A matter of luck…

I sit here with homemade chocolate chip cookies beside me and I can’t help but reflect on how lucky I am. I’m in a brand new, spotless apartment with working appliances and tasty, clean water. My fridge and cupboards are full of healthy food (and the ingredients for junk food). I have plenty of books to read and unlimited high speed internet. There’s friends and family to call when I need to hear a human voice… specifically their voices. And I have five goofy and loveable cats to keep me entertained.

So many people have so much less. I think of Colin, who’s stuck in our old apartment with no one around and no internet. He wanders over to the community centre to sit outside and download videos via their wifi and he calls me (yesterday he called seven times) but that’s it. He should have just under three weeks left until he moves. That’s going to be so long for him.

The job loss rate around the world is staggering. I was full tonight after dinner and put my leftovers in the fridge. Meanwhile there are countless people counting their change and hoping to scrape together enough money for some food. Where are they going to find work with almost everything closed? They’re trapped in a situation not of their choosing and struggling, and sometimes failing, to make ends meet.

I just read an article which said that police are concerned because domestic violence charges are down when they know the incidents are going up. How many people are injured at home, without medical treatment, because they can’t get out and can’t even make a phone call? How do you get away from an abusive and possessive partner who’s now constantly at home, especially if you have children? My heart aches for those caught in a nightmare with no end in sight. I hope they survive this experience and manage to get away. Please stay strong and stay safe. Do what you can to survive.

Many of our Indigenous people live in substandard housing with no clean running water, expensive food, and no local health care. And now covid-19 has been thrown at them too. How are they supposed to survive when their situation was already deplorable? How are they supposed to take care of the sick with no fresh drinking water and holes in the walls? We need to do a lot more as a country to bring up their living environment. Their treatment is a black mark on the nation.

And I feel horrible for LGBTQIA people, especially teens and young adults, stuck in a home with unsupportive family. It must be hell on earth for trans people who are continually misgendered and misnamed by the people who are supposed to love and care for them and for people who hear regularly about how awful queer people are. There are celebrity ministers right now who claim gay people caused the covid-19 virus, even though it’s beginnings have been clearly established. Quite a few of the people who listen to and agree with those ministers have queer children at home. For all of you. You are loved, you are valued, you are important. This is horrible now… a nightmarish hell… but it will get better. You will break free. Just hold tight.

And here I sit in comfort, passing through the storm in a well stocked and weatherproof home. Lara stands beside me begging for (and receiving) pets. Pentatonix plays on YouTube, while my scented candles wreath the rooms with the aroma of lilacs. We are in the middle of the storm but hopefully, especially for those who are trapped, I hope it blows over soon.

breathe

Take Back The Night!

She bent down… just like this. It was obvious she was doing it for me. Then she said “I’m not that kind of girl”.

I’d dressed up a bit for this event. Put on make up, wore a sparkly shirt, I even added a rainbow bead necklace a friend just gave me. Listening to the two men talking nearby made me wish I could scrub off my face and put on something a little more ugly… a lot more invisible.

When she breaks up with her boyfriend, I’m totally going for her.

There was no indication that he saw her as a person in her own right. She moved solely for him and, when her boyfriend was done it was going to be his turn to have her.

But let me ask u this then let’s say I ask u to a dance and it’s a dream I really wanted and u tell me no and I go on a killing spree what would you say was the trigger point to my anger.

~ actual question asked to a friend ~

The Take Back the Night event started in an auditorium full of people… young and old… male and female. There were booths around the room where I got candy, a pen, and an apple. A Metis drumming group played at the front. I admired one lady’s sequined hat and then it was time to sit.

