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Howie Defranco: New Beginnings

Hello everyone, it’s me Howie Defranco and we are just a few days from the New Year as I am writing this, a time of new beginning so to speak.  I chose to write this because I feel like we all need a little hope, 2016 was a heart wrenching, head smashing shamble of a year for the most part at least as so many people say.  I don’t know I just heard that Carrie Fisher passed away over the holidays, as did her mother Debbie Reynolds literally from a broken heart, as did George Michael and right now I know I need something to look forward to.  First I’d just like to say that my deepest condolences go out to the families and fans of of everyone who was lost this year and every victim of persecution and unlawful action. There was a lot this year and I seen a number of posts about the good in 2016 but let’s talk about what’s to come.

As such though here comes 2017 a year for a fresh start, yes I know that a lot of people say that and most people will say it’s just another day but I strongly disagree.  There are so many things that come with the start of a new year from new people, to new opportunities to new adventures good and bad their just as important as one another as they shape who we are.  It’s the next chapter in our lives, the new part of the story do not dread it despite what you may be expecting to come next year.  It’s true though you don’t just wake the morning of January first and it’s like someone hit the reset button on the game you call life.  Wish it were sometimes I admit but no this isn’t something you are just given.

We all know that life doesn’t work that way, could you imagine how much easier everything would be if it did.  No though it gives you an opportunity that it is your job to take advantage of and that opportunity is in simplest word hope.  Hope is a lot of things, but everything from no beginnings, to taking a chance, to a rebellion is built on hope, the hope that things will change.  Some of you may laugh at the idea of hope I have before, given up on it completely until I was told hope is a necessity for change for the better.  Change is one of the biggest constants in the universe, whether it be the weather everyday, new fads every year, or even ourselves, no one person stays the same from birth to death.

As such changes are coming with this new year, for one thing there is a new president of the united states and whether you approve of him or not, that comes with a bit of hope.  It could be hope that he doesn’t put the country in worse shape or hope that he keeps his word and makes it great again.  In August all of Canada will have the chance to view a solar eclipse and I’m personally quite excited to see what this Canada Day brings as we will be 150 this year.  I don’t know I think we just all need some hope this year between the events of this year Paris, Allepo, Trump’s victory, rising racial tensions in the states, legends we have lost.  So everyone just and not to sound corny go out there take the opportunities that come your way make 2017 your year!

“We accept the love we think we deserve” – Stephen Chbosky

Ivybelle: We accept the love we think we deserve is one of my favourite quotes of all time! To me it’s a quote that reminds me that I deserve the best and not what I think I deserve. I haven’t really been with a lot of people however, all of them ended badly. I should be able to be with someone who makes me happy, who can open a door for me, be nice and respectful.

Madison: what I think this quote means to me is, when it comes down to falling in love if we think we deserve negativity we will look for a negative relationship. An example of this is when say you found someone you really care about and everything is going well, you will start doubting yourself and your relationship, and pulling way because you don’t believe you deserve to be happy. This can be very upsetting because this can lead to you putting yourself in a dangerous situation. On the brighter side there is always a positive side and if you believe you deserve the best, you will get the best. The meaning of this quote I feel is a lot about self-worth, and having confidence in yourself. I was always told if I did not believe I worth anything then how could anyone one else. If you think about how much you are really worth, how high would that be? Would you keep yourself on a pedestal or would you be down in the showdowns? I believe it is all about how you present yourself, I’m not the most attractive women in the world, but I still believe I’m beautiful which my fiancé find the most beautiful. So no matter what you believe you deserve, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and you are so much more then you are worth.

Marie: I’ve read plenty of things on why we have this idea of what type of love we deserve, and I’ve read many reasons. For instance no one sees a person in the same way as others do, and no one can see themselves for what others see them as. We know every dark secret, every mistake we’ve made, and know all of our own baggage; which affects how we see ourselves and sometimes for the worse. We also know how we’ve been treated whether in past relationships, by family, friends or others in general and all of that impacts how we see ourselves and how we think we deserve. Sometimes it goes beyond that and to the relationships we see our loved ones go through. However one thing that is definitely true is that we deserve better than we think when it comes to love.

