Friday, June 2, 2017

This Week in Forgiveness

Today I'll be making a list of reasons why I feel a person couldn't possibly be capable of a heinous crime.  

Tune in later tonight, I'll still have nothing.

Rest assured, being "so good" at their chosen profession ( which puts them in closer proximity to the people they want to abuse) will not ever be on there.

This shit is never ok. Where you stand on forgiveness, or that beloved phrase "welllll we don't knoooow the whole stooooooryyyyy (*as you quietly indicate its also the victim's fault*)", is firstly irrelevant, and more importantly HARMful to a survivor, to their family, to ANY other person who has experienced sexual abuse.

I don't give a fuuuuuck if you want to forgive a terrible person for terrible acts that never affected you directly. Where does that get us? It's not helpful to announce it and it's incredibly insensitive.

To be fair, the survivor who decided to disclose their experience PROBABLY also knew that when they came forward there'd be an idiot, or several of them somewhere discussing the imminent forgiveness of somebody who the survivor: 

A) still has nightmares and during the day-mares about.
B) is still affected in the way they relate to people in their personal life AND
C) work life 
D) is brought to question whether they still want to be alive. Whether they are ever going to feel "better".
E) feels they probably should've kept their mouth shut about, and ultimately blames themselves.

Here, learn something:

When we emphasize our disbelief using measurements like "well *he always seemed so nice!" and "everybody loved his class/radio show/entire comedy and television career/peanut butter sandwiches!", we are effectively saying we think we know better than the survivor who KNOWS they are not "so nice!" Who KNOWS they are predatory. The publics' doubt of someone's culpability is not more valid than a survivor's truth.

We are measuring what we think a human who has committed heinous acts should behave like, what their position at work should be, how they treat US (based on what? Our guts? Our 'intuition'?), against an actual series of heinous acts that now infiltrate the whole life of somebody who survived it. Who we more than likely have never met. 

What little you know (or knew) of an abuser who has never abused you, is not a relevant defense against the disclosure of abuse from a not-as-well-known survivor that you show zero interest in. Not only is it not a relevant defense, it's also a shitty reaction.

Forgiving the act is not remotely up to us. If I hurt you and you seek support or guidance from somebody who takes your disclosure as an opportunity to publicly forgive ME on THEIR terms, do you feel heard? Do you feel like what you'll live with is worth it now? 

"Would I call it trauma? Even though I still feel it every day? Nah, It's cool. 'Cuz most of the people you didn't hurt forgave you, so..."

Does the phrase "Yeah, I mean people tell me he's a dick, but he's never done anything to ME" sound familiar? That's us. That's how we sound. 

"Yeah, I mean he's a predator, but he's never sexually assaulted ME." 

*I recognize I have used a pronoun that only identifies one gender's involvement in a systemic issue. I recognize we are ALL potentially responsible for not doing something or saying something when we see something. We fail together when this continues to happen in workplaces, schools, homes, parking lots, reddit chats and facebook comments. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I'm Old.

   Enamored as you all are of my riproaringly exciting,  non-stop Adventuress lifestyle, which has been previously described in free press online publications (i.e. other blog posts I've written about myself) as "something straight out of an urban-jungle-setting Lady Davey Crocket episode, meets Darkwing Duck's cool younger sister's secret tales of intrigue and self actualization," -- as completely infatuated as you all are with that shit, I gotta tell you something. This week, in broad daylight, behind a government building, I was in a gang fight. 

I know. What other crazy, poorly supervised hootenannies am I going to be photographed at next? Get this: I'm heading to the back lot of my friendly Niagara Falls library to make a timely return of some DVDs (which were viewed responsibly and cared for as though they were my own, as if they were disc-shaped infants). There was a light kerfuffle about; a red wagon full of dirty children, a security guard who was so old that if anybody tried anything unsavoury he'd likely pretend not to see it to avoid conflict or water-on-the-knee or whatever happens to people Mr. Dress-Up's (RIP) age, and another respectable woman in a mini-van, most likely patronizing municipal services in the same manner as I was. But then, as I pulled my 21-speed blue behemoth of a mountain bike up to the outdoor return slot, this wanton little shit of an eight-year-old came flying out undetected from behind a fence! Kind Mini-Van Lady laid on her horn, as though to say "mind yourself, short human, for I nearly killed you", but apparently the Fourth Grade Nothing was unfazed because then THIS happened:

 "Well fuuuuuuuuuuck you!" he said.

