Judskii

Choose amazing.

Category: The Happy Brain

My thoughts about life — its uphill battles and its triumphant victories.

Following the constant endeavour towards a happy brain and a happy life.

For the sake of (blog)life, (blog)love, and (blog)laughter.

Sometimes I lose sight of why I started blogging in the first place. It wasn’t because I wanted free stuff. It wasn’t because I wanted to be famous. It was because I have these thoughts and feelings and life mottos that I wanted to share with the world. Thinking back to the first blog I ever had, I wrote because I wanted to get a handle on my thoughts. It was like writing to a pen-pal that I knew didn’t actually exist, but it was nice to get everything out of my head and into a physical, or rather digital, form.

Somewhere between 2009 and 2015, I became consumed with the lives all these bigger bloggers. Thousands of readers and followers, invites to exclusive events, free perks from companies who want you to write about their products. It’s like being a celebrity with all the perks and you are your own paparazzi.

I’ll let you know what prompted this post though. A few weeks ago, I met a prominent local blogger at a party (who will now be referred to as Z) with other bloggers much bigger than I am. Z came into the circle of conversation, and in the introductions, I shook Z’s hand, and said that I was familiar with their social media content. I received half a handshake, and no eye contact as Z gave a weak laugh and looked away to someone they recognized as being “in the scene,” as I interpreted it. This is fine. I don’t mind. I’m just there to have fun and make friends. My ego isn’t bruised if someone doesn’t give me the time of day.

Flash forward to the next week, I’m working at my retail job and Z walks in. I give a big friendly, “Hey!”, and it’s clear Z doesn’t recognize me. Again, that’s fine. Even though I shook your hand, that’s fine. However, what spurned me is that Z did not say a single word during the transaction. No answer to “How are you?” Just flashed the credit card and snatched the bag of goods and left.

I don’t think it’s just a “I’m a big deal” thing, but it should be common decency to treat the people behind the check out as a human.

I don’t know where I was going with this. I never would have batted an eye at any of these things individually, but being brushed off by the same person in the span of a week, that stings a little. But I’m sure Z is a very nice person, and I just don’t make a very big impression. I’m working on accepting the fact that it’s ok not to be noticed, and trying to reconcile the thought of, maybe I don’t want to be noticed. I just want to live my life in a way that makes me happy, and use my energy in ways that make other people feel happy. Going back to my roots of writing for the sake of writing. Sharing my thoughts with the digital world that might have a person or two out there listening. Not for free things and invites to events where people try so hard to make you like them so that you’ll advertise their product, but to surround myself with good people and good vibes.

Of course, I’ll find a relevant Nicki Minaj quote.

Let me make this clear, I’m not difficult, I’m just ’bout my business. I’m not into fake industry parties and fake agendas. Rock with people for how they make me feel, not what they give me.

I’d be lying if I said that the free stuff isn’t nice. That the feeling of inclusivity with the exclusive clubs makes you feel important and like you really are somebody. But I don’t want to always be chasing the glamour and events for the sake of the glamour and events. I want to do it for the experiences of trying something new and for meeting new people that can possibly add love and laughter into my life.

If I can live my life with purpose and positively impact just one person, then I can be happy. I want to leave impressions of positivity on others, like pressed-leaf impressions in a textbook.

New Blog and Contest!

Welcome

Hi! Hello! Welcome to Judskii.com! This is so exciting for me! I’ve finally got my own domain, and have so many new and exciting ideas and posts ready for this blog. We’re about to ramp it up!! I’ve got some new sections that are not food-focused (shock!): The Happy Brain, where I explore ideas and experiences that I hope will help me grow into a better, more positive person; Keep Learning, where I delve into topics that interest me, that I would otherwise not put time aside to learn; and the Book Nook, where I commit to reading more! Because really, that’s something that everyone wants to try to do. Unless you’re one of those people who are proud of not reading (like.. anything at all.), and if that’s the case, then we’re probably not friends.

