Day 9 – Big Beautiful Eyes

Day 9 – Big Beautiful Eyes

Do you ever go grocery shopping and totally forget one key thing? Well I do, and I happened to do that when doing my grocery shopping for the week. I tend to buy one thing for breakfast for the week, and switch it up every week. Well this week, I decided my breakfast would be bagels with cream cheese (or peanut butter and jam if I wanted to mix things up). Well I got the bagels… but I forgot the cream cheese. Now I am on a really strict budget right now, which means (if I want to follow my personal financial rules) I would not be able to buy the cream cheese until the following week. I do, however, allow myself a certain amount each week for eating out, which is what leads me to todays story.

So this morning, I decided to dip into my weekly spending money and buy myself a bagel from Tim Hortons. I have a habit of leaving the house the second that I am ready to go, so I am usually running extremely early, so I decided to sit down at a table in Tim Hortons to eat my breakfast before heading to work. I like to eat in peace, that’s just the way I am. So I chose a table that was pretty secluded in the corner by the door. After a few minutes, a man, I’m guessing in his mid-late 50’s sat at the table beside mine. I actually didn’t even notice him as I was reading emails and looking through Facebook on my phone. I was just about to pack up to go to work when I heard him say something to me.

“Do you get your big beautiful eyes from your Mom or your Dad?”

This really threw me off. I didn’t even realize there was anyone there, let alone someone there actually paying attention to me. I didn’t want to be rude, so I promptly responded with:

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“My Dad”. This is partly true. My mom’s eyes are blue, Dad’s were brown, and I think I have a bit of a mix, but they are definitely more on the brown side.

Like I mentioned before, I was just about to pack up to go to work, so naturally, I looked at my watch to see the time (what else is a watch for?). The man decided to try to continue our conversation my saying:

“My watch died, do you have the time?”

To which I responded:

“9:15. Time to get to work!”

So I stood up and started to leave. As I was turning to walk away, I hear him say one last thing:

“Tell your Dad he has nice eyes.”

I could have said something here, but I didn’t because odds are, whatever I would have said about my Dad not being alive anymore, it would have sparked a much longer conversation than I wanted to have with this man. So I just turned and kept walking.

He could have just been trying to be nice and have a good old conversation at the coffee shop. He also could have been hitting on me. I will never truly know, but it felt like the latter.

Lately I’ve been writing about other sorts of things, mainly because since I “moved” here, I haven’t really experienced any objectification or harassment. Quite frankly, I’ve really been enjoying that. Until today.

It felt really weird, honestly, since nothing has really happened in the past few weeks. So I was pretty shook for the next bit of the day. But then I started to think about it. How age makes such a big difference in how people interpret things. If someone much old than him would have said that, I probably would have thought it was very sweet. If someone closer to my age would have said it, I probably would have been really flattered and blushy (I know it’s not a word, but just go with the flow). So why was it so weird that this man said it?

Seriously, I’m asking this as a real question because I honestly do not have an answer.

My theory, as of right now, is that maybe it’s because it came from a man who is probably around the age of my own parents. When it comes from someone older, you automatically think “sweet grandparents”, when it comes to someone close to your age, you think “smooth flirt who thinks you’re attractive”, but when it comes to someone in the middle, it just gets weird.

If you have any opinions on this matter, please feel free to comment! I am very interested to see what other people think!

Day 8 – An Emotional Weekend

Day 8 – An Emotional Weekend

As you may have read in my previous blog, “My Life Story”, you would have read about some of the hard times I have been through in my past. If you haven’t read the last blog, I highly suggest you take the time to go back to read it before continuing this one (but please come back)!

I just wanted to write about my times from last weekend (May 27/28), mostly so I can get it out and talk about my feelings without getting all choked up. As you can probably tell, I, along with many others, had a pretty emotional weekend.

It all started on Saturday evening. After work (yes, I work on Saturdays), I drove back to my hometown and to my mother’s house. This, for one, was already a pretty weird experience. She was only 4 days away from moving, so the entire dining room was packed to the ceiling with boxes, the house was starting to look really empty. This didn’t really sink in until the next day, since we were in a pretty big rush to leave, so I will talk about that later on in the blog.07ECD1A2-3DF9-4BA9-AC8E-3624706EA5DE

So anyway, I got to Mom’s, re did my makeup, then Mom and I hit the road! We were on our way to our good family friend’s house for a Stag and Doe! If you don’t know what a Stag and Doe is (as I have been asked before), it is basically like a giant fundraising
money to help raise money for a wedding. Usually this takes place in a rented hall, but since his parents live in the country with a large property and a huge shop, it was smarter for them to do it there (plus it was really more their style, anyways). In this case, it was for our friend, Dustin’s, wedding. 29221_127728113922547_3386764_nMy brother and I spent a lot of time with Dustin when we were kids. He basically acted as an older brother and a role model for the both of us.

