Eliminate girl hate.

In our culture, women learn from a young age the value of comparison. It is a strange reality, to live in a sex that is divided rather than united. We are taught through a lot of mainstream media that our fellow sisters are our competition.

We start early, when we shame a women for their body type, or when we criticize another women’s belief in a career over marriage. These are subtle behaviours and words, but they are present nonetheless.

These behaviours, and ideas conclude to form an idea called “Girl Hate.” That is the idea that women are pitted against each other rather than supportive, that we thrive on hate rather than love. It lives when we view other women as opponents, rather than allies in the fight for equality.

You see Girl Hate invades many facets of our life. It is in gossip magazines that compare woman in “Who wore it better,” pitting two women against each other and judging them based on appearances. We don’t talk about the movies these ladies produced, or the characters they play, no, we talk about how one wore scrappy sandals and the other flats. We reduce women to cultural cliches.

Another way we see Girl Hate is in the concept of “frenemy,” that you have friends, who are simultaneously your enemies, because you are competing with them. We see this in movies like “Mean Girls,” which encourages women to fight with each other. Don’t get me wrong, Mean Girls is a hilarious movie, but the concepts inherent are terrifyingly true.

Simply put, Girl Hate is the idea that women must always be competing against each other. We are already subjected to criticism about our bodies, our goals, our aspirations, our views, in the mainstream media. But then we become divided because we obsessively measure and compare one another’s success.

But there is good news ladies. The concept of “Girl Hate,” is becoming a big part of the feminist narrative. I am happy to say that most women are recognizing Girl Hate and it’s negative influence in our lives. We are starting to build a united front, celebrating our differences rather than dividing because of them.

I see the elimination of Girl Hate in my generation every day. In women who uplift and support their friends, rather than compare.

I see it through women who support all body types, rather than uplifting one type as the ideal. I see it in women who laugh at the “thigh gap,” because they find it absurd to change your body to fit one type. In women who celebrate and uplift diversity in their life, and in their female relationships.

I am lucky to have and live with women who celebrate their differences. I have friends who can’t wait to start their career, friends who want to travel, but also friends who can’t wait to be mothers. I have friends who are dedicated to Science, and others who are dedicated to Artistry. Women who are comfortable in traditional gender roles, but are supportive of women who want to escape them, and vice versa.

I know women who love to bake, but women who love to fish. Women who climb mountains, and women who love to crochet. I also know women who do both of these, women who are feminine, but can also build a kick ass fire.

I know women who support and advocate for feminism, just as strongly as I do. I know  women who instead choose to support and advocate for poverty prevention in our cities.

I know women from diverse backgrounds, with diverse beliefs, and strong ideas. The point is these women accept and love their unique self, rather than compare themselves to others.

I believe in the power of uplifting others, and in standing alongside your friends in their success. I believe in women that love themselves, and then love each other. If feminism has taught me anything, it is that we are stronger together. That we must recognize our privilege, but also work to fight for those who don’t have it.

We must continue this narrative because ladies, we are doing well. We are having these conversations, to encourage diversity in our movement. Feminists around the world are working together to uplift and encourage other women, from many walks of life.

I am surrounded by women who live this concept every day. Women who support each other in their differences, rather than letting those differences divide them.  I am loved by women who know that if we step forward together, united, we can change this world. I sure hope we do, and I sure hope that someday soon we can eliminate Girl Hate.

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay, xxx

Click here for more information about campaigns against Girl Hate, and grab a cute t-shirt! 🙂

 

 

What it’s like to be single on Valentines Day.

Today is the day to celebrate love. It is also the day to annoy all singles and become the most cheesy and romantic couple possible. Today is the day where you prove your love through social media. You can’t be in love and not declare it on Instagram. 😉

Don’t worry this post is not about mocking couples. Although we all know that’d be highly amusing. This post is simply my thoughts about this strange holiday.

Despite my best efforts I will probably come off as the bitter, single, lonely person who hates Valentines day because they aren’t in a relationship. Honestly I don’t really care if that’s what you perceive.

The truth is I really love Valentines Day.

I’ve never been in a relationship on Valentines Day. I always take the Christmas exit, or the early escape route. I’m not the best with commitment, and I seem to have the worst timing.

