SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer

Collapse, #SoCS

This summer has been writing, mostly all about writing, but I can only write about my Mexico trip in so many ways, from a certain number of angles, before I must leave my house again and experience new things.

Za6dqV9.png

I stare at my ceiling and don’t see a whole lot, kind of like my future sometimes, but mostly because I can’t see. Still, the weight of it sometimes feels like a banging, from below and above and from all around.

Just don’t look up maybe.

I fear it collapsing on top of me while I sleep. Water marks where the pounding rain got through are, in my bad dreams, destabilizing the entire roof over my head.

But when to fix it? How to fix it?

I debate when to do something more about that, just what there is to be done to make any possible upgrades to home and life.

If I stay tucked away inside here, I fear I will eventually be sealing myself off forever.

I fear I will forever be afraid to stay and also…afraid to leave, at the same time.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

And so, the roof repairs will soon begin. There are many more stories for me to tell.

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“People Of Canada…” #CanadaDay #FTSF

A lot can change in a year.

Today is a celebration in my country. Today is Canada’s 149th birthday.

How perfect – this all lined up with Finish the Sentence Friday and its particular sentence for the week, which ties in with all I have been thinking about on countries, borders, and our one, global world.

Every year, on July 1st and since I started this blog, I have found it important to say something about Canada or what it’s like to be Canadian.

In 2014,

I listed ten things I loved about my country (Oh Canada).

And then, last year,

I decided to take a different approach,

Reconciling The Truth About Canada.

Last year we had another political party in charge and another politician leading Canada.

This year we have Justin Trudeau. Not all are thrilled, just like I wasn’t thrilled with the people in charge this time last July.

Stories in the news for 2016 are more often than not horrifying to me. I listen to the epic race for the White House and the Brexit referendum. I look around me here in Canada, and I hold on tightly, but the other night I listened to a speech put on in Ottawa’s parliament, by visiting US President (for the time being) Barack Obama.

He began it with the words: “People of Canada…” and I was unprepared for all I was about to hear.

What I wish the world knew is a simple enough word: peace. They often say they know (those leading the way), that they understand, but continually prove the opposite to be true. This leaves those of us, so desperate for peace, to feel like we’re the odd ones out, like what we’re asking for is so out-of-reach impossible.

Obama started to speak and I’ve never been so speechless and yet bursting with thoughts and things to say, all at the same time. I wanted to cry, more than once, as he spoke and the crowd cheered at various statements he made.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/latest-obama-arrives-canada-us-mexico-summit-40217479

Just days after the Brexit vote, I listened to a speech by a certain UKIP politician, to the EU. It carried a definite, a continual tone of mocking and gloating. Totally uncalled for and unnecessary, in my mind, as mature adults, or thought to be mature adults should be conducting themselves and holding themselves to a much higher standard than was evident in that room.

Then, compare that to one given by Nicola Sturgeon, in Scotland, where she spoke of what may end up need to be done. She struck me as a powerful female voice, in the world of politics, where so often women’s voices are mostly silent. As she finished speaking, however, sirens could be heard in the distance, coming closer and closer. This felt ominous to me in some way.

Then, this week, it was the North American Leader’s Summit. The leaders of Mexico, the United States, and Canada came together to talk a wide array of topics, from the environment to Brexit.

Of course, on Canada Day and every other, I am glad Canada is is its own, individual nation, while existing as part of the North American continent. I feel bad to admit it, that I’ve been feeling a sense of relief, that perhaps Canada’s darker period is over, while the US’s may still be ahead of them. I don’t wish civil unrest on anyone, not the least on my neighbours to the south. I don’t think the United States fully realized how good they had it with Obama. However, I don’t think isolation is the answer and we need each other, more than we’d like to admit.

To be honest, I am dying for this summer to fly by, this year in particular, because I am feeling uncomfortable while the US elections are revving up, but perhaps (if the UK is any indication) I shouldn’t be in any big rush for the summer of 2016 to come to an end. I am dreading the results this November, yet I remain skeptically optimistic, after how Canada’s elections turned out last fall.

