Breadwinner contest entry – We are girls, We are Strong.

I wrote this story for a contest ( see details here http://stories.thebreadwinner.com/#signup1 ) but also because I think it’s a great movement to share our stories and encourage one another. I hope it can inspire someone.

We are Girls, We are Strong.

Sixth grade is a though year for a lot of people. Being the oldest students, you are told that you rule the school but in reality, it’s only those with enough influence, those on the top of the popularity pyramid that are the holders of this power. If you are unfortunate enough to be on the bottom of the pyramid, things can be very though indeed.

Like this girl, for example. She is a normal girl of normal size, blond hair and blue eyes but she is different. She likes to read and suffers from anxiety. These traits and other differences which are currently unseen to her eyes, but seem very apparent to her peers who mock and poke at these imaginary flaws makes her feel sad and lonely. When these feelings come, this girls picks up a book and loses herself in the pages. She loses herself in stories of girls who are different and go on big adventures, solving the problems that they and their society face. This girl learns through these stories to see through other eyes and her heart learns to love and she manages to forgive what has been done to her that day. As the year comes to and end and her yearbook lies almost empty with a few generic lines scribbled from people of her class, she feels a sadness rush over her. She can’t understand why she feels this way, everyone around her are laughing and running, hugging and crying, teachers are handing out sweets and treats. Yet she can’t seem to be grateful for the insincere words written in front of her or for her one dear friend she has had since grade two who is playing not too far away. All she can think of is the consuming want to belong.

As the summer starts, dark slithering doubts start creeping into the girls mind. Maybe something was wrong with her. Maybe she wasn’t good enough. There had to be a reason why people hated her and picked on her. Now she was starting to see what those people on the top of the popularity pyramid saw. Now she saw her flaws, her overweight body, her cumbersome habits, her strong opinions which no one agrees with. She should be more like them she thought. No, she absolutely needed to be more like them she thought. Not another year would she let pass on the bottom of the social ladder. Not another year would she let pass being ridiculed and sad. She would change. She would be more like those girls on TV. She would be thin and she would be fashionable and after this summer she would start a new year, at a new school where not one knew of her past. She would have friends and she would finally fit in.

Unfortunately things never go as planned. The girl, a mere 11 years old, stuck to her goals but they consumed her. These thoughts and this pressure to change who she was ate at her. She soon lost herself and fell into a dark place. She didn’t eat. She developed severe OCD. She became violent and aggressive and her own mind turned on her until she was so lost that those close to her brought her to stay in the hospital in the hopes that the girl they knew would find her way back from the battle she was slowly losing in her mind.

As always, there is a hero to most stories and in this story one of the main heroes was the girl’s mother. Her mother had always been there. Like most adult women she had survived a childhood of almost identical pressures to those of her daughter to change who she was in order to fit in, to change who she was in order to be successful and loved. She had survived and become the amazing woman she is today, uniquely herself. It was this girl’s mother who eventually saved the day, planting her feet and refusing to budge from her daughter’s side, getting back up even when she thought she had lost all hope. A breadwinner for the family, she still made time for her lost daughter and even when this girl lashed out and screamed, the mother held on tight and new that her girl was still there, somewhere in this whole mess of a situation.

When the girl was released from the hospital, still thin as a stick, she had already missed the first two weeks at her new school. She arrived there on the first day of the third week and found that all the cliques had already been made. Her efforts to fit in had backfired and now not only was she alone at school and on an even lower position on the social pyramid, but she was also fractured in both body and mind trying to reconnect the puzzle pieces of who she once was. This was no easy feat. She then had to contend with the mental and physical abuse from her peers as they picked up on her broken self and ridiculed the strangeness of her ticks and odd ways of acting.

This girl is me. This girl represents girls all around the world facing social pressures that dictate what they should be, how they should act, what they should do, who they should love, and like most of those girls, this girl pulled through. This girl surpassed those obstacles and trials even though they seemed like an Everest that she would never surmount. She persevered and is now stronger than ever. We are all unique in our own way and that is our real source of beauty, it is also our source strength. We are girls, we are strong!

New Years Resolutions 2017 – Thoughts and Goals

It’s Officially 2018! 2017 was an eventful year for me. I have so many achievements I am super proud of that I accomplished in 2017, of course there was some low times but I have decided to focus on the good and how far I have come in one year! Today’s post will be a bit on what to expect from me and this blog in the upcoming year and some tips I recommend to do as the new year starts.

So firstly what I did yesterday on New Years Eve is write down my accomplishments from 2017 and my goals for 2018. When I took the time to sit down and do this I saw just how much I accomplished in the last year, I also could visualize what I wanted to achieve in this next year and writing it down gives me some drive to achieve these goals in the next year!



One of the things I wrote on my goal list is expanding my blog topic. By this I mean that I want it to be about more than doing acts of kindness but also about being a powered crowd of people who not only are kind to others but themselves as well. A crowd of self empowered people has more impact to make positive change than a normal crowd of people who are sad and low on their life and situation. So they way I am going to go about this is share my experiences and more of the things I like in a way that will hopefully encourage others to make time for self care and for embracing who they are in order to reach their full potential.

