Sunday, January 22, 2017

So I just watched the Lobster, and here's lots of words about my reaction...

I'll start by saying I am NOT a horror fan. Never have been, never will be. And I HATED watching The Lobster. But while watching it, I felt the same way I did in watching Black Mirror: hated having to see it, but "glad" I watched it. Like Black Mirror, The Lobster is an uncomfortably luminous social commentary and while I may squirm in the pain of what terrifying potential we humans have to establish evil as the general norm, these absurdist dark comedies give resounding warning shots. The Lobster in particular is f-ing brilliant. We all possess the capacity to become monsters. Liberals and conservative alike. These dystopian words are not that far out of the realm of possibility.

Fear is a crazy thing. As I've been encountering my own spiritual re-evaluation over the past 18 months, I've found myself exploring which belief systems do and do not work for me, and it has been absolutely terrifying. I've said this many times over the past 18 months... I COMPLETELY understand why people don't change. To step away from self-serving, fear-based thought-patterns and move towards new behaviours, when those thought-patterns were the only things that kept me safe as a child??? Are you KIDDING me?? The devil we don't know is 1000x scarier than the devil we know. I GET why people don't change. In the time since having 3 pretty intense shall-we-call-them-"spiritual"-experiences, most pre-2015 truths that were rock-solid have since dissolved, and things I wouldn't have even considered have become a very real part of my filter. Maybe I'll blog about that more one day... but suffice it to say, there's a lot I'm unclear about right now. 

BUT. One constant truth has emerged in my insatiable research these days: that we NEED each other to survive. it appears the the only way we can evolve - indeed, the only way we have survived this far -  is through trust, empathy, and compassion. It appears we cannot evolve as a species without these characteristics. We've got tiny little bodies, no claws, fangs, or fur, poor eyesight, and these huge heads. How else are we supposed to kill a bear if we don't have group strategy??

The aforementioned absurdist "comedies" serve to remind us that without accessing our evolved frontal cortex, the centre for "WE" thinking, we become fear-based, self-serving, and manipulative. Not just on the individual front... but as a WHOLE. Believe or don't believe in the law of attraction... I feel it's safe to say that we are inter-connected... our thoughts and actions can directly influence those around us. ESPECIALLY vulnerable groups like children.

Our society is flawed and distorted. Perhaps it always will be. With our material needs met, the First World's evolutionary impulses step into overdrive. Combined with not NEEDING our neighbours to help us harpoon dinner, and with the Industrial Revolution's move into large cities and nuclear families, our tribal empathy and support systems have all but disappeared. Great for technology. Terrible for our brains.

I am moving into learning more and more about mental health, of my own propensity towards anxiety and compulsive behaviours, and the remedy for that. Turns out I can't heal anxiety on my own. When I'm in the midst of an anxiety attack, the ONLY way out of my thoughts is calling somebody else who can talk me through it. If not a friend or fellow, it's a Crisis Line. My thoughts get distorted and if I don't ask for a trustworthy's person help, who knows what will happen. What works for me is thinking of my mental health as one that carries a spiritual disease: I do have preventative medicine available (therapy, meetings)... and when I'm stable, there's some leeway on my routine. But if I go long without this medicine of other people's healthy thinking to bolster my own, or the ability to be kind and compassionate to others, I can slip right back into the self-serving-ness so quickly I won't even know what happens. How "amusing" that the very thing that is our evolutionary protection (fear-based ego), can actually lead to our downfall.

With the help of my kind, caring network of strong people around me, I seem to be doing ok right now. I mean, I HATE the winter, so ask me again in 6 weeks, but cultivating compassionate tribe has been a crucial part of moving through my own self-destructive periods. And likewise, the times that I've found a way to remember to channel kindness and compassion towards others, I've felt the intensity of emotional/mental pain cool and maybe even be replaced by a different, more pleasant, feeling.

It's been said that pain and struggle exists because without it, we would not have compassion. I'd like to buy that, but the skeptic in me is still unsure. I've had some pretty intense pain and struggle in my time, and it is PEANUTS compared to what some other humans go through. So for me to use that as a blanket statement for why the world is as it is feels callous and negligent. This goes back to me not knowing a god-damed thing about the world. 

But here's what I do know: I have some very important mentors who have either lived longer than me on this earth, who have lived through at least what I'm going through if not worse, or both... and have lived to tell the tale. The people who pull me through are those who can say, "Me Too!". I don't even care about getting advice, when I'm in that place, usually... I just know that if somebody hasn't experienced what I've experienced, they simply won't help me get through the thing I'm getting through. But if they have, and I feel safe around them, I open up just a little bit. And maybe even heal. Or whatever.

