I Don’t Like You and You’re Going to Die and I’m Not Okay

This post was written and published with the consent and input of the survivors referenced below.

A while ago Anne Theriault tweeted something that really struck a chord in me: It’s funny how even the deaths of people that you didn’t respect or like or ever want to think about again can still sting so hard.

It’s in regards to Rob Ford, the infamous former Mayor of Toronto, known for his addictions, scandals, and general disgrace. There is a Rob Ford in my own life, and I’m 99% sure he’ll die before we ever speak to one another ever again.

I think about how I’m going to feel when I get that phone call. My heart hurts for the people that he’ll leave behind and all the wrongs that will never be righted. I’ve accepted that an apology is never coming. I’ve also accepted that I do not have to forgive him, I do not owe that to anyone. It does nothing for me to pretend like what happened to us was okay. It wasn’t okay. To withhold forgiveness holds him responsible for his wrongdoings and trespasses. He hurt me and others and caused irreparable damage that will carry a lifetime of emotional scarring.

He’s going to die one day, and it will be really hard for me. I will be angry, and sad. I’m sad that he ruined his own life over some very selfish decisions, but more so that his pride kept him from being in a loving relationship with his family. The number of times that we tried to help him, pleaded and argued with his family to help us help him, fell on deaf ears until it was too late. They were in denial that there was a problem.

To withhold forgiveness holds him responsible for his wrongdoings and trespasses.

Misogyny played a big part in his wife not receiving the support that she needed. He wasn’t physically abusive; he merely followed her around the house from room to room calling her a cunt and telling her how useless she was for years and he wasn’t an alcoholic because he didn’t slur his words or stagger. There was never any consideration for the children that lived in that house with him.

It’s an old and toxic way of thinking, and I’d like to think that his family would do better for for her if this happened now, but I’m not so sure. I likely won’t be invited to his funeral, which is is fine but I would go to support his only child, who didn’t know her father before he succumbed to addiction and undiagnosed mental illness(es).

This is the only way she ever knew this man, and he terrified her. A trip to Disneyland will not erase the times that he was drunk and made her get in the car with him to blow through stop signs and red lights at speeds greater than 80 km on residential streets. An afternoon music festival won’t smooth over that he packed up her things without warning and left them on his porch in the rain. She will never forget that he kicked her dog in the ribs, or yanked his leash so hard that the dog cried out in pain. He will never know about the tears that she cried and the sleepless nights of anxiety before she had to go to a court appointed visit with him, and to this day he still tells her that his ex wife and her daughter ruined their relationship.

But he will die one day, and he will likely die before she ever gets the chance to tell him that he is a monster, that he scared her, that she feels abandoned. He’ll leave behind enough hurt and betrayal to last a lifetime, there will be no last minute pardon of his wrongdoings. He will never truly know, because he is blind to others suffering. For us, the suffering never ends.

Gratitude Practice

The last six months have been rough… that’s a gross understatement, but we mustn’t dwell… no, not today…

…but back in February I spent some time in the ER with severe abdominal pains, and was told that it’s probably appendicitis, and then they couldn’t find my appendix during the ultrasound to verify and my symptoms weren’t severe enough to perform a CT scan. However, they did find e-coli so they treated that and sent me home, but it’s still probably appendicitis. They didn’t give me any fun drugs (JERKS) because they want me to suffer be able to feel if something changes. I mean, COME ON! Would I really not be able to feel it? I basically laid on the couch for five days with a heating pad and avoided all pants that didn’t come with a drawstring.

But here I am, a month later, going through the same thing. Again. And I’m feeling kind of bummed, to be honest. I CAN’T WEAR PANTS, MY FRIENDS. As it is, my tights are rolled somewhere around my bum and I’m hoping that it doesn’t look stupid under my dress. Even if it does, there’s not much I can do about it because technically it’s still winter and I need to wear something on my legs for warmth. And whatever cleavage I had disappeared last week, so I don’t even need to wear a bra anymore. *cries*

So for the moment, I’m going to write about the things I am grateful for, and not in a sarcastic way, either. So here it goes:

I’m grateful for the weirdness of cats. They’re all little lions that think they own the world. They do own the world, the internet is proof.

