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This past January I made a new years resolution: a commitment to myself and to my writing.

I’ve been writing the same two-book series for the last five or so years. Sad as that may seem, I’ve grown exponentially as a writer doing it. My story has been cultivated, evolved, and has never been better than what it is right now. I’ve written, rewritten, and restarted. This past January I promised myself that I wouldn’t everdo that again. I would never again open a fresh Word document and start my story from scratch.

I would write my story at a bare minimum for fifteen minutes a day. Extra minutes in one day wouldn’t carry over as credit to the next. But 0 minutes today would mean the added minutes tomorrow.

This year so far I have written a minimum (and I know there’s been countless more hours added to my daily fifteen minutes that has to go uncounted) of 72 hours and 15 minutes. I owe myself another two hours and fifteen minutes as of today.

Taken that other writing, i.e., blog posts, short stories, Worth1000 contests, other stories, essays, and any other type of writing I do on a daily basis do not count towards that fifteen minutes. These minutes are a dedication to my story, not just to my writing.

I’m getting there on top of school, running, family, friends, hobbies, being a University student, homework… the list of my life goes on.

And I have more going on than this two book series that’s been brewing in my head since middle school. But I’ve made a special commitment to it, and it’s stuck.

I have a passion for writing, and I dedicated myself to it. I’ve grown more this year as a writer than any other. Part of that are the diverse outlets I’ve written in. Part of that is practice. Another part is hard work.

Mostly, it’s the 72 hours and fifteen minutes.

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I read a definition once of the term ‘total freedom.’ I’m not one for having sayings on my wall, or living with specific static phrases in mind. I love quotes and I love words (a lot) which may seem quite obvious. But I like the ones that inhabit my mental spaces to constantly be evolving. I like progression from one maxim to the next. I value the words I’ve loved in the past, but I’m always looking for new ones to furnish the insides of my mind. They need to represent the changes I’ve made within myself.

Having said that, there is a definition that has stuck with me for a very long time in my short life. It goes as follows: total freedom is a state in which awareness exists, free from the impositions of socializations and syntax.

It’s defining the concept of absolute, total, freedom. And it’s a beautiful concept if you think about it. Beautiful in it’s simplicity. An absolute freedom from Everything. Period.

This extends to the restrictions and complexity of society and life; even life in its simplest definition. There would be no social expectations, no pressure or stress for productivity from yourself, or from the judgments of others. Nothing needed from you.

Nothing needed from you. There would be no restrictions, but maybe no incentive either. It’s a state of impossibility, and it perhaps begets difficulties in what that state would then look like, and what one would do within it. Maybe people would simply do nothing. If you don’t have to work for something, i.e., freedom, would you? And I mean freedom in any sense, freedom of financial flexibility, or through achieving opportunities whether that be through applications, hard work, or by any sort. I guess barriers push against people so that people can push against them. Maybe barriers are the key to progress.

But maybe people would feel that they could achieve more without socialization, expectation, and societal syntax (in that society outlines a specific set of rules and guidelines that we use to arrange ourselves and our lives within the greater picture of community). Maybe a state of inhibition would enable so many of us to accomplish more, create more, and be more than what we let ourselves be, or are repressed into being, within those implications. Imagine the possibilities of total freedom.

Regardless of which it would mean, and what that would mean, the magnitude of a state of total freedom would be infinite. And that is a beautiful concept.

Does it make us up? Like collected molecules or building blocks that we slowly stack together throughout our life?

Sometimes memories slip away into the ever growing distance in time between past and present. They fade, and sometimes diminish in importance as new ones take their place.

Maybe memory is just a collection of ideas, values, and learning’s that we draw on for the rest of our lives. Maybe they’re a whole bunch of different voices, each grown from a different moment in our life, that speak to us in our heads when we make our decisions. These voices would be the aftereffect of experience.

Sometimes, stupidly, we ignore those voices. And we make drastic or impulsive choices. And afterwards we think, why didn’t I think before I did that? But maybe a more accurate statement would be why didn’t I listen to my voices? Or specifically, why didn’t I trust my experiences?