Much like my bracelet’s and their message “You are not alone” I hope that by sharing more of my struggles and daily life adventures I can show not only some cool experiences other people can have(travel, products etc…) but also show people how everyone has their ups and downs and it’s about the effort you put into your dreams and the drive to share positivity wherever you go.

Examples of posts you might see will include reviews with positivy, kindness, sustainability or moral ratings. My experiences and adventures and of course the usual opinion pieces. I also hope to do more collaborations with other bloggers this year so we will see how that goes!

I will leave you with this picture of me on New Years eve, mostly as a reminder to myself of where I started and where I want to go this year in achievements! Feel free to share your pictures on social media so you can look back in a year and remember the moment you committed yourself to a good year!

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Last Day of Blogmas – 25 days of kindness

Hello everyone.

You might see that title and be a bit confused considering we are the 21st and it says 25 days of kindness why is this the last day? Well, you are right it is a bit early. I have had some events happen in my life this month and I feel like I really need time to de-stress and get better ( I have been feeling unwell almost all month) as well as spend time with family. So because of this reason I will continue to post acts of kindness on social media for the last 4 days but I will not be doing a blog post for them.

Thank you to everyone who who followed these 25 acts of kindness. This is something that should we all should strive to do everyday even if it’s the smallest thing (like a smile). I will definitely keep working on spreading kindness and I hope you join me in doing that too.

Follow me on my blog and social media for more amazing content coming in the new year!

Until then, be part of a Powered Crowd for positive change. 🙂


Day 19 – 25 days of kindness

Today’s goal is to comment, like or retweet someones social media to help them out. Pretty simple but it can mean a lot to someone especially if they are just starting out. It can also spread some positive messages in the social media world.

Here is how I did:

For today I will be doing this a bit differently. Instead of writing how I did here I will encourage you to follow me on social media (twitter: @mayalemaire and Instagram:@poweredcrowd ) to see in real time what I did for today’s goal. The reason I am doing this is in order to be able to post tomorrow’s goal now and because I will having a very busy day today. Please get involved and use the #poweredcrowd for a retweet(as long as it has to do with acts of kindness).

Here is tomorrows goal:

help someone with a chore or something they need done

See you tomorrow! Until then be part of a Powered Crowd.


Blogmas day 16 – 25 days of kindness

Day 16! Today is the day where we do an act of kindness for a special someone in our life. This one is very flexible, you can do something for you wife, husband, life partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or even the guy or girl you are talking to on a dating site. If none of these apply to you you can do it for a special friend or even your mom or dad or another family member.

Here is how I did:

So something that goes against the image most people have of girls, I do not like shopping (unless it’s at a bookstore or a thrift shop). So today my act of kindness was to go shopping with my dad who also hates shopping. We got a lot done but not everything. I am fighting this really weird flu like thing, one minute I am fine and then it hits me and I get dizzy and feel really weak. So that happened again today so we had to cut the shopping short so I could go home, were I proceeded to sleep for 4 hours!

How did today go for you?

Here is tomorrows goal!:

Today’s kindness challenge is to do something with someone that you hate but they love.

Until tomorrow be part of a Powered Crowd!


Blogmas day 15 – 25 days of kindness

Day 15! 10 days until Christmas. We can do this! I hope everyone who is following me and participating the 25 days of kindness are well rested after the self care day! Today’s act of kindness is to use your social media to spread good messages. Whether you have thousands of followers or ten we can all use some more positivity in the media. Remember if you tag me in your 25 days of kindness posts I will retweet!

Here is how my day went:

You might have noticed that I didn’t post any Blogmas post for the last two days. I have been feeling under the weather and not in the right space to write but I am back! I don’t want to stress about what I missed so I will do a fresh start starting now with how today’s goal went.

I did my best to comment some nice things on as many blogs as possible my count so far is 6.  I also tweeted some nice things on Twitter and Instagram. So overall I think I did well!

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Tomorrows challenge is:

To do an act of kindness for a special someone in our life

See you tomorrow!


Blogmas day 11- 25 days of kindness

As it is getting colder(at least here in Ottawa) it’s a time of year I start to really feel sad for homeless people begging on the streets. I don’t really get myself involved in that much because I don’t have the training and resources to really help. But I do donate and try to help in ways that are in my control. So today the goal is to give food to a homeless person or donate to a local food bank.

Here is how it went:

So as I mentioned in my last post because I missed yesterday’s challenge I did it today. Yesterday’s challenge was to leave nice notes for people in public places so here is some examples of notes I wrote. I will drop them off tomorrow but today I stayed home all day because I was feeling sick and we had a lot of snow so I didn’t want to drive if I didn’t need to.

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As for today’s challenge I had already completed it a couple days ago here is a picture.

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All right I am all caught up with my challenges!

Here is tomorrows challenge:

If you are taking a trip to any store for groceries or anything else put away three things that you see there.

