URGENT! NOW!

October 16, 2011 at 12:39 am (Uncategorized)

It’s been awhile since I have written anything. It’s been too long since I have had something powerful enough to write about that I am FORCING myself to make the time for it.

I wanted to spread the love and encourage scores of people to join me in the occupation of Vancouver today. Most of my text messages didn’t get responses. A lot of people still hadn’t heard about the whole movement of http://www.occupytogether.org … And to be honest, that scares me. A HUGE, global movement is happening, and a lot of people thought that I was talking about a cafe, a restaurant, a movie… you name it.

Look. Maybe you weren’t there today. Maybe you won’t come tomorrow. Maybe you haven’t learned enough about this movement, this revolution, to know if you support it yet.
But I hear SO MANY of you talking about how change is needed, change is necessary, and frequently quoting some of Ghandi’s finest words “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” You post inspiring things on Facebook. I hear talk of “one day”, “consciousness”, etc. But: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

This is your chance, and this is the change. It was a beautiful day for a revolution. It was a beautiful day to join the 99% – which most of you belong to! – in saying “this is something bigger than myself”.

I don’t care how this affects me. I don’t care how this affects you. I care how it affects US – all of us. Individualism, narcissism, ignorance, greed, corruption, and lack of understanding got us into this mess in the first place.

Here’s your chance to get out of this trap. I know that there are so many reasons you won’t set foot on Art Gallery soil for Occupy Vancouver. You balance work AND go to university, like I do right now. You don’t know much about politics and maybe are a little bit embarrassed about it. You feel as though it may just be a silly hippie festival, and that you have better things to do. Maybe you think that nothing will come of it, and will later be embarrassed to have been a part of it.
I don’t think so. In fact, maybe you are afraid to lend your voice… because you fear that – as Mandela said – you are “powerful beyond measure”.
Even though I didn’t see many of you today… you have a golden opportunity. You can stand up for what’s right – freedom, justice, honesty, and REAL equal opportunity – or you can make excuses for why you can’t be a part of it.

All I know is, I have heard SO much conversation about the urgency of change in our world, our society, our system, our city. And now, you CAN do something. We can use OUR voice (not just YOUR voice) and say to the whole world that we can unite and overcome these injustices. You don’t have to be all talk anymore. You can contribute to something BIGGER than yourself!

Are you scared? Good. You should be. This is what rocking the boat feels like. And I am proud that in the next few decades, I will be able to say, “yes, I was there. I was at the first general assembly of Occupy Vancouver. I made it every day to show my support in whatever way I could. I was a part of the change, and I am a small part of the reason that our lives are better now than they were before.”

Stop talking. Start doing. Here’s your chance. Wake up.

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I wonder if she’s beautiful.

August 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm (Uncategorized)

I hadn’t seen you before, but on my way in the door, I waved and smiled.

It was something about your eyes. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on…

But as you demurely nodded a greeting back at me, behind the long eyelashes, I saw a pair of eyes looking back at mine.

Round, dark, espresso-colored eyes. They even turned up at the corners, smiling slightly, asking the world to join in your mischief.

It was only the first chapter.  That was just a first glance.  I could have sworn that you were almost flirting with me.

Why is it wrong to look at you? I think that you must be so beautiful… it’s true what they say about us.  Our lips, our hair, and our legs can drive the world into a mad frenzy, and can make normal men melt into helpless puddles… we are at once intoxicating, alluring, and intimidating.

Your eyes are so gorgeous. I wish I had told you.  I wonder what the rest of you looked like.  I can imagine that you have a very kind smile.  Your hair must be long and dark, and I think your cheeks were round, giving you a perpetually pleased look.  You were quite petite, but looked fit and young.  I wonder if you like to run? Swim? Play soccer? Have you ever played before?

I wish you’d said hello.  I wish you would drive those men wild, and turn them into those helpless man-puddles simply by batting those long eyelashes.  I wish you wouldn’t care how the world reacted at the sight of your lips, your hair, and your body in comfortable, fitted clothing.  I wish you could express your own sense of style.

I wondered if you liked to dance. I wanted to know what your deepest desires were.  Moments after we stood in front of each other, I intrusively wondered what you really wanted.

I have to say, I don’t understand why things are the way they are.  I wonder how much you have studied? What books have you read? I wonder if your husband asks you these questions?

I wish I could have seen you, all of you.  I so wanted to lift off your scarf, your veil, and maybe kiss your cheek.  I wanted to tell you all of these things, and tell you how much I envy and adore your beautiful eyes.

I wish I had already told you.

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SWIM! Swim for your life! You don’t have a choice.

May 17, 2011 at 8:07 pm (Uncategorized)

Joy of joys!  After a promise to myself that I would stop feeding into the victim pattern of seeing so many doctors who have kept me sick and unhappy, I am over bronchitis (and yes, I did take the meds… I’m not going to be stupid here), and back to physical activity.

After a good workout yesterday at my boxing gym (I got my ass kicked, and then kicked my own ass some more), I figured that today, I would go for a swim, and mix things up a bit. 

