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Good Luck, Bad Luck #JusJoJan

On this special Friday the 13th edition of
Just Jot It January
we must all pay extra attention, so we don’t end up in the hospital.

Okay, so is this day supposed to be lucky or is it supposed to bring bad luck?

I wrote about triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13 on my blog a few years ago. I am skeptical and sometimes pessimistic in life, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I am superstitious.

I have been in the hospital plenty, but not because of bad luck. It’s all scientific, something that is being railed against a lot lately, but it has saved my life.

I owe science and medicine. I owe my life and my brother’s life to it. I owe the existence of my nephew and “niece” to science.

Hospitals are avoided by most, clearly. I read about how we humans shape our own narratives in life. Mine was shaped by being in hospital more than the seventh grade. I choose to see the good in that, even if I felt lousy at the time. Hospitals are vital and, though sometimes we abuse their availability in North America, when we are in real need I am glad of them and all the stories on the Internet will never ever match up.

This year stands out for me, and it’s still within the first few weeks, because of the significance of a twenty year mark of sorts, one which hospitals played a big part. So, I may not be superstitious, not in the black cat crossing your path way, I do like to recognize times and dates that feel like they should be acknowledged, for both the good and the bad.

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A Post-truth World and I Keep Breathing, #TGIF #FTSF

“I want to change the world. Instead, I sleep.”
—Ingrid Michaelson

Keep Breathing – Ingrid Michaelson

With everything happening in North America and around the world, I want to do something, to jump to attention and act. Instead, as the above quote illustrates, I end up in my own position of relative privilege and comfort. It feels bad, but nothing’s easy.

Post-truth’ named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries – Thee Guardian

I keep breathing to squelch my anxiety. Breathe Kerry…breathe.

*Now I’m talking about myself in the third person, great!

***

Breathing exercises are very important when learning to swim. I never quite got the hang of putting my face under water. The timing was bad when I was learning. My kidneys were failing. I was anemic and under weight and frail. I wasn’t receiving vital nutrients and nothing was being filtered properly from my system. The water would become my nightmare. So much frustration.

***

Squelch, squelch, squelch is the sound of wet feet.

I must remove my shoes if I want to observe my nephew’s swimming lesson. Barefoot in the pool area. That’s the rule.

I enter the space where the indoor pool is and immediately I feel the warmth and the mugginess of this place I know from another time. I want to witness this, even though the many sounds of splashing and shrieks of mirth make it impossible for me to hear the one little voice I’d recognize here.

My sister describes my nephew’s many actions, in a roped off section of the shallow end, a platform underneath him and the other children while they learn to push off the side of the pool and swim. Being on his back still makes him squirm because he feels he has little control over himself. I totally understand this. As in swimming as too in life.

***

This has been arranged through my school, my special ed/braille teachers, and my parents. I will take swimming lessons to make up for the big chunks of physical ed I am unable to participate in because I can’t see.

**Yes, this was back when schools still had a lot of gym classes. 🙂

I am twelve and I like the pool, but this is where I am now forced to risk getting water in my nose and eyes. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I hardly have the strength to swim from one side of the pool to the other, on my front as I prefer it.

My teacher is nice enough, but she doesn’t understand. Nobody understands why I even struggle to float. I swim front stroke and my teacher shows me how to move my arms to get me further ahead in the water. I can’t stay up, can’t keep moving my arms anymore. The echo of the indoor pool is drown out by the underwater roar in my ears.

I am weak and I am in water. Bad combination.

***

Now I sit with my sister on an aluminum bench at the side and watch as my brother-in-law has to tell my nephew to listen to the teacher. He’s being obstinate, wanting to jump off the platform by himself, while the instructor is working with one of the others.

I feel the roughness under my bare feet which prevents slipping on the wet floor next to the l-shaped pool I’ve known since childhood. Rough times come flooding back to me as I thought they might.

***

I can’t do this, I try to tell them. I want to let my arms drop and sink under, only because I can’t do this right now. I am sick and I don’t know how to tell them. What’s wrong with me? It’s not only my eyes that fail me, but my strength that feels like it has abandoned me also.

I love the smell of the pool and the water is pleasant. I love the feeling of weightlessness, but I like the sound of the echo still, as I just can’t make it to the opposite wall.

***

Why do they put candy machines right in the lobby on the way out? Of course, I know why and my nephew falls for it just like I used to.

***Beg parents for some change.

“I need some money Mommy,” my four-year-old nephew says.

It was a short visit to the pool, but it was one I needed. I needed to be in that place, with the sound of fun and learning. I needed to see this being a pleasant and even fun activity for someone, for my nephew, even if it didn’t happen that way for me. He may just learn to love swimming. He can only be safer for it.

