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I have been an anti-bullying advocate for years. Long before anti-bullying became cool and everyone jumped on the bandwagon. As a victim of bullying, I don’t like to see it happen to others. As an advocate, I’m frustrated.

I hear a lot of talk from agencies and governments about how bullying needs to be stopped. Yet, when it comes to taking any real action towards stopping bullying, all I get is hot air. It’s all talk. No one wants to take action against those who feel they have the right to push others around. I’m not sure why they do it. Power? Amusement? I honestly don’t get it.

Back in my early 20s I took a course through Grant MacEwan. It was called “Public Relations and Advertising”. I learned one thing there; people are cutthroat and I didn’t have the balls for it. After only one semester I dropped out. I realized I was far too nice and wasn’t able to undercut my fellow students. I’m still that way. I’ve often turned down writing jobs only to recommend a friend I know is better suited for it than me. Other writers have looked at me like you would a retarded puppy when they hear that, but it’s the way I am. I know my writing. I know what I can do and I know when I’m not going to produce the best product. Clients appreciate it and trust me with future projects. I’ve always felt it’s a better way to work.

Today, however, I realized that I’m a minority. I already have Non-Verbal Learning disorder, which makes communicating with others difficult. I don’t read non-verbal cues and, so, miss out on much of what’s being said. Imagine being dumped in a small fishing village somewhere in China with nothing but the clothes on your back. That’s a little what it’s like for me.

This became clear when I was out shopping today and looking for a new plug for my kitchen sink. I went into Home Depot and could not get anyone to help me. Frustrated, I went to the customer service and got, what I later learned, some bad advice. Frustrated, I mentioned that I didn’t like waiting for 10 minutes for someone to come and help me. The girl looked me in the face and said in absolute sincerity, “you know, if you’re negative, then negative things happen to you. You should be positive.” I was stunned.

I consider myself a nice person. I try to see something pretty in everyone I look at and try to compliment people when I can. Very often I’ll lend a hand to a stranger when it’s needed and I try not to be cranky too much. I don’t always succeed at that last one, but I do try. When the woman made that comment, she made an assumption; I’m a negative person and it was up to her to show me the error of my ways.

As I was leaving I said, “I am a nice person. I could have been here yelling and making you feel bad, but I recognize my frustration and that you are not the source of it. So I come here politely and tell you the problem. However, all being nice got me was you telling me what a negative person I was. Thank you.”

I felt angry at this woman, this stranger, making such an assumption. It stayed with me like a bad lover and I didn’t nearly enjoy the day as much as I might have wanted to. The lesson I learned was being nice only gives people permission to treat you however they like. Yet I go on being nice.

So it is that I’m often the target of bullying. Like Sheldon from “Big Bang Theory”, I don’t understand much of human interaction but I do try to follow the rules only to find that the rules are arbitrary. So it is that I’m the weird kid who has trouble understanding why the joke that everyone else laughs at is funny. Often the joke is about me. However, I’ve learned that I don’t have to put up with bullying. I don’t have to put up with it, but there’s no one out there who will help me stop it.

I was working for About Staffing when an assignment went bad. It happens and details don’t matter. However, I’d reinjured my knee and was thinking about going to Worker’s Compensation Board for help. About Staffing decided not to use me because of what happened with the job. That happens. I was angry, but I couldn’t dwell on it. As the day wore on, though, my knee got steadily worse and I made the decision to go to WCB. Later that day I got a phone call from the agent from About Staffing screaming at me that he was going to call the other agencies in Edmonton and tell them not to use me. He also claimed that my phone call had been recorded, a crime in Canada (you cannot record calls without informing the party they’re being recorded, first). I was stunned and felt abused.

Here’s where I found out the uselessness of Canada’s bullying laws. First I went to a lawyer. They felt sympathy for me, but nothing more. All he’d done was issue threats. Until he acted on them, they couldn’t do anything. So I contacted ACSESS, the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services, is a governing body that acts as a watchdog for behavior with employment agencies. I put myself on the line and issued a formal complaint. The verdict? I got a letter that stated, “we do not find any breach of the ACSESS Code of Ethics and Standards and this file is now considered closed.” Since the agency didn’t actually DO anything they’re not to blame for anything.

I cried.

According to our country and those we rely on to protect us, it’s not bullying until something is physically done. People can scream, threaten and say all the nasty things they like. They can beat you down verbally and make you feel horrible.

Suck it up.

No one will help you. You can plead with people to help you. You can get angry and feel as helpless as you like.

Shut up.

There is not a law or governing body that will come to your aid.

How do you move forward from that? How do you keep going when it happens again and again? I’m not 8 years old and getting taunted at school. I’m a grown woman who simply doesn’t understand people being bullied by people who are supposed to be colleagues.

I’m a nice person. I don’t want to be bullied any longer. So if you read this and you’ve been bullied at work, please share it on your Facebook or Twitter. Maybe if enough people read this the powers that be will realize that words do hurt. Threats do make a difference. Maybe we can convince someone out there to stand up and stop this.

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Today I’m going to be productive.

First, up at 8:00 am. Then a good healthy breakfast.

Okay… up at the crack of 10:00 am or so… let’s see… are chocolate chip cookies healthy? No? Okay, well milk is so that’s healthy.

Now, time to sit at the computer and write. Oh damn. Those cookies are sitting on the counter. They look absolutely delicious. Well, it’s not like I actually had breakfast. A couple more won’t hurt. Besides, I’m drinking milk with them. That’s good, right? Just three. No more than three.

