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 

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 

Marie Talks: That Class I Did Not Need

One day in grade nine I thought missing one day of a class wouldn’t hurt. It wasn’t a particularly important class, an elective if I remember correctly, and I would rather spend the time goofing off with my friends. It was a fun time we sat around talking and laughing, then when next block came around off I went to my next class. It seemed harmless at the time but then the opportunity came around again and it was easier to say yes and not attend my class. It became easier and easier to justify not going to class. I already had a reason whether it was that I was already ahead in that class, it wasn’t a important class like math or English, or even that I wasn’t missing enough and I could do the work at home.

Grade nine I missed a couple classes, not enough to put me behind though, and I still passed my classes. It wasn’t until grade ten that things started slipping, when cutting class was nothing to bat an eye about and had dodging school officials down to a science. I did not see the big deal, I could make it up next class.. which I didn’t always end up attending. By the end of the year I had failed a good chunk of my classes, and had to retake them the following year.

 All summer I told myself that I would get my act together and actually attend my classes and put the effort in. However that quickly changed and by November I was easily averaging the same amount of time skipping as I did actually attending my classes. By the end of that year I was probably leaning towards having actually skipped more classes then I had attended, and was no where near actually catching up. 

The following year I attended barely any classes and ended up being expelled from school in April. I had given up that year and it was painstakingly obvious. That next fall I had enrolled in a different school and although I attended more classes and was actually getting more work done, it didn’t work out for me.

Now with that being said I am not implying that if you skip class once you will automatically progress into utter failure as I did, I am stating what my choices landed me. I had a lot going on through those years and I did not handle it very well. Some people will skip a class or two here and there and will still average very high marks throughout their classes, and some will skim by. I made some bad decisions and am now living with the consequences of my actions.

To this day I am still finding things that are being affected by the decisions I made as a teen. The decision that impacts me the most is my choice to not attend and further more not complete high school. It has lowered my confidence in myself and hindered my job options just to name a few things that my decisions have lead me to. 

Before you skip class, whether for the first time or the twentieth, please remember that it does affect your schooling. You can potentially miss an important piece of information or a in class assignment, it impacts your attendance record, and skipping really does not have any positive impact in the long run.

Stay Proud. Stay Loud. Stay You.

Marie Olsson  

Dear Marie

Dear Self,

I know you are hurting, and have been for a very long time. I want you to know that it’s ok to hurt. I know that a lot of people have hurt you over the years, and that in dealing with that you hurt yourself. You made choices that affected your future and you put the blame on yourself when it shouldn’t have been there. I watch you day after day let the hurt that is inside you influence your decisions, and I need you to let it go.

Let go of the pain caused by being bullied in elementary school, it’s far behind you now. In fact you have made amends with most of your bullies, most questions have been answered, and you’ve grown from it. You have learnt many things from those eight years, academically and about yourself as well as those around you. So let that go, it’s been a decade, don’t let that hurt spend one second longer lingering around.
Move past all those failed relationships and all the nasty words flung into the air, you know many of them don’t hold any real footing. Let go of all of the downs, and don’t dwell on the goods.

What I am asking of you is to dig deep down into that hurt and let everything go. I know this is not an easy thing to ask and it’s going to hurt, which makes it hard to ask anyone to do so. I need you to believe me, to have faith in yourself, that in the end the results will be worth it. You don’t need to carry around the burden of old guilt and hurt. So look deep inside and work through all that hurt sitting heavy on your heart piece by piece. Work out why it hurts and what it taught you, focus on that and not the pain. You do not need to forget what happened or forgive the person, but let it go and let it be no more than a stone in the road to the person you are today. Look inside yourself and try and answer those loose ends and unanswered questions, to put the hurt to rest.

Most of all I need you to understand that some things are not your fault, don’t victim blame yourself. Some one did something horrible to you and you never asked them to do so, you are not responsible for their actions. You did not consent to their actions, and there was nothing you could do to stop it. You were sexually assaulted; that person took from you something they were not meant to take, that you tried to stop them from taking. You can not put blame on yourself, there’s nothing you could do to prevent it. Even more so, you need to let it go because there is nothing you can do now to change the events that happened. Please forgive your self, as if you can’t do that how can you be happy?

Sincerely,

Marie Olsson

Marie Talks: Bullying; Do We Know Enough?

 

So I’ve shared my story about Smith in my The use of LGBTQ2IA terms as an insult blog, my high school bully that tried to use being a lesbian as an insult (among other things). Now however I am going to share a few snippets of my experience with bullying throughout my descriptions of the types of bullying. Growing up I had this friend, let’s call her Janice, I had known her since we were four and she was great when she wanted to be which is why I do recognize her as a friend. However I also recognize her as my childhood bully. A lot of my stories will probably involve her to some degree. Any I have no experience with I will not share a story on, however if anyone has any stories they’d like to share feel free to leave it in the comments.