So... do I have an end for this blog? A Happy Ending? Or an answer for our terrifying shared reality of the Inauguration of He Who Shall Not Be Named? Not really. Except that the sun came up today, and there's a lot I don't have control over, even from day to day (depending on my mental health state), but there will always be even a little something I have control over, and that's enough for today.

A lot of this blog was influenced by this article here, which is worth a read in our scary world events right now, and contains a link to a TED talk. It also is prompting a lot of my own personal research into Joseph Campbell, so if you have any articles around the work he's done, send 'em my way.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The joy is in the struggle.

My aunt told me  not too long ago that her mother, my paternal grandmother, used to often say, "the joy is in the struggle." Well, if that's the case, then 2016 must have been a particularly joyful year.


So hey there world, it's 12:06am on the wee morning of my 33rd birthday. So I lie here, pondering the trivial issues like "WHAT IS GOD REALLY" and "WILL I EVER UNDERSTAND REALITY"?

However, the biggest theme coursing through my head tonight is, "maybe just maybe 2016 was an OK year after all."



LET ME BE CLEAR - 2016 was no 2015. I can say with complete certainty that 2015 was the best year of my life to date. A year that started out bleak, and became magnificent. Fireworks. Ecstasy. Family. Friendship.

And then, it abruptly ended. And the tail end of 2015 ended as bumpy as it had exactly 1 year before.

"Surely," I thought, "while this is difficult, it cannot last into 2016? 2015 was my Happy Ending year, where everything got better! Now that it's Happy, it Stays that Way! Hurray!"

Oh, how wrong I was.

If 2015 was a loving mistress who caressed me to sleep with popsicles and secondhand minks, 2016 was a vengeful ex who egged my house every Friday night and convinced the cops it was those damn kids. Where 2015 was a Ferrari, 2016 was my mom's old 1976 Mustang that had a hole in the parking brake. 2015 was rich organic cocoa beans; 2016, llama vomit.

2016 was supposed to be the goofy Joan Cusack character who had your back through thick and thin; but instead, 2016 turned into the 6-fingered horseman from The Princess Bride. Hard stuff happened. Hard feelings happened. My show had a tough birthing process, I got really sick, and my heart got broken. A few times. My finances remained tight. Solvent, but tight. Donald Trump happened.

I'd love to end it there. "2015, good. 2016, bad. Screw you. Downhill from here. Feel bad for me THE END". And I would! I tried, I did!


I'm lying here, 22 mins into being 33 years old... and I just can't shake this feeling.

"Maybe 2016 knew what she was doing after all..."

because... ok. I had hard feelings. I was alone. I was broke. Yes.

But... I got through those feelings, and I did it on my own. I got through the alone-ness... and when the people started flowing back in, I had a self-assurance that didn't used to be there, because I HAD gotten through that stuff on my own. And I may have been broke... but I did get everything I needed. And I learned how to scale back if I had to. On. My own. And yes, ok, Donald Trump still happened but at least that happened to EVERYONE AT THE SAME TIME.

And in the meantime... I wrote a fucking fantastic show that was REALLY well-received, and made a difference. I got to do my very first solo Fringe tour. I got clear on my comedic voice, and my true north on the artistic compass. I had a spiritual experience that lifted another layer of the veil... maybe even permanently? My work ethic grew, and my confidence as a writer skyrocketed.

And I realized... I think I have a team.

I've never had a team before, guys. I've never really had the social skills to know how to create consistent community of like-minded individuals. I was an only child of a dysfunctional household and broken marriage, and was pretty heavily bullied at a formative age, so it's fair to say my makeshift social skills were long due for a major overhaul.

The framily of creation, relationships that began in 2015, deepened with 2016. I learned why friendships were necessary. And I have such, such, SUCH good people in my life right now. Like the kind of quality of people that 10-year-old Meg could only DREAM of having as friends, collaborators, confidantes, and butt-touchers.

agggghhhh.... I hate to say this, but I think... I think 2016 knew what she was doing... UGGGGH YOU FRUSTRATINGLY SAUCY MINX!!!

