A Letter To Myself

I know it’s hard.

I know that not every week will be like this last week.

I know that working hard pays off.

I also know that working hard sometimes takes everything you have and buries it deep down.

When your best friend tells you she has to put her dog down that she’s had for 15 years, and that you’ve known for 13, down, you’ll feel empty. You’ll support her and check in on her, but you won’t feel sad.

When your partner is trying not to cry because their dog is sick and their little sister is crying, you’ll offer to drive to Kenora and pick up the dog and bring her here. You’ll have little sleep,  you’ll have had a long exhausting day, you’ll drive to meet their dad, drive back home with the dog, your partner and their brother. You won’t talk a lot becuase you’re tired and your back hurts.

When you have to explain to your mom what anxiety attacks are and how your brother might be having them becuase of the PTSD he feels from his hard life, you’ll get annoyed when she asks too many questions. You’ll get mad when she needs to talk more but you have to go.

Today you will watch a Grey’s Anatomy episode where everyone deals with grief and you will go have a shower and cry until it hurts.

You’ll grieve for Oreo and Danielle and feel sad and wish you had gone to take pictures of them so Danielle could cherish them.

You’ll feel sad knowing Raina might not be around much longer, and Court is going to need you.

You’ll think of a bunch of ways to say you love your mom, but you won’t say it.

You’ll want to text your brother, but you won’t.

You’ll try to remember that not every week is going to be this hard, and struggle to understand why some are.

You will go celebrate your best friend’s 25 birthday and come home to Raina, who needs to be the little spoon, and hold her for a bit.

You’ll relax, take a deep breath, and try again tomorrow.

You can do this.

I can figure out the rain

I’ve been thinking about Andrea Gibson. Many people have probably seen me posting about them on Facebook because I’m hosting an event for them in March.

But I don’t think people know what they mean to me. So I want to explain that today.

My mom and I used to share a room in a small apartment because that’s the only option we had at the time. I had just had a concussion that led me to dropping out of school. I started hanging out with my best friend’s friends and they changed my life; my mom didn’t see it that way though.

I came home late one night and woke my mom up coming into our room. For some reason, me having a life just pissed her off. She wouldn’t stop talking about how stupid I was or how I was a failure. These types of arguments weren’t anything new, and the only way I could get away, was to run away.

I called my friend, we’ll call him B, who just dropped me off if he could come back to get me. He did. On the way to his house, he asked me if I’ve ever listened to slam poetry. I said no and was thinking what the heck is that? I don’t understand poetry normally and now I have to listen to slam poetry?

Then I heard their voice:

*********Trigger Warnings**********

The Pursuit of Hapiness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZTm6ENWT2I

Thank Goodness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03FDbQvJ75I

I do

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8oGYyLDxFI

Birthday

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvaV6h2r4-o

The Nutritionsit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UokkCApoB4

And I haven’t stopped listening for four years.

A Letter to White Queers, a Letter to Myself

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpBUenMIe8U

Pansy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjekwfgMrUw

After my concussion, it took me a long time to heal and be able to participate in heavy conversations or to not stare off into the void for who knows how long. B would play their poetry and their words helped my brain attach to them and think about the meanings.

Their words stuck in my soul and were there for me when I couldn’t get out of bed, when I couldn’t stop crying or when I couldn’t cry.

Their words were there the morning after my partner slept over the first time and I knew I wanted to be with them forever.

They came to Winnipeg last June and I got to sit in the front row and make eye contact with them. Then I hugged them and they signed my book and put a heart in it.

My life changed.

Meeting people who touch your soul is priceless.

Meeting them for a second time is all I can think about.

I’ve grown a lot as a person in the last four years. Without B or Andrea Gibson, I’m not too sure where I would be.

“Ya’ll, I know this world is far from perfect.

I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon.

I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic.

But every ocean has a shoreline

and every shoreline has a tide

that is constantly returning

to wake the songbirds in our hands,

to wake the music in our bones,

to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river

that has to run through the center of our hearts

to find its way home.”

-Andrea Gibson

Feminism is lovely

Throughout this week I’ve been running into feminist inspiration and I want to share them with you.