What are some things that can make someone a bully:

1) Physical violence:
– eg. pushing, spitting, shoving, hitting,  grabbing, stealing, damaging property, hair pulling, etc.. for the younger kids (and everyone else as well, it’s just more common in the younger years) biting
– Any act that invades another persons personal bubble with ill intent, intentionally threatens a person’s physical safety or well being.

At the age of eight me and Janice had class together, some days were fine and we’d laugh and talk, or not interact at all. Others however were not so great. Sometimes it would be arguing, others I would be shoved or tripped. Sometimes when she pushed or tripped me I would end up covered in mud other days I would just have a face full of whatever the floor was made of. One day I don’t remember what it was over, or how it started.  At lunch I was running for all I had from Janice. I ran and ran and she was yelling threats out at me as she followed. I remember losing her and spending a good fifteen minutes under a table in our classroom hiding from her, afraid of being seriously injured if not worse. Lucky for me that day the teacher came into the room before Janice did and so I felt safer.

However That is not the only cases of physical bullying I have experienced so I will share two more. 

  • Age eight: I made the mistake of bringing my diary to school as I hadn’t spent the night at home. At lunchtime I had a group of boys steal it, they tried to get into it to read it and when that did not work they tried to destroy it. All fun and games right? Not in my eyes, the stuff inside of it was pretty embarrassing.. trust me I’ve read what my eight year old self decided to write in it. Right there that’s theft and damaging property.
  • Age eleven: Janice and me were helping take some photos off the wall. We were given butter knives to take the staples out, we weren’t talking but she decided I have pissed her off and tried to stab me with it. No major harm was done, but I learnt butter knives hurt. Later that year at our after school center she decided she didn’t want to help clean up the mess she had help create and hit me over the head with a folding metal chair. I don’t remember the next few moments but I do remember the throbbing pain and bump that was left from that incident.

2) Verbal Bullying:
– eg. Name-calling, mocking, insults, slurs, threatening, humiliating, sexual harassment, telling them to “kill themself” etc.
– Anything said to make another person uncomfortable. Or anything said with the intent (or possibility of) to hurt, humiliate, or shame another.

All through out elementary school I was made fun of, one common thing we all go through is making fun of our names with rhymes or mispronouncing them to make them sound funny or teasing. That happened a lot. I was a heavier kid and that never ceased to be one of the many things I was teased about. Whether it was to call me thunder, tell me that I’d break something if I put my weight on it, told I wouldn’t fit places, or questioned if I was capable of doing something due to my weight.  Along with Smith, who I talked about in my other blog who bullied me through high school, was pretty nifty with his large vocabulary of insults.. please note the sarcasm.

3) Electronic bullying (or Cyberbullying)
– eg. threaten, harass, embarrass, socially exclude, or damage reputation/friendships with the use of texting, email, the dirty, Facebook, etc.
– Using electronics and any social platform, whether it be to blast something around to multiple people, or a private message to another or about another, to hurt another person.

I was seventeen and I had dated this guy for awhile, after we broke up he started seeing this other woman, lets call her Leila. Now maybe a month or two into their relationship I started getting these Facebook messages from his new girlfriend without even having any contact with them. Originally they were nothing special the ‘so your his ex’ type of stuff, however they soon progressed into much worse without me even replying or opening the chat. Leila then started calling me some pretty nasty things and using a lot of profanity. Okay so she has a stick up her bottom, I could handle that I thought. I hadn’t thought much of it until she started threatening me, and sending me photos she took of places I frequented such as my house and my school. Now that freaked me out, then out of the blue one day she texted me, after probably getting my number out of my exes phone, trying to blackmail me. At this point I was pretty sketched out, what was this woman’s end game and how much longer do I have to deal with her for was one of the things constantly running through my mind. Skip forward a month or two after this all started and we run into each other, Leila starts yelling at me and ye get into a huge argument.  Luckily for me everything was resolved that night and we realized someone was trying to pin us on each other for their own personal entertainment.

There you have it, the three most recognized forms of bullying, at least from what I have seen.

Don’t forget to hit like and/or drop a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say on the topic, did I miss something? Is there another form of bullying you think is more prevalent? Or is there a form of bullying you think is always overlooked?

Stay Proud. Stay Loud. Stay Strong Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: The Power of No: Elementary Edition

Warning: talks about sexual assault

“Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.” –Stephanie Lahart

As a child I was taught to never be afraid of saying ‘no’, that the person will respect you and that word.  I was told that at any point I had the right to say no if for any reason I was against something, and I should say no and stick to that answer.  To me that seems like a straight forward word, and a pretty easy set of boundaries to follow when using the word. Personally, I never expected the rules and boundaries to change as I got older; however the older I got the more rules and fears began to accompany the word no. As the years went by more rules were placed on the word, and little by little the apprehension I had towards it grew.