Obama spoke in Ottawa and it was his last visit to Canada as President. He was the first US president to come here since Clinton, twenty years ago. Particularly, Trudeau and Obama have been developing a friendly relationship, which is for the good of us all, but this pleasant environment could be short lived.

Obama spoke about refugees and immigrants. He didn’t speak about building walls and closing ranks against the rest of the world. He addressed the dangers of the “us against them” mentality, which I’d like to tell the rest of the world, can’t possibly work.

Obama spoke of the US/Canada history. War of 1812, (some bad memories there).

🙂

Then there came the Underground Railroad. While things for minorities were never great here or there, there was a reason why we were the north that slaves of the time were willing to die to get to. We could be a refuge for so many then.

We could be, we can set an example once more. I want to think Canada can set that example, as politics in the US is soon to change, Obama’s time nearly up, but that Trudeau has only just begun his time in office. Some say he has been bad for Canada, and if they are talking budgets and economy, I am the last to say I know a lot about those things and how it will all turn out, but Justin Trudeau has made strides on many things humanitarian. I want Canada to show the world that opening up our hearts and home to people fleeing war will make the world a better place, but Obama spoke about doing all we can do to ensure a more peaceful planet earth, so wars and unrest can’t uproot so many from there homes in the first place.

I want to make all my bursting thoughts come out in a coherent statement for how I feel. I don’t go by the situation with currency or by the stock market. I go by my heart. What doesn’t feel true and compassionate to me, I know isn’t possibly to benefit the world. So much fear and shameful reaction to fear. I want my country to lead the way in doing better.

And so, as many celebrated their very first Canada Day in this country this year, I hope they feel welcomed, even if this place is still a strange one to them. As I hope for all this, I think always on the first Canada Day my grandparents spent, all those years ago. They left Europe after that continent had been nearly destroyed, devastated by war, and we can’t let that continue to happen. Surely, the world must realize this. Or am I just talking to myself here, banging my own head up against a brick wall? Am I simply too naive for my own good, when it comes down to what humans are capable of?

FTSF is thanks to Kristi from:

Finding Ninee

And I wish nothing but peace on this Canada Day, 4th of July, or whatever else may mark any other country’s place in the world.

To end with – my thoughts are with Turkey, after the latest run-in with the opposite of peace. Their country deserves the same level of support, just like Belgium, France, the US or anywhere else, as fellow human beings, living together and sharing this planet of ours, we need each other. We cannot fight hate with even more hate. Peace, going forward, always. Please. Don’t make me beg!

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Electric Blue Planet, #1000Speak #Compassion #FirstDayOfSummer #Panorama #ElectricBlueClouds

Today, we took a walk, up the street, Picked a flower, climbed the hill Above the lake. And secret thoughts, were said aloud – We watched the faces in the clouds, ‘Til the clouds had blown away . clickable

Never Saw Blue Like That – Shawn Colvin

Today is the first day of summer, longest day of the year, and sticky/hot and humid here in Ontario, Canada.

Somewhere in the world, the weather is different, less uncomfortable, but still seasons change.

There are new natural global phenomenon (well, new to me anyway) that make me smile when I learn about them. When I learned of this one, just the other day, I decided I had to share my newly acquired knowledge in this post.

What are noctilucent (electric blue) clouds?

People are doing exciting work, (travel, art, and literature), all things that make me excited to be alive.

Panorama Kickstarter Campaign

This month’s theme is simply compassion. That is what we experience when we open our minds enough to not just become tourists, to see sites recommended to us in guide books or tourism websites, but when we truly open our minds to other people’s ways of life and experiences of living. And hopefully they will do the same..

Today is the first day of summer here in the northern hemisphere. The Kickstarter is launching for a literary travel publication that’s close to my heart. I hope it opens our eyes. I wanted to share their news, as I feel this is the kind of thing we could all use more of.

Building up walls between ourselves and other human beings is no way to live. It’s not how I want to live my life anyway.

I want compassion and understanding. Don’t you? We could all use a lot more of both.

