Random Thoughts…and otherwise

Gord Downie and Truth: Unfuck the World

Oct
25

unfuck-the-world

Yesterday at this time, I wrote an outline for a piece I wanted to write today about my beautiful toddler grandson, and how through his naive innocence he finds, experiences and expresses joy in everything. Life, as he knows it is, “Oh, Wow!” and a clap: stab a grape with a fork, clap; get said grape to mouth, clap; see a tire on anything, clap; dog bark, clap; toy found, clap; stairs climbed, clap; etcetera, repeat. It’s a beautiful soundtrack to a heartwarming day, how a child’s life should be.

The story would have been great: I needed love and light, something to drown out the oft heavy and jaded outside world. The infectiousness of his loveliness, could have been yours.

But last night, before I’d planned to sleep, I snuggled into warm blankets with ear buds in place, cocooned myself and settled in to watch Gord Downie’s Secret Path, his certain magnum opus—the story of Chanie Wenjack and the Canadian Indian Residential School system. I knew about the Residential schools, have worked closely, even quasi counselled people who live its effects; Secret Path would not affect me.

By Seven Matches my top sheet was a mess of tears, globs of mascara and snot, and near the end, when Pearl Achneepineskum, Chanie’s sister and a woman of extraordinary strength, spoke of dancing with a 9 year-old Chanie in the moonlight while he proudly sang Ashes of Love, and his resistance to leave her when told he was on the list for the school and had to go away—it was over: Turns out I knew nothing.

150,000 little children, plucked from their families, homes, communities—their language, their culture, cut and washed and beaten out of them—a cultural genocide—many never to return home, murdered, sold, adopted out. Some died like Chanie, simply trying to get home. All were broken, damaged, the impetus for a multi-generational trauma and clusterfuck that is 2016. Truth and Reconcilliation—a political appeasement? I don’t know. But, where to begin?

Pearl Achneepineskum, you beautiful, selfless, kind and gracious soul, you can have anything you need, anything, I thought, it’s all yours, everything.

Schools? For 53 years of suffering daily—53 years, more than my lifetime—all she wants is schools. Schools on every reserve so that not one more child will ever have to leave their home until they’re old enough to care for themselves.

Then, she said, “If Charlie’s life can save other children then I’ve done my work. I’ve done what I’ve intended to do.”

Schools. Why isn’t this a given? Why hasn’t it always been, and why isn’t it today? Why are children from reserves still sent from the security of their homes and communities to attend schools hundreds of miles from home, when in my community people go to the media if their children can’t get in to the local school of their choice, or don’t meet the 4 km criteria to take the school bus to school, and usually get their way?

Hard question to answer.

The answer to schools would likely be the same as the answer to this: Why is it that when Colten Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, collapsed to the floor in anguish after being informed of his murder, one of the herd of RCMP who were trespassing and searching her home, effectively told her to stand up and get a grip and asked if she’d been drinking? Why is it that the RCMP had the heartless audacity to fact check her comment that she’d been worried because he was late getting home and had placed his dinner in the microwave to heat up when he did, by opening up the microwave to see that it was actually there? Why is it that the car he’d been shot in at point blank range was not held in evidence?

The answer to that would likely be the answer to this: Why is it that this morning, while I thought of Chanie and Pearl and Colten and Debbie during my five-hour road trip to visit my husband who is working away home, I thought of his landlord’s response when he, a Cree Indian, mentioned that I would be coming to stay from time to time—“You can’t be up all night fighting. No fighting. I won’t put up with it.”

The answer? Racism. Still.

And then something magical happened on my trip. A car passed me, and on the back window was the answer to the answer: Pieced together in yellow duct tape were the words “Unfuck The World.”

What a graphic, yet simplistic call to action—which is an actual, organized movement intent on achieving human rights equality. We need to tighten it up, however. We need narrow our focus on achieving human rights equality within our own country: Unfuck Canada.

