Something Slipped in your Drink? Why We Need #MeToo

This afternoon some friends and I ended up at an impromptu get together, where I asked one of my guy friends to grab me a cider, in exchange for me sparing him from my next, sure-to-come feminism lecture. Little did either of us know that the form in which he brought me my drink was about to spark an important one.

Ladies! When a guy brings you a drink that is either already open or poured into a glass, what is your initial reaction?

Men! Do you have any idea why this might worry someone? Because of course my friend – who logically I know would never do this to me (otherwise I never would have asked him to get me a drink in the first place) – thought I was paranoid.

He thought I was paranoid because a) he is not a woman and has never woken up with no panties on, next to a man, with absolutely no idea how he got there or what happened. And b) he (thankfully) is just not the type of man who feels the need or desire to slip something into a friends drink.

When he first handed me my cider, in its red solo cup with ice, alarm bells shot all throughout my body. I was instantly afraid to even sip it, and was trying to figure out how I could discreetly dump it out without him noticing, when I realized that this was a guy I’ve known since about kindergarten, who has never shown any signs of being that type of guy. Even so, the only thing that was going to bring me out of that anxiety was to talk about it and watch his reaction.

Although at first he thought I was joking, and then seemed to think maybe I was a little paranoid, another girl sitting with us chimed in and before you knew it, there we were, two strangers, sharing intimate details of our lives with the only connection being our fear of someone drugging our drinks and what the reality of that possibility really is.

There are a couple of times throughout my life that I wonder if I may have been drugged. But also, maybe I just drank too much. And unless its obvious, or a drug test has been done, how does one really know for sure?

This is why these conversations have to be had. Because two complete strangers, both female, can sit and have a conversation about the different times that they think they may have had something slipped into their drinks like its no big deal. My male friend was shocked by this. One of the possible offenders was even there at this get together, and my buddy was all, “how is this no big deal”. Which is exactly how he should have been reacting. Because it is fucked up! There is no other way of putting it. Two strangers being able to have this conversation as if they’re talking about what they like in their coffee, while one of the possible offenders is across the yard, is fucked up. But that is the reality of this situation. It’s not always a stranger or a bartender or a date that does these things. It’s people you know and wouldn’t necessarily suspect. It’s sometimes even people you trust. Especially if you’re like me and all of your broken pieces love all of other people’s broken pieces and it tricks you into only seeing their light and none of their darkness until it is so obvious and in your face that you are no longer able to deny it.

This is why we need feminism. This is why we need #MeToo. This is why we need to have these conversations. Not so that it becomes men against women, but so that it becomes good men standing with good women, against the people who so frequently assume that they have more rights over our bodies than we do. Our fight for equality isn’t always about the stuff that is in your face or obvious. It’s in the subtle nuances of how it feels to be a woman and those extra precautionary steps that we need to take every day to protect ourselves, not because we’re paranoid but because these things actually happen. Even in our small, safe town of Ladner. Even in the perceived safety of a friends house.

In the meantime however, I’m just going to embrace and enjoy the fact that I still have male friends who truly are so innocent that they do not understand why I am scared when they bring me an opened drink, because they genuinely just thought that I would like ice and went the extra step for me; fully understanding that the next time I might not be so lucky.

How to be happy

I wish that everyone would just be honest with themselves and others, about what truly makes them happy. If, instead of being taught to follow the lifestyle steps and patterns that society tells us is “right”, everyone was taught to find what makes them happy, and to build their life around that, the compound effect would have a vast, positive impact on the whole world.

Yes, we all need to make a certain amount of money to live on, we all have to pay taxes and be contributing members of society. I’m not saying that everyone should quit their jobs and live barefoot and carefree on the beach. What I am saying, is that if you are truly honest with yourself about what style of actions, behaviors, thoughts,

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Meditation; a game changer.

You’re talking to the girl who wouldn’t take yoga class because she’d burst out laughing during savasana – the meditative, still, yoga posture that always ends a session – out of the pure discomfort of being still.

The girl who would rather be doing burpees or mountainclimbers or deadlifting than rest day or yoga/stretch day.

It’s become clear however, that I’m not coming out the other side of Lyme the same girl I went in as.

Never would I have thought that I’d be paying money to sit with a group of people while

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Juice Fasting and Social Media Detox!

I am on the end of day 3 of my juice fast, day 5 of my cleanse and day 3 of no social media or cell phone use (phone/text). My Facebook, Instagram and snapchat are all logged out and I’ve only used very minimal email for communication for the past 3 days, and only when necessary.

