Warning! (D is for Don’t)

Don’t ever agree (even to yourself) to commit to something you aren’t sure you can follow up on.

I’m only on the fourth day of this A-Z blogging challenge and already I feel more disconnected and disjointed from my writing then I have for a long time. Perhaps it’s because I’m sick with a cough and cold so the only thing I can think of is when I can go to bed.

I suppose an alternate title for this post could be titled Dried Up Creativity. That would be fairly accurate. I’m hoping I can gather more enthusiasm (E) for tomorrow.

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On Coughs, Colds, and Carrying On

My head is aching from
This lousy sinus cold that’s been going around.
The Tylenol I’m popping just isn’t cutting it.
As soon as one cough drop is finished I start
Another one although the soothing action promised
On the wrapper is limited at best.

I feel miserable
And long to crawl under the covers to sleep it off
But I continue to carry on,
With a pocketful of cough drops and Kleenexes–
some used, some new.
At this point, I don’t really care.

Chugging from a bottle of Sudafed,
I sign the field trip consent form,
RSVP to a birthday party,
Search for a missing rubber boot
And listen to my eldest
Do his daily Home Reading.

Woman Blowing Nose (Mojpe, Pixabay)

Woman Blowing Nose (Mojpe, Pixabay)

I’m a mom.
There’s no time for me
To have a cough or a cold or
God forbid,
a combination of the two.

There is only cough syrup,
Kleenex, and
Carrying on.

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

 

A-B: Anyone Can Have an Eating Disorder

I’ve been considering doing this A-Z blogging challenge and I’m already 2 days behind, so I thought I’d knock off two letters at the same time. It’s a topic I’ve written about before but tonight I stumbled across the following article:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/16685-im-a-fat-woman-who-had-an-eating-disorder-and-no-the-two-are-not-mutually

In the article, McCarthy talks about how her eating disorder went unnoticed by doctors, friends, and family because she was overweight. I find her story to be really sad, and I completely relate to it. In a way, I was lucky. When I began my long journey through anorexia and bulimia, I was thin. When I was considered as “cured” as I was going to be by doctors years later, I was even thinner. For many years, when I opened up to people about my eating disorder, they immediately felt sorry for me and had nothing but words of comfort and support.

Over the last four and a half years (basically since I had the twins) I have gained a lot of weight, and many would now consider me fat. It’s what I call myself when I look in the mirror, not in a “You go, girl!” sort of way, but in a “You’re pathetic!” way. I’ve noticed something though in the last few years. When I open up to someone about my eating disorder, I am now met with surprise, off-colour jokes, and outright disbelief. (“Everyone thinks they had an eating disorder.”) and I’m pretty sure the reason they respond like this is because of my weight. Many people assume (and tell me) that I was bulimic only and not also anorexic, because, well, I’m fat.

This harms and hurts me more than these people can know.

When you have experienced an eating disorder, the issues never go away.  I weigh more than I ever have in my entire life and yet I continue to have eating and food issues every day. There is never a day when I am free from feeling disgust, shame, guilt, or disappointment about eating. And when I try to reach out only to be pushed away because of my weight, it really affects me.

This is a very real issue. The bottom line is that anyone regardless of size or shape can have a serious eating disorder and if someone reaches out to you, listen. Don’t judge them based on your misperceptions. Believe them and believe in them. Everyone deserves this, not just the stereotypes.

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

Z is for Tomayto, Tomahto

I haven’t forgotten my promise to make it through the alphabet with my blogging, but I’m really pretty tired of having “z” hanging over my head. I don’t like writing about things that don’t interest me which is why it’s taken me so long to get through this alphabet and also, why I am stuck on z. But I’m cleaning house to start the year fresh which means by hook or by crook, I’m going to finish off this alphabet. It doesn’t matter that it’s now February; 2015 is still pretty fresh, right? Humour me, folks. I could write about how I’m looking pretty zäftig post-Valentine’s Day, but to be honest the zäftig nature of my body has been steadily increasing ever since the twins were born. Which isn’t encouraging. Nor is it particularly interesting for me to write about.

www.fromoldbooks.org Historiated decorative initial capital letter Z in Blue [1659]

http://www.fromoldbooks.org
Historiated decorative initial capital letter Z in Blue [1659]

So, here’s what I’ve come up with. The most basic of basics. Z. To my fellow Canadians and to you Brits, “zed”, to you Yanks, “zee”. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a traditionalist and will always put the “u” in “honour” and “colour” and write the colour grey with an e, regardless of what spell check tries to tell me. It looks better. It’s Canadian. As am I.

And yet, ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to say “zee.”  Only at a very specific time, mind you. I remember learning the alphabet song with my mum and wishing that I could sing “zee” for that last letter, but my British-Canadian mother was having none of it. We are Canadian, she’d say. We say zed. But it doesn’t rhyme, I’d say. Even at a young age, my poet’s sensibility knew that something was amiss. I’ve been uncomfortable with that song ever since.

Recently the twins have been asking me to sing the alphabet song with them and every time we get close to that line, I tense up. I don’t know what to do. Do I stop them when they sing “zed” as they’ve heard their Nursery School teachers sing it? I usually just mumble when we get to that part and join in loudly again on “Next time won’t you sing with me?”

At least they get to sing it. I remember specifically avoiding singing that song with H. when he was smaller for this exact reason. It’s a wonder that kid learned his letters at all. And now he’s come home singing it in French . . . god help me.

