Little Girl Writing


In beginning a memoir project, I decided to dig through my old journals just to get a feel for what fifteen year old me was thinking. Holy cow, I think I should have just closed it up and left it be. Teenaged angst, early views on relationships and the all-important she likes him-he likes someone else drama happening. I didn’t remember writing any of the events that transpired in those pages, but I remember the feelings. The awkwardness. The shyness. The melodramatic events of school dances and hockey games; movie nights and trips to the record store; history classes and failed math tests. How much I missed my Dad.  

I skipped ahead to my second year of college to compare. It seems I grew up a bit in that time. The theatrical expressions were lessened and I spoke more of the transition of becoming my own person from that of a little girl in a confusing world. I loved living in the city. I loved working with the kids in residential treatment. I loved feeling necessary, intelligent and valued. I grew in college. I grew from a little girl writing down her daily activities to a young woman experiencing a life independent of parent, familiarity and routine. My entries were less frequent as I moved through classes and newfound friendships; downtown escapades and girl retreats up to northern Ontario. As I read through my second year the absence of the mention of my brother’s death was surprising. Not a word about one of the most traumatic events of my young life was there.  

The glaringly obvious absence of such an event should not have been a surprise. I must have thought I had outgrown the use of a journal and had no need to write such drama down on pages. I must have been so overwhelmed with emotion, I couldn’t bring myself to record it at all. I wish I had. I wish I would have written every last detail of it. The shattering phone call. The train ride home. The days leading up to the funeral. The Thanksgiving dinner where we laughed until we cried. The devastation of watching my brother grow from an impulsive angry child to a more mature independent young man with his own apartment and a girlfriend, then having it all taken away in an instant. His life was moving forward in a more positive adult direction. We were all breathing sighs of relief. And then it changed.  

It could have been cathartic. I remember thinking as I walked away from those difficult days with my mother and my family and boarded the train back to school that I was returning a different person. I remember thinking I wasn’t the same after his death. I had changed somehow. I had grown.

I have been journal writing these past few months on a more regular basis. It may not be filled with all of the drama and angst of my teenaged years, but I find it soothing to write my thoughts on paper. It may not be cathartic nor reveal a secret hidden meaning of life, but it certainly gives me perspective on my life now and my life then. Perspectives on my changing world as my children grow from kids to adults, embarking on their own journeys and new discoveries; and how I continue to fit in to their ever-evolving lives. Apparently, my main reason for living right now is dinner prep and food organization.  

With all of life’s changes, it’s nice to take a look at where we were and where we strive to be. Maybe keeping a journal is another way of taking stock and reflecting on the journey. If you are a journal writer, take a look back occasionally to see where you were.  

You may be surprised at how far you’ve come.  

 

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My New Job is Going To Be As An Obituary Writer Because Who Doesn’t Want a Snarky Obit?

I read a funny obituary online today. That sentence in and of itself sounds morbid and creepy, but really it isn’t. This woman who passed away, had the best obit written by someone close to her who knew her so well and appreciated her individuality so much that he or she took the time to write something that reflected her personality. It wasn’t sad or sappy. It wasn’t flowery or artsy. It used plain descriptive, and named her children and grandchildren who were going to miss her. It then plainly stated they weren’t going to obey her final wishes to ‘be propped up in a corner with a gin and tonic so I would look more natural.’ I laughed out loud.

That’s how I would like to be remembered. Having a sense of humour and making people laugh out loud even after I’ve…gone on to the great vineyard in the sky; passed on? Kicked the bucket? Crossed over to the ‘other side’? Died.

Is there alcohol in the sky? Or Heaven? ‘Cause I think I’m gonna need some. Think of all the other people who have ‘passed on’ who will be crammed up there waiting for the big arrival and if they don’t have a bottle of wine and glass in hand. There could be trouble.

I mean, really. You go through life and all of its struggles and tragedies and heartache and your big reward in the end, the big finale is a bit of cloud and a family reunion without alcohol?! HAS THERE EVER BEEN A FAMILY REUNION WHERE SOMEBODY DOESN’T END UP FACE DOWN DRUNK IN THE POTATO SALAD?!  

C’mon Janice, get it together!

If it’s a true family reunion, there’s lots of beer and wine and dancing. Gotta be dancing. And in my family, all the guys are golfing.

I think a good obit is important. It says who you are to people like me who randomly read obits to get a sense of the person who died. The person had a life, a family and a history. There’s questions like, how did she die? Was her family around? What did she do for a living besides drink gin and tonic and do crosswords? (that was in the obit) Kids? Dogs? Did anyone else want to be propped up in a corner with a drink to look more natural, too? That’s sounds way better than being laid out for show.

I’m with her.

