disclaimer

The last 2 pieces I’ve written are very racially charged. At this time it’s the only way I know how to express what I’m feeling and experiencing. But I don’t want to turn off particular readers. I am a lover of humanity, and all humans regardless of race, class or creed. I don’t want anyone to get the impression that there is hate in my heart for any particular group because there is not. I am writing in generalities, and certainly do not ascribe my feelings to all people of a particular group, though it may sound that way. My frustration, which in actuality is pain that I am experiencing in these situations, does not extend to the majority of people, who I believe hold the same values of love, tolerance, acceptance and equality for all.

Sincerely,

Tara Laureen

late night notes

I spent a few days being sick with a crazy fever. Thankfully it turned out to not be the flu. With the intense back pain, it could have been, but once the fever broke all I was left with was a killer headache for a day.

It seems that I love my home so much I’m physically reacting to having to leave it. Being sick means sick days, which means time spent at home on the couch.

After a cup of NeoCitran earlier this evening, followed by 2 Advil liquid gels, and now a melatonin, I should be completely passed out. But it’s that sweet time late at night, with the soft glow of my little lantern, and quiet surrounding me, I just can’t bring myself to go to sleep and pass this moment up.

I always joke that I’m vampire-like. Throughout the day I’m tired, and drained, but as soon as its dark I’m awake, no aches and pains, and full of creativity. Maybe all I need is the right low light, maybe it’s the quiet, but this is when the world is always most beautiful to me.

Photo by Joonas kääriäinen from Pexels

reflections on international women’s day

Today social media was entirely dominated by posts about international women’s day, so I thought I might as well contribute. All day, with every post I read, I was trying to think of how I would contribute to the conversation. I could reflect on my family, or the strength and courageousness of my mother, who immigrated to Canada and forged a life of her own.

It wasn’t until well into my adulthood did I learn that my mother chose to stay here when she was supposed to return to Trinidad with the rest of her sisters. She craved independence, maybe even adventure, and learning this was so groundbreaking to me because I could never understand why I couldn’t fit in or get things “right” in life. Where did this desire and passion for the world come from? My love of travel, and my inability to fit into a box of mundaneness is happily credited to her.

The road less traveled is certainly more challenging, more heartbreaking, at times confusing, maybe even lonely, but it is most definitely the most rewarding. Every accomplishment is that much more meaningful and fulfilling. You savour your victories, because your defeats threaten your very existence.

In my mother’s journey, and in my own, I have come to see, feel and love the strength, resilience and unyielding bravery of the independent woman.

So, I suppose that for me personally, as I reflect on international women’s day, what I think is worth celebrating or acknowledging, are the women who move through life speaking their truths, holding true to their convictions, and who seek out their passions.

For my mother, my hope is that in this next chapter of her life, she remembers her journey, and re-discovers her hopes and dreams, and the courage it takes to attain, and make these things a reality.

My hope for all women is that we begin to choose to do the work, and journey through self discovery to find our worth, to learn the hard lessons of pain, and discover the beautiful life that awaits when you stop settling, start setting boundaries, and prioritize yourself and your happiness above all else.

These lovelies are the women in my life who inspire me, laugh and cry with me, and who have taught me strength and love. Cheers to you beautiful ladies!

It’s been awhile…

According to my wordpress stats, ahem, its been 7 months since I’ve posted anything, and even before that, this blog has seen very little action in the last 2 years!

What have I been waiting for??

A lot of things distracted me in the time since I returned from my year abroad in Italy. The adjustment, coming back to Winnipeg (eww), coming back to reality, took some time. Months actually. I hid out at my sister’s place, out of town, and couldn’t handle the city for more than a couple days. The work that I had accomplished in terms of the healing process seemed to have come undone once I got home. It was a sobbering realization that the work was not over yet, but that in itself is another lesson learned, and much appreciated.

It’s hard to believe that 3 years have passed, and in that time, since those empty beginnings, I somehow have managed to build an entirely new life. It’s hard to put into words, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it all for months now. So, maybe it will happen here, doing this…

I managed to escape reality for that year in Italy. No rent, no bills, no job, no car payments, no attachments of any kind. In our society, fast paced and merit based, one could easliy argue what kind of existence is that anyways? But I was free, and so blessed to have had the necessary time to heal and learn and grow, put all the pieces of my shattered self back together.