On my beautiful, wonderful trip to Brazil, my lover and I decided to go to Buzios for a day.  It was paradise.  The greenish-blue water, the old tall-mast wooden ship we hopped on to sail the sea, the peaceful town, the scorching hot sunshine toying with the warm breeze… and as we jumped off the boat into the water, we realized that we couldn’t swim as strongly as we used to!  We definitely decided that we wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy surfing in the rough waves in Rio.  So, I decided to become a better swimmer.

With aching muscles from yesterday’s workout, I walked the half-block to the community centre and signed up with a cheap membership.  After half an hour of swimming, I was exhausted! Taking tired, sore muscles for a swim (think: tons of resistance through all that water) is pretty tough.  But I am SET on becoming a better swimmer. 

You know what’s so great about swimming? It’s pretty good motivation.  If you aren’t working hard enough, or aren’t strong enough… you drown.  Yep.  You can’t give up halfway through a lap the same way you can give up halfway through your treadmill run.  You stop swimming, you inhale water.  Damn good motivation for me!

Of course, the pool at the YMCA is only 1.2 metres deep during the lane swim times.  You won’t drown, you just touch the bottom of the pool and stand there, in everyone’s way. 

My point is: I have found that I LOVE exercise most when it involves learning a new skill.  It is amazing to think of the great things your body is capable of.  I am in awe of our strength and potential!  Any kind of exercise is great, but…

With boxing, I have become so much stronger.  I can lift heavier things, move faster, breathe easier, have peace of mind, AND defend myself.

Swimming is a life skill.  I can take a trip by boat with less worry, jump into a pool or the ocean with less worry, develop endurance and coordination, learn to breathe properly and hold my breath underwater… and enjoy developing this new skill.  Because if you don’t work hard at this particular skill, your survival may depend on it… and if you decide to jump off a boat one day… well, you may REALLY regret not getting enough exercise or practice.  Oops.

If you exercise solely to improve your appearance… let’s face it, you wont get very far or last very long.  If you don’t like the type of exercise you do, you will eventually burn out and stop doing it.  Unless you love it and are learning from it, you won’t keep it up.  Exercising for your well-being, to grow stronger and healthier, for pleasure, or to develop a new skill and perfect it… well, it’s easy to wake up in the morning for those kinds of things.  And, being a beautiful, healthy person will just be a great added benefit to feeling wonderful.

Not that I am suggesting that every sport should pose a risk to your safety.

But sometimes it helps push you a bit further if it does.

Happy sweating!

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Fucking off = feeling good.

May 16, 2011 at 11:05 am (Uncategorized)

After a few exhausting years, I am FINALLY done with doctors.  I’m setting myself free!  I will go to my next scheduled appointment, and then: I will schedule no more.  I took a bus to North Vancouver today to have a 10 minute appointment for my doctor to tell me (once again, which I have known for quite a while now) that I am anemic.  Iron pills and then iron shots in my butt cheeks didn’t work, and she said she wanted to get to the bottom of this so I wouldn’t feel so sick anymore. 

So she told me to start taking some of those great pills again.

Really? I came all the way over here for you to give me advice that didn’t work months earlier, advice I had been following from 2 other doctors for a few years (before I even moved to New York)?

Here’s what I finally have to say to you: Fuck off.

Yes! It feels so good.  Fuck. Off.  Fuck your indifferent attitudes, fuck your rushing me in and out of your office for a million appointments, none in which any of you ever listened to me.

Fuck never even checking any of my medical records, past or very recent past, to actually know anything about me, when you requested those records in the first place (and I had to pay for them, too).

Fuck your lies, your scams, your brush-offs, your COMPLETELY contrary write-ups in my reports based on what I told you.  I don’t even recognize the wrong symptoms in my surgeon referral report from the dumb bitch doctor at St. Paul’s.  Fuck her advice to completely stop every activity, even walking, take time off work and go on disability (I make $8 right now, great idea doc!), so that a bone the size of half my pinkie that’s been broken and splintered for 2 years “might” heal, after my last doctor told me there is no chance it would heal without surgery.  Fuck how rude she was to me and my father in her office.

Fuck the old coot who left my needle lying beside me as he left the room after my injections.  Fuck his short-term, quick-fix attempt at solutions, which he knew deep down wouldn’t work.

Fuck the people who are in this “healthcare” industry for the money.  Or because their parents made them become doctors.  Fuck all of you who don’t care, didn’t care, and couldn’t give a shit if any of your patients died.

Fuck the E.R. doctor who said (loud enough for me to hear behind my curtain) that he wanted to “just get her the hell out of here, and out of my sight”, about a prostitute off the street who had been stabbed.

Fuck the clinic doctors who wrote me so many prescriptions, poisoning my body and immune system, with drugs that made me feel worse.  Fuck the pharmacist who, when she asked if I’d like an explanation on how to use my drugs,thought it would be a great help to just read the package instructions out loud: “Take one a day. Okay? Bye for now!”

