A Spoon Full of Cereal Helps the Milk Go Down: A Hungry Strike

It's A Good Day For A Super Big Bowl Of Cereal - Casper Blog
Pick Your Fave!

Cereal has always been one of those go to foods for me that I have always counted on whether its to kill some hunger pangs, silence an angry stomach that doesn’t know what it wants to eat, or make me feel good inside. And before all of the Nutrition/Dietary Maniacs get on their soap boxes, I am fully aware of where this food staple in my life falls short. In the last few years I have strayed from time to time away from the safer, healthier choices of cereal that would habitually line my cupboards. Every now and again my other half would buy a small box of Sugary Delight, and indulge occasionally in a bowl. I’d toss my nose up in the air as if it was inconceivable to consider eating a bowl of cereal that only as I child I was allowed to have when we went camping. You see, these were “Sugar Cereals,” and if I didn’t know better they may as well have been the devil according the searing Kathy Bates voice in my head. Mama did not let little Cece D such garbage, and forget being allowed to add sugar to my plain CHEERIOS. Read More About That Tale Here. However, the joke would be on my mother when the CARBS ARE BAD era arrived, and all cereal was clumped into that category. But somehow the trauma of my no sugar childhood clearly stuck with me. I had not bought a fun cereal ever until I realized the pie I had just smashed was doing me no favors either.

My palette required some level of priming before I went all the way balls deep into the hard stuff. I started with the Honey Nut Cheerios and Vanilla Special K, moving onwards to the flavorful Honey Combs and scrumptious Frosted Flakes. My taste buds awakened like the blood vessels of crack cocaine addict, and I was left strung out needing more on a daily basis, it was the first thing I’d think of when I woke up. As my tolerance for candy covered processed grains grew stronger it seemed as if I would not be satisfied until I could find the right balance of crystalized glaze, upholding itself against the saturating milk.

But Alas, my other half is not just a pretty face, he is a connoisseur of all things sinful and indulgent, and he had placed something new into the cart one day that I had never seen before. It’s box- bright yellow like a singing Canary; boasting bold, colorful letters that sung a Sonnet into my heart “Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries.” The audacity this cereal had claiming it was so Crunchy that it deserved the word Crunch twice in its name. This particular delicacy has ruined me for all other cereals as Quaker has somehow managed to corner the niche market on the gastronomical science of crunch. I could take 20 minutes to eat my luscious bowl of crunchy morsels and they show no mercy against the milk’s ominous attempt to penetrate its sugary walls. That my friends is the sign of an exemplary cereal in my eyes. So much so, that the roof of my mouth was no match for its piercing swords lacerating me with its crunchiness. But like all good things they must come to an end, surely the roof of my mouth spoke that truth.

Now you may be thinking from the sounds of it, that I need an intervention of sorts. And I assure you there will be one as soon as these Covid Restrictions ease up and I can return to the gym. I’m in what I have come to call a “HUNGRY STRIKE.” I’ve realized -Why make life harder with more restrictions added to it like cutting carbs at a time like this. And seeing as these restrictions may carry on for some time, I’ve taken my interest to the Magical World of the Interweb where communities alike gather and share their own field research in regards to Cereal, or Nuggets of The Sun that I more commonly refer to it as.

Lucas Kwan Peterson, a Columnist from Los Angeles Times broke it down to a Science with the article: The official breakfast cereal power rankings: Part I

On BuzzFeed they posted Literally Just 21 Funny Tweets About Cereal

My Favorite Tweet by Aaron Edwards @aaronmedwards

” I think Frosted Flakes are actually the dandruff of angels.”

You cannot get more poignant than that Mr. Edwards.

As I searched further for others to join my Hungry Strike Brigade, I came across something that felt like may give the Cap’n a run for his money. The magical sorcery of these cereal makers continues to keep me in awe as I uncovered that they indeed had made a Twinkies Cereal. You heard me…little tiny Twinkies that you could spoon into your mouth at a rate much faster than you could stuff a whole Twinkie in there.

“Between Popeyes chicken sandwich and this crap we all gonna die before 55.”


— One Instagram user’s response to the new Twinkies Cereal

According to Josh Jans, Brand Manager of Cereal Partnerships at Post Consumer Brands, said in a statement: “In developing a cereal version of the iconic Twinkies, our top priority was focused on delivering the great Twinkies flavor in each bite. And unless you have been living under a rock Twinkies became a hot commodity as Hostess Brands, the owner of Twinkies, went out of business in 2012. Approximately 18,500 employees lost their jobs and 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes, and 570 bakery outlets were closed.

In conclusion, whether you are a stoner who loves the muncheroos, or an adult working through her sugar free childhood trauma-cereal is the bomb. Ultimately I will need to wean myself from its tender clutch, and pretend we don’t know each other when we pass one another in the aisles. But like a booty call that hits you up at 2am with the “You Up” text 2 years later, you know it will always be there for you if you need a dose of frivolous pleasure.

Thanks for Coming By For Another Broads Tale.

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Bell Lets Talk Day 2021- CECE D. Walks the TALK.

What is #BellLetsTalk? Mental health campaign to raise awareness

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day- And unless you are some kind of superhuman, you are really feeling it right now. Feeling the isolation, loneliness and just overall weight of the world while everything hangs in uncertainty.

So Lets Talk. And let me remind those that you are not alone in how you feel.

I commonly get the statement from friends and peers that I always seem to come across like I have it together. And in all honesty I’m not really sure why, as I’m fairly transparent; I always assumed my brand of crazy came across pretty clearly. I cycle from being sometimes quite

You see, I have struggled with depression for the last 10 years. It wouldn’t be until the last 3 years that I was diagnosed with not only depression, but anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder and PTSD. And it would be only in the last 3 years that I have consistently remained on medication as well as accessed therapeutic supports to manage what I’m going to assume something I will need to treat for the remainder of my life. I used to go off medications when I had assumed I had gotten better, only to find myself rapidly deteriorate and in the same spot as before- the gutter. I had assumed that depression only needed to be treated when you were at your worst, and it was something you treated until you felt better or that you no longer needed medication. I couldn’t have been more wrong when it came to myself and what I needed to remain well and stable.

Let me also share that my health and wellness not only depends on medication, but therapy and a consistent awareness around advocating for self care and healthy boundaries. I rely on exercise, my family, and doing the things that keep me hopeful, busy and passionately engaged. With the current lock down here in Alberta and the frigid weather, my Mental Health- specifically my anxiety is through the damn roof. I’m not OKAY!

Time for some honesty…isn’t this what this is all about.

Last week my boyfriend had let the dog outside in the middle of the night to go pee. She has been doing thing lately where she comes to the door to come in, but then doesn’t want to come in, she wants you to come out and play. So she was doing this dance repeatedly and was refusing to come in despite multiple attempts. I was in bed, but for some reason started to become anxious about, what if she gets out of the yard, what if she eats something she shouldn’t be, what if someone comes and steals her. My boyfriend who was dealing with it saw me get up to get her in. I literally could not go to sleep until she was in. My boyfriend who “had it”, saw that I was circling and wanting to take control. He told me to back off and go to sleep. I simply could not. I went as far as making an excuse to go downstairs and make toast in the middle of the night so I could intervene and bring her in. Not surprisingly, she did the same to me and wouldn’t come in. Then I started a fight. I got so angry because I felt my boyfriend was impeding on my need to ease my anxiety and I felt powerless. We fought the next day about it until I told him what was happening for me. He understood and wished I had just shared what was going on. To be honest I was embarrassed that such a small thing caused me to loose all sense of reality and faith in him, not to mention my back yard is 100% safe.

Yesterday I had received a call at 5:15pm on one of my files and I knew that the following day would be a literal shit show. I was already anticipating the level of work that I’d be facing, and began to do the work in my head that could have waited. It snowballed from there. I became fidgety, then itchy, then completely restless as I could not settle myself into bed. I began to pace, went pee like 8 times, fumbled around for things that I was trying to organize for the next day. Then I couldn’t find my medication and began worrying that my dog ate it as I had found a rogue lid from prescriptions past. I began searching my car, purses, laundry, dogs mouth…this went on for an hour. I finally found it- it had fallen into my top drawer, clearly fumbling out of the bag I hold it in safely so that my dog can’t get a hold of it. But before I could actually honor the care I typically take around my dogs safety I was sure my dog was going to die- despite her totally normal behavior. This my friends is anxiety. It trumps any kind of confidence you have in yourself.

After this it would take almost the entirety of the night for my partner who now recognized the signs that I was spiraling. I would cry and release all of the worry, sharing things that were even alarming to myself. I would tell him that I was feeling like what is the purpose of living right now and that I felt like there is nothing that provides me hope that resolve or normalcy is near. I told him I was exhausted with staying positive and working so hard to keep it together. “Everyday feels the same,” I feel like everyday, and everyday I feel alone.” I feel alone at work when I go to an office that only allows one team member there at a time, so I don’t see my co-workers. I feel alone in all my meetings I hold as I meet with strangers from behind masks, and deal with serious issues, for me to deal with alone. I feel alone as I walk through a city, only seeing eyes that show no smiles or expression as they are protected behind masks. I feel invisible as others don’t see my smiles directed at them and ignored as they cannot see my desire to connect. I told him I feel like “I’m walking in a world of zombies.” I continued to scratch and rub my body and face as the energy released itself from my body. He would hold me tight me, keep me grounded in an embrace that was enough to lull me to sleep finally after 5 straight hours of this.

I woke up this morning tired obviously, but I bravely put one step in front of the other, had a shower, took my medication and reached out to a few friends. I shared that I was struggling, and they listened and told me they too were feeling the same way. I felt comforted that they too were “crazy” like me, and in fact not crazy at all but human.

I continue to hope the gyms open up, I need to move and I need to release this toxic energy in my body. As we await to hear whether things will open up I continue to consider other alternatives. I thought to myself, maybe I will take up a friends advise and go purchase a CBD pen to use before bed, or maybe I’d just go ahead and take an edible…at this rate I’m open to anything!

I hope you all can share your stories on Bell Let’s Talk Day so that we can continue to build a community of acceptance with normalizing Mental Health discussions.

Cece D’s Behind the Times Tech Finds: My Top 7 New Have to Haves… “Hello Amazon?”

I make it no secret that when it comes to Tech I’m behind the times big time… You can imagine the chaos and turmoil it created in my brain when I got a new ChromeBook for Christmas. My honey buns thought he’d get me something to make my blogging, vlogging and social media easier-in his defense it should have.

But to avoid continuing down this slippery slope where its easy to fall behind, especially at my young age of 42 when I can still remember the simplicity of dial up internet. So here it goes with my most recent not so new finds that I need.

1.

AKC Plus Smart Dog Tracker

Get the smart pet wearable for smart pet parents and you’ll be on your way to easily tracking your pup, monitoring his activity, and staying connected with him 24/7/365 all from the comfort and convenience of your phone.

• Attach the Link Plus to your pet’s collar, or purchase the Classic Link Collar to get connected

• Stay classy with a genuine leather device recommended for pets 10+ lbs.

• Track your pet’s location from your phone

• Get customized activity recommendations

• Use the remote turn-on light for safety

• Enhance training with the remote turn-on sound feature

• Feel at ease with shock resistance & waterproof materials (IP67)

• Stay connected for longer with enhanced battery life

2.

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Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker

For the folks who are always misplacing her keys, this practical piece of tech will be able to tell you exactly where your phone and other essential items are at all times. The Pro is their best and most durable Tile. It’s ideal for keys, backpacks, athletic gear or anything else you value. Pro has a 400 ft. Bluetooth range, our loudest ring and a user replaceable battery. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing you can open the app and tap Find to locate your stuff.

3.

Smart Water Bottle-Hidrate Spark 3

Chances are, you may consumes more coffee than water at times. Make sure you never get dehydrated again—thanks to this BPA-free, bluetooth-enabled water bottle. It syncs with your phone, tracks how much you sip each day, and lights up when you’ve gone too long without water.

4.

The Charging Cord Bracelet

Never worry about your phone dying again when you’re out and about.   This stylish bracelet actually doubles as a charging cord and is one of my faves of the year.  You can snag this one in white or black.

5.

Cool Tech Gifts 2021: Sleep
The Philips SmartSleep Light Therapy Lamp

If they’re struggling with sleep like I am, this will help to improve.  This best-selling sleep and wake-up lamp will help wind you down at night with a new relax and breathe function and will help to gradually wake up before your alarm goes off as this lamp will slowly get brighter in the morning to simulate a natural sunrise. If you live in winter for half the year like I do here in Calgary, this is a must!

6.

The Bartesian Premium Cocktail Machine

Make the most amazing cocktails (like margaritas, martinis, old fashioned and more) with this expertly created cocktail machine.  You supply the booze and they supply the drink capsules and are sure to precisely measure everything out.

7.

The Mirror- Virtual Work Out System

A bulky stationary bike isn’t the sexiest decor to bring into your house-nor is it the cheapest these days. But this sleek mirror that transforms into an at-home workout station will fit right into any space. No matter if you are a die-hard yogi, love punching it out in a boxing class, or prefer working with a personal trainer, this mirror has it all—and you can check yourself out the entire time.

Check out These Valentine Day Themed Tech Gifts!

A Lasting Affair With Las Vegas: We Shall Meet Again On A Hot Scorching Day

Las Vegas for those that are visiting can deliver a multitude of impressions depending on the person, age, financial status and moral compass they live by. You have your Las Vegas Show Bunnies in their sensible Naturalizer sandals who flock to see Celine Dion, Chris Angel and the Chippendales. You have your conference attendees who peruse the halls at the MGM in their lanyards juggling their plastic swag bags and their atrociously obnoxious neon Margaritaville glasses. Half Sugar half bottom shelf vodka. Then you have your bachelorette/bachelor crews where at any given point someone is barfing, someone is crying, and someone is having public sex. There are so many types of visitors worth mentioning which is why Las Vegas hands down can be the most fascinating place in the world to people watch in. Perhaps this is why I have always found it such a seductive city to the senses, whereby mine are on high alert from dusk til’ dawn.

I’m happy to be alive in order to share my Vegas Talez as my moral compass has often been left at the airport gate once I’ve landed at McCarran International Airport. I’ve been a frequent traveler to Las Vegas since 2011 where I was one of those bachelorettes, minus the penis straws and feather boa’s. My girlfriends are far more refined when it comes to protecting the image we aim to uphold, until the tequila and dirty martini’s begin to flow like the Nile.

In 2011 I went to Las Vegas with $500 bucks in hand, sporting my newly installed feather extensions. I had packed 3 new Victoria Secret Swimsuits, an assortment of bandage dresses, and enough blinged out costume jewelry that would make Joan Rivers proud. My maid of honor at that time was a well seasoned Vegas Pro and had set us up in a beautiful Suite at the VDARA, and had us lined up for all the best pool day parties. I remember pulling up to the VDARA with its dramatic design by world renown architect Rafael Viñoly. The opulence of the Lobby included a splendorous array of fine art by Frank Stella at the Front Desk to the specifically commissioned work by Peter Wegner in the Concierge Living Room. Every element existing in unison to create a sensation of peaceful serenity making the stench of harsh heat on dirty Vegas pavement a distant memory. I won’t bore you with the details of my Las Vegas maiden voyage as those details will go with me to the grave. I’ve been sworn to secrecy to protect the identity of the attendees, strippers, as well as the men and women’s hearts that were broken that weekend. It’s safe to say that my first trip to Las Vegas as a bachelorette would be the beginning of my love/hate affair with this the Vegas day & night life.

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Fast forward 9 years later, and while my gross yearly income has not changed significantly I cannot imagine surviving in Vegas on $500.00 spending money. My affluent tastes have since surpassed that measly stipend and I blame the enablers who have brought me to this point of no return. To all intents and purposes, I actually owe a great deal of gratitude the people, friends and family along the way that opened my world to these luxurious escapades I would have not otherwise had the pleasure of experiencing. I would go on to experience the beautiful resort properties of the Wynn, Encore, Aria, Bellagio, Cosmopolitan and my favorite The Palms Place. I could go on about what I love about each property but will save for another time as they all deserve to be highlighted in various ways.

Back to the Party!

You see in the early years of my Vegas trips, I quickly learned what type of Vegas visitor I was. I was aroused by the scintillating synthesis of the senses that the Las Vegas Party Scene created. The immersion of architectural/ interior design, bewitchingly sexy bodies and Tantric base of the music can be as powerful as a snake charmer drawing you into a web of indeterminate adventure.

Drai's Dress Code | Drai's Beachclub & Nightclub

I favorably smile upon the time a group of us had a front and center table at Drais Nightclub during the infamous Las Vegas AVN Adult Entertainment Expo held there yearly where we were flanked on each side by the porn industries finest. As the night progressed, the bodies became more and more entangled, woven together, and bound by the rich smell of the leather seats, sticky with champagne and mixed juices. I’d fall back into it, feeling the warmth pulsate through my body admiring the kinetic light show that made it all feel like a dream. In fact it was a dream come true as my senses fluctuated between the touch of a hand, a kiss from glorious engorged lips to the disarming aroma of vanilla and rose oils. Calvin Harris’ music would move my body with no inhibitions and find the beat at every moment, shifting with the audio-visual ques of the screens around me. Tall handsome security men, dressed in fitted black dress shirts and tailored to fit pants would open the red ropes for me, offering a muscular helping arm as I wobbled unstably in my platform heels. They would dote, smile and ensure my safety at all times keeping the undesirables away while facilitating the desirable’s entry towards me. The heat from the crowd would wet the baby hairs along my hairline, creating a crystal glimmer on all of our skin, capturing the lights. My dream wouldn’t end here though.

XS Nightclub Bottle Service | Surreal
Aviccii Announces Final Vegas Dates - Pace.Vegas
Avicii @ XS Nightclub

The Cabana’s at XS Nightclub would prove to be another formidable experience to add to my mounting repertoire of rapture. I had been to XS many times and experienced their bottle services, having seen some of the best DJ’s in the world there perform. Ironically I remember being front and center on the dance floor for RL Grime, and there beside me stood the late Avicii, completely blended into the crowd. We looked at one another seemingly in the same state of euphoria that bonded us in the moment requiring no verbal communication. We had established that we were both there for the musical intoxicating rush, and neither of us would ruin that for the other by exposing his presence among us common folk.

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But alas, I had no time for the common folk when I entered the beautiful and luxurious realm of the XS Cabana’s. The warm red hue’s of the private bungalows offset by the glow of the surrounding turquoise lit pool was the perfect backdrop to take in the Chainsmokers who were performing that night. My feet swollen and sore from dancing the previous 3 nights away welcomed the lavish cushioned sofas and ottomans that prove to be my most welcomed ally for the night. They propelled me higher into the Las Vegas night sky where I could watch from my elevated perch the magical circus below. I’d dance all night in the comfort of our very own Moroccan themed palace, until both magnums of Belvedere were gone. What a Glorious Hot Mess I was leaving the Wynn Resort that night.

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Lounging in my Palace at XS

There were many more of these incredibly unique only to Las Vegas experiences, however I must mention my favorite type of Las Vegas parties, which is the Day Pool Parties. Whether it be Wet Republic, Encore Beach Club or Drais, they all offer an incredible way to avoid having to wear heels and minimal attire to flaunt your best assets. Again the Cabana’s are wonderful to retreat to out of the hot sun or if you are requiring an intermittent disco nap. However, getting a day bed in the center of the mix is the best way to go in my opinion. You can take advantage of all the bottle service and menu perks while staying relevant in the sea of sexy wet bodies. People GO HARD in the daytime in Las Vegas, and if you are able to resist the magnetic energy flowing than I’m going to assume you have no heartbeat. One can’t help but grin with a childish glee when the base line drops and alcohol tainted chlorine water begins to splash about like a manic tidal wave breaking free from its intended form. When you look around, everyone has the same foolish grin, ignoring the fact that any other time they’d typically be guarding their mouths and open drinks from potential contamination. Its in that moment you say:

Who fucking cares, flap your wings and get your eagle on girl, mascara can be fixed!

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https://instagram.com/p/BEhLlhlIpk1/

Such carefree elation like this comes at a cost however both in the traditional, emotional and physical sense. It typically hits me as I approach my airport gate, where I search for a corner on the floor to rest my weary head until my flight is called to leave. The come down from a sensory high like this can be harsh and cruel as many of us return to mingle among the common folk where we appropriately belong. Boarding the plane with imaginary mangled crown sliding off my head by the minute I’m usually seated in the middle between the conference go-er and the Show bunny. Neither appear to be impressed by the sweet lingering smell of vodka and sin emanating from my pores. The remainder of the flight I will fall into a coma sleep, head bobbing and drooling pathetically. I’ll recover, and the discomfort I’m in will fade away, lusting for another Las Vegas affair.

Correspondence From the Past- Remembering my Father, and the Beauty Behind Letters.

As a mother of a 20- something year old I have to say that I was never the type to hang to too many memento’s of hers. I would keep the random cute drawing, a report card or too, and few baby items that I felt one day she may appreciate. As it stands right now, she has no interest in any of it- so therefore I am obliged to hang on to it until perhaps 10 years from now she still will have no interest in it.

I have moved so many times over the last 15 years that the opportunity to unload and let go of stuff has become customary. I often tell myself as I’m offloading this stuff that if I did not remember I even had it, I probably do not need to hang on to it. So basically I Marie Kondo the F*** out of my house on a monthly basis.

That was until I had my elderly mother move in with us.

When we moved into a much larger home you would think that after having moved her from British Columbia only a year before that she would have very limited belongings.

Wrong.

This woman has kept everything…as in she still has my reward for “Participation” ribbons. Mementos of my mediocre attempts at anything academic or athletics. My mother also loves to hang onto cards from anniversaries, birthdays, thank you’s…she has boxes of these cards. In addition, the family heirlooms and antique furniture that do hold value, however in the context of my own love for more contemporary décor, stick out like a sore thumb. But at the end of the day I tolerate it obligingly- my mom deserves to be surrounded by the familiar things she has grown to love and cherish.

More recently my mom decided to introduce a new desk into her room so that she could house more of her stuff and perhaps alphabetize her cards and categorize the bill statements she has hung onto since 1995. As she was going through her things she had come across some letters from my father when he had taken a job overseas in Tanzania. Read Here about those adventures! Part 1 and Part 2

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Mom and Dad- August 2011

Now if there was anything to ever hang on to this would be it. My father passed away in August of 2016 after a long battle with organ failure complicated by dementia. For about 10 years prior to his death, my father had deteriorated and what was left the man I had remembered had been long gone. So when my mom came across these letters to her, I was able to revisit a time when he was vibrant, humorous and the father that I had grew up with. I had long forgotten this side of him, as the decade prior to his passing was overshadowed by so much stress and worry while we advocated for placement and my mom was left as a caregiver.

