Weddings and Funerals

The people fill the stores like herds of sheep. Consumers, needers, wanters, abusers of products and things. Let them, if you will, spend their hard earned money contributing to the never-ending landfill that has become the world. Landfills and lakes and oceans full of waste and forgotten objects. But trash is not all we are comprised of, no, trash is just what we create. Trash is not what creates us.

The preachers stand on soapboxes and shout about God, Jesus, Satan, and anyone else. They speak in tongues and in microphones and go ignored by pedestrians passing by to work, to spend, to find something. Anything. Will they ever find God at this crosswalk?

In a single moment, one act brings an entire existence to genesis. An existence that will go on to do great or horrible or mediocre things. An existence that may be short or long or somewhere in between. Remembered forever or forgotten too soon.

Isn’t it divine that despite all the bullshit and terror and sorrow,  love still flourishes where you water it?

The people carry on with their plans and their sorrows. They love and destroy one another in all the little ways they can.

We hold hands with our loved ones and express our gratitude. To each other we promise to provide and fulfil, to make this strange thing we do worth every sadness and heartbreak.

Weddings and funerals bring us together.

You’ll never know what someone else is thinking. People talk to you like you’re stupid, or they give you too much credit.

Isn’t it sad? Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it magical? It feels like cherry blossoms and cinnamon. Like a headache and a late bill. It feels like panic and serenity.

I walk under the sun, then again under lights. All I can think is that it’s bizarre this life we live every day, but all I can know is that I’m blessed to be living it.

The people fill the world and they will never stop filling it- with people and trash and memories. Day after day.

 

 

 

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Doing Time in Toronto

Vancouver I love you, but I’m still doing my time.

It’s been nearly three years since I left. As I was leaving, I never questioned whether I made the right decision. There was no doubt in my mind that I was done with the city of Vancouver. A city so beautiful, so serene, so manicured, and so full of humans that I love. It’s full of memories of my youth and my early adulthood and it’s the city that saw me through.

I never had it easy, but I still lived in the Vancouver bubble. This bubble drove me to places that I didn’t want to be in, and there was a moment in 2015 where I realized that I would never evolve if I didn’t move. I wasn’t satisfied with who I was, so I bought a one-way ticket without any real plan and announced it to my family.

I arrived on January 8th at 11 pm and I promised myself that I would get through anything. It hasn’t been an easy road by any means, but it’s been the most fulfilling part of my journey through life so far.

Over the last two and a half years, I’ve had successes and failures, I’ve found my soulmate, I’ve felt the pain of being away from my loved ones, and life has come at me like I’m wearing a target on my back – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’ve learned more about myself than I ever could have, had I not put myself in the most uncomfortable scenario possible. The yin and the yang; the shit I had to work out but never really did; my weaknesses and my strengths; my resilience; my ability to love; the necessity of learning healthy coping habits; my ability to move forward. Everything has been tested.

Lost. Jobless. Reckless. Without my support system next to me. That’s who I was when I moved here. I had dreams, but more than dreams I had a desire to feel something real, without the aid of a drink or a drug or the dependency on the people I was surrounded by. I wanted to feel life. I wanted to feel what life felt like without the crutches.

I still fall down sometimes, but I always get up. Despite the hardships, I’ve felt unparalleled happiness- something that continues to grow in me every day. Despite the setbacks, I’ve learned to get up stronger. I’ve learned that life will never be perfect, or easy, or even simple. Life is complicated and it’s hard. It hurts sometimes, but it’s also the only thing we have. A soul. An existence. A glance into this bizarre world. This is it.

Being home this summer gave me tranquillity. Yet, with every lovely moment I experienced, I remembered that I still have work to do. I’m not done learning. And while the city I spend my life in now smells like hot garbage, and people are edgy, and sometimes it drives me crazy, this is home now. This is where I grow.

My Passion Died in a PC Fire

I’ve had six months of writer’s block. I put the voice inside my head on mute.

It’s a universal truth that everything you think you know is up for debate, but the debates I’ve been encountering lately have been consistently less enlightening and more segregating. Social media justice is more of a one-up contest than it is an attempt to heal the injustices we face in real life. We get lost in our fight for betterment. We lose sight of what we’re actually supposed to be doing. We lose our battles while we’re having petty arguments in comment sections with each other.

Sometimes I forget what the point of doing this is.

Will anyone ever change anyone’s mind?

Lately, I haven’t been willing to sit in front of this screen and vent. Lately, this screen has been more of a dejected place than it has the outlet it once was. I used to love it here. This place used to be where I figured it out. Now, this place is where I come to realize I’m just as lost as the rest of the world.

I feel burdened when I come here. I feel like I need to get away from this place in order to keep my sanity in tact. So I do. I left this place a blank page for six months because I was too disillusioned to look at it.

I’ve spent six months questioning my passion in life. When I was a little girl I wanted to save the world. I used to speak up when no one else would. I used to get in trouble or made fun of for having an outspoken opinion. I didn’t care. I knew it was what I was meant to do. I knew if I kept going someone out there would learn how to be a better person. I was self-righteous. I thought I knew better. Now, I don’t know that I actually know anything. I’m tired of this place. I look outside instead, but something is still missing.

There are times when I stop speaking during a conversation because I’m not sure if what I’m about to say is acceptable. I worry that I might cross a line, and I worry that the line I’m crossing won’t be met with guidance on the other side, but solely judgement.