Fuck the “healthcare” industry in Vancouver that has no regard for neither health nor care.  Fuck the system that wont let the 5% of good doctors who actually can do their job properly, do their job properly.  Fuck prescription drugs, fuck numbing the symptoms.

Fuck you.  My orders for inactivity from my doctors has caused more anxiety and depression and problems than any other health problem I have had.  I feel that you have tricked me into staying sick.  You have created problems that didn’t exist before you stuck them in my head.  All of my appointments had you confirming that, yes, I’m sick, I need this and that, my foot’s broken, and I am anemic but we somehow can’t help you because we don’t want to try.  You made me more sick.  Sitting in your offices did me no good.  I should have known better, and it was my fault that I had any faith in you, when all I have been doing is hurting myself in reaffirming feeling terrible, when I should have given you the finger and walked out when none of you helped me one bit.

Fuck you for trying to make me feel like a victim.  I won’t let you anymore.

Fuck the health and wellness industry scams that took my money, my time, and my faith.  Fuck the phony self-proclaimed experts trying to make a couple quick bucks off of sick people.  Fuck expensive pills, vitamins, supplements, juices, and faulty products that do nothing but further crush the hope of sick people who want nothing more than their health back.

Fuck off to all of it!  I am going to do it all without you.  I’m going to box, and run, and hike, and swim.  You have already forgotten me, and I know that my chances of getting the surgery I need are slim because it cuts into your golf time.  Don’t bother trying to explain how any of this works – you’ve never tried in the first place.

Fuck your ignorance.  Fuck how you have ignored my painful symptoms that you always claim you knew nothing about.  Fuck you, doctors and healthcare industry, for choosing to play dumb and never address a certain problem that I express concern about every time I see you.

I’m going to eat healthy, exercise, and be happy.  I won’t spend another CENT on the next so-called miracle cure, solution, or supplement, when I know it’s going into the pocket of a greedy, uncaring scam artist without giving me an ounce of benefit.

Fuck off so I can feel good.  No more offices, waiting rooms, injections, blood tests, breath tests, prescriptions, promises for referrals which never come through, terrible receptionists, and all the bullshit you’ve spewed forth instead of taking 5 minutes of an appointment to truly listen.   I won’t support your lies anymore.  I will choose how I am going to live.

Fuck off – I don’t need any of you.  I’m ready to be healthy all by myself.

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Getting old and getting daisies.

May 9, 2011 at 11:27 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s my birthday tomorrow! And – I’m okay with getting old.

It’s so nice to really enjoy all the little things that you couldn’t understand when you were younger!  Like flowers.  When you are really young, sure, flowers are pretty.  But they were really just lumped into the category of “things my mom liked”. Nowadays…. oh, man.  Getting flowers is probably my absolute FAVORITE gift to receive.  No kidding.  Any kind, too… in fact, it’s interesting to see what kind of flowers people choose for you! There is nothing that can compare with the feeling of seeing someone who loves you hand you a bouquet of flowers, or a plant.  When my girlfriends give me flowers, they smile and gleefully hand it over as I squeal a little, blurting out the typical ladylike response of “For me? Aaaw! How sweet! Oh, they are SO beautiful!”

When a boy gives me flowers?  I caught my boyfriend at the supermarket (on my way home from work) with the biggest bouquet of bright flowers, awkwardly holding them the way guys do.  I think I have mentioned this before, but I will say it again: seeing men holding/carrying flowers is my favorite thing in the world.  So, to see MY lover holding them for ME… let’s just say I embarrassed him enough, kissing and hugging and “awww”-ing for about 10 minutes, and actually jumping up and down like a little kid because I was SO happy that I was the lucky girl.  He just smiled, kissed me, and told me I ruined the surprise.

Hand Tied Bouquet - Step 2  It sounds ridiculous, but I love how he looks when he hands them to me.

I appreciate many more little things (at the ripe old age of soon-to-be 24, which I think I will be by the time I finish this blog) with each year that passes.  Flowers mean more to me with each year that passes because of all the memories I have attached to them… and I can only imagine it will get better.  Roses for graduation when I finish a degree, lilies on Mother’s Day from my kids someday, flowers at my wedding, maybe…  I can think of a few more things that get better with age.

1) Flowers. Of course.

2) Sleep. Sleep is more valuable to me with each passing year, and going to sleep early these days is SUCH a special treat… getting enough good quality sleep is so important.  But who cared when we were kids? Forget it!

3) Food! Sure, I loved peanut butter and watermelon (and only these things, for a while), and I still do love them, but I am learning about so many other great delicacies… like onions.  I only started eating and enjoying them this year!  What was I thinking back then, picking them off pizza, and ordering meals in restaurants with no onions?  Food that stinks is better when you’re older.  Garlic, onions, mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, eggs, and brie cheese are some of the new and exciting foods I have been eating in just the last 3 short years.  I have SO much to catch up on.