It’s been beautiful.

I’ve meditated, read, and detoxed. I’ve spent more time in complete silence than I probably ever have before. I went over 24 hours without speaking a single word to another person. I haven’t left the house besides the vet on Friday, and my only visitor was one girlfriend today.

The juice fast has been great, as has been the whole cleanse so far. It is 2 days of raw food, prepping my body for fasting, then 3 days of juice fasting (making your own juices as per their recipes not store bought), and then tomorrow will begin 2 days of easing my body back into solid food. I have to be very careful during this time to follow the meal plan strictly. In the first few days it’s easy to follow the meal plan because it’s new, but now that I’ve had 3 days without solid food and I’m nearing the end, I find myself really wanting those chocolate almond bites that are prepped in the fridge for Tuesday nights dessert! After a juice fast though, my body is not prepared to digest many foods such as leafy greens and I’m sure it’s not prepared to digest the fat from all the coconut oil in the chocolate almond bites that I want to eat!

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Balance

This weekend I did very little, because I chose to do little, not because my body forced me to. That’s not to say that I was bursting with extra energy, but I could have pushed myself to do more and I didn’t. I did a huge grocery shop Saturday, organized my meds, and attended a baby shower today. Besides that I vegged out and binge watched Grace and Frankie on Netflix (I’m going to be Frankie when I grow up LOL).

I ate chocolate and pho and cheese and crackers and drank tea under a blanket on the couch. Alone. Happily. By choice. My laundry basket is full, my dishwasher is clean (and full) and my kitchen is dirty. For the first time in a month. And most significantly, the first time in ages (a year? Maybe 2?) that it’s dirty because I’ve chosen to chill and binge Netflix and not because my body has forced me into submission.

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Rising numbers of deaths by suicide – what can you do? #BellLetsTalk

*Trigger warning, this blog post discusses mental health and death by suicide and may be hard for some people to read. Also I want to be so abundantly clear that absolutely no one is to blame for anybody’s death by suicide and that no matter what, if someone in your life has died in this very unfortunate and devastating way, it is in no way your fault or responsibility. This is in no way a message of blame, but a message of what I believe we can do as a society to create positive change. I truly hope that this post doesn’t sound too harsh or offend anyone, I do honor that we are all just doing the best we can, but truly, ignorance is only bliss for the ignorant and I do believe that education helps create understanding and change.*

We are in the energy of a full blue super moon, and I spent the weekend in and out of panic attacks for the first time in ages, and I just spent the morning on the phone with a friend and their psych nurse and their family, and I keep learning about children under 10 making suicide plans, and its #BellLetsTalk day.

Wow. Deep Breathe.

I also cannot believe how many suicides I’ve heard of recently (in case you don’t know,

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Real men are not Unicorns.

Sometimes we are forced to reevaluate our lives and the choices that we are making and patterns we are falling into and why our lives look the way that they do. Tonight I realized something, probably for the first time realizing it deep within me and not just brushing it off but actually feeling it and allowing it to process. This something, is something that I felt needed to be shared because I bet that there are a  lot of people out there living the same way and wondering why.

I realized that never in my life have I “expected” to be in a healthy relationship. When you think about how you speak – either out loud or in your head about relationships, what words are you using? Do you think of a loving couple, children, a home? Do you think of parties, arguments? Do you think of fear or do you think of love?

For years I said I was going to adopt, because I didn’t want to pass along my genes and risk the children having mental health issues (and now Lyme).

I’ve always said I was pro-divorce and that its never too late to leave. I do stand by this in cases of abuse or where two people are truly not happy, but maybe it would be nice if I didn’t think of it for myself!

I’ve always said its okay to be single forever. And it is. But again, maybe I should be at least thinking like I’m not going to be?

I have never been able to picture myself in a healthy relationship. My trust for a man to be there for me and stand by me and take care of his own shit never existed. I am not even sure what that would look like.

I have always expected to have to be able to financially, physically and emotionally, take care of myself, my pets, my future children and possibly my husband; or at least to to play a minimum of a 50% role in that area. I’ve never even really expected a man to take me on a real date. You know, plan it with no help from me (control freak!), pick me up, pay without that awkward conversation finishing with me insisting on paying for at least my part if not all of it.

I’ve never even expected a man to be able to handle his own shit, let alone a relationship. Or to be a real man. I’ve basically just believed that they don’t exist.

In fully, truly, deeply understanding this I can’t help but think “uhh duh. No wonder you’ve never had a good, stable, healthy relationship. No wonder successful, nice, got their shit together men are not knocking your door down. You made them out to be unicorns.”