Why was a party emotional? Well, I wasn’t intending it to be. I was super excited to celebrate with the people I basically consider to be my family. But once I got there and saw everyone again, I started to realize how long it had been since I had seen all these people. I hadn’t seen them since my Dad’s funeral, 6 years ago. It really hit me when my mom had to introduce me to some of the people I had grown up around, because they no longer recognized me (my appearance has changed a lot since then… for the better). Once they saw my face and heard my name, their faces would light up. But others knew who I was without a second glance, which was very nice.

But the thing was, all of these people were really great friends with my Dad (as everyone was). So seeing them all and catching up was really amazing. It really was heartwarming. But in a way, it was also heart wrenching. I use 1488269_10152078970285609_314801842_n.jpgthis term because without my Dad, there
is a huge void in all of us. I haven’t been in a room where you could see a hole in every single person. The party wasn’t the same as the ones from the past because he wasn’t there. But throughout the night, I showed all of his friends the tattoo that I got in his honour, showed them pictures of my brother (who didn’t make it to the party), and shared my experiences since he died.

And you know what? I have never seen so many grown men be completely speechless and shedding tears in one night than I did that night.

Seeing his friends, the men I grew up around, the men who really shaped my life, the men who are in all of my childhood memories, in this state. And that was so hard for me to see. I love them all so much and it kills me to see all these tough, hunter men in such a vulnerable state. But it also made me so happy, because it shows just how amazing my Dad was. How good a friend he was and how many people truly loved him. I love seeing that.

At the end of our night (the party continued for God knows how long), I made my rounds to say my goodbyes. This perhaps was the hardest part of the evening because I knew that I probably wouldn’t see everyone again for a while, though I vowed that I would try to visit more often and stay in contact.Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 8.55.13 PM

One goodbye stood out more than the rest. One of my Dad’s absolute best friends, they guy who basically sees me as the daughter he never had, gave me the world longest and tightest hug, and told me that “I needed to promise him that I would take care of myself, and that I needed to visit, that I was always welcome.” I am crying just writing this, and I know it may seem silly, but for the past 6 years, I thought I had lost this part of my life, and that these people had virtually forgot about me and cared less about me since Dad was no longer here. So hearing and feeling that someone really, truly cares about me, after all this time, really hit me. Especially from this man in particular. I haven’t had a father figure in my life, through what I would call the hardest years of anyone’s life, including mine. So when this man said these things, it made me feel like maybe I still have these men to lean on when I need them. And that made me feel really good. They’re not my Dad, but they are pretty damn close.

The next part of the weekend that was emotional was the fact that my Mom was moving. Since I moved out and Taylor is soon to be moving out, she doesn’t need a whole house 18944823_10155159248060609_2113758585_nanymore, so she downsized to an apartment. But as I was there, it really sunk in that that
was going to be the last time that I was ever in that house. Granted, we only lived therefor approximately 7 years, so I shouldn’t be too attached to it. But here’s the thing. I know I said about that the past 6 years have been the hardest in my life, but coincidentally, they were also some of the best years in my life. I made so many amazing friends that mean the world to me, and with them, we made so many memories at that house. So knowing that I would never step foot in that house again, and knowing that I will never have a bonfire party at Mom’s house again was weirdly hard for me to process. But I have accepted it.

All of this was really overwhelming for me. After my Dad died, I thought I had basically lost all of my emotions, which is true. I had a really hard time showing any emotion at all for a really long time after that. Years after, even. But now they seem to be returning. Slowly but surely. And it seems to be starting with my ability to cry, whether they are happy tears or sad tears.

I know that life goes on. If anyone knows that, it really is me. I’ve been through so much harder events than moving from the house where I spent my high school years. And I know that I am all grown up now (it may not feel like it, but I guess I am). I have so many amazing things to look forward to in the future, and I have so many memories that are yet to be made. So this emotional weekend, while still hard, was just the beginning of something truly beautiful yet to come.

Day 7 – Being A Bystander

Day 7 – Being A Bystander

Today was a pretty good day. Long, but good. But some things happened today that really got me thinking. Specifically about what I do as a bystander, and do you know what I realized? Nothing.

I don’t mean I do nothing all the time, but the point is that I don’t do something every time that I witness something that I don’t believe is right or fair.

This happened on two separate occasions with two very different scenarios today, so I am going to tell you about both of them.