Starting in elementary school the realization came that saying no was not quite as easy as it seemed. To begin with how do you tell someone ‘no’ without coming off rude or hurt the persons feelings? It was as though there was a science behind how to politely say no. Then came the disappointment, persuasion, and sometimes harsh words. That no matter why I said ‘no’ it was endlessly questioned or it wasn’t always taken so nicely. That taught that ‘no’ wasn’t a nice thing to say or that it could hurt people. What this taught me about the word no was to weigh the pros and cons of saying no and choose which path would hurt both parties the least.

I also learnt that even if something seemed wrong to me I could not always say ‘no’, particularly when a teacher or other authority figure asked something of me. Things such as dissections, sitting next to the person who bullied me, or doing those trust exercises when I didn’t want to be touched. It taught me that although something is against my morals/beliefs or I’m not ok with it I don’t always have a choice and have to do it because it’s expected of me. To be honest as a child this confused me, I questioned why [for instance] my teacher had the ‘right’ to disregard my wishes and my ‘comfort level’. What this taught me was that I had to pick and choose my ‘battles’ and that there were certain people (those with authority) who I could not refuse to do what they asked of me. However if the authority figure said no we had to comply with their wishes.

Around the age of seven I went camping in the summer right after my birthday with my daycare.  It was there that I learnt probably the hardest lesson about saying no I ever would: when saying no people don’t always listen. I was forced into an empty room in the cabin against my wishes by a much older boy. He tried kissing me and despite saying no repeatedly I still ended up in this room with him. While I was saying no and trying to get around him he managed to pin me to one of the bunk beds. He did end up getting the kiss he tried for, as well as my bathing suit top off. I managed to get him off me as he went for my bottoms and escaped the room. I was shaken, parts of my body had been touched and seen against my will and my words and actions had been ignored. I never told anyone as I thought it would put me in trouble with my daycare and with him, I was in the wrong, and I would be seen as overreacting or lying. The lesson I learnt was not only that people don’t always listen to you when you say no, they can also ignore the non-verbal display of noncompliance.

Things I had learnt about the word no by the time I was thirteen:
1. To weigh the pros and cons of saying no and choose which path would hurt both parties the least.
2. To pick and choose my ‘battles’ and that there were certain people (those with authority) who I could not refuse to do what they asked of me.
3. However if the authority figure said no we had to comply with their wishes.
4. That people don’t always listen to you when you say no, they can also ignore the non-verbal display of noncompliance.

Do you have any rules or boundaries you have learnt or been taught about using the word no? I would love to hear them.

Stay Loud, Stay Proud, Stay You,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: Note to My Assailant

Trigger warning: talks about sexual assault/rape, with some (as little as possible) detail.

Something I think a lot of us would like a chance to do is say what we want to the person that hurt us. What we’d probably want more, to feel safe while we say what we want. At least for me, I know that’s what I would like. With no way to actually contact him, I am writing a blog post. 

This is part of my journey to letting it go so here’s what I would love to tell my rapist. Feel free to comment what you would say to yours below.

Dear Rapist,

It’s been years since that night you took something from me that you had no right in taking. I’d like to say that I am over it and the thought of you doesn’t disgust me or make my blood run cold; however that is false the mere thought makes me sick, angry, devastated, and scared. Not that I really want to tell you that, but it is the truth.

I can still see your face when I close my eyes, remember the smell of your putrid breath, the sickening feeling of your hands, and how you spoke those words to me. I can still remember what you did and the emotions and fears that went through me. These same fears still run through me at the thought of intimacy sometimes. You ruined that for me, at least for now. Hopefully one day I can forget your face and not have your actions at the forefront of my mind when I am with another person.

The moment of dread, fear and knowing of what was going to happen to me is still vivid in my mind. How I feared much worse would happen if I kept fighting, and the way I went numb and stopped fighting; how I felt like I was allowing it to happen. I can pinpoint exactly when it washed over me and I knew I was not going to win this battle. The knowing of no matter what I did it was going to happen and all I can do is minimize the pain and violence that I endure. That moment is what haunts me the most, worse than everything else that happened that night. It’s what keeps me up at night, wondering if that with that action I allowed what happened. Wondering if that would be considered consent, if it made it not rape. Makes me question if I am a victim or if I am to blame. Makes me wonder if I could have stopped you, could I have? If I screamed a little louder/longer, or fought even a little harder.

Is that what you wanted? To emotionally scar someone, to make their life a little harder? To have some fun in the moment and make my life after do a 180°? Because that’s what you did. You visited me nightly, sometimes more than nightly, whenever I closed my eyes. You made me fear sleeping, made it near impossible too. What you did didn’t just happen to me that night, it happened in my dreams nightly for the years to follow. Even though for you it was just that night, with me at least. Almost a decade later now and it’s no longer nightly, only once in a while and for now I’m okay with that. Maybe one day I will be able to never see your face again when I close my eyes.

There is not a mean and nasty word I would not love to call you, or haven’t called you. It’s the least I can do for what you put me through, because what you did to me was more than just rape, it left psychological scars. Your actions tainted my very being and I want it to stop. That is why I am writing this, why I am writing this for you. I want you to know what you did, feel the impact of what you did, and be able to get it off my chest to the person responsible for causing this burden.

