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TToT: Raining Lumos and Dobby #DisabledAndCute #IAmAPreexistingCondition #10Thankful

Lord, when you send the rain

Think about it, please, a little?

Do not get carried away

by the sound of falling water,

the marvellous light

on the falling water.

I am beneath that water.

It falls with great force

and the light

Blinds

me to the light.

—James Baldwin, “Untitled”

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The magnolia blooms for a short time only. True beauty doesn’t often last. It comes and it goes.

The rain kept coming, across parts of Ontario and Quebec, for most of the week.

Raining cats and dogs: Lumos and Dobby are mine.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for delicate things in nature.

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We found this cracked robin’s egg on the driveway and I thought it a sweet discovery. My mom improves on the nature and this sign of spring.

I wondered then, where the inhabitant of the egg went. How did the egg land and not crack into even more pieces? I wondered things.

I’m thankful for leftover wine.

My sister had a wedding shower for a friend and there were leftovers. She was kind to share them with me.

I’m thankful for a writing group built around a hand sculpted wand.

One of our members of “The Elsewhere Region” brought in a birthday gift she’d received. It’s like the Harry Potter wand I bought, even the box, but made specifically for her, with love from a friend who knows her well.

The Celtic Tree Calendar

The stories we all came up with were interesting. Mine was about a teacher of the blind who started a braille club in her class and her wand accidentally fell out of her desk drawer. She almost had to reveal to all her students that she was magic, until her visually impaired student saved her.

The others used their very interesting imaginations and came up with wild tales of magic and I was once more blown away by their storytelling abilities.

I am thankful I could help spread hash tags about the disabilities many of us were, in some cases, born with.

The hash tag “I Am A Preexisting Condition” is making the rounds on Twitter since the shocking revelation that the GOP and the House voted in their horrid healthcare plan, which is making many people I know with chronic illnesses and conditions afraid for what will happen.

I felt helpless and wanted to do something. I couldn’t think of what that could be. It’s just so outlandish.

I am thankful for my nephew’s creativity, imagination, and the ideas that are all his own.

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He drew an X on a piece of paper and tacked it up on the door. We saw it there when we arrived the other day and I was smiling when I heard what it’s for.

He put it up to keep the spiders out.

NO SPIDERS

I am thankful I could give my niece her bottle and put her to sleep.

My nephew was staying with his grandparents overnight and he was a bit sad as bedtime approached. My mom comforted him and I fed Mya her bottle. That girl loves to eat.

Then she fell asleep over my shoulder.

I’m thankful for echoes of a memory with a lullaby.

My mom started to sing an old lullaby that her mother, my grandmother, used to sing. This seemed to bring back memories for me, something so vague, about my grandma singing to me.

“Go to bed my little darling. Close your big blue eyes. Soon you’ll hear the sandman calling, far beyond the skies.”

It’s funny that you can sense a memory from the past, so long gone, and even start to wonder if it really happened. I remember being sung to like that, but I don’t know when or how old I might have been. I seem to remember being held, but can any of us remember back that far into our pasts?

Well, I held Mya and the entire time I tapped that song out on her back, gently, over and over again, trying to sharpen my own memories. It didn’t work, but the song is a beautiful one.

I am thankful that France did not make the same mistake the US made.

France is a totally different country than the US of course and I knew they would make the right choice with Emmanuel Macron.

Just a few weeks ago, Canada gave a giant sigh of relief, when our own (he was being called Canada’s Donald Trump) and he was running for the Conservative Party of Canada, dropped out.

Kevin O’Leary is a businessman, like 45, known for his role in Shark Tank, but he didn’t feel quite as outrageous. Maybe that was just my wishful thinking there, but he decided on his own that he couldn’t stay in the race.

I don’t know what will happen with the EU and I hope no more terrorist attacks occur in France or anywhere else, but I am sure we aren’t done with all that, sadly.

I am thankful for the sun to make its reappearance.

