Call It What You Want

I am a feminist.

I think women should have equal rights, equal pay. I think we should have control over our bodies. I think women should be viewed as equal to men. I think women should be allowed to embrace our sexuality, etc. I think women should empower women, not tear each other down.

But, in a post Trump world, I struggle with the idea of being a feminist. I’m ready to turn in my feminist card, and it’s because of other feminists.

You’re probably thinking, what? No, you mean Trump. You mean the GOP. YOU MEAN MEN. Nope, I mean other feminists.

(For the record, the GOP & Trump can suck it)

Feminism is about equality, but lately it’s been about some exclusive club that requires flash over action. The biggest example of that is that feminism, equality, and celebration of women doesn’t apply to Taylor Swift.

In addition to having the highest selling album of 2017, donating generously to victims of hurricane ravaged Houston, flood ravaged Louisiana, and to Kesha’s legal defence fund, Swift was named one of Time’s silence breakers. For those of you behind on the times (pun absolutely intended), let me bring you up to speed. Taylor Swift was sued by a man who sexually assaulted her for defamation. Swift countersued for a dollar. She won. She defended herself against her abuser. After her victory, she donated generous sums of money to charities designed to help women who have been victimized by sexual assault. Swift’s only public interview in almost two years was with Time, to shed light on this issue (it’s an amazing read, check it out). RAINN saw a huge increase in women reporting assaults, citing Swift’s bravery as the reason. But instead of being proud of a group of women for telling their stories and helping other women tell theirs, I was floored by the responses;

“Taylor Swift didn’t even use the #MeToo hashtag! She didn’t tweet!”

“She hasn’t even denounced Trump. Her inclusion is false until she tweets denouncing Trump.”

“Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Rose McGowan had the best #MeToo of all time! You didn’t even tweet!”

Comments about Kesha deserving it more, Taylor hasn’t denounced Nazis (which she did, through her attorney), and until she tweets about Trump & uses the #MeToo hashtag, her experiences, her assault, her attempts to help women are invalid (ironically enough, Swift tweeting in support of the women’s march was heavily criticized, as she only tweeted. Why didn’t she attend?).

Wait. What?

Feminism isn’t about checking boxes to make sure you’re part of the super cool and exclusive feminism club. It’s not an itemized list of marches or protests you’ve been to. It’s about helping women. Swift has conducted one public interview, which was to highlight an issue she feels strongly about; protecting women from sexual abuse. She’s donated money to causes, she asked for a dollar to hold a man accountable for assaulting her. She donated to Kesha’s legal team to help her in her quest for justice. She also highlighted Kesha and her experiences in the article.

Instead of celebrating women, there was think piece after think piece about how Taylor Swift has not proven herself as a true feminist because she hasn’t written an apology album or even sent a tweet denouncing Trump. All she did was donate money. Not. One. Tweet. That’s when I started to realize that feminism isn’t about equality anymore. It’s about strong arming women to conform to the cause of the day, exactly how others want them to, or they’re kicked out of the club and vilified. When feminism stops applying to certain women because they didn’t dance like a puppet, or tweet with the right hashtag, then you are not a feminist. You’re just a mean person trapped in high school trying to bring down the personification of the head cheerleader.

A similar thing happened 15 years ago, when Christina Aguilera embraced her sexuality and released Stripped. The same feminists who wanted victim blaming and slut shaming to end were calling Aguilera a whore because she sang frankly about one night stands, women taking pleasure from sex, and embracing her body. While we now embrace Aguilera as a feminist trailblazer, I’ll never forget that the same people patting her on the back once called her a whore.

Emma Watson was also almost kicked out of the feminist club last year because she posed for Vanity Fair topless. What kind of feminist does that? Feminism seems less like a movement and more like a popularity contest. Action isn’t important, hashtags and analysis trumps action. Watson’s photo was somehow more important than her contributions to the advancement of women’s rights through the UN. Aguilera’s body of work was trivialized because she displayed her body. And they didn’t fucking tweet god dammit!

Women struggle to be taken seriously as it is; turning the quest for equality into a pissing contest to see who is the feminist most active on social media, or who marched the loudest, or who’s feminism is correct according to Jezebel or Daily Beast, isn’t helping. We look exactly like how we’re painted; as catty, jealous, vindictive bitches who like to boss each other around. A feminist doesn’t have to tweet about Trump to represent women; she can donate money. She can encourage victims. She doesn’t need to cover up (or pose nude). She needs to act in the level in which she feels comfortable, and in the interest of helping other women. That’s all. Stop policing feminism, because it’s making it harder for women to celebrate theirs. It makes it harder for us to defend the movement. Basically, if your thoughts are “not to diminish her experiences, but…” maybe sit down and shut up until you have something constructive to say.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I try to refrain from talking about my daughters on my blog because I have this thing about parents who blast their kids lives on display. It feels so ooky. Like, photos on social media is one thing; but bloggers posting stories about their kids or videos of coached kids doing “spontaneous funny things” and tagging Ellen feels so gross to me. I choose to be a blogger and share my life publicly; the kids have no say. So, I never post photos and keep stories about them to a minimum.

