One In A Billion

The world, people say its overpopulated, but if that’s true why can’t I find a single soul that I feel connected with?  I walk through each day with my vulnerabilities on full display, hoping for a single connection. However, as the day’s pass, I can feel the vulnerabilities shedding away and being replaced by loneliness and sadness. Why does no one see the hurt that’s in my heart.

Life is passing by quickly, and I understand that each of us have our own trials and tribulations that we need to overcome, but what happened to connecting with those around us on a human level and having real relationships? Each one of us is preoccupied by our own daily struggles, but in the process we are losing the ability to connect with each other. We’re becoming lonely and lost souls. We’re floating through life trying to find someone who will understand our souls, but we’re not putting in that effort with others. In the process of becoming fixated on our own emotions, have we lost the ability to empathize with the people around us? Are these relationships of the past?

I try to stay positive, and share my fears with people. I want people to see my weaknesses. I don’t view my weaknesses as a hindrance to me. In fact, I view them as my strengths. They allow me to connect with people on the human level. I am not perfect, and neither is my life, and I am okay to say that. We all have our pain points, and obstacles that we need to overcome, after all, life isn’t perfect. And it shouldn’t be.

Life is about growing, and even if you don’t find the connections with people that you are looking for, you need to try and understand why. Is there something in your own behavior pattern that is preventing you from connecting?

In a world filled with billions of people, surely there is one soulmate for everyone. Whether it be a friend, sibling, spouse, parent or friend, they exist. We need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and enjoy the growing pains of life. Share our hardships. Listen to those around us, and hear their life experiences. They have been put in our lives for a reason, and we need to understand their purpose.

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How am I feeling today you ask?

I’m feeling very sad and disappointed with the state of the world today. I’m disappointed in my southern neighbor electing someone who is ignorant to the state of the world. I am upset that those negative emotions are creeping into Canada. I am so tired of the hate, and the division between people. And I am frustrated that people are having to re-fight for rights that were already established.

When did we start to go backwards?

I feel as though there is a huge void in my heart, and I don’t see it being filled anytime soon. For the past week and a half, I have been feeling very empty, and for the first time in a long time, I’ve lost hope. Gandhi says to be the change you want to see in the world, and while I am not a fan of Gandhi, I am trying to stay positive and project positivity. But, I am struggling. I am fighting hard to hold back tears every day. I feel very hollow, but I am trying with everything in me to not project negativity.

Today, on my way home from work, I saw a man’s car stopped on the side of the road. About 20 people drove past him. I also contemplated driving past, but I stopped. To be honest, I thought it was a girl. The person had long blond hair that fell to their shoulders, but when they spoke and I realized that it was a young man in his late teens or early 20s. He said thanks for stopping, but we were both equally clued out as to how to fix his car. He said it was his clutch and that he needed brake oil. I’m not sure if that’s what he needed, but I drove to the gas station to get the oil. For those of you who are a bit panicked right now, relax, I didn’t take him in the car with me, he was still a stranger. I took his number and called him when I got to the gas station to confirm that I picked up the right oil. I brought the oil back to where his car was stopped and gave it to him. He asked me how much the oil cost, and I told him to ‘pay it forward’. To which he responded, ‘I do that too’. For a split second, we both smiled, faith in humanity restored, and I walked back to my car. As I drove down the road to turn my car around, I thought, ‘what if that’s not what he needs, and I just left him?’. Fortunately, by the time I drove past him, another man, from a line of 30 cars had pulled over to help him and I was genuinely happy that another individual stopped to offer a helping hand, it gave me a bit of hope.

With this experience, I could feel that hole inside me fill a little. I left the interaction feeling a little more healed. Not fully healed, but enough to help me genuinely smile for the first time in over a week.

In that moment, we didn’t see each other’s backgrounds, economic status or level of education. We saw each other as people, helping each other.

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Thank You 2016!

Two Thousand And Sixteen. The words seem so insignificant on paper, yet as I say the numbers out loud, I can feel a paper weight being dropped on my heart. How do I begin to describe the year I’ve hard? As I try to find the right words, I feel confined to the words of the Oxford dictionary. Why can’t language be like light? Infinite.

Two Thousand And Sixteen. Thank you. As I sit here trying to grasp for words that would do my year justice, I feel overwhelmed with emotions of gratitude. This year was tough. Filled with loss and great sadness, but for some reason my mind floats to the happy memories.