Have a look around to see what else is new. 🙂

Choose Amazing

This is what I want the essence of my little place on the internet to be. I want to spread the word that even if your day seems dreary, and you seem to have lost your way in life or thoughts, you can just choose to be amazing, choose to do amazing things, and choose the amazing experience. If you live your life striving to choose amazing, then you will be amazing. This is something I still struggle with, but when I need a pick me up, I choose to do the things that make both me and the people around me happier and more joyful.

Launch Contest!

To celebrate this new domain, I’ve put together a little contest for a few of my favourite things!

Judskii Launch Contest Prize

I’m a sucker for beautiful notebooks, and this prize comes with three lined notebooks with gold foil covers and my favourite pen – the 7 year pen. It has a great solid weight to it and is supposed to last 7 years if you write less than 1.2 m a day. My last one lasted 2 years, which is not too shabby seeing as I usually lose mine before then. I wanted to keep the panda for myself, but these will look great on your desk; a little oasis in the hectic everyday. I’ve included this because I have this terrible compulsion to buy every cool notepad, sticky pad, notebook, stationery set ever.

We’ve also got a loose-leaf tea infuser, that goes right inside your mug and some marshmallow chocolate snacks to go with it during your relaxation time. People who know me know that snack time is very important, and my sweet tooth is basically beyond compare.

And last but not least, the Portlandia Cookbook, from the hilarious show, Portlandia; this book’s got some awesome recipes (the cacao bark looks amazing) and really great photos as well as some show trivia. I’ve got shelves of cookbooks and pinterest boards upon pinterest boards of new recipes. I love to eat, and when I have a craving, how else will you satisfy it in the middle of the night. (I give thanks to 24h grocery stores.) This book offers delicious photography that will definitely whet your appetite.

How to Enter

There are three ways to enter. Do all three for more chances to win!

  1. Twitter: Send out a tweet with my username (@Judskii), the link to this post (http://judskii.com/2015/02/03/new-blog-and-contest/), and the hashtag #JudskiiLaunchContest. You can enter once a day!
    If you’re not feeling too creative: “I just entered @Judskii’s new blog launch contest. http://judskii.com/2015/02/03/new-blog-and-contest/ #JudskiiLaunchContest.”
  2. Instagram: Go to my Instagram page (@Judskii), like the contest photo (below) and tag a friend! Must be following @Judskii account to be eligible.

    A photo posted by judskii (@judskii) on

  3. Leave a comment on this post telling me what’s your favourite amazing thing to do!
Contest ends February 28th, 2015. Open to Canadian & U.S. Residents only.

Modern Dating Pitfalls or Playing Victim?

While crawling through the mudpit that is Facebook, I came upon a link to a blog post titled, “18 Ugly Truths About Modern Dating That You Have To Deal With.” from Thought Catalog, and written by Christopher Hudspeth. I’m not sure if I’m just not sympathizing with the dating pool these days because I’m not in it, or if the people who follow these nuggets of advice are dooming themselves to the single life if they are actively trying to find a significant other. I’ll admit, I got quite lucky with finding my boyfriend, but I’d also been single long enough that I didn’t beat around the bush. I didn’t overanalyze everything, I was myself. But I also don’t discount the fact that I found someone who I really connected with, and judging by all my friends now who are unable to find someone who isn’t crazy, those chances were really slim. I won the lottery.

Moving on, reading that article, I couldn’t help but think to myself, the people who take this advice and act on it are only making themselves seem like the crazy ones. Maybe if they lived in the moment and actually tried to find someone they enjoy hanging out with — someone compatible — they’d see that not everyone is trying to screw you over. Maybe try to determine if you can be someone’s friend first — enjoy spending time with them without overthinking everything — before jumping into labels.

The person who cares less has all the power. Nobody wants to be the one who’s more interested.

I’m not going to lie. I used to think like this too, but really, who wants to be in a relationship where both people are afraid to love fully. Both are trying to show the other how little they care. Isn’t that the opposite of a fulfilling relationship?