I’m grateful for my family. I’m blessed with loving parents and a wonderful sister, and a husband who accepts all of us as we are and loves us just the same.

I’m grateful for the budding cherry blossoms and the flowers and the birds that sing in the trees.

I’m grateful for longer days and brighter afternoons.

I’m grateful for morning coffee, and that the last time I bought my favourite coffee it was on sale so I bought 7 lbs without flinching.

I’m grateful for potatoes and their ability to be turned into stamps.You were once a tuber and now you are a craft item. That’s magic, right there.

I’m grateful for hot baths and lavender soap.

I’m grateful for music and the way it transports me to a different time and place with each song.

I’m grateful for Rex Manning Day and that I have friends who willingly celebrate it.

I’m grateful for trying new things like reflexology and it not being what I thought it was at all.

I’m grateful for recipes and the pleasure that comes from cooking my own food.

I’m grateful for weird, offbeat movies.

I’m grateful for the ability to style almost any item of clothing, and the feeling of accomplishment when I pick up something particularly hideous and turn into a great outfit. It pisses my sister off, but I know this is a skill that she’ll master in her own time.

I’m grateful for spicy tuna rolls. Of course I am.

I’m grateful for the stars and the planets, and the galaxies far, far away.

I’m grateful for sundresses and floppy hats and sunglasses.

I’m grateful for bees. I’m not grateful for hornets and wasps, they are assholes. Sorry for being negative there, but it needed to be said.

I’m grateful for online booking forms.

I’m grateful for phone calls and random I love you’s/I miss you’s from friends.

I’m grateful for postcards and letters.

I’m grateful for playlists and mixed CDs and those old mixed tapes that I swear I’m going to listen to again one day.

I’m grateful for slipper boots and thick socks and onesies.

I’m grateful for Jeopardy and The Price is Right.

I’m grateful that I’ve managed to keep several plants alive and grow a successful vegetable garden twice.

I’m grateful for the ability to make friends everywhere I go, even if it’s a cat.

I’m grateful for puns and that I laugh at my own jokes.

I’m grateful for karaoke and singalongs.

I’m grateful for all the feminists, we’re changing the world and making it a better, safer, and fairer place every day for everyone.

I’m grateful for the wonderfully strange articles that my friends send me like sushi burritos, clips of cephalopods, and everything space related.

I’m grateful for hot chocolate.

I’m grateful for my beautiful book nook and the fluffy white blanket that lives in it.

I’m grateful for forgotten bags of candy that I find in my purse from time to time.

I’m grateful for the space heater under my desk.

And yeah. Things will get better, I’m sure of it. They always do. Leaving you with one of my favourites, Lovers’ Carvings

Much love and thanks for reading,

Rochele xo

 

Written to my grandma with love

Dear Grandma,

I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately. Every time I look at my drawers of makeup and nail polish, you come to mind.

As a child, your bathroom was like a cave of wonders. You had baskets and containers of the most magical colours and powders. I would sneak a little lip colour or eye shadow from time to time, but you already know that.

You embody the sentiment that variety is the spice of life. It was so great to visit you and try a new shampoo every time I had a shower. Your lotions and potions were a constant fascination, and every wash of the hands was a new opportunity to put another lotion on.

I definitely get my love of makeup, nail polish and body products from you. Mom is starting to become this way, but I’m not sure it’s entirely her choice or because she’s Mallory’s and my mom and getting sucked in might be unavoidable. And no one else I know has delicate trays of perfumes on their bureaus. My Girl Room has become a source of entertainment to my girlfriends.

Actually, I’m a lot like you in many ways. I have a drawer full of socks that I never wear. I don’t like fitted tops or scratchy clothes. And like you and mom, I love to cook and I take pride in what I serve people.

We’re gardeners. We love animals. We’re sensitive souls. Grandma, it took me a long time to notice, but I’m a lot like you. I know I haven’t spent much time with you in my adult years, I do wish we lived closer to one another. I wanted to let you know that you’ve helped shape who I am.

