1

I’m not a woman…

Today I woke up, pressing snooze as often as I could, when I finally decided to check Facebook, because procrastinating is my game every morning.  I saw a “liked” article from someone on my contact list and when I read through the article I was LIVID and angry and yet at the same time shocked, because I realized as I was lying on my bed, that I was not a woman.  I may have been born with a vagina, I may have grown into my womanly breasts by the time I was a teenager, my voice is a high octave and I wear dresses and makeup, but I’m not a woman.  Today I found out, thanks to some woman named Jill Johnson that I am in fact a man.

For reference, here is Jill’s Facebook post:

I’ve heard you say you “identify as a woman”. But I find that highly unlikely and insulting. You see, Mr. Jenner, there is more to being a woman than beautiful gowns and fake boobs. There is more to being a woman than makeup and pretty hair. This is something we mothers begin teaching our young daughters at an early age.

As a woman of nearly 50 years, I can tell you what it is truly like to be a woman. You may be able to understand or even empathize, but you are definitely NOT able to “identify”. For instance, you will never know what it is like to wake up every 28 days with searing stomach pain so bad it doubles you over, yet still trot off to work or school as though everything is fine. You will never know what it is like to have your car break down on the side of the road and when a couple of men stop to help your prayer is that their intentions are good because there is no way on earth you have the ability to physically hang let alone overpower them. You have no idea what it is like to long to have a child only to have your third miscarriage, yet still manage to be able to share in the joy of all the other young mothers in your life. You will never know what it’s like to get pregnant, gain 40 lbs (1/3 your total body weight), hurl all morning long for 4 months straight, yet still care for your other two toddlers, and not drive your husband to the brink. You will never know what it is like to give birth to a 10 lb. baby boy with absolutely no medication!!! You will never know what it is like at the age of 50 to be walking down the streets of Phoenix and popping in the Dairy Queen for a cool refreshing treat only to be gripped at that moment with your fourth hot flash of the day.

I have, in my life, met many women who have been widowed. For me to walk up to them and say I identify with them would be ludicrous. Like I said earlier, I can empathize with them, but I cannot identify myself as one of them because I don’t know what that is like – I can only imagine. And let’s not even talk about women who have worked through their double mastectomy.

No, Mr. Jenner there is more to being a woman than you could ever experience or even imagine. And lesson #1 for all true women is this – Botox injections, plastic surgeries, designer clothing, and public approval is NOT what makes a woman. A real woman is one who in spite of the stretch marks, age spots, dirt under her nails and tired eyes, and even with 1/2 plastic photoshopped supermodels as her competition, she has carried herself in such a way that her family, husband, and children, see her real beauty and find her far more valuable than rubies or diamonds and they rise up and call her blessed.

Mr. Jenner you are a privileged white male living in the U.S.A. In fact, you are so free and so privileged, you can even spend your massive amounts of money to change your outward appearance to whatever you wish. That is NOT something most woman around the globe are free to do even if they wanted. MOST women in our world don’t even have access to a high school education. So, Mr. Jenner, I find your claim to identify as “a woman” disingenuous, uneducated, and honestly – quite offensive.