Because of my commitment issues I enviably celebrate Valentines Day with my friends. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. These Valentines memories are my favourite, because I know they are fleeting.

One day I will meet someone who I didn’t dump after 3 months. One day I will be celebrating with a boyfriend, or husband, because that is what you do. When that day happens I will miss my Galentines memories. They are pretty great.

One year my housemates and I celebrated Valentines day with homemade cards. We all took the time to sit down, decorate Valentines mailboxes, and make each other homemade cards. It is years later and I still have these cheesy notes riddled with positive affirmations.

Another year my single girlfriends and I rented out a back room at a restaurant. We dressed up, ate a a beautiful dinner, and exchanged stories about our worst dates.

Last year my dear friend hosted a “Galentine’s brunch,” where everyone gathered around mimosas, pancakes, and an insane amount of syrup.

These memories are my favourite. Because all too often we forget about the importance of our friendships. We don’t celebrate the friend who picked us up on the side of the road when our car broke down. We don’t affirm the friend who told us we were beautiful after that boy broke our heart. We don’t celebrate the simple act of a hug, or a prayer when a roommate has a bad day.

I know that Valentines Day is primarily for that “real” love. The mushy kind that encompasses physical, emotional, and spiritual realms.

I think all too often we forget about the other loves in our life.

So this year on Valentines day I get to remember my other loves. I get to celebrate another year with friends.

This year, like every year in the past, I am celebrating this day in the arms of friends. I will spend my day with the people I admire the most. The incredibly strong, beautiful, and intelligent women I’ve surrounded myself with. The women who affirm my dreams, my goals, and my crazy aspirations. The women who love and care for me when I don’t care for myself.

The way I see it is simple.

I have the rest of my life to celebrate with a husband. Right now I have the absolute privilege of stuffing my face with pizza, drinking wine, and cuddling with my friends. We will laugh, cry, complain bitterly, but ultimately we will be together.

This year my Valentine’s are my friends. They don’t fulfill all my desires, but I’m lucky to have them.

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay, xxx

New Year, New what?

At the beginning of the year we are told what our resolutions should be. People will tell you to get thinner, get a gym membership, get a job, get a goal, get a pet, get a girlfriend/boyfriend, get a promotion, get an iPhone and the list goes on and on.

The problem with these resolutions is they are all get, get, get.

I would like to propose something else. What if we spend our New Year, our fresh start, in gratitude? To be grateful for what we have, to be happy about another year on this earth.

My 2016 year, was not so bad. Sure there were ups and downs but for the mostly my year was spent in happiness.

I started January of 2016 sharing my story at a Young Adults conference. I essentially stood up in front of strangers and spoke about my failures, my fears, and my insecurities.

It was incredibly intimidating, but also incredibly freeing. I let go of the person I was, and became the person I am today. I started the year anew.

I am grateful for that experience because I started 2016 seeped in vulnerability. This led to a year that was overflowing with honest, authentic, relationships. It all started with letting go of the past, and moving into my present.

In 2017 I would love to develop a spirit of thanksgiving. A spirit of focusing on what I do have, rather than what I don’t. I want to push away the everyday worries. The bills I have to pay, the doctors appointments I go to, the responsibilities. I want to live in the present, with a lens of gratitude leading my way.

I would like to develop and enhance the genuine friendships I have. To dig a little deeper into their stories. To pray together, cry together, love together, be involved in genuine community. I want to be grateful for the people God has blessed me with.

This year I am experiencing a season of uncertainty. I don’t know where my path is heading. What I do know is if I enter this year with a spirit of gratitude then God can and will bless me.

This does not mean I can be apathetic. It  does not mean I can sit on the couch, watching daytime TV, eating chocolate, and someone will hand me my dreams.

No. In 2017 I will look for opportunities to develop and enhance who I am. I will work to be grateful for what I have, and be grateful for the opportunities that come to me. 

I believe we can all be more humble. To live with our hands open wide, palms up, waiting for what God can drop into our existence. I hope in 2017 I will release my fists. Instead of clenching, and controlling, I hope to relinquish my life gratefully.