Maybe it’s a drifted off memory from long ago of going on a rollercoaster. Maybe they just aren’t your thing. But in the present your friends are telling you to go on it, and the exhilaration of the moment pushes you to try it again. Despite the fact that there is that nagging voice in the back of your brain reminding you that you don’t like rollercoasters, you go anyways. So you go on one, and you hate it. And you think, I knew I didn’t like rollercoasters, so why did I just do that? Why didn’t I think?

But what would happen if all of those voices were erased. Or at least, a large population of them were. What would happen, if the last five years of your life simply disappeared. Time didn’t, you’re still the age you are now and you still technically experienced every moment of those five years, but they simply appear to you to have never happened. Would you be the same person? What knowledge or life experience would be stripped from your personality?

I’d be the equivalent of a 14-year-old girl, scared of people she didn’t know, and about to start in my second year of university. Not the much more sociable 19 year old who knows how to live on her own, and talk to strangers. (At least ones in safe settings like classrooms)

My point, and my question put simply is: what is memory? And what are we without it?

If we realize that we would lose a huge section of who we are by forgetting those five years, regardless of actual lived experience, then memory is probably a pretty pivotal part of us. A significant chunk of our person.

Knowing that, and knowing that realistically, or at least probably, we’re not about to lose the last five years of our memory, what do we then gain from this knowledge of the importance of memory?

Maybe what it means is that we should focus on making the best memories going forward for the next five. If memories are that important to the person, we should take care in creating and remembering the absolute most incredible, life altering, and mind changing memories from here on out.

In five years, would you like to remember that you spent a lot of that time on the couch? Or that you ate a lot of pasta because it was easy and quick? Or would you like to instead remember concerts and baseball games and karaoke nights and cafés and restaurants, and cooking food for the taste and enjoyment of the meal?

We may not be able to ensure an accurate or lengthy log of memories. But we can make them as memorable as possible, and hope that we won’t suffer a random bout of amnesia that will steal these precious experiences from us. We all focus on the amount of time we’re given, but what’s time without memory?

We’re all a product of our own experiences in that they become our memories. And it’s memories that we should have forever. Whereas experiences are quick and fleeting. Some of us have had 10, 20, 40, or 80 years to accumulate those experiences. I would like, in my life, to focus on creating those personality-inspiring memories.

I may not understand what memory is, or perhaps how it affects me day to day. But maybe all I need to know is to not waste the chance to make a great one. And I guess that’s as good an answer as I’m going to get.

http://www.autostraddle.com/its-time-for-white-feminists-to-stop-talking-about-solidarity-and-start-acting-240166/

The article above, about black vs white feminism, is inherently racist.
Racism is defined as “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to an other.” This explains that lumping any set of characteristics on any group of human beings based on their race, is racism.

The quote from the article, “[Black women] are admonished by our smoother, safer, softer sisters [white woman] for holding the fight back with the suffocating scent of our lavender menace and the stings of our fists,” is subjecting specific traits, i.e., passivity and ignorance, on white feminists because they are white. That, by definition, is racism.

I’m not here to advocate white rights or to victimize white people. I am not a white rights activist or a black rights activist. I am here, rather, to defend against racism in an equally unracist manner. I am an anti-racist whatever the colour. To eliminate racism you cannot use it. Therefore, I will base my argument against racism in an unracist way.

It seems to be surprising that even as a white woman I understand what racism is. Let me explain: I understand what it means to be blamed because of my skin colour, or to be judged to have select traits because of my eye colour, or my hair colour, or my gender. A blonde haired blue-eyed white girl can understand racism. She may not have the same experience as a dark haired African American, but she can understand it. This is not to say that we all do or will come to that understanding by ourselves. But ignorance is not a quality of colour.

I’m not equating one persons subjection to anyone else’s. I’m not here to compare. I am here to point out that racism is a large and credible issue in modern society, and we can’t ignore it or pretend it’s going to get better on it’s own. But what this article should be doing is fighting against the issue of racism, and not attacking white people or white feminists specifically because they are white. That is racist. And by being so, it only adds to the issue.

The human race has one thing that no other species does: ration. We can understand points of views or direct experiences outside of our own. It’s called empathy, and it has a powerful impact.

Instead of pushing away white feminists who are trying to identify with and support others’ struggles against discrimination, why don’t we help them understand where it’s believed they’re failing in doing so, or are incorrect in how they are attempting to do so, without blaming them. We can’t forget that white feminists are not the issue. Some may partake in racism, unknowingly or not (as some black feminists do), and as everyone partakes in some form of ignorance to a varying degree. The issue of racism or passivity isn’t inherent to skin colour, however it is to ignorance.

