Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mental health 'zines.

Dazed has a piece up on mental health 'zines worth checking out. 

I've been thinking a lot about taking my creative time more seriously, about really putting in the time and the word, so exploring ways in which I can write, design and illustrate is something that's been on my mind.

Buddies of mine have been making 'zines forever, it just never really clicked with me.

Seeing such amazing work makes me reconsider what it is I can really accomplish through 'zine making. Sharing my stories in a really personal way might be good for me.

I was especially drawn to shit's fucked. 

The illustrations are beautiful.

I'm checking out the site that sells it. I might order a few. Check it out!

Things are weird with me lately! I feel like I,m in a haze! I don't know what's going on! I feel like I need a good re-centring.

Any recommendations?

Nap all day, sleep all night.

This is me lately. I feel like the walking dead. I say "lately" but it's been ongoing. In the winter I could go to bed at 8 pm and get away with it since it was dark and cold, but now it's summer and I still can't handle long days.

Original illustration by Nation of Amanda - who seems to be getting her work ripped off left and right. I can't seem to find an active recent website for her.

Her illustrations are on-point. Tattoo quality!

I adore her dog one:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pet peeves and random loves.

Look, I know this is crazy - to start an official list of my pet peeves - but sometimes one comes up and then I think about their being others and I can never really name them.

So, it's educational-ish.

Also, I'm not including the straight forward stuff. If you're a sexist jackass, that's beyond being a pet peeve that's just like - you're a terrible person and need to work on yourself.

Pet peeves!
  • When someone mispronounces a name on purpose. It's usually continually, and it's usually because the person is of another culture or language group.

  • Other people's mouth noises. Especially the sucking of teeth. Or the wet chewing of gum. Or people who give super wet kisses. It makes my shoulders crunch and makes me swat my ears.

  • Someone cutting their finger nails anywhere but at home or in a salon. This includes at work, at your desk, and also on the subway or bus. You frigan animals.

  • When people act uppity with service staff. Oooof. Hard one for me. Say please and thank you. Be polite. Giving someone shit because you can (which seems like a real thing for some people) is infuriating to watch. Especially young girls/teens in service jobs. I feel like certain men love making things hard for them (because nobody wanted to touch their dicks in high school). I also, love love love stepping in. The 16 year-old Tim Horton's cashier can't call you off because she's trying to keep her job, but I fucking can.

    You've either worked your way through service jobs (like the majority of the population) and can empathise, or you haven't. If you haven't you're part of the 1% and can fuck right off.

  • People who stare-down people who are speaking a "foreign" language. It's one thing to look out of curiosity, but some folks straight-up give stank face. Now, I live in Quebec, the Montreal area specifically, so there is a context here of language-based strife. Having said that, it's 2016, and people speak all sorts of languages, deal with it.

    This flips on its head when it's a small child though. I find that funny. It's happened many a time with friends. We'll be out for a meal at a restaurant and speaking English and a small person will just stare at us. English is alien to some, spoken only by Justin Bieber and other far-away pop culture icons!

    Also, I want to highlight that for ever negative reaction I've had, I've had more of older women and men saying they think it's lovely we're bilingual, or that they wish they spoke two languages, or that they wish they had taken the time to learn English so they could travel comfortably.

    S is one of my closest friends, and she and I speak both languages to each other, equally. She's francophone, I'm an anglophone, and we're both bilingual, so we'll switch back and forth. We were stopped once by a cashier who asked, "Wait, are you two speaking bilingual?" As if it itself is a language. Which it kind of is. It's so culturally specific. I digress!

  • White people with dreadlocks.

  • Dreams that refuse to obey any kind of logic. Like I have reoccurring zombie dreams where the zombies are too god damn fast or smart. Or that I shoot and they refuse to die. There is an established canon brain, don't be a fucking asshole. Then I wake up and think maybe my id is trying to teach me something about the inevitability of death and then I just get annoyed all over again. My brain is fucking exhausting you guys.

Random loves / favourites!
  • Making a complete stranger laugh really hard. Once I was following a co-worker really closely while walking and he decided half-way through a busy intersection that he didn't have enough time and turned around. Instead of making any decisions for myself I just kind of did a physical-comedy silly run behind him and looked like I was a Japanimation fat eggplant freaking out. Once we were safely back on the side walk my co-worker and I laughed heartily and so did the car stopped at the red light in front of us. It was terribly cute.

  • When you pull up to a red light and look over at the car next to you and there's a dog in the passenger seat. Ideally you make eye contact. Best is when the window is open and you can say hello. Tops tops tops is when the window is open, you say hello, their human notices, but you continue to ignore the human and speak only to the dog, but the human's into it.

  • The sound of underwear snapping when I pull them over my butt cheeks. Love it.

  • When a random neighbourhood cat comes up to your patio door and just looks into your house. I inevitably walk up to it to say hello, it freaks out and acts surprised, though the little guy was looking into my house.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Cutest Puppies.

I'll try and update properly soon, but it's been busy, so I've been paddling.

This helps.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless by Laurie Penny.

