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For the Love of Gay

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Hey there,
I ate lunch today in the adjacent hotel lobby next to my work as I do every now and then. Sometimes I use my lunch hour to write because it’s out of the way, hotel quiet, and a great place to people watch…and not in that creepy way.

I was sitting there, minding my own business when a couple who I think were in town off a cruise ship from the United States. They were sitting a couch down from me, they were chatting about whether or not they were going to partake in an afternoon bus tour, debating because the weather sucked. Perfectly normal conversation until I overheard the lady say something that was like “what the ****”.

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What was it? Well, there’s a KD Lang concert this weekend and I guess they had been deciding earlier if they were going to attend because it came up during their back and forth. The husband asked a couple of times if the wife (60ish) wanted to go and she replied with “I don’t know, I like KD Lang, actually, I did like her before she was gay”….This is 2017 correct? I was flabbergasted, couldn’t believe what I had heard. I was like, “really misses, before she was gay”, so what, KD Lang now uses her gay voice to sing, or shoots gay bullets from her eyeballs, like come on. I immediately turned in her direction and made sure she was aware that I had heard what she had said so that for that millisecond she could realize how ridiculous she sounded.
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It amazes me how this ignorance still exists, how people don’t realize the hurt this kind of backward-thinking creates. No disrespect to KD Lang but if this lady didn’t know that KD was gay before she actually came out, then she probably thinks dinosaurs still exist or the earth is flat. Lady, please educate yourself my love, open your mind and allow people to be who they truly are, god I feel bad for you.

I don’ t know, I was having another bad day and that put the icing on the cake. Live and let live, treat others as you would like to be treated and love your partner, man, woman and the like. This lady is clearly lacking something in her own life (maybe a pet dinosaur) she feels the need to chastise others for her own misery.

My thought is this, no matter what, there are going to be people out there that will try to keep you down, try to dictate you life, and try to tell you what they think is right. We just can’t let them, we need to stay true to ourselves and remember that understanding, acceptance, and genuine love for one another is something this world should never be “constantly craving”.

 

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“They See Me Writing, They Hatin”

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Hello all,

Awhile ago, I ran into a friend of mine, a close friend actually. I’m not sure where we were but we did the typical stop-n’-talk and it was great catching up. Well, it was ahhh, great until I mentioned I had a blog. I sometimes mention in conversation that I write, usually with close friends, family, and people I feel would be interested in hearing about it. Anyway, there we were, back and forth chatting when all of the sudden there was a segway right to my blog. As soon as the words had left my lips, this friend (I now use that loosely) kind of almost laughed out loud. I was immediately disheartened, there were a few retorts on the tip of my tongue but I took the high road and gestured to go on my way, but really….

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It’s true, I was pretty put off by it, I was upset. I thought of this person as a real good friend, a supporter I had assumed, I guess I was wrong. That said, I wasn’t going to let that negative reaction deter me from writing and the more I thought if it, the more it just made me proud to be doing something that I love to do and something that I’ve been told makes a difference and that’s all that matters. I write for myself, well actually, now I also write for you my readers, so diss my writing…

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Cue my point…

Don’t you ever let anyone or anything get in the way of doing what you love to do. No matter what it is, sports, music, dancing, anything that you feel is something you were born to do. It’s in your blood, it’s a part of you, a part of what makes you so unique, so never let go of it. Shame on those who try to get in our way because you know what? It only makes us stronger, more disciplined, and more determined to prove all the haters wrong. Remember, for every hater there are a hundred supporters that will high-five you all the way. Brush all that off and keep moving forward, you work hard and you deserve all the praise in the world for giving it your 110% all day, everyday.

So I leave you with this, never hold back, never ever quit, and always be the best you, you can possibly be!

blog · memory

I Will Remember You

Pop Smart

Hey all,

Just wanted to post something a little close to the chest today, it’s another birthday of my Grandfather whose passed on and a few years ago I put together this little video in his memory.  I did so for my family, to give them something they could enjoy, sure, there were probably a lot of tears shed when they viewed it but I thought sometimes we can all use a good cry to get those feelings out.  As you may interpret from some of my poems, I have lost a few people that are near and dear to my heart. It has not been an easy journey moving on without them, but I feel that expressing myself through writing has helped me with my process of healing so I decided to share.