Howie: The quote happens to be very true about some people,especially the ones who have been ‘scorned’ and hurt in th past.  For we put up walls and barriers made of the hurtful things and words used against us. The words there to make us feel like we don’t deserve the love we are given by anyone. Even people that truly love because we have been conditioned to think we do not deserve it, that it is too good for us. We do not even believe it sometimes we are shown genuine affection. Too afraid risk the belief, the faith, and the trust that we can be loved for who we are. The sad thing is that often we are proven right in that aspect for there are so many people that will hurt a person in their lives.

Even the people you do not let in, will hurt you sometimes or trigger those walls. We have to find a way to love ourselves and accept that we will get hurt. If we don’t those walls could trap us, making us bitter and cold. Afraid that we don’t deserve love and we’ll just be hurt again.

Fear of relationships Pt.2

It’s been 3 years since then, I thought that by now I would have healed and I would be able to get in a relationship no problem. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. Today, I am 25, single, living on my own and still no relationship.

When I came back to Vancouver, my ex was the last one to know. My best friend and I would take pictures together, hang out and post it on social media but without the location. For a few weeks he didn’t catch on I was back. He asked me a couple times if they were old picture or if I was back and I would just ignore his messages. Eventually, I figured me and my ex needed to talk so I told him I’ve been back for weeks and he got really mad at me. I didn’t feel bad about it and I felt like I didn’t owe him anything. I didn’t have to tell him anything but I did it because I wanted to move on with my life by talking to him face to face.

When my best friend and I went to go talk to him, it made me realize that I really did make the right decision by leaving him. He was still acting like a little boy and being selfish. He didn’t see the mistakes he made and the hurtful things he has said. He believed that I was at fault. I knew at that moment I didn’t need him in my life.

A year past when I saw him next. We are working on being friends and I get to see my Nephew more often. Him giving me my space was the best thing he could do. I had to think about where I was going in my life and who was I going to be as a person- was I going to hold grudges for the rest of my life or was I going to live my life in happiness? I admit, I feel better now that I’m not holding a grudges. It doesn’t mean though that I have forgotten or forgiven what happened, it just means that I’m not going to hate him for the rest of my life.

Hating on my Ex-Fiancé and holding on to my other Ex was killing me inside. I was holding on to things that are never going to come back or be like it used to be. I had to learn to let go of someone I loved and someone I resented. I had to learn that everything happens for a reason and not everything will go my way. What happened in my past has made me stronger and wiser.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I will react if I ever see ex again. I know there’s still a part of me that breaks when I hear his name, when I hear about his family. I still wonder if he thinks of me, wonders what I’m doing with my life or even if I’m happy.

I still wonder “what if”. I still carry a picture of him with me. Sometimes I think I torture myself by doing so. I do wish him happiness. I wish him the best of luck and I hope his wife gives him everything he needs and wants. I hope he lives in a beautiful house and has a job he loves. However at the end of day, I miss him.

Another reason why I fear relationships… Many men and women have sexually abused me. All these people would blame me and makes me feel so tiny, like I was nothing! They would say that I’m fat, ugly and that I pretty much deserved it. How does someone trust anyone if everyone they trusted betrayed them? I cannot say that I trust people because I don’t entirely. However, one day i hope that i will be able to do so.

Marie Talks: Traditions

Most people have things that every year they do, and certain ways. The ones I am talking about specifically in this blog are our winter holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa just to name a few of the best known ones. There are many others as well, and I think it’s important to remind ourselves that once in a while, especially when we’re excited for our holidays and want to spread our cheer. Wanting to celebrate your holiday and spreading cheer is a great thing and should not be stifled, and in a perfect world you would see decorations for all holidays and everyone wishing everyone a good holiday by holiday they celebrate. However when you look around it looks a lot like Christmas, and not a lot like we’re celebrating any other holidays. That is why as a society we are wishing each other a happy holiday instead of calling out just one. Changing our greeting is not to shove Christmas back up the chimney along with Santa, but instead to allow other holidays to be celebrated and acknowledged.