Electric blue sounds like a colour I used to see and miss so much now that colours are gone for me.

Dramatic, bright, shockingly blue. Blue that is so vibrant and then, fades from view like wisps of something floating up – to where earth ends, and space begins. Gone, still a memory, yet always able to recall.

I will keep going, never forgetting those colours I’ve loved, imagining them as clouds at the top of the planet, the electric blue planet. Water. Clouds. Everything in between.

I choose to take a panoramic view of our world and I keep it so close. I will read, educate, inform myself. I will hold onto travel literature and those who are brave enough to open my eyes and the eyes of anyone else, willing to really look.

‘Cause I never saw blue like that, before. Across the sky, around the world. You’ve given me all you have and more. And no one else has ever shown me how, To see the world the way I see it now. Oh, I, I never saw blue like that before. clickable

http://www.metrolyrics.com/never-saw-blue-like-that-lyrics-shawn-colvin.html

June 20th, first day of summer, and time for another 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion:

#1000 Speak For Compassion

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Just Jot It January: Stuck, Scared, and Snow Drifts, #JusJoJan

Someone recently said:

“Winter is a season meant to be tolerated. Never celebrated.”

Just Jot It January #JusJoJan

Here are the rules.

I am the one complaining about the lack of winter lately, here in Canada especially. Christmas without snow was just sad to me. I didn’t like the rainy, damp, gloomy, foggy weather for December.

I don’t like being frozen either. I am not a fan of frost bite and blue fingers. I like a nice warm house and a blanket to cuddle underneath.

I also like snow. I like it for winter. I may complain of it being too cold, when I get out into a chilly car, waiting impatiently for the heat to kick in, wishing for the heat of July. Then, once I have that heat in summer, I dream of winter again.

But I still don’t like the thought that Canada wouldn’t have snow. I think we are so accustomed, in this day and age, of our warm houses and being able to turn up the heat at a moment’s notice, as having to gather firewood isn’t common anymore. We have no reason to go outside, as we’d much rather watch our televisions and be on our computers, tablets,, or smart phones indoors.

Kids don’t have to play outside for entertainment. Many adults have aching bones and would prefer to be warm.

That doesn’t mean children don’t enjoy winter activities, such as tobogganing, snowmen, and forts.

I would have done just about anything, when I was in school, to get out of going outside for recess. When I did, my friends were making forts and girls were using them to kick other girls out, not wishing to make them a part of their club. It was harsh, the weather not just.

In spite of all of this, I like that Canada and snow are synonymous. I like that Christmas and my birthday happen to include snow. I love the white world I can find, when I step out my back door in February. Sure, it gets cold and my boots and jeans end up covered in snow and wetness when I enter my house. It’s a pain, but it’s beautiful in it’s own way.

So much complaining. So much whining goes on. Who wouldn’t love to go to a tropical paradise, from time to time, but I complain about the heat just as much as I do about the cold.

🙂

I don’t have to drive in bad weather, but I do have to ride in the passenger seat, while other people drive and trust to them for my safety.

I do have many family members and other friends and those I care about who drive in snowy conditions. I worry about them a lot.

I have to face getting around in the snow, which is made more difficult when you can’t see over snow drifts and icy patches. I could break a bone in future, slipping on ice, just like anyone else. Still, I love snow.

It doesn’t last forever, but when it’s in season, it is a magical thing.

I am frozen when out in it, but I loved learning to skate again last year, after twenty years. I love the silence of a snowfall. I love the idea that no snowflake is ever the same, like people.

I love the smell of snow, even if I may end up frozen.

I am feeling a little like I am frozen, and I’m warm while I say that. I don’t need to be out in a snow bank to say it. It is January, a new year, and I am frozen by many fears. I am afraid I will accomplish nothing, that this year of 2016 will be empty and a blank void in my life. I feel frozen by indecision and by uncertainty, but I hope I can find a way to thaw from that feeling of being frozen by all of this, that I can find the courage to take risks and keep moving forward.