So this morning, on my way to work, I decided to stop at Tim Horton’s to grab a bagel for breakfast (a little treat to myself on payday). While I was driving to Tim’s, I noticed that the route I usually take to work was compromised by the ongoing construction, so after I got my bagel, I decided to take a different road, which just so happened to be the main street (also known as Main St.). As I was driving down Main St., which is also under construction, I heard someone yelling and another person whistling. When I looked over to see what was going on, I noticed two construction workers verbally harassing a young woman who was, seemingly, trying to open one of the shops downtown. Literally just trying to unlock the door trying to get to work.

I have been thinking about this all day. How this poor girl was just trying to mind her own business, trying to do her job and start the day. And the first thing that happens to her is that she gets cat-called and verbally harassed by some construction guys, who were clearly not trying to do their job!

But also, I am really upset with myself that I didn’t stop and say something. Step in. Granted, I was in a car, driving down the street where it would have been very unsafe for me to stop and get out. I feel insanely guilty because here I am, writing about how much I hate getting harassed, yet I won’t do anything to stop it when I see it happening to someone else. I’ve been saying that us women need to stick together and stand up for each other, and I did not do that today. I am quite ashamed of myself for it. But as a positive look, now I know how awful it is to just ignore it when I see it, and I will definitely intervene the next time I see something like this happening to another person, man or woman.

The next instance of witness today was just a little earlier tonight. As I mentioned above, today was payday! Yay! But unfortunately, this is a very small town, and my bank does not have a branch here. Luckily, there is one in a town about 15 minutes away. So after work, I was driving to the next town, when I saw two dogs run across the street, not on leashes, and with no human in sight. It was a pretty residential area, so I assume they were house pet dogs.

I have imagined this moment a hundred times. I have always imagined seeing dogs running loose, me getting out of the car and “rescuing them”, and returning them to their grateful owners.

Today, though, I learned that I was imagining wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely wanted to do something, but again, I was driving, and on a fairly busy street. I thought about it for almost too long, and I ALMOST ran a red light because I was so distracted (don’t worry, I didn’t). Again, I am quite disappointed in myself for not doing anything to help. Surely, there was a family (or two) that was desperately searching for their dogs! And I could have helped, but I didn’t.

I love animals, especially dogs, and I feel like I could have helped. It is eating away at me that I didn’t stop. I keep hoping with all my heart that these dogs are ok and that they have made it back to their families. But I will never know, and that is killing me.

Once I got home, I kept thinking about both of these events, when I stumbled across a Facebook post from one of my very good friends that was really inspiring. It read: “I’m not looking for attention I just need to tell my story as to what happened this morning. My mother and I were out for breakfast this morning, a man in a wheel chair ended up sitting beside us. He received his food and my mom said “I think he’s having issues” I looked over and he was struggling to open his crackers I asked him kindly “do you need help opening your crackers” he kindly said “please” so I went over and helped him open his crackers we then started talking, he was legally blind. I guess I just want to say how amazing it feels to be helping others, just always keep your eyes there may be someone out there struggling and they may need your help. The littlest things count.” I am always very inspired by my friends. They are all such amazing people and they make me strive to be a better person. But this story really made me think, and it is what really inspired todays blog.

So today I learned a very valuable lesson. Always, always, always try to help! Not only will you make someone’s day better, you will also feel amazing about yourself!

Day 6 – My Life Story

Day 6 – My Life Story

In the past week or so, I have mainly been writing about harassment and objectification towards women, which I think is really important to talk about, and I will continue to talk about in future blogs. But I also want to start talking about other things as well. Kind of like a public journal (or diary, if you will).

So to really start this off, I want to give everyone a little synopsis about who I am and how I became me. Like a summarized life story.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.08.37 PMWell first off, my name is Staci Hanley, born to Sue and Rick Hanley in 1995. My parents did not want to know my gender until I was delivered, so if I had been born a boy, my name would have been Ryan (how original Mom and Dad). But alas, I was born a girl and they chose the absolute most confusing way to spell my name, so that is something I have to live with.4640_127303345608_541608_n.jpg

When I was 9 monthsold, I fell off of my Mom’s shoulders, hit my arm off the coffee table and I fractured my wrist. Since I was still crawling, I had to wear a cast. (Please don’t harass my mom for this, it really wasn’t her fault). I actually think I still have part of the cast somewhere.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.09.10 PMMy brother, Taylor was born in 1997, but not before my parents bought me a Beagle puppy named Rusty after I showed them how jealous I could get when they directed their attention to other children (thanks Jeremy, I got Rusty because I was jealous of you!). They did the same gender thing, so if he had been born a girl, he would have been named Joanie. I think things worked out in our favour when it came to the name front.

