Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Day Late & a Dollar Short

A few years ago, I read a piece of paper on a bulletin board, someones bunch of random thoughts. One of those thoughts stayed with me:

1. Our background and circumstances may be responsible for who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I come from very modest circumstances.
I was raised by a young, immigrant single mom.
By the time I moved out from under my mothers roof, we had moved 27 times since my Mary Janes hit Canadian soil.
My mother worked two and sometimes three jobs, so this being the case...I spent most of my time alone.
Back in the day, single moms didn't get subsidized daycare, and even if they mother was too proud, and too intimidated to apply for it.
I was a latch key kid, and because we moved around a lot..I never maintained friends when I was a kid. My friends came and went. I became quite adaptable, which has stood me in great stead as an adult. This along with learning to do without, which has made me relatively uncomplicated and low maintenance.
Because I spent so much time alone, I realize now as an adult that I had behaviours and habits that were inappropriate.
I think that every report card had the line "blah, blah, a dreamer" written somewhere on it.
I lived in my own little world.
On occasion, I fabricated my family life.
I told lies about my family.
I invented a sister that didn't exist, family members that didn't exist, a mother that didn't work.
I created in someone elses eyes what I wished for myself.
Who could it hurt?
We would be moving momentarily anyway (and we always did).
On occasion I stole, for which I was rightfully beaten, and punished.
My mother did her best with the cards that she was dealt.
But it was a shitty childhood with episodic occurrences of kindness from people that passed through our lives, and the pretty constant influence of Uja, if Mama wasn't mad at him.
They went through periods of not speaking...we are Slavs after all...
I hated myself when I was a child.
I spent most of my teens and early twenties convinced that I was completely unlovable, allowing myself to be taken advantage of and blaming myself for other peoples fucked up behaviours.
It took a long, long time, and a serious illness to force me to get my act together.
Funny that.
I spent time in my late teens and early twenties contemplating suicide, only to fight for my life from my mid twenties into my early thirties.

Nothing like a life threatening illness to force you to get your shit together.
The news flash is that the second half of my life is better.
Turns out that you really are responsible for who you become.

Who knew?
It would have been so much easier to blame my mother.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Live 8 Your Brain

Dear Bono and Bob,

I'm so tired of hearing about you guys...
I realize that you're drunk with the power you've gained over the years wagging your fingers at countries whom you think don't contribute enough to whatever causes you believe in...but Holy shit guys
....shut the fuck up already.

If you want to go into politics, then run for office.
But, I don't think you're particularly qualified to tell Prime Minister Martin fuck all about what Canada can and can't afford to give, or budgets, deficits or liabilities.

How about you give it a rest, and go have a Starbucks double caramel decaf half caf with Sean Penn.
Chill man.


P.S. You can relax've got another two decades to plan the next pet cause aid concert.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Go Ahead and Cry...You'll Pee Less.

I grew up with the phrase.
I had it engraved to carry on my keychain to remind me.

I heard this phrase so many times while I was growing up, that if I had a quarter for every time I heard it, I would be lying on a beach in the Caribbean with The Mister...and we would be retired and livin' large.

This phrase reminds me that I have to keep moving.

It reminds me to not feel sorry for myself for too long.
It means so many things to me.
It means that life moves on.
Something horrible happened to you?
The sun still rises in the morning and sets at night.
The world keeps spinning.
People still get up and go to work in the morning.

Smile and the world smiles with you...cry and you cry alone. you don't cry alone at first, but eventually you will if you keep on fucking crying.

I know that when you first read "Go ahead and cry..", it sounds funny,
and it is...
but it's also profound.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Oh, For Godsake! Control Yer Kids!!!!

Dear Shitty Parent,

I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this...I mean, after all...I'm a total stranger...but....I'll bet cash money that your friends think that your kid is a little wildebeest.
He runs around like a barbarian, grabbing things off of other peoples plates, snatching things out of other childrens hands, wiping his dirty hands on my white walls...
Your little beast is rude to people, and speaks to you like you're a piece of shit.

He tells you you're stupid, and all you do is give him a time out.
He mouths off to everyone who tries to discipline him, because let's face won't...

A couple of times, I've pictured myself beating his ass with a hairbrush.

I have!!

Is that wrong?
I mean...I won't do it.
I've never done it...ohhhh but I've wanted to....

What happened to parents keeping their bollocks and parenting their kids?
I mean, you're the adult ferfucksake!
Why is his 3 year old ass controlling what goes on in your house?
Why are other people forced to deal with your failed parenting?
I don't want to watch your wild child playing air guitar in front of your TV while people are trying to watch something.
I don't want to have to repeat myself six times because your little terror keeps interrupting because he needs to be the center of attention 100% of the time.
I don't want that piece of cake he's put his nasty hands in...

He's not cute.
I don't think that every word that drops out of his mouth is incredibly clever and bright.

I don't think that every word he utters is a fact he's rude and selfish and you've made him that way.
Maybe it isn't him that needs the paddling.

Maybe it's you.


Oh, and don't ask your friends why they never come over anymore. They'll just lie and tell you some bullshit excuse, but really it's because of your little banshee.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Cultural Divide
Paintings by Njuguna
I am a people watcher.
I love to watch interactions, mannerisms, and facial expressions.
I especially like it when I get to do this in an environment I've never been in before.
Now, I've been the minority as the only whitey at an event more than once.
Sometimes I am welcomed and made to feel comfortable, other times I am not.
It's just the way it is when you're not part of the majority. But, last night...not only was I the only whitey...but I was also witness to a cultural divide.

Let me explain.

Our gracious hosts, A Jamaican man and his Ghanian wife, brought together cultures that are very different.
The party was broken into three distinct areas:

The Front of the House, where all the men were drinking and playing dominoes.

The Dining Room, where the Ghanian women, many of which were in grand and beautiful traditional dress in exquisite colours and patterns...were trying on clothes out of plastic bags brought by one expressive, and loud Ghanian woman. These women were changing and trying on clothes with ease and no sense of self-consciousness, with that non-western confidence and ease that says: "we are all women here. I have nothing you've never seen before".

The Kitchen, where the Jamaican women (clearly, mostly family) were congregated, eating, talking and laughing together.

And then there was me.

In this scene, no matter how gracious our hosts....
I am never on this Gods green earth, going to fit.
So, I sat...and observed.
Made small talk with any woman who sat by me, and watched the interactions between people.
The Ghanian women generally stuck to themselves, and the Jamaican women to themselves as well.

The Mister,(as usual) left me to fend for he knows that I'm pretty adaptable, and I didn't see him again until the end of the evening.

I watched the women in the dining room haggle, and shout at each other in minute with serious and angry looks...and the next minute smiling and pushing each other.
At one point, one of the women turned, and with a laugh said (in that fantastic Ghanian accent) "We are arguing...sorry...we are loud".

Just before we were getting ready to leave, the loud lady called to me to come and look at her wares.
She showed me all kinds of shirts, lipsticks and purses...most of which were way too busy for my conservative tastes..but I mentioned that I had seen one of the women trying on a lavender pinstriped shirt that I really liked.

"EH, AH!!", she shouted to a woman in a gorgeous purple caftan and matching headwrap. The two of them spoke in Ghanian for a few minutes and then the lady in the caftan and headwrap produced the blouse, and gave it to me.
I paid the loud lady, and as I folded it up, she said to me "Put it in your purse, and zip your purse your husband doesn't see!" and then she laughed.

There are certain things that cross all