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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
Spring is time where I utilize the surge of energy that typically comes about during this time of year where the signs of Winter have begun to dissipate. It’s also the time where I tend to purge and tackle the corners and baskets of things I have acquired over the months, which can be significant as a busy career woman who just so happens to be diagnosed with adult ADHD.
Home organization is a skill that can be learned by anyone at any time, however it took years for me to understand its purpose in my life outside the of the obvious benefits of a well organized home. Sure, its great to know where to find things, and lets not forget the aesthetics of it all where people have capitalized on it like The Gals of Home Edit who had a YouTube Series thanks to Reese Witherspoon.
And while these are popular I often feel like its easier said than done if you don’t have an ADD/ADHD mind. You see ADHD is a spectrum disorder that manifests through the eight executive processes of the brain:
and emotional control.
Basically, the executive functions of the brain help you plan, organize, and complete tasks.
If you have ADHD, and are trying to organize your home, it’s likely that you are struggling with one (or more) of these executive functions, which makes home organization especially challenging. Challenging, but not impossible. These processes at any point in my day are activated, and consequently working to grab hold of the the reigns, often switching direction. at the drop of a hat
So not only is it important that I nurture good habits such as scheduling my days; often down to minute detail in order to stay productive and on top of things, I also need the order visually to get it all done. But there are only so many hours in the day, and lets not forget we need to allow time to live and have a good time. This was mentioned in Attitude Magazine-Inside the ADHD MIND, where JUDITH KOLBERG suggests to Ditch perfectionism when organizing one’s home.
Judith states “I have not researched the link between perfectionism and ADHD, but I have seen it many times. Perfectionism appears to exacerbate executive function deficits. If I have two clients with the same ADHD symptoms, and one is a perfectionist, it is harder for the perfectionist to get organized. Start a project with the understanding that perfection is not the goal, progress is.”
While I am guilty of getting fairly hyper-focused on a task at hand, the fruits of those tasks can help to decrease the anxiety that comes along with feeling flustered or chaotic in my brain. This is not true for all as everyone is different, and perhaps do better with an entirely different strategy to mitigate the spiraling that can occur in our busy minds.
For myself mornings are particularly important as I need to physically and mentally set the tone for the course of my crazy day in the world of Child Protection Social Work. At any point in my day, it can take a drastic turn, whether I have a pile of new assignments, an emergency apprehension, court appearance, or stuck in a snow bank on the side of rural road with no cell service. So if at 7am my blood pressure soars through the roof because I can’t find that one pair of pants that goes with the boots that I’ve already decided upon were going to make me the Boss Ass Bitch I need to be that day. It could be, and has been my unravelling all before I’ve even managed to eat my Cheerios.
This weekend I planned on Working Out, Cooking a Good Meal, Going to Home Depot, Fencing in My Garden Beds, Taking the Dog for a Walk, Maybe See a Friend, and Planting my Herb Garden. Oh…and Write a Blog. What I actually did was a mish mash of a few of these things, some half done, as new shinier options presented themselves. Who knew all it would take was the need to make more space under my sink for my dollar store haul. And if wasn’t for the repeated explosion of make up sponges, costco size q-tips, and every self tanning bronzer known to man under there falling out, I’d think it was time for a purge.
So as I added more stuff to my hidden stock pile lair, it was a reminder that if I can’t see it, I think I need it, and often forget I already have it most likely by the dozen. Let me remind you that the ADHD mind is forgetful as all hell, so its no wonder I forgot the treasures that were unearthed. It felt like Christmas again, in fact much of my Christmas stocking stuffers were still in there unopened and neglected. As I mentioned before, having things in front of me in a way that corresponds with the sequences in my mind makes things more streamlined.
Lets start with a couple spaces I tackled today, and see if you can relate!
Dump it all out & Clean Them– Not only will they look better once you put them back, but think about the oils, bacteria, and just overall grime that build up on items that get tossed in your purse often. I know my lids get the gucked up mess on them, random hair, sand, and lord knows what else caked at the base of the lids. Don’t be that person that grows a knew mutant strain of mouth herpes on their lip gloss.
Clean Your Brushes– I know we shouldn’t be having this discussion by now but besides bacteria, brushes also accumulate dead skin cells and oil, which can clog your pores and lead to dull or broken out skin. Clean brushes apply makeup better. Even the best makeup can become streaky and patchy when applied with a dirty brush. Clean bristles will assure a smoother application.
Proper Cosmetic Storage/Organizers– While you are on a disinfecting streak by now don’t forget to Clean Your Storage/Acrylic Cases too, and perhaps you need more if you find your stuff overflowing. I like to not only organize my cosmetics by type but also by size as to ensure I can fully see all that I have available to me. This is important again for the ADHD mind like mine as I forget often what I have unless it is directly in front of me. Some may say, why have to many options then, and I say MInd Your Business.
Get Rid of What You Don’t Use– This goes for samples, palettes with obnoxious colors that may work for a YouTuber or Make-Up Artist. But if you are like myself, I stick to a pretty basic look, and stay in my lane when it comes to being adventurous with make up and my limited talents. That’s not to say others won’t love some of those impulse buys (another ADHD trait). I’m an Ipsy Subsrciber who has somehow not been able to figure out how to cancel my subscription for two years. Which has left me with an abundance of small make up bags that I like to fill with the make up I don’t use, or didn’t like. Once cleaned/disinfected they make great little gifts for the teens I work with, or alternatively cool donations for Women’s Shelters, Trans-gendered Programming, or Outreach Centers.
Switch Out Seasonal Items– I personally do not have a Kardashian Sized Closet Space, however my shopping habits would suggest otherwise. Which is why its even more important to make room and space in my closet to reacquaint myself with the Spring/Summer Clothing I have before I decide to go buy more. It also helps me get rid of stuff too that perhaps is on its last days, or has seen brighter days. I may have been too distracted to notice a stain on it when it went into hibernation or a hole that needed mending. So when one is reacqainted again we can assess its current status as in Keep, Donate, or Toss.
Assess What Basics You Are Missing -These are the core element of almost every outfit, and because they get worn a lot, prepare your wardrobe with your fave go to’s like my personal favorite, the Alix NYC Essex Bodysuit in a few essential colors. You can stack an outfit on top of these staple items whereby I’m often using my busy mind as I shower to organize the next step of my morning.
Color Wheel Your Clothing/Accessories– Maybe its from all the years of working in retail, but there is an element of pleasure attached with the synchronization of colors. Much how we respond fondly to a rainbow when we see it in the sky, I get the same Dopamine response to rainbow in my closet. Not only that, but when I need a black shirt, my visual orientation isn’t pulled in 20 different directions. My ability to make a decision is made much more simpler when I can see what it is I’m looking for in that moment before it may be pulled in another direction that could very well turn into a pile of clothes on the middle of my floor and a layer of stress sweat forming under my boobs.
Hopefully you found this helpful, or at least relatable- You are not alone in that crazy head of yours. If you liked this post make sure you like, comment and share!
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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!
One thing I’m grateful for is friends who are always down for beer and brisket. My usual sidekick just so happened to be on call for work, and my good friend Maria swooped in to the rescue to be my dining partner for the night. Since moving to the South end of Calgary Alberta, I’ve quickly adapted from a bougie inner city girl to the Suburban Scarlet O’Hara, proclaiming “I will Never Go Hungry Again!”- ensuring I have a long list of close fave eating spots. AndBig Sky BBQ is one of them. From My home in Auburn Bay, Big Sky BBQ is a quick 11 minute drive South to Okotoks, where its clear you are immediately immersed in the spectacular Albertan countryside, passing over the Bow River where people are fly fishing or taking in an relaxing float. The rolling foothills, pastures, and acreage homes tout a vibe where living seems easy and unbothered by the city that lays North of them. The scenic drive never fails to build anticipation for me, where the tension begins to leave my body and replaced with some deeper breathes, filling my lungs with air that just feels more bountiful.
I fell in love with Big Sky BBQ last summer, when we had a hankering for BBQ but didn’t want to drive downtown to our other favorite spot The Cormery Block. It would be since I had snagged me a southern boy from St. Louis 4 years ago, that I’d now consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of what can be considered “Good BBQ.” Not only good BBQ, but how BBQ can vary from region to region, whereby one can hone in on what their favorite style of BBQ is. From the rubs, to the woods, to the smoke, to the sauces, it all can cone together exquisitely if done right. BBQ is the type of food you can taste the passion and soul put into it-maybe that’s why it makes us feel so good when the rich aromas hit our senses. It ignites a sense of familiarity that feels like home with every morsel that falls of the bone.
Upon arrival you are transported to an authentic Texas Style BBQ Joint- But aesthetically nicer in my opinion. Inside you get the vibe of a roadhouse, where its spacious and cozy all rolled up in one Biker Loving atmosphere. My favorite however is the outdoor dining, where there are picnic tables with umbrellas in a beautiful grassy landscape, and heated bar seating that makes it easy to sit out there for hours and take in the sunset. When you look out, you’ll see horses running majestically in the distance. As you can tell from my description, ambience is everything for me when I’m out to eat, and BBQ without the right setting in my opinion can make or break even the taste of those savory meaty delights.
So it was no surprise that despite the cool temperatures Maria and I sat there with our coats huddled up under the heat lamp for hours, putting back Sangria’s and Tall Boys like a couple Roadhouse hussies looking for a good time. Its the kind of place where you can strike up conversations with strangers beside you and reconnect with the world again after a lengthy year amidst this exhausting pandemic, While Alberta continues to sway in and out of varying restrictions, we’ve become more cognizant about supporting our local businesses like Big Sky BBQ, as its a place that clearly gives back to us as well in the form of a place to gather safely over some good ol’ soul food. Food has always historically brought people together- and this establishment does just that.
So we dined on their Smoked Beans, Brisket, St. Louis Ribs(to die for) and coleslaw to balance it all out. I personally love to mix my Beans and Slaw together making for an extra sloppy mouth watering variation. I don’t think there isn’t anything on the menu that isn’t amazing, and if you go with a group get the platters as you get some major bang for your buck that will keep you eating BBQ for the days ahead.
So if you are a local to Calgary or surrounding area, this is a must go to spot in my opinion. Lets continue to get see our local businesses through this rough patch, and do yourself a favor too by getting out the house!
Big Sky BBQ also has an on location butcher shop, catering, and Pit Master cooking classes!
I learned that my voice as a white woman is loud when I choose to use it towards fighting for injustices, and when I’m not using my privilege to speak out, I’m part of the problem. I learned also that my role is to also listen, even when its hard to hear or accept. I learned to trust and take direction when to stand back as to not drown out the voices and faces of the inequality and discrimination. To get to this place however I had to humble myself and the assumptions I held around how my own anti-oppressive based education had been enough to consider myself “skilled” in the area of social justice.
I feel strongly that to begin any kind of engagement it is important to do your homework first. However I wanted to bring the spot light onto a guide I came across by Dakota Swiftwolfe. She said allies definitely need to be aware of their motivations and be “self critical of their actions and why they do what they do, and just raising that level of self-awareness.” Dakota Swiftwolfe developed the content and research of the toolkit along with a handful of other contributors from the Network.
The Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network Non-Profit launched the toolkit on how to be an Indigenous ally.
The toolkit breaks down allyship into three steps:
On May 27th, 2021 the world would be reminded of the shameful history that Canada bears as a result of the 150,000 First Nations children that were required to attend federally funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. The children were torn from their families, and forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died. While this may be a reminder for some, it is the re-opening of wounds for most First Nations here in Canada,
So when the unmarked graves containing the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered on the grounds of a former residential school in the interior of southern British Columbia, a disdain for my colonizer ancestors flooded my veins. It’s comparable to feeling like you come from a long line of murderers, and somehow you turned out fine-That’s the Colonial Guilt setting in.
The Kamloops school (shown in the picture above) operated between 1890 and 1969, when the federal government took over operations from the Catholic Church and operated it as a day school until it closed in 1978. That’s the year I was born, so we aren’t talking about a time in history.
The Commission has records of at least 51 children dying at the school between 1915 and 1963. The Commission identified about 3,200 confirmed deaths at schools but noted the schools did not record the cause of death in almost half of them. Some died of tuberculosis. The Commission also said the government wanted to keep costs down so adequate regulations were never established.
I catch myself asking the question “How were these lives just erased so easily,” but I already know the answer which just isn’t enough to settle the hurt in my heart for Canada’s First Nations families. I’ve been trying to unpackage the emotions attached to the heartache I have for these children and their families who lost them. I feel shame and disgust, but also an sense of disappointment in myself that I continue to feel shock in response to the atrocities towards Canada’s First Nations People.
It would be in 2008 that the Canadian government apologized in Parliament in 2008 and admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant. Indigenous leaders have cited that legacy of abuse and isolation as the root cause of epidemic rates of alcoholism and drug addiction on reservations.