 The kid, who flew out into traffic, who I now know has probably been awful all of his life,  told somebody older than my mom "fuck you."

 I let the weird moment slide, because maybe his Teddy Grahams were stale that day, or maybe he doesn't even get delicious recess snacks or whatever. He sucks, but maybe being little is hard sometimes. But then. Then! A SPECK of a human, even tinier than Hungry At Recess rides up beside me by the book-drop and says:

"Gimme those books."

I, questioning the verity of this insane situation, say:


"give me...( he then paused because he's a sarcastic little a-hole) those books."

 Okay so first of all this little dude is stupid beyond measure. I'm carrying FLAT objects. In TRANSPARENT cases. They are clearly not pages bound by any sort of cover. Idiot. That part was my inner monologue because I feel better about myself when I'm quietly disparaging the youth of today, like so many other hard-working citizens. Second of all, what in sweet hell is his plan? If I just go "Oh, these flat, clear books? Give them to you? Sure!" How is he gonna navigate somewhere with mini-arms full of literature on a bicycle? Is he threatening to destroy my pristine reputation with Victoria Avenue library by racking up my late fees? Does he just really wanna be the one who gets to put them in the drop-off box? Have I finally met the other person on Earth who loves mailboxish drawer-type apparatuses as much as me? Whatever pipsqueak, I see through your poorly orchestrated plot. I am carefully crafting a response as I quickly but still just as enjoyably return my MOVIES to their home.

So I say:

"No! Get away from me, you little twerp!"

Because apparently I'm from the movie The Sandlot. I'm almost thirty and it's 2014. I called this kid a twerp. That was my best response. He then, and who can really blame him, laughs in my face and says "hey guys! She called us twerps!" which was followed by maniacal eight-year-old laughter and subsequently my interaction with the final member of the bike gang. Third Kid was bigger. I don't even mean bigger like it matters. None of them were even five feet tall and they were all standing UPRIGHT on their bicycles. Still, he was somewhat more threatening. So he starts mock-repeating what I said, y'know, that time two seconds ago when I called them twerps. It was at this juncture that I pulled out all the stops for a real verbal lashing. I says to 'em, I says:

 "what's WRONG with you? Where are your MOTHERS?"

 Applause, Chels. Bravo. Truly a game-changer. Go to the drug store, purchase your compression socks and Metamucil with rolled dimes from your glass peanut butter jar and call it a night.

I rode away so discombobulated, head shaking, wondering about the rotten youth of today. Mostly wondering why I lost in a confrontation with three people who aren't my own age even if you added all of their ages together. Why didn't I just start screaming obscenities back? Why didn't I set fire to their bicycles and twirl my fake mustache like an old timey villain?

Why didn't I go INTO the library to renew Saved by the Bell instead of giving up on fun and returning stuff at the back door? Sometimes you make choices, guys.

Sometimes those choices have consequences.

Monday, March 24, 2014

O'Neil! Don't walk away from me O'Neil!

Hey gorgeouses,

I'm actually sitting at a desk right now, with a real keyboard. My thumb won't go numb and my wrist might have a .08% better chance of not getting a repetitive strain injury. I'm old, these things concern me now.

Sooooo, I moved in November. Wait, for starters, I quit one of my jobs. NO WAIT, for even before thatters, I got a NEW job. It's all been very messy and weird and I was living back at home. My childhood home. Sleeping in the bedroom I slept in from when I was 2 to 17-years-old. There are glow in the dark stars on my ceiling. There is a massive plaqued print of David Bowie from Labyrinth hanging above my desk, and my dresser drawers have house league hockey photos in them. Shout outs to my father, who has the patience of a saint and the backbone of a ...thing with a strong backbone. A hat stand? A seahorse? Nope, a giraffe. This is why I never did well with group brainstorming assignments.