The only reason people repeat this mantra to themselves is that they’re afraid to unveil themselves, and fully invest themselves into a relationship. This one hit me closest to home because when I was following this “rule”, it was because I had been hurt in relationships before and I was trying my best to not be hurt again. However, in trying not to get hurt, I also didn’t let the other person in enough to make us both as happy as possible. Sometimes it’s hard to take the leap, but once you do, you’ll find that everything gets easier. You live with the belief that your significant other is there to make you happy and you are there to make them happy. If you’re too scared of getting hurt and you’re holding yourself back, the other person isn’t getting to know the real you anyway. And who wants to spend the rest of their lives behind a facade?

Of course this can go the other way, and you can misjudge them, and it will hurt so much. We’ve all been hurt before, but we all know that with time, hurt will heal. However, when they hurt you, do you want to think back to the weeks/months/years that you were together shielding yourself and not having the most possible fun and feeling the most love? Either way, you’d get hurt. One way, you’ll at least loved fully and felt love. The other way, you’ve spent the whole relationship being bitter and paranoid, not really enjoying the relationship because you’re afraid that they’ll turn at any second. And for what reason? To say “I knew it” at the end?

  • The only difference between your actions being romantic and creepy is how attractive the other person finds you. That’s it, that’s all.
  • The text message you sent went through. If they didn’t respond, it wasn’t because of malfunctioning phone carrier services.
  • Social media creates new temptations and opportunities to cheat. The private messaging and options for subtle flirtation (e.g. liking of pictures) aren’t an excuse or validation for cheating, but they certainly increase the chances of it happening.

Many of the “modern dating truths” represented really are just about how shitty some people are. I used to overthink it if a guy didn’t like me back, but then I got to thinking. Why would I want to be with someone who doesn’t want me? And that has become my mantra for nearly everything. You don’t want to be the only person putting forth an effort in any relationship. If that person doesn’t want to be with you, your relationship would be superficial. You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you. Someone who wants to make you happy. Sometimes it feels like that person is impossible to find, but there are so many people out there, and I’m sure, so many decent people.

One quote I came across online that really aided in me cutting out toxic relationships is, “Don’t treat someone like a priority when they treat you like an option.” Don’t ignore the signs. Often times, courtships fail because people aren’t clear about what they’re looking for. You’re not going to be able to dig a serious relationship out of someone who’s just looking for a fling.

All the advice given in the article are about people playing games. They blame the other person for how hard it is to find a significant other. However if you’re following these “rules” and thinking the worst of the other person right off the bat, aren’t you adding to the problem? Maybe you’re unconsciously pushing them away. By thinking they’re playing games, you obviously try to counteract that by playing games right back. Bringing a bitter mentality just brings people down and wards them all away. Would you want to date a negative Nancy?

If you’re looking for a serious relationship. Don’t play games. It’s exhausting, it gets you nowhere, and it’s basically starting a relationship based on lies. Ignore the people who do play games. They aren’t worth your time. There’s just so many ways to break a relationship through modern technology and not enough ways to keep them together. How do we avoid playing games with people? I think the problem is people jumping into getting to know someone as a boyfriend before getting to know them as a person and a friend. It just doesn’t work. It makes it too awkward, and too much pressure. I try to get to know someone as a friend before seeing if there’s a romantic link. To see if the conversation flows smoothly and if you have the same outward views on the world.

Over the years, I’ve listened to countless friends’ dating horror stories. People who have looked online for love, who’ve exhausted their supply of friends’ friends, to no avail. My advice has always been the same.

  • Don’t overthink it.
  • Be yourself.
  • If you like them, put yourself out there. Be forward (but not aggressive). If they don’t respond to it, fuck it, your relationship wouldn’t be that great anyway. Find someone who loves you for you (however cheesy that sounds, it’s true.)

My friend S put the last few points better than I could. People need to get over themselves. You’re not a princess that deserves to be spoiled. You’re not any better than anyone else. It’s not about one person spoiling the other, it’s about finding a partnership that works. You’re not going to find the person that’s 100% perfect. You’re going to find someone who’s 70%-80%-90% compatible with you, and you work at the other percentages with compromise and communication. Because relationships are not rainbows and fairy dust, they are work, but it’s so worth it.

