Social Media Updates

Hello everyone,

I have been updating some of my social media as I have gotten some comments of  wanting to know some ways to follow this blog. There will now be a Bloglovin page: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/powered-crowd-18798973 (<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18798973/?claim=e6sbpnwpug9″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>) as well as a email system where you will get notified of new posts through your email. Both are situated at the side of the page when you are viewing a post.

I have also created a Youtube page and a Facebook page. Both are linked above. That you can also follow if you like.

And as before there is also Twitter which is also linked above.

That’s it for this update. New content will be up soon!

Until then work on some positive change and be part of a Powered Crowd!

New Segment Intro- Message from another walk of like

Hello everyone,

Today I am going to introduce a new feature that will be starting very shortly. This feature will be called Message from Another Walk of Life.

What is that exactly you may ask? Well one issue I see more and more often in our world is a lack of understanding and respect about differences. This is a real issue as this problem leads to conflicts and disputes. Problems stemming from lack of understanding and respect can get ugly.

The world we live in is big, even though social media and modern technology makes it look smaller, and in this world there is so many different kinds of people. I think diversity is a great thing. It makes the world so much richer. A world where everyone was the same would be seriously lacking in my opinion. So this segment aims to show different opinions, beliefs, cultures, ways of life etc… in order to get people to open their mind toa different way of doing things and learn to try to understand others no matter how they may differ from you.

While reading these posts please keep in mind that I asking you to agree or even support what all these people are talking about, but simply I am asking you to practice respect,understanding and kindness. We are all human and no one is perfect, its difficult to instantly respect someone else’s point of view if is varies from their own but my wish for this segment is that people try to consciously change that, by becoming aware of their prejudices and by trying to see where the other person is coming from. As I already said, If you don’t agree that is completely ok! As long as you try to understand and respect the other person’s opinion. Because as a human we won’t always agree with everyone, everyone has their different views (which is one form of diversity) but if we all try to be more understanding and address these differences with respect I feel this could drastically reduce conflicts.

So now you know what this segment is about and why I am doing it. I think that it would be good to show you a video that demonstrates why a world without diversity would suck. I first saw this video when I was much much much younger and yet it stuck with me. When I saw this video I had never thought of things that way. The video opened my eyes to a knew way of seeing things which is what I am hoping this segment will be doing for you too.

This clip here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kibGw35Hycg is a bit long and not all of it is relevant but it is fun to watch. It comes from a show I watched as a child and like I said, it describes the issue of diversity well.

I hope you, dear readers, will enjoy this upcoming segment. Until then you can work on the values of understanding, kindness and respect in your everyday life and be part of a Powered Crowd!

International Women’s day 2017

Hello everyone. Last week it was international Women’s day.

An important day in my opinion. Considering how there’s still much to do in order to achieve gender equality. To do that we need both men and women to work together to create a place where everyone has equal rights and opportunities.

On March 8th (Women’s day) I had an amazing opportunity to go to an event where Madame Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Caroline Riseboro (President of Because I am a girl organization) spoke about issues facing Women. We had many interesting discussion but one main thing I took out of it is the idea of being proud of who you are. To not be afraid of sharing your story and how doing just that can help others and yourself. At the end of the event everyone had to make a statement of what they where going to do going forward. I said I would share my story and I did just that. I took my courage and posted my story on social media. Link here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqaZfEb63os

I have gotten some great response from it so far and it seems to have already made some positive impact. I am sharing it here to share the message it represents. Of being proud of who you are and show everyone some kindness and understanding. I also hope it will show those who have gone through similar things that they are not alone, that there is always a something good to strive toward in order to push through. That there is always a lesson to learn that you can use to make a brighter future for yourself and others.

So to finish this short post I want everyone to think of what they can do to promote equality for all think about the power of stories and remember that International Women’s day has past but our efforts for the causes it represents is something that needs to be thought of and acted on in our every day life.

Be part of a Powered Crowd and create some positive change!

Oscars,money and celebrity influence

Tomorrow is the Oscars. What are the Oscars you might ask? It’s a TV show and event where people win awards in various departments of movie making, such as actors, music, and directing.