Fighting racism requires discussion. It requires cooperation and a true understanding of what racism and equality are.

The article states that, “I balk at Black women turning their violent words against fellow black women,” but the only relation I see between these two groups is the word “black.” This is a racist oversight on the part of the author. What if a fellow black women is uneducated or ignorant on a realm of oppression? Or more specifically, racism? If you are willing to subject angry words on fellow white women for making the same mistake, in order to not act in a racist manner, you must be equally willing to subject fellow black women to that same anger in order to hope to correct that behaviour.

On a similar note, I read “We must use violence, both physically and in the vehemence of our words, because we are more desperate.” Why must we use violence? What about Ghandi? When he was getting bludgeoned within inches of his life was he not desperate?

When has deciding that violence is the only answer ever been the best option? Look at the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Is bombing the other getting either country closer to peace? Is violence helping quell the anger, the desperation, and the hatred shared by both sides?

I am offended when I read that white feminists are inadequate at fighting for other women’s rights simply because they are white. They may not have undergone the same discrimination as a black feminist, but they have undergone discrimination. It seems ridiculous to define one feminist from the other by ways of race if that is what we’re trying to eliminate as a defining factor. To eliminate racism, you must first reject your own racism.

I am sure that not every white feminist is inherently ignorant on the issues of black feminism. I am positive that there are lesbian white feminists out there that are equally relatable to black lesbian feminists, as there are in reversal. Don’t write every white feminist off because they are white. Racism is racism.

By distinguishing yourself as different and unique in your intersectionality, you are creating your own individualism. Celebrate that, use it’s unique perspective as driving grounds for your beliefs.

Don’t use it as a tool for discrimination on one side or another.

What would your perfect day be? I want specifics all the way down to what food you’d eat. No constraints, no expenses, no limitations. You can be in Spain one minute, and Germany the next. It’s about perfection not realism.

What would be an ideal 24 hours for you?

What a great reminder to clean out the clutter in our daily schedule. Going to sleep/getting up early.. interesting

Starting Fresh At 21

So. Hello there!
I’m not really sure how to start.
I don’t really know what this is to be honest. Maybe on online Diary..log..to do list thing? Sharing personal problems and dilemmas on the internet.. what could go wrong! Right?..

I have come to the conclusion that I need to Start Fresh. Things have gone a bit haywire this year, and I’ve found myself in a place which I’m not very happy with at the moment. And that needs to change.
-After finally finishing my second year of university, hoping to have an awesome summer, I’ve found myself facing 4 resit exams at the end of August after failing half the year. Which means, spending the summer indoors, studying.
Bugger.
That is very..not awesome.

Even though I have had a few unexpected obstacles thrown at me this year anyway, I know that these failures are all inevitably down to me…

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Very powerful. What a beautiful way to remember.

tales of a charm city chick

He loved Jackson Browne. His favorite line from “Running on Empty” was “I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on.”

“Someday you’ll see how it’s weird,” he explained to me, “to look back and remember what was and how it all suddenly became what is, although you’re not sure when it happened.”

It seemed like we heard that song everywhere. We heard it at the bar on our first date, months later on the way to the beach, at our first baseball game together and almost every Saturday at the grocery store.

I also heard it on the morning of his funeral, which I thought was some kind of cruel joke. And the next day. And two years later, it’s still everywhere.

I can hear the way he sang that one line under his breath and it haunts me, but not necessarily in a bad way…

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Boxing Pythagoras

Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o’er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit

Hávamál 6

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This challenges social judgment, stigmatism, perceptions of predetermined beauty and health, affects of the media, and stereotyping.

It supports the rights of the individual, freedom of expression, pride, individual opinion and freedom, and diversity.

Among other things!

Know your opinions and be consistent. Cleverly done and very important 🙂

Project Naked

This is one of the reasons I love facebook and can’t quite give it up because I come across amazing things like this from the various pages I follow. This is the amazing work by Carol Rossetti, so simple yet so powerful! I wanted to share on the blog because I felt it so fitting and something a lot of woman will relate to. Also the illustrations are just too KICK ASS not to share.

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Posted with permission. Please go to http://https://www.behance.net/carolrossetti to see more of her amazing work!

