Saturday, November 16, 2013
This one will be my only one, though. Because mine is not a rant on this certain man's behaviour: that's been covered. We all know that this is not a person in sound mind to make reasonable choices for the better of the people around him and not on himself.
My rant is concerning how we - not just Toronto, but the media and indeed, the world at large - is dealing with it.
And hey, don't get me wrong. I preface this to say I don't condone a thing Mr. Ford has done. If you're not familiar with the throes of addiction, check out Dr. Gabor Mate's work. He speaks to how we could (dare I say Should?) work with addicts and addiction - in others AND ourselves - it far more eloquently and succinctly than I.
HOWEVER. Allow me this space to be rageful. For some reason, our society has gone WILD with Anti-Bullying. Google "anti bullying" and you could be entertained for days. Our tax dollars have gone to full school PROGRAMS to "cut down on bullying" (check out pinkshirtday.ca). There is "zero tolerance" for any kind of abuse - physical, verbal, or otherwise - at many schools these days.
How many of US - as parents, peer mentors, role models, co-workers, bosses, or even users of Facebook - REALLY take the time to look at our words? How many of us have paid attention to the fact that we might, just might, have a sphere of influence where people... gasp… look up to us and value our opinion? And how many times do we attempt to connect with people who are "cooler" than us, or whatever, by saying MEAN THINGS about EASY TARGETS?
There was a dude at the bar last night who spent a good 20 minutes of the night - loudly, I might add - telling everybody what he thought of the "red-faced fatty" to his table of drunk young 20-somethings, all quite attractive and dressed well. Clearly this man was influential in his circles, as he had a rapt audience.
I was at a course all day today, on a topic with NOTHING TO DO with politics, or comedy, or Toronto. And yet, the very first keynote speaker of the day came up and spent over 5 minutes of his 20 minute lecture (that's one quarter, folks), playing Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert/Jimmy Kimmel clips on the current affairs, and the speaker himself made MEAN jokes about Rob Ford. I believe I counted no less than 7 - probably closer to 12 or 13 - times that this speaker said the word "crack" and "drugs" with sheer disdain in his voice.
Both of these guys were probably nice people. The second guy in particular is quite accomplished in his line of work, he has a young family in a respectable neighbourhood, AND HE'S A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!! Really Mr. ______???? The ONLY way you felt you could engage an audience who PAID TO HEAR YOU SPEAK was by spending ONE QUARTER of your speech making fun of a man who's clearly in SERIOUS EMOTIONAL PAIN????????? And who knows what other chemistry is all fucked in his brain from substance abuse and possible trauma???
Let me be clear. I am not a perfect human (much as my ego attempts to convince me hourly that I am). I have said some mean stuff and I thought Jon Stewart's bits have been pretty fucking funny. I even LIKED a mashup photo of Miley Cyrus treating Rob Ford's face as a Wrecking Ball. He needs to step down, and then do whatever healing work he's ready to do. But I'm a product of this society and I am committing to you… no more Rob Ford jokes. It's getting old and it's getting sad.
Because my JOB is to be a role model for the kids I teach and nanny. And how are our kids supposed to NOT bully - either inside or outside of school - if all they receive on the media is that "Bullying is Cool, Bullying is funny, and it's only OK if you go for the easy targets". Have some compassion, everyone, leave the guy alone. And maybe… just maybe… you might find that as you take your attention off an easy scapegoat, you might just look inside… and see you have some healing work of your own that you need to do.
Posted by Megan Phillips at 8:38 PM
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The more I experience, the more I realize my pattern of just running towards the "new" and away from the "familiar". Why is that? Maybe the "familiar" is synonymous - in my conditioned way of thinking - with the "imperfect" and therefore the "unworthy".
|The Banyen Tree in Lahaina, Maui is one huge tree with extensive roots.|
I've really been noticing recently how scared I am to confront certain aspects of myself, and to set boundaries in some certain circumstances. And I won't get too much into the deep personal details - because honestly they don't really matter - but rather than have conversations, deal with things, and keep showing up, I've just wanted to cut and run. "A new situation would be SO MUCH BETTER than the one I have now... a fresh start... I can be a whole new person... ".
Is that really true?