Also, I think I’m going to pen my own obit in advance so my kids don’t have to go to all the trouble of trying to think of something witty to say about grandma, without sounding cruel and uncaring. I mean, I did just die. Nothing says ‘love’ like an obit that has a personality. And brings laughter to the couple of people who actually scan obits to see what the hell happened to the old lady who wreaked havoc in the seniors’ home. (life goals, peeps) That way, I won’t end up with something that says I was loving and generous. Or liked reading. And throwing dirt over the fence. Or the line “mom had a penchant for using salty language in her blogging days” because that’s not necessarily true. I wasn’t salty, I was sweary.

Wait. Am. Am sweary.  

I guess I’m just fearful of leaving something that could be so epic to other people. Maybe I’m a control freak. Or just particular about words. Or what’s said about me in the public. Or know the kids will shoot for words like ‘loving and giving’ and not ‘sweary and snarky’.

It should be a little entertaining, shouldn’t it?  

I think I’ll stipulate in my will and last words, that the obit is included and should be published with a picture of me with a drink in my hand, sitting in a corner smirking.

Life. (Death?) Goals.

 

Love this… 

 

 

Perfection Is A Myth and Words I Don’t Like


It is a myth. Seriously. Perfection is impossible to attain. It’s an illusion. A mirage. A trap designed to suck you in and laugh while you fail miserably at all attempts to own it. Don’t fall for it. Just be you. Imperfect. Flawed. Making mistakes and owning up to them. It’s better for all of us if you just calm down and be you. You will be better for it. So will your mother. And your father. Siblings. Friends. Colleagues. The kid that mows your lawn. The guy that leaves you creepy notes on your desk….Everybody. Essentially, the human race will be better for it. Stop trying to perfect perfection. It can’t be done. Instead, concentrate on being. Being in the moment, being present, being you. Still trying to stand up straight, still working, still breathing, still paying your bills and raising your kids; still walking your dog and helping your neighbour; still falling down and getting back up only to fall down again. Maybe that last part is just me. Anyway, we like you. Honestly, we do! Stop trying to be better than someone else or better than anyone or anything. It’s not a competition. Just be you.  

That was my anti-perfection rant. I felt it needed to be said.

Also, I need milk.

Words I Don’t Like

I felt like I needed to sub-title the second half just to make it easier for you to follow along. I didn’t want someone to get lost inside this post and wonder what the hell all the fuss was about. I care.  

I hate the word ‘deserve’. I don’t understand its usage. How does one person ‘deserve’ something more than another person? How does that work, exactly? I deserve to have a day off and the other person doesn’t? Or do we both deserve it? Who decides? “Go have a good time. You deserve it!” I’ve heard that on many occasions. How do I deserve that? I worked hard? So did many others. Do they deserve it to? “Oh he got what he deserves.” Implies that he was on the other end of some bad shit. What did he do to ‘deserve’ that? Broke the law? Broke someone’s heart? Broke Mrs. Brady’s lamp? What?  

It bothers me.

I never use this word.

It’s in line with other words I don’t like.  

I have a list:

Bitch ( Although, I did force myself to use that in a post)

Moist (I’m not the only one who HATES this word)

Dumb

Stupid

Retard(ed) (SHOULD BE OBLITERATED FROM THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE)

Various terms used to describe women genitalia (All of them are AWFUL)

Craptastic (WHO THOUGHT OF THIS WORD?! Ugh)

Newfie ( Newfoundlander is much better, thank you. AND, just so you know, I’m not a REAL Newfoundlander, I’m still a Mainlander with an honorary title of Newfoundlander. Somebody important told me that. I can’t tell you who, it’s all very hush-hush. Stop asking. A secret ceremony was held. There may or may not have been alcohol involved…)

 

I can’t think of any more right now, but I’m sure there are a few that bug me. Add to the list if you like…It’s an add-on-to-the-awful-word-list blog post. I like to get people involved.

I’m a giver like that.  

 

 

 

