Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TToT

TToT: Alright January … Enough Already! #HolocaustMemorialDay #10Thankful

When asked by author Angela Yuriko Smith what we’re looking for, Editor-in-Chief JT Lachausse replied:

“We want what you haven’t seen. Allow me to be dramatic: Imagine that every piece of art is represented by a stone. Many stones make up the mountains and buildings, but even more hide beneath the surface. We are so familiar and fond of the overground rocks, but in the caves and oceans-deep, there are stories that tell things wildly. Desperately, furiously, without great laborious sanitizing or editorial puncturing.”

This is the kind of writing I want to be doing.

And, if I’m not, that’s on no one but me.
The
Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for
Just Jot It January
and the writing it has helped me do all month long, but even good things must come to an end.

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I hear, when going through a rough time, that it can’t last forever. I guess.

I did peter out as the end of the month drew near, but I wanted to share
this here from Judy
because I enjoy her and her blog/writing.

I am thankful for another enjoyable lunch with a friend.

Talk of movies she has not seen (Forget Paris) and drinking mimosas on Valentine’s Day, for brunch and going to hear Margaret Atwood speak in Stratford.

I am thankful for a catch up violin lesson.

Our practice room this time contained a piano and that helped me with my scales.

I am thankful to get the chance to have an introduction conference call with the other writers participating on the project about braille.

I am thankful for the movie
The Post
because of the inspiring role, (Katharine Graham) played expertly by Meryl Streep as a woman who had to make a super hard choice and did it with grace and dignity.

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

Not an easy time to be female and in charge of a newspaper like that, having to make the hardest of decisions, so much at stake.

I am thankful I got a chance, before the movie, to speak to the manager in charge at my local theatre.

He couldn’t be of much help with the issue of audio description at Woodstock’s movie theatre, but he gave me the card of the head office out in B.C.

I am still determined to work, this year, on changing this policy of there not being enough demand, so I can see a movie and not have to make family or friends describe while they, too, are trying to enjoy the show.

I am thankful I could listen in on a conference call about
Braille Literacy Canada
and the importance of braille today.

I am thankful for family and their warm, heated homes to flea to, when I wake to a freezing house and such icy cold tile floors.

My heat crapped out again, twice in one month.

I am thankful for a quick fix and heat returns.

A leaf stuck in there, somewhere.

Silly. I am thankful February is near.

Farewell January.

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Never Enough, #SongLyricSunday

I guess I don’t have a lot to say, on love, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching.

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I choose to remain silent this year, as far as my own love life is concerned, but I have enough past experience to draw upon. No problem.

Song Lyric Sunday, #SongLyricSunday

Well, I know about insecurities in love. I can’t believe there’s one single person who hasn’t felt it. I wonder about some more than others though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5_Hn_cLIvI

It’s a void a lot of us attempt to fill, but rarely ever is enough enough.

***

There will be no consolation prize
this time the bone is broken clean
no baptism, no reprise and no sweet taste of victory.
All the stars have fallen from the sky and everything else in between satelites have closed their eyes, the moon has gone to sleep
unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
here I am inside a hotel choking on a million words I said cigarettes have burned a hole and dreams are drunk and penniless
here I am inside my father? arms all jagged-bone and whiskey-dry whisper to me sweetly now and tell me I will never die
unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
here I am an empty hallway broken window, rainy night I am nineteen sixty-two and I am ready for a fight people crying hallelujah while the bullet leaves the gun
people falling, falling, falling and I don? know where they?e falling from
are they unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
hoping that the kindness will lead us past the blindness and not another living soul will ever have to feel unloved….unloved….unloved….
unloved unloved….unloved

Unloved – Jann Arden/Jackson Brown, Lyrics

SONGWRITERS RICHARDS, JANN ARDEN
PUBLISHED BY LYRICS © UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING GROUP

***

So, when I thought of those feelings of never being enough and those all-to-common fears of not being lovable, I went with this old Jann Arden duet I’ve loved for a long time, since I first discovered this songstress of Canada, back in the mid 90s.

If you grew up in a stable and loving family, like I was lucky to have had, it isn’t for lack of being told it. I always felt it.

It’s different with romantic love. It comes with a lot more baggage and demand and distraction and disillusionment. I felt unloved and unlovable by any man and I know part of that was feeling more like someone in need of supervision than as an equal. I have told myself that my blindness was a constant burden and a roadblock to ever being enough. This is where insecurity can haunt you and hold on tight.

