February 75th…

I am so tired of winter, especially since it’s April. I don’t want to see snow or ice, of which we have both. I want to see green sprouts in the grass and flowers beginning to bloom. So far that hasn’t been the case although the long range forecast calls for sunshine and warmth by the end of the week. I’ll believe that when I see it. And, since I’m stuck inside, I’m working on our “spring cleaning”.

Ato do listbout a week ago, Colin decided to turn our storage closet into a computer room, which meant relocating a bunch of stuff to the living room. Some of it’s been moved but there’s still a handful of stuff in need of a home. Cleaning that clutter was one of the chores on my to do list two days ago, along with cleaning off the kitchen table and repairing my Canada Day decoration… which made it’s way out of the storage closet to collapse into four pieces on my kitchen table. The rest of the chores have thankfully been completed, it was just those three remaining.

I know I’m going to be cleaning the living room on my own, simply because Colin currently has homework he’s ignoring. Homework that will suddenly become of major importance as soon as I set foot in the living room. But, whether he helps or not, it has to get done, and I’ll feel so much better without the clutter. Does anyone else feel crummy when the house is messy?

I don’t know why but for some reason I feel like my head’s stuffed full of clouds today. I’m trying to concentrate on writing but my mind tugs in all sorts of directions and my thoughts feel mushy. I’ve got no other way to explain it. At least I don’t need much brain power to clean, although I probably could use it to write. I’ll edit this later to add an after picture of the living room. My before picture is only going into my accountability group on Facebook.

clean apartment blog

The clean living room. Colin brought the patio umbrella in because it was windy then decided it made our apartment look more “springlike”. Also, it’s snowing… again.

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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!

01

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!

An intersectional traffic jam…

This time last year I had a friend who was told to “stay in her lane”. For those people who aren’t living in snowflake social justice warrior land, this means don’t speak over marginalized people. Use your voice as a support, not a sledge hammer. Let minority people have their voice. It sounds nice and simple, doesn’t it.

In this case the friend, who’s a big Harry Potter fan, got told to stay in her lane because… wait for it… a POC had an opposing view of Harry Potter (namely that he wasn’t an ass) and my white friend had to back out and let her speak. I pointed out that Harry Potter was not, in fact, black culture and that both people had equal rights to their opinions. The white friend had a huge amount of knowledge on the subject and, if anything, this was definitely her lane. That went over like a lead balloon and I ended up unfriending the “stay in your lane” person because she. would. not. stop. arguing.

Yesterday I discovered a picture of Roseanne Barr dressed up as Hitler, pulling little burnt Jewish people cookies out of a gas oven. There are so many shades of wrong in those pictures and I posted that I wasn’t going to watch her new show over this. Roseanne’s problematic in all sorts of ways, this was just the final straw. Then a friend of mine, the same friend who was told to “stay in her lane” over Harry Potter, told me the same thing. Stay in your lane, stay in your damn lane. She continued by telling me only Jewish people could have an opinion on this because Roseanne is Jewish (although she was raised Mormon) and no one else could apparently have an opinion on mocking the Holocaust except for Jewish people. Meanwhile the two Jewish people in the thread agreed with me and were quite confused over her opinion. The friend immediately unfriended me. Apparently I’m too problematic for her because of this one post.

I think the whole concept of staying in your lane is a good one. We shouldn’t speak over minorities to tell their story. We need ensure minorities have space to talk about their issues and listen to them while they work on solutions. Our voices should be used to enhance them and to stand alongside them for support. But standing up doesn’t mean standing silent, that’s something I’ve learned through bullying. Silence is usually seen as joining the oppressor. Staying in your lane should not mean staying quiet in the face of oppression, hands on the wheel, face forward, ignoring the prejudice.

I have a voice for a reason and that is to use it. I will stand up for intolerance whenever and wherever I can. If someone’s making transphobic comments, I will speak out against them. If someone’s blaming POC for getting shot, I will stand up against that person. If someone’s speaking out against any kind of equal rights, I will be there detailing why equal rights are wanted and needed. The only time I will stand to the side is if someone from that community is speaking, then I will simply support them.

In the end, the friend made the choice she chose. She chose to ignore Jewish people while telling me to stay in my lane. And if that isn’t a case of irony, I don’t know what is.

be the good