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!

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.

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 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.

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  

Howie, Asks Where Are The Leaders?

Hey blog readers it’s me Howie Defranco and today we will be discussing a very serious and important topic. The 2016 American presidential election or as I think of it the lesser of two evils before I begin I’m not trying to push anyone to choose a side or trying to say anyone’s beliefs are wrong. In fact this is about something that needs to be said where are all the leaders? Despite your views and beliefs look at these two candidates a “businessman” and I use that term loosely on Donald and a power hungry trust less politician, who should’ve been the first woman president and a strong role model. Look at this campaign though it’s a battle of who can smear the other more, watch their debates if you disagree.  Ok I’m going to get this out of the way look at Donald first, yes he’s rich, his companies have also gone bankrupt 6 times I believe and he doesn’t pay taxes,  he doesn’t respect other cultures or woman.  I appreciate the fact he was once a strong figure, a long time ago and has managed to stay fairly in the limelight despite all of the above though, that takes a strong mind believe it or not.  Then Hilary who has been in politics for 30+ years now, the whole email breaking national security debacle is my biggest thing against her besides the fact she seems so power hungry, 2008 the race against Obama, she didn’t focus on issues as much as beating Obama and she got herself in a smear contest with Donald because she would rather beat him then win the election.

Hold on, hold on we’re talking about the next leader of one of the big 5 (China, Russia, U.K., America and France) these are who you chose between to represent and fix the problems of one of these countries? These 5 are the big 5 because they are the permanent members of the UN Security Council and right now I don’t even want to think about either of them being a part of that.

Back to the question at hand then where are all the leaders this year? I understand that some Americans feel like the Obama didn’t do or help much but Obama put plans in motion and it takes more time then he had to finish them. So after that though where back to the old saying “A good (person) can’t get elected president.”? Which is completely untrue, yes the Bushes, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Johnson, I think I missed one of the recent ones have not been the best leaders. In fact some of been down right horrible and betrayed their duties and turned America into a joke. Despite whatever the world thinks of it right now, America used to be the country of dreamers, and it used to stand for something, which is why it became so powerful. That of course in the eyes of the world went to America’s head power does corrupt but let’s not talk about that right now as that’s a stereotype. Most Americans are good people and are still dreamers, I’ve met a lot that I like, are hard workers and have strong beliefs most people would agree on.

They’re still inspired, they still look to the good men and women of the county’s history. Theodore Roosevelt, Freddy Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Susan B. Anthony, Andrew Jackson, Eleanor Roosevelt. I could go on but where are they, the children that idolized these people. Why are they not taking a stand and saying this is ridiculous, neither of these too made you excited unless you’re looking forward to the press pieces about their quarrel. They don’t make you think America well be great again they make you worry if it’ll even be in one piece in January.

Where are the dreamers, the people that inspired me, the ones who made me believe good people could do anything no matter the odds.  Yes I’m Canadian but a lot of my heroes politically, spiritually and inspirationally speaking are Americans. “I have a dream” right?, That’s the line from one of the greatest and most influential speeches there ever was. You still have people this creative, this strong, this dignified that the people can trust not a man who has said he’ll be the second person ever to not accept the results had he lost or a woman who was accused of breaking national security and although has apologized and was kind of cleared, that’s not someone I would take as a leader, so where are they? At a time when this country seems to be reverting to base hate and fear complete with tensions between cops and people of color at a boiling point, people shooting up clubs of people that are from the LGBTQ community, creepy clowns running around, fear of imminent terrorist threats that can be absolutely irrational at times and 2 presidential candidates one who wants to build a wall and another who wants to hide behind it.

Where are the dreamers of America? Why aren’t they taking a stand to help their home, disregard the stereotypes and make the country the leaders they once were?

Dream On

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?


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

Howie: Depression Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

Hey blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco here and today’s topic is depression specifically the second part of a blog I wrote last year. This blog has changed drastically from the idea had to write for this a month ago, for the better mind you as the part of depression we’re talking about is the after. If you’ve read my previous one you know I covered both causes and how it feels to be depressed and said that everyone goes through it differently and in different stretches of time. At some point though people need to stop being pulled down and need to stop feeling as though they’re drowning. Sadly that point comes to happen one way or the other, by taking their life or they’re life changing for the better.