But, they will be mentioned a bit today, although I’ll keep the deets high level.

Yesterday, I was stressed out. I had worked from open to close on Black Friday & was on hour six of what was supposed to be another 10 hour day. I was tired, terrified that we wouldn’t beat last year’s numbers, and generally cranky. I was kind of stressed because the guy I’ve been getting to know seems almost too nice, too perfect. Too many “I love that too,” and too many compliments, and it makes me feel like it could be too good to be true and after a few weeks I’ll find out he’s a serial killer. I was stressed because I hadn’t been to the gym in a week, and I had planned to try a barre class, but I couldn’t find the time. I was stressed out about finances, because it’s Xmas and I’m a sole support parent. I was stressed because I’m trying to get the girls their gifts, as well as hopefully surprise them with tickets to Taylor Swift and a fun trip to Toronto to go to the zoo and my 10 year old will perhaps finally get her dream of seeing kangaroos that hop and aren’t depressed like the ones in Detroit.

I was stressed and pushing myself too hard, and then I got a phone call that my two oldest daughters had been hit by a car during a hit and run. I ran out of my mall, panicked and thinking the worst, with my only thought being how I could get home faster to get to them. The good news is that everyone is fine, injuries are minor and they’re only shaken up. I insisted that they all sleep in my room last night because I didn’t want them out of my sight. Today was spent with doctors and taking steps to have the case investigated, but also to eat pizza and go to Toys R Us, play Super Mario Run and listen to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Swift.

The most important thing you can do when things are shitty is make your day as normal as possible, to remind ourselves that nothing is ever as scary as it seems. I don’t want my girls to live in fear of the world around them. I want them to focus on good things, like the neighbour who went out to help them, or my coworkers, who all called to make sure they were okay. Focus on the fact that Aunt Kiki called and checked in every few hours, not that dad dismissed it as no big deal and didn’t call to check in on them, just a quick call at 8pm to fume about my upgrading a phone, never asking if they were okay. Focus on what’s good; the rest sorts itself out.

In the end, the store hitting budget, the guy being too nice, or my bank balance didn’t matter. What did matter was that I could have lost 2/3 of my whole world because some dude in a Honda Civic was speeding in a school zone. What matters is that they’re okay and safe. They get to grow up into women and make me proud every day. What matters is that somewhere there’s a parent who isn’t as fortunate as we were and their story doesn’t have the ending mine does. They would kill for a chance to call out of work to take their teenager to the doctor to check for concussion symptoms, or rearrange their shifts to walk the kids to school because they’re scared to cross at that crosswalk. I’m fortunate af that I get to do those things. Sometimes being a sole support mom means you have to work so much to give them a good life that you miss stuff, like parent teacher night. But what matters is that you put them first, whether it’s working that 16 hour day, or rushing out into the night to protect them. That’s being a parent; not a handful of phone calls or a visit every now and again. Being a parent means supporting your kids emotionally, financially, protecting them and being there for them 24/7. That’s what matters. If you’re not doing those things; you’re not a parent.

I hope no parent ever has to have that kind of shock to the system. Let’s not lose focus on why we work so hard, or do so much. We’re doing it for them. We can’t take even a second for granted because an asshole in a Honda Civic could take it all away. I’m going to try to remember that next time I’m stressed about sales numbers, or my bank balance, or because someone did some stupid shit to piss me off. I’ll remind myself that what really matters is making time to hang with the kiddos, play Super Mario, and be grateful that I have the chance to do so.

Walking the Wire

I don’t normally use my blog to discuss serious topics, mostly because I’m grossly under qualified to discuss them, and I reserve my writing space for happy stuff, or stories of my doing stupid things. But I’ve read a lot about the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and most of it has kind of made me want to barf. Mostly because of the level of victim blaming and the number of women who have said “this has happened to me too.”

