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. 

Helium

You know what I love? Women who build up other women. I am all about that. I effing LOVE seeing women succeed. Love. It. When my girl friends succeed, I am like “THAT IS MY GIRL!” Life is too short to be catty. I can’t be that person. I want my women to run shit. 

Speaking of women empowering women, I missed all kinds of girl power at the Grammys tonight. I usually love them, but I was watching Naomi win herself a Women’s championship at the Elimination Chamber! While I admit, I am late to the Nao Mob, I respect women who hustle & girl certainly did. Congrats Naomi, you deserved this moment. Proud of you. I was even more proud to see all of WWE’s warrior women hitting up Twitter to congratulate her. I love the Smackdown live Women’s locker room. These girls build each other up. Love it so much & more women could follow this example. 


But let me get back on track. 

I love when women build up other women. I’m sick of seeing women torn down for no reason. I’m sick of seeing people tear down Taylor Swift because it’s the in thing to do.


 When people like Frank Ocean claim that she didn’t deserve Album of the Year, it’s a sign of men once again marginalizing the talent of women. When women support this narrative, we are allowing it to continue. We need to stop being catty and build each other up, which is why I freaking love Adele. 

Adele’s brilliant effort 25 won Album of the Year, making her the second female in history to win the award twice (the first being Taylor Swift), beating out Beyoncé. But instead of just thanking her fans and collaborators & walking off, Adele took a moment to lift up Beyoncé & acknowledge her impact on music. Adele took her moment and used it to empower her fellow female artists & she did it well. More women need to build each other up like Adele, she’s a class act all the way. 

Adele showed that women can compete and not be Total bitches. You can respect each other. Adele winning doesn’t make Beyoncé’s album bad. It’s just how the Grammy voters saw it. But these two women showed class and sisterhood, which we need more of, especially in this climate where we see people tearing down successful women! Look at the attacks on Taylor. People calling Beyoncé a racist primadonna. Instead of congratulating Lady Gaga for slaying the Super Bowl, people called her fat! It’s even more important that women build each other up.


Some women, however, need a refresher in how to build up other women, like Katy Perry. 

Before I start, let me say I’m a huge fan of Katy Perry the artist. I think her voice is amazing. I think she has a great message of female empowerment. Her new single Chained to the Rhythm has a great message about stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning about your planet. But you’ve gotta back that shit up, or it’s just hollow words. 


Tonight, on two separate occasions, Katy Perry said she took a hiatus for her mental health and it worked, because she didn’t shave her head yet, which appeared to be some thinly veiled shade at Britney Spears, who’s 2007 nervous breakdown made headlines. Katy Perry made several comments about feeling victimized by the song Bad Blood, and how Taylor Swift was calling her out for this type of catty behaviour unjustly. But it’s hard to call it unjust when you used a serious mental illness for punchlines. 

Britney Spears is reported to have bipolar disorder, and that’s no joke. This requires medication, counselling, and for some, even watching their diet. This needs to be done every single day. When left untreated, Bipolar disorder can lead to some dangerous and even fatal situations. It’s not funny. It’s scary af. Katy Perry says she’s a feminist. A feminist does not take someone’s darkest hour and use it as a joke. If anything, let’s all give huge props to our girl Britney. She manages to raise a family, co-parent in a healthy way, perform a regular show in Vegas, all while continuing to treat her illness so she can be bad ass. That takes strength, resolve, tenacity, & we should commend Britney. I love Katy Perry’s songs, but for her message to have meaning, she’s gotta walk her talk. 


In a world full of catty Katys, be like Adele. Build up your sisters. Celebrate their talents. Be that woman who builds up other women. When you empower each other, you feel better about yourself and they feel better about themselves. There is no downside. So, before you make that snide comment, think of how much better it would feel to be kind. 

Clean

Sometimes I reach a point where I need to withdraw from life for awhile. 

Now is that time. 