Sure, a new situation means new people who can meet me and take me for my word when I introduce myself to them. But the thing about new people - and this is a broad generalization, so bear with me - is that every new person we meet (especially in society) - is one more person where I can live in STORY. And I'm realizing, more and more, that when I'm in STORY, I'm avoiding GROWTH. Does that make sense?
I'm reminded of plants here. I know, I know, I know it's cliche. Plants without roots die. Any ol' kinda plant. I understand some plants thrive with smaller roots than others. Some don't need soil, they can hang out in water, some roots are so extensive they can be just one plant and take over a block (have you ever seen the Banyen Tree in Lahaina?).
When I live in story, my roots grow horizontally. I grow sideways, I grow on the easy part of the soil. The part that gets used up quickly before I have to go to the next one. Akin to the gas-guzzling car, I am a voracious consumer of people's energy. I tell these new friends stories about my life, about my ankle, about my personal growth, about my Arbonne business, about this and that show I'm doing ... you name it. And in different countries, I get to have a whole story about being CANADIAN! Oh isn't that exciting - there's so many things they don't know about this country! And suddenly I get to be someone else.
Do you think it's a coincidence I became an actor?
Don't get me wrong. Travelling is one of the best things we can do as a society to broaden our horizons, and I intend to travel regularly until my last breath. Meeting new people can blow your mind wide open and teach you so many cool new things about different cultures, different perspectives, different ways of thinking.
But if I don't work on the relationships I have with those near and dear to me, who I let see me at my worst, who I see at their worst, who I teach myself to love at all stages, and who provide the mirror for me to really look long and hard at who I am and what I stand for... who are the people I'm attracting into my life, really? How am I teaching them to treat me, and what do I have to offer them in return?
Because if I offer them a shallow root system, I am a shell of what I know I could be, and the slightest wind will knock me over. Trust me. I've seen it happen again and again and again.
So, today, I pose to you: How can you grow your roots a little further, be a little sturdier... and where is your STORY wanting you to uproot?
With so much love,
Posted by Megan Phillips at 12:00 AM
Monday, August 26, 2013
Just touching base. It's been a rough night, and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you.
September, 2013. Here we are, right back at September... and, once again, after having a huge, life-changing, quantum-leap summer...
I'm right back to where I started.
Did I even go away? Did I really have experiences?
Has this ever happened to you? Have you gone away, had a major life-shifting event... then coming back feels like -- as my friend Paula says -- your "toes are cut off trying to fit back into your shoes?". That's where I'm at.
Don't get me wrong - Vancouver is beautiful. I'm lucky to be employed at a job that pays reasonably well for the hours that I work, and to have such thoughtful, caring co-workers. There is so much gratitude here... yet, why does my heart hurt so much?
New York was LIFE-CHANGING. I think. I mean, everything was clicking, the Universe was offering me gifts upon gifts, people's schedules just magically would merge with mine, and I just felt like I had valuable pieces to offer the world. And I come back, and it feels like I've been running and just slammed my solar plexus into a hurdle. The wind feels knocked out of me.
I can't continue living this way, I just can't. I can't keep having to "come down". And therein lies the choice... does one choose to not have expansive experiences because it's just too painful to contract back into where she was before? Or does this same person simply throw caution to the wind and negate all prior responsibilities following the perfection that is a 6-week vacation?
Has anyone else ever experienced this? What have your choices been... or did Providence step in at the very last moment and make the decision for you? I'm all ears.
With all love,
Posted by Megan Phillips at 9:30 PM
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Dear New York City,
I've been lucky enough to spend the last 3 weeks hanging out with you. Yes, you are stinky, your early July heat wave really left you needing a shower, you're an expensive date, and a cab driver honked at me one day for walking too slowly across a crosswalk... BUT. I have reaffirmed my love for you. And why is that? Why are you such a gorgeous, artistic mecca?
First, let's start on where I currently live: Vancouver, British Columbia.
An ex once said to me, "Vancouver is the end of the world". I had no idea what he meant by that - after all, I had just moved back to Vancouver, and I was planning on shipping on out within that year, or perhaps in the next 2 years. I didn't understand what that meant! And he explained,
"Everyone who you've ever met that lives here has meant to only be here temporarily. But this place, this style/quality of living, it reels you in and keeps you here. People try to leave -- and Vancouver just sucks you in".