Well, apparently they are not unicorns and they do exist. I, however, never let them exist within my mind and therefore they could never exist within my 3 dimensional life. How many other men and women are walking around thinking just like me and never getting their wake-up call? Well, this is it! What you think about, you attract. What language are you using when actually thinking about the things that you want in life? I for one, will certainly be changing mine.

Lessons from someone who couldn’t (wouldn’t) slow down

I am literally sitting in an office in Steveston, BC, with an IV in my arm as I write this. Antibiotics quite literally coursing through my veins, in attempt to kill the bacteria that have stolen my life.

I often forget how active and vibrant I was just before I got sick. I read a quote the other day that truly hit home for me, it was “make time for health or you’ll have to make time for illness.” Wow. That’s a gut punch. If someone had said that to me before I got sick while I was exercising 7 days a week and meal prepping and working 3 jobs, I would have said I didn’t have time to rest. Or that I didn’t need it. The truth is the thought of slowing down was terrifying. I truly believed that if I slowed down or stopped any of what I was doing the world would crumble around me. It was like the walls were slowly crumbling and I was running in circles trying to catch the pieces before they hit the ground, half-ass gluing them back in place just in time to catch the next one, trying to seal any cracks as I went.

While I was so focused on keeping everything outside of me together, I had no idea that it was actually what was inside that was succumbing to intruders like an attack by a Trojan horse.

My body kept asking me to slow down and I kept ignoring it. Through all of my fitness and businesses I had gained a confidence that I’d never experienced before and I was afraid to loose it. Growing up with mental health issues such as severe depression and panic disorder you stop trusting your body and mind. You learn to push through and ignore the signals your body is sending you because often in the case of panic disorder anyways, they aren’t real. Your mind and body believe you’re in danger when you aren’t. To overcome that you learn to ignore those alarm bells and keep trekking through.

Physical illness on the other hand is the opposite. You have to listen to your body and slow down when necessary and give your body plenty of rest and time to heal itself. So you can see how opposite that is. If I hadn’t learned growing up to push through my mental illnesses I wouldn’t have survived. Now, if I don’t learn to listen to my body again and to rest, I won’t survive either.

Ideally though, growing up with mental illnesses I would have learned to sit with the uncomfortable. To allow myself to truly feel all of the sharp and ugly pieces and to then allow them to pass. Ideally I would have learned mindfulness and grounding and some of the spiritual lessons that I’m learning now so that I could have understood better what was happening in and around me and then maybe I wouldn’t have had to get Lyme in order to learn all of these things. But I didn’t, and I can’t turn back time so what’s really important is that I’m learning all that I can now, and sharing my journey to help others.

I’m 27 and learning to listen to and trust my body and intuition all over again – or really, for the first time. Some people learn this young and others don’t learn it until their skin has softened and hair turned gray. Others, I think, maybe don’t ever learn it, and what an unfortunate situation is.
It’s no secret that the Universe will continue to give us the same lessons over and over again until we learn them. I’ve learned to let myself feel the ugly. I’ve learned to let myself love and forgive and heal. I’ve learned enough therapy that I could practically be a therapist. In fact, I’m often teased by my hair clients, “Denise, I’m here for my therapy session!”. I’ve learned what boundaries are and what they feel like and how to put them in place (almost!). I’ve learned what no feels like and the power of the word and when to use it, as well as the same for yes. I’ve learned how to say yes to my body and it’s needs and to rest and to experience the uncomfortable in all of its lessons. I’ve learned that I’m worth a lot more than I thought I was. That my mind and my heart and my knowledge and willingness to share and be open and all of the quirky little things that some won’t appreciate, are worth something; they’re meant to be appreciated not cut down. I’ve learned that I’m not for everybody. And that I’m okay with that. More than okay with it actually because it wiens out those who are not my people without me having to do the work. I’ve learned that there are so many people who love and appreciate and honor and respect me for being exactly who I am. I am now one of those people as well.

Shed your shame

I am having the most relaxing day before work. I slept in, enjoyed slowly drinking my coffee while reading today’s astrology report on Susan’s Astrology Zone app, then read today’s vibe of the day in Kyle Gray’s book, “Raise your Vibration”, and then meditated on today’s vibe while in the sauna. I then took a nice, long, quiet shower, allowing my body, mind and soul to absorb and process everything that I had just taken in before making lunch while singing along to Carlie Pearce, finishing it off by eating in front of my outdoor fire pit with Keith Urban’s new incredible song, “Female”. Amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my morning and early afternoon, and now am writing to you all while sipping my coffee outside with the warmth of a fire while the rain gently begins to fall.