4) Coffee. Yes, it could be in the food category, but it’s different.  Coffee was great when I was 16, and wanted to get a wicked energy buzz before a math test.  But it’s so much better now that I actually appreciate the bittersweet taste.  I drink it black most of the time, I no longer cringe when I drink an espresso… I sip coffee to make it last.  I enjoy it in the morning, afternoon, or after dinner, over a long conversation with an old friend, and LOVE how it warms my hands when it is cold and rainy outside.

5) Kids. I have more and more patience with every birthday that comes my way.  I’ve realized that I actually really like playing with kids – I can be carefree for a couple of hours and play tag, make art, watch a cartoon or 3D movie.  Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from those little runts.  I like answering their questions.  I like their trust, and their inability to lie to you (when they are younger, not the older kids, I guess).  They are so honest about everything!  Babies, however, terrify me.  They are really just gooey amoebas that are always on the brink of extreme volume and liquid expulsion.  They can’t communicate properly… they are not like the rest of us… they still kind of remind me of little aliens…. anyways.  I think it’ll just take me a couple more years to get used to them.

6) Family.  As I get older, I am more accepting, and eager to keep in close contact with family – not just immediate family.  It hurts to know that I am not close with my extended family.  I know how cool my cousins are (especially the ones I saw this summer while travelling.  No joke, my family is pretty hilarious.  Seeing my family on the East Coast was a great part of my trip)… we just haven’t spoken in so long (some longer than others), that it is hard to know where to start.  But I really want to start.  I think this year will be different.

7) Talking to strangers.  You probably wouldn’t believe it, but I was really shy when I was young.  Until I went to school.  And now, it’s impossible to shut me up.  I used to want everyone to leave me alone.  These days, I can’t leave my apartment without meeting someone new.  I love meeting new people, talking to people in my neighbourhood, and I especially love running into people I already know.  I think it’s because I sometimes feel lonely living here.  I still think lots of people in Vancouver are quite reserved and keep to themselves… and as much as possible, I defy that and blah-blah-blah all day long.  In fact, it made me realize how much I like language and want to study linguistics. Go figure.  When you’re an old bat, one thing always seems to lead to another.

Can anyone reading this think of any more to add to the list?  I am officially 24 now! And I am looking forward to going to sleep. 

I can’t wait to see the rest of this year.

Picture from www.janescottflowers.com

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Whatever happened to TwoLiter?

April 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm (Uncategorized)

I trekked out to North Vancouver last week to see my new doctor.  My GOD, I needed a new family doctor!  My old guy (no pun intended) is 79 years old, and would forget why I would come in for a follow-up that he requested, would leave my iron dextran (USED) needle on the patients table beside me, and made a bunch of other mistakes that doctors shouldn’t make.  Time to retire!

I don’t remember the last time I felt healthy. Sure, there are sometimes I feel better than others, because I can ignore how I feel when I am with friends, or when I was having a great time in Brazil… but on the whole, I’ve felt pretty sick for a while, and as much as I want to just pretend that it’s okay, I’m starting to get scared.  Summing it up, let’s just say that I desperately need a doctor who will listen better.

After my consultation, I was feeling drained and still pretty sad.  This health stuff had kind of left me feeling down lately, especially since I came back from Brazil.  To be honest… it’s not just the health stuff, but I always feel a tiny bit lonely in Vancouver.  Does anyone else who has lived here feel that way?  I’ve travelled a decent amount in Canada, the United States, a bit of Europe, and a bunch of Brazil, and Vancouver is different from everywhere I have been.  Yes, it’s beautiful, but…BUT…

I went to the Starbuck’s on 17th street and Lonsdale, a half block from the doctor’s office. It’s nice to enjoy little things on a dreary day. The sun was actually shining (BIG deal in this city!), and I was standing in line to buy a giant, scorching hot coffee. Mmmm. I felt better already.  After waiting my turn, I had been people-watching for a while, and by the time I was putting a lid on my coffee, I was thinking “Wow, I forgot how many crazy people live around here.”  I don’t come back into North Van very often, and especially not to central Lonsdale.  I used to work at a Blenz coffee shop on 15th and Lonsdale in my last year of high school, and the year after that, and it was the same picture:

People talking to themselves, talking to no one, shaking a little, twitching a little, slouching just a bit, seeing past you and through you when you are standing right in front of them, people sipping their coffee outside while sucking back a cigarette, stamping it nervously on the ground, and immediately lighting another one, and waving it around for a minute, and then stamping that one, picking them both up, asking weird questions for directions they don’t need, staring into their coffee, stirring and stirring, pacing back and forth occasionally, laughing nervously when you smile at them, laughing nervously all by themselves at nothing at all…

Lions Gate Hospital is nearby. I got so used to seeing people like this when I worked at Blenz, and it’s almost half of the people I see around North Van – and I think as many as are in downtown (except, of course, the downtown eastside – DTES).  MUCH more than in Brazil. In fact, I saw some homeless people in Brazil, sure. And of course I saw poverty there… but I didn’t see any mentally ill people, maybe one or two (aside from the crack-kids in Salvador…but that’s a drug issue, not mental illness).  Why?  Brazil has its problems.  The divide between the rich and the poor is noticeable, and in some places it’s huge!  But I just didn’t see any so-called “crazy” people. When I worked at Blenz, it was something that my friends and I would occasionally make jokes about in order to make light of the situation, but of course we felt for these people, who couldn’t work and would sit on our coffee shop patio, just looking for something to pass the time alone.  It was sad to see someone having a lonely conversation… and I would talk to the most crazy-looking people quite often because I though they needed real, human contact most of all. Plus, it was probably the most interesting part of the day. We would ignore the perverts, and talk to the “crazies”.

