Sunday, November 4, 2018

Peace Sells....but Who's Buying? ☮️

Back in the day, there was a song called Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying. Interestingly enough this song has been popping in my head lately due to the current political climate in the US. I'm guessing the rebellious, teenaged version of myself that listened to the song in the 80s probably wouldn't have been too happy if she saw ahead to the future.

The 2018 version of myself isn't dealing with it too well either.

The problem is that I feel as if I can’t avoid Trump. Whether I turn on the television, check out my daily newsletters or even go on social media, I’m bombarded with images of the fat, orange slob, always with a deeply etched frown on his face. Let’s be honest, the man looks as miserable as fuck. I mean, he has all the money, power and (surprisingly) attractive women he wants and yet, he looks consistently hateful as if someone just struck him in the testicles with a hot poker.

But I’m getting off topic. 

The reality is that society is now shining a light on prejudices that have always been there but people suddenly feel justified in stating them, attacking others and even murdering in the name of racism. I think we’ve all witnessed it in our daily lives in some way or another, whether it be a racist remark made by a relative (we all got one) or witnessed Islamophobia on a Facebook wall. It’s enough to raise the blood pressure of anyone with a heart … and some form of rational thought. 

It has gotten to the point where I have to watch news sparingly. I listen to The Left Daily Podcast to get the overall scoop on what insanity is taking place that day and scan through the highlights on various newsletters and that’s it. The days of overconsuming news are done. I just can't do it anymore.

Regarding people who follow Trump like mindless sheep, I have to say that I’m done with them too. I’ve deleted racist, ignorant and hateful comments off my Facebook wall (followed by the person who posted them) without bothering to argue. Is there really any use? My time is too valuable to waste on lunatics. I have, however, told off one Trump lovin’ moron who decided to attack my mother on her own Facebook when she posted a positive meme about Obama. I told the miserable cow to keep her hate-filled comments on her own wall. 

Sidenote: ever notice how Trump's followers are often as miserable and hate-filled as Trump himself? (See paragraph #2)

The point is that just because Trump insists on controlling our media doesn’t mean we have to consume it. In fact, isn’t that what he wants? To have all the attention on him? Furthermore, you don’t have to take abuse from anyone who disagrees with how you feel. Delete, block, or tell them to fuck of....whatever works, then move on. Why keep someone on your social media (or in your life) if they're making your blood boil on a regular basis? Do they really hold the values of someone you want as a part of your world?

Peace sells…but no one's buying. At least, not when war makes so much money. 💰

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Unfortunate wording vs. liars

I recently had a conversation with a young, wet-behind-the-ears man who informed me that he was ‘with Kavanaugh’ and that there wasn’t ‘any proof’ that Dr. Ford was raped. I almost lost my mind.  

Unfortunately, there are many people who feel the same way. And even more unfortunate is the fact that a lot of those people are other women.

I’m not saying that no woman has ever lied about being raped. I’m not trying to suggest that women are always honest with the police, in court and anywhere else for that matter but the thing is, why is it our first assumption that they’re lying unless there’s cold, hard proof. We’re concerned about ruining the ‘good reputation’ of a man, however, no one considers that any woman that comes forward against a man in power is probably risking her own reputation since there’s only about a half a chance people will believe her…even with proof.

This young male went on to say that there were extremists on all sides. With this, I did agree, however, was slightly concerned when he used the example of ‘extreme feminists’ as an example. He claims ‘extreme feminists’ are most likely to hate him simply because he’s white and male. 

I’m guessing it might be another reason however, I remain quiet and listened to his views. 

I then felt the need to point out that even if Kavanaugh were innocent, he still wasn’t a great choice for this intensely powerful position. After all, the man is against abortion and once you remove this right, slowly, other women’s rights could easily follow. Think the Handmaid’s Tale. To this, he appeared stunned and said that I was being extreme (maybe I’m the ‘extreme feminist’) and that he was ‘pro-life’ and somewhere in the midst of this conversation, religion was brought up and essentially, everything began to unravel from there. 

But it was when he told me that Trump wasn’t a racist, he just used ‘unfortunate wording’ when he called Mexican rapists, that I cringed.

Ironically, isn’t it? When Trump says someone is a rapist, it’s unfortunate words. When a woman not only says it but testifies to it and puts everything on the line to stand up against her attacker, she’s just lying.