I do still question why me, what made you turn around and choose to rape me? We’d known each other for years, since we were little. We were close, and I trusted you. I would’ve thought if I was raped I would have ran to you to make me feel safe, not run from you to feel safer. We were close, we were friends; I guess being close to you made me an easy target, I had put my guard down. That’s why isn’t it? I trusted you enough to let you close to me, to never hurt me, and that made it easier for you.

What you forced upon me left me feeling worthless, dirty, ruined, devastated, and like a toy for others. It took years for me to even begin shaking those beliefs about myself. I hated it, you left me more disgusted with myself then with you. I thought everything valuable about myself hinged on my ‘purity’, and therefore due to you forcibly taking that away from me I was stripped of my value. I have come to terms with what I felt and I now know otherwise. I am just as valuable as I was prior to that night, if not more so because I am stronger than I was that night. I am not dirty nor am I ruined, you took something from me that other than in societies outdated eyes means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of life. I am no longer devastated, yes it still pains me to think about now but what you did made me a stronger person. I am not a toy for others to do as they please with. I have absolute control on what happens to me, and if I say ‘no’ or anything along those lines I should be respected and the issue is not with me but with them, with you.

Through all of the years after that night I have grown to realise something. I have to thank you for a few things too.
1) I want to thank you for making me stronger, making me more resilient and showing me why barriers within myself can be helpful.
2) Thank you for teaching me that trusting someone fully is not always a good thing. That if I have a doubt about someone, something or a situation to recognize that and proceed accordingly.
3) Thanks for forcing the rose coloured glasses off of me. Not everything is as it seems.
4) You taught me compassion for sexual assault victims as I can understand how their trauma came about. For that I grudgingly thank you.
5) Thank you for giving me one of my strongest passions. Which is to see justice for every victim. For every sick disgrace such as you may feel karma and the law catch up with you. To help others through their issues, something I never reached out for after that night.
6) Thank you for teaching me what true hatred feels like; because, although I can not stand that word, I can safely say I hate you.

If I could turn the clock back all these years I would, I would stop that night from happening and I would stop having anything to do with you. I know I can never forgive you. But I’ve learnt that that night is not my fault, and I forgive myself. I can say I don’t hate you nearly as much as I did that night, but I will never be alright with you. I am stronger, I am happier, and I am moving forward with my life.

Sincerely,
Your Victim

For me this as closure, as I have no way to tell him this directly. I have learnt that it’s hard to get closure if you have unsaid feelings and words stuck in you. I hope he reads this one day, however chances are he never will.
I’ll be honest writing this was painstakingly hard, I sobbed a few times and wanted to give up, but I didn’t. But now that it is out I feel ten times better than I had, I feel slightly more at peace with my past. I know I still have a long journey ahead of me, but right this moment I feel as though I just finished climbing the mountain I was sure I’d never reach the top of. I have more mountains and hurdles ahead of me but from here I hope they get easier.


With all that being said I tried to leave out as much detail as I could without losing the integrity of it, sorry if it was too much for anyone. Hopefully it helped someone else too, that even one other person took something from this that will help them.

What would you say to your assailant?

Stay Strong, Stay Beautiful,
Marie Olsson xx

Feel free to contact me if you wish,  you can get the information in my about me.

 

 

 

Marie Talks: Things I wish I was told about Sexual Assault

Trigger warning: talking about sexual abuse/assault and rape.

Growing up you don’t hear much about sexual assault , at least not about the stuff that really matters. I see a lot about how it wouldn’t have happened if the victim did this or didn’t do that. I hear a lot of people telling victims they’re lying, that it’s not sexual assault , or they provoked it. What I don’t see a lot of is people supporting the victims and making their life a little easier by just making them feel safe to talk to someone about what happened.

Here are a few things growing up I wish I had heard about sexual assault and rape:

1) It is never the victims fault.
No matter what the situation it is still not their fault. Even if they were fine while kissing and touching but then changed their mind and wanted to stop, it’d not their fault.
Times when it’s not the victims fault:

  • they never wanted it
  • they are drunk or under the influence of any substance
  • they are showing skin, and when they aren’t
  • they changed their mind
  • it was their boyfriend
  • etc.

Times when it is the victims fault:

  • never.

2) It doesn’t matter how you are dressed
Whether you are covered in clothing all the way from your chin to your toes or you are absolutely naked you are still not at fault and can be sexually assaulted. If the amount of clothing or lack of clothing made you a target then sexual assault could be solved by covering up; however that is not the case as even in the winter sexual assault still happens. The assailant does not choose their target necessarily on attractiveness and lack of clothing, they go after someone who is an easy target. More often this means the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in an isolated or dark area, or someone that trusts them.

3) The assailant is not always a stranger
Yes they can be a stranger but your assailant is just as likely to be someone you know. Whether it is a coworker, your best friend, your boyfriend/girlfriend, a classmate, or a family member they can be your assailant and it still is assault.

