Fortifying Friday – My Stance on Violence

jack-laytons-quotes-1

Image from quotationof.com

Today, I feel like I just want to be a kid and let an adult take care of the mess. But I can’t do this. I’m the adult. So I started the day with dishes. I hate dishes and laundry the most of all house chores. They’re never ending like an MMORPG that isn’t fun, but is only a grindfest.

Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot as my newsfeed fills with disturbing information pertaining to Trump’s America. I know I’m not the only one.

I’ve been struggling to find words at all for this, let alone the right ones. I’m unsure if I’ve found them or not, but I’m trying.

Largely, I’m a believer in peace. I believe life is precious. Maybe because my mother was told to abort me. Maybe because during my childhood, I attended my first funeral at age six and nearly every year after that I lost another family member and sometimes more than one. I’ve experienced the deaths of friends who should’ve had many more years as well. I’ve witnessed bloody disputes in high school and at parties. I’m talking heads cracked open, blood dripping on the school floor, kind of violence.

I understand fighting back. I understand the need. Even more so after reading this. But everytime I’ve fought back in a violent way, injuring another person has filled me with emotional pain. This is not me telling anyone else not to use violence. I’m simply stating how it makes me feel to do so.

A friend suggested to me that no one actually supports mobs singling out a man, beating him, and stealing his car. That no one supports trashing a home and setting children’s beds on fire. Or other such acts. I hope that’s true because the alternative scares me.

All of the different protests are more complicated for me as I have friends on both sides of the debates, though I don’t *think* I am actually friends with any Trump supporters.

On Black Lives Matter

Here’s a place where I have difficulty. I worked at a police station early on in my career. Yes, I know many cops are huge fucking assholes. But there are good ones too that I would hate to see harmed. My friend’s dad is a police officer. I don’t want anything to happen to him either.

I have many friends on the other side as well. I don’t want them harmed either.

I can’t fully pick either side because it is asking me to potentially choose the death of someone I love.

On Women’s Health

I’m a woman. I have both benefited from and been harmed by birth control. If not for birth control, I might have a 17-year-old right now with someone who I don’t believe will ever make a good parent. I might never have gotten my degree. I might never have left an abuser had we had children either.

There is a vast number of women, including myself, who have also had a lot of trouble with birth control. It tends to magnify depression and mental health symptoms for some. I haven’t found a pill or patch that hasn’t been a problem for me. The shot was good in terms of not affecting my mental health, but I kept bleeding on it and not with any kind of regular schedule.

For some, birth control is necessary to treat things like endometriosis, which I hear is often exceedingly painful. While, I don’t believe abortion should be a default method of birth control, I do believe it needs to be an option. Given my current age and that I was supposed to be aborted, I don’t feel it an option I would pursue unless I was either raped or it was medically necessary.

The fact that they think women don’t need vaginal checkups after the babies are done being born is so idiotic that I can’t even.

The fact that men want to legislate this is ludicrous. Especially since they haven’t a clue what women face in pregnancy or throughout our lives. The fact that their wives are still with them is even more ridiculous. I bet they’ll be happy to pay for an abortion when they knock their mistresses up.

On Trump’s America

A lot of people are experiencing hardships. This is what I believe got Mr. Pumpkin Head elected. Trying to tell someone who is having trouble eating and paying bills that their experience is wrong because statistically their part of the country is better off doesn’t help them put food on the table or keep shelter over their heads. Facts are very important, but what people perceive as their reality is important too. Pain isn’t diminished by numbers in a spreadsheet. Voting in someone who plans to fix it is what rational people do in a democracy. Yes, we even do this knowing they might be lying. Every election is a gamble to a degree.

The first time Stephen Harper was elected in Canada, I was one of the people who voted for him. It was the first time I had ever voted Conservative. I did so for two main reasons. While in university taking a business degree, I took several economics courses. Harper’s platform seemed economically sound. The other reason? I was married to a man who worked for a department of defense contractor and really wanted him to keep his job, so we could keep our home and put food on the table. I wasn’t deliberately trying to fuck over anyone else. I didn’t vote for him the second time he was elected.