November has always been the worst month of every year for me. I'm not sure if it's because I set myself up for it to blow chunks every time, or if it's just that the cycle has to take a dump at some point, and it chooses to around the same month, annually. Regardless of any of that 'you get back what you put out' bullshit, or 'the universe is just re-aligning (because I need an excuse for why poutine was my only daily vegetable for 3 weeks)' jibber jabber, I think sometimes things suck, and sometimes they don't. Which is cool by me, because generally I'm pretty charmed and fortunate. This particular go 'round RULED because I got to go back to NYC to celebrate Thanksgiving with people I love. I got to eat an entire tray of tater tots covered in cheese and hot peppers. I got my first tattoo. It was itchier than a cluster of black-fly bites on a foot after a summer of doing handstands in the lake. Wow. I can't ever un-say that.

December was a fucking nightmare, if I may speak candidly. I discovered I have a sensitivity to Benylin all-in-one pills. By sensitivity I mean: they make me bat-shit crazy. I cried for a straight week - ON CHRISTMAS - drove my mom up the wall, convinced myself I was having clairvoyant visions of the children I was meant to have with the last shitty dude who broke up with me, and generally wreaked havoc on myself by listening to the Civil Wars latest album and that one song where Rihanna just screams 'WHAT NOW?!' on repeat. Oh and Miley's Wrecking Ball came in handy at one point in a karaoke explosion. I got a pretty clear vision of who my friends were that month. I'm not using that expression to imply I don't have true friends. I'm using it to illustrate that they're ALL brilliant, loving, wonderful people. My mother, still steadfast at the number one spot.

January was by and large one of the best beginnings to a year I could have ever asked for. I started non-coffee-related work, and remembered what it was like to have a career. Actually I didn't "remember." I haven't ever had one. I have a career. It's insane. Not every day is good; but every day is legitimately a step toward something resembling fulfillment. I found an apartment that I can afford. Not a privilege I've had since 2006, when the grand province of Ontario was lulling me into a false sense of student loan security. I met somebody who was good to me for a little bit. I know exactly where the bar needs to be now, so I'm thankful for that.

Sadly, February and March were/are idiots. They were a tag team of white lies and weak excuses. They wrapped me up in a warm blanket, called me tons of really sweet things, waited til I was lying on my back and completely defenseless, and proceeded to punch me with the hardest, most furious fist, directly in my stomach. I will never ignore my better judgment, my tiny inner voice that uses a British accent, or the red flags paving the way to where I am now.

April, your move. You were crucial to the Ninja Turtles, and I'm holding on to your yellow onesie like it's a mahfuggin parachute.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We're in this together, until we're not.

Approximately two thousand and thirteen things I have learned:

- If you hate your job, leave it. If you can't leave right away, ask somebody you trust to hold you accountable to work towards leaving. Time wasted is time wasted. It's absolutely nothing else.

- If you order $40.00 worth of Indian food, it will last you for about 4 dinners. It will also make your bum a bit bigger. Could be a good or bad thing, depending on your aim.

- Anybody who waits around until the end of your time together to be honest with you, isn't worth feeling shitty over. Vulnerability is scary, but if you're gonna be in a scary place for another person they sure as hell better go there with you.

- A cat will always try to get an extra meal out of you. They are social parasites who know how to cry like infants (and as a childless woman, I will cave every single damn time).

- Your family will love you when you are at your best. They will also somehow find a way to love you when you are curled up in an anger ball, wishing the couch had a yuletide-free shield around it. Be kind.

- Stop typing that text. You're intoxicated and it's 3am.

- Throw your socks with holes in them in the garbage. What are you clinging so fiercely to, anyway?

- Stop wasting your money on 3D movies. They're not better. AVX, maybe. Fuck 3D everything.

- Take some time every day to make yourself aware of what's going on in the world outside of the city you live in. Rob Ford is not allowed to be your biggest historical takeaway from this year. The excuse that 'world news depresses you' is as shoddy as that toe-less sock.

