1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Podcast

Stalemate, #1000Speak

The other night, on the news, a reporter did a story about how desperate of a situation it’s becoming in Syria.

She began to, not just lay out a few facts and statistics, but to compare the city of Aleppo to the city of Toronto, where her news broadcast was airing from. She went from one part of Toronto to another, explaining how it would look if what’s currently happening in Syria were to happen in a Canadian city

Okay, so maybe it’s a bad example or I’m just not describing it all that well. I have a cold and my right ear is plugged and I feel like I’m losing it a little, but I wondered why this reporter’s method was necessary in the first place.

She began her segment by saying something along the lines of:

?How does what’s happening in Syria relate to life here in Toronto anyway?”

I wondered if people really needed the story to be spoon fed to them like that, as if they couldn’t already put themselves in the shoes of a mother, losing hope for keeping her children healthy and alive. Hadn’t they all considered what it must be like to be stuck in a war zone? I guess, to a point, I use that distance between myself and such horrible events as a cushion too.

I may feel sad and disappointed in the Syrian government for being unable to keep its people safe. I may be frustrated that although my country of Canada has done more than many to help the Syrian people, our participation has dwindled. I may be sad and disappointed in myself for the fear that even the small gestures of compassion and gratitude I’ve made aren’t enough.

Lots of sadness and disappointment to go around. Excellent choice for the month. If I’m honest, to come right out and say it, I have been sad and disappointed that
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion
and
Ten Things of Thankful
seem to be losing steam.

It’s obvious by the number of entries in the linkup. The terrible events around the world that inspired a handful of bloggers to act in the only way they knew how, nearly two years ago, is a small sample of what it was once.

That first month there were hundreds of entries. Now, with the linkup being open, not just one day, but a whole week. And yet, my entry is found to be one of the last, if not the last, at five or six along on the list. Where did everybody go? It’s frustrating to see how willing people were, when the excitement and energy were new and when a small discussion on holding on to compassion in times of hardship suddenly and unexpectedly grew into something a lot larger than anyone could have ever anticipated.

Five or six people, including me, took the time to write and keep the movement going this month. This makes me sad. I feel disappointed, but I have compassion for all those who haven’t kept up with it, though some come and go, taking it for granted that it should always be there.

You have to feel it to write. I can be honest about how I feel, but I have a lot of compassion for everyone who didn’t show up. I have been one of them. I can’t say I won’t be one in the future. All the praise goes to those keeping it going this long.

Nothing goes on forever. Everything starts and stops somewhere.

Life gets busy. People forget. Times are hard. They’ve moved on.

This is a time where sadness and disappointment are commonly felt emotions. I am sad and disappointed.

I am sad that we have arrived in this place, where compassion feels strangled by suspicion and self interest.

Taxes. Rising bills to be paid. Mortgages and kids and stressful jobs and relationships and social media.

I am disappointed in America for giving up and giving in. Donald Trump is where he is. I am sad and I am disappointed.

In these times, I believe honesty is best, if we’re ever going to face the ills of our society, like racism and class, job, and economic uncertainties. We’re all fighting for our own, equal slice of the pie.

Where, then, does compassion come in? I am trying desperately to fit the pieces together.

I am trying, underneath a steady undercurrent of sadness, to listen to people and to respect different beliefs. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. This situation is unique in that most times, after a time, I can see where someone may be coming from. In some of these situations, where prejudice is at the core of it, I can’t understand.

Then I lose all compassion for myself, as I feel like it’s something on me, like I’m just not trying hard enough to understand.

It’s mostly based on fear. That much I’ve surmised. I can have empathy for that, to a point, as I know what fear looks like, feels like, smells like, sounds like.

I have compassion for everyone. It’s when some people’s true feelings come to light that I jump back in shock and the sadness and disappointment wash over me with no warning.

Is this the end? By which I mean, are we coming to the end of this experiment in writing for compassion here? Or will we keep going forward with the participants we still have? Couldn’t compassion sustain itself, even through blogging, just a little longer? Perhaps not.

Will I even be here next month, to write about compassion, or will I have moved on? I honestly can’t say for certain.

I don’t see any end to this stalemate, these feelings of intense sadness and disappointment at my fellow human beings.

I can’t look the other way when the progress with women’s rights or disability rights or any other rights are threatened. I wish I understood. I wish I could.

I just finished listening to
a podcast
about writing, about memoir, and about trying to put ourselves in another person’s shoes. This is my mission these days, but is it fruitless, when such serious issues are at stake?

I continue to see gestures and acts of compassion in many different places and that softens the blow. It isn’t all bad. This has been and continues to be a difficult time for a lot of people, but a lot are doing the best they know how in the moment.

I go ahead and focus on what makes me feel the opposite of sadness and disappointment. I hope things will continue, that very likely will not. I can’t blame anyone for that. I can only control my own actions and remain compassionate yet honest when the sadness or the disappointment threatens to drag me down next time, hoping what I’m left with is a little piece of compassion left over to spare and to share.

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inside Out, #SoCS

Almost Halloween and it made my day to receive happy updates on my phone of my friend and her little girl, who is enjoying pumpkins and so many other new experiences, this being her second Halloween and first to really begin the fun of the holiday.

This is just a small thing, but a big big thing really, that makes my day better, set against a backdrop of chaos and endless information.

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So much else goes through my head and my mind. It’s like that line parents and elders often find themselves speaking about children and the younger generation: “everything I say to them just seems to go in one ear and out the other, like they aren’t even listening”.

In one ear and out the other.

Are we listening?

So much in the news and going on in the world, so much info for me to hear, that I can’t possibly retain everything that comes across my path.

Lately I’ve felt like I can’t live up to the things I’m attempting, for some people, as if I’m not getting it fast enough or in the time they’ve allowed in their own heads, so I may not be getting the hang of it and, to some, should maybe just throw in the towel.

Perhaps this is all mostly going on inside my mind. Maybe it’s not that bad. It could be that they don’t think this at all. But I feel it, from them or from myself, or a little of both.

I try to block out all other things when I am in that practice room. For one hour I don’t let myself think or worry or fret over anything else that would otherwise dog my every waking thought. None of that when I am with my violin and while I have the undivided attention from the one who knows it and is trying to teach me.

I focus so hard on her words and her instructions, on the notes and the strings and the proper techniques, so hard that my mind aches. It’s not just the headaches or the usual body pains I feel, but rather my mind physically stretching to try and accommodate these new things. Sometimes, I feel I hear and understand her so clearly, but other times I fear her wisdom goes in one ear and out the other with me. I fear I’ve just wasted an entire sixty minutes of her precious time.