But…

Why?  Why are there so many mentally ill people in this neighbourhood? In North Van? In Vancouver, in general? Everyone who lives in North Vancouver boasts about how clean it is. About how it is the perfect neighbourhood in which to raise a family and send your kids to school.  They even like to brag about how much money they all have, and how big and beautiful and perfect their houses and cars are… North Vancouver is a self-proclaimed Pleasantville.

I could never live there again. No offense, but I grew up there, and it’s not for me. It’s super quiet, there’s not a whole lot to do unless you can afford to ski/snowboard, and it’s full of clique-y people who enjoy their “community” just the way it is.  As in, no outsiders, please.  It’s a lot of gossip. It’s too many people who have too much they don’t appreciate.  It’s 8 year olds with Iphones.  Enough said. But the worst part is, it’s SO lonely living there.  Many people act like they don’t have time to talk to each other, or even smile at each other.  They are scared to make new friends and try new things. They treat service staff like servants (as I saw in Starbucks yesterday, when the cute girl working at the counter was surprised when I asked “how’s it going?”), and don’t understand the concepts of humility and respect.  I’m not talking about everyone, but it’s definitely the great majority of the population there, from my experience.

Maybe it’s because there is so much rain in North Vancouver.  I mean, they get even more than downtown, and Vancouver in general can be pretty grumpy because of the rain – it definitely dampens my mood.  But the North Vancouverites tend to get a bit more… rude.  I think it may be because they are constantly trapped under the low-hanging rain clouds, and that’s exactly how it makes you feel: trapped. But aside from the grumps, I have a theory that because all these people can not see the sun for sometimes WEEKS at a time, it gets to their heads a little.  I know that rain and loneliness don’t cause mental illness… but is there maybe a possibility that it sparks mental problems in some people?  If you were stuck in a grey, cold, wet place, with no one to talk to for so long… with no one who wanted to understand you… well, damn it, it’s lonely when no one understands you.  Maybe these people talk to themselves because no one else will listen to them.

We had a regular at Blenz, and his nickname was TwoLitre.  He always had a two-litre jug of soda with him in a plastic bag.  He always had a pack of cigarettes handy, and would smoke nervously outside while drinking his Supremo coffee, loaded with extra sugar.  He was over six feet tall, with brown hair and a permanent look of confusion stamped on his face.  He would come into the cafe, and ask hurriedly “Can I borrow a penny for a sec?!” Of course he could… and we would watch him walk right into the middle of the intersection at 15th street and Lonsdale, in the middle of traffic, and while the agitated drivers honked their horns and steered around him, he would look to the sky and throw the penny as high up in the air as he possibly could.  With his head turned to the sky, completely oblivious to the chaos around him, he would watch the penny fall to the ground.  Crouching over the dull penny, he would frown, shake his head, pick it up, and bring it back to us.  He gave us the same response every time:

“It didn’t work. Thanks anyways.”

I never asked. I probably wouldn’t have understood anyways. But I haven’t really seen TwoLitre since I moved back here from NYC… and I hope that things worked out the way he wanted, with or without the lucky penny, whatever it was for.  He may have talked to himself the majority of the time, but when he was talking to me, buying his coffee, he always said please and thank you.  I don’t think he’d remember me, but I hope he’s found some more friends to talk to.

As for the people who have gone further into another world – the drug addicts of Vancouver, especially those on the DTES – I think they were lonely once, too, and that most of them were alone when they started to make bad choices. I realized that I was holding back tears a few days ago while riding the bus through the DTES.  It pained me to think that most of these people just didn’t have someone who loved them enough to help them, guide them, love them.  Maybe they just had no one around at the worst point in their lives… maybe no one would listen to them when they really would have taken that helping hand.  I finally saw these beautiful, sad people for who they were: not outcasts of our prim and proper city, not pests, not weak, not just crazy people asking for spare change… but just lonely people who got stuck long ago in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I wiped my eyes and felt so selfish to be crying for them, and neglecting to talk to them and help them this whole time.  I still won’t give spare change, but I want to know how their days are.

I don’t like the word “crazy” anymore. I think the true “crazy” ones are the people who are so very sheltered and withdrawn, the ones who can’t even bring themselves to smile when they look at one another on the bus.

As for the homeless people, the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the confused and the scared? I will always think of them as the “lonely” people.  The “lonelies”.

Don’t hide your children from these beautiful people, don’t say hurtful things to them or act like they disgust you. They are human.  It could have been you in their shoes. 

Don’t leave the “lonelies” alone too much.  I may be too hopeful to think we could replace heroin with “hello”, but it could be a start in the right direction.