Oh where do I begin…From the very first line, she angered me.  See Caitlyn Jenner LEGALLY changed her identity to Caitlyn Jenner which means addressing her as Mr Jenner is not even a legal fact…but that even the tip of my breaking point.
In my opinion the following statement is actually backwards You may be able to understand or even empathize, but you are definitely NOT able to “identify”. Caitlyn can’t understand or empathize about being a woman because she does not, nor will she ever have a period or a pregnancy or any of the other things Jill talks about in her article, but she can IDENTIFY as a woman, because identity is personal and Caitlyn identifies herself as FEMALE.
Now here are the reasons Jill says Caitlyn can’t be a woman:
1. She doesn’t wake up every 28 days with searing pain that cause you to double over – shit, I don’t either.  My cramps get bad sometimes, but I’ve never been doubled over and it certainly isn’t every 28 days – I wish!
2. Women trot off to work with this pain like everything is fine – I have never trotted – ever. I drive because the idea of trotting 25 km to work is exhausting.  And if I am ever in THAT much pain, I am fortunate enough to have a job where I have sick days – I take one. I would never act like everything was fine.
3.She will never know what it is like to have her car break down at the side of the road and pray that when some guys pull over to help that their intentions are good because there is no way to physically overpower them – My car has never broken down at the side of the road and if it does I will call CAA and stay in my car with the doors locked cause I have no desire for anyone to help me – male or female.  I pay CAA for a reason, let them do their damn job!  Also if I was Caitlyn Jenner I would be TERRIFIED right now if guys stopped to helped me because there is a much higher chance that they will be DISCRIMINATING against me and will probably hurt me because I, as Caitlyn, am living my truth and they might be hurtful jerks like you.
4. She hasn’t longed for children, suffered a miscarriage and had to sit by smiling for her friends who all get pregnant just by looking at a penis – here is the one area I may slip in as a “woman”.  I have longed for children and have had FIVE failed attempts.  I have not miscarried, but I have sat by and watched my friends have beautiful amazing kids whom I love with all my heart – and whose ass I will kick if they turn out as cruel and disillusioned as you Jill.  Also, Caitlyn has had to sit back, fully believing in her heart she was meant to be a woman, and watched her past wives, daughters and female friends all get to do whatever they want, dress how they want and interact with each other as women when really that’s all Caitlyn wanted! 
5. Caitlyn will never know what it’s like to go through labor, gain pregnancy weight, take care of toddlers and not drive her husband to the brink – Jill you sound like you have an asshole for a husband if your worry is not to drive HIM to the brink while you gain weight, deal with toddlers and vomit everywhere!  But again, I have never been pregnant, never hurled for hours and I’m single so a husband is the least  of my worries…
6. Caitlyn won’t know what it’s like to give birth to a 10 pound baby with no medication – this is insane, who chooses to do that when an epidural is so magical.  I promise you I will never know what that feels like because if God grants me the blessing of being pregnant, there will be medication – lots of glorious medication to make my life easier because there are much more important things to stress over.
7. Caitlyn won’t ever have hot flashes – Jill at 65 you won’t either – it’s not like Caitlyn waited this long so as to avoid all the shitty things about being a woman.  My mother had no hot flashes and a lot of my older woman friends didn’t either – are they really women?  Are they lying to me!!
8.Botox injections, plastic surgeries, designer clothing, and public approval is NOT what makes a woman – It doesn’t???  I think there are a lot of people in the world who are questioning their identity at this point!  Besides women fight every day for public approval – whether it be as a woman in the work force, in the home, as a mother, single, married, widowed or common law – women are always trying to do it “right”, the way society says it should be done…
9. Because Caitlyn has money and “white privilege” (a word I hate by the way) she can’t claim to be a woman, because around the world some girls don’t have access to a high school education so Caitlyn’s identity is offensive – well Jill, I find you offensive.  It is 2015 and people are finally coming out as who they genuinely feel they are.  Young people are committing suicide because of ignorant, cruel OFFENSIVE comments like yours.  Because all they want in this world is to be accepted.  As a white, some what privileged woman, I find Caitlyn Jenner inspiring, interesting, beautiful, lovely, intelligent and so much more of a human than that guy Bruce ever was!
I know a lot of you won’t agree with me on what I have said, and that is okay….but I felt so outraged by the ignorance of some I had to write – and write quickly because we as a society need to stop hating on people who are living their true selves.  Why can’t we just relax and mind our own damn business when people do something we may not like or agree with.  Hurt and hate are offensive, nothing else.
Love Nicole
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725

725 days ago

everything stopped – it was like I was an actress in the most dramatic movie ever seen

I wasn’t acting

I walked into Scarborough General hospital, concerned, but confidant that HE would be fine. I’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy and dozens of other hospital shows and people survived a Code Blue all the time…didn’t they?  It’s amazing what you remember 725 days ago, when I couldn’t tell you what I had for lunch yesterday.

