Saturday, 13 December 2014

Things My Dog Has Eaten

Not necessarily in order.
Some numbers are estimates based on how we feel about him.

1 raw steak
1 raw chicken breast
1 raw pound of hamburger
3 pairs of jeans
7 pairs of Kim's dress shoes
13,876 pieces of tupperware
429 tennis balls
87 pairs of socks
54 pairs of underwear
1 package of SOS pads
3 picture frames
EVERY pen ever brought into the house
EVERY pencil ever brought into the house
1 wallet
1 ATM card
3 plastic bowls
1 skirt
6 pillows
38 books
1 pair of eye glasses
3 towels
1 arm of a recliner
The entire lower half of my computer chair
26 tin cans
47,963 cardboard boxes
1 ipod
2 internet cables
6 pounds of cat food
My daughter's homework
1 basketball (it's still here, just looks like a deflated dodge ball now)
1 spatula
6 wooden spoons (average lifespan - 1 day)
The entire lining from the underside of the couch
1 XBox game
2 leashes
16 dish scrubbies
1 bottle of ketchup (that was fun)
1 can of tomato sauce
13 two litre pop bottles
1 newspaper reporter (attempted really)
1 wasp
19 flies
6 rolls of toilet paper
5 rolls of paper towels
Everyone's right arm
2 pairs of slippers
And the partridge that used to be in the pear tree. Sorry kids.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Parenting v2.0

I just had an epiphany. 

I just realized how scared my son is of life and how lost we all are. Being a father just got much more difficult. And I have no idea what to do about it.

I stopped working about four years ago due to illness and in that time I have become the house husband and father. I have seen my life devolve from a working class stiff, going out everyday and earning my keep in this world, to being at home, medicated, and taking care of the house. The first thing I realized is that it's harder than working for a living. The second thing I realized is that I hate doing it. Not because I like going to work everyday, but because the responsibilities of being a father and a husband are still there and I don't know how to make the shift to a different mind frame. You'd figure after four years I'd figure it out, but no. 

This morning I realized how terrified my son is of becoming an adult, and there's nothing I can do about it. I talked to him, told him I loved him and encouraged him to seize the day and make it his own, but that didn't take away the fear. No longer can I lead by example. Everything is different now. Instead of encouraging him, and defacto, my daughter, to take the example I have set for them, I now have to say 'do what I used to do, not what I do'. 

In the past four years I have lost my military career, my professional career, my health, and much more. It has been a trial of the mind, in the sense that I fight with my inner demons regularly. I want to get back to the way things were and move forward, but I know it will never happen. Not the same way. Not at all. I have to accept the things for what they are, and I can't do that when I hate the way things are. I love my family, I love life and my friends, but that's not enough. I want to be able to give to them the way I used to, even though unmedicated and undiagnosed, I probably screwed things up even more. Is he scared because of what life has become for me? Seeing me wax poetic about better days? Is he scared about losing what we had? How did this happen for him. I don't know. Maybe better that I don't know what caused the fear, and just do something about it.

But I don't know how. I think I took the first step toward understanding this morning. I held him as he broke down, a scared little boy crying on my shoulder. I held him there, I didn't want to let go. I remember holding him like that when he fell off his bike when he was seven. I remember holding him like that when his best friend moved out of town when he was ten. Telling him things were going to be okay, time will heal the wounds and the scars will fade. It was easy then, it's not now. The things he's afraid of are monumental now. This is no scraped knee. This is life. He's 19 and just starting to live it as an adult and we're both afraid of it. I told him I will always be there for my kids, as a parent should, but I can't sway the direction his life takes him anymore. The ball is in his court now and I'm in the stands watching. We've tried to be good parents, mentors, tried to set the example, tried to lead. Now all we can do is watch and see if what we have done as parents made the difference. 

I told him it's too late for me. My path has been set down by forces beyond my control. Nobody can predict what will happen in life, we can only get on the ride, hold the wheel and try to steer, but inevitably, by some unknown force, the car is firmly affixed to the tracks. We are just passengers. He has to take the lead and try to force his direction. He has to choose what ride he gets on. Obviously, mine had a busted track and I fell off.

My daughter has grand plans. She wants to go to Oxford University in England and study to be an anthropologist. Or at least she did last night, that may change today. We will do everything in our power as parents to make that happen. My son also has dreams, to work in the entertainment industry doing the production work on major shows. He wants to work on the cruise ships, he wants to produce major venue events, he wants to be where the music is. He has the passion to do it, as does my daughter, but I can't do it for them. Not anymore. Now I sit by the side and hope and pray that I have been a good father. Good enough for my kids to realize their dreams.