It’s not easy losing someone, it’s something that we at most times are never prepared for.  It’s not until you go through it yourself that we finally understand that our time on this planet is very short and we must utilize every second we can to show our family and friends how much they truly mean to us.  Nobody is perfect and we all have areas of our life that we can maybe improve on and our relationships are no different, especially family, relatives are forever bound by blood but it’s true that sometimes we forget what matters in our hectic lives because somewhere along the line we lost our way.

I am guilty of the above, I have relationships that have deteriorated, gone astray that keep me up at night, another part of life I guess. I think about it all the time and I feel sometimes like it was something that I did, sometimes I pass the blame on to the other, none of those examples are 100% true, forget about the blame and just make it better.

Days like today I put my life in perspective and realize that there are those that have gone before me that I wish every day that they could come back, even for just a moment. But I have to realize as well that there are people that I love that are right next to me or only a phone call away, so what’s stopping me?

Give your kids a hug, kiss your spouse, call your mom and have a beer with the buddy because today we have while tomorrow, who knows?

Miss ya Pops

 

blog · Poetry

Hidden Smile

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If you see me sometime and I don’t look your way,
I beg your pardon, just not myself today.

My smile is hidden, my laughter’s gone quiet.
Contrast to normal, I mean not to try it.

The struggle within is a battle some time,
feels like a mountain that’s too high to climb.

It’s lonely in there, just me and my thought.
Understand why? You probably will not.

If you see me displaced, please keep your intention.
Show me concern and give me attention.

There’s a smile inside, it just got displaced.
Knowing you care will bring it back to my face.

Uncategorized

Because Your Gift, Your Gift is on My List

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and I would imagine that panic has started to set in for some, while for others, maybe not so much.  No matter where you look there are trees beautifully decorated, extravagant displays fill store windows and Santa’s waving his way through street parades.  All constant reminders that we need to start to think about crossing people off that list of ours because time is getting short.  Each day that goes by the bargains start to dwindle and merchandise will be soon become scarce, I urge you to get out there now and start shopping, no seriously go.

One tool in any disciplined shopper’s arsenal to beat the holiday anxiety would be to create a Christmas shopping list.  A Christmas list can reduce a lot of stress this time of year because once complete you can then start a strategic plan of attack, just getting it down on paper would definitely make you feel a little better at least.  These lists help us prioritize the given with the maybe, the easy to shop for with the not so easy to shop for.  Your list will grow and so will the anxiety, those names with blanks spaces by them will probably make you stress out but keep moving forward because each year your gift creativity might be challenged, but it’s Christmas so challenge accepted, right?

I’m sure you have made little notes of subtle hints and clues left by friends and family over the past few weeks and months.  These hints I hope have not fell on deaf ears with you around, the best gift-giver in the world as you rush to the list and scratch down as many ideas as you can hoping to find that perfect something and lock it in.  It’s no easy task playing Santa every holiday season, well, Santa’s helper that is, there’s a lot of thought that goes into creating a Christmas of ooo’s and ah’s.  Finding that perfect gift brings a huge sense of satisfaction, it’s a huge weight off your shoulders especially when it’s a rare find or that item that everybody seems to want this year, you even rush to wrap it right away.  Nothing like leaving the store beaming knowing that all your hard work had paid off, you did it, you found that perfect something and it only took you three hours standing in line and a few elbows to the face to do it.

Christmas lists are ever-changing with people getting added, some not making the cut this year and those who will never leave your list no matter what and is starting to become too difficult to shop for by the way.  BIG gifts, small gifts, joke gifts and the special gifts, they all started with some sort of list, a collective inventory of who gets what and why.  Whether it was a mental note you made or you went elf level and Microsoft Excel’d that sh*t, either way they likely started with a “list”.  When do you make your list?  When do you start to write down names alongside the ideas, some ideas with circles around them, some might have underlines and some may go as far as having a circle with an underline. We constantly jot down and scratch out little notes to ourselves as the holidays draw near,  all of us moving toward the same goal, surviving Christmas.  We scramble to get stuff done with our crumpled paper in hand and after losing two pens already we trudge along thumbing our lists.   So many list categories of which include fundraiser gifts, the boss gift, and of course the “Secret Santa” gift, all with their own micro budgets and all with their own degree of difficulty.  One thing to remember though, is no matter what, the lists are all scared, no peeking or you will ruin the surprise.  There’s a code of silence and an agreed upon mystique about what is asked for and what is given.

