My Girl Squad

When people think of a group of girls, they often associate them with “cat fights”, “being bitchy” or the movie “mean girls”. But when I hit my lowest point, I found myself being uplifted by some truly exceptional women. The more I opened up about my negative self-reflection, the more determined these women became to rally around me to provide me with the support I didn’t realize I needed.

It was a strange feeling.

When it comes to my emotions, I have a history of being more introverted. I don’t really engage in friendships and I like to keep my circle very small. I have acquaintances, but not friends. Yes there is a difference.

But in this instance, I knew I needed help. I had to expand outside my regular circle. If people reached out to me and asked me how I was doing, I told them the truth. I told them I was struggling. Those who didn’t want to support me brushed over the topic, and those who wanted to help constantly checked in on me. I was okay with either. If you didn’t want to help me, I appreciated the indirect honesty. But, if you did, god bless you, you have no idea how much solace I found in our conversations.

I appreciated the advice and I appreciated the support. I truly felt like they were my pillars when I couldn’t stand on my own. I also appreciated the people who were around me who didn’t necessarily have the life experiences to guide me, but were around to just be around. To step in when I felt like I was going to have a mental breakdown. To fill in the gaps where I felt I was weak.

My girl squad was and has been my greatest blessing throughout this experience. I started to understand the importance of expanding my circle and investing my time and energy in relationships that I may have otherwise overlooked.

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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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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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