I know that in 2017 God will do powerful things.

For some of us 2017 will be a period of intense sadness, it will be a period of pruning. Of being stripped down to our bare branches, and feeling hollow. This season will hurt. But only then can we change who we are, only then can we experience healing.

For others 2017 will be a season of ripening, of our branches opening wide with plentiful fruit. We will experience many joys, and our branches will dip because they are laden with fruit. We will experience life affirming highs. You folks are pretty lucky.

For most 2017 will be a period of learning. Of some branches being stripped, and others being laden with fruit. We will have periods of loss, and periods of happiness. Periods where we are teaching, periods where we are being taught. Periods of ease and periods of discomfort. For most 2017 will be a year of profound teaching.

This year, despite which year you have, I challenge you to be grateful. I find it is only in the spirit of gratitude that my hands are outstretched and ready for challenges. When I am grateful I learn the most, because I am humble enough to admit that I need pruning.

I don’t believe 2017 is a time for gym memberships, promotions, material consumption, boyfriends/girlfriends. If those come your way take them, but realize that only through a spirit of gratitude will you learn to become everything you to need to be. Only through gratitude can we improve as human beings.

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay, xxx

The Single Myths, Part One: Confidence

So I am single. I don’t view this as a bad place to be. Despite this, as I’ve journeyed through life I constantly receive criticisms about this simple fact. I don’t blame people for that, we live in a culture that uplifts single-hood. But I’d like to combat that.

This is my first post in a series I’d like to call, “The Single Myths.” In these articles I will write about the good, the bad, and the ugly of singleness. These posts will not only focus on acceptance, but embracing the single life as a blessing.

I do not believe that being single is always the right place to be. Everyone is at different stages in their life. I just want to offer a different perspective to the single life. I, like many others, desire a partnership. Despite this need I have come to a simple conclusion.

Right now, I am happy being single.

The first myth of single life is the one I encounter the most. The myth is; if you are confident alone then you aren’t open to partnership.

First off, I don’t even know where this idea came from. Essentially you are stating, “you love yourself too much, and because of that no one else can love you!” Right? This sounds so absurd! How does that even work?

I know that confidence is an important quality to have. It enables you to move through the world with value. Confidence is sexy. And not in a “look how hot she is,” way. No. Confidence is sexy because it is a skill.

Confidence is not natural. It has to be developed, just like any other enviable trait. At the core of humanity is this need for community. So naturally we want to please others. Thereby confidence can be a hard skill to manage.

Despite this, I believe it is an important skill to learn. You can gain confidence in a relationship, but it is easier when you are single. When you are single you have time to build your own self esteem, because let’s face it, you are alone.

Let’s get one critique out of the way. Because I am sure some of you think this is completely wrong. But I want to emphasize. Confidence is not arrogance. These two are easily confused. Arrogance is affiliated with importance and pride. Confidence is loving who you are, warts and all.

So let’s talk about what confidence in singleness can bring you.

First off, confidence brings validation in yourself. It allows you to be brave. It forces you to approach the world with an “arms open” mentality. Some of the greatest chapters in my story happened after I took a huge risk. This takes a lot of confidence.

When you believe in yourself, you can become the best version of yourself. It is difficult to enter a partnership when your glass is half full. It must be overflowing with love, so you have enough to give it to another person.

If you enter a relationship, and have no validation, you will place your significance in your partner. You will only feel loved, accepted, confident when they build you up. It is not your partners job to validate you. You must find self-love on your own.

I’ve been told by countless people that my confidence is “intimidating.” They take a trait that should be admirable; and shape it into something negative. THIS INSULT IS A MYTH. If your partner can’t handle you, they are not the right person for you.

Confidence is making a conscious decision to love yourself. It doesn’t negate emotional intelligence. We all have flaws. Confidence works in spite of those weaknesses.

Confidence does not negate need, we all need to be loved. It is incredibly important to surround yourself with community through friends and family. Especially when you are single. We all crave love, confidence builds that love.

Confidence does not mean you are prideful. I am confident that I talk too much, distrust people, am terrible with money, and will always be late. I know I have many weaknesses to work on.