Just breathe.

***

We do just need to remember to breathe, whether it’s for the purpose of not sinking in life or in the water.

I took my cue from
Kristi from Finding Ninee
for this week’s Finish The Sentence Friday post.

We all need to remember, in this post-truth world we’re living in, to just breathe, if we can.

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Nice, Nasty, and Deplorable, #SoCS

A few years back, late one night, I sat in silence and I thought. I thought and I wrote a letter to a special little girl in my life, about how she could be a superhero or a princess, or both. I wanted her to know she could do anything, be anyone, and go anywhere.

I wish I believed that, even here and now, for her and for myself and for all girls and women. I don’t, but I believe in our feminine spirit. We will. We are already accomplishing so much, more than women long ago likely ever would have hoped for, dreamt of.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

It was really only one hundred years ago now since women were to be granted the same rights as men, voting rights, to help decide the direction of their own country. Canada started with Manitoba.

Women had to be polite, nice, and ladylike. They had to be whatever men wanted or needed them to be, but of course, not all of them were. I can’t judge, either way, as I can scarcely imagine what it was like in those days.

Heck, these days it still feels like we haven’t progressed nearly far enough. I must be patient, keep telling myself to look again at how far we’ve come, but then I say to myself that I don’t need to stay quiet and just be satisfied with the progress thus far. I can and should want more, expect more from the world. Us nice women are never happy I suppose.

We can all pretend misogyny didn’t play a part in the US election of 2016, but that would be as dishonest and disingenuous as saying that neither did racism show its true colours…yes, even after a black man was in charge for eight years. There were many factors, of course, but all the denial is nothing new. It just continually surprises me how prevalent the need is to pretend we’ve come far enough in our efforts to accept each other, to recognize all we have to offer for our gifts and talents and viewpoints.

I am not from the country that just voted yet another man to run the show. Actually, I am from Canada and we did that last year. He will do, for now, but somewhere in Canada there is a young girl who will be the woman next in line.

We had a female prime minister, over twenty years ago, but for only a brief moment in time, set up against all the nearly 150 years of being run by men.

This means we keep moving forward, not going back. Any good election slogan is one that will stick in people’s minds. The most recent example, Make America Great Again, this is one of the most baffling things I’ve heard in a long time. No part of North America was all that great for women, during this period of “again” everyone loves to reference.

I miss all the memes meant as activism, because I can’t see, that circulate on Facebook nowadays. I read and I write because I can. I blog about all that will never stop being important to me and to the better world I want to see the next generation grow up in.

It’s funny how the slogan from a century ago fits into a lineup of words that can’t possibly hold down or peg down any human being.

What else is there to do when “nasty” is used to describe a strong woman or when “deplorable” is used to label any sized group of your opponent’s voting base? If you can’t beat em, join em, is that it?

All I can say is, we’ve all got our work still cut out for us.

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Physical Place and Emotional Space, #SoCS #1000Speak

Whilst I complain sometimes that this new Facebook feature, going live, seems to slow down the voice program on my phone. On a day like today however, I see its benefits.

I am currently listening to a Facebook Live session from a nearby museum. Or is it at the theatre? in a town, not too far from me, but which I am not at this time.

I’d gone to this museum several times, the last few summers, for

Shakespeare’s First Folio.

I’ve gone for exhibits and talks about the world wars,

World War I,

and World War II as well.

But now I am listening to a panel of refugees. They are speaking about the countries they come from, how those places influenced them, and how being in Canada has allowed them to speak from a position of peace and yet with the right amount of noise and outrage for some of the human rights violations that go on every day, back in history into today.

Note: I mostly place *** ahead of any or all things said by the members on the panel, in place of actual quotes for things they said, things I heard, and the mashup in between. I hope I can make clear what are my thoughts and what are those experiences of the three experts I just listened to.

This post happened in the moment, but I realize it could serve as a post for any of the following:

Stream of Consciousness Saturday,

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion,

or even the Ten Things of Thankful post I write every weekend.

This was very much a stream of consciousness sort of post, as I was technically taking notes as I listened, but I wanted to go ahead and share them, plus my impressions and thoughts as I listened.

I didn’t realize this panel was taking place today, but I have access to Facebook and can listen in still. I feel deeply for anyone who has had to live through wars and governmental, religious, cultural upheaval.

This topic of refugees, “topic” sounds like a strange word for it, but I just don’t know, though words come easily in most cases. Not always, not here and now though.

This speaker came with his parents, exiled from Iran, at the age of nine. He lost loved ones, family and friends, back in Iran, to executions. Stuff I hear about in the news all the time, can’t fathom, and brush past the headlines to preserve my sanity. This is tough tough stuff. I feel helpless. I write so I have my own voice. I know I am lucky to have that.