Even I grew weary of all that dreary weather, day after day after day. The sun does shine again, but unfortunately, some are dealing with major damage to their homes and their lives. Rain has power to mess with us. The sun revives.

And this last photo isn’t the most pleasant sight. I begin with a beautiful flowering bush and I cap off this TToT with the scene we came across in my back yard.

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I have squirrels living in the top of my garage and this one came to a sad end, landing in a tree and hanging there until we noticed it. Poor thing.

Loss and endings. I just hope those affected by the flooding, in Quebec mostly, can salvage something of their homes.

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Peeps! #TGIF #FTSF

I went for the slang for my title this week, for people, but because Easter is near, all I thought about was the boyfriend from my past who loved those marshmallow bunny treats. He got so excited when he found coloured ones, and there could have been strange flavours too. He bought many packs and some went stale in the pantry.

I never could stand the things, those Peeps. Not my choice for an Easter treat. Give me some good old Easter chocolate, thank you very much.

But I like the alternative word for people.

The people we meet change us. At least, they have me, but choosing only some felt like an impossible task. Otherwise, I knew this post had the frightening potential of going on far too long and losing its impact on any perspective readers.

I started with my Easter story to begin with, to fit one more of those people in, ever so briefly, but this post isn’t about that. I simply could not neglect the connection between Peeps and peeps while I had it, right there and ready to go.

Whether it’s a chance meeting, one that lasts only minutes or hours, or one that develops into something longer term I could spend this post thanking people, as I did for my one year of blogging here.

Kind and Generous

My brother met a friend by being in an Apple store. The friend saw two blind guys looking at technology and made the decision to approach them and introduce herself. These were three people that never would have met each other and just so happened to be in that store at the same time.

I previously mentioned the kind woman and her husband who helped me out, in the Dallas Airport, out of the goodness of their hearts.

I want to write about the people I met at the writing workshop in Mexico in January. Each of them are fondly known to me now, all those I will never forget, for the things they taught me that week.

That, too, would take more than this here post. I am still working on the brevity thing. They all deserve their thanks and time. Perhaps this should be a “The People We Meet” series.

I like to sit and think, when I can’t decide which of them to write about first, on the people I’m still to meet in my life. It’s those I am not yet aware of that fascinate me, nearly as much as those I already know, because we are all unknown to one another until we’re not. Maybe that’s a sign of never being satisfied with what I have, with all those connections I’ve already been lucky to have made, but my curious mind can’t help it.

Every time a car passes I wonder who’s in it, what they like or dislike, or what they value in life. Though I may likely never know the answer to my questions about those currently passing my house in their vehicles, I will never stop wandering through life, open to any people, just as those I’ve already met were once unknown to me and me them.

So much of what is going on in the world is us all being scared, by perceived fears of terrorism or mass human migrations or whatever, but mostly by the fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar. We need to familiarize ourselves with other people. You just never know when a person you randomly meet could become one of your favourite peeps one day. This means I can capitalize the word, as mine in my own life certainly deserve that – a position to be in, so sweet, sweeter than any marshmallow.

They could eventually become someone who makes you laugh, makes you think, or makes you want to become a better human being yourself. I know all this is and has been true for me, with Mexico only one of the more recent prime examples.

For the sake of choosing one, I will focus this time on my writing mentor.

We met over social media and here online, developed a respect for each other and our writing, with a mentorship coming from that.

But it wasn’t until we met in person, were able to hug each other, and feel the physical presence of one another in the same place did I truly appreciate it all for what it was and what it could be. I will always have the greatest respect and admiration for her, with everything she does, no matter what else may happen or where life may take us.

Again, I resort to wanting to thank people, and so I wish I could lay out precisely how meeting so many of the people I’ve been privileged to meet has affected my life and the woman I am.

Most recently it’s neighbours. I am not the best neighbour, but I don’t play loud music – anymore.

I am not a bad person to live next to, especially if you like your peace and quiet. In fact, you might hardly even believe anyone (myself) even lived there.

