Love a Heart: Buy a date, save lives.

For the last two years, I spent Valentine’s Day in search of love or at the very least I was having fun in my singledom. One of the most fun things I’ve done in said singledom is stand up on stage and allow myself to be sold at the extremely conscious-healthy human auction Love a Heart. This year I am no longer in search of love but you bet I will be spending Valentine’s Eve morally supporting these brave souls.

Facebook Events | Love a Heart

Here’s my favourite photo of myself from last year’s auction.
Photo by Chris Luckhardt. Click on the photo to learn more about him.

Love a Heart, entering into it’s fourth year, has raised over $30,000k for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. So what makes this auction better than any other auction you’ve seen before? I’m not sure I could pinpoint one specific thing so I’ll talk about all of them. First, let’s get the ‘how it works’ straight: you bid on a person; if you win the bid for a date with said person, you pay the organizers then you meet and you talk and exchange contact information. All proceeds go to the Heart & Stroke foundation so they keep us all healthy and happy! Woo hoo!

In no particular order:

loveaheart 2014 ladies

Brandie Martin, Keli Carneiro, Jamie-Leigh Cuthertson, Alison Michelle, Rochelle Latinsky, Katie Boland, Chrissy Newton, Lauren O’Neill, Amanda Connon Unda, Rayanne Langdon

1. The bachelor/ettes are stellar. I mean just look at them!

loveaheart 2014 gents

Ian Barnett, Jon Simonassi, McGee Maddox, Jason Agnew, Yaw Attuah, Jason Carlin, Jon Crowley, Jeff Maynard, Jay Davis, Phil Faubert

Each one comes with their own date package so you don’t have to do any of the work trying to come up with what to do; because really, who likes doing that anyway? If you want to know more about any of these lovely folk, just click on either of the collages – it’ll take you to the Facebook event page that tells all.

2. The auctionees/hosts have always been fantastically entertaining. In previous years, the event was hosted by the equally hilarious, witty and charming Shawn Hawaii & Shannon Kelly. This year for a different flavour of fabulous, the sexy1 duo known as Nat & Marie will be taking the stage; pressuring you to bid more money. I can’t wait to watch them in action!

nat and marie

3. The date packages are sure to be outstanding. Last year there was pole dancing and sushi2, and so many more. I’ll be honest that I can’t remember any of the other dates for many reasons that are uninteresting to reveal at this point in time. According to the event page, some of the dates so far this year will include: Tickets to Mirvish Productions‘ Arrabal, a $150 Gift Certificate to Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, 2x 5th row Raptor Tickets from Hôtel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square, a $50 Gift Certificate to Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, a $100 Gift Certificate to Flight Centre Canada and tickets to the Beer Makes History Better tour from Urban Adventures. Mind you, there won’t be a gazillion activities per date but you’re sure to get at least one or two per date. And that’s more than enough when you consider your money is going to a charity whose sole purpose is keeping us all alive.

4. The sponsors on board have some awesome offers, some of whom were already mentioned in point number 3:

Off-site sponsors3:
Rent Frock Repeat offering: 10% of your Rental Price will be donated to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Lou Dawg's offering: 10% off your meal (must provide proof of purchase of your ticket to the event).
In venue sponsors4:
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly Sugarwink Cupcakes Snapshot Magnets
Motives Cosmetics

 loveaheart 2014 poster

THE DIRTY
Where you need to be: The Hideout Toronto
Where’s that? 484 Queen St W, Toronto
When you should be there: February 13th at 8:00 p.m. 
How much to get in the door: $55
Can I purchase tickets in advance? Oh yes you can: http://guestli.st/222843

Important things:
The Auction Starts at 9:30PM 
There is a minimum bid of $25 per bachelor/ette.

So, see you there right?

Footnotes:
  1. also hilarious, witty and charming[]
  2. that could have been your date, if you had bid and won a date with yours truly[]
  3. they will be there in spirit, i am sure of it[]
  4. you’ll have to attend to see what they’re offering[]
  5. at the door[]

Yes, let’s talk.

Shame. It’s a hard emotion to overcome. Our egos are strong and it doesn’t like to feel vulnerable. We’ve all felt it at one point in our lives and all of our stories are so very different. That’s why it’s so important to talk about it, no matter what you may be going through. No matter how big, nor small.

There is so much to mental illness that we don’t even know about. It isn’t just depression, it isn’t just about suicide, it isn’t about schizophrenia or murder sprees though these are the extremes that have lead us to where we are today1. There are other things that we’ve been talking about for decades, like eating disorders and milder personality disorders2. Yet there is still a lot of stigma.

Stigma is the negative stereotype and discrimination is the behaviour that results from this negative stereotype.