From there the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was officially established on June 1, 2008 with the purpose of documenting the history and lasting impacts of the Canadian Indian residential school system on Indigenous, students and their families. It provided residential school survivors an opportunity to share their experiences during public and private meetings held across the country. The TRC emphasizes that it has a priority of displaying the impacts of the residential schools to the Canadians who have been kept in the dark from these matters.
In June 2015, the TRC released an Executive Summary of its findings along with 94 “calls to action” regarding reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples. The Commission officially concluded in December 2015 with the publication of a multi-volume final report that concluded the school system amounted to cultural genocide.
So perhaps your asking the same question I’m asking myself- How do I participate in Reconciliation? First lets look at what this means in the simplest terms by defining Reconciliation. It is the process of developing a respectful relationship between Indigenous and settler (i.e. non-Indigenous) people across Canada. It’s about working together to overcome the devastating effects of colonization. With reconciliation, it’s important to acknowledge harmful policies and practices (e.g. residential schools, loss of lands, inequitable access to essential services, prohibition of cultural traditions and languages, etc.) and define positive ways to move forward together.
So hopefully by now whether this is the first time you are learning about this or you are wondering how do you get involved in making an impactful change? How is it that you can get involved in reconciliation?
I would suggest that you first do your homework about privilege and the lens you are approaching this with. A person’s good intentions can compound trauma but also impose power imbalances that are counterproductive to healing. It is my intention to humbly share some of the resources I came across as to not bombard or dissuade anyone from a heavy topic that can be emotionally overwhelming. So I wanted to create a series of writing, information and guides that can be tackled as you see fit.
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.
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.
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.
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-approved, triple-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 lessons; Dancio 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!).
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
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.
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.
Cost: Luxury Rooms from $349 and Luxury Suites from $379.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Its that time of year where those like myself ready their talons for a bit of dirt and toil the soils of their land, or a more humbly scaled version of that. I have exactly 3 flower beds, 5 pots and a couple of boxes where I hope to plant the magical seeds I have forraged from the aisles of Home Depot. Last year when the Corona Virus had hit I had plenty of time on my hands whereby I had grown much of my harvest from Seedlings. However after seeing the beautiful rows of flowers, trees and shrubs at The Home Depot, my prized seedlings seemed grim in comparison. Not to mention once you bought the soil, fertilizers, seeds and pots, I wasn’t saving much money in the end.
While I always new I had an aprreciation for beautiful gardens, I had never really had much of an opportunity until the last to really put my skills to the test. I cruised Instagram, Pinterest, Aliexpress for whatever doo-dads and inspiration I could find. I have to say I ended up with a pretty decent looking back yard where I would spend the majority of the first wave of the Corona Virus Pandemic in.
This year I’m facing the new challenge of Dog Proofing my Garden, whereby first I’m needing to address the underground railroad that my dog has been working on quite diligently in her spare time. She has already successfully dug up my rose and hydrangea bushes that were planted so lovingly last year. Its clear they were sitting on prime bone burying property so let me just excuse myself and my green thumb in another direction. If that wasn’t heart wrenching think about all the frozen “Poopsicles” I had to ice pick out of the ground for most of the winter, only to find a whole new layer of soggy puppy mines. Spring Clean-Up has not been as breathtaking as last year this time that’s for sure.
I’d have to say out of all my little garden projects last year, my Sunflowers were the most impressive, as thy grew to about 8 feet forming a gigantic wall framing the perimeter of my patio. You couldn’t find a prettier restaurant patio in the city…like literally because all restaurants were closed for business from the lockdowns. It was mission to make the most of mine and to entertain my bubble in style, equipped with a lush and colorful ambience that wooed the senses. Despite the limitations we had some memorable experiences back there that I hope to recreate again this year.
Turning my face towards the sun and welcoming the Spring brings new energy and light to my winter weary soul. It was a long one that was compounded with the isolation from all the restrictions and closures here in Canada. I can almost feel the warm breeze kiss my skin and heal some of the pain I’ve been carrying since the days had become shorter, and skies darker.
I’ll be sure to post some updates as the yard comes along, and the signs of my dogs bad behaviors are a distant memory.
Here are some of the images I took from last year, I hope you enjoy! And be sure to tell me what you plan to plant or do in your back yard oasis this summer!
As promised, I wanted to continue my series of posts in my own effort to participate and take action in my own genuine way in order to reach those who may not have much of an understanding with issues facing Canada’s First Peoples Nations. I encourage you to first read my previous posts whereby I have taken the time to gradually work towards how to get involved with the truth and reconciliation efforts.
Now you should be well informed to take on this step this next step.
How can I get involved in reconciliation?
With reconciliation, it’s important to acknowledge harmful policies and practices (e.g. residential schools, loss of lands, inequitable access to essential services, prohibition of cultural traditions and languages, etc.) and define positive ways to move forward together. Which is why this subject requires so much more than just reading the headlines. In fact there are so many published personal accounts written by Canadian Indigenous authors that unveil the devastation of Canada’s involvement with the ethnic cleansing and attempt at assimilating its First peoples. However, not only do many of these authors flood us with the truths of tragedy, but illuminate their courageous efforts to bravely survive the atrocities.
Check these Must Reads that include Children’s Books as well.
Both Indigenous and settlers can participate in reconciliation. Here are some ways you can support reconciliation:
Research First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in your area to understand their history and contributions to society
Watch movies by Indigenous filmmakers or read Indigenous literature
Learn more about Indigenous arts and artists
Attend local Indigenous cultural events open to the public
Research and do a presentation on reconciliation for your class or organization
Learn the land acknowledgement in your area. If there isn’t one, consider reaching out to your local government to engage Indigenous peoples in the area to create one. Encourage your school or organization to give a daily land acknowledgement as part of their morning routine and at important events.
Visit a local Indigenous organization and/or Friendship Centre
Participate in Secret Path Week, Orange Shirt Day, Bear Witness Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day and/or other important national and local Indigenous awareness events
Ask an Indigenous representative or Elder to visit your school or organization to share their knowledge. When preparing your request, it’s important to learn about and follow proper protocols (e.g. you may need to present an Elder with tobacco or an honorarium during their visit).
Study an Indigenous language (especially one used in your area)
If you’re a student, consider asking your teaching to for the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund’s new Legacy Schools program
Organize a fundraising event for a charity that supports Indigenous peoples
I’d love to hear about any of your own personal efforts you’ve taken on in your personal life- Leave it in the comments section!
I am not one of many talents, but the gift of sniffing out the bullshit has got to be one of them. It isn’t one that I particularly like to tap into outside of my work hours, perhaps that’s why I surround myself with some pretty straight shooters. If I was to pay attention to it in every circumstance whereby a waft of B.S. tickled my nose hairs, I’d probably not have one soul left to have a mindless champagne fueled brunch with. Because let’s face it, Sunday Brunch holds no place for Existential or Nihilist Theory debates. Sundays in my world are for hangover sex and bed picnics sponsored by Skip the Dishes, and 3 hour long naps. These are the things that heals my soul in a lot of ways, and I’m not afraid to say it. Healing of the soul does not always require a profound sense of awakening, often the first steps need to begin with being real with ourselves. You may have read my menu for healing as face value, but for me it’s so much deeper. The hangover I spoke of was merely a side effect for the gut wrenching laughter my soul needed while spending time with the people I love. The nourishment I put in my body was my way of saying to myself, eat that burger, you busted your ass all week and I feel good in my skin. The nakedness, sex, and naps I enjoy so much blesses my skin with the touch it needs to soothe and prepare to waken itself for the week ahead. All of this feeds my soul without needing to culturally appropriate a tattoo out of it. And if I had to, I’d tattoo my wrist in bold hard English Acronym “S.T.D. 4 Life.”-Wouldn’t that be conversation starter!
When People Tell Me Their Spiritual, I ask for Specifics-Because Demons are Spiritual AF too.
But I feel like I have a bone to pick as I have come to believe that being authentic and open about our realities and what we do to connect with our spiritual selves feels more like a trending hashtag. I would consider myself relatively intellectual but struggle to follow for the most part what is trying to be communicated in the messages or images they are portraying of themselves. Many would suggest that to find healing, spirituality, and connectedness to mother earth requires $3500.00 deposit & a ticket to Bali. The ability to boast carefully poised images taken during sacred water ceremonies that seem to be reserved for the privileged while preaching a sense of inclusivity and love for mankind. I’m guessing this love gets lost with all the other airline baggage that gets checked in, never surfacing again.
Appropriating spirituality and religious practices however is not a new thing. I mean before Cartier Love bracelets or Yeezys, there was a time you couldn’t open an Us Weekly without seeing one covetable accessory: a red string Kabbalah bracelet. The religion was the celebrity spiritual moment du jour during the 2000s, and everyone from Madonna to Ashton Kutcher to Lindsay Lohan dabbled in the mystical religion. But in the decade since its heyday, the spiritual movement has all but faded from the forefront of popular culture, suffering major blows along the way.
And like most luxury fashion trends, a lot of what happens in the name of spirituality has been built on a foundation of rareness, specialness, or gifts. To flaunt it is to beckon the masses in showing them that you are above many who cannot always attain such a rare place in the societal spotlight. However there are ways around this, one can purchase an AAA+ replica bag and carry the same level of perceived stature. The only way you could really tell one from the other is if you spent the time, looking over it thoroughly, observing its fine craftsmanship, and its delicate stitching. And to do so, they’d have to let you in…like really let you in there. Same goes for the spiritual mind- it has to be open to be vulnerable to critique, feedback and exploration. I feel like this all truly gives the wrong message for those that are trusting in those to help in guiding their own journey to feel connected and a part of a much larger and beautiful world.
Even if we talk in the language that everybody has the capacity to open to their intuition, we still are privileged in this idea that some people have it more naturally and innately than others. So we’re still creating the idea that there are some people who are more entitled to have access to our intuitive intelligence and applied intuition than others. The reason we’ve got that kind of culture in spirituality is that there is a power differential. If someone who you think has more power than you, you are more likely to go and invest your time in them.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
Similar to the guru culture, these social circle climbers, influencers, superficial spiritualists have harvested the same self-serving tactics. That being the idea that we have to go and sit at the foot of someone who holds more of the God-consciousness, more of that infinite special magic inside of them than we do. That somehow, we will be infected or impregnated with that energy. The guru culture is coming to an end globally because it is a problem. It’s an abuse of power and those systems of power are coming down. There are a number of high-profile white spiritual leaders who are being brought in to question their integrity and authenticity. The whole system is being questioned and we’re talking about political systems and economic systems. Anywhere there has been the subjugation of power, where someone’s power has been based on taking power from somewhere else.
You don’t have to be in the wellness industry to point these bigger than life trending #inspo conformists out. How about a social worker like myself whereby I’m often on a quest to be viewed as a leader, as someone that has their shit together, or is just so damn spiritual that no darkness is likely to touch our sides.
But it’s not as bad as it sounds; in fact, it often starts with the best of intentions, but the rubber really hits the road when the public perception of our good self is compromised.
There has been a few things I’ve learned along the way that have kept me rooted in the ‘Real Me” within this journey.
You don’t have to be woo woo to be spiritual.– The number of people in my life that think that charging their crystals and practicing affirmations will suffice when it comes to transcending tricky situations is endemic.
And hey, having a focused intention is everything, right? But consistentaction is what gets results.
And whether that action is framed with feathers and incantations or weekly gym sessions doesn’t really matter. Some of the most profoundly spiritual people I know have never done a day of yoga in their life and they wouldn’t even know what a cacao ceremony entails, much less have a clue what Ayahuasca even means.
Their spirituality lies in their capacity to be deeply authentic and accountable
Spiritual people forgive and forget
They most certainly do. Know what else they do? They heal the messiness that comes up along the way. After all, doesn’t a lotus flower bloom from dirty murky waters only to emerge for brief periods of time each year?
Forgiveness is a process. It’s a journey. For big pains and betrayals, forgiving a particular trigger doesn’t just happen once, it happens each time that trigger ignites a fresh spark of pain.
I mean be honest, how many times have you had a fight with your partner about the same thing over and over? Isn’t it amazing how certain actions will resurface bitterly even after many years have passed?
It’s another layer that needs forgiving, because ultimately, to forgive someone is to heal a part of yourself, and in order to heal deeply, we give our spirit an opportunity to transform each time we release ourselves from a painful encounter.
In order for our nervous system to be able to do this in a way that doesn’t overload or overwhelm us, we need to be able to do this in meaningful increments that are based on our real truth – not on what people expect us to be like.
But don’t spiritual people share their journeys so openly?
Dear God. No.
Needy people that require external validation and constant attention do this.
I know this myself as I un-follow or unsubscribe from those who I feel share too much of their personal lives and unfiltered thoughts.
Knowing what someone had for breakfast, reading about a parking fine or documenting their toddler’s first potty experience makes me want to smack them.
Incessant ranting doesn’t really inspire me to learn about spirituality as I’m no longer at the stage in my life where I want to feel as though I’ve been called to the principal’s office where I need to make myself accountable for my behaviour. Goodness knows that happened enough in high school.
