From Now On

GUYS. I HAVE NEWS. GUYS. GUUUUYYYYSSSS.

Today, I was scrolling though the Twitter like normal, because in addition to today being my daughter’s 11th birthday, I have the flu.

I’ve actually lost my voice completely, so it’s a wonderful time to be alive, as Bossman said. But I can’t talk, outside of about 10 minutes today. So, while she was happily trying on her new apron and oven mitts (apparently the best gifts EVER, as she’s always wanted a nice apron with matching oven mitts and these are Nerdy Nummies, so even better), I was mindlessly scrolling. I saw a tweet from my editor at the Yards, and saw that he was nominated for TWO Alberta Magazine Awards! I was so excited for him, and went to issue a congrats until I saw something in the corner.

GUYS. I HAVE BEEN NOMINATED FOR AN ALBERTA MAGAZINE AWARD AND I FOUND OUT ON TWITTER, WHICH IS COMPLETELY IN LINE WITH MY LIFE.

That’s right! I am an Alberta Magazine Award nominee! Isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever heard?! (To read my nominated piece, CLICK HERE) I would have screamed if I could make sounds other than pitiful squeaks! So, I texted everybody I’ve ever met and told them! My friends are the best because they’re super supportive. My best friend in Cow Province agreed to be my date. My gym crew all took the time to “like” the news. My teacher and mentor said she was proud of me. It was a day of happy tears and ruined mascara, but I got to celebrate the fact that one of my best friends in the whole world turned 11 today and after all of these years of working and risks, I am finally making it in the world of journalism.

I didn’t submit this work for nomination. I had no idea this was even a thing that could happen. I’ve been a member of AMPA since 2015, when I started at Great West Newspapers. I never thought this could be me. I was proud of this piece because it was important and relevant and I was proud to be asked to write it. I probably won’t win this award. The other pieces are a zillion times better than mine. But for me, the girl in 80G who was part of the Convergence pilot program a million years ago, this is a huge deal and I’m super proud.

Ahh, fat MHC. How I hate you.

Hopefully I can get the time off and Carissa & I can go to the ceremony while I meet other journalists and maybe learn some new ways to improve my writing. Then I’ll lose, be disappointed, and move forward. But right now, I feel like one of those celebrities when they hear they’re going to the Oscars; proud and humbled.

Today I feel like I can really be a great writer, and make my daughters proud. They were proud today. For all those times I feel like I’m parenting wrong; today made me think I could really be a role model to them and be the kind of Mom that they can be proud of…at least until the next time I have to work late, or on my day off, or whatever it takes to keep us fed and housed because this house of four women are doing it for themselves. But for one day, all of those struggles seemed totally worth it.

Let Them In

One thing that has always bugged the piss out of me is when women bully and belittle other women. It’s such bullshit. 

You know what I mean, those “real women have _____” memes, the “make sure your shorts cover your vagina” memes, the “I can wash your beauty off with a cloth” memes. Please do shut up. Women; we are not in competition with each other. I repeat; WE ARE NOT IN COMPETITION WITH EACH OTHER. 

While I am not a fan, as she often perpetuates the idea that being a certain type of woman is wrong; this quote is pretty good

Over the past two weeks, I have read some of the most ridiculous belittling of our Prime Minister’s wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. Mrs. Trudeau made a comment that she may need help with her many commitments, raising her family & supporting her husband. While yes, she has a household staff, she has one assistant, but over 70 requests to appear each week. Every charity wants Mrs. Trudeau to appear, speak, give a face to their voice. She cannot answer them all, let alone attend. If she declines, she will be vilified for ignoring. Declining to answer is even worse! She’s in a lose lose situation, even though she just wants to help & use her celebrity status to bring attention to Canadian women.


Women across Canada sharpened their claws, claiming that Sophie was asking for something unheard of, even though Mila Mulroney had her own office & staff to help her with her many causes. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose actually praised former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife Laureen Harper for choosing not to be “splashy,” as if wanting to contribute to your country and use your popularity to help others & have an identity away from your husband is somehow a bad thing. 