What I’m trying to say is that I don’t believe the only people who voted for Trump were racist, sexist, homophobic assholes. There were definitely a number of those people, but there were also regular people who believed Trump would help him. Yes, they were duped. I know a lot of us, especially those not in the thick of it, wonder how the hell the Americans didn’t see him for who he is.

If you’ve been through an abusive relationship, maybe you see exactly how it happened. Abusers typically seem like wonderful human beings. They’re charming, friendly, and great to be around. They do good work and may even be active in the community and very generous to charities. At home, they are monsters.

I don’t feel bad admitting that I thought Trump may have just been playing a sick game. That his platform seemed too farcical to get him elected. I even thought perhaps he was just saying whatever he needed to in order to get elected. I didn’t really think he was Hitler 2.0.

I am scared that more people are going to die. I’m scared they will be people I love. While I know they will have died fighting for something they believe in and that it is an immensely worthy cause, it won’t take away the pain that their death will bring. I don’t want to think of a loved one’s bloody, broken, and lifeless body lying in a street somewhere. I don’t want to think of their children trying to make sense of it all. I’m worried that the cycle of hate and violence won’t be broken because we haven’t found another way that works. I’m worried about them becoming the monsters they are fighting against.

All I want is for people to see how differences are what make the world beautiful.

We have many stories that show this, both real and fictional, yet we always end up in the same place. It feels like the same battle with different actors. As if we’re stuck until we find a way to get it right.

Then there’s the dark side of me that says people like Trump don’t deserve the valuable gift that is life. That they should face a firing squad for being an awful human. But killing all the assholes can’t be the answer either, my heart implores me, because that may have a price that is steeper than weathering The Jack-o’-Lantern judging by all the other unsolved wars on the planet.

So what now? I honestly haven’t a clue beyond continuing the current resistance efforts of sharing the information he doesn’t want out there. And those efforts give me such hope.

  • Scientists continue to solve problems. This week, advancements were made in the fight against Leukemia to the point that a cure may have been found. They’ve also been able to produce a metallic form of hydrogen.
  • People climbed a crane and hung a sign of resistance.
  • Government workers and scientists across the nation are refusing to stop tweeting and putting accurate information out into the world.
  • More marches are being organized. Hell, the apolitical scientists are going to march too!
  • The rest of the globe is proceeding with their efforts in switching to renewable energy and acceptance of all humans no matter race, country of origin, religion, gender, or sexuality.

There are at least three things I can think of that we can do:

  1. Continue making him feel inadequate, incompetent, etc.
  2. Bring those that have admitted their mistake into the fold to help.
  3. Remember to take care of yourself, so you’ll be ready to fight.
  4. If they go for the Internet, go to analog methods. There are many ways to communicate.

Long live the resistance!

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Cake and Other Bullshit

cake

There was an article that recently came out where a restaurant claims that they can’t keep their business open because of people bringing their own cake. A shit storm has followed on social media about whether or not it is right to bring any outside food to a restaurant. People on both sides have good points. Some say those with food allergies should be exempt. Others say diners don’t have the right to expect that they can have dessert even if there isn’t something on the menu they can eat. Others say people with food allergies don’t have the right to eat anywhere but their homes (Ignorant much?). Oh, and still more say dessert isn’t necessary, so just go without or eat something when you get home because that’s what they do.

I think it’s absolutely fucking ridiculous that people are wasting their time on this for a number of reasons.

In many non-American countries, they’re happy to have you bring your own cake to restaurants because it lets you enjoy your experience to the fullest at their establishment and ensures repeat business. That was said by a lady from Scotland in one Facebook exchange I participated in until people decided to tell me that I shouldn’t ever eat out at a restaurant. I’m not anaphylactic to anything, so why wouldn’t I? Most chain restaurants don’t care if you do as they don’t make their money on cake. Also, customers usually buy more things like coffee/tea or alcohol. Some restaurants charge a fee, just as they do with wine and it’s often more than a dessert would be, but they let you bring your own cake. Cakeage fees are most commonly around $2 a person, but can be as much as 5 British pounds per person. Many drop the fee if half of your dining party is ordering desserts from them. More on this topic here and here.