People with a deep connection to their spirit have a way of inspiring us to be spiritual through their grace, their lightheartedness and through the sharing of their lessons once they’ve moved through a tricky transition.
They talk about the tragedy when it’s less raw and when the lessons have had time to be processed and embodied.
What about the old ‘fake it til you make it’?
It’s an excellent piece of advice. I did it for years, and when it comes to taking on opportunities where I’m doing something new for the first time, it’s a practice I apply to this day.
And between you and me, I have done this during particularly thorny rites of passage in my personal life when I’ve externally projected that I was more ok about something while I was internally processing a lot of pain.
After all, I don’t know about you, but for a sensitive empathetic soul like me, the first time I do anything new, it almost always takes a lot more physical, emotional and mental energy than when I’m in my flow.
And the more sensitive I’ve become over the years, the more I have realised that new things are actually big things that really affect my spirit, and I need to accommodate for this when it comes to my time management and work flow.
For the less tangible elements of our life that cannot be seen but can certainly be felt, we fake it til we make it with things such as the art of patience, or we take responsibility for the role we played in the situation that rendered us hurt or upset.
Being honest about heavy experiences doesn’t make you un-spiritual.
One of my yoga teachers would often say that getting to enlightenment is easy, it’s staying there that’s tricky, after all isn’t there a Ram Dass quote that’s now prolific on Instagram that suggests if you think you’re enlightened, you should try spending a week with your family?
Some of my peers have shared how difficult it has been for them to talk about personal pain that was not only raw and traumatizing, but also bought up deep seated feelings of shame.
A few of my friends have experienced some prolific incidents such as having their spouse of many years leave them for another partner, having their child battle serious drug addiction, or having to declare themselves bankrupt.
But I have to say; I learned so much from the few that moved through these difficult times with honesty, grace and humility instead of a superficial sense of spirituality.
To this day, I admire the integrity of their actions, not only because of how much I was able to learn about the world through the lens of their life experiences, but more so because by being authentic, it’s given me permission to do the same in my own lifecycles.
It’s like a light has illuminated and paved the way for me to move forward with my own truth, and while my own path may veer in a different direction further down the track, it’s reassuring to know that I didn’t have to move forward in complete darkness.
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Back in my heavy party girl days, you couldn’t fathom that crazy things that would come out my mouth. But I recall my cousin and I saying some particularly brilliant things that we felt were worthy of getting onto T-Shirt or Two. One of our favorites was “Punch Him in The Dick.” This phrase would find itself being bellowed from the stands of a hockey game, maybe down a hotel hallways at 2 am in Las Vegas, and most notably on a BLM Protest Sign with the words “Punch Racism in the Dick.” If that wasn’t enough, the heinous hand drawn penis getting knocked out really drove home the message in our minds. Unfortunately, like many brilliant drunk ideas, our T-Shirt Empire idea fell flat on its face, never to be remembered again.
While years have passes since I have had any good content based on my sauced up escapades, I d have some examples of what I may have said on a few occasions. Perhaps they are T-Shirt Worthy, or perhaps they should have went down the gutter with the Butter Chicken that didn’t mix well with the 10 Cosmos I downed.
Alas, The Pret-A-Porter Cece D, Professional Drinker Athleisure Line.
Let Me know if I’m onto some thing.I’m pretty sure I could do some field research for old times sake, you know to get some really good material! Cheers!
If you know me, you know that I can be expressive in a lot of ways, but don’t often dive to deep into the ethereal domain of the metaphysical language used to describe my spiritual being. Not because I don’t believe in it, but its just not how I speak or understand my own conscious self. I much rather stick to the more pragmatic ways of understanding the inner workings of my brain. Particularly how it functions in response to how I believe I’m subsequently protectively evolving by building resilience internally in these times.
Now I would be today years old that I learned that Emotional Hibernation has already been identified as a thing- but mostly in relation to men, and typically described in a negative way. Here I thought I was on to something unique? But in my searches and readings I came across this poem called The Reptilian Brain:
This Old brain is here to stay.
Hunger pangs and Primal Instincts,
A never-ending search for pleasure.
Questions nagging the human mind,
Are you safe, Are you Secure?
Emotion is a human addiction,
Chase the highs and suffer the lows.
Fear of failure and love of power,
The lizard brain is fuel to the fire.
It couldn’t have captured the essence of what has exhausted me over the last year or so. The repetitive themes replaying in in my head like a broken record have since overstayed their welcome to the point where I have now reached a new state of being- not absent- but not present either. The way a bear may tuck itself away during the winter months: Alive, Breathing and Regenerating- or what we know as Hibernating.
I also believe, everything that changes can also be likened to seasons, that is why I used the word Hibernation, some animals are known to hibernate during the harsh winter, remaining inactive for some periods of time to save energy. Did you know that all mammals—whether on land or in the sea—have adaptations to help them survive in cold water.
One adaptation is known as the mammalian diving reflex (or MDR). When exposed to cold water , all mammals’ bodies respond in a similar way. The heart rate slows, and the blood vessels in the arms, hands, legs, and feet constrict, or tighten. These changes help the body conserve oxygen, and make sure that the brain, heart and other vital organs get the most blood flow.
Now apply this concept to how we regulate our environments and social climate. Emotions just like every other form of energy can also be spent and we sure spend a great deal of them, any sane person in today’s society should feel emotions not just to personal issues but to societal and environmental issues.
But there comes a time when we must realize when we are spending too much emotions on things, recognizing that point could save us from getting drained emotionally. This I believe is where the Emotional Hibernation kicks into high gear, at least for me. I’ve had to purposely coach myself through this realization whereby there is no need to panic- I’m not dropping into a despair or turning into a recluse. I’m just merely slowing the rate of stimuli being thrown my way so that I can preserve my energy and allocate them into the areas that need the most attention.
So I have to ask myself is it indifference or is this an emotional shield? I strongly believe that adopting the skills around practicing Emotional Shielding brings protective factors to our own consciousness and ability to practice them in more purposeful ways than just implying indifference.
Shielding is a quick way to protect yourself. Many empaths and sensitive people rely on it to block out toxic energy while allowing the free flow of positivity. Call on it regularly. The minute you’re uncomfortable with a person, place, or situation, put up your shield. Use it in a train station, at a party if you’re talking to an energy vampire, or in a packed doctor’s waiting room. Begin by taking a few, deep, long breaths. Then visualize a beautiful shield of white or pink light completely surrounding your body and extending a few inches beyond it. This shield protects you from anything negative, stressful, toxic, or intrusive. Within the protection of this shield, feel centered, happy, and energized. This shield blocks out negativity, but at the same time, you can still feel what’s positive and loving.
2. Define and Express Your Relationship Needs
Knowing your needs and being able to assert them is a strong form of self-protection for empaths. Then you can be in your full power in a relationship. If something doesn’t feel right, raise the issue with your partner rather than suffering silently. Finding your voice is equivalent to finding your power—otherwise, you may become exhausted, anxious, or feel like a doormat in relationships where your basic needs are unmet. Your partner isn’t a mind-reader. Speak up to safeguard your well-being.
Ask yourself: “What do I need in a relationship that I’ve been afraid to ask for?” Would you prefer more alone or quiet time? Would you like to sleep by yourself sometimes? Do you want to play more or talk more or have sex more? Or would you like to dance under the full moon together? Let your intuition flow without judgment. Uncover your true feelings. No reason to be ashamed or to hold back.
3. Set Energetic Boundaries at Work and Home
Empaths often suffer in their environment when they absorb the stress in their surroundings. The workplace especially can be noisy and over-stimulating. To protect your energy level in an emotionally demanding or crowded environment surround the outer edge of your space with plants or family or pet photos to create a small psychological barrier. Sacred objects such as a statue of Quan Yin (the goddess of compassion), the Buddha, sacred beads, crystals, or protective stones can set a boundary. Noise-canceling earbuds or headphones are also useful.
When you’re absorbing the stress or symptoms of others and you need to release the negativity, inhale lavender essential oil or put a few drops midway between your eyebrows to calm yourself. Are you able to spend time in nature? Balance your alone time with people time. For me, time management is key to my sanity. I try not to schedule patients back to back. In my personal life, I don’t plan too many things in one day. I’ve also learned to cancel plans when I get overloaded. This is a skill all empaths must learn so you don’t feel obliged to go out if you’re tired and need rest.
Set clear limits with toxic people. Remember, “No” is a complete sentence. You don’t have to keep explaining yourself. I am adamant about avoiding draining people, particularly when I’m overloaded. Finally, practice self-compassion. Be sweet to yourself whenever possible—avoid beating yourself up. After a hard day tell yourself, “I did the best I could. It’s okay honey.”
When you need extra protection I recommend this meditation to call on the power of the jaguar to protect you. I use it when there is too much negativity coming at me too fast. The jaguar is a fierce and patient guard who can keep toxic energy and people away.
In a calm meditative state, from your deepest heart, call on the spirit of the jaguar to protect you. Feel her presence enter. Then, visualize this gorgeous, powerful creature patrolling your energy field, encircling it, protecting you, keeping out intruders or negative forces that want to get through. Picture what the jaguar looks like: his or her beautiful, fierce, loving eyes; sleek body; the graceful, purposeful way the jaguar moves. Feel secure in the circle of this jaguar’s protection.
Give thanks to the jaguar. Know that you can call on her whenever there is a need. Feel the power of that.
As a sensitive person, you must learn is how to deal with sensory overload when too much is coming at you too quickly. This can leave you exhausted, anxious, depressed, or sick. Like many of us, you may feel there is no on/off switch for your empathy. This is not true. When you feel protected and safe you can take charge of your sensitivities rather than feeling victimized by them. To gain a sense of safety, recognize some common factors that contribute to empathy overload. Begin to identify your triggers. Then you can quickly act to remedy a situation.
What I like is that she states that the key to self-care is to quickly recognize the first signs of experiencing sensory overload or when you start absorbing negativity or stress from others. The sooner you can act to reduce stimulation and center yourself, the more balanced and protected you will be. So whenever we start to feel exhausted or overwhelmed to practice the above five protection tips to help regain balance.
So before you start to type out a lengthy reactive response to some strangers ignorant triggering rant on Facebook or Instagram, think about what I’ve brought up today. In addition, don’t feel for one second guilty about not being there for everyone or a crutch to lean on while in this state of emotional hibernation mode. Its okay to hang the Do Not Disturb Sign up as you please. We have but one constant in our lives, and thats being our own guardians of galaxy.
I recently just had a garage sale hoping to unload the vast collection of loud, tall and studded shoes I’ve hoarded over the years. They have been difficult to donate as I’ve continued to see value in them, but have come to realize these gems hold more emotional value than monetary. This holds true to the racks of sequined club dresses and outfits that once adorned these curves, complimenting an air of confidence to my stacked fragile steps.
I have repeatedly been revisiting my wardrobe and dragging more stuff to the “racks of contemplation” we’ll respectively call this domain. One could also refer to this place as a Textile Purgatory, where clothing goes to await their fate as they tussle with the idea of moving onto the next realm of life. I too feel in a state of fashion purgatory as I have not yet come to terms with what awaits me in regards to my own personal style that evidently needs an overhaul.
I’ve encountered some insecurities ever since Gen Z spoke up about the Millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1996, who grew up during the height of skinny jean and side part popularity. Rarely was anyone seen without their side bangs swooped across their face and jeans so tight they could pass as leggings. But now, Gen Z says the same style that defined the start of the millennium is now a sign that one is “old.”
To add insult to inury a video by user @missladygleep, who said she doesn’t think anyone looks better with a side part than they do with a middle part, thus lighting the spark of the #middlepartchallenge and a fiery generational debate.
So I went in search of a “Mom Jean” the other day, and couldn’t help but want to buy the 5 pairs of Good American skinny jeans that were on sale, only to add to the 20+ pairs of other skinny jeans I own. I just can’t let go! It’s not only that I can’t let go of the jeans, but its the deeply ingrained emotions of what has historically made me feel sexy and confident in my clothes no matter what size I have been along the way. How are high waisted, loose, saggy bummed jeans supposed to highlight my best ASS(ets)? How will they ever fill the emotional gaps in my own body insecurities if I’m left to the deeper devices of actualizing real body confidence in my 40’s at a time things just seem to be going downhill at a rapid pace, Its just all too much all at once. I feel like I’m falling deeper into an existential crisis by the minute.
Damn You Generation Z’ers!
I wish I could reveal that there has been some resolve or at least movement in the right direction in terms of how I will redefine my personal style going forward. My online shopping carts continue to pile up with items that seem like they exist for a purpose that belonged to another time in my life that I longingly hang onto. Or perhaps exist as reminders of a life I still see for myself in the future, you know, for when I get that mommy makeover I’ve always wanted, or if I lose that weight I’ve been meaning to get rid of for the last 20 years.