I hope it loosens its grip a little.

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Happy 33 To Me, #FTSF

Twenty years ago, on this date, I spent my 13th birthday on dialysis, hooked up to a machine by an extremely fresh and painfully inserted central line in my chest.

So the nurses, me being the only child in a ward of mostly elderly patients, felt bad for the small girl on dialysis and they gave me a little birthday cake and all sang Happy Birthday to me.

How else do you make a small girl less upset to be stuck on kidney dialysis for her birthday, her first day as a teenager?

You present her with something sweet, that’s how.

It’s all relative. What made me upset then isn’t the same thing making me upset now, as a newly turned thirty-three-year-old.

I hadn’t even heard of him then…anyone by the name of…well, I’m not using the name on this blog from now on I’ve decided, even though in Harry Potter it says we should never shy away from using the name.

I am not afraid. Okay, well afraid for the world, sure, but I am more sad, enraged, frustrated, upset at where a lot of things currently are.

The other day, when I heard one of many in a string of a long line of blatant lies, it resulted in me giving myself a headache. These lies are going so far from the usual “all politicians lie lies” and into those that feel like they are so in-your-face that it almost feels like, when I hear them, they literally smack me in the face. So, I tried to act this out and my hand actually made physical contact with my own cheek.

I know, I know…ridiculous, right?

Upsetting, to be sure, but certainly not worth all that. Getting too upset in the moment means I don’t articulate myself all that well, for a writer, kind of like tonight apparently. I suppose it illustrates the theme of being upset rather nicely though.

Anyway…

I am celebrating twenty years of not having to spend birthdays or any other day tied to a dialysis machine. I am making big plans to celebrate that fact, come June. This is shaping up to be quite the thrill.

As for my birthday, people keep asking me how it’s been, how it’s going, and if I’ve had a good one. I try to answer, but how can I top the week I just spent in Mexico?

Ten Things of Thankful and Then Some

I can’t and I’m not even trying to. Different thing.

My birthday present from family and from myself was that trip. This day can’t quite live up to that and I could now go on to list the specific reasons why it hasn’t, or I could just say I’m upset I’m no longer in Mexico. I could just leave it here, but it’s late and I am in need of sleep and I am trying to sort out how turning another year older makes me feel. So, I will go on, at least a little more.

As I stare out at a restaurant, one where I am celebrating my birthday by having a lovely lunch with my father, I see a lot of blurry space in front of my eyes, mixed with the constant noise of a loud lunchtime crowd. These things feed into each other and I wonder if I will still see anything at all, upon turning thirty-four next year or on turning forty-three in ten years time. Will I sill see anything at all, on any number of future birthday celebrations in my future?

When I get upset about these thoughts, these very questions that are asked, without much prompting inside my own head, I try to remember everything I’ve been lucky to see and all the brilliant living I’ve still got yet to do.

I get really upset by a birthday where I go to give blood and I leave with a bandage on each arm because veins were hard to come by, but a needle now and then is nothing compared to what once was.

After twenty years of needles for a lot of blood tests, there’s scar tissue in both arms and I didn’t drink enough before going in. It’s not the nurse’s fault. I was distracted, but it didn’t hurt, not by this point.

I then decided, since I was already in the building, to stop in at an adjoining medical office, which just so happens to be my dentist’s office, to make an appointment for a routine teeth cleaning. I’m long overdue. The only thing more celebratory than making a dentist appointment on one’s birthday will be the romance of a Valentine’s Day oral checkup, right?

I wished for something rather odd this year. It’s not the first thing I’d think of when blowing out candles, but I did wish that, if I were going to get one of my common colds, thanks to my somewhat lowered immune system, I’d rather get it on my birthday than having had it occur at any point while I was in Mexico.

It’s seemed, on the eve of my birthday, that I had gotten my wish.

And now, am I upset that I have a sore throat and other symptoms ongoing on my birthday, with a lively family triple celebration still to come tomorrow? It’s not so nice, but my week in Mexico was all pretty nearly perfect, so I am okay with it really.

I took a break all day, making it a point not to read Facebook and my newsfeed for my birthday, if it meant I could avoid all stories about the U.S. so-called president and whatever nonsense he was up to on the day of my birth. I did use Facebook to feel the birthday love from friends and family though. One makes me upset when I read and the other makes me smile.