I had just opened the hospital doors when my phone rang – it was in my newest purse, Michael Kors.  My mom had bought it for me in Vegas the April that had just passed.  The bag was large and the phone had been thrown in the bottom with my keys. I grasped it and saw my sister-in-laws number.  I knew before answering…it was over, HE was gone. As she spoke the words, my purse dropping and spraying items all over the spick and span hospital floor, I fell and screamed a sickening sound. My heart felt like it was going to stop beating, I thought I would be the one having the heart attack.  No one should ever feel that much pain and yet here I was on July 21st, 2013 at 5:30 am in an empty hallway of a Hospital wishing for death to take me because I could not, WOULD NOT live without HIM.  I don’t know how long I stayed on that floor, crumpled into the fetus position crying.  Somehow I made myself walk to the elevator because I knew more than anything I needed to be in HIS presence.  I got to HIS floor, where I had left HIM not even 24 hours ago with the promise of bringing HIM home that day and an orderly (or maybe a male nurse) caught me as I came crashing out of the steel elevator and quickly put me into a chair with a high back and rubbed my shoulders as I sobbed.  No one else was there, my brother and sister-in-law took another 20 minutes and my best friend who I had called wasn’t there for another 10. A nurse finally let me in, and that was it – with my own eyes, my father was gone.

That was 725 days ago.  It seems a lifetime ago, yet at the same time yesterday.  Everything that has happened since that day and everything that continues to happen regardless of my feelings or thoughts is sometimes astounding.  Life just keeps keeping on.  There is no stopping it.  He isn’t coming back.  My grandmother who passed away 2 years prior to this isn’t coming back.

Loss.  It doesn’t heal.  Not one day out of the 725 have I NOT thought about my dad.  Even if it’s just a brief moment or sometimes a full few hours he is there…always.  I haven’t shed as many tears this year as I did last year.  I haven’t had as many anxiety attacks as I did last year.  Maybe next year it will be even less.  But he will always be in my mind.  When I am sleeping, when I am driving, when I am making a hard decision, when I am planning a fun activity…he’s here, but not.  I want him HERE.

Some of my family will be gathering at the cemetery on the 21st and then concluding with a dinner to memorialize the occasion – just like we did last year, another year where he isn’t joining us.

damn

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My first memory

Have you ever been hit with a memory so strong you needed to write it down?  I have.  I just did (though this memory has come up randomly over the years) so even though this is my SECOND blog for today, here it is…

***As a very young girl, I remember going to visit my nana and poppy at their house for weekends with my brother. We would go shopping, play games, and read books – the normal things most kids do with their grandparents. The issue is that I would NEVER go alone. I don’t know why. Something in my gut terrified me of being away from my mom and dad without my brother there to support me. His presence – unlike now – brought me a sense of peace, a sign of reassurance that everything would be okay. I would be okay.

Now there is NOTHING wrong with my grandparents, they were two of the kindest, gentlest grandparents I have ever met and they were never cruel and never said a bad or mean thing towards anyone they knew. But there was something not right with me – something that haunts me to this day. All my grandfather really wanted was an opportunity to spoil his only granddaughter. You see my father was an only child, and he had two children, my brother Paul and me. My grandfather did spoil me rotten when we were both down for a visit, but he really wanted me to himself. To love and shower affection on.

However, my earliest, vivid memory is sitting in the dining room of my current home (my family has lived in that home my entire life) crying because while my bags were packed and I had said I would go, I no longer wanted to go to my grandparents house that weekend without Paul. My grandparents were in the doorway waiting so patiently for me to get over my temper tantrum, but I didn’t. My bags were unpacked, my things put away, my grandparents left saddened by the rejection and my father was bitterly disappointed in me.   I don’t remember much about why things happened the way they did – why I felt that way – but I did and I never was given the opportunity to change my mind. My grandfather Albert Kenneth Milway died the summer I was five. July 17th 1986.