You have always been incredibly generous with your time and your things, and I strive to be that way, too.

I was overwhelmed when you baked cookies and squares for my wedding. I should have known that you were going to show up with 5,000 pieces for a 150 people tea reception. But you’re like that. There is always way too much food and there is always room at your table. No one in your life will ever go hungry.

Grandma, I could go on and on. You’re a beautiful woman, from the inside out. I love you very much, and I don’t and haven’t said it nearly enough.

Also, I’m sorry for trying to steal your pyramid paper weight. That thing is a symbol of Grandma’s House and I hope you never give it away.

All my love,
Rochele xoxo

PS- I love grandpa, too, and I’ll never forget the day he took me to the Dollar Store and let me buy whatever I wanted. He’ll get his own letter one day.

 

November

More often than I care to admit, I stand in the kitchen of my office and have an overwhelming desire to drop one of the water glasses on the stone tile floor and watch it shatter. But I don’t. Mostly because my coworker’s workstation faces the kitchen and I look around and find him watching me. It’s like he knows what’s going on inside of my head. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, is what I’d like to say. I don’t drop it, instead I put the glass in the dishwasher or fill it up and go back to my desk.

And sometimes I look at my phone and I want to hurl it off the pier at Crab Park. DROWN THE PHONE! Good riddance! Digital detox here I come! That’s not rational. I need my phone to text people. I realize that I don’t know anyone’s phone number anymore and they probably wouldn’t answer my calls anyway. It’s like, “Why are you calling me? Do you hate me or something? DID YOU JUST LEAVE ME A VOICEMAIL? What is wrong with you?” Ugh people, sometimes I hate you. But also, I can’t log into anything without my phone because I have two-step verification enabled. Maybe that’s a win/win situation.

Talk to me about the time I drowned my Blackberry. Unintentional, but exactly what I needed at the time.

It’s dark, wet, cold and it will go right through you. I hate and I love it. It’s so much easier being miserable when you have wet feet and frizzy hair and mascara that’s bled all over the place. Finally, the outside matches the inside.

Daylight sadness, am I right? This too shall pass.

 

 

 

 

Fall Love

crisp mornings
balmy afternoons
crunchy, brown leaves
damp, dewy grass
hot apple cider
stew and biscuits
flannel sheets and billowy duvets
clouds of breath hanging in the night air
thick socks nestled in tall boots
hot bubble baths
porters and oatmeal stouts
early sunsets
children practicing soccer
condensation on car windows
sweaters that cover your bum
Sunday dinners
mugs of tea
soft, plush robes and slippers
setting the thermostat
watching movies under a blanket
hot chocolate
jackets with a lining
magic gloves
infinity scarves
steamed milk
spiced whiskey
hockey
Thanksgiving
oatmeal

Those things on my chest

Can we chat about breasts for a moment? They’re great, they look nice, they’re fun to play with blah blah blah, okay we’re done with that part.

I sprouted breasts stupidly early, and because young men and women aren’t taught about puberty and respect for one another’s bodies early enough, my breasts were a fascination to everyone else but me. I wanted to tape them down until I was old enough to wear a bikini and let them fulfill their true purpose (I was ten, that’s the only thing boobs seem to be good for when you’re ten.) I dreaded PE and anything that made it obvious that I had breasts. Boys said stupid things like, “Those aren’t real. You’re stuffing.” What do you even say to that? If I bothered to comment on their authenticity, it was often met with, “Prove it.” My mom taught me to tell boys to fuck off at young age.

I was also unusually tall when I was ten. I was the same height as the two tallest boys in my grade, who were very tall. My stepdad walked me to my first day of grade four, looked in the classroom and declared that we were in the wrong place; the children were way too small to be my classmates. The teacher checked my name against her list and assured him that we were in the right place and that his daughter was an exceptional height.

Let’s all take a moment and laugh at the situation. I grew to be a giant 5’3″ and stopped.

But back then, I stood out.