10399809_197305600608_1641040_nGrowing up was really a blast. We were lucky enough to have an amazing childhood. We lived in a small town and we had a very big property on the edge of town. We had neighbours around our age, as well as cousins and the kids of our family friends. Most of these other children were boys, so naturally, I was probably the biggest tomboy in town. I got handmedowns from boys, had a short haircut, hung out with the boys, went dirtbiking, fourwheeling, snowmobiling, camping, fishing etc. My dad was an outdoorsman as well as a hunter, so I knew how to shoot a gun by the time I was about 6 years old.

466825_10151606673255609_2105385602_oWe spent a lot of our time outdoors, and one of my favourite places to do that was at the Hunt Camp. Though it was a 4 hour drive and in the middle of a forest (like for real, no exaggeration), it was totally worth it. It doesn’t seem appealing to most young girls, what with the no power or indoor plumbing. But I absolutely loved it. We built forts, swam in the lake, explored the forest, played Spongebob Monopoly and so much more.

 

When I was (I think) around 4 or 5 17434477_10154940124425609_1452545221482824465_oyears old, we got a second Beagle named Buddy. I remember going to get Buddy out on a farm somewhere. We played around with all the little puppies and for some reason, Buddy really stood out. The kids who lived at the farm had been calling him Buddy, and that is the name that stuck. Unfortunately, we only had Buddy for a short time. My Dad was a hunter, so he took Buddy to the Hunt Camp to train him to be a hunting dog, however, Buddy took off, and was never found.

 

My parents split up when I was 6, but I didn’t take it too hard. I don’t remember it at all. I don’t even remember my Mom moving out. But all was good because my parents stayed good friends, and never lived further than a few blocks from each other.

I was also a very athletic kid. I took karate, swimming, and played organized soccer. I
also played on almost every sports team from grade 4-8, and we came in first almost every time. I didn’t play on the 3 pitch team because I didn’t like the rules. I watched MLB164326_10150128470715609_1027375_n and the fact that 3 pitch only allowed you 3 pitches, even if they were super shitty, was not ok with me! I thought it was very stupid, so I avoided that team. I didn’t play organized hockey because we didn’t have a lot of money, but my Dad would build an ice rink in our backyard every year, and since my cousins and neighbours all played organized hockey, I got pretty good.  We also played a lot of manhunt in my neighbourhood. There was a lot of ground, so we would have to get 10-20 kids together and the boundaries were all our properties, the train station, the buildings surrounding my house, and the apple orchard. We would play for hours and got really into it (with black clothing and walkie talkies and everything).
By the time I hit grade 7, I started to transition from a tomboy into a “girly girl”, but I never really got there. I started wearing eye liner, wore tank tops, and started growing my hair out. I didn’t know how to put my hair in a pony tail, so I had to get a friend to teach me, which everyone thought was pretty weird, but I know how to do it now, so everything is AOK.
But something else happened in grade 7. My brother turned 10 years old. But around the time of his birthday, our Dad started having weird feelings where he would get really dizzy 201440_10150252438515609_1627767_oand would be unable to speak. These feelings would come and go at random and, although he thought they were weird, he didn’t really do anything. But then they started to come more frequently. On Taylor’s 10th birthday, a Saturday, we went to Lazer Quest with his friends, Mom and Dad, and my Mom’s brother, coincidentally also named Rick (it takes a lot of work to handle a group of 10 year old boys). Dad had told us that if he were to get another one of these feelings while we were there, he was going to call his brother Ron to bring him to the hospital to see what was going on. And when we came out after one of the games, he had gone. We weren’t worried, mostly because we were 10 and 12 years old. So we went back to Dad’s house to have the rest of the slumber birthday party. Mom told us that they wanted to keep Dad overnight at the hospital, but again, we didn’t really care because we were young and there was cake. But the next day, after all the kids were gone, Dad came home and he sat me down in the kitchen. He decided to tell me first, since I was older. He told me that he had a brain tumour. He also told me that it was not cancerous, but that a lot was going to change, and he gave me some books and pamphlets to read to help me understand.

I never really understood.

Over time, Dad had to go on disability and was unfit to work or drive. He also took a lot more naps. Yes, things changed, and yes, we were affected. But again, we didn’t really understand the magnitude of the problem, and we all just went on with our daily lived.

222827_10150269175030609_7391399_nOnce I hit high school, I was actually following some fashion trends (which included getting braces, because what’s cooler than that?). Not all of them, but some. I made some great friends, was voted most spirited along with my best friend, and was part of the badminton team (its more intense than you think). I also got a part time job at Tim Hortons, which was ok, I got money, but it was also one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had (not the worst, but one of them). At the end of grade 9, Dad went in for surgery in London, ON, and it was partly successful. They had gotten most of the tumour, but they couldn’t get it all because it was too high of a risk.

