#ME-FUCKING-TOO: A RALLYING CRY.

GawdDAMMIT! I was hoping I didn't have to write about this AGAIN. 

But here we go....

Have I ever told you about the time my all male management team at the large pharmaceutical company I worked for invited me to the hospitality suite at a Business Conference and when I entered the room I was the only female employee there along with a full size blow up sex doll? 

Or the time my senior manager (same company) followed me to a porta-potty at a different out of town meeting and tried to enter it and I was pulled aside the next day and warned not to say anything to anyone about it?

Or about the time when I was 11 and I was riding my bike with my girlfriend, like kids do around their neighbourhoods, and a guy pulled up in his muscle car to (what we thought) ask for directions, but NO, it was so he could show us his DICK that he had pulled out of his pants? 

Or about the neighbours whom EVERYONE loved because they were the only house on our street that had Super Channel and how the husband would invite kids for sleepovers and to watch movies while his wife worked nights as a nurse. And during those sleepovers he would sexually molest the kids? Yours truly being one of them. 

Or about my Grade 6 teacher who took me into the supply room to console me after I was punched in the gut (by a boy) and who thought trying to kiss and fondle me was the way to do that?

Or the real reason, at 14, I had to quit my first job as a busser at the Steakhouse in St. Albert wasn't because of the smoking like I told my mom, but because of the constant harassment I was getting from the all male kitchen staff? 

Or.... 

Oh forget it. 

Honestly, I have lost track of the times in my life I have been sexually harassed or inappropriately touched or propositioned by MEN. 

Yes, of course #METOO

Ask ANY woman and she will tell you #metoo. And even if she doesn't or can't say it (for reasons that are NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS), I guarantee you, it has happened to her. 

``````````

I am reading Alias Grace right now. (Yes, I know it is on TV, but I also don't have Cable anymore and I LIKE BOOKS). Grace is retelling her story to Dr. Jordan and he asks her:

Did {Mr. Kinnear} ever touch you? Did he take liberties?

To which Grace replies, “ Only what was usual, Sir.”
— Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Only what was usual. 

Think about that. When I read those lines last night, I had to stop and take a breath. Because if that isn't the truth of this world.... OOF!

This is the culture we have bred into humanity. That woman are to expect a "usual" display from men of sexual, predatory, inappropriate, demeaning behaviour. Especially women they view in their realm of power or having no "social" status, with no recourse to say or do anything to stop them. 

FUCK THAT! 

Enough. 

I have seen people criticizing the #MeToo hashtag (or campaign if that is what you want to call it) as just another form of slacktivism. Pop it up on your Twitter or Facebook feed and you're good. You did your part. You said the thing. Now move on. (Don't even get me started on how triggering it is for people to have to constantly tell or re-tell the traumatic events that have happened to them!)

Fine, opinions will be had and those people can have theirs. 

HERE IS MINE. (That's what you came here for right?)

I see #METOO as a fucking RALLYING CRY.

A GODDAMN WARCRY ACTUALLY!

#METOO is a uniting force. A force that should scare the shit out of ALL THE MEN out there who have thought or still think that they are entitled to that "usual" display of predatory behaviour towards women.

To the men (and women) who insist that all of this is simply "locker room talk", or the people who continue to use the phrase "boys will be boys", or who truly believe that men can't be in the same room with women because of their uncontrollable urges,  I say WATCH YOUR FUCKING BACKS!

WE ARE COMING FOR YOU!  

We will name NAMES. 

We will CALL YOU OUT. 

We are NOT going to be AFRAID. 

YOU will be shamed. NOT US. 

We will not be ashamed of the things that were DONE TO US. 

We are not as some have said, claiming some sort of "victim mentality" and wanting validation as such. (Also - FUCK YOU! Victim blamer/shamers.)

#METOO means that we are done believing the men who are doing these things are more important than we are. 

#METOO means that we refuse to live in a world where 5, 10, 20 years from now our own daughters are saying the same fucking thing!

#METOO means THIS SHIT STOPS RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

And just so you know, I have been watching "The 100" on Netflix (totally BINGE-WORTHY show BTW) and as I write this, I am imagining myself as Clarke or Lexa saying this to an ARMY OF #METOO-ers as we are about to attack our enemies with the full force of our might!

And as the Grounders Say...

Blood must have Blood!

Blood must have Blood!

#METOO is not about being a victim, it is about showing the world that we are an army of survivors, OF FIGHTERS, of truth sayers, and WE WILL NOT BE STOPPED.

MY FELLOW WARRIORS, 

I SEE YOU!

I BELEIVE YOU!

I WILL FIGHT FOR AND WITH YOU!

N~

~~~~~~~~~

For more important reading to stoke the fires for this rage battle, please read:

At what point do women simply burn it all to the ground? by Janelle at Renegade Mothering

and

next level rage stroke: harvey-fucking-weinstein by KatyKatiKate

 

 

END :: BEGIN

Oh HAI THERE!