I remember, at the time of it all, that I was comitted to the process. I said, or wrote, or thought, that I wanted to break into a million pieces, I wanted nothing left, I wanted to face all of the pain and heartbreak and feel it all, because I wanted something new to come of it. I suppose I was looking to be reborn. And even if I lost sight of that, it is now crystal clear to me, that is exactly what happened. Intention setting… The universe is listening, and delivering whether you know it or not.

In writing this (ahh writing, it feels so good!), its also clear to me that what I went through was not just about one person, or one heartbreak. Maybe the reason it hurt so much, for so long was because it went deeper than just that. I don’t know how I never thought of this until now, but I suppose, as I sit here in my new life, totally and completely inspired, I’ve made it to the otherside, where perspectives can form.

I’ve spent the better part of my life talking about escaping Winnipeg, dreaming about the goings on of other places in the world. A love affair with Paris that sustained me through my early 20s, Manhattan lived through repeat upon repeat of Sex and the City, L.A. and the west coast as seen on the OC and Californication (yeah, don’t judge my taste in T.V., it was escapism clearly!). Then I began travelling, and most often would cry every time the plane touched down in Winnipeg, back again.

Most of the time I sound like an awful hater of the small town big city as they call it (do they call it that?), but now that I’m out for real, the idea that I simply didn’t belong there is truly what all the fuss was about.

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Vancouver skyline

It’s amazing to me how my life has transformed, and in so little time, since making the move out west. The thing is, when you find where you do belong, everything falls into place, seamlessly.

I loved Vancouver and the mountains, from the first trip out. The diversity and multiculturalism made me feel like I was travelling abroad. The sound of so many different languages being spoken was so refreshing, and something I only thought possible across the Atlantic. The energy of a place that is alive, vibrant, on the move, a connection to everything, a place where you’re a part of something, simply by being here. I remember the first time I ever felt that kind of energy was in Paris, 10 years ago.

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home sweet home

Since being here, every aspect of my life has changed, in some weird, yet calculated culmination of all that’s happened since Italy. I’ve quit smoking, I have a new vehicle, a promotion, and now finally, after a decade of being a nomad (at times ‘joking’ about living out of my car), I have a home. A beautfiul, and tranquil place where I can stand still and begin to build something, as opposed to always scrambling in chaos to pick up the pieces of my life. 

And so I sit, with my jazz music and a glass of wine, doing what I love. Up writing late at night (on my macbook air, another dream come true, I just love typing on this thing), appreciating the journey from escapism to life, (complete with a job and every bill imaginable!) and full of love.

The Verdict is in

I suppose we all knew, going into both trials, that the verdict would be Not Guilty. Yet it still broke our hearts. This is too much, yet we are only just beginning. How many more murders, how many more “not guilty” verdicts, how much more pain and injustice?? How can one expect justice from a system that was written and conceived without the inclusion of minorities? When it comes down to it, I wonder if a White person could fathom their own son or daughter walking in the footsteps of Colten or Tina, or any of the Black youth gunned down in American streets?

Yes I draw a parallel because what I see here, and what I see in America is the failure of the justice system to protect the people repeatedly. That’s right, the people. Our children, our youth. We are so comfortable to “other” these children. Media victim blamed Tina for having alcohol and drugs in her system, yet where are the reports on CFS?! It is widely known that youth coming to the city from reserve communities, which Canada has been condemned for as having third world conditions in its own back yard, are placed into hotel rooms without supervision for weeks. It has been reported that they venture out and what good is there to find on the streets? Coming from conditions of abuse within their own families, due to inter-generational trauma stemming from the recent residential school system, (which White Canada is all too quick to forget, and like Americans expect that Indigenous people should just get over it like 300 years of slavery), and third world living conditions (no running water, dilapidated housing, no resources or community centers, lack of education, malnutrition, etc) and then being thrown into what is arguably continued abuse in our CFS system, these children are then blamed for turning to the streets, and in Tina Fontaine’s case, its her fault that she was raped, murdered and thrown into the red river, because she had drugs and alcohol in her system, and at age 15 she should be held responsible for her own actions, regardless of the fact that the system failed her. White people whose children are safe at home with them have an impossible time wrapping their heads around these facts, that this is life for a lot of our children and youth. The high suicide rates in reserve communities among youth is not enough to call attention to the suffering within indigenous communities. Now these verdicts, much like in America are telling White people that it is ok to rape, and to murder black bodies, brown bodies, and indigenous bodies.