Good luck out there, all you brave brave people of the single world. Don’t be bitter, and I hope you find the person who’s willing to work at being happy with you.

MY Vagina, Not Yours

I never thought I’d write  a post like this. It may just be the baader-meinhof phenomenon in effect or perhaps it’s just me being more aware of the state of affairs around me.

It started off about 2 years ago when I hear about the Slutwalk, which was in retaliation to a Toronto police officer commenting that “women should avoid dressing like sluts” in order to not be raped, after a string of sexual assault incidents at York University. Just in the last week, it seems as though women everywhere are speaking up about how rape culture and slut-shaming is still prevalent in 2012 and alongside it, old stereotypes hidden behind the thin veil of humour that just then get mean and downright degrading. 

I read this post on reddit by user public_username about how to be a girl on the internet. I don’t publicize myself as a girl, but I see those that do. If you’re in a forum or site where there is not a larger group of women, you encounter horrible sexist comments far more than you would in real life. I’m speaking just in my experience on reddit, where there is a misconception that there are no women that frequent the site. Although many redditors are 20-40 years old, white, male, probably in IT, in the last few years, the site has grown so large that it’s no longer rare to meet someone else who frequents the site. The demographic is no longer that 28 year old white male. It’s estimated that 20% of the users are female, but that number is probably quite a bit higher, since many users don’t identify themselves as female for fear of being targeted with private messages of penises. Women who post words or pictures are met with either sexualisation or accused of using their gender to garner fake internet points.

If you think that people are like this because they have the anonymity of the internet to hide them, it calls to question, are these people assholes on the internet because they’re forced to hide it when they’re interacting with real people. With the alarming about of sexist comments on public forums, it’s quite disheartening to think that the people around you really harbour these feelings.

Then there are the people who seem proud of their misogyny. Talk to any one of your female companions, peers, or family members and they or someone they know have been the victim of some sort of sexual harassment. They’ve been catcalled, groped, and put off increasingly aggressive advances for any number of reasons.


Stoya, a porn actress by profession, writes for Jezebel.com about the pigs that feel like their entitled to her body. From the men who invade her genitals at sex conventions without her permission to those vulgar catcalls on the sidewalk. Someone actually comments on the article saying,

To turn around and say “don’t touch me” is both hypocritical and immature considering your whole career is centered around being “touched.”

“Yes, moral high horse. But to be honest I’m tired of people who choose a certain path in life to then turn around and constantly bitch about it.

Saying that she deserves this kind of disrespectful treatment just because she has sex for a living. Sex with people and in circumstances of her choosing. This does not mean that she must give her body up to anyone who is ready and willing. What kind of logic is that? You can’t just go up to a doctor in the middle of the street and stick his eye in your infection, just because they’re a doctor. Not only is that logic fallible, but this kind of behaviour doesn’t just happen to porn stars. Reiterating my point above, almost every woman encounters that asshole that thinks he can shout things at a girl just because she walks into his sightline.

There is a very wide line between a sincere “that dress looks really nice on you” to  “Nice ass! Why don’t you back that thang up over here?” Those who do the second rationalise it as, “She should be happy that I’m paying her a compliment.” She should be fucking flattered. I don’t even know what to say to that. We don’t go out dressed like we do to impress you. We wear what we do to make ourselves feel good about our body, to maybe impress that special person. We don’t do it for the random guys hanging out at the side of a building.

And then there’s that special mentality first mentioned here as a member of the Toronto Police force saying that dressing the way you do invites these kind of unwanted encounters. Added to that, our own mayor’s niece tweets something to the effect of “don’t dress like a whore” in response to the recent sexual assaults in the Annex area of Toronto.

I think it is the mentality of very strict Islam cultures (please correct me if I’m wrong), where it is not the fault of the men, who are just incorrigible creatures of lust, who rape women because the women are to blame for their flaunting of assets, clearly targeting the men who can’t help themselves.