I am still here. Lately I have been writing all my thoughts....

Well, nowhere really.

I could say it's been mostly in my head, but my writing coach (@renegademothering) would say NO, that is #NOTWRITING, that is just thinking. So, right now, I suppose I am not a writer, I am a thinker. And believe me, I have lots of great "think pieces" up in there! LOL 

I am by the way, also about to have another orthopedic surgery. 

Like tomorrow. 

Seriously. Getting my right knee totally replaced this time. You know, to match the left one! (I like symmetry.)

And then I am done for a long time. (Crosses ALL THE THINGS!)

Can I tell you all something? 

Three major surgeries in one year is A LOT. Yes, I know, technically and for the most part, these are elective surgeries, and I am choosing to do this, but that fact doesn't diminish the impact these procedures have on my body, my psyche, and my family. I am not going to lie. It has been tough. For all of us. 

I've become an expert at detecting each of my family member's levels of anxiety and their respective coping mechanisms, and trying to support them in a compassionate way while also keeping my own levels in check. This too has been hard and I thank the Goddess for my anti-anxiety meds and my summer discovery of a new favourite wine (but not at the same time of course!). Also, DO NOT @ me about drinking!

On the bright side, we have officially sold the #NaturalUrbanHome. FINALLY! I have avoided going back to the old house since we moved in to the #SleeperHouse in the spring, but now, I feel like I have to go back before we hand over the keys and say a proper farewell to the house that we thought was our "Dream Home". It's funny how dreams and life and priorities change, isn't it? 

I am looking at this time in my life (and this surgery in particular) as a new beginning, or perhaps the end of the new beginning. Does that make sense? I have plans people and I need to have a fully functioning body to execute them. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to the simple act of walking with NO PAIN. It's been a good 20 odd years, I think I am due. And I have a feeling that once I start, I won't stop. 

People keep asking me if I am excited about my surgery and in a way I guess I am. I mean, I am not SUPER excited for the surgery itself and the pain afterwards and the catheter thingy they put in because of the spinal anaesthesia and not having a proper shower for three days and the hospital food (aside from the mashed potatoes - I would eat those for breakfast, lunch and dinner if they let me!). 

I am excited for what the surgery means to me.

An end and a beginning. 

#ICANDOTHIS

Pre-Op

 

See you on the flip side my friends!

N~

 

P.S. Have I mentioned that I want a record player? 'Cause I really, REALLY do.

So when I say "See you on the flip side", I WILL LITERALLY MEAN IT while I play some vintage ABBA on my turntable!

We built a #sleeperhouse and it has made all the difference.

In February of 2016, my little family of four was finally on a much needed holiday on the beautiful island of Kaua'i. I had found a super cute condo in Princeville, and we settled in for our week in paradise. The condo is important - I’ll come back to it.

We loved everything about this little piece of Paradise!

We loved everything about this little piece of Paradise!

At the time, we were on the look out for a new property to buy back in Edmonton. It was something we had been talking about for the past two years, ever since that day in 2014 when life changed for our family in the blink of an eye and the bleep of a heart and lung machine. Suddenly, how we wanted to live became more clear to us, and we realized we had emotionally outgrown our current BIG house, on our BIG lot ,and all the things we thought we wanted and needed.  

I woke up the second day of our vacation, took my laptop and my coffee out on the lanai to do a little writing, and there it was in my inbox. A 60-year old, 1200 square foot bungalow, on a smaller lot, steps away from a beautiful tree-lined boulevard, and a 10 minute walk to the kid's school. And priced to SELL! 

I called my real estate agent and he took me to "see" the house via FaceTime. I knew it was the one. To be sure though, I had our builder also go to the house and give us his expert opinion. He agreed it was a solid house with a good foundation, and with that we made an offer. By the time we got back from holidays, the house was ours! 