My heart hurts. Those forced to leave their homes to survive and to save their families from further danger. He says we in North America are somewhat uncomfortable with pain and suffering. Struggling, he says.

***an empty shell, suffering. To have that fire, you reach a point where you have no choice.”

He speaks of what is beautiful and inspiring. He’s seen crimes against humanity. He felt such a sense of helplessness as a child. Lost his uncle to torture. He saw horrifying images. He learned his instinct for wanting to end injustice.

***It’s not abstract. It cuts you open like a knife.

He went, fresh out of law school.

After World War II, Cold War, the forming of the UN.

Criminal tribunal. I know little about these things. He teaches me and all who listen.

That line, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That’s life for the world. Always.

I wish everyone could hear this man speak, all these speakers.

Humbling. He comes across that way. Futility, enormity. No [punishment is ever enough.

He refers to Nazi punishment at Nuremberg. I saw the movie., My father watched. The lawyers being there. I can’t imagine actually being there, attempting, given that responsibility to give punishment for unthinkable acts. Evil is the word that comes immediately to my mind, but they were all humans too. All of them.

I have the best life here in Canada. Circumstance. Fate. Luck. Whatever you want to call it. We don’t get to choose where and when we are born into this world. Personal past and the wrongs that are done. I see roadblocks. I see them clear. I see people knocking down roadblocks of all kinds. I have knocked down my share, but there are always more, more more.

Others do it. Grace. Genuine humility. Selflessness amongst the selfish world.

Life isn’t always the greatest for all humanity.

This FacebookLive thing isn’t bad at all.

***Living inside the fray vs living outside of it.

This woman has a platform to speak about what happens, good and bad, in her country of Kenya. Violations of treaties. Abuse of women and children. Discriminations. She speaks in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Her words are powerful in their truth. She wants her country to be equal in its society, eliminating fear, from her position here in Canada. These countries need to learn from each other.

Easy to be full of ideals. Getting into life and reality can shock. True meaning and purpose. This man teaches younger generations, from his experiences. Education.

***Emotion as a form of cognition. Privilege over intimacy. Intellectual rigour. If you don’t understand the reality. you will never have passion to use your ability to go and make a difference.

***Exploit. Own moral virtue. General empathy. Fruits of sorrow. Some do work others arrive for harvest. glamorization of human rights. Profound human experience. Account of suffering. Platitudes. Feel good activism. Idealism is about struggle and being wounded and continuing. Emptied ourselves of that understanding. To separate theory from practice.

Nelson Mandela comes up. Imprisoned for years:

“Sometimes I miss it. I got a lot of reading done.”

Spirit. Upside of suffering. Inspiring each other. Draw on that courage.

Kosovo. Bombings. Refugee crisis happened there too.

Orphanages and institutions all around the world with kids in need of a home and someone to love them. Earlier I watched videos about J.K. Rowling’s foundation,

LUMOS,

a spell to produce light from Harry Potter,

from which I named my cat.

I hope Canada can do our part. We are not innocent. We’ve caused suffering. I don’t know the half of it even.

How to help those who must flee is not a new question. I have no real answers. I write. Stream of consciousness, I use stream of consciousness to relieve some of the pressure.

***Silver lining inside dark clouds. Circumstances, didn’t kill them, made them stronger.

World at large scares me. Gives me hope yet still too. Flip flop. Flip flop.

Prominent human rights lawyers. Doing what they can. All my stereotypes of what a lawyer does and I can’t deny their knowledge and wisdom and influence.

Speaking on certain world leaders. Not an easy job, but so often filled with self interest. Naive and idealistic. It always comes back to that for many of us.

***Cynical short sided policies.

He’s bemused. Good word.

Corruption. Complicity. The west. Middle East. ISIS. His idealism is tempered by realism. The global village is a mess reality but is a reality.

He wanted simple corporate life, just before September 11th, in New York.

He speaks of it so soon after last week’s anniversary.

Policy makers. Theories. Clash of civilization.

***Complex diverse fabric. Took preparation to tear that apart.

Middle East politics. I know nothing about this.

Human rights. Rule of law.

***Refugees are the symptom. Not the cause.

HE says. I just I just…

***Ceasefire. Multi laterally.

Talk over my head. I feel like a child who does not comprehend such things. Of course, I comprehend, I do, I think, even if I do not understand.

I hope Justin Trudeau can do something. Is that possible? The EU. So much to keep up with and my head hurts. Meditation. My best option?

Governments need to work together, like we demand from children, siblings, at school. Leadership and resolve.

Compassion post? Where do we learn empathy and compassion from? How do some not learn it, or unlearn it later?