I’m emotionally exhausted & when I feel like that, the best thing I can do for myself is withdraw from everything; most social media (I ditched Snapchat, Pinterest & Tumblr, but Facebook & Twitter remain. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be the last Tweeter standing. I love it way too much), public blogging, all human beings (except Erica, she won’t let me) & just raise my girls, finish my transfer & start at my new store, go to crossfit, and go to counselling until I feel better. I don’t know how long that will take. I guess we’ll wait and see. 

But I didn’t like the idea of going offline without writing something that isn’t positive & happy. That’s my mandate; always be happy, even when you’re sad. So, I turned to my musical spirit animal; Taylor Swift. After making history by becoming the first woman in history to win the Grammy for Album of the Year twice (I told y’all 1989 would win), Swift took to the stage to make a powerful speech that will inspire women for generations. I’d rather share her words than mine for awhile. I hope they inspire you too. 

  

“As the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there, there will be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work, you will look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there. That will be the greatest moment.”

  

My Reply

Sometimes I read stuff & get cranky & pull a Peter Griffin & play “What Really Grinds My Gears.”

  
Today’s edition: why women are catty bitches & I’m so over it. 

Last night, I watched the Golden Globes because I have worked as an entertainment reporter for many years & I like pretty dresses God dammit. I could comment on the show, Ricky Gervais, but instead, I’ll address why women are catty bitches & why it drives me nuts. 

Actor (& super hunk if you ask all of my friends) Jason Statham & his girlfriend of five years, Rosie Huntington-Whitely announced their engagement at the event last night, with full attention on Ms. Huntington-Whitely’s sparkly new bauble. As always, the comments on this story included why Statham, 48, shouldn’t be dating Huntington-Whitely, 28, because the age difference is gross & of course, why the ring was too small, ugly, etc. I’m sure Ms. Huntington-Whitely cares so much that random women online hate her ring, but it was sad to see few positive well wishes, just women taking shots on another woman. Similar things happened when photos of Blake Lively’s engagement & wedding ring hit the Internet, only that ring was too big, gaudy & why was it pink?! Kevin Costner was forced to address the price tag of the ring he chose for his wife Christine Baumgartner (Joan Rivers famously made Baumgartner cry by mocking her ring, prompting her husband to purchase her a much larger one). But why does it matter to the masses? Unless Ryan Reynolds or Jason Statham is buying you an engagement ring, it doesn’t matter. Those rings are gifts from them to their wives, maybe we should back off. Even on FB, I see people snarking at women about the size of their wedding rings, their homes, their Pinterest crafts. No building each other up, just a sick game of one up-manship. Why? I know when the time comes, I wouldn’t care what my boyfriend bought me, or if it met my “dream ring” criteria (if I really had that. I’m so indifferent hahaha). If he picked it out for me, it could be a garbage tie & to me, it would be the most beautiful thing on the planet because he bought it for me & wanted to marry me & much like thee women, I wouldn’t even notice the cattiness. 

 

We live in a society where wage inequality is still a thing, women’s rights are being marginalized in my neighbour’s land, Planned Parenthood is under attack. Women are still being forced to choose between career & family & told to “keep their legs closed” to prevent sexual assault or unwanted pregnancy. Girls are sent home because their clothing might distract boys, we blame women for their own sexual assaults & child support gets clawed back, leaving women in a cycle of poverty. Meanwhile, instead of taking up for one another, we are belittling each other for things that don’t matter & superficial bullshit that means nothing at the end of the day so women can feel like they’ve “topped” each other. Women are even attacking each other for such things as feeding their babies, as Alyssa Milano learned when talk show host Wendy Williams (who made headlines when she claimed actress Jennifer Lawrence deserved to have her privacy violated and her private nude photos leaked online last year) told her that breastfeeding should not be done in public, as breasts are meant for sexual enjoyment. Ms. Milano shut her down, by why are women constantly defending their basic rights or things that should bring them joy…to other women?

Even when women are successful, we tear them down. Look at the comments about Taylor Swift representing the wrong type of feminist because of her friends. They build each other up, celebrate their uniqueness. So, we cattily tear them apart for being friends because they’re too pretty, they’re models, etc. Okay. 