The Colten verdict was upsetting, but not surprising. Yet still they say it is not about race. I can’t understand how a person can fire a gun 3 times, and in the back of the head of your supposed assailant and claim self defense or that the gun misfired? If the Crown failed to present a strong enough case for a guilty verdict despite the evidence, I question Why? And the answer, as in Tina’s case, is institutionalized racism. These laws were not written for us. How can someone be caught on recording, all but confessing, wrap a 15 year old girl’s body in a duvet and throw it in the Red River, with bricks weighing it down, and still there is reasonable doubt as to how she died, and that it was murder. What about all of the black bodies across America, who were unarmed, who were children “mistaken” for other perpetrators…yet it is not about race, that is not racial profiling?

What are we supposed to do when we know, Black or Brown or Indigenous that there is no justice in this system for us? That these laws were not written for us, that our defense, the Crown or the State does not work to protect us. Where do we find justice? How do we find justice. When will our blood stop flowing and our bodies matter?

The Tina Fontaine verdict brought tears to my eyes. I am not Indigenous, but I am a minority, and I am tired of seeing so many injustices against the people who I consider to be my people, be it here in Canada or Black Americans. Its too much. All of the “not guilty” verdicts are too much.

For me, the verdict is in; Racism runs rampant and unchecked in North America.

#metoo ; how a social media movement has lead me to uncover a deep seated truth.

Two images seem to be on a loop in my mind since this hashtag started trending.

The first, walking home after work many years ago. The bridge was dark, not well lit and I knew this, that’s why I always took the busier Osborne street route to get home. You always have to think strategically, plan your routes, send a message that you’re on your way-in case you never make it, someone will know to look for you, keep your phone in your hand… I never wear headphones when I’m walking places, it scares me cause it inhibits my senses, I can’t hear if someone is coming up behind me.

I had almost made it across the bridge when a hooded figure appeared, up from the stairs. He wasn’t tall, I remember him as round, round face, round build… he ran from behind and as he passed me he grabbed and cupped my crotch. I stood there stunned, unsure of what had just happened, afraid to walk forward cause at the end of the bridge there were bushes- what if he was hiding in them waiting for me? I tried telling myself ‘it’s no big deal, nothing happened, just keep walking, you’re fine’, what I’ve come to realize is that when you get that sick scared feeling in your gut, it is a big deal, and you’re not ok and something did happen.

But you don’t know what to call it, you think of other women, their stories and traumas, you think of survivors, and rather than say I was sexually assaulted, you bury it; ‘just some strange happenings on my walk home last night…’, I can recall now that I called my boyfriend at the time to come meet me, I was shaken and couldn’t walk the half block to make it home.

The second image is more haunting, it’s more disgusting and it’s harder to talk about for the shame it left me with, that overwhelming feeling that somehow it was my fault.

I woke up in a dark hotel room, I was in bed, naked. All I could see were these dark figures all around the room. I still have no idea how many of them there were. I remember repeatedly asking where my date was, calling his name. I remember being extremely confused and feeling paralyzed- how do I get out of this room? Where is H (we’ll call him).

It was only much later that it occurred to me that I had been drugged, and the whole thing was a set up. I had met H through a trusted friend, he seemed like a stand up guy, what soon to be doctor isn’t?! He invited me to a faculty party at a hotel. The first “friend” he introduced me to was the same one who was in that dark room, the same one who kept telling me H was at a party in another room, the same one who got into bed with me.

I fled the room in a sheet unable to find my clothes in the dark, but not before this guy got his hands on me- that’s how I was certain I had been drugged, the confusion and fear and then this odd pleasure for just a moment when he touched me and then disgust and panic washed over me and I ran. As I opened the door coincidentally there was H.

I waited in the bathroom while he found my clothes. He walked me to my car, while I tried desperately to convince him nothing happened and that I had done nothing wrong (which is just ridiculous to me now, and really reinforces social structures and norms that have taught women it’s their own fault, they were asking for it, etc etc). I guess I liked him, and I wanted him to like me??

