Colin’s not an innocent in many ways. He’s taken a comprehensive sex education programme and is quite knowledgeable about politics, war, and how they combine. But today he lost that bit of innocence and gained the realization that some people will look at him just as an object to use and not a person. It’s a lesson I wish neither of my kids had ever learned.

Today Colin earned his #metoo

Colin's amarylis

Colin and the amaryllis he grew

World’s worst whack-a-mole game Part 2…

There’s another hateful meme going around the internet and this time it’s pretending to be a joke. An April Fool’s joke to be exact. I have to admit, transphobes have pretty weird ideas of what constitutes a joke.

transphobic meme

First of all the meme starts with the misunderstanding that mother and father, in all their various forms, has been banned and replaced by the word parent. That comes from a suggestion by the Prime Minister to Service Canada employees to use gender neutral words instead of assuming someone’s gender or until the parent specifies their preference.

For example, the Service Canada employee asks if you are little Sarah’s parent. You say, “Yes I am.” You will continue to be referred to as her parent. If you say, “Yes, I’m her mother” you will be referred to as her mother. No one is saying that Mama and Papa are offensive. They’re simply saying not everyone is a mother or father. Some people really do use the word “parent” to describe themselves. Non-binary people exist.

Then comes the complete and utter foolishness in claiming it shows a lack of common sense to affirm the existence of non-binary people. A lack of common sense would come from the people who look at this world filled with a rainbow of people and say, “Nope, just two genders. I can’t see you.” Talk about burying your head in the sand.

Plus the sign the A&W bear is holding uses the word “peoplekind” which is something I’ve only heard right wingers use since Trudeau said it as a joke, and the misspelling of the word rule. If a Liberal wrote the sign, it would read “humankind rules” or “everyone rules” to include, well, everyone. There’s no point in pretending Liberals are idiots because we patently aren’t. That claim only makes the people saying that look like fools.

And, of course, there’s the burger, made to look as idiotic as possible with trendy implausible ingredients. Ground beef instead of a patty? Quinoa for a bun? If I were making a LGBTQ burger, it would be an amazingly tasty vegan burger with your choice of toppings (like Harveys) with the proceeds going to a LGBTQ charity like Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors program.

What’s patently obvious is this “joke” is sad, transphobic, and juvenile with a burger pulled right off of Pinterest, which wasn’t credited. The people sharing it, unironically, are the dinosaurs of our world, becoming extinct so the next generation can stand up tall and take over. And that generation is the most LGBTQ friendly generation in recorded history. The future is rainbow and full of promise!