Isn’t it ironic that in our fight to defend everyone, people become so disposable?

I wanted to see myself as just human, but I’m an immigrant woman of colour. My label defines my experience and therefore defines what I’m allowed to feel or know. What I can say is reliant on this label. Do I have the right titles to back up my passion for this world?

This isn’t new. My label has always defined how people experience me. My skin makes everyone assume my religion. My face forces me off the sidewalk so a group of older white people can push by.  My name makes employers throw out my resume.

My words were supposed to be what saved me. Yet, words are fleeting. They come and they go, and these words that used to free me have become a prison of doubt.

I was taught not to give up, and so even though it feels like salt on the wound, I can say this. I fill a blank page with desolation.

In spite of that, today, I felt a flicker of hope. I came here despite my reluctance. Maybe I’ll find love here again. Seasons change, wind blows, I grow and so will everything else.

You Are What You Hate

Lately, I feel a bit defeated. When the world goes haywire, I always try to comprehend the negative. I can’t seem to this time; there’s no logic or reason behind it. I’ve studied and observed bigotry and hatred for as long as I’ve been able to think. Even though it has always been ugly to me, I could see why it existed. Now, it’s just getting  to a really fucking stupid point- way beyond my understanding.

I really thought for a while it was something we were moving towards healing. I guess my blind faith in humanity was ideological. And yet, I know we can’t give up. It seems like a feasible option when you see what’s happening, but I realize we  lose faith in humanity every once in a while . History repeats itself, and the world has put out bigger fires before. It stings, it makes it hard to be positive, it hurts on different levels, but the beauty of this disaster is that it brings the good together.

I believe that we all want progress. Thing is, some people want different progress, and that’s where the lines get blurred. It’s also where hatred finds a way to manifest. Cause and effect are blurred and people begin to only see colour, religion, head scarves and culture clashes. What I’ve learned is that being a bigot makes life easier on yourself. Do you know how much internal stress you can eliminate if you blame entire groups of other people for your problems?

Without ever looking in the mirror, you can identify your issues with the economy, violence, your town looking different, the reason you no longer feel comfortable, your lack of job, your lack of happiness, and your lack of faith. Without ever once considering yourself as an issue, you can clearly see why everything is going wrong in your life and in the world. It’s the easiest thing to do. Being a racist is nothing but a cop out. It does nothing but deter you away from being a decent, evolving, compassionate individual.

Every word I just used to describe what a racist lacks, defines what an immigrant has to be in order to move here. It’s expected, and I see it in most immigrants I know. I’ve seen how immigration works to benefit the world, and I’ve seen the issues that arise with it too.

If we could just eliminate one major factor in the phenomenon of diversifying our world, we could actually function together and work towards real progress.

But we can’t seem to shake it off.  It doesn’t only exist on one side, it’s from both, it’s a cycle. I’ve seen racism in my own community, it exists in all communities. It’s not just coming from white people, and we can all admit that. Yes, on a global political scale we can pinpoint who is often at cause, but you have to nourish your surroundings before you go big.

For some reason the idea of just being empathetic and patient is a complicated concept for people to grasp. People shrug it off as if it’s just not practical. Like it’s just a word, a dream of people finally coming together and being kind. Some hippy ideology. Why is it so laughable?

Moments like these, when a man like Donald Trump is in office and is attempting to tear the world apart, is when we have to just take any old risk we can and try to salvage this planet for one another. That means letting go of your anger, and actually focusing your energy into the real issue, not just blaming and pointing fingers and complaining.

When I went to the Women’s March, I felt emotional and proud. Then I went home, and I saw people complaining about it. Not just Donald Trump’s camp, but people I consider my friends with opinions I respect and often agree with. It wasn’t inclusive enough, it lacked real progress, where was everyone at the other protests, it was only for and about white women.

It wasn’t. I’m a woman of colour who has been discriminated against my whole life in different capacities, and I understand the frustration of feeling excluded, but right now is not the time to nitpick at people who are on the right side. I felt united at that march, and yes there we’re a lot of white people there, but they were speaking for more than just reproductive rights. They were standing up and showing themselves as an ally, in agreement with you that Donald Trump is a piece of shit. And you could have been standing there beside them, as I was, and spoken up for what you are. This is the thing, the moment we get angry at people for not standing up for us instead of educating them, is when we become negative.

Right now, if you feel excluded it’s your time to fucking shine, and to do so without feeling like it’s necessary to diminish another movement before yours. Yes, white privileged feminism can be disappointing to people who feel they aren’t represented, but you have an opportunity to speak up for yourself. People are listening right now. We are trying to find a way to unite, so let’s please do that and save humanity before we nitpick.

I have always been someone to call out bullshit and try to peal layers. But now is not the time for that. Right now, let the white women march and march beside them instead of finding more issues to separate us. Yes, we are different, yes we experience different sides of life and politics, and some of us are more prone to be hurt by them than others, but right now, we have a bigger issue. Right now, we all have to be on one side, and if someone who’s standing beside you comes off as ignorant, teach with love instead of anger.

We can’t lose focus, because that deters us away from the big picture. Blaming all your problems on other people is a cop out, let’s not do the same thing without realizing it.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what will happen next. The only thing I know is that we can be united, and it all starts with kindness and education. Anger may make a wave, but compassion is what will heal us.