We learn so much. I buried this deep for a long time because I felt embrassed, ashamed, dirty, like it was my fault, like if I didn’t give it any life then nothing really happened, but it’s always there.

As I read through the #metoo posts, the stories that friends and women everywhere shared I felt, for the first time, that I wanted to share too. That I would be safe and understood, loved and supported. Every survivors story has contrinuted the weaving of this huge safety net for us all.

Thank you sisters, peace and love, courage and strength to you all.

Tara

“This is what the truth feels like” -Gwen Stefani- A sort of year end round up…?

December 31st, 2016

The last day, well the last few hours of this incredibly long year. It’s been a crazy year in the world, from politics and acts of terror across the world, to the loss of some of the greatest artists of our time. Everyone is talking about Bowie taking all his favs with him to the other side, or heaven or what you will, and the American President elect, why bother tainting my writing with his poisonous name, all of the racial violence, the state of fear that he’s created with his hateful, divisive rhetoric, and yet at the end of it all, I have an admiration for the raw honesty of America, I think in the long run it puts them ahead of us because things won’t ever change if they are not addressed in the first place. If so many people truly have so much hate in their hearts, isn’t it better to have it exposed, out in the open, than hiding and sneaking and creeping…In Canada there is a lot of racism but we are too polite to speak up, and so people, the majority, seem to think there is no racism here, but ignorance is bliss, and by its very nature, ignorance breeds racism..

There were 3 super moons and a blood moon, and all throughout this time I seem to keep encountering people who speak and  are connected and in tune, and the conversations are always about healing, and growing, and the signs and charts, travelling, and broken hearts. There is a very interesting mix of people in my life now who share similar stories and journeys, we all seem to inspire and teach each other, checking in every so often to see where the other is at and how things are going. And the idea that people come and go in your life at particular times and for particular reasons has never been more apparent, each of these beautiful people is so significant to my journey.

As 2017 approaches it has dawned on me that my “year” has been a lot longer than just one year. The idea that the new year offers new beginnings and a fresh start had me thinking what a relief it would be once it finally arrived. But once I thought back on my 2016 I realized it wasn’t all that bad; it started in the country side in the South of France with my best friend and her wonderful husband and their group of close friends, from there it was back to Italy and by the summer I was loving life and adventuring around this beautiful country that I had fallen in love with. I had learned so many lessons, and worked so hard to heal, to find peace and acceptance, I wrestled with feelings I didn’t understand, I thought I was crazy, I cried forever, I wrote so hard and so much as the tears blinded my eyes, I smoked and danced, and developed an obsession with bikinis and how awesome it feels to wear one. I finally found a moment that I had been searching for and dreaming of my whole life, something I knew only existed in another part of the world, beach parties, the sound of bass and dance music as the sun sets over the turquoise clear blue waters of Salento.

It was a year of polarized opposites, of loving and loosing, loosing everything but at the same time gaining everything the world had to offer, loosing a love I thought would last a lifetime but gaining the love of an entire community of Italian friends and family, people who carefully put the pieces of my heart back into place, and the culture of their home brought me back to life. And I feel like I’ve repeated this same story so many times, I’ve written these words so many times, I’ve told this story and retold it, I’ve felt these feelings, and pushed them away, and invited them in, I’ve drowned in these emotions and let this whole long heart break consume me and heal me, and reinvent me all at the same time.

As this new year is about to begin all I can seem to think of is hope, and faith. I think I’ve written on these words as concepts before…At the end of the day, this year has been a lot longer than just one calendar year for me. Throughout the whole process, in the darkest depths, those moments where it hurts so much you lose your breath and you have no idea where or who to turn to, and the pain cripples you and brings you to your knees, I somehow always knew it was for a reason, and as alone as I felt, I knew I wasn’t alone. My logical and rational brain believed that if endured all of that I’d come out the other end healed and stronger and on the right path. That was the point, that’s why I threw myself in, that’s why I wrote once that I let the pain break me into a million pieces; so that I could rebuild myself, brand new, a sparkling new version, the best me I’ve ever been. Its only now that I look back, that I can see that I wasn’t alone, those very thoughts were hope, and believing them, that was faith.