See, I gave 2016 a lot of shit this year, but she forced me to grow up. She became the parent that took away the sharp fabric scissors I so wanted to play with.While I spent much of the first and last parts of the year being angry at how shitty she was for making me feel abandoned, alone, and scared...  begrudgingly, I admit that those feelings were actually already there.... 2016 was just showing me that I'm strong enough to deal with them now, and perhaps even outgrow them.... and maybe... just maybe... those feelings and world-views weren't real... maybe... just maybe... an entire new way of interacting with the world exists.


So don't get me wrong. I'm still struggling with some of the big stuff right now. My horoscope says that 2017 is going to be another year of foundational shifts for me, that the big-ass struggle is only halfway done. And since horoscopes are always correct, the thought of having another year as intense as 2016 brings bite-sized chunks of vomit up my esophagus.

So I don't know what's next. But. I DO know. That one day it will all be gone, all of it. The joy. The pain. The tears. The sex. The ice cream. The best friends. The abandonment issues. ALL. OF. IT. One of he more intense parts of 2016 was an experience I had surrounding this, which I'm writing my new show about, and if 2016 hadn't been what it was, I definitely would not have had that experience and wouldn't be writing this show or this sweet run-on sentence about it.

2016, you weren't a fun year, but I think you were a necessary year. Don't tell anyone I said this, but I'm considering being grateful for you.  CONSIDERING . Can't say I'm sad to see you leave, but I'll never be 32 again. So, you're all I had this year. So... thanks for picking me.

And maybe... just maybe... there was joy in there.



Thursday, December 31, 2015

What a Difference a Year Makes.

Hi everyone,

I promised myself that I would write just one blog post before the end of the year. And this is the year that I keep my promises, so.... here goes.

So it's winter time. This is the time when we take stock, gather the harvest, retreat into warmth, and just hang the fuck on until the world thaws again.

Now, I don't know about you, but this year was real good. Also just when I thought it was going to be good forever and all my problems would be behind me... (you know where this is going)... I got kicked in the ass by a whole lotta life.

But 2015 is closing down and I'd like to share with you the teeniest bit about what I've learned this year, if I may. Who knows where the fuck 2016 is gonna go but here's what's sticking with me outta 2015.

So, top things that come to mind that I've learned from 2015:

Time is speeding up.

Oh man, I am starting to write like it is going out of STYLE. I feel like this year -- just this year -- I just GOT IT that there's no guarantee that I'm going to live past tomorrow. I have a lot of things I want... NEED ... to write, create, and work towards mastery. So if not now... when?

A lot of the things that are "true" are actually just "beliefs".

Ok, stay with me here. I'm no physicist and there is a real possibility I will take us all down a rabbit hole with this section without any way of getting back up. There may be some things that are true, like water boils at 100 degrees celsius and flights to Australia are expensive and the grammar rule of "I before E except after C"... but here's where the mind fuck comes up... are all those things that REALLY true? Temperature measurements and grammar are just a series of agreements that a bunch of people decided upon.

Now, hear me out. I'm not wanting to say that time or money or the dewey decimal system "don't exist", or that we should live in an anarchist society. Perhaps on some level they don't and we should. But these rules are the CORNERSTONE of our society, and in order to function as an orderly Canadian citizen, I need to keep an eye on time and pay bills. I'm not here to argue that.

However. What I REALLY started to get a handle on this year is that I really wanted to change a lot of things that I really have no ability to change, and I thought a lot of things that were set in stone actually were not at all.

Like the idea that I always need to rush somewhere (what if I genuinely move slowly and consciously instead?). Or that someone always needs to bail me out when I get broke (what if I have the money and resources to fund myself?). Or the fact that when I don't get external validation after a show from other cynical, jaded comics, that it doesn't automatically mean I'M A SHITTY PERSON (what if I tell myself positive stuff and separated my worth as a human from the way I did a thing?).

I hate to say it but these are all new thoughts to me guys, for real. Now a lot of you are a lot smarter of me and are probably thinking "well this is common sense." So this leads me to my next thing...

I really don't have common sense.

So the next time anyone out there beats someone up for not having 'common sense', I really don't think I'm eligible to join in. Because I super duper DON'T have common sense. I just don't. I figure things out the hard way and I'm a stubborn biznatch and that's that.

Life is cyclical.

I've been learning lessons this fall that I thought I had MASTERED way back in the ol' 2007 when I was hit by that thing.

Oh well.

Gratitude is everything.