But there are better topics to debate such as:

  1. A large percentage of restaurants pay their staff as little as possible and expect tips to provide the money they need to survive instead of their wages. You probably have a friend who struggles to survive regularly. Have them over for a meal? Or hey, you could also join the fight for a $15 minimum wage.
  2. There are homeless people who don’t get to eat regularly. Think of ways to help them. Maybe volunteer at a shelter in your community. In the Ottawa area there is Shepherds of Good Hope, The Ottawa Mission, and Carling Family Shelter, to name a few.
  3. There are children who don’t get regular meals. Think of ways to ensure children aren’t starving in your community. And teens. Places like Ottawa Innercity Ministries help at risk youth. And Youth Services Bureau too.
  4. There are soldiers who died so you could sit around doing nothing productive for your country discussing the pros and cons of cake eating. There are soldiers alive now who can barely afford to live. You can help out at one of the homeless shelters and campaign for mental health funding as many veterans are homeless due to their struggles with PTSD. Instead of just tweeting about mental health for a day, get involved during the other 364 days of the year.
  5. There are aboriginal people who have had poor water conditions longer than those that Flint has been facing. The Wabano Centre is a place in Ottawa that aims to improve the lives of aboriginals, so you could donate to them. You can bombard the Prime Minister’s office with letters to help too. If you’re a plumber, you could do what the plumbers in Michigan are doing and gather your plumber buddies together to fix the plumbing systems on the reserves.
  6. There are people who are beaten regularly because of who they love. Many marriages might be overturned in the coming months. If you see someone being bullied, stand up for them. Increase awareness that LGBTQ+ people are people and they deserve to live freely too.
  7. There are women who are now living in a country with a president who believes it’s open season on their vaginas. Stand up for your female friends whenever an asshole thinks it’s okay to touch her when she doesn’t want to be. Tell your friends to respect women. Help a friend get to the police or a woman’s shelter.
  8. There is a man in control of one of the most powerful nations in the world who might bring about a civil war or WWIII. Okay, this one might be overly alarmist, but still a better topic than cake in restaurants. Keep fighting for the right to live free of hate.

So how about you let other people have their cake and direct your energy to solving a real problem rather than spewing asinine bullshit like, “No one needs to eat dessert. It’s healthier not to eat it.” When you say shit like that, you are projecting your own lifestyle choices on someone else. You might enjoy not having dessert or are looking for some company while you diet, but their reality may be more like an inability to fully participate in an event.

Get off social media and find a real cause to fight for or do anything else really.

Like eat cake. Taste the spongy goodness and lick that icing like your life depends on it.

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – What Next?

Made using Bitmoji

Like many others, it was hard to function yesterday. I’m still upset, but I’ve had more sleep and I’ve read a lot. I’ve also seen a lot on social media, some of which includes things that have yet to be corroborated or have been debunked by sites like Snopes, but I digress.

There will be many challenges ahead. You must have courage to face them. When things seem hopeless, I find what is in my realm of control and do something about those things. This is what keeps me going.

Yesterday, I felt awful. We don’t know yet the full consequences and won’t for some time. What do we know?

We still have to eat, do laundry, and care for loved ones. We still have jobs and bills. The sun still rises.

Your goals may be harder to achieve in some ways. I find breaking goals down into smaller pieces helps me. As an example, my martial arts grading is happening at the end of this month. There are things that can’t be improved before then. I’m just not advanced enough or I’ve picked up some bad habits that I can’t break in time. That’s okay. 

What can I control? I can ensure my sword tip is in the right place by practicing putting my body under it as I move and by keeping the meaning of the kata at the forefront of my mind. I can also show confidence during my grading. I can practice my etiquette repeatedly. I can practice with a timer. I can practice all the kata as much as possible. So I don’t have to worry as much about my outfit looking right, I sewed my juban into my gi:

I can’t control what the future will bring. No matter how much I prepare, the judges are completely within their rights to fail me for just about any reason they can find.

