1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

Whether With Or Without You, SongLyricSunday

I got the idea for the artist from another participant.

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I think the lyrics in my song choice fit the prompt
for today’s Song Lyric Sunday
and here it is:

This is about love, self love, loving myself, oneself, ourselves.

I am sweet. I am smart. I am articulate. I am fun. I am humorous. I am interesting and well-rounded. I am kind. I am insightful and intuitive. I am empathetic.

***

that I would be good
even if I did nothing
that I would be good
even if I got the thumbs down
that I would be good
if I got and stayed sick
that I would be good
even if I gained ten pounds

that I would be fine
even if I went bankrupt
that I would be good
if I lost my hair and my youth
that I would be great
if I was no longer queen
that I would be grand if I was not all knowing

that I would be loved
even when I numb myself
that I would be good
even when I am overwhelmed
that I would be loved
even when I was fuming
that I would be good
even if I was clingy

that I would be good
even if I lost sanity
that I would be good
whether with or without you

(Flute solo.)

LYRICS

***

These lyrics can be referring to society, with or without a particular family member, friend, a specific partner from the past, or just a partner in general.

Either way, this song has helped me think more, to realize how important it is to learn to love “me”, no matter who else comes or goes or stays from/in my life.

It’s not always smooth sailing on any of those fronts, but it is worth the work. I am a pretty great person and, deep down, I know it more than I know most things frankly.

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TToT: The Bridge Between What Is and What’s Hoped For – Making Waiting Worthy, #10Thankful

“She promised herself she would see the world, and so she did.”

-Virginia Woolf

Sometimes I fear, as I write piece after piece about my first solo travel experience for interested and curious editors, that I will never again get the chance.

I took the Woolf quote from my writing mentor’s email signature because I feel like I could be that quote, if only…

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful that I can call my sister anytime and hear my little niece babbling happily in the background.

She is old enough now that my sister can put her down on the floor, with some toys, and then get some stuff done around the house while my niece entertains herself a little.

I don’t have to go far to see them in person, but sometimes, in the moment, I am dealing with something hard and hearing that little girl chatting away happily is the only thing that can make a difference in my mood.

She is just that precious.

I’m thankful for a lovely home visit with my friend because downtown was so incredibly busy.

It was a warm day again and the downtown area was busy with Thursday market and other things.

So, instead, we went through a drive through and took coffees back to my air conditioned house.

I’m thankful for a return into the world of yoga.

My instructor got rather busy at the end of summer, but we are starting again, now that fall has nearly arrived.

My balance wasn’t bad, but I still fight shaky arms.

The end-of-session silent meditation time was my favourite part, again, though this time I had a harder time blocking out everything I have had on my mind lately.

Other than a few Skype difficulties, it was not bad for having missed multiple weeks.

I’m thankful for a surprise acceptance email in the evening.

Different editors work varied hours, but normally I don’t expect to hear from them after eight in the evening.

This one was such a pleasant surprise and a great opportunity.

I’m thankful for living light.

Bioluminescence

I can’t really see it anymore, but I still watch any documentary I can get my hands on about the sea. It’s just amazing what animals are programmed to do.

Oh, to have become a marine biologist, free to study such miracles all the time.

I’m thankful I could book an eye appointment.

I haven’t been to see my retinal specialist since March of 2014 and I was worried I might need a referral to get back in there.

I am sort of worried about my eyesight, feeling it slipping away, and it’s about time I get some peace of mind, if possible.

I have been seeing this specialist for over twenty years, ever since a mysterious virus attacked my left eye and started in on my right. This doctor was understanding and patient and did his best to save my little remaining vision.

Now I need to hear he sees nothing wrong and that maybe there is hope. Though I bet he won’t see anything and I will feel even worse about what my gut is telling me is going on.

I still am grateful to have this doctor and he may just have a comforting word, said in his soft, soothing voice.

I’m thankful for seconds.

At the market, a bag of my favourite September apples costs quite a lot, but if you are willing to settle for the apples that didn’t quite make the cut during inspection, the price goes down considerably.

