Like I said, a few posts on bullying. In my last post, I talked about how the anti-bullying campaign focuses on the eradication of bullying, but instead we should be focused on building resilience in children.
With all of the being said, bullying has changed dramatically with the rise in social media and technology.

I was bullied when I was a kid, I also bullied others. I think that is just a fact of childhood, I am not proud of the way I acted towards some of my classmates but I didn’t know better at the time, and I wanted to fit in with the people that bullied me – social pressure can be a bitch.
I didn’t have a lot of friends at school, I was the quiet, shy, smart-kid. I had “friends” but they mostly used me to copy my work and then gossiped about me behind my back. But I played sports, I was athletic and I excelled; here I had friends. Friends that accepted me for who I was, friends that liked me. Real friends, some of which I am still in touch with today. Sports were my escape. It didn’t matter that school was a hellscape where I was used and bullied, I could always escape to sports. And as I got older, those were the people I surrounded myself with, who I hung out with outside of school. My sports friends didn’t really know my school acquaintances, apart from one or two people who I played sports with and went to school with – which, in hindsight, are interesting case studies.

Yes, I was bullied at school, but that never followed me home. I was fifteen when I got my first cell phone, and I was one of the first of my friends to have one. Text messaging was barely a thing, Facebook didn’t exist. I only turned my phone on when I wasn’t at home, which meant that most of my friends called the house number first. This meant, that in order for bullying to follow me home, the bully would have to call my house and risk my mom answering, having to ask to speak to me, before finally getting a chance to bully me. That never happened, so bullying was limited to at school.

Now… it is a whole different ball game. Bullying follows kids everywhere! Get home from school and get shitty messages on Facecbook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Make friends at an extracurricular activity? Your bully will message these people and poison them against you before you can form a deep-seeded bond.
Not to mention the public humiliation that bullying entails today. Someone trips you at school and everyone points and laughs. In the past, embarrassment for a day or two until everyone forgot; now, someone filmed it and posted it on various social media platforms for everyone to see. On top of that, it can get reposted a week or two later, just to humiliate you again.

I don’t think bullying is more prevalent than it used to be, but there is no escape for kids these days. No safe space like I had.
But this is why that I think building resilience has to be the most important aspect of anti-bullying.

No, I am not sad that I am not growing up in this technological age.

Hear me out…. I have some thoughts on bullying. The next couple of posts will be about different aspects of bullying and, like usual, I have some controversial thoughts. Now, I am not saying that I think bullying is a good thing, but like so many things in this world, I don’t think we are taking the right approach to dealing with the problem.

The anti-bullying campaign focuses single-mindedly on stopping bullying from occurring in the first place, in an ideal world this would be great, but (surprise!) we don’t live in an ideal world. In an attempt to eradicate bullying we are forgetting to build up resilience in children, which results in adults who are not resilient.
While we all know and accept that the old adage of, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” just isn’t true – because names can sometimes dig deeper than any dagger – there is something to it. We have gotten too far away from this idea, children are now taught that being called names should hurt, should traumatize, and should cause harm. Some anti-bullying literature suggests that calling someone names will cause harm; this just simply isn’t true, it may cause harm and that is a good enough reason not to do it.
So while I do think we should be actively trying to reduce bullying we should also be trying to increase the resilience of children. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but I won’t let you names hurt me.” Increasing the confidence and self-esteem of children (and adults) will let them more easily brush off being called names.

The definition of bullying seems to often be misinterpreted these days. Bullying must be deliberate, kids will be kids, they often do not have the cognitive capabilities to understand the consequences of their behaviour. Note, that I am talking about subtle acts of social rejection, gossip, pranks, etc. not overt behaviours such as physical bullying.
On top of this, people are going to experience social rejection. Not everyone is obligated to like you or be nice to you – yes, people should be civil and respectful, but that can be a long way from nice.