Okay. The computer. Being productive here. Oops. Bathroom break. Look in the mirror. Damn. I need a shower. Well, no time like the present.

It’s noon? How did that happen? Okay. I got some good old mac ‘n cheese here. That’s quick and easy. Gosh I love mac ‘n cheese. Always makes me feel like I’m five years old again.

Back to the computer to open the latest story I’m working on. Wait. I have email I have to check. Oh look, my friend posted this funny thing on Facebook. I have to share that. Now, say something witty about it. Witty… witty… Got it! Ha! What’s this story on Yahoo? Oh my! I have to comment on that. So many people notice me when I make comments on these stories.

The story. Where the hell was I going with this story? Damn. Five pages in and I’ll have to rewrite the last two. Maybe I can salvage them. No… My brain must have been gnawed on by ferrets when I wrote this. Go back and rewrite. Wait. Text coming in. My friends all love me. They know how hard I work. Ha! My friend is having a rough day at work. I’ll text her something funny to make her smile. She needs that.

Television. I need some noise in the background. I’ll turn on one of those daytime talk shows. They always make me feel better about my life. Damn, girl! You’re 14 years old! Why are you having sex with a 26 year old? Stop that.

Story. Right.

How did it get to be 4:00pm? I need to start thinking about supper. Damn. I promised my friend I’d go to that movie tonight. Maybe I can convince them to buy supper. I hate cooking. I still have a couple of hours before they get here.

Spend the next 2 hours furiously writing.

10:00pm and back from movie and the dinner. Gosh my friends treat me well. I should try to pound out a couple of pages before bed. Oh look! More emails! I have to catch up with what’s happening on Lolcats. Oh and look at what’s on Ugliest Tattoos. Jesus. That guy looks like he wound up on the bad side of an argument with a stapler. Oh, more Facebook updates. Yes, I support that, so I’ll give it a like. Story. Right.

Okay, let’s open the story and see where I’m at. What the hell was I thinking when I wrote that? Can I claim aliens abducted me and forced me to write that? No. I’d like the probing too much. Okay. Let’s just go from where we left off. Who’s we? Do I have someone inside my head? No. Just a cast of thousands. I call them characters. Hee hee.

Write until 3:00am.

Damn that felt good. I need food. I’ll grab a quick snack. I’ve really got to get rid of these cookies. Just two… or three…. four sounds good. Milk. Milk is good for me. Helps you sleep, too. Not warm milk, though. Cold. Ice cold milk. Warm milk is just gross unless it’s chocolate milk.

Okay. Off to bed. Oh wait. I want to check that FML app I’ve got. Some of those are hilarious. Oh, and I’ve got to play my game. Got to make sure my vampire kicks some ass. Okay. Now to sleep.

I’ll get up at 8:00am and have a nice healthy breakfast….

Do crazy people know they’re crazy?

The answer is; yes. We do.

I’ve been asked this questions many times and the answer is always the same. Those of us who have been diagnosed or, in my case, misdiagnosed with a mental illness know that the things we say or do are not the kinds of things that normal people say or do. People Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) know that flicking the light on and off a dozen times is unique to them. However, there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop the crazy. It’s an itch that absolutely has to be scratched or the world will come to a screeching halt and everything will go flying into space and explode.

I recently explained it to a friend this way; there are two halves to my brain. One half is a mature, well-developed, intelligent, logical, thinking person. This half makes good decisions and interacts with people well. This half is well-liked and is a good conversationalist. The other half is a temperamental three-year old. This half throws temper tantrums, holds its breath, kicks, screams, shows up at my bedside at 3am with a butcher knife and laughs demoniacally. This half demands attention, is extremely insecure and highly unbalanced. Usually I’m able to beat this half into submission and lock it in a closet. However, the little brat has a key and gets out when I’m least expecting it. It’s then I find boiled bunnies and such. This half scares the hell out of me sometimes, but so long as I can toss it in the closet and ignore it, I’m fine.

My friends all understand this part of me and help me get the little bastard back in its place. It’s a little like living with Damien sometimes. This is my life and I’m learning to live it. I know this part will make its appearance during times of stress so I try to keep my stress to a minimum.

It’s because I understand my own brain so well and how it works that crazy people don’t really bother me. They’re content to play in that section of their head that best interacts with the world. Sometimes you can get some really interesting ideas from crazy people like sitting on a park bench and singing, off-key, at the top of your lungs. It’s a lot of fun and if you do it in the summer, people will give you money.

No. Crazy people don’t really bother me. Normal people, on the other hand, freak me out.

Technically, my sister is a normal people. She scares me. She lives in one of those architecturally controlled neighbourhoods where every third house is the same one. It’s a boxy little neighbourhood with boxy little houses and boxy little people driving boxy little cars leading boxy little lives. How on earth do people live there and not get the urge to spray paint graffiti on the neighbour’s cat? The only saving grace to this place is a small pond where ducks and other birds make their nests in spring and winter. Of course, mosquitoes love the place, too, but the ducks are really cute. Needless to say, the three or four hours a week I’m forced to spend in this area on the pretense of family dinner are enough to scare the crap out of me.