I remember visiting him in the hospital. Two visits stand out to me the most. The first time I visited, I walked in with a bottle of Pepsi (which was his favourite). He couldn’t really talk too much, but I remember his specifically asking in mime for a drink of my Pepsi. Classic Dad. The surgery hadn’t changed him. He was the same old guy. The other visit that I remember was when we went to take him home. I thought we were going to go up to his room, talk to nurses and/or doctors, fill out forms, etc. But we got to the hospital and went up to his floor, and there he was, standing in the waiting room, staring out the window. He was ready to get the heck out of there! So we took him home. He had to go back every so often for Radiation, but I never accompanied him on those trips.

I, personally, don’t have any pictures of Dad in the hospital. I know there are some out in the world, but I don’t feel right posting them online.

I realize this has started to become a blog about what happened to my Dad, which wasn’t my intention. But the more I think about it, these are the only thoughts that come into my mind. These events really shaped me, and honestly, I like telling the story. It’s always really hard, but it gets easier and easier the more I tell it.

April 28, 2011.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.43.42 PMI remember the day exactly from start to finish. I was at Mom’s that week, and I had woken up late, as usual. I was planning on going to Dad’s that morning because I needed my memory stick that contained a presentation that was due that afternoon. But I was running too late, and decided I would just have to face the teacher and tell them that I forgot it and would have to go another day. I had my morning science class, as usual. But then I went to English class. For the few weeks before this, we had been preparing speeches about who or what has made an impact on our lives, and it just so happens that I was the first person scheduled to speak that day, and my speech was about my Dad. I read the speech (which is available on my Facebook page), and my teacher was in tears. I went to hand in the paper, and she asked me how he was doing. I remember my exact words “he’s doing much better, thank you!”

Next was lunch, which was probably normal. At that time, my BFF and I would usually buy a vitamin water from the vending machine, and that was our lunch.

And after that, was gym class. I especially loved gym class, because, as stated above, I was a very athletic child. That day we were playing 3 on 3 basketball and I was getting really into it, when one of the hall monitors walked into the gym and over to our coach, who proceeded to call me over. The hall monitor asked me to come with her, that I needed to get changed and go to the office. I asked her if I was in trouble, and she said no, but wouldn’t elaborate. I got changed and we headed to the office on the second floor. The office has windows that look into that hallway, so as I was walking, I saw my Uncle Ron and my Aunt Tina waiting in the office.
This was pretty unusual, as they are not married to each other (Tina is with Mike and 10620247_10154645588640158_7645578563412463703_oRon is with Stephanie), so I automatically assumed that it was about Dad. When I walked in, they told me that Dad was very sick and that I needed to come with them, so they signed me out and they took me to Granny’s house. I didn’t find this too odd. If you were sick, wouldn’t you go to your mom for care? So we pulled into the driveway and I stepped out of the car, and Uncle Ron said the words that I will never forget. Nothing could have prepared me for what he said.

“Your father took his life this morning.”

I was completely speechless. I looked to Aunt Tina and she nodded. I just said “Okay.” And we went inside. There were social workers already there, but I insisted I didn’t need their help (and I never did). I didn’t cry until after they left, and I remember crying into my Aunts shoulder for about 30 minutes, and those were all the tears I shed until the funeral.

I was the first kid in the whole family who found out. After me, they went and got my brother, who was still in elementary school. And then they texted our cousins to come to Granny’s after school (again, not an unusual thing to happen in our family). And I remember sitting on the couch, hearing the words be said over and over again to each child, and watching their reactions.
I had never seen my cousins cry before, at least not since we were small children. I Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.47.50 PMremember Aunt Tina telling Matt (her son). He was the first of the boys to arrive after school that day. When he saw that we were all there, he asked what was going on, and she told him that “Uncle Rick passed away this morning.” Matt and Dad were extremely close. They had a very strong connection, so when he heard this, I remember him swearing under his breath, and saying “No” while using all his might not to start completely balling, which didn’t work.

After Matt, Tina took the boys into a separate room to tell them individually, and each time was just as bad as the first.

I remember we had the funeral at the church we were a part of, and up to that point, I hadn’t cried at all since I was told what had happened. A girl who was around my age that I knew from church came up and gave me a hug, and that’s when the tears finally came. I was a wreck that morning, but I knew that I had to stay strong, because Dad had raised me to be independent. I don’t remember the actual count, but I do remember that there were over 250 signatures in the visitation book, and to me, that was very inspiring. He had touched so many peoples lives in so many different ways. 255065_10150290868680609_2660694_n

I later found out that he was found and 911 was called at around the exact time I was reading my speech that morning. Every time I think about it, it reminds me of something that could only happen in a movie.

A week after Dad passed away,18358637_10155079268620609_6787500657370339630_o we had to put Rusty down. He was 14 years old and had developed a tumour on his bladder.I had really started to hate the word tumour at this point.

We also had to move everything out of Dad’s house, donate and sell a lot of ours and his things, and had to sell the house pretty quickly.

579983_10151043823245609_1483030934_nThree days after we put Rusty down, it was my 16th birthday. I want to thank my incredible friends for making this birthday, and this specific time in my life special. I often refer to this as “The Worst Two Weeks Of My Life”, but you guys really made it bearable, and I will never forget you for that.

So I took that week off of work and school, even though both urged me to take more time. But I wanted to keep myself busy. What was there for me to do sitting at home? I went on with my classes and finished the semester.

That Summer, Mom, Taylor and I flew out to Edmonton, rented a car, and drove through the Mountains to Vancouver. It was one of the most memorable trips of my life.17880171_10154996125465609_6023881952031723017_o.jpg

When we returned to school in September, I decided to join the Drama Club as part of the tech crew on the musical Once Upon A Mattress 181820_10151043827290609_1365889870_n to keep myself busy and to keep my mind from wandering into dark places. I was dubbed the props person. And it was the show that made me fall in love with theatre. The next show was Tuna Fish Eulogy, on which I was the Assistant Stage Manager and Lighting Assistant. We won quite a few awards at Sears for that show. The next year, I was made Stage Manager, not just for the show, but for any events that happened at the school, and was also very involved with student leadership and student council. This was a huge step for me. I made so many good friends in this time period, and I am so extremely thankful that I am still very close to a lot of them until this day. I also won the Outstanding Contribution to Student Life award that year.

9550_10151554261740609_255149549_n.jpgI did a lot during grade 12, travel wise. I went to France as part of a March Break excursion with school and I also went to California on a SERVE missions trip. Both of which were extremely unforgettable experiences.

 

After Grade 12, I took a half of a fifth year, so I could do my co-op with Drayton Entertainment to work on the musical Irving Berlin’s: White1404682_10151860247163149_1780269565_o.jpg Christmas. The people I met there were very interested in helping me move forward with a career in theatre, and when I asked them what schools I should apply for they told me Sheridan. That was THE place to go.

So I did.

18198605_10155055438175609_7320378331361072722_nI took the Technical Production for Theatre and Live Events program, met a lot of amazing people (including my current boyfriend of 2 ½ years!), got to experience once in a lifetime moments, and had an amazing co op at Theatre Aquarius as an Apprentice Stage Manager on Beauty and the Beast.

I just recently graduated, about a month ago now, and I am now working in the industry as an Apprentice Stage Manager, and I am loving it!

Everyone always tells me how sorry they are when they find out about Dad, and yes, I am constantly thinking about how much I wish he was here, especially for life events. He wont be here for any of my graduations, birthdays, and even my wedding, but that’s ok because it also helped me find my passion and put me through school.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 9.40.21 PM.pngSo here we are. You now know a brief history of my life, and to be honest, it feels really good. And to those of you who stuck it through to the end, thank you. I know this was really long, but I hope that you enjoyed reading about my life, and if you take one thing away from reading this post, I want it to be this:

Not everyone puts their entire life out there for everyone to see. You really never know what anyone has been through, so please never judge a person. Period. Everyone has their own story, and before anything, you should get to know those people and to understand their stories.

What I have learned throughout my 22 years is that we really need to live our lives to the fullest. We need to take risks and have fun, otherwise, what’s the point of living.

Thank you for reading everyone!

Day 5 – Sharing Stories

Day 5 – Sharing Stories

As I noted in my last blog post, a lot of people have been reading my blog and my Facebook posts and then telling me their own stories of a time when they felt like they were being objectified and/or harassed. I think it is really important for people to share their harassment stories for two reasons: 1. So that people know that they are not the only people who experience this sort of behaviour, and 2. So that people get a chance to tell someone about what happened to them. A lot of people tend to keep their harassment experience stories to themselves because they are embarrassed or they think that no one will care/listen (among other reasons, I’m sure). So with the permission of some of these people, I decided to take some of these stories and write a blog about it.

Before I start, I would like to thank everyone who shared their stories with me. It was very eye opening for me and I hope that they have the same impact on my readers as they did on me. And for the purpose of keeping the blog a reasonable length, I am only going to share 3 stories, and may do another one of these at a later date.

The first story I am going to share was given to me by my mother. This happened quite some time ago, but she remembers it as if it were just yesterday, which automatically tells you that when someone is harassed, the memory sticks with them forever, no matter what it is that happened. The story reads this:Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 9.22.48 PM

Now how much do you want to bet that this man doesn’t even remember doing that to her? He probably thought that what he did was completely harmless! But my mother (a teenager at the time) was mortified. She went home and she thought about it and clearly has never stopped thinking about that moment.

My next story is from a friend (we will call them Jamie) from school, but it takes place about 2 years ago at Toronto’s Union Station. They were waiting to pay to get on the subway when the man in front of Jamie starts giving the ticket guy a hard time (a topic for another day):Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 6.44.47 PM

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 6.45.01 PMJamie thinks the man was most likely intoxicated, probably from some sort of drug, but I don’t consider that to be any excuse for treating someone with that much disrespect. I do want to congratulate Jamie for standing up to the man. That is something that I, personally, usually never do. I usually just ignore the person and walk away, but I think that standing up for yourself is very brave, and probably more affective, although it can definitely be dangerous if the harasser is a violent person. Still, good on you, Jamie.

My last story is from my friend, Emily, who was totally all for me using her real name for this. Now Emily is currently living in Laos doing a teaching internship for the next few months (she has been gone for a few months too, miss you Em!). Anyway, she went into great detail telling me this story, so I will give you a moment to read all of it:

Again, another case of intoxication, and again, not a valid excuse to treat people like shit. Emily was really upset about this encounter, rightfully so, but apparently her friends didn’t seem to care as much. They were more upset about the man calling them American rather than the man insinuating that Emily was a “slut” and calling her a bitch, not to mention that had there not been something physically separating her from him, what he could have done to her for defending herself. Once again, some people have a reputation for become very violent when intoxicated, especially after someone tells them something that they do not want to hear. And, no offence to the girl this man was with, I highly doubt she would have stepped in to help if he had tried to physically harm Emily. I only say this because clearly she wasn’t trying to stand up for Emily when he was verbally attacking her. Now I have no doubt that Emily would have put up one hell of a fight – she is a seriously tough girl who doesn’t put up with anyone’s shit – and that hopefully one of the other people in the house would have been there to help her in an instant, but really, she should never have to. And that is the whole point.

I really hope that upon reading this blog, whether you identify as a man or a woman (or anything in between), that you realize that you are not alone when it comes to harassment and objectification, and that maybe you will reconsider the next time you feel like you need to come on to a total stranger, call someone a bitch, slut, whore etc., or even just stare at someone as they walk past.

I will plan to write another blog like this one, so if you have a story that you want to share with me and the people on my Facebook (since no one else really seems to read this but that is 100% ok with me), please inbox me and I will try to put your story in an upcoming blog.

Day 4 – Reactions

Day 4 – Reactions

 

For today’s blog, I wanted to do something a little different than what I have done the past few days. I want to talk about the reactions I’ve gotten to my previous posts. A lot of people reacted in many different ways and it is important to me that I look at each comment and try to understand why that person is saying what they are saying. After reading my first post, some people (both women and men) were really either triggered by a memory of one of their past experiences, men defending men, men apologizing on behalf of men, women cheering me on, women feeling sorry for me, and for some, it made them a little more aware and open to telling me their own stories.

First off, I want to talk about what the men had to say. Some men were disgusted and embarrassed Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 9.06.02 PMthat other men would treat women that way (yelling objectifying slurs, whistling, etc), which is the way I would really wish most men would feel. They were literally apologizing Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 9.06.23 PMon behalf of their gender, which I also think is super unfair. I know as women we tend to group all guys together when we feel like we’ve been attacked, but the truth is, there are still A LOT of good guys out there, we just tend to see the assholes instead because they stand out. But it was nice knowing that some men are “on our side” when it comes to objectifying women instead of treating them as equals.
Some men, however, did not take the nice guy approach. I was told by people I thought I knew better that I “needed to get used to it”and that “boys will be boys”.Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 9.06.52 PM This really bothers me. I personally think that we need to be teaching ALL boys at a young age (and continue to tell them throughout their adolescent years) that women are not objects and are not to be treated as such, including staring at, touching without permission, cat-calling, whistling at, etc. But some men seemed to think that this would never happen and that we women will just have to get over it. I really don’t know what else to say other than that I hope there are better people out there who will teach their children to have respect for everyone, including women, people of different race, culture, background, and financial standing (this will be a rant another day, just you wait).
Now the women in my life seemed to have a different sort of reaction. Some of them were extremely supportive, say “way to go”, “power to you”, as well as a decent amount of likes on Facebook. Some of them were very angry and upset, not by me, but by what had happened to me, calling cat-calling “stupidity” and a “power trip”. Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 9.22.35 PM.pngI was also told by all genders that “men are pigs”, that they “have no respect for women” and that they “think women are sex objects”. Although this may be true in some cases, I am highly aware that this does not apply to all men. I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful men I have in my life whether it be family, friends, or family friends, they all treat me with the utmost respect, and for that, I love them all.
The other common reaction I got from women was sympathy. I really hate to say it, but women seemed to be very sympathetic because they know exactly what I had been experiencing, as they had been through very similar (if not worse) situations. They would say things like “sorry this happened to me” and that I need to “stay strong”. I really do believe that women need to stick together, because when an event happens that really sparks something inside of a woman, her girls are always there to show sympathy and to be on your side and to even share their own relatable experiences so that you know that you are not alone.
This leads me to my next topic. Stay tuned for my next blog where I share the experiences that others have shared with me, so that you too can know that you are not alone. So if you are reading this and have your own story about being objectified and/or harassed, please feel free to send me a message on Facebook, text me, or comment on this blog, so I can include parts of your story in my upcoming blog.

I just quickly want to give a big thank you to everyone who has been supporting me by reading my blogs and statuses, and to those of you who have been commenting on my blog posts and my Facebook posts, whatever gender, whatever you say, positive or negative. Everyone’s comments and opinions are welcome. I am very open to hear everyone’s side to things, and love to read everyones opinions as they are very eye-opening for me.

Day 3 – The Pickup Corner

Day 3 – The Pickup Corner

Today’s ensemble consisted of dark blue skinny jeans, a burgundy loose-fitted tank top, a white PINK hoodie, and my black toms. The reasoning for today’s specific outfit was 1. Because of the weather. It is still normally below 20*C and can be pretty chilly in the shade and wind. And 2. I have just recently started a new job which means I am spending most of my day indoors where there is sometimes A/C, pants and a light sweater make for a comfortable me.

IMG_3061As I stated above, I have started a new job that involves me staying indoors for most of the day, which makes this experiment a little more difficult. I am not going to write about my co-workers, because I find that it is very unprofessional and disrespectful. But I will write about the other experiences that I had while I was not at work.

This morning, as I was leaving, I ran into the woman I am staying with talking to our neighbor in the driveway. Neither of them seemed to care even a little bit about what I was wearing. They said hi and asked me how work was going, etc. They respect me, and I them, and this seems to be the trend here. But alas, I will need to do a little more experimenting before I come to my conclusion. #Science.

I then stayed inside for the remainder of the morning and afternoon, meaning I didn’t experience any kind of harassment as I wasn’t out and about “flaunting”.
I do want to quickly reminisce back to last week (when I didn’t have any internet so I stopped working on the blog), when I was at work walking from the main building to the hall with one of my superiors, we had to walk passed a couple construction workers. This isn’t unusual as the whole main street is currently under construction. Two of them stared at us as we walked passed and started to point at us and holler at each other. I couldn’t necessarily hear exactly what they were saying over the noise of the construction, and I know it sounds super stereotypical, but I am assuming (dangerous to assume) that they were talking about the two of us. I always try not to label people or place them in a stereotype, so when this happened, I was kind of upset, but I also sort of laughed because it was just so comedic to me that construction workers would do that sort of thing after being called out in movies and tv shows for doing that sort of thing all the time. I wasn’t even mad.
After work today, though, I decided to walk downtown for a bit to get a few supplies for work (I forgot some important things at home, oops). For this I needed to add my Ray Bans and I needed to take the hoodie off IMG_3063and wrap it around my waist because it had gotten much hotter and sunnier over the course of the day. After picking up the things I needed, I decided to walk around for a bit since I’ve been sitting for most of the day and haven’t been getting as much exercise as I’m used to. I stopped near a restaurant (to read the posted menu) that just so happened to be situated on a corner. As I was reading, a man – I’m guessing in his early 20’s – came up and waited on the corner. I assumed he was waiting for the light to change so that he could cross the street, but he suddenly turned to me and said “If you wait on this corner for long enough, someone will pick you up.” Now at first, I thought this was some kind of hint towards prostitution, but moments later, a red convertible pulls up, driver (older man) waves at this man, the man gets into the convertible and they drive off. I told a friend who has been here longer than I have about my encounter and she said that it is probably because of the construction and that since it’s a small town where everyone knows everyone, people just pick each other up and give each other rides around the construction because it is simply faster.

After dinner, I decided to go down to the pier, get some ice cream and watch the sun set. I have always loved sunsets. Again, the only looks and glances I got were nothing worth noting. I passed by many people, whether they were alone or with a group, male or female, young or old. When people glance at me, is seems more like an acknowledgement of my existence more than “checking me out” for lack of better words.
Other than the strange corner experience, I didn’t really notice anything odd, other than a little girl stare at me from inside a restaurant as I walked passed, and one man driving passed leaned over his friend in the passenger seat to look at me as they drove passed. This seems a little dramatic, which is another thing I am learning from this experiment: men are extremely dramatic.