Now you might be like me, where you had no idea it was happening until the morning before because it’s all over media outlets and news channels. Or, you might be someone who is really invested in this and have been counting down the days, has an Oscar party ready, and has been voting on polls on who you think is going to win.

In this post I am going to mention some things I like and some things I don’t, but keep in mind that I am not saying the Oscars should be stopped because it’s great to celebrate people’s achievements, but I like to look more closely at things that could be changed.

Why do people like the Oscars? Well you might like it if you’re a celebrity or in show business because it is a renowned award, a great self-advertising technique, and a way to make connections with other people in the business. If you’re a civilian, well it could be because you are really into movies and want to know who wins, but I know for the majority it’s for the glamour and a chance to see if your favourite star wins. I know that most people I talk to love the dresses and red carpet coverage, and then the intro to the show, and after well it kind of gets boring and it feels to me likle 80% commercials and 20% show.

So why is this important? Because these shows are reeking with messages of monetary wealth and lacking in demonstrations of core values and humanitarian aid. That’s what people like dreaming of, wealth and being famous, like people in the past dreamed of being royalty. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming but sometimes these shows make me feel a bit sick. This is why.

In a Toronto Sun article they estimate that the cost to getting an academy award is between 3 and 10 million dollars (http://www.torontosun.com/2017/01/30/academy-awards-how-much-does-it-cost-to-win-an-oscar-a-whole-lotta-dough). This includes promoting and sending out copies and other such costs. The dresses we see on the red carpet “for an A-list actress, guesstimates put the cost of each such appearance at around half a million dollars … and that’s not even counting the millions in borrowed jewels.”

The costs keep going up, transportation to the events, after parties etc… so keep that in mind and then multiply all the costs, that are millions each for this one event, by the 30 or more people who receive these awards (http://www.awardsandshows.com/features/awards-categories-1.html) and then the cost of the around 150 nominees. Also include approximately 5 nominees per category (http://variety.com/2017/film/news/2017-oscar-nominations-academy-awards-nominees-1201968107/) who didn’t win but spend almost as much to get to that point.

That’s a pretty penny. Then it goes on. All these actors pay that much of their own money and then the actual ceremony and event and everything leading up to it had a price tag of 42.7 million in 2015(http://time.com/money/4237492/oscars-2016-cost/), which was an increase on previous years, and we will see how much it will be in 2017.

I could go on in costs of the fans and media staying nearby for a chance to cover the carpet and the price of the media’s clothing and dresses and how much the media pays to get a chance to cover the Oscars. Or even how much money is made simply by the commercials played during the show. But I think you get the idea. I will leave you with the price of the gift bag. Each gift bag that is given to over 30 people is worth hundreds of thousands. Last year one bag was worth $232,000 (http://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a14293/oscars-gift-bag-2016-lawsuit/).

So ya … that’s a bit overboard in my opinion. Think of the almost half of the human race who live in poverty (around 3 billion, https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-global-poverty) and then the amount of money spent for one night of extravagance. It’s ridiculous!!! If a fraction of the costs spend on the Oscars was spent on humanitarian aid … well imagine that, imagine the enormous impact!

This is why I am suggesting something new. Imagine an award show for best values, most money put in positive change, best social entrepreneurs, best onsite work etc. People would spend million promoting positive change and positive values and not the dream of being rich and known. If every celebrity used their power for good, ss the famous quote for the Spiderman movie suggested “with great power comes great responsibility”. If celebrities use their influence for promoting important issues the impact would be amazing. Some may argue that celebrities have put more money in one act of charity or one donation than I have in my entire life. Well that may be true, but these celebrities can make more money in a week than I have in my entire life. That fact makes it so they have more responsibility to make positive change. They have the means and the coverage to do so.

Now I am not saying celebrities are bad people. Some have done great things, which I will show examples of in a second. What I am saying is that I want to see more of these works to positive change and less displays of wealth and glamour. I am not delusional. Celebrities can lose their wealth and glamour and, well, then they aren’t really celebrities anymore. Also, they are people and not just objects to idealize and criticize, I can’t govern what they do with their wealth or money, but my point is that I hope that we can create a society where wealth is measured differently and where when you are extremely wealthy you use that power for good, not only because you need to but because it is what is the right thing to do. Do what you can with the resources you have to make some positive change.