The concept of building what we call our "Sleeper House" came to us because of a few house renovations my husband had seen online. The builders had taken these beautiful heritage houses, left the front facade of the houses in their original state, and extended the houses with very modern additions/renovations at the back. From the street, the houses maintained the look and feel of the neighbourhood, but once you walked inside, the house was not at all what you expected (hence the term “sleeper house”). Inside you were taken into a completley redesigned house and into open, airy, thoughtfully designed contemporary spaces. This was exactly what we wanted to do with our new house - maintain that ambiance of the streetscape in our older established neighbourhood, while still renovating and updating the house to suit our needs.

We added 800 square feet to the back of our little bungalow and turned the original house into our bedrooms and laundry room. The addition became our main living space with an open concept living/dining/kitchen area, a small office and the mudroom/pantry leading to the attached garage. And when it came to decorating, we all agreed that we wanted it to feel like very much like our little condo in Kauia - simple, cozy and colourful (and eventually with a vintage surfboard mounted on one wall).

Colourful - CHECK!

Colourful - CHECK!

This house is our grounded space, our connection to that which we hold dear in our lives. To that end, we have strived to fill it with design elements that speak to us of nature, mother earth, history and togetherness. 

We have barn doors, a bedroom feature wall, and a custom dining room table made with reclaimed timber from a farm corral built in the 1940's. To honour the house that was, we recycled the original metal kitchen cabinets and used them in our laundry room. We have a full wall that is made of real mason-laid brick that serves a dual purpose of bringing an earthy warmth to the house both aesthetically and thermally. We installed a wood burning stove which brings the element of fire into our home to spark creativity and transformation, and fuel our passions. We built the main living area around the space for the piano and guitars, so our house will always be filled with music and magic. We built 20 feet of bookshelves lining one whole wall to feed our minds and souls with words, knowledge, stories, and wisdom of others. We have 12-foot ceilings in the addition and large windows to let the light into our home and our hearts. 

Reclaimed 70-year old wood for the table and barn door. 

Reclaimed 70-year old wood for the table and barn door. 

This house was built with a purpose beyond that of simple shelter. We built this house to reflect our truths as a family. We are a pretty tight little foursome and we wanted our home to reflect the things that matter to us. A home in which we can have family-style dinners every night, or sit in front of the wood stove and warm our toes while we read our favourite books, or all curl up with pillows and blankets in front of the big(ger) TV in the basement and watch old movies. A home that showcases the artwork we have collected in our travels and that the kids have made, the memorabilia that has been passed down to us from our parents and grandparents, and our own kitschy collectibles. The house is 30% smaller than our previous one, and yet, for all the space we no longer have, everything here feels just right.  

Earlier this week, my husband said of all the houses that we have built (this is our fourth), our #SleeperHouse is the one where he feels the most comfortable. I have to agree. And I know it is not just the house. It is the neighbourhood and the community we are in as well. We live in a place where when the doorbell rings, 90% of the time it is not for me. It is a friend coming to get the kids to go for a bike ride, or to play in the park, or throw some hoops, or climb a tree. When it is for me, it’s a neighbour coming over for a glass of wine, or a coffee and a chat while we sit in the kitchen or on the front porch and say hello to all the other neighbours walking by. Our bright yellow door is a beacon and I love it!

The house with the yellow door. 

The house with the yellow door. 

We set some serious goals when we decided to build this house. We wanted a smaller, more compact home. We wanted to really incorporate the "sleeper house" aesthetic we had seen done successfully elsewhere. And above all, we wanted a house that reflected our family values of togetherness, sustainability, thoughtful design and purposeful living. Values we encompass in our family motto of All you need is less.

We've been living in the house for almost three months now and I can honestly say that I fall more in love with this space and the way we are living in it each day. Along this particular home building journey, the most important lesson we have learned is this; it is not the house that makes a place a dream home, it’s when your dreams of a purposeful and meaningful life become a reality in your home.

Our #sleeperhouse definitely has us on the right track. 

....and Unicorns. 

....and Unicorns. 

This post is part of The Whole Family Happiness Project, in partnership with Social Currents and the Low Carbon Economy Narrative Initiative. The Whole Family Happiness Project poses the question, “What is the connection between our individual purpose, our family happiness, and the happiness of the world around us?”

To learn more or get involved, visit Whole Family Happiness on Facebook. #wholefamilyhappiness