Myself and a group of my soul-sisters, we call ourselves the Crackpot group, have committed to following Kyle Gray’s 111 practices for raising your vibration and increasing your spiritual connection. We started this together on the first of January so today’s was the fourth “vibe of the day” and it is the first one that I have found difficult to connect to. Not painful or emotional, but more like a number blockage. Instead of ignoring the disconnect and moving on with my day like I would probably have done if I was busy or running late, I chose to take this opportunity to really sit with the lesson and feel it. Because this is not always a comfortable thing to do, as humans we will often brush past it, going on with our day to day lives never unblocking or honoring that part of ourselves, but if there is one thing I’ve learned for certain it’s that if you want to grow you have to choose to experience, and even embrace, the uncomfortable.

Vibe of the day: you are safe.

“There is no place safer for me than in my body.
My body is the home of my soul.
My outer self is a reflection of my inner self.
My soul is the true and real aspect of me and it can never be broken, tarnished or damaged.
My soul is healed and whole.
Today I claim my safety, because the light of my soul shines within a light of protection.
I am safe.

This may feel like common sense and very comfortable for some, but for myself who has a history of addiction to self-harming, a mind/central nervous system that likes to play games with me and now a chronic, life-threatening, difficult to treat disease, I have never felt safe inside of my own body. And yes, I do see the correlation between a life of feeling unsafe inside of me own body to then getting infected with a disease that does physically make you unsafe inside of your own body and I’m sure that this is not a coincidence.

In the past I have cut myself, burned myself, hated myself, made myself throw up, allowed unhealthy people and substances into my body, overdosed on painkillers, the list goes on I’m sure. The point is, I have not always treated my body, the home of my soul, the way it deserves to be treated. The things that I have done to myself are far worse than anything I would ever do to another person. It’s no wonder that my body was susceptible to this disease. It asked me to slow down time and time again. It asked me to feel it, to listen to it, to nurture it, and I ignored it until it forced me. This is something that I must own, and forgive myself for, which I will do now.

Dear physical body, mind and soul, I am sorry. I am sorry for not nurturing you. For not honoring you. For not even listening to you. I am sorry for hurting you and for allowing things into you that were not for your highest and best self. I am sorry for pushing you, and for taking you for granted. Please forgive me as I forgive myself. I promise to start working with you, rather than against you. I ask the Universe to support me in this new way of living, for the highest and best of everyone involved.

Everybody has dark fragments of themselves that they want to hide, but the only way to bring those pieces into the light is by owning them. I’m not saying everyone should go so public as to air all of their dirty laundry in a book or a blog like, ahem, me, but when those dark thoughts and memories come up inside of you don’t shove them back into their dusty, cobweb filled corner. Own them within yourself. Find it in your heart to forgive and to send love to that area of yourself that even you do not want to see. Write it down and bury it or burn it, giving it back to the Earth for the Universe to carry for you. No one can ever hold something over you that you have owned within yourself. You never need to feel ashamed of something that you’ve owned within yourself.

Shed the shame. Release it to the Universe to neutralize for you. Ask it to send that energy back to you as love.

Own every fragmented piece of yourself. And then allow yourself to love them.

A letter to the person who’s about to give up their life, from someone who almost did.

As I was laying in a soul and toxin – cleansing salt bath this evening topped with some beautiful gifted Sage lavender bath salts and Sage analgesic bath salts, meditating to a guided meditation for awakening your guide, I was surprised to be feeling both the highest and best parts of myself as well as the absolute darkest shadows during the “who am I?” question.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this at all as the light cannot be without the dark, but hey! I’m new at this.

I am still learning to ask myself questions and trust the answers. Frankly I am still learning to trust myself at all. At the end of the meditation when asking what I need to do, I intuitively recieved, “A letter from someone who almost gave up(died by suicide), to someone who almost did,” so I chose to trust that there is someone out there who needs to hear this right now so I am writing to whomever that may be.

I see you.

And deep in my chest, I feel you. I know you are hurting so deeply that you cannot possibly see the surface, let alone the light. I am seeing the light for you. I am feeling it for you the same way that I am feeling your pain and I am sending it to you. I am washing away your dark.

Life is worth it.