You could take your life, you could it’s a quick easy end to your suffering and no one can blame you for doing it. However, you’re robbing the world of your life, your talent whatever it may be and whoever loves you of your love. Yes ladies and gents, your life matters because despite how it may be going right now it’s apart of the story it isn’t the whole story though. You thrived once, laughed once, felt joy, felt love, had hope, one of these things came into your life before and it may be staring you in the face right now. Looking to pull you out, or at the least give you ground to stand on. A person in your position doesn’t have to let it go, they might, or move on sure but if you can be reminded of the pain everyday and still feel good about yourself. You just have to look for that reason to smile. I mentioned that before to that taking it one day at a time was important and looking for your reason to keep going was too.

Once you find that though that bit of faith, you have to use it. Faith and hope and love are powerful emotions that can change you’re views for the better, I told you all in my last blog about that I thought I was starting to get better, I wasn’t I was just holding on to that piece of hope. I hadn’t changed anything in my life hadn’t fixed anything, still was doing things to forget the pain I didn’t want to be doing anymore. Then last month I took a leap of faith in myself, I applied for a new job at this point it was the biggest thing holding me back in my life. I stayed for a long time there because I was comfortable and I think that was a bad idea, I think it was just a reminder of everything that happened the last few years. Not to mention a constant stressor and that every day it chipped away at what little self esteem I had everyday.

So I took a leap of faith to change that get rid of it and I ended up proving to myself that I could do something like that. That I was strong enough to fix my life and pick up the pieces that people had left shattered. It all came from just finding one reason to go on everyday for I guess 5 years now it feels a lot longer.

However the purpose of this blog I need you whoever you are to understand. This is not someone saying hey look things work out, this not someone saying hey look at I fixed things. That is not the point and if that’s what I conveyed I owe you an apology. For the purpose was to say things come in time, pain doesn’t necessarily go away it gets pushed to the side. You can’t push it all at once though, it takes a bit every day. Every day you have to push it a millimetre, a centimetre, a metre, a kilometre away, until it’s far enough away. Far enough that you can remember and feel the pain without feeling the suffering.

Lynn On: Depression and Me

Here’s a little warning before you start getting into this. I’ll be writing on my experience with depression and how I manage. My way may not work for everyone and if it’s extreme enough for suicidal thoughts and tendencies, I suggest going to a medical and/or mental profressional instead.

So I’ve suffered from depression for a long time and still do to this day. I used to take antidepressants for it, almost every dosage doctors could legally give me, but nothing really worked. Nothing really made me “happy” or “stopped the sadness”. I realized later in life that that’s not what the pills are supposed to do anyway and even if they did, a lot of my depression came from my situation at the time so there was really no way of fixing that. Leaving the situation I was in did help, but it was more than that. I still have depression and it’s still affecting me, but I’m trying to figure out a way to manage.

When my depression hits hard, I feel…empty. Like I’m not supposed to exist. Like I should, and I’m going to get stupidly artsy here, melt into the night sky or sink into the sea. Something like that that leads to me vanishing and putting and end to something that’s gone on too long. It’s not a suicidal thought process I don’t think, just a very empty, lonely, and all around sad feeling. It may take a long time to push on sometimes like weeks or months, and I doubt the feeling will ever really go away, but I learned something that helps me feel better about it all.

It’s okay. It’s okay for me to be upset. It’s okay for me to feel down and out and tired of life in general. I know it’s a mental illness but I also know that there’s no real ‘end all’ cure. Like I said, it’ll probably be with me my whole life and in my case it’s not all consumming, so I think I can handle on my own for the most part.

It’s like a really pesky cat in my case. I should know, I own one. Sometimes it’ll do everything in it’s power to get my attention and most of the time I hand it over. I pet it and talk to it as it meows at me, but sorting it out tends to quite it down enough to take it’s attention off me a while. Other times, like now as I’m writing this for example, I have to push it aside to get this done. It’s tried to get my undivided attention, but I put on some chill music while I work. That seems to shut it up for a while and makes it like a cat sleeping on my lap or something akin to that.

After I’m finished this though, I’ll probably keep the music going while thinking on this whole thing on my own. Which is fine since I usually do that anyway, even when I’m out with friends or at meetings. Sometimes, I just need to stop and step away to sort it out. Again, it may take a while and I may not get it all done, but I’ll be good enough to make it the rest of the way. And I think that’s all I need at the end of the day.