I find it difficult, without seeing, to make first contact. It’s funny how you can be in the right place at the right time, one small window of it, and meet someone, but you could also live next door to people for years and never really speak to or know them. This time, my new neighbour introduced herself and seems to be looking out for me, before we’ve gotten to speak more than a handful of times. I take this to be a positive sign of things to come.

I may have blown it this time, with my Finish the Sentence Friday post being all over the place, but I blame that on a stomach ache and brain so full of swirling thought and a neurotic mind that thought I needed to write my FTSF post on a Friday, instead of giving it a day or two, in the hopes that I could ever possibly narrow down my stories of the people I’ve met to one lone blog post.

Plus, I had a violin lesson today and that always affects me. If it was a lesson where I couldn’t focus and nothing seemed to be working, I would feel dejected. In today’s case though, I felt it working and now I am feeling exhilarated, which both ways means I am all over the map.

While speaking of violin lessons, my violin teacher is another one of those cases of the people I am lucky to have met. Today we had a long talk about a lot, half deep violin discussion/related and assorted subject matter and half actual practicing.

I’m just glad I at least wrote something this week. I guess it’s easier sometimes to write about other people, while avoiding myself, but in the process I hope I show a glimpse of me in there somewhere too.

Thanks Kristi.

Finding Ninee is one of those peeps I have not yet met in person, but whom I feel a special bit of a bond with, just through this blogging thing and such, for the fighting she does for her son, as any parent should. I really need to write an article, one where I interview my own mother, Kristi, and other parents of children with disabilities or special needs. They are good peeps…some of the best out there.

Joining Kristi for this week’s FTSF is
Marda Sikora
who also writes about this subject.

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Born Again and Forever Grateful, #FTSF

It’s strange, when you try to imagine the people your parents were and the lives they lived before their children came into the picture. I often try to envision it, with little success. My grandmother had diaries of her life and they’re one of my most valued treasures, for several reasons, but the details, no matter how minuscule, offer a window on what my mother was like as a child and young adult, way before she knew she would one day become the parent of four children, two of whom would be born with multiple disabilities. Sounds like a carefree time to me.

🙂

Well, like how I find it odd to imagine the days on which my parents met, got married, and had each of their four children, I find it inconceivable to think of the day of my birth. I was there for that one, obviously, but I do not remember, as if I wasn’t a part of it at all.

I was born via cesarean, as my mother had given birth to my older brother and sister previously. She had a medical reason for being unable to give birth naturally. All this, on that February day in 1984, it all progressed, as to be expected.

She decided to name me Kerry, a “K” name to go along with my big sister, Kim, born two years earlier. Also, the woman who gave birth to a baby boy on the same day, in the bed next to hers, her name was “Kerry”, spelled that way. This would set me apart from most with the same name, often spelled with the more common “C”.

I retell this naming story on occasion, but I would say, along with stories of the day I was born, there would one day be joined, one about my rebirth, thirteen years later.

The day I was born was a cold February day, but the day I was reborn was warm, sunny, and in early June.

Again, I remember none of it, strictly speaking. One moment I was one girl, small and ill, and the next, I awoke to the new life of a transplant recipient. I began, after being reborn, dopey, my new world slowly coming into focus. The beeping of ICU machines gave way to the warm, fuzzy feeling of the first summer of the rest of my life.

Now, one year ahead of my twenty year kidney transplant anniversary and I mark the date, another June fifth coming up fast. Next month signifies the start of my rebirth, as is the context for this FTSF post.

It’s a strange time of year for me, truthfully. As the date passes me by I feel a mixture of gratitude and anxious discomfort, at the state of my life, looking back on all these years hence.

I take stock on how far I’ve come since June 5th, 1997 and sometimes the weight of that milestone dawns on me with such ferocity. We all hit those monumental markers in life, occasions where rebirth is exactly the word we’d use. For me, June means rebirth, as spring is rebirth for so many plants and animals. I try to highlight the date, look on the life I’ve had since then, and adjust accordingly. This is daunting, when I can’t stop assigning to myself what my life should now mean. I don’t want to toss aside the importance of what that single surgery did for me. I can’t and never will.

