Re-evaluating my life in the face of trauma (how’s that for a title that could fit into a self-help book’s chapter index)

Hi lovely people who occasionally glance at my blog (usually when I tell them to.)

I have recently gone through a very traumatic experience that I don’t want to share with the world. if you feel like you’re close enough to me to ask what happened, ask away, but use your judgment on that one.

I feel like my life was beginning to normalize from the past couple years (read this post if you want to know why my life has sucked) and finally I was getting my sh*t together. Then this happened. It feels unfair, crappy, and demoralizing.

This experience is causing me to re-evaluate my life, my values, my morals, my decisions, and my behaviour.

So this post is about how I am choosing to deal with my aforementioned traumatic experience.

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My unenthusiastic life re-evaluation thumbs up.

Firstly, I am following my own advice in the above linked post. Right now I’m still in the self-indulgent, wallowing faze. I bought a fancy face mask and I’m going to veg out and watch Lord of the Rings with weird stuff slathered on my face. I’ve also removed myself to my dad’s house for a little while so I can be around my lovely little brothers who always brighten my day, my super-supportive dad, and my thoughtful step-mom.

Secondly, I am reaching out for the support of my closest friends and my boyfriend. I have an unfortunate habit of keeping everything in and ignoring my feelings that usually leads to random breakdowns months after the fact. I’m trying to avoid this right now and talk about it. Maybe I’ll write stuff in my new Hobbit moleskin (yeah, I bought one, it’s exciting.)

Thirdly (this is starting to sound like every essay I wrote in grade 9 before I figured out more interesting transitions than “firstly” etc.), I am thinking really deeply about the people I spend time with. I’m referring to my acquaintances and not super-close friends. I don’t always keep the best company. I have some really great friends but a lot of the people I associate with aren’t really on the same level of human-quality as I am. I want to surround myself with better, more supportive, and more genuine people. This experience has opened my eyes to my misplaced trust in certain acquaintances and groups of people. So I’m kind of purging my social life a teensy-tiny bit. Fun right?

Lastly, I’m really going to focus on myself and my own healing. When my mom died, I focused more on staying emotionally neutral and being strong for everyone else. At her visitation I worked the floor like I was at a conference, greeting people, introducing people, comforting people. I really worked hard to be strong. I settled all the financial arrangements, planned out her funeral with my dad, made a slideshow for her funeral which involved looking through tons of pictures of her. I really did too much and tried to take on too much so that I didn’t have to think about the sadness I was dealing with. This time will be different. I am determined to just do what’s best for me. Especially if it means watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies on repeat for the next couple days and drinking copious amounts of green tea.

So that’s how I’m dealing with this shiznit. Wish me luck internet peoples.

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“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” – so everyone can take there judgement and calmly shove it up their a**

Inspired by recent events in my social sphere, I would like to write a post about judgement.

I am Anglican (you know the church started by the psycho Henry VIII with all those wives – yeah) and I am very proud of being an Anglican and more importantly a Christian (please ask me if you want the complete story of the beginnings of Anglicanism that aren’t centred around a crazy king.) I have friends of various religions. I’m pretty much a-ok with everything (yes atheists included, I got love for you guys) as long as you don’t insult my beliefs.

I take this attitude into all realms of my life. Do what makes you happy as long as it doesn’t hurt people in the process. Like can’t we be all peace and love and everything guys?

So I have to come right out and say something. I confess, I judge people. There I said it. I’ve been working on it lately (trying to rectify myself) but it’s still a challenge.

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don’t judge me for my overly large eyes (or the fact that I still find this photobooth effect incredibly amusing.)

I’m horrible for judging people on their appearance. Reading amazing articles on body acceptance, fat-shaming and fat-acceptance on xojane has honestly open my eyes to how problematic and pointless judging people on their appearance is.

I also judge people on their intelligence. Being a fairly intelligent (read very intelligent, I’m trying to be humble) and educated person, I find myself sometimes walking around with an air of superiority. I am trying to stop that.

Basically, I recognize that I am not perfect and therefore who am I to judge others?

Ever heard:

It’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Yeah the last one is straight from the mouth of JESUS. And even if you aren’t Christians, most popular religions still regard Jesus with a lot of respect. Even if you aren’t religious or don’t believe anything about Jesus, those are some pretty wise words. Let’s remember Jesus was defending an adulterous woman here! John 8:7 for the exact quotation. Yep, Jesus, defender of adulterous women since day one. Sounds nearly like an anti-slut-shaming feminist to me (Jesus does not approve of slut-shaming, guys.) Next time someone of any Christian leanings tries to judge you, just smile and remember that their Jesus has something to say about that. What about Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge or you too will be judged.” ?

Yes this means that those anti-abortion protesters quoting Leviticus all over the street didn’t read the rest of their bible properly (so regardless of whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, don’t judge the other side.) Also, did you know Leviticus forbids wearing blends… cotton/polyester is a no-no, I hope the protesters are wearing 100% cotton. Read Leviticus sometime, it’s a riot.