I can control whether I put positivity or negativity out on my blog. 

I can also practice self care by taking myself out of situations that I find too stressful and by eating properly, exercising, learning new things, making new friends, decompressing with a movie, etc.

The world isn’t over. Take one day at a time. 

And when you’re ready, take reasonable actions that make a difference. Attacking the other side just increases hatred and violence. The revolutionaries of the past didn’t make change happen by vandalizing things. They stood up on a bus and said no. 

From QuotationOf.com

Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring reality. Self defense classes may be good for learning to protect yourself and loved ones while helping you deal with the stress of the future.

Art is another good outlet. Writing, painting, drawing, music, leatherwork, jewellery, pottery, rope making, knitting, crocheting, beading, smithing, photography, etc.

Read. Read things to escape. Read things to learn. Read things to figure out how to make it better.

Find others with whom to fight in a way that isn’t filled with arson, violence, and hatred. If someone damaged my car, I wouldn’t think their claims of not being an asshole were valid. The way you do things matters almost as much as the thing you are doing.

And if it gets too bad, seriously consider moving. Think about going to a swing state where you can make a difference in the future. If you do decide that Canada is the place to go, go to a smaller city and open a business. We have job shortages too. Read about places in Canada that need help. If you love snow and can do physical labour, there is an island in the East called Cape Breton that needs people. 

I will leave you with a nice video about things said by an amazing woman named Maya

Ciao,

R~

WTF Wednesday – Deeply Afraid and Deeply Saddened.

Approximately five hours ago, I cried myself to sleep out of fear for what the future holds.

Early this morning, I learned the difference between a Canadian and an American. I know. #notallAmericans

Four years is enough time to do irreparable damage to the world.
I can only hope that many of his election promises won’t be met. I can only hope that somehow, Canada can lend a cup of sugar without being dragged into a war.

To my American friends, I hope no harm comes to you or your loved ones. 

R~

Funky Friday: May Long Weekend

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

This post was pre-scheduled because I’m traveling for a martial arts seminar this long weekend. I hope this doesn’t diminish your reading pleasure.

Personal

  • Mixed: The other day, my boss announced he’s retiring at the end of May. They’re splitting up my department and I’ll have a new boss. Hopefully, this will be a good change and the transition goes smoothly.
  • Super Duper Excited: This weekend is the annual Sei Do Kai seminar in Guelph. I look forward to this event all year. It’s a weekend filled with hardcore training and heavy socializing. It will exhaust me, but it’s worth it. Sounds like it will be filled with gaming too.

Ottawa

  • Intrigued: Need some geek food?
  • Shocked: I can’t believe the Movati gym that is not allowing a woman to wear a tank top because of her bust size. It’s not like her girls aren’t contained within the top and her bra. She’s not going around flashing people. Ridiculous.

Ontario

  • Awed: A First Nations reserve has raised money to help the Albertans affected by the forest fire. This particular reserve has been plagued with suicides. Will Alberta help them in return? I know the community isn’t expecting anything in return, but I think that a community that is suffering as much as theirs that is giving so much to others deserves some help in return.
  • Disgusted: An ultrasound company in Ontario has been giving out the same photo to multiple expectant parents.

Canada

  • Annoyed: There is too much, IMO, being made of the PM accidentally bumping into someone in Parliament and leading someone else away from the commotion. He’s a boxer. If he wanted to hurt someone he’d use his fists. He’s apologized multiple times now. Can everyone just accept he’s the PM and let him do his job? Can the MPs just do their actual job, which is representing the people that voted for them and not act like spoiled children?

World

  • Amused: J. K. Rowling supports Trump’s right to free speech: “His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot.” Love that woman.
  • Worried: EgyptAir flight MS804 has crashed. I hope they find the plane and I hope there are survivors. I hope this resolves soon for all those involved.

Well, I’ll probably still be in a car on the way while you read this. I could also be sleeping in the car because I’ve had so much to do leading up to this weekend. I hope you all have wonderful weekends!

Ciao,
R~

An Eventful Weekend

I’m still alive! Things have been eventful though.