Gord Downie is right: Canada’s first 150 years are nothing to celebrate, yet our next 150 could be. The Secret Path has vividly exposed the realities of our past, the truth—clearly and graphically—and provided the opportunity to once and for all effect change. Now it’s up to all Canadians to ‘Unfuck’ it, to step up, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder, to say not in my country. To take action.

However, it’s not my place, nor maybe yours, to offer solutions. It’s people like Pearl Achneepineskum—those who survive of the 150,000 Indigenous children who were sent by our government to residential schools, to ‘school the Indian out of them,’ their families and the generations since. They have the solutions: Our job is to listen.

Schools. Let’s begin with schools. I know a lovely toddler who would gleefully give an, “Oh Wow!” with an accompanying clap for that, and about 150,000 young children from years past who shouldn’t have understood what all the fuss is about.

Please click on these links:
Watch Secret Path
Gord Downie’s Secret Path Website
Unfuck the World
Related:
Colten Boushie: Hatefully Murdered, Desperately Loved
What If: Is it Madness or Wisdom?

God Help America

Oct
16

sos

This morning I woke up to about 4 inches of snow. The quiet was deafening, compared to the noise of late, and I thought how lovely that for this moment the world feels insular, just as I need it to be. Then I thought, how grateful I am to whichever God it was who decided once to pluck me from the heavens and say, “you, my girl, shall be Canadian.” And I danced and I sang and wondered at the fantastic day which lay ahead!

Poor them, those Americans, especially those naïve, Kool aid-guzzling people who cling to the fallacy that theirs is the greatest nation on Earth. Bless their poor deluded souls.

What a week. What a mess. What an international spectacle. What a train wreck of tremendous proportions to attempt to pull your gaped jaw away from: The Circus to the South, the wind up to the esteemed November 8, US Presidential election. This is democracy? The self-proclaimed greatest nation on Earth? Oh my!

I’ve never seen the likes of it, this farcical fiasco, and neither have you: 330 million citizens have participated in a fair and just process that whittled down and weeded out the competition to finally determine Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to be the best candidates for Commander in Chief, the President of the United States? George Washington must be spinning as fast as the scandal-hungry pundits on US network news. It’s a travesty, a staggering and mindboggling, not to mention depressing and frightening, concept.

While the US elections usually contain more smear than substance, this one has been pure, pure smear, smear that’s not actually smear, as with candidates seemingly void of any moral fiber there’s ample and valid real ammunition to use on either side.

Trump is right, Hillary is crooked—deleted e-mails, tawdry dealings with big business, blatant lies, a few examples. And while her #Imwithher disciples like to proselytize Hillary as being all about women’s rights, her #Imwithhim stance throughout Bill’s sleazy, misogynistic and womanizing Presidency proves she clearly isn’t. A role model for #Imwithher would have Air Force Oned-it as far away from the Whitehouse as she could possibly have made it and became #Imoutofthat. But, Hillary seems about Hillary—her choice to remain and ride his coattails while shaming and dismissing his victims proved that. She doesn’t give a crap about women, or children, minorities, the filthy poor, or much else for that matter. Just money, power and #Imher.

And, Hillary is right, there is a ‘basket of deplorables.’ And it’s filled to the brim with the narcissistic and fantastical ego of Trump himself, likely actually the vilest species to ever walk Neanderthal-like the face of this earth, not to mention increasingly certifiable–clearly his denial of EVERYTHING is indicative of an ongoing and untreated psychotic break.

Issues facing the American people? Who cares? Certainly not either of the candidates as the debates have shown the world. Nothing. Nada. Null. And, man alive, there are issues, primarily that people living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

The US is a bully who would do well to mind its own business until it minds its business, to stop looking outward to ‘fix’ the rest of the world and take a minute to embrace and care for and fix its own, like those whose constant struggle impedes them from raising their voices: extreme violence, incredible poverty, third world healthcare, fractured economy, massive unemployment, rampant racism, distrustful policing, corrupt justice system and deplorable future leadership, to name a few potential fixes.