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Dad on the Sailboat he built–1990
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University Graduation 2007

Before his health declined my father was a hard worker- in fact a workaholic. He was determined to provide for his family-despite some underlying mental health and addiction issues that I’ll save for another time. My father had served in the Canadian air force, taught college Electronics engineering, was a boat builder, woodworker, and avid fisherman. He worked all over the world, and one of his last jobs brought him to Tanzania as mentioned.

Here are some of the excerpts from his letters that I will hang onto without a doubt. Hope you enjoy!

Mgololo, Tanzania 1991
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Love You Dad- Miss You.

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: The Power Of a Woman Pack

I’m often faced with the question as to what is my website/blog about and I typically struggle articulating in person what I believe to be a fairly simple concept: Welcome to my ADD brain!

Simply Put: I want to develop a network of women who carry the wisdom and knowledge of their own unique experiences within business, activism, and community programs for the purposes of inspiring others through a genuine connection through their background story. I felt that in order to encourage others in doing so, I’d have to make myself vulnerable as well through writing about my own experiences, interests, successes and failures.

There are a few reasons behind why I felt passionate about taking on this new creative outlet.

1. I feel very strong that society needs a lesson on how to practice acceptance, tolerance, respect and learn how to engage in ways that open those windows more to understand rather than polarize. But society as a whole is difficult to tackle and I can’t speak for “society” as a whole, but I can speak from my lens as a Caucasian middle aged woman who has a duty to participate in change.

2. Feminism is a spectrum that can often be discriminatory, and I believe being inclusive of our Trans, non-binary, two spirited, gender fluid folk’s needs to be represented in my content in order to facilitate a place at the brunch table.

3. There are many people out there accomplishing meaningful successes in the shadows, and these people deserve a spotlight as to encourage and validate their strength, resilience and fearlessness. Often it is the loudest, social media savvy, aesthetically pleasing dolls that get the spotlight, and it’s our jobs to celebrate authenticity and bring these humble quiet angels to the forefront.

4. We feel better when we know we are supporting and contributing to a business or program that we have an emotional connection to. This is a trait that a large majority of us carry and can be funneled into building up a large mentoring network but also generating capital and promoting small businesses, social activism and community programs.

What’s been holding us back and why do I feel like we need a shift?

What I have observed that has impeded on our ability to evolve in unifying and support each other has its roots I assume from our early school years. What started in elementary school as girl-on-girl bullying in its original hair pulling form, bloomed rapidly into women engaging in conscious tear-downs in the adult world against one another. The younger generation now faces the additional harmful world of internet bullying, and it’s not just isolated to teen girls. We can often observe the passive aggressive FB statuses and public pokes in our social feeds that often leave a lingering disgruntled effect on those targeted publicly. You have to ask yourself how did this happen?

Gossip. Poor Boundaries. Betrayal. Envy. Language.

And while I acknowledge systemic sexism, we have been our biggest enemies to one another by subscribing to a culture of competition whereby women are competing for partners, jobs, best in motherhood, in sexiness, in meal preparation, in parties, in got-it-all-togetherness. Within this competition you’ll find eye-rolling, cutting other women down with words, whispers, divulging information that isn’t ours to share, shaming other women for their choices, and protesting with our emotions, absence, or silence.

In an article by CCL Laura Santana she states that “Many women resist networking and the problem is that a network left to chance is not the network you need.”

Laura advises that by ignoring networks, it can damage or limit careers and effectiveness — and this is true for both men and women. Her information is fitting because it aligns with my goal to facilitate a platform to build relationships and ties that is known to be an asset in getting access to information, earning promotions, and gaining opportunities.

“Having the right network is a real differentiator — and it’s not about the number of contacts or connections you have,” explains Santana. “High-quality networks are open and varied, with people who don’t all know each other. They are diverse, crossing critical boundaries. And core relationships are deep, trusting, and mutually beneficial.”

OK So Now What? Lets Take Action

I came across an article by Shelley Zalis, Senior contributor with Forbes women that really summed up the essence of what it is I want to expand on as I continue to build this network that subscribes to the BPE Mantra:

She states that there is research that shows women in particular benefit from collaboration over competition. Study after study shows women who support women are more successful in business. She pointed out by reversing the stereotype that women don’t support one another can be addressed through such practices as mentioned below:

Amplify other women. I love the Shine Theory, which is the idea that when you help another woman rise, we all shine. “Build other women up! If you see your co-worker doing a great job, give them credit…tell your boss or other co-workers,” says Rebecca Wiser, cofounder and director of communications at Womaze, an app centered on self-empowerment for women. “At first it may seem like you’re taking attention away from yourself, but you’re actually showing that you’re a supportive team player as well as an inspiring leader—and secure enough in yourself to praise others.”

Find your squad—and tap into them. Who would be your go-to group of girls if you had an emergency, needed honest advice, or wanted a key business introduction? When it comes to building relationships, you often get what you give.

For more info on this article click here.

As you can see, describing what appears to be a very simple concept is actually packed and loaded with so many variables that all deserve to be highlighted in more detail as we familiarize ourselves in new ways of supporting each other. I encourage you to continue to engage in this journey with me by following my blog and checking in on my website.

Articles worth reading:

https://hbr.org/2019/10/the-trillion-dollar-opportunity-in-supporting-female-entrepreneurs

https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelleyzalis/2019/03/06/power-of-the-pack-women-who-support-women-are-more-successful/#4b0a3f2b1771

Bedroom Escape Day: A list of Bedroom Activities for When the World is Sucking too Badly

My bedroom has always been my safe haven, my Cubbie Hole of Bliss you could say. And not just because for the obvious reasons *wink *wink, but there is something to be said about the calming effect it has on my spirit when I just need a break. Over the years I’ve mastered the art of soft lighting and luxurious textiles that caress my weathered skin, hungry for some solitude and kindness. Now that the snow has fallen my desire to batten down the hatches has grown even more so, drawing my blinds closed until the Spring.

As I mentioned before, by no means do I associate time to my bedroom as a place where I skulk and withdraw from Joy. In fact its where I come to recharge, free myself from the distractions and negativity in a space I can control. Every now and again I use it specifically for a day when I need to filter out the world a bit and get some reprieve from the ugly; Calgary weather included. When I’m in my fortress of solitude I don’t just lay in my bed with my covers pulled over my head like you may have imagined. In fact it may be some of the most productive time that I spend with myself. Some may wonder how is it possible to stay so busy and entertained within such a small space let alone by oneself. Well let me put you on to some simple ideas that you may want to consider next time you want a break from the world.

This idea came to me almost 10 years ago and has stuck ever since. It was rooted in nostalgia originally from my days in high school and university where we’d rotate stacks of fashion magazines. It seems like when social media took over and magazines/gossip could be accessed more readily online that the fascination with print died. In a genius move, I brought it back for days like this. I’d buy the Cosmopolitan, People, Vogue, and Rolling Stone to name a few. I’d read them from back to front like I had 20 years ago because we all know the juicy stuff was in the back. I love coming across the perfume tester pages so that I could rub its papery fragrance all over me like I was headed to a 7th grade dance hoping to score my first French kiss. But what is a stack of magazines without a bag of Twizzlers- its not so grab two!

Run yourself a professional bath- my bathroom is open concept so technically its still in my room. The decorative candles bordering your soaker tub that may have a layer of dust on them-Light those Puppies! For gods sake candles are meant to burn, and they aren’t an ambient accent unless they are lit sis. Next, throw on some kick ass jazz or whatever tunes get you singing along sorrowfully. For me its Nina Simone, Lana Del Ray, Tash Sultana, or my ultimate fave; 80’s Hair Band Ballads. Those you can really murder the best with your angelic voice as loudly as unnecessarily possible. I love a good ol’ sing along to some Guns and Roses Don’t Cry. I imagine you’ll remember lyrics that you hadn’t sang since you were backcombing your bangs and getting spiral perms. When your done, make sure you moisturize the hell out of your body with every miracle cream that’s under your sink and lay there butt ass naked until every fragrant globule of magical serum is absorbed. You may look like a buttered biscuit, but guess what, buttered biscuits are delicious.

Make yourself a snack platter you can graze on all day. It needs to be complete with all the cheeses, meats, dips, olives, bits and bites. Include some fruits to cut the salt intake, it will make you feel like you are indulging in a healthy way. Hell, even make yourself a jug of spa water and finish that up to ensure you are adequately hydrated as the goal here is to rejuvenate and recharge.

Do something creative whether its writing a blog, sketching, brainstorming interior design ideas, or coming up with small business ideas. These often can manifest themselves into bigger goals in the future that could materialize into new passions. Perhaps write a poem, or get out an old cute note book and jot down some free thought words. Let your mind go a bit and do something maybe out of the ordinary. Maybe you like nail art, try doing something different with your nails by watching a you tube tutorial on it. Or learn a new braid and practice it in the mirror. These are all little things that we often too busy for in our lives to consider as being alternatively mindless but pleasant ways to spend time with yourself.

Play dress up. Get into that closet of yours and drag out the items you don’t wear often. Try to put new outfits together with these items that you can get excited about when you emerge from your Cubbie of Bliss. In fact while your in there, organize a weeks worth of outfits ahead of time. If your up for it you can take it up a notch and do a full runway show, documenting how freaking amazing your style is and celebrating your ability to repurpose that sequined blazer you wore once at a new years party 5 years ago. Sequins never die queens.

Put on an old 80’s movie and fall asleep to it. Go sweetly into a wonderland of REM sleep that’s influenced by the movies white noise guiding your Adventures in Babysitting, or perhaps a day off with Bueller. For some reason I feel like these naps are best had in jeans…odd suggestion I know, but how often do we get to sleep in our day clothes? I find denim warm and all encompassing, holding me together like a hug I consented too. There is an underlying feeling of unfamiliarity napping in the daytime with my clothes on…it’s laziness coming to fruition, not something I personally can always enjoy without guilt. But in the Cubbie of Bliss, there are no rules and there is no guilt because here you can spend the day however you wish.

So as you can see I have some unique ideas tailored to my own personal comforts and quirks. They are merely a guide to ignite your own exploration around finding ways to be with yourself if you struggle to sit in isolation but feel weary from the world around you. In fact I came across an article in Forbes stating that there are 7 Science Based Reasons Why Should Spend More Time Alone.

According to Amy Moren, a psychotherapist and the international bestselling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do there are a multitude of studies that tout the benefits of solitude.

1. Alone time increases empathy. 

When you spend time with a certain circle of friends or your co-workers, you develop a “we vs. them” mentality. Spending time alone helps you develop more compassion for people who may not fit into your ‘inner circle.’

2. Solitude increases productivity.

Although so many offices have started creating open floor plans so everyone can communicate more easily, studies show being surrounded by people kills productivity. People perform better when they have a little privacy.

3. Solitude sparks creativity.

There’s a reason a lot of authors or artists want to go to a cabin in the woods or a private studio to work. Being alone with your thoughts gives your brain a chance to wander, which can help you become more creative.

4. Being alone can help you build mental strength.

We’re social creatures and it’s important for us to have strong connections with other people. But, solitude may be just as important. Studies show the ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction, and improved stress management. People who enjoy alone time experience less depression.

5. Solitude may reduce behavior problems in kids.

When you carve some solitude in your schedule you show your children that being along is a healthy thing to do. And research shows kids who learn to by themselves are better behaved than other children. Be a good role model and teach solitary skills early.

6. Being alone gives you an opportunity to plan your life.

Most people spend a lot of time planning weddings and vacations but never plan how to get the most out of life. Spending time alone can give you a chance to ensure there’s a purpose to all of your hustling and bustling. Quiet space provides an opportunity think about your goals, your progress, and changes you want to make in your life.

7. Solitude helps you know yourself.

Being alone helps you become more comfortable in your own skin. When you’re by yourself, you can make choices without outside influences. And that will help you develop more insight into who you are as a person.

Thank you for continuing to read, follow and comment on my unique brand of crazy tales and thoughts! Lett me know in the comment section what you love to do in solitude!

Relinquishing Independence and Inviting Interdependence: Understanding When its Safe to Let Go of Control.

Solo Vacation-Its a thing “Independent Women” Do.

This is a tough post to write because simply put, I’m pissed off. I never like to write when I’m upset because often my emotions at the best of times can be fleeting and reactive. And I am glad that I took the time to take a few days to cool off before publishing this post and took time the time to reflect upon what ignited my temper tantrum. You see, I feel more and more these days that my affinity for independence, has impeded on my ability to engage and trust in the idea of Interdependence- A term that up until recently seemed like a swear word.

To provide further insight to my inner workings, I am a deeply sensitive person, who has a history of being taken advantage of in previous romantic relationships, by friends, and family. Over the years I have become far more assertive in protecting my best interests, as these experiences have not only hurt but been a reminder that I often get tired of. These experiences have served only to reinforce the idea that the only person I can count on at the end of the day to protect my achievements, growth, and my value quite frankly is me. But what if this isn’t the case all the time?

Let me also just say before my loved ones read on and feel hurt by my unhinged thought processes, allow me to shine light on you first before I go any further. I do not want to minimize the people in my life that are amazing and loving supports who have been unwavering with their loyalty to me. Without them I would not be the reasonably sane person I am today. I feel like I belong and am important to those who show me love, kindness and thoughtfulness. They aspire me to continue being who I am in my most authentic form, and also why I’m writing this today. I believe it is my responsibility to address that no negative experiences from the past is going to discourage me from being who I love to be. They allow me the safety to love fearlessly- I’m in gratitude of that.

But as mentioned above sometimes I just get tired. You see, I have been indepedent for a very long time, long before I actually had developed the skills to actually carry that out sucessfully. I was a boarding school kid who’s parents lived on the other side of the world. For the longest time I had very little need for them and relied mostly on the company and guidance of my peers and teachers at the time. So when I ventured into the cold world of hard knocks, I was simply a lamb to the slaughter, naive to the dangers and cruelty that lay beyond the borders of my prestigious boarding school campus.

It would be through a series of really crappy life lessons learned that I’d finally figure out it that is was do or die if I did not do what was necessary in terms of creating some stability. Having a daughter at the age of 22 and being a single parent had a lot to do with motivating me to be my best ally in life. I had learned through some traumatic and life altering experiences that counting on people or believing in people was never a safe option- which in hindsight is really sad, and I don’t believe this to be true for everyone. I strongly believe that my mistrust is rooted in my own trauma, and am able to see examples of people who truly can be counted on. Read Here to Learn More.

When I consider examples of the term interdependence what comes to my mind is a few of my friends who are married/common-law. I would say “happily married,” but there are days I’m sure they’d disagree with that statement. I most certainly am not the one to make any judgements on marital bliss given my own track history. So I will stick with the topic and zero in on part of their marriages that is heavily rooted in their commitment to the partnership aspect of it. I percieve this like perhaps a running contract whereby they have developed some level dependability on the other person. As in, to know that if they fall, the other will catch them. If they loose their job, they will clothe and feed them. If they want to pursue their dreams, they will carry them until they succeed, or again…catch them if they fall. The freedom to raise their children as a stay at home mom or dad and know everything will be taken care of. And if I could be perfectly honest…the freedom to be a kept Woman/Man/preferred Pronouns* le sigh….one could always wish right? My dream would also include a nanny, a cook, a personal trainer and an on call therapist that also feeds me grapes while draped in fancy loungewear.

I digressed.

But as much as brood over this idea, I don’t actually believe I could ever be that woman. My experiences have defined me, and to be honest ruined me to ever accept a life of leisure. Underneath all that layered scar tissue lives a little twinkling light of wonder that glimmers with the thought of one day letting myself kick up my feet and letting Jesus take the wheel- but with Jesus being a man, I have my doubts even with the almighty…enough said.

As I dive deeper into my own self awareness on the subject, it is not independence that I’m flouting, it is Mistrust. The kind whereby I imagine I could make someone feel “not good enough” to take on the role of being my partner. Or perhaps giving the impression that the care I require from another could ever live up to the expectations I have set for myself. I also worry about my ability to live through another disappointment that at times in my life has almost annihilated me. Yet here I stand like a bronzed statue, weathered by the storms, blessed by the luck of the seagulls excrement; my placard almost illegible. Nobody knows what to think when they see a spectacle as grand and calamitous as this but maybe admire from a distance, maybe occasionally taking a photo with it. That pretty much sums up the bulk of why few have been brave enough to tackle exploring a partnership with me. They just don’t know where to start.

But like most good parties, pity parties too must come to an end. Just as I love to take care of the loved ones in my life, I need to allow others to take the opportunity to take care of me, even if I feel that they fall short at times. Not every man or woman is meant to be kept, just as every man or women is not meant to be keeper of others. Nor should I assume that the value behind the “keeping of each other” should be measured by the means that we often run too when we think of freedom, namely financial freedom. Although if I never had to work again, that it would sit okay with me!

According to Terry Gaspard, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, “Reliance on others can be healthy and affirming. The problem is that as children we weren’t always taught how to balance self-reliance with healthy interdependence.” Terry explains “On the surface, it’s wonderful to be independent, self-sufficient and resilient. But when you believe you must do everything for yourself, you create your own demise. It’s hard to let your partner in. It’s hard to give him/her room to come through for you. But if you are ever to enjoy the full nature of intimacy, you must. In small doses, self-reliance is positive. But when it pervades your approach to the world it can deprive you of true love, commitment and trust. To avoid this fate you must learn to reign in your self-reliance, to recognize when it prevents you from trusting in your partner, and to acknowledge when it denies your partner of everything you have to give.”

Dr. Willard Harley, a marriage counselor, defines interdependent behavior as activities of a spouse that are conceived and executed with the interests of both spouses in mind. He maintains that certain levels of dependence in intimate relationships can be beneficial and promote emotional closeness.

6 Steps to Achieving Interdependence

1. Take ownership if you are too self-reliant. If it’s extreme, pinpoint the source of it and examine your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.

2. Challenge your beliefs and attitudes about accepting nurturing and support from your partner. Resist the urge to be self-reliant around hot-button issues such as money, work, or family matters — like how you celebrate holidays or vacations.

3. Visualize yourself in an honest and open relationship and work toward allowing yourself to be more vulnerable with your partner — a critical aspect of intimacy.

4. Remind yourself daily that it’s healthy to accept help from others and a sign of strength rather than weakness. This might also apply to your work setting.

5. Develop a policy of joint agreement if you are in a relationship. This term, coined by Dr. Harley, describes an agreement couples make to resist making decisions without an enthusiastic agreement between them and their partner — especially important ones that impact both people.

6. Adopt a mindset that it’s good to count on your partner. Believe that you can share your deepest feelings with him/her and it will promote healthy attachment, trust and intimacy. You must let them in and embrace the idea that you don’t have to go through life alone.

Dependence is often seen as a dirty word in our culture. It conjures up images of weakness and insecurity. But certain levels of dependence in intimate relationships can be helpful and sustaining. Intimacy serves to help illuminate parts of oneself never truly realized. Healthy partnerships bring out the best in people, because when they feel safe and loved, they are free to grow and explore who they are as human beings. Instead of depending on a partner, we need to seek interdependence. We must believe that we do not have to go through life alone.

“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.”

― Erik H. Erikson

As I suspected, in being overly self-reliant, I must remember that by allowing myself to depend on others, I can help develop autonomy and strength. Revealing vulnerability with my partner, has never been the issue, its the “what’s next part” that has always scared me. What if they think I’m crazy, or what will they do with this info? Will they use this to hurt me or use against me? Will they magnify my weknesses and silence my strengths? Or alternatively will Letting go of control, fear and other intense emotions help to make my relationships more solid.

Only time can tell as I grow more secure in the idea that others love me,. To accept that independence and love do not need to exist on separate planes.

When you depend on others, you are at your strongest. I will take this forward with me as I relinquish some control and communicate faith in others ability to “Take Care of Me.”

A “Hand up Mentality” – Why Women Can Be So Darn Cruel.

I believe there was a time in not too long ago that my insecurity would have suggested that the lack of interest by fellow women to engage with my projects was personal. And perhaps still may be the case, however`oblivious to it I may be. I’m often blinded by my unrealistic Utopian expectations whereby women can sit cross legged and braid each others hair in the metaphorical sense. So you can imagine when there was a call to my fierce women posse to assist with building a network of culture and support I was equally as optimistic that they would flock to the opportunity.

If you have ever had the pleasure of being in a women’s washroom at a wine festival, you will understand the energy and spirit I am trying to harness. There is such a genuine expression of love, appreciation and unbridled desire to build one another up within the confines of this little sink space empowerment. I’m sure many women can attest to entering the public washroom of a Wine fest, head hanging low with regret, then leaving this magical space tall, proud, and ready to conquer the world. I ask myself why is this so hard to recreate on a website platform or in real life, surely we are also kind and supportive humans sober too?

So I began to do a little bit of research into this and found that there isn’t any simple answers. Gender related topics can be a challenging and slippery slope to tackle as the term “Gender” becomes more fluid in society and negates many of the explanations I came across. However, I’m never one to back down from considering certain components and came across a few worth exploring.

I came across this book Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business which aims to decode the male business culture and show women how to break patterns of behavior that put them at a disadvantage. Initially I had to put my feminist pride aside so that I could revert back to 1952 whereby my “femaleness” was the problem that required change so that I could consider what it was Pat Heim and colleagues were trying to teach me about gender. I went to the website where they hail to be “The Gender Experts.”

I’ll save challenging this for another day…or perhaps never.

However, the book claims that there is a natural law in the female “culture” that allegedly shapes how women interact with other women at work and in their personal lives. They call this the “power dead-even rule.”

It claims that this is a subconcous process whereby the rule governs relationships, power and self esteem.

” For a healthy relationship to be possible between women, the self-esteem and power of one must be, in the eyes of each woman, similar in weight to the self-esteem and power of the other. In other words, these key elements must be kept “dead-even.” When the power balance gets disrupted (such as a woman rising in status above other women), women may talk behind her back, ostracize her from the group or belittle her. These behaviors are to preserve the dead-even power relationship that women have grown up with their entire lives. “

How did Alanis Morissette not include a phrase from this rule in her hit song “Hand in my Pocket”?

As Jagged of a pill that this is to swallow, I can’t say I disagree with some aspects of this. However, I feel like this suggestion falls short as it considers that all women were born with vagina’s, therefore all had the same experiences growing up that shaped this governing rule. If this may be the case how do we account for trans, non-binary, gender fluid population and the space they hold in the world of power inequality?