When a woman is a victim of crime

I close friend of mine was raped at 18. She wasn’t raped at a college party or after a drunken escapade nor did it happen because she was dressed ‘slutty’ or because she hung around the wrong people. It happened because she was always told to trust the police; and so, when an on-duty officer stopped his car to offer her a drive home, she felt safe accepting. As it turns out, this was her first mistake. 

After driving her into a secluded area (this was rural NB after all) he raped her. Considering the officer was in the position of power, clearly that put her at an immediate disadvantage. She followed proper procedure, reporting the crime but it was swept under the rug. The cop was shoved off to another community with no charges and as a result, my friend was sent a clear message; you don’t matter.
This is the same message many women have received in various situations over the years. Whether it be the recent case with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in the US or many other women who’ve reported assaulted only to be abused by not only the perpetrator but also the system;, it’s not a new story. Unfortunately, even though it’s 2018, it still appears that nothing has changed from when my friend was raped 20 years ago. We’re still dealing with the same structure of power and belief system now as we were in the 90s.

Although this isn’t always the case, as a woman, I often feel that if needed, the police won’t be on my side. In fact, if I am victimized, I really have no faith that calling the cops will be productive. They'll show up, ask a few questions and chances are, that’s where everything will end. I’ve heard too many stories from other women that have reassured me of this belief; from women who were in abusive situations to women who were stalked, threatened and one of which, eventually killed, with little or no help from the police. I recently heard one story where the female officer accused the woman involved in a domestic situation of being of fault. 

Not to say that women are always innocent victims but it makes me feel that my odds of being taken seriously are slim.

My friend that was raped never was the same after that day. She suffered from self-esteem issues, made irrational and sometimes self-destructive decisions and not surprisingly, had a great deal of distrust for authority. Years later, she was assaulted again by an acquaintance who asked for a drive home. She briefly - very briefly - considered going to the police but finally decided against it. In her mind, it was the people who were supposed to protect her in the first place that lost her trust. The sad part is that when I tell this story to most women, they aren’t surprised.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Simplifying your life is apparently weird

Earlier this year, I was planning to move to another province. Although I have since put off this decision so I could focus on my writing rather than adjusting to a new life in a new city, at the time it was pretty stressful. Weighing the pros and cons of every decision is especially difficult if you’re an over-thinker who tends to fixate on one point after another until it’s just one big jumbled mess in your brain.

That aside, I discovered, very quickly, that my somewhat gypsy lifestyle is thought to be weird. Not having a long-term, settled addressed makes people suspicious. Switching jobs, not having a lot of possession (especially a car) seems to disturb people. In fact, many look at me sadly as if I worked my whole life for…what? Nothing? I don’t have a house, a car or family to ‘show’ for my life. I mean, sure, I wrote a few books in a short period but it’s not the kind of tangible stuff that most would consider normal.

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, up until 2010, I actually had a car, possessions like furniture and a job that I had worked at for many years; think double digits. However, when I decided to move to Vancouver, many of these things that I needed became a huge weight tying me down. I wasn’t about to bring everything with me so I had to purge, sell and for the most part, practically give away many of the possessions that I had worked so hard to get in the first place. I was left thinking that it was incredibly ridiculous. Why do we work so hard for this stuff that really just anchors us and makes it difficult to have freedom?

When I left BC a few years later and returned to the east coast, I was content to leave my furnished apartment aside, only having to purge a few items since I kept my possessions limited over the years, allowing me to never get tied down in the same way again.

So back to earlier this year. I’m attempting to move to a furnished apartment however, it’s quickly proven a difficult process because as it turns out, there aren’t many furnished apartments. Many that are out there are quite frankly, fucking dumps with ‘furniture’ resembling the crap you pull off the sidewalk when moving to your first apartment in college. Other places were nice but expensive. It was difficult to find anything in between and for some reason, trying to simplify my life actually became very difficult. Many furnished apartments weren’t all included and if they were, sometimes landlords weren’t getting back to me with images etc. It was frustrating.

I actually had one particularly difficult experience with a landlord while looking in Halifax who apparently thought that part of the interview process involved asking me why I moved so much. Well, why the fuck not? Why do I have to justify my lifestyle choice? Why does anyone? Clearly, I was a weirdo because this particular guy grew suspicious and said he would only maybe rent to me if I was willing to drive the 3-4 hours to meet him in person and even then he couldn’t guarantee anything. Essentially he was a judgemental dick however, he wasn’t alone.