Christmas is only a small time period of the winter seasons but it seems to be everywhere even before Halloween is over. So while some of us are preparing for Christmas many other celebrations are taking place. Now to many people who celebrate Christmas it’s a very exciting time of year full of songs, decorating, loved ones, and cheer; but that is also the case for many others gearing up for their holiday. I remember the first time I was told I should not be wishing people a Merry Christmas but instead a Happy Holidays, I was young and annoyed as I wanted to share my cheer with everyone. Then I wanted to hear more then just the instrumental versions of my favourite Christmas songs, as it felt bare and dreary without them. Over the years though I have learnt, realized and accepted that although I did not see my holiday as overshadowing others that it was. I started noticing that the last time I had heard about Hanukkah I was probably still in elementary school and since then it had only been mentioned as one of the other holidays surrounding Christmas, and that upset me. 

To me Christmas time was my favourite because of the cheer and togetherness I felt within my community, and that struck home a while back. I love Christmas due to the cheer it brings me, not just because it’s Christmas but because so many people are buzzing in anticipation of their celebrations and traditions. Regardless of what someone is celebrating sharing the cheer is better then not having it there at all.

I start wishing everyone I meet a Happy Holidays as soon as December 15th passes. I do slip up and in my excitement say Merry Christmas, but I never mean it to take away from someone’s celebration, I say it out of habit of what I was raised being taught to say. To me wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays means to hope they are filled with cheer, love, and surrounded by loved ones regardless of what they may be doing. Saying Happy Holidays is not taking away my celebration, it’s allowing more people to be included in the cheer I have felt every December which makes it even better

Hope everyone has a safe and cheerful winter and a Happy Holidays.

Marie Olsson 

Howie: The Measure of a Person

Hi everyone it’s Howie Defranco and today were going to talk about something very not important to me but important to my history, and a few things the world forgets sometimes.  First thing I’m going to say is that the world is going to think and say whatever it wants to about you, sadly people do not all think the same about most issues.  So they’re going to judge you a lot of people will judge you on everything about you, your past, your body, your skin, your intelligence, everything about you the world and a lot of its people think they have a right to judge.  They don’t see what the true measure of a person really is often they look at your mistake, or something they think is and that’s it their mind is made up from that moment.  We live in a world wrought with this kind of mentality which has improved do not mistake that, but people still judge.  Some think it is fun, they gossip and laugh, some no it’s cruel and use it to hurt and some just make a joke not realizing what they said.

So now I’m going to tell you a bit of a story, so grab some popcorn and get a drink.  I am the son of a guy who I could never call a man, in fact I call him sperm donor.  I’ve never met him that I can remember and in fact he left my mother two weeks before I was born.  He met me though, my mom called him and said your son was born you should at least come meet him, he basically showed up and said, ok I met him anything else.  I wasn’t there so I don’t know the exact wording and I was 18 when my mother finally told me that part that he had met me.  So her words were foggy to me as well.  I’m telling you this because I judge myself for being his son a lot, my mother reminds me a lot how I look like him or even act like him in the moments when my mood is not at it’s best.  I hate my father for leaving I do not because I wish he’d stayed even slightly but because I’m afraid I might turn into him someday.  I’ve worked everyday of my life to disprove that and yet I’m still judged by people even people I’m closest too.