I have inspected many of these apples that weren’t quite good enough, finding nothing wrong. It’s not like they are covered in worm holes and mushy bruises.

They are still the apples I love. I am happy to take the ones nobody else wanted.

I’m thankful for my writer mentors and friends and their belief in me and my writing.

Just knowing such wildly talented writers believe in me, that they consider my writing so highly, this means everything to me.

That they describe my latest freelance writing successes in this way: “well deserved catapult to glory”.

I especially love that the piece referred to in this case was published in
Catapult
and I can’t believe my piece is visible on their main page.

On those days when I am feeling down about a pitch rejection or not hearing back from a short story contest I’d entered, their faith in me is just the thing to make me reconsider my own talent, as something I am working on constantly and am meant to do.

I’m thankful for a complimentary email to brighten up my weekend.

The one travel publication I received an acceptance for last week read something I got published (the Catapult piece I included here in the last TToT) and they emailed me, the editor, to say how much they enjoyed reading it and are even more sure about my participation in their literary journal.

It was just the thing to brighten up my dismal weekend.

I’m thankful for unexpected acts of kindness.

As my friend and I were going through the drive through to get our coffee, the worker at the window asked if we wanted to purchase a smile cookie to support a good cause.

VON Sakura House – residential hospice of Oxford County

I said why not, as it is for a good cause, and then we drove to the next window.

It turns out, the car ahead of ours offered to pay for our cookie and I suddenly felt warmer than the day could cause. It was a warm feeling of gratitude and for the kindness that still exists in my town and in the world.

And, speaking of lifting quotes from others…

The title for this TToT post I got the idea for from
Lisa
and from
Christine Carter’s book
all about self care and healing.

These ladies have a point, in that I am not dealing with any disaster. My brother’s accident a few years ago, that was a disaster for the family.

My week was far from disastrous and I am thankful for that.

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TToT: Stormy Skies Over Soft Summer Sunlight – Where’s the yellow? #10Thankful

“Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

—The Little Prince

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I like alliteration in my titles and I like this time of year. I am busy during the days and try not to think too much, about those things that keep me up at night.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful my family and I are safe and far from natural disasters and that my friends are safe too.

Here in Ontario we get tornados sometimes, but we aren’t out west where the fires are, nor are we by the coast where the flooding happens.

Then I woke to the notification of a strong earthquake in Mexico and I feared for my friends living there.

Mexico is big enough that those I care about weren’t touched, but these natural disasters seem to be everywhere lately.

Just not here. Our weather has been beautiful, if not a little cool for this time of year, but I am loving it.

I’m thankful for such a fun and energizing writing group.

A pack of three crayons (red/blue/green) were brought in for the mystery object, those packs you find at a restaurant, to keep the kids entertained. Well, I love crayons, but many of us in the group wondered and commented on the lack of a yellow crayon.

Our group was larger than usual and I liked the energy each person added. I was entirely entertained, myself, by everyone in that room.

The stories were diverse and all about crayons. Ah, the life of a crayon.

There were two new people there and they were both J names. This, somehow, had its own influence on someone’s story. I hope they both come back.

I’m thankful my brother had his adventure and made it safely home from Iceland.

I’m thankful he returned to his radio show.

He is getting better and more comfortable, every time he does it.

I’m thankful for a another Saturday family day.

The guys went to a baseball game and us girls and Max stayed home.

There were family photos taken out in the back yard.

I’m thankful Saturday family day spilled over to Sunday.

It was a lovely afternoon spent sitting in a circle in the yard, with beers, wine, and snacks.

My family are some of the most interesting people I know.

I’m thankful a piece I’ve been working on (from pitch to publication) is finally out, starting all the way back last May.

Lost, and Then Found Once More: On Traveling Alone without Sight – Catapult

Read to the end and the part about the drumsticks.

This is a prelude to my audio piece for SiriusXM.

I’m thankful for two more “acceptances” and for the fear that’s accompanying both.

I wasn’t expecting it, in a way, and I am back to square one. I must come up with a piece of writing that they will want to publish. I worry about not coming up with anything and instead letting them and myself down.