It would be sacrilege to make a post about lists and not include children.  Let’s face it, if it weren’t for the children and their handwritten pleas to Santa to reward a year of being good there would be no need for lists.  There is nothing better for the soul then reading a letter from a child caught up in the wonders of the holiday season.  The happiness of seeing your kids opening their gifts on Christmas morning is what captures the essence of gift giving and the smiles on their faces is what makes Christmas all worth it. 

There are a lot of emotions surrounding the holidays and some of those emotions might be of sadness, we may have lost loved ones or moved away to another part of the world.  Christmas can and will bring some of that, but why not use Christmas to help others in need, take a second and maybe add someone new to your list that are struggling or going through a real tough time.  Make them a part of your own holiday tradition, they might need a little joy to turn everything all around.  It’s easy to get all caught up in what we need or want but remember there are those who are less fortunate, those who struggle everyday let alone Christmas.  If you do have the ability to pay it forward then write that on the top of your things to do.

It’s December 7th, 2016 and it’s full on Christmas, people are freaking out and some are thinking about doing some baking this weekend because their done, all their lists are behind them (insert bitterness here).  If you are like me you might be somewhere in the middle, knocked out a few but there is still a way to go.  The count downs have begun but it’s still no need to go full on panic attack that you left everything to the last minute, there’s still time.  I have had the occasion where on one Christmas Eve I passed a man with no more that 20 minutes left to shop say to a friend of his in passing that he had nothing done, crazy…or in my opinion selfish.  Leaving your shopping to the last-minute will only bring on bad appliances, way too expensive jewelry and another bad sweater that dad seems to never wear, a gift should come from the heart and with a lot more thought.

Questions like “how’s your shopping going? or “Are you all done?” are usually the second or third thing that is mentioned when I talk to people these days and with that comes that internal dialog of what’s left on my lists.  No doubt that Christmas has a way of creeping up on us, we sometimes show shades of our inner Grinch and resent the holidays but if you think about it, it only comes once a year so we should embrace it.  Enjoy the time with your family, have that drink with your colleague because we only get one day a year to “Christmas and chill”.  There’s bound to be some obstacles and moments of stress but that’s where we need to help each other make it the best Christmas yet both giving and receiving.  So if you have a list or need to make one then go ahead because your gift, your gift is on my list, of the best things in life.

I know, bad Hall & Oates tie-in with the closing…

😉

 

 

blog · Uncategorized

“Hold Me Clothes and Never Let Go”

I’m not sure why but the other day I thought about this jacket that I use to wear all the time when I was in my twenties, it was brown leather with a seventies style to it, very Donnie Brascoish.  I swear it felt like it was made specifically just for me, I loved it and only got rid of it a couple of years ago.  A brief history about this coat, back in the day my best friend Danny and I would visit the local thrift store on a weekly basis, it was a part of our roommate routine.  We’d both spend hours combing through old vintage clothing hoping to score some new digs, well…new to us at least.  Sifting through racks upon racks meticulously choosing what we liked, there were some hits and even more misses, the harder we looked the more gems we’d find.   One day we were both determined to score what we thought was the pinnacle of all university student thrift shopping and that was the “vintage jacket”.  It was our main objective and it wasn’t going to be easy because at the time retro jackets were a trend (we totally started it by the way).  After trying on what seemed to be every jacket they had for sale and on the verge of giving up there it was, in perfect condition, not a blemish on it and even had all the buttons still intact.  I quickly called dibs and as soon as I put the coat on I knew it was mine, fit like a glove in a very jackety way, best find ever.

(Crazy fact about the coat is that in the inside pocket there was a movie ticket stub that was issued in 1977, the same year as I was born and only 10 days off my birthday.)