This past year, we lost a monarch in my husband’s family. We spent many months going back and forth between work, home and the hospital. While the loss was significant, my memories constantly float to hospital memories that make me smile. I will always remember the look on her face when I entered her hospital room on a day that I said I was busy at work and wouldn’t be able to make it. She was so happy, and for anyone that knew her, she didn’t show much emotion.

My maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, the doctors caught the cancer in time and were able to remove it. She underwent radiation treatment shortly after that. Although she gets tired easily and is often in pain, she is still as feisty as ever. You think I have a sharp tongue, wait till you meet my grandmother.

My lung condition also relapsed. This news was a bit tough for me to digest. I had worked so hard to try to prevent this from happening, but it just goes to show, you can’t control everything in your life. Sometimes you just have to accept the cards that you are dealt, even if they are terrible. I remember laying in the emergency room bed, trying not to cry, thinking “please don’t be a relapse”. My condition is rare and easy to misdiagnose. Prior to my diagnosis, I spent many months in and out of hospital with doctors telling me I was having muscle spasms. So when the doctor came to my bed and told me I was good to go home because I was having a muscle spasm I almost started laughing. Muscle Spasm? I asked to see my blood work and x-rays.

The pulmonologist, Dr. Wayneinder Anand, who originally diagnosed me with this rare disease and was one of my biggest blessings of 2015 also ended up being one of my biggest blessings of 2016. Prior to releasing me from his care, he taught me how to read my blood work and x-rays to identify if I was relapsing. So when I saw the results, I knew what was happening. Had he not taken the time to teach me how to read my reports, I would have continued to suffocate and not understood what was happening. My health care would have been in the hands of others. Dr. Wayneinder Anand gave me the knowledge to identify when I was having an issue, and the steps I needed to take to self-stabilize, until I was in the care of another pulmonologist.

When I reflect on Two Thousand and Sixteen I can’t help but smile. This year was filled with trials and errors, laughter, sadness and happiness, but it made me stronger. This year taught me how to be grateful for the life I have. It taught me to make the conscious decision to be optimistic and happy every day. Because when you change your perspective, you change your life.

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Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

Christmas is only 19 days away and the grass is still green. I know many people would be excited by this, but not me. I love winter and all that comes with it. Yes, even the part where I have to wear 50 pairs of socks to keep my feet warm. Winter is my favorite season.

Vancouver has been receiving snow. Yes VAN-COU-VER! Let that sink in.

Is it old age? Are you having a moment? They never get snow. I think you are getting your coasts mixed up, and I’m not a happy camper. When are we going to get snow? I know I should probably be patient, but yesterday you tricked me. I woke up and there was snow on the ground. I got to wipe the snow off my windows, it was so exhilarating! But when I left work later that day, nothing! Not a single centimeter of snow anywhere. It was so warm that I could have gone outside in my hoody! A HOODY..in December?

I don’t know, maybe you are doing me a favour. Sure, I’ve gained a couple of pounds over the past year (no I’m not pregnant, just fat!) and I can’t zip up my jacket, but I promise I can handle the cold weather. I’ll wear my husbands winter jacket if that means I get snow!

You have 19 days, and then I’m really hoping for a white Christmas. I HAVE HIGH HOPES!

Thanks for hearing me out!

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Out of Town Visitors

This past weekend my uncle and aunt came to visit. It was great seeing them, they’d both had a very tough year. My uncle survived multiple heart attacks, strokes and ultimately a heart transplant. It was a miracle that he could make the journey to come visit us. Though they only came for a short visit, their ‘trial’ run as they called it, it was difficult to say goodbye to them as they left to head home.

The last time I had seen my aunt and uncle was at my wedding, almost 6 years prior. Both of them were vibrant and so full of life. The thought of not seeing them again never crossed my mind. I don’t think it crossed any of our minds.

It’s crazy how we sometimes take those closest to us for granted. We naively assume that they will be around forever. We fail to think of a time when the annual birthday phone calls will stop, or not hearing someone’s voice again. But life is a fickle thing, and it is unrealistic for us to expect anything from life.

Life is short and we need to relish in every interaction that we have with loved ones. Not waste time on petty arguments or disagreements. We need to focus on the bigger picture, and in this case, the bigger picture being the underlying love.