Howie on The Death Penalty

Hey Blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco and today’s topic is the death penalty. Let me start by saying that although I have some very strong views on some types of criminals, I think the death penalty is an inhumane answer to the problem. Mind you in Canada it is already abolished, but it still goes on in parts of the world including are neighbours down south. Which oddly enough in recent years polls say the amount of people in both countries is very close, scary thought if they ever tried to reintroduce it.
Could you please now close your eyes for a minute and imagine a dark room, no windows barely any light that you’ve been in for years. There’s a person there with you a religious figure giving you your last conversation, your then taken away to another room. A room where your put on an ice cold metallic table. Their are men strapping you down to this table, your legs, your wrists and one on your forehead. You feel something brushing against the skin of your arm, you start to cry as you know it’s coming, cry because your innocent, you know you are but the world thinks you committed an atrocity. You’ll never get to see your family again, or see the light of day, that’s when you feel the prick and drift. Drift into endless slumber…

That is the “humane” way of caring out the sentence assuming that nothing goes wrong, the man with the needle, probably not a nurse or a doctor as most medical professionals refuse to take part. Hopefully he has actually gotten the vein. That’s right ladies and gents most executions like this aren’t carried out by some with a medical degree or much training. This is far from the worst practices for carrying out capital punishment, shooting, hanging, electrocutions, they all still happen not necessarily in the states mind you but it’s the 21st century and we’re still here.  Still living with the concept of eye for an eye. What if the “criminal” is innocent, and you’ve just taken a life for no reason, or they just made a mistake? Is it fair they pay the ultimate price? Yes ok their are a lot of crimes that are unforgivable, sexual assault, murder, pedophillia , terrorism but hey lets just break our own laws and kill them back. Yes it might be legal but it’s a giant double standard smacking the world in the face, if they don’t have the right to take lives, hurt lives, attack the world, what right do we have to take their life?

The answer is simple we do not as race have the right to take urine and call it grandma’s peach iced tea. Criminals should pay their time and be rehabilitated or continue to be confined, because we can’t kill them all. Sure it starts with capital punishment for the big crimes, then hey why don’t we do it for all crime and end it, then we’re living in some 1984 and Gattaca merged world were people are tortured for even the slightest misstep and people are trying to make perfect humans.  I may have gone quite far with that train of thought but the point is where is the line, when does it end. We stoop to their level and were no better than the criminals and terrorists whose lives were taking. Can anyone say differently? Can anyone really say there’s a difference between a law that contradicts another law but is somehow ok and that law it contradicts?

Madison’s Struggle with Depression

I suffer from Depression, which is no news flash for anyone who knows me. I struggle every day with it, it is not something that will ever go away. I know that, and I’ve grown to accept it, so in a way I have it under control with just the acceptation. I’ll give you a definition on depression then I’ll get into a little more detail about what brought upon this topic.

Depression: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

I got this definition from

I wanted to bring this topic to light because I have been struggling with my emotions lately, and it’s starting to drain me physically as well as emotionally. With people who have depression of any kind go through emotional detachment between them self and others or themselves and object/activity they enjoy. They may even withdraw from people or certain objects due to their emotional detachment. A big one for me is a loss in energy or motivation to do anything. There can be days where I don’t even have the motive to lay in bed, and all I want to do is disappear. Another one that I go through is feeling lost and alone even though I may have 2-200 people around me. Sometimes my emotions will get the best of me and I have thoughts. Thoughts about packing my stuff up and taking a trip no phone, not internet, nothing, and only telling family where I’m going and seeing how many people notice. Though that may be fun and relaxing that’s nothing more than a thought for two reasons. One: because I do not want to put my friends through that, two: I don’t want to know the answer. Depression can send your head through so many situations and put every day fears in you then times them by 10.

There are some pros that my depression has brought into my life. One of the pros in my depression are that I feel it has given me is empathy. I have a great sense of empathy for those around me, and with that it’s given me the strength to help and relate to others who are struggling, and the power to say you are not alone. The second pro is my friends, it’s given me a group of friends to relate to and confide in. And the biggest pro is me, I wouldn’t be me without my depression, nor would I be capable of being who I am at without going through the struggles I have.

What I am about to talk about is going to be a little touchy because it’s going to be of how I feel and act when I’m the middle of my depression, so I advise you to read with caution from here.