Other things that potential landlords found weird included wanting everything included in the rent; heat lights, along with furniture. Why? Well, here’s an interesting fact. It’s nice to know exactly what your expenses are each month with no crazy surprises in January. Why is that strange? Landlords also thought that it was strange I didn’t have work lined up in the potential cities I was looking to move. Have you ever tried to get a job in a city that you don’t already live in? They pretty much toss your résumé aside because it just seems like a fucking hassle. There are too many concerns that you might not actually move or find a place in time to start the job. I had money in the bank but that seemed kind of irrelevant. The fact that I have a long resume of jobs, skills, and experience moving somewhere new and finding work right away also seemed irrelevant.

The point is that we are encouraged to simplify our lives but try it; people will think you are a freak too. Get rid of all your possessions other than the things you really need and the world shakes their head. A minimalist? What the fuck is that? Why do you want to pretend you’re poor? They don’t understand how you can be happy in life without a lot of stuff. Also, as I expressed, the world doesn’t exactly support this kind of lifestyle. Try finding a furnished apartment. Try trying to explain why you don’t have or want a car. Try to justify giving away stuff you feel weighs you down. People will treat you as if you have a psychological disorder. I promise.

It’s not fair. Why must I justify how I choose to live? Why am I required to toe the line and do what everyone else does? Why must I explain my decision to live differently?

It almost seems as if society has ideas about how we all must live and feels the need to put tremendous pressure and shame on those who don’t fit into their beliefs.

There's a very unconventional guy that I see around and when I do, we chat. He has two homes. One doesn’t have electricity. He’s eccentric, an artist who very much marches to the beat of his own drum. He talks about how these two environments spark his creativity for various reasons. I find that fascinating. I know that some people think he’s strange and when I stand in the middle of a coffee shop talking to him, I can sense people looking at us strangely but it’s because I like him. He doesn’t feel the need to be like everyone else. He is living on his own terms. He doesn’t care what others think. To me, that takes courage.

I actually feel like when I do set out to move again and start looking for a new apartment, I might have to lie. Apparently being someone who just likes to move a lot is suspicious and weird so I will have to say something socially acceptable. Maybe I’m the side girlfriend of a rich politician who is paying my way and wants me closer by or maybe I’m an abused wife starting over. Oddly enough, these reasons seem like they would pass clearance faster than the truth. Sad, isn’t it?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Card

Originally posted on Fighting Words - Stanley Bridge, PEI 

She went to her doctor about a concerning lump and he wrote it off as nothing; probably busy, maybe he didn’t care but regardless, the doctor brushed off her concerns as being irrelevant. He didn’t bother to take the necessary test to assure her that the lump was harmless but instead, assured the woman she was fine. 
It was cancer. Unfortunately, she didn’t know this fact until a year later when it was too late.
However, this isn’t a story to rip apart the healthcare system or the doctor who made this error in judgment but it’s actually a story about how we treat each other. For example, had the doctor looked into the eyes of a scared woman in the office on the original visit, maybe things could’ve potentially turned out much, much differently. He didn’t.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just an overworked doctor who makes this kind of mistake; granted, in this specific case it was a matter of life and death but in general, many of us, every day, overlook people. We forget that these people may not always be here to overlook. That’s just an unfortunate reality that we all must face.
Months before this woman’s illness was revealed, we exchanged Christmas cards. She had a habit of bringing one to many of her coworkers each year although that particular year, she revealed to me that she had cut down on her Christmas card list. She confided that after seeing some of her cards tossed in the trash previously, she decided it that her gesture wasn’t appreciated by some.
Although I was pretty young and naive at the time, I still recognized what an incredibly rude and hurtful action this was and immediately agreed that those people, were simply not worthy of her kindness. After all, it takes time to fill out that many cards but I guess they thought she had all the time left in the world.
This is a story that I would recall after her death when a stream of coworkers met and entered the funeral home together, some fiercely proud of themselves to show their unity while others, actually there for the right reasons and I wondered to myself which of those people thoughtlessly tossed her Christmas cards away the previous years. 
And let’s be honest. None of us want that kind of person at our funeral. I think almost everyone would agree that if you weren’t there for them in life, don’t bother showing up for the funeral either. And if you do, don’t cry and make a huge production cause you haven’t earned it.
The point is that we need to start treating each other better and we have to do so now. The news proves that we, as human beings are failing. We attack each other online, we judge, we hate and yet, rather than to change these behaviors, we choose instead to justify them. We don’t have to look much further than world leaders to see this every day. The rule of the jungle is if someone is a dick to you, you got the right to lash out. 
I’m not suggesting that we should save the world. I’m not even suggesting that you talk to your ex or start saying nice things about repulsive world leaders, what I mean is to just be kind to one another. Smile. Open doors. Listen, really listen, when people talk and hear them. You may not have the solutions to the world’s problems but you have two ears, don’t you? Let’s try to take this fucked up mess of a world we live in and make it just a little easier for each other, shall we?