Feeling unsatisfied with that explanation I moved onto the concept that relates to our emotional intelligence (EQ). In my quest for answers, I came across an article by Dr. Shawn Andrews who brought up the book The Power of Perception, which states “that women at higher leadership levels tend to display more male-specific EQ competencies, such as assertiveness and confidence, and leverage less female-specific EQ competencies, such as interpersonal relationships and empathy. ” The book goes on to state that if a female leaders put less of a premium on the value of relationships, that she may not spend the time necessary to cultivate relationships with junior women.

“This is also called the Queen Bee Syndrome, when women behave in ways more typical of men to display toughness and fit in. For women at the very top, part of their success is convincing men that they aren’t like other women.”

I’m sorry, in my world there is only one Queen Bee and she goes by Beyonce!

Dr. Shawn Andrews, who wrote another article for Forbes called “Leadership, Gender and the Power of In-Group Bias.” explaining the third reason. To summarize, Dr. Shawn explained that when the competition for “spots” in favored in-groups increases, women are less inclined to bring other women along. This can happen when there are few females in an organization or few females in leadership roles.

They go on to say a fourth reason is that because of obstacles women face in their career and corporate environments, and the achievement of hard-fought success, their attitude toward other women is “I figured it out, you should too.” Executive women are often overly encumbered with daily duties and responsibilities and don’t take the time to mentor and support young women.

I’m sorry…. I’ve watched women in my field of social work be extremely “overly encumbered” by duties before, during and after hours and take on mentor roles.

Poppycock!

However in that fourth statement, it speaks directly to the reasoning to why my Feature Friday was created. There is a reason why there were “Men’s Only Clubs” that sought to foster wealth from within a privileged group. If you have ever stepped foot into the Petroleum Club in Calgary you’ll understand even though it members are welcomed from both men and women. However historically membership was help by high ranking oil and gas executives which were positions typically held by men. I myself have witnessed the undying culture of brotherhood called “The Old Boys” within my private school of Shawnigan Lake School. I had arrived only 2 years after they went Co-Ed so I understand this concept well. I’ve watched them publicly grope and make the young girls serving them uncomfortable at times on Alumni weekends with nothing said to prevent it from occurring. I’m guilty as well of participating as I said nothing and just glared feeling somewhat powerless in a room full of Old Boys who were “Just having fun.”

Who was I to spoil that?

*Cringe

But within that moment of regret, I also remember better times when one of the first girls to attend the historically all boys school became Head of School in her grade 12 year. I was privileged to be surrounded by a Kaleidoscope of brilliant young women who worked collectively to navigate within this old patriarchal system and go on to take their place at the top. When I look at what the formula was for this success, it was really quite simple. A unified and loyal sense of sisterhood whereby we were only as strong as the weakest link and if one of us was floundering, we all surrounded her to rebuild and carry her to the finish line. Shout Out to all my School House Gang! Woop Woop!

With that being said, perhaps my motivation is based in nostalgia, or perhaps a deeper desire to debunk the hard truths discussed above. The whole preface of my blog platform is to spread and celebrate women’s energy. I identified within my own frustrations and experiences a huge void that needs to be filled for women to begin supporting one another in business. I continue to urge my colleagues, readers and blogging community to apply for the next Feature Friday so we can celebrate you and inspire others alike! Blogging strategy is often based on building higher Blog traffic in order to allow typically invisible small businesses to be brought to the forefront of Search Engine Optimization. So Share, Share, Share!

If you like what you have read and want to read more articles alike please see my other blogging and social media sites.

A Series of Acts to Self Sufficiency: Playing Hard to Get with Society.

Every time I have experienced growth in my life there has been a lapse of time in the middle of it all that is nothing short of uncomfortable. In fact, I’ve often questioned whether its depression creeping its way in, unleashing a new unfamiliar way to torture me, as the solitude feels inauthentic to my character. But unlike depression where it can make one feel confined , isolated, and exhausted; the seclusion has in fact afforded me the privacy necessary for the next transition into a new chapter of the ever evolving “Me.” I think we have all experienced times where our friends wonder if we have fallen off the face of the earth, or experienced pure shock when when the life of the party turns down an opportunity to get out on the town. Some may even take it personal. And for this reason I probably spent more years than required trying to appease people’s expectations of me out of fear they may not understand that its not them it’s me. The “Me” that I have habitually put on the back burner, as to not hurt or disappoint anyone’s feelings. And to be fully authentic with you, there are freckles of self indulgence there as well, whereby I have always found pleasure in feeling needed or necessary in peoples lives. Meet Cece the Martyr. *eye roll

Nonetheless, I feel like the Pandemic has thrown me into a new wave of self evolution, whereby it has forced me to familiarize myself with the ability to be self sufficient in so many ways. With most of life’s distractions removed, namely a day to day peer network, I was left to my own devices. It is in my nature to become bored very easily and for me I became very bored with sharing my feelings of discouragement and the feeling of powerlessness over the pandemic and surrounding complexities. I became bored with talking about my ailing mental health, my feelings of loss and freedoms, and even more so, listening to others. It was like I hit a wall. I realized the wall I hit was in actuality my own resistance to let go of What Was, and begin to accept a new way of thinking as in What’s Possible for me.

Let me provide some context.

I was a young mother at the age of 22, who for the most part experienced motherhood on my own as my peers were busy doing things that typical 20 something year olds do. My experience was vastly different. When I reached the period in my life that I could afford the freedoms that I had missed out on, I was able to make up for lost time tenfold. I look back at these times with immense gratitude, as they were the best times of my life! Many of the friends I met along the way are now family, and we continue to spend hours laughing at the memories we shared. But like most good things, they sometimes have to come to an end. This was admittedly heartbreaking for me- I felt like I lost my limbs. I wasn’t ready to let go and I didn’t know who I was without them, in fact I didn’t know who I was without anyone.

For many of my friends they went on to get married, start young families, or build empires as if it was like it was always meant to be. It was like they morphed overnight, going from skinny dipping in fountains to banking on a solid 8 hour sleeps so they could be rested for their half marathons. I have literally watched for the last 20 years gaggles of unsuspecting friends be captured and sucked into the mystery in which they take on their roles so gracefully. Its like their souls seemed to be prepped to embrace the warm and inviting hug of change. It perplexed me because transition for me has always felt like an internal battle of the wills.

I’m not saying that I have never achieved growth through conscientious intention. My life has been sprinkled with deliberate achievements where I have been cognizant of the measures that lead me to building who I needed to be. In fact it would be that same sense of intention that fueled this fierce hyper-focused woman; hell-bent on clinging to what I assumed was the quintessence of who I am. That’s assuming the concept of our souls is a static force, whereby the flames require the same degree of fanning. Ultimately, I know over the years I’ve begun to stop building the metaphorical fire and trust that the hottest embers deep down still burn just as bright.

10 Outrageous Quotes from Sex and the City's Samantha Jones

But rather than get carried away with metaphors, what I’m trying to communicate is that I’ve experienced fear accepting and opening my heart up to the new ways that excite me. I have been terrified to let go, and the biggest release lately has been the decreased interest for human interaction. Admittedly my network has been gradually growing smaller for a multitude of reasons over the years but I could have never imagined that I’d find myself as a borderline recluse. And up until recently my biggest source of anxiety has been mainly around the question “Will I ever feel like myself again?”- As in will I ever get back to a place where the Inner Samantha Jones in me will reappear so we can resume scheduled programming. The kind of programming that I’m familiar with where I can predict the outcome, do my twirls, make the audience laugh, shake shit up, with the anticipated end of the night dip. It wasn’t that long ago that this version of me was alive and well, swinging from the Chandelier. So you can understand what a drastic change it is for me to feel pure joy and peace, tucked away in my little cocoon, leaving texts unread and calls unanswered.

As the saying goes Bad Habits Are Hard to Shake- Enjoyable behaviors can prompt your brain to release a chemical called dopamine. If you do something over and over, and dopamine is there when you’re doing it, that strengthens the habit even more. So that explains the lull, or the lapse in time when our brains are re-adjusting to new Dopamine triggered events. And also explains the new events in our lives that trigger pleasure that perhaps we never took the time to explore. I believe the outcome of establishing these new habits with ourselves is what creates the desired outcome of Self-Sufficiency.

To date I am happy to report that despite my resistance the act of being self sufficient has carried no adverse affects, in fact has inspired me to grow creatively in so many ways. I spend more time thinking about my future and actively committing to plans and ideas that inspire and push me in directions outside of my comfort zone. Time with myself has pushed me to take on new learning, as well as re-visit old passions around design, writing, and fashion. I have become more self reliant on my abilities to work indepedently on my own mental health, often focusing on not panicking and placing trust in myself to manage it more effectively. I often have to remind myself not every worry, fear, or pinch of sadness warrants attention, including my own. I have also learned to make the time with myself more enjoyable with adding music to my day when I’m alone, or taking time to make small talk with the strangers at the dog park wherein its just enough interaction to remind myself that I’m not alone, and brief enough as to not take away from the Me Time I’ve come to love. The desire to appease the masses and do the check ins is usually intentional- meaning I have control over the energy I give or have available. Its neither forced, or phony.

That being said, I feel while my experience has been somewhat organic, that going forward being mindful as to how to achieve this should be consciously maintained. I came across an article posted by Raven Ishak who outlined some helpful Tips in : 6 Ways To Be More Self-Sufficient that I thought may be helpful for anyone facing a similar circumstance that I have described above.

Establishing your personal space is vital to understanding who you are as a person. While it might be easy to depend on others for their opinions and help, it can become very unhealthy, and you can lose sight of your individuality if you’re not careful. Being self-sufficient can be scary, but it’s worth it. It can make you a strong, independent person who doesn’t need the validation of others. Even though it’s never a bad idea to ask for help, it’s important to try not to be solely dependent on your friends’ or family’s thoughts. For instance, if you’re the type of person who cannot make any big decisions before asking all of your friends their opinion or you’re extremely uncomfortable doing things alone, you just might be emotionally dependent on others. Instead of continuing this behavior, here are some tips on how to go down the path of being more self-sufficient.

1. Increase Your Self-Esteem

Sometimes becoming more self-sufficient means you need to look deep inside yourself. Are you proud of who you are? Do you feel confident in your everyday choices? Having higher self-esteem could be the special ingredient you’ve been looking for. According to clinical social work/therapist Chamin Ajjan in an email to Bustle, “A belief that you are unable to care for yourself without the help of others is often linked to low self-esteem. You can empower yourself by increasing self-esteem and self-compassion. Doing this while working to master new skills can help to reinforce that you have the ability to provide for your own well-being, making you more self-sufficient.”

2. Stop Asking For Permission From Others

Why give so much power onto others when you clearly have it within yourself to make good decisions? Being emotionally strong means you know the right decisions to make and are not afraid to make them. According to licensed clinical psychologist Kim Chronister in an email to Bustle, “The last thing you want to do when it comes to striving for emotional or intellectual independence is asking what others think about that idea. You risk losing your power and your motivation by asking everyone around you for permission to move forward with your idea.” Instead of asking others for permission, follow your gut and do what you already know you’re supposed to do. Because sometimes when you’re asking other’s for permission, you could already be seeking for the answer that you’re hoping they will say. Just listen to your heart and things may magically fall into place.https://856fe575a14dfe1f245f6652c5c619ec.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

3. Learn To Be Comfortable With Your Independence

As you grow up, you may go through some tough obstacles that will make you a strong, independent person. But sometimes life happens and you lose your sense of independence. For example, maybe you’ve just gotten out of a long-term relationship. Instead of finding someone else to depend on, do something that will get you out of your dependent funk. According to psychologist Dr. Nicole Martinez in an email to Bustle, “Develop a hobby, as you need to learn to be comfortable with your independent time. Learn good self care habits including getting enough sleep, eating well, taking time for yourself, and having a good work or school, and life balance.”

4. Be More Assertive

Wanting everyone to be happy is not a bad thing, but being a complete push-over is not, because let’s be real: Pleasing everyone is never going to happen. When you put other’s feelings in front of your own, you can lose focus on what you truly want out of life. According to Chronister, “Assertiveness is a trait that can combat feelings of emotional dependence. If we assert our feelings by telling others what we truly want from them, we not only gain more respect interpersonally, but we become more emotionally independent as a result. Assertiveness is an expression that conveys that your opinions and feelings hold the same weight as those of other people. Maintaining your stance, even if it opposes another’s, is a sign of emotional independence.

5. Comprehend What Causes Dependence

What if I told you that being dependent on others can actually be explained due to chemicals in your brain? Understanding how your brain works and why you become easily attached might help fix the emotional issue. According to Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, in an email to Bustle, “Oxytocin is the brain chemical that makes mammals feel safe in the company of others. A gazelle’s oxytocin falls if it roams too far from the herd, and it starts feeling unsafe…When you know what causes this feeling, it’s easier to manage. You can tell yourself, ‘I am safe, even without the herd’ and find new ways to make yourself feel safe. But you have to do it again and again because your mammal brain keeps going there.”

6. Spend Time With Other People

It can be easy to become dependent on another person when you’re spending time with them 24/7. Even though you know the person like the back of your hand, it can become unhealthy if the thought of spending time with other people gives your anxiety. According to Chronister, “It’s healthy to have your interpersonal needs divided up so that you are not overly dependent on simply one parent, or your partner, or one friend etc. Renew your friendships, make new ones, spend time with healthy family members, and network so that your needs will be met by more than one person at once.”

Self-sufficiency is a beautiful behavior that everyone should try to achieve. It allows you to embrace your own thoughts and establish healthy habits, and while having relationships in your life is a factor that is much-needed, being completely dependent on them is not. If you have gone through a hard breakup or just need to reevaluate some life decisions, hopefully a few of step tips can help you achieve the independence you have been looking for.

In conclusion, if you are a person who has already realized this long ago, please continue to support the rest of us who are still accepting the power of self-sufficiency- or for a better word our Inner Introvert. I figured I’d leave a few jokes with you all who may need to laugh at themselves!

At the start of the pandemic, it was a good opportunity to tell wether I was an introvert or an extrovert.

Turns out, I’m just a pervert.

What do you call an extroverted snail?

A slug

A Husband And Wife Are Creating A Password On Their Computer

A husband and a wife are creating a password on their computer. The husband, being a confident, extroverted man, puts in “My Penis”. Although insecure and introverted, the wife falls on the ground and laughs because…

**The screen says “ERROR: Not Long Enough.”.*

I’m what you would call an anti-social extrovert.

That may sound like a contradiction, but it basically means that being alone makes me what to kill myself and I love it

.

Thanks for coming by! Don’t forget to Like, Comment and Share if you have Enjoyed what you’ve Read,

Love in a Time of Quarantine: 17 #StayHomeStaySafe Valentines at Home Ideas for some Lockdown Lovin’

1.Recreate your first date.

Here’s an opportunity to go all out: recreate your first date — at home. If you went to a coffee shop, whip up some artisanal coffees. If you went to a romantic restaurant, print the menu and try to make one of the dishes in your kitchen. If you went to the zoo, print pictures of the animals you saw and put them in frames around the living room. Get creative and remember to tell your partner everything you loved about them on that very first day.

Our first date was on 17th Ave in Calgary- We did a bar crawl from one end of the Ave to the other.

2.Take a virtual mixology class.

pink summer drinks

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to get fancy with your drinks. Not sure how to mix anything more exciting than a vodka soda? Take a class! Log on with your special someone — or your pals — and let an expert help. Virtual Holiday Party Canada Offers Many Options!

3.Take a class.

mother and daughter 3 4 decorating cake

Little ones deserve to have a festive Valentine’s Day too. To get them in on the fun, sign them up for a V-Day-themed virtual class. Websites like Eventbrite have options from baking and letter writing to dancing and singing.

4.Have an Indoor Picnic

edward albert and goldie hawn in 'butterflies are free'

Spread out on the living room floor with a gourmet spread (we like this lobster roll and sea salt brownies kit from Maine) and bottle of bubbles. Make sure to set the scene with a cheerful picnic blanket and pack a basket—they are worthwhile purchases if you don’t already have them. Sunterra Market in Calgary is offering a Valentines Day themed Heat & Eat curbside pick up option!

5.Build A Fire/Go Camping—in Your Backyard

wine and the patio firepit

February might still be chilly, but make the most of it by dressing up in your warmest coats and building a fire. Bring out a bottle of good wine, toast some oversize marshmallows, play an outdoor game, and enjoy the outdoors during the time of year we are usually inside. If you have an outdoor space that’s bigger than a barely-there balcony (lucky you!), consider turning your backyard into your own personal campsite. Just hang some string lights, grab a couple cozy blankets (or Parka’sif you live in Calgary!), fill these Oprah-approvedtriple-insulated mugs with a delicious hot drink (think: mulled wine, spiked hot chocolate, or Irish coffee), and build a roaring fire pit, and you’ll have everything you need for an at-home adventure—complete with stargazing, of most importantly, s’mores (pro tip: swap peanut butter cups for chocolate bars).

6.Have a Dance Party

For a more interactive evening, Mary J. Gibson, a relationship expert for DatingXP, recommends dancing to get your heart rate up. A variety of dance classes are now offered online: Learn how to fox trot, tango, and two step during one of Ballroom Dance Chicago’s Zoom lessonsDancio teaches beginners how to do a plié and pirouette; and CLI studios offers lessons on everything from tap to hip-hop. (Pro tip: Just make sure to put on some romantic background music.) You can also, of course, fire up YouTube and learn choreo to some of your favorite music videos.

7.Have a Karaoke Night

Though an activity like karaoke might make you feel a little self-conscious, it’s a great bonding experience. “When one partner is feeling adventurous or afraid and they are stepping out of their comfort zone, this gives the other partner an opportunity to show their comforting or protective side,” says Sassoon. (Suffer from serious stage fright? Purchase this bestselling karaoke microphone and enjoy singing your favorite sultry tunes—from the comfort of your couch.)

Here’s a video from some of our Karaoke Days!

8. Volunteer somewhere together.

Hopefully, you show your partner love all year round. So instead of showering each other this V-Day, give love to someone else who may need it even more. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters are always looking for volunteers, as are animal shelters (furry babes need love too!).

Browse Here for Volunteer Opportunities

9. Pose away in a photo session.

Hear me out: While a photo session can feel cheesy, once you have those adorable couples photos, you won’t think twice about how corny you looked in that Charlie’s Angels pose in the second shot. Use the session as an opportunity to have fun with each other and create memories and photos that will literally last a lifetime. Shoott makes it easy to book a session in your area, and you’ll only pay for the photos you like.

Or Recreate these hilarious ones!

10. Play a romantic game

A romantic game can keep you entertained for hours
A romantic game can keep you entertained for hours

Fed up with date nights ending on the couch with another Netflix binge-watching session?

I suggest getting a romantic or a simple board game to get you two talking, playing or simply engaging with one another. The Date Night Box Set is a great option because you and your partner can choose from three different game variations: Talk, Flirt or Dare Cards that can really spice up your night.

Or even better, strip poker, naked twister?

11.Plan a future vacation

Even if you can't travel now, creating future plans can be loads of fun
Struggling with the travel blues? Even if you can’t travel now, creating future plans can be loads of fun by mapping future vacations. You can get a special journal or even a simple sheet of paper and get carried away making the most romantic plans around the globe.

12. Do a sexy virtual workshop.

From home, of course. For instance, Lovers Stores is offering an online workshop on “how to have the sexiest Valentine’s Day ever” on Feb. 10 (you be the judge) that includes prizes, pleasure product highlights, and more. Or try Valentine’s Tantra Date Night, a virtual, guided experience that can help you feel more chemistry with your partner. It’s rated PG—so keep your clothes on—and we hear it’s suitable for new and existing couples.

13. Head to a hotel.

Whether you stay in your city or drive to one nearby, book a special hotel room for a quick getaway. Some hotels even offer holiday programming. See the 25 Alberta Hotels & Resorts Offering Valentine’s Day Staycation Packages which features a couple of my favorite local hotels listed below.

Hotel Arts

Valentine’s Date Night: This luxury hotel in the centre of downtown Calgary will spoil you and your partner this Valentine’s Day with upscale accommodations. While you bask in this at home escape, enjoy a gourmet dinner for two and a bottle of wine from the comfort of your room.

Details

Ph: (403) 266-4611

Cost: Luxury Rooms from $349 and Luxury Suites from $379.

Fairmont Palliser

Luxe in Love: Swoon over your stay in a spacious suite at the downtown Calgary Fairmont Palliser. This special for two includes fondue, charcuterie, canapes, and sparkling wine. You can also enjoy your room and accommodations a bit later with this package.

Details

Ph: (403) 262-1234

Cost: Starting at $479 CAD per night

14. Sip and paint.

You may remember this pre-pandemic activity that involves painting canvases and drinking decent amounts of wine. Recreate this activity at home and buy watercolor paint (the better not to ruin your floor). Then set up an object to recreate (fruit always works), say cheers, and bring the object to life. Or even better spice it up a notch a use your human canvases!

Image result for body painting images

15. Take a long drive.

Fill up your gas tank, pack snacks and (non-alcoholic) drinks, and ride around your local area. You can stop your joyride at a secluded area like a park or camping site. If the weather allows, enjoy some time outside. See these 25 Day Trips from Calgary

16. Make a short movie.

Who needs Steven Spielberg when you have a smartphone? Be the directors of your lives when you film yourselves for the evening doing…whatever you like. Maybe you share sweet confessions about each other, film yourselves running around outside, or maybe…you get more creative. No matter what, feel free to press delete at the end of the day; this film is all in good fun.

17. SKATING

This is a hobby that has become even more popular since many people have taken on to doing more outdoor activities and here in Calgary and in the surrounding areas there is no shortage of places to go!

Check out these Local Skating Options.

For an Even more spectacular experience check out these 10 Gorgeous Mountain Skating Spots You Can Find In Alberta

Hello, My Name is Cece and I am a HomeSense Addict: The First Step is to Admit You Have an Addiction to Home Decor

HomeSense Doormat image 0

I called one of my girlfriends up this weekend and said “Wanna Go Hit the HomeSense Stroll Saturday?” It’s the kind of offer invite every Basic Bitch across the Western Continents wait for; yearning for its majestic aisles of wonder. It’s the place where one goes not knowing what they want, and consequently a place one leaves knowing they can’t live life without it. It really is a “stroll” in all explicit senses of the term, as I’d sell my soul for that adorable unique Shabby Chic Hutch that would be perfect in my dining room.

So not surprisingly, my girlfriend Angela was more than enthusiastic at the opportunity to chase the proverbial dragon and dance with the Devil of Home Decor. We in fact are not the only feigns for this kind of self indulgence. I’ve often found hand written lists discarded in the cart baskets as if they were a testament of good intentions gone array.