I completely rebelled against that at the time. I was someone different! I was going places! .. And that was almost 7 years ago ... and I still call Vancouver home. I've travelled to a bunch of different places in those 7 years... but I still live there, even though I balk against the arts scene, and just the general vibe of the city altogether. Why is that?
Let me state some of the amazing things I have experienced with you, dear NYC, that have NEVER happened to me in Vancouver:
1) I went to a New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) show, saw a musical (VOLLEYGIRLS - y'all should TOTALLY keep your eye out for it!) that could very realistically happen on Broadway. I met a Broadway star - someone who has been recognized for her creative & writing talent - and people around her recognized her for her talent, NOT for being on a TV show. And she was AWESOME!
2) I met a playwright and another writer at a little personal development meeting I went to, and both of them were interested in taking my flyer.
3) There's clear rehearsal studios to drop flyers off at
4) This exact interaction happened on the subway: I couldn't hear what the subway guy was saying about changes on the route over the weekend, so I got off the train, thinking I had to wait for the next train. It was REALLY hot. The subway conductor leaned over the side and yelled at me.
I didn't know he was talking to me, so I ignored him.
I continued to ignore him.
"MISS!!!" I looked up, realizing I was the only one on the subway platform.
"What you doin'?" he barked.
"Ummm, I thought you weren't stopping anywhere before 42nd Street".
He looked very mean: Picture Billy Goats Gruff here.
"Where you goin'?" He continued.
"Um, 13th Street"
He curtly beckoned his head towards the train.
"Get on the train. I'm goin' there. Too hot to wait in the subway".
As I blindly refocus my thoughts, he impatiently waits as I scurry back to the train. I then realized that the muddled words over the Subway were saying that the train was NOT an express, JUST a local until 42nd (I had thought it was the other way around).
But the fact is, he cared about me! As I left for my stop, I flagged him and I said, "Thank you for taking care of me!"
He shrugged, and replied, "It's too hot to wait 10 minutes for the next train." And then he left.
In Vancouver -- a) the skytrain is automated (seriously, they really only care about you if you HAVEN'T paid your fare), and b), I've never heard a bus driver talk to me once in my adult life of living in Vancouver.
5) We were at a food place, and my pal got served ahead of me (it was a deli-style place, so you had to order at the counter). I had taken some time to decide what i was going to eat, but finally I was ready. The deli worker didn't see me ready - his back was to me as he made coffee, cleaned the machines, etc. After about 3 or 4 minutes, I cleared my throat (I know, I know, passive aggressively, I'm working on that, guys) - and he turned his back. I was a little stressed as we had somewhere to be in 10 minutes and it felt like I was wasting time, plus I was hungry. I'm sure I looked very curt.
He looked at me, genuinely surprised, and said, "Oh, you want food too?"
I said (curtly), "Yes, I've been waiting".
NOW -- this is where the difference lies! In Vancouver, my experience has shown that the workers would grow obsequious, and fawn all over the "customer" (for whatever reason), apologizing, etc (even though it wasn't their fault).
This worker, however, no way. He grows incredulous and a bit pissed and says, "Well I didn't know!"
And ya know?! it's true! He didn't know! And it's not up to me to get on my high horse and say he should've!!
6) I had the best copy experience OF MY LIFE in Astoria. It's too much to go into detail over our interactions, but suffice to say that the lovely man at the copy shop was a total prankster, a real sweetheart, and a genuine, lovely man. I can say with complete authenticity, I have NEVER EVER EVER EVER had this lovely photocopier in a mom and pop shop give such incredible service.
So. it's possible (probable?) That this is all a gross exaggeration. Of COURSE, not everyone in NYC is awesome, and not everyone in Vancouver is horrible. So please don't think that's what this article is about. And perhaps because I'm on vaycay, my energy that I'm putting out there is just positive and frolicking.
HOWEVER, as I sit on this delightful grassy knoll in Central Park, watching a bunch of people interact in exactly the same way as people do in Kits Beach, or Stanley Park, my heartstrings tug a little bit. I feel more at home in NYC than I have ever felt anywhere else.. EVER.