I remember it like it was yesterday. My grandfather had been in the hospital and my mother and I had come home from being out shopping and when we walked inside, my father was standing by the window crying and my brother was on the couch sobbing. I knew in my little, naïve five year old brain that something bad had happened. Real bad. My mom must have known instantly as she went to my father to comfort him. My father never cries. And he was crying. His gut-wrenching tears made me cry before I even knew the truth. When I was told, I didn’t understand. Five year olds shouldn’t understand death. I was fortunate – I didn’t. My father sat me down and explained that my poppy had passed away from diabetic problems (back in the 1980’s diabetes guaranteed almost certain death). I cried, but not because my grandfather had passed away, but because I was a disappointment to him before he died. I had not been given the opportunity to spend the weekend alone with him and my nana. It didn’t seem fair and I didn’t understand. This was the first time I can recall being a disappointment to someone, it was not a feeling I ever wished repeating and needless to say, I spent many, many weekends at my grandmother’s house in the years to come trying to make up for something I had no control over.

I wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral, but I remember that day so well. It’s amazing what children can remember. I was sitting in my neighbor’s house, the Franklands, looking out their window as the car drove away holding my nana, dad, mom and brother. I didn’t understand why he got to go and I didn’t. He was 12; turning 13…he didn’t seem that much older. He had cried more then I had! I was being a big girl!! I was angry with my mom, angry that I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. Of course now, being much older and more mature, I agree with her decision, or maybe it was my dads, completely. Five year olds have no place at a funeral home, especially with a casket containing the body of their grandfather. My neighbor, whose daughter Amy was my best friend allowed me to sit on her couch and stare out the window, but then encouraged me to play with Amy in her room. She probably made me grilled cheese with chocolate milk (my favorite), but I can’t remember. When the funeral was over, my parents came by to collect me, he was gone, buried, and I would never lay eyes on him again. I still have a hard time picturing him without actually looking at his picture. The only actual memory I have of him is the one of him by the door looking so sad that his granddaughter refused to come over for a weekend date.

The wake was held at my home and family and friends of my parents and grandparents showed up with food, flowers and well-wishes. I was there and I can remember so many adults crying and laughing at the same time…it was confusing for my five-year-old mind to process. How could people cry and laugh at the same time? Now I know – it happens every day.  Many of these adults (whom I did not know) offered me words of condolence and told me how much my grandfather loved me and never to forget that. It seemed I was a constant topic of conversation for him. I haven’t forgotten that, but at the same time, I was well aware of how much my rejection had hurt him and no matter how much he loved me, I never forgot the sadness I had caused him at my young age. I realized then that my actions or inactions had serious consequences. People would say that I am a giver; that I would give you the shirt off my back if you needed it – and I would, I know I would. I have to. Those early years gave me a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I never want to feel again, and though I have fallen short of myself many times over the years, I have never felt anything that severe, that heart breaking.

 

***remember this is what I remember, some events may not have happened as described, but they were how I remember them…

 

Love Nicole

2

What I’ve learned from living with my mom

When I was 13, just a girl struggling to find my place in this world, my parents got a divorce. The only world I knew changed – dramatically.  The mother, who I had been closest to left and my father, whom I barely knew – and to be honest didn’t like very much, continued in my raising and became my sole-parent.  I saw my mom most weeks for an hour or two, but our relationship quickly deteriorated and I relied on my (now) sister-in-law, my Aunt Sharron and my paternal grandmother as my support systems. As the weeks became months, which quickly became years we saw each other less and less to where it was only at Christmas and maybe mothers day where we would spend any significant time together.

My father and I on the other hand became the best of friends…well, that took years, but it happened.  Her leaving, was the best thing that could have happened to me.  If my parents had gotten divorced and I had been left in her care, I wouldn’t be me.  I wouldn’t be the confidant, happy girl I am now.  I don’t know who I would be, but I wouldn’t be me and I am kind of awesome – so her leaving…it was for the best.  I am not one of those people who thinks parents should stay together for the kids – at all!  We only have ONE life to live and everyone should live it to the fullest and be happy – or as happy as possible.  If two people make each other miserable, or hurt each other or just aren’t good together anymore, I believe a break up needs to happen.  Maybe that’s why marriage isn’t my first priority in life.  It’s a very expensive break up, when really, two people should be able to choose happiness over unhappiness any day.