Its not like I’m trying to evolve either. But when I attempt at being proactive in tackling this task I feel like the internet world reveals titles like:
HOW TO ADAPT YOUR STYLE AS YOU AGE
How to Dress Your Age: Balancing Style with Maturity
20 Wardrobe Updates to Make by Age 30
Dressing Your Age-The rules for looking “appropriate”
All of these titles trigger a gag reflex in me whereby I’m left wondering how effective the Suffrage and Women’s Rights Movements really were? More importantly, I want to know where Athleisure Wear falls into all of this as it has become the uniform of the Working From Home tribe. Where would my cropped tie-dye jogger set fall on the appropriate scale as a woman in her 40’s who all in one day -takes her dog for a walk at 6AM, has meetings at 8:30AM, has a window of time to fit in some cardio, another meeting at 11, perhaps another dog walk and poop scoop break, another videoconference, laundry, cleaning, more meetings etc.
Tell Me Susan- What is appropriate, I’d like to know. Oh and I’m 43, because clearly that’s important in determining this.
You may have picked up on a little panic as we get closer to returning back to regular programming that will require pants. I imagine once I have come to embody a better sense of how my personal style will blossom in this new era of shapeless jeans, I’ll be sure to share with you all. Maybe you can guide me in the right direction, throw me a bone or two, or share how you’ve evolved over the years and how you settled into how you express your personal style. Share in comments!
It goes beyond the physicality of being born from our mother’s womb, that our existence transcends beyond how it was that we came to be as descendants of a family tree. When I think about the women in my life that have since passed along with the ones that are still fiercely pummeling a path of purpose, I am so deeply proud to come from a long line of strong women who shaped the lives of their children so gracefully.
You see I come from a family of women that defied the norms of their times. It has been as a result of this energy that the greatest impact has trickled into my very being. While my life hasn’t been modelled along the same path as my mothers, who had one marriage, one child and a vast series of exciting opportunities that provided me the most unique childhood. I on the contrary, 1 marriage and a divorce, one child, no baby daddy around, and a long successful career in one field in one Province. However, it was because of the values and strength that was instilled in me that I not only survived some of the hardest life hiccups imaginable, but thrived because of how I persevered.
In my own experiences as a mother myself, I think often our suffering and pain happens in silence, as we work so hard to keep it all together. We never want to alarm our children with our sadness or times of hopelessness as we work through life’s hardships. However, as we all know, the bond between mother and child it connects us to their pain and hurt, whether they want us to know or not. In my experiences I’d watch my own mother move through her struggles while managing a smile and consoling embrace, even when it was her that needed it most. I’d learn the art of holding it all together, but more importantly the art of putting myself back together. I’d watch her it do it over and over.
I’ve taken on her magical way of taking life’s little blows like a champ, almost to a fault. I often get the worried remarks that I’m not opening up for help or needing much of anything in the way of support. I often feel like I have to swear up and down that I’m actually really okay as I am just that…doing OKAY! But you see, I’ve come to learn when it is time to connect for help I do but for the most part I’m so very confident in my abilities to always take ownership and accountability for my own life and what I want from it. Now that I’m in my 40’s I feel it more than ever. This was what I saw and learned from my mother. To have faith in our own ability to accomplish what it is that we believe we deserve. Not every little bit of sadness or doubt is worth our attention and for the most part is fleeting and a reflection of external sources. That is what my mother gave me-that as long as we love ourselves, no one and nothing will break our spirit.
So before I start getting too sappy, I’m wishing al the mothers in the world an honorable acknowledgement that you my dear have the hardest job in the world, but the most important!
Here’s a little montage of my mommy whom I owe so much too!
When I began my blog page I have to admit I thought that I’d get more interest from women looking for the opportunity to be celebrated and talked about with regards to their achievements, charities, organizations and businesses they were involved in. I’ve spent months canvassing friends asking them to submit with not much interest only to be left with the question to myself- What Gives?
Free publicity and adoration seems like a No-Brainer.
“Why Won’t You Let Me Love You.”
Then it hit me, perhaps women aren’t seeing the deeper value in what they do? Can they not see what I see? Are they unable to allow themselves to be praised by a real person with real readers who put aside time to visit my site and read my banter religiously? Intention is everything in this world, and if its one thing, my Blog Content is never mindless or unoriginal- nor is my effort to spotlight you fierce mystical queens out there.
In the early months of TalezFromABroad, there were so many ideas I was developing and some were ditched along the way, but one remained important to me and that was to write a feature for every Friday. On this day, a Woman/Pronoun Preferred that was doing something amazing like being involved in community programming/activism or running their own business/empire would be featured. Not only was this an opportunity for free advertising and to get the word out- but to connect again as humans who were all feeling the isolation, not to mention an unhealthy relationship with E-Commerce and Amazon who have decimated small businesses. Guilty as charged.
In my heart I had envisioned creating a culture of Women who weren’t afraid to allow the world to look past the heavily filtered photos and carefully curated Lifestyle Image that appreciatively holds a place in marketing a brand or an idea. However, I felt there was a gap, whereby I lacked connection to the brands and women out there who were obviously killing it, yet I still was left only compelled on a pretty superficial level. To expand on this further, my goal was to not undermine the important aspects of all the incredible determination that goes behind the manifestations of something successful, but to build onto the integrity of it.
It’s an aspect that I feel gets forgotten along the way when women like myself come across other women doing profoundly powerful things with their lives, then somewhere along the lines the value of their work goes unseen. You see there is a largely growing group of female entrepreneurs and go-getters out there that have had to pull-off other women’s wigs to get to where their at now. It is a dog-eat-dog world out there, and us felines are just as hungry for a piece of the pie. And while money is a primary motivator for many of us, so is the thirst for some gratitude and shine.
For those that are mothers perhaps can relate all too well with the feeling of being the underpaid employee who never seems to get a pay raise, yet the work gets harder and responsibilities just get longer. You know the ones who work 12 hour shifts, come home, pick up everyone’s shit make the bed, do laundry, work out…you know handling their BIZNASS. Or perhaps, the fierce new graduate who spends endless extra hours at a new company and gets passed over for a position she likely deserves for the “Broskie: who has a better understanding of craft beers and beard oils. What about the woman who left her career to have children and raise them, then is all of a sudden is facing a divorce with no recent work experience or updated training and is now having to climb the corporate ladder from the bottom rather than starting where she left off. There are stories of triumph behind all of these because all of these are real life examples of women doing amazing things every day in our communities in the shadows without getting the clout they deserve.
Maybe us ladies need to unionize? However in my humble opinion hasn’t gotten me farther ahead in the world of Social Work that’s for sure. Clearly the Public Servant Career Path is exactly what it says in the name…SERVANT. What I have learned from being a servant to the public at large is the ability to use these interactions in a way that helps me find my shine. Part of my role when faced with difficult and complex cases is to find the areas of resilience and strength even when it seems like there is none within the darkest of moments. These are not always shared with them in those exact moment as you can imagine being the “Bright Side Betty” could catch you a throat punch real quick in my world. However, when practicing this on a regular basis, it becomes second nature to silence the voices of weakness and turn the volume up what keeps us putting one foot forward each day. This is what makes me tick, and I just know it does for others! Connecting women to stories of resilience backed by tangible evidence that supports the idea that there are more women out there where their success has come as easy as their Social Media Feed may portray.
So perhaps with further insight into my hopes, I’m going forward with my hopes to Feature more Women on my Feature Friday’s.
I have to say when I posted the articleShifting from Likeability to Connectability: Humanizing the Women Behind the Grind I was blown away at how brave Cherie was to be willing to entrust her insights with a complete stranger. Cherie is the real MVP here this week as I am honored to feature her on this weeks Feature Friday, because Anti-Bullying advocates are so incredibly necessary in helping interrupt and shine some light and attention on a growing epidemic of cruelty.
Since 2002, fighting behaviour has increased, especially in grades six to eight. As many as 18 per cent of boys and 8 per cent of girls report having been in four or more fights in the past year.13
Boys are more likely to experience direct forms of bullying (physical aggression) while girls experience more indirect forms of bullying including cyberbullying.14
Sexual harassment is higher for boys in grades six and seven, but higher for girls in grades nine and ten.15
So with no further delay lets all give Cherie White the mic!
Q: Tell me about the organization you are a part of? How did you contribute within your area of responsibility and take initiative to improve things around you with your brand of individuality?
A: I’m a published author and anti-bullying advocate. Because I was severely bullied in school, from 6th grade until I finally switched schools in the twelfth grade, I begin speaking out against bullying in 2014, by creating a Facebook group entitled “The American Alliance for Bullied Children and Teens.” My goal is to make it a 501c3 organization. I also have a blog “Chateau Cherie” in which I give advice about bullying based on lessons I learned by trial and error.
To date, I have written and published four books: One memoir and three fictions, all of which deals with the issue of bullying.
Q: What fueled the desire to get into taking on this role(s)?
A: The bullying I suffered in the past- I wanted to use what I went through to reach out to those who endure bullying today.
Q: How did it it grow your own sense of purpose and in what ways? Have others followed your passion as a result of your passion and skill?
It made me more determined to teach others why people bully, the mindsets of bullies, the forces that perpetuate bullying, and how they can overcome it.
Q:What challenges did you face and continue to face in your field? How did you overcome it?
A: I faced many challenges- naysayers, the ability to get it off the ground, and funding.
Q: Who are your biggest allies (supporters), and what can people do more of to support women in your field of experience?
A: My husband, many friends, and several of my readers and fellow bloggers support me.
Q: How do you define your power?
A: My superpowers is taking the adversity I’ve suffered in my life and turning it into fiction, and learning more about the dark side of human nature and the human predator/prey dynamic (bullying and abuse).
Q: How do people contact you if they want to learn more about you and your story? (Include your business social media accounts)
Thank You Cherie for Allowing Me to Feature You on Talez From A Broad! Make Sure you all Let Cherie Know in the comments section about the wonderful work she is doing and check out her author webpage/links.
To my readers, if you think you are the next Feature Friday candidate post in the comments section and send me anEmail and I’ll send you the questionnaire!
Hard to believe its been well over a couple of months since I have felt the desire to write again. In fact I’d lose almost every desire that once pulsated throughout my body as quickly as a candle being blown out by a brisk draft through a window pane. By the end of January in Calgary Alberta, the once magical snow kissed landscape begins to feel relentless, as its winds become inhospitable, piercing through your heavily layered body.
Like clockwork, I can always anticipate the Seasonal Affective Disorder spread its heavy wet blanket over me around this time. Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) is about as reliable as those Phone Scammers around tax seasons. This years dose of S.A.D. was especially brutal for myself as I not only already deal with having clinical depression/anxiety, but if you didn’t notice we are also still in the middle of an ever evolving dumpster fire of pandemic.
Past years I’ve timed vacations around this uninvited guest- but alas travel to a tropical destination continues to remain out of reach for us Canadians.
As we are all well beyond the one year mark of when the pandemic was declared, the socio-economic effects of the pandemic have long begun to to unearth its devastation. As a social worker who has been steady on the front lines since this time last year I am admittedly weathered, bitter, angry, and feeling forgotten. On the radio I hear daily the well deserved warm thank you’s being offered to Health Care Workers and our hardworking teachers. But I can’t help but feel a pang of hurt when I consider the level of support and interventions we have carried along the way go un-noticed and invisible to the public eye. And I admit, nobody likes to hear about child abuse while they eat their breakfast toast and sip their morning coffee.
So I was actually surprised when I learned that the faculty of social work at the University of Calgary had started a Province-wide research project that looks to understand effects of pandemic on child service workers and the children and families they serve. It was Dr. Heather Boynton, PhD, that recognized something we have all been carrying mostly in silence or behind the closed bathroom stalls where you could find any one of us choking back the tears, or coaxing ourselves to pull it the fuck together.
“People in the mental health field are experiencing mental health and psychological trauma firsthand, as well as layers of grief and loss. However, they’re not recognized as first responders.“
Dr. Heather Boynton, PhD
When I reflect on the year I’ve had, I thought about taking tally of all the things that happened to me, whereby I could use it as evidence to excuse myself for feeling the level of low I hit. I had thought about writing out the list of sorrowful details, but shit, we’ve all lost so much. And for a good chunk of 2021 I had lost all hope.
And if you are of the super human breed and don’t relate; Loss of hope is more infectious and destructive than the Covid-19 variant that is spreading like wild fire. Lack of hope can mutilate our sense of perception, spoiling and dismantling the very structures that have kept us so strong and resilient. It can impair our once unequivocal sense of purpose on this planet and make us feel as insignificant as an amoeba floating around anonymously.
And I imagine if you were to put me under the microscope, you’d most definitely come across a fleshy white blob, eating Dorito crumbs from the cleavage of their sports bra that had no intention of doing the job it was intended for. And if wasn’t for the tears that would stream down my face on an hourly basis, they’d probably still be there.