Like I mentioned it was just a couple of years ago that I had to say goodbye to the old potential heirloom for it could not just hang there anymore serving no purpose.  Finally the jacket had run its course for any need that I had for it,…it was a very sad day, I said goodbye to an old friend.   I relinquished it back to the realm of thrift store purgatory where someday it might catch the eye of another retro jacket connoisseur and give someone else as much use as it did me.  That coat saw me through some of the best years of my life and when I think about it, it brings back a slew of memories.  I held on to it for as long as I could, I’d try to convince myself over and over that someday I would wear it again, someday, no seriously it still fit.  Who was I kidding?   The jacket made me look like a baby in a two sizes too small sleeper, I was clearly in denial, after a few moments alone with the coat I said a few words and placed the jacket in the goodwill bag then ran to my room crying.  No I didn’t cry, well maybe a little, it was dusty in the room.  No I was actually very happy that I donated the jacket back to where I had gotten it from some years ago, it had gone full circle and who knows where it might turn up next.

I bet as you’re reading this you too can recall some item of clothing that you held on to maybe a smidge too long and well past its closet expiry date.  I remember pairs of sneakers where my pinky toe holes gave away the colour of my socks and ball caps having sweat stain rings but it didn’t matter because of the perfect curved peek.  Looking back at my jacket, that cap and those shoes, it kind of, in a way acts like a synthetic journal quickly flashing up thoughts and memories which are forever attached to them.  There are chapters of my life that can be chronologically profiled with the help of some of my wardrobe, stages of my life that can be cat-walked down a ramp as my voice narrates in the background.  If you were to look through your closet now, is there anything that you just can’t throw away?  Are there items that have stood the test of time because you couldn’t bare parting ways with it or maybe the emotional attachment that it may hold?

Clothing can carry sentimental value for some of us, I still have to this day a dress shirt, t-shirt and suspenders combo that my grandfather use to wear.  It hangs in my closet and from time to time when I’m digging out something on a daily basis to wear I pass it on the hanger and instantly start to think about him.  My grandfather must have had twenty of the same combination of that dress shirt, t-shirt, and suspenders trifecta.  He certainly loved to rock the flannel, and  when I pass by it at the end of my shirt rack each morning I’m glad in this case I held on to the past.  I kept my grandfather’s ensemble because when I look at it, it makes me happy and when I think of him that’s how I picture him and he’s rocking the flannel as only he could.  We get these emotional attachments to the clothes that we wear because quite frankly and as funny as it may seem the clothes has been there with us the whole way.  That one suit we had straight out of college that helped us make it to interview after interview, that dress that has seen itself go from maid of honour duties to a night on the town, how something as simple as what we wore on a certain day can have so many emotions attached to it.

Emotions are one thing but people also care about their identity when we decide to put something on.  Clothing can also become synonymous with who we are, I knew a guy in high school who always wore a ball cap and he just became known for the cap, then there was the parachute pants girl, turtleneck guy…the list goes on.   I’m sure most of you can remember someone based solely on some item of clothing that they wore all the time or maybe there’s someone who you know now.  I was briefly known in political science class as the guy in the green puffy vest, yes I said “puffy”…moment of silence for the  90’s puffy vests .  Ok let’s forget the puffy green vest but my point is that certain clothing can define who we are or who we were.  I grew up playing sports and every time I put on a jersey as a kid it felt like something I would be doing for the rest of my life.   That phase came and went just as many did after, but when I see a jersey now or even get to try one on it takes me right back to the good ol’ high school days where sports consumed my life.  If you take a look at who you are today as compared to whom you were there may be similarities and I’m positive a lot of differences.  How has you’re style changed?  Has it changed at all?  Were you once a t-shirt and jeans guy and now it’s nothing only suits or maybe you’re a girl who wore nothing but black in college but now anything else is the new black.

I hope I was able to make you think a little bit with this post, sometimes when I think about something stuff just pours out.  The jacket meant a lot to me sure, but realistically it was more like a time capsule that took me right back to then and there.  So trust me, go through that closet or clean out your dressers, there may be some stories waiting for you to recreate all over again.  That coat that I bought and the day we spent at the thrift store was a day I will never forget, and a memory like that will always be worth more than the clothes on my back.