WHAT ABOUT PAC? “Only God can judge me.”

How much more information do you need to realize that all of you non-perfect people need to chill out with your harsh words of judgement?

So here is my pact: I am going to make a conscious effort not to judge anyone. LET’S ALL MAKE PACTS!!!

RED LIPSTICK IS THE BEST THING EVER IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

On a lighter subject than my last post, I have discovered the best thing ever. Seriously.

I have discovered LIPSTICK, specifically RED LIPSTICK and the bad-assery that comes with it.

Until yesterday I didn’t wear lip colour. The only time lipstick graced my lips was for competitions when I was still a competitive dancer. It added to my already slathered on make-up to complete the semi-scary clown look that stage make-up always goes for. I wasn’t too friendly to the idea of any sort of lipstick after this. Lately though, I’ve felt as though my make-up routine was missing something. It was missing the oomph needed to transform my face from pretty to PRETTY BAD-ASS. (See what I did there?)

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Zineb and I rocking the rouge.

I was with my closest friend  Zineb (a red-lipstick veteran) yesterday and I found myself being pulled towards Sephora like a huge beauty blackhole. Sephora is a dangerous place for me. I am only four dollars away from their HIGHEST Beauty Insider level. Translate to: I spend too much money on make-up. I went inside on the search for something new and it came to me: I need lipstick!

The sales associate first brought my a glossy lipstick similar to my skin colour. It was cool but too familiar, too normal. She brought me a beautiful burgundy/plum colour. I loved it, very goth-lite. BUT THEN, she brought Sephora’s own brand lipstick in Pure Red and I fell in LOVE. I kept it on the rest of the day and I am wearing it today too.

What is it about red lipstick that’s so great? I don’t know. I feel sexy and rebellious and edgy. It’s a super-cool feeling. I just want to strut down the street like it’s a cat-walk. My already inflated ego has swollen to impossible proportions because I just love this damn lipstick.

If you haven’t tried red lipstick, DO IT NOW.

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Awkwardly trying to take a selfie on my macbook in a coffee bar.

Existing while being a woman: Sexual Assault

Hello people who are reading this! Continuing on my series about my experience as a young woman, I will be talking about sexual assault.

In the mall behind those colour-coded mall-maps, in buses on their overhead posters, in Facebook chain-shares, I am always made aware about the scary reality about sexual assault. The latest one I’ve noticed features balloons like the sort you give at baby showers or to people in hospitals. These balloons say something along the lines of “Congratulations it’s a girl” and “She has a 50% chance of being physically or sexually assaulted in her life time.” The ad in question is from the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Another psa-type Facebook-share pronounced that one quarter of women in the U.S. will be victims of attempted or completed rape during their lifetimes.I personally know many victims of sexual assault. I read websites like xojane where women tell their stories of survival. It’s glaring reality in my life.

As a woman, I live in a world where I have to be careful not the get sexually assaulted. I get nervous when I walk around after dark. I am incredibly distrustful at parties and I am super vigilant about the location of any drink I may be consuming at a social event (club or otherwise.) I even get anxious feelings when on my way to hang out with guy friends I know and trust. Because did know that sexual assaults are most often perpetrated by someone you know? According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) 73% of sexual assaults are committed by non-strangers, 38% of rapists are friends or acquaintances and 21% are intimates. HOW ALARMED ARE YOU RIGHT NOW? I’M ALARMED.

Even more alarming in my opinion is the whole “blame the victim” mentality that exists. Look to the recent victims of gang rape in India or the high-school-aged girls in the states repeatedly slut-shamed for being victims of sexual assault. The recent article posted by Emily Yoffe tellin college girls not to drink in order to avoid sexual assault (which received VERY mixed reviews.) Look, I understand that as a young woman I should probably be extra-cautious. I personally make the choice to watch my drink at parties, to avoid walking home late at night as much as humanly possible, to check-in with girlfriends when we go out. HOWEVER, if I do all these things or I don’t do all these things – sexual assault is not MY fault. Even if a girl gets black out drunk at a party, it is NOT her fault she got raped. She was not asking for it, she did not “get what was coming to her.” PERIOD. Honestly, it’s sad people are still unclear about this.

So not only do I have to contend with the paralyzing fear of being sexually assaulted whenever I leave my house BUT I have to worry that there is a chance I’ll be blamed, slut-shamed, and disbelieved if it ever happened.

Here are some posts from my favourite website (xojane) on sexual assault, for some perspective.

For the last time, only rapists are responsible for rape.

Why a young girl cannot consent to sex with an adult man.

A woman talking about her own rape (trigger warning: I cried while reading this.)

How to treat a rape survivor

AND AN AWESOME ARTICLE EXPLAINING WHAT RAPE CULTURE IS, IN CASE YOU HAD ANY DOUBTS (If you read any article, read this one.)