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The legal process in the dealings of Family/Divorce proceedings have developed throughout the years into a fair and just system. Currently Family/Divorce law, sits for the most part in the hands of the provincial level government, however, there are overarching federal laws in place that constitutes the dealings of divorce. The division of all property, upon such an occurrence as divorce, that is acquired between the times of the marriage and the day that the separation is enacted is in all sense completely equally divided between the two parties[1]. In addition as of 2005 Canada also acknowledged same sex marriage to be valid and of equal stature to a marriage between a man and a woman[2] which enables same sex divorces to be enacted under the same laws as any other marriage. In such sights Family/Divorce laws are gender neutral, meaning that neither gender has an advantage over the other, and divorces are, in Canada, sexual orientation neutral, as in laws that apply to a marriage between a man and women apply by all means to a gay or lesbian couple. As such the actual basis of divorce cases are fair and just and seem to be on balance with modern views. However, that does not go to say that the legal system in perspective to such legal dealings of divorce is an entirely just and fair system nor does it go to say that the system does not need to be changed.

In terms of accessibility and financial expense the family and divorce proceedings are for all intended purposes appalling. The expense alone of hiring a lawyer in order to represent you at court is unrealistic for anyone but the wealthy[3]. In a survey done on 275 family litigants in Ontario showed that 60% were self-represented during their divorce proceedings and the number one reason as to why be that they could not afford to pay for a lawyer[4]. The people who came from a wealthier background were much more likely to have a lawyer to represent and to help them to navigate the field throughout their legal proceedings[5]. A similar survey was conducted in Calgary on lawyers and judges; the findings showed that north of 50% of such proceedings that were done where either one or both parties were representing themselves[6]. Moreover, a specific case outlined by Mclean’s magazine showed that Augustine, a woman who had recently suffered a divorce to which she could not afford a lawyer, used all of her vacation and sick days in one year in order to represent herself in court following her separation. Even so, at the end of the year she found she was no closer in finalizing that divorce[7]. Mclean’s described self-representation as a process that is not “[for] the faint of heart” and describes Augustine’s incredible struggle[8]. “Let’s face the facts, the cost of lawyers has escalated dramatically,”[9] stated David Scott, an Ottawa lawyer and chair of Pro Bono law Ontario.

Facing this serious problem, the most significant change that needs to occur in Family/Divorce law is not the laws themselves but the accessibility of the proceedings. The process as it stands takes people who are at one of their most vulnerable and devastated moments in their lives and enhances their feelings of desperation by surmounting the stress. Speaking from a child of divorce, or rather watching my parents deal with separating over the last few years I understand first-hand the difficulties and the lack of help they are given in response to the situation of divorce. Lawyers need to be more financially accessible so that unqualified people are not left to navigate a legal system that they have no specialty knowledge of. In most of these cases, as in the case of Augustine, these people get cheated out of just representation and as such they are at a significant disadvantage throughout the proceedings.

This problem is dire and similar to most legal situations, complicated. There is no easy answer in the improvement of this legal process however there may be small ways to allow a more accessible legal system. For instance Augustine stated, “I don’t make a lot of money, but I make too much to get legal aid.”[10] This problem could be minimalized or eliminated if the amount of income of which was necessary in order to be eligible for legal aid was reduced. This could allow more people access to legal support. Similarly, more governmental aid programs should be set up for those who require them in addition to more government sourced lawyers. It is obvious that neither of these options is simple or inexpensive in themselves, but they may perhaps be an effective answer in dealing with this problem that has affected so much of our population.

Lastly, in order to minimalize the overall affects that divorce reaps on its victims, and as the process is as demanding and expensive as it is, affordable and accessible therapy should be more readily available. After such a rigorous and damaging process a variety of people may require counselling or therapy to which, after such an expensive process, they cannot afford. People suffering through such pivotal and aggressive situations should not be left without government aid to help them sort through such a phonetically altering time. Despite the significance in the problem of expense, mental health, stability, and stress should also be accounted for.

In conclusion, Divorce/Family law has been set upon grounds of solid legal backings and laws. However it does not extend its reach so far as to actually help people dealing with the proceedings. As such the legal process needs to be reformed to be more accessible to people of all wealth brackets and to be more supportive to the people who require it.