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Self, self, self? Put it on the shelf.

January 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm (Uncategorized)

No more fake lashes, fake hair, or fake smile.

Put down your judgements and stay for a while.

Take off your Spanx, and your push-up bra, too –

I liked you much better when you looked just like YOU.

Stop taking the juice, why inject or shoot?

You know you felt better without it, to boot.

Stop asking, demanding, and swindling more

Than the meager amount you’re willing to work for.

I admired your dreams, your wishes, your drive

But I think you got lost somewhere along the ride.

What made you entitled, special, superior?

What made others like you seem so inferior?

The truth: you’re not special. Never were, and won’t be.

You’re better! You’re human – like us, them, and me.

It’s phony to spend so much more than you make

Your selfish debt will be an enormous mistake.

Plastic and silicon become permanent, too –

Again – you were better at just being you.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, so far

While your head’s up your ass as you drive your new car…

And the last time you listened? Had empathy, a heart?

Can you even remember those things from the start?

Get back to reality, it’s around you indeed –

Fake fantasy worlds are not what you need.

There’s much to be said of truth and humility

These things aren’t so far beyond your ability.

Where did humanity go? What’s gone wrong?

We’re all listening to that meaningless song:

Me, me, me, myself, and I.

Your pathetic if reality TV makes you cry…

Don’t idolize self-entitled, wasted-away wanks

Stop feeding your ego, and start to give thanks.

The days of the narcissists soon will be over –

Now when was the last time you had great sex – sober??

Do you throw away people like you toss out the trash?

Are you only living for Fridays – and getting smashed?

“I need to work on myself” – That’s not new!

Because the world only turns according to you.

No need for relationships, real love or real friends,

Manipulation and lies are your means to ends.

Quit kidding yourself – a selfish life is a waste

On top of all this, you lost dignity and good taste.

Your bubble will burst, the picture will be clearer

By the time your done at the gym with the bright shiny mirror.

We see you for what you’ve truly become:

A pathetic, useless, self-obsessed no-one.

“Self-help” turned into “self-obsession” quite fast,

But this lifestyle of falsehood’s not likely to last.

Nobody said you had something to prove,

See, you look down on us – as we’re laughing at YOU.

It’s substance, passion, and truth we desire

How can you cook without any fire?

Quit talking about only yourself all the time.

You embarrass yourself, and all of mankind.

Be grateful for life, for love, and freedom

Be grateful for those who’ve been there when you need ’em.

Let’s get back to work, and value our wealth

And it wouldn’t hurt to take care of your health…

Don’t kid yourself, you’re not “free” when your wasted

When you can be happy sober – that’s joy that’s been tasted

Come back to the truth, because you know in the end

That your self-obsession pushed away your last friend.

Treat loved ones with care, and get back to Earth

You’ll never regret what your honest life’s worth… 

This isn’t our fate, and this isn’t the end.

Dust off your values, and life’s on the mend.

You may get hurt, you may fail, you may fall

But you’ll really deserve your success after all.

Be honest, be naked, be vulnerable, too

And at last – let the rest of us love the real you.

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Tenho um sonho.

November 25, 2010 at 7:13 pm (Uncategorized)

It may sound childish, but I love starting a countdown: less than 3 months ’til my trip to Brazil!  I can’t think about anything else.  I wake up and listen to samba, reggae and bossa nova, Gil and Jobim… I read my Brazil travel books (Lonely Planet, Fodor’s) and make notes on my trip planner journal online (for each city!).  I meet up with a Brazilian friend (one who has been very patient and kind) once a week to practice my Portuguese, and when I have some time to spare before work, I attempt to read the BBC Brasil news website (in Portuguese). I am so incredibly in love with this country and everything about it – the music, the food, the beaches, rainforest, and wetlands, the culture, and of course: the people. 

 I have been dreaming about this since I was 17 years old.  I can’t wait to sink my toes into the sand at Barra da Lagoa, to get lost in the concrete jungle of Sao Paulo, to be romanced by Rio, to samba in Salvador, and to see the Encontro das Aguas in the Amazon.  I realized while discussing this trip with my boyfriend (who will meet me in Rio) that I truly believe that I will be in Brazil for some of the best times the country has ever seen: the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics are approaching, and everyone seems to be preparing early.  We can be part of the anticipation!   He agreed with me when I said with certainty that we will be travelling at such a perfect time, and I have proclaimed to everyone who will listen that I couldn’t be more excited. 

I was quite upset when, upon checking the BBC News website today, I saw this:People walk past a vehicle set on fire during riots at Jacarezinho slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  

That doesn’t look like the Rio I’ve been dreaming of… how could this happen in such a beautiful city?

Of course, Rio has it’s problems. EVERY city has it’s problems.  But things are changing every day in cities like Rio.  Aren’t they?

What happened?  Uncle BBC says: “Police in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have deployed armoured vehicles in a shanty town as they continue operations to stem a wave of violence….Clashes in Rio since the weekend have left at least 30 people dead….Drug gangs have been burning vehicles and opening fire in an attempt to halt police operations aimed at pacifying the favelas, officials say.”