I know, I know, you hear it everywhere and it's annoying and stupid and sometimes you just had a crappy day and fuck this hashtag blessed shit. But UGGGGGGGHHHHH I hate that I'm saying this, but I REALLY have to be grateful for what I have. This winter, I had to go back to basics. For about 2 weeks, I was solidly getting the message from the Forces that Be that I really didn't have it that bad. I believe the direct universe's message -- through a variety of conversations, situations, and articles -- was "suck it the fuck up, princess". I got into a conversation with a woman from Johannsburg who was moving to Canada because not only is it SO unsafe that a white woman would not even CONSIDER leaving her house alone after dark, where they have to lock their car doors 100% of the time (even when inside) so as not to get car-jacked, oh and where she got sexually assaulted and robbed IN HER OWN KITCHEN... and suddenly my problems of paying my savings (which I miraculously had procured this year) to fix my computer (which was an easy fix) and having to jump back into work (which was readily available) seemed very small. Which also shows...

I dramatise like a motherfucker.

Goddamn goddamn goddamn am I a complainy shithead sometimes. If you are a friend and you've asked me how I was doing at any point over the past year (both through hte good AND the bad), and you're STILL my friend, remind me to fawn all over you like a puppy on a Milkbone the next time we hangout because jesus CHRIST do I like to turn that convo back onto me.

This too shall pass.

Sadly, that includes the good, and the bad... so time to just let that thing go. Celebrate or mourn the thing, grieve its loss, and let it go back from whence it came... because the things that happen TO me really can't make me happy. I'm in charge of that shit myself. Ugh. But also, cool, Depending on the day.

I did not learn how to prioritize as a kid. 

And that's ok. So  I freak out over small things. And when I notice I do it I've been starting to learn to...

Be Gentle, You're doing the best you can.

And that goes for you who are reading this.

Here's to 2016, to all you brave warriors who have made it another year on this planet and probably improved something in your life this year. You are the true heros and you are so fucking loved.

Let's call it a day, slap 2015 on the ripe buttocks, and tell Father Time what a kick-ass dance partner he was this year. Baby 2016 is waiting in the wings, I'll be sidling up to her with the ol' gratitude Electric Slide.

PS - Also since you've made it this far, here is a wombat in a santa hat. (The greatest of the marsupials)

Monday, December 1, 2014


Dear Musical theatre,

Hi! How are you? It's Megan. I know it's been a while. I've followed you here and there on social media, looks like things are going well for you. (Sorry to hear about that Spiderman thing though, ugh. Happens to the best of us). Word is we even have some mutual friends - Tim Minchin and Glen Hansard! Say hi to them for me, love those guys!

Ok, Um. I feel like I need to explain my disappearance... I know a lot has changed since you introduced me to Idina Menzel and Lea Salonga for the first time all those years ago (remember when you made me keep that cd on repeat ? Lol you kooky Kat!). I mean, I know it didn't help when I realized you lived in NYC and I might never be able to live there with you. But we sure tried for something real in London together, didn't we! And what we had was working pretty well, wasn't it?

But then my car accident happened. I needed a time out. I get it, you couldn't wait for me. You made wonderful lasting relationships with many of my friends, who got to hang out with you in SOLO leads - on cruise ships, in West End and Broadway theatres - you even introduced one of my classmates to Whoopi Goldberg in that nun musical based on the movie! What fun you kids had!

I got jealous, though. Ugh, I'm sorry. You came back for me, but not how I had hoped, I'll be honest. Of course it doesn't help that you do flounder here in Vancouver - not only is your income meager at best in this city, but many of the people you hang out with here - while lovely in their own right - tend to rub me the wrong way. Not to mention I thought for a while that maybe you were more my ex's friend than mine, so things got really weird when that ex and I ended. That distancing was totally from my end, and I'm sorry.

I've tried to find what we had with others. There was that fling with pop/r&b, those flirty connections with hip hop. Things got a bit serious with comedy for a while, and the Fringe circuit community and I have a really great thing going. I have also recently been throwing myself into work, partly to numb the pain, partly to learn how to be an independent woman. I've been doing a lot of childhood pattern healing and learning how to make proper relationships. 

But... Musical theatre... I miss you. I think of you every day.

Hey, I know we have things that will need addressing. I know you're really god damned nerdy. You don't make very much money, even outside of Vancouver. No one really takes us seriously if they don't run in our circles.

And then there are the tough things that made me walk out in the first place: The beautiful girls in their early 20s singing "Fine, Fine Line" with way more gorgeous riffs than me. The expensive headshots and classes you make me buy - money I just KNOW I won't get back, and your demand to have me keep proving my talent  repeatedly for friends and strangers alike. And once you decide I am worthy, you require me to perform to that level 8 times a week on your schedule while I'm still working full time.  Not to mention the extra work and money involved if I decide to be the one bankrolling the whole thing. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if I'm ready to take all that back on, yet. We're going to have to work really fucking hard and get some new perspective to get through some of this.