So, here are some examples of some great things celebrities have done for positive change and why it’s so important to keep working on this!

I mentioned Emma Watson in my last post. She is doing some great things like talking to the UN, being part of One Young World, working on HeforShe. She is doing above and beyond for work in gender equality and other. Meanwhile, she is still an actress and her highly anticipated movies Beauty and the Beast is coming out soon.

Then check out this list of 12 celebrities who use their fame for good: http://www.triplepundit.com/2015/10/12-celebrities-using-their-fame-for-good/

Or this list of 20 more celebrities doing some good work:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/kristinharris/the-20-most-charitable-celebs-of-2015?utm_term=.drAD2lq5pw#.vjRBYVWwD2

The list does go on but I am going to end with this video I absolutely love, which are celebrities talking about the UN’s global goals. I really love this video and it’s great to see all these people working together to promote the global goals!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpqVmvMCmp0

So to sum up, the Oscars might be pretty but are in need of a change and everyone single one of the celebrities, middle class, everyone, need to do our share and our best to help others and spread kindness. We need to make a powered crowd for positive change!

 

What I Really Really Want/ Gender Equality

These day’s I’ve been thinking a lot about girl issues and gender equality for both girls and boys. It’s a really though subject to summarize as there is so much to say about it. There’s the negative impacts it creates and what it stems from, what the causes of gender inequality are which are problems in itself.(ex: child marriage because of financial problems, lack of education etc..) and the list goes on.

So in this post I will drop some links so that you, the reader, can familiarize yourself with the issue and get an idea of what it’s all about. And maybe get interested to help out in this important movement (more on how you can do that, at the end of this post).

The first thing I want to share is an organization called HeForShe this organization is all about gender equality. Lot’s of great people involved such as Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka who is according to the website “the visionary leader of UN Women, the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.” But I know personally that this movement came to my attention because of Emma Watson and her involvement/promotion of this movement. I will be honest her previous fame as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies is one of the main reasons of why I first got interested in checking out the organization but Emma Watson is not so much more than that acting role and this organization is doing some interesting things. Here is how you can get involved: http://www.heforshe.org/en/take-action/education

Next thing that I love in this topic is this video. We all know the spice girls… ok that’s a generalization I should say people around my age who grew up in some parts of Europe and in North America most likely know who the spice girls are. They are a British girl band that where quite popular. Though this is a disputed fact by some people they where know for their “girl power” image and this video is all about gender equality for girls. It was published a bit over a year ago in the context of the Global Goals set by the UN but still definitely worth the watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZQ2RUFd54o

If you liked the video above check out http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/ which is the UN site and has more information on what this video is about and goals they have set on Gender equality.

On top of these two links above there are so many other great links so I will make a small list here for to explore:

  1. http://www.globalgirlpower.org – Website for girl empowerment

  2. http://www.caaws.ca/gender-equity-101/what-is-gender-equity/ – “CAAWS is a national organization dedicated to achieving gender equity in the Canadian sport and physical activity system, and more broadly throughout Canadian society.

  3. http://international.gc.ca/world-monde/world_issues-enjeux-mondiaux/gender_equality-egalite_sexes.aspx?lang=eng The government of Canada’s page on gender equality with some links.

  4. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/have-we-achieved-gender-equality-nine-canadian-women-respond/article29013155/ – an article in the global male about successful women and their ideas on gender inequality

  5. https://www.unicef.org/gender/ – UNICEF’s view on Gender equality

    and this list goes on and on.

So how can you get involved? There’s many ways and there not all hard. You can go all the way and spend lot’s of time on projects in this field, join a business of charity of start your own or you can join a club at your university or high school. I am part of the Because I am a girl club through my university. Because I am a girl is a charity through Plan International Canada (Website here:http://plancanada.ca/because-i-am-a-girl ) they do many things in the subject of gender equality like promoting awareness of some of its issues and using money raised to, for example send girls to school when they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. The club I am part of is a do what you can kind of thing. We have some meeting and events on a Facebook group and you can volunteer to help where you can. Some people I don’t think do much of anything and there are those who are at every event and people like me who do our best to participate as much as possible, other only do one or two event. The beauty of it is that you do what you can and help in the process.