  • It is still assault if you are or have been intimate with the person. Giving them consent once does not give them free reign to be intimate with you whenever they want to be.

4) Everyone can be a victim
Boy, girl, man, woman, mother, or teacher can be sexually assaulted. Just because you wouldn’t expect them to be assaulted. They are just as much a victim no matter their relationship with their assailant, their gender, or their ‘title’.

5) Sexual assault does not make you dirty, slutty, worthless or take away your value as a person
As a victim you may feel this way, but sexual assault does not make you any of these things. What happened does not take away your worth as a human, you are just as valuable as you were before your assault. You are still the same person, just something horrible happened to you. You are not dirty or slutty, you had no control over what happened to you and you should not let what happened have control over you. The only title your sexual assault gave you is a victim, a survivor.

6) After being raped or sexually assaulted you should report it. 
Reporting it can be a tedious and stressful thing to do. However it can be beneficial to do so, along with getting a full STD/STI testing done. There are many organizations such as Surrey Women’s Centre (Surrey, BC, Canada) that can offer their support through this process.

Stay Beautiful Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: The use of Gay or Lesbian as an insult

It’s been approximately five years since I have been in public school. I don’t know how much things have changed over the years, however using ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ as an insult is still very much present (at least in the cyber world) I have noticed. This idea that being told you are doing something that labels you as ‘gay’ and it being used to hurt you is ten steps backward from everything society has been working towards for years.  When I was going to school I had this bully, lets call him Smith, and he would try to do or say anything that would get under my skin. One of Smith’s ‘go-to insults’ was calling me a lesbian. I didn’t understand why he thought this would hurt me, as I didn’t see what was wrong about a female liking another female. Plus, I am bisexual, I do like women and I am not ashamed of liking women. However I saw the hurt in some of my friends eyes when he would make the same comment about them.

Eventually I asked one of my friends, lets call her Beth, why being called a lesbian bothered her, and her answer made me understand why this term could hurt someone. See when someone called me a lesbian it didn’t phase me because it was true, I like women. Albeit not just women, I liked men too which made me bisexual, it didn’t have the same impact on me as it could on a straight female. Beth explained to me that the term lesbian hurt her because she felt that the term implied she was unattractive to male’s, something she’s struggled with feeling like for years. That it meant she was a person only another female could love. Being called a lesbian to her also implied that she was not feminine, and that she should be ashamed of these things.

Using the word lesbian as a way to offend a female can hurt, just like how using the term gay can hurt a male. It’s too easy to label a man as gay if he has a more feminine side, he’s a bit ‘off’ in your eyes, he’s ‘weak’, or he’s easily putt off/scared. What people seem to not care about is when using the term it doesn’t just affect the person you’re calling it, it affects the people around you too. Im not saying any form of bullying is alright but why cant you say what you mean instead of morphing a word to mean everything that is an insult, when the word does not mean any of that.

Now one thing I have always been against is anything that makes another person feel unworthy or inadequate. Whether it is to make them feel unworthy of love, attention, or the credit they are due. Or making a person feel like they don’t try hard enough, are not ‘normal’ or something is wrong with them. Which is exactly what using LGBT terms as insults does to a person, both someone whose being targeted with these labels and someone who identifies with the them, which is not cool at all.

Every time a person uses the word gay or lesbian as an insult you are telling another human that what they are is wrong, bad and something to be ashamed of. You’re promoting someone to hide who they are and to hide their feelings towards another human. You are making people feel unsafe, helping contributing to their fears and insecurities. You are not only hurting the person you are calling gay/lesbian but also a whole community of people who identify with the term.

Now not only are gay/lesbian an insult when used in an demeaning manner but so are all the other slang or identifiers. This includes words like butch, queer, and fag etc. We need to put an end to using terms to describe who you love as a way to demean and belittle others. We need to put an end to looking down on the LGBTQ2IA community and embrace them. We need to end bullying in any capacity. We need to embrace people for their differences and love (and support) each other. We need to help others feel accepted and learn to love themselves.

Gay is not an insult. We need to work together to put an end to this out dated point of view.

To finish this off I’ll add my final thought:

If being called Straight isn’t an insult, why is Gay or Lesbian? They’re all terms to describe what gender the person has romantic feelings towards. Feelings that are natural and we don’t have much control over.

Stay Loud, Stay Proud Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: Safe Sex

I don’t want to come off sounding like a PSA with this topic but it is one that we can hear a thousand times but still not completely use in our lives. We have heard it a thousand times.. ‘Wrap it before you tap it’ ‘Wear a condom’ etc. But how many people can say that advice is always taken to heart. Who can say that they don’t know anyone who doesn’t use a condom on a regular basis with a partner who is not a long term partner? Whether it’s you, your friend, or sexual partner (current, ex, or just a fling), do every one of you make sure you are not at risk of contracting an STI or creating a child when you get intimate? Most likely we all know one person who has carelessly forgone using a condom because sex isn’t the same with one on or they don’t have one ready, even just once.