- Tip people. Honestly. It's not about "karma", it's about recognizing that if you can afford to patronize the services of somebody making a very low wage, you should also be able to show that you appreciate the work they do. Tips help pay peoples' rent; they get their clothes washed; they matter.

- Every minute you spend reading crummy 'journalism' about somebody you'll never meet who has absolutely no affect on your progress as a human in any way whatsoever, will actually stunt your progress as a human. This one is tough because the junk we ingest with our eyes and minds is so much more delicious than the fantastic reality we could be cooking up for ourselves. I struggle with it daily.

- Never, ever take your good/medium/acceptable health for granted. Getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night isn't as easy for everybody as it is for you. Stop pretending that you can subsist on cigarettes and vodka because your great-grandfather rocked it so well. We have science now, and your g-pa was just lucky.

- Don't let a list that somebody writes in an extremely little-known blog dictate or influence your decisions. Think for yourself, find whatever feels like it's missing, improve whatever feels like it's lacking. If you're happy with the balance you've struck, I raise my glass to you.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Statistical Slaps in the Face

  What the hell month is it? I think I may have hid underneath a bad attitude for most of November.  I moved too.  Nothing is worse than moving.  Well, canned mushrooms, maybe.

In'nit interesting how easy it is to feel like you've got the world by the short hairs,  when the universe is raining down opportunity and new beginnings?  You don't anticipate that kink in the chain.  The handsome, rugged kind of kink.  Didn't even see it coming.  Son-of-a-beesh.

Despite this feeling like the year of "Poor Judgment and Irrational Behaviour" or PJIB for the acronym-savvy, I've never, nor will I ever be comfortable calling the opposite sex 'the enemy'.  Love 'em. No amount of frustration with their seemingly stunted emotional vocabulary, or my exasperation with their avoidance of true honesty will change my weird ET glowy heart. Reasons being: A) hormones and B) when love is good, it's just too damn good.

But Chomps, what about when it's actually bad for you?

It's good.

What about when you've been humiliated in public and your tear-soaked makeup is dripping down your neck?

It's fucked up, but at some point it was good.

Coming to terms with what was awesome, and all but ignoring the messed up stuff is what's keeping my head above water.

Dark truth: I don't necessarily have much more to offer than any other thirtyish-year-old gal, and when people throw the "HIS LOSS!" my way, I'm reluctant to agree. It's a loss. Pure and simple.  Let's just call it that. I know it's meant to be helpful, I've comforted people with it too. Here's the thing though: nine times outta ten, a good relationship doesn't end. If you self-soothe by singing the "you just didn't see how awesome I was!" song, honey, maybe they didn't "see it" because you weren't their brand of awesome. That HAS to be ok. In fact, it is. Here's why:

We are all a dime a dozen.

There are MILLIONS of us here. We're all smooching, holding hands, making babies, walking cats on leashes, hurting ourselves, hurting others, drinking, smoking, questioning our raisons d'ĂȘtre, building houses, eating boogers, YOU NAME IT. Somebody else has done what you've done at least once. Somebody has done or will write this post better than me. Thanks for suffering through, anyway.

Humans are less like snowflakes than your lovely, but liar of a mother has led you to believe. There are hundreds of thousands of combinations of people who will come together and find happiness, or not. Sometimes what you bring to the table will really turn another person's crank, but it's not anybody's fault if by some IMMENSELY HUGE probability they realize their crank isn't turning anymore. Respect that! This terrain is vast! Go find somebody who thinks weird tick-like accent intrusions are cute. Maybe they exist, maybe they don't. If they don't, who cares? You're a whole person, and you're lucky to have the opportunity to be all you, all the time.  Some people get snuffed out before they even have a chance to get their hearts broken.  Some people don't ever know themselves.  THAT'S fucking tragic.

Nowhere in there am I saying not to get angry and grieve and feel things like: betrayed; insulted; rejected; shat on; etc. Go for it. See how far it gets you when you drag it out, though. I just finished living it for three weeks. It's dumb. It got me a lot of red wine hangovers and eye rolls from people who actually have their shit together.

