Bye

Well, 2016, what can I say. You destroyed me.

You broke my heart and tested everything that I am.

But, I made it. I’m here. I’ve made it to 2017 – something I didn’t think would happen.

You brought the most amazing people into my life, even if for just a short amount of time. You showed me that being my own person is a priority I neglected for to long. You showed me that when my heart hurts, other people’s, my friends, are hurting too. You showed me empathy and compassion. You showed me that I’m strong – even on days when I can’t get out of bed or can’t stop crying. You showed me I can make it one day to another. You showed me I care.

You showed me that existing is an intense, complex concept that I don’t think I still fully understand. You showed me taking pictures and being a part of nature is the only moment that I truly know what existing means. You showed me I can do the impossible. You showed me new sides of myself, good and bad.

You showed me love in my darkest moments. You showed me hate in my brightest moments. You showed me numbness on good days, and pure heart break on bad days.

You showed me friendship is a powerful, unconditional type of love. You showed me that my friends are the most important aspects in my life. You gave me the opportunity to reconnect to some of them, and you’ve given me a chance to deepen friendships that have, quite frankly, saved my life.

You showed me I can make it.

So.

Dear 2017,

You might need to give me a moment to trust you. There will still be days I can’t get out of bed, and I’ll still have days when the tears won’t stop flowing. But, I think if we work together, it can be a great year and this hurt will heal.

To everyone I love, thank you. Thank you for all of your support and constant love. I hope 2017 is easier for all of you. I hope 2016 has given you a reason to keep existing and to keep growing.

To everyone who has kept me alive, you know who you are, and I love you.

Cheers.

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take it

You took your brown bag back.

I hope you know how much of my memories, tears, laughter, anger and heart is a part of that bag. That bag held me together while I cried in the park while I was on the phone with you, it was there the day I came into work crying because I had just broken up with you. It was there the day I came back to Winnipeg to see you. And it was there when I left after shitty weekend, after shitty weekend and cried all the back to Kenora. It was there when I was on the phone to Mel or my mom while my heart kept breaking. It was there for really sad stories or events I covered. It carries a lot of people’s stories, tears, laughter, triumphs, struggles and heart breaks – including mine.

You said this bag is sentimental to you – it is to me too.

Just know, you took your brown bag back, but you also took the pieces of my heart that you broke.

So, thank you. Thank you for freeing me of pieces of myself that are tainted with you. Thank you for taking the burden of that bag off my shoulders.

I just hope you’re strong enough to carry what you wanted back so bad.

Broken heart

I haven’t written a blog in a while. Reading over my last ones, it’s really easy to see that I wasn’t happy. I was lost.

I made some changes in my life recently that were really hard and took a long time to make. I broke up with my partner of four years. I made the decision to fall in love with myself again and give myself a chance to be my top priority.

It sounds liberating and brave, and people keep telling me I seem different. I feel different. But I don’t know how I feel right now. That’s the hardest part.

I’ve never gone through a break up before, so everything I feel seems to be a new feeling. I can feel nothing but feel OK. I can feel overwhelmed and feel OK. I can feel heart broken but feel OK. I can feel happy and feel OK. Every thing doesn’t seem to be feel real right now – it’s just OK.

When I tell people I’m OK, I feel like I’m lying. But I don’t know what else to say.

I’ve been there for friends who’ve broken up with partners, and I’ve given advice, suggestions, hugs and hope. But now that I’m on this side of it, I am so lost.

I lost myself by being in love, and falling out of love, with someone else. My whole being was dependant on this person, and now that I’m by myself, I don’t know how to be my person.

In Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith and Christina are each other’s person. In my life, my person is my best friend and used to be my ex. My best friend is still my person, and always will be, but now I need to be my own person too.

This is a feminism blog, so I guess to tie my heart ache in with feminism I will say feminism is an empowering movement. Right now, I feel empowered because I decided to put myself first. I’m deciding to take care of myself, even though right now that means figuring out a new routine and crying a lot.

Thank you to all my friends who support me and listen to me rant and cry and try to be OK. I couldn’t do this without any of you.

I love you all, so much.

You’re helping me put my broken heart back together, one tiny piece at a time.

Silence

*Trigger Warnings: Domestic abuse and sexual assault*

Today I’m angry.

I read an article about the correlation between masculinity and aggression and how it’s brought into pro-football. This article was written in 2014 and it referenced some incidents of domestic abuse by football players to their girlfriends, fiancés, and wives from 2005, and all but one incident had some sort of consequence.