Chances we’ve all heard it before but I’ll cover this because you can never hear it enough. Wear a condom, not just to avoid an unwanted pregnancy but to avoid STIs. No one wants to find out that they caught anything from a fun night, whether it’s anything from Chlamydia to HIV.

Get tested regularly, make sure you haven’t contracted anything.

Be honest with your partner if you do have anything, whether it be Chlamydia, herpes, herpes, HIV or anything.

YOU CAN WALK AWAY AT ANY POINT IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLEWITH ANYTHING. JUST BECAUSE YOU GAVE YOUR CONSENT AT ONE POINT DOES NOT MEAN YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR MIND AND NOT CONSENT. It doesn’t matter why you changed your mind… whether it’s because you aren’t in the mood any more, they won’t wear a condom even though you want them to, they have a weird bump on their privates/mouth or they do something you don’t approve of, it does not matter you are not obligated to have any contact with each other’s genitals or any other intimate act.

Questions You Should Ask a New Sexual Partner?

  • Do you have a condom?
  • Do you have an STI? Is there anything I should know about?
  • When was the last time you were tested for STIs? Are you clean?
  • Are you on a form of contraceptive? If so what? (You should still use a condom)

You should also divulge all this information to your partner as well, it’s not a one way street, you both should be fully aware of what you are getting yourselves into.

There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of about asking these questions to the person you are wanting to be intimate with. You are not bound by contract to have sex with them, you can change your mind at any point and there is nothing fun about having a fun night only to find out it led to a not so fun consequence. You can make a decision regardless of what comes out of their mouth, and you should not feel guilty if you find yourself doubting anything they say, it is your personal health that you are protecting.
Story Time:

When I was eighteen I started dating this guy, lets call him Dion. I had gone to get a STI screening and Pap smear recently and just gotten the results back, I was clean. I had the ritual of going every three months regardless of whether I was sleeping with a single partner, wasn’t sleeping with anyone or had had more than one partner. I also was getting tested after I slept with a new partner. Anyways me and Dion had the conversation about our sexual health and been through all these questions and I had trusted his answers. We used condoms the first few times and he agreed to get tested as it had been a while since he had been, he said he came back clean. We had been dating for a while and we stopped using condoms, as I was on depo provera (The shot), and I had felt comfortable trusting him.

A month or two later my birth control was running out which meant I needed to go back to the doctors for the shot and my routine screenings.  As always I thought nothing of this visit it was routine, take a pregnancy test, do all the STI testing, Pap test, get the shot, and come back in three months. However I got a call a week or two later, it was the clinic asking me to come back in asap, that they needed to talk to me. When I went back in they told me I had Chlamydia then gave me the pills I needed and did all that fun jazz, I immediately thought there was a mix up, both Dion and I were clean, and he wouldn’t lie to me. Afterwards I called Dion and asked him if we could talk about something, he was reluctant but finally agreed and met up with me to talk. When I told him what happened he started screaming at me that I was cheating on him, it was impossible for him to have something and all that. Through all of his fuss I had determined he had three things set in stone 1) he did not have chlamydia, 2) he would not get tested (nor would he take the pills to be safe), and 3) we weren’t breaking up over this. Well I was not happy with his response nor did I want to put myself in this position where I would be constantly putting myself in risk of getting chlamydia again, so I broke up with him and got retested two weeks later coming back clean.

I learnt a few things from this experience and the most important one being people can and some will lie about important aspects just so they can sleep with you. That I should trust my gut instinct when someone tells me something, and safe is always better than sorry, even if it means putting a barrier in between me and my partner in a moment of intimacy.

Stay True. Stay You. Stay Healthy Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: Tattoos and Piercings In Society

I remember growing up being told to not get tattoos, they’re ugly, dangerous, and makes you labeled a delinquent.  I remember being told not to get any visible piercings, nothing on my face or body, on my ears only. Even at the age of 12 I was when I saw a tattoo or piercing I thought was awesome I immediately thought of the potential implications and issues that could come with it later on I life.  I was taught from a young age that having tattoos, piercings, and unnaturally dyed hair made you basically unemployable, irresponsible, and ugly.

When I was twelve my parents finally allowed me to get my ears pierced.  They are of the belief that piercing a child’s ears before they are old enough to make the decision themselves isn’t right.  Not for the reason of it “promotes body piercings”; but for the sheer fact that it is altering the child’s body without their consent. They waited until they felt I was mature enough to make a decision to put holes in my body for a pointless reason other than that it’s pretty.  They wanted to make sure I was old enough to make a well thought out decision myself when it came to my body, and take care of them on my own.  No parent is wrong in the decision of when to pierce their child’s ears, if to even do so at all.  However I feel my parents made the right decision for me, they instilled the belief that I should be the only one to decide what is done to my body from a very young age and promoted it with the decision of piercing my ears.