The excitement is there too though. I am honoured, after ending last week with a rejection email to a pitch, to hear anything at all to start off a new one.

I’m thankful to have an available store full of food to shop in.

As I meandered through the isles, the shelves, and the freezer section and prepared foods, I know not everyone has such choice right there in front of them. It felt like a lot, but it is an abundance I am thankful for.

I’m thankful for pumpkin spiced latte.

Enough said.

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Happiness Is The Best Kind, #SongLyricSunday

Revenge may feel good for a while, but success in happy pursuits is the better revenge to have in the end.

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There you have it. My fortune cookie for September.

Another song to make my heart happy, when I realize that any thoughts of anger in revenge or vengeful moments, dreaming something of the kind toward someone, well I am much happier in focusing on wanting more for my own life.

And I think that making my own dreams come true is the best kind of revenge there could possibly be anyway.

***

Oh, my life is changing everyday,
In every possible way. And oh, my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems, Never quite as it seems.
I know I’ve felt like this before, but now I’m feeling it even more, Because it came from you. And then I open up and see the person falling here is me, A different way to be.
Ah, la da ah… La…
I want more impossible to ignore, Impossible to ignore. And they’ll come true, impossible not to do, Impossible not to do.
And now I tell you openly, you have my heart so don’t hurt me. You’re what I couldn’t find. A totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind; You’re everything to me.
Oh, my life, Is changing every day, In every possible way.
And oh, my dreams, It’s never quite as it seems, ‘Cause you’re a dream to me, Dream to me.
Ah, da, da da da, da, la…

LYRICS

***

And so, if or when I did happen to find someone wonderful, I’d want my life to be as wonderful as it could be, so the two would deserve each other in unison.

I choose to go the more upbeat route for this week’s
Song Lyric Sunday
because I am living my dream, or starting to anyway. It’s often a more gradual process than I’d like it to be.

And thanks to
Marquessa
for the prompt of revenge/vengeance.

I could have gone down that road, still easier than I’d like to admit, but admitting that makes me human.

So, instead…here’s to dreams!

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Best Possible Advice, #ChronicPain #SongLyricSunday

Breathe, Kerry. Breathe.

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Chronic Pain Awareness Week is about to begin and so I thought this the perfect time to speak about it.

I will use Song Lyric Sunday and Helen’s prompt about breathing to do it.

Singer Ingrid Michaelson had a few songs that helped me through a bad breakup and things, but this one helps to remind me of how to cope, with both emotional and physical pain.

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

It’s a good one for after a breakup, for a stressful day, physical pain, or even for people living through an awful natural disaster like a wildfire or flood, anything any one of us can’t control.

Deep breathing…I am not the first to think of it and either is Michaelson.

It’s a yoga practice. It’s a coping mechanism. I don’t speak a lot about the pain I live with on a daily basis to most people. There’s a stigma to chronic pain that is hard to deal with, almost as painful as the pain itself. If I mention it, people can’t fully comprehend and many human beings feel the common need to problem solve or judge, even unintentionally.

Do I drink enough water? Do I get enough sleep? Do I get enough fresh air, sunshine, or exercise?

Am I depressed? Do I eat enough fruits and vegetables?

***

The storm is coming
but I don’t mind
People are dying,
I close my blinds
All that I know is I’m breathing, now

I want to change the world
Instead, I sleep
I want to believe in more
than you and me

But all that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now
All that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing. All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now

LYRICS

***

The song starts with a few lines of lyrics about more than just any one kind of physical pain. It also serves as a reminder that we all feel helpless about the things we see going on in the world and want to help. The helplessness I feel about so many of the world’s ills, human suffering, injustices, all that on top of the physical pain I live with every day and it’s enough to make me want to close my blinds and sleep through life, but I only allow myself a day or two of that before I must do something different.

Then the song repeats the simple advice to “keep breathing” and the song is correct – all any of us can do is that. I remind myself of it, at least twenty times a day or more. I tell myself to remember to do it when the stress becomes too much to handle in any given moment, when even thinking about others feels like an impossibility because being me is hard enough.