 I don’t compete with other women. I teach my daughters that we don’t compete with other women. I compete with myself to be a better woman. When I see women belittling other women, I often wonder why they are so insecure that they can’t celebrate the achievements of other women. Women wonder why we’re still fighting the same battles, it’s because of us. We’re attacking each other! Either because we’re the wrong type of feminist, or because they fed their kid or they may possibly have something you don’t. If women spent half as much time building each other up as you did questioning if they understood what feminism means to you or snarking about looks, fashion, etc. women’s rights wouldn’t be something we were still fighting for. 

  
I’m sorry for the rant, but I guess I’m sick of seeing women have their joy trampled by catty women, women who should be supporting other women, famous or not. Perhaps if you can’t be nice, maybe you should just be quiet. 

  

The Fire & the Flood

After a few bumpy weeks, stemming from my first birthday & holiday far from everyone & starting a new job & having a week long homesick meltdown, I’m finally feeling like myself again. I keep forgetting that life is a process. Humans are designed to grow. So, I’m gonna do what I do best; be the happiest woman in the world. 

When I get anxious, I get paper & a pen & make a list of everything that makes me happy or good thing anyone has done for me lately. Very Katniss Everdeen. But it works. It reminds me that my life is rad. So, I’m going to share my list of 50 things that make me happy (in no particular order). I was going to do 100, but I ran out of time. 

1. We have a new Prime Minister Designate in Canada! Congrats to Justin Trudeau! I have long supported Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals, so this makes me happy.   

2. My teenage daughter was elected to her Student Council as a write in candidate. 

3. Seth Rollins is still WWE champion.  YES THIS IS IMPORTANT. SHUT UP PAUL. 
4. Now that the intimidation factor  & awkwardness has worn off, I’m starting to like my job a lot. I’m making good money & will be able to support my family better. My coworkers in mobile are nice. I like them. It’s not the long term dream job, but it’ll keep me fed & housed. 

5. I should be going home to visit my friends in less than a month!

6. I’m not as alone as I feel. I have friends here. Heather & Kymo are good people & I have fun with them. 

7. My work stopped playing shitty music. 

8. Erica. That is all.   

9. After 18 years, marriages, kids, and now 3000 miles, I always have Chris Gleason to talk to. Best friends who have your back from a different time zone are the best friends. 

10. I’ve lost all but 6lbs of the 15 that I gained moving here. 

11. Gains. 

12. Crossfit. Because gains. 

13.  My youngest hasn’t gone to the office once since we moved. 

14. Starbucks.  
15.  My middle daughter skipped a grade & after an initial struggle, is doing well at school. 

16. One of my electronics colleagues loves Zelda as much as I do. 

17. My cat Peachy. 

 
18. My boyfriend. I always said he was a good person but not always necessarily a good boyfriend. Now he’s both. I’m very lucky to have this man in my life, who loves me & drives me to be a better woman & partner. I know I gush a lot, but I love him very much, not just for how he treats me (most of the time), but because I have so much respect for him as a person. He’s a good man, with integrity. I’m a lucky person to have someone like him in my life, who is capable of growth, with a strong work ethic, is capable of intelligent conversation, is strong & witty & very brave. Someone who makes me feel like I can be myself, even when I’m being a bitch & he would never make me feel small or unloved. There isn’t anyone else I would want by my side in this crazy life, because even when he drives me nuts, I still want him around. 

19. The new Star Wars trailer. 

20. It’s almost time for Mockingjay part two. 

21.  Pecan tarts. 

22. My old Crossfit coach Lacey. Not only is she one of my fitness inspirations, but my middle daughter looks up to her & she continues to encourage her, even while so far away. 