I believe I’ve learned that from my family and from my disability. You see things differently, or else blindness should force you to do so.

Africa feels so far away to me. The world, so large, west, east, north, south.

She’s proud to say she is Canadian now. We are proud to have her here. Her home is always on her mind. You can hear it in her earnest words and tone.

***Political will.

Hmm.

***Willing but their hands were tired. problems. Take care of their own, rather than others that come.

Hmm.

Camps. Refugee camps. Camps are the word I, here in Canada, feel most uncomfortable about. They are all there is for so many though.

I’ve heard from those in literature. From these activists and civil servants.

Those last ones look forward to the day when they are unemployed. Will that day ever come?

They can not be everywhere all the time. Nobody has that power.

Mass migration and mass movements. Here in Canada we can’t nor should we avoid thinking about it, facing its undeniablility.

We are apart of this world. How do we treat indigenous people here, mirrors how we do for others around the world.

He visits prisons in Iraq. Unsuccessful suicide bombers. Young young men. HE speaks to them. Eighteen and Syrian. Must kill enemies. Then he speaks of the violence he has seen and misses his mommy, his village, wanted to go to medical school. Understanding from an intimate position. How recruitment occurs. Highly corrupt. Religious extremism. We are, all of us, susceptible. We can’t run from this. We are all interdependent.

***Hold our leaders accountable. Resume responsibility. Assume it. Do our share. Impossible for a few to clean up any mess.

A lot of blaming of journalists. Media looks at one problem. Pay attention. Feel powerless. Then what?

How to get beyond colour, I am colour blind. This does not solve it entirely of course.

Robert Kennedy. Fifty years ago. Before my time.

Female genital mutilation. Gender based violence. We feel like we need to pick an issue. These are real, live human beings, silence no more.

Teachers teach and then those students go on to teach children.

I am here in the virtual audience. Big big biggest questions, heavy with importance.

Silly thought, but like my still growing in-box, I fall behind. We have fallen behind.

Justice isn’t always so easy. I watch a documentary on Netflix about the idea of Hitler escaping, and I wonder. What if he had? Conspiracy theories linger, nonsensically.

Ethnic. Ethic. How to obtain sustainable peace? Long term?

***Spectacle of ISIS.

Regimes. Atrocities. Don’t make it to social media. Refugees flee from government. ISIS is the word most people see and hear. Undoubtedly it is all causing such strife.

***Dabbling in feminism. Iran calls it. Complex transition. Authoritarian. Fundamentalist. Leaderships. Repress. Youth want democracy. What kind of a coward is afraid of a feminist?

No kidding. Time isn’t often on their side.

Our leaders, those in positions of power, they do abuse that. How do we fix it? My idealism and naiveté showing again.

Korea.

History straight from this speaker, this man, from those things I was not yet born to see.

***Rule of law and rule of force. How to be civilized.

North Korea. People starving. I have no clue.

Nothing makes you feel better. Well, listening to these people helps a little.

Darkness to light, from Korea, north to south.

Those images trouble me no doubt.

Genocide. Rwanda. Hatred. Dehumanizing. Calling human beings cockroaches. How could anyone, no matter who it is? Fifty years after the holocaust.

***In the moments of most tension people fail, their best intentions lost to history.

When we hear the window to prevent escalation of violence is mostly gone by.

This Iranian/Canadian human rights lawyer states any ordinary citizen should never feel we can’t make a difference, do something. Is this true? Can I help somehow?

Then, in Winnipeg, apologies for residential schools. Prime Minister gives this now. Elderly immigrant couple delivering cupcakes. Neighbours. Could barely speak English but they brought “transcendent humanity” to their indigenous neighbours.

“all that it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.”

I must check this Facebook page more often.

Stratford Festival

There is good being done everywhere. I need only seek it out.

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TToT: Narrative of a Floating Life – Jellyfish Armageddon, #10Thankful

When you’ve got nothing left, you’ve got nothing left to lose.”

Sweet Jane – Garrett Kato

This week I was reminded just how much I have to lose. That means I haven’t even come close to having nothing left.

Not everyone can say that. We here in Ontario, Canada, we experienced our own little incident with radicalism recently. He was attending a mosque just down the street from where my brother lives. They tried to help him, but unfortunately he was a very angry and disillusioned young man.

We are not immune here, in Ontario, in Canada, in North America, but that doesn’t suggest we should then turn toward hate all our own.

In a week where privileged young star athletes act poorly in Rio, when another image of war torn Syria features a small child, and where more attention is given to that athlete than to floods and fires and the suffering of children to begin with,

CQsZmIB.png

I search out blessings and I remember to look for the bright side of life.

1qKMVQk.jpg

That I got back to it, art I mean.

My Blue Period and My Decade Adrift: Water, Water Everywhere

I’m glad I got back to it and hope to do more of it.

That a friend saw my picture on Facebook and offered her knowledge from her art school days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa

So unbelievably cool. That’s what I love about art, what I want to put into it, even if it comes out looking nothing like how I’d imagined it would.

For an empty theater to watch a sweet movie with the perfect person for the occasion.

Review found here. – Bad Moms

Touchy subject sometimes.

In spite of that, I liked this film. I hope the mother I saw this with enjoyed it as much. Motherhood, toughest job around.

For a small step in the progress of my lessons and for my violin teacher taking the time to record herself playing the two basic songs I am learning technique on.

I thought the other day about how learning the violin, for me, feels meant to be. It feels natural, or oh so close to.

It’s as if I am walking in a forest and I’ve come to a stream just a bit too wide for me to jump across. I can see the opposite side and I just need to find a bridge or even some stones to get me to the opposite bank.

The other side, where violin music comes to me, flows through me, naturally, that’s in view.

For fresh food grown in my back yard.

u56h40x.png

Of course, without the work of a couple cousins who do this sort of thing for a living, a dedicated ex boyfriend, or the gifted hand of my mother and her knowledge about all things gardening, I wouldn’t have had any of it.

It’s a nice feeling to hold a fresh cucumber in your hands and bite into it, knowing it only came from your own yard. Something rooted in the natural world so close and yet so far from myself. I owe others who care to make nature such a part of things so that I can enjoy it.

For the extra effort some are putting into me and my future.

I often feel like an extra weight or burden for others, including family, friends, and any other relationship. I guess having most kinds of relationships with me can demand certain things of people.

I hope I give back, as much as possible, in my own unique ways. I hope I bring something to each situation as it comes. I pledge to do that once more, for all who took the time out this week to help me not to give up on my future growth and progress.

This is my promise.

That I got to speak with an amazing Canadian travel writer.

Breathe Dream Go

For me though, it would likely be more like: dream, breathe, and then go. Take the deep breath and dive in. My dreams are waiting for me, out there somewhere.

We had a brief but helpful phone conversation where we spoke about solo travel as a woman and finding the confidence necessary to become comfortable traveling alone.

Our situations are quite different, but she has experience and knowledge and I was grateful she took a few moments out of her day to return my call and speak to me for a short time.

For another full moon.

I understand the science behind the moon, its phases, and the pull of the tides of our oceans. I think it’s rather magnificent.

I also understand how some feel those forces mess with their mood. I can see that.
KN5wcMG.png
For me however, a full moon is my best shot of actually seeing it up in the night sky. When it’s at its brightest and roundest I have a better chance at spotting it and I cherish that opportunity.

But yet, when I can’t find it in all that darkness I still know it’s out there somewhere. That’s my best lesson in faith, whatever your beliefs or religion might be.

For medical and surgical advancement and the ability of doctors to perform gall bladder surgery.

My mother had it done and so did my sister. It causes a lot of women especially a lot of trouble.

Now it is needed again and I am glad those in need this time around can receive the surgery and hopefully recover from here on out. Modern medicine in this part of the world saves lives and halts so much pain and suffering. We are lucky and blessed to have it so readily available to us around here.

That we here in Canada could come together for one night.

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada – The Planet D

I admit that The Tragically Hip aren’t my favourite band. I am, by no means, their biggest fan. Still, it was a strange feeling of oneness last night. The Rio Olympics were preempted and the CBC instead broadcast this final concert by a Canadian iconic musical group and their singer who may not have very long left to live.

What would it be like, what would any of us say or do if we knew we had so little likely time left to live?

Hmm. I wonder.

This month,

#1000Speak

focuses on

thankfuls

and

blessings,

with this final thought and the related song to go along with it.

Living On The Bright Side – Angela Saini

When a bulb burns out I see
Even in the dark, it feels sunny to me
Skipping in the shadows, every corner holds beauty
There is always light if you look closely

http://angelasaini.com/track/1039590/living-on-the-bright-side?feature_id=286532

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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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Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story, #1000Speak

Some people who say they’re sorry aren’t and don’t feel genuinely sorry and some who feel truly sorry never say it, or get the chance to even try.

There may be a quote like this somewhere out there already, but, if there is, I don’t recall and, I swear, these words are my own. Chances are it isn’t stated nearly as poetically as how I’ve written it here anyway.

🙂

If it already exists, I am sorry and I really do mean that, but in this case I came up with it in my own words and from my own heart.

I am speaking of being sorry. I apologize a lot more than some people, perhaps a lot of people, but I know I am not the only one. It is said that women are forever apologizing for things, (big things or little things) whether warranted or not, and there is such a thing as too much being sorry, overkill.