However they also instilled societies stand point on how tattoos and piercings were viewed.  Which as I stated previously meant no piercings anywhere besides my ears and definitely no tattoos. When I was sixteen I went and got my tragus pierced, the cartilage that protrudes out in front of the ear canal. Needless to say my parents had no idea I was going to get this done, and were furious when they found out.  See I went with the loop hole that it was part of my ear, whereas my mother saw it as part of the face. Now I expected this drama, and had also worries of my own.  I was worried about how society would view this piercing and what it may imply about me.  Down the road seven years later I’ve learnt the only troubles having my tragus pierced caused is the pain in the bottom that healing was, trying to not get snagged while getting my hair cut, and children love yanking on it. If I haven’t pointed it out people rarely even realize it is there.

As soon as my tragus was fully healed, which was six months later I decided that I wanted my tongue pierced.  I had always thought it looked pretty and I wanted it for that fact alone. So again off I went and got my tongue pierced.  I had doubts and almost chickened out last minute. I worried that it would tell society that I was promiscuous, or tell men I was easy. I worried what future employers would think and if it would make me unemployable.  What pushed me to actually walk in the room and let the lady covered in beautiful tattoos and piercings stick a needle through my tongue is the knowledge of why I was getting it. I remembered at the end of the day I liked how the piercing looks and I cannot let society dictate what decisions I make for my body. That my opinion the only one that truly mattered, because the piercing, and my body, are for me and me alone to decide what I do with. A week and a half later when my parents finally saw the piercing they were furious,  I disobeyed them,  I ruined my beautiful face,  and I made myself look unemployable.  To me the only one I really held dear to me was the fact that I went against my parents and did something they had strictly forbidden me from doing. I did not feel as though I ruined anything, nor was I unemployable. All that happened is I put a piece of jewelry in my body that I found esthetically pleasing to look at.

When I was eighteen I got my first tattoo, I’ll admit I was terrified.  I was getting my grandpa’s nickname on the back of my neck, three months after he had passed.  As I mentioned in my Grieving a Loved One blog, I hadn’t taken his passing very well. I thought maybe putting his nickname on my body would help me move past my loss and have a piece of his memory visibly with me at all times.  I had thought it out, he was a big part of making me who I am and I loved him dearly. I had wanted to put it somewhere I could see the reminder when I needed, however with not knowing what I wanted in my future and how the tattoo would affect my career I put it in a more hidden place. As I was getting ready to get it done I was worried that it would hurt and how my parents would react. In the end my mother was upset that I got the tattoo as she is not a fan, and that I hid this decision from her; however she was touched that what I had done was in memory of her father.

The next fall I approached my mom, I wanted a tattoo in memory of my grandma who I had lost three years prior.  She was iffy with the idea but agreed to allow me to get it done as it was something that meant a lot to me and I had clearly thought it out.  I got an angel holding three hearts (one for my mom and both her brothers) on my shoulder with her name and the words “first and foremost my heart and soul, forever and always my guardian angel” on my left shoulder blade.  I had chosen those words as much like my grandpa she had a large part of shaping me into the woman I am today and will forever be one of my closest relatives. As well as I used to always call her my guardian angel as she was always there for me and always seemed to know when I needed her.  I now despise the tattoo as some of the detail was horribly done and ruined it for me. I want to get that covered and put something new on my body for my grandmother when I can afford it.

My last tattoo I got just after my twenty-first birthday, is a black and grey tiger lily on my right shoulder blade.  I love it, it holds two different meanings to me and is absolutely beautiful. My original plan for the tattoo was for it to be in full colour and also have forget-me-not flowers and my daughter’s name; however with a lot of thought going into it I decided to leave out the extra details as I knew what the tattoo meant and didn’t feel as all the extra details were necessary. As I mentioned in my teen pregnancy blog I miscarried at sixteen and had kept it fairly secret. Therefore I didn’t want to put this extravagant display on my body for everyone to see. To me a tiger lily represents beauty, strength and resilience, which I thought was fitting to use in her memory.  Over time before I got that tattoo it also gained a second meaning.  It also became a personal reminder to always keep fighting my battle against bipolar type two.  It was a reminder that I can get past even the darkest times, that things get better. A reminder that I didn’t let the Sorrow of my miscarriage drown me, that I shouldn’t let anything else. To me this is my most powerful tattoo that serves as the biggest reminder to me that nothings worth giving up fighting over.

I do believe that tattoos and piercings make it harder to find a job, but as the years pass it is becoming easier to find jobs that allow piercings and tattoos. There is still a stigma attached to tattoos and piercings, although it is slowly losing its wide spread influence on society and more and more people are appreciating the beauty and self-expression, over the belief it makes you ugly or a delinquent.

My personal belief is that every tattoo you put on your body is a piece of artwork, and each one tells a story, holds a meaning.  As long as it means something to the person who put it on their body and/or they like it, that is all that matters. As for piercings as long as the person who has it likes it and it does not pose a health or safety risk to them, go for it.  Your body is your own, tattoo it, dress it, and pierce it as you wish. But remember tattoos are permanent, so think it through before you get it done.