Mrs. Trudeau is the spokesperson Fillactive, a program designed to help 12 – 17 year old girls develop active lifestyles. She has dedicated her time to advocating for women struggling with eating disorders. She is using her status to shed light on causes that are important to her.We should be celebrating her honesty; that running a home & having a job & trying to do more isn’t easy. Instead, it’s some kind of pissing contest. “What about me? I take the kids to lessons & have to cook the supper! Pity me!” “What about single moms?!” Well, this single mom thinks it’s great that she wants to use her status to help others, that she wants to be more than just Mr. Trudeau’s arm candy. That it can be hard. I always say that if I ever got married again (which isn’t bloody likely), I want to be one half of a tandem, with my contributions recognized & that I’m seen for my own merit. I don’t want to be Mrs. Someone, I want to be Mary-Helen & seen for what I can do. I don’t want to be a shrinking violet who hides behind her man. Yes, i will be proud of my man and his accomplishments, but I would expect him to be equally as proud of mine. I would want my strength, tenacity, passion for my career and family to be celebrated. I would want to be recognized as more than a mate, but as a woman…and also that I have really fantastic skin. I refuse to accept the notion that women cannot be celebrated for being clever & beautiful, or that we need to downplay one to build up the other. I want to be seen as a force of nature, someone who commands her destiny & wants to shine. Mrs. Trudeau is beautiful & bright & should be allowed to shine brightly. All women should be allowed to shine. 

Seriously. My skin has been looking incredible lately

But it’s not just Mrs. Trudeau. It’s every woman all the time. If you’re thin, eat a cheeseburger. If you’re fat, go on a diet. Don’t wear makeup? Why don’t you take pride in your appearance? Wear makeup? Why don’t you love yourself enough to go natural? Don’t wear the crop top; you’ll look like a slut. If you don’t wear the crop top, you don’t have body positivity. Don’t go to the gym; Netflix. But now you’re lazy. Don’t want a mate; it’s because you can’t keep a man, but don’t get married, you’re sacrificing your independence. Don’t have kids, but if you don’t you’re betraying your uterus. Just know that every move you make, all other women will be judging you & telling you that you are doing it wrong. 

So, I ask you, my fellow women, if you can’t say something nice, shut the fuck up. Build each other up, stop tearing each other down. If you don’t want kids, don’t have any. If you don’t want to wear the booty shorts, don’t wear them. If you don’t want to get fit, don’t. And if a woman admits her road is harder than she thought, admit your road is hard too & find understanding together. 


Life isn’t a contest about who has the best pretend life on Facebook or who has the hardest time being a woman. Life isn’t meant to be wasted judging other women for their clothes, spouse, kids, or waistline. It’s meant to be kind, do your best, and teach the next generation of women to stand together & stand up for each other. 


So, wear the short shorts. Don the red lip. Have sex with the guy or don’t. Have kids. Or don’t. Get married or don’t. Go on a diet. Wear a size 22. But don’t judge another woman for choosing a different path than what you chose. And don’t ever kick another woman while she’s down because she admitted that life isn’t easy. 

Ignition & Friction

Sometimes I go on social media and the things that I read really grinds my gears.

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts regarding Rania El-Alloul, who was told by a judge that her court case would not be heard unless she removed her hijab, contradicting a previous Supreme Court ruling. On the heels of this, Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the hijab, niqab, and the burka “anti-woman” (earning the mockery of Twitter), & I saw a lot of amazeballs comments on my newsfeed, such as;

“Good. You come to our country, you follow our ways.”

“If you don’t like our rules, go back to your country. We don’t need you here.”

And other fantastic gems that make me ashamed that I live in the same city as these people, let alone were once on my social media feeds. It all makes me really angry and sick that we’re becoming THAT kind of society, where we think that our country is some kind of melting pot or Star Trek Borg assimilation. Because we aren’t.

Canada is a cultural mosaic that was built with Native Canadians and Immigrants working together to create a nation that values peace, goodwill and the retention of cultural identity. We have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a Multiculrualism Act that encourage those who come to our nation to practice their religion and maintain their culture if they see fit. This is part of the Canadian identity. We do not tell people to “join us or get out.” If you have done that, you are not exhibiting the Canadian spirit and should be ashamed of yourselves.