The author went on to discuss how when Ray Rice, a football player, hit his fiancé in 2014 in an elevator and dragged her out, people started to realize that some football players are guilty of domestic abuse.

She talked about how when people saw it, they could feel it, and it became real to them compared to the other incidents that were only “allegations” since they weren’t seen or caught on tape.

When I read this, I got angry. I realized that being in a position of power (pro-athlete) and being a man, is basically a get out of jail free card. And yes, not all men, but that’s not the point here.

When someone commits an act of domestic abuse or sexual assault, there NEEDS to be consequences.

We live in a society where the consequences are so insignificant that instead of shutting down violence against women or rape culture, we are helping  it grow.

I saw a post a Facebook a few minutes ago talking about a “Behavioural Contract” at Brandon University that a student who was sexually assaulted had to sign. The way the contract is written is clever. It sounds like the university wants to protect its students, respect them and educate them about issues on campus.

But really, it’s making the victim sign a contract to keep her mouth shut about what happened unless she talks to a counsellor on campus. I don’t know if the abuser has to sign the contract too, but from what I’ve read and from what my understanding is, is that this contract protects the abuser and silences the victim.

I feel like people have been fighting for justice around domestic abuse and sexual assault for a while now. I can’t comprehend why society continues to turn a blind eye towards these issues.

Change the criminal laws to make these real crimes with real consequences. Change the stigma from blaming, shaming, silencing the victims to listening and not passing judgement onto them. Instead of assuming victims are lying and the abuser is innocent, believe the victim and question the abuser and the situation.

I also think it’s time for society to understand, acknowledge, and learn that how victims relate to trauma varies and there are many ways for people to deal with it.

Today I’m angry and I feel something burning in me. I feel connected to my activist and feminist side. I couldn’t read these pieces and not write about them.

I’m writing this piece in solidarity with victims and the women, men, and anyone in between that have not gotten justice and/or continue to struggle to find peace and acceptance in this fucked up society.

I believe you, I support you, I will fight with you.

 

 

 

Creeps and Cat Videos

My mom was and still is overprotective of me. I wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies, a movie that could potentially, maybe have a sex scene, have MSN, Facebook, or an email account until I was 16.

What my mom didn’t know, is that I watched movies that were “inappropriate” for me all the time at my dads house. (my parents divorced when I was younger.) But, because we had a family computer, I never networked online until I graduated high school.

I’ll never be able to reminisce about the cool language on MSN. When people ask me if I know what ASL means, I say American Sign Language – not age, sex, location.

My mom protected me from the evil Internet world because she was afraid of what was lurking in the unknown. She has no social media pages. When someone talks about social media, thank god she has no idea what they’re saying.

Here are a few things I don’t want my mom to know about social media:

  1. You can post ANY picture. I’ve posted a picture of my mom on her birthday that she wasn’t a fan of.Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 2.16.35 PM
  2. My mom knows I’m gay, that I have a partner and that I have opinions. I don’t think she knows that’s basically all I talk about, post about, blog about and tweet about. If my mom knew that you could talk ANYTHING… Lord help us all.
  3. If my mom was on social media, she would want to be my friend. Maybe. I don’t want her to know that I have an option of saying “no” to her friend request, follow request or message request. She would probably stop bringing me homemade muffins.
  4. I think she would honestly have a heart attack if she knew you could Google my name and find most of my social media platforms. Social media, by no means, is private – even if you make accounts private.
  5. My dad is on social media. She might already know this. But the fact that he could potentially add her as a friend or see what she posts, would be enough for her to sell her computer.

The last thing I wouldn’t want my mom to know about social media is that some of the horror stories she’s told me, actually happen. People create fake accounts, befriend you, and get away with creepy things. People can even stalk you on social media. It can be scary using accounts that link back to who knows where.

The only thing I want my mom to know about social media is that you have access to BILLIONS of cat videos. Thanks YouTube.

Reservations by Steven Ratzlaff

When I read the synopses for the plays, I got a sense that they would be intense and bring out a lot of emotion. As the first one started, it was obvious to me that the character’s had specific roles that aligned with certain perspectives on indigenous issues.

I found the dynamics between character and perspective very thought provoking because all three of them had a reason to feel the way they did, but none of them had any resolution or final plan.