Another thing that bothers me that normal people do is displaying pregnant bellies. Apparently there are men out there who are sexually attracted to pregnant women. Why? Leave them alone. That’s how they got like that in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that other women are willing to have babies. If it were dependant on people like me, the human race would die out. Quickly. I’m one of the few women (I know a couple of others) who look at pregnant women and think “Alien”. Sorry, but the thought of something alive inside me just gives me the heebie jeebies. I don’t think it’s a lot to ask that you cover that thing up. I’m not asking for burqas, here but please don’t don the string bikinis. Okay, if you’re pregnant and want to wear a burqa, I’m good with that.

Oh and let’s talk about normal women and their ideas on relationships. If you remember the book “The Rules” and the messed up advice it gave you’ll understand what I’m talking about. I figure I have to be crazy because I just don’t have the time or energy to invest in the games that many normal women play.

I went with my friend to see the movie “Ted” and had a great time but it made me angry. The lead female character, Lori Collins (Mila Kunis) decides that John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) needs to grow up and get rid of Ted. Wait a minute. In the movie she’s been in this relationship with this man for four years!! She knew about Ted the minute she met him. She’s been around the bear for four freaking years!! Now, all of a sudden, she wants him to get rid of that part of his life that helps define who he is? I was angry.

According to my friend, it’s normal for their women to want them to “grow up”. Okay. I get that. Adults take responsibility and move forward in their lives. That’s fine. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a fundamental relationship in this man’s life that has helped to define him as a person. My friend says that women do this all the time. They fall in love with a guy, the bad boy for example, and then try to change him. Why? Then, when they change the guy to what they want, they get bored and dump them or, worse yet, marry them. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m not in a committed relationship now.

Normal people engage in all kinds of dramas and bullshit that really doesn’t need to happen. Office politics is a wonderful example of this. People butting their noses into other people’s business where it doesn’t belong. How about those play groups where parents bring their kids to socialize them to other humans (I think that’s the purpose of them)? I’ve heard of this parent or that parent talking crap about others in the group and creating drama. It goes on all the time. Here’s some advice from the Krazy Korner; STOP IT. If it doesn’t concern you, if it isn’t harmful or detrimental, then just shut up.

I’ve come to the conclusion that normal people are weird. Crazy I get. The elves have invited you to their tea party and that’s why you’re dancing down the main street downtown. Heck, I’ll even join in and dance with you for a bit. We can ignore all the normal people who laugh at us and drink elven tea and dance.

Recently I published a blog outlining my experiences in the Grant MacEwan Professional Writing program. The blog was less than glowing and I received many responses I expected. One person claimed I was whining and I was doing the program a disservice. Another person claimed I had my aggression dialed up to 11 on a scale of 10”. I honestly expected those responses and they give me a certain amount of pride.

However, there were some people who read the blog and saw it for what it was; one woman talking about 2 years of abuse and bullying by fellow students. These people, whom I am proud to claim as friends, contacted me and expressed sympathy and shock over my treatment. These were the same people who tried to comfort me during my school year and often tried to help put a stop to this abuse. They are true writers destined for great things.

I know some people were upset with my blog. That doesn’t concern me. I learned long ago that a writer cannot be concerned with what others think about their opinions. A writer tells the truth and damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. It’s what gets us into so much trouble and if you aren’t prepared for that, you’re not prepared to be a writer.

What surprised me about the negative responses I received was not the vitriol, but the fact that they blamed me for my situation. I need to say here that those people who supported me and showed their sympathy for me are not the ones I’m talking about. I’m talking about those people who called me a whiner or complained that I didn’t try hard enough.

If you saw someone push someone down on the ground, you wouldn’t turn to the person on their ass and say, “well, if you hadn’t been standing there, you wouldn’t have gotten pushed. It’s really your own fault, you know.” Well, if you’re an asshole you might.

The people who hated my blog expressed one common opinion; it wasn’t their fault so it had to be mine. They never said or did anything bad to me so why was I blaming them? No, according to them they were innocent so the problem had to be me. I was a whiner. I was aggressive. I was negative. In one response the excuse was my social shyness.

So, let me get this right, I was bullied to the point where I had to receive counseling and I had to bring a complaint against an instructor (which I later retracted after I was put in a new class) but that was all my own fault. I woke up shaking most mornings from anxiety and fear but that was my own fault. I considered going back on anti-anxiety meds (thank you to those friends who talked me out of it) but that was my own fault.

 

I should be clear here; I will not take responsibility for someone being an asshole to me.

These people who responded to my blog claimed I was being unfair. They didn’t say or do anything to me. One said she’d been nice to me, how could I claim she was a bully? I was being horrible to them by making them responsible for what a few people did.

No I’m not.

When you become a writer you have an obligation to make your voice heard. That’s being a writer. That’s in the very nature of every single writer in existence. Being a writer means putting your voice out into the world. What in the world do you think a writer is?

This was a program designed to train writers. Writers don’t have the luxury of hiding their head in the sand. So how can I hold them responsible for the actions of their fellow students? Easy. They did nothing.

To those students I say this;

If you saw bullying happening and did nothing, you’re guilty. If you heard of bullying happening and said nothing, you’re guilty. If you knew your friends were bullying and said nothing, you’re guilty. If you knew it was happening around you and you did nothing, you’re guilty. If you suspected it was happening and didn’t stop it, you’re guilty. If you never tried to help the person being bullied, you’re guilty.

It is no longer acceptable to hide behind “I did nothing.” That’s the point. You did nothing. Therefore, you are just as much a bully as the abuser. If you’re a writer and did or said nothing, then that makes you worse than the abuser. You’re a coward and have no business being a writer.