Its time that I realize that none of it is real anymore. It’s a story, the story of what happened to me once. I don’t know him anymore. He has become the stranger that I dreaded he would become, but in the end I’m not sure I ever knew him anyways. All of the questions remain unanswered because I’m past the point of asking, and I shouldn’t have to ask, which is why I never did, and he will never ever speak up, so that’s that. As for the justice that I crave, well all I can do is place my faith in Karma, not that I would wish ill upon anyone, but

You can’t build a palace upon a bed of lies.

You can’t bury all of your feelings, your guilt and your shame, your heart ache, your grief… you can’t escape those demons. Demons don’t rest.

You can’t replace a person as if there was not another there in the same place before.

You can’t do the things you did to me and not have to answer for your actions, you can’t do the things you did to me and just go along on your merry way. You can’t possibly believe that you could just get away with it all. Although you seem to be dedicating your life to rewriting our history to the tee with her, but in place of each regret there is a happy memory that you’ve created with her, memories that should’ve been ours. This is the thing that really messes me up.

My higher self knows that I should be happy that I inspired and changed someone for the better. My higher self knows that was my purpose and I should feel proud, and truly when I reach transcendence Ill be able to be happy that I endured pain to save someone I loved, and Ill be happy because he was listening and now hes doing better and ill be happy because hes applying those lessons in order to love someone else better.

But I haven’t reached my higher self yet, and the pain is still raw.

Even after all this time, and all of this work…Im not sure whats holding me back but I seem to think it’s the injustice of it all. The way it happened. How lucky you were that I left. You’ve said it so many times and in such strange ways, but you’ve reduced everything to my leaving. It leads me to believe that I hurt you so very deeply, and you resent me for that. It also leads me to believe that you have forgotten the reason why I left at all. And when I think about that I think you’ve created some other reality, another version of events, a story where I selfishly abandoned you in pursuit of my own dreams. You believe your own lies, as is often the case when we tell ourselves stories, we create our realities through narratives.

Could you really have forgotten why I left? Sometimes I think maybe you did love me, truly, and so you let me go. Once I wrote that you folded your cards, you moved in with her to make yourself unavailable because you knew that I loved you and that I wanted to come back to you, to have that fresh start, to start over, you knew I believed in that and in us, and in you (you must have known that..) and so choosing to be with her was like a final act of love in a way, because you knew that I deserve better, or in your own words, you couldn’t forgive yourself for what you had done to me.

What you don’t seem to understand is that the greatest, and deepest heartbreak lies in that choice, that you chose her. That you didn’t love me the way I wanted you to, you didn’t love me enough to wait, to allow me time to heal, to understand that I didn’t leave because you had hurt me but rather because I knew there was no way forward for us if I stayed. Because I knew you, I knew about your guilt and that it would never allow you to be with me. Those were the things I believed…But now I’m not so sure. Now I’m not sure I ever knew you at all. Now I wonder if the texts in your phone that night were not at all from some woman you met at the Sherby, were they from her? And all the nights you never came home? And maybe it was nothing physical, maybe you had simply met her and developed feelings for her, and you were conflicted about that, especially because I had just moved in, maybe that’s why you couldn’t be around me and couldn’t come home. Maybe that’s why you drank, maybe it had nothing to do with your grief. It would certainly explain how you stay sober now, now that we are not together, that I’m not in your life you’re free to be with the person you truly wanted to be with, so there’s no reason to drink.

But you should know one of the most important truths; I left because I was terrified, above all else, of who I would become, the type of woman I would be if I stayed with someone who was unfaithful. Even in my loneliness, as I drowned in the depths of my love for you and regretted ever leaving no matter what the circumstances were, even as I took on the blame for loosing you, for not choosing you.. I couldn’t find an answer. I could see who I would have had to become to stay with someone who cheated on me and it was not possible, I was looking at a corpse, my spirit would have been lost and so I would never have been the girl you feel in love with in the first place at all. In fact I had lost so much of myself its quite possible, and plausible that you had already fallen out of love with me long before you found yourself in that hotel room at all. And in that respect, its easy to see how quickly you moved on, I see it as a month or two after I left, but in reality, you felt alone long before so it wasn’t a difficult connection to break when she came along, especially if you knew her already.