Feel what comes at you, but give yourself a break. Give the other person a break. Bigger shit is happening everywhere,  but more importantly, the exact same little shit is happening to other people, forever. Way worse stuff could fall into your lap. Slimy mushrooms could strike at any moment. Buck up.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Aggressive Renege: Part the First

   Lately things have just reeked of chaos. Normally that would really throw a control freakish person into a tailspin but it seems like I might actually be wearing unpredictability a bit better than usual. For instance, I brushed my teeth with my right hand today. Get this: I'm left-handed. Did that give you shivers too? I'm a renegade.

   So, dating. Oh sweet baby Jebus, it really doesn't get any easier. After the lone survivor of my okcupid escapades crashed and burned, I realized there was absolutely no rush to date anybody, ever.

  No wait, you know what? There is. The rush isn't to couple up though.  It's to hear what a man is saying when my psychotic inner voice is screaming over top of their very clearly stated honesty with "NO NO! WE'RE COMPATIBLE AND THIS WILL BE OK. YOU LOVE SANDWICHES! I LOVE SANDWICHES! WE'RE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER."

   Sandwiches does not a strong bond make. Nor alcohol, nor board games, nor intercourse. If somebody's saying they're at odds with your most fundamental expectations in a relationship, stop wasting everybody's time and bail out, sister.

  When things don't work out and I'm feeling crummy for having my hopes up, I tend to hear a lot of "Why are you so worried? Just have fun!"

  To this well-intentioned (but often uttered by somebody with a partner) piece of advice I respond:

Are you fucking kidding me?

  Does anybody else realize that more effort goes into 'just having fun' than a pair of jeans and a pony tail? If I could roll on through these 'interactions' without caring whether or not a dude called me back, I'd be SET. But let's never mind the call back at this point! There's still preliminary maintenance for even the five-minut-iest of conversations.

If it seems like a lot of effort, that's because IT IS. Dying my roots, making sure I don't have any dead skin on my lips that seem to exfoliate of their own accord at the least opportune moments; not eating a lot of cheese; not eating a lot of anything, really. Not having pimples. Covering up the pimples. Looking like you have no makeup on even though you've got it covering your pimples. Not using the f word til they use it first; not using the toilet til they use it first. Don't be too funny. Be a little funny. Pretend they're funny. God. All. Mighty. Don't even get me started on what happens when you laugh and a booger comes out because you forgot to clean your nose before you left the house. CLEAN OUT YOUR NOSE. IT'S A THING, LADIES.

There's so much insecurity tied up in the fake version of yourself that you present to the fake version of whichever person you're awkwardly trying to sleep, marry and make babies with. To be quite frank, I could now and forevermore not give three fucks about a dude who is put off by a) my sass b) my cynicism or c) my bodily functions. Actually, or d) my love for rye whiskey over ice. I am my grandfather's granddaughter.  We go hard or we nap in the La-Z-Boy. I don't cook. I an terrible at being tidy. Sometimes the reason why it looks like I haven't slept or showered in three days is because I haven't.

  I would put this out into single male world and see what boomerangs back, but I won't. I'm shamelessly devoted to lying very still with a cat on my gut, horizontally devouring pepperoni sticks and Babybels while I watch Ian Somerhalder vampire-bang his victims. There is no mystery left here, boys.

Don't like it? Leave me alone.

   I'd be remiss, however if I said I didn't love men for all the complicated things they make me feel. For all the ways I have bettered myself, FOR myself after feeling low because of one. Regardless of which gender you prefer to court/chase/stalk, we are obviously driven to do so for reasons unbeknownst to us. These reasons occasionally manage to overshadow and outweigh how livid I am that a decent Brazilian is intensely painful and also three quarters of a hundred bucks in this city.

We'll talk about pubic hair some other time.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Width, Depth, Breadth and Dampness.

  In the spirit of honesty, because i don't believe in self-improvement without it, it feels freeing to say that I have struggled almost my entire life with a few things.