As the lyrics “all we can do is keep breathing” repeat, the song builds to a climactic point and then returns to where it started.

That’s pain of all kinds. That’s life.

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The Heather By The River, #SoCS

Journalists. Photographers. And I use the term loosely.

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As a woman in my thirties, one who writes about things as my oxygen, I wonder what any of us would do for enough money. Would I write about people, even intrusively, for a living if given the chance?

Have I done it now? Already? Before?

How can it make anyone feel good about themselves to hound another human being, with their camera or their pen?

Responsibility: direct or indirect.

A world’s grief. Anger toward someone, needing to direct blame somewhere, the press. The press reports. The papers are printed. People buy the papers and mags.

More. More. More. We always want more.

From birth,
the two boys asked for none of it. That’s mostly where my thoughts return to.

I am not British and barely knew who Princess Diana was when she died. I wasn’t alive for the wedding seen around the world.

A sea of people, rather than water. That is what Diana must have seen when she looked from her vantage point, after saying her vows.

I would rather see a sea of Red or Black, blue or green, but the press fed off of the woman and she fed off of them, in a way, at least at first and for a long time afterward.

She was a fashion icon and a princess, but not only that. She used her position as a bit of an outsider, under the thumb of the monarchy, to become a change maker, by reaching out to those in need, those no one else wanted to associate with.

HIV and AID’s, in the 80s, when the hysteria about both was growing and at its greatest fever pitch. She shook hands, hugged those diagnosed and dying of the feared and misunderstood disease.

She came here, to Toronto, to sit by the beds of dying patients in hospice care. She walked a minefield, literally and figuratively. Danger signs.

Such grief of so many, I would not cry. As a fourteen-year-old child, fresh off of a kidney transplant and a thrilling wedding – I attended, my first of my oldest cousin. That was my wedding of the century.

Of royalty, I knew nothing. A fairytale life gone wrong is more like it.

Fairytales. I was familiar with these…the concept, the ideals, as a young girl. My Disney fairytale movies were my favourite. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, with the bright pink dresses and dancing with their handsome princes. I may have had similar dreams at the time, but what did I know? A lack of life experience and my own understandable immaturity.

What do titles represent, really? Sometimes, they bring just the right kind of attention and sometimes the wrong kind.

Now, upon reflection, twenty years later I do feel sad. I know of celebrity of her two sons. They are the British royalty of my generation.

I do perk up when I hear their names on the news. I bought the fake imitation giant ring, modelled after that of the one worn by both Kate and her mother-in-law, still lounging in my drawer. I woke to watch the wedding, once again broadcast live.

Prince William and Kate came to Canada after their marriage, the same date as my big brother’s own marriage took place. I hope one generation learns from the previous one, in certain cases, that sometimes it happens we grow wiser with enough knowledge.

They’ve come again since, since then, and with their two small children, touring parts of the country in which I live, that still sees itself as the child of Britain, past and present.

What is Kate wearing? Where are the couple going next? Are they in love, for real, or is it all just another fairytale?

But I do feel for two boys who, in August of 1997, woke up to the loss of their mother when I clung to mine for dear life, during some of the hardest and scariest times of my own childhood.

Are those boys/men in some ways like their mother, under scrutiny of duty, feeling hunted or like outsiders, wanting to reach out to those in need, perhaps not born with some of the advantages? They grew up with cameras as their mother tried to navigate a life of celebrity and being followed. She was hunted, more even than Prince Charles.

Now that I am more aware, I watch documentaries on the weekend after the anniversary of her death. I listen to stories of a nineteen-year-old who got married much too young, to an older man who shouldn’t have ever proposed to her in the first place, who was likely always in love with another woman. He should have been with this other lady all along and now appears that he is.

People marry the wrong person all the time, every single day and have babies with them. In these cases it is my hardest task not to judge because none of us are perfect. This challenges me as an adult who wants to see everyone happy, no matter whether they’re famous or not.

As a writer, this is my obituary of sorts, no matter how stream of consciousness based it may be, twenty years on.

From birth to death: Diana, 1961-1997

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TToT: The Sound of Water at the Edge of All Things – Sirens and the Bird Song, #10Thankful

Your Memories on Facebook
Kerry, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 4 years ago.