  1. Women are just out to get raped and tempt these men to sin.
  2. Men are just lowly dogs who can’t help but to rape because the women are walking out there uncovered.

Sounds silly right? So why is it so popular, even in Western culture, to tell women to cover up before going out, just to be safe. It’s so prevalent to teach young girls that they have to be alert, teach them self defence, tell them to carry pepper spray around because it’s not safe out there. Men are out to rape you. Instead of teaching women “don’t get raped,” why isn’t it common to teach people “don’t rape” instead. I was glad when I saw this ad campaign that shows people the other side of rape prevention.

It also shows another part that I haven’t quite touched on, and that is women are not the only ones targeted by sexual harassment. This post really is spurred on my what I’ve seen and experienced lately. And now that I’ve got all that opinion-based stuff out of the way, I’d like to pile on with my own experiences.

I don’t consider myself a very hot or attractive woman. I don’t think I’m “beaten with a stick ugly” but in my day to day life, I don’t generally dress up unless it’s for something special. For the last two years, when I’m in public, I am in my work uniform because I’m going to and from work, or in my work uniform to go to school, or in grubby clothes to go to school, paired with a backpack, running shoes, some kind of greasy food in my hand, and probably sweating, this is not what you think gets hollered at, and I don’t expect it either.

When I began writing this post, I could name maybe a couple of times in the past few years where I’ve gotten honked at from a car, and I thought that was it, but as I continued, it’s like there have been suppressed memories hiding in the back of my mind. I thought it would start when I was a young adult, really coming into myself and beginning to be confident in myself as a person. Looking back, my first real encounter with public harassment was probably when I was 15 or 16 years old in high school. I was catching some shuteye going home on a long metro ride in Montreal. I was huddled in the corner with my big jacket and backpack, and when I opened my eyes to get off, there was a man standing in front of me, with his penis just.. dangling there. I was young. I was scared. I pretended to be asleep and missed my stop. Luckily, it didn’t escalate from there and when I opened my eyes, he was gone.

From then, it was mostly just some lip smacking, some off-handed sexual comments muttered under their breath as I walked by, honking their horns as they drive by, and I did what I did that first time. I ignored it, held onto my pride, didn’t give them an ounce of satisfaction, and just kept on going.

This past summer, I was getting off an 11-hour shift on a Saturday. I had been awake since 6am that morning and just very tired walking home from work. I was probably drenched in bacon sweat, from working around bacon sandwiches all day, and this car of young-ish guys come screeching down the street. They were honkin, and hootin, and hollerin. One of them looking me straight in the eye as his hands and mouth made a most vulgar motion. Something inside me just snapped. I didn’t do anything rash, it just hit me like, what did these guys expect? Is it just some hormonal kick in the dick that they get off on, yelling at a girl like that? What did they want me to do, jump in their car and suck their bag of dicks? How did they expect me to feel, what did they want me to feel? I suspect that they don’t give a shit, and I was just a thing to yell at for kicks. Saying “I’d hit that” as a naive display of machismo, making up for the suave bullshit they’ve never had.

All these memories and feelings came rushing back when I started writing. And then there are the two incidents that really spurred me to write this.

As you know, I started running recently. I preferred to run at night because my street is pretty busy for a side street, and I don’t particularly like people seeing my fat ass run and struggle. So I do it when there’s barely anybody around. The other night, as I was on my run, this car drives past and honks. I lift my hand to wave because I have family in the area often, so I assumed it was someone I knew. When I looked, it wasn’t anyone I knew at all. “Just some asshole looking to get his rocks off,” I thought. About 10-15 minutes later, the same car comes back from the opposite direction, slows down, and parks beside me as I was walking (resting phase), and the driver leans over to talk to me. I had my headphones in, did not want to engage, and kept walking. After I’d gotten a few steps away, I started running and didn’t stop till I got to my house, scared that he would follow me home, where I was alone with my dog. Luckily, I turned around and he wasn’t there. I may have jumped to conclusions, but bearing in mind that he had definitely driven out to the main road, where there are plenty of shops and gas stations if he had questions about the area, I just felt really unsafe in my own neighbourhood. I was wearing my sweater, headphones in, sweaty, and breathing pretty hard while I was walking. What the hell about my physical disposition invited you to stop right beside me all creepy-like to have a conversation. I was not wearing come-hither clothing, I did not give off any signals of wanting to mate. From that incident alone, I’ve decided not to run outside anymore, instead now concentrating on indoor cardio workouts.