This will all make sense, by the end of this post, I nearly certainly promise you that.

January’s #1000Speak topic is “Forgiveness”. Oh, the things I had to say about that, I told myself, upon hearing of the subject matter.

Spoiler alert (full disclosure, before I continue): I don’t have many answers and I don’t even have much of a handle on the monster that is holding a grudge or laying blame.

I know what you’re thinking, what so many self-help experts would shout out loud – anger, grudges, and blame only hurt the one doing the holding and the laying, that it is a much healthier thing to just let it all go and that getting on with life, being happy, these are the best forms of revenge. I don’t even like that way of putting it though, to be honest. Using the word “revenge” is still holding onto negative thought process and talk.

I don’t want to take out my anger on people or to take revenge on anyone, especially those who I have loved, at one time or another. Those are the ones you usually blame for things or can’t forgive for something.

Well, to begin with, I am working on forgiveness toward those who ever decided to title it “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” here in North America.

I do not love those people, never did, because I have never met them. I do love those books though.

Forgiveness is necessary for so many things, as this first example shows.

😉

My real list of those I have had to work to forgive is as follows:

–To a world of ignorant people, unwilling to look past disability and my blindness, to give me a chance and to get to know who I really am.

–To the doctor(s) who didn’t take me seriously enough when I told them I was feeling unwell, (when I was in renal failure or in chronic pain).

–To the schoolboard/administration who didn’t think I was smart enough. Or who used my blindness as the reason why I wasn’t keeping up, when I was really very ill from an entirely separate medical condition.

–To my high school boyfriend who used me to figure out the problems with his own life.

–To a friend who did not care.

–To an ex boyfriend who hurt me when he left.

If I was affected by these things in the past, I cant say for sure if I have forgiven completely. If I am still angry, I don’t want to be. Is it as simple as letting that anger go? Really? If it were, why wouldn’t I have done it by now?

What’s the real answer to that question?

Must mean I don’t want to let it go, right? I don’t know about that.

Certain times in my life have affected me, so profoundly, that even years later I think back on them and cringe a little. They often feel like a tiny little wound, one where when I brush up against them (when I let my mind go there) I feel just a little sting of regret or sadness or disappointment.

How do I ever completely heal these wounds?

I move on. I move forward. I get on with life. I have survived it all and I am still here. That offers endless comfort to me, but it doesn’t erase the experiences and the memories.

Forgive and forget. I often wonder about this line from the self-help field as well.

Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out which one I am left with at the end of the day.

I know the person I have the hardest time forgiving is myself. I try, once more, I really do try. I know blaming myself for things I couldn’t have known better of back then or ways in which I may still be punishing myself now is not helping me.

I don’t know how much, if at all, anybody from my past thinks about me now. How wrapped up in myself must I be to even think they think of it at all, when so much of life is a one-sided argument happening inside our own heads.

If someone had nothing but the best intentions, I know they didn’t set out to hurt me, hurt me bad enough where I am still talking about it now. I acknowledge what good and decent people I have known. I am glad I’ve had certain people in my life, as a part of my history. I don’t wish them any ill will.

I gave my five-year-old niece a necklace for Christmas. It was a snowflake with the words “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen” on it.

This I liked right away, on finding it in the store. I wanted her to have it, just as I want her to have the skill, the ability to forgive and to let go of anger and hurt, whenever and wherever possible. I don’t think it brings much else but suffering and I want her to know less of that than I’ve known. I want her to have a life with less regret and disappointments.

I hope I am not an angry person, but sometimes I’m not really sure deep down. I don’t ever want the level of anger (a perfectly common human emotion) to balance out the love and the kindness I feel and show to the world, but I try to remind myself that I must start with me first.

Give yourself a break, I remind myself, when the bad feelings surface. Life is much too short.

That is true.

I am always sorry for things and I don’t know if this is something I need to work on or not. I need to learn to forgive a world where disability and blindness is still not understood as well as it should be. I need to learn to realize that other people are fighting their own battles within themselves and that, if they’ve hurt me in some way, it’s not normally an intentional act. They were doing the best they could too, just like I am.

The hardest part is imagining what could have been or what will never be. Doesn’t mean there’s no hope that it could have all been worth it in the end.

With the death of a “Harry Potter” film star last week I have been watching a marathon of the movies and there was the scene about “The Unforgivable Curses).

They are “so named because they are unforgivable” and it got me thinking.

If you think that there are those things that shouldn’t be forgiven, I am just lucky that I can’t say that about my own life.