The Power of Words

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore
I heard this quote a couple of weeks ago when I was re-watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I knew I loved it and had to use it. I just wasn’t sure when or in what context. I do now.
A lot has happened, not just in the world, but in my little world. Free speech has become a focal point of conversation and not just in the verbal sense, but more in the written form of expression. Opinions, good or bad, warranted or totally off-colour, have been splashed all over the place. It’s as if people have lost all sense of common sense and simply spew whatever the hell they want and hide behind the phrase ‘Je Suis Charlie’. It’s like if you spread that phrase, it covers you from any backlash that may come your way. I disagree. There remains a sense of responsibility when writing anything and publishing for the world to view. That responsibility lies solely on the shoulders of the creators and the publishers. There is a responsibility at its basic sense, to the intended audience of your diatribe. You are responsible for your words and expression and how to portray your opinion without slander, prejudice or discrimination. At least, that’s how I see it.
Je Suis Charlie’ has become a theme song, an anthem; almost a patriotic stance on free expression of ideas and creative thought without fear of persecution and violence. When the men and women in France were slaughtered in the name of terrorists seeking some kind of twisted ‘revenge’ for portraying caricatures of their prophet, the world stood up and raised hands in rage and ire. A horrible tragedy that only exacerbates an already tormented world. The global environment took to their pages, took to the streets and took to social media proclaiming the terrorists have crossed lines not only killing innocent people, but also in thwarting the freedoms we hold near and dear; they have killed in the name of their prophet over animated caricatures. Ones they found offensive and blasphemous. The freedom to print and write and draw our opinions and publicly display those opinions is a right to all persons in a democratic society, offensive or otherwise. The option to object to the offensive material, to demonstrate and disagree is an option these terrorists decided to ignore. Instead, they chose violence.
The world profusely declared Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to your opinions and views. Disagreement of those views is allowed, and welcomed. If we do not have differing opinions, we do not have valuable discussion and discourse on what is ethical and what isn’t, what is right and what is wrong and what is allowable in a civil society. Physically threatening the creators of the ideas, in the name of disagreement, is abhorrent and criminal. ‘Je Suis Charlie’ I will rant along with everyone else.
Just when I think freedom of expression has reached a valuable and justifiable position, I read an article like Pathetic in Pink. This article appeared in a local newspaper, The Northeast Avalon Times and has caused a backlash of epic proportions. Moms of little ‘white girls with blond hair and blue eyes’ everywhere, me being one of them, were appalled, disheartened and angered by the author’s words. They were spelled out paragraph after paragraph, denouncing the colour pink; the apparent ‘superiority complex’ that these little four year olds possess as they prance around in their convertible Barbie cars and princess tiaras. The author states, “I actually dislike little girls with princess wands and blonde hair. I react to them the same way I do when I turn over a log or a stone and find creepy albino bugs wriggling around underneath.” That’s right. She compared little girls to creepy albino bugs. She called the late Princess Diana a “suicidal, bulimic, pitiful, manipulative neurotic”. The late Princess publicly suffered from depression, a debilitating mental illness and the author’s description of a beloved Princess, while offensive, is ignorant as well. Princess Diana brought world-wide attention to the growing AIDS epidemic among children. Her charities continue to raise money and assist children in need in third-world countries and her memory is living on through her sons. I personally think Harry is a hoot. Not bad for a blond-haired blue eyed Princess.
After this article hit Facebook and the torrent of angered moms roared, the slightest of defenses arose, I believe from the author’s camp, saying this article was supposed to be ‘satirical’, and a column on modern parenting. I’m not laughing. Neither are a lot of other people.
Freedom of the press? This article was her opinion of how she views what she calls ‘princess girls’ and their ‘pinkness’ is repulsive to her. If she was trying to sway people to acknowledge that gender stereotyping is wrong and that children should not be compartmentalized into one single hollowed-out hole, but should be allowed to play and be who they are without prejudiced and judgment, then just say that. Why go on a journey of offensive language portraying CHILDREN as superior princess-wannabes who have ego issues and attitude problems?
I’m all for freedom to express your opinion in any form you like, but I’m also an advocate for objecting to those opinions and the freedom to disagree, peacefully. So I’m disagreeing. Strongly.
The author has refused to comment on her article and I find that disturbing. Were you aware the backlash that awaited you when you wrote this? Don’t hide behind a banner that was forged through bloodshed and say ‘Je Suis Charlie’…freedom to express my opinion. Where does the responsibility lie? Take some. When the opinion borders on language so offensive as to set off a firestorm of ire, I think that banner is waning a bit and there needs to be discussion. From both ends.
Je Suis Charlie lives on in all forms of expression and when we disagree, we are opening dialogue, inducing change and forging freedoms for all in the future, but it also comes with a responsibility. When you use the public forum to express your opinion, be prepared to justify and clarify. Take this opportunity to attempt to explain the intent of the article, instead of letting it stew in the collective conscience. Peaceful and constructive discourse is a cornerstone of democracy and just as the author has a right to her opinion, so do the public in responding and disagreeing if they so choose. I don’t hear anyone asking for a recanting of the article nor for an apology. I hear outrage, disappointment and a defense for pink-wearing, fairy-winged blond princesses, everywhere.
Words arecapable of inflicting injury, and remedying it….”

What’s With All the Sloths?

Friday I had a day to myself to paint a couple of rooms in my house (okay, one but it was the entry way AND the closet, so essentially that is two AREAS…AKA ROOMS.  Stop judging. )  During that quiet one-on-one time with ma walls, I had some interesting thoughts ranging from the noisy neighbours outside, to Jesus.  Which then led me to the seven deadly sins… what exactly are the seven deadly sins, anyway?  And are they really THAT deadly?   Just to scare you a little, here is just a snippet of the conversation in my head.

