Blessings

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I was told on Twitter by an incel that all I do on my blog is rage against men and play the victim. Oh I could rage against that and play the victim but it’s a damn waste of time and I really don’t have the energy needed to raise enough fucks to give about his opinion.

Instead, I’d like to give a list of my life’s blessings. It is the holiday season, after all, and even this jaded old witch has a few things for which she’s grateful.

  • Friends
    • I don’t have hordes of people in my life and that’s the way I like it. I’m an introvert with anxiety and having to keep track of a lot of people just gives me gas. However, those people I do have in my life make it so much richer and add so much dimension. They spoil me and support me. They’re my cheering squad when I have a crazy idea and my goon squad when I start to rant. They’re always up for an adventure and are even sometimes willing to pretend to be dragons for the day. When things get bad, I know I can always count on them to be there.
  • A brain that has its own unique wiring system
    • Okay so sometimes this messes me up a bit because when the system goes down it can be a bit of a bitch to get it all running again. However, my mind works in a way most people’s doesn’t so I can see and experience life in ways that most people don’t.
  • I love life
    • It would be so easy to see the evil in the world and become mired in it. There’s so many things wrong today, Trump being the pied piper to a band of dangerous misfits is just one of them. It’d be easy to lose the ability to see why life is wonderful and precious and I still have this gift.
  • Art
    • I am able to create amazing works of art. Not just paintings and such (I’m still learning, don’t judge me) but writing. I’m able to create entire worlds with just words.
  • I have a home, food, clothes and all I need
    • There are a lot of people who don’t have what they need to survive. I live in a city dominated by winter and that reality takes its toll on those who don’t have these things. I have my basic needs met. Okay, I could use a new sofa but you get the idea.

There’s more in my life that I’m grateful for and I could talk for a lot longer than this about it. I have a blessed (mostly) life and I know it. That doesn’t change the fact that my inner Don Quixote is going to keep tilting at windmills. That will never change and those who don’t like it should pay a little less attention to me and a lot more attention to their own lives.

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Boundaries

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If you’re a friend, there’s a few things you need to know before you start coming into my orbit. I grew up the victim of abuse and it’s taken me a very long time to learn that there are things I don’t need to put up with in my life. This freedom of self that allows me to embark on my journey of self-discovery is a wonderful gift that I don’t plan on giving up so if you want to be around me then you need to be aware of some stuff.

There is no one on the planet who will be as loyal as I am. You never have to worry about someone watching your back because I’ve got it no matter the circumstances. I may not know what I’m doing but I’ll be there and we’ll worry about raising bail later.

If ever you need anything, all you need to do is ask. If I have it, it’s yours. If I don’t have it, I’ll find a way to get it. If I have it and I need it, I’ll share or find more. There will never be a time, day or night, when you cannot call or text because you need a listening ear. Be forewarned, if you call in the middle of the night I may not be completely coherent but I’ll give what I got.

I will always try to add dimension and value to your life because I believe that’s what a friend does. I will always be honest even when it hurts because that’s important and you will know you can count on me no matter what.

You need to know, though, that as my friend I have certain battles that I fight and causes I believe in. I grew up in a racist, abusive family so I fight against racism and abuse in all its forms. I work very hard to understand other people’s view points even if they’re foreign or alien to me. I try to be kind to others even though I fail a lot of times. I try not to shame or humiliate anyone unless that’s their kink and then I respect boundaries. I will always rescue the animal who is hurt, lost or alone and try to heal them. I will always acknowledge the First Nation Peoples of North America and try to respect their culture. I will try to help newcomers to my country understand how to get what they need to succeed and I will cheer them on when they work hard to get further in their life.

I am a chaos witch and I do not choose my battles lightly.

The thing I will not do is be silent when my causes make you uncomfortable. When you spew racist rhetoric or jokes, I’ll call you on them. When you’re spouting rape jokes or dead baby jokes, I’ll be there to verbally slap you silly.

I will always try to understand your views because they grew out of your life and your experiences as much as mine did. If you are my friend then you will  respect my views as you do me. I don’t demand you agree with them and I may not always agree with you. But there are some things I will not budge on and if you are my friend you will respect that.

If you cannot do that, then leave.

One of Those Days

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Today I decided I didn’t want to do a damn thing.

Nothing.

So I didn’t.

Here’s some art I made. I call it “Sidhe”

Sidhe

It Never Happened – A True Story of Sibling Abuse (Part 5)

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I never expected this story to be so long but how can I make my readers understand? I wasn’t beaten within an inch of my life. I was never in physical danger. My abuse came through words and shame. Punishment for not being perfect. For not anticipating my abuser’s desires and whims. For just being me. Ah but my story is nearing its end. I invite you to stay a while longer and hear what I have to tell you.