This isn't the end, lovely city. Thanks for being so welcoming, kind, and just plain wonderful.
Posted by Megan Phillips at 3:45 PM
Thursday, August 2, 2012
6 Years ago, I was in London, UK. I was about to graduate Musical Theatre School in London. I was heading towards a path of staying in the country and becoming a working (famous?) actress. I was attending many dance classes a week, and had a lot of support behind me. And 6 years ago today, as I was running to catch the bus for one such dance class, a car came seemingly out of nowhere and parked on my left foot. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks, I had one surgery, and then 3 months later I had another, after returning to Vancouver, BC (Canada), where I am from, and got taken care of. I expected to recoup for 6 months then head back there. But that's not what happened.
I stayed in Vancouver. It didn't get better. It got arthritic. I started to limp, more and more. I did some shows and realized that I'm not physically even close to where I was before the accident. There is a great deal I cannot do, and even more that I should not try to do.
Lots of you know this story inside and out. Every year that goes by, I become more and more distanced from the Accident, and more solid in who I am - NOW. I am constantly meeting new (and connecting with old) peoples, teachers along the way.
So what's the purpose of the blog? All of the above, I've said a million times about it. I've written a show about it, for Chrissake. This story is my story, and it's formed life as I am.
I suppose I write this blog with the intention to state that this cycle is on its way out. It may not be OVER completely - there is always work to be done - but there is no deadweight holding me down anymore. There is no looking over my shoulder to see if the Guy Who Hit Me's Lawyers are secretly videotaping me to use in court. The crippling fear of not succeeding has nowhere near the strength it had in 2006. I have a partner who loves me, a show I'm proud of, and an incredible support system. I still have a foot that's my own foot.
Yes. I write this blog to say that I am ready to move forward. It's scary, but it's happening. And finally, I'm ready. Yes, and thank you.
Posted by Megan Phillips at 10:49 AM
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Of course that is a massive stereotype. But this blog all started with being kinda tired on a drizzly Saturday evening. I didn't really know what movie to watch, so I Googled "good movies to watch" (creative, right?) - and came across this link from Gala Darling (who looks like a pretty wicked awesome lady actually). And for the record, just reading her movie selection made me realize that her and I could for sure be friends.
So one of the movies on the list was "But I'm a Cheerleader" - looked cute and funny (RuPaul plays an "ex-gay" and wears short shorts, I mean how could I not watch it?!) So I watched the silly, campy movie, and it was exactly as I thought it would be (silly and campy).
But while watching it, I realized: this is actually something that people do in the world today. There are loving parents out there who are, in fact, so scared themselves of 'veering away from God's path' that they send their children to camps to "pray away the gay", "butch up", and use the argument that you can quit from drugs or alcohol, so why can't you quit from gay thoughts.
Not entirely believing that Conversation Therapy was a thing, I wikipedia'd it (thank you Internet!). Sure enough, I came across a few organizations: the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality) and Exodus. I spent my morning reading arguments and studies on why kids of same-sex couples have grown up with "negative" consequences, and how "participants [report] positive outcomes from [conversion] therapy". This is a direct quote from Julie Hamilton, the Ph.D. 'd head of NARTH, by the way. In fact, upon learning that she gives presentations on her beliefs, I watched a YouTube clip of hers entitled "Homosexuality 101". She's actually a great speaker, for the record. She and NARTH hold firm to the belief that - to summarize - people are not born gay and do not choose to be gay. They theorize that while there are a bunch of reasons why a person "turns" gay, a predominant one is that a child's relationship with his/her parent is broken through some traumatic event, and so this child finds solace identifying with traits of the opposite gender. This "conversion therapy" seeks for every person to dig down into their memories, find that event, and heal it. Amongst other things. CNN did a great 3-part story on the research and everything leading to it.
So while absorbing all of this this morning, I thought a bunch of things. Most of which won't make it on this blog because chances are, if you're reading this, you think like me, let's be honest, you're someone who's clicked on the link off my Facebook page, and I don't really need to preach to the converted. And I'm not a debator or an academic because when I get passionate about things, my thoughts just get muddled with emotion so please excuse any technical inaccuracies and/or my lack of through-line.