Oh, Jesus jealous much?

Jesus can’t be jealous.  Isn’t that one of the seven deadly sins?  You know like gluttony, greed, slothiness…slothness?  Hmm…slutty sloth or slothy slut?  Something like that?  Can sloths really be sluts?  ‘cause they have to actually move and stuff.  That may take a full day of energy.  All the other female sloths would be like, “Look at her she’s such a slut.  She slept with one sloth in like one week.  Tramp” Seriously, it would be a week’s worth of work for them.  They’re so…slothy.  That’s my new word.  Slothy.

And I think it would be virtually impossible for a slut to be slothy…being a slut is an active pursuit, I imagine.  So one would be busy.  Slothy implies slow and lazy, so…that won’t work.

Hey, kid stop being so slothy. Speed it up!

That old man is driving so slothy.  I can’t even handle it!

Snail mail is slothy.

So is dial-up internet.

And Heinz ketchup.

And sloths.

Of course an argument could be made that the word ‘slow’ is just as appropriate, but slothy has a better ring to it.  Plus, I made it up so…I win.

And really, sloths are kinda cute in a fuzzy-claws-of-death kind of way.

’m gonna woo you with my slothiness….and claws. And I’m not the tramp that one over there is.  Stop judging, okay?

I’m gonna woo you with my slothiness….and claws. And I’m not the tramp that one over there is.  Stop judging, okay?

Obviously, painting frees up some creative thoughts about sloths and Jesus.  Next time, maybe I can ponder stop signs… they really should be titled ‘slow the fuck down’ signs.

I still have more rooms to paint.  So much to think about….

The Word Game

words

There’s a wrestling match going on inside my head and so far Rogue is losing to the opponent.  Problem is I’m not sure who or what the opponent is.  He remains nameless and faceless.  I resolve to write a great post full of wit and wisdom and end up with this…this…rambling and fumbling of words.  I fucking hate that.

In order to free up the creative process, let’s play a little game.  I’ll say a word and the other me will write down the first thing that pops into my head.  It’s easier when there is more than one ‘you’ inside your head.  Yay for mental health!  Ready, people?  Let’s go!

Ball- Run

String- This is stupid

Room-  With a view!  I win!

Desk- A Fucking mess

Lindsay Lohan-  Also, a fucking mess

Pen- With which to write which I haven’t, thus the need for this idiotic exercise. Next.

Apple- Crunchy

Chair- Dumb chair.  Fell over it this morning…oh. Sorry.

Dog-   The cutest wittle doggie evah…ahem.  Again, sorry.

Weight- Wait?  Or WEIGHT!  Like HOLY SHIT I WEIGH HOW MUCH? Or HOLY SHIT I HAVE TO WAIT HOW LONG?!!  Which one?  Both are evil.

Fruit-  Owns a hair salon and totally denies he’s gay…oh!  You mean FRUIT, like apples and oranges and stuff…again with the apples? Ugh.

Heat- Totally absent in this space and therefore I am FUCKING FREEZING!!  Hello?!! Oh!  I meant house.  I’m home today…back to the words…

Keys-  Ima gonna need a new set when they change the locks on the door…to my HOUSE of course, because that’s where I currently am.  HOME.  Yeah.

Florida- where I should be at the moment.

Book- Love them all, read them all, wrote a couple…awesome stuff.

Paper- Umm….white, blank lately, some have lines, trees died for them?  What do you want from me?

Elvis- We went from paper to Elvis?  Really?  “Thank you, you’re beautiful”.  All I got.

The lights are on but no one’s home-  The story of my life…This is supposed to be ONE word.

Money-  Apparently not something young adults take downtown so instead of  YA being able to get home independently, she feels the need to call the mommy so she can meet her at a location only to have that location change when mommy gets there due to the absence of money and the YA’s ability to avail of the public transportation system therefore, after much yelling and throwing of cell phone in car, (which sadly now works intermittently at best) mommy dutifully drives all over fucking town (since the location of pick up changed twice after the first time) to rescue daughter and friend only to hear  “thanks” and “well, if you had let me take the car this wouldn’t have happened”…. Good thing my phone is due for an upgrade….

Fuck off- See above.  ‘nuff said.

Thank you for playing.  See you next time on WORD ASSOCIATION-THE BEST GAME FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.

Disclaimer Clause:  It should be noted that no harming of any cars, horses, dogs, cats, wandering hobos, daughters or cell phones occurred in the above scenario.  Swearing was kept to whispers and loud voices in my head…I think it was implied in the yell of “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY?  WHO GOES DOWNTOWN WITHOUT CASH?!!  TELL ME!  WHO DOES THAT?!”   Ugh….