I wonder how much more would weigh me down if I could see, so those things that went in one of my ears and out the other, straight through my often swirling brain, would have to keep up with what my eyes were also taking in.

I can’t say how that would work. I may never know.

I just want to think of the stories surrounding Halloween as fun and games, but I think of ghosts and those who are no longer hear. I think of the world we’re facing in the glaring absence of those people.

I think of pipelines. I think of refugee crisis stories. These are real lives and people debate them as if they were theories taught in a classroom somewhere. I think of what I just saw on a news documentary, about the famous family because some of it’s members didn’t survive the boat trip. Canada is home to some of them now. Iraq is home to others, who can’t bear to be away from where their loved ones are buried. I think of the fight going on in Iraq and Syria still. Will families who’ve had to flee for their lives ever get to return home again?

Will the wild war of words and opinions and so much more in the US ever settle down? Will Canadian government live up to all their campaign promises? Does any government?

Questions which I come to on my own and those that I hear and learn about, I take them in, even if I think of that Halloween episode on The Simpsons when Bart is attacked by the little people Lisa invented in a plastic tub, which come upon him in the night, shooting in through his one ear and going through his brain and out the other.

I saw this image so clearly when it first aired back in 1998, but now exists only in my memory.

Do we hear today’s real issues? Do they make an impression? Do they touch us? Do they cause us to stand up and act? Or are we so used to hearing so much that it all just flies in one ear and out the other?

All these things turn my insides out on a daily basis. I must focus on creating things. Art. Beautiful music and words and building things that didn’t exist before.

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Give It A Rest, #SoCS

I don’t envy politicians, but I also don’t excuse much of what they do to get where they are.

Mostly, the good ones aren’t entirely good, but nobody is.

For instance, President Obama is nearly finished and I know many won’t be all that sad to see him step down as the one in charge of one of the most powerful countries in the world, but I will. I like his calm, or what I’ve mostly seen and felt of it. He is intelligent and well spoken. His voice calms and soothes me, when normally anything involving politics gets my stress level increasing.

The world is a complex place. I get that.

He’s going on an Asia trip. He will visit Japan and Viet Nam. These are both places where the US did serious damage, all in the name of security and righteousness.

I know the history. Japan wasn’t giving up, even after Hitler’s Germany, no longer controlled by Hitler, had surrendered. Still, Japan fought fiercely on and risked many more countless lives of soldiers whose only choice would have been to go and fight. So, the US dropped bombs on two Japanese cities, in theory, to put a stop to the madness. That must have sounded like a practical and a rational answer, the only answer at the time, in 1045 America. Well, I say “GIVE ME A BREAK!”

It didn’t put any end to the madness. The madness continued on.

Okay, didn’t intend to get so political in this post, but after all, it is stream of consciousness writing, and sometimes things happen. Surely, that can be understood.

Well, as if that wasn’t bad enough, twenty or so years later and another war, this time between the US and another Asian country transpired. More countless suffering and seemingly endless carnage. What for? What purpose did it ultimately serve?

GIVE ME A BREAK!

Politicians and powerful and power hungry countries behave worse than little children throwing temper tantrums. At least those don’t end up hurting thousands or millions of lives.

So, when politicians step up, years later, to apologize for things they weren’t directly involved in, yet take responsibility for as the latest leaders of the participating nations, people have the nerve to cry “publicity stunt” or “free vacation on tax payers money.” Well, guess what, better some tax dollars than more loss of life and denial of past wrongs and missteps.

More apologies this week, early on, as my country’s leader apologizes for Canada turning away ships full of fleeing people from safety 100 years ago. Again, his motives are challenged. Apology is refreshing from anyone in this world today, most especially from a politician. It’s the kind of action we demand of children when they fight or when they act up. Why jump all over any adult, most of all a president or a prime minister of a country when an apology and an amends is put forth?

Well, for those who think I love Canada’s leader, no matter what, I will finish this SoCS post with this little tale from the week that just was.

Finally, after so much nonsense with the 2016 US election cycle, all of which I am tired of hearing about, there came some news out of Canada’s parliament in Ottawa mid week, from a country like mine, who is always being labeled as super polite and mild mannered.

Headlines such as: “Justin Trudeau Elbows His Way” make the rounds in every Canadian publication, news outlet, and beyond. I can’t see the video, but look it up online if you want to see for yourself.

It’s funny to me, as someone who sees less and less as the years go by, that even when something is caught on video, it’s still up for tremendous debate. Those who like Justin Trudeau defend it and those who don’t won’t. That’s just how it is.

Of course, everything is up for interpretation. The government was in session, debating something as tense as assisted dying. I get that things were tense in that room. I also think everyone took it too far. One side pushed and the other pushed back. NDP party and Liberals want to fight. That’s their problem, but control yourselves.

GIVE ME A BREAK!

Justin saw another person being blocked from coming forward, during a debate, a vote? Whatever was going down. He elbowed a woman MP as he barrelled through? Was it on purpose? Is all his talk about feminism and equality a coverup for his real hatred and mistreatment of women? Give me a break please. If she felt assaulted, of course that is serious and she had the right to say something, but was most of this an uproar, after-the-fact? Was it all misconstrued? Was much of it planned to hijack the entire process? Were most of them, on all sides, acting badly and in a misguided way? No doubt.

Then Justin did it again, that is, he apologized. Oh, was it fake? Was it a sham? Give me a break!

Someone needed to put a brake or more than one on those proceedings, the moment things started to get out of hand.

I don’t doubt that Trudeau is a bit spoiled. Who wouldn’t be, growing up around politics their entire lives. His campaign nay sayers lines have returned, as most news publications think it necessary to rehash.

“He’s just not ready.” (To be prime minister that is.)

“Nice hair though.” (My favourite of the ridiculous attack ad lines from last fall.)

He is younger than a lot of leaders chosen to run a country. He is a Trudeau, son of Pierre Trudeau.

But he also lived under the spotlight his entire life. He was the product of a broken home and had to watch his mother live with depression. Not everything in life has been a ball for him, not even him.

He has done some good for Canada and he has only been here for six months. I just know Canada doesn’t feel like a cold and tight lipped place since he arrived.

I wish all politicians could grow up. That’s what I wish.

But Justin has issued apologies. What a concept.