My argument is simple. Confidence brings empowerment. When you are alone, you only have yourself. So you have to learn to love every part of yourself.

I know that confidence leads to believing in your skills. It leads to a healthy, well rounded life. It allows you to whole heartedly love others. It allows you to ask for that well deserved promotion, to demand more respect, to say no when you are worn out. Confidence is the first step to getting closer to your goals.

I vote we get rid of this idea of “intimidation.” It is just another way for people to bring you down. Another back handed insult, when in reality, you are confidently living out your life now.

We live in a society that profits from insecurities. What would happen if we said, “screw it, I am going to live in singleness, and I will do it with confidence.” What would happen if we all tried our best? If we developed our finest self now, while we are single?

I believe confidence is a game changer. I believe self-love breaks the stereotype of single life. We can all benefit from looking in the mirror everyday and proclaiming, “I am a boss ass b**tch,” or something similar. Let’s change the world while we are single.

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay xxx

People are good, right?

I like to believe that those I love will always have good intentions. Despite this, I am very careful with who I trust. I avoid vulnerable conversations because when you are vulnerable, you open yourself to hurt.

This week I am struggling to believe that people are good. I have watched as close friends dissolve our friendship. I denied inappropriate advances from a supposed friend. I watched someone go through undeniable pain as they were betrayed. I listened as many people told me how they were mistreated by their family.

These conversations have been very difficult. They have added fuel to the fire I believe in. They justify my mistrust of people. A mistrust I know is wrong.

To combat these feelings, I turned to the bible to decipher what Christ says about trust and love. He thinks quite differently than me. I’m not surprised. My lesson was revealed in Luke 22:54-62. The story of Peter’s denial of Jesus. 

Peter was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, one of his closest confidants. After Jesus is arrested, to later be hung on the cross, Peter denies knowing Jesus. He does not deny Jesus once, but three times. Peter betrays Jesus’ trust in the most unspeakable way; by denying his belief in Christ.

I read this story over and over. I could not believe the severity of this betrayal. Jesus loved Peter an incredible amount, but Peter betrayed his very existence. Peter spoke love in one moment and spoke hate immediately after. Can you even imagine that hurt?

Let’s look closely at the last two verses,

61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

~ Luke 22:61-62

Peter has to look into the eyes of Jesus and acknowledge his sin. He knew the cruelty of what he had done.

As I poured over this story I had a realization. I realized the most powerful element is not that Peter denied Jesus. The most powerful part is that Jesus knew Peter would betray him. Jesus is all knowing, but he chose to love and trust Peter despite his forthcomings. He loved Peter knowing that he would severely hurt him.

He even warns Peter a couple days prior that he will betray him in Luke 22:34. Let’s just take a second and recognize how unbelievable this is. IT IS CRAZY! I doubt any of us has the strength to do this…

Jesus chooses to trust and love someone who will ultimately betray him. Someone who will break his heart. Jesus put Peters’ needs first. He recognizes that Peter is broken. He knew that he was hurting, so he saved him. Peter is just like you or me, a person so undeserving of trust, but who gets it anyways.

After reading this story I felt convicted in my thoughts. Because yes, I have been betrayed, but unknowingly so. I do not make a habit of befriending people who hurt me. I do not extend grace when I receive hate. I love when it is convenient. But Jesus loves when it hurts. 

So I decided to re evaluate my week. It wasn’t as awful as I believed.

This week I was asked to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friends wedding. This week I felt the earth’s cool breathe, as snow, one of my favourite things, blanketed my town. This week, I was told by a dear friend how much she loves me.

This week, I finished a beautiful book about intimacy in relationships. The kind of book that makes you stop and thank God for the words he gives us. The kind of book that leaves you speechless, that changes how you think.

In the end we know that people will hurt us. The bible warns us of this over and over again. But if no one has the power to hurt you, then you are living a false life, at least according to Jesus. 

Relationships, friendships, love, it takes vulnerability and trust. When you disclose your insecurities you are handing someone a loaded gun. They now have the power to destroy you. And sometimes they will.

But here is the challenge. Jesus calls us to so much more. He calls us to trust  and love fearlessly. Even if we do not agree with the end of the story.

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay, xxx

 

How I’m loved, when I’m broken.