The violence is believed to have been ordered by imprisoned gang members in retaliation for the police presence in the favelas, which was an attempt to gain security and control in these areas. Many of the drug dealers who had been forced out of their homes and neighbourhoods have taken up residence in Vila Cruzeiro, where a special operations police force and military police are ready for action, with armed vehicles and lots o’ guns.

It’s difficult for Canadians to understand this.  Sure, we had some rioting at the G20 summits.  But it’s still not quite the same… and to put it simply: I don’t understand how a country that has moved forward so much in such a short time can leave so many people behind… I don’t know if I will ever really understand.  All I know is that even though I am Canadian, I haven’t even been to Brazil just yet, and it’s still heartbreaking to see a headline such as this one.  What’s most frustrating and sad is that (according to telegraph.co.uk), approximately 1/3 of the people of Rio (pop. 6 million) live in slums (of which there are over 1,000). 

I can’t explain why I feel so close to Brazil. I met a young couple from Porto Alegre in my bar a few months ago, and they asked me why I wanted to go to Brazil so badly.  I was so overwhelmed by the question, and would have had trouble explaining my many answers in Portuguese anyway, so all I could say was “Não posso explicar porque!”  I had no idea how to explain it.  It’s like when you hear so many good things for so long about a person you have never met… and when you finally meet him or her, you’ve had such good thoughts and feelings about him/her (and love them just a little bit already) that you run up to this stranger, embrace them, kiss their cheeks and say “Finally! I have been waiting so long to be your friend! Thank God you don’t have to be a stranger anymore!”  I think that’s it.  I have been waiting a very long time to meet a beloved, soon-to-be-friend. 

That being said, I hate seeing my friends get hurt.  I hope that there will continue to be economic and social progress made in Brazil, so that the world can see this country for how great it really is… not for the terrifying images they saw in television years ago.  As Sam Cooke said: Change is gonna come.

Rio at dusk, viewed from the top of the Sugar Loaf Cable car.

 (more info and photos on bbc.co.uk, end photo from www.lonelyplanet.com)

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SOUL.

November 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm (Uncategorized)

“SOUL. That word that in 4 humble letters names the one thing that is as common as the human heart and as rare as the spirit. Where have we gone wrong where something so simple and inherent in all of us has become so elusive and difficult to communicate? Somewhere between banging on logs and the invention of M.I.D.I technology we have made a terrible wrong turn. We must have ridden right past our stop. We should have stepped down off the train that moment when rhythm and harmony and technology all culminated to a single Otis Redding whine. That moment of the truest, most genuine expression of what it means to be human. We must have been talking too loud to hear that sound.  A sound that was as weightless as the clouded sky and as real as the grass between our toes. Luckily for us, that sound occurred outside of time & space. REAL SOUL is, was, and always will be everywhere around us.” 

(A true classic)

This is part of a quote from the inside jacket of my Sharon Jones Naturally album.  I think it may be one of the most heartfelt, accurate descriptions of soul music I have ever read.  That’s what soul music is, and why this genre of music was given such a grand title.  Soul.  A song has to have something special to fit into this category… that’s a lot of pressure!  Somewhere along the way, on the road of musical retardation (somewhere between Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus), we have lost our joy and our passion for music.  What do you hear in your car on the radio?  What songs are blasting through the speakers when you are running on the treadmill at the gym?  What are you listening to in your local watering hole at happy hour? 

More importantly, how does it make you feel?  Do you feel anything at all? 

(Sassy funky!)

I went to Fortune nightclub on Saturday night to see Aloe Blacc perform live.  The tickets were $20 – a fraction of what it costs to see a Canucks game.  And it was so incredible, so beautiful, that in a room full of drunks, lovers, friends, old and young, I was nearly reduced to tears.  Tears of happiness – tears of relief – that someone could create such a beautiful SOUND to describe the deepest feeling of love – love for myself, love for my man (who I held on to all night long!), love for the strangers surrounding me, and love for the miracle of life.  This may all sound ridiculous for the sake of a couple good songs, but it’s about more than that.  That’s true soul.  It’s not just the catchy tune that get’s stuck in your head.  The generosity of soul music can truly influence your words and actions for the better. 

(Sweet and simple)

I have always loved soul and funk.  And as the years go by, I appreciate this music more and more.  I think it was written and created in a subtle attempt at bringing the world together, in peace and harmony… if only we would slow down and listen.  Listen to these songs with someone you love, sing them in the shower, and share them with everyone you know – and please, share your favorites with me, too!

Take a look inside and see how soul music speaks to you.  Enjoy some of my favorites!

(For hope for the future and brotherly/sisterly love)

(Super, SUPERbad…just nasty!)

(Bam! Oh yeah! Upbeat, sure to make you dance)

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Dr. Disability

October 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm (Uncategorized)

I had somewhere to be today – right now, in fact! But, I am at home, on the lifeless machine, typing away. 