23. The fact that I’m actually comfortable with my body & in my own skin. That’s rad.   

24. My teenage daughter is considered a good influence on her friends. 

25. Taylor Swift. Literally everything about Taylor Swift.   

26. Fall. Because basic white girl. 

27.  The amount of pretty lakes and trees I have found here in Alberta. 

28. Even though I care not for baseball, I love how the country is so excited about the playoffs. 

29.  Pikachu

30. There is a new Legend of Zelda game coming out!   

31. Boo Berry & Count Chocula is back!

32. My iPhone. 

33.  This song.   

34.  My 8yo made her sisters be quiet so I could sleep in on Sunday. 

35. Any interaction between my boyfriend & his daughter. 

36. Reruns of I Dream of Jeannie. 

37.  PENGUINS. ALWAYS PENGUINS.   

38. Vladimir Putin memes. 

39. My daughter’s love of the DIY network. 

40. The Weeknd Update

41. My bed. 

42. Halloween is coming! YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS…  

43. Pizza. 

44. This list. 

45. Harry Potter. Finally reading it. It’s amazing. 

46. Good Samaritan stories. I love knowing that people are still good. 

47. Red lipstick. Aka the only shade of lipstick I wear.  

 

48. My 6yo needs 100 hugs a day. I’m okay with that. 

49. The Great Gatsby. 

50. The fact that you’re still reading this list. That’s so awesome!

That’s my list. I hope you can make a list of awesome stuff too, because everyone should have a lot of things that make you happy. 

Writing’s on the Wall

Parenting a teenager super sucks sometimes. 

I’m fortunate that I’m raising a mature & well rounded teen girl. She’s not concerned with gossip. She doesn’t waste days on social media. She likes boys & fashion & selfies & reality TV, but she’s not caught up in celebrity worship as much as her peers (except for Queen Taylor Swift).  

I’m perfectly fine with my daughter loving Taylor Swift. She’s a good person who loves her friends and her fans. She promotes the concept of women building up other women. She responds to criticism with class and poise. She isn’t afraid to stand up for other artists. Taylor Swift is a fine role model for young women & I applaud her commitment to retaining her true personality despite her growing fame. 

However, my daughter’s new school friend recently teased her (good naturedly) for her obsession with the E! Reality show Total Divas. She adores the Bella Twins (Brie & Nikki) and enjoys their adventures as they climb the mountain to become the most dominant Divas in WWE history (a feat they’ve accomplished as Brie is the only Diva to co-main event a PPV, and Nikki recently held the Divas Championship longer than any Diva in history). But her friends are more concerned with Keeping Up With the Kardashians, most notably, their “style icon and role model,” Kylie Jenner. 

My daughter argues that her reality show is better, because Brie & Nikki Bella have an actual skill, whether their skill is respected by mainstream entertainment fans or not. Brie & Nikki can wrestle; they train to wrestle. Nikki has continued to compete through three separate injuries over the 301 days she was Divas champion. Brie & Nikki travel often, missing weddings, family functions, all in the name of entertainment. Brie most recently missed her first wedding anniversary because she was touring. My daughter often points out that Kylie has no discernible skill, nor do any of her sisters. They don’t have actual jobs, or a talent, or anything that makes them special, so why are we keeping up with them. But I overheard her friends this week telling her that Kylie Jenner is an icon & they should all aspire to be like her, get her signature pout & her relationship with rapper Tyga are “relationship goals.” All of this sort of makes me sad.  

I don’t know Kylie Jenner. I’m sure she’s a very sweet girl. She’s quite pretty. If she is a wild child, it’s probably more due to a lack of adequate supervision from her parents, Kris & Caitlyn Jenner. But there are so many more interesting things for young girls to aspire to be than pretty with a full pout. There is so much more for young women to accomplish than dating a 25 year old man while underage and bikini selfies and launching an app with makeup tips. These girls are 13 and 14 years old. They can grow into women of distinction; they can change the world. Why are they limiting themselves by wanting to be more like a woman with no discernible talent & her only goal is to be pretty & desired by men? Is this how my parents felt when I was all about Madonna?  