Rebirth means something to me now, as my birth must have meant, more than thirty years ago, to my parents. It feels like an important starting place, but as yet, I haven’t decided where that might lead.

Host and sentence-thinker-upper:

Finding Ninee

&

Corinne Rodrigues

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Going Blue For Equality

Many of the same struggles, between disabilities: autism and blindness #WorldAutismDay #LightItUpBlue #Awareness

Her Headache

Last week it was go purple for Epilepsy and this week it’s blue for Autism. April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and I just watched a very interesting documentary on TV Ontario about the challenges people with Autism Spectrum Disorders face, specifically when it comes to employment. I wanted to watch this particular doc because I felt a certain empathy and understanding with this topic and with the people involved.
The spectrum for conditions such as Autism and Asperger Syndrome is wide and varied. It includes many people at many different levels of function and ability. I would never presume to say I know what people with diagnosed Autism and other disorders like it and their families go through every day, but I can relate in my own way.
A lot of the characteristics of Autism and other disorders like it can be similar to some that go along…

View original post 943 more words

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Super Week, #FTSF

I think many may struggle, as I know I did, with coming up with something for a sentence starter such as the one this week.

I know I’ve recently stated here that I know very little about Superwoman or Superman for that matter. Could I relate enough to write anything at all?

I do know that I’ve always wished I could fly. Not fly like we humans do. I’ve done that, well I’ve flown as a passenger (have never flown a plane). I am actually afraid of flying in a plane, but my other dream is to travel more, so I work through my anxiety. After all, it is freaking wildly amazing humans have figured it out like we have.

I’m talking more like a bird when I say fly. I want to feel the wind in my face, hear the rushing in my ears, feel the pressure and resistance in my limbs as I soar up above the trees and the houses. Always a little jealous of those geese as they fly overhead.

Of course, the other thing I’d like to do would be to apparate, like in Harry Potter, as then I could get places on my own, even with the limitation of sight loss. However, that is for another future post.

🙂

As I cannot, I had to think why I would consider myself “super) and I thought back on the week that just was.

I felt like superwoman when I wrote my first lyrics…lyrics that were then promptly taken and added to a background of music and sung by a talented singer.

I had a good week. I had my first official violin lesson, wrote my first song, and had an interview I conducted (on the subject of a male’s perspective on feminism) syndicated on Good Man Project, to round out the week.

Even then, I could still end up feeling like I didn’t do enough with this most recent seven days. I hate that.

I did what I didn’t think I could, by producing a note on an instrument I adore.

I did what I never thought I could do, by sharing a feeling through the words in a song, now being set to music.

I want to share my message of feminism, equality, compassion and I found a way to get that message just a little bit farther than I would have otherwise.

I feel how slow going it is to even learn one simple song of Twinkle Twinkle, but then I realized how writing is an art which requires just as much time to learn and grow and develop skill and style as violin or any other musical instrument. I am still working on all those things with my writing and I will be for a long time, just as I still have to master an instrument I’ve loved for a long time too.

I’ve been admired for many things, things some might classify as “Superwomanish” in my life. I often don’t think of my disabilities that way, as they are just my normal, everyday life, but this whole thing is subjective anyway.

I guess I held back because I found the idea of equating myself to “Superwoman” as incorrect or wrong in some way.

I can’t speak of the family (husband, children, household) that many women manage with grace and patience every single day. My mother did it. My sisters do it. Many of the writer/bloggers I read and admire do it too.

I can’t speak of some big, important, necessary career that so many take pride in.

And so I guess I feel like Superwoman when I accomplish something, a goal or skill I’ve wanted to take on and tackle, and I did that this week.

Yet, I didn’t know what to say, but I suppose I can’t let that stop me, and so here I am, to tell you about the week that was.

🙂

Hope it’s okay that I took this image from Superwoman Lisa,

go here,

to check out her beautiful brand of wisdom.