But allow me to list off just a few of the thoughts that are circling through my head right now:
- People spend time, resources, and money on this as a social cause? And not just a little money. A LOT of money. Those fancy websites and impressive conventions are not cheap.
- This Julie lady is a wonderful speaker, and clearly an excellent academic due to completing her Ph.D. and her ability to craft a persuasive argument. So why can't she be a good speaker on other things? What drives her so deeply to spend her life "curing" people of homosexual lifestyles?
- For that matter, what do any of these people think when they look in the mirror? Is it really that much more important to them to have a traditional male-female relationship than a same-sex relationship with love and support? To live by severe boundaries than explore who they are?
- And lastly, perhaps what bugs me the most is that there are these educated people (although biased, they are educated) who form arguments that, at first glance, can sound reasonable, effective even. These arguments reach perhaps less-educated people that really only desire love and acceptance in their community (let's call it a church community). And suddenly, the way to receive love and acceptance is to follow this message.
- How did the anti-gay-rights movement start? Yes I know it's been something that's been thought for ages. But WHY did someone EVER think a gay lifestyle was wrong?
So I thought, If I were to engage in an argument with someone believing firmly in this stance (thankfully, I don't know anyone personally), what would I say?
To be honest, I don't know. Because I'd probably argue really poorly and then end the discussion with me allowing them to be entitled to their beliefs. Which to be honest, is probably an excellent thing because arguments where the other person doesn't listen are never helpful.
But if I were to engage, I'd probaby ask - WHY IS HOMOSEXUALITY WRONG? How can you compare Drinking or Smoking to Homosexuality? Drinking causes harm to yourself. Maybe harm to others if you're abusive. Maybe you can be in an abusive same-sex relationship. Perhaps sex with someone who has an STD is bad. But let's be honest, STDs and STIs are definitely NOT limited to gay sex. This page supports that children from same-sex parents are less likely to have lower levels of happiness and are more likely to be abused, either as children or adults (of course, it also doesn't ask children who have grown up with same-sex parents, only who have had same-sex parents at the time of the questionnaire, so it's entirely likely their childhood could have included an unhappy heterosexual relationship stemming to their issues). To that I say, "and you are relying on a study rather than your own heart"?
And it's quite obvious that that's where the debate/argument would end, as you can tell I sometimes run out of logical things to say. Yup, remind me never to enter that argument.
So, I'm not a Christian. I don't understand so-called Christian values, co-habitation doesn't seem wrong to me. Marriage doesn't seem right to me (really? It's a thing to commit the rest of your life to one person, because you are completely sure that neither of you will ever change?)
But I do very much believe that we should all have a right to our own opinions as long as they don't harm others. I have a cousin who just recently had a very Christian wedding - while I definitely did not enjoy the dogmatic speeches of the guests/wedding party, I love hanging around my cousin. I believe people are people. Let's just do things that make us happy and if they are hurting other people, chances are they're not making us truthfully happy.
I really admire the strong people who make the stance to go against the grain, but moreso the pioneers who did it at a time when NARTH's view was the world view (Gertrude Stein comes to mind). I can't even imagine the horror, and the bravery, and the extreme tancity it must've taken to live solidly by their lifestyle at a time when it meant social excommunication.
I have a male cousin who, at 10, is quite effiminate in mannerisms (and actually can be a little bitchy to his younger brother - we'll have to watch that). But he is an AMAZING performer and his parents support him in all they do. I can't even imagine if he had to go to "conversion therapy" - I look at all the potential he has to create incredible things, and I think, if he had to spend his entire life trying to be approved by changing the the way he speaks or judging the people he finds attractive, he would have a VERY different life.
As I stated early on, I'm not one to go to every pride rally and write picket signs and elicit donations. Sometimes I wish I was, but that's not me. However, I felt the need to state my opinion on this topic, especially as July is coming to a close, a time when cities all over have Pride Parades (which are often just an excuse to wear underwear and glitter, but hey, at least it celebrates that we can do that).
So I'll just end this by asking: if you "pray away the gay", what do you indeed become? I'd think just someone who's spending their daily existence shrouded in emotional baggage. Can't we all just seek love in our lives, and focus on the addictions that really do matter?