Girls, please don’t sell yourself short. If you must look up to someone famous, why not Hailee Stenfeld? This young lady was nominated for an Academy Award at the age of 14. She recently released her single “Love Myself,” which is quickly climbing the Billboard charts. The catchy song is an anthem for self love, reminding people that as long as she sees her worth, she doesn’t need anyone to validate her. What about Malala Yousafzai, who took on the Taliban, survived a gunshot wound & now advocates education for women in underdeveloped countries. Both of these young women are the same age as Miss Jenner & their messages are so much more positive. Love who you are, grow as a woman, seek knowledge. While neither may have Miss Jenner’s perfect pout, they have something so much more: goals & aspirations & a desire to make the world better.   

Somewhere, did we as parents fail our children? We can blame the media for giving the Kardashian-Jenner clan attention, but we are responsible for their infamy. We comment on their articles, we download their games, much like the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Episode, if you ignore them, they will die. We keep them alive with every retweet, click and comment.   

But maybe it’s deeper. Maybe we as moms have failed our children by our own example. Why do our daughters aspire only to be pretty? They don’t learn from celebrities, they learn from us. We can blame Barbie, even Kylie Jenner, but we have to ask what kind of example are we setting? Do we acquiesce to our husbands? Did we abandon our goals? Do we focus too much on our own aesthetic so that out daughters see us fearing aging & obsessed with being “Cougars” because either we are single moms hoping to meet a mate or because we still want to feel sexy? There is nothing wrong with these things on the surface, know there are times I’m too caught up in my appearance, especially my weight & my weight loss journey & I need to be mindful of that for my daughters.  But perhaps we need to use them as talking points, while aspiring to be more; professionally, personally.   Perhaps we as moms need to start setting goals for ourselves to showcase that we as moms are strong, brave, smart and beautiful. Then perhaps our daughters will look up to us, admire us, and not Kylie Jenner. Because your daughter’s role model should be you, not the flavour of the week on TV. Maybe if we kept up with being the best version of ourselves, our kids could keep up with us, and not the Kardashians.   

I Wish You Would

If you’re a long time reader of my blog, you’ll know that I have an almost childlike love of Taylor Swift. 

I adore all things Taylor Swift. I preordered her album the second iTunes would let me, I rock out to her discography daily & I may have paid some criminal @ StubHub almost $1000 to replace my Toronto tickets with ones more local to the new city & on August 4/15, the girls & I will get to see our Queen. We’re all very excited. The girls have a countdown, the not always angry teen has her outfit ready, the overlord has looked up the setlist & my IG has an amazing video of my five year old’s epic performance of Bad Blood. We REALLY like Taylor Swift. 

Remember when Target (RIP) had a Taylor Swift selfie stand & I dedicated large chunks of my shift to posing with it? Because Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Remember when Target (RIP) had a Taylor Swift selfie stand & I dedicated large chunks of my shift to posing with it? Because Pepperidge Farm remembers.

I also REALLY like Apple. During a job interview for the Apple Store, I was asked what set me apart from other candidates & I said I’d give them a kidney. When new Apple products launch, I sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I am a proud iSheep with my gold iPhone 6 & I regret not one thing. So, imagine my basic white girl horror when my favourite artist & favourite brand appeared to have an issue (I may have cried. Okay not really. But I thought about it). 

To keep things fair, I also sometimes pose for photos with my beloved iPhone
To keep things fair, I also sometimes pose for photos with my beloved iPhone

When Taylor Swift wrote her open letter to Apple, she said what everyone who considers themselves an artist has always thought, but never been able to drive home; expecting artists to work for free for the exposure is ripping them off. We should all be compensated for our work, whether it’s digging ditches or selling out stadiums. 

I have had the pleasure of getting to know many indie artists over the years, and I would suggest you check them out. I built my career interviewing these artists & they are all talented & creative people & I’m so grateful that I was afforded the chance to get to know them. Check out Mic Lordz & Sauce Funky, Inoke Errati, Gypsy Chief Goliath & Cowboys in Cardigans (front man Jamie Reaume’s Way Back Home is still one of my favourite songs). Most of these talented artists are on iTunes. But they wouldn’t have been paid had you streamed their music. Taylor was right when she said it wouldn’t affect her, but that’s a lot of free streaming for the artists above. These guys have homes, families. They worked hard. Why shouldn’t they be paid? 