Can-Con 2015

When I last posted, Can-Con had just begun. The rest of it went by in a blur.

On Day 2 I attended a panel called, “Ask a Doctor Anything.” I asked questions about amputation for my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel Scion, which I’m trying to finish this year.

I can’t recall what I did next, but I think it was change into my hakama and keiko gi to get ready for the panel I was part of. Or maybe that’s when I went to the one on villains.

I’m not going to lie, it felt damned cool to be a panelist. I enjoyed demonstrating some moves and the attendees got a chuckle when I did. They learned size doesn’t matter as technique will prevail. I feel like we could have used 2 hours rather than one. One hour to talk and take questions and the other to demonstrate techniques and scenarios. I didn’t get to talk much, but as it was my first panel, I’m all right with that.

Almost immediately after that, I pitched my novel and they requested the manuscript, which I spent the rest of Sunday, all of Monday, and some of Tuesday fixing up. I hope they like it. They said I would know by January. I think there might be some parts written too passively, but hopefully there’s enough good that they see potential in it. I don’t mind rewriting parts as that’ll make it better.

Next, I cared for our table in the vendor’s area then had food and attended some panels. I caught some of the blood spatter panel where I learned that amputation of a live limb will create arterial spurt.

There was an interesting panel on Eco-Fiction, but I didn’t get as much as I thought I might from it. My friend enjoyed it though.

There was the paper airplane contest as well. I managed to sing in front of people this year. It’s odd. I was once part of a choir and had no issue singing as part of a group in front of other people. I can sing decently alone or around a small group of trusted friends. Each time I tried to sing for an audition in high school, I nearly became Willow Rosenburg in that nightmares come true episode. Last year, I had a visceral reaction to the idea and nearly went into a fetal position. This year I managed many brown notes from the opening to Supernatural. Progress.

The Hallowe’en party had several people taking pictures of my Hit Girl costume. I’m petite, so it’s fairly easy to pull off this character.

Sunday I opened the table, had my second pitch, and another Blue Pencil. My book wasn’t what they were looking for. A friend got that response from them too. At the Blue Pencil, I got tips on my opening chapter, which I incorporated in my edits before submitting my manuscript.

I have a lot to learn about selling books. I sold one the entire weekend, but that’s better than zero. I also way overestimated how many chapbooks to make. Oops.

Scion

I began writing Scion in May 2010, a month after graduating with a Business degree in Technology Management. I also began shotokan karate shortly thereafter.

As my first novel attempt, I knew how to write, but not how to get passed the 32,000 word wall. That’s a common place for stories to get stuck for some reason.

I also didn’t know enough about things like The Hero’s Journey. I’m unsure if there are other forms for novels beyond the hero’s journey…

I’ve returned to this project with more experience and at least one clue of what to do to finish it.

I’m starting with the lead up to the amputation scene… Fun stuff.

Well I’m starting later than I hoped to, but I think 450 words is an okay start.

Politics

Today made me proud to be Canadian and hopeful for the future. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sworn in today with his cabinet. He stayed true to his word and selected a diverse cabinet filled with women, minorities, and even someone confined to a wheelchair. He created a new position: Minister of Science. A woman holds that seat. This cabinet reflects the diversity in Canada. It’s a cabinet for and of the people.

I never thought I’d be writing about politics, but Justin makes me care. It’s like we finally have a real leader in this country who’s also a human being.

I tuned into the brief Google Hangout he had with school children after the swearing in ceremony. The chat screen was annoying. There were several people yelling for legalization to happen.

I’m pro legalization, but there are vastly more important things to handle first. Syria and the refugees. The missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Bill C-51. Also, Trudeau has stated that it must be implemented in a way that ensures it’s not accessible to youth. He’s likely talking to Colorado about what problems they ran into, so we don’t have problems here. It’s more important that those in need of medicinal marijuana get access first. It’s more important that the textiles and other goods can be created. Those will give people jobs. Recreational use will come, but give the man a chance to do it right and stop screaming for it in inappropriate places like the chat room for elementary schools.

Ciao,
R~