REMEMBER REHTAEH

 

news came out this week of a young girls suicide. news i’ve heard too many times before.

she was 15. bright. loved animals. at a friends party, vodka was introduced. being 15, she was drinking it straight. being 15, she got wasted fast. thats when it happened. step by step accounts aren’t clear, but FOUR of her male peers, i can only assume they’d be called friends, lured her from the group, stripped her, had sex with her, half dead to the world, and then took photos – giving the thumbs up sign to the camera. the pictures went all over school.

the act is mortifying. enough to haunt a woman forever. so violating. but the photos… if anyone saw a picture of me naked at 15 or any age, i’d be mortified. she was. and with great courage went to the police 3 days after the assault. nothing happened.

for 18 months, nothing happened. no charges or arrests. just her trying to piece together the next chapter of her broken life. and nothing. the harassment continued. no one cared. she checked out. she hung herself in the bathroom of her family home on April 7th. some might say she died months before.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/12/anonymous-on-rehtaeh-parson_n_3069898.html

 

the story of a girl passing out at a party and being photographed while gang raped is becoming weekly news headlines. i know it happens often. we are only hearing what’s reported. but the fact these girls are killing themselves, and that the boys…are doing it with no consequence…i just don’t get it.

 

Sunday, April 14 at sunset, myself and Tara Muldoon of The Forgiveness Project have organized a candlelight vigil in honor of Rehtaeh and the countless victims of sexual assault.

Tara and I have been asked, “what do you think this will do?” and ”why bother?”

 

because i can do something.

because this has happened to friends.

because this has happened to me.

because she, and WE deserved to be heard, supported and no longer shamed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gay-by Shower

gayby belly

gayby!

(Adam my ‘brother from another mother’ of 20 years – creator and host of the Gayby shower!)

 

what’s a GAYBY shower you ask!!

its when your best gay friends and girlfriends throw you a wildly inappropriate baby extravaganza!

Strong drinks (none for me of course), vulgar language, RuPaul’s Drag Race and a game called Cards Against Humanity that needs to be played to be understood.

times have changed ladies – no longer do we need to have a ‘dry’ party for our friends, play silly baby games and off you go into motherhood. make a day of it! get a rainbow streamer in the mix, celebrate who YOU are, and who you’re excited to be!

we should all be so fortunate to have an eclectic and loving village to welcome our little ones into. I had a ball and it was a total surprise (turned the corner and they all had balloons under their shirts as tummys! lol…).

fabulous uncles are waiting to meet you little ones! wait until you see the nursery! decked OUT!

 

 

 

International Women’s Day

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It’s a beautiful day when it’s WOMEN’S DAY!

24 little hours to celebrate and recognize the strongest among us.

A day to reflect and support those women who need our tireless voices worldwide.

Thank you to the fantabulous women of WONDERFEST who had me wrap a week of events with a workshop titled TURNING WOUNDS INTO WISDOM. As always, I start the group with some ice breakers so that we can shake off the day and get present, we dove into Toxic Relationships and how to spot them, checking ourselves for bad habits by evaluating our Values against our Actions and our youngest participant (part of a mom/daughter duo who travelled 2 hrs to attend!!) did a powerful visual exercise on how LONG our lives are – how much time we have to grow, to improve, to fall and get back up!

Thank you Kara for being videographer for the day and to Kat and Arlene for having me!

 

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yes my shoes are off…i’m 7.5 months pregnant with twins people!  a liiiiittle swollen.

14 DAYS OF LOVE #14VALENTINES

 

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

 

Over the past 14 days I have spoke about about LOVE in all forms – for your body and mind, your safety and your future. affirmations, reminders, and examples of what it is and isn’t.

but there is something truly special about finding a deep and meaningful love with one person. i kissed toads and frogs, snakes, rats and weasels before getting CLEAR about what i did not want from love. when i ruled that out, what i DID want became clear. get clear on your prayers. trust your gut and listen to your BUT…”i like him but…we get along but…” and stay open and available.

 

love is a natural and easy thing when its right. its work, its learning about yourself, and its about letting go. i hope you stay open to finding it, and start this year loving yourSELF more.

 

 

14 DAYS OF LOVE – #13ENOUGH

if you don’t know…now you know!