There was something else I was planning to do!  About a month ago, I took up a new hobby, something I had secretly always wanted to do.  And it’s fantastic!  It’s one of the best things I could have done, and being a beginner, I have so much to learn, but it’s something I’d like to really work at (I have been working pretty hard!) and improve at, and hopefully be great at.

Boxing.  Yep! I was sweating my ass off in yet another hot yoga class, which I had been doing on and off for the past year, when a light switch flicked on: I hate yoga.  I hate yoga class.  These people around me are pretentious and kind of rude.  I really want to box, with the big gloves and the mouth guard and all that comes with it.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I gave yoga a fair shot for over a year.  I went to power, hot, and other classes. I listened to my friends’ claims about the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of this practice.  I wanted to like it.  I have my own purple yoga mat.  But I didn’t really feel anything from it.  Sure, it’s great to stretch, and I will continue to use some of the stretches that I learned from yoga…but yoga didn’t change my body.  It’s not the greatest workout by itself, and if you are looking to be really fit, you need to combine it with another form of activity.  I wasn’t looking to change my body anyway, but I like to be challenged harshly when I exercise, and stay really healthy.

I also didn’t feel any spiritual benefits from it.  None.  I fidget during meditation, the guy next to me is dripping sweat on my big toe because there are 35 people in a 40 Celsius room… and I walked out of classes feeling like something was always missing.  Yoga just didn’t do it for me.  I applaud those who have been helped so much through practicing yoga, but it’s not for me and I am SO happy I finally just gave it the heave-ho.

 I used to get such an amazing spiritual lift from running… but I haven’t physically been able to run for months now.  Here’s what’s holding me back: Sesamoid 

In my right foot, one of those little pea-sized bones (sesamoid) has a stress fracture. The one on the right.  I have been feeling this pain for about…. over a year.  It’s been almost two years now, actually.  I have been in chronic pain with every step I take for that amount of time.  I have gotten a referral to a specialist, had 3 X-rays (the most recent of these was a CT scan), paid for custom orthotics, quit running, and have been wearing sensible shoes 97% of the time, and….and…

I feel worse.  Nothing has healed, my orthotics haven’t helped, and I am depressed that I can not exercise.  I love sweating, I love pushing my limits, I love seeing what my body is capable of doing… It was really hard to put a stop to running.  I know some people who would rather eat a cockroach than run 1km, but I absolutely loved it and am madly jealous of those happy, bouncy joggers I see springing past me on the seawall.

I figured, why not take up something else I will love? Punching bags and skipping ropes may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but oh my BUDDHA, this has been a glorious month or so.  The trainer at the gym pushes me hard, and I have already seen myself grow stronger.  I love it!  Boxing isn’t like anything I have ever done before, but I love every part of it, and starting from the very beginning is great, because everything is so new and exciting.  It’s exactly as wonderful as I thought it would be! 

I wanted to be in that gym every day this week, except…. today it hurt to walk out of bed.  Now, because I have to compensate for that injury, my ankle and shin are injured and my left foot is now in pain, too. 

I’m 23 years old, and goddamnit I am a healthy person.  I have been responsible about my health and been seeing doctors and following their advice and my foot has just gotten progressively worse.  It’s a FOOT, for fuck sakes.  It’s a stress fracture in a tiny bone in my foot.  It shouldn’t be that difficult.  I would take responsibility for this if I had been reckless, but I have been accountable for it and done everything I was told.  Which is just a confirmation that doctors in Vancouver are absolute moronic quacks who can’t tell their asses from holes in the ground.  None of these doctors or their receptionists can even figure out how to send each other x-rays, or remember to call their patients.  I’ve been doing research, and I have discovered that if a stress fracture in this area goes on for long enough, it requires surgery, or a bone graft.  Ouch.  Why should I have to pay for the mistakes and carelessness of these losers who can’t do their jobs?

I hope these idiots don’t get paid as much as I think they do.  I feel practically disabled.  It has been over a year since I saw someone about this problem.  How could it have gotten worse? 

It really sucks to think that I might have to give up something I just discovered I love, and I have barely even started.  Giving up running sucked. I was inactive this summer, gave myself enough time to rest and recover, and still…

I have given up on my family doctor already, because they can’t remember why they call ME for follow-up appointments and waste my time.  They can’t remember a thing about me, lose important test results and pages from my files, the office phone line is useless, and I love the guy but he’s too old for the number of patients he sees.  So I think I will take care of my health entirely on my own from now on. 

The next time you see a doctor, make sure they listen to you.  Don’t let them dismiss you and put you on the back burner because it’s no sweat off their back for you to be in pain or sick.  They don’t care.  They don’t get fired if you remain ill.  I wish every doctor could be more like the physiotherapist I go to… she listens to her patients, follows up with them, remembers their history (or has it handy), and is thorough and patient.  She has helped me to fix any old back/neck/etc problems COMPLETELY, and the only thing she couldn’t tackle was my bone problem.

Do your own research as much as possible, and the next time you see a doctor?  Make sure your voice is heard.

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