And all of this leaves poor Joe and Sally Citizen with a bad rap. Because the American people, in general, at least the ones whom I’ve met and known, are lovely, hardworking, moral people, who, like everyone world-wide, are just trying to get through the day, put food on their table and a roof over their head, and make a life for themselves and their families, kind of like the dream that once was.

Is my country perfect? Hardly. We have a long way to go, but today we’re making our way; and fortunately our starting point from here to greatness is well ahead of the curve.

Perhaps, the greatest boost we received on our journey may have been simple fact the second debate took place on our Thanksgiving Eve, as any Canadian who tuned in surely had something to be grateful for at their turkey dinner the very next day. We might have problems, but we’re not them. Pass the gravy, please and thank you.

We have violence, yes. In fact, I live in the third most dangerous city in the country. Do I live in fear? Not for a heartbeat. Our problems are mostly encapsulated in an insular world I’m not a part of. The likelihood of me being a victim of violence is close to equal that of a unicorn appearing in my kitchen. My neighbours pay it forward at the drive-thru window of Tim Horton’s rather than lay their open-carry handgun on the table inside.

We have poverty, too, but as the holiday season approaches my neighbours are likely to give as much to the community as they do to their own kin, to ensure that no one goes without food and shelter and the sense that they are cared about.

Healthcare? We are blessed with first-world Universal healthcare. We’ve got that one.

Our economy and employment? Truthfully, it’s suffering right now. But oil prices are rising, and hopefully soon our government will have sorted out the environmental issues that have impeded our vital resource sector from flourishing and put people back to work.

Racism? Sadly. However, by example of our new government which was elected a year ago this Wednesday, we are becoming better, giving respect and recognition where its due. We are moving ahead with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Truth and Reconciliation, and I have faith that our Prime Minister will make good on his promises to Indigenous communities to provide funding and support for everything from education and healthcare and housing and water and food security.

How many Syrian refugees have we welcomed? That would be 32,437, exactly.

Policing and justice? There are a few bad seeds in everything, but I believe most would agree that our systems do their best with what they have. And an upswing in the economy would help. Courts are so backlogged that the work of the police is often thwarted when criminals have their cases thrown out because the passage of time. Then it’s back to square one and our resources are overextended as it is.

And we respect our military, pay more than lip-service to their service. We mourn their loss and acknowledge their sacrifice and provide what they need when they get home. Never, EVER, would we consider for a millisecond a leader who had the audacity to ever compare his fortune of ‘surviving the AIDs epidemic of the ’80s,’ despite his promiscuity, to a soldier sent to Vietnam.

Leadership? We have leaders, who would never become leaders, or who become former leaders who are relegated to a certain abyss, for a mere slanderous or racist or sexist comment which was made on their social media umpteen years ago. Let alone sexual assault or colluding with business. So there’s no deplorables. Our democracy works. We have values. Morals. Qualities that matter.

God Bless Canada.

And, gratefully, for us, there are only 22 days left until the US election, when at least this part, this madness, this circus of a campaign, will be over. And, then, who knows? Who really wants to imagine? On too many levels it’s a frightening thought.

I know, if it were me, on November 8, I would stand in a polling booth completely mystified with my options, and then, with a great big red marker, scrawl Bernie Sanders’ name in block letters across my ballot. (While he seems to have disappeared into oblivion since his scandalous nomination loss, there was a man of integrity, of morals, who truly was for the American people, all of the American people.) A wasted ballot perhaps, but a statement, a vote, nonetheless.

Integrity and morals—imagine—qualities the options, #Imwithher and His Vileness, certainly haven’t shown to behold.

OM…Bethenny

Oct
02

birthday

This morning I woke with a start from a dream in which I was pregnant.

This was shocking for two reasons: For what feels like ever, I’ve not slept deep enough to wake with a start (thanks for last night, Gravol and Melatonin); and, secondly, today is my FIFTY-FIRST birthday and I’m gratefully two months shy of official menopausalicious, so being pregnant is rather implausible, thank every God.