Something magical happened when I turned 12. Due to the bullying I got at school taking a dangerous turn, I was switched to a new school. An academic school called Crestwood Junior High. It was here my life changed forever.

Specifically I found two books that changed who I was at the core of my being.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee opened my mind in ways that I never imagined possible. Abuse closes doors and abusers rely on their victims never learning or thinking anything outside their control. My sister often bragged about me being her tabula rasa and being able to write whatever she wanted on me. Ms. Lee’s words changed all that.

I suppose at this point I should explain that my family was racist. I thought terms like Paki and Chink were normal. Indians were drunks who beat their wives. I was taught this was how the world worked. Then I read the words,

“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

I suddenly learned true shame. Shame in my family that I feel to this day. I also learned about justice and standing up for what was right. Suddenly my sister’s abuse took on another light and I started to silently chafe.

The other book I read was Comes the Blind Fury by John Saul. It was the first horror book I’d written. I loved it. I lived my life in a constant state of fear and worry. Here was a book that took the concept of fear and reduced it to words. Words were manageable. Words were understandable. This meant I could manage and understand the abuse.

The change in me was slow but steady and the change in my sister corresponded accordingly. Her control of me was slipping and she knew it. Getting punished came swifter and more often.

As a child, my obedience was based on my mother’s adamant assertion that I was born to make my sister’s life better. Now I was learning that this was an unjust situation and I could fight back but my sister’s jealousy and hatred of me grew to the size of a colossus.

I grew from a pretty child to a stunningly beautiful teen. I still retained my long lean muscles but I had one asset growing quickly; my breasts. By the time I was 14 I was a D cup and showed no signs of slowing. A legacy of my father’s family. My sister’s verbal assault of me never slowed but now she added a new element; slut shaming.

I understand now that I was everything my sister would never be and she was furious. Now graduated from university, my sister embarked on her career as a social worker and now she took the fight to the schools.

She demanded that school authorities start testing me for various problems. When it became clear they’d be investigating my home life, she was sure to tell them I was spoiled. I was too afraid to tell anyone the truth. My sister was a social worker and they took her word as gospel while I couldn’t speak out. Teachers started treating me like a spoiled child who was acting out and seeking attention.

When I hit high school she started lashing out in more and more creative ways. At one point my locker was searched for drugs by an anonymous tip. At another point I was called into the principal’s office. Inside sat the principal with the school resource officer, a cop I only knew as Bernie.

They informed me that my sister demanded that I get drug tested. I was too weary of this game by now and only sighed. Grounding me for a week or two no longer worked so she’d taken to grounding me for months at a time. My latest was six months where I was to go nowhere but school, no television, no phone, no newspapers, nothing but school and homework. My moods alternated between suicide and running away. Anything to escape her relentless bombardment. Now I wasn’t even safe at school.

The principal, a canny man who’d seen far too much in his years read everything in that small sigh. He asked me what was going on and I was far too tired, too sick, too weary to lie any longer. I told him everything.

Remember, this was the 80s. A time when schools still looked the other way if a kid came in with bruises. There was no one forcing them to report anything to child services. Discipline in the home stayed in the home. However, my principal was different and so was Officer Bernie.

They asked me what I wanted to do. I said nothing. Drug test me if they wished. I no longer cared. They didn’t and they called my sister later telling her that not only would they not drug test me but they would no longer allow her any input in my schooling.

She was furious but the worst was yet to come.

Ah but this part of my story isn’t done yet. There were several other factors that came into play at this time but I fear I’ve run out of space, dear reader. So I must bid adieu and invite you to return tomorrow to hear more of my story.

(to be continued…)

It Never Happened – A True Story of Sibling Abuse (Part 4)

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At this point it’s probably a little difficult for you to keep score so let me set the scene of a typical day for you;

My sister’s screaming and demands would often begin in the morning. Starting with my mood. If I didn’t wake up fast enough, I got a very cold and very wet washcloth in my face. If I wasn’t cheerful enough I got grounded. If I asked for more cereal, I got a lecture on how fat I was.

No one was exempt. My sister would rage against anything and everything. The way my father drank his coffee, the way my brother got his books ready for school. Everything was fodder for her rages. If you didn’t respond fast enough you risked having something thrown at you.

I’m still not a morning person and having people talk to me risks a panic attack.

Before I started school I would get peace during the day. I would watch shows like “The Friendly Giant” or “Mr. Dressup”. The afternoon would bring the occasional movie, usually something by Hitchcock which I loved. Everything stopped when “Days of Our Lives” came on which I watched religiously with my mother. I played outside with our dogs Lady and Dutchess and the days passed in relative serenity.