Posted by Megan Phillips at 10:43 AM
Friday, September 16, 2011
So I am Canadian. I am more Canadian than most people I know. In fact, I think I am more Canadian than ALL people I know. I'm serious. I can trace my mama's family history back to Spanish John Macdonell, who basically got pissed off at England owning Scotland (post-Culloden), and he was one of the main Canadian signatures on some official documents. And then there's my Dad's family, who were bakers in Bristol, UK, who decided that they were stuck where they were, and they moved to Canada to be amongst the wilderness and hang out with some Indians (his word not mine!, as written in a 1914 letter home).
The irony is that many of my family has passed through the States en route to Canada, decided they didn't like it, and they moved north. Which I suppose has done my fam really well so far.. until me.
I spent my childhood pining for New York City. All I wanted was a chance to live there and work there. Vancouver was like, been there done that. And then 9/11 happened and suddenly any hope I had of living there under the radar evaporated.
I am Canadian. I like to play it safe. I like to ask permission before I do anything out of the ordinary. Also, I am from Vancouver. So suffice it to say i run a little bit slower than the rest of the pack.
I have a cousin, from Hamilton, ON, who was born in Portland, because his dad (a doctor) was doing some residency in the States and was there for only a matter of WEEKS. And because of that, he can live anywhere in the States he'd ever want to and the customs operators will hold out their arms and say, Welcome Home, we can't wait for you to pay our taxes! And yet when I show up... it's, "hi, come spend money here for 6 months, but ope, don't you dare stay any longer! Or you'll get deported and blacklisted! Ok welcome here's a list of hotels!"
And I am pining--aching-- to leave and work in different countries, to add to their value as a society, to bring my education and work experience and zeal for life to their economy, to spend my hard-earned money purchasing their very expensive organic, gluten-free, vegan products and perhaps one day investing in their real estate market.
A very good girlfriend of mine is from a tiny town outside of Chicago. She is one of the most talented, professional, and sweet makeup artists I have ever met. She came to Vancouver just about 2 years ago to attend a 1-year program at VFS. And she fell in love with this city and met a great boy from Columbia who also loves this city. And they are fighting, FIGHTING, tooth and nail, to stay here. She just got employed in a dreaded full-time office job -- that doesn't really give much time for her to pursue her passion -- simply because they will give her residency here. She is giving up time from her life to work in something she doesn't really believe in because she so wholly believes in her place in Vancouver and one day as a sought-after makeup artist in Van.
But here is this amazing, talented, kind chicka who just wants to live, work, and pay taxes in Vancouver, but she was born south of the border, and therefore our government makes it insanely difficult for her. And here's me, very educated and with much work experience, and all I wanna do is book that flight to NYC and be a starvin actress who pays her rent on time and serves people food or answers phone calls in the daytime... and the US government makes it very clear that to try without a visa or green card would mean that I'm obviously a terrorist. For god's sakes, I'd even pay for my own medical bills!!! Did I mention that I look and talk the same as your average Yank?? I've even started to say "PRAH-cess" instead of "PROH-cess", and "SAW-ree" instead of "SOH-ree".
We live in a time of CHANGE. 2012, Yes We Can, a black president and a white prime minister who holds kittens for photo ops. Gay marriage is legal in many places and I can make cheap-to-free phone calls as long as I have internet access. A lot of the Star Trek gadgets are becoming commonplace items to have (iPad anyone!), and more and more people work from home or abroad because we are all connected through the Internet.
And yet... if I spend more than 6 months in the US or UK without a visa or sponsorship, I may be deported with no chance of ever seeing that country again. C'mon world, just because my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents... and so on and so forth for at least 7 generations, never wanted to leave the land of maple trees and angry french people, doesn't mean that I shouldn't get a CHANCE.
It's my -- our -- generation that is to be the next leading force in the world. Please, I ask of you, help us to lax up these laws. We've gotten so fear-driven - might i even say, paranoid - that we are stunting our growth as a society. And yes, I realize there are reasons for laws. I'm sure there are many out htere who will gladly argue with me as to the importance of these laws.
But for heaven's sake: NO, I'm not a terrorist. NO, I won't take jobs from your average American (if anything I'll just trade with the ones who want to move to Canada!) YES, I will add to your society and YES you will love me.