And the second incidence, I guess some people could say I brought it upon myself for wearing a skirt and engaging in alcoholic drinks. Logical people would say I just wanted a night hanging out with my cousins and some music. But of course, I’m with a group of people, minding my own business, that means I’m here to hook up with strangers, right? We’re standing around with our drinks when this guy comes up to me and starts a conversation. Friendly conversation is fine, I’m okay with this, I enjoy this. He asks to dance, and I tell him I have a boyfriend. That should be that.

Nope. He goes on to assume that my boyfriend is unimportant if he’s not attached to my side and practically tries to drag me out to the dance floor. I tell him a firm no, and if he wanted to resume our conversation it would be fine. His relentless pursuit and boyish face made me feel like he’s learned all his pick up tricks from movies and Jersey Shore. If a girl says no, she doesn’t mean no, she just wants you to try harder. No. No. A million times no. I ask him how old he is. “20.” Not that it matters. I’m trying to deter him when he asks my age, I lie and say “25” citing that he’s too young and I am not interested (I’m actually 22). He should probably get the hint that I don’t really want to talk or dance with him anymore. Thankfully this time he does. Does he gracefully accept this and move on?

Nope. He gets butthurt and starts bashing me in the middle of the club, saying that I was too old to be there, and I shouldn’t be hanging out at places like this. I’m sorry, but why did he think that just because he was talking to me that he was entitled to dance with me, to cop a feel, like I was being a bitch for not wanting to. I want to say it’s because he was young, inexperienced, and generally doesn’t know how to get turned down, but I’ve heard these kind of stories from many different people, from different walks of life. Where when the woman doesn’t put out, she’s a frigid bitch. And yet, and yet! if she dresses how she likes, doesn’t give it out, and the men take it, she’s bashed for wearing a short skirt and “asking for it.”

I know it’s been a long read, and it might be a lot to ask, but I’m really just hoping for awareness that this goes on. That when guys, you see this kind of thing going on, you don’t encourage your friend to “cop a feel,” to “just keep going for it because she clearly wants you.” For everyone to know the difference between joking and misogyny, and to have a society where it’s safe for people to be walking outside without being afraid that they’re just asking to be raped. Without our bodies being the target of sexual assault whether physical or verbal. Without derision and unwanted advances. I just want us all to get along without being uncomfortable, and if not, well, you can find me in my basement doing Jillian Michaels exercises.

Growing Older

What follows is a pretty long-ish story I read on Reddit made by user Kylearm. It’s a very interesting story, but don’t read it if you don’t want to cry. Actually, skip this entire post if you don’t want to be depressed at all.

“One day after filling up my car with gas, I went inside to pick up some snacks for the long drive to my hometown. As I was heading in, I saw an elderly couple. They were both very old and kind of unkempt, but the husband was so loving and careful as he wheeled his frail wife in her wheelchair up the handicapped ramp, turned her around so her back was to the store, and parked her by the door. He said “You wait here, honey. I’ll go get your ice cream,” and went inside, kind of bent over, but spry nonetheless.

When I got into the store, there was a middle aged guy who seemed to be old friends with the woman behind the counter, probably the owner or manager. He was teasing her and they were laughing. As I got in line to pay for my M&Ms, he said his farewell and went out the door. The woman greeted the next customer.

Suddenly the middle-aged man came back in and said, deadpan, “Call the ambulance.”

“Oh you!”–the woman exclaimed, thinking he was still kidding.

“No,” he replied, absolutely calm, but clearly focused, “I really mean it. An old lady has fallen down out here.”