Other ideas to get involved can also be as low as using social media to spread the word of this issue and educate others or stepping in an helping whenever you see an opportunity come up in your community or surroundings.

There’s lot’s of different ways to help in this issue and others but hopefully this post has opened your eyes to something that going on this world or given you more insight if you where already aware of this issue.

So what are you waiting for? Be part of a Powered Crowd and go and create positive change!

A Wednesday Post- A week in Review

Hello everyone,

I have been feeling unwell these past few days and still am and have falling behind on well… everything. But I am trying to catch back up and do some work in little chunks.

So today will be a bit of a shorter post on what’s been happening lately.

The big thing I guess would be the Muslim Ban. So many things coming up on social media about this a ban that makes no sens and causes so much pain and unnecessary problems for people trying to come in to the US many of them already had visas from what I understand. Yes taking immigrants in a country can have its risks I’m not going to lie but it also has so many rewards. And the fact that he banned those specific country’s! As I said having people immigrating to your country can cause risks but the risk with immigration isn’t tied to specific country’s a Canadian or American immigrating to another country can cause risks as well. Every country has its violent and extremist people(see mosque attack news below) and I know for a fact that people who are accepted to both Canada and the US have extensive screening before being allowed entry to the country and even more so if they are from countries which as deemed as “risk areas”. You can’t bunch a whole group of people together for the actions of the few and you can’t deny help to those who need it when you can provide it, with good safety measures, with no valid reason besides fear and improbable possibilities. That’s not a valid reason. Last point on the subject people that I have seen on twitter that are saying things such as your not American you have no say in the subject. Let me tell you that these decisions being made affect much more that just the US, it has global repercussions.

Canada’s prime minister said this on the subject:

Image courtesy of Twitter and @JustinTrudeau

Image courtesy of Twitter and @JustinTrudeau

Love this video which can be tied to this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIhGWBPVNIc

Next news: Mosque Attack Quebec

This attack has been getting lots of attention on social media and news probably because it was right after the muslim ban. The biggest debate I see on this subject is that fact that this man who committed the crime is treated differently than people who are for example black or Muslim or any other ethnically or religious group which is under lots of scrutiny, because he is a white male.

I agree that there is a definite distinction. Everyone should be treated equally when a crime is committed and some articles I’ve seen where focusing on the fact that he was bullied and other things from his past which you never see in the cases of many other people who aren’t white.

Terrorism is defined on google as “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” What the mosque attacker did was just that, so it makes him a terrorist you can’t skim around that, because people who have done the same in the past who weren’t white where labelled terrorists instantly while this man to my knowledge is still not being addressed this way in most articles. It’s important to not show bias’s in these things because it can impair judgment and cause problems on top of the fact that its not right.

J.K Rowling puts it this way:

Image rights belong to Twitter and @jkrowling

Image rights belong to Twitter and @jk_rowling

This news below just saddens me. We need to act to stop hate crimes and intolerance or lack of respect to other people who are different than yourself.

CTV news “Hate Crimes Reports Spike Since Mosque Shooting:

http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/hate-crime-reports-spike-since-mosque-shooting-1.3264770

A last thing that should get some media space is a new law happening in Russia. It basically is in a way decriminalizing domestic abuse. For more information on it check out this article here.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/russia-domestic-abuse-civil-offence-1.3955317

So much more going on this week and really good stories and facts coming out but I’m going to end it on this. Do some research get the facts, be open minded and try to practice tolerance, respect, kindness. Let’s all work together to make a powered crowd for positive social change!

Why Moana is pretty great.

Has anyone seen the movie Moana?

If you haven’t you should. Yes I am an adult, but occasionally I like watching animated movies and let me tell you, Moana is worth watching! Not only does it have a kickass musical soundtrack that I am totally listening too while writing this, the movie has a fantastic message and the main character isn’t your stereotypical skinny white female. Way to go Disney!