I am currently living in a world of grey. I am unsure of where to go, what to do, or who I am supposed to be. I would love to pretend that my anxiety isn’t there or it is easy to go with the flow, but the truth is my life is broken.

It is broken because of a recent job loss –a loss, by the way, I didn’t ask for– but was given nonetheless. With this lay off, I have been given the gift of time. This gift is positive because I can figure out what I want, but is simultaneously negative, because I have no clue what I want.

With this time I find myself turning quite frequently to scripture. Normally I don’t have the best record with reading my bible. But God delivers his word when we most need it.

The other day I opened my bible to a passage –Romans 8—where it talks about a life led by the Holy Spirit. The following verses stood out to me:

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  ~ Romans 8:26-28

First, Paul talks about how the Holy Spirit guides us in our failings. This applies very well to my life right now. I’ve lost a full time job and have few prospects on the horizon. I do not know which direction to take, and I have too many options. I often find myself overwhelmed with choices. Fundamentally I am “weak.” 

Paul challenges us to look towards Christ in our weak state. He writes that when we don’t know our plans, the spirit will guide us. Essentially no matter how broken we feel, God will mend us for his purpose. I love this, that the “spirit will intercede when we are wordless.” When we have no words left, God delivers the perfect prose. God loves to use flawed people, people like you or me.

Moreover, I would argue that God uses us most in our flawed state. At least, this is true for me. Before I moved to Lethbridge I was in the toughest battle of my life against mental illness. This wasn’t always my battle, but I was drowning in cynical thinking.

I had pushed God out of my life, and he allowed me to live without him. It is not a place I would recommend. I had fallen so hard into darkness that I convinced myself I would never succeed. Yet God had an ulterior motive; he brought me to E-Free, he pushed me into leadership, and he used me, despite my vulnerabilities.

Christ allowed me to fall so he could catch me. I desperately wish I could say that is the end of the story. Sadly, the struggles haven’t stopped there.

I still battle self-doubts; in fact, I battle them every. single. day. I try to ignore these doubts, but they are bricks pelting my bubble of self-confidence, and they are stronger.

I keep trying to push my doubts away. Most days I don’t feel valuable enough to keep going. I never feel worthy of the leadership God’s given me.

Despite that, God has already used me. That’s what he does. He searches our hearts and gives us purpose, even if we are failing. As Christians we are not pristine, we are called to be more like Christ. We will always be a work in progress.

We are told, in verses like these, through weakness God provides strength. Through ineptitude, God demonstrates his grace. Through hesitation, God provides vision. God loves broken people. He uses broken people, people like you and me.

Isn’t this amazing? He uses us when we have nothing to give!

So we must wait, and be patient. God will use us. In hindsight, you can probably see the path he’s drawn and where he has placed you. He uses you despite all insecurities.

I am, without a shadow of a doubt, broken. I am the furthest from perfect, and the closest to crooked. That won’t stop him. 

As Carl Lenz, a pastor from Harvest Church, so eloquently states, “You can choose to let your brokenness be a barrier or a platform.” This time I would like my brokenness to be a platform. Who knows, maybe God will do something truly amazing.

Thanks for reading,

xxx Lindsay

Living with a Restless Heart

I, like many others, have trouble living in the world of now. I struggle to be complacent with where I am. I find myself always looking to the future. Despite my best efforts I always see the grass as greener on the other side.

Being restless is hard. It means that you crave change, you live for spontaneity. You don’t agree with the 9-5 work life and you never will. I believe these are important traits. They allow you to choose the alternative.

The “restless” are dangerous because they challenge social norms. We strive for more, and we are never willing to give up. People with restless hearts will purchase plane tickets rather than mortgages. We live for the next thrill, the next moment of change.

I know having this heart can be a challenge. I find that it leads to a lot of introspection, a lot of doubt, and a lot of criticism. I find that one day I believe so strongly in one cause, and the next day I don’t. I live in a world of opposites. Because you guessed it, my thoughts, my feelings, they are restless.

I don’t know how to properly define the thoughts I feel. The anger I have towards the life planned from a to z.  I do not solely desire social constraints, such as marriage, children, mortgage, a sedimentary state. I try to avoid feeling attached to a place, because I am always fighting the urge to leave.