And whether you believe even the worst and most unforgivable deeds and actions towards others can still be forgiven, if only for the sake of the one who was wronged, so that person can find peace – well, I guess we’ll all just have to agree to disagree on that.

The only way I can look at it is that we can only know what this life and its most painful parts are like for ourselves, no one else. We can try to see things from another’s point-of-view. Maybe that will help and maybe it won’t, but we can at least try, right?

Around the 20th of every month

1000 Voices

explores topics like forgiveness and compassion, when a group of bloggers and writers do their part to spread all manner of good things, as a breath of fresh air with all the negativity and bad vibes in the world.

This month’s group and their thoughtful stories have given me a lot to think about, as usual.

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Wine’s Fine But Whisky’s Quicker, #SoCS

“Closing time – one last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer. Closing time – you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”

I like this song from the nineties. I thought it fit well, it came to mind, as soon as I finished reading, or should I say listening to an audiobook today and here is my review.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Ever hear of the saying from my title of this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post?

Okay, so how many nights are bars and clubs full of people, looking for something, but just what are they looking for in those places?

It’s right up my alley. The topic of love, romance, and relationships and it is all from the hilarious comedic mind and heart of the Parks and Recreation star.

I will admit he wasn’t my favourite character on that show. I was more of a Ron Swanson fan, but since the end of the series I have watched some of his comedy specials. He is about my age and he is just trying to figure out the relationship questions facing many people of our age group.

Many of the topics he first covered on stage and in his jokes and humorous observations are what he put into his new NetFlix series, “Master of None”, a semi autobiographical snapshot (which I am in the middle of watching).

Here they now are in book form. Normally, I like to read books on my own. Occasionally though, the argument can be made to listen, especially when the book is narrated by the author himself. It brings a level of personality and humour that I wouldn’t get if I read it.

It begins with some catchy, smooth, chilling music as he introduces the book. It fits the romantic feeling he wants to bring across, until he can’t help his comedic style and starts yelling and calling us, the listeners lazy for not bothering to read on our own.

JK aside

🙂

I love this book because he discusses a lot of really interesting parts of modern romance in modern times, but he does it with little bursts of his signature sense of humour.

He tackles such topics as social media, online dating, sexting, what he terms the act of being “monogomish”, cheating, and our generation’s give-up attitude, not sticking things out and the fear that, with all the options of a wide open world, that we’re never happy and always wondering if there’s something better out there.

He uses some of his own life experiences in the dating world, focus groups and ReddIt forums, and studies and expert opinions from psychologists, anthropologists, and journalists who study love and relationships.

He even went into a retirement community and asked people from previous generations about love and marriage from their standpoint. One old guy was only there for the free doughnuts, but the rest did offer valuable insights into how they met their partners, when and why they got married, and how they feel their lives turned out.

The only way we can learn is by studying the past and by asking questions of those who have gone before us, but times do change. Okay, so sometimes the more things do change the more they remain the same.

This is both different and similar, as the years pass, but as the clock of our lives ticks on, what will we look back on at the end and regret that we didn’t do or feel?

Aziz and his team of interviewers and experts speak with people in North America, Europe, and Asia.

There are some interesting insights into how monogamy is handled in France when compared to the US. Either one going to extremes.

Women’s options were fewer and roles were measured in different ways years ago. Respect should be timeless and for everyone.

Can love really last?

Of course it can’t, not in the mad and passionate way spoken of in the book and desired by most of us.

His expert scientists share scans and, he points out there are graphs and charts in the book, but that they can’t be translated in the same way when listening to the audio version.

He talks about what I would think is obvious, but is one of the lesser obvious things from what I’ve seen: that new love is exciting and it lights up the brain just like a drug, but that this feeling can’t possibly last, nor should it. If someone chooses to continuously chase that high all their life, rather than accept life’s inevitable ups and downs, well there’s really nothing to be done to convince them that the benefits of finding one person to have as a partner and a companion could ever be more than enough.

I can’t fault social media and technology. My iPhone and the Internet are invaluable to me. Online dating websites have helped me open up and find people I never would have met otherwise. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Can these things make jealousy and deceit easier? Of course they can. Doesn’t mean these things did not exist before them. Shakespeare is proof of that.

In the book he quotes rapper Pitbull and a line in Spanish, translated to say:

“What the eyes don’t see the heart doesn’t feel.”

This is exactly the level of immaturity that exists out there, when people only care about themselves and have no consideration for anyone else.

I recently wrote about having faith, now that we’ve arrived at the Christmas season, that just because something can’t be seen with two eyes, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, happening, or could potentially hurt or harm other people.

Myself and every other blind person could tell you that many times the heart feels things, without having to see with the eyes. This just shows the many and varied beliefs, opinions, and experiences of love and romance.