Canada: A nation of winter wusses

Linda speaks of moments and experiences, frozen in time and in memory:

http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/03/just-jot-it-january-3rd-frozen/

Check out the host for today’s Just Jot It January.

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My Top Spills and Thrills of 2015

Okay, so instead of a movie review for the newest instalment in the Star Wars franchise (which I am postponing until 2016), I am attempting to sum up this past year: the good and the bad.

kerport-005-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

It has been a year of huge surprises, stupid spills, and awful scares for myself and my family, but there were thrills to be had throughout. It all ended, with a bit of a bang, and now here I am. I see I am not the first to write one of these, but since I waited and just posted about my hopes for the coming year, last New Year’s Day, I thought I would follow that up with another review, of sorts, about how those hopes translated into one wild ride of a 2015.

First Day of the Rest of My Life

I say in that post that I am not a fan of resolutions at the end of one year, with the blank slate of a new year stretching out in front, but I did have a vision for what I hoped my year might look like.

Now that I can reread that post and see how I fared, I want to bring it all together.

This is how it’s done.

So I thought I would take a page out of this blogger’s book/blog and go month by month. Bare with me.

JANUARY

One of my first posts of 2015 was all about trying new things.

Speeding Up and Slowing Down

I hoped this would be a sign of things to come for the year.

I continued participating in something that matters to me, that is all about a subject near and dear to my heart and life. I would continue writing about awareness for equality and disability rights. This post was a kind shout-out to all that.

I Don’t Want Coffee. Here Are Some Links, Though.

This links to another blog hop I could participate in, if I had more time and more days of the week, but I read it weekly. I have found and left a few different circles of bloggers and blogging groupings over the last few years, but many of these circles intertwine with one another, here and there.

Speaking of blogging circles – January was the start of one of the best things I’ve gotten involved in in a long time.

We All Need The Village

&

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

Thank you: Lizzi and Yvonne.

Also, it was a month of endings and beginnings.

Letting Go and Continuing to Write Another Day

The ending of an opportunity for the short story I’d written gave way for the beginning of a chance event, one for which I am so glad I snatched up my chance to be included in, in the months that would follow.

FEBRUARY

This, my birthday month, brought not only the day to celebrate my birth, but also the celebration of my first full year of blogging.

One Year and Counting: Kind and Generous

Then came

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

And after that, my first contribution of many for #1000Speak, there came more focus on kindness with a post I’d written, which was published on a site devoted to love and friendship.

A Friend In B By Kerry Kijewski

I continued to write about a vitally important cause to me, rare illness awareness

Rare Disease Day, 2015: Ventilation

There was a weekend in Ottawa with a friend. This I will never forget.

This year I took a step forward, in the right direction after lost love, and began dating again.

Dating in the Dark

This is my life.

MARCH

This was not easy for me and I didn’t want to do it, but I did it and hope to do more of it.

Microwave Popcorn For Dinner It Is

As the year went on I managed to keep a secret that I’d been keeping hidden for a few months. It would involve the struggle I constantly have inside about the fine line between truth and fiction, memoir or not?

Truth Or Fiction: Which One Is Stranger?

The first of two weekly blog hops I would soon come to depend on for both comfort and inspiration began as the third month of 2015 came to a close.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

And I finally published an interview, long worked on and awaited, with a female who is making a mark for herself as a smart businesswoman.

Keep Calm and Get Your Hair Done

There were three deaths this year, in the entertainment world, of which were sad ones to me.

The first was Richard Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Edward Herman died almost exactly one year ago.

I did not write a post for this at the time, but wanted to include him here and now, with news recently of a NetFlix Gilmore Girls reboot, of which the man who played Mr. Gilmore will not be able to reprise his brilliantly portrayed role.

RIP Edward Herman

(He had an amazing voice and used it to read voiceovers, playing Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Ken Burns documentary, of which I watched near the end of the year, after Herman was gone.)

Second,

Love and Despair

with the shocking death of Jonathan Crombie (Gilbert), the man behind the portrayal of a great literary heroic character.

Third, Christopher Lee.