P.S. I feel as though I need to add that I am not a rhyming fanatic. Most of my favourite poems don’t rhyme. But there’s something about the rhythm and cadence and flow to this simple song that makes me want to say “zee”. At no other time do I want to pronounce this letter as anything else but “zed”. Crazy, I know!

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

Y is for Yoshimoto, Banana

I discovered Banana Yoshimoto‘s writing when I worked for a few months in a really terribly run bookstore. The manager was a transplant from ToysRUs and I’m not sure she read anything other than The National Enquirer or Weekly World News. She brought over most of her ToysRUs staff to be in supervisory positions, most of whom might have known a lot about toys but didn’t really know very much about books. Which irritated the rest of us, who were either in the middle of or had finished either English Literature or Philosophy degrees. Very shortly the staff became divided. Us versus them. Actually, it was a lot less dramatic than that. Basically what it boiled down to was that those of us who truly loved books spent all our work days searching for new and interesting authors rather than restocking the Bargain books or rearranging the Romance section. We also went out for drinks every Sunday night after the bookstore closed and discussed our new finds. Kind of like a book club, but way cooler.

Amrita (novel)

Amrita (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of these discoveries was Banana Yoshimoto. I was drawn in first by her name, then the cover art on Amrita, and finally her writing. I started with Kitchen, and have just kept reading, finishing her most recent novel, The Lake, just last month. Her lyrical style has never let me down yet. The themes of love and loss never seem to become clichéd.  Yoshimoto claims that her two main themes are “the exhaustion of young Japanese in contemporary Japan” and “the way in which terrible experiences shape a person’s life”.¹ I’m not sure of the first theme, as I am neither young nor Japanese, but I definitely feel the second theme woven throughout her body of work. I think perhaps what I like best about Yoshimoto’s novels is the beauty in the imagery and the words. Some of this credit must also be given to her long time translator, Michael Emmerich, but a translator is only as good as the words he is given.

It’s hard for me to explain exactly why I love Yoshimoto’s work so much. I feel I’m not doing a very good job at expressing myself. If I could use only one word to describe her work, I think it would be lovely. All I really  know is that out of a rotten, crummy, part time job came something beautiful. My discovery of the truly beautiful work of Banana Yoshimoto.

1. http://www.japancoolture.com/en/banana-yoshimoto-and-the-young

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

 

X is for X-Rated

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on my alphabet series. W kind of took off, and then came X. I hate alphabet books because of the letter X. It’s always the same–xylophone, or for extremely lazy wordsmiths, it’s Xmas or something like that. I guess I’m an extremely lazy wordsmith, since I don’t really have a proper X word to write about either.

X is for X-rated. Pornography. It’s out there. Everywhere. It’s easier than ever to access, even if you’re not really looking for it. Google Traditional Folk Dances and you’ll see what I mean. Parents like to think that their children are protected from this sort of thing by putting parental controls on the computers and having the computers in a communal area of the home, but with over 80% of boys watching porn online by the time they’re 18, it’s hard to say “it’s not my kid”.¹ It’s pretty much everyone’s kids. Including our own.

I’ve been spending my free time today researching for this post by reading articles about teenagers and pornography, listening to radio programmes on the subject, and watching documentaries. It makes for a pretty depressing Friday night. And I still don’t even know where to begin. So here’s the deal:

Listen to the radio program, Ideas: Generation Porn to get a (mainly) male perspective on the subject.

If you are in Canada, watch the documentary, Sext up Kids to get a (mainly) female perspective on the subject. If you’re not in Canada, you can access a radio interview with the director.

And for god’s sake, talk to your kids. Honestly. Without shame. About real world sex.

Footnotes

1. Sext up kids. Dir. Maureen Palmer. Perf. Ann-Marie MacDonald. Media Education Foundation, 2012. Film.

Further Reading:

Telegraph Article on Better Sex Education

BBC Article on Pornography Education in Schools

CBC Sext Up Kids Documentary Facts and Resources

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

 

 

 

 

W is for Why? (Part 3 of a Three Part Series)

Somehow when I first started writing my W post about Why, I realized that I couldn’t write it all as one post. I found there were three distinct things I wanted to say about the diversity and acceptance or lack thereof in children’s clothing. However, now that I’ve written Part 1 and Part 2, I can’t for the life of me think of what the third part of my Why question was.

So apologies, friends. I’ve misled you. There is no deep why query in this post. No thought provoking, well thought out, “eloquently written” piece of writing here. (if you are wondering why I am flattering myself, check out W is for Wooed: https://thinkdreamdo.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/w-is-for-wooed-an-extra-w-bonus/) There’s just one word: why.

The why in this post is just that: why. Ask yourself why. Don’t just accept that you have to buy princess dresses for your daughter and steer your son towards the dinosaur shirts. If that’s what they want, that’s fine. But ask yourself why.

Ask yourself why it would make a difference to you if you saw a cute little 2 year-old boy dressed in the super comfortable (and cheap!) leggings that are marketed to parents of girls.

Ask yourself why you would limit your child by steering them towards a gender line they might not be comfortable with, or might not even be aware of. Let them be free. Let them imagine. Let them dream. Let them choose. Let them be.

Why? Because they are individuals. They are who they are.

Paques01

Paques01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’d like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74@gmail.com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

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