But... I really think we might have a chance. As I snuggle in to bed here, I've cued up a JRB playlist to fall asleep to. I've dusted off my "Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens" to do a small plunk-through sometime this week. And you'll be proud of me: I'm even trying something new, and even writing some of my own stuff. It may not be up to your high standards, but it's a start.

My love, I'm ready to take the first step, if you are. I think we're worth it.

With all my heart,

Your Megan.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Where are you being a selfish asshole?

Today, I need to talk about a real fucking inspirational human being. It has taken me longer than I care to admit to comment on Lu's situation, because when my gremlins showed up this time, I listened to them for longer than I should have.

Let me tell you a story about a real fucking inspiration. Meet Luisa Lyons, everyone.

One of the most cheery, upbeat, positive, sweet people I know. An uber-talented singer, performer, teacher, and all-around human.

 Lu and I have travelled extremely similar paths. Both of us are from commonwealth countries. Both of us have recently turned 30. Both of us have craved to work on Broadway, and we met working at a creative performing arts camp. We both have fancy graduate theatre degrees from prestigious London colleges, and we're both pretty smiley. (Not gonna lie, people kinda love us.).

Then Lu went and did a big thing… she found a way to move to NYC LEGALLY. She "surpassed" me in her life. Naturally, I got jealous… She was living her dream, but since that dream also happened to be mine, and I was stuck in this 'shitty ol' place called not-New-York', well I couldn't handle somebody else "stealing" my dream. I did what I do when any of my non-US friends move to NYC… I unfollowed her on Facebook, then continued to binge watch Netflix. In short, I listened to the Scarcity voice that said "be jealous because if she has it then you cannot".


And then, a few months ago, a mutual friend's post came across my feed. They had written on Lu's Facebook something about "get better". Being the curious cat I am ("maybe she got a bad cold from New York pollution, won't that serve her right for living her dream"), I clicked on her wall. And what I was confronted with slapped me in the face harder than that weird Monty Python fish-slapping dance.

Because, guys, Lu. had. cancer.



You know, that thing that kills you. You know, CANCER.

She had been diagnosed with this insane leukaemia that gave her one month to live if she didn't pursue treatment. Out of the blue. OUT OF THE FUCKING BLUE, GUYS. 6 weeks before her 30th bday. This is a girl who would put the dalai lama to shame when it came to clean eating and living. This is a girl who gave me guidance and instruction on meditation because it's something she's been doing regularly for years. ummm…. WHAT?!

So here I am, feeling sorry for myself in my beautiful apartment in my beautiful city with my beautiful healthy body … and my good friend was fighting a beast of a fight to LIVE.

And here's what ensued of my thoughts.

"Well, I had to fight pretty hard myself, I was hit by a car and couldn't live in London anymore you know. Lu gets to live in New York City with a nice husband and has surpassed her crowdfunding goal, so I don't feel bad for her".

ummm…. WHAT???


.. no really, …


First of all, I had to fight pretty hard to be able to dance/move/work jobs on my feet again, to adjust to a life with a disability, and to be able to live without things I used to be able to do easily, I don't deny that… but cmon,  not once did I have to fight for my life.

And second of all… REALLY, MEG???

^^our gremlins show up and we don't even know they're the ones speaking to us ^^

So why I am sharing this with you, you might ask? (I'm kinda asking myself the same question right now).  Because I don't think I'm alone in recognizing that there is a shadow side of ALL OF US. To say that we are all wonderful, "good" people, all the time, is nonsense. So how am I going to buck up and make friends with my shittiness so I can move forward and take the next right action?

1) I NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY SHITTINESS ABOUT THIS. I was paralyzed about thinking of ways to help my dear friend in a massive time of need, because I had shitty feelings about the whole thing. "she's fine, she has all these friends who are helping her, bad things don't happen to good people.."  … maybe that's true… but what if all of her friends were like me… shitty, too stuck in their own emotions to even post on her wall… where would she be? Nowhere.'

2) I'M GONNA LEARN FROM LU. When I was in the hospital and for years of recovery (and even now, in some ways…), I couldn't watch Broadway clips, or shows of things that felt inaccessible to me, because they felt impossible, and my self-pity is one strong Kraken.