Mayim Bialik, self proclaimed feminist and actress went on a rant in the New York Times about how she was blessed because she was smart, so men didn’t harass her. She didn’t get manicures and she didn’t flirt. She dresses modestly, so she’s never harassed at work. That’s all well and good, but harassment isn’t about what you wore; it’s about power. A self proclaimed champion of women shouldn’t be telling over thirty women that if they just dressed more modestly and not flirted, they wouldn’t have been sexually harassed.

Bialik wasn’t exempt because she’s smarter, or dressed better. She’s been exempted because she was lucky. We as women need to stop using the misfortunes of those that make us envious or inadequate to feel good. You will never feel good about yourself when you compete against other women. We’re all doing our own thing, so celebrate who you are, not how you’re better…and stop blaming women for being assaulted.

I think Ms. Bialik’s comments rubbed me the wrong way because it implies that women are somehow responsible for being assaulted, or it only happens to attractive women. Never “smart” women, or modestly dressed women. That puts blame on women. It’s their fault; they should have dressed differently, carried themselves differently. But that’s not fair. The fear that comes with harassment and assault lingers (I was afraid to give my mailing address to a friend yesterday, because an ex boyfriend had once asked a mutual friend for my number after stalking me for over a year. That’s one of the after effects of harassment), why add guilt and shame and the feeling of “you did it to yourself because of X,Y, & Z?”

Sexual harassment and discrimination can happen to anyone. I wear a ring on my left hand. I know it impacts my ability to meet men, because it looks like I’m engaged. But I was once sexually harassed at a workplace by a security guard. He refused no, would force me to hug him, etc. He got jealous when a platonic friend drove me home & asked me how dare I. So I bought the ring. Started wearing it. He apologized; didn’t realize that I belonged to someone. I had to be another man’s property for my declination to be accepted. I wore a uniform. How I dressed, my makeup, my hair had no bearing on his actions. It was about him being powerful and desirable, whether I wanted to participate or not.

That’s not the only time. I witnessed a trainer in my workplace get told by a newbie rep that she was only good at her job because she was hot. I once wrote an entire blog post about how a stranger grabbed my ass at a Tim Horton’s because he assumed that he could. A customer once screamed at me and threw paper in my face until my male manager had to step in. A grown man once pulled my headphone out of my ear to tell me that my sweater didn’t impress him and suggestions on how I could. I wasn’t even looking at him. This is not behaviour that was brought upon me by my dress or looks. It was brought about because women are told to watch what we wear and men aren’t told to behave themselves.

Almost every woman has a story of harassment. Whether it’s a catcall on the street, a male customer saying “not you, a REAL manager,” when they are told the manager is a woman. The guy who calls you sweetie even though you are his superior, or the mansplaining (a man once mansplained my own damn name to me). It wasn’t what we were wearing. It’s not about modesty. We need to stop pretending it’s about modesty or how we carry ourselves and start being open about this stuff happening and support each other, not tearing each other down.

I invite every woman who reads this to share their stories in the comments. Whether you have been subjected to sexual harassment, or you haven’t and want to support women who have, I encourage all of you to speak up. Don’t just say “me too.” Get loud. Get vocal. However, if you’re not ready, me too is good too. But please don’t stay silent. You are not alone. You are not the only woman. It wasn’t how you dressed or if you flirted. It was not your fault. If you have been sexually harassed; I believe you. I support you & you deserved better.

Too Good at Goodbyes

Ain’t life some shit?

A couple of days ago, I went to bed shortly after midnight. I had written a positive little blurb about my attempts to get healthier. I posted it, then lights out, as 8am comes early. Then, I woke up to read about a terrorist attack within my city. Five people were injured, but the suspect, an alleged radical sympathizer of ISIS was detained. He is facing charges and will be brought to justice.

Maybe it was because I slept through it, or because I knew everyone I love was safe. Maybe it was because Commonwealth Stadium still felt removed from me. I didn’t feel like the world felt darker, or scarier. I went to work. The kids went Halloween costume shopping. I had no fear, in fact, quite the opposite. I felt proud that my city’s fine police officers and first responders resolved this in such a way that nobody died. I was thinking “wow. How lucky am I to live in Edmonton, where our police officers know how to quickly rise to action and protect us.” I drafted my fantasy hockey team, and went to bed feeling grateful that the victims were expected to recover, that Constable Mike Chernyk was safely back home with his family and my city chose to rally for peace. Sure, a few bad apples on social media went on some racist tirades, but for the most part, I feel like we were grateful that everyone was going to be okay.