Kerry Kijewski, August 28, 2013

I have a dream…that one day we’ll live in a world where not only people of all ethnicities and cultures and religions will live together in harmony, but as far as we’ve come with that, we still have a long way to go: for black and white and yellow and brown, for women, and for LGBT too. I have a dream that as far as we’ve come with accepting all people included above, that the next step is to bring people of all disabilities into that list.

I have a dream that one day, people all over the world will recognize that people with disabilities of all kinds, physical, mental, or intellectual will be received and given the chance to prove that they have something to offer, each and every one of them.

I have a dream that one day…we will be given the same chances and opportunities to show the rest of the world just what we are capable of…that we have love and intelligence and dedication just like anyone else, and that we are just as eager to help out, make a difference, simply to participate in the world we share, to function and thrive as willing citizens, in our neighbourhoods, our communities, and as part of the bigger world’s stage.

I have a dream that people with all disabilities will one day live in a world where we are judged not by our lack of sight or hearing or mobility, but by our hearts, our minds, and our gifts, talents, and abilities. I have a dream that we will one day be taken seriously as contributing members of society…that we may be given just the same opportunities in ife to let our skills show and our hard work shine through, without the fear of being thought of as less than…I have a dream…

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech… Fifty years later…I have given mine…there’s hope yet, I know there is.

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I appreciate the reminder of my relative size. There are bigger things in life that I must remember still.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful I could have a day in Toronto with my sister, brother, niece, and nephew.

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A dinosaur really dwarfs you by comparison.

I’m thankful I got to see the blue whale exhibit at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum).

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I got to feel a exact sized replica of a blue whale brain.

I’m thankful my niece and nephew seemed to get so much out of the museum.

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Then we got up close with a replica of the blow hole.

It was just nice to see, that although there was the usual amount of youthful restlessness, we were still able to show them things that they found interesting.

Mostly dinosaur or other, more modern animal stuff.

I’m thankful for all the new sounds my niece is now making regularly.

At six months old her vocabulary of sound is really growing.

I swear I hear words sometimes. No rush. It just makes me smile, whatever she’s saying.

I’m thankful my rough draft of my SiriusXM piece was so well received.

The editor said she was swamped, but couldn’t help listening to the thirteen-minute piece.

Her positive feedback was encouraging.

I’m thankful I got to see my brother play music at my town’s local fair.

The small crowd size left a lot to be desired, but it was more of a nostalgia thing than anything else.

I’m thankful for things to do and places to be away from the loud noises while the roof was being fixed…

I’m thankful for a yearly catch-up lunch.

She started out as my pupil aid when I was in grade one.

Then, as I needed it more and more, she learned braille and became my braille transcriber.

Back before computers were much of a real option, in the 90s, I would braille out my schoolwork on a manual braille machine and she would transcribe the assignments, in print underneath, for my teachers to read and mark.

That was years ago, she has moved on with working with other students in the meantime, but we still like to catch up every now and again.

We discussed my writing and her summer travels out east with family.

I’m thankful for a nice time out with a friend at a place that smells like chocolate and has delicious lattes with vanilla sugar.

It’s not my choice for a chocolate shop, all sugar free and vegan, but it wasn’t a bad spot for a drink.

I’m thankful for stories of history.

Regal. Often stilted. The music of the latest movie about Jacqueline Kennedy/Onassis was heartbreaking and real.

It was based on an interview she granted a week after John’s assassination. She spoke to her priest first and then the journalist.

I don’t know why I am fascinated with this part of still fairly recent history, as the exact graphic details of the killing are horrifying and this film does not shy away from that.

I am fascinated by the history of the 60s as a whole, for many reasons, as a time of real upheaval, feeling eerily similar to now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vDWWy4CMhE

From John F. Kennedy to Martin Luther King, Jr. From “all men” to “all men and women and all of us” in the twenty-first century and fifty years on and onward.

I don’t wish to strictly compare or relate, but this stuff is similar in my experience, but mine alone.

Self evident indeed.

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