I was tall for ten years old, and I had breasts that garnered unwanted attention. I dressed like a boy for a year in huge t-shirts and track pants; girl’s clothing wouldn’t have fit anyway. I don’t even want to talk about how my parents bought my clothes so that I would grow into them. I didn’t. I wore big clothes for a long time.

I also learned that if I hunched over, my breasts were less visible. Almost 20 years later and I’m still trying to correct my posture.

Puberty is awkward as fuck.

Being an adult is awkward as fuck. Does every affordable bra have to be covered in hot pink zebra print with level 10 push-up? Do I seriously need to have cleavage up to my neck? Why are visible bra straps so risqué? I get mixed messages about breasts all the time. You’re not attractive unless you have big, full breasts. If you have big full breasts, you’re supposed to want people to notice them. If you have small breasts, you should want them to be bigger so people will notice them. Breasts are for the enjoyment of other people, but you can’t enjoy your own breasts without being a show-off. You should be modest about your breasts. You have to wear a bra, but you’re totally indecent if anyone can tell that you’re wearing one. You should be proud of them, except when there is an infant attached, and then they’re gross, please put them away. Pushup bras are fine, but bra straps are a no-no. Gratuitous cleavage is fine, but visibly cold nipples are not. I’m 29 years old and I’m still brutally uncomfortable with my nipples poking out, and I’m not sure why. That’s what nipples do when it’s cold. It’s fine for everyone else to have nipples, but my own are strange to me. Who decides this bullshit? All the things we’re taught about breasts are wrong.

I just made an investment in being a woman and spent $345 on nine bras. I went to a lingerie shop that wasn’t LaSenza and was properly fitted. I’m not a 34, I’m a 30. I’m not a C, I’m an E. And before you lose your marbles, it has everything to do with where the underwire sits. For years and years I’ve been wearing the wrong size and the underwire has been sitting on top of breast tissue. NO WONDER WOMEN HATE WEARING BRAS, it’s not supposed to be that way. I compensated for the wrong cup size by wearing a band size that was much too big. My natural waist is a 27, and now that I think about it, there is no way that the band size under my breasts is seven inches bigger.

I also ditched the molded cup and went for lace. For the first time in my life, my breasts don’t look like they’re sitting on a shelf. They look much more natural and soft than pretend implants. And… the buttons on my shirts are staying closed because my breasts aren’t sitting artificially high on my chest. I also said no to a soft cup, because nipples are real and we should stop pretending they don’t exist. I think I’m confident enough to tell someone to stop looking at them, or at least I will be with some practice. Do one thing every day that scares you, and for a while that will be wearing an unlined bra.

After twenty years, I think I’ve accepted that I have breasts and that I don’t need to dress them up or down for anyone other than myself. I have breasts, they are on my body. And really, they are none of your business.

An important message: Consent still applies to pregnant ladies

The following is from my dear friend affectionately known as Nurse Nathalie, or @howetolove on the Twittersphere:

This maternity shirt was lovingly given to me by an amazing coworker as a jest to my disdain for people touching my belly since being pregnant, but it brings forward the important concept of consent. A wise nurse once modelled to me the importance of obtaining consent from a patient before ever touching her breasts, abdomen, or private areas before an exam, and since then, I’ve always tried to model this for newer staff. It may seem like the abdomen is a normal place to touch or rub a pregnant woman, but truthfully, would you do that to anyone else? I believe that usually it is an area reserved for a consensual intimate relationship, and that fact doesn’t change in pregnancy just because a baby is kicking away. It’s not that you CAN’T touch a pregnant belly, but more that you should gain consent before doing so, even if already implied to close friends, immediate family, and your partner. Imagine for a second, a woman who had been sexually assaulted at some point in her life; a point where consent was taken away from her. Imagine bringing those feelings back, even if your touch was well-intentioned. This is why you have to ask, and respect the answer immediately. This is not a hormone fueled rant, but more a peaceful, thought provoking piece on consent, based on my observations and feelings so far as a pregnant woman.

I know many, many times over how amazing it is to share in the life being created by a woman during pregnancy, but if you weren’t invited to do so, all you have to do is ask.🙂❤

can't touch this