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[]

Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, 2013!

Well, I guess that’s it. Isn’t it? This year is finally behind us. I’ve never looked forward for a year to end so much as I have this year. This year was the worst year out of all the years of life. And yet a lot of wonderful things happened1; I guess it just goes to show that there is always good that will come out of a bad situation. I just wish there had been more good this year than bad.

The things I wish to never forget about 2013:

1. That time I was in the pilot episode of a reality TV show called, Come Date With Me on the W Network.

Still from Come Date With Me Canada

2. Being auctioned off at Love a Heart2. Photo credit: Chris Luckhardt.

Facebook Events | Love a Heart

3. Stage Managing for Canadian Music Week and meeting #LeBeau, Garret3.

Canadian Music Week Stage Manager

4. Stage Managing for North By North East and meeting Sloan. Sorry no pictures.
5. Getting a brand new family member, Drogo.

Drogo Sy!

6. Having a custom vine made just for me by Cyrstal Light Canada.

Facebook | Crystal Light Canada | Weird & Wonderful You

7. Assistant Stage Managing for Pride and getting to meet and work with En Vogue.

En Vogue at Pride 2013

8. Going to Cunt Cottage and having an amazing weekend away from the city.

http://fragileheart.com/wp-content/uploads/cunt-cottage.jpg

9. Working for TIFF and getting to see some stars up-close-and-personal-like. No pictures, because I want to be able to work there again in 2014.
10. Going on a boat cruise with Shannon & the gang courtesy of Crazy Uncle. No pictures because I have no idea what I did with the pictures from that cruise. Oops.
11. Volunteering for TEDxToronto4.

TEDxToronto 2013

12. Being in a feature film that won an award at TOIndieFF2013, was part of the official selection at DIFF2013 and reviewed here.

Unhappy Happy Still
13. Working on the 48 hour film project where our team won Best Ensemble Cast.

Hashtag Bougie Productions

13. Meeting and falling in love with #LeBeau’s two daughters5. No pictures, of course. They’re too wittle.
14. Celebrating Christmas with our families and getting 2nd Christmas with the girls. Also no pictures, because I’m a spoil sport like that.
15. Being able to celeberate my birthday & the holidays with some really awesome friends. Again; no pictures, because we didn’t take a group photo and there are too many great ones to choose from.
16. Getting to keep in touch with my wifey, Christine Estima even though she’s a gazillion miles away.

Skyping with the Wifey

Last but not least…
17. Getting to do this fun photoshoot for Ford Canada with the ever-sexy, Ford Fiesta, Marie & Brock.

Date Night with the Ford Fiesta

Shopping fun with Marie & the Ford Fiesta

I’m not at all interested in re-living the past that was this horrible year, so I won’t go into any details about it. I would rather look forward with hope and excitement for what 2014 might have to bring. I can only hope that it’ll be a good year because if my own personal history has taught me anything 2015 is set to be another doozy. You see, there’s something about years that end in zeros and fives – they don’t like me very much. I had a terrible 1995, I can’t say 2000 was any better, 2005 was horrible, 2010 was another nightmare year… mind you, they were all bad for heartbreak but not much else.

Anyway, that’s a whole 365 days away. For now, here’s hoping that in 2014, I…:

  • …no longer have to worry about how I’m going to pay for groceries or laundry.
  • …can actually afford to meet up with friends at least once a week.
  • …find the energy to get off my ass and start exercising again.
  • …will visit my parents and cook for them more often.
  • …will stop worrying about things that I really have no control over.
  • …can reconnect with some old friends who I miss but have drifted away from, for no good reason. And stay connected.
  • …get to go camping twice – once with the family, and once with the man and/or friends.
  • …get to visit somewhere I have never been.
  • …write more for this blog.
  • …learn how to make a Filipino dish I have never made before, but love to eat.

And that’s about it. I had a longer list but I’ve cut it down some in an attempt to be a little more realistic with my resolutions. I didn’t make any resolutions for 2013 because at this age, I’m kind of over them. Since 2013 was such a bad year though, I needed some things to look forward to. And these are some of the more important things I’m looking forward to for this New Year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

Footnotes:
  1. I met Garret this year after all[]
  2. an annual favourite[]
  3. Nope. Not his real name[]
  4. another annual favourite[]
  5. and finally having children in my life. wee![]
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