When I grew weary of the crying and the binge eating, I’d retreat back into my bed and stare blankly out at the world, waiting for the moment when I could stop feeling this dead inside. The empty void I felt reminded me of when I was a child and would stay up late sometimes, wandering downstairs where there was an old wood floor model TV. I would turn the channel dial on the old TV and all there would be on at that time was static or those colorful bars with that agitating tone. I’d sit and stare at the flickering white noise in anticipation that maybe at the next turn that the welcoming cheerful sounds of a cartoon would soothe my fears of the dark and lonely room. Just like in those moments in the basement, I’d feel paralyzed by the loneliness, unwilling to seek comfort, as it appears that even then I needed to sit with my pain and digest those feelings that terrified me.
I would never wish a deep depression on anyone. There are hundreds of people this last year that have taken their lives as a result of being isolated from their supports, connections, and networks that once made them feel like a necessary person and essential loved one.
I feel profoundly honored that I was not one of those people that chose an alternative way to cope with the pain. This last bout with my ol’ nemesis was transformative in terms of processing my trauma, the grief, and the sorrow that often holds no place in our busy professional/personal relationships. And lets face it, I can’t imagine there are too many individuals lining up to hear about my vicarious traumas, let alone me wanting to hear about yours after the hours of 4:30. If they could just start manufacturing masks that come with a whole energy bubble protector that sprays glitter on shitty attitudes that would be my biggest wish for 2021.
Since I can’t hold my breath for that one, I can breathe that sigh of relief that regular programming has commenced. Victory has not been won entirely over the sadness, but I have begun experiencing the ability to put my body, mouth and mind back into motion. It began with walks with my dog with some tunes, and then blossomed into attending the gym. I introduced a Honey Stick “Pineapple Express” Sativa before bed for a sounder, longer, and more relaxed sleep to aid in my jaw clenching. I’m back on a multivitamin/mineral regiment that I love because they taste like gummi bears. I welcome opportunities to spend time with friends and open up more about how I’m feeling and have been feeling. I hug my dog and I hug her a lot as there is something about her soft fur and the tenderness in her eyes that heals me. I cook for friends and make plans to go on dates- even if my body feels tired and often undesirable. I put that lipstick on keep it pushin’. And lastly, I’ve began feeling like I wanted to write again.
So here we are…slow and steady wins the race against depression and seasonal affective disorder. Today was my baby step back into the blog world again.
Lastly I wanted to share a poem I came across which spoke to me and touched on those feelings of nothingness that I encountered. Its comforting to know that in the depths of those murky rough waters that there are others swimming in the deep with you. The ocean, holding us all in its mouth, a mouth so deep that it has no base
I have sunk into a slow numbness, perhaps because something broke over me the second i saw you again. i realized, it’s better to be in full-blown sorrow than in a fragile happiness, forever staving off the blackness.
but instead, i have sunk into a slow numbness. perhaps because you look away from me now the exact same way that i look away from you. your aversion gives me numbness. don’t you see it? that’s all this ever was. a fear of the numbness. a fear of the pain. your indifference gives me numbness because who wants to feel it when the ripping apart begins.
i have smoked to numbness. i have cried to numbness. i have raged to numbness. i have laughed to numbness. i have embraced the numbness. i have dug myself into numbness but you gave me the shovel.
you gave me the numbness. and i feel absolutely fine. i feel nothing at all.
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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 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
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I don’t know about you all, but for this gal, it’s the time of year I indulgingly buy myself the gigantic bag of Cadbury Mini eggs and find some quiet corner where I can be left alone to eat them. How they faithfully fulfill my taste buds with their unwavering and familiar mixture of textures, both crunchy and creamy. The powerful sacchariferous flavor ignites a bouquet of cocoa and sweetened condensed milk that dulls the pangs of the sugar coated shells slicing into ones gum-line. The bag continues to seduce the senses until all is gone and your left sitting their with a tummy ache with no one to blame but yourself. Chasing the mini egg dragon can lead you into a diabetic coma if your not careful.
But for someone as visceral as myself, it is the pleasingly soothing collaboration of pastel colors that make holding them such a blissful experience. To watch them roll about in your hand as they begin to soften from the warmth, each shade starts to compliment the other so effortlessly. Their shape also hold such a disarming presence, and if you place them down, watch how they wobble their cherub like bodies.
What I wanted
VS. What I got
Nonetheless…my fingers now make me want to eat them.
But my admiration for all things Spring, colorful, and soft, don’t end with just the nails. I’ve come across so many beautiful and creative fashion and accessory pieces along the way. This spring one of my favorite fashion houses Dolce & Gabbana have launched a kaleidoscope of passionate prints and whimsical pieces that call my name.
Dolce & Gabbana- Spring/Summer 2021 Faves
Lets start with this Floral Appliqued Flower Headband- You can channel your inner Eva Perone in this easter bonnet!
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.
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.
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.
“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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let me start this blog post today by giving you a heavy warning that by no means am I a financial guru, or am in a position to give any kind of advice when it comes to building or managing wealth. I would be a raging hypocrite if I sat here and boasted about all of my amazing habits when it comes to money.
And not like I need to prove my shortcomings, but to put things in perspective, your girl here is still paying her student loans from 14 years ago. If I could put a face plant emoticon here I would. I’m pretty sure I could make a good argument as to why I’m paying a student loan that is headed into the next decade of its existence if I had not been gainfully employed, but that is not the case. In fact I landed a pretty sweet gig just upon graduation. After having spent years as a single parent in University living off of about $1200 dollars a month, working part time at Eddie Bauer and La Senza, making a salary was foreign to me. I felt like I had made it in the world and stepped up and out from below the poverty line, never wanting to go back again.
It would a be a year later that I took my first vacation since I was a teenager and travelling on my parents dime. And it was glorious- in fact so glorious that I would continue to take vacations on a steady basis. I figured I was living in Northern Alberta at the time so it was more of a necessity in order to deal with dark and frigid winters. And once you begin subscribing to the “Treat Yo’Self Tribe“- one could recognize that this is a slippery slope into years of bad spending habits. It becomes far more slippery if you begin using money as a means to cope, escape, or a distraction from the challenges that get thrown your way. And don’t get me wrong there is something very pleasing about pressing the checkout icon and getting the notification that the shoes you have to have are on their way stat! And to be fully honest I have made an art of this and am aware of others who practice such habits-there are support groups available for this! And if you are a fly on the wall you may here some examples below that sound awfully familiar.
So your kids got sent home because there was a Covid Outbreak at their school and Mrs. Holland expects you to teach New Math to your kids, but you only remember the old school way- Logic says, pour yourself a glass of wine into the biggest glass and order a set of new ones that fit the whole bottle on Amazon Prime that night.
So your significant other cheats on you and you want revenge. So its only right that you and your girls book a Girls Trip to Vegas that then requires hot new bikini’s, new wedges, new trashy dresses and the sickest hotel suite available. Add Cabana’s, bottle service, and somewhere in between some pricey Vegas Strip Pizza Slices.
You have a brunch coming up celebrating nothing extraordinary but its been awhile since you saw your buds so you need to have an epic new outfit. And not only that but you know that one girl is going to show up in her Red Bottoms, whereby mid conversation she will point them out to everyone. And even though you were all mid-conversation about the how hot we all thought Steven Tyler was in our teens, she’ll look down at her nose at you and impose the new topic about her sugar daddy who bought her 3 others just like it. So in the event, you order the best replica Birkin Bag on the market and hope it gets its ass over to you from China in time. You may even practice out loud how awesome its going to be when you tell her that you can buy your own damn designer goods and that Sugar Daddy’s are not a commodity you have time for because your too busy killin’ it at life. And then to prove your point you order bottles of the most expensive champagne, because why not, your already 8 Bellini’s in, so its basically more cost effective at this stage.
So unless you are born wealthy, won the lottery, or can suck the life right out of Daddy Warbucks little Happy Gilmore, your going to have to learn to be far more disciplined. I’ve also learned that being day drunk tipsey and having a credit card is also not wise when mall hours are still open. Pretty sure you won’t find that tip-a-roo in any Harvard Business School textbook, but you can definitely find it here on Cece D’s school of hard knocks.
It wouldn’t be until maybe 5 years ago I began saving money for my retirement. I remember when I sat with the financial advisor you’d think the panic in his face would have been enough for me to give up my Starbucks for life. What had a lingering impact however was when he asked whether I could change my quality of lifestyle upon turning 65. He said if I were to cut my monthly salary in half would I be alright with that and would that be enough to get by on? And as I sat with that question and tried to consider what I would be willing to give up I came to the conclusion. What’s the whole point of working your whole life to wind up in retirement, finally free to do whatever you want and not have the coin to fund the last chapters of your life story. Its not an ending I’d settle for!
So let me ask you when have you ever bragged about the extraordinary performance of your stocks during a girls’ night out? And if you do, then sisters…why are you not schooling the rest of us! As a woman with a now adult daughter and a career, the mind-numbing typical topics about relationships, children, and new sustainable fashion treasures have me asleep by the second round of Patron Shots that I’m usually ordering in the hopes to ignite more indecent and provocative subjects.
I don’t know what happens during a guy’s night out. I feel like there is lots of meat eating and bravado nonsense talk, but I imagine men like to show off when their portfolios are booming. And I suspect this because I love talking about my portfolio now and find myself texting/calling the male members of my family who are all heavy into trading and have done well. Now let me say this, the only time they do talk much is when the scotch is flowing, never knowing what crazy absurdity will blurt out their mouths next. Things have changed though with the introduction of my own stock market and trading knowledge whereby we have at least 15-20 minute conversations now and they are actually 55.8% sober during these moments. Impressive I know.
So my question is: Are women uninterested in the stock market or are they just not talking about it?
I personally have begun bringing it up every chance I can get when I’m in a social conversation. Not only because its something I’m interested in, but I am also lacking in the area of newsworthy events to discuss. The success of their attentiveness on the subject has been about 1 in every 3 who will actually engage in further conversation. While most of my women friends are professionals, business owners, and many have also spent a large chunk of their life making babies or taking care of babies. And No Judgment, somebody needs to do this job as well, and do it real good. And there are still some other topics besides family, but where shall today’s moms fit in stock shopping? The days are fully scheduled with child care, work, trying to keep fit, and self-care.
According to an article by the Globe and Mail A report from Boston Consulting Group published earlier this year estimates that women now control 32 per cent of the world’s wealth, and they’re accumulating that wealth at a compound annual growth rate that’s 2 percentage points higher than that of men.
Additionally, within Canada alone, a 2019 report from CIBC World Markets Inc. finds that Canadian women control $2.2-trillion of personal finance assets directly, a figure that’s expected to grow by more than 70 per cent in the next decade. A big reason for that is that women now constitute 61.4 per cent of Canada’s labour force, according to a report from Catalyst published last month.
The author Donna Bristow-managing director of North American Wealth states when one considers Canadian women with full-time jobs make just 89 cents for each dollar earned by their male counterparts, with even wider pay gaps at senior roles. Add women’s longer lifespans and tend to peak earlier in their careers, and it’s clear that it’s even harder for women than men to save for a comfortable retirement.
In times of gender equality propagation, why the heck are we not taking care of our financial futures? Why are so many women ignoring the opportunity of building wealth?
Karolin Wanner touched on some legitimate points in her article: 4 Reasons Why Women Don’t Invest in the Stock Market
1.Lack of Knowledge and Confidence
2.Women Are Less Risk-Averse Than Men
3.Women Have Less Capital Available
4.Women Have Less Time Because They Are the Major Drivers for Household Duties and Child Care
So now that you are ready to put a power suit on and buy a briefcase in every colour, how do you begin now that you are obviously dressed for success?
Clever Girl Finance wrote Investing For Beginners: How To Get Started with A Little Money ,an informative and straightforward guide to get you going. Not only does it touch on the To Do’s but covers the mistakes to avoid and what emotional implications to plan for. I read, and continue to read many articles like this that use common language that don’t assume that you already know what an ETF is. I look up words and terms that I’m not familiar with then I seek more insight as its no secret, I’m a social worker, not a finance major. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if you need the Dumbest book for Dummies. For gods sake, a large majority of us took home economics in high school. Who would have thought that Skip the Dishes would bless our lives 2 decades later, now wishing we had learned finance to fund our love for Quiznos and their soft cookies at midnight on a Tuesday/Thursday and sometimes Saturday night.
Reflecting back on how I decided to begin learning about the stock market and without being cognizant of the above reasons, I’ve become kinder towards myself with regards to the mistakes of the past. And since I began this new financial interest, I’ve approached it with an uncanny ferocious sense of commitment. I admittedly sink most of my “Funny Money” into heavily researched stocks that have consequently prevented me from spending money on anything that loses value the minute is leaves the store. I’ve also shared with friends that the more money I have tied up, that the likelihood of my famous impulsive buys and spiraling Amazon Sprees is now a thing of the past.