1) my big mouth
2) acne
3) my insanely small bladder, or arguably my insanely small amount of control over my average sized bladder.

Fourth on this list would be my refusal to feel ashamed. I also have zero shame about having no shame so if you wanna date me and don't need to know the dirty details about any of the above, stop reading here.

Haha! Nobody wants to date me. It's my lack of shame that allows me to say that.

Welcome, reader.

 Anyway, like I said, I'm a pants-peer. Peeer? Pee-er? How the fuck do I spell that? Wizzer. Wetter. It's important that I discern between a pants-wetter and a bed-wetter too. While bed-wetters struggle with the issue sometimes into adulthood, it isn't necessarily their fault. An unlucky bed-wetter may prepare for sleep with the assurance that they allowed enough leeway between their last beverage and bed-time, only to be awoken by a soggy, disappointed feeling that their own internal alarm didn't wake them soon enough. It's a skeleton for a closet somewhere deep in the darkness because those kinds of things which happen TO us are often the things other people will blame or judge us for, and so we hide them.

  I on the other hand, the pants-peeing representative, make bad decisions. Let's examine:

Grade one: had to pee so badly that literally every single child at my table in class knew, but the teacher didn't. She was on a phone call and I didn't want to raise my hand and get in trouble. There was also NO way I was going down the hallway by myself without permission. Are you crazy?! I'm 5! So, after a solid 5-6 minute potty dance in my seat, I stood up and the world of story circle and flash cards knew my pink corduroy overalls would never be the same.

And they weren't.

My mother was piiiiiiissed (urine joke) . Rightly so; I had seemed capable in kindergarten. Little did anybody know that kindergarten was my weird ghost year where I was saving up pants-peeing opportunities for way later in life. Way. Later.

Grade seven: had to pee on the class ski trip. Made it back to the chalet after hilariously falling down a hill, only to tell myself I was wearing too much to bother with the bathroom. I could hold it til' later. Sure sign number one that I'm going to have an accident: I cannot, and have never been able to hold it. I left the chalet for more skiing. Peed in my snow-pants aalllllll the way down the next slope. Imagine that hour long school bus ride back.

Grade nine: during an assembly.

Grade ten, grade eleven, grade twelve: during any number of curriculum enforced 1 mile runs. Try concealing that if you have shorts on. Go. Try.

Eighteen years old: on my way to Midland, with my mother. Stretch of highway, no motherfucking exits. Insane attempt to pee in chocolate milk carton. Failure. Tears.

  I have gotten better at not doing this over the years. Marginally. I don't commonly wiz with reckless abandon (if sober), and I listen to my inner voice that screams "What are you doing?! Run! Bush! Tree!" Oddly the voice never gives preferential treatment to indoor plumbing. It simply requests I not destroy my jeans. One memory will stay with me forever, and it is because of how defeated I felt on that day that the pee-pee pantaloons saga has started to taper off.

Christmas, 2009: I left work that day with the usual tingle. I had probably also consumed almost a litre of fluid; most likely diuretic, given that I work in the coffee business. Being the idiot that I am, I ignored it. Tingles don't mean nothing, son. I had shit to do. Bought a tree, as a matter of fact. Intended to bring it on 3 different forms of public transit. So ambitious was I, in all my seasonally inspired glory. So wiggly though. So wiggly with the anticipation of relieving myself and suddenly so frustrated with how cumbersome that stupid tree was. But I carried on, as most idiots would.

Approximately four medium sized blocks from my apartment it became very clear I wasn't going to make it. I was on a bus surrounded by people, still carrying that goddamn tree. I needed to make a decision, fast. Urinate in front of my neighbours on a moving vehicle, or hop off and face my situation alone in the slush. I opted for alone, with the tree. So I rang the bell, stepped down, and I began to drag the symbol of THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR behind me, the stump leaving a dirty scuff on the sidewalk blocks. And so I trudged.

 I trudged and peed all the way home.

 There. Now you know something about me that most decent people would keep to themselves.