Lu continues to be a positive force of nature. You should see her Facebook page. This girl is still watching all the things that make her happy like Broadway clips on youtube … even though she is in a gross hospital undergoing gross surgeries and stuff… her Facebook looks pretty similar to the way it was even before the accident… upbeat, fun, and happy. INSPIRING.

3) LET'S DO WHAT'S IMPORTANT HERE. Let's, universally, be better people. I know I'm not alone in making past shitty choices. Just for today, I refuse to let my selfishness win. Even if I have to turn it over 10 times a minute, so be it. Being selfish has not served me. I may not be able to give the way I wish I could, but refusing to help when I know I can at least share her story online? … #notcoolmeg

Help Lu, if you can - donate to her gofundme. Read her blog. Help her become a Broadway star. Send her some healing light. Whatever's available to you right now.

Or maybe you have someone near and dear to you who you have a way of helping but are just not willing to because of your own stubborn selfishness. All I ask of you is… what are you missing by not being the bigger person here?

Because I can't help but think… how much did I miss by not following Lu on Facebook earlier? By not supporting her in her dreams?

I'm just glad that I could come to my senses in time to be able to be her biggest fan. And I hope you can too. I'm sorry, Lu, and I love you with my whole heart.

With all compassion for everyone else fighting the gremlin-struggle...


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why I will never use the word "gay" as synonymous with the lesser AGAIN.

Hey, world. Been a while. Guess it's time for a post eh? Good thing cuz this is a loooong one.

I got into a pretty deep conversation a few nights ago with a couple boys in their mid-20s. To be completely honest, the fact that handsome young bucks were engaging in conversation for me without finding reasons to immediately run away was a marvel in and of itself, let me tell you. Not to mention the fact that our conversation was about deep shit.

I was really grateful for the opportunity to have such a frank conversation with cool kids… growing up, I certainly wasn't one myself (a cool kid that is... A shocking I know), and it's really only been in the past few years that I've started to come to appreciate men in their mid-20s for what they have to offer. I'm working on a blog about that right now but, suffice it to say, I'm getting way better at having real interactions with people without judging them for who they are.

We talked about a bunch of stuff… feminism, equalism, gay rights… and the words we use to slander others. In particular, the one word that we touched on was "faggot".

I can remember using this word once, as an insult. I was maybe 11 or 12, and I was bullied pretty hard that day by, um, let's call him Tony LaTelda. Tony was a terror in his own right and would often call me horrible names; but this one particular day, he was particularly mean. He hurt me so deeply… I wanted to hurt him back. I was not one to swear, though, and I didn't really watch many movies or read many books with insulting words so I had no idea how to insult. So when he called me a "Fat big Kahuna Dog" for the umpteenth time, I tried a new word I'd heard some boys say, and I screamed… "SHUT UP, YOU FAGGOT!"

He got quiet. A bunch of people got quiet. I don't exactly remember the sequence of events after that, or now long it took, until a teacher came over and said, "we don't say that word, that's a bad word", and I remember I got in trouble for using a word which meaning I did not know.

Now, upon reflection, I took a couple things away from this.

1) I totally understand how hate perpetrates hate. In that moment, I was so stung and shocked, all I could do was seek out the most hateful word I could think of so my pain would be distributed evenly. This could be elaborated upon in a future blog, most likely.

2) But more importantly: in that moment, I wasn't calling this kid a gay man and expecting him to be offended by it. I have an uncle who had lived with his husband for what must be 15 years now, Gay was always OK growing up, and I never heard any antagonism in my school or from immediate family towards homosexuality. Truth be told, I actually had no idea what this F-bomb meant... I guess I had just heard someone say it once at school or something and the other person had been offended or hurt or something... So it sounded insulting. At that point in this situation, all I wanted to do was insult Tony, what better way than this seemingly hurtful word?

I had an argument once in 2009 with a friend who identifies as a gay man, and he was saying using the words "gay" and "fag" and "queer" as a bad thing - even though they're desensitized - are terribly offensive. After all, the story goes that a "faggot" is really just a bundle of wood... That was used to burn people alive if they were thought to have engaged in homosexual activity. (WHAT!?)

At the time, I argued vehemently for being able to use these words now that "they're desensitized". "After all," I declared in my full 24-year-old sheltered Hetero white girl glory,"I may not BE gay, but I am an Ally, so I don't mean any harm by it!" AND, c'mon guys, these words are pretty fun to pronounce... I mean, really, how often do we get to say words that start with the letter "q"?