So the next time Louboutin Linda flaunts her shoes, I’m ready to ask her about what percentage of returns those broken in heels gets her. It will go over her head and most likely no one will laugh or get it. Regardless, there’s an unmistakeable boost of confidence that comes along when taking control of your future. Move over Leonardo, here comes Cece D- The Cougar of Wall Street
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?
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.
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.
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.
” 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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:
Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
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.
Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints, and allow your spine to lengthen.
Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
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:
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
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.
Keep your head, neck, and spine in one line as you gaze straight ahead.
Inhale as you lift your chest toward the ceiling and bring your hands toward the floor.
Breathe deeply as you hold this pose for 5 breaths.
Release and relax for a few breaths.
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.
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:
Come onto all fours and straighten your legs, lift your heels, and raise your hips.
Straighten your back and engage your abdominal, arm, and leg muscles.
Lengthen the back of your neck, soften your throat, and look down at the floor.
Make sure to keep your chest open and your shoulders back.
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:
From a high plank position, bring your left hand slightly in to center.
Shift your weight onto your left hand, stack your ankles, and lift your hips.
Place your right hand on your hip or extend it up toward the ceiling.
You can drop your left knee down to the floor for extra support.
Engage your abdominals, side body, and glutes as you maintain this pose.
Align your body in a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
Look straight ahead of you or up toward your hand.
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:
Lying with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels.
Lift your knees and hips to bring your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
Keep your ears in line with your upper arms or tuck your chin all the way into your chest.
Press firmly into your hands and keep your heels slightly lifted.
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:
Come down on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a little bit in front of your shoulders.
Bend your right knee and place it behind your right wrist with your right foot angled out to the left.
Rest the outside of your right shin on the floor.
Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee, and rest your thigh on the floor.
Make sure your left leg extends straight back (and not to the side).
Slowly lower your torso down to rest on your inner right thigh with your arms extended in front of you.
Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
Slowly release the position by walking your hands back toward your hips and lifting your torso.
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. “
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.
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?
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.
Let me start by saying congratulations, you made it through the Winter in the middle of a Pandemic. Winter months in Canada are already tough if you live in any Province with the exception of British Columbia. As if the frigid blustery winds and hazardous icy roads aren’t enough to keep you home, the government Covid-19 lock downs reinforced that. Then if we weren’t already up against enough with the isolation, our bodies took a further beating as we still indulged in a series of holiday meals. In Alberta, gyms and recreational facilities were closed for almost 2 1/2 months which would be the nail on my coffin for myself, as my weight ballooned upwards rapidly. Seeing as this was my first winter in a pandemic, I admittedly was not prepared to cope in the best way, but I should be thankful that the worst that happened to me was a doughy belly and a double chin. I’m blaming my inability to adapt accordingly and find alternative ways to motivate and prioritize better nutrition and exercise.
Home work outs have never been my thing, but as I’ve come to find out, sometimes we need to force ourselves out of the familiar. It takes some time, especially if your stubborn like myself who gets discouraged easily when I lack the presence of reinforcing elements. One of those elements is having an active presence in the outside world, where our interactions can often validate the hard work we are putting into our personal fitness and appearance. My interactions have been mostly with clients who are for the most part strangers and have an already pre-existing sense of loathing towards me as child welfare worker. I’ve also admittedly been using my mask to hide my fuller chipmunk cheeks. So with less social outings happening under the current circumstances I feel it is more important than ever to authentically find validation from within ourselves, namely Confidence.
Transitioning to a place of practicing personal validation through other means is no simple feat. I imagine this could be a lot harder for my generation as we are far more cognizant of the differences between what is sincere interaction and the superficial world of likes and followers. I would never typically support the idea of subscribing to the practice of validation through selfies and half naked thirst trap photos, but a fluffy blonde like me even has her breaking point. If I hadn’t become totally bored through the first wave of my social media feeds I may have just likely began an OnlyFans for some compliments now and again. But for the most the most part, many of us adults aspire to channel our energy and attention to a small few so that to not distract us from our goals and responsibilities that absorb much of our time. The majority of my network uses social media platforms mostly to post pictures of their animals, new furniture, DIY projects or children. Which leaves me with the conclusion we need to work even harder to tap into that self love and confidence at all costs, and here’s my How To Guide to get yours rolling!
1. Get Your Butt Outside
You don’t need to be the outdoorsy type or the adventurous weekend warrior-while these for many seem to be perfect opportunities for Social Media Content. The art of being outside doesn’t actually always have to be about gruelling hikes up mountains or even overtly physical at all. This time of year always offers up ways to draw you outdoors whether its doing yard clean up, gardening/planting, washing your car at home, or enjoying the dog park which by the way you don’t need to have one to still enjoy those playful paws. Take a book on a lunch break and have a coffee on an outdoor patio, or simply just people watch. Exchange smiles with new faces you pass by while you take in a new neighborhood stroll, popping in and out of local shops. How about dusting off the ol’ cruiser bike and taking it somewhere scenic outside your neighborhood, or organize a squad bike beer tour through downtown? You can even cook all your meals outside by BBQing as much as possible. There is movement and social interaction happening in all of these options that are sure to get your that much needed vitamin D and Dopamine back into that ailing spirit of yours.
2. Make your Meals Colorful
Spring and Summer months invite a broader range of delicious produce options, and there is a need to support our local farmers and markets even more than ever. According to the Hello Fresh Blog, our brains respond to light energy, aka color, by stimulating the pituitary and pineal glands. These endocrine glands regulate hormones like serotonin, which is responsible for making us feel happy. Research has shown that different colors also affect blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rates as well as brain activity and sleep/wake cycles. These color triggers set the mood for us to feel more energetic, happy, and relaxed and are strong enough to even have an effect on people who are blind!
Additionally it is mentioned that we are also influenced by the visual cue of color when it comes to our perception of how something will taste. Colorful food can influence our brain to create an expectation that specific colors will taste a certain way. For example, the more vibrantly colored a food is, the more intense we expect its flavor to be.
If you are even somewhat of a meal planner, aim to prepare meals that have at least 5 or more colors in them. Whether it be a pasta salad that is loaded with spinach, red onion, cherry tomatoes, orange peppers and Hemp Seed- the challenge of not duplicating color can offer a variety of nutritional benefits that boost your energy as well as fill you up with all the good stuff!
3. Dance to your Favorite music
I know I can’t speak for all, but as a result of my vegetative state along with the extra pounds I’ve packed on; movement can feel sometimes painful or uncomfortable. My joints and body need some time to recuperate and I can quickly become fed up if I take on something too rigorous. Additionally when the body hasn’t done any kind of significant exercise its not uncommon for you to experience muscle tightness and soreness that can also prevent you from being active the next day. Consistency is key when developing a habit, and getting active again can be admittedly hard enough without being reminded how out of shape you’ve allowed yourself to become. So start with movements that don’t feel like work, and help to loosen those hips and shoulders. Throw on a belly dancing tutorial, or flail around like I do to some House Anthems like its 2005 again. Many fitness apps offer short dance movement classes that are easy and fun to follow. If you are an Albertan like myself maybe you need to brush up on your line dancing and prepare yourself for Calgary Stampede festivities we have been missing.
Just like our beloved Aaliyah sang how “Age Aint Nuthin But a Number”- so is your weight. Because just like age, you are as old as you feel and same goes for your weight. Our bodies listen to our negative self talk and also revolt when we put it under too much stress. Stress can significantly impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent you from losing weight. Whether it’s the result of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, unhealthy stress-induced behaviors, or a combination of the two, the link between stress and weight gain is glaring. Hovering over numbers on a digital scale completely derails and undermines the idea of being good to your body. Numbers on a scale can never reflect the fun we experience and sense of achievement when doing our bodies good. If you are not convinced then perhaps use how your clothes fit as a means of measurement, but whatever you do stay off the digital confidence killer.
Or consider an alternative like the Shapa Scale that keeps the positive elements of the scale while removing the negative ones. This unique system gives you feedback about your weight, but not in pounds.
Instead of sharing a number that provides little to no insight, Shapa gives you useful feedback through a more meaningful 5-point color system.
Blue = losing weight Teal = starting to lose weight Green = maintaining your weight Light Gray = starting to gain weight Dark Gray = gaining weight
Shapa looks at your trend over the past few days compared to the past few weeks to determine your color and lets you know if the changes you’ve been making recently are getting you closer to, or farther from, your goal.
5. Wear The Bathing SUit
There is no prep involved here. If its cute, wear it. If its a bikini, wear it. Then finish it off with some Sexy Sunnies to block the haters.
6. Don’t forget your Vitamins
I have a tendency to learn things the hard way, just like when I failed to get regular oil changes on my BMW. I came to find out after a very expensive lesson that things can’t run optimally without the combination of chemically engineered elements. Turns out our bodies are the same and can pay the price if we don’t fuel it properly with the nurtients and minerals it needs. Vitamins that support weightloss such as Vitamin B, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Iron, and Green Tea Extract all have vast benefits. Vitamins and Herbs that support energy are Vitamins B12, CoQ10, Rhodiola, Citrulline and Beetroot powder also compliment the need to fuel an increase in activity and movement.
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.”
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.
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.”
I’d say for the last year I’ve had multiple conversations with friends about starting a podcast/vlog talk show. We’d often find ourselves bent over in laughter as the conversations and off the cuff humor would just slide off our tongues like the perfect piece of Hubba Bubba. Our brand of sidesplitting musings is offbeat and for the most part peculiar, which I believe comes from our diverse backgrounds whereby we still manage to find our lives, experiences and beliefs relatable. You see we all have a comprehensive past to draw eclectic wisdom and lessons from which have shaped us as women and empowered us even further to mastering the art of learning how to not take oneself too serious.
I’ve long let go of documenting my life via social media apps for many reasons, mostly positive. But I still get the regular reminders from followers and readers “When are you going to come back to SnapChat/Tik Tok/Instagram- you were so F******* Funny!” And to be quite honest, the pandemic has left my social life and adventures quite baron, giving me more time to spend capturing every waking breath or move of my 7 month old dog- which quite frankly I think everyone is getting sick of. But in addition to my dog obsession, I think going forward there is a better and more enriching method to share my thoughts, insights, opinions and unintentional banter that seems to appeal to the broader masses. And what better way to do than with another person, or a series of guests and folk I find intriguing.
I knew I was onto something when I personally could not quit the art of poking fun at myself- especially when others would laugh, not out of discomfort, but because they saw themselves in my flaws. In fact they also found forgiveness and acceptance along the way. Who knew what a profound impact I could have being the class clown in my adult life would have. If only my 7th grade teacher Mr. Bowers could have recognized that before I got sent to the hallway on a daily basis where I honed the skills you see today.
“If by chance some day you’re not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I’ve said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled.” -Red Skelton
In the article The Benefits of Laughing at Yourself, According to Science, psychologist and humor researcher Dr. Arnie Cann, says it all depends on context — more specifically, it’s how we choose to use humor that can lead to positive or negative effects. Laughter releases dopamine, increases blood flow, and strengthens the heart, but beyond its many health perks, a good sense of humor leads to increased optimism, which in turn, boosts our resiliency and enables us to thrive when we’re faced with adversity.
Ultimately, self-mockery should be a way of acknowledging our flaws and limitations through the softer lens of self-compassion. The act of poking fun at ourselves is admitting that we’re imperfect humans — but it’s only when we can recognize our own infallibility with kindness and grace that we’re more able to view those around us the same way. In forgiving all of our awkward mishaps, we make room so that others can, too.
So after months and months of saying we are going to do this, tonight I head over to Michella Klyne’s, fellow funny woman and master of many arts to discuss what this is all going to look like. While we are just starting at square one I know going into this that I want our content to appeal to the fellow clowns of the world, or the ones looking to earn their red nose within the journey.
There are so many “How To” Blogs and forums on this subject and I came across this list on RRS.COM that provided me the most concise approach to tackling this new project.
1. Know Your Audience, Define Your Niche
What is your topic?
The first thing everyone is going to ask when you start promoting your podcast is, “What is it about?” You need to be crystal clear on this answer if you hope to grow a loyal fan base.
You’ll want to choose a topic that you already have some knowledge of and/or interest in. Then ask yourself, what unique insight do you have to offer about it? Before you jump into recording a single episode, understand exactly what your focus is.
Another important question to ask yourself is, is this a topic that you’ll be able to produce enough content on? Some topics may seem exciting at first, but when you start considering what episodes you could create around them you may realize they don’t have enough substance to them.
Finally, can you narrow your topic down? It’s important to niche down to something specific, rather than keeping it broad. For example, talking about parenting is fine, but it may be too broad to capture — and keep — an audience.
Niche down to something more specific to create the most loyal fanbase. When you niche down your listeners will feel as though you’re talking directly to them. They don’t say “the riches are in the niches” for nothing. Put another way, the more specific your niche, the easier it will be to create episodes that are perfect for your ideal listener.
For example, instead of using the broad topic of parenting, niches for this subject could be: parenting children with special needs, parenting without yelling, parenting abroad, managing your own passions while parenting … you get the idea.