Use Grocery List to Save Time, Eat Healthier! | UNL Food

I scoff as I read out “Towels” And think to myself “Oh Honey, You came for just Towels, the same way some of us go to Home Depot Mid-week looking for a good solid Hammer.

I’d put money on it that she left with a charming 3 ft. ceramic dancing monkey, a gift set of assorted pasta, hot pink throw pillows that have laughing Llamas on them, a scatter rug, and a partridge in a pear tree…but like…literally.

As things escalate, I imagine there was the familiar mantra many of us share circulating in her brain, “It will look perfect in that one corner of the bathroom that currently is the last space available for yet, another Knick Knack.

Wild, Weird and Wonderful Porcelain Sculptures by Johnson Tsang – if it's  hip, it's here
“I need this in my life”- Said Not Person outside the context of HomeSense.

So Saturday rolled around, and I sprung out of my bed with the kind of purpose I wish I could repeat at 7:30 am Monday through Friday. I through on the best Basic Suburbs Bitch outfit I had- as in whatever was staring at me first. I already had it in my mind that a Pistachio Latte was going to be the first stop enroute, and if I timed it right, I could make it three quarters the way through my venti triple shot latte by the time those doors slid open to me. Fueling the body is key for this level of elite shopping.

Pin on anti

I had a triple dose of excitement when I arrived finally. There was no line up to get in, my girlfriend who I had not seen in months threw me a distance hug, and the espresso was kicking in at high gear.

As in I blended in with every other Basic Betty in there, I floated anonymously in the sea of indistinguishable Robots; picking up, touching, putting in cart, discarding, going back, putting it back in, then replacing it with something even better. And while I did not have a paper list, I did have Alexa curate one for my handheld device, whereby Alexa was asked the following:

What I Went in For:

Shelf

Bedroom Art

HomeSense teams up with décor expert Michael Penney: Retail news | The Star

Towels

Bathroom Rug

2 Bathroom Rugs

What I walked out with:

2 Pendant Lights

2 Shelves

2 Handcrafted in India Wood Letters

1 Giant Lindt Chocolate Bar

1 Shadow Box Art

2 Massive Canvas Art for Living Room.

0 Towels

I was a lamb to the slaughter as its Lavish Home Décor tentacles sunk into me . As I hit the first aisle, then doubled back to the far corner, pinballing between directions, I recognized I had made a terrible error. I had forgotten to take my Vyvanse, the one thing in life necessary to keep me in line, organized, and on task. This caused pure chaos in my already overly stimulated brain and I knew I was a goner at this point. Or maybe it was my overflowing cart? Or the moment the greeter saw me leave with my loot validating me with a farewell “Looks like you did well!”

Total time from start to finish- 1.5 hours.12`w2q And I loved every damn minute of it. I came across this quote that I believe is fitting, however recognize that Ol’ Ralphy had more poignant circumstances in mind when he wrote this.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was a definite trail left behind that day…a trail of impulse buys.

But Alas, look at my new little toilet room that once was a baron land of drab wall space, now adorned with the treasure trove of my labors. I even used a Level for the first time to hang it…Adulting AF!

Every Throne Needs a Monogram & Back up Bum Tickets

Special Shout Out to the Gifted Art Work my Friend April gave me by Sophia Brown– Tattoo Artist at Electric Odyssey in Calgary Alberta.

Don’t Forget to Like, Share and Comment!

Thanks for coming by Talez From a Broad


The Unanticipated Lingering Cognitive Recovery After Covid-19

It was exactly 3 month ago that I became symptomatic with Covid-19 and would later that week be a confirmed case after being tested at a drive-thru testing center here in Calgary Alberta, Canada. I remember that day I fell ill, because I joked to myself that perhaps at the fabulous age of 42, I had maybe over done it after attending 2 social gatherings. It wasn’t abnormal for me to require at least a week to recover typically after a good ol’ night of over consuming the godly yet deadly grapes of the earth.

I was working from home already that week and after three days in a row of 8 hour long naps, confusion, body aches and headaches that worsened in severity I realized it was most definitely the “Rona.” Thankfully I had already been self-isolating, but had to make the call to work to deliver the bad news. Not only did I have to tell my already strained unit they were going to be down a worker, I also had to contact everyone that had attended the outdoor tea party I had thrown at my house that same weekend. It was embarrassing to say the least but thankfully we would later find out that no one had become ill as a result of my illness. Aside from being relatively ill and stuck in my bedroom for 10 days, the two weeks of isolation after that I would say to date was the easiest part that I have endured thus far.

You see, no one is able to prepare you for the complicated variables after the initial diagnosis. Not only can it be challenging to return back to work, whereby do you have to repeat the Provincial Health System directions at least 3-4 times then await approval from the varying levels and then be told to repeat yourself another 3-4 times. Lets not even start on receiving the daily calls from the contact tracers who do not seem to have the information that you spoke with someone earlier that day. But for some reason they also want to take you through 15 minutes of questions only to be told something different than the person you spoke to 3 hours before told you to do. At the end of the day, I’m typically very good at doing what I’m told but I’d have to say I was left feeling less confident in what they had to offer me in terms of advice.

I remember when I returned back to work several weeks later, feeling happy to get back into a routine and be productive again. I’ve fallen victim a few times during this pandemic with the assumption that being back at work is going to produce familiar feelings that give that long awaited dose of normalcy or familiarity. However, my assumptions have fallen short as there is nothing normal about doing child protection in a COVID world, let alone doing it while recovering from COVID.

So it should not be surprising when I tell you in my last naive attempt to resume my regular scheduled programming that I fell hard and fast. It led me to the decision that I had to make for myself. It’s been 3 months since I tested positive for COVID and I have been sick 3 times with the exact same symptoms as before. Extreme fatigue, severe headaches, shortness of breath/tightness in my chest, and intermittent dry cough. The physical ailments are one thing, the mental health is a whole other challenge. I had to wave my white flag and take a lengthy leave from my job in order to heal, however remain at somewhat of a loss as to how to do this.

You see I’m well versed in how to treat and manage my mental health when I’m struggling in that aspect. I know how to implement a regiment of exercise, therapy, vitamins and nutrition as well as a healthy work life balance. I’m also well versed how to recover from a flu, illness, or physical ailment that I’m presented with. So perhaps from the outside its seems quite simple to overcome an illness that is being presented as “the common flu” when in actuality its just not the case for everyone. Just ask the people that have died from it.

So you can see where my confusion lies as for whatever reason I don’t have a clear action plan yet as to how I’m going to use this time to heal. All I’m armed with is the conviction that my cognitive functioning and body is telling me that we are in some uncharted territory and I’m at sea without a compass. In my attempt to seek out answers from my family doctor and the Provincial COVID Health link I have not been provided much information around whats happening to me. Since my initial diagnosis, I have presented at hospital twice, and received ECG’s, blood work, and chest X-Rays but no MRI or brain scan. My research has left me with little direction as the resources available speak to either health specific or alternatively mental health specific. But what happens if they are interconnected and are neurological in nature, which means an umbrella approach to assessment and treatment?

Seeing as I’m not one to sit around and be patient with essentially anything in my life, this predicament is no different. Therefore it seems that I have some work to do when it comes to advocating for my health and taking it into my own hands in order to press the health care system in catching up with the times. So I have quickly began to go down the rabbit hole researching information on the medical case studies involving the neurological effects of Covid-19.

I came across an article in Medical News Today which discusses how viral infections can impact the brain even if the if the virus has not directly infected brain tissue. For example, inflammation of the brain, or encephalitis, most often results from a viral infection. These infections usually cause mild, flu-like symptoms, but when they affect the brain, the issues can be severe.

Politics and personal perspectives aside, I think history can be a valid starting point in order to establish some sort of reference that’s not based in a conspiracy or political agenda.

What we do know is that in the 1918 flu pandemic, there was an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica, or “sleeping sickness.” Between 1917 and 1927, millions of people likely developed this issue worldwide. Many of the survivors experienced lasting behavioral changes and extreme lethargy. Some lived in catatonic states.

Previously, some researchers have observed a link between infections with SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV — the coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, respectively — and signs of damage within the central nervous system.

Are you scared yet?

While there is no evidence of anyone living in a catotonic state due to Covid I can attest to feeling the extreme lethargy and some odd behavioral changes. If I wasn’t so in tune already with my pre-existing mental health condition, I could have quite easily mistaken it for just that with the addition of my physician attributing it to depression, anxiety or a mood disorder.

A study was completed with regards to Brain Inflammation in the U.K. at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery that described the experiences of 43 people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 between the group had a wide age range of 16–85 years.

The study team analyzed both the clinical features and the results of brain scans and laboratory tests, and it is the first to have done so in this context.

The report details 10 cases of temporary brain dysfunction, or encephalopathies, with delirium. These patients were mostly over 50 and presented with confusion and disorientation, with one patient experiencing psychosis.

A further 12 patients experienced inflammation of the brain. The majority of these people experienced a rare disorder called acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is triggered by viral infections and leads to damage of the myelin sheaths around nerves.

The study went on to say that “ADEM is more common in children and that they typically see around one adult with the condition per month. During the period that the study was concerned with, this rate increased to one case per week. This is concerning, as ADEM can progress to multiple sclerosis.”

The team also found reports of nerve damage. Specifically, there were seven reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder in which a person’s immune system attacks healthy nerve networks. This syndrome is often associated with a prior infection and also involves damage to myelin.

The finding is consistent with a previous report, from Italy, of five cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in COVID-19 patients.

“We identified a higher-than-expected number of people with neurological conditions such as brain inflammation, which did not always correlate with the severity of respiratory symptoms. We should be vigilant and look out for these complications in people who have had COVID-19.”

– Co-senior author Dr. Michael Zandi

The team also reported eight cases of stroke, which confirms previous findings. These cases are thought to result from the “sticky blood” found in COVID-19 patients.

The remaining patients had other neurological complaints, including dysfunction of the cranial nerve and a brain abscess.

Immune response gone wrong

Interestingly, some patients in the study did not experience any severe respiratory symptoms, making their neurological symptoms the first and major presentation of COVID-19.

The authors say that doctors should look out for possible neurological symptoms in people with suspected COVID-19.

“Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes. People recovering from the virus should seek professional health advice if they experience neurological symptoms,” says co-lead author Ross Paterson, Ph.D.

In eight of the patients, the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord was tested for the virus, and no evidence of it was found. This suggests that neurological symptoms of COVID-19 are not a result of a direct attack on the nervous system.

Understanding exactly how an infection with the new coronavirus causes these symptoms will require more research. However, it seems likely that the neurological consequences of COVID-19 result from an immune response gone awry, rather than the virus itself.

One of the lingering effects that I have personally continued to experience along with the severe headaches and lethargy is the loss of taste and smell.

See “Lost Smell and Taste Hint COVID-19 Can Target the Nervous System

While the media and health officials report that COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease that attacks the lungs, but it has also manifested seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as a loss of taste and smell or memory loss, that can persist for months beyond the initial diagnosis. These oddities suggest a neurological source. 

It has been reported that at least two patients also developed strange behaviors shortly after being discharged from the hospital.

“One woman, as described in the paper, repeatedly donned and took off her coat, and began hallucinating lions and monkeys inside her home. Another woman became drowsy and ultimately needed emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain.”

Thankfully I have not come across any lions, tigers or bears, Oh MY! But have experienced confusion and episodes of overwhelming panic whereby I’ unable to process the source or trigger. This can be daunting and imbarssing especially in a professional role like mine as a social worker who is typicaly the one moderating panic and confusion in others.

The authors of the study are now pushing for larger, possibly global efforts to track neurological symptoms. Zandi tells The Guardian that health professionals should begin incorporating cognitive function into their patient assessments, while his coauthor Ross Paterson, a neurodegenerative specialist at University College London, says early diagnosis is key. “Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause,” Paterson tells Reuters. “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.”

Ultimately the general consesus out there is that the full long-term effects of these symptoms may not be realized for years, says Zandi. Many patients are currently too sick to place inside brain scanners, The Guardian reports, meaning the full extent of neurological symptoms remains unknown. In addition, some changes may be more subtle and happen over time.

In a seperate Reuters article, Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at Western University who was not involved in the study, expressed concern over their potential to severely affect the quality of life for recovering patients.

“My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now. And if in a year’s time we have 10 million recovered people, and those people have cognitive deficits . . . then that’s going to affect their ability to work and their ability to go about activities of daily living,” Owen says.

My hope would be that going forward that both the Canadian Federal and Provincial government will begin applying the research and studies into our present health care approach to Covid -19 as a part of their medical practice and assessment. I believe as the numbers continue to climb more people will be looking for answers. In the meantime, us “long haulers” may just have to pave the way with the wisdom we carry as Covid-19 survivors. From one Long Hauler to another, Keep your Head Up!

You Gotta Know When To Fold’Em: Breaking Free, and Finding Happiness after Divorce

I’m not one to talk about the past too often unless it brings fond memories, which for the most part I have many. The topic is not that far in the past that it doesn’t still give me residual pangs of hurt that feel as recent as yesterday at times. But I wouldn’t be willing to discuss it openly if it didn’t offer some level of experiential wisdom for anyone who may be facing similar circumstances.

You see it would be approximately 5 years ago that I made the decision to leave my marriage. The marriage was a result of a very long relationship in which it seemed just natural and right to transition to the next step. There is no real love story behind it, rather quite the opposite. In fact if you were to have only had the experience of knowing me more recently, the idea that I would have consorted with the mundane would seem absurd. However, let us return to the Cece of Christmas’s past. Proposals, marriage and the filling of new homes with children is what everyone was doing at that time. It’s what everyone was doing around us. I’m unclear why my mother’s voice wasn’t piping in at this time saying “If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you?” But in the case of marriage and settling down, the world around you is giving you a life jacket and pushing you off the ledge. I admit its easy to blame societal pressures to conform; I don’t deny that at that time I was all in. And when I say “all in,” I mean I wasn’t able to foresee my life being anything different than what it was. My vision was exceptionally narrow and reinforced by the baggage I had brought with me from my previous abusive relationship.

Often when marriages and relationships dissolve its only natural in many instances to look at the other person and place the blame on them and their shortcomings. That’s not to say that many partners are 100% to blame and do terribly selfish and hurtful things in which the other played no role other than love someone who didn’t deserve them. And in my case, it went both ways, however its never fair to dive into the details without the other’s ability to share their perspective. And I’d be open to that but he hasn’t answered my calls in three years.

I’m sorry to disappoint you and advise this post is not about my shitty marriage that didn’t work out. In all likelihood, I may devote a whole wine fuelled podcast on the subject, but until then I’ll uphold some integrity. I’m grateful that I am alive and well today living my life in the most authentic and honest way. What a difference 5 years can do for you when you make the best decision of your life.

Which leads me to the topic of how I reclaimed my life when it began to gain momentum in a direction that wasn’t a genuine path for who I am as a person. I believe for many people there are “tells” just like in a game of poker. You see just like the game of poker we often bluff when we aren’t holding a good hand; getting caught up in the risk taking and potentially losing it all. Often when the momentum has us pulled in, there is no consideration for the long game. The more we begin to lose, the more our “tells” come out as the anxiety and desperation begins to build. You see, when you keep seeking the rush of winning and ignore the consequences of losing, we’re left in the emotional poor house. At the tail end of my losing streak, I admittedly had lots of tells, but I also gave the illusion that I had lots of chips in my pocket.

Poker-playing AI threatens to unseat a raft of Texas Hold'em champions -  ExtremeTech

So its no surprise that when I landed on my ass, my emotional poor house was located on the corner of Despair avenue and Hopeless Street. I found myself in a deep, destructive depression that I could not for the life of me dig myself out of. I was erratic in my choices and behavior, and admittedly had considered running my car into bridge barrier one evening as I was screaming at the top of my lungs at the universe in anger. That event haunts me until this day because while it was over 5 years ago, the emotions, my surroundings, what I was wearing, the car indicator lights are as clear as if I was there right now in this moment.

Bridge Underpass Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

You ask what could have brought me to such a place of despair?

I can trace it all the way to the beginning when I first met my ex-husband. I was a single mother at that time with a one and a half year old. I was fresh out of an extremely horrifically abusive relationship with her biological father that left me in ruins emotionally, physically and psychologically. I was 22 years old and I was not equipped with the self awareness and emotional maturity to tackle the damage- in fact I was oblivious to it. I ended up settling after a year with the first real boyfriend I had since leaving my abusive relationship. When I say anyone that was nice to me and wasn’t physically abusive towards me was my standard at that time. The relationship brought many good things regardless of my basic standards whereby I returned to University and got my Social Work Degree from the University of Victoria. My daughter grew a close and loving relationship with a man who accepted her as his daughter whereby they remain very close. I couldn’t have asked for a better father for her and for that I will be forever grateful. He provided us with an extended family and sense of belonging that I had not experienced coming from such a small family myself. He remained committed to our little family and moved to where I got my first Social Work Job in Northern Alberta, leaving his family behind and beginning a life as a unit in a strange small town. Life was looking up as it was during the Alberta Oil Boom and Fort McMurray promised wealth and stability for us as a family. The momentum of my life appeared to be moving in the right direction. I was adequately distracted by my own ambitions and self actualizing a life that was ultimately the way it’s supposed to be in the naively idealistic sense.

Then one day his vision began to blur which quickly turned into vertigo, precipitating what we thought was a stomach flu. We went weeks attending the hospital and trying to treat his stomach flu. I knew something was terribly wrong, and finally demanded he be admitted to hospital otherwise I was approaching the media. Through further testing he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 25. He left Fort McMurray to recover with his family thousands of miles away, where I ultimately decided that I would help him get through this and we would make it work.

It was a devastating blow in every aspect.

This wasn’t part of the plan. In fact it shattered all our plans, and dreams which were left in pieces at our feet. Despite my rage and the unfairness of it all, I quickly resorted back to what I knew best. I had been here before and did what I thought was best in crisis; which was to ignore the emotional impact and take care of those who weren’t as seemingly strong as I.

And there you have it. Mistake #1-Believing others don’t possess strength without you.

Poor Self-Esteem and Confidence can make the human spirit rely on others to validate importance and purpose where others who are in pain can fulfill these voids for us. The experiences/traumas responsible for planting those weeds of doubt in ourselves can be vast and complex. In my circumstances, it would be the trauma from domestic violence, the psychological and verbal abuse. I strongly believe that there is a strong sense of co-dependency created within these dynamics, whereby one enables the other. When done improperly, assuming the role as the “rock” can also perpetuate maladaptive inferiority roles for those who feel powerless with their diagnosis. And in regards to my marriage- I take accountability for succumbing to depending on being needed then feeling stifled years later by creating the culture of dependency.

How do we remedy this? Well I can’t say I was successful in doing it in my marriage otherwise I wouldn’t be speaking about a husband that is now an ex. But over the last 5 years since starting over, I have successfully committed to putting my physical and emotional health ahead of others. This often means, setting firm boundaries and expectations with loved ones and communicating my bottom line. At times it can appear intolerant, or lack empathy, however when our reasonings are given context it can be the most admirable lesson ever. Not everyone will understand this- but know it is for us as individuals to actualize our strengths, and I see no better way than to demonstrate it by walking the walk.

So this leads me to my second mistake.

Mistake #2- Using others crisis as a distraction to avoid my own shit.

I feel like I take the cake with this one, because I could have picked a more appropriate career as a social worker to enable me in doing this. Nonetheless, do you ever find yourself immersed in others lives, being over involved in problems that aren’t your own, and coming to the rescue of some damsel in distress. I was this person, and counted on filling my world with a plethora of noise to avoid the loneliness and pain I was feeling. My bucket continued to run empty as the fruits of my perceived “strength” went unacknowledged or appreciated by my partner, and overutilized by others. I had created the norm and the illusion that I was the “Rock,” someone who had their shit in a pile. That was my doing, because if I eluded to otherwise people would stop running to me with their noise and I’d really be alone. You see, he was increasingly declining in health and struggling with the neurological complications of Multiple Sclerosis. He was angrier, moodier, and more depressed. Intimacy or signs of romantic connection were not reciprocated and I found other ways to appease my needs to feel a connection and needed.

It wasn’t until I left my marriage that I truly felt what it was like to be alone as my home was loaded up and squished into a small 2 bedroom condo. You see at that time I had nothing available to give therefore the noise stopped and the distractions saw no value in what I had to offer during this period. There were few calls or invitations to reach out and help me move or keep me company. It was then that I saw the value in standing alone in the deafening silence and appreciating the space required in order to redirect all my focus inwards. Often we look at isolation or being seemingly forgotten as a reflection of not being worthy or loved- when in fact its Solitude that is being given to us. So the next time you are feeling lonely or overlooked, take the silence as an opportunity to give your soul some good advice and leave the unnecessary distractions at the door.

Mistake #3-Believing that others opinions mattered

I was completely debilitated by what I thought people would think if I made the decision to leave. Never mind that the circumstance were making me suicidal, but with no success in reaching out for extended family support, I was still left with an enormous amount of guilt. What kind of wife was I leaving her husband when he had MS. The only thing worse than me was the husband who left his dying wife with cancer for the cute blonde nurse that was hired to do the home care. I was worried about what they would say about me and how I would be perceived by choosing a chance at life again. What would my daughter think of me, who couldn’t even begin to understand what I was feeling. And why would she, I had managed to shield her from the majority of my unravelling. I was terrified by all the hurt that I would be placing on everyone around me.

Do you see Mistake #1 weaseling its way in here again?

What I realized in this process is that not one person who’s opinion I was worried about ever took the time to listen or ask if I needed support. I can’t believe I was worried about what this would mean for them and concerned that they would have to take over the responsibility of his care. I was actually worried that this would burden them and they would be angry with me that I had not tried hard enough or just endured longer. In the end it all worked itself out, which is a testament that when we walk away people have the ability to find a solution with or without us.

In hindsight, I wish I had been more kind to myself during this time. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that the challenges we were facing could be tackled in isolation yet we were left with no other option. The marriage counseling along with the long list of personal coping strategies and personal sacrifice at the expense of my mental health had fallen flat. The fact that I’m explaining this further is my lingering “tell” that perhaps I still have some feelings of guilt to work through.

What awaited me on the other side of it all was the overwhelming support from my own family and close friends who knew there was a life out there for me. You see they had boundaries with regards to where they were willing to rejoin me again and even my daughter stood by my decision and me throughout it all.

Mistake #4- Not Doing it Sooner

I wish I had conjured the courage and wisdom it took to commence the decision to move ahead quicker that had been overdue. My days of bluffing no longer held a strategic purpose in my life and with a sense of relief, happily folded the cards I was dealt. Perhaps that ominous bridge barrier that originally symbolized an end for me, alternatively was the beacon of hope that life was worth living if I just changed the direction of my wheel.