I vehemently disagree with school policies that state that kids must share with everyone, or must invite the whole class to their birthday party. Nope, hard pass…. if my kiddo doesn’t like someone they aren’t obligated to give that kid a fucking valentine day card. These kind of policies just put a band-aid on the problem and stop children from learning valuable social skills.
Yes, maybe a kid cries because he didn’t get any birthday party invites. Well, it is a good opportunity to dissect why. Is this child mean to others – a bully perhaps? Is he just weird – do we need to work on reading social cues? Does he come from a different culture that the other kids just don’t understand? Does this child come from a different socioeconomic class than the other children?
Some of the reasons may be simple, and easy to remedy. Others may be the basis of bullying now or in the future (cultural differences, socioeconomic differences). In some cases it may be a learning opportunity for others; for example, if it is cultural differences that child could invite some classmates and their families to a festival/event, or bring in a some food to share.
Preventing these things from occurring stops learning for both the individual and the group, and does absolutely nothing to prevent bullying in the long term.

This is a controversial topic for me, I understand both sides of the argument.
Let’s begin by defining what I am talking about….
The sexualization of women. Men looking at women, ogling them, leering at them, you know, that kind of thing. Sometimes it is overt, sometimes it is subtle. Sometimes it is undressing a woman with their eyes; sometimes it is appreciating beauty.

On one hand, I don’t think that women should be made to feel uncomfortable just for existing. And, some men are fucking creepy when checking out a woman! Women should be able to exist comfortably and be able to go out in public dressed in a way that makes them feel good without having to worry about creepy dudes.
But this doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t be sexualized. Women are beautiful, people should be able to appreciate this beauty. A woman wearing a well fitting top that accentuates her breasts should feel good, and others should be able to appreciate her confidence and beauty. Yes, this means they will look at her and probably have a thought like, “nice tits.”
Appropriate appreciation, and sexualization, of beauty doesn’t have to be creepy.

I will admit, when it is warm out I am fond of summer dresses that are just a little too short paired with heels that are a little too high (I am five-foot-eight, there is no reason I need to be wearing five and half inch heels!); in the cooler months my clothes are still quite form-fitting and often low-cut. I like the attention, I like the looks – not the creepy ones, but I do notice men (and women) taking a second look, looking me up and down, giving a subtle nod of approval. I want to know what these men are imagining… fantasizing about me. It’s good for the ego.

So I get it… that type of behaviour makes some women uncomfortable. I do think that as a society we should be making a stand against the creepy ogling and leering, but also that our society needs to look at ways to improve the self-esteem and self-confidence of women so that they can appreciate the subtle appreciation of their sexuality and beauty. Just because a man looks at a women and has some sexual appreciation for her does not make him a creep, it makes him human.
It isn’t black and white.

Best Practice. How often do we hear that phrase? And what does it mean exactly?
I work with a lot of people with mental health issues, so inevitably I end up having to take short training sessions about a specific illness or problem. In each training session, “best practice” is discussed, but it is discussed in a way that makes it seem that there is only ONE way to respond to an incident – best practice.
This may be fine in mechanical situations, or situations in which the sequence of events is predictable, but I find “best practice” often ignores the human aspect of mental health and dealing with people.

All of that is a little vague so let’s look at some (very anecdotal) examples.
Let’s start with a person who suffers from anxiety, this person (Let’s say, John) is starting to get very anxious about something small – say, walking into a party to find his partner. John knows everyone at the party, but the thought of walking in alone is terrifying. Then, he thinks about how everyone will be looking at him (and judging him) as he looks for his partner. John’s breathing starts to quicken, he begins to sweat, and he starts to feel nauseous.

How do we deal with this? What is “best practice”?
According to John Hopkins Medicine supporting John would mean providing validation and expressing concern, without enabling the behaviour or forcing confrontation. I don’t have a problem with this…. seems like solid advice for most people. Forcing confrontation may increase the anxiety, and comments like, “It’s no big deal, you already know everyone in their,” may belittle John’s experience as his panic and anxiety are real.
However, what if forcing confrontation and belittling John’s experience are exactly what help him??? What then? What if the best way to help John get over his anxiety in that moment is telling him he is acting like a crazy person and it’s no big deal to go into that room and find his wife?