I go through what I call episodes where my depression affecting me the most  and then I have my highs which means I’m alright and then my lows where I’m not doing so well. My episodes only typically happen for a week maybe a week and a half at most before I reach out for help. Right now I’m sitting at my 12th week in a very bad low, my worst in a long time. This episode has taken over me emotionally, right now I feel like an empty shell with over bearing emotions that aren’t mine. Because of this it is causing paranoia, fear, desperation, OCD, and anger. I’ve been going through multiple anxiety attacks, yet I got it in my head that I cannot show it, because I’m afraid of being judged and it’s funny because the only one who would judge me is me. I was once told that we are our own worst critics. In many ways that is too true and I am afraid of letting myself down, I have been trying for so many years to prove to everyone around me that I am better then what I am now. I have pushed myself further than I ever thought possible, but not for the right reasons. I shouldn’t have had to prove I was better to anyone else but myself. My depression stems from a lot of my fears, my worries, my lack of self-worth, my lack of self-confidence, etc.… I don’t know how to correct it, but I have learn to live with the fact that I am better then what I think I am. People always tell me it will get better if you talk to someone, but what I don’t understand is how you are supposed to approach someone and go “hey I feel depressed today because I feel unimportant”. One if I say that to someone all there going to say back is that I am important to them, which is nice to hear don’t get me wrong but that not what I need to hear. But at the same time I don’t know what I want to hear. It’s funny cause I just said that my friends are a pro to my depression and in many ways they are, but sometimes I just feel that if I keep them in the dark I give them a better chances to let go of their emotions and help them deal with what their struggling with.

I have always been told I act older for my age when I’m having to deal with situations, yet every other time I act too young for my age and people always seem to wonder why. It’s simple that’s a wall I’ve had up since I was little, you can’t hurt someone who is already insulting themselves it takes the fun out of it. The same way how I always talk myself down, because no I’m not the smartest pea in the pod but you can’t talk me down when I’ve already said it myself. It is not a healthy way to live and I’m trying to break the habit just for the fact that I’m not a dumb women I can be smart if I tried but after being told that so many times it’s hard not to always believe that, but hey I’m still working on it and my boyfriend is calling me out on it. As well as a son that always tells me I’m beautiful, when I’m feeling down.

I apologize, I know it’s not really a blog it’s more just vomit of words and emotion, but to be honest I am feeling a bit better now that it is out. Feel free to leave any comment, concerns, questions anything I’d love to hear from you.



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.

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.




Howie Defranco Talks Psychopaths

Hey blog readers, it’s me Howie Defranco and today our topic is Psychopaths. Now what is a psychopath well defines it as,
  “a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure tolearn from experience, etc.”
Which is a very distinct definition from the derogatory term we use which is an insane, obsessive possibly violent person. Fairly different aren’t they, when you put it that way, well actually both ways you have an idea of both people in your head.
Person A: a not well adjusted member of society who seems to not want to be around other people, obsesses over themselves and can never learn.
Person B: Someone who is well frightening and unpredictable to you, examples would be a stalker or a psychotic person.
Which by the way is the proper term for person B not psychopath as a psychotic is the one who is dangerous. Psychopaths where as are more of an outsider to society than anything else, I know two in my life who have developed both in two very different ways.
One is a person who in high school was a very obsessive, methodical person, who acted like they had feeling for others. They made though every relationship about them, every plan about them and she did not give others a second thought usually. She acted and still does act like she’s the centre of the universe and she never learns no matter how many people leave her. As well she always believed everyone outside of a small group of people were always out to get her and that it was her against the world.
That’s one way a psychopath can turn out is a person who is stuck as one, I still hear about her every now and then and she hasn’t changed sadly, while my other example has.
In high school he was distant from everyone and more than anything concerned for himself over everyone else. He still doesn’t learn from his mistakes always having chose that his first idea is the best and to stubborn and self absorbed to listen to anyone else. Although nowadays he’s more open with people, he chooses to spend time with them, has a loving relationship and at heart is a good person. At the same time though he has a massive ego still that well is hard to bruise, unfortunately meaning he does not know much about bring humble.
If you identify as a psychopath, #1 don’t take it as an insult, it’s not and anyone who uses it as one is probably unaware of the difference. #2 try, just try every day, find a partner, make some friends, try thinking of others, or being humble. After all were just people