I hope you had a great day!

See you tomorrow!


Blogmas day 11 – 25 Days of Kindness

Day 11! I got this idea from someone a long time ago but I still think it’s brilliant! Leave feel good post it notes in public places, on a bus seat, in a library book, in the mirror or a girls or boys bathroom. It can be completely anonymous!

Here is how it went for me:

As you might see this post is a bit late. I had a really busy day yesterday and I was trying really hard to finish one of my final exams for university(it was a take home exam) I succeeded in doing that goal and my next goal was to go for a workout and then do my act of kindness. I got as far as the gym and 10 minutes on the treadmill when I was hit with a wave of dizziness. I tried to keep working out but it just wasn’t happening I felt like I would fall down. So I went home and rested and then fell asleep and here we are the next morning. So in short day 11 wasn’t a success but I will try to do this goal today as well as today’s goal which is to donate to a homeless person or donate to a local food bank. This one will be tricky today as in my hometown we are expecting 15-20 cm of snow and driving probably isn’t the best Idea so I might just make a pile of food to donate and drop it off another day. Safety first!

Picture of my readings for schools

Picture of my readings for schools

I will see you again later today when I post today’s Blogmas post and tomorrows kindness goal!

Until then be part of a Powered Crowd for positive change.


Blogmas day 10 – 25 days of kindness

It’s day 10! As we are in the cold month of Winter here in Ottawa, Canada the goal for today is to shovel someones driveway. I want everyone to be able to participate so if you live in a warm climate you can still do this! You could rake some leaves, mow a lawn, pick up garbage ect..

This is how it went for me:

So because yesterday I was very late with my post I decided to get this act of kindness done early today! So I got up around 6:30am and went outside to shovel. It was a bit of perfect timing because overnight we had some snow fall. Not a lot in Ottawa’s standards but still enough to shovel.

So the driveway I shoveled was my dad’s driveway. If you read my day 9 blogmas post you would see why he might be tired today(spent the day at the hospital with him mom) So I decided to shovel the driveway for him while he sleeps in so he doesn’t need to do it when he wakes up.

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At first I really wanted to do it for a stranger but I feel like today it was the right choice to do it for someone I knew.

Here is Tomorrows challenge:

Leave feel good post it notes in public places

I hope you have a good day! Let me know how you did today!

Until then be part of a Powered Crowd.


Blogmas day 9 – 25 days of kindness

Today is day 9! So if you have been following these post you might know that today’s kindness challenge was supposed to be “Thank a teacher or someone who has helped you recently” That was my goal for today but things didn’t go as planned. However I did do 2 acts of kindness today so read ahead for that. As well this challenge will pop up again in the future of the 25 days of Kindness so stay tuned for that.

Here is how it went for me:

So as mentioned today didn’t go as planned. I started my day with some work on a final exam for university. Than I went to the most amazing book sale where most books are 25 cents each! I gave away 32 books that didn’t suit my reading tastes anymore for the giveaway( see post here) so I permitted myself to spend 10$ on new books. Then things veered off in a path that I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting to go visit my grandmother with my dad because she had been feeling unwell and then from there leave for home where I would go for a workout, do my acts of kindness and a whole bunch of other little things before going to volunteer this evening. What happened is that I went to visit my grandmother with my dad as planned but she really wasn’t looking great. She was scheduled for an appointment at the hospital (routine thing but won’t go into details) that my uncle was supposed to bring her too but the planned switched to us dropping her off on the way back to where we live. When we got there they told us that because of the symptoms she was experiencing they didn’t want to do the appointment to be safe and wanted her to go to the emergency part of the hospital to see a doctor. Long story short I spent most of the day there talking to my grandmother and helping out. She is still there now so if you are reading this send her well wishes!

After I left the hospital I went straight to the volunteering which was selling raffle tickets at a movie showing of the Breadwinner, for the book version of the movie (By the way the movie was amazing! Definitely recommend! You learn so much from it.) All profits collected went to a music program for girl refugees in my hometown. I then went home finished my work on my University final and now here I am writing.

Breadwinner movie poster - Image taken from IMDb

Breadwinner movie poster – Image taken from IMDb

So did I achieve the goal of the day? No. But I did help out my grandmother and I did raise awareness for gender equality while volunteering at the event mentioned and I raised funds for an amazing program so I think that counts.

It was one of those days where you realize sometimes life doesn’t go as planned but sometimes that’s necessarily a bad thing. Some amazing things can come from the unexpected. Am I happy my grandmother is in the hospital? Of course not! But I am happy I got to spend the day with her chatting while waiting for tests and news. I am happy I got to volunteer at that event and see that inspirational story. I am happy that I went to that book sale even though it wasn’t in my schedule until the last minute.

So here is to the unexpected. Life isn’t perfect but than again where is the fun and adventure in a life that is perfect?

Let me know how your day was!

Here is tomorrows goal:

shovel someones driveway (or mow the lawn/pick garbage for someone if you are in a warm climate)

Until tomorrow! Be part of a Powered Crowd!