 

blog · Uncategorized

“Bully the Kid”

Geez, it has been 17 days since my last post, where has the time gone?  Now in my defence, I did have a lot going on in the last little while but…the dust has settled, the smoke has cleared and I am back in front of the keyboard doing this blogging thing that I love so much.  October was like a blink but the month has created some moments of creativity for me so I hope to share some of that in the weeks to come such as my cousin getting married so stay tuned.  In short, the ceremony was beautiful, the food was great and it was very nice to see some old friends.  Most of the family were there too and we all got the chance to spend a night together like the good old days.

My mother and stepfather stayed with us for the wedding which was a couple of weeks ago and I must say, we had a lot of fun and got in some good chats.  One of those chats we had is what lead me to make this post.  We were travelling downtown on a Sunday and my sister had been calling for my mother a few times but bad timing (mad tizzy to find a Halloween costume) just meant that mom would call her back when she could.  While we were taking a look around the Halloween store my mother finally took the call and spoke to my sister.  The call ended and my mother made me aware of what it was that my sister wanted to speak to her about.  I was instantly mad, it was about my nephew who had a experience with bullying just the night before and my sister was just letting us know.

My nephew has autism, he is a very functional independent young boy and so bright that it amazes me sometimes that he is even deemed to be.  He reads at a level beyond his years, loves conversation and is constantly wanting to know how and why things are.  He is a great kid and he reminds me of myself sometimes and now he’s getting bullied and I was kilometres away feeling completely helpless.

Like me, he too has a passion for bike-riding.  He loves riding his bike all around town and has since been visiting the local youth center which is something he used to shy away from before.  He is quiet and doesn’t like to be forced into engaging people and needs to be allowed to make those steps on his own.  He has accomplished that when it comes to this youth center, he was once scared to go but now he is there almost everyday.  He’s definitely a go-getter and if he wants something he knows he can do it but we always try to tell him that sometimes there may be obstacles.

Just a few nights ago he faced a big obstacle, he was hanging out and having fun at the center when some kids offered him an ice cream.  Accepting the ice cream and looking at it as nothing more then being friendly he thanked the young boy  and returned back to his seat to enjoy it.  It was later realized that the kids had spit in the ice cream before they had offered it to him and he blindly ate the whole thing without knowing.  It would have never been known if it were not for a young girl who told her parents who in turn called my sister to inform her of what had happened because she felt bad.  Mad was certainly an understatement for me at the time, I was full of emotions and the worst part was I couldn’t physically be there for him.  I blogged about bullying before and it was about me but now I get to see it from a uncles perspective and have to deal with those emotions, I especially didn’t like it.  Mother and I discussed it for a bit and I began to think about it a little more in depth and it got a bunch thoughts bouncing around.

Yes, I managed to make it out of high school unscathed but trust me, there were moments of bullying that I went through that weren’t pleasant experiences at all.  Now that I have a daughter that’s in university, several young nieces, nephews and cousins in high school I worry all the time that they potentially would be plagued with bullying.  I don’t let that worry consume me like most parents shouldn’t because it is another unfortunate part of life. This was a part of life that my nephew had to face and experience and no matter how much it hurt me, it had and was going to happen.  So my thought was initially the emotion that they were picking on my nephew because he was autistic but it quickly turned to  the thought of bullies just being bullies.

Here’s a honest question, have you ever bullied someone?  No matter the degree I’m sure a lot of you have bullied and there’s a good chance you’ve been bullied as well.  We all have an acquaintance with  the feelings that go with both.  I heard someone say that other day that what if we were all the same person but just living in different vessels of life, shouldn’t we treat each other like they were us?  I thought that phrase was a really good positive take on life and if true then yes I think we would treat each other differently but is that what it takes?  Bullies are scared of the unknown, scared of the different and sadly too scared to ask why?

Thinking about it since and after hearing that my nephew was doing fine after the whole ordeal, I felt better and it gave me faith that he dealt with it his way.  When we deal with things, they are our things, but when they happen to the people that we love and care for we feel panicked that we couldn’t swoop in and save the day.  Teach your kids about bullying, talk to them and see what makes them tick, find out what kind of friend your kid would make.  Bullying may always exist but as parents and role models we should do our part to teach our kids why it shouldn’t.