Image result for moana goddess

Image rights belong to Disney

The diversity movement is getting some momentum in pop culture(though still not nearly where it should be) and I love seeing that! Yes I am a white female, which some will say makes my opinion on the subject unneeded (why is that?) but I am who I am and I love getting to know other cultures and beliefs and I try my best to respect other people and celebrate differences because it brings so much more richness and beauty to the world. Anyways, I am going on a tangent here which means I probably will have to make a separate post on this issue later… but back to my point. Moana is a character that was so refreshing in the world of repetitive images of ideal and stereotypical females.

This was one of those movies that left me feeling all good inside but also left me motivated to create change as well as motivate me to make some art because, come on! Those graphics are insane!

Anyways, I am going to spoil the movie here so skip ahead to the before-last paragraphs if you don’t want that. To a child, this is probably just a cool movie about a demi-god and a cool girl who helps save the world. To me it had so many other hidden meanings, maybe this is my university education rubbing off on me and making me analyze little details that weren’t really meant to express anything. But who cares, this is my interpretation, it doesn’t mean everyone will see it this way but who knows maybe it will park some thinking onto you, the dear reader.

So the story starts with the story of a man who steals the heart of a goddess or a mountain, something like that, and the world slowly starts dying. Now if this doesn’t ring some bells, I saw this as a clear link to today’s society. We are cutting down this insane amount of trees and not planting even a fraction back into our forests. Those this seem like a valid long time plan uh … no. There’s been a million articles and studies on global climate change and how if our environment goes caputka (slang for in the garbage) so do we. All my Profs talk about this and it seems that, apart from a few non-believers, climate change is widely accepted. Yet, we are still doing this? Why? I understand this issue is much much much more complicated than waking up and saying today we stop using fossil fuels and destructive toxins and create a sustainable plan for ourselves and our planet. Yay!

To create change we need everyone to pitch in with ideas, research, plans, actions etc. it’s not a one man or women job. This is why I loved how Moana subtly talked about the importance of the environment You take away the goddess’s heart/you cut down our trees and ransack the environment then the big bad evil (that monster) and the following consequences of our actions falls on our land. The way it was presented also gave people hope that even faced with a big issue there’s always solutions, even if it’s not always the obvious ones.

Now all this seems good, a man’s actions that were not done for evil (much like us and the impact we have done unintentionally to our environment) realizes his mistake and goes to fix it. But what I loved is that that ending just brought the whole thing that much farther! In this scene, Moana goes and see’s that this evil death creature is just a representation of Mother Nature wanting to get her heart back. She gives her heart back and the most stunning graphics of a world reborn comes on screen. What does this represent? Us. We have the power to give life to nature which in turn will give life to us, but if we take it away we will cause destruction of the thing that allows us to live. The fact that the big evil creature was just Mother Nature trying to get herself back in one piece says a lot too in a different way.

Image result for moana goddess

image rights belong to Disney

The best way to describe this would be to draw a parallel with an example: climate change is slowly causing all sorts of problems in our environment that, if not stopped, will have serious consequences. But nature isn’t trying to kill us. If we give back it’s heart (aka stop destroying nature at an alarming rate) it will gives us back things we need to live on.

Last point I will mention is the grandma character, which is so symbolic in my opinion of our connection to nature. The people of the village find her crazy for thinking outside the box and wanting to explore the water, little did they know she was more right than any of them. The fact that when she dies she lives on in the nature as a sea creature really represented to me how humans, like it or not, are really tied to the nature … ok maybe not as much as being reincarnated into animals and trees, though if you believe in that it is an interesting philosophy. But in other ways, our existence is tied to nature in a unbreakable way. One can’t live without the other.

There’s so many more interesting aspects to this movie that I could over analyze, like Maui’s character and his interesting past, Moana’s character, and how people sometimes need to go outside their comfort zones to find themselves, and that following your dreams and your gut can lead to great things.

But since this post is already on the long side I’ll sum up my points in this slightly long phrase, which is go see Moana … or at least take a minute to listen to the track “How Far I’ll Go”, which I think is just awesome sauce and such a feel good song. After that, make your own conclusions on the movie and it’s message(s) and hopefully it will encourage you to become part of a powered crowd and spread the word that our environment is important in so many ways. Who knows maybe it will spark you to think of new solutions that will permit humans to live a life that is in harmony with nature. 🙂

Let’s talk. (Bell Let’s Talk day)

Let’s Talk.