Amen to that.

And while I don’t intend on stewing to much more on the mistakes of the past, I hope that in sharing them provoked some fruitful “What if’s” for you if you are facing a need for change. Whether you are facing a decision to get sober, ending a toxic friendship or leaving an abusive relationship-know that you always have choice to change the direction.

Begin to free yourself at once by doing all that is possible with the means you have, and as you proceed in this spirit the way will open for you to do more.
~ Robert Collier

Please go follow my Instagram @cece_a_broadtalez

Looking back on January’s “Wipe Those Tears: The January Blues is Here so Embrace it.” (The Empaths are closed for Business)

I think it is only the socially responsible thing to as to forwarn you prior to diving too deep into my lastest post that this is entirely the opposite of what maybe your dark weathered spirit was seeking.

I won’t apologize for not guiding you towards the sunlight, nor suggest that you spend some time writing in your gratitude journal. You will not see me in the peripheral cheer leading you towards your efforts to eat a salad or take your vitamins today. I’ll be damned if I tell you to wake up early and spend some time meditating to the sonnet of the sunrise.

The fact is, mentally we all hit a wall sometimes. Imagine that my wall has several dents, and a game of Tik Tac Go Fuck Yo’Self written across it.

While I do not deny for the most part that I drink from the “Positive Outlook Kool-Aid Jar,” I do find after the year we have all shared that my jar runneth empty. An even sicker joke perhaps is that someone filled my jar and forgot the sugar.

Typically during this time of year many of us would have already broke our News Years Resolution, or alternatively some would be attacking their 2021 dreams with shear commitment. Like Clockwork, our January timelines would be slathered with the juice monkeys complaints that the newbies have infiltrated their muscle temples. Many of us would be experiencing a steady stream of turned down invites for cocktails, due to the Sober January subscribers-only to be contacted 2 weeks later to hear that sobriety is for the birds. January for me has historically been my favorite time of year for shopping as I adore combing the sales racks of Nordstrom’s and Saks for next winters wardrobe. This typically is also the time of year I begin to think about a tropical holiday somewhere and start to narrow down my destination list, while adding to my online wish list of bathing suits and sarongs. Needless to say the post Christmas lull has offered enough buffers to counteract the melancholy of the January Blues.

January blues? - Meme on Imgur

In honor of a buffer-less January I figured the best way to offer my support is by offering none at all. I believe most of us have done a great job the last 9-10 months trying to do the best we can with the dumpster fire that has been handed to us. I think in all fairness, its okay to dedicate this month to feeling discouraged, and allow some of that cynicism to seep out of ones pores like the sweet stale smell of hangover and poor life choices.

I’ve made a prudent effort to stay away from social media or any platform that might try to remind me politely that I’m acting like a gluttonous, self absorbed, lazy piece of human flesh. Its quite easy to actually do when you spend the majority of the time counting down the minutes before work is over and anticipating when you can have another bowl Cap’n Crunch before you resume your date with the ceiling fan. It can feel like a drastic fall from grace if you are not used to the doll drums that sorrow can bring. I am no stranger to depression, and I would do anything to avoid the depression I’ve experienced by adhering to a regiment of treatment and medication when needed. However, this is not that, and this state of “nothingness” I welcome with open arms. To be clear this is not a state of mental health, but perhaps just sadness in its purest sense. Sadness is meant to maneuver its way through the senses and serve as a reminder that life can expose us to a Kaleidescope of polarizing emotions that we familiarize ourselves with. It is how we process the experiences around us; that in turn ignite thought; create a feeling, then provoke response. So you see, if we never processed sadness, we’d never act on creating better outcomes.

Consequently this topic often makes people uncomfortable. I think folks often assume the term “happiness” is this fragile concept whereby the term “Protect your Energy,” has resulted in people’s inability to listen or appreciate the magic of sitting in or next to sadness. You have met these people, in fact, catch any one of us on a good flat tummy day and we are these people. Some take this role further and write books or devote their Instagram platforms as self proclaimed experts who sit on their throne of privilege and preach that “Being Positive” is as simple as a few steps. It is through Sadness that we gain perspective and recognize not every self disclosure of despair requires a silver lining.

Pin by Sarcastic Sarcasms on Words of Wisdom | Positive attitude quotes,  Positive attitude, Attitude quotes

Whoever said Misery loves company was a damn fool because my misery needs no witnesses. I’d just like to percolate within this funk until I feel good an ready to face the world.

To be perfectly transparent when I struggle in my own abilities to be the bubbly ray of sunshine I’m known to be among my peers, I realize how darn condescending that is to assume we all have it in us to just switch the happy light on. In reality how crazy is it to offer “positive vibes” to someone who is losing a business, or someone who is dying and unable to see their family before they die. Truth be told… Positivity does not always hold space in our lives nor is it an acceptable “plug-in” for those uncomfortable with accepting that life can just be a bag of dicks.

I know with regards to my own creative process and content I felt psychologically bound and gagged as a result of not being able to put something I’d consider “helpful” into words for my readers. Until I experienced my very own epiphany around what I consider helpful. For me its hearing about other people just like me. In fact, connecting with others who too may have eaten Nutella by the spoonful this last month, and secretly found pleasure in playing with their belly fat as it took flight to the surface of their bathwater. Maybe others will giggle in delight that they too have spent 3 weeks straight playing Money Winning Game Apps for hours on end and somehow still feel they are so close to winning that Amazon Gift Card. Lets not forget the overgrown broken acrylic nails and self bleached yellow roots of hair that glow like torches of despair, reminders of what was during better times. Whoever said Misery loves company was a damn fool because my misery needs no witnesses. I’d just like to percolate within this funk until I feel good an ready to face the world.

I am a glorious HOT MESS…I can’t be alone in this.

Unfortunately in my conquest to commit to a month of Melancholy… I unearthed an audacious article that managed to find 17 Benefits and Traits of Melancholic People. Here I was hoping I’d repel the masses but Positivity clearly has its tentacles into everything.

According to Kelly Spears , a Mental Health Advocate and Freelance Writer, most Melancholics are very self-reliant, who rely mainly on their powers, resources, and strength beyond any other person. Kelly states that:

“Typically, this could work out positive for them, and on some occasions, it may not. Also, the melancholic personality is very thoughtful. This essentially means that they think through their actions and typically weigh their options before taking steps. Also, melancholics can behave very reserved. So, essentially, it means most melancholics don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings, emotions, or thoughts to anyone. Consequently, melancholics usually find it easy to control their emotions and keep their feelings in check. On a positive note, this normally makes them maintain a steady and stable mood most of the time.”

Kelly has the Positivity Gestapo written all over her.

But nonetheless, as we all work through the January Blues I’m anxious to hear about how you are all coping or more interestingly not coping. My goal is to bring our tales of woe together from a safe distance that doesn’t require much effort, much like the pajamas I wore for my zoom mtg today.

Stay Brooding Readers!

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My Hump, My Hump, My Less Than Lovely Lady Hump: Working My Way out of Kyphosis

What Is Dowager's Hump and How to Fix It (It's Not Only About Your Posture)

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As a person who is hunched over their computer, steering wheel, phone, or long list of digital devices used in my day; my posture is something nightmares are made of. Over the last 3 years the level of pain I ensure on a daily basis has increased ten fold. The ache between my shoulder blades and neck, then along my traps and down my forearms is nothing short of agony day in and day out. Not to mention my self confidence has taken a toll as a result of the unpleasing aesthetics of having a big old hump on your neck. I’ve used my long hair in the past to camouflage it, including hair extensions to add an extra layer of safety

But for me, it has gotten to the point whereby I cannot ignore the fact that I am not interested in spending the remainder of my life rolling around on the floor on a wooden rolling pin trying to work out the kinks. There has been days when co-workers have caught me rubbing against corners, edges, or whatever looks like it will release the wrath of the entrapped nerves pecking away on my every last piece of sanity.

I recall haphazardly completing an ergonomic test at work about 5 years ago when I was complaining about my pain. My administrative Team Lead came touting a sense of confidence in her role of the official Occupational Health Officer, and I was anxious for my woes to be solved with the appropriate equipment that would solve all my problems. I was willing to apply whatever wisdom she had available to extend to me. She had me sit at my desk, and I remember her moving my limbs around and adjusting me into positions that felt extremely foreign. It was determined that I needed a new chair, so a chair was delivered.

Unfortunately what was not adjusted for my tendency to hold my core, neck and head in the correct position that would actually address the fact that I had a Dowager’s Hump- Which is the outdated name for what is considered a common spinal condition more appropriately named Kyphosis.

What are the symptoms of kyphosis?

The human spine has a natural curvature. These curves help us to stand upright and stay balanced while doing so.

Kyphosis happens when the angle of the spine is out of the typical range. The condition can vary in seriousness. Generally speaking, the greater the curve of the spine, the more severe the symptoms are.

The symptoms of kyphosis can include:

I have in the past always thought I had good “core strngth” as my capacity to do do 300- 500 situps in one go was not a problem. But Core, and Abdominal muscles are a totally different set of muscle groups. Shape Magazine discusses “Why Core Strength Is So Important (It Has Nothing to Do with Sculpting a Six-Pack)” and states :

“A strong core helps keep a more upright and erect posture whether you’re being active or just sitting at your desk,” says McHale. Think of it like the tree trunk of your body (albeit a lot more mobile): It has to hold its ground so that your branches (arms and legs) can do their ~thing~ any which way.

So in a nutshell a new chair for me in hindsight was not going to cut it. Nether was my tendency to kick my feet up on the desk, while clutching a phone between my head and my shoulder and playing a game of slots on my phone.

To be quite frank it has taken up until now… as in this last week to finllally wave my white flag and adjust my posture every chance I could get throughout the day. Throughotu my appointments with physio therapists, massage therapists, Kiniesiolgists and chiropractors it has been suggested that my posture required adjustment. THey would position me appropropriately, having me tuck my core in tights, lightly pushing baack my shouldfers, then pushing my head iinto a downward tilt. Low and behold,,, thete was the double chin I had been trying to avoid. It turns out I was a heavy subbrivbet to a forward head posture position, the root of all my pain.You see all these years I had adjusted my my head position to compensate for the my growing double chin. I figured the more I stretched my head forward, the les obvious my double chin would be. I mean doesn’t everyone sacrifice their spinal health through the smoke and mirrors of bad head posture?

It has taken for me to accept my doubke chin in echnage for good posture and less pain. The double vhin will be dealt with hopefully by eating less Cap’n Crunch, and maybe some good old cool scuplt. Its a sacrificie I’m willigng to acccept.

So at any given moment you can catch me pretending that a cord is puling my neck from the base of my skull upwards. I use the back of my car seat rest to help pull and strectch out my neck, and have removed the eight pillows I choose to sleep with, and settling for one small yet effective pillow lull me into an unfmiliar and uncomffortable sleep.

Its been a grueling task, adjusting a whole complex set of mecles in my neck, shoulders, back and core muscles to accomodate this fabulaous new double chin. But can I say within a week of mking these adjustments the pain has subsided.

But correcting this goes beyond just stretching and correcting my posture throughout the day. It takes some serious efforts with regards to adding beneficial exercises to your day. See Below.

Read on to learn how to do 12 exercises that’ll help you stand a little taller.

1. Child’s pose

This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. The child’s pose helps to release tension in your lower back and neck.

To do this:

  1. Sit on your shinbones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
  2. Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
  3. Sink your hips back down toward your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
  4. Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
  5. Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
  6. Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
  7. Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply.

2. Forward fold

This standing stretch releases tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It also stretches your hips and legs. While doing this stretch, you should feel the entire back side of your body opening up and lengthening.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
  2. Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
  3. Release your hands toward the floor or place them on a block. Don’t worry if your hands don’t touch the ground — just go as far as you can.
  4. Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints, and allow your spine to lengthen.
  5. Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

3. Cat cow

Practicing cat cow stretches and massages your spine. It also helps to relieve tension in your torso, shoulders, and neck while promoting blood circulation.

To do this:

  1. Come onto your hands and knees with your weight balanced evenly between all four points.
  2. Inhale to look up, dropping your abdomen down toward the ground as you extend your spine.
  3. Exhale and arch your spine toward the ceiling and tuck your chin into your chest.
  4. Continue this movement for at least 1 minute.

4. Standing cat cow

Doing the cat cow stretch while standing helps to loosen up tightness in your back, hips, and glutes.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Extend your hands in front of you or place them on your thighs.
  3. Lengthen your neck, bring your chin toward your chest, and round your spine.
  4. Then look up, lift your chest, and move your spine in the opposite direction.
  5. Hold each position for 5 breaths at a time.
  6. Continue this movement for a few minutes.

5. Chest opener

https://gfycat.com/ifr/JealousAcrobaticHochstettersfrog

This exercise allows you to open and stretch your chest. This is especially useful if you spend most of your day sitting, which tends to make your chest move inward. Strengthening your chest also helps you stand up straighter.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers with your palms pressing together. Grasp a towel if your hands don’t reach each other.
  3. Keep your head, neck, and spine in one line as you gaze straight ahead.
  4. Inhale as you lift your chest toward the ceiling and bring your hands toward the floor.
  5. Breathe deeply as you hold this pose for 5 breaths.
  6. Release and relax for a few breaths.
  7. Repeat at least 10 times.

Ready to see how this all fits into an exercise plan? Check out our guide for better posture in 30 days.

LEARN MORE

6. High plank

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The high plank pose helps to relieve pain and stiffness throughout your body while strengthening your shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. It also helps you develop balance and strength in your core and back, both important for good posture.

To do this:

  1. Come onto all fours and straighten your legs, lift your heels, and raise your hips.
  2. Straighten your back and engage your abdominal, arm, and leg muscles.
  3. Lengthen the back of your neck, soften your throat, and look down at the floor.
  4. Make sure to keep your chest open and your shoulders back.
  5. Hold this position for up to 1 minute at a time.

7. Side plank

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You can use a side plank to maintain the neutral alignment of your spine and legs. This energizing pose works the muscles in your sides and glutes. Strengthening and aligning these muscles helps to support your back and improve posture.

To do this:

  1. From a high plank position, bring your left hand slightly in to center.
  2. Shift your weight onto your left hand, stack your ankles, and lift your hips.
  3. Place your right hand on your hip or extend it up toward the ceiling.
  4. You can drop your left knee down to the floor for extra support.
  5. Engage your abdominals, side body, and glutes as you maintain this pose.
  6. Align your body in a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
  7. Look straight ahead of you or up toward your hand.
  8. Hold this pose for up to 30 seconds.
  9. Repeat on the opposite side.

8. Downward-facing dog

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This is a forward bend that can be used as a resting pose to balance out your body. The downward-facing dog pose helps to relieve back pain, while also strengthening and aligning your back muscles. Practicing it regularly helps to improve posture.

To do this:

  1. Lying with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels.
  2. Lift your knees and hips to bring your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
  4. Keep your ears in line with your upper arms or tuck your chin all the way into your chest.
  5. Press firmly into your hands and keep your heels slightly lifted.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

9. Pigeon pose

This is a hip opener that also loosens up your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. The pigeon pose can also help to stretch your sciatic nerve and quadriceps. Opening and stretching these places in your body makes it easier to correct imbalances in your posture.

To do this:

  1. Come down on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a little bit in front of your shoulders.
  2. Bend your right knee and place it behind your right wrist with your right foot angled out to the left.
  3. Rest the outside of your right shin on the floor.
  4. Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee, and rest your thigh on the floor.
  5. Make sure your left leg extends straight back (and not to the side).
  6. Slowly lower your torso down to rest on your inner right thigh with your arms extended in front of you.
  7. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  8. Slowly release the position by walking your hands back toward your hips and lifting your torso.
  9. Repeat on the left side.

10. Thoracic spine rotation

This exercise relieves tightness and pain in your back while increasing stability and mobility.

To do this:

  • Come onto all fours and sink your hips back down to your heels and rest on your shins.
  • Place your left hand behind your head with your elbow extended to the side.
  • Keep your right hand under your shoulder or bring it to center and rest on your forearm.
  • Exhale as you rotate your left elbow up toward the ceiling and stretch the front of your torso.
  • Take one long inhale and exhale in this position.
  • Release back down to the original position.
  • Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

11. Glute squeeze

This exercise helps to strengthen and activate your glutes while relieving lower back pain. It also improves the functioning and alignment of your hips and pelvis, leading to better posture.

To do this:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet about hip-distance apart.
  2. Keep your feet about a foot away from your hips.
  3. Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  4. Exhale as you bring your feet closer to your hips.
  5. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then move them further away from your hips.
  6. Continue this movement for 1 minute.
  7. Do this exercise a few times per day.

12. Isometric rows

This exercise helps to relieve pain and stiffness from sitting in one place for too long. Isometric pulls work your shoulder, arm, and back muscles, giving you the strength to maintain good posture.

To do this:

  1. Sit in a chair with a soft back.
  2. Bend your arms so your fingers are facing forward and your palms are facing each other.
  3. Exhale as you draw your elbows back into the chair behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Breathe deeply as you hold this position for 10 seconds.
  5. On an inhale, slowly release to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this movement for 1 minute.
  7. Do this exercise several times throughout the dy.

Exercises That Correct a Dowager’s Hump

How to Fix the Worst Posture Mistakes

Celebrating Satin & Sequins: Fashion is the Armor to Survive Everyday Life

By Mid-November the last of the fall colors here in Calgary have been covered by the frigid snow and ice, revealing a prism of deep and rich romance. Velvety navy blues and crimson reds paint the morning skies as our breath kisses the air; the warmth is transformed into a dimension of little crystalized diamonds. It is the time of year when wearing Satin and Sequins help emulate magic as they capture the glow from the twinkling lights that dance throughout our homes and city scape during the festive winter Months.

And as Christmas winds down, the next event many of us look forward too is New Years Eve, whereby we can drape ourselves in decadent sequins and Sexy Satins. This year was unlike any New Years we have ever endured, as many slept their way into the New Year, cloaked in cotton jammies. I on the other hand was working a night shift and can only remember wearing the drool that had dried on my cheek during a lapse of mid-shift narcolepsy.

Glamorous I know.

So you can imagine I missed the pomp and circumstance that I anticipate each year when I get to have my Cinderella Moment, glass slippers and all.

Julep (@julepmaven) • Instagram photos and videos | Shopaholic quotes,  Sparkle quotes, Life quotes to live by
Brighter Than a Star Sequin Jumpsuit- Fashion Nova

I can appreciate not everyone feels comfortable wearing something that demands the attention of a room, as we all have our own version of what we feel good in. For myself I don’t believe I can wait for another year to bust out my sequins, I need glamour, and I need it now.

Many shy away from wearing sequins and should not save these little textile gems for just the holiday season or for ones children’s dance recital costumes. According to Meghan Nesmith who wrote A HISTORY OF SEQUINS, FROM KING TUT’S TOMB TO YOUR NEW YEAR’S EVE OUTFIT, Sequins have been around since since Ancient Egypt. They have been unearthed in archeological sites from Pakistan to Egypt. The earliest versions were gold nuggets, hammered into thin circles and pierced through the center. Heaps of them were found scattered across Tutankhamun’s tomb, some deeply colored by iron deposits in shades of red and purple, or sewn in shapes of flowers along his ceremonial robe, both to indicate his importance and keep the king tricked out in the afterlife.

Like the sun god himself, King Tut literally beamed. He was the drag queen of his time in my opinion!

I figured there is no time like the now to still adorn yourself like Cleopatra, and unleash your inner queen. Here are some of my fave’s I came across:

Plunge Asymmetric Maxi Dress in Sequin
ASOS Editionus.asos.com$67.60
Light Rust Sheer Pant FE NOEL fenoel.com$278.00

Spring Summer Sequins- Club London 105.00
ASOS EDITION plunge mini dress in yellow sequin C$114.05
Sabrina Satin Joggers - Olive
Sabrina Satin Joggers – $44.99 USD

So Lets not delay my friends, the Satin and Sequins are feeling neglected these days. Whether its a trip to the fridge, or your home office is tired of seeing you in the same dirty sweats- there is no wrong time to be glamorous!

I’ll leave you with this:

quote text Glitter inspiration i was bored black green girly Preppy gold  glitter prep this is fun chevron tumblr at night nightblogging my  typography preppy blog so many hashtags she who

Don’t forget to Like, Share and Comment Below!

Friends Off: Diving into Polarizing Impact of Covid-19 and Pandemic Beliefs

Broken Friendship Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook, Tumblr,  Pinterest, and Twitter

As the year 2020 unfolded it started with the bushfires raging across Australia, burning 18.6M hectares and killing 1B animals. Then, the US drone hit Baghdad International Airport and took down Iranian major general. With war breathing over the shoulder, and racial tensions over police brutality reaching a boiling point, we got dealt with the worst pandemic in recent history that killed 1.4 million people so far. I’ll spare you the rest.

A year ago I was blissfully ignorant to the deep rooted belief systems within my peer network. Those were simpler times when the pre-requisites for relationships with one another were based on whether they made us laugh and offered companionship. The interactions with one another grew with safe and respectful dialogue whereby the intimate bonds and connections over shared experiences and emotions were validated through the feelings of acceptance and belonging.

But as we enter another year in the same predicament, new conversations are occurring as we look back and reflect on the changes in our lives. The biggest change I think many people can attest to is the breakdown of many friendships and relationships that at one time held significant space in our lives. It’s evident that people’s perceptions of others within their peer network vary within their own position amidst the pandemic and how they’ve chose to operate within it. I’m 100% guilty of unfollowing, filtering and overtly ignoring my exposure to opinions whereby I feel I may be experience judgment about their character as a result of their beliefs. I’m sure it goes both ways as well.

For the purpose of this conversation it’s important for me to identify where my beliefs lie in the grand scheme of things.

I believe there is a pandemic and I believe that the stats being provided are vastly minimized as a result of our 3rd world countries not having the ability to provide testing in addition the ability report accurate death tolls. I believe the vulnerable and disenfranchised voices have been silenced by those who carry the privilege of youthfulness, good health, and access to health care and mental health benefits. I believe in the recommendations that are being provided by the health organizations and I’ve chosen to listen to them. I believe the circumstances of mistrust and convoluted information sharing has polluted minds as opposed to “Awaken” their ability to think independently. I believe in the right to exercise ones rights as long as it is not at the detriment of public health. I believe it is necessary to be considerate of the varying ways people are choosing to navigate within these trying times. I believe I should be sensitive and cautious about what I choose to share as it may be triggering or upsetting to others on a public platform.