Take a moment to think about your topic now. Is it broad, or is it specific? To help determine whether or not it’s too broad, grab a pad of paper or open a word processing document and start jotting down a list of subtopics related to your current subject.
If in doing so you see that there are far too many subtopics coming to mind, it may be a sign that you need to get even more specific with the main topic your podcast will be about. On the other hand, if you can’t come up with any additional subtopic ideas, you may need a subject that is slightly broader.
Get Clear on Your Ideal Listener
Who are you talking to? Why? Just like a business owner wants to determine their ideal customer, you need to figure out who that one perfect person is that you want to share your message with.
When you consider one perfect person instead of a group of people, it simplifies the process of catering content to them that they would want to listen to. Things to ask yourself as you create your ideal listener persona are:
Is this listener male or female?
What age group do they fall into?
Are they self-employed, an employee, unemployed, etc…?
What’s their social life like?
What are their hopes, dreams, and challenges?
What would they want to know about the topic of your podcast?
To help you in your brainstorming, think about all the aspects of your topic. If your topic is something like parenting abroad we mentioned earlier, consider all the things your ideal listener might want to know about that. Here are some examples in this niche that may inspire you in brainstorming with your own topic:
Niche – Parenting abroad
Schooling while living abroad
Spotlight on different countries – could make for a multi-episode interview series
Learning more than one language
Dual citizenships for parents and their children
Becoming an expat
Medical care abroad
Visas and passports
A great place to start when thinking about your episode subjects is looking at books and blogs on the topic. Specifically, look at the table of contents in books on your subject. They are great for inspiration.
3. Pick Your Format and Hosting Style
There are several formats a podcast can have. Your format might be educational, storytelling (nonfiction or fiction), conversational, or interviews. You can host your podcast yourself, or you can have multiple hosts as well.
Podcasting with friends
A trend we’re seeing these days in the world of podcasting is that people are creating shows with a friend or even a group of friends. What’s great about starting a podcast with friends is not only can you split the startup costs, but it can add a lot of variety to your show too.
Having multiple personalities that are hosting can add interest and pull in a wide range of listeners. It’s why shows like The View are so popular. Audience members all have their favorite host, and each one brings something different to the table.
Perhaps you have a friend, family member, or even a work colleague that you have a lot in common with. Starting a podcast could be a fabulous way to explore your interests together, and potentially even make some money along the way.
If you choose to start a podcast with friends, here a few things to consider:
Who will be listed as the show hosts? You could list multiple hosts, or just one “main” host.
What happens if one of you loses interest? Will you put the show on pause or will you have a rotating guest host?
Have a plan in place for how you will handle the finances. Include everything from how you will divide the costs to how you will split the profits. If your show starts making money, you’ll be glad you thought of this ahead of time.
Consider what happens if one of you moves, or you just want to produce the show from your own homes. For this, you’ll need additional equipment and software to record your episodes remotely.
Who will be in charge of what? One can edit and one can promote, for example. Think about all the tasks involved with producing a podcast, and agree on a plan for how you will divide the work.
Podcasting alone – just you and the mic
You don’t have to have anyone else on your show to be successful. Your show can be just you sitting in front of a mic telling a story, or teaching your audience something new.
To host a podcast by yourself, the work will all fall on your shoulders in the beginning. That is unless you have a company backing your show from the outset. You’ll need to come up with all the show ideas, create the content, and then market them.
This format is wonderful for podcasters who want to dip their toes into the world of podcasting before jumping in with both feet. Then again, fiction and nonfiction storytellers alike can produce dozens of episodes by themselves and grow a rabid fanbase.
If you decide to use the interview format, think about who you can interview, and create a list of people to reach out to.
If you want to do an interview-style podcast, make an interview wish list. Think of all the people who might have something to say on your topic, and start compiling their contact information.
By the way, go big with your interview wish list! You never know who will say yes to you, and the bigger the guest the larger the potential audience you’ll have to promote your show to.
Pro Tip: Four great places to start looking for guests are other podcasts, blogs, YouTube, and HARO.
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out, and podcast hosts can sign up as a journalist on the platform to seek out guests for their upcoming shows. This is still a largely untapped source podcasters that isn’t yet saturated with hosts, so it could be a wonderful place to find experts to interview.
Network with other podcasters, bloggers and vloggers to hone in on who the best guests would be for your show. One thing you can do while networking is an attempt to become a guest on other people’s shows. Not only will this help you stay on the radar of other podcast hosts for those moments you’re looking for potential guests, but it’s also a great way to promote your own show.
Consider what subjects they can talk about, and begin designing your show around those subjects. Once you’re up and running, begin contacting and scheduling your interviewees.
A few things to consider if you will be doing a lot of interviews:
In the beginning, you can probably get away with using a template online, but as your show grows it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney for this and all legal forms related to your podcast.
Schedule interviews well before you plan to launch. It’s no secret that people are busy, and you don’t want to find yourself scrambling to find a guest at the last minute so you can keep up with your posting calendar.
Have a launch date in mind when you start interviewing guests. This doesn’t have to be a firm date, but guests like to know an approximate date as to when their episode will be live.
Batch several interviews at a time so you’ll have plenty of content even if someone backs out or has to reschedule. Besides, when you batch interviews, all your equipment will already be set up giving you the ability to get more done in less time.
If you’re completely new to the interview game, you may also want to practice with friends and family before interviewing a guest for your show. While your first shows may still be cringeworthy, practicing as much as you can prior to recording the real thing never hurt anyone. Even seasoned actors do dress rehearsals and dry runs.
There are far too many podcast fish in the sea. You need to make sure you make it easy for people to listen. While you technically can record a podcast with your computer’s built-in microphone, you’ll get better sound from a high-quality microphone and headphone set.
Before your first interview or recording session, you’ll want to practice with your recording and editing software. Look for tutorials online and learn everything you can about how it works. Then, record practice episodes both alone and with friends or family.
Remember, these practice sessions don’t have to see the light of day. Although it could make for some fun bloopers if you ever want to create an episode like that for your fans. The goal is to get comfortable with speaking and recording, as well as editing. That way when you’re ready for the real thing, it won’t feel as scary.
– Choose a sound-friendly recording location
While it’s true that you can clean up your sound in the editing phase, finding a sound-friendly location for recording is better for audio quality. Let’s face it though, odds are unless you have a big budget or a company backing your show, you won’t have a soundproof podcasting studio for recording your first episodes.
Choose the quietest place in your home or office to record your episodes. Some podcasters choose to record in their closets, others under blankets, and others still just try to use a place with minimal background noise and echoes.
– Take your time
Becoming a good podcast host is a marathon, not a sprint. At first, recording and editing may take you a while, and that’s okay. You can worry about speed later. In the beginning, you should focus more on getting it right. Quality over quantity as they say.
As time goes on and you get familiar with your tools and the act of recording and editing, it will get easier and faster to produce episodes. In fact, at some point, you may even be able to hire help to scale your podcast. But, don’t feel like you have to rush to get to the big leagues.
– Accept that there will be hiccups
If you go into this knowing that it won’t be smooth in the beginning, you’ll be less likely to get frustrated when things inevitably go awry. It’s important to know that even the most seasoned podcasters have trouble from time to time.
Episodes accidentally get deleted, guests bail without warning, entire episodes are recorded with the microphone off – it all happens, and it’s completely normal. When things go wrong, you have two choices – 1. Give up, or 2. Dust yourself off and try again. We sincerely hope you’ll always choose the latter.
Intros, Outros, and a Name
Oh my! While we’re discussing recording, now’s a good time to mention that you should also start thinking about your intro and outro, as well as your podcast’s name.
An intro is usually a 15 to 30-second audio byte introducing/opening your show. A typical intro will include music and mention the name of the show as well as who the host is. Some hosts choose to use the same intro for every episode, whereas others will change them up by season or even use a new intro with each episode they produce.
The outro is the show’s wrap-up and indicates to the listener the show is ending. In this segment, you can add a call-to-action, mention your show’s social media handles, or include a website where listeners can learn more about you.
If you’ll have music in the intro and/or outro segments, you’ll need to find royalty-free music, or create some original pieces. If you’re not using original music, do your homework about the music you’re choosing before adding it to your podcast.
It’s important to make sure that whatever music you use is not copyright protected to avoid lawsuits, fines, and having your entire podcast shut down.
What’s in a name?
You might be wondering why you need to think about your name now. As you begin promoting your show and seeking potential guests, not only will they ask you what it’s about, they’ll want to know what it’s called. It’s also a good idea to start building brand awareness as you prepare to launch so that people will already be familiar with it when it comes time to go live.
Having a name in place sooner rather than later will help you with other branding decisions you’ll need to make soon as well. For example, you’ll need the name to include in your intro and outro, to purchase website name or develop a podcast page on your current website, and to snag social media handles.
I called one of my girlfriends up this weekend and said “Wanna Go Hit the HomeSenseStroll 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.
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.
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.
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:
2 Bathroom Rugs
What I walked out with:
2 Pendant Lights
2 Handcrafted in India Wood Letters
1 Giant Lindt Chocolate Bar
1 Shadow Box Art
2 Massive Canvas Art for Living Room.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
#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!
#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.
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.
It’s been a long time since I shared another Tale from my past, so I think my readers are due for yet another moment to over-share.
If you have been reading Talez From a Broad for some time you would be familiar with how I experienced a bit of a delay with regards to “Living My Best Life”, as I spent the entirety of my 20’s parenting. Those who are parents themselves can attest to the amount of energy, time and sacrifice that goes into that role. It is one of the most thankless jobs in the world, but one of the most essential roles. This can be a heavy weight to bare, especially for those who are doing it alone, or facing the varying complexities that come along with rearing a child. Mine had her own set of challenges, so if anyone can relate, This Broad Can.
I have no regrets in how I carried out my responsibilities and in fact, I never felt like I was ever missing out on anything during that time. In reality, completing University, and building my career, along with having a husband at that time with Multiple Sclerosis left me little desire to take on much more. Read More Here.
Things began to grow around me; my child was now a teen and began wanting her independence from me. My career flourished and my salary began to give me some freedoms to travel more and experience many firsts, including my first “Girls Trip” at the age of 30. There were other things in my life at that time which were not so great either, such as the breakdown of my marriage and mental health as I struggled with my partners moods and cognitive and physical decline related to his MS. I admittedly used travel and crazy impulsive Vegas Trips to cope with the loneliness and sadness I felt during this period. It was a way to escape and decompress, and I would do it at any cost.
So it would come as no surprise that I’d be game for anything someone presented to me that allowed me escape from the doom and gloom of my home life. Sure enough, my cousin had presented me with yet another opportunity- SHAMBHALA.
Now to those who do not know what Shambhala is let me educate you. Shambhala is an annual Music Festival held during the last week in July at the Salmo River Ranch, a 500-acre farm, in the West Kootenay mountains near Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Shambhala Music Festival was born from a vision as grassroots as it gets. On a sunny Labour Day weekend back in 1998, some 500 people gathered at the Salmo River Ranch for a party that showcased local art and music. From those early, heady days, Shambhala grew with enthusiasm by word of mouth, quickly becoming a staple event for the West Coast underground electronic music scene. Today it attracts world renowned DJs and artists and some of the most eclectic, energetic fans in the universe. The festival is fueled by Shambhalove which shines bright to this day. Shambhala Music Festival is cutting edge in its production and does not accept any corporate sponsorship. This allows the festival to retain a true reflection of the people on the dance floor and their vision of what their community looks like. This mission is important to hold down as electronic dance music culture has moved into the mainstream where opportunistic corporations have threatened to water it down. In this respect, this festival’s community is like no other. You will not see one advertisement or corporate logo on the farm.
By 2010, 15,000 guests, artists and crew were coming to dance and be free in the wilds of interior British Columbia. Today, people come to enjoy the festival’s focus of providing amazing art, music and life changing experiences.
Shambhala Music Festival is an annual event not to be missed, boasting six uniquely themed stages, each managed by their own Stage Director. All Stage Directors will book their talent, dream up the stage’s vibe and deliver unforgettable experiences year after year. The festival features the best in electronic and live music from around the globe and our very talented backyard. Ultimately, Shambhala Music Festival is a celebration of music, art and life, steeped in one of the most beautiful festival venues in the world.
“Shambhalove” is a unique community that has grown and strengthened over the years. Through its evolution, one clear value has remained constant – to continue to be the backdrop for an unparalleled, life-changing experience. Shambhala Music Festival is committed to retaining a true reflection of the people on the dancefloor by not accepting corporate sponsorship on a Farmily-run paradise. There is a dedication to foster a caring and inclusive community-based atmosphere, Shambhala Music Festival strives to provide a safe environment to celebrate amazing music, art, culture, creativity, and self-expression. Believing in the power of nature, synchronicity, and the moments in between, Shambhala continues to be a magical place everyone can call HOME year after year – it’s all about the people on the dancefloor!