 

Existing while being a woman: What’s wrong with being a girly girl?

As I began to get ready today I had a two-second moment of panic. I could not find my Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Primer. After the brief moment where my heart stopped, I found it under my boyfriend’s hat. I laughed at myself for getting to momentarily worried over primer. Who knows what would happen if I misplaced my foundation. I smirked a bit to myself and mentally called myself “such a girl” as if that was a bad thing. 

BOOM

Post inspiration. 

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I have been super girly all of my life. I only wanted to wear dresses when i was younger and my favourite colour has always been pink (except for grade 3 I think when all I wanted to wear was turquoise, weird year for me.) I get distracted when I see anything glittery, my nails are always done, and I’ve amassed a sizeable make-up collection. As I write this, I am wearing pink polkadot socks with cats on them. For some bizarre reason though, I feel slightly ashamed of my glaring female-ness. As if somehow there is something wrong with being a girly girl. 

Why is this?

I think part of it has to do with identifying as a feminist. I have read countless posts on various fairly feminist websites (xojane, bitchtopia etc.) about the inner struggle women have around wearing make-up whilst being a feminist. It is generally accepted that women’s beauty has been a tool for the repression of women in our society. For anyone who is familiar with The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (if you aren’t familiar, go read it NOW), she explains this concept quite convincingly. For me to wear make-up and behave according to the societal norm for women’s look, it feels like I’m being complacent with the “beauty myth” (go read the book.)

Another reason I struggle with being a girly girl is because I am told (by society and by peers) that I am too girly. Funny enough, girls who dress more like tomboys are told that they are not girly enough. What is the perfect level of girly-ness? I think I am right in ascertaining that there isn’t one. No matter what, I will be told I am too this or too that. While I am incredibly girly, I will always be told I am too girly. Welcome to being part of the female gender. 

One of the biggest issues I encounter with being more “feminine” (wtf is femininity supposed to look like anyways?) is that people assume I’m less intelligent. Yes I carry a huge purse to school instead of a backpack, and yes my pencil case is pink, no I am not dumb. I do really well in school, I excel at writing essays, and I read historical non-fiction for fun. I will debate with anyone about anything and usually I win using logic, relentlessness, and an aptitude for sounding convincing coupled with whatever information on the subject I have access to. Sadly, people often exclaim they are surprised I am so smart or knowledgeable or whatever.

Join me soon (sorry for sounding like a talk show host) for my next post in this series on sexual assault. 

 

Existing while being a woman

I am back lovely blog readers. I am going to do a series of posts with the above title. These posts are going to centre on issues I have encountered while being a young woman, inner arguments I’ve had, and my experience with feminism. 

Hope you enjoy. 

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First World Problems

It has become commonplace to hear the term “First World Problem” used among friends, on websites; there is even a meme dedicated to this newly coined phrase.

The first definition for problem found on the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “something that is difficult to deal with: something that is a source of trouble, worry, etc.”

The idea is, that the problem in question is something only someone living in the privileged “First World,” i.e. Western developed countries, would consider a problem. Therefore it is superficial and/or inane.

I totally understand why this has become a regularly used term and I think it is positive that people are showing some sort of awareness of how much we have to be thankful for in the “First World” and how much complaining we often do.

However, let’s be real here. Our “First World Problems” are still sources of trouble! They drive you crazy, and sometimes elicit strong emotional reactions (usually disproportionately so but whatever.)

Without further ado, I am going to be a huge brat and offer you my top _ First World Problems sans memes.

  1. I am not sure whether I consider the new phenomenon of sneakers with a hidden wedge cute or hideously ugly.

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    cute or horrible?

  2. There is really no opportunity to make a living out of being a philosopher. Like the type of philosopher teenagers think of, ones that sit around and think really deep thoughts. The ones that are having a permanent existential crisis. I wish I could get paid to philosophize.

    also, why is there no philosopher's stone? Nick Flamel? Anyone?

    also, why is there no philosopher’s stone? Nick Flamel? Anyone?

  3. Whenever I do my make-up in artificial light and then go out into nature, I look like an oompa loompa (minus the green hair). There is something about my bedroom lighting that makes it seem like I never have enough bronzer on. No matter how much I dust onto myself, I end up looking like Snow White’s distant cousin. BUT SUDDENLY when I’m outside in natural lighting I look like an orange.

    cute, but not the look I’m going for. EVER

  4. There is no longer a leisure class. Think of they families present in Jane Austen who have a living from their land and don’t really do anything but read and enjoy art. They have balls and play card games and spend long séjours at the residences of friends and families. Maybe this class exists among the crazy wealthy and crazy lucky but it’s hard to imagine even someone rich off of investments being able to shuffle off to friends’ places for 6 months at a time.

    BALLS! (be mature, we are all adults here)

    BALLS! (be mature, we are all adults here)

 

 

And there you have it… What are your most trouble-causing, worry-inducing first world problems?