These magazines and newspapers keep writing stories because they get attention and readers. Give me a break!

Will Justin Trudeau ever be able to live this down and go on to do anything more for Canada? Give me a break!

But I do have to say, Justin, seemed like kind of a Rob Fordian thing to do.

Just give it a break, all of you. Give it a rest, please. I beg of you.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

With this week’s prompt:

brake or break

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Just Jot It January: Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Leader, #JusJoJan

Linda is the leader of Just Jot It January, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and a whole lot more:

Just Jot It January 15th – Leadership

#JusJoJan

I am not a leader. Yes, I say that and I am not trying to put myself down. Just not a natural instinct to me, but likely we could all become one if given the chance, the right set of circumstances, but a lot of us don’t have the opportunity. It’s just not a role I feel at home in, but I just recently read one blogger’s definition, having to do with writing, and I guess there are cases where I could see myself leading people to certain conclusions, through my writing.

I remember all those leadership classes and conferences some students went on when I was in school. It was hard not to feel inadequate when hearing some other lucky student was chosen for that, but then did the rest of us really want that extra work and responsibility?

What did they do at those anyway?

I do not speak loud enough. I don’t know how to take charge of an audience. I would need a lot more practice than I’ve had.

Then there is leadership of a country. Who would want this extra work or added responsibility either? Someone obviously does. There’s a whole fight over the running of the US going on as we speak. This will go on for many more months. All for what? I guess a country needs someone to lead.

I think the title of leadership is a tricky one. I don’t like to follow a leader. I think such power could go to one’s head, as is demonstrated in one of my favourite Simpsons episodes of all-time:

The leader is good. The Leader is great. Surrender our will, as of this date.

Hilarity!

It’s a commentary, of sorts, on those we choose to follow blindly or with eyes wide open. I guess without leadership, in school and in government, the world would be chaos.

This mid-month prompt is brought to you by:

Finally A Writer

Clearly Tessa has taken the lead in calling her blog this, as in that by stating she is finally a writer, it is so. Love it.

🙂

BTW

Here are the rules for JusJoJan.

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And Then There’s Books, #1000Speak #Grateful #GivingThanks

November’s 1000 Speak For Compassion topic is

Gratitude

and today is Thanksgiving in the US, but I am in Canada.

We celebrated our Thanksgiving a month ago. My family and I spent that beautiful weekend at a pumpkin patch and corn maze. I will always be thankful for days like that with my family.

I have had all week to write about gratitude. I did not write a post for this on the 20th, but I thought, since I am not celebrating feeling thankful and grateful by eating turkey and pie, I’d write about feeling thankful and grateful instead.

I like to associate this holiday with pumpkins and harvest, rather than Natives and Pilgrims. I don’t associate feeling thankful with any sort of history and I don’t even really like pie.

🙂

I also don’t like that tomorrow is Black Friday. It feels bad to me. I like things, material objects, as much as anybody. I just wouldn’t be willing to get trampled to death for the pleasure of obtaining more of them.

I know what the holidays, starting with tomorrow are about, a lot of the time, but I am not even sure how I’m going to feel about the holidays this year.

I don’t know about miracles, but I have seen a lot of things that come close. why, just last week my brother became very ill very fast. I am thankful he’s doing better. It could have been something so much more serious.

I can list many things for which I am grateful, because I like to say my glass isn’t ever half empty or half full. I just spill a little sometimes.

I guess I feel weary with all the materialism of these celebrations, when I hear about all the bad stuff going on, but I don’t have to look far to find things to be thankful for in my own life.

I do it on a weekly basis now, thanks to the blog hop I discovered six months ago:

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for this weekly exercise in silver linings, thanks to Lizzi at Silver Linings.

I know Americans like to say what they are thankful for on this day. In addition to Ten Things of Thankful, here are some more things I am thankful for. Instead of speaking about them around a dinner table I will talk about them here.

I am determined to focus on feeling thankful, even as I feel the bad stuff in the wider world growing. If it’s true that terrorists want to divide and conquer, I won’t stop thinking positive. I won’t let them have everything, not if I can help it.

I have enough trouble thinking of the pain and misery humans keep causing for other humans, but I keep many thoughts buried deep in my own head. Sometimes it feels like I might explode with all that bothers me, but as long as I have writing and my blog to help make things a little easier, I will use both for taking the edge off of that hurt.

I am thankful for the direction Canada appears to be heading. I was numb and hiding from national and political stuff for several years. I felt like I had no control and I did not like the things that were going on, like someone was trying to pull wool over my eyes and the eyes of Canada, so I checked out as my way of dealing with that feeling.

Justin Trudeau could turn out to be just as bad, but I have a good feeling about him and I hope I’m right. The change, either way, has made me grateful for several weeks now. I hope Trudeau’s government and the decisions they make on terrorism and environmental issues, for example, are going to make us all proud to be Canadian.

I am thankful for Christmas. Even as hard as last year was, I still am a Christmas girl at heart, which gives me hope that this year I will be able to find all the happiness and joy in the season that I’ve always found.

I am thankful for my father, who turns sixty in a few days. I am trying to figure out just what to say about that. I want to say more than a few words of gratitude, as the best present I can think to give him are my words, but it’s hard to put that kind of thing into words of any kind.

It’s strange to write so much about gratitude and thankfulness, focusing on it at least once a week. So many times I want to let other things win: envy, fear, hopelessness. I remind myself, several times a day sometimes, that being grateful is worth the extra energy it often takes. The reminder is necessary. It keeps me going.

My envy for other people and the things they have sometimes threatens to swallow me whole. If it weren’t for how lucky I logically know I am, it would be impossible to go on.

I am grateful for the kindness of people, those who take the time to get to know me, to speak to me like a human being. I don’t want pity and never have. I am grateful for so much, but that wouldn’t be so true and meaningful if it weren’t for all the things that remain hard and painful and lost to me.

When I am having a bad day, wishing I could see colours still, remembering the loss of a family member, relationship, or time in my life I loved I want to throw my hands up and scream. Then the clouds that were so grey one minute part and the sun shines in. I don’t have to work too hard to make this happen.

I am thankful I have no serious mental illness. A girl shouldn’t have to shoulder both physical and mental illness at once. I know there are people who do, but I got the one, not the other. I am thankful for a clear mind, albeit foggy at times. I look at the world in crisis, so much of the time, and I focus on the stability I am so lucky to have in my own life.

So I am not sure how long I should wait for the other shoe to drop. That’s how I often think. All the thankful posts in the world can’t truly drown that thought out, but I’ll keep trying anyway.