And if someone gives you a card, even if you don’t want it, smile, be gracious and just say, ‘Thank you’. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Starting a new life isn't easy...

I will admit that I've been so busy the last few years and as a result, my personal blog was neglected. I'm not sure why. It really doesn't make sense. I have a lot of views on this blog; in fact, probably more than my writing blog (although it's also been neglected - mostly because my main focus has been my YouTube channel) or my website. I guess because deep down, we're always a bit curious about people's personal experiences and maybe, in some small way, we want to see inside their lives.

Not that my life is vastly exciting. I returned to PEI in 2013 after a few years in Vancouver, BC, with the intention of making it a short stay rather than a long visit. It's now 2018. I'm still here.

Having said that, I'm currently looking into moving. I've considered various places over the last few years but my main focus has been Halifax or Toronto. I briefly considered Charlottetown but each of my experiences in the city made me feel like it was not my spot. Halifax felt more doable and maybe even more digestible compared to a larger city like Toronto but in truth, I guess I find that Toronto speaks to me the most of all Canadian cities. I love diversity and want to learn as much as I can about other cultures and feel Toronto would be ideal. In fact, this is what I miss the most about Vancouver; well, that and my friends. I'm fortunate enough to have friends scattered throughout the country and although I see many of my friendships changing lately, I guess it's normal to outgrow some people while meeting new people along the way. That's just a part of life.

So what have I been up to the last few years? Well, since returning here in late 2013, I've written 7 out of my 9 books, so I guess that's something, right? I would even go so far as to say that some of my best writing has taken place while living on the island. In my opinion of course, since my writing is apparently a little too hot to handle for some people but that's ok, so am I ;-)

I'm currently working on my tenth book and as of today, I think I'm about 11 chapters into it. I've been lucky to capture media attention while on PEI, some like CBC has been particularly kind to me in letting people know about my writing and of course, PEI's favorite FREE magazine, The Buzz.  Of course, I appreciate any attention I can get because as a writer, it's sometimes hard to get noticed since writing a book doesn't sound as exciting to producing a film or releasing a CD (not even to me!) so I love the opportunity to get out there and speak about my work. I think that's another reason why I started the YouTube channel, as a way of connecting with potential and current readers in order to talk to them about my work.

Along with working, my writing has been my main focus for the last few years. Unfortunately, I've found PEI very socially isolating in the area I live in. I'm reminded of being a teenager here and never quite fitting in or being allowed into various 'cliques' and although that doesn't speak for everyone, I do find that to be a common theme and one that others from here and 'away' have mentioned to me again and again, so I know it's not just me. However, this hasn't been my experiences with everyone. I've had some awesome conversations with former classmates and met some lovely people along the way so that's been awesome too.

Although in fairness, I don't really have much in common with people here. I hate country music. I have no interest in ATV driving. I don't like traditional music especially if there's a fiddle involved. I literally cringe at the sound. Until I moved back, I had never heard the word 'ceilidh' before and as soon as I did, I immediately didn't want to investigate it further. I actually don't go to the beach much for growing up on an island. I don't like bonfires. I see one bug and I'm back in the house.

So yeah, I guess that means I'm more of a city girl. That shouldn't be a surprise though since I lived in a city for most of my adult life.

And let's not even talk about dating. It's truly terrible.

This is Ceelo. He has a thing for blondes.
The point is that it's time for me to move on again. It's been an interesting few years. Definitely, a very productive phase for my writing and an opportunity to see the people I wanted to see, reconnect after being away for so long and of course, spend time with Ceelo but now I must get my shit together and figure out the rest of my life. Not that it is easy. It should be vastly exciting, shouldn't it? The only problem is that it's scarier most days than exciting and definitely challenging (especially when looking for an apartment - when did this become such a hellish chore?) And of course, I'm looking for a new job. I have lots of different work experiences, however, who knows what I will end up doing in the future. The main thing is that we always have to believe that something exciting is always around the corner (even if we don't fully believe it) and take on the challenge one step at a time. When I think about moving again, I have to frequently remind myself that it's like eating an elephant: you can only do it one bite at a time.