My aunt and uncle asked both my sister and I repeatedly why we didn’t come to visit them. My answer was unclear. Why didn’t we go to see them? Yes I have had unfavorable interactions with people who live close to them, but that didn’t deter me from visiting my aunt and uncle. The thought of visiting them crossed my mind on more than one occasion, but I never bought my flight ticket. Instead I opted to visit warmer climates, seeing monuments that weren’t of any significance in my life. I should have prioritized seeing them.

What if I was too late? What’s the point of taking the time to attend someone’s funeral if you failed to make the effort to see them while they were alive. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to see them again. To converse with them and create memories. To prioritize what is important in my life. I am grateful for having the opportunity.

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Choosing Not To be Offended

In life, people are going to do things that hurt or offend you. Whether their actions are intentional or not, as recipients we are often left with a choice. Are we going to be offended by their actions or no? Personally, I often opt for the latter. I proactively make the decision to give people the benefit of the doubt, and try to understand their perspective.

Recently, I engaged in a discussion on Facebook regarding racism, and whether the actions of a group of university students was racist.

Perhaps I should take a step back and explain the situation. A group of university students attended an “around the world” themed party, whereby they dressed as people from different cultures, mainly from the Asian subcontinent. As expected at a university party, the students indulged in alcohol, and their actions may/may not have been respectful to the countries that they were representing.

Personally, I don’t believe their actions were racist. I think their actions were in poor taste. But I also believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they weren’t educated on the customs of the countries they were representing, but I don’t think they tried to go out of their way to offend people.

They are students. I vividly remember the growing pains of being one. Mentally, I grew into a very different person in university. It was where I started finding my way on this crazy place we call earth. And I don’t support using harsh words for a group of students who made an error in judgement.

Being called a racist isn’t a something one would forget. Yes they offended people, but to call them a name that puts them on the same platform as members of the KKK, in my opinion is not acceptable.

I don’t know the students personally, but I don’t think they actively went out to cause harm. Perhaps as grown adults, we can use this as a teaching opportunity. What are the university leaders doing to teach culture diversity, and educate their students? What are we doing as a society to be inclusive and learn about our neighbors backgrounds?

We don’t grow as a society by isolating a group of people by calling them names. We grow by helping them understand why their actions were offensive to a group of people.

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Thanksgiving Envy!

Today is Thanksgiving in the US. It is officially the only day of the year where I wish I was an American. Not because I think the US is the greatest country on the planet, because I don’t. But because Americans get two paid days of vacation. It’s the only time of the year where you can walk up to your manager and say “sorry boss man, I have to legally take today and tomorrow off, the government is making me”.

Yes its true that I don’t agree with the holiday itself. I don’t support how the Native Indian population was treated, but I support an overworked population getting two days off to breathe and spend time with loved ones. We as a society, unless your brown (we travel in packs), don’t spend enough time with loves ones, creating lasting memories. The majority of the US population is too overworked and underpaid to spend time with the people they are breaking their bones to provide for. When you think about it, It’s a pretty sad reality! Working 12 hour shifts to provide for a family that you barely get to see. The only connection being that the same blood travels through your veins. Thanksgiving is an important holiday where people are afforded the opportunity to spend time together and share in stomach cramping laughter!

I could do with two days off to connect with family and friends! Recently, I’ve been working very long hours. By the time I reach home in the evenings I am exhausted and want to sit in silence. I log in to my brothers Netflix account (because I’m cheap) and put on the first thing I see.

To my American neighbours, enjoy this holiday for the envious green monster north of the border.

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Love

Today I had an eye-opening conversation with a colleague of mine regarding love, and  what it means to truly love. He talked about not understanding the meaning of true love until having his first born child. He was so overwhelmed with the indescribable emotions. He couldn’t find the words to explain the emotion but you could see it on his face and in his expression. It looked like bliss.

Standing there watching him, I couldn’t help but question who I am as a person. Do I love anyone that much in my life? Do I even love myself that much? I questioned if I am a broken person. Not having children myself, I couldn’t relate to what he was talking about. I was filled with self-doubt and convinced that I lack the ability to be completely selfless.