So there you have it. This post did not include lots of statistics or scientific articles about gratitude. Others wrote about that. I could only tackle the subject from my personal perspective. I am thankful for personal perspective, in all its forms.

P.S. And then there’s books. How could I forget books?

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TToT: Don’t Count Your Owls Before They Are Delivered – Now and Then, #10Thankful

ISn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive-it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?

–From “Anne of Green Gables”

Ten Things of Thankful

So, once more, a lot has changed in a week.

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Canada now has a new majority government, with Justin Trudeau as the chosen one. Our twenty-third Prime Minister.

🙂

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Canadian Election

And our Toronto Blue Jays are finished for the season.

😦

Ah well. Can’t have everything.

Two stories, big in my newsfeed this week anyway, were the 20th anniversary of the movie “Now and Then” and the date (October 21st, 2015) which Marty and Doc arrived at in Back to the Future II.

I am pretty sure I saw the first in theatres, with my friends. I’m not certain though. Funny how even twenty years can feel like a long time now. It was the perfect coming-of-age movie for young girls.

Now and Then

Then, the big deal made about Back to the Future. I personally disliked the second of the trilogy, most of all, preferring the first or the third.

Back In Time

I’m not sure if I’d want to have the ability to go backward or forward in time, but as everyone around here have been remembering Toronto’s two World Series wins, back to back, over twenty years ago and then people are comparing what BTTF predicted the world would be like in 2015, back in the late eighties, I don’t quite know where to look. I guess I will focus on the present, or I guess the immediate past, in the week that just was.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For my right, my chance, my freedom to vote.

I wasn’t sure of this, still, as I made my way into my old high school, to the voting station set up in the gymnasium. I wondered if anything I did could really make a difference. I thought how silly it all seemed, with the ads and the fighting between parties, the lies and the broken promises, not to mention the unknown of it all.

Then I voted and I felt empowered. I felt blessed to be a Canadian. I felt satisfied with the contribution I’d just made.

When I’d learned of Justin’s win, on the same night that the Blue Jays won fabulously, I was thrilled for both, for Canada.

I guess, when the person you did not want to win comes out on top, you feel like your vote didn’t matter, but suddenly, when the winner turns out not to be that guy, that’s when you feel as if your vote just might have made a difference.

For the change that’s finally returned to Canada.

For those of us who still aren’t sure, this letter makes it clear.

Justin Trudeau is part of a political dynasty, a little like the Kennedy family, the Clinton family, or the Bush clan. Justin was born in our version of The White House, 24 Sussex Dr, but I discovered that the use of the home for the prime minister is quite recent. Pierre Trudeau was one of the first to live there as Prime Minister of Canada. I did not even know this. I was not far from this place, last winter, yet I knew little about it.

History of 24 Sussex

I am learning a lot about Canada since Justin was voted in. I guess I feel a renewed sense of pride in my country and am curious about things that are going to make a difference, as is the hope of so many fellow Canadians I believe.

For crepes with friends.

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It’s a little like Words With Friends. Okay, well actually it’s not, but there were a lot of words exchanged.

🙂

I met a friend I’d made online, for the first time, in person. We went to a little restaurant in Toronto, one she’d recommended, called Crepes Club.

At first I wondered if you needed a membership or something, but turns out it was just a place with a lot of crepes, both of the first course and dessert varieties.

Here’s the interview I did with Lorraine last year.

For a delicious latte.

Nothing goes better with crepes than a latte, I think. I was told it looked pretty, with a design made with the chocolate and whipped cream on top, but all I noticed was the taste.

For a chance to tour the new Toronto location of Ronald McDonald House.

“The oldest and the most devastating pain there is: not the pain of childhood, but the remembrance of it.”

–Toni Morrison

I’d stayed in the old one, with my family, back in the late nineties. I admit, I was a little sad when I’d heard about the move, as I loved that place when we’d stayed at the old one. It made me remember those days wistfully, but things must change and the improvement was undeniable.

For the existence of just such a place, for so many families with sick children.

These families don’t need to be worrying about things like lodging and meals, when they are dealing with fear and pain, life and death.

Everything is there for them. Groups and organizations volunteer to come to the house and make meals for the families, multiple times a week, so that parents can have a break.

This is something relatively new, not available when we stayed there, but I see what a difference it makes.

For the little touches that make Ronald McDonald House feel like a home, temporary maybe, but still a home.

I liked the library, of course, but there was a giant moose on the main floor, a fireplace, big fish tank, and a colourful painting on the wall.

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I could not see this painting, but it was raised and I felt the lines and the bumps. I immediately thought of that famous Bobby Ferrin song from the eighties. It’s hard to be happy and to just put on a smile, when you are feeling sick and/or scared. It’s hard to be a child and to be ill, but there is plenty to be happy about if you’ve got your family around you, nurses and doctors who care, and a place like Ronald McDonald to depend on.

For another box of my books.

After the Scars: A Second Chances Anthology

We sent for more. I’ve given a few to people and I’m waiting, still for mine, but it should be arriving, with a bunch of bookmarks.

As exciting as this still is and as thrilled as I still am about my words being in print for the first time, in published form, I want to continue to grow with my writing.

For the discovery of a local writing group in my area.

I don’t know why I waited this long to look into its existence, but it meets at the library in my town, every first and third Wednesday evening of each month.

I will go and check it out in a few weeks. I am excited to see what it is all about, what sort of people, from what age group, it is made up of.

Speaking of libraries:

Twitter battel alert: Toronto and Kansis libraries face off over Jays/Royals series

For the graceful and winning way the Toronto Blue Jays went out, with a rain delay, a bang, and in glory.

They played a great bunch of games, coming back from where they’d been during the summer, to give Toronto and all of Canada something to hope for and cheer for, all the way into OCtober.

Sure, there was disappointment, the to-be-expected claims of tampering and fixing of the game, conspiracies, outcries, but for the most part, we accepted our loss with pride and resignation, with renewed hope for next year.

It was just nice to see us all being proud of our team, our players, ourselves and the coming together of so many, big sports fans and regular fans, like me I would say. I felt the disappointment, going to bed before the final score came down, so I can only imagine how one of the die hard fans took the news.

Geez! I really hope my going off to bed didn’t jinx them or something. Imagine if the whole loss was all down to me and something I did or did not do?

We still handled it well and it was a great few weeks we had there.

Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy

Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: it’s the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

The TToT is brought to you by: The Internet – all those wires running at the bottom of the ocean

Would you go back in time, or ahead, into the future, if you had the chance?

Now and then: I can get just as drawn into what once was as the next person, I often can’t stop thinking and worrying about the future, but I am trying to zoom in more on what’s going on in the here and now.

Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

–Doris Lessing

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND

Time For A Change

Who are you voting for? Who am I voting for?

Good question.

***

“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

***

From Harper Lee to Stephen Harper.

Another one of these “In The News” posts, two weeks in a row, but this one is a special edition, not my favourite topics, but definitely in the news here.

I read so many awful, nasty comments in the Facebook post from a local college. The question of refugees, Syrian and other, was being debated. It was shockingly sad to hear some of the statements people were making.

What would I do if I had a home no more and had to leave? What would I want?

I did one project, in high school, about the immigration process. I have no clue, being born a Canadian, what it takes to become one.

Is Stephen Harper pushing a cynical agenda, a lot of prejudice against any specific group of people? Could anybody be so wrong as to vilify any whole group of people for the actions of the few? Are there those living here who don’t feel safe, feel wanted, feel accepted?

I knew very little about much when 9/11 happened. I don’t see how bad it’s said to have gotten since. That’s not my experience, but I know how important it is to feel like a part of one’s country, society, treated like a real person who matters.

Fifty years in Canada, and now I feel like a second-class citizen

“It was great to be in London with hundreds of enthusiastic Conservatives last night. People here want lower taxes, balanced budgets, and more good Canadian jobs. They’re voting Conservative on October 19th. Will you be doing the same?”
–Stephen Harper

Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been leading Canada for, what seems like forever to me now.

Does that mean it is time for a change?

Research. Educate. Check the facts. Pay attention to your gut. What are the facts anyway?

I have felt an unease, a slide, a nagging in the pit of my stomach these last few years. I don’t think I like what’s happened to my country, the direction we’ve been led in, but perhaps I wouldn’t have been happy before that and I just wasn’t paying much attention.

I’m told Harper looks so staged when he speaks. He won’t allow for questions. He won’t answer, won’t address.

What’s going on with the environment? What is our stance on military issues, fighting, peace?

Harper’s talk is always about budgets and other boring things. Okay, so they are necessary for the running of any country, but I know very little about them. I try to educate myself, watch the news, but read a lot, honestly, on Facebook. Articles are posted there and I read about how other Canadians live and the concerns they’re having.

His threats are all fear based. I hate that. The other guys, Trudeau or Mulcair, they will screw our country up, Harper and all Conservatives keep saying.

Vote for him or they will raise taxes. Vote for him or spending will become out of control. We wouldn’t want that, right? What sane person would want that? Of course. No brainer?

I hear this again and again. I never hear him talk about the health of the environment. I never hear any feeling in his voice. Do I truly believe that he cares at all? Would anyone else, anyone, do a worse job than he’s done? Could it get any worse? How bad is it really?

Disabled Canadians Are Invisible In This Election

Promises. Promises. Promises. I am tired of broken promises. I don’t want to feel invisible anymore.

The US has the Americans With Disabilities Act. Canada has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but I am looking or feeling for more of this. It is a big concern for me, even if many Canadians are more worried about taxes.

The rich, middle-class, poor. Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green Party…so much to keep up with and keep track of.

Who do I want to run Canada? Who do I vote for and do I only feel as strongly as I do because that is how I was raised? Hmmm.

How do people pick up their beliefs? I wonder all of this as the next federal election is coming in a few short days. I want to vote, make the right choice, and see it make a difference. Is this all possible?

These are some of the questions I have been pondering lately, in the run-up to October 19th.

Re-elect Stephen Harper? Vote Liberal and Justin Trudeau or NDP and Tom Mulcair?

I voted, for the first time, back in the last election. I have done it a few times only. I didn’t exercise my right to vote, as a Canadian citizen, up until recently.

I know why I didn’t vote before that. It’s the same reason many people don’t.

Oh, I can’t possibly make the slightest bit of difference. I hate politics. I don’t know who to vote fore, so why bother, casting a vote for someone I don’t even really like?

I said all of these to myself. It is true that I hate politics.

It’s rhetoric. It’s attack ads. It’s making false promises, only to not come through with them after being elected. I loath it all.

I guess I wish we didn’t have to deal with it, but there are worse things, like not having the ability to vote at all. I tell myself this now, in moments of pure annoyance, and I say to myself that I’m damn lucky to live in Canada, even with the parts I dislike. I should be grateful and thankful and I should vote, just because I can.

So that old question, that I’ve struggled with, has been resolved in my mind. The next question, after the why, is the whom?

“Nice hair though.”

This has been a favourite line of Conservative attack ads against Justin Trudeau, along with the pronouncement that he’s just not ready yet.

I don’t know how anybody could be ready to run a country.

Do I vote for the liberals? NDP?

I ask my dad what he thinks. He tries to explain about the local politician in our area, which has been Conservative for a while. I grow weary of politics, but I must become more informed.

Minority government. Majority government. And my mind begins to drift. Blah blah blah.

I wish I had more interest in these things, but I honestly begin to doze. Politics, I can’t grow up and get away from the feeling of boredom I have always felt at thinking about government and all of its proceedings.

But then I listen to my father’s passion when he speaks of the country his parents came to, all those years ago, to start a new life. They gave him one, made one for him and his brothers. I truly believe hearing the passionate tone of my father, to understand what he cares about seeing for Canada, has been good for me. It’s taught me to figure out what I feel strongly and passionately about too. He’s shown me the importance of paying attention to how I feel and what my heart tells me is right.

I wonder how much family has influenced my thinking, but at some point we must all decide for ourselves what we believe.

I know what I truly think and feel, somewhere deep down, in my gut, I know. So why then do I still question it?

I know I want protection of our resources, our wild life, our oceans. Just the word “oil” has begun to leave a bad, you might even say an oily taste in my mouth.

🙂

I know I want freedom, to remain the welcoming people we Canadians like to think we are…to feel like we are accepting of all races, cultures, and religions.

People are going on about their discomfort with the niqab. It doesn’t affect me. I wonder what it matters to anyone else. I can’t see the coverings Muslims wear. Why do we fear this? We do not understand. It’s a sign of oppression, as we’ve been told, hear about in extreme cases that make the news.

Can we sit down and talk to those people, those women, to find out if they are happy. Do they have good lives? Are they afraid?