1. On Sunday, it was my beautiful partner’s birthday and I hosted an event that featured a talented, goosebump-giving performer named Ashtyn Walker and a local queer band that should be famous and have their songs featured in dance scenes in movies. They’re called Falaxies and if I were to sum them up in one sentence it would be “inclusively giving everyone listening a good soul shaking and a smile.”

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/Falaxies/?fref=ts

2.Confession time: If I had cable I would be all over The Bachelor.

Bigger confession time: I once applied to be a contestant on The Bachelor. (That would have been funny, “no I can’t marry you Brad I’m GAY, not happy, GAY.”)

Jodie Layne wrote an article on Bustle 2 days ago about The Bachelor and being body positive. Turning off my brain off sometimes to watch shows that go against my better judgment happens, but just because my brain is off, it doesn’t mean the problems in shows stop existing.

Layne talks about how the show focuses mostly on one body type that women have and how it excludes many women, but women keep watching it.

Layne ties in The Bachelor with being body positive when she says, “While the TV program that has its place in delivering me wistful and unrealistic romance (plus tear-stained drama) that I use for blissful escapism on Monday nights isn’t going away any time soon, neither are the women who are excluded from its definition of beauty.”

Read Layne’s full article here: http://www.bustle.com/articles/134979-yes-you-can-be-body-positive-still-enjoy-the-bachelor

3.Instagram is a magical place where popular photos appear on a page where you can discover people. Yesterday, I stumbled upon Steph Jael’s Instagram and was mesmerized by her beautiful photos. I usually never follow someone I don’t know, but this time I let go of my social media shyness and hit the follow button. I also noticed she had a blog, so I went to check it out.

Queer feminist blogs that are open and honest, and talk about issues that I go “hmm yes, that happened to me, ooo good point, f*ck Facebook and their censorship policies,” inspire me to keep blogging about feminism. Supporting other feminist is also important and a great way to learn new things and grow.

Check out her blog here: http://shirtsareforboys.wordpress.com

4.Now, for the icing on the cake, today I was added to a group on Facebook. This group is founded on intersectional feminism (where people from oppressed groups intersect and work together to understand each other’s oppressions) and I’m looking forward to meeting new feminists and queer people in the upcoming months.

I’ve been feeling lazy when it comes to feminism and thankfully, this week has re-lit that spark.

Thanks to everyone supporting me and helping me grow in feminism.

You all mean so much; never forget it.

Trigger Warnings

Hello Friends!

Welcome back to my feminist blog. Coming into a new year, I think it’s important to talk about trigger warnings.

Trigger warnings can be described as either a topic, words, videos, articles that have informtion that can bring the reader or listener back to a place of trauma or uncomfortablilty.

I will use a personal trigger warning as an example, so if you continue reading, please read cautiously.

I’ve had this trigger warning for a few years now but it wasn’t until a class at university that I even knew I had one or what a trigger warning was. If there were sirens or a car accident, I would freeze up or cry or panic. When I hear or see these things, it’s brings me back to the place where I first dealt with the death of someone I knew.

I don’t actively tell people about this and sometimes it happens to me and I’m not aware of what is actually going on.

This happened to me in a class the other day. I dislike my body and want to change it: I want a flatter stomach, thinner arms, more cheek bones, a smaller rib cage. I know some things, like my bone structure, will never change, but I do have control over other things. So when I was triggered, I wasn’t expectig it nor did I know this was a trigger for me.

After reading an absurd memo written by a guy about how a female model on a cover of the magazine had all these “flaws,” my insecurity went through the roof. I can rationalize that this handout was for learning purposes, but a warning before hand would have been nice.

Or would it have been? I think some people don’t always know what triggers them until it does. And everyonce can be triggered by different things or the same things. Some people don’t even believe in trigger warnings and think it’s some feminist way to stop people from sharing opinions.

When there are discussion around sensitive topics, it’s important to use judgement and be aware that some people participating could be triggered. By all means, express your opinions. Just remember that what doesn’t seem to be a sensitive topic or big deal to you, could be to someone else. And that someone else deserves to share their opinions in a safe space.

Over the course of this semester, I will most likely cover topics that contain trigger warnings, like some last semester. Because of a few things I experienced this week, I wanted to take the time to explain this concept, rather than just noting it at the beginning of a post.

Thanks for reading and keeping this blog a safe space for discussions. Let’s hope that 2016 will be a year where feminism grows and Donald Trump stops!