Into The West: RIP Sir Christopher Lee

APRIL

Babies are born and babies die everyday.

Departed and Demented

Upon hearing of the loss of one precious life, for which I had to rant about the unfair ways of the world, next came a re-blog from my own blog, written one year earlier, the worst kind of anniversary imaginable.

The Dark Mark

These few things from early in the month on my blog only served to show the contrasted miracle, the wonderful shock I would get at the end of the month

I had no idea I was about to learn of the upcoming birth of a sweet child in the month of spring’s renewed promise.

Let’s just say, to say I was shocked to learn of my friend’s pregnancy was an understatement. Best surprise all year and, as I continue on with this 2015 summary, that is about to demonstrate how much this brand new little girl means to me because she is a part of my oldest friend. No publishing achievement or literary goal met can possibly compete.

I saw my aunt twice this year, in her new home, a senior’s long-term care facility, sadly. My uncle, my father’s half-brother, he visited from Germany. He wanted to see his sister because nobody knows when it will be their final time together.

Milestones and Siblings

I spent lots of time with family, not only during the month of April, but I make a point to do this every month, any time during any given year. This year, 2015 was no exception.

Orphaned

It was only by doing this that I could think enough about how lucky I am to have family of my own, that I was able to write the guest post about famous orphans in literature.

MAY

Into the fifth month of 2015, nearly halfway now, and things really took a lousy turn.

I was distracted and although the first computer problem was a simple mistake, a fluke thing and a sign of my naivete with technology, it was only when I was careless enough to have a sticky drink next to my precious laptop that I really had something to kick myself over.

Having to fall back and depend on an ex boyfriend to fix things was a hard thing to do. I knew he’d help, if I asked, but I didn’t wish to bother him. It was still hard to admit that he was the one person I would still need, in the desperation I was facing, when it came to computers and technology, the one person I would still trust most to help and help he did. He’s good like that.

If it weren’t for the honour of a request to write a post on a writer’s site whom I greatly admire, the month would have been a total disaster.

Writing the World, Sight Unseen

The girl’s got a way with coming up with titles. Oh, and she’s got the neatest sounding last name around.

🙂

Oh, and then there’s this.

The Second Chances Anthology

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At least some good came from the month of May.

Oh, and I can’t forget this either and never could.

Ten Things of Thankful

May was the month I joined this wonderful weekly blog hop. Many examples of what TToT stands for and looks like can be found in the comment section of this origin post.

There was, also, the series finale of a truly great show.

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Men World

End of an era really, or several, from the 60s onward to the end of 2015 and the start of 2016.

JUNE

And I had a publisher. Yay!

Little Bird Publishing House

And with that, I had to attempt to put into words what writing means to me.

How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life

Still working on this, but I keep letting other things come first.

Close But No Cigar

The year 2015 was now halfway over. I was still working on both education and love.

New Month, New Me

Another milestone. I made it another year with my father’s kidney, working and keeping me well and off dialysis. Every year I avoid that is a reason to celebrate.

The year 2015 has been a spectacular one for music.

Every F****n Day – Lolawolf

“You must be curious. Even…just…a little.”

🙂

This song, among others, made my year and it was only half over.

Figure It Out – Royal Blood

I was trying.

This year, 2015, meant the anniversaries for my grandparents’ deaths:

**Five years for Grandpa

Ruby Red

**Five years for Oma

Gardens of Sunset

**And ten years for Grandma

You Are My Sunshine

Speaking of death, the composer of the wonderful Titanic soundtrack died, tragically, in a plane crash.

RIP James Horner

The US did make some progress this summer.

ROYGBIV

JULY

My country has made some much needed changes this year too.

Canada Day, 2015

We’re working on reconciliation and welcoming our differences, rather than hiding them away and spreading fear.

Life is all about the fireworks.

BANG!!!

Whether it was the stress of a first date or the unpredictability of a summer fling,

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

I had one hell of a summer.

One Last Kiss

I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED!!!

CHECK!

zsecondchancescovercheckedsmall-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

That’s another item I can check off my bucket list.