Now you may be wondering why a 32 year old woman would be enticed by such a festival, especially if she had not necessarily identified as having a “Shamba-love” kind of attitude. In fact, affection and unbridled love from strangers makes me extremely uncomfortable and taps into an awkwardness that is cringeworthy. However, it was the music I was after as I’m a huge Electronic music fan, and in general a lover of all forms of art, music and live shows. I was also comforted by the idea that there was a large group of friends, family and acquaintances that were going. Surely they would protect me from any unsolicited hugs or hand holding.
Now given that I had already been exposed through friends to a lot of the Calgary “Burners”- A “burner” to me is someone who has been to burningman & somehow feels a sense of kinship with the other people that go there. Someone who in addition to dreaming of being back in Black Rock City, internalizes any combination of the following traits: – free-range creativity. – having fun with your life.
While we did not always share the same passions and priorities, I envied their lifestyle. They carried what it was that I perceived as what it may feel like to be free. Free to make choices that felt good for them, free from financial constraints that dictated their lives, free from a lot of the responsibilities I carried in general. And while there are some festival go-ers that are just like me- these guys are the real deal. As in they live to make money to go to the next festival to be with their community and nurture their paths to feeling whole and fulfilled.
So as the weeks lead up to the festival, I would be schooled on everything Shambhala. The one thing I did not have was a tickle trunk of Shambhala costumes. And while this is a hub for acceptance- you would stand out if you were not naked or dressed like a flower girl cross bred with a cyber punk that was experiencing an identity crisis as a Furry. And as person who takes wardrobe selection very seriously I had some shopping to do. This task would prove harder than initially anticipated- its hard to find attire like that whereby it doesn’t look contrived or that I raided the Urban Planet clearance section looking for everything neon. I was starting to consider Nudity as an option- at least I knew where to find pasties. I was successful in deriving my own twist on wardrobe and made it my own. I may have overindulged and bought the Spirit Hood, which I would later love myself for. Firstly, With every purchase of a Spirit Hood, they donate a portion of profits to the conservation of endangered animals and their habitat. Secondly, it just so happens that this place mid summer not only gets insanely hot, but it also gets bone chillingly cold at night- and when your naked, you need to keep your extremities warm.
The next bit of planning that was required was the accomodations. At the farm, there are a few options that you can stay. You can stay off the Farm and enter the festival daily while enjoying a hot shower and all the other amenities of the 1st world. If you are staying on the grounds, you can either tent it or trailer it. Seeing as I didn’t have a trailer, nor would anyone trust a group of festival goer’s with theirs, a tent was our only option. I was lucky to have recruited my good friend Ida as a tent mate. Ida not only was a Shambhala veteran, but also could appreciate my vision to create a little Oasis where we could actually sleep feeling good and not hate our life choices in the morning. We had brought full fledged blow up twin beds, plenty of cozy down comforters and down pillows, both scoffing at the idea of crambing into a sleeping bag. We packed Tylenol, wet wipes, band-aids,cleaning products, nutritional snacks and electrolyte drinks that would foster regularity as to not experience any kind of bloat…seeeing as nakedness may occur. Level Expert.
Our tent was lit up by carefully placed colorful lanterns that created an inviting ambience when seeking refuge from the masses. The only downfall was the placement of our tent, where it sat along one of the main routes in the camping area. I had not anticipated the number of people that would topple into our tent as I’d hear nitrous cartridges get sucked into their lungs, and consequently would find their way onto my tent and inadvertently in bed with me. I’ve never encountered so many strangers in bed until this weekend.
And for those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, these uninvited guests were doing Whippets- also known as whippits or whip-its, a term used to describe the nitrous oxide charger that is used in whipped cream dispensers. These whipped cream canisters help push out the whipped cream, but they are not always just used for dessert. Because the nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” in whippets can have euphoric effects, some people will inhale the gas to get high. Although breathing in gas from a whipped cream dispenser may seem harmless, whippet abuse is a type of inhalant abuse. It can be incredibly dangerous and even fatal. This would be my first time seeing this in my life. It would go on all night. Not my Jam, but someone else’s peanut butter.
I don’t think “roughing it” was ever in my nature- and while our tent set up was clearly superior than others less fixated on their comforts, it was hot AF during the day in there and still so cold at night. Oddly, one night my cousin and I wound up in someone else’s camp who had hammocks that we wound up in. I woke up with a layer of frost on my body while he woke up with two girls in his, keeping him warm. Until this day we still do not recall how we got there, or who those girls were that obligingly saved him from frost bite. Additionally, my cousin may argue this, but I am the better looking of us, so you’d think I would have been blessed with some human blankets as well?
But please for not one minute, allow my 42 year old self try to convince you that I did not have the time of life. My tone may come cross that way only because as I reflect upon this experience, exhaustion floods my body at the thought of enduring this Party Marathon. It was in fact nothing short of a marathon fueled by the exhilarating light shows which is the most important aspect as every stage curates their own lineup with their own budget. It was sometimes difficult to choose between the stacked line-up of artists but for the most part where you go is dictated by the vibe you are after.
My favorite somewhat underrated thing about the permanent infrastructure is that there is seating everywhere. On the outskirts of the stage areas, there’s benches on almost every tree. You can be fully immersed in the stage and the sound, but be taking a break. I would always have someone with me to roam the winding paths between stages, sometimes getting lost within the flow, as if I was floating on the Milky Way. Every now and again I’d come across a Super Nova that would explode with Bass Drops that would vibrate through your body, heightening whatever high you were on, even if it was just life.
The mornings I would take advantage of the quiet calm, in adddition, Ida and I would use this time to bathe ourselves in the river using all the banned soaps and shampoos our bodies needed. With the backdrop of the Kootnay Mountains and our earthy bare asses, it could have been the perfect Irish Spring Commercial. Food trucks and Coffee vendors were empty and I’d fuel my body with most delicious coffee and nourishment required to take on the next 22 hours of play that lay ahead.
During the day we’d lay out and sunbathe topless while a random penis would hit my peripheral vision. By the end of the weekend, genitals would not even stir a second look. By this point, I think the Shambha-Love was soaking into my being, and admittedly I may have even broke through my awkwardness- bursting my personal bubble space entirely. I now shared a bubble with 15,000 people- and I tried to hug them all.
And while the use of substances at this festival is something that is common practice, it should not overshadow that this festival is a haven of soul-filling activities. Jarett Lopez from The Daily Hive captured quite a few of those things in 17 things you can only find at BC’s Shambhala Music Festival.
We did not last the entire weekend, but in all fairness we went hard in the paint and took full advantage of everything Shambhala had to offer. We all agreed that we had gotten what we wanted from the experience and were now wanting to return to our responsibilities with pleasure. The concept of using a flushable toilet, showering with hot water, and sleeping in our own beds carried a renewed sense of appreciation. The troubles in our lives, especially mine felt a lot less heavier than the looming idea of festival activities for another 22 hours straight.
Every now and again I get a whimsical thought that maybe I would do it again with some significant adjustments in order to accomodate the decade that has lapsed since I attended last. An airconditioned trailer would be first on the list, fully equipped with all the ammenities. I see no other way. As we enter another year of a pandemic, the liklihood of this year being the year affords me more time to consider thankfully.
Date nights are always a fun opportunity for me to get dressed up a, throw on a Burgundy Jewel Toned Lipstick and venture out to a new eating establishment we haven’t been to yet. I get nostalgic thinking of when my mom and dad used to go out for dinner which was often saved for special occasions like a birthdays or anniversaries. My mother always had a flair for rich vibrant colors, and would accessorize her long royal blue coat with a ruby or emerald broach pinning her silk scarf against the lapel. Her cheeks freshly rouged as she shuffled me into my black patent dress shoes smelling of Shalimar and Oil of Olay.
It’s only to be expected that I’ve followed a similar pattern of pomp and circumstance on date nights. My boyfriend Tony is well programmed in his responses to my questions around appropriate dress attire where he’ll simply say:
“Wear whatever it is you’d like to wear!”-Smart Boy
It should also come as no surprise that I’ve been extremely overdressed on multiple occasions, but chalked it up to sometimes Truck Stop Diners with world famous pie deserve the opulence.
“The story of the Bow Valley Ranche is nearly twelve decades long. Throughout its many years, the house has always had a reputation for holding unforgettable parties. It began with a few characters who were critical to the development of Alberta’s cattle industry, the Big Four. In fact, the idea of the Calgary Stampede may very well have been conceived within the walls of the house.
In 1896, cattle rancher and businessman William Roper Hull purchased property along the Bow River and built a sprawling ranch house. The ranch became a centre for refined social activities, as he entertained many local and foreign visitors there. Among the activities popular with the guests, tennis and the outdoor pool were crowd favourites, as you can see from the pictures below.
Hull owned the house and property until 1902, when it was purchased by Patrick Burns, a successful cattle rancher who eventually became a senator. Almost a century later, local residents Mitzie and Larry Wasyliw created the Fish Creek Restoration Society in 1995 for the purpose of restoring the Hull residence. In the summer of 1999, the ranch house was opened as a fine dining restaurant.”
Bow Valley Ranche is a fine dining resteraunt and we were celebrating our common-law anniversary, which is a thing for some of us fearful of marriage!
September 28, 2020 gave us an abnormally warm evening and looked forward to clutching on to the last few days, hours and minutes of outdoor dining we could. We had also been aware that they were hosting the Foodies in the Park Series : Wonderland Dome Dining which we will return to experience on October 23rd, 2020. Stay tuned for that!
We strolled along the pathway leading up to the impressive farmhouse, lined with old fashioned street lanterns. It reminded me of the scene in Mary Poppins, Bert and the children went to the park and broke into song singing:
A quaint little fountain in the middle of the Ranch House’s garden marked its way before we arrived at the steps leading us onto a porch that wrapped its way around the house. I knew that was where I wanted to sit for dinner, and we were led to a discreetly placed table
We started our dining experience with a hearty helping of Oysters on the half shell, fresh grated horseradish, lemon and mignonette du jour. On our first date, we had worked our way down 17th Ave, Bar and resteraunt hopping with our last stop being Market. There we drank cognac and ate Oysters until we ended up taking the party back to my place *wink *wink- So it only made sense to indulge.
For dinner I had the Smoked Gouda & Wild Mushroom Stuffed Chicken with macaire potatoes, asparagus, tomato confit and roasted peppers. Tony had the Rougie Duck a L’Orange, with Russian Blue mashed potatoes, green beans, baby carrot vichy. Both entrees were delicious, however we had a little giggle over the plating of his food, specifically his Russian Blue Mashed Potatoes.
We ended our evening of with a dessert of truffles that were on the house. Our waiter was so excellent and quite charming, ensuring our glasses remained full or if we needed anything in the most cordial of ways.
It was a beautiful way to finish up a gorgeous September.
Last night we ventured North of the bow River to SS106 Aperitivo Bar, and Italian Kitchen nestled in the heart of Crescent Heights on Edmonton Trail.
“SS106’s name derives from the SS106 which is a 491-kilometre highway on the Ionian coast in southern Italy, stretching between the towns of Reggio Calabria in the west to Taranto in the east. While the highway offers incredibly scenic views of beaches, ancient coastal towns and the sea, it is also known as one of Italy’s most dangerous roads, due to tight turns. However, Domenico (the owner) wanted to change the highway’s reputation right here in their hometown of Calgary.
SS106 Aperitivo Bar was opened to create the Italian lifestyle here in Calgary. The Italian lifestyle is very social and every Italian visits their local bar daily even if it’s just for a quick espresso. Many people who have not traveled to Italy have a perception that Italian restaurants are only quiet and candle lit. In Italy many Italian restaurants & bars are very social, happy and louder. SS106 Aperitivo Bar has brought a piece of Italy to YYC.”-Website
And loud it was! It made me long for my girl gang and a time during pre-pandemic days where we’d sit for hours, drinking, laughing and taking no particular notice of the other diners around us regardless of how racey the topic was.I could see the owners vision at work as small groups of diners grazed over plates of Charctuterie, Olives and Pasta.
SS106 makes all their pasta in house and lived up to its charm of not trying to be anything else but just that. A perfect spot to drop in, fill your belly, and try one of their craft cocktails. I enjoyed an Apertivo called the Busted Negroni-Cinzano | Campari | Prosecco | Soda.
We ordered the TAGLIERE (BOARDS) Fromaggio and Calamari to start which were pretty standard and tasty. For our entree’s I had ordered the Gnocchi ai Funghi which is their House-made gnocchi served in a gorgonzola cheese fondue with seared mushrooms. Tony ordered the Fusilli Calabresi pasta served in a tomato sauce with parmesan cheese, which I ended up wishing I had ordered with its nicely spiced, well balanced sauce.Alternatively they have pizza’s as well that perhaps I will try next time. It was a nice time and I was happy Tony had come across this place for our date night. The service was awesome and quick, and very Italian!
Stay tuned for our next date nights in YYC : Foodiesinthepark–Wonderland Edition
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