Those are some of my happiest memories.

After my siblings came home from school, it was chaos again. My sister was sure to fly into another rage and I was painfully aware from a very early age that it was my fault that she was upset. It was my job to make her happy and I was failing. I would plead, with tears in my eyes, for her to stop. She would then direct the screaming at me, making sure I knew that it was all my fault.

My brother John had his own rages, usually triggered by my sister and a fist would go through a wall or a door again. My father would try and contain him while suffering the verbal assault my sister would lay on him.

I tried to retreat to my bedroom where I would curl up with our dogs and cat. They were my only allies against the storm. Lady, a Rottweiler cross, was extremely protective of me whom she regarded as her puppy. Dutchess, a terrier mix, was goofy and patient and always up for whatever game I had in mind. Kimberly (whom we called Kimmy) was a calico Persian who always displayed the kind of ancient wisdom only cats seem to have. These were my friends, my guides, my teachers, my strength.

When the fights would wind down for the night, my sister would seek me out. Her rage wasn’t quite spent but she wasn’t fool enough to lock horns with my father once he drew the line. She would find something to criticize about me or something to punish.

Then something magical happened and I started school and my sister started university. She brought home books. Books I started looking at the pictures of and got my first taste of Salvadore Dali and Rorschach and Freud.

It was Dali that inspired me to learn to read. Dali and a picture of clocks melting across a landscape. I was five years old and, although I didn’t know it, I found my salvation.

(to be continued…)

The Housing Crisis as Seen From Below

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There is a new bill up for debate in the Alberta Legislature that would end child-free housing in Alberta. What this means is there would no longer be anymore adult only buildings. This sounds great on paper and, as a matter of fact, Mark Holmgren, a man I admire greatly, advocates for it on his blog post. However, the idea horrifies me and I don’t think people have thought this through completely.

I don’t have kids for a reason and I don’t want to be around them. I’ve said this before in previous posts and, yes, that makes me an asshole. However, that’s not why I’m against this. The only reason this is up for debate in the Alberta Legislature is because kids make for a great photo op and politicians earn brownie points when they look like they’re fighting for kids. Let’s look at the real cost of this bill, shall we? Here I present three real life stories of people I know who will be impacted negatively by this bill.

Lady Grace

I’m going to call this lady Grace because she’s tried to live her life with the kind of grace and acceptance that few attain.

Grace wanted to be a mother all her life. When she was very small she’d play with her dolls, caring for them as if they were live babies. She never resented helping her mother care for her younger siblings. She looked forward to a time when she would have children of her own.

She married a wonderful man and became pregnant right away. Sadly, she lost the baby in the first trimester. Then there was a second. Then a third. Then a hysterectomy. Her husband felt helpless and their marriage didn’t survive.

No one knows the pain of losing a child unless you’ve been through it. Grace battled depression even as she desperately tried to move on with her life. Yes, she could have adopted but she never quite bounced back from those three miscarriages.

Grace now lives in adult-only buildings. Living next door to families is just too much for  her to deal with and can spin her downward into a suicidal spin. Now, though, she may have no choice. So her life is put at risk so politicians can earn brownie points.

Ernie

Ernie was severely and repeatedly abused by his father from a very young age. His father was a sexual sadist who would alternate between beating and raping him. Ernie survived his childhood by running away and eventually getting help to deal with his demons.

One of his demons involves pedophilia. Even though he’s never looked at a child sexually or even thought about it, Ernie is afraid that what his father did to him left him damaged in ways that have yet to manifest. This is one of the things he sees a psychologist for. His biggest fear is that he will turn into his father.

As a result, Ernie lives in adult only buildings. Living next to children is terrifying to him. Whether the world understands it or not, Ernie is trying to keep himself safe. Now, though, he will have to sacrifice his security so politicians can have the opportunity to say they’re fighting for families.

Me

I live with Nonverbal Learning Disorder. An easy way to understand this is if ADD and Autism had a love child, it’d be NLD. As a result, I often suffer from sensory overload which causes me to try and focus on every single thing I’m seeing and hearing at the same time. Yes, this leads to panic attacks.

I currently live in a family friendly complex and it’s a fresh version of hell daily. Kids screech at volumes best reserved for slasher flicks. Parents yell, bringing up memories of my own abusive home life growing up. I am now doing my best to save up so I can move into a building that doesn’t have children.

Am I selfish? Probably. The truth is I don’t want to have to pay daily because someone else chose to have children. I don’t think I’m out of line here when I say please don’t inflict your children on me.