I spite of these frustrations, I honestly believe these thoughts, and feelings, are okay. I am allowed to feel this way. But I cannot let these feelings change every part of me. I cannot let them destroy friendships, relationships, family, while chasing my wanderings. My restless heart needs a bit of a leash.

So what do I do to tame the untamed? I challenge myself to find happiness in the mundane.

Why am I doing this? Because I do not want my restless heart to define me. I do not want to wake up in a different country, happy because I did something, but lost because I have nothing. I do not want to lose my community. I want to pursue a life that is filled with relationships. I want my world to be surrounded by love.

I am working on my restless heart because I have discovered something truly magical about life. It is those simple moments that make it so amazing. It is those simple moments that I remember the most.

The moment when you hug your best friend, or laugh with your husband, or fight with your sister. When you pray and find that God grants you the courage to face another day. Or even when you splash in a puddle on a rainy day.

I am trying to live with abandon, and still love simplicity. I want to find joy in a smile, a good cup of coffee, a great book, despite how mundane that all seems.

I love my restless heart. It is because of this heart that I have lived in so many places, had so many adventures, and loved endlessly. My restless heart allows me to accept change, and see the positive in every day. My restless heart may be tamed, but it sure as hell allows me to be free.

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay xxx

When you don’t see sexism.

Sexism has become an angry word in our society. It is a word that has been demonized by mainstream media, and sometimes-even woman themselves. The word bleeds with negative connotations because of our misinterpretation. It is a word associated with blame, and sometimes sexism is ignored.

It is ignored, but any female you ask will tell you it still exists. It may be subtle or overt but it is most definitely there. Yet it is still an argument.

It is exasperating when woman are blamed for cat calling, rape culture, or the wage gap. It is frustrating to constantly argue that sexism still exists. But what is most angering is that it’s difficult for woman to speak up when we have been shamed into staying quiet.

I recently read an article that inspired me to write this; it is called “The Thing All Woman Do That You Don’t Know About” written by Gretchen Kelly. It is simple in its execution but incredibly powerful in the truth about living as a woman. The website link is located below, and believe me; it is worth your time.

In the article Kelly talks about the subtle differences in women’s day to day behaviour because of sexism. She talks about how most men, most kind hearted and loving men, do not know about these struggles. They do not know that most woman walk to their car at night with keys clutched in their hands as weapons. They do not hear about the ass grab on a crowded subway, the whistling as we run down the street; the derogatory comments woman receive when doing something as simple as pumping gas.

Kelly then talks about the shame woman experience when we accept objective comments instead of fighting back. That in our society woman are taught to just ignore or brush off these advances. This needs to change.

Kelly gives us a solution to this issue. She articulates the problems of sexism but then talks about the importance of discussion. She talks about how sexism is not seen. That some men, and some woman, don’t believe these issues exist because we don’t talk about them. She emphasizes that by telling our stories we can flip the paradigm. In the article’s conclusion Kelly challenges us to tell our stories of sexism. I took that challenge to heart.

This story is just one example of my experience with sexism. It has always been my “you don’t believe sexual harassment exists? here’s my proof,” story. Feminists reading this article are nodding their head in agreement, because we all have similar stories. This one is pretty bad, so brace yourselves, here it comes.

There was one particular night a couple years ago that three of my friends and I decided to go out dancing. We cabbed to the club and arrived to a bursting place filled with people. Tonight was girl’s night; we had no interest in dancing with anyone else, just with each other.

You might ask what we were wearing, how we were dancing, our make up look, how many drinks we had etc. These details don’t matter, as we didn’t ask for what happened next.

About 10 minutes into dancing a random guy started to push his pelvis into my backside. I immediately turned around, made eye contact, and politely said, “No thanks I’d like to dance with my friends.” He scoffed, said, “Fuck you,” and waltzed off to join his friends.

For the rest of the night he yelled derogatory comments such as, “You know you want this,” or “I can show you a good time,” and gyrating towards me as he passed. I kept yelling no and reiterated that we were not interested. He persisted but we continued to ignore his advances.