When I say I’ve worked I mean I’m there as much as I can be for everyone in my life, I worked hard in school up until I lost my drive for it and everyday I put 100% into my job.  These things people judge me for, in high school, I never missed an assignment up until grade 12 and had straight A’s but people called me lazy because they never saw me doing any work, for that matter one person called me out as a cheat and that had to be disproved, which it was.  I’ve probably in the last few years spent more money and time with my friends than I ever thought I would but I’ve had friends who say it’s not enough, they told me I’m not there for them because of the one time I would be unable to go see them or join them or help them.  One of them I gave 300$ to so he could go see his girlfriend in the states a week later I chose not to join him in a dangerous situation he told me it was fine, not to go to and said I do not do enough for him because of it.  I was a supervisor for all of 4 months before I left my old job and people I had worked with for years complained to other management for how I spoke to them after I was promoted.  Apparently saying, “hey I have this person to cover you can you please go do your cleaning duty?” is rude and saying thank you after they were done didn’t help.  People judge a person daily from something as simple as thinking they will respond to something in a certain way, or they can have pre-conceived assumptions about a person or any number of things.

If you want to measure yourself, on how good or strong of a person you are you have to ignore other people’s and even your own judgments and it is hard, because there’s 7 billion other people in this world.  We still need friends, family, someone to love, to hold, to kiss, to miss, and because of this we do worry about what other people think. We let it get to us and dig it’s way into our brains.  Then we go out into the world with our masks on pretending everything is alright.  Be who you want to be not what people expect you to be and you might find that you still find all of what you want, it’s not a guarantee but why not risk it all to get it all.  The measure of a person is who they chose to be and they’re actions to be that person not what everyone thinks.

-Howie

Blogs

It’s that time of year again, our last blog of 2016 is going to be posted on December 21st and we will resume posting blogs on January 11th 2017. However our weekly affirmations will not be affected by our break. 

– This Is Me Entirely 

Madison Looking Through My Eyes

This blog not going to be the same as others, because it’s going to honestly be a little of everything. You will understand in a bit, I do want to warn you that this is going to be a bit touchy and sensitive to some people because I will be talking about an experience I’ve had. Our group did an activity a little while ago that triggered my depression and got this blog on my mind since and I know if I don’t get this out I may not be able to face them. I do not blame them it for triggering me don’t get me wrong there I love everyone in our group, but it’s the thought of feeling broken even though I try not to show it that bothers me the most. It also feels like I’m being untruthful to them not sharing what’s bugging me that also nags at me. So I wanted to get it all off my chest for everyone.Today I wanted to talk about what I’ve been thinking about lately, and it’s been constently in my head. I’ve also tried writing this multiple times in the past few weeks. I wanted to talk about little bits of my past, and how it brought me into the field of work I am in now. For those that don’t know I’m a youth worker and I work with at-risk youth that are homeless. It’s very rewarding job and I love it, I’ve been able to work with some very awesome people and some amazing youth. The most amazing this about my job is watching our youth succeed. I got into the field because I have been faced with homelessness at a young age, and I remember the fear of my next step. I went to a fundraiser last night with my work to open up a second house staging for youth that have aged out of care, and it was an amazing experience. We are hoping to open that up in the next couple years.
But what got me into this field was when I ran away from home when I was younger, I went to stay at a friend’s house. His parents had passed away a couple years before that, so his older brother was taking care of the house. I also had heard he was taking in other young girls on the street who were in similar situations as me. I remember being so happy being allowed to stay there, they had always been like brothers to me and I loved them. To this day I can still remember my first night at that house, as I was laying in my room the walls echoed with the screams of the other girls. The fear that pulsed through my veins when I went to try the door and it was locked from the outside. That night was one of the worst nights of my life, as this man who I saw as a big brother took advantage of me and I learnt that was the payment to staying at his house. As time went on and thing only got worse, I started feeling helpless and isolated. As well the more I fought back the more I got beaten down both verbally and physically.