Every single person has a responsibility to stop abuse. It doesn’t matter if it’s a parent abusing a child, a child abusing a parent, spousal abuse, kids bullying each other, a teacher bullying a student or any other type of bullying or abuse. There is one very effective weapon we have against this kind of behaviour; our voices.

When one person speaks against abuse and bullying, it empowers the victim. If you see it or know of it or hear it happening, say something. If not to the bully, then say something to someone in authority; a teacher, a parent, a priest, anyone. Make it known that it’s happening. Don’t blame the victim and tell them it’s their own fault.

Speak out even if you only whisper.

Perhaps the first voice is a whisper, but enough whispers can be as loud as thunder.

A green forest that looks magickal

Magickal Place

Writing sets me free.

I wrote my first story at the age of six. No, I don’t still have it. My sister read it and made fun of it so, in a flurry of tears, I threw it away. I still have the same reaction with some editors, but I no longer throw things away.

Still, I was only six years old when I tried to create my own world. It was a simple story, a whole three pages long. Written in my childish printing, it talked about a princess with a special horse-friend who helped her escape the castle. Okay, so the story had some holes. What castle? Why did she need to escape? I don’t know. Didn’t know then. Still, I remember that feeling I had while I was writing it. I was just learning my letters, so I took great care to print carefully. I sat and wrote that story all afternoon. When it was done, I put it on my bed so I could show it to my dad later. I never did show it to him.

I remember the feeling I had when I read it after it was finished. There was a feeling in my tummy. Not butterflies, not exactly. Dragonflies. I wasn’t nervous. How could my own story make me nervous? I’m still stumped when writers are nervous about showing their work. Either it’s good or it isn’t. If it isn’t, you go back and make it good.

Those dragonflies in my tummy, though, flitted around with a purpose. I was excited. Even as I read it I wondered what adventures the princess and the horse would have. Sometimes I still do. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something about seeing my words on the paper. Something…

This was my first contact with magick.

Magick, unlike magic, is real. It’s all around and it’s a part of everyone and everything. I was six when I first saw it for what it was.

Magick.

I suppose that’s why I cried when my sister made fun of it. How could she not see the magick of it? Then I got scared. Maybe my dad wouldn’t see the magick, either. I tore it up and threw it away. I remember that incident and it still brings tears to my eyes.

Since then, I’ve learned a few things. My parents understood the magick of the story better than most editors I’ve met in my life. My mother had a grade 8 education and my father had only a grade 6. My father read the newspaper from front to back every day and my family always watched the news, followed by “MASH”. My mother had a talent for weaving a story for an audience and kept me and my friends entranced for hours. My father loved old movies, John Wayne being his favorite, and always took time to explain the parts I didn’t understand. If I have a love of storytelling now, it’s because of them. On my father’s side I get my Metis and Scots heritage, both rich in the art of telling a story. From my mother’s side I get the Irish and English. Let’s face it, the Irish love a good story, a good drink and a good fuck. Not necessarily in that order.

School was always a problem for me. I loved to read and loved to learn. Still do. I simply didn’t see the point of having someone natter information at me. I never took notes and rarely paid attention. Yet, when I got to go out searching for leaves in October for an art project or go to the blackboard to do some math, I came alive. I didn’t care if I got it wrong. This was getting my hands dirty and I learned. Otherwise I was the student the teacher complained wasn’t working to potential or didn’t play well with others. Truth is, I didn’t work to their potential and I still don’t play well with others. I don’t see a problem with that.

In junior high, I found a teacher who loved the story as much as I did. I can still remember sitting in his class, on the edge of my seat waiting to see what Ivan the Terrible would do next or how the Mayans built their wonderous calendar. He was a rare teacher. His name was Mr. Keroustache. He told us his story and it was horrible and beautiful.

Mr. Keroustache grew up in the Ukraine at the time of Lenin. Lenin wasn’t such a nice guy and Mr. Keroustache’s family died on their farm. Except his sister who died later. He left the farm at a very young age and went to Moscow. I’m unsure if he lived in an orphanage or something, but he did live in Moscow. In Moscow, he later achieved a doctorate in Russian History and was a top gymnast in Russia. At one time he won a gold medal. I’m unsure if he won his country’s competition or if he went to the Olympics. However, Mr. Keroustache and his friends were unhappy with their home. They wanted more. In the middle of winter, they took off across country to defect to Europe. At one point they had to run across a field, him and his two friends. There were watchtowers with gunners in them. One of his friends was shot and Mr. Keroustache never stopped running. He never found out what happened to his friend.

Eventually he came to Canada to teach children what he knew. We had such a treasure and never learned its true value.

Now I’m all grown up and suffer from bouts of anxiety, shyness, am plagued with diabetes and obesity. Within the story I leave all that behind. I take all the treasures I’ve found along the way and build a world I can escape to for a while. Some of those treasures are sharp and cut and others heal and nurture me. That goes into the magick.

The true magick lies in the story’s ability to take me to a place where I’m free. Then the magick grows and becomes something else when someone else reads the story and is transported to the same place and they see different things. The story touches and connects all those who read it.

To those skeptics who say magick doesn’t exist, I say bah. Go read.

Let’s talk about sex. It’s a subject everyone has an opinion on from the 15-year-old virgin to the 82-year-old grandmother.

I’ve been noticing a trend in Hollywood lately; every time there’s a bad guy, he’s got some sexual deviance that has turned him into a serial killer. That’s not good PR for those of us who have sexual deviances and enjoy them. By Hollywood standards, I should have half a dozen bodies in the yard by now.

So let’s list off my kinks, shall we? I’m a libertine which means pretty much anything goes anyways. I really have a thing for breasts (female breasts. I still can’t wrap my head around moobs). I’m a switch which, in bdsm terms, means I can either be dominant or submissive (depending on my mood). I have a desire to have a threesome with two men and have already had a threesome involving one man and two women (actually, a few times). I have toys such as vibrators, a glass dildo, scarves (for bondage and blindfolds) and a riding crop. Whee!

All too often I see people giggling behind their hands when the topic of sex comes up like adolescents and it confuses me. Why? Sex is a natural part of being alive and it’s time we stopped treating it like it’s something dirty or taboo. Let me tell you, sometimes the best sex is very dirty. Let’s get one thing out in the open. Sex is rarely about procreation. We are human and, as such, we are social creatures and everything we do is to re-emphasize that social contact. From work to hobbies to having sex is all about reinforcing our position within a social network. Now, stop giggling behind your hand and get a few myths out of the way.

  • Men are only interested in sex with other men if they’re bi or gay. WRONG!!! This may seem at odds with what you understand, but sometimes straight men are curious about sex with other men. I know of men who have sex with other men as an indulgence. One guy told me that men give the best blowjobs. He loved blowjobs so when he found a guy who liked doing them he didn’t feel any need to turn that down. Men have a penis and know very well how their’s works but it is normal and natural to see if another guy’s works the same way. Read the rest of this entry »

So when do you determine a relationship is toxic and you need out?

Any relationship; lover, friend, family, work, whatever. When does it go from slightly abusive to toxic? What’s the line? What do you do when you get there?

A few years back I suffered from medication induced anxiety. I was misdiagnosed with anxiety, put on medication designed to help it and, in a grand feat of irony, began to worsen. The correct diagnosis was REM Behavior Disorder. During this time something amazing happened. Most of my friends exited my life. Two stuck around, but all the others who claimed to love and support me took off. Suddenly they couldn’t deal with me barfing every time I went to the store for groceries and it wasn’t fun when I sat in a corner quietly crying when they took me off to a party. There were times when I made an honest effort to overcome the anxiety and tried to talk to people, but I came off as loud and weird. All those people who swore that my friendship meant a lot to them suddenly left.

At the time it was devastating. I felt alone and abandoned and wondered how I would cope. In that time, the two friends who remained quietly stood by my side during some of the darkest days I have ever known. It’s a horrifying thing to be trapped inside your mind and these two men supported me while I ranted, raved, cried, ran in terror and eventually broke out of my prison. That is a type of friendship that goes beyond words and simple thank yous. To this day I still mist up when I think of these amazing men. When it came time to bury my father, one friend stood and held an umbrella over my head in the pouring rain. He got soaked to the skin so I could stay dry and say good-bye to my dear father.

Now that part of my life is over and I’m able to give back to these wonderful men who should, in my eyes, be given medals for what they’ve done for me. They don’t even have to ask now, if I can help them in any way to make their lives easier or better, I do it. I don’t even think about it. They’ve earned that much and more.

I look back on that time and realize now there were blessings in having endured that. I learned a valuable lesson as to what a friend is and what a good, healthy relationship is. Not everyone can stand to see the person they love or care for go through that kind of thing and I still suffer from residual effects of that time. However, you do what you can for those who mean something to you.

A good relationship is a symbiotic relationship. Each gives according to their abilities and each takes according to their needs (see? Communism isn’t a complete loss). During that period, I needed a great deal and the two men who stuck around gave what they could. I didn’t ask for any more than that. Okay. I did ask that they put up with 10 to 15 calls a day, but that’s just the insanity.

At no time during this period was I toxic to the people around me. I was a problem to myself, but not to others around me. It sounds odd now to say it, but I felt that would be rude. It’s one thing to destroy your own life with your insanity, it’s another to destroy the lives of others. So that was just something I tried very hard not to do.

A lot of dead weight left my life when those other friends left for bluer skies and saner people. One friend was a coke addict and unable to function in a healthy way. Another was so self-centred, he had an affair on his wife and saw his mistress during her chemotherapy treatments. Looking back, I’m glad those people aren’t in my life.

I now have good people around me, including one friend who goes along with whatever zany idea I come up with and plays along happily. I can talk to her in a deep, meaningful way and she can depend on me to listen when she has a problem she needs to air. When I tell her I’ve decided to cultivate a superpower and she gets to pick one, too, she doesn’t even miss a beat. It’s a way we can play and have fun. We watch b-grade horror movies and eat nachos and laugh at each other’s lives and antics. It’s good. It’s healthy.

What do you do, though, when a relationship becomes toxic? For me, it’s my sister. I’m not sure I can describe the situation but I’ll try.

My sister is obsessed with appearances. She has a boxy little house in a boxy little neighbourhood with boxy little people driving boxy little cars and leading boxy little lives. She has an apple tree in the backyard and a trellis in the front. Her grass is always green and her sidewalk always shovelled. She has her friends that are appropriate and they go out for supper or play bridge. They watch movies like “The Notebook” and cry in all the appropriate points. They loved “The Hunger Games”.

I’m an embarrassment to her.

I am outspoken, not concerned with convention and would probably go on a killing spree if I had to live in that neighbourhood. Or, at the least, leave burning bags of dog poop everywhere. I talk about religion and sex and politics. I have several lovers and even (GASP!) have no love of monogamy. I hated “The Hunger Games” and wanted to gouge out my eyes during “The Notebook”. I don’t understand social subtlety (I’m a little like Dr. Sheldon Cooper on “Big Bang Theory”. My friends will actually point out to me when someone’s being sarcastic) and my apartment is usually a disaster.

I could live with all that if that’s all it were. It isn’t.

My sister displays signs of being extremely manipulative and controlling. I have suspicions about this, but as I’m not a professional, I won’t offer any kind of diagnosis. Her need to have everything appear a certain way in her life leads to destructive behaviour. She appears not to notice it or see what she’s doing. Often, in the past, she will blame the reaction to her behaviour on the recipient of her actions. For example, she will make some comment about how writing isn’t a “real” job. When I then become angry and defensive, she tells me I’m “being oversensitive”. I no longer wear certain clothes or talk about certain subjects with her. They become too volatile. She does not know I’m pansexual. She has made it clear that is unacceptable to her and she doesn’t want to know.

My relationship with my sister is toxic. I have reached the point in my life where I have determined that once my mother passes away, she will no longer be in my life (I don’t want to distress my mother as she has Alzheimer’s and wouldn’t be able to understand). From the time I was in my teens to the time I came out of my medication-induced insanity, she has convinced me there is something wrong with me. That I’m somehow defective. In an effort to please her, I have gone from one psychiatrist to another looking for this mysterious problem. Instead of concentrating on my life, my happiness and my career, I have chased after her phantoms. I know this doesn’t sound awful, but when you are bombarded with endless psychological and emotional abuse, it gets to be enough.

She is my sister and people tell me I’m supposed to love her no matter what. What if I can’t? What if loving and supporting her devastates my life as it has already?

I have decided there are times in your life when you need to cut certain people from your life. Even if that’s family. I asked myself the question, does this person make my life toxic? If the answer is yes, they’re gone. My sister creates a toxic waste in my very being that I cannot ignore any longer. Family is important, that’s true. However, my well-being is more important.

Gay Pride Couple With Bare Asses

A gay pride couple with their asses bared to the world

I’m proud to be who I am. I may not stand on tabletops, but I also don’t hide it. Let’s get the labels out there. I am a pansexual, polyamourist, switch libertine. Okay. That’s out of the way. When I saw the above photo, I got angry. I recognize the need to go out and be public. That I have no problem with. Seriously, though, is there a reason for hanging your ass out for the world to see? Every single other person in that photo is covered up and dressed normally. I don’t care how great your ass is, does it add to letting the world accept GLBPT people? Or are you just another exhibitionist who needs to be in a different type of parade? All too often I hear people saying gays are “fine” but that their behaviour is weird. These are generally open-minded people saying this. I’m often told that the objection is not about who the person wants to love or is attracted to or how they define their sexuality. Rather, people tell me they object to the behaviour. Oh, I know I’m going to get a lot of hassle about this, but come on, people. We’ve all met the butch lesbian and the flaming gay. I’m not talking a woman who is a tomboy. I am more tomboy than feminine most days. I’m talking the woman who goes out of her way to display her masculine qualities. Not a trans woman, just a lesbian who acts like she just walked off a pirate ship. Or how about the gay man who is so effeminate he has flames shooting out his ass? These are people who act in extreme ways to get attention. No one; straight, gay or other; likes to have behaviour thrown in their face. We condemn the Goths and Emos for doing it, why is it okay for the GLBPT group? When you’re marching in that parade, ask yourself why you’re there. Are you there to offer support to the community and show the world you don’t want or need to hide? Or are you there to get a cheap thrill? Does having your ass hang out further the GLBPT community’s agenda in any way? Or does it give the world another bit of weird behaviour to stare at? I, in no way, suggest that people be quiet about their sexual orientation but there is a time and place for everything. Come on, people. Our community needs to help the world understand and accept us. We don’t need to push the public further away through idiotic behaviour. Sgt. Brandon Morgan with boyfriend Dalan Wells kissing

This photo was posted on Facebook and showed a very happy Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells reuniting after Morgan had returned home. It’s a touching, wonderful photo and no one’s ass is hanging out.

If our community is to be truly understood and accepted, we have to help people to understand. Understanding stops, communication stops, everything stops when your behaviour alienates people. A man I truly respect and admire is George Takei. Here is a man who lived in the internment camps of World War II (a pretty name for something so ugly done to a culture) and then came out as being gay at a time when “that sort of thing just wasn’t talked about”. He’s intelligent, witty and fights for what he believes in. If we have anyone to thank for forward movement in the GLBPT cause, he is certainly one. Yet, he doesn’t engage in outrageous behaviour. When it’s appropriate, he flames and has fun with it. When the situation calls for it, he’s all business.

Let’s be smart, people. If your behaviour is alienating others, then stop doing it. You have the right to love whom you choose but you don’t have the right to scare people. We are all human and humans are a social creature. We need each other to survive. That means making allowances for each other. If you’re straight and are curious about the GLBPT community, come ask. We like questions and we’re generally friendly. If you’re GLBPT, please don’t be a stereotype. You’re our spokesperson. How people see me depends on how you behave. Please represent me well and I’ll do the same for you.

And please cover up your ass.

Condom

Condom

I have a high sex drive.

A phenomenally high sex drive.

I always have. It’s something I’ve learned to live with and work around. I’m fairly certain that if I were a guy I’d have a hard on at least once every couple of hours. As a woman, it’s easier to hide sexual arousal.

My first sexual experimentation began when I was six with a female friend who was eight. We had an idea that if touching ourselves felt good, then touching someone else must feel good, too. Our experimentation continued and grew for about a year and a half when I moved away. After losing my friend, I continued to experiment on myself.

For a long time I was ashamed of this. The first horror to strike people is the idea that a six year old would even consider such a thing. After all, little girls wear pigtails and play with dolls, not each other. Understand that while there was arousal, it wasn’t the same as adult arousal. This was simply a physical response to stimulation. Neither of us knew, understood or cared about the psychological or emotional arousal happening. It was merely a matter of “let’s see what happens when I do this.” To this day people are horrified when they find this fact out about me. Personally, I don’t see it as bad or good, it just is. What amuses me, though, is little boys will masturbate as early as being in the womb and it’s seen as natural. Boys will be boys. However, a girl who does the same thing is seen as being unnatural. Boys will “play doctor” and that’s a source of amused pride. Girls experiment and it’s horrifying.

The second source of my shame was the fact that I was playing with another girl. I learned early and I learned fast that girls belong to boys. That’s it. In my early 20s I went to a psychologist because I thought I was somehow broken (I wasn’t, took me until my 40s to learn that). I told him of the incident and he let me know that unless I was willing to “purge” myself of the event, he couldn’t help me. When I refused, he stated that I was addicted to being sick. I never saw him again.

So, all through my life I’ve had an unbelieveably high sex drive. I would date men and wear them out. I had one guy break up with me because he complained he couldn’t keep up. I tried desperately to remain monogamous, but I hated that I had to curb my appetites. Of course, as I said earlier, I get aroused throughout the day so I’ve learned to ignore the feeling and go on. However, in an intimate relationship, it seemed like I should be able to go all night like I want to. By my 30s, I hit on something of a solution.

While going to the University of Alberta, I met a young engineering student. A hot little 20-something who was willing to play. For the first time, I met someone whose appetites matched my own. Since then I have actively sought out engineers. I have yet to be with an engineer who is a bad lover. I don’t know what it is, but I highly recommend engineers.

Younger men, it seemed, could keep up with my needs. I like young men. They have nice, hot, tight bodies and are generally willing to try most things. However, a relationship was not in the works.

I had grown tired of relationships. Always masturbating someone’s ego for the price of dinner. I never felt cared for, just like property. Younger men generally don’t want relationships with older women (though there are exceptions) and I’m good with that. Once I rid myself of the idea that I had to be in a relationship to be a whole woman, monogamy quickly followed out the window.

In the ensuing years I also found that I liked to play with some women, depending on their personalities. I’ve had a few alarming encounters but, for the most part, I’ve found that women are willing to play for longer periods. I like variety so, my new awareness of my sexuality enabled me to have various partners without guilt.

However, I am very aware of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Let me state this bluntly; if you are a sexually active adult and you do not get tested for STDs regularly, you’re an asshole. This may mean yearly or every couple of years. I try to do this every year or every couple of years.

Now let me make a confession. I’m kind of an asshole. It’s been more than two years since my last testing (which was clean at the time). I could give lots of excuses for this; I always use condoms, I haven’t had the time, I’ve been too stressed, whatever. They’re excuses and I admit it. As a sexually active adult I understand and am prepared for the outcomes of my actions. However, others shouldn’t have to pay for my actions. Tomorrow I go for testing like a responsible adult.

It’s at this point I have to make a plug. I always, ALWAYS use condoms. My preferred brand is Lifestyles “Skyn”, but I also like some Trojans as well. I prefer the thins, but I never have sex without a condom. I currently have a playmate (a friend I have sex with) and have been playing with him for a year and a half. We still use condoms.

I think of all the lives that have been lost because of STDs like AIDS. My hero, Freddy Mercury, succumbed to AIDS and died tragically. He still had so much more to do. I have more to do. Tomorrow I go for testing not because I think I have an STD, but to be sure that I don’t.

The Goddess holding a moon

Goddess Moon

I am a Wiccan High Priestess. Few realize it, but there are responsibilities that go along with that whether I have an active circle or am just a solitary practitioner. I take these responsibilities very seriously and try to carry them out to the best of my ability. 

It may seem self-evident, but one of those responsibilities is to listen and actually hear what the Goddess and God are telling me. This doesn’t mean watching for a bunch of omens and portents, but simply being open to what the world around you is showing you. The Goddess and God aren’t always obvious; most of the time they’re rather subtle and it’s hard to hear. Then there are times like this when it’s a blatant slap across the face.

For the past month it’s been raining off and on in Edmonton, Alberta. Not something that overly concerns me, I know the sun will come out sometime. If it doesn’t, I know how to swim and the Bible has great instructions on boat building. So it’s not something I’ve worried a lot about, especially since we had an incredibly dry winter.

However, over the past weekend, I’ve become more aware of the environment and the world around me than usual. I live in one of the most ecologically friendly buildings in Edmonton; built from recycled materials, it has geo-thermal heating/cooling and solar panelling. This building is what housing will feature in the future and I am proud to live here. I am also one of these people who take the bus or walk everywhere I need to go. I don’t own a car but I will use one occasionally whenever someone’s silly enough to hand me their keys. Most of the time, though, walking is enjoyable and good for the heart. I recognize, though, that this green-friendly activity isn’t mine by choice, but is one of the wallet. So, to take a more active role in saving the earth, I have gone paperless in my life. I don’t take receipts and use my debit card so I always know what transactions I’ve done, I have yet to refill the ink in my printer, all my edits and I do all my writing on the computer. I now use about 10% of the paper I once did. I’ve challenged other writers to go paperless, but so far none have accepted the challenge (see “Suckling at the Paper Teat“, January 7, 2012).

Things finally came to a head when I watched a neighbour watering the pavement on Saturday, June 9, 2012. Rain was imminent and I sat, stunned as this man took a hose with a high pressure water attachment and watered newly paved parking lot. Maybe this is an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder thing. I don’t know. Whatever it was, it made me angry.

When I told my sister about this pavement-watering moron, she stared at me like I’d suddenly started speaking a foreign language. She honestly didn’t understand why it bothered me so much. I then looked around her house and realized she is one of Canada’s resource gluttons. I was ashamed. When I went home that night I was disillusioned and depressed. My sister is a big advocate of the environment. So I thought. She’s always going on about recycling and environmental issues. She sounded like one of the eco-weenies I have so much problem with. Turns out, like so many others, she’s a hypocrite. Somewhere along the line she’s learned to mouth all the environmental platitudes but takes little or no action.

That night I found an earring I’d lost. It was my favourite, in the shape of a dragonfly. I feel very fond of the dragonfly, he’s seen as the messenger of the gods. I don’t look for omens, but sometimes the Goddess and God are rather blunt when they’re speaking to me. Okay. I got the hint. Time for action.

Canada has about 7% of the world’s renewable fresh water supply according to Environment Canada but we are also the biggest consumers of water in the world. It may not seem like much at first glance, that little 7% but let me assure you, that’s a vast quantity. This water supply has made Canadians water gluttons. I’ve seen people run the dishwasher (which is not an ecologically friendly dishwasher, usually) to wash two or three pots because they don’t feel like scrubbing. I know of people who take two or three showers a day because they feel like it or it makes them feel good. I’ve seen people watering their lawns a half hour before it’s about to rain. If these things don’t make you angry, they should. If it still doesn’t make you angry, then stop reading. You won’t give a damn about the rest of what I’m about to say.

I predict that in 20 years the country that it will be water that is the world’s commodity, not oil or gold. When that happens, the country with vast renewable fresh water resources will become a world power and Canada, which is one of those countries, is not ready for that responsibility. We have been idiots in regards to conserving our resources. I do share certain sentiments with David Suzuki in that Canada must act now to take care of its country or we will quickly become impoverished in ways we scarcely imagine.

I’m a science fiction writer. Let me paint a picture of the future if we do not take care of our environment now.

Disease will be rampant. Without access to clean water supply, our bodies will not be able to adequately fight off infection and diseases. Not to mention the increase of insects like mosquitos which often carry such diseases and are quite adaptable to adverse environmental situations. Certain species, like birds who eat insects, will decline drastically without water to supply. Our vast forests which we rely on for wood and paper products will quickly dry up. Vast quantities of prairie farmland will become as useless as a screen door on a submarine. The beloved Oil Sands will also come to a screeching halt. People will begin to work for food and water instead of money as both become scarcer and scarcer. Scared yet?

Unlike many environmentalists (I, by the way, am not an environmentalist. I am merely practical), I don’t just shout out dire warnings and then leave you shaking under the covers. There are some very real things you can do.

  1. A shower once a day is fine. If you happen to work a job that is very dirty by its nature then have that second shower just to clean up. A bath should be reserved for those particularly stressful days. Have a baby? I know of two mothers who would shower with their infants. It was a bonding time for them and the infants loved it. Of course, I don’t have children, so I don’t know how practical that is.
  2. STOP WATERING THE PAVEMENT!! If you’re like my neighbour and wants a clean sidewalk, get a broom. The exercise will do you good. Also, maybe if you feel silly doing it a few times you’ll come to the realization that IT’S PAVEMENT, not your kitchen and doesn’t need to sparkle. Maybe then you’ll stop.
  3. Green appliances are your friend. I don’t know of any company that doesn’t offer low-energy or low-water appliances. Buy them. You don’t need the water-guzzling or energy-sucking appliances of old. Along with that, invest in low-water spigots and shower heads. My building has them and I really don’t notice the difference.
  4. Green isn’t always good. There are unscrupulous companies out there who use the green name for marketing and don’t actually have anything environmentally friendly about it. Bamboo is not a good thing. Leave it to the pandas and stop clear-cutting bamboo forests. Be aware of what you’re buying. Like fish? Stop buying it. Fishermen often catch things other than that wonderful tuna or salmon you like so much. Dolphins in nets are one small part of the problem. Rare crabs, oysters, even coral reefs get caught up in them. Stop buying fish. Besides, our oceans are another problem area we need to work on.
  5. Recycling is everyone’s responsibility.It takes an extra 10 seconds to put something in the recycle. If you don’t do it, you’re an idiot and should stop reading. I don’t waste my time on idiots.
  6. Go paperless. With computers today, there is very little reason to print anything out. You can do almost everything paperless now. Pay bills, buy groceries, even do editing.

There’s a lot more that can be done, these are just the ones I’ve thought of. Oh. One more thing; tell your neighbours. Tell your friends. We’ve come to the point where watering the pavement is no longer an option. Canada is on the brink of something. We can either be a world leader or we can be gluttons.

As a High Priestess, I have a duty to listen when my Goddess and God talk. They spoke and I took action and wrote this blog. I hope everyone who reads it will pass it along or Facebook it or Twitter it. It’s time to stop watering the pavement.

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