For example, Pete feels decides that instead of giving his land to his kids for their inheritance, he wants to give the land to the Siksika Nation. I found it interesting that an older white guy was thinking about the guilt he had over his ancestors’ colonializing the land. I liked that he was aware of the wrongs from the past, but he seemed like he hadn’t thought out his plan. Giving land to the Siksika’s isn’t going to solve anything, but if you want to help them and try to right old wrongs, what are you supposed to do?

I enjoyed the first play but I found the stakes could’ve been raised more. I wanted to see more discussion around why he wanted to give up his land. I wanted to know more about why his daughter, Anna, was so dependant on her inheritance and only seemed to accept Esther’s indigenous roots.

I absolutely loved the second play. The emotions and stubbornness in the character’s perspectives painted a good picture of the reality of people’s thoughts. I noticed myself getting caught up in Jenny’s character and her opinions but then critically thinking about how she is speaking from a position of white privilege. In her mind, she was providing the children the best place to grow up but didn’t understand how she was also contributing indirectly to their loss of culture and roots.

I thought the concept of deracination and devolution a bit tricky to understand but I felt like I got a good sense of what it was in context to the play. I think these are two huge issues that not many people think about. I know some people who saw the play didn’t appreciate the complexity or it’s intellectual level but I think that because of the extensive vocabulary, it made the themes stick. Whether you understood it or not, the concepts still bounce in your head and create discussion surrounding it.

As a philosophy major, I appreciated the philosophy talk at the end and found the relations between the quotes and the personal stories Denise shared at the end really powerful. What stuck with me was how one of Heidegger’s philosophy theories was about how some people choose to live in the presence of God and some choose to live in the absence. Christians reading scared texts from thousands of years ago, and never being called crazy and never having to lose their faith because a more dominant one took over, is acceptable in society. But indigenous people are being shamed for wanting to keep the connection to their roots. When Denise explained she chooses to live in the absence of God by being connecting to the forest and earth, she linked it to why so many indigenous people commit suicide. I interpreted that to mean that indigenous people don’t feel like they have a place on this earth and aren’t able to connect to their interpretation of God, so in order to feel like they belong, suicide is the right answer.

It was also brought to my attention that Heidegger was a German Philosopher and a Nazi. I found it very peculiar that Denise, a well-educated indigenous woman would be so keen to quote him and compare him with the struggle indigenous people face. It could be as simple as the quotes fit well with the point she was trying to make and that she didn’t hold a grudge against his beliefs as a way of moving forward.

The only other play I remember seeing was a long time ago and it was centered around a dance and performance theme. If I’m remembering correctly, it examined drug use. I remember being moved by the performances being incorporated into the play. But I can’t really compare the two issues because I think when you talk indigenous issues, you need to get them across on an educational, intellectual level so people critically think about it. Drug use is a huge issue in our society too but having discussions on drug use doesn’t come from a deep-rooted, cultural systematic problem that’s traced back to a long time ago.

I found the talk back session to be a waste of time and actually took away my buzz from being emotionally involved in the play. I think that when you have a room full of journalism students, you need to be open to answer questions or just not bother at all.

I have no knowledge about the way theatre productions should be made but I really liked the way the play was split in two and the roles and perspectives of the characters stayed the same throughout the entire show.

Overall, I really enjoyed this play and the discussion that have surrounded it.

K-Town

I had the pleasure of going to Kenora as a tourist yesterday. I visit Kenora at least six times a year but yeaterday it became apparent I knew very little about the town. At the end of the day, I learnt some new thing, but  I was still taken back by the beautiful nature aspect of Kenora that you can’t get in Winnipeg.

Here are some photos I took. Enjoy!

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Puppy

This week’s blog post is going to be short and sweet.

On Friday, my Creative Writing class workshopped my screenplay. I wrote about some personal experiences, and potential future experiences, through a queer and a trans character. I was really nervous because I don’t create that much content in classes about me being queer as I thought I would. This was the first time I made myself be vulnerable in front of my class with a queer story.

I don’t think anyone knew that some of the things in the screenplay are reflective of my experiences but it was an amazing feeling hearing people say they liked the idea and the concept. People gave me great feedback and criticism, and I’m excited to improve my screenplay.

This past week was really stressful and sad. But it was also progressive, refreshing and a new beginning, in a way. I’m excited to start this week on a good note and end it in Kenora drinking wine with friends.

Have a great week everyone!

Ps. Look at this dog. His name is Cujo.

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Cujo the dog. Photo by: Court

 

Confused Feminist

I woke up this morning feeling happy because I dreamt of some really cute kittens and I could remember how soft and chubby they felt. My thoughts switched from wanting to be a kitten foster again to worrying about what to write for my blog post this week.

