Turn your wounds into wisdom, your hurt into healing and your breakdown into a breakthrough.

Dear Self,

When life gets hard, it’s easy to crawl into bed, hide under the covers and wait for it to pass you by. It’s easy to think you’re not capable or you’re not good enough you just don’t deserve.

Things might really suck right now. It might feel like the darkest of the dark hours you can see. It may be the worst day, week or year of your life. And all you want to do in this world is just give up, to think that you’re worthless. Let me tell you, self, in these moments, you are wrong. You are completely and totally wrong in every sense.

You are good enough. You are smart enough. You are capable enough and you are more than qualified to conquer whatever the world throws at you. And I promise you that one day… one day you’re going to look back on this point in life and laugh. As a distant memory you’re going to be so grateful that you stuck it out and you kept going, even when every bone in your body was telling you to not.

So if you’re in need of some motivation, look no further.

It takes time to build success. It might be human nature to see someone find success and imagine it as this spontaneous emergence for them that came over night. Simply put, that’s not the case. It takes days, weeks, months, years even, of consistent work, of a desire to make small changes day after day.

Each day that you’re struggling, each day that you just don’t want to try any longer, you’re building your strength and resilience by putting one foot in front of the other. If you keep going despite any setbacks you might face, you’re going to turn into one powerful human being. You might not see it now, but it’s being built inside of you, like the Rocky Mountains that took thousands of years to seemingly reach the sky. Now you look at them and it’s as if you never saw a sight so beautiful. Don’t just conquer your mountains, make your own.

Only the weak quit. And they do quit all the time. So if you continue on and defeat that urge to quit, you’re going to reap the rewards of new opportunities left open by those weak minded souls that quit along the way. You’re not weak, so make sure that you’re ready to take advantages of those opportunities when they’re presented.

Even the biggest of blunders, even the worst of mistakes, even the most down of days, they beat the hell out of not ever trying. Because as long as you’re trying, you’re not allowing your fear to hold you back.

I can’t stress this enough, self, JUST KEEP GOING. Turn your wounds into wisdom, turn your hurt into healing and turn your breakdown into a breakthrough.

These song lyrics are just…

Some days you just breath in
Just try to break even
Sometimes your heart’s poundin’ out of your chest
Sometimes it’s just beatin’
Some days you just forget
What all you’ve been given
Some days you just get back
And some days you’re just alive
Some days you’re livin’
Some days you’re livin’

This song came on the radio as I was on my way home this afternoon and I just… I felt it with every fiber of my being.

The upcoming Canadian Election

Photo from The National Post

I’m going to talk, at length, about Politics. I am hesitant to talk about Politics because I understand that it’s an extremely divisive topic, but there are some things I feel I need to say.

First and foremost, I am choosing to not name any individual politicians in this post because I do not wish for this post to come across as hate filled. I just want to have an open and honest discussion about how I feel about the present state of Canadian politics. There is no hate here, just cause for alarm.

I consider myself to be very Liberal in nature. It’s who I am and what I believe, it’s the party I most align with. I do not agree with everything the Liberal party of Canada does, but, I understand that in life, you’re not going to agree with everyone 100% of the time and I still very much believe in the platform and policies they present.

Presently, in Canada, the media is playing the upcoming election out to be a neck-and-neck race between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. (If you’re not Canadian, these two are basically the equivalent of Democratic and Republican)

The individual running for the Conservative Party is, in my personal opinion, a scary dude. I say that he’s scary because he’s someone who can look you square in the eye, lie directly to your face and laugh about it after the fact. I believe that he’s under the impression he’s got the country fooled and that this election is ‘in the bag’ for him. His campaign is filled with bullying rhetoric, he doesn’t seem to have any plans or policies… at least none that he’s going to allow the Canadian public to hear before the election. Furthermore, every time he opens his mouth, it’s not to say something productive, but rather, to say something he believes to be bad about our current Prime Minister.

Canadian’s are not immune to this. We understand in politics there are certain parties and people who run on bullying campaigns (Exhibit A: The current President of the United States). We understand how this world works and, for the most part, I hope that his negative/hatred spewed, filled with lies, rhetoric towards the Prime Minister is seen for exactly what it is. This particular man has done a lot of alarming things over the course of his career, not only just during this election period.

This man is vehemently against the LGBTQ2 community. He’s not willing to admit to this on the campaign trail, regardless of how many times reporters have asked him about this, but he has been on record in the past (on video) campaigning against giving Lesbian and Gay individuals the right to marry, comparing their relationships to ‘the tail of a dog’.

I want to know how someone thinks that he can stand up for all Canadians when there’s such a large population of our country who’s very indentities he refuses to acknowledge.

One of this man’s constituents, someone running in the riding of Airdrie, Alberta has recently posted some alarming videos to twitter to proclaim that, regardless of your Citizenship, if you’ve not lived in Canada for five or more, you don’t deserve the right to vote. He also says that if you don’t hold a valid Canadian government issued ID, you don’t deserve the right to vote.