Photo credit: Andrea Ross (CBC)

Then I woke up to read about another terrorist attack in Las Vegas, one that killed 59 people and wounded over 500 others. My heart breaks for all of these families. They went out for a night of fun, and now their families are grieving. Going out to a concert should be fun, not a night of fear and terror. For those of you who read regularly, you know my stance on gun control. I once wrote an entire article about why you can shove your thoughts and prayers up your ass. I won’t beat you over the head with my stance. Instead, I’ll share with you a little chat I had with an old high school friend.

Even though there were two terrorist attacks less than 24 hours apart, no one died in Edmonton. 59 died in Vegas. The idea of 59 families grieving and so many injured souls is gut wrenching. I have friends that are huge fans of Jason Aldean. The idea that they could be injured or killed because they wanted to enjoy a concert is a terror is one that my mind cannot comprehend, but it’s a reality. My friend & I talked about that every time this happens, every American citizen loses a little piece of who they used to be, whether they buried a loved one or not. They don’t get the warm feeling of knowing they are safe; because they aren’t; not at any point in time. You can be shot at a Jason Aldean concert. You can be shot watching a movie. You can be shot in your first grade classroom. You could be walking down the street minding your business and get shot. I recently took my eight year old to a hockey game. Our biggest concerns were that the Canucks might score and that she shouldn’t eat the entire bag of cotton candy before the end of the first period. But my cousin, who lives in Michigan, doesn’t have the same luxury. She has to worry whether or not Detroit will win, whether her young son will eat too much cotton candy, and where the emergency exits are, and her exit strategy in case of a mass shooting. Wikihow has a detailed guide with instructions on how to survive a mass shooting. That’s the new normal, and that’s terrifying.

I am grossly under qualified to discuss tragedies. But I guess if there was anything I could offer, as an Edmontonian who’s city was impacted by terrorism the night before tragedy struck Vegas, is that I’m sorry that you don’t get to feel safe. I’m sorry that you don’t get to go to work feeling safe because police caught the bad guy because, in a few months, there will be another bad guy with a gun. You’ll need support then too & I promise to offer support then. I’m sorry that you’ll never feel safe at a concert or a movie or a football game. I’m sorry that you’ll always be wondering in the back of your mind if today is your turn to be shot by the bad guy. I hope someday laws change and you won’t have to feel that way, but until then, this unimportant Canadian blogger sends love, donations, and will use my space to encourage those in the area to donate blood and help out in any way that they can. I’ve posted some numbers below. If you live in the area, please call.

During dark times, we should focus on the good in the world. Do a good deed. Be kind to each other. But also, never forget to thank the brave EMS teams and medical personnel, who tirelessly work to save us when we are impacted by the worst of us. Change doesn’t come through violence or finger pointing; it comes through patience, understanding, and love.

…Ready For It?

Welp, another spin around the sun for me, as yesterday I celebrated another birthday!

Still not mature

I celebrated my thirty something-th birthday with the coolest bunch of coworkers ever, cheesecake made by my littles, and this weekend, I’ll be a true Albertan, heading to an Oilers game, and some friends & I will be hosting a girls night get together the next night! Yup, being alive is pretty rad.

However, I’ve been using this time in my life to make some change. My place, which was a great “starter” place here in YEG, isn’t right for my family anymore. With the teen attending school in a different part of the city, we need to look at living closer to her school. So, I put myself on a waiting list to move to a condo closer to her high school. Come spring, we’ll be living in a newer, nicer place. While I’ll miss my lakes for running, I’m sure I can find running in a residential area just as fulfilling (narrator: she will not), but the needs of the family need to come first. I’m also finishing up driver’s education, so come spring, I will be buying my VERY FIRST CAR. That’s right bitches, I will be buying an automobile. I’ve got some great suggestions (thanks to every one on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for their vehicle suggestions! The best part of being a slightly well known blogger is the awesome product suggestions from readers). I’ll be test driving all of your suggestions, as well as my first choice, a 2015 Toyota RAV4 (big thanks to my good friend Paul at TD Insurance, for letting me know which cars body shop techs and rental agencies recommend. When it comes time to insure my new baby, I’ll be talking to you for sure!) & should have narrowed it down by spring! This is kind of a big deal. I’ve always been afraid to drive full time and buy a car. But I’m really excited to be a car owner. It’ll make getting to the gym easier, and easier for the girls and I to go places without having to wait for a bus. I don’t plan on wasting gas; I’ll still walk short distances when need be. But it’s another major step for the famjam.

It’s really important to me to continue to check off boxes and grow and evolve. As I continue to be happier in my life, it’s only better for the girls, right? I need to teach them the importance of self growth, self love, never settling, and hard work. So, over the next few months, I’m going to do just that; grow, evolve, love myself a little more every day.