 

feeling like we are NOT enough can cause us to desperately reach for temporary fixes that heal the ache. new shoes, triple layer cheesecake, a half cute guy who is more into you then you into him… not feeling enough is the start of a slippery slope, that says, we aren’t worthy, deserving, capable, or trustworthy. ouch.

on this day of love, repeat this affirmation over and over and over again. I AM ENOUGH. as you are. in this moment, despite all you have been through. YOU ARE ENOUGH. should you want to be and achieve more, you are in the perfect position to begin that process. YOU CAN DO THIS!! you’ve done more with less in the past, i know it and so do you, so start now. life is moment to moment. the rest of your new shiny life can start from THIS moment on.

 

14 DAYS OF LOVE – #12THINKLOVE

 

what you THINK, SAY and DO makes your life a reality. so what do you do when you don’t think very highly of yourself?

anxiety, depression and a host of mental illnesses can lead to an unhappy existence when left untreated. the challenge with mental health is that so many suffer in silence, unaware that there is help for what ails them. my own battle with depression lasted 3.5 years and i chalked it up to something everyone goes through.

a the doctors office for a strep throat, i read an article that provided a lengthy checklist to see if you were depressed. i marked every box and told my doctor right away. its safe to say, i would have hurt myself or worse had i not gotten help then and there. sadly, 5 people have left my life due to suicide and depression. that pain doesn’t go away, its just passed on to others.

be it mental or physical health or heartbreak, financial struggles or just feeling like its too much, part of your SELF love and SELF care is asking for help. even before that, its knowing you are worthy of it. there is strength in vulnerability and saying “i can’t do this on my own right now.”

an incredible initiative called “Let’s Talk” by BELL (Canada’s main phone provider) was launched recently and the shared stories and experiences are helping so many. the shame of mental illness is a thing of the past as more and more people speak out.

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The Mood Disorders Society of Canada put together a list of 8 ways to recognize depression. Take a look, think about it and if you or someone you love needs help, please, talk to them.

 

Weight changes

 Depression can result in a total lack of interest in food, so somebody may begin to lose weight without even realizing it. But the opposite can happen, too: to fill the emotional void, some of us turn to food and will gain weight in turn.

Sleep problems

 Just like with appetite, the physical changes can swing to either extreme. You may suddenly find that you’re tired and sleeping all day, or that you can’t get a wink’s shuteye at all. A particularly common form of sleep deprivation is to find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, night after night.

Aches and pains

 A lot of people don’t realize that depression comes with bona fide physical symptoms,” says Gallson. Feeling sick to your stomach, knots in the gut, a weak immune system and constant colds and flu, whole body aches and pains, and exacerbated chronic conditions (such as arthritis) can all come with a depressive episode.

Anger and irritability

 ”If you are continually depressed, you can become extremely frustrated, and this can manifest as anger,” says Kaey. Anger is depression turned inward, as the expression goes. Having a short fuse, and finding that little things that would normally not bother you suddenly have the power to completely ruin your day could be a sign of buried depression.

Alcoholism

About 40 percent of people who suffer from depression struggle with alcohol, according to the MDSC. Drug use—illicit and prescription—are also common ways that many of us try to escape our emotions. It doesn’t just mask the problem, it can also make things worse; liver damage and poor health only worsen depressive episodes.

Concentration issues

 Finding yourself unable to focus, taking three hours to do something that ought to take half an hour, struggling to formulate your thoughts coherently—these are also factors that come with depression. If you constantly feel that you have no mental energy, and feel like your mind is muffled and numb, it may be time to seek help.

Problems with work

Depression can severely interfere with your ability to work—waking up in the morning and not feeling capable of getting out of bed can lead people to long bouts of absenteeism. But even just missing a day or two every week—or just constantly coming in late and leaving early—is a common sign. “Presenteeism,” meaning regular attendance but failure to get anything done, is also a sign.

Lack of sex drive

 A complete and total lack of interest in sex can be (but is not always) a feature of depression. If you are in a relationship, a total lack of desire for your loving partner can make you feel even more guilty, self-loathing and insecure—sometimes forcing you even deeper into depression. 


According to the specialists, the most important thing to remember is that there are effective treatments out there, from medication to talking therapies. And up to 80 percent of people who suffer from depression respond well to treatment, according to the MDSC.

