thoughts on life, parenting, news, and crazy shit

Month: October, 2020

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The other day I woke up to the frantic messages of a friend who had just been violently discriminated against based on his gender identity.

I say violently, because despite no punches being landed, the offender attempted to assault him, screamed homophobic and transphobic slurs and refused service.

The food delivery service possessed all of his payment information, which matched the information on his government photo ID with the exception of one detail. His ID said female although he presents and identifies as male. As such, his user name on the account was shortened to the first three letters of his given name. And that was used for justification for refusing service and abusive behaviour. A fucking nickname.

Now imagine that this is a service you have used many times before and now all of a sudden your service is refused because of how you look.

I can’t tell you how fucking enraged this makes me. And how enraged this should make all of you.

When contacted, the company supported their driver. There was no specific action taken, other than telling my friend that the incident was HIS fault, and that he needed to change his account information. In other words, they not only refused to recognize that one of their staff members violated someone’s human rights while representing their company, but they tried to convince him that it was somehow his own fault.

Typical victim blaming horseshit.

Let me be perfectly crystal fucking clear. Lurching at someone with raised fists while screaming the word “FAGGOT” at them is inexcusable no matter what his or her ID says.

I wonder what the company’s response had been if the “N” word had been used? Similar apathy? Explaining that if they had only identified themselves as black in their account info, they would have been able to provide the service they’d already paid for?

Despite all of the progress being made in the world, trans folk still are victims of hateful behaviour, discrimination, self harm, mental illness and violence. There is a narrative south of the Canadian border that is enabling all of these hardships on the LGBTQ community. There is also an apathy for abusive language, refusal to use correct pronouns, and lack of basic human decency that perpetuates the challenges that trans folk in particular face in Canada.

And I’m sorry. There is no fucking reason why any court or company or delivery service gets to decide on the personhood of another living human being. Whether they have a penis, a set of tits, a combination of either or both, who they love, who they fuck, what their skin colour is or how they worship. YOU.DO.NOT.GET.TO.TREAT.HUMANS.WITH.JUDGEMENT.OR.HATE.

I purposely have not named the company here, because I was unable to reach them on the matter. They also conveniently deleted the online log of the initial complaint AND the record of the order, while every other order in their history is still present. Thankfully, it was saved by screen shot by the victim. Despite their insistence that they are not part of any wrongdoing, it seems strange that the company would not want a record of the incident at hand if they really believed they had handled the matter appropriately. You would think that a reputable, nation-wide company who contracts their drivers would be interested in protecting their customers and having a policy of zero tolerance for abusive behaviour and human rights violations.

Think about this for a second. This employee/contractor displayed abusive behaviour to a customer in front of witnesses. This employee/contractor not only taunted and tried to assault a customer in front of witnesses, but he knows where they live. Maybe next week  the driver goes back with a few friends to kill the faggot who complained about him? Would you feel safe going to sleep at night, or coming home in the dark after work?

Oh, I’m sorry. Is the use of the word faggot making you feel uncomfortable? GOOD. Get uncomfortable. Remember that it was used to describe an actual human being. Someone who cares for other humans before himself. Someone who is loyal, and hilarious, and hardworking. Someone who is kind to all living beings and magical with children. Someone who likely already struggles as he tries to accept and figure himself out in a world that doesn’t know how to place him. Someone who matters.

We can’t allow this stuff to be ok. So next time someone says something making fun of trans folks, shut them up. Educate them. Don’t use services who allow their employees to abuse folks. Spread love. Not hate. We can do better, Canada.

Anybody Else Feel Ashamed To Step on The Scale At The Doctor?

Anybody Else Feel Ashamed To Step on The Scale At The Doctor?

Can we just acknowledge for a minute that skinny people get sick and have health problems too?

Can we also acknowledge that carrying extra weight is not synonymous with being lazy, or sedentary, or somehow worth less?

Last year I skipped my annual doctor’s appointment because after suffering a back injury in the summer I hadn’t been able to work out in three months. I knew that I had gained some weight, and I didn’t feel like being reminded about how much better my life would be if I just lost weight and exercised more. Not being able to run or swim or bike or hike all summer was reminder enough.

The year before I had been in the best shape I’d been in since having kids. I was running 5km three times a week. And still my doctor dismissed that accomplishment to remind me yet again that I was simply just too fat.

So, I just didn’t go last time. Stepping on that scale annually is somehow a demoralizing act. Even when I know exactly what the number is. It’s like being scolded by a parent and feeling like you need to explain why you didn’t do your best and being shamed into promising to try harder next time.

This year I did go because it was a Pap year, and no woman wants to miss that fucking party. At the very least it gives me a reason to shave my legs in the fall, amirite? I’ve been super active and eating really well trying to heal a bunch of nagging injuries. I lost a significant amount of weight this year as a by product of the Covid lockdowns, because exercise is how I cope with stress.

And still, no acknowledgement from my doc.

I get it. She is actually a really excellent physician who I have had since I was a teenager. She delivered my babies and takes excellent care of them. Her job is to remind me how to take care of my body and prevent risk factors for disease. I trust her with those things.