“Geography divides people only if the people allow it – faith divides people only if the people allow it – intellect divides people only if the people allow it – politics divides people only if the people allow it. So, unless the people allow it, nothing can tear our world apart. Unless you allow it, nothing can tear our society apart.”

― Abhijit Naskar, Aşkanjali: The Sufi Sermon

In addition I am coming from the place if a person who was infected with Covid-19 in July 2020 and do not believe it is “just a flu” for everyone as a result of my own experience with it. Read More Here

I am fine with wearing masks and I’m fine with getting a vaccine as I’m a frontline worker within vulnerable communities. Everyday I face the risk of exposing my elderly mother who lives with us to Covid-19. I don’t care about what others choose- to each their own. I’ve oscillated between being hyper vigilant to neglectful with regards to adhering to the gathering rules and I have hugged friends and entertained a select few in the basement of my home on occasions. I struggle between my own selfish needs for company and the need to protect the health and wellbeing of others who could die from Covid. One could say I am a hypocrite- I choose a kinder term- I’m only human.

Many friends and acquaintances in my network managed to adopt passionate voices for Human Rights; but not when the racial inequality reached its boiling point this year, but rather when they were told to wear a mask. Many used their voice to fight and support causes that in my opinion outed their ignorance and bigoted attitudes. I admittedly chose to fall back from these people when I realized how self serving they were and that they no longer had a place in my bubble. So as you can see I’m no stranger to the divide and recognize that my tolerance for stupidity is less than forgiving. As harsh as my disclosure may sound, I thinks it’s important to highlight my own biases for the purposes of recognizing that intolerance exists at both ends of the spectrums. My own ability to engage in dialogue that perhaps could facilitate understanding seems to require far too much energy that I simply do not have. We are all placed in difficult positions of having to navigate how to simultaneously process and make sense of our own heightened feelings of vulnerability and anxiety, while also staying attuned to our friends and family’s needs and creating a “holding space” for their anxieties.  This weighs on our patience and ability to feel empathetic, and we cannot always be expected to respond 100% of the time with our best foot forward. But try telling that though to the friend or family member who feels like you are not doing enough- or just do what I do-Not Give a Fuck.

So this in a nutshell is the lens I am coming from. And while some may align themselves with what I’ve shared, I’m sure 50% also disagree. Which leads me to believe we are more prone than ever to show people the door and give them the boot. We becoming more polarized within our once treasured friendships which are dissolving at an alarming rate.

The Grumpy Introvert's Advice on Friend Breakups

There are probably many reasons. Could social media be driving polarization? Many people think so—and, indeed, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter have all become sites of ferocious political argument. Social media, it seems, amp up moral and emotional messages while organizing people into digital communities based on tribal conflicts. The recent Trump incited riots and storming of the capital is a good representation as to how social media has provided a platform for similar minded communities to unite and organize. There was a common assumption that radicalism only existed within the Islamic extremists, focusing on how these groups were used to groom and recruit supporters. Needless to say, the predominantly white extremists who prefer the term “Patriots” continue to be given Oxygen via their online platforms, feeding on the vulnerable, and for a better term, the Gullible. Domestic terrorism has been vastly overlooked as White nationalists are now the #1 threat facing the United States in regards to terrorism. Nationalist Chapters in Canada continue to grow at rapid rates as well, capitalizing on those seeking to find refuge among seemingly like-minded people.

“We can divide the river’s flow and subsequently channel its splintered force in any way that our selfish agendas might compel us. However, it all ends up in the sea, for although the river’s power might be diminished by such meddling, its destination is not. And on this mutual journey to the seas of freedom, might we as the human race remember the mighty river that we are. And in remembering that, may we soundly reject those who would selfishly divide our unity in order to prompt us to lesser seas”

― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Many have become complacent as they scurry to find a place to belong as their personal divides grow. Global events have evoked polarized public response whereby many have felt the responsibility to share their poorly sourced collection of “research.”  It has served to reinforce their personal beliefs in addition inadvertently push agenda’s that often people are innocently unaware of. There is a reason why a very small portion of us have  gone on to obtain PHD’s; to publish a factual article and science based study at this level requires almost half a human life span.  Meanwhile we have Facebook Franny spitting Wikipedia facts whereby Gullible Glenda spams her timeline and so on.

I fondly reflect back on March 2020, when we all clung to the novelty of Zoom hangouts and remote celebrations as the circumstances felt all so temporary. With the deepening of visible divisions in how people are handling the ongoing pandemic have become the source of growing tension resulting in a decreased desire to connect with those on the opposing side. As our lives have become quieter, many of us face difficulty finding something to talk about. In fact I struggle weekly to figure out what I’m going to write about that isn’t Covid-19 related. My desire to see people via zoom is not appealing as I spend the majority of my day staring at my double chin in a never ending series of WebEx meetings.

The escalating toxicity of the polarization within our friendships and relationships, I cannot avoid mentioning that there is another side to the story. Some have said their relationships have strengthened during this time, as they have prioritized whom they care about and how often they check in. This in actuality is healthy, and perhaps a practice many of us should have been practicing long ago. Ego’s will always be bruised in the process and feelings hurt; but consider the benefits of having more time to invest in yourself and your own growth having less baggage to worry about.

In Conclusion these are the facts:

  • For some, their values no longer align
  • For others, it’s not differences — but distance
  • Our relationships may have been forever altered
  • We are all Grieving the Losses

Ultimately, relationships may be affected forever after the pandemic and we will emerge not the same people we were a year ago. This will be one of the many traumas to come out of 2020/2021 that we don’t even fully know about yet.

“Each thinker will regard anything that clashes with his or her worldview to be insane and in conflict with reality. That’s because each thinker regards his or her worldview as reality itself and not as just an inner illusion. However, worldviews are just inner illusions. Making matters worse, people with similar worldviews tend to join with others who share major elements of their worldviews, and they tend to avoid those people who have worldviews that aren’t similar. This segregation results in confirmation bias among peers, making matters much worse.”


― Petros Scientia

Curating Creative Passive Aggressive Notes in a Time of Covid-19: New Ways to Drive Each Other Crazy.

We are 8 months into a pandemic that seems like its overstayed its welcome ten times over. They had predicted back in May, that the Pandemic would likely be here for the next 2 years. And in keeping with our theme today I’d like to tell Covid-19 a big old “Thanks in Advance for all your dedicated hard work, you really know how to kill it out there.”

I’m over talking about the C-word and perhaps we can find some unity in a world that has become more divided in a time where it no longer is just Donald Trump’s fault. I’m sure we have all had the opportunity to get to know our partners, room-mates, kids and family far more intimately since being home more. Up to this point my partner and I have exhausted every possible petty argument imaginable that we have no choice but to get along now. I think we may have single handedly invented a new method on how to save a marriage in 8 months…wait for the book! It was encouraging to come across this post “73 Ridiculously Stupid Things Couples Fight About,” and check off every single one of them. Needless to say that the serenity has bored me, and I’m left wondering how can I be a next level pain in his ass.

Stupid Things Couples Fight About
This is about right….

One may ask why would I engage in pure flagrant behavior, and risk severing the life and limbs of my relationship? Well you see I’m diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, and I get bored very easily if I do not have new ways of interacting with the world or engaging in meaningful and productive activities. Also, this asshole never puts the empty toilet paper rolls into the garbage- he leaves them on the floor next to the toilet. If you are not on my level of petty then you can see your way out- we are not the same people.

Ways To Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls and Other Cardboard Tubes - Reuse Grow  Enjoy

This is a new concept for me as I’m not subtle in my communication styles, which is surprising since my mother was queen of passive aggressive communication and punishment. I will be using her as my guest consultant as I proceed with my devious plan. Seeing as my partner pretends to read my blog I don’t anticipate he will know what’s up until I use this post in an argument down the road. I can visualize it now, I’ll store it away in the brain compartment labelled “Ammunition” to prove he doesn’t support my success and dreams in life when it seems fitting. I’ve already won the hypothetical argument and he doesn’t even know it.

So I have begun researching how I may address his toilet paper roll oversights in new ways that will perhaps keep our love fresh by tipping the scales of risk. I feel like the scales may tip in my favor at least in regards to some really great make-up sex if it blows up in my face. Below is a few ways that I will be adopting over the next month or so.

They Just Don't
Somehow dishes are not his nor hers nor anyone’s as claims are made that they weren’t even in the kitchen the make the mess. Yet here they lay.
Here Are The 20 Most Passive Aggressive Notes Ever Left. #6 Is Much  Deserved... LOL. - ViralServ
passive-agressive-toilet-paper-home
passive-agressive-clean-the-fridge
This seems like a great way to suggest that Fridge Cleaning is open to other days outside of the days he needs space for beer storage.
Leaving communal kitchens untidy is a common office gripe with one person using Post Its to express their dissatisfaction with their co-workers
I’ll take 500 of these please.
When sales promotions go wrong: One shopper became enraged by a supermarket's promotional deals
Swears up and down he only had one.
i tolerate you cake wife prank
Finally a Cake I can make-Nailed it.
wife makes passive agressive flow chart for hunger
Robbie’s Wife can feel my pain.
When things are getting a little boring in your relationship, the best way to spice things up is with a sexy dress-up session..
When a husband asks for something, what does a good wife do?
There are two ways to handle an argument: draw it out for ages and ignore each other until someone relents, or make a slightly funny retort and forget the whole thing.

I should have probably began this post with a disclaimer that I am not a licensed relationship counselor. I could probably be described more appropriately as the antagonist villain in regards to all things relationship related. I like to keep things dangerous, teetering on the ledge, holding a match over a barrel of gasoline. You may be wondering how can you find success in a relationship with this kind of attitude.

I’m so busy coming up with new ways to challenge and test our relationship through laughter, humor, and being unapologetically myself that I don’t have much use for the real relationship killers. When playfully researching ways to get under my boo’s skin I came across How to Annoy Your Boyfriend and it mentioned common habits that are real killers. It mentions things like being on your Phone all the time, or abusing it as a means to be over controlling. Mind Games was another point and it breaks down many identifiable habits couples engage in. Playing up Insecurities by acting jealous, or limiting their time with friends, running their phone down. Being a Diva, and that’s not confined to just women! This includes Demanding things that are not financially realistic, always making a fuss over little things, chronically prioritizing your needs above theirs to name a few.

As I conclude I hope you can appreciate my tongue and cheek approach to the obvious challenges we are all facing. Whether it be in our romantic or within our platonic relationships as we continue to hunker down in our social bubbles. Try not to burst yours because unlike the pandemic relationships can be here forever.

Now go and get busy messing with your significant other. Give them a Big Ol’ Wet Willy and tell them Cece told you too!

Follow my Instagram for daily videos of me annoying my boyfriend.

Happy Pestering!

First Go Pro Video Feature! Date Night YYC: Weekend Staycation Edition

This year I decided to work at our Regional Afterhours unit for the New Years Eve. And before you commend me for my noble sacrifice, it was motivated purely by a dwindling bank account whereby the holidays stripped me of my last dollars. Its a yearly fate that never seems to learn its lesson.

My other half however had the opportunity to celebrate the New Years with a few close friends, and I was just as pleased to Facetime at midnight while I brought in the new year bringing home the Bag at time and half. When I returned home on January 1st, 2021 at 8 am after a grueling 12 hour shift, my other half was still soundly asleep, with the aroma of poor choices emanating in the air. I opened a window, lit a fragrant candle and slept until January 2nd. Its almost like 2020 never stopped.

With my other half’s electrolytes replenished and my sleep pattern restored, the suggestion that we spend the weekend out of the house was just the ticket out of the doghouse he needed. You see, he was supposed to not enjoy New Years too, and in my mind he was supposed to be as equally miserable as I. Why men don’t pick up on this is beyond me, and unless its graffiti on stall wall, they don’t know how to proceed accordingly. But as luck would have it, his New Years was miserable, but I’ll save that story for another time. I respect his need for privacy, but lets just say it rhymes with SHMUSHROOMS. Needless to say, he had some ass kissing to do, and I figured that ass could be kissed better in a beautiful suite at the Hotel Arts in Downtown Calgary.

Hotel Arts - UPDATED 2021 Prices, Reviews & Photos (Calgary, Alberta) -  Tripadvisor

Admittedly a Staycation in Calgary during a Provincial Covid Lockdown whereby all the restaurants are closed for dining and streets baron seemed for a better term a waste of money. I wondered why book a suite only to be doing the same exact thing we do at home, except our Skip the Dishes options have changed geographically. But as I packed my little overnight bag, I began to appreciate even this historically daunting task. What was different this time was that I needed not to consider packing an array of “What if?” outfits in anticipation for impromptu adventures. How many times have we gone away for a weekend and packed 5 pairs of heels, a tiara, and maybe a pair of cleats just in case we play a game of soccer between going hiking and getting day drunk at a pool party. You can imagine the looming sense of “I’m forgetting something” that occurred when for the first time in history I managed to stuff all I needed in a carry on. By the way, those of you who travel like this regularly are bad ass risk takers and I solute you.

So since we were going nowhere, I imagined I’d probably be butt ass naked all day, cleaning ranch sauce off my breasts with my fingers, while eating chicken fingers in bed. All I needed was clothes to enter the hotel and clothes to leave the hotel. There was no need for hair tools, makeup, accessories, exfoliants or a kitchen-aid mixer. It was all so unsettling. That was until I stepped foot into the car and let out a gigantic breathe. I finally realized indeed this was not a waste of money. The feeling of release that I experienced just knowing I was leaving the confines of my house I had been bound too for the last 9 months was enough to make anyone around me uncomfortable by the noise I unleashed. Man, was I ready to get naked and order the FUCK out of Skip the Dishes next to my other half, who by the minute was inching further away from the doghouse shadows. We embarked on our journey and dipped into our favorite community Highlander Liquor Store to scoop up some fancy Champagne and assortment of fine wine to sip on.

It would be all of 15 minutes later we would arrive at Hotel Arts– Parking is is easy and underground which by the way is so very important when you live in a cold city and don’t plan on starting your car for two days. Having a dead battery can ruin your staycation quick and throw you into the devastating reality far quicker than need be when returning to the barbarous world again. I had been to Hotel Arts on many occasions as a guest and as a woman who loves their poolside lounge in the summer months. Hotel Arts has always been my favorite place to stay during The Calgary Stampede, as its fun to

Hotel Arts, Calgary, Canada - Booking.com
Hotel Arts ar Twitter: “Who's ready for a day spent on our Poolside Patio  eating and drinking all the deliciousness from our new weekend Poolside  Patio menu? We have DJ Cary Chang

experience the other side of stampede as a tourist and not as a begrudged local who typically flees the city during this time. I have fond memories of posting up all day on the loungers, ordering jugs of Sangria and munching on my favorite Grilled Cobb Wedge Salad while Deep House beats pulsate in the background. Sadly due to Covid-19 Restrictions the use of the pool was not an option, but consequently neither was my bathing suit body so it worked out for everyone.

The Hotel was like a ghost town. I imagined a scene from a little Podunk town motel where there was one lone Inn-Keeper who also lived in adjoined shack- except our Inn Keeper was a breathe of fresh air and this was a 4+ star hotel. The desk clerk assured us that this was the quietest time of year and given the circumstances, it was exceptionally dead; the floor was ours. I’m not sure where his head was at, but I dug it, especially after sharing a house with my mother, where privacy is contingent on when her Zopiclone kicks in.

The suite was a perfect nest that nurtured a good balance between Sleep, Soaking, Binge Watching and all of the Hanky Panky in between. We could see the Calgary Tower from our room, and despite the fact I drive by it on a weekly basis, it was a complimentary to the night skyline and the mood. City lights have always been invigorating for me, sending electric currents right through me, igniting hidden energy and passion. On countless occasions I’ve dragged my tired buttocks out the door to meet friends downtown, contemplating a Fast and the Furious U-turn the whole the down the Deer Foot. I was familiar with this inner tug-of-war and knew all I had to do was hold it together up until the Memorial Drive Fly-Over that unleashed the dancing lights of Calgary. I knew that within that gleeful spectrum laid the groundwork for yet another epic night, it was my visual Redbull. So as I gazed upon these lights that I’ve seen so many times before, and they renewed my hope and unearthed the nostalgia I’ve been longing for. I stood on the balcony and blew my beloved city a kiss and told her I’ll see you soon Honey!

16 Fun Facts About The Calgary Tower - Dining Out in Calgary, Canmore &  Banff
downtown | Christopher Martin Photography
Memorial Drive Calgary, Alberta

The next couple days I’d wear one of my two coming and leaving outfits. The air was still brisk, but the sun was out, and if you were strolling the streets you may have caught me hanging my head out the window like a dog taking in the abundance of alluring foreign scents. Those scents brought us all the way to the Cormery Block for some BBQ-To-Go! We have been loyal patrons to both The Cormery Block and Hayden Block, so it brought us much joy to continue supporting a local business that produces the most consistently delicious and mouth watering eats in Calgary. We ordered our favorites, and all the fixins’s, and were gifted an additional order of mouth watering ribs- God Bless You! Nothing jump starts a night of Staycation Romance, like a belly filling food coma that results alternatively in the best nights sleep I’ve had in ages. Chubby Girls & Boys worldwide I know are getting hot in the undercarriage!

Cruising 17th ave, the old “Red Mile” of Calgary was filled with other optimistic souls, aiming to get dose of sentimentality.

comeryblockyyc - Twitter Search

I had intended on doing some writing while holed up in our little love nest, but I struggled to tear myself away from being present with my other half. The time together stood still, and I would feel locked into his arms, a special space reserved for me. Cemented into a moment that if I was to die in that moment I’d be eternally at peace. It was in this room that I found reprieve from the unyielding weight of the outside world. The world for this weekend needed to carry its own weight for awhile, and while I knew it would be there when I returned, somehow this small getaway prepared me to face it again with a smile. The last time I had felt this at ease within myself was when I caught myself freely floating in the Caribbean waters off Runaway Bay in Jamaica. I underestimated the Staycation.

As we packed up I was anxious to get home- I missed my dog Geisha, but I also couldn’t wait to tackle the upcoming first work week of 2021 feeling optimistic, an emotion I had not felt for awhile. I felt a deeper sense of confidence even within my relationship that had encountered numerous hurdles throughout the previous year, weathered by the storm. I felt stronger than ever that perhaps we’d now write the book on how to survive a pandemic and not skin each other alive. But more importantly as the city skyline grew smaller in my rearview mirror, I promised I’d see it again. I’d pledge that I would give it my best over the coming year to extract every experience it had left in it- not to suck the life from it, but to keep it alive. Calgary’s intrinsic nature has always delivered no matter how shattered my soul was, it only honorable to repay the favor.

So I urge my fellow Calgarians to reflect on how they can give back to their city in honor of all the good times it has fostered for you. Where you once raised a glass to celebrate with friends, or the location you once watched your first burlesque show to the quaint bathroom you shared a drunken heart to heart with your best friend- these businesses need your support so we can get back to sharing moments again with one another. Experiencing them in different ways may unveil a new way to find hope in the coming year, whether it be in your relationships or your desire to reconnect with loved ones and friends.

I want to say Thank-You to Hotel Arts for providing us the opportunity to fall in love with not only my other half again, but myself, my city, and people that make it what it is.

I Created this Vlog For you- It was my first run at this so bare with the learning curve

You Can Subscribe To My New YouTube Channel: Talez From A Broad

The Office: A Once Prehistoric Place where People Once Worked. My Ode to the Youth Assessment Team.

Last night I worked another extra shift at our Afterhours Unit. It’s the epicenter that is anything Child Intervention for all Southern Alberta. It’s a busy place that houses upwards to 10- 12 social workers at a time with rotating 12 hour shifts. I’m going to avoid getting into what it is that goes on there and go into what used to go on there, more specifically in the little hub that sat below it for many years. Covid- 19 would require our leadership to make the decision that in order to keep this essential epicenter healthy and operational, they would need that little hub downstairs to. That little Hub housed one of the most important Units (in my mind) that has ever graced the city of Calgary- The Youth Assessment Team, also commonly known as YAT. The pandemic would send us home packing, never to return back there as a unit again.

Now I started at YAT about 5 years ago, and I am still with YAT as an Assessor in the child Intervention capacity. I do both investigations under the Child, Youth, and Families Enhancement Act as well as Protection of Sexually Exploited Children’s Act. We are small yet mighty unit consisting of 3 PSECA workers and then my partner in crime, AKA. Work Husband AKA. Thrilla from Manila, AKA someone I call friend. Supervisors come and go as its not an easy unit to manage, and perhaps considered a stepping stone in the leadership world. But thankfully we have had our fearless Youth Practice Specialist hold it down and weather the storm with us no matter what. Which leads me to how extremely special and rare it is to have group of people that genuinely love working with teens in a social work capacity. In a pool of thousands, finding willing social workers to become a part of this unit can be challenging, as it takes a whole other skill set and patience that not many are brave enough to take on. Social Work can already be a thankless and undervalued career choice, so it is no wonder why many opt to not take on the added strain. But this is why YAT is so special, because while we are all so very different, we carry the same passion, love and commitment to our regions youth which serves as the connection necessary to keep us and city’s most vulnerable youth afloat as best we can. And while we are mandated and guided by the Acts in which we serve, it does not deter us or stifle our creativity in finding new authentic ways to make progress to form trusting relationships within the community we serve.

Being back in that unit is strange however as the carefully decorated boards that once held our profile pictures, achievements and birthday calendars are still there, yet the history of our presence has long been disposed of. Outsiders fill our seats, many who are new and unaware of who once occupied this space. They look at me as if I was the new face to these walls. In my mind I’m thinking, “No Honey, these Streets Belong to YAT, and that’s a Fact you Jive Ass Turkey.”

And as my shift carried on I’d reflect on my years here as my vision would walk me through the seemingly hardened memory lane streets.

There sat the big circle meeting table at the back that held 100’s of family meetings whereby tears were cried in joy and sadness. Many potlucks were eaten here too where we would share our appreciation and gratitude for the community partners we worked so closely with. This table would also serve as the starting point for files we would tirelessly work with, sometimes for months on end to either preserve or protect. Many times they would return to this very table; many didn’t make it back for sadder reasons. This would also be the table where the author would experience her first date with death after being exposed to a drug chemical bolus. Only after to find out she over reacted in an altered state and would be okay after a a few hours. This would serve as an example cross regionally why we don’t handle drug paraphernalia.

Your Welcome.