What is crucial, says Keay, is to be aware of these signs and to seek treatment and help as soon as possible—otherwise, you risk heading into “a spiral, where you don’t want to talk to anyone about it. And that just makes things worse,” she says. “Just small incremental things like exercise, going out during the day in the winter [when a lack of sunlight and seasonal affective disorder can kick in for a lot of us], picking up the phone and talking to somebody, even just going to a coffee shop to vent with a friend, all thoselittle things can help get you out of that spiral.”

 

 

I’M PREGNANT!

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with less then 100 days to go, it seemed fine time to share in my joyous baby news! we are having TWINS people!!

good news: ZERO morning sickness (when i should have twice as much due to double the hormones). babies are a textbook case of size and weight ratio. they are jumping and kicking big time at 6 months. no stretch marks. all belly.
not so good news: crazy swelling of the feet (see: all belly), unable to be on my feet for longer then an hour, i need assistance to put on my socks and shoes. rolling over comes with a full soundtrack of grunts and wheezes.
otherwise, i’m feeling good physically. emotionally… hmmm. i’m taking it day by day. horomones are a muuug.
babies 5 months
i can say that i am skilled at staying present and taking things one day at a time. not jumping ahead to the baby shower or delivery or first steps or high school graduation, because if i do, i’ll miss the fabulous part of being pregnant.
in the rest of my life, i’m enthralled in a massive transition from Los Angeles to Toronto and being displaced and somewhat isolated from my people as we get re-rooted at home. its been tough and winter…isn’t helping.
being happy and satisfied in my own life and career is a huge part of having love to GIVE. i’m having a hard time, in this moment, allowing myself the room and time needed to just rest and relax instead of work work work while i’m ‘off ‘.
more then any other, the recurring thought is – what kind of mother will i be?
will i be nurturing? will i lose myself? how will my marriage change? who will be there for us? can i juggle it all – wife, mother, entrepreneur? will i be inspired to create? will i ever get my body back?
we will see.

EVENT: SISTERLOCKS DISCUSSION

 

 

Hair!! a woman’s crown and glory and often, the way she identifies with herself.

When asked to speak at the SISTERLOCKS event – a group for women with Sisterlocks, which are a style of dreadlocks – I jumped at the chance because as a naturally curly girl, i have LOTS to say on the subject!

“going natural” with my hair was quite the process and here, the ladies and myself shared why we decided to stop making weekly trips to the salon, fighting with chemicals or heat styling and let the hair do what it’s supposed to do. Women talked about the backlash they THOUGHT they would receive in the workplace, the response from other men and women and most important, how their perception of self shifted simply by embracing their natural hair!

an interesting discussion and one that is happening in salons all over the world!

do what you like with your hair, but for me, letting it go and grown natural was the best expression of mySELF i could ever have!

 

We could have talked all night – here are some of the gorgeous women who stuck around for photos afterwards.

Thanks ladies!

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14 DAYS OF LOVE #11BODYLOVE

try loving your body for what it can DO instead of how it looks.

are there bits i’d love to change? oh sure! but if you have ever been injured then you KNOW how much you appreciate something after its gone.

blew my knee out dancing and man, did i look at running, even stairs differently. like everything else, it starts with appreciation. the hands that dig in the garden, feet that carry you all day, a neck, back and shoulders that give the best hugs in town. think function over fashion. look at all your body CAN do!

love it by resting, eating the right foods (unless you are PMS’ing, celebrating or in breakup mode, then have-at-it), drinking water, getting natural sunshine, work out because you love it not because you want to lose weight. and check on ol’ girl BEFORE you need it.

love your body as it is right now. there will be a time in the future, where you realize now, when you are young vibrant and able-bodied, was the best time of your life.

14 DAYS OF LOVE #10FRIENDSHIPLOVE

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” 

 

trust. sincerity. tact. sensitivity. loyalty. dependability. love.

a good friend embodies all these qualities – be sure you are being one.

you are two separate people that have chose to walk in this life together. share the love by participating in one another’s happiness, include them in the parts of your life that are important to you (family functions, other friends milestones, your personal interests) to ensure you are growing together. no need to be joined at the shoulder, but friends should bring out the best in one another, shine a new perspective on thinking and be a voice of reason when the voices in your own head stop making sense.

be yourself. share yourself. and most of all, love yourself as that is the greatest measure of a good friend.