This has been a post for the Finish the Sentence Friday prompt, brought about by

Collecting Smiles

&

Finding Ninee

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In The News and On My Mind: Supermegafragilisticexpialidocious

It’s a funny thing, but the prime minister of my country of Canada was featured on the US news magazine program 60 Minutes, before being honoured with a state dinner at the White House last week. This week he’s in New York at the UN (trying to secure Canada a seat on the Security Counsel), speaking at an event about why he is proud to call himself a feminist, and he hasn’t once mentioned anything about the size of his genitals.

GO FIGURE!

***

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast.
–JEG

***

Super Tuesday…Mega Tuesday…what?

Comparisons are being made between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump: Louis C.K. said it. Now I’m saying it.

But so many aren’t about to go there. Oh no! Perish the thought!

I am saying it and I am not going to back down from it. I am afraid.

America is full of beautiful places and kind and compassionate people. I know many citizens, writers and bloggers and friends, who don’t want the US to feed off of violence and divisiveness.

At the same time, North American culture thrives on celebrity. Media matters, has influence, seeks headlines and hype.

Is it any surprise then, (not to me), that a reality star, part of the reality TV craze, is so close to securing the GOP nomination?

With celebrities fighting over Twitter about naked Instagram shots, roses and marriage proposals that hardly ever last, and a show about a religious family with 19 kids…dismissed when sexual abuse comes to light and still a network brings such a mess back for ratings.

Is it any wonder? Yes, I wonder.

Donald Trump is a white, privileged male, who has likely had to fight for very little in life, mostly unaware of the struggles many minorities face. He has been a reality star for years, now the ultimate challenge, nomination of the highest office in the land, modern North American king, royalty, this is just much too much of a challenge to pass up, to see if he can take that title for himself.

Of course he can’t back down from this. He’s already practically hijacked the whole entire world into watching him/listening to him talk. It’s the ultimate reality show, on a world stage.

But what happens if he actually gets there?

Hitler. Trump. Of course I don’t think they are the same men, with the exact same plans or intentions. I don’t know what Trump has in mind for the kingdom he wants to rule. I do know that Trump is only the symptom of a larger problem in the world.

I’ve studied pre-World War II history, the great depression, and the uprising of anti-semitism somewhat. Now I watch the news and often I wonder if I am witnessing the sorts of things that those in the 20s and 30s witnessed. I have this yucky feeling inside that I might just be.

Demagog. Xenophobic. These are terms I didn’t even know five years ago.

People see things, with their own eyes, hear things with their own two years, but choose to dismiss them. They are in denial, don’t want to believe it, if it is not happening to them in that moment.

“That couldn’t possibly happen again, oh no. Not on my watch, on ours. Not with what we know, in the world today. That would never happen in 2016, in America.”

But they forget the past, or never fully acknowledged it, and are then on the way to repeating the mistakes of history, at break-neck speed.

Horrible things do happen again, are happening right now, and they are just as cruel and unfair as ever before. My father taught me, as difficult as it is and as negative, to love and appreciate history and the hard lessons it can teach us, if we pay attention.

I wish I could have all the positivity of my mother, but I sometimes think she is counting on the rest of the world being as logical, rational, and genuinely good as she is.

I wish I had all that faith in humanity that my prime minister who, amidst endless questions from reporters about his thoughts on Trump, repeatedly takes the high road over.

He says very little, only that he has faith in the better judgment of the American people to make the right choice when the time comes. He doesn’t resort to insults and petty name calling, like Trump is caught doing in so many sound bites, some I will never be able to un-hear.

Trudeau stays dignified, as us Canadians are famous for, but what does he truly think? Is he worried, like me? Perhaps I can’t figure out how to remain quite so tactful any longer.

Jokes are made all the time now, as a Trump win for the presidency starts to look more and more possible – Americans saying they want to move to Canada if Trump is elected:

Cape Breton: The Canadian island for Americans who want to escape Donald Trump

The fighting spirit going on during these tense times has those in favour of Trump, his own family included saying they will help them pack. I hate to hear all the ugliness, all a bunch of bickering children on the school’s playground.