Color, Light, and Magic

Plus another guest post on J.K. Rowling’s end-of-July 50th birthday.

AUGUST

It was a truly spectacular book and a fascinating study in literature.

Jean Louise The Silent: My Review of “Go Set A Watchman”, Part One

&

Jean Louise The Silent: My Review of “Go Set A Watchman”, Part Two

The summer was full of not only literature, but also some amazing theatre performances, culture, and history.

Read a review of the play here:

Stratford’s Diary of Anne Frank

And the summer ended with a bit of nature by Future of the Ocean.

Big Blue Live

And one more guest post I had published on Hasty Words.

Be Real

My summer of 2015 was full of new experiences, harsh realities, and missed opportunities.

Rural Pride, County Wide

Sometimes, some things just aren’t meant to be.

SEPTEMBER

When the anthology with my story first came out in the summer it was only available as an EBook, but finally I could hold a book with a story I’d written in my own two hands. It was an indescribable feeling and a dream come true.

kerrsbook-closeup-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

With the arrival of autumn there’s the twenty year anniversary for Jagged Little Pill.

Perfection

At the end of the month I had a trip to Toronto which was full of surprises and adventures.

wots_kkdoug_imag4888_yes-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

Faith and a Spinster’s Gratitude List – Harvest Moon

OCTOBER

I tried my hand at Writer’s Digest’s month long October Platform Challenge, but I messed it up and did not finish. Admittedly, it was a bit of a half effort and I misread the instructions.

Check it out here.

This year marks three anniversaries for television and music I’ve loved:

Gilmore Girls, A Boy Named Goo, Beverly Hills 90210

By the time we were nearing the end of 2015,

Canadians felt it was time for a change.

I also decided to try something a little different, when I was invited to do an interview for an online radio program.

Travelling with the Speed of Sight

Canada’s one-and-only Major League team, Toronto Blue Jays, came closer than they have in more than twenty years, to winning the World Series. It was a wild ride.

NOVEMBER

The eleventh month of 2015 found me trying something new, something I’ve wanted for a long time.

Words with Friends

Being a part of a writing group is exactly what I have needed to progress with my own writing. I hope to continue with this in the year to come.

Remembrance Day and November 11th had a special significance this year.

In Flanders Fields: One Hundred Years Later

An unassuming Friday the 13th in November turned into much more, so much devastation,

with the attack in Paris.

Then came the first of the hospitalizations for my brother for 2015 and this one was frightening enough, but it was only a prelude to what was to come for our December.

And with one one hundred year anniversary there came a forty year one shortly after,

with a Great Lakes ship wreck and a song written more like a tale set to music.

It was time to celebrate a great man.

happybirthdaypa-2015-12-30-09-04.jpg

My Father Turned Sixty

On the final day of November.

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DECEMBER

As Long As There’s Christmas: My Grownup Letter For Santa, 2015

We almost made it. We’d arrived at mid month, only a few weeks left in 2015 and then the bottom dropped out.

My brother had a bad fall and suffered a brain injury.

For a few days we weren’t sure what kind of Christmas we would have, but my family and his friends never stopped believing he would come out of it the same old Brian.

Decade Adrift

The doctors didn’t want us to get our hopes up, but we had a Christmas like the others.

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We were all together and Brian played music again.

My last guest post of 2015. – Advent Calendar Day 20: One Tradition After Another

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Now I end 2015 with a huge Happy Birthday wish for the most special five-year-old around and I ring in 2016 with a friend. Girl’s night!

In the world of feminism, 2015 was a fabulous year for discovering awesome female voices in music, literature, travel, social issues, and history.

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE: NEW SINGLE PACKS A PUNCH

The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Talking to Amy Gigi Alexander

He Named Me Malala

&

The 1994 Miep Gies Lecture

Not all of these are current, but the act of me finding them this year is the point. All examples, of females who are or were strong, which gives me the push to keep moving forward.

Women of the Year: 30 Canadians Who Rocked 2015

On the continually fascinating subject of wickedly special females, three albums and their artists are worth mentioning this year:

First, Vulnicura.