I gave the above example at my last training session and the facilitator said, NO! You NEVER, never, never, tell someone who is experiencing anxiety that they are acting crazy (or insane, or irrational)!
So I followed up with, but what if John has previously expressed that that is the best way to help him in the moment.
The facilitator told me that John was wrong.

I’m sorry… John isn’t wrong. John knows himself well, and expressed what he needs to help him.
I am John. I experience horrific anxiety about walking into rooms full of people by myself. To the point where if I think about it for too long, I’ll vomit. So usually I am the first person to show up at the restaurant or the party or the… whatever, in order to avoid the anxiety.
It’s not always possible to avoid though. So, on those occasions that I am late to something and I start to experience anxiety sitting in the car before going in I tell myself not to act like a crazy person. If it gets really bad and I can’t talk myself down, I will call my husband and he will tell me to stop acting like a baby and just go do the thing; that I will be fine and I am making a big deal out of nothing. He does this, because I have told him this is what helps me.
Why does it help me? Well, because I know my fear is irrational, the anxiety is real but it is based on an irrational fear, remembering that allows me to look at the situation objectively.

Example number two…Borderline Personality Disorder. This one is fun, if you have ever dealt with a person who has BPD it can be a roller coaster! I used to work with a lovely young girl who had the most severe case of BPD I had ever seen. She had almost no positive, prosocial coping skills. This resulted in many incidents of self-harm, suicide attempts, assault, and other violent outbursts.
There were many times that I would be with her during an “episode” and if a stranger off the street saw how I handled the situation I am sure there would have been some bad repercussions.
Experts say that when a person with BPD starts to escalate that you must remain calm in order to avoid escalating the situation further. Well… .staying calm did nothing buy escalate this young lady even further! So there was more than one occasion in which she started to escalate and I would just start yelling at her. Sometimes the conversation would carry on as normal, just at a very increased volume. Other times, I would yell random shit, like, “HEY! I CAN YELL FOR NO REASON TOO. I CAN BE CRAZY TOO!” Almost always, when I raised my voice like this she would come down, not to baseline, but down enough that we could have a productive conversation and get her to move on from whatever was upsetting her. Or sometimes, we would just yell the same thing back and for at each other (like, “You’re not listening to me!” “No, you’re not listening to me!”) until she forgot what she was upset about and started laughing.

I have worked with others who have BPD and this one girl is the only one I would deal with in the above manner. It was what worked for her. It wasn’t best practice, but it was effective. Yes, that strategy may be harmful to other people, but staying calm and even was harmful to this girl.

So “best practice” tell me why you are invalidating my experiences.
I understand that “best practice” is what generally works the the vast majority of people, however, there will always be people who require a different approach. If you have no information about the person you are dealing with, then yes, best practice is the best approach, but if you have some rapport use that rapport to read the individual and respond appropriately. Even if that looks awful to someone who doesn’t have the full context of the situation.
This message is what I feel is lacking in mental health training. Best practice is the best approach for the majority of people, however, there will always be people at the extremes on each side that need to be dealt with differently and people need to be encouraged to expand their repertoire to deal with these types of people.
I suppose there is always the chance that if you go outside of best practice your attempt can backfire and cause harm, and if you are a professional, that may result in disciplinary action. But what happens if you follow best practice and still cause harm. Nothing. This stops risk taking, but it also means that it can stop progress.
As someone who always seems to fall outside of what “best practice” encompasses, I implore you to try something new, if you think the situation calls for it.

 

I was planning on saving this, waiting until some of my thoughts became more coherent, however, I think this is a good time following my rant on being called a gender traitor.

Like I mentioned in the previous post, I am submissive. And I am proud of that, there is no weakness in submission.
I wish I could find some reference material (not that I looked very hard), but I often hear that submissive men are powerful in their day-to-day life, that submission is a way to release, a way to finally relinquish control to someone else. Less often, I hear the same about submissive women. When it comes to women seems to be referred to as the “Alpha submissive”.
My Dom (which is not my husband, and we are in a long-distance relationship) is attracted to these kind of women. Intelligent, independent, strong… women who choose to submit, because that submission is a choice, a gift to be cherished.