I promise you this from deep within my bones. It is worth it. My journey through the dark was about 14-25 years long, and now, I can finally say with honesty that it was worth it. I know that many people will read that and think they can’t possibly stick it out for that many years. I definitely would have said that, but I did it. Some people only have to sludge through the mud for a few months. No matter where you are in your journey don’t assume that because mine was that long yours will be too. It is likely to be shorter, it could also be longer; my hope in you reading this is that this article makes it a little bit shorter for you.

What I’m coming to understand I would have liked someone to say to me in my darkest days was, “I’m feeling it too, but we are in this together.” I, however, needed to feel unsupported in my outside world so that I would eventually be forced to turn inward, looking to my higher self and the energy of the Universe to carry me. It will happen if you let it. Ask for it, invite it in.

I cannot even count the number of times I’ve seriously considered killing myself. Mostly I was tired of hurting and I truly believed that the world would not only go on without me but would actually be better without me. I am now being taught how untrue that is, but that is plain and simple how I felt. Even when I grew a bit and learned different coping skills and got to a place of not being at risk to myself, I still was never happy. I was your typical, averagely miserable human being. Knit-picking at things that I realize now don’t effect me. Taking things personally that at their core didn’t have anything to do with me. Needing people to like me. Measuring my level of success on what was visible to other people. Feeling overall irritable all the time. In comparison to my below-rock-bottom depression and panic disorder, this is what I thought happy was! To be honest, I think it’s what a lot of the human race considers normal.

I can now say that was most definitely not happy, though it may be average.

I don’t know exactly what got me to where I am today. I imagine that it is a combination of many small things compounded – counseling, medical intervention, drugs when needed, supplements, family support, lack of family support, a whole bunch of not so great doctors along with a few great doctors (this is not to downplay the role of doctors in mental health, it is to express that I understand that you’ve probably had a lot of unfortunate doctors visits but to keep trying new ones because there are a few really good ones making a really big difference), naturopaths, energy healers, mentors, exercise, clean eating, salt baths, infrared saunas, lemon water, meditating, less t.v. more personal development reading, writing, mindfulness, learning when to say no, learning when to say yes, learning when to be “selfish”, and learning when to be selfless. Learning what boundaries are – not only the definition but truly understanding the concept in my life, and how to place them, was also more than minimal towards my healing.

I still have bad days, yesterday was one of them. I had treatment in the morning earlier than I’d normally be up, then continued to my first in person appointment at the Complex Chronic Disease Program, a clinic that says they treat Lyme disease but doesn’t actually have a good way of diagnosing us, nor do they have any lyme-literate doctors (theirs all quit, in my understanding because they weren’t allowed to properly treat), so instead they diagnose us with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and central sensitivity syndrome which are all illnesses with unknown causes and unknown cures. This does at least give patients grounds for disability and access to programs that will teach them coping skills and offer counseling, acupuncture, doctors and other supports. The point is, my life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies and in fact the truth is that I’m in pain every day, sick most of them, need about 12-14 hours of sleep per night and am not well enough to work as much as I’d like to or exercise or do as much socializing as I like or to be independent. I sleep more than I ever have, I am sicker than I have ever been, and yet I’m still happy. And I’m still telling you that it’s worth it to live.

Find what makes you happy and do it. Not just one thing but a million little things compounded. Find what adds a little bit of meaning to your life. It’s actually very simple, something either makes you feel good inside or it doesn’t. Sometimes we have to do the things that make us feel bad such as take that client that isn’t our favorite but we need to pay the bills, or visit that family member that really means well but drives us nuts, but wherever you’re able to, choose the option that makes you feel good. If you feel good while reading, read instead of watching tv. If you feel inspired after watching a documentary, choose one of those over your mindless TV show. If you have a favourite walk but you have to drive to it, drive to it. Do guided meditations for abundance and manifestations. Write down what you’re grateful for each day. Buy the flowers, or if you can’t spend the money go for a walk and pick them! I don’t care what it is that makes you feel good, inspired or energized, only you can decide what those things are, what resonates with you. It’s up to you and only you to find those things and to do them.

Do minimum one a day. It can be as simple as having your morning coffee on the patio. Start with one simple, easy to incorporate step. Just one is all I ask. Then over time as it feels comfortable and right for you, add in another, and another, and so on. It isn’t a race, there is no time limit. You do it in a year, or if you’re not ready you can do it slower and spread it out over 14 years like I did! You are the only one make that decision, and it doesn’t feel like it, but it is a decision to take these steps. You may not be able to decide how you feel, but you can decide what action steps you take. Choose one thing and start.

Whether you climb out of your darkness in a year or 30 years, I promise you, it’s worth it.