This is alarming to me, for a lot of reasons. My brother, a Canadian citizen who lived in Canada up until he was 22 years old, has lived in Denmark since 2012. He’s still a Canadian citizen. He still cares about what happens in this country. He still spends his two week’s holiday here every year. He still donates to charities here. He still considers Canada his home. He still holds a Canadian passport. Why? Because he’s Canadian. He may be choosing to live in the country in which his child is being raised, but he is still Canadian. By this man’s opinion, because my brother has lived in Denmark since 2012, he doesn’t deserve the right to vote?

This could affect so very many people. There are people living and working in Hollywood who still consider Canada to be their home. They don’t deserve the right to vote? There are people who are teaching at Universities internationally, who’ve retired internationally as a means to make their money stretch farther, there a million reasons under the sun why someone might have not lived in Canada for five years. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about what happens in this country. So why should their right to vote be stripped, despite the fact that they are now, and will forever be Canadian citizens who hold Canadian passports?

To the second point of the video the man of the Airdrie riding made, that you shouldn’t be able to vote if you do not have a government issued ID, this just isn’t fair. There are so many people in this country who do not hold a valid ID. This is not to single out any particular portion of the population for any reason on than examples sake, but something I ran into a lot with my last job was that people who live on Reserves often don’t have ID. Why? Because they were born, raised and have lived in a two block radius their whole lives. They don’t get on planes, they don’t get on trains, they don’t own their homes (their homes are owned by the Band), and a lot of them don’t even get the adequate medical attention they deserve. They can go their whole lives without needing or having an ID that would be required by this man to vote. They’re still human. They’re still Canadian. They still care what happens in this country. This isn’t just a Canadian problem. This is something that happens all over the world. It’s something that John Oliver pointed out as a specific issue the United States had in the last election.

One could argue that, if these people without IDs want to vote, they should go out and get an ID. Well yes, I guess you could get them all an ID. But it’s not that simple of a process. If you don’t own a home, because it’s owned by the Band, then you don’t pay bills for that home. If you don’t pay bills, then the only thing that the government has for proof of residence is Band Records. Band records being something that the government has accepted for decades, because of the very reasons I’ve listed above. So if all of these people need to jump through legal hoops to get an ID, are you (Mr. Airdrie riding) going to help them do that in the next 30-some-odd days? That’s what I thought. You don’t want them to vote.

Another piece to this election I find alarming comes from one of the constituents running for the Conservative party in the Burnaby North Seymour. This individual posted a photo their Facebook page of Rick Mercer. The photo has a quote on it, that is attributed to Rick Mercer on the photo making it look as though he’s telling Canadians to ‘Vote Conservative’. Rick Mercer is a widely popular TV personality in Canada, an openly gay man and a man who is openly critical of the Conservative Party and what they stand for. Never in my life to I believe that he would be telling Canadian’s to ‘Vote Conservative’ like this photo suggested. He pointed out this fact on his twitter page when he vehemently rejected the photo on it’s face and stated he was reaching out to the Conservative party to ensure his photo and name are not used on their behalf ever again.

The thing is, Conservatives are banking on people being uninformed. They’re banking on people not knowing that a photo and quote like this are fake. Because uninformed people won’t take a second look, they won’t investigate. Conservatives are banking on people just believing what this photo says. It doesn’t matter if it was up for ten minutes, ten hours or forty days, the fact that it went up at all is widely deceptive and showcases a very alarming side to the Conservative party.

I really don’t know what is going to happen on October 21st. I sincerely hope that Canadians do not elect the Conservative party for federal government. I sincerely hope that we’re not about to send our Politics, way of life and position on the world stage backwards. I sincerely hope we’re not planning on making the wealthy wealthier and the middle class weaker. But, I don’t know. I see a lot of hate being spewed on places like my television, Instagram and Twitter accounts towards the Liberal party. And I get it, people are frustrated, but I just want Canadians to remember that not everything you see is always the truth.

I also want Canadians to remember that you don’t have to agree with 100% of what a party does to vote for them.

Whichever way that Canadians choose to vote, I respect that. I sincerely do. I just hope that they make an informed decision and don’t necessarily believe things being presented to them as true when they’re so blatantly not.

I respect the political positioning of everyone and I respect their right to vote for whomever they please. I respect differing opinions and I respect people who are willing to share their opinions in an open, respectful discussion. There is no room for hatred in Canada, in Canadian politics, nor on this blog. So if your opinion differs from mine, and you would like to share, feel free to do so, just keep it… kind.

New laptop battery for the win.

This post is in follow up to last week’s post ‘When it rains it pours’.