Now, I can only speak to my own personal experiences… but which came first the chicken or the egg? Being submissive or being powerful in day-to-day life?
The common narrative suggests that powerful, strong, independent, intimidating is the natural personality of the submissive and submission is a way to decompress. I am sure that may be true for some people, but that narrative never really sat well with me. It was only recently that I realized why.

I was a shy kid, not really a leader, but I had enough confidence to say no if something was going down that I wasn’t comfortable with. I was opinionated, but too shy to speak up. When I was a teenager I started to realize my interest in BDSM and recognize my submissive streak.
This was a problem. At first, I had a hard time reconciling my submissive nature and my feminism. I believed that men and women should be equal so why was it so arousing to think of a man overpowering and dominating me? I began to view my submissiveness as weakness. The fact that I was reserved and shy meant that everyone must be able to see that I was submissive, right? Fuck, I had better find a way to hide this from people.

Fake it ’til you make it!
So I did. I faked confidence. I became outspoken and adopted a “fuck you” approach, I wasn’t going to do something just because I was told to, I would only do it if I agreed with the reasoning behind it. You say jump, I ask why?
I won’t lie, this approach has served me well in my life. And I am not faking it any more, it is who I am. But I am also submissive.
In my 20s I was finally able to reconcile the fact that I can be submissive to those I choose to submit to, while still holding respect and power in the rest of my life.

So, I wonder, how many other submissives feel this way? How many of us became powerful and respected in order to hide our submissive tendencies from other people? Yes submission is a way to let go and relinquish that control in a safe environment, but it is an integral part of who I am and how I identify.

This isn’t even a clickbait title, I got called a gender traitor today, and it wasn’t the first time.
Hardcore feminism today seems to have this notion that equality is only achieved when women are more powerful than men. This makes the battle between the sexes a zero-sum game; men were in the position of power for so long, now it is the time of women. Personally, this seems like a ridiculous concept. Why do men have to lose for women to gain?
These beliefs are the result of the hive-mind. I think that individually most people are rational and understand that equality is what is important and that there may be different ways to achieve that but, I digress…

I consider myself to be a pretty decent adult, I have a job, a kid, a house, you know… responsibilities that I take care of; I don’t need a partner in order to function in life. People respect me at my job, I am a leader, I stand up for people. So many of the things that I believe are essential to feminism at its core.
I am also kinky, into some pretty heavy BDSM, and I am strangely open about it. People I work with know – not the details, but some generalities. I was having a more in-depth conversation with a new woman at work and she asked for some specifics (and who am I not to share?). Well, the specifics are that I am pretty into 24/7 TPE (total power exchange) lifestyle (my husband is not, so I don’t get to practice this, but it would be an ideal for me).
We talked about what I would want in this lifestyle, which in a lot of ways would look like a 1950’s dynamic. I want to be responsible for most of the household chores, while my partner would get to sit and relax after work; I want to be punished if I don’t get those chores done. I want to have to ask permission to go out with my friends, and I want a curfew. I want my partner to be able to use me sexually when he wants without the ability to say no. And more…
Of course, I play responsibly! There would always be a safeword, therefore an element of consent. And I would only engage in this lifestyle with someone who I trust completely. Someone who respects me, my intelligence, and my independence.

Well, let me tell you, she was not thrilled to hear about my proclivities. The indigniation about how my choices set women back!
Fuck you!
They are my choices. I am free to choose whatever the fuck I want. Don’t tell me it’s “the patriarchy” making me believe that is what I want. Don’t infantilize me, I am a full-grown adult, capable of making my own fucking decisions.
Despite the fact that I want a 24/7 TPE domestic discipline lifestyle, I would never tolerate anyone telling me to be a housewife – that is not a life for me (but I have so much respect for women that can be a housewife/stay at home mom, I love my kiddo, but I need to work). I choose to submit, in a lot of ways, but I will never give up my independence.