More importantly I have considered that maybe you never loved me, maybe you wanted to, or thought that you should, but you didn’t actually. That would explain why it took you over two years to say it, and if that’s the case I appreciate your honesty, maybe you said it out of guilt, finally after I returned home after missing what was supposed to be our first Christmas living together as a family. I’ve only ever found myself in a situation like that once before, where I told someone I loved them but didn’t mean it, I said it because I wanted to mean it, but it wasn’t true. Maybe that’s how it was for you when you said it to me..I had those rose colored glasses on at all times with you though. I had no problem waiting so long to hear those words from you, I believed that you loved me regardless, I saw it in the way you would look at me, or the way you held me, in your thoughtfulness…and when you finally did say it, it was the most meaningful and profound thing that anyone had ever said to me. I thought it was worth waiting for, I thought it was real, and you meant it and felt it with all of your being, and I believed that you would love me forever…but that was only a few short months before the hotel room.

I always told you actions speak louder than words, and because you were not often comfortable talking about stuff I only had your actions to go on, and up until I moved in with you that was totally fine. I knew all I needed to know, and I trusted that whatever was going on was not about me, that you needed me, and my Wellington Crescent apartment was our sanctuary, a safe place for you to come and receive love, affection and the warmth of my small world. All of that changed when I moved in with you. If I had only your actions to go of off, then it seemed pretty clear that you couldn’t stand to be around me. I was supposed to trust that you loved me, but the fear that you didn’t, that my moving in was seen as a mistake…it drove me crazy. I was not at all equipped to handle alcoholism, or grief, or intergenerational trauma, or childhood trauma… all of the demos that plagued you, and I believed caused you to drink in the first place, it all consumed me too, it changed me. I went from being your escape, the light and hope in your life to being apart of all the chaos you were incessantly and desperately trying to escape at every turn, every day…Maybe it was around then that you met her…it was certainly at that time that the divide between us grew, But I will say this, I tried my hardest, I gave it all I had, I tried everything I could think of, from being supportive, understanding, and patient to being hurt, and hysterical, to being complacent. Nothing worked, and no matter what I did it seemed to only perpetuate your guilt and drive you further away.

The cracks in our foundation deepened, almost beyond repair, but as broken as I was I hadn’t given up hope. It took me a few months to open up again after that Christmas, the way I acted and the things I said to you before I left home, that is my deepest regret. In that moment I failed you and I wonder if things would have been different if I had shown you love and kindness when I saw that hospital wristband on you, I don’t think you ever trusted me after that…By spring time I was better, and I was committed and so in love with you I didn’t care about any of it, everything that had happened didn’t matter. All that mattered to me was you, being with you, building a life with you, having the future we dreamed of, pursuing our goals. I knew change wouldn’t happen over night, but I was determined to be the strength you needed, to support you long into our future. I believed unfailingly that you would become the person you desired to be, that you would heal your past traumas, and find sobriety, and I was going to love you through it all. I was going to love you enough to heal you and I was going to give you the life you deserved; a happy home filled with a big family and beautiful babies, All I needed in return was your love, all I needed was to feel loved by you, all I needed was the belief that I was special to you, your inspiration…

… So it’s a new year, and I hope it’s a new beginning. I need to realize what my life is and what I want it to be. I need to realize that I have been living my life for a year now, and although much of that year, and longer, was underlined by hurt, and sadness, I have lived. All the time I spent away, the places I visited and traveled to, the time spent with close friends, the lonely train rides, and all the airports, that was my life, and I lived it for a year. And at the same time he was living his life, with her. It doesn’t matter how fast that change happened, hurtful as it may be, it all happened and brought us here, to this reality. A reality where “we” are a thing of the past. Time moved us along, and away from each other. Away from the hopes and dreams we shared, away from the life we shared and were building together.

That’s just how it is.

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Talking with my monster

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Im a 30 year old girl, woman? And Ive discovered the monster in me. Ive described it as a darkness before, a place that is familiar and comfortable that I turn to, and choose to get lost in at times. It brings out the self destructive tendencies, the drinking and the bad choices. Although I still hold to the fact that nothing ive done is really that bad compared to the people Ive known and grown up with in my life, like give me a break, you all have been doing blow for the last ten years, or more, and in varying degrees of harshness, like let me smoke my god damn cigarettes in peace thank you very much!