If you want to keep up on my adventures, join my newsletter and don't worry, you won't be bombarded with emails. I send a couple a month unless something super exciting is going on, like a new book is coming out but otherwise, I try to throw one together every few weeks.

Thanks for reading about my life. Learn more at

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

It's time to stop being assholes and start treating each other with respect again

I’m currently looking for an apartment. For some reason, I assumed that I’d have my pick of the litter since I’m mature, responsible, quiet and have great references. When contacting most landlords, this was the information that I gave them when introducing myself; after all, I figured that the people on the other side of the computer are humans too and I’ve always believed that whether I’m contacting a landlord, a potential employers or someone in customer service, it made more sense to talk to them in a respectful, friendly and direct manner. Makes sense, right?

As it turns out I was wrong. In fact, my honesty almost appeared to turn them off. It didn’t matter if I told them I was mature, (ie. not partying every weekend and could potentially be vomiting in their front yard every Sunday morning) responsible, (I can pay the rent!) quiet (I won’t have music or the television blaring at midnight) or what I was looking for as a tenant (a central location where I could walk to most amenities) because what I was met with, was quite unexpected. 

Many were abrupt, rude, ignoring most of my message and questions and tossing a ‘so when are you gonna come see the place?’ at me. Others simply disregarded my message or coldly responded that the place was ‘already taken’ even though it continues to be advertised online. My favourite was a lady that literally wasted an entire week with a series of hoops that I had to jump through; all of which I did, providing her with terrific references, proof that I could afford her place and yet, with each response, she seemed to stretch out the amount of time before replying until, yes, an entire week passed and I was still no further ahead. 

But that’s fine; it’s not as if I have a life to figure out or anything. 

The point is that this experience is becoming quite dehumanizing. However, this shouldn’t surprise me since this has become the theme in our society over the last few years. Try calling for customer support anywhere and you will probably get a robot-like voice on the other end of the phone and I don’t say that to put down the people working at call centres; I’m saying that because many businesses want their personnel to be like machines. I once, briefly, worked at a call centre where I had to read from a script and was chastised if I didn’t follow it. I remember asking a customer one day ‘What can I do for you today?’ rather than ‘How can I help you?’ and being raked over the coals. I didn’t sound professional enough and perhaps, I sounded like a real human being. This was apparently a problem.

And then there’s social media and comment section of…well, anything online. People rip each other apart. It could be the journalist writing the story, the topic of the story or another person’s comment on the story. It doesn’t matter. People feel justified to do so and yet, if they were standing in front of that other person, I almost guarantee they would scurry away like frightened mice.

I’ve actually had a couple of situations in my life where men I dated took the liberty of attacking me in emails. I found it interesting in both cases because when challenged to say the same words to my face, they declined. It’s not cause I’m a large, massive woman with mixed martial arts training or that I carry a weapon in my purse, it’s because most people can’t look each other in the eye and say what they are willing to say online. 

We’ve become a society of people taught that human life doesn’t matter. Perhaps it is because violence and death are so regularly highlighted on the news that we forget that there are actual human beings behind that bombing in Syria or the murder in Toronto. Then again, maybe some can’t think about that because if we started to see each other as humans and not faceless people on the Internet, a ’morons’ on the other side of the phone or ‘just another dead body’ on the news, we might have to feel something that isn’t terribly convenient, which is compassion.

Perhaps life is easier when you’re disconnected. Maybe discrediting someone is the ideal way to not feel guilty or accountable. Anyone who’s ever had a ‘close friend’ ignore them during a bad time knows exactly how that feels and of course, they do it because it’s easier to not extend themselves. 

The good news is that sometimes it simply takes a little boldness to get these people back down to earth. Sometimes the solution is to let people know that they are, in fact, dealing with an actual person in these circumstances. 

Many years ago I had to speak to someone in IT about my hacked website. Back then, I had a terrible host that essentially put me in the position of talking to an uninterested employee at a call centre. He was giving me attitude, talking to me like I was a moron and generally making me feel more frustrated, even though I was sincerely attempting to understand all the tech talk. Finally, I grew angry and said, “You know what? You can speak to me as if I’m a real person. Not everyone has been trained in this area like you and I’m sorry that I’m not a tech expert but you don’t have to talk down to me.”

I’m not exaggerating to make a point, I really did say that to him. He immediately changed his tone and became helpful. I’m thinking that we all should be doing that exact same thing a little more often. Maybe its necessary to give those disconnected people an abrupt and direct reality check and bring them out of their apathetic, disconnected world and back down to earth.