Sometimes our doors would be decorated for us or a new paper craft delighted our small humble offices. It was in this little hub that we’d set up an entire Christmas tree intrusively close to the desk of one of our co-workers who hated Christmas. Sometimes there would be tokens of gratitude left on our desks, giving us that pick me up that we so badly needed. Office doors sometimes needed to be closed so we could have our moment to fall apart and put ourselves back together. Other times they worked to keep the music played from becoming contagious and provoking a whole out dance party. . Other times they would close behind us because we had made a mistake, only to open again so we could give things another shot at doing better. The hallway that our doors opened up to, joined us together, also became a catwalk for us to WERRRRK our new Barrier Kits we had labelled with designer tags when the Opiate Crisis hit.

Summer months we’d all be told to get up from our chairs and take a walk to the community market across the street. We’d all come back with goodies to share and manage for brief moments to not talk about “our kids,” and talk about our lives. Birthdays were always a cause for celebration, and cake would be had most definitely! This is where I’d master the art of taking breaks in my day to catch some air and take in the serenity of the home gardens in the area brought me. This is where we’d stroll into Kensington and enjoy my first Free Stampede Pancake Breakfast.

Friday lunches were also a favorite, yet another time we could all sit around and of course “talk about our kids.” You see, these “kids” became a labor of love to us, and the more fierce, defiant and unruly they were, the more we wanted them to succeed. As a team, we understood this madness- we admired their resilience within the changes they encountered. As the years would march on we too endured change, but also a sense of pride.

So its no surprise the office I used to once complain about where on any given day the elevator broke down with someone in it, or a mouse trap had caught a new victim, that I would take our space back in a heart beat. The “Love Fern” that sits on the desk at the end of the hall; which just so happens to be the only window accessing sunlight- its still there. Last night I cleaned up its dead leaves, gave it a little water, and sent a picture to our team. I was so pleased to sit in that office for the 12 hours I worked, even though I was alone and the familiar smiles and laughs were no longer there. I felt at home for the first time since the pandemic started and hopeful that maybe in another year we’d make a home somewhere else. Its the one thing that “our kids” taught us- That change can nurture resilience, and no matter what environment we are in-there is always the opportunity for important work to be done.

A Blind Date with Success:

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates, Greek Philosopher

I was reading an article by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook the other day and she said something that reminded me of a very respected and loved family member of mine. She stated “If you are offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” This couldn’t have been more of an accurate description for cousin Dan Duval, of Duval Consulting Ltd. It’s nearing almost a decade ago that I remember learning about his new business ventures in commercial development and construction. We often laugh about his humble beginnings in the field as he had no actual experience in at all, and half joked about learning how to pave a parking lot via YouTube.

It wasn’t even a half Joke in all honesty.

Today he now has his hands in almost everything, fearless and open to taking on new challenges which has led him to general contracting, project management and commercial construction services specializing in quick service restaurants throughout Western Canada. Him and his teams work can be seen in commercial chains such as Tim Hortons, Wendy’s, Starbucks and various other high volume establishments. In addition, Duval Consulting Ltd. offers a full range of high-bandwidth managed web-hosting for medium to large scale businesses.

Time waits for no one, and neither does investment opportunities. His company has employed some of the best trades people in the business, aggressively competing in a market and upholding a position at the top of the food chain.

And while I can’t discuss the details of him and his partner’s new project just yet, I’m overcome with excitement because its such an inspiring testament for other entrepreneurs to follow closely.

So with that grand introduction, you can understand how I too have been inspired to break into strengthening my writing and its capacity to become a career in Freelance Writing and Blogging. Interviewing and diving into the personal and traumatic depths of peoples lives has been something I’ve been doing for 15 years in the social work capacity. Applying this skill outside my professional role within child welfare is truly my real passion that I’m ready to realize. My goal is to actualize and execute it in a way that highlights success stories equipped with powerful learning tools for others to absorb. Emphasizing the focus on connecting people on a personal level to the sometimes dry and impersonal faces behind the world of business and finance. I’m ready to step out of the darkness of the child welfare world and bring light back into my life and others.

So here lies my opportunity to not only stand behind and support the success of those I care for and admire, but an OPPORTUNITY to build on my own road to success.

Do I know what I’m doing?

Absolutely not.

Will I slay this chance at doing something remarkably unique?

I guarantee it.

However by no means have I always embraced such a fierce air of confidence. I used to set goals but would often find it challenging to stay on track to finish them. Distractions would often derail my ability to focus and stay engaged, often losing interest quickly. I’d feel discouraged and think, why even bother setting goals if they’re too difficult to reach? In hindsight, I can reflect back recognizing it was my lack of commitment and involvement in unproductive and unfulfilling personal and professional relationships. It took some significant soul searching and honest personal critiquing to acknowledge that I was my biggest barrier. I could no longer stand by knowing that tragedy is when you have the potential and a gift and don’t utilize it to the benefit of yourself and others around you.

If any of this is hitting home for you, I imagine you require some diligent organizational tools like myself to stay the course. Below is a list of helpful ways I set out prior to bulldozing my way into anything I commit to taking on.

1.Be Clear About What You Want

Clarity is key. Before you begin to take action, make sure your goals are clear. What do you really want, and what does it look like? Write your goals down where you will see them and track them on a regular basis. A great system for creating supportive goals is using the SMART goals model. S = Specific. Get as specific as you can. M = Measurable. Define how you will know it’s complete? A = Attainable. Small steps are best. R = Relevant. Does it support your purpose, values or big picture goals? T = Time-frame. When will you complete it by?

2. Make a Strong Commitment

Commitment is a vital ingredient. When you commit, you’re telling yourself this is important to me and you’re ready to take action. It requires you to be honest with your self about what you’re really willing to do. Commitment is the inner drive that connects you to why you are passionate about your goal, and gives you the motivation and energy to take consistent action. Peter Drucker says it well, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans.”

3. Mini Movements = Major Impact

Creating small consistent steps to move yourself forward is a practical and powerful way to support your success. Your big success is a result of many little victories. Every week take your goals and break them down into even smaller doable action steps. Each accomplishment will encourage you to keep moving forward. Like the Peruvian proverb states, , we succeed when we keep moving forward, regardless the size of the step.Subscribe to The Morning Email.Wake up to the day’s most important news.

4. Create a Support System

One of the best ways to ensure staying on track is having a strong support system. Whether you enlist a friend, join a class or group, or hire a coach, having someone else to check in with is a smart way to stay accountable. Accountability is the glue that keeps us sticking with doing what we say we’re going to do. I recently enlisted a friend to support me with my daily meditation goal, and it worked wonders! I’m now on day 30. It’s a fun way to support each other in reaching our goals and deepen our connection as friends.

5. Visualize Your Success

As we’ve learned from many professional and Olympic athletes, visualizing your desired outcome can highly increase the odds of reaching your goal. A study shared in Psychology Today examining brain patterns in weightlifters discovered that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when the athletes only imagined lifting. Using our creative imagination to ‘see ourselves’ accomplishing what we’ve set out to do is a tool that most of us can easily apply to our benefit.

Once you’ve clarified your goal, imagine you’ve already reached your desired outcome. Hold a mental ‘picture’ of it as if it were happening right now. Imagine the scene in as much detail as possible. What do you, see, hear and feel as you experience yourself living your vision. Who is you with? What are you wearing? What does your environment look like? Bring it to life and have fun with it. A daily (or regular) practice of visualizing your goal is a powerful way to support your success.

6. Set up a Tracking and Reminder System

You may have heard the saying, – what gets measured, gets done. It’s definitely been my experience. When you track your progress it keeps you focused on what you’re doing consistently, while being aware of the results you’re achieving. There are numerous options for low and high tech tracking systems. Including, using a written calendar or smart phone app, etc. Find a system that works best for you.

7. Celebrate

Enjoy and celebrate your wins. You deserve it. It may feel odd at first, but acknowledging yourself and all you accomplish is a way for you to be a good friend to yourself and cheerleader along the way. You can use creative ways to reward your wins and add an element of fun to reaching your goals. You could schedule a day to visit a park or museum with a friend, treat yourself to a meal at your favorite restaurant, or a massage at your local spa.

Appreciating yourself also encourages you to keep going and builds your confidence. Remember to also thank and appreciate the people who contribute and support you to succeed.

These keys may not be new, but sometimes we need a good reminder or a little kick in the butt to get us back on track. Whatever your dreams or goals may be, begin taking action today. Set yourself up for success by using these keys to support you.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” –Goethe

As I go onto to tackle a new set of goals whereby I may just have to YouTube my way through it. I definitely will be completing the above steps to ensure that the quality of my work reflects a level of professionalism and experience of someone who’s been doing this all their life-my dreams are banking on it. I look forward to sharing in the coming months this special project with you all with the hopes that more opportunities alike will present themselves so that I can keep stacking my goals and displaying them for the world to see.

Stay Tuned for the Release!

For other articles like this one:

Facing Our Wrongs: Fostering a “Hand up Mentality” as Women in Business.

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: The Power Of a Woman Pack

Thank you for your continuing support, likes, comments!

When Adversity Unveils Character: Nourishing Resilience Within Ourselves.

75 Best Winter Instagram Captions 2020 - Cute & Funny Captions for Winter

I imagine everyone is still neck deep in their annual Christmas Comas, while I too had my own version of it as well. I committed approximately 4 weeks ago that going into our Provincial lockdown here in Alberta that I’d embrace the solitude and the chance to withdraw from the world in preparation for the new year ahead.  That being said, things were very busy with my job as the weeks lead up to our annual 10 day Government shut down, so the benefits of the perceived solace I was seeking during this month has yet to be actualized. That’s not to say I haven’t been able to find and reflect on some silver linings.

It was in October that I had to take time off from work to address some of the prolonged medical complications associated with Covid, after trying to tough them out since early July. It was a tough decision, and I really had given it a good fight. I’m sure anyone in the health care, human services or in a frontline job of this pandemic can attest to the escalating varying complexities that require us to be on our “A-Game.” For myself it was significant blow to my professional ego as I struggled to work with the cognitive capacity of a drunken sailor. More so, I had not wanted to abandon my team who needed an extra body to absorb the flood of assignments as the pandemic continues to unleash its wrath beyond just the medical implications and statistics.

Needless to say I had to abandon my post. The safety and well being of the families I served deserved better and I no longer wanted to gamble the lives and safety of the youth I work with as a result of my own ego and unwillingness to admit defeat. Waving my white flag was the hardest decisions I had to make but so happy I did so. It would be through this experience that I would remind myself of something I often remind others to do.

That is Be kind to yourself.

Life is unpredictable. It will serve you with both sorrow and joy. If we beat ourselves down every time life serves us with sorrow, we are all in for a bitter ride! It’s important to acknowledge that we cannot tie our value and self-worth to external situations that are beyond our control. When faced with adversity, we cannot assume that is who we are. Using external situations as a measure of self-worth is a separate occurrence all together. Focus should be redirected in ways that will give you the courage to make wise decisions during tough times. If I had not realized this, I imagine I would have not found my way back to the level of wellness that allows me to function again in this world.

GUEST OPINION: Be kind, P.E.I. | Local-Perspectives | Opinion | The Guardian

Since my return in mid November I’ve found that my brain is firing on all pistons again, and relieved that the Covid Fog has lifted. I’ve been able to dive head first into my role and reconnected with my unit who have all done such inspirational work. While away, they continued to carry heavy and complex cases minus a body there to support, yet remained resilient despite the exhausting hamster wheel of crisis they were faced with. These are some of the unspoken heroes behind the pandemic that deserve so much more credit than they are given. And despite these dark times for front liners I’m inspired by their strength to endure and help others while all still facing the same anxiety, loss, isolation and longing for the world to return to normal again as the rest of you. Like you all, they too have families, children, educators, employers and governments asking more of them each day. The weight of it all appears seemingly crushing, yet the toughness of their characters rise.

For this I am so grateful to witness.

We are all participants within a significant time in history and I have been on the frontlines to witness this profound test on the human spirit. People all around us are proving they are forces to be reckoned with. It’s a reminder that resilient people have both tapped and untapped reserves, enabling them to overcome and thrive as they face the setbacks, challenges, and fears of daily life.

Since my attention has been pulled away in other directions I have been neglecting my passion for writing and connecting with my readers. I admittedly feel like I have failed and not lived up to my own high expectations in the last month. This is one of those personality traits that I have fallen victim too in the past, specifically feeling guilty about not being there for others. Somehow after conquering that insecurity, it’s evolved and I’ve turned that toxic trait onto myself. Alas I must Be Kind to Myself! For this reason, I’ve had some stern metaphorical sit downs to remind my subconscious that I cannot be everything to everyone all the time, including myself most importantly. In my experiences, if I am not consciously cultivating a worthy mindset I’m less likely to bounce back when encountering hardships. It can delay the necessary efforts to create space for replenishing our weathered self worth that requires regular maintenance. If you value yourself and do not tie your self-worth to external factors, you will live through the greatest adversities. Joy and sorrow will disappear. You will be left with you. Love yourself.

So while my commitments to exercise daily, write, create and be an all round superhuman fell to the wayside I enjoyed my holidays all the same. You see, resilience can breed within practicing the art of Perception, and how we choose to view our experiences despite our un-actualized intentions. I may be reaching here, but my laziness allowed me to recharge my battery, spend more time sitting next to my aging mother, pretending to puzzle and enjoying Rum and Eggnog at 9 am in the morning. It’s allowed me the time to laugh at my own failed baking attempts and provided ample opportunities for others to laugh at as well. My base boards have never been cleaner, and my Akita Puppy Geisha can now shake a paw. I binge watched a bunch of series that were successful in holding my attention long enough for my boyfriend to go undisturbed for hours without my nagging. That in turn afforded me hours of uninterrupted cuddling that may have alternatively been filled with arguing or unnecessary disagreements. At the end of the day, life will always serve you with good and bad days. It’s for you to decide how you perceive it.

Perception Quotes - BrainyQuote

As this month of Provincial shutdown faces uncertainty, I remind myself that in order to avoid despair I need to view situations as temporary. I am told that psychologically resilient people learn to view situations as temporary rather than permanent. Taking each day as it comes and focusing on doing something new as opposed to thinking about what we can’t do has played a significant role in keeping my shit together.  Sometimes we need to say to ourselves “You’re having a bad day, not a bad life!” This leads to less stress as you’re always looking forward to a better day. In our case it may be a bad year….or two, but let’s not give it the power to determine how we spend it. Training your mind to see tough situations as part of life and as learning experiences as opposed to traumatic ends. I feel when reflecting on the year we have had that it will be important to identify those individual moments of growth and perseverance within ourselves. There is value within the lessons we have learned within these experiences that I believe will have a lasting impact on who we are going forward.

So as I ease back into my regular programming I hope you all were able to find some light during the holidays. And if not, I encourage you to consider applying some the methods I discussed as to flush out some of those hidden achievements and glimmers of light that will work to carry you into the new year with a renewed sense of hope.

Feature Friday With Nora Nivens-President of Nortec Alberta

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Nora Nivens

Tell me About your business?

Aye, which one?

I own and am currently president of an Interior and Exterior Renovations Company
known as Nortec Alberta alongside my husband. This is a company we have created and established within two years allowing him to stop “working” in the field and has helped me in my recovery from a
Mild Brain Injury to not have to go back to my “career” as a Social Worker with the Government of Alberta. I also have developed and have begun the journey to my soul’s path which is my Blog and
Holistic Healing and Mentorship Journey humbly named “Silas Rises”.

What fueled the desire to start your business?

I think as a young girl often being left alone to my own free will I was always very creative.
Creativity has opened up a new pathway of leadership skills and as a single Mom for many years, I had an “entrepreneurial” mindset which supported me in implementing and multi-tasking my way into own and establishing these Corporations. I now have four children and if I wanted to offer them everything I DIDN’T have in this life time I had to step it up or stay stagnant in a 9-5 with a “comfortable salary” position that wasn’t fueling my passion for business it was simply paying the bills.

What does owning and running your own business do for your confidence?

haha, this made me laugh. Some days I feel like I don’t have any confidence because I am a woman in the Construction world always having to pave the way for myself and then some days I
am filled with confidence because… I do know what I am doing and I do have what it takes to be a successful Entrepreneur because I am not only doing it, I mentor others in starting and developing their
businesses and life’s purpose/plan. Being able to buy my children something as they need it rather than “waiting” for “pay day” has been one of the best feelings. There have been times in my motherhood
life where I couldn’t afford a bag of bread or gas for my car …and now.. now I don’t have those worries; that has been the greatest confidence booster of all.

What challenges did you face and continue to face as a woman in
business?

Where can I start. From providing estimates to big contractors in the city to finding new work with established men who have been running multi million dollar companies for decades I have
my fair share of challenges. I am always a student and humbly so. Although I share many of my talents in building businesses and success, aligning your purpose with your career and mental health
and well being, I still am faced with adversity in the work place when
it comes to our construction company.

With my blog, this is my flow. This is my place where I can be me…soft, fluid, confident, transparent and full of light. It is here I don’t have to play hardball to get a contract, I can partner with people because of universal alignment, frequency and resonance. Now finding the balance in between these two as I am pushing further into both paths of business is going to be another challenge, but one I am looking forward too.

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Who are your biggest allies, and what can people do more of to
support other women in business?

My biggest allies are my children, my family, my friends and my TEAM! It’s interesting that in the Construction world, it can be a dog-eat-dog kind of day every day. It has taken about two years solid for to develop a solid, loyal working team. Not only does our company employ family, it employs my son, his friends, Adrian’s family, newcomers to Canada and some amazing men from the Maritimes that stick it out in the crazy Alberta weather for our company to build and expand; it has come down to loyalty in the Construction world and I truly feel as a woman I have a softer approach and to my dismay a mother approach with our workers, but it adds a special touch to the company dynamic I think lol. Within my blog, healing and business development services my allies are my
girls. I have a tribe of amazing women behind me that include you, and my circle of career oriented, creative healers that will change the world for the better. I think it’s important we always lift each other up in live, supporting each other in our purpose and our unique journeys. Everyone has such special gifts to offer and if we can continue to support each other with an open heart and settled mind, us women, we can change the world; we already are. Rise, Phoenix Rise!

How do you define your Big P***y Energy?

Oh dear lol. I think my energy in itself is big in light and life. The Prana life force I carry with
me in everything I do allows me to be transparent, humble, and full of laughter and love. I think with laughter and love BPE can be within anyone.

How do people contact you and where are you located?

Silasrises.com is where you will find my Blog, Healing, Metaphysical Tools and Business
Development and Holistic Mentorship Services. I have some big things happening in that realm in the next 6 weeks with a private mediation and healing studio accessible to my customers and am going to be developing a Holistic Real Estate Approach to incorporate into our Construction Company. You can find our Construction Services at http://www.nortecroofers.com . We are also on IG @nortecexteriors and @elanora.madelynne where you will find tidbits of what I have to offer as a healer and writer.

No description available.

Unless they are Period Panties, No Panty is Created Equal.

Now that every male has decided to exit with his box to the left, lets discuss the fabrics that shelter our own little boxes. This applies to the ladies who claim they don’t wear underwear too, because every now and again, your delicate kittens need an affectionate embrace too.

It was 1993 and I would have been in grade 8 when I received my first pair of thong underwear from my Auntie Pauline. My Aunt lived in California and was always sporting the hottest outfits, dawning her dark bronzed skin while sprawled out on her patio that overlooked the golf course. She had this adorable little haircut that was perfectly understated for her feisty, yet petit little frame. My mom said growing up the neighborhood kids would call her “souris en colere,” and found it funny that she wound up as a “trophy wife” to my uncle who had climbed the corporate ladder of Southern Edison. I loved her fashion sense despite her admittedly passing it off as- more work- than something she actually took a real interest in. She was a tomboy at heart, but you couldn’t deny not taking notice of her effortless sensuality. I have fond memories from my visits with her as she’d dump loads of nail polish and other beauty products into my suitcase to take home. We’d play in her luxurious bathroom and closets, where she’d give you the diamonds off her ears if you asked her for them.

So it was no surprise when we went shopping at The Esplanade that she told me I needed Thong underwear so that my panty lines wouldn’t show. I thought to myself, who cares about pantie lines, those things looked gross. I didn’t understand how anything that would go up your butt could be comfortable, until she bought my first pair. When I slid my thong on for the first time an overwhelming sense of sophistication flooded my system. It was like I was wearing nothing at all, and I’d think to myself, what if all the boys knew I was wearing a thong, they’d think I was soooo sexually cultivated. Who knew only 6 years later wearing your thong over the top of your jeans would become all the rage. The thong song would hit the airwaves and Sisco would be singing that famous tune “That thong thong thong thong thong.” I clearly was a young woman ahead of the times.

Over the years the thong would take on many additional sub forms as their popularity grew at the same rate as my backside did. And so came the evolution of the thong world. There was the G-string: Designed for minimal play, a typical G-string thong has an elastic string that bridges the front part of underwear to the waistband at rear. In a nutshell, it’s a triangular piece of cloth with string. I’d wear this for the majority of my 20’s. There is the C-STRING Thong: They make a huge ‘C’, thereby justifying the name. These thongs have stupefied the entire lingerie world by their innovative new concept! They cover only the intimate areas and do not include support waist-strings. However, they include a flexible internal frame that ensures that the apparel stays intact. Then lastly the Cheeky Thong, which seems funny because it feels like all my ill fitting underwear turn into these within the first hour. But If you want maximum thong coverage, then the ‘cheeky’ thong is for you. They cover a good part of the rear while still providing decent exposure to buttocks.

As the years progressed underwear got complicated. You no longer had to go to specialty lingerie stores to access all the fancy underwear as stores like La Senza and La Vie En Rose were introduced to Canada. Before that, Hanes offered a wide variety of the most unflattering underwear around that we would later call “Period Panties.” The kind that you could buy in bulk and didn’t care if Aunt Flo spilled her red wine all over. These were the gems you wouldn’t miss if you had to toss them in the Food Court Washroom Garbage as they had sopped up and prevented a total nightmare from being exposed.

Over the years, I’d consider every pair of panty that wasn’t a thong – Period Panties. The category grew to embrace new cuts like the Hipster, the Tanga, High/French Cut brief, Low Cut Bikini, and the Boy Short, which would allow Aunt Flo to hit you at any time when you were least expecting it. College was always fun when I’d pair my matching Cotton Striped Bra with some sporty Tanga’s, hit the Campus Bar, feeling cute in an Abercrombie Fitch kind of way. I’d be grinding it out on the dancefloor to Genuine’s “Pony” and feel the gush of hot Co-Ed hormonal moisture between my legs. After about 20 Broken Down Golf Cart Shots I’d say to myself “This boy was going to get the ride of his life.” So like every college girl in he early 2000’s, I’d need to go Calgon Spritz my entire body and undercarriage before we left to his smelly dormroom. First rule was that vagina should only smell of cotton candy or vanilla cupcakes, there was no connection to that and the chronic Yeast infections that would follow. I’d pinball through the crowd, drunkenly bouncing off people and throwing out the obligatory Canadian “Sorry” all the way. To my horror, it was not hormonal moisture, it was Aunt Flo, cockblocking again, subsequently losing another pair of panties to a public washroom garbage.