– source:  CMHA.

I normally disagree with the sharing of anything on social media when the motivation to do so is that some large-company-who-can-obviously-afford-to-spend-the-money will ‘donate a small amount per share’ BUT the fact is that what they’re trying to accomplish is bigger than all that.

I read something on a friend’s instagram this morning as I was browsing while still in bed and I thought it would be perfect to share. This happened yesterday in Colorado:

A 16-year old Standley Lake sophomore lit himself on fire in the school cafeteria Monday morning in what police call a suicide attempt. Nett tried to kill himself by dousing himself in oil and setting himself on fire just after 7:00 a.m.

He was taken to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition. Nett did leave a suicide note on social media saying, “This is not someone’s fault. I had this planned for years. He went on to talk about his plans and how friends over the weekend tried to talk him out of it. He finishes the note saying, “If anyone says that they know why I did this…nobody knows and nobody will.”

– source: 9news.com

My friend went on to wonder “what has happened in our society that a 16-year-old feels compelled to take his life, in such a horrific way?” That someone could ever think that death would be better than life. The thing is that sometimes everything could be right in your life, and you would still want to kill yourself. I can only hope that he finds the help he needs; I hope that he comes out of this fighting harder than he ever thought he could.

I remember how I felt when I was 16, and younger. I used to be so full of rage; I had the worst temper and I felt like I had no one to talk to. Sure I had a lot of friends, but there was something missing. I didn’t ever think that they really understood me the way they understood each other. I never tried to kill myself, but I thought about dying a lot. I’ve gotten over it for the most part, but there are some days that I still feel pretty worthless. I eventually get over it by repeating whatever phrase will get me out of that frame of mind but that doesn’t mean it’s that easy for everyone.

Teenage Dirtbag Reggy

I often wonder how I would have turned out if we hadn’t moved to Canada when I was 17. Something certainly switched when we moved here from Dubai. Hindsight tells me it has something to do with moving from a British Curriculum Catholic School in a Muslim Country to a Public School in one of the most open-minded countries in the world. Either way, whenever people ask me what it was like moving at that age – I should really tell them that I think it saved my life but they’d probably think I was just being dramatic.

Anyway, that’s enough about me. Mental health is important. People’s feelings are important. Yes, some people just need to suck it up but you don’t have to communicate that message with hatred. It is possible to be gentle while being firm3. You can give someone tough love without being a bully. Most importantly, remember that sometimes all someone ever needs is for someone else to listen.

Let’s talk, indeed.

Footnotes:
  1. and the people who have gotten us here, we cannot forget them[]
  2. OCD, ADD, etc[]
  3. and not just in the bedroom, either[]

Special thoughts for a special lady on this, her special day

[Pardon the cheese in the title; there just had to be some].

Mum & Dad at Christmas 2012

My dearest Mother,

I think about how mean I was to you as a teenager and I’m filled with guilt. You never once made me feel like less of a human being, nor less of a daughter for acting out. You’ll say that it was your duty as a mother but others would say that it makes you an extraordinary mother.

Okay fine, I suppose I could have been worse – it’s not like I ever got arrested or overdosed on drugs but I wasn’t exactly easy to deal with. Being highly emotional is hard to deal with when you don’t know what emotions are yet. You always knew how to deal with me though, whether it was simply leaving me alone or trying to talk to me in your own indirect way; it was always exactly what I needed. Whether you knew that or not, I’m not sure.

I’ve often wondered how different our lives would be if I confided in you more. I still remember that time I experienced my first broken heart here in Canada and your hug was the only one that comforted me; that made me feel safe. I don’t recall if I said much about the pain I was feeling, but I don’t think it matters.

I like that we’re becoming friends now. I hope we can do more of it. There’s so much more I want to say but fear that should be left for a more intimate setting. I hope you enjoy your special day, because we enjoy having you in our lives and we want you to feel just how much we do magnified by a thousand suns.

Happy Birthday, Mum.

I love you always,

Q1.

Footnotes:
  1. There will be no asking who Q is[]

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Unhappy Happy: Best Canadian Film at DiffTO and the official trailer!

Well, I wasn’t able to go to the screening of Unhappy Happy at DiffTO but some birdies tell me that we won the Best Canadian Film Award that night. Isn’t that awesome? And we also got word that it will be screening at the Queens1 World Film Festival in March! I really, really hope I get to go on a road trip if only to be in NYC earlier than expected this year.

And if that news isn’t exciting enough – our Director, Rob Shaw, just released the official trailer for public consumption. So now when I tell you that I was in a feature film and you ask me what it’s about, I can just send you this:

Oh! The feels!

Footnotes:
  1. Yup. Queens, NYC baby[]
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