Today is Bell Let’s talk day. For readers who aren’t Canadian. Bell Let’s Talk Day is an event promoted by the Bell Company. The company promotes talking about mental illness and reducing the stigma associated with it. For every text and mention of the #BellLetsTalk on social media today, January 25th, Bell donates 5 cents to mental health initiatives.

Image result for bell let's talk

Photo belongs to Bell Company

I think this is a great project. For some reason though I’ve never participated before but I’m going to remedy that this year.

Now why is it important to talk about mental health? For many reasons, but the main one in my opinion is that it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. According to The Canadian Mental Health Association 20% of Canadians will experience mental health illness at some point in their life. There are 36,478,469 people in Canada (according to worldometers.com) which means, assuming the statistics are correct, that’s around 7,295,693 people in Canada alone who experience mental illness in some point in their lives.

That’s a significant number of people. Yet it’s still something that’s not discussed as much as it should be. How do I know this? In my life so far I have suffered from both OCD and anxiety yet I can tell you that only maybe 2 of my friends know about this. One is my lifelong friend that I’ve had since second grade and the other is someone who also suffers from anxiety (I guess the cats out of the bag now though…). Why don’t I mention it more often you might ask. If I think it’s nothing to be ashamed of why don’t I speak about it? The reason for this is the connotations that are still stuck to most mental illness. I might have OCD and anxiety but that it does not mean the same thing to me than it does to someone who has never experienced it. Not everyone is accepting of people with mental illness, most often because they don’t know all the information. Then there’s the fact that some people generalize mental illness by the things they do know.

I will explain this better with an example of one of my pet peeves. Keep in mind that this is one personal example of a pet-peeve/ reaction I get that’s associated with anxiety that gets on my nerves, but that everyone is different and the same things might not bother someone else.

On multiple occasions people who know about my anxiety (family, doctors, friends, bosses etc…) will respond this way when I have a problem (I’ve mostly seen this when I let someone know I am not feeling well). “Are you sure it’s not just anxiety?” “Don’t worry, you’re probably just anxious”

These people mean no harm. There honestly trying to help. But to me it sounds like “your exaggerating, what you’re feeling, it isn’t real, you need to calm down” and let me tell you be it anxiety or not what I feel is as real to me as it will ever be. I am fully aware that when I am sick or under stress anxiety can be a contributing factor, but I when I feel unwell and the only cause is anxiety I know the difference between being sick and anxious and feeling sick because I am anxious. I learnt how to tell the difference a while ago.

So when you tell someone are you sure it’s not just anxiety, know that that does not help. It kind of undermines what I am feeling and also what will it achieve? What do you think is going to happen? I am going to be like oh, wow I had no idea, thank you for telling me how I feel, I will now press this magical internal button and make it stop! It doesn’t work like that I wish it did but it doesn’t.

So what can you say instead? In my opinion these are some good ones:

· Hey I see you aren’t feeling well. Can I help with anything.

· You aren’t feeling well? Did anything bring this on.

· I know you have anxiety is this part of it? (if answer is no accept it and don’t push it! No matter what you think the real issue is)

The main thing in all of these questions is not assuming you know what is going on. If the person says they aren’t feeling well and you perceive things that point to it maybe being anxiety but when you ask they say no don’t push your opinion on the other person, listen, be supportive of whatever they are feeling and even if they continue to deny having anxiety, let them. Whether they are telling the truth or not, just being there and talking things through or supporting them in what their feeling helps immensely! (at least it does for me)

So that’s one of my personal experiences with anxiety and an example of the point above. Now going back to my main point being that mental illness has many different connotations. Every mental illness has some stereotypes while some have a bit of truth in them, you need to take into account that everyone is different and reacts and or copes with mental illness in different ways. This means that there’s not one size fits all when it comes to mental illness. The best way to find out what a person is dealing with is to talk about it.

This discussion needs to go both ways. People with mental illness need to speak up and stop being afraid of what others might think. People who know of someone with mental illness have to create a welcoming environment where it’s OK and accepted that others have different ways to deal with things or that their battling something that no one else can “see” but themselves.