You wouldn’t ask your doctor to work for free, or a lawyer. You wouldn’t tell your hairdresser that your free cut & blowout would help them get business. So, why do it to those lucky people who are willing to risk it all for their one goal of entertaining you? Seems like a jerk move. 

And Taylor Swift knew it. 

Taylor Swift is aware of her power. She knows how influential she is & that she has the power to speak for the guys playing open mic nights on the weekend while recording awesome new stuff…

…and she used it. And Apple will pay artists. Taylor Swift brought change. 

All hail the Queen
All hail the Queen

Call her greedy. Call her selfish. Call her whatever you want, but you missed the point. Taylor Swift’s motives may not be 100% altruistic (but I believe they are), but she spoke up & made things change. She used her voice, something so few of us do. She saw something wrong & called the big bad company out on it (I’m sorry Apple) & made a difference. She opened discussion about why artists deserve compensation for their work. One person made a difference. 

But most importantly, Taylor Swift is a role model to millions of little girls all over the world, including mine. My eight year old daughter thinks “Queen Taylor changed the world yesterday!” Maybe not, but she taught millions of girls that when something is wrong, you stand up & speak out & one girl CAN change things. One person can spark change so don’t be afraid to be that one person. 

So, thank you Taylor. Thanks for defending your fellow artists. Thanks for showing little girls to use their voices. You’re a true role model & inspiration & I’m glad my kids look up to you. But most importantly, thanks for being someone deserving of that praise. 

  

Shut Up & Dance

Sometimes when you’re closing the door on one part of your life to open the door to what comes next, you need to stop & sit & absorb the enormity of what comes next. 

So I did. 

I sat & listened to a bunch of music & took a deep breath & prepared myself for what comes next. 

 

  I sat here. Isn’t it lovely?
 Things are changing. New job (I know…AGAIN?! But it’s technically a better version of the same job. With a raise. And a company phone. And a title. And power), new opportunities, new everything. The next 30 days will be insane; training, interviews for another job that will pay more (which is more a plan B as I like my current job) and reminding the same newspaper that I want to work for them (for the fifteenth time since October. They keep saying I’ll be considered if I was closer. They don’t know me very well. I get what I want). All of these things will be nuts but when it’s over; I’ll be right where I need to be to get everything I want in my professional life. 

Oh & I’m scared shitless. 

Fear is not an emotion I acknowledge. I pretend that I fear nothing. But I’m terrified. 

My mind is muddled with worries. What if my new gym isn’t as amazing & welcoming as my current one? My new employer said my references set an expectation that I’m a strong leader & a record setter. What if I can’t meet that standard? There’s the fear that I won’t make an impact in my field & I never get a full time job at that newspaper or any newspaper or magazine because I’m not good enough (BAHAHAHAHA that’s bullshit, I’m super talented & determined. These editors best prepare, they’ve never met anyone quite like me; I know what I want & I’ll get it).  What if the dad continues to alienate himself from his children with his valid but angry reaction? What if this ends up like when I moved here, where it didn’t go according to the master plan (not that I had one)?

 

 When in doubt, I turn to the Queen
 The truth is that I could go down in flames. 

But…

The reason my coworkers set that expectation is because I proved I could do it.   The reason I got offered three jobs (with the prospect of two more) from only 10 resumes is because I work hard & I’m good at what I do. The reason my new editor said my articles were good is because they were. I earned these opportunities & I need to keep doing what I did to earn them to maintain them & make them grow. Maybe my new gym will be full of douchebags, but I’ll kill some overhead squats & rock the WOD & I’ll prove I belong there. 

 

 This has little to do with anything, but I felt it kind of fit with this paragraph & this is legit what my friends & I talk about 
   

Last time I made a big change, I was running away from a person & a life that I’d lost (& it found me anyway). This time I’m running towards something that I’ve worked my entire life for (although putting a country between that life (& person) & I doesn’t hurt), because the universe will put what is supposed to be together if it’s what’s meant to be. But it’s okay to be afraid. Change is scary. My first day @ West London Crossfit was terrifying. My first day of college was intimidating.  My first seconds as a mom were frightening, because I could screw it all up for this tiny person. But it could all be awesome too. 