Towards the end of the night he came close, placed his hand on the small of my back, and whispered, “You don’t know what you’re missing.” At this point my patience was gone and I turned and yelled, “Fuck off.”

I know, not the most ladylike response, but I wanted to emphasize how unwarranted his behavior was. He yelled back at me but was pushed away by my friends and other club goers. I went straight to the bouncer, told him about the situation and watched as this man was violently escorted out of the club.

At this point my friends and I went home. We were disgusted, and a bit shook up by his behaviour. The part that was most disturbing was his skewed perception of consent. He felt so entitled that he spent an entire night trying to turn a no into a yes. This story is an extreme example of the sexism woman deal with, but it’s not uncommon with my friends. In fact it’s a pretty regular occurrence.

The sad part about this is every woman has one or many of these stories. Every woman has experienced overt or subtle sexism. We have all been taught to ignore, to shrug it off, to walk away.

There’s for a good reason for that, it’s because we still see stories where woman are violently treated because they said no. If the decision is between a woman’s safety and a chance to say something of course it is better to choose safety. It is most important to stay safe and recognize when it’s better to walk away.

Just recently I told the story above to my family as an illustration about sexism. A male in my family expressed concern about my retaliation to the man. He was concerned that yelling at him would hurt me. It is sad that I was told to stay silent, or that at some points in that story I just ignored that guy.

It is so important to share our stories so others will see this phenomenon. We need to work towards a day when every man, woman, and child recognizes that sexism exists.

I hope someday we watch as our male friends condone a sexist comment, and we proudly see that paradigm shift. All I know is that by sharing our stories, like Kelley said, we bring awareness to the issues and we fight to stop sexism. Every story told is one more step towards equality. 

Kelly, Gretchen. “The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About.” The Huffington Post. HuffPost, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gretchen-kelly/the-thing-all-women-do-you-dont-know-about_b_8630416.html

Thanks for reading,

xxx Lindsay

 

 

The friends you lose…

The influence of our friends can make or break who we are. Our friendships influence opinions, beliefs, thoughts, judgements, our ability to change. They are the people who hold us close when everyone else leaves. They receive the good, the bad and the ugly. So I find it strange that friendships don’t receive a lot of recognition in our culture. Think about it, we don’t get together to witness two people in friendship. Although, friendship weddings would be A TON of fun!

Sadly, we don’t talk about how influential our friendships are. I mean, they start, they end, they fluctuate, but there are few that are constant. There are few people who will stick beside you even when you are being your worst self. There are few people who will hold your hair, dry your tears, and defend you, even when they hate you. There are few people who will see you as perfect, even when you’re falling apart.

Just recently I lost two of my closest friends. I’m not writing this to receive pity about it. I’m not writing about it to be dramatic. I don’t want to go into details, or identify them, or place any blame. I am simply reflecting on a time when they were more present, and reflecting on how they changed me. I firmly believe that they changed me for the better. They both taught me that emotional availability is important for individual growth. They taught me that just because I am vulnerable, does not mean that I am weak. They demonstrated unshakeable confidence and compassion for those around them. I also witnessed first hand their kindness and loyalty towards friends. I was incredibly lucky to cry with them, dance with them, and talk for hours about feminism. I learned that I have a lot to change, that I have a lot of room to grow, and that despite what my parents tell me, I’m not perfect. Ha ha, just kidding, I learned that one myself. These two friends loved me for who I was, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.

I am having a difficult time rationalizing this separation. Quite frankly I’m just angry. I don’t understand why these relationships have come to an end. I honestly don’t know if our story together is finished. I don’t know if we’ll overcome the tension, or if we will ever be able to forgive and forget. That is sad, but true. Yet, despite this anger I believe that there is a lesson in every tough part of our life. I also know that the lesson of losing friends is an important one. I do believe that every person reading this can relate to the painful process of letting go.