By why do we always pretend that the number on a scale is the only thing that identifies those risks? Why is someone who doesn’t eat sugar, or junk food, or even a potato a target for shaming about their assumed lifestyle and not a thin person who drinks 5 cans of pop a day and eats out 6 times a week?

Two summers ago I had a body composition test done which showed a higher than average amount of lean muscle mass, despite my extra body fat. It ALSO showed that the body fat I do carry was not visceral fat. That kind of body fat is the dangerous stuff, and can be indicative of higher risk for things like cardiovascular disease.

But nobody talks about that. They just see someone who isn’t skinny and assume assume assume.

It’s so annoying.

I am a beautiful human. I work hard, and am worth more than an assumption made by medical professionals rather than the actual facts.

It’s frustrating and degrading, and is the wrong precedent to set as per standard of care. What if the fact that I didn’t go for my checkup last year led to a missed lump in my breast or missed high blood pressure or catching a funny mole? Who would be to blame for that?

Would we automatically blame my fatness? Or would we blame the doctor for unintentionally shaming me into avoidance?

Bias is a naturally occurring thing with humans. We factor in our unconscious biases into our decision making all the time. But shouldn’t we be training our medical professionals to be aware of them so they can work around them?


A Frustrated, Fit-Fat Woman Who Is Actually Trying Her Fucking Best

Even Covid Has Its Silver Linings

Even Covid Has Its Silver Linings

I’m not going to sugar coat anything. The current pandemic has been tough. So tough.

The economic fallout, the depression and anxiety, social disruptions and sense of impending doom. Health care changes and delays with dire consequences. Political divides and so much public unrest. It’s been a real shit of a show.

On a personal level, balancing a career and motherhood in a lockdown situation became an unsustainable mess that even the most hearty of us struggled with. Patience went down, liquor store receipts went up. Each day was an exhausting balancing act of meeting the needs and requirements of everyone else while mostly neglecting my own.

And yet, even in the is mess of uncertainty I am able to find silver linings. Maybe now, with schools re-opened and a little room to breath, I am able to see a little more clearly the lessons I’ve personally learned and the changes we’ve made that line all the bullshit with a tiny bit of positivity.

Luckily for me, I have the option of not working in the summer. So as my academic year-tied contracts finished up, I was able to decide not to pursue any summer work, pull my children from the pretend home school that was happening and move us all up to our summer life, deep in the forest on the shores of clear water. I recognize this comes from a place of immense privilege that mot others don’t have, but I also recognize that I work really hard, and make decisions and sacrifices every year that enable this option to exist.

Once we got away from the city, it was easy to recognize how busy our lives had been. It was easy to see how tired we were, but how little time we had invested in each other as a family. And we learned to appreciate it.

As I started to think about what this year would look like, it was obvious to me that in the past I had created this existence of never allowing us to just be together as a family. We always had to be somewhere. We were always scheduled. There was never any time for anything that didn’t serve some sort of developmental purpose, economic gain, or meeting the expectations of someone who wan’t me.

I started thinking about what things were important to me and why. I started thinking about what made me happy, and my children happy, and my husband happy, and how to create space in our life for those things. I created time in our life where I promised to give us all permission to just pause. I decided to not feel guilty for scheduling “breaths” into our lives. I decided to learn how to say no.

I’m not sure I would have figured any of this out if it hadn’t been for Covid. The lockdown nearly broke me. I joke about it, but I was so burnt out. But it also enlightened me to how important it was to leave space for my children and partner in every day that was reserved just for them. I am thankful for that.

Other silver linings I see are outside of my own home. When we came back into the city, I noticed immediately how much time the folks in my neighbourhood were spending outside. There are kids playing outside at parks, shooting hoops in their driveways and riding bikes up and down the streets again. Covid forced us to get outside and get moving. It challenged us to rethink our social interactions and I think forced us to make more healthful choices. When our kids play with their friends, they don’t come over and play video games anymore. We meet at parks, or go swimming or go for bike rides. They live in fresh air, exercise their imaginations and rely on their creativity in play.

I know so many people are suffering so much from the fallout of Covid. Loneliness, mental health crisis, addictions, poverty, losing jobs and businesses. I know all of that is happening. It’s scary and sad and I pray that we can help them all recover and rebuild.

What I’m hoping is that those of us who are fortunate to be in a position to see the silver linings heed them and are in a better position to help rebuild their communities. I have seen so much of our generous spirits, even among all the fighting and blaming about this whole situation. Among all of the loud and overtly shitty behaviour, I like to think that there are a lot of quiet soldiers who are actively helping their communities survive this thing together. If anything, I hope the biggest silver lining in all of this is the increase in our ability to be selfless in our care of each other. Make small sacrifices to our own comforts and desires. Give a little more of our extra to help those who don’t have enough. See each other’s struggles and acknowledge them. Offer our talents to contribute to the healing of this world, not the division of it.

I am going to continue to create space for the things that are important to my family and community, and hope that I can be a player in finding light where there is darkness in this world right now.

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