Fast forward twenty years and my mom somehow finds her way back into my life.  Her husband (my step-dad) has passed away and a little over a year later, my dad passes on and I am left…not alone…but, I am left with her.  I am left with the woman who gave birth to me.  And regardless of how she came back into my world, she walked through that door and hasn’t for one moment looked back.  I happily opened the door wide, with no locks, no restraints, no guilt.  I know my dad would want us to be together – to look out for each other.  It’s who he was.  He wasn’t bitter or negative about the divorce…he loved me and he wanted my mom in my life – even if I was an adult now and way to stubborn to take any motherly advice.

I don’t hold grudges.  I don’t make people feel bad about mistakes they have made in the past.  I have felt a lot of hurt from people I loved most, but that is there cross to bear, not mine.  I forgive easily, it’s just who I am.  Again, my dad raised me this way and I am perfectly happy being the way I am.

When my mom called me two months ago saying she needed a place to temporarily stay I didn’t think twice – I invited her to stay with me.  I have a house – a three bedroom home with two bathrooms and a finished basement for me and my pup.  I have a lot of room for guests.  Even if I didn’t – this is my mother.  She went through almost two days of labour with me, I could allow her to come stay with me for a few weeks (or months if need be).

She moved in the first of June and on July 18th she will move back with my aunt (her twin sister) permanently.  It has been a pretty great time.  I have zero complaints.  If it had been more than a few weeks or months, I would have been happy with that too.  I am not mad she’s moving out or angry, I have no feelings of abandon, I liked living alone and I liked living with her so I am good either way.  I don’t need months of therapy (lol, though that would be funny) but I am pretty sure my poor dog will because he LOVES his human nana and has become pretty obsessed with her.

I actually learned a few things in the past 6 weeks and I am going to recount them here for you:

We get along much better as adults on an equal playing field then we ever would have when I was a teenager.

My mom is awesome, but her tolerance for foolishness and childishness is small.  Lazy, full of attitude teenagers is not her cup of tea – and I was FULL OF ATTITUDE as a teen.  We would have butted heads – probably even more than my dad and I did, because at least with him, I knew when he said no he meant no.  I would have pushed my moms buttons a lot harder than I pushed his.  As an adult, we relate better to each other

I have a lot of similarities to my mom – huh!  Who knew?!

I didn’t think we had much in common.  She spent the last 20 years, happy in a small town and I have loved my home in Scarborough (Toronto) and never had any desire to move to a small town – though technically Ajax is a town…so again, I have changed…grown! We watch similar shows, enjoy similar food and even have similar body shapes right now (though we are both over weight and need to work on that)

She is extremely helpful

Everything from doing my gardening (which I strongly dislike doing) to taking care of my pooch to ironing my clothes; as a retired person, she has lots of free time and she happily does a lot for me without me even asking and I am grateful!  She has made life pretty easy for me these past few weeks – especially where Simba is concerned.  In return I have given her a home and I cook dinner every night she is there which is a benefit to us both.

We laugh – a lot

Living alone, I laugh at tv shows, I laugh when Simba is being crazy, but other that than, my laughter has died down.  When my mom moved in, I found my real laughter, my deep gut, hearty laugh.  I laugh till I cry.  I laugh so much my stomach hurts.  It’s fun.  It’s great to be exhausted from laughing so much, it really is the best therapy.

She never stopped loving me

I never doubted my moms love, I doubted her ability to be a mom. Since moving in, she has been extremely motherly towards me, but in a more mature way, since I am not a baby or a little girl anymore. It’s refreshing.  Losing my dad took a part of my heart and made it go away forever…having a parent who loves me still in my life has made the rest of my heart beat a little stronger.  She is a wonderful person and I am glad I allowed her willingly into my home, my heart and my soul.