I also do not get the idea that we as “Native Canadians” get to tell new Canadians to follow our rules or get out, considering we our ancestors didn’t do that when we got here. In fact, I’m pretty sure that we told the First Nations to do what we said or get smallpoxed. As time passed, Native children were put in residential schools, where all sorts of atrocities were committed against the children. That certainly doesn’t sound like our ancestors came to Canada and instantly adopted the traditions and rules of the Native Canadians. In fact, it sounds more like we forced our way of life on them and destroyed their way of life until they assimiliated. You know, what we’re suggesting we do now. So, unless you are part of the First Nations, I don’t think you really get to tell a new Canadian what to wear, because once upon a time, your family was a New Canadian. They kept their religion, their heritage and their rights to retain those things. Why can’t new Canadians in 2015 do the same thing?

To me, the hijab, the niqab and the burka just like anything else in this world; if you don’t agree, don’t wear one. If a muslim woman chooses to wear one in accordance with her religion, then she can. Just like no one should stop you from wearing a cross, a star of David or any other religious symbol, you shouldn’t tell someone else what they can wear it on your head. Also, please stop comparing it to a baseball cap. These are garments designed to protect modesty in accordance with guidelines set in the Quran, the other is a symbol to cheer for your favourite team. I would NEVER view my New Orleans Saints snapback in the same capacity as my mother’s rosary beads, so I don’t see how anyone else could make the comparison.

Let’s stop with these comments. Let people worship freely as our laws and Charter dictate we should. After all, you shouldn’t get the right to wear what you want just because you happened to be born here. If that were the case, then please find the nearest person who is a member of the First Nations and ask them what we should be wearing, because they are the only people who’s family didn’t come here from another nation hoping for freedom to choose where to work, how to live and yes, what to wear.

Headphones

While I generally do not care to discuss my relationship with my boyfriend (as I like having that part of my life fairly private), since he pretty much suggested this entire post (complete with the title), I kind of have to.

He’s an interesting & captivating man, compassionate & smart & sweet & pretty much every good adjective you can think of. He supports my crazy desire to become the world’s greatest reporter/cell phone princess & reads literally every word I write. But, in addition to all of these amazing things, he entertains my needs to ask questions.

I’m an inquisitive sort; I need to know everything about the world around me. So, I ask a million questions; about the world, my family, etc. I ask him a million questions every day; how is your day, your life, your daughter, tell me about your job, etc. and he answers them all. I think it’s because he’s like me; he likes information. Whether it’s sports, politics, current events, world religion, he likes to know. I think that’s why we work; he’s the intellectual and I’m the journalist, the supplier of information. He loves to learn & I love to inform, we’re quite the pair. Also, he hasn’t complained about my inability to shut up ever, so either he’s mastered tuning me out or is a glutton for punishment.

However, he possesses dual citizenship & unlike most Canadians, he would actually prefer to be American. We have conversations about when Thanksgiving is supposed to be (pro-tip; he’s wrong) & I often end conversations with “YOU WERE BORN HERE.” So, we tend to differ on the “American” vs. “Canadian” way.

Today’s horrible shooting in Ottawa put a halt to our mock fights about national pride to listen & read about what was happening. This was a horrible thing & a young man lost his life for no good reason. He’ll never have another birthday or Christmas. His beloved dogs will never see their master again. His parents will never hear his voice on the phone & my heart breaks for them. No 24 year old should be taken from this world in such a terrible way & I hope that we as a nation will stand by the Cirillo family through this horrific time.

I wanted to know why this happened, what measures will be taken to protect our Prime Minister & Members of Parliament going forward, how did a man with a gun get into Parliament, is there a second shooter, etc. The RCMP was mum. The Canadian Press seemed mute except about the lockdown. Meanwhile, CBS already had the identity of the shooter & breaking news site heavy.com had a bunch of facts about him, before the Canadian Press knew what was up. I was so frustrated, because as a journalist (albeit a fluffy celeb journalist) I didn’t understand why no one was informing us & why we as Canadians seemed to be okay with that. I texted my beau a huge rant, which prompted my epiphany that perhaps his “American” thought process wasn’t so off base & he told me to write this because I’m a genius.

The truth is; we get the media we deserve.

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My American friends are not afraid to question everything they hear. My Facebook timeline is inundated with them questioning their government, their police, the FBI, Mark Zuckerberg, and the list goes on & on. They live in a “stranger danger” sort of world. When the Boston Marathon was horrifically bombed, we had real time updates from every reliable news agency in the world, as the American media kept people appraised. We knew who, why, who was at large in hours & people knew what was happening. Today, people in Canada sat questioning how this happens here & when I would ask why it happened, I was told I was nitpicking the coverage instead of the tragedy & shame on me.