Conclusion

Should there be more family-friendly housing in Alberta? Hell yes. Then again, there should be more adult only housing. More senior’s housing. More housing for veterans. More low income housing period. However, if we want to look at the truth of the situation, let’s look back to those same politicians who are wringing their hands over a lack of housing for children.

Here in Edmonton there has been a frenzy of development for the kind of neighbourhoods that house the good folks. You’ve seen them, I’m sure. Boxy little houses in boxy little neighbourhoods with boxy little people leading boxy little lives. They regulate everything from what kind of fence you can have to what kind of grass you can plant so they can always be assured that housing values will always rise. That way the good folk never have to worry about *that* element in their neighbourhood.

Worse is what has happened downtown. Luxury highrises going up faster than a porn star’s dick. Oh sure they look beautiful and I’m sure they have amazing features and views. The result of these highrises is always the same; rent prices increase in a city where a cheap one bedroom costs upward of $1000/month. Capital Region Housing Corporation is overwhelmed already and these highrises do nothing but cause more strain on an already overburdened system.

Want to know who’s to blame for the current housing problem the poor face? Point your fingers to greedy developers who build faster than they can sell and the politicians who approve those developments while older and poorer neighbourhoods go overlooked yet again. The poor are pushed into those neighbourhoods where crime is rampant until the benevolent politician gods see them and decide to develop them. Then rents rise again and the poor move again.

Eliminating adult only buildings is only going to cause more problems and is just another band aid fix to a problem capitalism and politicians created. There is a fix to this problem but not one politician wants to take a look at it. It’s called the Basic Income Program.

But, fuck it. The poor only matter as a photo op.

One Percent

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All I have are words.

There is a battle going on in society today and I’m afraid I’m woefully underprepared. I would like to say that my mighty lance and fiery charger are armored up and ready to slay the dragons but that would be a lie.

See, the revolution that’s being waged is against the wealthy 1% and they are more than prepared for this battle. They’ve been waging this war since the Middle Ages in one form or another and they’ve had time to sharpen their teeth.

The latest battlefield is Ontario’s Basic Income Project. Oh, I know, so insignificant to that dragon we shall call One Percent, isn’t it? I mean, can they even locate Ontario on a map? Believe me when I say that this battle is more significant than you realize.

Okay, so let’s go back in history for a moment. Once upon a time it was a lord’s duty to see that all the people living on his land were taken care of. Very often he would ride around with his entourage dispensing justice or aid where necessary. In return, the people farmed the land and made the goods that the lord traded or sold. There was a balance. If the lord or king ever failed in his duty or demanded too much of the people, they were happy to replace him.

Let’s just say this didn’t mean a nice, quiet retirement for him.

Somewhere along the line, things changed. Instead of lords and peasants we got governments and people. It should have worked, this system. Everyone has a voice and everyone can be heard but recently it’s started breaking down.

I’m not going to go into the pyrrhic victory that is Trump’s rule. That horse has been well and truly beat. I’m going to talk about the bone-deep weariness I have every time the government shows its ignorance in its duties. The absolute rage I have at those in power using their position to masturbate their egos rather than do their duty. The soul wrenching sorrow I feel at those who must pay the price for the government’s unwillingness to remember what their duty is.

When the Ontario government introduced their Basic Income Project I cheered. At last we were gaining some ground on One Percent. Basic income would mean that the playing ground would finally be levelled out some and everyone could have an equal chance regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or who their daddy was.

But we can’t have that, can we?

See, One Percent does have a fear. That fear is that those people at the bottom of the pile, those who have been repressed and abused for centuries, will finally wake up and realize that the One Percent is no longer needed. One Percent has built a house of cards called Capitalism that relies on certain “truths” of society . It needs the poor to constantly pour money and goods upwards to feed its belly. To keep the feast coming, One Percent has perpetuated racism, fear mongering, hate, ignorance and division. So long as we fight each other, we ignore the true horror that is Donald Trump and Doug Ford and Jason Kenny. So long as we nip at each other’s heels we fail to see the smoke and mirrors act going on.

That is exactly what Ford and his crew are relying on.

Ford is hoping we will be too busy being outraged by Melania’s coat or the next trumpite being an asshole to really do anything about the removal of the Basic Income Project. The Basic Income Project represented a real weapon in the fight against inequality and he’s hoping we won’t notice when it’s removed.

We are in the middle of a revolution and it’s now we need to fight. This revolution is taking place online and we cannot allow One Percent to win. We have to keep fighting and taking back our ground.

So use your social media to fight. Write blogs and post videos. Phone and email Doug Ford and Lisa MacLeod even if you’re not in Canada. Let them know we’re not giving up. Let them know they have an obligation to their people.

Don’t let One Percent win.

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