Love Nicole

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Semicolon; no shame

Because so many suffer and I am sick of the stigma affecting so many…plus this girl is amazing!

worth courting

“Don’t get a tattoo just because it’s trending.”

“Getting tattooed for any cause is a slippery slope….

“I do NOT jump on tattoo bandwagons.

“I would want something else rather than a tattoo thousands of people already have. These are all so boring.

“Why don’t I just get an “I got issues” tattoo. No thanks.

“Because nothing pays for the drugs for mental illness like tattoos.

“All the people in this article just got that tattoo. I’m sure the publishers of this paid these people to do it instead of looking up actual people.”

These are just some of the negative comments I’ve seen posted on articles shared on social media about Project Semicolon, which has gained public attention lately.

Founded in 2013, Project Semicolon is “a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to…

View original post 918 more words

5

Chi-Town and why my dislike for some Americans continues…

I have been wanting to go to Chicago pretty much since the last time I went to Chicago with my girlfriend looking for her wedding dress back in 2010.  The irony is that I went because I needed to escape my breakup and the drama surrounding it with A and I knew Kim would be the perfect friend to spend a long weekend with.  This time I went with A because we have somehow managed to escape the nastiness of a breakup, and come out on the other side friends again.

I wanted to go with A because he loves baseball as much, if not more than I do, and my reason for going this time around was to see both the Cubs AND the White Sox play – to see both fields and come two stadiums closer to finishing my goal of seeing every major league baseball diamond.  (I have seen 7 now – still a LOOOOOOONNNNNG way to go).

We left Toronto early Wednesday morning, Canada Day, and both of us immediately fell asleep on the plane.  Thankfully the 1.5 hour plane ride was smooth and quiet and we woke up feeling a bit more refreshed and ready to make our way to the hotel.  Supposedly, when you take a cab that is already waiting for you from the hotel into Elmhurst (where our hotel was) they charge you a fare + half.  If we had called our own taxi they just charge you a regular fare, but we didn’t find that out until we had already agreed to take the already waiting taxi because we knew no better. lesson learned.  After a $45 cab ride I was terrified that the hotel would refuse us entry so early as check in is 3 pm and it was only 9 am, but they had a room available so we thanked them and went to our first floor room to unpack.

Hunger was a priority so we googled where Denny’s was and found it was a ten minute drive (about 4 miles) away so we called a cab and they advised it would be $12.  This seemed expensive, but we were starving so we headed out.  Denny’s makes me happy…cheap, delicious food and service was great!

After breakfast – we needed to sleep.  We both took a four-hour nap.  What an exciting trip!  HA!  That night we learned how to take the Metra (their version of the GO train) into downtown and the nicest train conductor told us how to get around downtown and advised us that cab drivers love taking advantage of Canadians and tourists in general so we needed to act like we were home-grown.  He told us the cab ride to Navy Pier should cost no more than $10 and to tell the driver assertively that was where we wanted to go.  Navy Pier was just as I remembered it – but colder…much colder due to the Lake and the winds coming off the lake.  I bought a sweater that all tourists were wearing and so did A because even HE was cold…after walking around and seeing some of the Piers attractions the fire works show began and I took it as a salute to Canada (even though they have Fire Works every Wednesday).  We had Giordano’s for a late dinner, of course settling for deep dish pizza (holy crap that pizza is THICK).

The rest of our trip had a mixture of highs (seeing both MLB teams and going to a live jazz bar) and lows (getting taken advantage of by a few more cab drivers and we had some major issues witht he hotel that A will be complaining about to management) but spending time with A and being away from the Toronto Pan Am madness for even a few days was totally worth it all.  I know now, that next summer I want to do another American city to cross another diamond off my list – maybe Boston or Seattle?  I have a year to decide!  I hope next year it’s with a little one in my arms or at least a man who loves me holding my hand.

Exploring, travelling, adventure – it’s something I was not exposed to as a child and so I am making sure I get to do some of it now.  It may not be far, but it’s still thrilling to me.  I can’t wait to expose my future little Koko Bean to life outside of his or her hometown.

Love Nicole