So, thanks everyone for your birthday well wishes. I super appreciate them all. I’m pretty much the luckiest person ever to have so many cool people in my life. This year is going to be even better than last year and I can’t wait to share those experiences with my girls, my crew, and even you, random person taking the time to read my blog.

Tell Me You Love Me

Let me tell you the story of MH’s terrible, no good, very bad day.

It actually started off pretty awesome. I had a good visit with my boss, with lots of great feedback. My most favourite member of the management team was filling in across the hall so I got to have a good catch up with him. I got some interviews ready for my latest YEG Fitness piece. Not a bad day at all.

Then a customer called in to discuss his experience yesterday. During this call, he mentioned that he had spoken to me, but he referred to me as “the pregnant lady.” “She’s very pregnant. Huge. Ready to burst.” As I am the only woman on staff, HE WAS VERY OBVIOUSLY TALKING ABOUT ME.

FIRST OF ALL, LET US GET ONE THING STRAIGHT;

THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE PREGNANT

THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE LAST WEEK

After ranting and complaining to my coworkers, I thought about doing what I always do when my ego is bruised: eat. I eat a ton of shitty food. When I first moved out here, and when my last serious relationship ended, the pizza dudes knew me by name. Some people drink; I eat garbage food. I started flipping through Skip the Dishes, trying to decide what fattening foods I should enjoy, when I closed the app and opened Instagram. I decided to post a progress pic, falling into the social media trap that if it’s on IG, it’s real. Maybe if I could convince the outside world that I was proud of my body, that maybe I could convince myself. I got feedback that ranged from hilarious to empowering. My favourite was from my gym, who made me tear up a little.

For once, social media used its powers for good, not evil! But while all of the rad encouragement was happening, I also didn’t order any junk food. Instead, 2/3 of the crew & I watched the Mae Young Classic (& decided that Candice LeRae is cute as a button) & then went for my Friday night run. By the end of the night, I was kind of kicking myself. I mean, don’t I always tell the girls that words only have power if you allow it? Don’t I have a thicker skin? Does it really matter what a customer thinks (of my appearance)? The only person who should care about how I look is me.

I guess even the toughest humans can end up with bruised egos. When you’re putting a lot of work into something, and someone knocks the wind out of your sails, it’s gonna sting. But you’ve got to handle it in a positive and constructive way. Don’t binge eat nachos; find a way to remind yourself that people who sometimes people just say stupid shit. There’s no ill intentions, they just don’t think before they speak (Dude, I am soooooo guilty of that!). But you can control your reaction. It’s okay to feel hurt, or offended, but don’t let it ruin your progress, whether it’s your health, your job, or your self esteem.

Anyone Else

I get asked a lot why I love crossfit. Let me tell you a story. 

Thursday, I went to the gym. The workout was tough. I had to scale some of the movements & weights. I was huffing and puffing through the WOD, envious of those who can get there every day, and were executing handstand push-ups flawlessly. Halfway through, I questioned why I was even there. But as they finished, they were rooting for me and congratulating me for making it through. That kind of teamwork, along with the results I see at Crossfit is why I continue to go. We celebrate each other’ successes and support each other. It’s such an amazing thing, to see people coming together to help everyone succeed.  That success helps me in my day to day life. The next day, I went to work and had a great shift. Then I really pushed myself and managed to run 0.4KM more than my Tuesday run. When I feel good mentally, it helps me push myself physically. It’s a cycle of wellness.  

But crossfit has also helped me embrace my body. I’m never gonna be a size six again. My thighs are always gonna be big. I’m gonna have a booty from squats. That teeny waist and dress size isn’t a realistic goal for me. But part of loving yourself is loving your body. I may never be thin, but I will be strong. My fellow crossfit ladies are strong, sexy, beautiful women. They have powerful bodies that are healthy and ideal for their body type. My goal is to get to their level, but with my body. I can’t worry about a scale number, or the size on a clothing tag. Just my own health. I will teach my girls that being healthy is more important that a body type. As their mom, it’s important for me to be the role model. I can’t have low self esteem & teach them to love themselves. I have to embrace my curves, my thick thighs. It’s been a hard road, but I’m getting there. 

I’m so glad that we are now celebrating healthy body types of all sizes, and not a “one size fits all” sort of beauty. We’re celebrating healthy, active, strong women. For the longest time, Nikki Bella was my fitness inspiration. She still is. Maybe I won’t have her body, but I can develop her commitment to fitness, her enthusiasm, the way she supports all women & wants everyone to succeed. I think we all need that type of attitude. We need to love our bodies. We need to build up other women. We need to get excited about fitness & health.  I may never be a size four like Nikki, but her journey as an athlete inspires me to continue to work on my own health. 