Islam and the Muslim religion are the targets in our world today, not only here in Canada, as we all know.

Culture and belief systems are powerful things. I don’t see to judge. Being blind helps me with that.

“This is Canada. If they don’t like it, they can go back to where they came from.”

This is something said repeatedly, at nauseam. I want us all to live our lives how we want, as long as that doesn’t include harming others. Why is that so complicated?

Instead, again there’s only more separation, more division, more one side against another. I want to feel like this isn’t always the case in Canada.

Fear of terrorism is real, but how much? How afraid should I really be that my safe home could ever see the kind of danger other parts of the world see? Do I fear or do I remain rational, find compassion, believing in a just and peaceful world?

Most people are good, only want to be left alone, to live their lives. Why must we make it more than that?

Okay, so after talking about all these things, what answers have I really found? What conclusions have I actually reached? Where do I stand?

I must go now and stop reading the upsetting things being said, the nasty back-and-forth comments on Facebook posts about who should run Canada after Monday, and move no to more important things, things that feel hopeful and positive. This afternoon’s game, the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers. It’s all up to Toronto now.

This is their shot. Can they do it?

#ComeTogether

All I know is I feel better when I hear how hyped people around here are. The impassioned back-and-forth of politics giving way to the pride in our only MLB team.

What is it about sports, a baseball team, a game that makes us all feel so energized?

I wonder, as I’m watching. I feel the excited tension in the pit of my stomach, a nervous energy, but a quickening of my pulse, my heartbeat. It’s just a game of course, but the feeling is contagious.

Of course there are those little funny things that make the game extra fun.

US broadcaster’s comments anger all of Canada

Not such a big deal. He didn’t know. He didn’t know I spent more time, as a child, not playing baseball because of my visual impairment, but playing around a baseball diamond. My sister, my brother, my parents all played. He didn’t know. Made a silly comment and suddenly Twitter was buzzing.

I focus on the positivity I get from my mom. They can win this. It’s possible.

As Scarlet O’Hara mused, in Gone with the Wind: I will go back to thinking about politics and the important issues of the day, in the news, tomorrow.

Indeed Sheryl, indeed.

Oh no! Will she sue me for using this song in my post, if she doesn’t agree with my political views? Hope she doesn’t see this.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Piece of Cake, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Patience With Public Perception

Last time, on the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,http://rosebfischer.com/2014/07/15/the-redefining-disability-awareness-challenge/

I wrote about my diagnosis of kidney disease:

The D Word!

Here’s today’s question.

***

Q: How has public perception of disability changed in your lifetime?

A: Okay, so I will try my best to look at this question with an optimistic viewpoint, as much as possible – because although progression doesn’t happen as quickly as I’d like it to, it does happen.

I don’t know if so-called “public perception” has changed all that much really.

Yeah, the optimism is coming…just wait for it.

🙂

All I mean by that is that although conditions are hopefully improving, the question of what the public thinks, feels, or knows logically or through education are all different questions.

I was born in the 1980s and so not that long ago, in the grand scheme of things. In that time, in the US there was the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which came on the scene six years after I was born.

Here in Canada, we have:

**The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

and

**The Canadian Human Rights Act

http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/about/

Disability is such a broad and all-encompassing term. It isn’t easy to lobby for every single disability out there.

http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/about/history

There’s a little thing called equal opportunities, which is becoming more commonly known in workplaces, but I still sense a lot of ignorance and discrimination, whether meaning it or not, by employers toward anyone with a disability:

I want to know my obligations. – Canadian Human Rights Commission

Right there!

The fact that the word “obligation” is used feels ugly. I read that and I already feel like I’m an obligation or a burden, just something mandated by the government and forced upon every unsuspecting company.

If so, well what’s wrong with that then?

I should be happy with that, right? The government is taking the necessary steps toward inclusion.

Laws may be the first step, but in many ways, they aren’t the most important one that will make the world a more inclusive place for everyone.

I believe terms such as “obligation” keep things just as focused on the negatives and downsides as my own negative tone of which I promise to keep adjusting.

I may come off sounding demanding and I am, but I am willing to do my part.

I am the first to admit that I am not always a patient person, like with this issue, but I also need to work on speaking up for myself and hopefully I can make it better for someone with a disability, thirty or fifty years from now.

Accommodations must be made, but until our world opens their minds and hearts and sees less differences, I fear this will never lead to the inclusion I dream of.

So what will it take to change the public’s perceptions fully?

Here’s a blog post my friend Steph, fashion and lifestyle blogger for women who are visually impaired wrote about that:

Observing 25 Years of the ADA – Bold Blind Beauty

I think Steph says something very wise in this post. She basically says that discrimination is everywhere, from people who don’t live with disabilities, but disability does not discriminate.

Sure, it’s easy to live in fear and denial. Believe me, I am extremely familiar with these things in my own life.

Fear keeps the public from wanting to take too close a look. If society keeps people with disabilities kept separate in their own schools and clubs and then, even worse, hidden away at home, they won’t have to deal with the fact that we do exist and deserve to have all the same opportunities for work and life.

However, the denial that goes along with this won’t protect them when disability comes into their own lives.

Laws are important and all well and good, but perceptions are a little more difficult to control this way.

You’d have to really get out there, to ask people what their true feelings are on disability, to follow them through their daily lives to see how they might react to certain situations.

I perceive myself one way, but I can’t control how other people will perceive me.

I will still continue trying to make strides in this arena though because it matters.

I do believe things have improved, in the thirty years since I was born – don’t get me wrong.

See, I can be optimistic. It’s just a little more complicated than that.

Sure, I get angry. I grow frustrated that the public just doesn’t understand, but I am very willing to keep the dialogue going.

Anger can work for you. It has propelled some of us in positive ways.

We do progress, as a species, even if we backslide now and again.

I do not downplay or discount all I have mentioned above, all that has been put in place since I was born thirty-one years ago. I even like to think it was, partly thanks to my appearance on the scene, that these leaps forward were made.

🙂

Too presumptuous? Okay, perhaps.

But in and amongst the frustration and the fear, I do have hope. Most people in the public are curious and kind. They don’t purposefully go out of their way to put up roadblocks for those of us with disabilities. It’s just that we need more than pity or good intentions. We need awareness and action.

I will admit, I’m not the first person to know all about public policies and government initiatives, but I do know about what it’s really like to live with a disability, in a world where I am in the minority.

The public does want to move beyond the fear and the denial; or at least, that is what I tell myself.