Please read Life-Hacks of the Poor and Aimless by Laurie Penny.
The isolating ideology of wellness works against this sort of social change in two important ways. First, it persuades all us that if we are sick, sad, and exhausted, the problem isn’t one of economics. There is no structural imbalance, according to this view—there is only individual maladaption, requiring an individual response. The lexis of abuse and gas-lighting is appropriate here: if you are miserable or angry because your life is a constant struggle against privation or prejudice, the problem is always and only with you. Society is not mad, or messed up: you are.
 When modernity teaches us to loathe ourselves and then sells us quick fixes for despair, we can be forgiven for balking at the cash register. Anxious millennials now seem to have a choice between desperate narcissism and crushing misery. Which is better? The question is not rhetorical. On the one hand, Instagram happiness gurus make me want to drown myself in a kale smoothie. On the other, I’m sick and tired of seeing the most brilliant people I know, the fighters and artists and mad radical thinkers whose lives’ work might actually improve the world, treat themselves and each other in ludicrously awful ways with the excuse, implicit or explicit, that any other approach to life is counterrevolutionary.  
The harder, duller work of self-care is about the everyday, impossible effort of getting up and getting through your life in a world that would prefer you cowed and compliant. A world whose abusive logic wants you to see no structural problems, but only problems with yourself, or with those more marginalized and vulnerable than you are. Real love, the kind that soothes and lasts, is not a feeling, but a verb, an action. It’s about what you do for another person over the course of days and weeks and years, the work put in to care and cathexis. That’s the kind of love we’re terribly bad at giving ourselves, especially on the left.
Great read. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pit-bulls and skincare.

It’s been a big couple of weeks.

I’ve been following the never-ending shootings of black males by police in the U.S. - getting at much information as I can from the activists I follow on “Black Twitter.” It’s been horrifying. Sometimes there are small uplifting moments, like I can’t believe how young some of the activists are, and how much smarter and more astute they are than I was at that age. It also seems like there’s no ignoring this now, that people are coming around. But then someone re-tweets something so racist and hateful and it sticks with me. I’m just trying to read as much as I can and figure out what role I can play as a white person to engage in the change.

I then see super transphobic news items about bathroom policies, but then I see two queer kids kissing on the sidewalk downtown, and I realise how things have changed. So it’s ups and downs.

I guess I have to stop reading the internet comments. It’s the worst representations of humanity. And though it’s easy to find on twitter and in comment sections, it does also exist around me and I gotta stay vigilant.

More locally, Toronto’s Black Lives Matter got so much shit for interrupting Toronto Pride in order to address police presence and brutality, and how LGBTQ people of colour don’t necessarily feel safe at Toronto Pride. They actually started getting hate mail from that action.

Sunday I started volunteering at a local animal shelter. I had applied over a year ago to walk dogs and they called me a few weeks ago. I didn’t expect it to be so exhausting, but it was. It was 3 hours of walking dogs, dotted with a handful of encounters with giant dogs I needed to wrangle. It was disproportionately pit bulls, one of which is the most muscular dog I’ve ever seen in real life. It looked like it was on ‘roids. Like, he could bench.

This guy looks like that dog monster demon from the original Ghostbusters.


Look at this fucking guy! When he was in his enclosure and jumping to get out for his walk, he jumped higher than me! I'm 5'7! 

Locally, there have been a lot of Quebec towns and municipalities that have been banning pit bulls, so the shelter reflected that. It's pretty sad. 

For the record I don't think the pit bull ban is the solution. Tougher laws are. Biting laws. Aggressive dog laws. Breeding laws. Animal cruelty (puppy farm) laws. 

Having said that my brother brought up a good point to me that I haven't been able to shake. I was saying how german shepherds bite more people per year than pit bulls do, and he said that statistic is correct, but pit bulls kill more people anyway. That's been the issue here, since a woman died in her own backyard when a neighbour's pit bull came into her yard and mauled her. My brother said something along the lines of, "look, if you want a family dog, get a family dog. But in the same way you don't need an AK47 to protect your family, you don't need a pit bull as a family pet."

I don't 100% agree with him, but pit bulls are so insanely strong it seems tantamount to having a large predator as a pet. I don't think they should be banned - but it's a complicated issue. 

I actually think breeding some dogs should be curbed though. Namely dogs that have trouble breathing, dogs with painful back problems and teeny tiny dogs that shake and look miserable. Don't breed disability and pain into your pets on purpose. It seems cruel. 


Oddly enough, it’s been busy at work. That means I’ve been working full-days again (yay) and haven’t had any of my hours cut. I’m taking advantage of this and trying to work as long as I can, while I can, since the workflow here is so wonky.

I filled up my credit card with birthday purchases and a dive into Sephora’s skincare section so I need to buckle down and pay that shit off.

One step forward, two steps back.

All of this is to say I’m still around, and I think of writing often, but things have been busy lately.

My mother will be travelling for a few weeks, which will give me the chance to be alone and to do what I want. I’ll be able to write and work creatively from home, so that’ll be nice. It changes things for me.

I’m still thinking a lot about work, and about working. About the type of work I’m best suited for, and what I want.

Finally volunteering my time had me questioning what it is I want to spend my time doing, and what my priorities really are.

It can be so difficult to be present in my life, and I’m trying.

Time seems to be flying by, and I want to make sure I think things through when it comes to committing to how I spend my time.

I mentioned my spending a bunch of money at Sephora on skincare products. Lately I’ve been trying to take better care of my skin, and I’ve been investing in quality products, cleansers, toners, moisturisers, oils. It’s seemingly insignificant, but it’s a return to the nights of my youth when I’d take the time to pamper myself before bed, and feel like I was taking care of myself. I figure it’s a first step in re-familiarising myself with the language of self-care. It feels that way.

Then I have a bad day and everything feels dumpy. I’m broke. I’m fat. I’m bad at life.

Other days I giggle endlessly and get to see a baby rabbit hiding under the canopy outside by window.

Mental-health awareness would have me believe depression is the culprit of my ups and downs. Sometimes I think the real insanity is the good days.