The woman grabbed the phone. The old man bleated “Honey!” and ran out the door, drumstick ice cream in hand. I put my M&Ms back and went outside to see if I could help.

There was the old lady, face-down under her wheelchair in a small pool of blood. The middle-aged man, who was quite large and brawny, carefully pulled the chair off of her. She was moaning. The husband was in an absolute panic, crying, “Honey! Honey!” and trying to help, but he was too weak. As I neared the scene, I noticed the smell. This lady had not been bathed in a very long time.

The man carefully rolled her over. She had a large tear on her forehead and a swelling, purple, bleeding upper lip. The entire right side of her face was full of gas-station-parking-lot dirt. Black. Her husband kept saying “It’s alright, you’re alright, it’s okay,” but the woman only sobbed back. An empty, senseless, language-less sob.

The husband looked down at the ice cream in his hand, and suddenly, furiously tore it open. He held it up for her. “Look, honey, I got your ice cream. See? It’s alright. Have your ice cream,” he said, weakly touching it to her filthy, bloodied lips. One of the customers gently pulled his hand away and said, “She can’t have it now; let’s wait for the ambulance to arrive.” He looked ashamed as he set the ice cream down on the pavement.

The hospital was just down the street, and the ambulance arrived very shortly. The EMTs got her on a stretcher, and with every movement, she groaned louder. No words, just sounds.

They began asking if anyone had seen what had happened. The middle-aged man said that he saw her just roll off the curb and flip face down onto the parking lot.

“Who left her there?” the EMT demanded.

“I did! I was getting her ice cream!” the husband yelped.

“Didn’t you put the brake on?”

A moment of horrible realization passed over his face, then he plead, “Yes! I… Yes! I think so… I think I did.”

The EMT nodded knowingly to one of his partners and they set about getting the old woman into the ambulance. As they did, the old man was in a whirlwind of confusion, trying to be strong for his beloved wife, but beginning to cry himself, seeming to be at his wits’ end as he was helped into the back of the ambulance.

After they had left and the scene calmed, it dawned on me why he was in such a panic. It wasn’t just how much he loved her, or the fall, or the blood, or even that it was his fault. It was that this was the end of their life together. He’d been doing his best to keep his wife, so old, so frail, at his side, to care for her, to be with her always. Maybe he wasn’t strong enough to help her bathe, maybe her diapers didn’t quite fit right, but they were together. He was passing. Just barely, but passing.

And now, with this one little mistake, this one little goof, this one little slip of the aging mind, it was all over.

The hospital staff would be concerned about her hygiene; people would be round the house to judge whether he was capable of caring for her; competency would be questioned, and the decision would not be in his favor. He’d be going home alone to that house tonight, and every night from now on. It was over, all over, and it was his fault.

I reached down and picked up the melting drumstick, holding it gingerly as I walked to the trash can, threw it in, and went back into the store to buy my M&Ms.”

Let’s take a second to let it all out. I probably share this fear with quite a bit of people out there, but I’m afraid of growing older. I’m afraid of being unable to care for myself. Unable to complete the simplest of tasks because I’m too weak. I’m afraid of outliving my loved ones, of losing my parents. I’m afraid of getting old and realizing that I haven’t done half of the things that I promised myself I’d do, that I haven’t done anything with my life. I’m afraid that I’ll die before my husband, as selfish as that sounds. I’m afraid that I’ll die alone. I’m afraid that my mind will deteriorate to the point where I don’t lucidly remember the life I would have led. I want to die before all that happens, but I wouldn’t want to leave my children. There’s loss in each choice, and I guess I’m not the one to make the choice about when I go. I can only hope to live a fulfilling, satisfying, meaningful life with laughter, love, arts, happiness, and all that wonderful stuff.

I want to find love like that.

Though, however long I sit here thinking about what I want out of life, I guess I should plan for the future. Take initiative. Make my life what I want it to be. Not just me, but you too. Stop taking the shit life deals you, don’t just sit there. You can either wallow in shit, or use it as fertilizer. Be the change you want to see (in the world). Turn over a new leaf. Another long string of clichés. Tldr; fuck all of this. I can be afraid of getting old and not accomplishing anything, but instead, I’ll tackle it head on, and maybe I’ll get old and at least accomplish something.