So as it turns out, the monster has been in control this whole time, well since I got back to Canada anyways, and for awhile before that as well, although I was able to shake it for a time when I was in Italy. That place is good for me, not so good for my monster though, turns out true happiness, true light and connectivity, true passion, that is what drives the monster away., probably our monsters; fault in the first place…but anyways, by our side they remain, as protectors. To protect us from our bad choices, and help us learn the lessons. images-2

The monster is ugly, says things, horrible things that we are ashamed we ever said, acted in ways we are ashamed of….We are disappointed in our actions and behaviors and our words, we didn’t want or chose to become the monster, but we had no choice, it happened because we were hurt, someone hurt us, we were hurting and so came the monster, to get us through, to protect us, and to remind us, after its all over that we don’t want to be the monster, not forever, even if we are thankful it came about when it did. But I am sorry, Im not that person, Im sorry you had to meet my monster, Im sorry for the things I said and did, but I was hurting, so deeply hurt, so my monster came to rescue me, and you didn’t recognize me anymore, I wasn’t me anymore, not for a long time, long enough in fact that you didn’t love me anymore anyways…

So now its time I have a talk with my monster, and tell it its time to take a back seat, cause I’ve got this. I need to be in control now. Yeah buddy, I know its been a rough year and a half, and I know Ive been really hurting for a long time, but you need to remember that I was more than ok for a bit there, you got a little break this summer, when I came alive and when I was happy, when I was dancing on the beach in a bikini. I know you rushed to the front lines when I was making my way back to Canada, you knew better than me what I was in for I guess, and I appreciate that you came to my defenses once again, but here’s the thing, now you’re holding me back.

Im not under attack, im not in need of defense; I am in need of freedom and happiness. No one is coming to hurt me now, now Im only hurting myself because my monster, I know you want vengeance, you want to witness suffering, his suffering the way you have witnessed my suffering. I know you want to see him suffer because you know he is the root of my suffering, but don’t forget dear monster, that it was necessary, it all happened the way it should have. He is not a bad person, yes his actions are confusing and disappointing but we all did the best we could, and my monster don’t forget, I am better for it. I am stronger, and closer to my higher self, I would not be this version of me without him, without loving him and losing him. I am closer to the me I was destined to be, and closer to the life I deserve because of the pain he put me through.

So my monster, we need to stop this, I need you to stop this, stop thinking about revenge, and vengeance, and negative karmic energy, and injustice. You need to let it all go, so that I can be free of this, its been dragging me down. Now is the time to accept; things are the way they are, and the only way they can be, the way they should be, because Im better for it, and you know this monster, you know Im better off so why not let me go out there on my own for a bit? Sure, keep a watchful eye, my legs are shaky, yeah I am scared, sure I don’t know how to trust, or whats in store for me, but here’s the thing; you need to give me a chance on my own, because I know what I want, and now I need to go and find it and I can’t do that if im still hurting and if I continue to live life from a place of fear and negativity…

You know Im strong, and fearless, and I know you’ve got my back if someone tries to fuck with me. So lets start this new year of with a truly fresh start, im gonna take the lead, im gonna be happy, im going to be strong and pursue my goals, and leave all that shit behind me, and my monster you’re going to let me be free. You’ve worked really hard these past few years to protect me, but just watch how great I can be, watch all that I can accomplish when I embrace all of the support of those who love me and when I embrace all of my fire and passion, when I embody all of my inner strength and essence, what makes me; wathc me be the best I can be…

Standing with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock

I’d like to make it clear that this is a personal account of my experience at the Standing Rock main camp. I’m not a reporter, nor am I associated with any press. I believe in the sharing of stories, and value truth above all else. I’ve found so much of the reporting on Standing Rock to be unfair and untrue, so I’m writing the truth of my experience as a show of my support to the movement and the brave water protectors who are fighting to protect our water, and our Mother Earth.

The Coming together of Nations

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to visit the camp at Standing Rock. In the two days that I spent at camp I found that there are so many different layers to this movement worth sharing through writing.

What I found to be the most interesting and the most inspiring about the camp at Standing Rock was the coming together of nations, and of people from across the country, and like me, from Canada as well. I heard at camp, and have since read articles saying that this coming together of nations is unprecedented and historic, the first time in history that so many tribes have united together with one common goal, to protect the water for generations to come.