Black Lake

by Bjork.

Second, How Big How Blue How Beautiful.

Ship To Wreck – Florence + The Machine.

And third, Honeymoon.

High by the Beach – Lana Del Ray

As for The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, it was an every Monday sort of thing for the previous half of 2014 and I continued, missing a week here and there, but I have not forgotten about its importance in my own world and here on my blog.

This coming year I plan on really starting something that I want to focus on though. The year 2016 will be 20 years since I began the journey that matured me before my age likely would have otherwise.

Let Them Eat Cake

I have imagined writing a book about it, memoir called Piece of Cake, for years. Now that I have this blog I will start by writing about those days, as the next few years pass.

I have goals and dreams for 2016 and beyond, but I hesitate to speak of them all out loud, in fear of falling short.

FGP’s Virtual Holiday Party

I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.

I want to keep working on the one and only “resolution” from 2014/2015: jealousy. I hate that part of myself and I wish I could let that go. That doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for others and don’t cheer other people on. It just means I do both and feel conflicted.

Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.

We in Canada made a change and took a stand in 2015 and, the question for 2016 is and will be: America, will you?

Okay, so I just went through my entire blog for the year, to prepare for this post. I know. It was a long one.

Wow, I wrote a lot. I did not receive an end-of-the-year WP blog stats report like I did last year though. Hmmm. Wonder if that means I didn’t do well with follows, comments, and views this year. Ah well. Staying true to myself and remaining authentic is all I can ask for.

Goodbye 2015…hello 2016. Be kind.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Piece of Cake, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Diagnosis – Piece of Cake!

It’s a little over a year now since the launch of:

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

on Rose’s blog.

I would find it not long after and make the decision to join in here.

One year later and another summer has arrived. I have been skipping some Memoir Monday posts, a summer break of sorts, but I am nowhere near out of things to say on the subject of disability awareness.

***

Q: At what age were you or your loved ones diagnosed?

A: This question, I thought, would be better answered by those who remember what it was like at the time. I was only an infant after all.

🙂

I asked my parents to relay the events of those early days. This is what they said:

Diagnosis for you was kind of gradual. First, I thought things weren’t quite right when you were between 2-3 months because you didn’t follow with your eyes like most kids. The family doctor didn’t notice anything until I pointed it out at the end of your 3 month checkup.

It took a week to be sent to an eye doctor and he realized it was serious but didn’t diagnose anything and sent us to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist.

Dr Orton said that he thought it was Leber’s and said that you were visually impaired but he never said the word blind. We waited until you were 8 months old before they put you under anesthetic and gave us a positive diagnosis.

It was always upsetting when we were dealing with doctors, but as a young baby there were few differences.

CPRI

was involved because of a suggestion from other parents of a blind child by the time you were 8 months old and therefore your development was never really delayed. They were very helpful with lots of suggestions.

So first we just didn’t really know a lot of details and were a little in the dark. It was kind of a wait and see.

With your brother, we asked Dr. Orton about him on one of your visits and he wouldn’t even look into his eyes (2 weeks of age). He said that he had to be older before he could tell us. We knew he was blind by our own experience by the time he was 6-8 weeks old. I don’t know if it is better to learn gradually or be told everything up front.

***

These things couldn’t have been easy on them, but the life I’ve had since being diagnosed is proof of how well they adjusted and thrived as our parents. I owe them everything.

This is where I say that, up until now, I have used the RDAC to write about blindness as a disability I have lived with, through the good and the bad times, but there would be more diagnosed, and this year marks twenty years since the second round of diagnosis would begin.

Going forward, I will be starting a new topic on this blog: Piece of Cake.

This will focus on the kidney disease, that would be added to my diagnosed syndrome.

I have wanted to write a memoir for many years about this time. I had the name picked out from that first day I sat at my brailler and started writing.

In the months and years to come, I will be looking back on these turbulent events, through the power of words.

Next week:

How has your life changed as a result of that diagnosis?

Redefining Disability – Facebook

Come check things out over there.