We must focus on what we can do, disabled or not, instead of what we can’t.

***

What can I do to help this process along? I ask you, the public!

Public…are you there?

(Crickets.)

🙂

Hmmm. Awkward!

Well, in the meantime…check out:

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge on Facebook

And maybe fifty years from now we won’t need to have a Facebook page at all. Maybe disability won’t be such a big deal any longer. Or, maybe, awareness will always be a necessary and an important thing? What do you think?

Next week’s question is a variation on this weeks’:

How has your perception of disability changed in your lifetime?

Oh, how indeed.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, The Blind Reviewer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Reviewing Blindness

July is moving along.

Okay, well I could always complain, but I won’t. Not now. Maybe later.

🙂

Last week, I wrote about how:

Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus, and Then There’s Jupiter.

This week is a free post week.

I have freely chosen to go back seven or so years, to write a movie review of sorts.

***

I was randomly watching television the other day and suddenly I got this yucky, icky feeling.

It’s a feeling I get anytime I happen to think about one particular movie that I saw when it came out in theatres back in 2008.

It was only a commercial, announcing the airing of a film on television, coming up this weekend.

I had never heard of the novel: “Blindness”, before seeing the film.

Sure, the title intrigued me and my brothers. We chose to see it, but I had no idea, going in, what to expect.

What would happen if an entire city lost their sight?

This film, developed from the Jose Saramago novel of the same name, is a social commentary of sorts. It examines a very good question, but i did not like the results of this particular examination.

I did not like the answer to the question and I was not alone.

NFB Protests Opening of Blindness in 37 States

Several US organizations and groups protested the film on its release. They said it painted blind people in the most horrible of lights. I agree, but I know, deep down, that it is only a story.

It is a question that I have wondered myself. I know just how terrified most people become at the very thought of going blind. It is society’s worst fear, but that’s because it is so very possible. Losts of people lose their sight, mostly due to old age, but not always. What if it were to happen, as some sort of epidemic that began to spread, mysteriously?

The city in this film is not named. Most of the characters aren’t named either. It’s the boy or the woman with the dark glasses or the King of Ward 3, receptionist or the accountant or the man with the eye patch. We don’t learn about these characters as people, who they are or who they were, before they lost the most important of all the senses, the one most people could never ever imagine living without.

It has been several years since I saw it, so this review may be vague in some spots, but others are burned into my brain.

There is loyalty and compassion, but there is mostly chaos, disorder, and the sudden White Blindness seems to be the reason for a total breakdown of law and order, of civilization.

The doctor (Mark) he treats a patient who has suddenly and mysteriously lost his sight. Several car accidents are going on around this unnamed city, because the drivers simply lose their sight and crash into each other.

I remember the entire film sounding quite muted. There is a lot of silence, even behind the traffic noises, the dialogue, and eventually there is yelling and danger.

The doctor’s wife (Julianne) is the only one who is spared, for whatever reason, but pretends just so she can accompany her husband, so they will not be separated. This puts her in danger, but she shows her courage.

The newly blind citizens are locked up in an insane asylum, to keep them safe, but soon they are trapped and cut off from the rest of the world, from any possible help.

This is where the blind community has protested. The situation declines rapidly into madness. Sanitation becomes a problem. There is nobody cleaning the facility and soon there is filth and faeces in the halls. Food becomes scarce. People turn on each other and survival is their only goal. Mob rules is the way of it. Those in favour would claim that this is more a display of how humanity would break down, not blind people specifically, that this is no real reflection of blind people.

The Federation of the Blind would say it still paints blind people as unclean, violent, crazy and dangerous.

I know, logically, it is just a story. I knew that as I sat there, in the theatre, watching the events of Blindness play out on the screen in front of me.

I still reacted the way I reacted. It was a reaction I could not help, that I did not expect.

Are Protesters of Blindness Missing the Point?

As conditions decline, a gang of thugs holds food hostage from the starving prisoners, and then there was the rape scene. I was horrified by what I saw, a mass rape scene, which made me want to get up and leave the theatre then and there.

That, paired with the fact that the people were locked up in an asylum, both made me angry and wishing I had never went to see Blindness.

I guess the idea that any government would lock up its citizens, after they started to go blind, this is more drastic, but it made me picture segregation. I don’t even like the schools for the blind that do exist, but this was a fictional horror that I knew wasn’t real, and still I felt sick.

I will never be able to truly enjoy either Julianne Moore or Mark Ruffalo again, in any other role, after seeing them portray a couple who must survive and take care of each other and others in such a scenario.

I don’t know if I can or will ever read this novel. I don’t know, but maybe seeing it as a movie first is the reason, but watching it disturbed me so much, deep down. I don’t know, but books are often more detailed than movies.

Of course, the author of this book had feelings when he heard how blind people were reacting. He used blindness allegorically, to make his point about the humanity (or lack thereof) and breakdown of our society.

Everyone had their own right to feel the way they felt: whether it was the writer of the novel or the people with the disability he wrote about.

Author decries Blindness protests as misguided – Arts … – CBC

My reaction had nothing to do with the quality of the book, as I have never read it, but my physical reaction to seeing the story come to life on screen.

As for Blindness, the novel: I don’t think I will get to it. So many books; so little time.

🙂

I don’t think I could stomach it, but, then again, never say never.

But perhaps I’m missing out on something brilliant, a marvellous piece of fiction.

He was described as a pessimist.

No way!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindness_(film)

So, upon entering the theatre, when they took our tickets…

Movie employee: Enjoy Blindness.

My blind brother and myself: We always do.

***

At what age were you or your loved ones diagnosed?

That is the question I will be answering, one week from now, for

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

And…

Check out the

Redefining Disability Awareness Project On Facebook,

for all this and more.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Kerry's Causes

In The News and On My Mind: #1000Speak Edition

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!

The above is a status I came across on a Friend’s Facebook page a few weeks back and I thought it summed up the horrors and the confusion to be seen on the news every night, with a bit of her witty and intelligent sense of humour thrown in for good measure.

The following five things have been on my mind lately: Isis, measles, assisted suicide, Deflate-Gate, and Fifty Shades.

Note: I am writing longer versions of my thoughts on these topics, one a week, for the next five weeks. I just wanted to write a more trimmed down post, to coincide with:

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

The #1000Speak movement is coming to its dramatic finale in two short days.

On February 20th I and over 1000 bloggers will write about what compassion means to each of us. We will do this together, as one, and we will stand up and speak about acts of kindness and empathy, to rival any of the horrors to be found out there.