As we go through this transitionary time, where some of us are getting married, others are travelling, and some are simply working at the 7-11, we struggle with maintaining relationships. We are sandwiched between the responsibilities of adult life, work, children, marriage, and the undeniable urge to revert back to our student selves. A life stage, such as marriage, would be a good example of potentially losing a relationship. I haven’t witnessed any best friends get married yet, but I can only imagine how strange it is to see a best friend become a husband or wife. (Not that this always breaks relationships, but it does change them). Another big life event could be the big move for a job. A friend might move to another country, province, or even just a new city. Some relationships can change because of this. Some relationships survive these transitions and others simply don’t. There’s nothing wrong with either scenario, but I do know that both of these will happen. I also know that just because I’m not there yet doesn’t mean it’s not coming. I know that this is my first painful parting, and sadly there will be more.

Unfortunately losing friends is apart of life. It is apart of growing up. It is learning to let go of those who will hold you down, or learning to let go as you grow apart. Sometimes you need a friend for a lifetime, and sometimes only for a season. I would argue that the friends who helped me for a season, impacted me the most through their presence. They were there when I needed them. In the end I am sad about this loss, about losing these friends. But as I get older I hope I can look back and see that every friendship is a blessing. That in that particular moment someone else needed you, they trusted you, and they opened up to you. In that particular time you might’ve had to learn a tough lesson, cry on each others shoulders, or simply became adventure buddies. Those friendships that you lose, even those people who choose to walk away, are still important to your stories. They still profoundly influence who you are, and who you will become. So I hold onto those loving times. Because I will be forever grateful that I had those friendships in my life. I have been blessed to know some pretty incredible people, and I can’t wait to see who else will stumble into my life. 

Thanks for reading,

xxx Lindsay

 

Fight or flight?

It has been a long time since I have written a blog post. This could be because I have been busy with work and I have not had a chance. It is however equally plausible that I have so much anxiety in my life that I forgot how to write for a bit. If I am being honest, which I always try to be, it is probably a bit of both.

In life we have many choices on how to deal with difficult situations. We all have various coping mechanisms that allow us to get through this crazy world. My therapist recently told me that my biggest coping mechanism is flight. I tend to run away from my problems, rather than face them.

While I hate to admit that my therapist is right, this fact is true. Throughout the most difficult parts of my life I ran away. I ran away from friends, places, jobs, responsibilities, and the list goes on and on. Frankly I wouldn’t wish this coping mechanism on anyone. It makes you feel trapped, it makes you feel small, and it certainly does not solve anything.

As many of you are aware I am at a bit of a crossroads in my life. I have lost the job I built up as my ultimate fantasy. I lost the job I moved across the country for. I lost a job which I sacrificed a lot of my life to get.

The reality is, I do not feel too upset about this loss, mostly because I realized that it wasn’t the correct place for me. Yet getting laid off definitely changes your perspective. For a long time I thought that working in non-profits was the dream. It was everything I wanted and more. Sadly this is not true.

While I can’t dismiss all fundraising, because you know, I’ve only had one experience, I have learned quite a bit about what I want and don’t want in my working life.

Despite how great this experience was, I still find myself in this anxious flight mode. I want to take off. I want to hop on a plane with one bag of possessions and run away. I always love the pattern of leaving. I enjoy new challenges because they help me survive the uncertainty of life.

I know that leaving makes me happy. This is because a new change creates new experiences and distractions so I don’t have to question myself too much. I love starting anew, I find it easier that way.

Right now I am waging an internal battle, I am yearning to run away. I know that running is unhealthy so I am trying to change. I know that fighting makes more sense, that fighting is what a mature adult does. That fighting allows you to learn from your mistakes.

The truth is I want to be brave enough to question the flight and pursue my dreams. I want to stand up for what I want. I will use my time of transition to figure out what I want, not what others want, but what I WANT! I know I can fight to sort this out.

I hope that I find the strength to pray through these uncertain times. I hope I can cast my anxieties upon the Lord, and learn to breathe through the scary parts. I hope that I can learn more about who I am in this period of transition.

I do believe that I have something great on the horizon. I would hate to miss that opportunity because I ran away. I would hate to leave relationships that I have built this year because I am apprehensive about their potential ending.

I hope that these next couple of weeks I choose to fight. Anything worth living for deserves a fight. If you’re feeling the same way, I hope you can bravely choose to fight for what you believe in. I know we will all succeed if we choose faith rather than freedom.

Thanks for reading,

xxx Lindsay