God bless this man for being so patient with me, in hindsight. His argument was that we may call these words "desensitized"... but are they?? As Macklemore so aptly put it: "A word rooted in hate." Which it is! As with the word "retarded" (slow in thinking), "lame" (limping/slow), "gipped/jipped" (how a gypsy would cheat you back in the day). Perhaps we have lost our origins... But does the use of these words in a derogatory manner not glorify their origins in some way?

"Heck no!" Said I, "When I say these words, I am not saying 'PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY AS GAY ARE BAD,' I am saying, 'this word has lost its original meaning and now it just means bad in a silly way. I don't mean it hurtfully!"

I now see how this argument sucks, and I apologize to you, my friend from that convo 5 years ago, and anybody who has had to put up with these words in their lives. Let me share my reflections why:

1) it is still being used by people in its original intention of "GAY PEOPLE ARE BAD". As long as this happens, how on earth can we say this word has lost its meaning?!? It's not like we're using the word synonymously with "awesome" or "gorgeous" or "supaflyyyy". It's still used in a negative, deragatory manner?

2) Ok, and fine, assuming if - and a BIG "if" at that - the (let's assume) heterosexual person using this word does not even remotely associate this word with "GAY = BAD", (this jackass has lived under a rock, apparently), what about the homosexual (or otherwise) who has to hear this word in conversation? What about that person who WAS called these names in a hateful manner as a child, and had to bear the brunt of others' ignorance and malice?

Me, I was called "fat" a LOT as a child. There's more to be said about that; but for now, suffice it to say, I hear the word in ANY context, and I flinch. Sensory memory.

What if the word "fat" was actually a word we used in the same way?

I can only imagine... every time I would have to hear that I'm certain I would cringe. Just hearing that word in my head reminds me how I was led to believe I was bad for something I had no control over - and no idea of how to change. So, If that were the case? I would be on a CRUSADE to tell people to never use the word "fat" as a derogatory term again.

I don't self-identify as gay. I love me a good set of male washboard abs and I think vanilla male-female sex is the best. I don't even pretend to know what it's like to be criticized for the gender I'm attracted to… for generations, at that.

So who am I to say what offends those who do/have had all those things, and what doesn't?!?!? Shame on me for thinking I had a right to toss these words rooted in oppression, social ostracizing, and inhumane torture. And shame on all those Heteros who feel they can just drop some words and not feel responsible if they cause pain.

So when these super cute boys were arguing for unapologetically using this word in conversation as it has "lost its original meaning", I almost agreed with them. After all, we all learned that math equation in high school right? 1 uncool kid + 1 cool kids' table = 100% conforming.

But I took a sec to think, before delivering a (less eloquent and highly abbreviated) version of the above thoughts. I listened to their point of view, and shared what I thought. I'm not certain I convinced them, but I'm positive I made them think. Isn't that it's about!

Moral of the story: from now on, if you ever hear me say the word "gay" or "retarded", slap me across the face and call me a fat slut please.

Happy pride, everyone. Big hugs.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

10 Reasons Why Snowboarding is a metaphor for Life.

Ohhhh Haiiiii everyone!

Hope everyone's holidays have gone swimmingly. I won't pretend like mine weren't all over the place (maybe you read my previous blogs?) - but I WILL say that this rough spell is proving that I am stronger than I ever thought possible… as we all are. Mama Universe gives us just what we need! And I'm so grateful for the lesson.

A couple days ago, while snowboarding with my buddy Linds, I had some insights that I felt compelled to share. Maybe you can relate to them?


1) The brain sure can make a mountain out of a molehill… self-talk will make or break your experience.
So I have this heights-thing. I can look at a hill that looks just fine one second, and then my brain will suddenly - out of nowhere - make it THE SCARIEST HILL EVER. Honestly, I had this one time earlier this season where I suddenly got stuck on a steep run after bailing and had to get down. And OH MY GOD was my brain not on board! I was certain - CERTAIN! - that if I moved an inch, I was going to tumble and die. I started to hyperventilate and give myself a minor panic attack.

In that moment, the only tool that I had available was self-talk. There was no one around me to coach me through it. All I had was I could say, "You can do this, you can do this, you can do this" over and over and over again. It was, for all intents and purposes - my mantra.

When in LIFE are we put in situations where we need to become our own cheerleaders to get us through a situation?

2) It's all about velocitization… Confidence is EVERYTHING.
Honestly, if you take away one bit of this blog… this is what I recommend. This big AH-HA! on the mountain was somewhat of a game changer, and kinda influenced the rest of my day.