So when I started working in this field my main goal was to never have another youth go through the same toutures I went through. I also got into this field to show the youth that they have support, someone who will help and listen to and that won’t throw them away after. My love for my work helps drives my passion to help the ones I need. Youth homelessness is something close to my heart and something I really feel strongly about. Growing up I was always told that the youth are our future, so why are we denying them the most basic needs and resources. That to me is one of the most frustrating things is trying to help a youth get towards a goal, then tell them that they are on a waiting list due to an overabundance of others trying to access the same resource. And that is because of the lack of the resources we have for our youth, I believe we need more and that is why our group was started. So that we can help make more resource for our community.

 

Blog Schedule 

Now that the break we thought would give us enough time to sort out all our kinks and get our blogs rolling out quicker is over it is time to touch base with everyone.

First of all we are extremely greatful for everyone who continues to read our blogs. It means a lot to us to see people take their time to read what we have to say.

Secondly we have a lot of work still set out in front of us until everything is running smoothly and we are at the place we want to be at. With this we have decided that although we would like to resume putting out two blogs a week, it is still not possible for us to do so at this time.

We do sincerely apologize for the lack of blogs we put up and for not being able to uphold our decision to start putting two blogs a week out again in September.

Thank you for sticking by us, and thank you for reading our blogs.

We will still be posting a blog every Wednesday.

Sincerely,

This Is Me Entirely

Howie Defranco, Memories and Opening Scars 

Hey blog readers it’s Howie Defranco here and I want to talk about scars and memories a bit, we all have both those things. Let me state that again we all have memories and scars, which in a lot of ways are the most painful things there are. People say they fade or can be forgotten but they’re still there and they have no problem causing you pain when they are brought back up. Scars reopened are worse then most wounds. It’s sad that our own minds, can bring up such painful things, things we want to leave in the past and when we forget we tell ourselves we’re better but something, a song, a book, a name, a place, a day can just bring it all back on you. Partly because when remembering some things you don’t just remember them, you relive them like they were yesterday and scars associated with said memory are opened.  
    Oddly enough my trigger was a friend, I hadn’t seen since high school she’s been having a rough time lately and asked if she could talk to me about them saying she just remembered me as an understanding person and that I wouldn’t judge her. This was it the beginning of October when I was doing really well with everything I felt good about my life and myself, I thought I had moved on from things I’ve talked about before. During our conversation she started asking me things though about people I wanted to leave in my past, which I answered. She talked a lot about 2 people in particular I did not want to hear about quite a bit, who have been in my blogs before. I thought I was okay but I started to remember things, first the good, the memories of my happy moments with those people in my past. Those good memories slowly started to sting though to think about, which only lead to me remembering the bad.  
I cried that night after she went home, and it’s because I wasn’t just remembering it all I was reliving it all. The heartache, the betrayal, the loneliness, and I still am right now. These open scars have giving me many close to sleepless nights the last month, and I’m one of those people when I can’t sleep I roll around a million times and I don’t turn on my electronics. For all I want to do is sleep and it escapes me and the next day I’m tired and annoyed. Then this past week I broke down, I can’t help remembering it’s the last time I spoke to the first person I thought I was in love with, though it was unrequited I once considered it my greatest failure, more recently my greatest mistake. As well an event is coming up this next weekend I look forward to every year and I’m honestly scared I will see if not one every one of the people I want to leave in my past, knowing my luck I will and on the days I’m going to be alone at the event.
I haven’t really told anyone I let this all hit me so hard because I’m ashamed that memories are what the problem is. I know the people in my life aren’t the ones who made these memories and that the person those people hurt is a much better person and even back then I was not what they thought of me, I was not a loser, a bad friend, a weak person. I can’t help feeling scared though, scared that these people I love and care about in my life right now will see what the ones who hurt me did. That I’m not worth they’re time and their compassion and their respect.  
The mind betrays you to your memories for they can be cruel friends. Yes memories are our friends, in years late in life, moments when we’re alone, when we want to remember our best moments memories are our greatest friends. When they are corrupted by the scars we have received though they feel like our greatest enemies, our demons. Just because something can be forgotten does not mean it cannot be remembered again. It just takes a trigger to remind you of something painful and doesn’t help if you still are afraid of the past.