Some Canadians would say no to this escape plan anyway, turning away our neighbours, immigrants (refugees is a stretch, but who knows). Some Canadians go on to say that Americans must clean up their own messes, but where do we draw that line? For those Americans who don’t vote for Trump, depending on what were to happen after he took office, wouldn’t they have a right, a reason to get away?

In the media, Canadian islands like Cape Breton talk of inviting Americans. If Trump becomes president, not even a US/Canadian border feels like enough space and separation to me. Our world may have borders and oceans between continents, but we can’t remain separate from our fellow countries. Our globe has become much too global in the nearly 100 years now since the World Wars.

I know Hitler used the dissatisfaction that a lot of Germans felt at that time. Then it was the Jews, Communists, us against them. There had to be someone to place the focus, to lay blame, to be afraid of, as fear has always evolved into a lot worse things.

Now Trump is using the dissatisfied state of America to win, something he loves to do, and he’s doing it at the expense of Muslims or Mexicans. I don’t know his true intentions, but he is egotistical and narcissistic.

He has slogans like, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”. Of course, politicians use slogans, but his sounds ominously like something Hitler shouted to crowds at his rallies in the thirties.

The world has always been ruled by white men. We know the history, but some places, the US and Canada, we don’t like to think about the bloody, greedy details so often white washed over in the history books.

Canada and the world at large aren’t perfect either. The North American continent was inhabited by Natives and it was the white Europeans who came over and took all that we have today. Most of us, since then, our ancestors were immigrants at one time or another, but we choose to forget that fact. We must not forget that part.

George and Amal Clooney on 5 years of conflict in Syria

People who know me know I tend to get easily upset, and so I am told not to read Facebook comments, but I sometimes do. I can’t always help myself and I sometimes think it helps me remain compassionate.

I hear from Canadians all the time that they don’t want refugees over here, taking our resources away from us. It can be a chilling reality to hear what some people are really thinking.

It’s the individual stories that frighten: One Florida woman spoke of her family being of a different kind of immigrant. They weren’t like the lazy, bottom feeder immigrants of today. This was her rationale for her feelings. This is a scary position to take, if she really does believe what she says. No empathy, no compassion, not even from most of us who’ve had our ancestors come from other countries in the past. This baffles me most of all.

Hitler believed his success couldn’t be attributed to anything other than divine providence.

Trump said his success, even after the riots and violence at rallies in recent weeks, not even he can explain that one.

All the conflict in Chicago for example only serves Trump’s purpose. No violence is acceptable, but things shouldn’t have gotten out of hand. I wish it hadn’t. Will this continue? Will it escalate?

I am not American and won’t be able to vote against Donald Trump for President. I am Canadian and glad of it, but I have a stake in what happens in the world. I may be in a separate country, but no “wall” (real or metaphorical) could ever possibly keep me secluded and unaware of the scary rhetoric that many are spouting.

Where does it end? I am not fleeing my home right now. I live in Canada, a peaceful place, but I can empathize. Where is the empathy? It’s clouded by fear, misinformation, and stereotypes.

It helps my own ability for empathy to listen to the personal stories: like the young Syrian refugee who now lives in Montreal and studies psychology, all the while keeping an eye on what’s going on back in her home country, all the while remembering the painful and cruel interrogations she underwent when she was arrested for protesting, five years ago back when the conflict in Syria began.

All of Europe are dealing with the fleeing people up close, on the front lines. This can’t be easy. Countries who were accepting at first now experiencing push-back from some citizens, bigotry increasing, stereotypes free flowing.

Hillary and Bernie both made their mistakes, said the wrong thing at the wrong moment and offended someone, but Hillary apologized. Trump has never done this. Anyone who has never apologized or recognized the mistakes they’ve made, because we’ve all made them, is nobody I want running anything. This equates him with someone as dangerous as Hitler was proven to be and I am saying it without hesitation.