Urban dictionary defines "Velocitization" as: The condition where frequently driving at high speeds affects your overall sense of speed. You become permanently velocitized.

Meaning, my internal speed is determined by how fast I've chosen to go up until that point. I recently returned to boarding after a 7-year hiatus, partly due to a car accident. When I became physically incapacitated all those years ago and was healing an immense injury, I totally halted my speed - both physically and mentally. I got 'off the fast track' - because I needed to - and I slowed. right. down.

Now, all those years ago, this was the right decision. But then I began to stick myself in that slow holding pattern. Do you know that story of how the circus would keep elephants in captivity? They would chain baby elephants to a pole, and as the baby grows up learning they cannot free themselves, the circus handlers eventually completely remove the chain -- the elephant holds herself captive all on her own. I've recently noticed that I'm the same. Saying "no" to things - physically, emotionally, energetically - all those years ago was the right thing for then. But it's started to become uncomfortable.

Same with snowboarding. I didn't snowboard for all those years, and about 2 years ago I recently started up again. I had to go slowly - had to retrain my body to do things it had all but forgotten how to do.

That being said, the muscle memory came back WAY quicker than I expected… but the brain confidence took a while. I would notice myself starting to go fast, get freaked out… and start slowing down. I literally held myself back because even though my body could physically handle anything that came my way, I was just not used to going fast.

That's life. As I started to heal -- emotionally, energetically, mentally -- life started to throw more things at me. But I wasn't prepared to submit for all those auditions, write every day… because my internal speed pattern was slow.

4) You DO get better the more you do it!
This is the good news! That velocitization is staying with my body and mind, and every time I go up the mountain now, I feel myself get more and more comfortable with going faster and faster. I find myself taking more and more calculated risks… because I find them enjoyable, NOT because I feel like I "should" do them. And that's the difference, isn't it? Living life from FUN - not from other's expectations.

Like life… I find that I'm writing blogs, I'm starting to take more life and career-affirming action because I WANT TO, not because I need to prove stuff to anyone. Not anymore.

5) When things get scary, don't stop - keep going. It's easier… I promise.
Whew, this was a big one. There isn't a lot of snow on the mountains here in Van this season, so there's a bunch of ice hidden under man-made snow. When Linds and I approached a slightly steeper hill than we were prepared for, we noticed that it was essentially straight ice. Our first impulse was to full on pendulum down the hill… but this is a terrifying ordeal in itself (see #1).

And so, having all of these previous experiences under my belt, I tried a new approach - instead of stopping full-stop when I started to get scared, I acted "As If" … I decided to just barrel down the hill (again, with calculated risk… still felt somewhat in control of my body), and carve instead of flat out scraping down the hill.

And guess what?? IT WAS EASIER, GUYS!

That's right. Going with the flow - even when it's freakin' scary - was actually the answer. Who knew?!

4) Have your body Action-Ready for ANYTHING.
Keep your knees bent. Not only do the pros have to keep their knees bent as proper technique… I would argue that it's BECAUSE they have soft knees that they become pros! No matter what the landing of that jump, or conditions on the mountain, or size of the hill… curveballs can come at any time. So stay soft and open and you'll land more than you think.

7) You're gonna bail.
Kinda goes hand in hand with the previous one. So keep those knees bent.

5) Engage Your Core.
That shit's important.

8) Keep your eyes trained ahead on where you DO want to go, not directly in front staring at where you DON'T want to go.
You've all done this, right? Even if you don't snowboard… maybe you bike, or drive, and you're staring at the pothole that you know you shouldn't drive into… and 10 seconds later, there you are, driving into it. Or if you're riding, that one jerk who's fallen in front of you, you're caught up staring at them… and barrel straight into them?

It's so hard to train our brains to move from what we DON'T want to what we DO want… but doesn't it make all the difference in the world?

10) You may go up with friends, but you ride alone.
This one was a biggie for me. All that self-talk, all that inner game on the mountain… these are all MY musings. Sure, I have some company going up the lift, and standing in line, and sure Linds was there to appreciate the comedy as I rode straight into a rail (seriously it was ridiculous)… but at the end of the day, her experience that day was her experience, and mine was my own. Maybe that could be construed as a lonely part of life… but I don't think so. I think it's pretty magical, actually.

Well, there you have my musings over the past couple days. Comment, share and/or post if you feel so inclined… but mostly, keep living the dream, lovers. You got this.

With all love,