So, I’ll accept that the next thirty days will be scary as all get out, but it’ll be completely worth it in the end. 

Or I’ll fuck up my life. But I’ll have learned a lesson, right?!  

Bad Blood

My teenage daughter is exactly like me.

Seriously.

She looks just like me, has my mannerisms, speech patterns, & even stands with her toe pointed like I do. She’s also really nice & it gets her into trouble.

She ran afoul of two teen girls who were torturing her friend, to the point where we had to call her parents because she had written a suicide note. My daughter went to teachers, parents, and even took these girls to task on her own. We may be nice, but we take no shit. Attack someone we care about & we go full Pitbull. These girls were already outraged because the object of their affection (whom is a pint sized predator) is smitten with my child. So, the cyber bullying began. We’d block them on her social media, they’d open a new account & begin again. We tightened the settings, they’d use a friend’s. I brought screencaps to school & told the parents. One mom took action, the other accused my child & I of being jealous of them. Uh. Okay.

Anywho, my daughter’s tale is just one of a million stories of bullying. They’re on the news all of the time. You see all of the adults commenting that it’s such a shame, those poor babies, where do they learn this…only to click to the next article to read them mocking a celebrity, calling her fat, ugly. The most disgusting thing I have ever seen was the comments on a beautiful article about Dan Diaz, the widower of late assisted suicide/death with dignity activist Brittany Maynard. This man lost his wife & we’re mocking him, claiming he hoped she’d take her own life so he could have a healthy wife, that he’s milking it (his wife has been dead for four days), etc. We’ve become a society so deplorable that we are mocking a man who will bury his beloved wife.

So, where do these little pukes learn this disgusting behaviour?

FROM YOU.

Yes, you. They learn it from you. Every time you take a shot on Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift, or any other celebrity (this includes the time I called John Mayer the president of Doucheland), you are teaching your kids to bully & devalue human life. When you justify it by saying its a comment board & you don’t have to be nice, you are teaching children to defend bullying because the victim wore the wrong clothes or whatever. When you mock a woman’s appearance or cat call a woman, you’re teaching your child to objectify women. When you mock a man who’s mourning his wife, you’re teaching your child to devalue love, a marriage & that this man’s suffering means nothing. When Robin Williams passed in August, people tortured his daughter Zelda so relentlessly she had to leave social media. During a time when a human being needed the most love, we as a society ripped her heart out. Then we wonder why the next generation is a bunch of evil little shits. Because they learn it from you.

For years, I’ve been accused of being too nice. I’m always explaining myself & that’s okay. But the truth is that there are billions of hateful people in this world. They’re mean, heartless & cruel. There are billions of selfish bigots in this world. I do not wish to be one of them. I take flack for wanting to be the woman I want my daughters to be, because apparently that’s odd. But I am raising three beautiful & brilliant women. I want them to be strong & brave but also radiate compassion & Grace. So, I must do the same. I refuse to become the person who can’t find one thing in the world that makes the day amazing, even if it’s just that I saw a bunny & it was cute. I like who I am & I want to be the girl who is nice & gives as much as I can to others. I like being that woman because I need to teach my daughters how to spread love. I won’t take people’s cruelty lying down, but I will not spread misery & I hope this teaches my daughters the desire to spread love. I know other moms who feel the same way & I hope we can raise a generation of kids who are loving & not cruel.

IMG_7680.JPG

So, next time you sit behind a user name & take a shot on a random stranger, think about how you’d feel if it was your kid & a classmate. Think about if it was a classmate saying that to your kid. Think about if Miley Cyrus was saying that to you. After all, you’re a stranger to her as she is to you. Say she walked up to you & mocked your hair & your dog & your clothes & said she hoped you died of a drug overdose. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, that’s what you sound like when you hide behind your user name & blast them…& you’re teaching the next generation that it’s okay.