I have a deep-rooted fear of being completely vulnerable to another individual, and have platinum walls up at all times. I question people’s motivations, and don’t always believe peoples sincerity. I know I’m a cynic and take ownership of that. I have a handful of people who I believe love me unconditionally. But I question if I have the same loyalty towards them. Maybe I do and am judging myself harshly, but I don’t know if I can name a single person who I love unconditionally.

I’m envious of people who can so easily express their love to another person. It comes second nature to them. My husband says that I express love in other ways. Clearly he sees something that I don’t!

When people tell me they love me, I have a hard time saying it back. My 3 year old nephew tells me he loves me all the time. However, when I say it back it feels forced. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I almost feel like I’m exposing an area of weakness, that I want to keep hidden. I don’t want people to know how deeply I care because then they can use it against me.

Maybe that’s why I have the wall up, for fear of being hurt. Maybe my husband is right and I do love, I love so deep that if I let people see, they can use it as ammo to hurt me.

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Disconnected

Recently, I’ve found it difficult to connect with people on a human level. I can’t remember the last time I had a genuinely honest conversation with someone, and i’m growing tired of the superficial conversations I have with people. You know, the ones where we instinctively start to discuss whose life is more difficult. It’s like we’re in a rat race, constantly trying to outdo the next person. When the truth is, we are all just going through the motions of life and the growing pains that come along with it.

If I am being completely honest, I have a great life. I work on my flaws and improve on my weaknesses. I work really hard on growing myself into the person I want to be. However, I feel ashamed to let the world know how happy I am. Why? Because people become jealous and envious that you seem so “put together”. They don’t see the behind the scenes hard work I’ve put into the person I am evolving into. They only find reason to be resentful.

I have a very positive outlook on my life. I focus on the positives, and understand that the problem areas can be worked on. I know that nothing in life is constant and I am okay with that. But I don’t spend each day feeling angry about the pain points in my life. I accept them and roll with the punches, and that works for me. It allows me to stay focused and evolve into the person I want to become.

However, I constantly live in a fear that if I let people know how happy I am that they will find me un-relatable. When the truth is, the only difference between us is the outlook we have on life. I don’t see the grey areas in my life as problems. I see them as opportunities to grow. My approach to the grey areas is to accept them and look for a solution, if there isn’t one, I will sit on the problem until I can find one. When I advise people on how to solve problems in their lives, they find my approach too harsh, or they will give me a list of 100 reasons why the solution won’t work. They make the choice to stay pessimistic, and I can feel myself being sucked into the vacuum that is their negativity. And my outlook on life isn’t negative, so I can’t relate. And in turn there is a disconnect between my world and me.

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Canada, You Disappoint Me!

I wasn’t born in Canada, but i’ve always considered myself a proud Canadian. This country has been my home for more than 23 years, and I experienced many of my “firsts” here. My first job, first relationship, first car and first property – all of them were in Canada. But lately, the Canadian government has led me to question my love for this country.

Recently the Canadian government passed Bill C-24 which makes me a second class Canadian citizen. Under this new law, the Canadian government can exile me back to England (where I’m from), even though I haven’t lived there in over two decades.  The government disguises this bill as one that is designed to protect Canadians, but it doesn’t protect Canadians such as myself. It isolates me, and thousands of other Canadians who have been raised in Canada, and don’t know a different life.

This bill is also hypocritical, and against who we are as Canadians (regardless of what the government says I’m Canadian)– let me explain why. In recent years, I volunteered for the UN Women. Through my volunteer work, I was a part of a team that fought for women’s rights all around the world and demanded change.  Under this new Canadian bill, which can easily be used to deport non-terrorists, if I reported a human rights violation by the government and was convicted for a “terrorism offence”, the Canadian government could deport me.

As Canadians, we have always been known as a country of love and acceptance. We fight for what we believe me and do our best to make the world a better place. Bill C-24 acts as a muzzle that makes Canadians such as myself reluctant to help people on the international front. Meanwhile, the Canadian government continues to get involved in international affairs on a daily basis. With it has a military presence in foreign countries and foreign aid, the Canadian government continues to freely do as it pleases on the international front, and I have to second guess my actions? I pay my taxes – which in turn fund these government initiatives, so I am unclear as to why the government sees me as the enemy.

I may not have been born in Canada, but I love this country – probably more than many naturally born Canadians. I grew up here, and this is my home. I want to see this country prosper and I want to be a part of the reason this country is great. But Canada, your two-tier citizenship is disappointing.

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