Still, a pregnancy dream is a wee bit disconcerting. So, when I’d recovered enough from the start to plant two feet on the ground, I raced to my office to madly Google it’s meaning.

The consensus was this: To dream that you are pregnant symbolizes an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing. You may not be ready to talk about it or act on it. Being pregnant in your dream may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal. (dreammoods.com)

Hmmm? Off to my horoscope:

IF TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY
You will have plenty to say for yourself over the coming 12 months and your words will please some people and annoy others. Don’t be afraid to take a controversial position. The world needs people who are not afraid to kick up a fuss. (GlobeandMail)

And this is all the best news—Thank You Jesus—as for the last few months my mind has been an ongoing and escalating interpretation of Karl van Ove Knausgard’s My Struggle, or, as I’ve not yet read it (he’s struggled through six books, to date), my struggle is what I imagine Karl’s to be. Somewhat.

And I’m not at all pleased with myself.

It’s my journey with grief (my father passed in June and I’m now an orphan), and this recent loss seems to have been a catalyst to the recognition of how lost in the forest of fuckedupdom I’ve allowed myself to be drawn, for what feels a very long time. Perhaps, I’m delusional as to who I am? Or never really knew to begin with? Regardless, it’s time for the insanity to stop. Because, really and truly, where has this led me?

The answer is here, and my version of My Struggle, a rather depleting and boring affair.

It’s not the loss of my father that I’m grieving at this point on horrid-grief’s continuum—I miss him, yes: I’m sad  he died, yes—but, without him, I am left with me, to grieve me, and the truth that is a ghosting of a fantasy for which I’ve long lived my life, quite possibly its entirety. And, of this, I am angry. Very angry. Not at him, but at this me, and mostly the hard truth that it’s not his fault at all, but mine, this ghosting, this sense that everything I thought I once knew, believed to be, dissipated one day like a vapour, and what I have left is the truth and it’s not so nice.

That black is actually white. Very white. And, that I should have known this all along, from the beginning instead of living 51 years in a sham.

Enter Bethenny Frankel (from my vice, RHNY) a hot mess of naked vulnerability who is fabulously her, whose very best quality I have long envied.

But, first, this, a quote I have pinned on the bulletin board above my computer. I placed it there in the early days of my struggle, somewhere in its escalation.

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” Jordan Belfort.

How simple, how true.

I am a people pleaser. Have been since my very first memory—a tiny little girl lying in bed, forcing herself to stay awake, just in case. (In case?) She knew (decided?) then that her place in this world was to expend her everything to ensure that those whom she loved were good—happy, safe, enjoyed smooth sailing. She would rescue them all, manipulate the world to appease, if only in the moment. And wouldn’t they love her for all she had given? Sacrificed? Left of herself?

Na. I don’t think so. More, I think that tiny little girl created a fantasy, made a massive mistake.

I no longer wish to be the person who conducts the orchestra, who juggles and melds and soothes every section, weaves them together in a fraudulent fantastical symphony to please and lift and wow the audience. I want to put down my baton, smash it hard really. Shatter it. Annihilate it. Render it a vapour.

I want to, am going to, instead sing the accompanying aria: loudly, gloriously, me-pleasingly, even if it’s horridly off key, out of tune.

And I’m going to conjure up my inner Bethenny. Bethenny does not do bullshit. She doesn’t take it or give it, and she certainly doesn’t wallow in it. Bethenny Frankle is a bullshit-free zone. And for this, I love her. And, better, I love me enough to embrace her.

No more. I’m done.

Instead, this birthday will be my birth day. I am pregnant with a new direction: I will gratefully please me, and embrace the selfish and strong contrarian, hot mess of vulnerabilities inside. Black can be white, a beautiful palette on which to paint my beautiful and endless possibilities.

I owe it to someone exceedingly important, that tiny little girl lying in her bed.

It just takes some time
Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be all right

RELATED: HERE. I. GO.