I admit I am scared of what others will think if I let my history with mental illness slip. It’s hard to know how they will react. But for change to happen, people on both sides need to speak out so that in the future our courage to talk about the subject will permit others to talk more freely and stop people from suffering alone for no reason. There’s no reason to be ashamed. My past of OCD and my present with anxiety is a part of who I am, but it doesn’t define me or what I can do. The more people speak up and discuss the subject, the more people will understand it better and the more people will be able to see that while it can sometimes suck (because honestly I’m not going to lie, living in past with OCD or anxiety currently is no a walk in the park or bring fond memories) it’s not a determinant on a person’s character or what they can do. It’s matter of trying to understand what they’re going through.

So what are we waiting for? We got some talking to do. Because I don’t know about you but while I know a fair bit about OCD and anxiety (which this blog post barely scratched the surface of), having experienced both, I know next to nothing on the multiple other mental health problems out there. So let’s all be journalists and uncover the true story on what people are living with. Let’s open a discussion and reduce the stigma on mental illness, and in the process create some understanding and acceptance in a world that is in desperate need of it.

Women’s March-Ottawa

So today I went to the Ottawa’s Women’s March in support of the one in Washington DC. We had 10,000 people show up, which I’m told is pretty freaking great for Ottawa. But in other places the numbers where even higher. I read that there were 750,000 in Los Angeles and another 500,000 in Washington.

Photo of the March in Ottawa

Now let’s start by talking about those numbers. This Women’s March was present in 7 continents, 600 marches across the world, with 30 in Canada alone. This says something big. It means people across the world are standing together in protest of certain ideals and actions that have become more prevalent or noticeable following Trump becoming president.

I marched for human rights, for understanding and unity among people. In my opinion your skin colour, sexual orientation, sex, ethnicity, religion, etc. doesn’t matter. What matters is how we deal with issues in our world, how we come together and work on making the world a better place for everyone no matter who they are. The way to do this is by promoting understanding among all the groups mentioned above and the countless others trying to get there voice heard. The more this is done, the more people can work together and not against each other to work on main issues the world faces as a whole; for example, climate change. I’m not naïve. I know some people might never get along and that some have contradicting ideas and values, but the key word is respect.By learning about various world views and trying to understand them and why diverse groups feel the way they do, I feel violence would decrease in a significant way.

Starting place of the March. Human rights monument Ottawa.

Starting place of the March. Human rights monument Ottawa.

So that’s why I marched, for everyone that is unfairly treated and I can tell you the experience was one I won’t soon forget. It wasn’t like in the movies or in the stories where I got there and I was filled with a sense of moral requirement and fate and new bitter determination. No, it was something that was a bit more indescribable. I always knew I wanted to help others but, marching with those thousands of people, I saw how I wasn’t alone in that idea, far from it. There are so many great people in the world, the news tends to show us the bad things, the violence and the bombs, but I would like to see the everyday heroes, the everyday bravery, I know it’s out there, I always knew it was, but today was a wakeup call, it’s all around me, I just have to look more closely. I also know it’s in me too, like in all those other people everywhere around the world. Because of this I know I can no longer just sit quietly. If all the people marching today did an effort every day or every chance they get to make positive change in the world, imagine the impact! You don’t need to be in position of power to make change, every little act of kindness helps in the big picture, which in my mind means a powered crowd of people aiming to create good in the world is needed now more than ever and has the ability to create a substantial impact.

Poster carried by a man with a young baby girl in his arms.

“Raising out Daughter to tear down walls” Poster carried by a man with a young baby girl in his arms.

Through this event I also saw some things that I think were not acceptable, which motivated me that much more to make some change. For example, some peoples comments in response to the Women’s March which where racist, sexist, and outright rude (rude is actually too nice of a word) were a great example of how understanding and respect need to be promoted.

Another thing that made me think in relation to the Women’s March is portrayal. The media is really a powerful tool and I’ve noticed that many channels and news networks have a certain political agenda (even if it’s very subtle). Some channels boasted over 3-4 million people participating in these women marches across the world, while some said thousands of people participated. The vast difference between thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions is significant and can lead to think that about what people saying 3-4 million and the people saying thousands are trying to communicate.

On that note here are two stories circulating the net. I just mentioned media agency so who knows what’s real or fake but either way these two stories packed a punch and sparked some musings.