#webelieveyou

Story after story, in video and in person, of women who’d been raped, assaulted, molested, and beaten. Story after story where they were disbelieved because he wouldn’t do that. Story after story where women went to the police to be empowered and take back their right to bodily autonomy, only to have the police fail them too.

take-back-the-night

I was photobombed 🙂

My ex had a favourite position, one which made it so I couldn’t speak and couldn’t push him away. I couldn’t change my mind midway because “no” wasn’t an option. I told him this in tears and suggested a hand touch which would mean “no”. He ignored it… twice. That was when I realized the ignoring was deliberate, he liked that I was struggling… that I couldn’t stop him. I refused to get into that position after that and he sulked like a small child being told “no” to seconds of dessert. I’m a person, not a serving of cake.

Whatever we wear
Where ever we go
Yes means yes
And no means no!

We spilled out of the auditorium, a large jubilant, defiant crowd… hemmed in by a strip of yellow caution tape and guarded by police. Pouring onto the road, chanting almost incomprehensible words. Did we want safety or ice cream? The echoes sounded like both.

Two, four, six, eight
No more violence
No more rape!

I walked home after the event with a neighbour. Cheers and laughter erupted ahead of us, followed by a faint “no-oo”. My heart felt like it was slamming against my ribs and I rocked as I walked. What could we do against a crowd? Both our phones were dead and he’s shorter and more slight than me. The soccer field ahead was lit; it soon became apparent a goal had been scored. My relief was instantaneous.

There were children scattered through the walk, blowing whistles and waving hand made signs. For now it’s just fun. How long will it take for the message to sink in? Will they be the change for the future? Are there enough of them?

Michelle? You go out for walks on your own? Do you really think it’s safe?

I used to. Maybe someday I will again.

Watching the train wreck…

There was a missed call and a message on my phone when I got on the bus after work. They were from Emma and she had news about her father. Could I please call her back? I looked up as the bus stopped and Emma got on board; I don’t usually run into her on the bus so that was a surprise.

She sat beside me then said with a wide grin, “Guess what? Dad got arrested!”

I thought I’d misheard her at first but after a moment I managed to ask what for. Had he tried to sell his old pain medication? Was he caught buying pot? Her answer wasn’t one I’d come up with and yet it wasn’t a surprise. He’d assaulted his ex-girlfriend, the same woman he’s been stalking and harassing for several months now. He doesn’t like it when women break up with him before he’s ready. I know that from personal experience.

My first comment was inane. “I need to apologize to our mediator.”

Emma gave me a blank look.

“She worried about me,” I explained. “She thought your Dad was going to try to hurt me and I told her not to worry. I guess I should apologize except…”

Except it had been so long, I couldn’t even remember her name. Besides, there was no way she’d remember me.

Emma went on to say that her Dad had been released but had to go back to get fingerprinted. She and Mark were trying to figure out how he’d miss his appointment. Maybe he’d just sleep in or they figured he might to the hospital the night before with chest pains. Then she wondered how he’d react in court. Would he get angry and lash out like he does often? Maybe he’d get probation or put under house arrest.

And then she was gone, hurrying off the bus with Mark’s younger brother, who’d coincidentally gotten on the bus a stop after Emma. She’s coming over for dinner tomorrow night.

I quickly called Jeremy to see how zie felt about the news. Zie sounded more resigned than anything else. “It’s not like it’s a surprise,” zie muttered. And zie’s right. Their Dad gets more callous and self-centered with each passing year.

Jeremy says zie’s fine with what happened. Zie almost never sees zir father and just as rarely hears from him. But zie’s been on edge all evening, snapping and wanting to rant about anything and everything. The latest was a rant on how the government (I have no idea which one) is too lazy to restrict model airplanes to lower air space. Ironically zie doesn’t actually want those restrictions because the best videos come from the highest planes. This quickly segued into how gamers are being discriminated against because of inflated statistics that claim all video gamers are violent. Or maybe it was just 98%. Or maybe zie’d pulled that figure out of zir ass… but zie’d read it a while ago. I think I whimpered around then. Jeremy’s thankfully back watching videos and hopefully relaxing.

I’ve told people before that observing my ex is like watching a very slow train wreck. Everyone knows it’s going to end badly; the only questions are when and how bad. It’s a ride I’m glad we’re no longer on.

Edited to add Emma’s view of the situation.