This book was not a literary classic, but it was an excellent story and well told. You just can’t get the same affect without Ansari’s voice and his acting.

Has he himself found the kind of love that will flow from mad and passionate into a long term respectful companionship? Hard to say for sure, but if you enjoy audiobooks or books on love and relationships, I would recommend Modern Romance.

So, in closing…with one final piece of advice from the book:

He calls it, “acquired likability through repetition”, instead of nothing more than an “option that lives in your device”.

Okay, well it’s all often in the wording. Of course, he is simply referring to the picky way some people look for love, giving up on someone after one date, if they weren’t ready to see fireworks. Smart phones make it much too easy, he points out, to think of someone on the other end, side of a phone screen as one dimensional words in a little speech bubble, instead of a human being with feelings, hopes, and a heart.

What are your thoughts on these topics? Have you heard of monogomish? Do you think love can last? Is there any situation where cheating is acceptable? Are you an Aziz Ansari fan? Have you heard of the song I quote above?

SoCS

There you go with some music to start, a little book review, and my stream of consciousness ramblings for Linda’s weekly prompt:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/12/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-1215/

Only one more left to go before Christmas is here.

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Tap Tap Tap

Took a bit of a break there, from:

THE REDEFINING DISABILITY AWARENESS CHALLENGE

http://rosebfischer.com/2014/07/15/the-redefining-disability-awareness-challenge/

I found it a challenge to talk about disability on a weekly basis and needed to leave it for a while. This blog is not, strictly, a blog about disability and/or blindness.

I realize, as much as I want to forget about such challenges for a while, I can’t get away from disability. It is tangled up in me and with me wherever I go.

I write about it, in small ways or big ones, anyway.

So I will address a few stories in the news lately and use a specific example from the other day, in my life, to illustrate a point. Hmmm. Guess I should hurry up and think what that’s going to be right now.

😉

I guess this might answer number 40 in the list of RDAC questions, as I feel quite sure I want to find ways to become in volved in awareness and social issues: feminism or equal rights. Either way. This involves disability in a big way.

Q: Are you involved in any political or social activities related to having a disability? This could be anything from an advocacy group to an informal social gathering to participation in adaptive sports.

I try to deny it sometimes because the feeling is often uncomfortable, but I keep being dragged back to it.

I have an interview coming up on this blog with a guy who just graduated with a degree in Women’s Studies. I am very interested in hearing his story and viewpoint.

I have spoken with my friend Steph from

Bold Blind Beauty,

who has been working on a new image, one she feels represents her site and her mission:

The Unveiling of a Stylish Icon

I get involved when and where I can. Who knows what that might look like in the future.

There are others who are doing a lot more:

Stand By Me RP awareness page

This poet has recently been highlighting a story that made the news, over in Britain:

Paul Franks speaks to the mom of a blind schoolgirl who has been asked not to use her white cane in school due to health and safety

Maybe you’ve heard about it. This is the kind of thing that makes one want to speak up and stand up for what is right.

It’s hard to imagine, in 2015, that this would happen.

It’s the kind of thing my mother would have fought hard against, if it had been me being told I couldn’t have my cane at school, instead having to rely on others. This girl was told to be with supervision at all times. So much for the independence that is the whole point of school.

If this were true, white canes everywhere would be tripping people, left and right. There would be anarchy, injuries galore.

As long as she is taught how to use her white cane properly, this should be a non issue.

Okay, so there may have been one incident, when I slipped on a wet floor and sprained my ankle in the hallway at school, my own white cane going flying as I went down. This may have nearly empaled a staff member. I say “may have”.

But this could very easily happen with anything, with any child. There is no way a child should be told she can’t have her way of getting around school.

http://www.freerangekids.com/blind-girl-cant-use-her-cane-at-school-its-a-tripping-hazard/

This is the sort of thing that we must not accept from people. This is why awareness and consciousness of others is so important.

How dangerous is a white cane?

How dangerous is a wheelchair? That’s like saying a wheelchair is dangerous because it might run over someone’s toe. Ridiculous. Care is always needed, of course. No waving it around madly, but man…this story is everywhere.

What is a school mobility officer anyway? Differences from North America to Britain I guess, but she should be having mobility lessons of her own, with an instructor, to learn how to use her cane safely and correctly.

They said it was just temporary, while they discussed the matter with the family. What does that really mean anyway?

This story has made the news, in the papers from the UK where it happened, over to Canada and the US, all the way to New Zealand.

It makes an excellent headline, but it really is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.

Well, I’m so worked up, that perhaps I’ll save the other stories for next week. There will be one of those, and much sooner this time.

The schedule calls for next week to be a free post day anyway and there are only ten or so more of these RDAC questions left.

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