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

Seeing Is Believing

Summer has arrived and the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

continues on.

Last time I wrote about my own life with technology:

When It Rains It Pours

This week I get personal, I guess.

***

Q: Are there ways that disability affects your self perception?

A: How do I perceive myself?

Good question.

🙂

Disability definitely influences how I see myself. How could it not?

That’s the key word: “see”. How I see myself when I can not even see myself in a mirror.

I actually wrote a post about this topic last year:

Mirror Image,

where I wrote about how I see myself and the social norms of makeup, beauty, and fashion and my attempts to discover my own norms.

I held my grade eight graduation picture in my hands and stared at my face. I knew that a picture was simply a flat representation of what I was, that I was more than some one-dimensional image in a frame. I couldn’t quite believe that was what I looked like, photographed like though.

I could make out my broad smile and my relatively short haircut that framed my face.

I don’t know why, but I used to silently study the photo, often in my room. I don’t know what I was looking for exactly.

Perhaps I was simply vane.

Okay, maybe not, but I can’t quite describe what I was trying to accomplish by this act.

I remember snippets of what I look like. I have flashes, in my mind, to what I used to see when I would look in the mirror.

Mostly I did not see enough detail to pick myself apart, as so many women do. I saw my face and hair and shoulders in the reflective surface, in a bathroom somewhere, and I did not shy away at the Me looking back.

Women rip apart their physical selves so often and I am not immune to that, not entirely. I wish I were.

Merriam-Webster defines it as: “the idea you have about the kind of person you are”.

I know, logically and in my own heart, that I am a kind, generous, and friendly person. I know I am fun and can be funny from time to time.

Perceptions, however, they aren’t quite so logical I’m afraid. I wish they were because they are able to play tricks on me. These perceptions slip in and, before I know it, I am thinking things about myself that likely are just plain untruths.

Like my exaggerated perception that makeup would make me look like a clown, other strange and incorrect perceptions plague my thoughts.

Both self perception and self esteem are so intermingled. They involve the senses, mostly seeing for people. I go by my other senses to gage ideas about my own body and how I present my best self to the world.

I trace the shape of my nose, my eyebrows, and my skin to look for acne, of which I am happy to be rid of for the most part. The skin that was once covered in bumps as a teenager is mostly smooth now.

I am left with other worries that have replaced the pimples of my youth. I wish I had less of one feature and more of another.

I hate having frizzy hair or rough nails.

How does my face compare to all those of the women who are populating the rest of the world, makeup included?

I could focus on my imperfections all day and it’s not like the mirror is going to help with that or hurt it. The scale would talk to me if I wanted it to, but the only mirror that ever spoke to me was the toy Beauty and the Beast mirror I once had.

Sometimes I think the two cancel each other out somehow, that I should be okay then, but the nagging self-image exaggerations bleed into the good personality traits I know I possess.

The negative brings down any positives I’ve managed to accumulate.

I’m left with doubts that anyone could stand the sight of me, the part they can see and I can not.

I feel my beating heart inside my chest, under my hand, and I know that the good person I am inside is in tact.

If only I could convince myself that I am normal in my outward appearance.

If I could stop the shame that has built up over years then maybe I could be sure my first impressions, of which I am at a constant disadvantage to other people who see. When I meet someone I am strongly aware of the upper hand they have over me, as I try to show what a confident person I am and learn as much as I can about them, other than the exterior things most of us fall back on.

Sometimes I feel I am invisible and the next second I am terrified of how much I stand out.

I don’t know where this all might lead me going forward. My future is as uncertain as anyone’s, but will any of this get easier with age and general wisdom?

I can only hope so, but the perceptions will always exist. What’s a girl to do?

***

May I make a suggestion?

Follow:

The Redefining Disability Awareness Project on Facebook,

to help our little page grow.

🙂

Next week’s question:
Do you see disability as more of an asset or a drawback in your daily life?

Guess we’ll see how I’m feeling in a week.

🙂

Sometimes it depends on the day and my answer may change a dozen times between now and then.

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