But lately, I’ve found myself really inspired and motivated by WWE Superstar Nia Jax. Her IG feed is loaded with body positivity. She doesn’t look like the average WWE woman. She’s strong, powerful, and unlike the Bertha Faye’s & Bull Nakano’s, she’s presented as more than just a one note monster character. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, witty, and assertive. Nia Jax is not a personality free monster designed to prey on the beautiful ingenues. She’s a fleshed out character, focused on her goals, which is to be a champion. My own daughters are big fans of Nia (and while they rooted for Bayley & Sasha, were LIVID that Nia didn’t get a special Wrestlemania entrance like her opponents. They said she deserved Tinashe singing her theme, and fireworks like the others). They think she’s beautiful, strong, and funny. When I was a kid, she’d be a mute monster. But my girls get to see a powerful woman portrayed as smart, sexy, as well as dominant. 


But more importantly, she’s not like most girls. She’s strong, athletic. She is in the best shape of her body type. And representation matters. Not every woman looks like Nikki Bella, and that’s totally okay. Some women are built like Nia Jax. Some women work their asses off like I do with the knowledge that size four is never gonna happen. Instead of feeling embarrassed, women should embrace their healthy. That’s why women like Nia Jax are so important. It’s important to see that healthy and fit mean something different to everyone.  

But that’s why I love crossfit. I remember working out at the GoodLife gyms, and hearing the snickers while I was on the treadmill or when I set my machine to a lower weight, as I was a beginner. I heard the giggles in the change room, as if a fat girl had no business there. It kept me out of a gym for four years. I don’t hear that at my gym anymore. It doesn’t matter if I scaled the workout, or finished last. There’s no mockery, just encouragement and acceptance. I’m sure women like Nia hear your mockery too. They see your tweets calling her fat, calling her Nia Snacks, etc. A friend of mine has come back to wrestling fandom after 10 years off and he called her “the fat chick.” His wife (who works in fashion), commented that she looked like a strong, powerful, woman. But those comments are why women like Nia are so important. We need to teach little girls that every woman’s body is different. A dress size or a scale number can’t be your goal (My Fitness Pal said my goal weight should be 118lbs!), but being in the best shape for your individual body should be. 

If you’re a woman who is actively working on her health, celebrate that work. Celebrate your body and what it can do. Celebrate your strength, your movements, your accomplishments. Hell, even celebrate that cheat day where you ate a large pizza with extra cheese. But celebrate your body, not the number on your dress tag or on a scale. 

Look What You Made Me Do

Happy birthday to my blog! 

It’s been seven years of crazy stories, a name change, three cities, two provinces, 19 million jobs, and for some reason, you’re still reading! That’s awesome! That’s also longer than I’ve ever been able to commit to a human being, a house, a city, pretty much everything but my cell phone company. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my adventures these past seven years. I know I’ve enjoyed every step of them, as they helped shape who I am as a person. I’ve learned to live life on my terms, and that it’s okay to march to the beat of your own drum & do things your way. I’m sorry I don’t have some inspirational junk, but I’m not really an inspirational person. I’m just a regular human, trying to raise a family, be a decent person, and super loves Taylor Swift. But I hope you’re all living life on your terms as well, and I hope it makes you happy. 


I guess that’s what we all need to do; live life for us. On our terms, & if people don’t like it, fuck em. Maybe my life isn’t the way you want it to be, but it’s mine and I’m so utterly in love with my life, my family, my job, and my portfolio. It’s mine and I made it for me, my terms, my way. When people feel the need to question your choices, or call you names, you’ve gotta remember that’s all that they have; talk. While you’re out there doing your thing, they’re talking. I used to care about the talk. I tried so hard to bend to please everyone; friends, lovers, bosses. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve learned that while I’m doing stuff, they’re just talking. While I’m raising my kids, writing my articles, working, exercising, and living life to the fullest, they’re sitting in bachelor apartments calling me a cunt on Tumblr whining about things that don’t matter instead of moving forward or doing something about it. I recently had this same conversation with my middle daughter, when she wanted to return the shoes she asked for because kids would make fun of her. I reminded her that people who talk about you aren’t friends. You’ve gotta be who makes you happy; not your friends, not your sisters, not even me. In the end, an insult is just a word. It only hurts if you let it. Much like Taylor Swift embraced the insults her detractors threw at her & will use those monikers to make a fortune, everyone should remember that the best revenge is living well. I choose to live well & set a good example for my girls. 