I'm not sure of my dreams anymore. I know that I want to go back to work, I'm too young to be retired, even though everyone says that I can't work anymore. I think that's bullshit and I'm not going to let this illness stop me. At some point I will move forward. I just don't know when or where. I'll send a postcard when I get there. All I know is that whatever happens tomorrow, I'll still be a parent. I still have to care for and nurture my children, my wife, my relationship with my extended family and my friends. None of that has changed, only that I am nurturing those relationships differently. 

And I hope that these relationships can help me find my path again. Because my son is not the only one who's scared about this life.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Watch Your Mouth

We are afraid to speak our minds anymore.

The politically correct bandwagon has rolled back into town and we're all jumping on board. There are many world events ongoing right now that have people riled up; from ISIS causing Islamiphobia, to the Ukrainian situation, to cops killing unarmed people in the US, to gay rights. Everyone has an opinion on something. And we should! Our differences are what make us unique. If we all thought and acted the same way we would have no freedom of anything. No freedom of thought, freedom of individuality, freedom of choice, it would be a truly distopian world as George Orwell imagined it when he wrote 1984. 

But luckily we live in a free society and that's not the case. Or is it? Are we moving toward the big brother is watching situation? I believe so.

People with firm beliefs are a Godsend to the population. They create dialogue that progresses the issues that face us everyday, and we need that to happen. We need debate to move our society forward. But what's happening today is that someone voices an idea or opinion that, although legal in the eyes of the government, is outrageous to someone who receives the message and things go south.

There's a difference between being passionate about a cause and being militant about it.

People with passion can debate a topic with tact and civility, those who are militant, can't. If you don't agree with them, then fuck you. All over the news individuals are being attacked because they spoke out about an issue, and what you see today is not debate, it's militancy. 

It's on social media. People with opinions are not afraid to voice them and someone slams them for it which causes all kinds of wrong. Friendships end over a difference of opinion. All too often we see feeds that we don't agree with and rather than stir the pot, we let it slide. We fall victim to the politically correct movement. Don't piss people off with your views. Why not engage in an intelligent debate? Why not just realize that some people don't share your views? I'd like to see more of that, I'd like to take some people to task on their comments.

I've never really been one to stir the pot. I have my views and for the most part they're none of anyone else's business. I have political beliefs but I don't volunteer, I have religious beliefs but I don't preach, and I have social beliefs but I don't advocate. Last month something happened that made me rethink my ability to keep my big mouth shut. I was asked as I walked down the street to put my cigarette out because it offends Islam. Now let's think about that for a minute.

I wasn't asked because it offends the person, I was asked because it offends his religion.

Since then I have become more outspoken about things. I decided that day that my opinion should count, because if it doesn't the argument becomes very one-sided.

I think this guy should have kept his mouth shut. Just my opinion. He should have had a big glass of shut the fuck up. If me having a cigarette offends you, fine, I have no problem moving out of your space, that's considerate. His problem was religion and he shoved it into my face. I was pissed, and still am.

If I said anything to him about religion and how ours differ, I'd very much be on the losing side of the politically correct battle. Why? Because I'm a majority. And  majorities most always lose. Advocates for men's rights lose because they appear to be anti-feminism, white supremacists lose (and they should, not supporting them!), anyone pro-heterosexual lose, because they appear to be anti-gay. You get the idea. If you are part of the majority, you can't really voice the opinions you want to because you'll be slammed. We see it all the time. People who do stand up for these majority rights have to walk a fine line and do their research carefully. They have to prove they don't hate the opponent, they just have an opposing viewpoint. What's wrong with that? (except supremacists, they can all just fuck off).

I had a great talk this morning with a couple of people about freedom of speech.  One comment summed it up nicely....

"I would say instead that we have free speech, but not freedom from the consequences of our speech. You can say all the racist crap you want - it's not illegal, and the government cannot prevent you from doing so. But you aren't free from everyone thinking you're a big ole douchecanoe for saying it, or from others calling you out on it".

Thanks Janiece. I couldn’t have said it better.

It is worth indicating that Canada and the US have different hate laws in place. In Canada, you really can't say anything you want. Some of it is illegal. Nazi Propoganda for one, is outlawed here.

But is freedom of speech really free? At what point does your opinion piss someone off to the point that you just keep it to yourself? We shouldn’t have to get to that point. If you have something to say, then say it, just don’t say it in a way that will enrage people. Don’t be a douche.

Do No Harm is the creed of the Wiccans. That’s something to think about, and discuss.