#1 It seems some Canadians were turned away at the US border when telling the officers that they were on the way to the Women’s March. The article (https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/01/21/brit-and-canadian-trying-to-attend-womens-march-on-washington-turned-away-at-us-border.html) goes on to mention how they didn’t give a valid reason for turning them away. I of course don’t know the full story but I read another article from another newspaper that recounts this story happening to two or three other sets of people. The borders comment that they “admit one million people into the U.S. every day and only turn away about 600” seems odd since there are multiple stories of this happening to people attending the march. I won’t speculate on what this means because I don’t know enough. But I shared this so that you can make your own conclusions.

#2 A member of Trumps political group, Sean Spicer, told the press that the pictures of Trumps inauguration, the one where you see the small crowd for trumps inaugural day, and the much larger one for Obama’s day were faked. I mean come on! This is complete BS. I’ve read countless accounts on how the turnout for Trump was much less than Obama, then there’s the fact that Trump did not win the popular vote while Obama did (correct me if I’m wrong). Then, to top all this off, look at the millions of people marching in protests the day after he is elected. So really the fact that they are trying to pretend that the turnout to the Trumps inaugural day had this amazing turnout seems a tad flawed. The fact that Sean Spicer goes on and says and I quote “It is shameful and wrong” to lessen Trump’s inauguration is utterly ridiculous. I mean if it was a successful inauguration you wouldn’t need to police peoples opinion on the amount of people who showed up. Just a thought …

womens march pink

Photo found on Nymag.com which credit – Photo: Courtesy of Twitter/kylesingerrr

So to close, I am not from the United States. I am Canadian and proud. But Trumps election can impact more than just the US. It can impact many people in many different ways (economy, policies, violence, racism. etc.). The harmful ideals that are becoming associated with him cannot become the norm. Today’s march wasn’t in my opinion about Trump, even thought it was sparked by his election. It’s about so much more. People need to stand together and work towards a better future( I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true). I know if everyone comes together like today’s marches show is possible, anything can be achieved. Let’s use this power we have to create good.

Halloween act of Kindness

Hello everyone,

This post is a bit late but better late than never. 🙂

As mentioned in my previous post on acts of kindness. Every month or two months I am going to do one bigger act of kindness.

This month I decided on a Halloween theme.

I started to think on possible ideas and somehow the idea came to me that, boy, I missed going out there and coming back home with a bunch of candy(I have a big sweet tooth). Which got me to thinking of the parents following their children out there all night going from house to house and freezing their butts off, because dear readers where I live in Canada most years you need a coat under your costume or a turtle next and two sweaters. That’s when the idea came to me, I was going to do something for the parents. I settled on handing out hot chocolate to all the parents who wanted some in order for them to warm up a bit for their night of walking in the cold with their children.

I got hot chocolate packets from the dollar store, cups from the dollar store and mini marshmallows from yet again the dollar store. Then I set up a little table and added some Halloween decorations I already owned plugged in my kettle with an extension cord and voila!

halloween-2016

As you can see from the picture it turned out pretty well and parents where all really happy to have it, even those who passed on the hot chocolate walked away saying wow that’s a great idea and had a smile on their face.

Another big bonus is that I actually got to talk and get to know my neighbors some more. While some I know and see often there’s many that I’ve only seen passing by. It’s sad that in this day and age you might wave and say hi when you walk by but you don’t really get to know most of your neighbors. In the past neighbors while not always the best of friends where like a community you knew who was who by name and you sometimes got together, with the modern age of technology I feel many people have forgotten how to just walk up to someone be friendly and start a conversation or it now feels more awkward. I have more to say about this to prove and develop this idea but I’m going to save it for another post as not to get too off track.

All in all I am happy with how this act of kindness turned out. It made others happy and made my day much better too.  I was so upset when I got back home from my university classes(it’s a long story I won’t go into it) that I felt there was no way I would do it. But I pushed myself to follow through with my plan and in minutes I was happy and smiling, my worries weighing less on me.

I encourage others who celebrate Halloween to give it a try next year. Get to know your neighbors, spread some kindness and happiness and have a more enjoyable Halloween night in the process.

Until next time

Maya