The news, like is illustrated at the be inning of this post, can be dreary and can bring you down within the first two minutes.

Watching this over and over again, night after night, will make it seem like there is no goodness left in the world. This is so very far from the truth of it.

I just wanted to highlight five things that have been going on lately, in the news, and on my mind. I want to share the compassionate view I choose to have for all five and I hope, by bringing my own personal brand of attention to these, that I can help share and spread the thinking of kindness just a little bit.

***

1.
Isis

It’s so hard to hear about such horrific and senseless acts as hostage takings and beheadings. It seems like this threat is growing and we are powerless to stop it.

It’s a part of the world that I know nothing of: Egypt and Libya, Syria, or Iraq. This, however, is not where it ends.

That part of the world wants nothing more than to live in peace, like anywhere.

The problem exists here too, although it may be harder to see.

I do wish there existed much more empathy and understanding for our fellow human beings.

Extremist terrorist groups are out there, like some invisible bully on steroids. This isn’t something I can wish away with my positive thoughts.

I just hope to partake in small acts and acts that spread, such as a newly started compassion blogging project, to show us that the world isn’t all bad, one hundred percent of the time. With one thousand speaking out for compassion, we can say our piece and hope to inspire peace in return.

2.
Measles

Fear and ignorance spread like wildfire when it comes to our children, most of all.

Rumours and myths aren’t so easily distinguished for some like for others. The measles vaccination is no exception.

I know how powerful conspiracy theories can become. Is that what fear of vaccinations is, like the moon landing and UFO’s before it?

I fall prey to thee sorts of thoughts sometimes, when I’m feeling suspicious and doubtful about the world. I wake up some days, and I choose pessimism over giving the world the benefit of my doubts.

I sometimes wake up feeling angry at a world that would allow such rumours to spread so rapidly. I have benefited, so very much, from medical science. I think about fifty years ago even, and the fact that I probably wouldn’t be alive now, to write these words.

It’s hard to imagine a time when illnesses such as measles killed with impunity. I think we take for granted the advances we now benefit from.

So I guess you could say I am pro vaccines, but the idea of forcing parents to give something to their children or themselves that they don’t freely choose, well that does not sit right with me either.

What will win out?

I have children in my life that go to school and I know how easy it can be for illness to spread through a classroom full of kids.

I hate that any kid might miss out on an education and a social life with friends because of a decision their parents or the government made.

No clear-cut and right answers here, I realize.

All I can do is have compassion for each side of the debate, hoping that we don’t regress to a pre-vaccine, tragic, society.

3.
Assisted Suicide

I know this is one of the touchiest subjects there is in our world today. I know the idea of stepping in and taking one’s own life or someone else’s is beyond controversial.

I know things like religion, ethics, and consent are all twisted up and even breaching the topic is taboo.

I know that what constitutes a life worth living is up for furious debate. Nobody wants to use this as an excuse to rid the world of all those poor people who we shy away from because of disabilities beyond our imagination and handicaps we hate to think about.

I can’t help but putting myself in the place of anyone who lives with pain constantly, no end in sight. I keep going back to those poor souls and, although I too hate to think of what this means, I know this issue is not going to go away, no matter how much we look away.

I think we all have compassion in our hearts for these people, but then the fear of “playing God” stands in our way of anything more.

Think of those in real need of empathy and consideration. If there were any time to put ourselves in their shoes, this would be it.

4.
Deflate-Gate

I almost wrote a blog post about this after the news broke that the New England Patriots, on their way to the Super Bowl, were under suspicion of having tampered with their team’s footballs.

Now I fully admit to having no prior knowledge of the rules and regulations of how the footballs are handled. I considered writing about my outrage, that this team was suspected of cheating and yet, off to the biggest football championship they were going, but I ultimately decided that I really had no business writing about it.

Maybe my own personal issues were getting in the way.

This lead to more of a broad concern with the Super Bowl as a whole. I looked at all the hype with Katy Perry set to perform and I felt unsettled.

With all the talk of feminism these days, and all my interest in it, I felt uncomfortable.

It seemed like the NFL was trying too hard to bring themselves out of the recent scandals in their franchise. Katy Perry, for me, did not wipe away all the bad judgement and the celebration of star players and athleticism our world idolizes.

I don’t want to feel this way about anything that brings such joy to others. I’ve seen it. I try to understand the passion with which they express their love of football. I just wish we could value such things as criminal behaviour and spousal abuse not at all, instead valuing things like playing fair and no cheating. These values and rules of the NFL and organizations like it are hard for me to wrap my head around, but it seems to be a powerful force that I have to accept. I just hope it remains all fun and games, yet I know there’s more going on than meets the eye.

Finally…

5.
Fifty Shades

I read the books. As both a reader and a writer I was curious.

Since then the love for these books (originally Twilight fan fiction) grew for so many, but I was unimpressed by the silly catch phrases and the silly banter between main characters Ana and Christian;.

A fantasy come to life, from one middle-aged woman’s brain to millions of women, looking for a thrill.

I do not ignore or underestimate the cultural value of a book like this, come to life on screen.

I know it is nothing more than a romantic experience for so many ladies. I know how I take it, as nothing but a story. It’s fiction and I put it in its proper place.

I don’t know if impressionable youth are able to do the same thing. However, I am not prepared to hide and shy away from the things people like James are thinking.

Feminism is an important issue for me and I can’t begin to imagine what a movie like this says about our society, both men and women.

If any person has been hurt by a serious issue like controlling and abusive behaviour, and this movie reminds then of those traumatic experiences, I think we should be sensitive to that.

If Fifty Shades is enough to open wounds for those who have experienced real abuse in their lives, then I want to recognize that, instead of simply brushing it away.

Something like this doesn’t make the money it does and draw in the number of movie-goers it does if it hasn’t made an impact. That is impossible to ignore.

I want to remain willing to have an open dialogue about issues of gender equality, sexual rights, all with the proper amount of love and respect.

Women should be able to make up their own minds, as to what they want to watch or read, without completely dismissing the very real feelings of shame and regret that exist for so many, both women and men alike.

***

All these stories are, for the most part, not going away. These things rarely vanish, but rather are changed and altered with time.

Today I wanted to speak my mind and hope to show that compassion, even in the face of disagreements and differing opinions, is indeed possible. It is the common thread we all must not lose sight of.

Two days left and I will continue to share my view of what compassion means to me. It isn’t over just yet.

🙂

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