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Standing Rock has not received much mainstream media attention until more recently, but the camp was established some 8 months ago. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the media coverage it had received was biased in favor of big oil and the corporate machine. This is one instance where we can be thankful for social media, which has been largely responsible for getting real stories out of the camp. Its not an easy task, I mean this is the U.S. military machine we’re talking about here. They’ve blocked airspace, and as we saw with the Facebook protest a few weeks back, they are monitoring and tracking people through social media. To get a good signal, you can find a hilltop at camp aptly named “Facebook Hill”…wonder how the execs at FB would feel about their “involvement” in this movement??

When you first enter the main camp the dirt road is lined with the flags of many nations. Anyone who visits the camp is welcome to mount a flag as a show of solidarity and support from their community.

This movement is not just a First Nations issue. Its not just about ancient burial grounds or treaty rights. And when I say that the last thing I mean is any disrespect, but what I’ve found is that mainstream society, affluent, middle class, predominantly white society, tend to relegate this major issue and movement to just that, ‘its a native issue so its not our problem’ and other more racist and dividing narratives. What is so important, and inspiring about this movement is the bravery with which First Nations, and those who have joined them, are fighting for the environment, and that is an issue which effects us all. So my hope is that people would come to see this as an environmental movement and have respect for the fact that it is in fact treaty rights which allow First Nations to fight to protect our water and Mother Earth in the first place.

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At camp you will find innovative ideas, engineers and environmentalists from all over sharing ideas and designs, and most importantly knowledge as many believe this movement to be a platform for change on a larger scale. They talk about renewable energy, sustainable energy, and the hope that this is our chance to leave an oil based economy in the past.

Day to day life at camp was a quiet bustle of building as the water protectors were preparing for winter. Construction is a major part of this process and you could hear power tools through out the camp everyday as people were racing against time, not knowing when exactly to expect the first snowfall. But when we visited, the harsh winds of the open plains were already freezing. This was the weekend that the water protectors were fired upon with water cannons, rubber bullets, and percussion grenades.

I was blown away at the innovative ideas people had for “winterizing” their camps, using wood burning furnaces for example, the designs that had been thought up, and even the small homes that have been donated, or constructed on site. Everyday as construction carried on throughout the main camp, people would visit each other offering help and sharing ideas, tools and supplies.

With all of the misinformation, and false and biased reporting on the part of the mainstream media, I found that what is most important is the sharing of stories within the camp, and of getting those stories out. Water protectors are continuously being referred to as protesters, and while that is arguably a fair term, its also a term that carries a negative connotation within mainstream society and media. It’s like people have forgotten that the cornerstone of democracy is the right to protest and to hold governments accountable to us, the people. Without this we live in tyranny and dictatorship. So it frustrates me to no end how Standing Rock is being reported in the mainstream media.

The camp is calm and quiet, and life is slow while at the same time busy. There is a true sense of community, with everyone contributing and no shortage of work, from sorting through clothing donations, to doing dishes in the mess halls, to construction. There is a constant sharing of knowledge and ideas, and personal stories. There is the opportunity to learn about the deep rooted traditions and culture of the brave people of the many First Nations who have spearheaded this movement from the beginning in the name of the most sacred Mother Earth. If only we could all have the same love and respect for this Earth which gives and sustains life.

 

Shifting Tides

When I first started this blog I was inspired by the Eat, Pray, Love story; the journey of healing and reinventing oneself through travel. Along the way this blog has been an outlet, a space for personal writing with the hopes of connecting with others. I suppose that I found value in these connections as I would not feel so alone. We all experience similar difficulties in life, and I had found that reading others’ experiences helped me to understand my own, and I hoped to do the same for others, so my writing was my way of giving back.

I’ve come to realize that its time to refocus, Pursuit of My Truth has largely been about heartache and healing, there have been a few tidbits about travel, but on that note I haven’t written nearly enough about the year I spent in Italy. What’s largely been missing from my writing however has been a focus on “my truths”, and now that I’m in a committed relationship with myself, I think its time to start exploring, and answering some questions about me; what interests me, what am I passionate about, what do I want to make of my life?? So going forward, we can expect more diversity in this blog, shorter pieces, perhaps more photography, and hopefully more consistent writing, as I explore the layers of what makes me me 🙂