When I’m upset, I think of all the things I have to be thankful for. When I feel upset because I am back from such a week of writing in Mexico and I worry I will never figure out my future, I remember the generous compliments about my talents as a writer that I received from my writing mentor and from the other writers in the group. I may have felt a fair bit of fear and uncertainty since I arrived home, but I can’t put so much pressure on myself, on my own birthday no less, to figure it out right away.

When I am upset about so many things I can’t control, things the world feels like it’s getting all wrong, I think of so much that has gone right for me lately and I listen to the things being said to me by people I love and trust and who know me and who think I’m special in some way.

I don’t let those who don’t know I exist speak nasty things to me inside my own head. I can’t control all those awful things that cause me upset and I can often do very little about seeing those I love or admire become upset either. I can offer a kind word or a compliment or a joke to break the tension. I can write, no matter how pointless it might seem in the moment of despair or cheerlessness.

Another birthday has come and gone. I can’t say where I’ll be, what I’ll have just experienced or accomplished by my next birthday. I can fight feeling upset. I can acknowledge it and then I can move forward.

Finish The Sentence Friday

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! Happy thirty-three! Happy Birthday to me!

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Shadows and Signs, #GroundhogDay #SongLyricSunday

New month, new me.

The other day was Groundhog Day and I never got the point of that, other than people needing some hope or sign that winter is coming to an end in this part of the world. I prefer, though I haven’t seen the movie by the same name as the day in a long time, to think of it as life evaluation. We can take a look at our habits and behaviours and see if we keep repeating the same actions (day after day, over and over again), or if we want to try something new and different for a change.

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This is a big one in love especially. February is all about love, for many, with hearts and roses and chocolates. I like the more rare things, like love poems, which not everyone can write. Song lyrics are close enough.

🙂

But I am back and taking part in another
Song Lyric Sunday
and the prompt this time, to start out the month and the theme of love, isn’t about the way I’m handling my love life in the present (thank God).

😉

It’s all about first love/crushes.

I like this Cher cover. Though, like most pop songs, it really doesn’t help clear much up and shouldn’t be taken as seriously as some lovestruck listeners might want to believe.

As for first crushes, I made mine a set of mixed tapes for Valentine’s Day. Aw, how sweet. So, I have a lot of songs I’ve been recalling to reference here. I went with this one, just because reading the signs is so maddeningly confusing.

***

“The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)” (originally by Betty Everett)

Does he love me I want to know
How can I tell if he loves me so
Is it in his eyes?
Oh no! You’ll be deceived
Is it in his sighs?
Oh no! He’ll make believe
If you want to know if he loves you so
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
Is it in his face?
Oh no! That’s just his charms
In his warm embrace?
Oh no! That’s just his arms
If you want to know if he loves you so
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
Kiss him and squeeze him tight
Find out what you want to know
If it’s love, if it really is
It’s there in his kiss
How about the way he acts
Oh no! That’s not the way
And you’re not list’nin’ to all I say
If you wanna know if he loves you so
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
Hug him and squeeze him tight
Find out what you want to know
If it’s love, if it really is
It’s there in his kiss
How about the way he acts
Oh no! That’s not the way
And you’re not listnin’ to all I say
If you wanna know if he loves you so
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is

LYRICS.

***

Heck! It’s been nearly twenty years and I still hate reading the signs. Why not just come right out and ask?

What a novel idea.

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Mindful Monday: Family Day Edition, #LoIsInDaBl

Another

MINDFUL MONDAY

has arrived and is nearly gone and I am mindful of several things:

I am mindful that the hype over turning thirty-two is done and now I am just afraid.

I am mindful of the fact that another family member has read my anthology’s short story and now has seen into a part of myself that I decided to put out there.

I am mindful of the fact that I have a rented violin now, for a limited amount of time, and that I’m going to have those days when I just don’t feel like practicing.

I am mindful that I already have those days when it comes to writing.

I am mindful that Valentine’s Day is just a day, just one day.

I am mindful that today is Monday, it’s just another day, but that the day does get a bad reputation.

I am mindful that today is Family Day and I have myself a good one of those. Not everybody can say that.

I still don’t know how I feel about my short story, but it’s out there. Whether it’s my writing or the violin music I am hoping to create, I can’t let the bad days or the moments of doubt convince me to stop trying.