I’ve found that over the last few weeks, I’ve been having trouble deciding on what topic to write about. Did something happen that week that bothered me? Did something happen in the news that bothered me? Did someone make a comment that was offensive? Yes, yes, and yes.

So why can’t I write about these things?

Feminism, to me, is something I’m constantly moving around in and figuring out where I fit. Compared to when I first discovered what feminism was and that I could fit into it, my thoughts, beliefs mindset have changed. In four years, I’ve experienced things, learnt things, met people with different ideas than me, which have all pushed me to explore feminism in a deeper sense.

It also became clear to me that there are different forms and levels to feminism. As a white woman, I have a privileged feminism. As an able-bodied woman, I have a privileged feminism. As a cisgender person, I have a privileged feminism. As a straight-passing person, I have a privileged feminism. But, as a queer woman, I also experience oppressions on a daily basis.

I believe I’m an intersectional feminist. For example, as a woman, I can relate and share my experiences to other women. By relating and sharing my experiences I can learn about oppressions that, for example, a black woman might experience and how they are different than mine. So as a white able-bodied queer woman, I feel like I connect with a lot of people and also learn about a lot of people.

But at the same time that I feel free in feminism, I feel limited to only my feminism. Over the last few weeks, there have been many articles and feminist groups on my Facebook page that have been talking about and analyzing certain issues that I feel like if I were to write about it or express my opinions on a public platform, it would come off as a privileged, oppressive piece because of my privileges.

On the flip side of that, as a white woman feminist, I can be accused of only being a “white feminist” and only being worried about issues that affect my oppressions and me.

I struggle with finding a middle balance in that respect. I do acknowledge my oppressions and privileges and how they are different from other peoples but how do I learn and have conversations about other people’s oppressions when some platforms don’t want to hear from me?

Since I’ve been struggling with this, I’ve found that I’m taking on a “lazy feminist” attitude. I have internal dialogues or conversations with people I’m comfortable with but won’t push myself to actually engage in discussions on some topics.

As I’m writing this post now, I feel like I’m whining and privileged because I can take time to figure out where I want to be in feminism. At the same time, I think it’s a good thing to question your privileges, oppressions, intersectionality and solidarity.

So, the conclusion I can draw from this post is that I’m confused about where to fit into feminism and in turn I’m having a tough time committing and writing about issues.

 

 

 

 

Mascot Madness

I get excited for Festival du Voyageur every year. When I heard there was a Mascot Challenge,  I knew  my photo essay for journalism class had to be about this event!

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Le Festival du Voyageur (Festival) brings people of all ages together to celebrate Voyageur, Métis and French culture. Le Festival even brings the city’s well-known mascots to the Voyageur Park for the Mascot Challenge.

Kids of all ages and their families gathered around to cheer on their favourite mascots in a hay bale race and tug a war in front of le Fort Gilbraltar.

Mike E. Moose, BINjamin, Buzz and Léo La Tuque, Festival’s mascot since 1972, are some of the popular mascots at the event.

After the challenges, kids wanted their pictures taken with all the mascots. Parents were happy to take pictures and laughed as they got their picture taken too.

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Léo La Tuque, the first mascot to arrive for the Mascot Challenge at Festival Park on Saturday, is greeted by a young fan./DANELLE GRANGER

 

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Mascots DomoRoo from Domo (right), Pelle the Penguin from Corpell’s Water (left) and Trusty from Winnipeg Block Parents (centre) make their way to the Mascot Challenge at Festival Park Saturday./DANELLE GRANGER

 

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All the mascots at the Mascot Challenge take a group picture with kids from the audiene in front of le Fort Gilbraltor in Festival Park Saturday afternoon./DANELLE GRANGER

 

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Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s mascots Boomer (left) and Buzz (right) race each other in the first challenge at the Mascot Challenge Saturday as the crowd cheers them on./DANELLE GRANGER

 

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Winnipeg Jets’ mascot Mike E. Moose carries BINjamin’s hay bale because he couldn’t bend over to pick it up in the Mascot Challenge Saturday./DANELLE GRANGER

 

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The mascots break off into two teams for a round of tug a war in the second challenge at the Mascot Challenge in Festival Park Saturday./DANELLE GRANGER

 

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Green Drop poses with some kids after the Mascot Challenge event, while Willie from Lilac Resort puts a smile on a little boy’s face./DANELLE GRANGER

 

With all these mascots, how could you not take a selfie with Safari Stan from Petland?

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