Somewhere along the line, some feminists have lost sight of the fact that feminism is about equality, and that means the right to choose. If a woman chooses to stay at home and be financially dependant on her husband that is her right. It is equally as valid as the woman being the breadwinner while her husband stays home to take care of the children. Or maybe they both work and pay for a nanny. Who the fuck cares? As long as people are making the choices that are right for them.

There are so many negative stereotypes about Millennials, some of them for good reason. I am Millennial, albeit on the older end of this generation, but I am so fucking sick of people around my age complaining that they will never be able to afford to buy a house. There are very few people who I empathize with when they make this absurd claim, let me tell you why….

I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, according to this article, and not one of the fringe cities that sometimes makes it onto the list. Yet, I bought my first condo when I was 22 and my husband and I bought a house when we were 27. How? Well, we both owned condos so selling those was a pretty good down payment for the house. On top of that we both had some savings, because neither of us has traveled extensively. Plus, our house had a rental suite which we have been renting out since we moved in for some extra help.

I am not making the argument that housing is a reasonable price. It’s not, at least not where I live, and the same is true in a lot of major metropolitan areas. But let’s break down this ridiculous article that it is impossible for a Millennial to purchase property.

Travel
I didn’t get bitten by the travel bug when I was younger (now, I look forward to the house being paid off, and the kiddo being older so we can travel), but I know a lot of people who spent tens of thousands of dollars traveling the world for a year or more.
You know what that money would have been good for? A down payment.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The life experience one gets from traveling can be priceless, and perhaps, important to character and personal growth, but you don’t get to complain about not being able to buy a place after spending $100k traveling the world.

Rental Housing
I feel a bit guilty commenting on this considering that I have never rented; I lived at home until I bought my condo at 22. I know this isn’t an option for everyone, for a multitude of reasons, but the standard that a lot of (young) people have for rental housing seems astronomical.
While I was in my 20’s, most of my friends that rented an apartment spent almost half of their money every month on rent. Well, of course that would make it nearly impossible to save for a down payment you say! But… these apartments were beautiful; one bedroom, one bath, granite countertops, hardwood floors, outdoor space, in-suite laundry, pool and fitness room in the building, etc.
What happened to having a small, dark two-bedroom basement suite with a roommate for a couple of years in order to save up? (This comes from a girlfriend of mine who lived like this for 5 years and managed to buy her own condo, then townhouse, then house). Or what about a studio apartment if you want to live alone. It obviously isn’t ideal, but it would be a great way to cut living expenses.

Transportation
I’ll be the first to admit, public transportation where I live is mediocre at best, but it is manageable. But so many people snub the bus and insist of having a vehicle, fair enough, I was one of those people! But… the type of vehicle is important here. I don’t know a lot of people driving old beater cars on their last breath. No, most people my age insist on buying something brand new, and not something small and economical, no that would be silly! Most people have SUVs or trucks, with large monthly payments and huge insurance cost.

Social Life
We are fed media that stresses the importance of “getting out on the town!” Even amid this pandemic there is so much emphasis on opening the economy, restaurants, breweries, bars, so that people can be out supporting local business. Which is great, it is…. but for Millennials, we see it as an integral part of life. Going for dinner, going for drinks, daily Starbucks, but these things add up to a ridiculous amount of money every year.
I am not suggesting that people shouldn’t enjoy life, but just take a look at how much these activities are costing and see if you can save a few bucks every week. It will add up quick.

Well, our parents were able to afford a place when they were our age.
It’s true! And it probably only cost them like $80k for a whole house! But they were paying interest out the wazoo, 16% or more. While means that $80k at 16% is roughly equivalent to $200k at 2.5%, and that doesn’t even account for inflation. So yes, the numbers definitely say that housing is more expensive now than it was a generation ago, but not as much as some people complain that it is.
Furthermore, how many of our parents spent time traveling? I know mine didn’t, the same is true for most of my friends parents (the one friend I have whose parents did travel, well, both of them worked in the travel industry).