My girl Pink summed it up so nicely at the MTV VMA’s, in her beautiful speech to her daughter Willow. No matter what you do, people will talk their shit. But every one of us is meant to change the world, whether it’s redefining beauty standards, using their voice for change like Pink, setting an example as a strong female artist like Taylor, or just making a difference to your inner circle. We all have it in us to make things better. But to do that, we can’t alter who we are to fit society. We change to become who we’re meant to be to make society better. So, as Pink said, take the gravel and pressure and become a pearl. Let them whine on Tumblr with their funions. Do your thing; shine your light.


Maybe that’s why I like to keep up the blog; maybe I like reminding myself that while my life isn’t perfect, it’s the life that makes me happy. I get to see how I’ve evolved. I’m not inspiring, that’s Beyoncé. But I hope you’re all living your happiest life too. 


Thanks for reading this for seven years. I hope to entertain you for seven more, even if it is just you feeling better about your life because it’s not ridiculous like mine. 

You’re Not Sorry

It’s time for another episode of “what really grinds my gears.” 


Today: why people need to stop dismissing sexual assault as “just…”

I hear it all of the time. It’s just a cat call. Just a kiss on the cheek (in the case of a reporter at Osheaga last week). It was just a friendly comment. Last year, I tweeted about an old man that catcalled me and numerous men on my Twitter feed told me it was a compliment. I should be flattered. Let me tell you, there is nothing flattering about being catcalled. It’s degrading to both parties. But they’re probably “nice guys” that just aren’t appreciated *cue eye roll emoji*. 

This week, Taylor Swift is making headlines as she is in court, battling a lawsuit filed by David Mueller, a Denver DJ who lost his job after an incident where he allegedly groped her. Swift has countersued for $1, demanding an apology.  While the trial is ongoing, a lot of comments I see online are “it was just a butt grab.” So called feminists who preach about defending women when forced to confront someone who assaulted them are notably silent (Demi Lovato, I’m looking in your direction. Maybe you’re matching on Capitol Hill…?). Feminists stop being feminists when Taylor Swift is involved it seems. No support for her. After all, it was just a butt grab. No big deal. Right?


A similar statement echoed through social media when a fan attending a live event commented that a child had slapped the posterior of WWE Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. 


The kid was praised, fans wanted to give the kid a high five. She wears such short shorts, she had it coming! Besides, he’s just a kid and it’s JUST a butt grab. No big deal! Calm down feminists, it’s not sexual assault. It’s just a playful slap on the butt! 


Except it’s not just a butt grab. It’s not “no big deal.” It’s not “calm down.” It IS sexual assault. Taylor Swift is an entertainer, but she’s also a human being. She deserves basic respect. She doesn’t deserve to be sued because she didn’t stand for being molested by a DJ. All of the “she’ll write a song about it,” etc. jokes do not take away from the fact that this man allegedly sexually assaulted Taylor Swift. I commend this smart, strong woman for standing her ground, because the millions of little girls that look up to her are watching & she’s showing them that you do not have to dismiss sexual assault as “just a butt grab.”


I’ve been in situations where a guy took liberties. Last year a customer grabbed my ass while throwing something in my garbage can. I was furious, but when I called a friend back home & told him the story, he pointed out it was “just a butt grab.” I wear tight pants to work, right? I kind of accepted it, but I sometimes wonder how many women dismiss sexual assault or harassment as “just…” I’ve even been told by female relatives that as we age, the catcalls stop and we should be flattered that men still find us attractive. But is it flattering when it makes us feel gross? To me, flattering is something that makes us feel good, not super gross. I can’t imagine Taylor felt good, and considering she complained & Mueller was fired. I can’t imagine Alexa Bliss feels good when grown ass men teach little boys to slap her ass and catcall her. It’s not flattering, nor a compliment. We need to stop referring to this behaviour as such and refer to it as what it is; harassment. To those who do these things; it’s a funny story and a high five, but to the women involved, it’s a loss of trust, a loss of personal safety. As guys like Mueller become legends around the bar, women like Taylor become labelled as cold and standoffish, because they’re not comfortable in those situations anymore. Great trade off, right?

If it makes you feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or unsafe, it’s not flattering and it’s okay to stand up for yourself and say that this is not acceptable behaviour. It’s not okay to tell a woman that it’s just a slap on the butt, or just a friendly catcall, be flattered. The more we diminish this very real harassment, the more we embolden others to think it’s okay. I commend Taylor for standing up for herself, not settling, and making this man accountable for his actions. Maybe this will encourage other women to speak up about harassment in the workplace, at a club, or even among friends when a joke went too far. After all, the only way this sort of behaviour will be stopped is when we as a society stop tolerating it, and kudos to Taylor for not just shaking it off, but standing her ground instead. 