As the years have gone by, I not only have mastered how to track my cycle better, but I’ve mastered the art of underwear functionality. You see, underwear styles and designs are based on function for different types of clothing, so the right (or wrong one) can make or break an outfit. There’s a reason why the saying “Don’t get your panties in a bunch!” exists; ill-fitting underwear can seriously kill your mood. In my eyes the only thing worse than ill fitting panties is an ill fitting outfit that flaunts the bloat or the week long bender of Fast Food you ate.

Brace yourself for the Control Brief. Control briefs are like regular briefs, but with the added function of shapewear. This women’s underwear style creates a smooth silhouette around your abdomen. They sit high on the waist, just under the belly button with some styles going as high as under the breasts. I’d say that the control Brief has got to be panty in my drawer that is the heaviest on rotation. Spanx and Shapewear can be hot, and somewhat annoying to deal with not only ergonomically but not ideal in times of seduction. You can’t tell me that at one point in your life you didn’t do the shapewear peel off in a nightclub bathroom stall prior to exiting the club with your one night stand. I think I’ve gone as far as peeling it off in the passenger seat while whatever his name was ran into a 7-11 to get Condoms. I threw my Spanx right out that window- he was not going to catch me in all my shapewear deceit!

Now for every other day I love a good ol’ pair of seamless underwear. They are my workout undies and everything in between. Seamless underwear provide smoother-than-smooth coverage under Yoga Pants, joggers, or whatever pants you have on. They breathe well and sit nicely where you have left them last. My boyfriend once asked me why I bothered wearing underwear underneath my yoga pants when I work out. I am aware that I can go through underwear wardrobe changes upwards to to three times a day, but I do the laundry so why is he so pressed? I told him that Vagina’s need extra protection from the nasty man sweat left behind on the benches because who knows what’s lurking on them! In actuality, I double up because there is nothing more embarrassing than leaving a Big Ol’ Sweaty Twat Imprint for the next person to see. Underwear with good ventilation is key.

If you are as emotionally unregulated as me, your underwear drawer should be just as unpredictable. That being said mine is filled with hundreds of pretty lace panties, barely there, satin-bowed and crotchless that I swore I’d wear more. Or Maybe you are one of these people, and you rock them daily just not givin a F***, because you are either a size 2 or 15 years old. Life is so much easier for you folks isn’t it?

I can’t be alone in this conclusion guys? I’m 42 and if you are near my age you most definitely can relate to picking comfort over discomfort any day. Consequently, our confidence and wisdom has taught us that panties are not the gateways for seduction but merely a meaningless barrier when the time comes. Not to pour more salt on my 40 something year old wounds but my sex-capades allow for enough advance planning for some visual delight. Rest assure, I’m not throwing anymore Spanx away for no man, they are far to valuable and expensive to replace! With that being said, I do wonder sometimes who found my Spanx and what they said to themselves when they had to dispose of them. I can envision them looking at the the flesh colored pile that perhaps resembled a wrinkled up hairless cat lying naked and afraid on the pavement. Bending over they’d pick it up between their fingers or maybe used a stick to inspect it, wincing as they brought it closer to view.

I guess we’ll never know.

I hope you enjoyed stopping by and taking time to read my ridiculous stream of memories and thoughts! Please keep sharing, liking and commenting as I love hearing from the world around me and what your experiences are on the topics.

Such a Good Sport @Geishatheakitaguida

Dear Santa: I’ve been a good girl this year

Christmas is just around the corner for the millions around the world that celebrate this holiday. For my family it’s a pretty traditional time for us as I was raised in a French Catholic household where we’d celebrate Reveillon Christmas Eve. Reveillon is a derived from the French word “réveil,” meaning “to wake up.” Essentially its an all night feast often eaten before and after midnight mass- for me it was a time to weasel my way into opening my presents as soon as we got home. I mean technically it was Christmas day!

I grew up as an only child and in all honesty I was spoiled each year, where my mother would feel the need to fill the tree up with presents in the attempt to simulate her days growing up with 12 siblings. I was more than willing to be the obligatory gift receiver so that my mother’s nostalgia could come full circle. With my own daughter I admittedly did the same. Now that my daughter is grown she needs things more in the form of an envelope filled with money. I thankfully have a new puppy to fill her shoes and fill the tree with unnecessary toys and treats.

But to be perfectly honest this is the year where I’ve written a list to Santa for old times sake. The year 2020 has been a bitch and I’m over being Practical Pam whereby I usually ask for things I want for the house. This year its going to be a list of all things I want but don’t necessarily need so I hope Santa’s elves are ready to deliver.

Santa…are you paying attention?! Here I go!

#1- A new Camera. I have not owned a camera since my pink Canon PowerShot from 2007. As my interests in blogging and creating content for my new puppers Instagram I’ve grown out of my IPhone’s capabilities. Another reason is that I’m wanting to expand on how I see the world in another medium outside of words and stories.

best-budget-camera-youtube

#2-Ring Light. I realize I am late on this as everyone and their mom has one. As my partner and I begin to play with podcast and vlog ideas the need for appropriate and flattering lighting is a must. And it will just compliment my new camera! Beware of an explosion of flawless photos!

8" Selfie Ring Light with Tripod Stand & Cell Extendable | Walmart  Canada

#3- Spanx Faux Leather Leggings. These puppies speak for themselves. I’m always on a hunt for the ideal faux leather leggings and can never find the perfect fit. Some either stretch out, wear out, or snag too easy. These suck you in and keep their shape every wear, while giving your tooshie a nice boost.

Are Spanx Leggings Worth the Hype? | The Mom Edit | Spanx faux leather  leggings, Spanx leggings, Spanx leather leggings

#4 Gym Bag. Specifically the ADIDAS BY STELLA MCCARTNEY ROUND DUFFEL BAG. Nuff Said.

#4. Perfume. Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous. Because honey…I’m going into 2021 Fucking Fabulous.

I have many more but seeing that Santa is working his magic in a recession I’d be happy with one of the above 😉 Tell me what you are all asking for this year and please don’t say world peace.

Out with the Old in with the New: A Guide to my Favorite Top 10 Christmas Tree Trends

Last year I was forced to finally dispose of my old Christmas Tree when we were in the middle of moving. My boyfriend had mentioned that the only way I was actually going to get the new white one I had been admiring was to ditch the old $25.00 bargain one I had found at Army & Navy. My bargain tree was mainly kept as a piece of nostalgia for all these years after it was bought after a drunken lunch with a my close friend April. I remember somehow we wound up there and I had never stepped foot in an Army& Navy before, so you can imagine how in Awe I was with the isles of random shit and necessary junk. We tested several 5star tents for comfort as well as an opportunity to sneak some purse wine until we came across the too good to be true Tree Deal. We pranced out of Army & Navy that day with our new trees and a warning that indoor tent drinking was not acceptable behavior for such an establishment. This coming from a store that sells Pocket Knives and Febreeze on the same isle…could have fooled me!

So here I am 11 months later and I have finally bought my beloved new white 9 ft tall tree. What I neglected to remember is that it will require a complete decoration overhaul. So with a new tree comes the need for a new theme to match the new home. I’ve been busy pintresting and seeking design inspo for this hefty task and thought I’d share some of the ones that have really stood out for me.

modern farmhouse christmas tree with hunter green, black, white and silver. hygge and hearth & hand inspired.
https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/303359724898381884/

From Victim to Survivor: Domestic Violence a Disease more Deadly than Covid-19

I have to take a literal gigantic breath as I begin to write this very personal post. It’s not for fear of the consequences of divulging such personal accounts, but the huge knots it creates in my chest; a psychosomatic response to re-living traumatic experiences. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I began to write this then had to stop. I’d get doubtful and insecure as I’d stew over the vulnerability one faces when we talk about our truths that may touch on less than favorable aspects of our past. I have never shied away from talking about personal questionable life choices as a means to relate with others easily to remove some of those communication barriers. I have typically communicated them in the most digestible of ways; leaving out the darker aspects that perhaps are too heavy to unload on anyone that isn’t being paid to endure it.

But you see since the pandemic closures and increased isolation, according to John Hopkins Medicine the rate of murder-suicide, in which a male partner kills a female and then himself, has risen since the same time last year. In my personal network, I’ve been inundated with reports of domestic violence and abuse that has sent me on countless occasions into a tailspin of worry and concern for those involved. I’ve lost a close family member to a murder suicide, leaving two small children behind to face a life without either parent. And then there is my story which lead me to the decision to share in hopes others can relate and identify the warning signs or a way out.

It would be about 20 years ago that I finally left a very horrific and abusive relationship. I was an extremely naïve and sheltered teen, having grown up fairly normal, in fact very privileged. I had attended a prestigious boarding school where the evils of the world I’m sure existed, however in my little world did not. I had heard rumblings of inappropriate teacher student sexual relationships, and the odd senior who was rumored to have used cocaine. I had high school boyfriends who were all respectful, polite, in which nothing occurred outside of the typical adolescent dramatic heartbreaks.

Once I had graduated I had taken off immediately to University in Ottawa, following my high school boyfriend so we could be together forever. By year two I had fallen out of love and into the lap of this beautiful Haitian Spoken Word Poet who played the guitar, spoke French and burned incense while we canoodled on a mattress on a floor. That ended when my time at University in Ottawa ended, as did my tolerance for the smell of burning incense. My repertoire of lovers had been always a beautiful sequence of experiences and lessons in which shaped my view on love and loyalty. I felt empowered, desired, and fearless in my trust of others with my body, mind and soul.

I didn’t know otherwise. The universe had not shown me everything yet.

I look back often and ask myself when did things go so wrong for me. I have enough self awareness now to acknowledge that I have always had a curious flare for mischief and risk. The excitement attached to choices I’ve made repeatedly have always been self indulgent in nature, and in my immaturity lacked foresight. I’ve often ignored consequences; drunk off the adrenaline rush and for the most part got away with a majority of the poor choices I made. Right up until I met B.R.

You see B.R. was a bouncer at a popular nightclub I used to work at in Vancouver. He was gigantic. This was new to me, and I was attracted to the dangerous disposition he possessed. There were no boys or men like this at my boarding school or University. He was the unicorn I wanted to ride. My 19 year old self was fascinated by the celebrity status he appeared to have with crowds of people who’d line up outside and ask for him by name. He was the gatekeeper of all things cool to my little 19 year old brain. What I knew was that I wanted to be associated with that illusion of power and importance. And as things progressed it was just that…all an illusion.

I would learn as we began dating all about his criminal involvement, drug dealing, and of course the women he was still dealing with. You would think that all those red flags would be enough to high tail it in the other direction. Not this girl. I wanted more. I wanted to be a bad girl. The boarding school student, University student life was too vanilla for me. It bored me and I thought I could handle it, I mean I had a promising future what could shake that up?

I was getting a lot of attention at 19 as I had learned to embrace my shape and sporting a blonde T-Boz haircut. I was working the VIP section, serving athletes like Gary Payton when the Celtics were in town playing the Vancouver Grizzlies. It was the height of the R&B era in the clubs and it was a spectacular time to be in mix, where I was situated front and center. I was hooked and I couldn’t be swayed in any other direction.

As the courtship begun with B.R. I recall one night I would be followed from my work to my condo where a car pulled up in front of my gate in which a screaming tall blonde came plummeting out of her car to confront me. Allegedly I had stole her man. I hadn’t cared – I was seemingly winning the battle. She would continue to stalk my work place, bringing her friends to watch and attempt to intimidate me. I’d be told over and over I was the only one and made to feel that way as other girls would look on with what I had assumed was jealousy. I wish I had enough smarts then to have walked away…that would have been the first chance that I had to do so.

Eventually B.R. and I would move in together. To be honest there is a lot that I don’t remember but I know that it was filled with every kind of abuse under the sun. I was being groomed during this time to eventually be trafficked the way he saw fit or when I would be sold. Car notes, cell phones and insurance would be put in my name, where I had no idea. Bill collectors would call the home of my parents looking for me where I’d adamantly deny that the man I was with could not have done this to me. If I confronted him, I’d be met with painful and degrading verbal abuse that only sunk me further into the belief I was nothing without him. He would not return home for days, leaving me wondering where he was and who he was with. I’d sob on the floor of my shower waiting for is return which with every passing hour it would cut deeper and deeper into my self esteem and whatever pride I had left. He had been using drugs heavily during these times and would return home strung out and agitated, and I was oblivious to it. I hadn’t seen hard drugs and I didn’t know what hard drug use looked like. He’d come home one morning in a psychosis where I was woken up by him on top of me with a gun to my head, and in the next moment, it would go off accidentally; hitting the pillow and passing through the wall out the siding of the building. Another time him and his friend would rob our apartment, taking anything of value. He’d later try to say it was probably “one of my little boyfriends” which only was a way to deflect the heat away from him.

Another time I’d had enough after a terrible beating where I was able to get away and call police from a payphone on Davie Street. I’d make the mistake of telling police that he had a gun and where I believe he had gotten it from. I would learn that there was already an ongoing investigation involving the parties mentioned. That action in itself would make me fearful to live or return to Vancouver for almost a decade. Its the fear of those consequences that made me decide to join the same man that I had called police on in San Diego where he had managed to get past the border and elude police. You see I was 3 months pregnant by this time and a very damaged shell of a human being. B.R. had been successful in isolating me from my family and everyone or thing that loved me- having me to believe that my only option was him. I left with no warning and no belongings other than some clothes and whatever mementos I could pack in a couple of suitcases.

I’d spend the next 5 months living in San Diego. In the beginning my parents had worked with Vancouver City Police to locate me and they were successful however I was not able to provide a statement to police that I had been coerced to leave or had been kidnapped. The term “grooming” hadn’t really been a term used a lot in addition the way they had executed the search for me was terrifying. We had been surrounded by SWAT and when we were asked to exit guns were drawn and pointing at myself and him. I was under the impression I was in trouble and was going to do anything to get out of it. As I sat in the back of a cruiser and asked b a male tactical officer if “I was okay?” I remained silent. They would release me back to him where he’d unleash the worst beating I’d ever had experience from him resulting in chunks of my hair ripped from my head and a swollen jaw. I’d spend the remaining months stuck in a small apartment with no furniture, often hungry with no means of communication with the outside world. Sometimes I’d be able to walk a ways to find a payphone and call home where I’d tell my parents everything was good. I couldn’t risk another mess up like before.

They knew otherwise that I wasn’t at all good and as painful as it was they would await the moment I’d call and signal for help. As my baby grew bigger in my belly so did the desire to have enough strength to call and make arrangements for my escape. I’d walk in the hot San Diego sun down El Cajon Boulevard to that payphone and make a collect call to my mom and dad in British Columbia. My dad would leave their house immediately and make the 16 hour drive to com get me, only stopping for gas. When B.R. left that morning, I’d gather my belongings as quickly as possible and begin the drive home to Canada, back to safety as it seemed. I’d go onto to experience almost a year of peace from that day on starting my new life as a mom to my beautiful baby girl.

But a year is not long enough to undo the damage that had been done and in my loneliness I’d romanticize the idea that perhaps our daughter would soften his heart and encourage a new start. The communication started slow and I’d be suckered into believing that he was sorry. Somehow he’d miraculously been able to make it back over the boarder again to B.C. where he indicated he wanted to meet his daughter. Being a mother at 22, I faced some unique challenges with the familiar feeling of isolation happening to me again. My friends at this time were still in University and none of them to my knowledge could relate or empathize with the situation I had found myself in. I felt like I had no one to talk to and had not yet faced the ability to share with my parents what had happened to me. I had not yet even processed what had happened to me yet, I was just trying to survive and take care of my baby. I had not had a baby shower and the arrival of my daughter was not the celebratory affair that many of us experience in better circumstances. I had been so tired of everyone feeling sorry for me at this time and wanted to appear strong again. I was primed again to fall right back into the hands of the devil nd so I did.

It would not be long before things fell right back into the same cycle of of abuse again. And it would not take long for it all to come to the moment where I’d live or die. And unlike the fog surrounding all of the other terrible accounts of abuse, this last time I would remember every minute. It would start on a Saturday morning when I’d be dropped off by a girlfriend who’s house I would have stayed at that night. My daughter was away visiting her grandmother for the weekend and I for the first time in over a year would go to a pub. I’d arrive at my little apartment I had gotten where I’d be met in the hallway by B.R. My house had been trashed and I could see my daughters toys, clothing and other belongings had been thrown out of the window as well in the dumpster below. I’d be accused of being with other men that night and called every disgusting name in the book over and over. When I had tried to leave I would be dragged to the bedroom where I was held for the next 24 hours. I would be punched so hard in the head I’d blackout and wake up hours later with him above me, spitting hateful things. I’d be allowed to take a shower to wash off the spit and urine that had been thrown on me, only to corner me more and have more urine and feces thrown at me. He’d rape me on the floor several times, choking me until I’d pass out. I’d pretend to be dead, in fact I thought I was, breathing shallow enough as to not give off movement in my chest. This would scare him enough to finally get up and leave the apartment. Hours later when I felt safe to move I’d find my way to the neighbors and call police for only the second time on him. My neighbor would then tell me that she heard me screaming but wasn’t sure what to do. He’d go to jail for a few months and then finally deported.

I’d never return again to a life with him, or maintain any contact, My daughter would never know her father and for all the right reasons. I would spare her and my family the gruesome details that I feared so much would shape their opinions of me. The same fear I face in sharing these details with you all. Other than the courts and the police who took my statements I would share only snippets of what I had endured. Last year I finally completed my trauma therapy, and would be delighted to find out that trauma therapy would not entail me to re-hash every painful detail I had carried on my shoulders for almost 2 decades. I’d learn so much about my resilience and finally begin to release the sense of shame I had carried with me for so long. You see shifting my perspective from being a victim of domestic violence, to being a survivor of domestic violence, has been monumental in my healing and ability to speak out proudly on the topic. The moment when I pretended to be dead was not an act of giving up, it was the will to live another day, and the moment that changed the outcome that allows me to be here today. It is what has allowed me to carry on working with families and children that encounter domestic violence, and what helps me engage with other girls facing sexual exploitation. It’s what lead me to a career in social work for the last 15 years. So many great things came from being a survivor and I feel just as passionate for others facing the same opportunity to change their outcomes.

As I conclude the hardest piece of writing I have ever done, I encourage you to connect with me if my story resonated with you. If I can be of any help, direct you to resources, safe houses, or be an ear to listen to please reach out! I urge others to talk about their experiences with trusted people who can offer a good ear or wisdom that may surprise you. Survivors are everywhere, even among those who seem like they have it all together. Below I have left a few tips to consider if you or a loved one is facing domestic violence.

What should I do to protect myself from domestic violence during the pandemic?

Links to services

Look Out for Warning Signs

Put a plan together if someone you are living with is:

  • being verbally or emotionally hurtful.
  • threatening you.
  • having episodes of explosive anger.
  • harming animals.

Steps You Can Take to Keep Yourself and Others Safe

  1. Find a place you can retreat to safely. Avoid the bathroom or kitchen.
  2. Enlist support from a trusted friend or family member you can call.
  3. If necessary, use a code word or phrase to indicate you need help.
  4. Memorize phone numbers of people and agencies you might need to call in an emergency.
  5. Make sure you can easily access:
    • cash.
    • identification (Social Security card and driver’s license).
    • birth and marriage certificates.
    • credit cards, safe deposit box keys and bank information.
    • health insurance information.
    • any documentation, photos, medical or police reports relating to previous episodes of abuse.

Are there apps or interventions for domestic abuse?

If you are feeling unsafe but are unsure if someone you are living with is being abusive, apps may help provide some clarity on whether or not you are at risk.

MyPlan is an app for anyone having issues in a relationship, COVID-19 related or not. The app can help users determine if a partner’s behavior is showing signs of abuse. Also, users can get connected to resources personalized to their situation and their life priorities.

In-person interventions can work, too. Strength at Home is a program offered by the U.S. Veterans Administration to address the problem of veterans using violence against their domestic partners. It serves as a way to help address abusive behavior without demonizing the abuser. Random controlled trials have demonstrated that the program is effective.

Geisha The Akita Fur Baby: A Puppies Life

We are well into our fur baby’s 3rd week with us- what a ride it’s been! I can’t help but continue to wait for the terrible moment where I find my base boards destroyed or she’s eaten a shoe. So far this gal no longer sleeps in her kennel at night- and sleeps all night. She’ll get up with me in the morning but requires some coaxing to stumble down the stairs to go for her morning business. Geisha prefers, not unlike us humans, a gradual emergence from her little dreams into the arms of some warm cuddles and kisses. She’s caught onto the schedule and loves some interactive play time with a ball where she willingly fetches and brings it bCk to her mama. She’s caught on even further that her one ball gets retrieved and placed delicately into the red launcher her mama is holding. She is so damn smart!

This leads me to believe not only is she an over achiever in my eyes, but she’s going to need harder challenges. You see Akita’s are known to be very smart- but if not challenged you will begin to see your base boards destroyed and yard dug up in no time. Off to amazon I go in search for the equivalent of Baby Einstein toys.

Her repertoire of skills go from sitting for her dinner. Responding to sit, lay down, stay and come Geisha!

That’s when she feels like it.

Her “stubbornness” that I heard about in our Akita Research can be seen mostly around when she’s not ready to “ Come Geisha!!!”

She loves her time at the top of the stairs where can be seen regally peering down at her peasant humans below. There she has a perfect vantage point to guard her home- you see she already believes she is working and on duty. From her perspective she takes this job seriously and will not leave her post unless one of her humans is need of her help. Akita’s are not only hunters which you can see in her stalking behaviour with her balls and toys- but she is a certifiable guard dog.

My mom who is 79 is her #1- She takes her job protecting her as seriously as the secret service. She ensures “grandma” makes it down the stairs, and will escort her to the kitchen and from the kitchen to the couch where she resumes her post.

It’s worked out perfectly since my moms little lap dog had since passed and was grieving the loss. I had seen some leeriness prior to Geishas arrival as she wasn’t familiar with such a large breed dog who came with a “reputation” that proceeded her. As many experienced dog owners know these reputations in breeds can be discouraging and unfair to our beloved family fur members. Safe to say grandma is smitten and try to tell her otherwise that Akita’s aren’t the best breeds ever!

So here are a few updated images of our little baby! Her little floppy ears have popped and so has her fascinating little personality!