A new battery showed up for my laptop this morning. The tracking on the battery still says that it’s in Chicago, so I was a little baffled to see it on my doorstep when I woke up. It showed up shockingly fast. Faster than things can get to my house from Vancouver. Nevertheless, I put the battery into my computer and it turns on AGAIN. I have a functioning laptop again! And way faster than I thought it would be.

It might sound sad, but my computer is sort a lifeline for me.

Is there such thing as privacy in 2019?

As adults, we make conscious decisions every day to be recorded, wherever we go. And as adults, we are able to make these informed decisions, no matter how much they make us cringe, because we are aware of the ramifications of our choices.

If we didn’t want to be recorded, we simply don’t have to go to that place. Of course that would mean that you likely wouldn’t go anywhere anymore. Nevertheless, I digress.

Where does that leave children?

I ask because I believe that it should be a parent’s choice whether or not they choose to share pictures of their children online. And I don’t believe that anyone should post a picture of someone under the age of eighteen without expressed written or verbal consent from that child’s parent.

A friend of mine works a relatively public job. He’s no Justin Bieber or anything, but let’s just say that he’s ‘google-able’. Because of the nature of his job, he’s aware that he’s in the public eye and that it could be harder for his kids to lead a normal life. He and his wife have a policy that they’re not going to share photos or videos of their children online. They want their kids to be able to make the decision if they want to lead public lives when they’re old enough to do so.

My friend has been to the school, to the baseball association, to the gymnastics studio, and so on and so forth to inform all of these places that he and his wife don’t want photos of their children appearing online. He does this to make sure that the places they’re taking their children are either: okay with this, or if they’re not okay with this they are informed so they can pick an alternative option for their kids.

Last week as my friend was dropping his son off for his first day of Kindergarten, two mom’s took pictures of him and his son in front of the classroom and posted them on facebook.

These weren’t innocent ‘caught in the background’ style photos. These women went out of their way to take photos of my friend and his son to post them to Facebook and brag about who’s child is in their child’s class.

My friend, simply trying to give his kids as normal of lives as he possibly can, was hit with snide remarks and a swift ‘not a chance in hell’ from the mom’s when he asked them to please remove the photos from their Facebook pages. One of the mom’s went so far as to say that if he doesn’t want photos taken of his children then he ought to home-school them.

As I mentioned earlier, I think that the only person who has a right to post a child’s photo is that child’s mother. Clearly, though, not everyone thinks the same way that I do. I can’t lie, I’m having a hard time seeing the other side of this argument. When he told me the responses he got from the women after asking to have the photos removed, I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Does privacy is exist in 2019? Do we forgo any privacy we might have, even for children, if we leave our houses? I don’t have kids, so I’m not seeing this from a parent’s perspective, but to me it’s a little creepy to purposefully take a photo of someone else and their child to post to Facebook and brag to your friends.

I don’t think that my friend was out of line in requesting the photo be taken down. But I’m curious where other’s opinions lie with respect to the subject.

*Please Note – I am all for parents sharing pictures of their children. If you want to share pictures of your own children – go for it! I love pictures and videos of cute kids. It brightens my day. I just don’t think anyone should have their decision to not post pictures taken away from them. Each parents decision should be respected.

A note from someone near and dear to my heart.

*Please note – I did not write the following. These words belong to someone I know, I am simply passing these words on through my blog in hopes that their quest can reach a wider audience.

Hi friends, family and strangers who might be reading this,

You may or may not know that I have been battling Multiple Sclerosis for several years now. MS has take many things from me; my ability to maintain a fulfilling career, my ability to play sports; even my ability to walk. I’ve had to adjust to significant changes in my lifestyle and one of the toughest has been a move to an assisted living facility that does not allow me to live with my dog Snoop.

MS causes depression in 50 to 80% of MS patients. As much as I try to put on a brave face, I’ll admit that I often fall into that category. Something that can pull me out of that despair is my bond with Snoop. Even on my worst day I know I have to drag myself out of bed long enough to make sure Snoop is fed and taken to the park at least twice a day. I am unable to physically make it through a day of work but Snoop gives me a sense of purpose and structure in my life. When your disabled it’s easy to feel isolated from the able bodied world. Snoop helps facilitate social interaction when I desperately need it and keeps feelings of loneliness from becoming all consuming.

The benefits of the human-animal bond has been well studied and chronicled in many scientific journals. Alberta recognizes service animals that perform physical tasks for their owners and the job they do is invaluable. Unfortunately Service Alberta doesn’t yet recognize Emotional Support Animals despite their proven positive effects on those living with depression, anxiety, PTSD or numerous other ailments.

There is a petition collecting signatures online for the cause and we’re asking for the support of those who, like me, understand the truly invaluable benefit to having an emotional support animal. Please, if you’re able, sign to support us in hopes of making change that will help everyone with mental health issues.

Petition: Allow emotional support animals in Alberta

Thanks for reading. If you think it’s time for Alberta to take mental health seriously on more than just “Bell Let’s Talk” day…Please sign and share this petition!”

Thank you.