Shady

Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some pop music. I’ve been a huge fan of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, along with a bunch of other cheesy pop acts, including Carly Rae Jepsen. I was an entertainment editor, so I follow popular culture. I’ve largely kept silent about the feud between Katy & Taylor because I enjoy both artists, but the other day, after reading another interview about Katy discussing her side of this saga (again) & I found myself asking a friend;

I write about my life. I’m not gonna shade someone for writing a song about another human. I write about my reactions to certain things have shaped me. I’m sure some people out there aren’t happy with my opinion of their behaviour. That’s nice. But in the end, the lesson is what I learned from those experiences. It’s why I enjoy Taylor Swift as an artist. Her songs are about her feelings as they relate to certain  experiences. Sometimes she calls herself out for her own missteps (Out of the Woods, Back to December, and the forever soul crushing All Too Well). This applies to Bad Blood. Bad Blood isn’t some diss track; it’s someone expressing their feelings over the loss of a friendship. The “diss” was about actions, stressing what the person in question did and how it made her feel. But more importantly, Taylor never revealed any details, except it was about a friend creating a professional issue and the friendship ended. 


Taylor was called a fake feminist, catty, and a snake. What was meant to be a minor point about the 1989 writing process turned into a major event.  Leading the charge was Katy Perry, who revealed herself to be the subject. In fact, despite saying she doesn’t write songs about people, she released her “anti-bullying anthem” Swish Swish. The song was chock full of thinly veiled insults towards Swift and the promotion for the song has been about how she was the victim and is the bigger person and how Taylor overreacted. Perry constantly says “I’m done talking about it” and then proceeds to speak out more about she was wronged because of the song Bad Blood while promoting a song bullying Swift. What appears to be an almost obsessive need to appear as the victim of some unfair attack almost validates Swift’s position to ignore her and feel like she was being targeted professionally. But more importantly, it looks like Perry is using Swift to help boost sales of Witness, which is sad as Katy Perry is talented enough to sell albums on her own. 


This isn’t the only account of Perry’s bullying of other women. Earlier this year, she mocked Britney Spears’s mental breakdown a decade before. She regularly makes comments about Spears’s mental health. This is not how women should behave. You don’t need to belittle other women to elevate yourself. There is room on all of our phones for Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. Heck, my phone has 128gb of storage; there’s room for Gaga, and Carly Rae, Selena, and Beyoncé, with room left over for Nicki Minaj & maybe some Gwar. There’s no need to attack other women to elevate your status as HBIC. 


Maybe we as humans elevate the need for girl drama. Look at when Fifth Harmony member Camilla Cabello left the group. It wasn’t about creative differences; it was obviously about catfights and jealousy. When Zayn Malik chose to leave One Direction, it wasn’t rumoured that the guys were jealous of Zayn’s face and hair. It was “oh. He wants to go solo. Good for him.” Look at how fans pit artists against each other on social media. They’re still fighting about Britney vs. Christina. It’s been 20 years since they released their first singles. Is it the women, or are we obsessed with these supposed girl feuds? I’m guilty of it too. I was talking about it with friends. I just called attention to Katy Perry’s bullying of other women. Maybe the narrative continues because we encourage it. 


Or maybe, we should hold women accountable to walk their talk. Katy Perry talks about how women should build each other up and she wants to empower, and in the next breath shit talks another woman. She tells a story about how she stole background dancers from Taylor, and knew it would be a problem, but she’s the victim because Taylor wouldn’t apologize to her and wrote a song about her feelings. Then says women should build each other up, because she’s a feminist and not like that mean bitch Taylor, who could end all of this if she just apologized to Katy, the victim. Poor Katy. But don’t worry, she’s not crazy like Britney. See? She loves all women, just not ones with mental illness, or that made her feel bad. They’re bitches. She’s so sweet. That is true fake feminism & it makes all of us look like catty bitches who are desperate for attention. 


It’s okay to write about feelings. Some of the most powerful and moving songs were written by true life events (as long as they’re written by men, but that’s another rant for another time…wait, I’ve already written it!), but using those events, or the misfortunes of others, to build yourself up to sell records isn’t. And we need to stop hanging on every tidbit of gossip and shade like the world is a human soap opera. Those are real humans with real feelings. We need to stop listening and tell people who participate in this kind of pettiness that if their work was good, they wouldn’t need to use other successful women to give it a platform. It would sell on its own…

…swish swish.