Actual quote from cbc.ca's live blog. This MAY have been what started my rant
Actual quote from cbc.ca’s live blog. This MAY have been what started my rant

While Americans live in stranger danger, we in Canada do the opposite; we don’t care. We’re ostriches. Political scandals are overlooked (one of my colleagues once wrote an amazing piece for a magazine we all wrote for about Canada’s apathy to political corruption) because that doesn’t happen here (yes it does), we flip out whenever there’s a major crime because it doesn’t happen here (a prime example was when a meth lab blew up near my old house right before I moved & everyone freaked because that doesn’t happen here), and we’re so focused on being perfect utopia Canada that we miss that bad things happen here & we need to accept that so we can learn from it so it doesn’t happen anymore. People get murdered, there is crime, there is corruption & pretending it doesn’t happen won’t make it any less true. While my feelings towards Prime Minister Harper’s politics follow “I don’t agree with anything he says ever,” he was very realistic when he said we are not immune to terrorist attacks. We are not. Fortunately our Nation escaped this horrific day with only one tragic loss. But we need to be smart and arm ourselves with information, we need to ask questions so we won’t be shaking our heads wondering how this happened because it doesn’t happen in Canada. I love my Nation; I think it’s a beautiful place and I am so proud to be Canadian, but we are not a utopia and the biggest lesson we need to take from this tragedy is like Mr. Harper said, we are not immune to tragedy, so we need to stand in the face of these things and not hope it just goes away.

Perhaps we do need to borrow a page from our American brethren and accept that bad things happen and start asking questions. It is perfectly okay to question your government. It is okay to question law enforcement. It is okay to ask what is happening in the world around you, if you are safe, because when all is said and done, these people work for us to preserve our way of life and for the most part, they do a damned good job. But if we as Canadians are not asking, we won’t be informed and we’ll have to learn from our neighbours what’s happening in our own backyard. We cannot peer over the fence and ask America who is attacking us. We need to find out for ourselves.

So, ask questions. Seek knowledge. Make the media answer those questions. Hold them accountable and let’s make it a point to make sure we aren’t ostriches as the world goes to Hell around us, because it CAN happen here.

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Headlights on the Highway

I like my job. It’s a very nice job. It’s not in my field (either of them) but it pays me well, which is important as I’m a sole support parent receiving no financial support whatsoever from the children’s father (while yes, he is unemployed & has been for some time, he also refused to pay child support for 11 months when he was working & preferred to wait until his wages were garnisheed). I like that they are flexible so I could freelance on the side when I’m ready to & I can transfer to a new city without issue.

However, I sometimes have to stop myself when guests complain of high prices & the expectation of paying money for a new device from telling them that their first world or “white people” problems are not so bad & they need to quit whining.

Yes, there are cell phone networks that offer unlimited everything for $30/mos, but you get what you pay for, which is a tiny network, slow connection & internet throttling after a certain percentage. When people whine, I want to remind them that a cell phone is a luxury item & to STFU.

Before I get flamed, yes, a phone is essential, but for $15 you can do prepaid & have a flip phone for emergencies. I am writing this from my iPhone. I do not need to have the capability to blog from my phone. I could easily go home to my computer (luxury item) and log onto my internet (luxury item) & update my blog (luxury item). You do not need a smartphone unless you work where you need access to email @ all times. You do not need to update your Facebook (luxury item) from your phone or listen to music (luxury item) from your phone. You need it to make calls. Anything else is a bonus.

Yes, my job security relies on you wanting those luxury items, but let’s call a spade a spade; that’s what they are. I love my iPhone, but I also know it’s a toy & to use it, I’m willing to fork out the money. If I want fast internet, I need to fork out money. Same with cable, netflix, video games, etc. They are bonuses in life.

Remember, while you’re whining because you don’t have your shiny new gold istatussymbol, there are real people suffering real problems, like divorce, death, hunger, war, income loss, job loss, and homelessness. If your biggest woe is that your $750 trinket is going to cost you $70/month, life’s good for you.

We neeed to rationalize what is a necessity & what is just for fun. Food we need, phones we don’t. With that in mind, I’ll resume selling luxury items to the masses.

Sent from my iPhone

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