Stay Beautiful. Stay You. Stay Unique Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: Self-Care Pt. 2

For my self-care I went to see deadpool with my boyfriend. Which was a perfect break as we don’t get to go out and do things very often. As well as going on drives with my boyfriend, Ivybelle, or Brian, which is a perfect way for me to blow off steam and just relax.  I have made the effort to make time to just relax and hang out with my parents, which is something in life that’s easy to forget to make time for.  I have made time as well to read three books, listen to music and play with my cat.

Self-care being scheduled into your day to day life is something I personally believe is a crucial aspect in life. Some forms of self care include:

  • Take a hot shower/bath
  • Cuddle with a pet
  • Listen to music
  • Go out to eat
  • Watch a movie, snuggle up and get comfy
  • Craft
  • Walk your dog
  • Try a new activity
  • Go for a drive somewhere new
  • Read
  • Meditate
  • Journal
  • Cry
  • Yoga
  • Dance
  • Sleep
  • Go out with a friend
  • etc.

Stay Lovely Lovies and take care of yourself,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: Self-care

Self-care is highly important for your mental health and all around wellness. It can help with calming you down,  refreshing your mind,  and re-energize your mind and body.

What is Self-care?
“Self care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.”

Why is Self-Care Important?
Self-care is important because our mind and body does not function well  when we are stressing out, busy, overwhelming our schedules and/or not making time for ourselves. We all deserve a chance to sit back, take a breath and stop worrying or planning in our minds. Without our minds having the breaks it needs/deserves we stop being able to think properly. We can lose the ability to see all of our options, feel refreshed and cope well with stress.

Remember it’s OK to put yourself first, even if only once in a while.

So as a group we all had a challenge for ourselves, to do something for ourselves and recuperate. I look forward to talking to you more about self-care next week and sharing with you what I did for myself.

What do you do for self-care? I’d love to hear from you.

Stay Beautiful Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Sources:

Self Care for Women: Fact Sheet What Is Self Care? (2009): n. pag. Web. <http://www.fgwrc.ca/uploads/ck/files/Resources/Factsheets/FactSheetSelfCare.pdf&gt;.

Marie Talks: Cross Culture Relationships

I have never put in any real thought into the difficulties of being in a Cross-Culture relationships, in the end of the day we are all human right? I kept this opinion up until quite recently,  and was making this a difficult topic to put together a blog worth putting out.

It wasn’t until I approached my boyfriend about the struggles I was having trying to write something more than the first paragraph down.  What he pointed out to me was the differences me and him share culturally. I’m Canadian, raised in a more British fashion,  he was born in Hong Kong, raised in that fashion. Which does make a bigger impact on our relationship than I give a second thought to.

In a lot of senses every relationship is to some degree a Cross-Culture relationship. No one is raised in a household with the same beliefs, morals, and traditions, etc. No one’s culture is the same as their partners, as even being raised in the same country, eg. England, there can be multiple different cultural differences.

For my relationship a few things stood out to me after we talked that do differ between us culturally.

1) Religion
I was raised in a Christian family, he was not. Sometimes when beliefs come into the conversation, we have differing views. I find it fascinating to hear what he believes and at this point in time does cause no issues in our relationship. However I do know down the road that it can cause some dilemmas and serious discussions between us. Such as if we decide to get married, both of us have different cultural aspects in ceremonies.
As well as if we decide to have children, which religion will they be raised with? Will we incorporate both into their life or neither? Religion can be a really difficult decision to make for a child if your views differ from one another.

2)Language
Personally I speak English and only English, however my boyfriend also speaks Cantonese. We talk in English and that’s no issues, however it can be awkward when he’s having a conversation with someone in Cantonese and I don’t know what they’re saying and just awkwardly standing there. It’s also difficult when he’s trying to explain something that he has to translate from Cantonese to English and isn’t sure how. Realistically neither of these barriers are horribly detrimental to our relationship, but are just awkward bumps in the discussion. At the end of the day it can make it difficult with his family, but we’ll take that one step at a time. I do want to learn Cantonese one day, to be able to communicate better with his family, and if we have kids to also help pass not only English but Cantonese on to them as well.

3)Family Expectations
All my family wants for me relationship wise, is to find someone who I love, is respectful and makes me happy. However his family has always wanted him to find a nice Chinese girl to settle down with, and shocker, I’m not Chinese. Luckily I have not been put through the ringer for that yet, and hopefully we will not have to ever face that possible outcome.

There are many other issues and speed bumps we and other couples will and have faced due to cultural differences, but I think those three for me have been the ones that come up the most in my relationship. Yes culturally our food, diets, and table manners differ. As do some of our manners and things we do in our day to day routines differ between our cultural upbringings. I could write a blog on the differences between our cultures but let’s be honest I’d never be done writing, because everyday we learn something new about each other.

Stay Beautiful Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx