Tag

women’s post

Browsing

When the going gets tough

This summer has been a tough one: I got my dream job, I lost my dream job; I spent a month jobless; my mum was in the hospital for a month and I didn’t know if my mum would make it; I went six weeks without getting paid; I developed an allergy to gluten, which I figured out after a lot of vomiting; and my bio-dad threatened to sue me for the second time. All of these things made for a tough month and a half. Now I’m at a new job that I love, working on brands and clients that really excite me, my mum is on the mend and finally home, I’ve got a handle on my allergy, I got my first pay cheque from my shiny new job this week and bio-dad is ignoring me again. So things are on the upswing and I made it out alive and smiling.

The reason I managed to keep smiling was Boyfriend: he declared depression, “not an option.” He told me that I was smart and a new job was just about the corner, he sat with me as I cried about my mother and my fear of losing her, he insisted we only eat at places that were accommodating to my allergies and he applauded my response to my father’s email. When I thought that my life was falling apart he reminded me that things get tough sometimes but that doesn’t mean that we have to wallow in a pile of sadness until it leaks out of our eyes. I’m paraphrasing, but in all honesty he was my rock.

This kind of support is something I’ve never experienced in a relationship. When I didn’t want to talk about my feelings he just sat there until I let it out. Sometimes that meant tears, sometimes that meant grunts and half sentences flowing out of the mouth of a terrified girl. Not once did he turn me away when I needed him.

The day I signed the contract for my new job Boyfriend and I had plans for dinner, which we were going to do at my house, but after hearing my news that immediately changed to, “We’re going to celebrate Wild Shannons.” Because it had probably been four weeks since I had any good news to share with him and good news is always worth celebrating.

Today is the first day of August and summer may be winding down for most people, but for us this month is summer. We’re planning road trips, BBQs, jet-ski races and anything else we can think of. I don’t care what we do though; we could spend the day on the beach or watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix and it wouldn’t matter to me because I’ll be with my best friend.

I can’t find a word that covers all the feelings I have for Boyfriend so I will use the only one I have, the hopeless inept, grateful. I am so incredibly, wildly, amazingly grateful for everything he’s done for me and I hope that we’ve built up enough karma that the rest of this year will only be filled with wonderful things.

Best friends

I realized recently that Boyfriend is my best friend. I have many bests: there’s #BoyBestie and my Lemon, who I lovingly refer to as my heterosexual life partner; there’s Jen, Nus, Reg and Yaw and really too many amazing bests in my life to count; but the person who I call when I need someone, the person who I call when I want to share great news or moderately good news or just talk to about nothing and everything is Boyfriend. He’s my best friend.

I’m sure there’s a definition or a Thought Catalogue article somewhere that attempts to define what exactly a best friend is, something that uses big words or includes a list of the top bestie duos of all time; are you and best friend more like Monica and Rachel or Joey and Chandler or something along those lines. But for me it’s a little simpler and a lot less ‘90s.

Boyfriend is the only person who calls me a Wild Shannon because for some reason he thinks of me as a Pokemon. There’s literally no logic to this but it makes me laugh uncontrollably. He’s a terrible dancer but we have a dance move that no one else understands and sometimes we’ll do it at the same time. It’s embarrassing and only kind of adorable. We have shows that we watch and we never TV cheat, ever, no matter how hard Netflix makes it for us. We have our own language; we get each other, even if no one else really understands why we’re laughing or what it is we’re talking about.

When it comes down to it though Boyfriend is just the person I’d rather be with; hanging out and watching a movie with him is better than a night out with anyone else. I love my friends and I am so lucky to have them in my life but I had no idea what it felt like before this past (almost) year to be someone’s partner.

Boyfriend is my best friend and I had no idea it could all happen this quickly, I had no idea my life could change in so little time, but I can’t imagine a world where I don’t get random text messages that somehow light up my entire face even though most of the time they are just pictures of cats with silly comments.

What worries me most though are the what ifs. What if we break up? What will I do then? How will I handle that? I try not to think about it but every relationship before this ended; did they end so I could find Boyfriend or do relationships always end? And that’s the big difference between having best friends and being best friends with your boyfriend: My closest friends love me unconditionally, they don’t get to break up with me, but Boyfriend could if he wanted to.

So I’m hopeful, cautiously optimistic if you will. I’ve got nothing to worry about but the idea of losing someone who I love that much scares the hell out of me.

 

Date night

I’ve been on a lot of dates: with boys I liked; with boys I hoped would call and never did; with boys I was serious with; but I’ve never been on a double date, not really. The Big Ex didn’t want me around his friends because his relationship with me was somehow different from his relationship with his friends. In the end I realized that he was just never sure about ‘us’ and we stayed together for as long as we did because I was filler, I was the girl he dated before he met the girl he loved and he was the man I needed to be with so that I could appreciate what was coming.

So on Saturday night Boyfriend and I went for drinks and a movie with two of my friends, a lovely couple who glow with happiness in love in a way that probably would have made me a little sick when I was younger. No one can be that in love right? That’s movie love, heartbreaking, crazy, sick to your stomach, put a radio over your head in the middle of the night in love. But my friends have that and I look up to them because I hope that after a couple of years Boyfriend and I will be like that, crazy-happy and living in sin. My Catholic upbringing leads me to believe that living in sin would be awesome, like when you first move out on your own and realize that there are no rules and you can go to the store and buy candy at midnight, just because. I assume that is what living with your partner is like, please don’t correct me if I’m wrong.

I was a little nervous to try this double dating thing, being new to healthy and happy dating. I was worried that Boyfriend wouldn’t get along with my friends and I really wanted them to like him and like us together. I shouldn’t have been worried, they loved him. The best thing about being with Boyfriend is that when my friends see how happy we are together they immediately like him.

The only hiccup to an otherwise perfect evening was that when I was being fake angry with Boyfriend my friend pointed out that, “It’s not going to work. No one believes that you’re actually mad when you’re so clearly in love with each other.”  Since Boyfriend and I still haven’t said that very terrifying four-letter word, I was afraid that he would freak out, I was nervous that my feelings had been outed and he would start acting weird. He didn’t. Nothing changed, except that he knew he’d won this particular battle.

So we haven’t said the words yet. I’m pretty sure they are going to burst out of my mouth any day now, and it’s nice to know that everyone can see how in love we are. It’s a win for me at least… now I know I’m not crazy. Not completely anyway.

Facebook official

Recently someone told me that Boyfriend and I aren’t officially official because we haven’t declared our undying love for each other via the Facebook relationship status. They were serious.

I was shocked, because I haven’t had a relationship status since the Big Ex and I broke up; my status says nothing. I’m not single, dating or complicated and I’m okay with that. Boyfriend and I have been together nearly a year and we’re happy but we’re not the kind of people who need to shout about how much we love each other on Facebook. Neither of us feel that our bond as a couple would somehow be stronger if we had matching profile pictures and constantly updated our friends on how incredibly in love we are.

Don’t get me wrong, I gush, I talk to my friends about how happy I am, if I could write a good sonnet I would probably do that too, but Facebook is the place where I share cool shit I find on the interwebs, not the adult version of a high school locker.

I share a lot of my life with the internet, but Boyfriend and I have an agreement: he doesn’t read my column and I don’t write about anything that I wouldn’t want to talk to him about, so if I’m super mad at him I have to tell him before I tell you lovely folks. It’s a fair deal.

But blogging and writing is so much different than an obnoxious status update. Instead of declaring your everlasting love with a grammatically incorrect and socially unacceptable update, maybe you could text your darling.

It’s okay to be excited about the person you’re seeing, it’s awesome actually, but if you have to shout it out to the world do you think that maybe you’re a little insecure in your relationship? In the same way that we forget to check our phones when we’re having a really great time, when you’re really happy do you even have time to tell the world how happy you are?

There are people who are always an exception to the rule. Two of my friends were in a long distance relationship until very recently and I thought the love notes they sent each other were adorable and sweet, they needed the internet because they didn’t always have each other.

So while I don’t have a relationship status I’m very much taken, very much in love and I have no plans to change that any time soon. However, I’m also not about to change my status so that everyone else knows that my relationship is real. The people who should know him know him and the people I love have met him and like him almost as much as I do.

The next time you see a status change from me it will be engaged or married, if I get my way and we elope on an island; anything less isn’t worth the effort or the hassle from people whom I haven’t seen in years congratulating me on no longer being a sad spinster lady.

Waterproof

Happy Tuesday! It’s the day after a record-breaking rainfall drenched Toronto, leaving commuters stuck in subway stations and stranded in vehicles all across the city. Peter Kimbell, a meteorologist at Environment Canada, confirms that this rainfall is ranked among the most intense rainfalls the city has ever experienced, with 90 mm of rain within 90 minutes. In total, 126 mm of rain fell at Pearson yesterday, with the original record of 121 mm being set by Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

What does that mean for Torontonians today? Twenty thousand people are still without power, concentrated mostly in the west end of the GTA; TTC and GO Train services have been impacted; and the clean-up will continue for those in the city with flooded basements and damaged property.

Short of putting your home up on stilts, there’s not a whole lot that can be done to completely flood-proof your home, but there are a lot of things that can be done to help reduce the damage of a flood like yesterday’s.

For one thing, I listen to the warnings. So much can be prevented if the warnings put out by Environment Canada are taken seriously and not brushed off until it’s too late to do anything about it. I always have this semi-irrational fear that ignoring a flood warning will leave me sloshing around soaked and stinky carpets and picking up the pieces of ruined furniture, electronics and family albums. And then, of course, there’s the mould. So I listen, I take them seriously and I do whatever I can do last minute to prepare.

I clear my gutters, drains, and downspouts. Okay, I get my husband to clear my gutters, drains, and downspouts. That’s totally the same thing.

We don’t have anything that needs it in our basement right now, but I always do a check to see if I’ve got any furniture, electronics or appliances that are in harm’s way, so that I can raise them onto concrete blocks.

I get my hands on some sandbags and I use them anywhere I expect water to be able to seep in.

None of these are major retrofits or impermeable solutions, but a couple dollars spent could be your defense against tens of thousands of dollars in major damage caused by flood damage, so I do what I can.

I’m sending a ton of well wishes and positive energy to all fellow Torontonians still dealing with the aftermath of yesterday’s rainfall.

Win a copy of Toronto Caribbean Carnival: A Tribute

Do you want to enjoy the Caribbean Carnival year round? Women’s Post is offering one reader the chance to win David Ayres’ gorgeous coffee table book Toronto Caribbean Carnival – A Tribute. With 300+ colour photographs and fascinating history summaries of each element, this book is a great way to learn about and relive the Carnival. Enter today for your chance to win.

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Tuesday, August 6th, at 2 p.m.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

CONTEST: Win white gold diamond stud earrings

Do you long for more sparkle in your life? Women’s Post is giving one reader the chance to win a pair of white gold diamond stud earrings from Classic Jewellery. Specializing  in custom jewellery design and restyling, Classic Jewellery also provides on-site repairs for both jewellery and watches. Enter today for your chance to win.

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Friday, August 2nd, at 2 p.m.

 

CONTEST CLOSED

WHAT’S HOT: Sleeveless summer whites

This summer’s hot trend is a basic, simple, and trendy look. Sleeveless summer whites are in for all women this year, giving you a chance to show off your guns while looking fresh, airy, and ready for sunshine. Linens, chiffon, and blouses fit the criteria and buttons or zippers work well to ad a little bit of grunge when you wear the tops long and untucked.

Check out these three picks to complete your summer wardrobe,

 

Sleeveless Blouse — H&M $19.95

Sleeveless Chiffon Blouse — H&M $19.95

Broderie Anglaise Blouse — H&M $34.95

 

 

Honour your hunger

I hate being hungry. I think most people do. It’s a feeling that’s hard to ignore. Sometimes when I’m really, really hungry, I get angry too. (Ever heard of “hangry”?) I try to remember to pack a baggie of almonds everywhere I go so as not to cause bodily harm to others.

Anyone who’s ever been on a diet or tried to lose weight has come up against hunger. Hunger is something you might think you have to control or trick. You can try to control it by eating proper proportions of macronutrients (protein and fat will make you feel full) and by eating at regular intervals. You can try to trick it by drinking a glass of water or distracting yourself by doing chores. Do these strategies work? Maybe for a while. But it’s not easy to fight hunger day in and day out. Perhaps it’s time to step back and take a look at our relationship with hunger.

Firstly, what is hunger? It’s your body telling you something: to eat more. Is that necessarily bad? I can think of two reasons why it would do that. The more obvious one is that you haven’t eaten enough calories to meet its needs. Your body doesn’t like it when you severely under-eat, especially when the demands put on it are high. You’ve probably heard of “starvation mode.” Chronic under-eating will cause your body to lower its metabolic rate in order to hang on to the limited calories you’re putting into it. Hunger is a helpful signal that you’d better eat soon or starvation mode will kick in. It’s okay to skip a meal every now and again but relentless caloric restriction will most definitely do damage to your metabolism, damage that your body might not ever be able to repair.

The less obvious reason why hunger nags at you is that your body is looking for something that’s missing. The issue is not that you’re not getting enough calories; it’s that you’re not getting enough essential vitamins and minerals. (This often happens when people fall into “food ruts” and eat the same foods over and over again. Spinach salad with chicken breast, anyone? Eating a wide array of foods and managing stress are ways of making sure your body has adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Think of it this way: a hungry body is a seeking body. Perhaps we should listen to our bodies’ signals instead of ignoring them. We often treat our bodies like they’re stupid. But they’re always acting in our best interest to help us and doing the best with what we put into them. True hunger is not something to be pushed aside; it’s something we should honour.

 

 

Women of the Week: Krista Bridge

Bullying knows no boundaries. It can happen to children in a schoolyard, to adults working away at the office and between siblings at the dinner table. In Krista Bridge’s new novel, The Eliot Girls, she draws from personal experience as she explores the various depths of bullying at a private school for girls.

The germ of the novel had been kicking around in the back of Bridge’s mind for years and stems from a time when she was a student at St. Clement’s, a private school in Toronto where bullying was afoot.

“It really was just something I’ve lived through and it really made me want to write about it because it’s such a key experience to the development to my own identity,” says Bridge. “It was something that went on every day, sometimes in subtle ways, not necessarily in big ways. And it’s such a huge part of growing up.”

Bridge eventually left St. Clement’s to attend a public school for the last two years of high school.

In 2007, when she was pregnant with her first son, Bridge became serious about writing the novel. After her son was born, she mastered the parenting skill of maintaining a regular naptime routine, which allowed her to write for an hour and a half each day, chipping away at the novel a little more as her son slept.

Not too long after she started to get the foundation for the novel, the theme of bullying emerged.

“I’ve been through bullying and I’ve been on both ends of it really,” she says. “I’ve been a bully and I’ve been a victim. I haven’t been a bully in any sort of terrible offence, but I think a lot of students occupy this kind of middle ground where they move between those roles. And, at least in my schooling experience, most people weren’t always the victim or always the bully. Although some people certainly were.”

Even though there are some parallels between the novel and her youth, at the end of the day it’s a writer and her fiction. George Eliot Academy is not St. Clement’s – it’s a fictionalized private school.

Even with such a strong theme of bullying threaded through, Bridge didn’t write it with a principled message in mind.

“I really wasn’t trying to construct a moral message. I really didn’t really have that objective at all,” she says. “I wasn’t thinking about it from that vantage point of, you know, the social good. But I was really just thinking about it as a writer and how much that story interested me as something that I had lived through.”

She also looks into the lives of the educators, exposing their humanity and the way their private lives are reflected in the way they teach.

Bridge’s writing career began in 2002 when she had a short story published in Toronto Life.  She also attended the Humber School for Writers under the mentorship of Elizabeth Harvor.

“She was wonderful. She was so supportive, so helpful, so instrumental to my development as a writer in the beginning,” she says.

The program resonated with Bridge so much she decided to take the program for a second year, furthering her relationship with Harvor.

In 2006, Bridge released The Virgin Spy (Douglas & McIntyre), her debut collection of short stories. She was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Relit Award.

The Eliot Girls (Douglas & McIntyre) was launched on June 19 at the Dora Keogh Pub as part of the Fine Print Reading Series.