I have a plan to write about “love” all month long, which can be hard because that might mean revealing things about myself that aren’t easy to say or to hear. I am aware that my family reads this blog (plus an old boyfriend or two from time to time).

😉

I should always remain aware of those things, be mindful of those people, not going out of my way to say something hurtful, but that I am ultimately doing this writing thing for me. Everyone else knows what being in my life, the life of a writer past or present, what that might mean. They know what they are getting when they read and I appreciate that they do.

I am lucky to have the kind of relationship I have with my brother, one that might involve playing music together one day, but also that he knows me and sticks up for me and challenges me on things.

I am glad to share a February family birthday with not one but two brothers. It makes singing Happy Birthday at family celebrations tricky, trying to get all three names in there, but luckily for me, I only have two.

🙂

This topic of love can feel exhausting at times. Not sure what I thought I was getting into when I decided to write about it all February long, but life itself is an exhausting process most of the time.

I am lucky to have this blog, for two years now, and my biggest fear is that it all could disappear suddenly and without warning. I don’t know what I would ever do if that happened.

So, back to writing, back to playing “music”, and back to feeling exhausted, but at least I’m mindful of all of this, right?

I love all of this.

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Steps and Strides, #SingleStrides #LoIsInDaBl

In honour of Valentine’s Day being only two days from now, a very special edition of

BLOG LOVE,

with a writer, adventurerer, and blogger I’ve interviewed here once before.

I just thought there is no better place than today’s

#FridayBlogLove

to re-introduce:

SINGLE STRIDES

If you are looking for travel, she’s got it. If you’re looking for reflections on love, heartbreak, and starting over again – it’s all there, in one place.

WHY THE BEST THING YOU CAN BE IN LIFE IS DREADFULLY AFRAID

Sonya writes things that reach the heart of the matter. Her words often touch a nerve in me that makes me sit up and take notice of the world around me, of my own self, to become more aware of my surroundings.

She helped me through a hard time. I found her blog at the exact right moment. She writes about how to learn to love yourself, as well as be prepared when other kinds of love come along, and on this Valentine’s Day weekend I wanted to showcase the kind of love of oneself this fabulous writer is advocating.

Also, you can check out my earlier interview with her from last year:

SPOTLIGHT SUNDAY: SINGLE STRIDES

One Step at a Time – Jordin Sparks

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Love Is In Da Blog: Intro to Mindful Monday, #LoIsInDaBl

It’s February and, as they say, “love is in the air”. Or, as some say instead, “Love Is In Da Blog”.

🙂

Sliding straight from one month-long blogging project to the next with

“Love Is In Da Blog” 2016.

My first idea was to write about love and heartbreak. I’d only planned on a post or two on the subject, using music and song lyrics to help illustrate my thoughts, but recently I made the decision to devote the entire month of February to the topic. After all, I have enough wonderful music to make my feelings known, but then I found out about another of these blogging things, after participating all January in one to kick of 2016 with a little bit of a direction, as directionless as I was feeling.

I like these. They are not nearly as huge as some month-long challenges, which makes them a lot easier to manage and I like the nice size community of bloggers. It’s big but not overwhelming.

I usually have Memoir Monday on my blog, but for this month I will follow with

Mindful Monday,

as I focus on the subject of learning to love oneself as a big part of February’s proceedings.

I will be returning with Memoir Mondays, starting in March, as I begin to write more about what was going on in my life, twenty years ago.

“It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all. The opposite of love’s indifference.”

–The Lumineers

The month of February isn’t just about romantic love with Valentine’s Day in the middle. There’s also my birthday before and Family Day after. These two days are necessary reminders that there’s all sorts of love: love for myself and for my family.

I will try to make loving myself a priority, even with all the talk of prayer, validation, or meditation. I write. I write and I think I am mindful, but I can’t really say.

I discovered this Lumineers song recently, with the spectacular violin solo at the beginning, as one of the things I intend to do to celebrate my birthday next week is to learn a new skill, one I’ve been wanting to tackle for a while. I’m going to rent a violin and start taking lessons. Perhaps one day I can play along with the solo in this song.

Stubborn Love

That’s one part of paying attention and loving oneself that I do believe strongly in. I never want to stop learning, discovering, and finding new interests. I want to do this, for me. I want to always stubbornly follow my heart and listen to what its telling me, to do the things that will make me happy, when and wherever possible.

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