More and more are beginning to call him out, but is he a joke (like so many late night comedians would like to think), a harmless nuisance, a guy who will do anything necessary to win, or something worse? I try to give him the benefit of the doubt, as I have never met him in person. How can we really judge another person if we’ve never met them? I don’t want to believe I am living in another 1930s, but we don’t tend to learn all that much from our past mistakes. I hate to say it.

I am scared. If refugees, immigrants, Muslims can be targeted, where does it stop? Women are still suffering in many places around the world. People with disabilities and LGBT face prejudice in both big and small ways. We can’t continue to support white supremacy. If you can’t bring yourself to mention Donald Trump in the same breath as Adolf Hitler, at least call his talk what it is. He may not be in the KKK, but his statements, the things he’s said to get where he’s gotten, they can only be said by someone living in his extremely privileged position. As chaotic as things are in his country these days, such a situation is something so much of the world would kill for. Terms like that are worded that way for a reason.

I know what’s happening around the world is awful – in the five years since the war in Syria began, when I hear word coming out of the atrocities happening in South Sudan for example, and the problems feel far too huge for any solutions to be found.

But there are those looking for compassionate solutions.

I feel optimism when I listen to this expert from Oxford or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I am uplifted when I realize there are still those using common sense, compassion, and intelligence to figure out this complicated world we live in.

I keep up on what’s happening in the US, not only from the news, but from one writer/blogger in particular who writes thoughtfully about politics and in a way I can begin to understand about a system that I often find highly confusing and complex:

Little Pitchers Have Big Ears

We all have an opinion, but so much of it is backed by anger. A lot of what can be found underneath that anger is fear. What are we teaching our children? What is being modelled for them?

What Our Children Are Learning

It’s really hard to let kindness, understanding, and empathy show through all that, but we need to make the effort for the hope of the future generations.

Like I so often think: I wonder what the state of things in my country of Canada, in the US, in North America, and all around the world will look like, one year from now?

One year from now? Fifty? One hundred?

I wish I could turn off the news for good, as I can’t really stand to hear Trump’s smug, ranting voice much longer, but I may not have much of a choice by this time next year, no matter what anyone says, what my prime minister says or does not say out loud.

Does Trudeau have a duty, as the person running Canada, to speak up and stand up to Trump, especially if he’s saying such inflammatory things about all manner of types of people? Or is he showing tact by keeping quiet?

When is it important to speak up? I think none of us, even Trudeau, would hate to think Trump could be compared to Hitler in any way whatsoever.

Trust me, I don’t want to think it (don’t even like using these two men’s names if I can help it), but am following a gut feeling.

Or perhaps I am just using the comparison to prove something through my writing.

Who knows which one it truly is. Not even I’m certain at this point. Some of both I’d say.

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Cracks in the Ceiling, #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2016

What has happened in the world, in the last year and since

International Women’s Day 2015?

Well, around that time, Hillary Clinton announced her intention to run for President of the United States and we still have months to wait, or how long I don’t know, as the whole process seems insane to me.

Will she win? Should she win, should anyone vote for her, simply because she is female? I suppose not, not if a better candidate exists.

I can’t vote, but I think it’s about time the US elected a woman to lead their country. I know all the scandals surrounding her, her power and influence, but I think she has the experience necessary and, dare I say, is highly capable to do the job.

I just finished watching a documentary with her as one of the main stars, along with Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.

It’s been twenty years since Clinton spoke in China about women’s rights, a country that doesn’t have the best track record in valuing girls.

“Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights…once and for all!” Hillary pronounced with conviction.

Well, since then there has been rape as a war tactic (conflict in Bosnia and Yugoslavia), female oppression in Afghanistan, brutalization and attacks during uprisings in Egypt and Libya, struggle in Iraq and Syria.

A year ago I watched “India’s Daughter”, a documentary about a gang rape of a young woman on a bus in India. I watched it with help deciphering the subtitles. I had planned to write about my thoughts here, but I couldn’t quite put that into words.