Philanthrophy At Christmas Time

A little belated, but on the day of Christmas Eve, my aunt called us out to do some philanthropic work. Apparently every year, they go around giving gifts and money to the unfortunate. This was my aunt’s family, so I’m not directly related to them, as she married my uncle. We had plans that day, but my conscience wouldn’t really let us say no to helping people at Christmas, so I begrudgingly agreed to come along as well, and I’m so glad that I did.

We hopped into our giant van and went to pick up the goods. Which were boxes upon boxes with bags full of goodies inside. Snacks, food, cards… Extra things that they wouldn’t spend money on themselves, but I don’t think they even had money.

The first place we went to was a sort of old folk’s home. Being there, I just felt saddened by their situation. I know this is going to sound naive, insensitive, and shallow, but old people make me sad. My perception of them is rather paradoxical. They look frail, helpless, and after living for so many years, it’s amazing the strength they put forward to doing everyday things. And this is just the elderly in Canada. In Vietnam, if you’re unlucky enough to have selfish children (more prevalent than I’d care to admit), you’re stuck in these deplorable conditions, basically waiting to die.

I think there were about 50+ people in this place. Most were elderly, and there were a few that were mentally incapable. There were 3-4 people people in each room, each with a bed that looked like old war-time hospital beds. Many of these people had barely any possessions. Seeing some of them proudly boasting a grocery bags of their own things made you rethink your own lifestyle. It was just dismal to see these people with nothing to look forward to.

It was Christmas time, and if anyone were to get visitors, it’d be now. But no family, no one to come visit. Walking along the halls, the people would wait eagerly in front of their doors. I’d like to think that they were excited to have people there, but with a jaded perception of Viet people, I’m sure most of them just wanted what we were going give them (bag of stuff and about 20,000 Vietnamese dollars) and wanted us to gtfo. Not all of them, mind you. I hope.

Nevertheless, giving to people like this, and bettering their lives in at least one aspect for a day felt good. Even if I don’t do it on a regular basis, even though I am in no way a less selfish, more philanthropic person, it was nice to have done it. I’m glad I didn’t back out at the last second. I don’t think I’m such a wonderful person now, after one day of humanitarianism, that I’ve done my piece for the world and can just slack off for the rest of my life. It’s hard to explain, but it definitely made me rethink where I come from, how blessed I am to have everything that I do, how to live my life, and how to treat other people.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

In addition to individual gift bags, we supplied the complex with several bags of rice for communal use as a way of helping the (foundation? home? charity?) take care of these people.

After a bit of conversation with the people who run the place, a lot of thank you’s and well wishes were exchanged and we were on our way to the next destination, one on the opposite spectrum and quite a bit cheerier and more hopeful considering the subject.

A boarding school partitioned into two sections: community and education for blind or visually impaired children, and child care for mentally handicapped children. They have a braille printing room that I wanted to see into, but didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to ask. I’d love to see how one of those things work though. I guess this is why Google is my best friend.

The children were exuberant and downright giddy. Surprisingly, they were very well behaved for their age. I don’t say that because they’re blind, but because they’re Vietnamese. No, I don’t have a very high opinion of the people and I’m generally wary of them due to experiences and interactions with them throughout my life.

Moving on. They were very quiet, sat still, listened to us, smiled, were very grateful for their gifts, almost surprised. When we announced that we had little gift bags for each one of them, smiles lit up all around. It made me so happy to see them so happy. Yeah, I teared up a little, but only because none of them could see me get so emotional. I tactfully turned away from the people I was with.

They were laughing and joking with each other, as kids do, and it was nice to see that yes, they were just children being children. They weren’t so drastically different from everyone else and there is a predisposition to judge them as such, but it was a good reminder that we, as a race, are not so drastically different from each other. Children from each corner of the world are, after all, still children.

The kids treated us to two songs. A wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve (day).

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