Career Path
We are the generation that was told we could be anything we wanted to be, and that we should enjoy our work. I agree, but this comes at a cost. Generally, changing careers requires a pay-cut, or a very least a stall in earning potential.
Again, our parents generation often started a job in their 20s and stuck it out until retirement. This means that anyone with any work ethic and modicum of intelligence was able to work their way up the corporate ladder and increase their earning potential. Of course, this also resulted in a lot of depression and people that hated their jobs so I don’t actually think this is a great thing, but it is something that contributed to the increased buying power of the older generation.

So yes, our parents were able to afford a house at a young age, but so many of them were stuck in careers they hated and they never got a chance to see the world. The average Millennial that complains about not being able to afford a house doesn’t want to sacrifice anything, they want to be able to spend the money on travel, a nice rental apartment, a new car, a social life, etc. AND they want to be able to buy a house…. seems a little unrealistic doesn’t it?
I’ll admit that I am lucky. Maybe I see this whole thing from a different light because I am not struggling… but personally, I just don’t think that the average person gets to have it all without any sacrifice. My sacrifice was easy, I didn’t spend money on travel because it didn’t interest me, and I found a job at 21 that I love and can’t imagine ever leaving.

It’s no secret that most teenagers consume pornography, especially in today’s digital age. Personally, I don’t think it is a terrible thing; I started looking at porn when I was thirteen or so. Yes, yes… porn isn’t necessarily indicative of real sex and that is a conversation that needs to be had with teenagers.
What that means though, is that society needs to accept that teenagers are consuming pornography. That is step one to opening a conversation.

I had a thought the other day, in most countries the age of consent (to have sex) is between 14 and 17, but the age at which individuals can legally consume pornography is 18 or 21.
What the actual fuck? So you are telling me that a 17 year old can legally have sex, but they can’t watch porn. Granted, porn is not the best educational material, but it is better than nothing which is what most kids get these days.

Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense to lower the age in which to view porn to something more in line with age of consent. 16 maybe? Younger?
I imagine that one would still legally have to be an adult in order to make pornography. But on that note, can we stop prosecuting children for manufacturing and distributing child pornography in which they are their own victim.

When will common sense prevail?

The whole reason that I started this blog was as an outlet for my opinions. I know I am opinionated and not everyone agrees with me, and that’s ok. But often, I have people come up to me privately to tell me that they agree with what I have to say (although, most people would be gentler and more politically correct than I care to be), but that it is difficult to speak out against the current social climate – especially for men.

So fuck it! Maybe I can make a difference. Or maybe this will just be a place for me to rant and one or two like-minded individuals will get something out of it. Or maybe, I will get some hate-mail. Bring it on, bitches.

Sometimes, I feel like I am the only woman that doesn’t have body image issues. Don’t get me wrong, like every woman ever I would like to lose ten pounds, but not if it takes me any effort.

I am not skinny by any means, I am athletic. I’d love if my tits were bigger, and if my labia weren’t so long. But, I am not ashamed of my body. It is just a body, and everyone has one. Everyone has parts of their body that they wish they could improve on, and parts of their body that they like. I don’t understand why so many people have such negative views about their body.

While I was growing up my family used to (well, they still do) call me fat all the time. Which is ironic, because I am the only person in my family who isn’t overweight.
I always knew that it wasn’t true. It was always in jest, even as a child I knew that.
Their comments never caused me any harm, it was a way of expressing love.

Now, as a parent, I call my kid fat all the time! She knows she isn’t – even tells me so, when I call her fat she says, “No, I’m a skinny minnie!”
We talk about health and that some people are bigger than others, and that’s okay. She has friends that are overweight and she never comments because she knows that being mean to each other like that is only okay within the family.

I see things all the time about making sure we are so unbelievably careful about the words we say to our children, and I just don’t understand why! Any communication course will say that 80% of communication is nonverbal, so why are the words we choose to say to children so much more important? Isn’t it the same?
The intent is what matters, my little fatty-patty knows that she is loved and we will always take care of her. As a teenager, she may have some body image issues, and we will work through that, but it won’t be because I called her fat as a kid.