More recently I watched “Suffragette”, a film about the fight for women’s rights in the UK, during the early twentieth century. I planned to write a review here, but the words did not come. This time it was fiction, based on true events in history, but all the emotions I felt were so strong they burrowed down deep in my subconscious.

And so even though I said I was cutting back on blogging here during the week, starting on the 1st of March, I couldn’t let this day pass without saying something.

An election was held here in Canada last fall for a new leader for this country, just as they are working toward in the US, and now we have Justin Trudeau as Canada’s Prime Minister.

He appointed his cabinet and made news:

“Because it’s 2015.”

Trudeau proudly calls himself a feminist:

Trudeau Declares Himself (Proud Feminist) in Open Letter to Mark International Women’s Day

The question is now more often to become one I think of as it relates to not only being a woman, but for those with disabilities as well: Should a woman be given a place in government or in a job role just to fill a quota?

No, not just. It’s a starting place. It makes a statement. All these things must become laws, policies must be created, legislations drawn, but then action must be taken, these things enforced. Women are just as smart and capable as men, but how do we change the minds of the truly ignorant and arrogant? Is that even possible?

I am proud that, living in Canada, I have a feminist prime minister. Somewhere in the world, however, there are countries with leaders who believe that only men deserve rights, a voice. Even as nothing’s perfect for women, certainly still not even here in Canada, I am proud of the role my own country plays in making things better.

Next comes the decision to put a female on our money. Justin just introduced a commemorative coin for International Women’s Day and it’s about time a woman’s face was shown proudly on our currency.

I have learned a lot about feminism this past year.

I’ve learned it from brilliant and articulate writers:

We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I’ve learned it from brave young activists:

Nobel Peace Prize Speech – Malala Yousafzai

I’ve learned it from fictional witches turned real life feminist spokeswomen:

He For She – Emma Watson – International Women’s Day 2016

Some would say that there is no problem, we make it bigger than it is, because just look how far we’ve come.

I know why I care about this. My poor keyboard keys, because I feel like pounding out my intense frustration through them, but then I halt because my brain is working furiously, far out of reach of my fingers.

I care because of what I’ve seen. I know that, for many women, there is no real problem in our day to day lives. I am lucky to say that. I can write what I want, despite the loss for words and the brain fog and overload I’m currently experiencing. I won’t be censored or threatened. I am only one tiny voice online.

That’s the thing though. I feel tiny and insignificant a lot, on a daily basis, and it’s not because I am ungrateful. I just feel like I still get lost, as a female with a disability. I am lucky to have a good life, essentially, but I feel the problem even more consciously.

Females, just like those living with disabilities around the world, we could all say we are treated better and things for us have improved, but many of us still experience feelings of marginalization and feelings of invisibility.

Women who have it good can’t really imagine what other women might be experiencing, right this very moment, somewhere around the world. It could be somewhere in Africa, the Middle East, India, or even North America. The degree is certainly important, but the experiences all still matter.

I am not officially oppressed, not dangerously so. I just feel it in society. Just because things have steadily improved for women, many places around the world in say the last one hundred years, doesn’t mean all of us have reached a place where we feel like we have taken our power back, not yet having discovered the impact through our own unique voices.

I can’t really always detect that ceiling, as see-through as it may be, and some days I feel like it is solid and darkened. I need to feel its clarity and its possibility. I need this, to feel hope for a brighter future.

I want to make an impact, a difference, to have a voice and to stand for something I feel so strongly in my heart.

Purple: My Interview with Garry Atkinson

I am sick of cultural and religious excuses, struggles over politics and money and power and greed, and the fear and the cowardice that is the root of all the battles we’re still fighting. I am sick of the violence and the silence.

And so there’s still a ceiling, made of glass and we can see through to a better tomorrow of blue skies and bright sunshine, but for now I guess we must be glad for the cracks that are forming. It proves we are making progress.

JK Rowling and Emma Watson had a touching International Women’s Day moment

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