Showing some skin

It looks like it’s officially the warm season, which means I will be miserable for the next four months from a lack of sleep in my sauna of an apartment.

Warm weather and I don’t mix—never have, probably never will—but I have learned a wonderful way to cope.

Wanna know the secret? It’s called not giving a fuck.

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I’m a plus sized woman, and as such society has wanted us to remain covered up so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of those who fit the appropriate mold.

Thankfully, the body positive movement has made it a little better for those of us deemed plus sized. However, getting past the whole, ‘I can’t show off my legs because they aren’t perfect’ mentality is hard to break.

I didn’t wear anything shorter than capris for YEARS, which could be sweltering and awful. Then I hit my 30s and said ‘to hell with this shit!’ and wore whatever the fuck I felt like. Including above the knee shorts.

I wear shorts and show off my big thighs; I wear tank tops and show off my big arms. Don’t like it? Offended by my body fat? Too fucking bad.

This feels like a good time to trot out this little track—consider it my body positive jam for the summer.

Miss Eaves is utterly amazing, do check out her other videos.

So here’s to the next few months of sweat, sunburns, and heat exhaustion. Ugh.

-A.

Until the violence stops

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler’s collection of frank and honest discussions with women about their vaginas.

There’s humour, tears, and a powerful message delivered by groups of amazing women—what more could you want?

Last year I finally took the step and signed up to be a Vagina Warrior when the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society decided to mix things up and do ‘A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer,’ the sister show to ‘The Vagina Monologues.’ It was a much more serious show—heavier content and triggers galore. Out of all the monologues that hadn’t been claimed, I chose the one I found to be slightly less traumatizing: ‘Blueberry Hill,’ a young woman’s recount of how she was nearly gang raped at a party and how she fought them off.

That was the LEAST traumatizing.

Being part of that show with all those woman that I’d known, but not known well, was an incredible experience. I even let people hug me by then end.

I first saw The Vagina Monologues when I was in university. My roommate and another friend invited me to join them for this play thing about vaginas. Being the open-minded, free speech-loving, modern woman that was still a little wary about the label “feminist,” but wanting to expand my horizons, I went.

Oh, how the horizons expanded.

Never before had I heard any woman talking so openly about their “down theres” and their experiences as women in this world. Some I couldn’t relate to, as I wasn’t a mother, nor a woman living in a war-torn country, but the monologues about hair and short skirts I could relate to. And it was amazing.

At that time I wasn’t much of a crier when it came to sad movies or shows or plays, but hearing about a women in a rape camp in Bosnia, female genital mutilation, and the assault women are faced with on a daily basis got to me. I think it was then that I began to embrace the label of ‘Feminist.’

But the one that stuck out the most for me, the one that had the greatest impact, was when this gal stomped out on stage in a leather skirt and knee high boots and said “My vagina is pissed off!”

Mind. Blown.

She continued her rant about tampons and thongs and gyno visits—It was like someone had collected my own thoughts about being a woman some days and performed it on stage in a small theatre in Kelowna, BC. I cheered when she was done.

And now, 13-odd years later, I get to do the same thing.

The ‘My Angry Vagina’ monologue will be performed by me in a 400-person theatre in Fort St. John, BC, next month. I always said if I ever got the guts to take part in the show, that would be my monologue. And this year it is.

Those that are in my area should come out to the North Peace Cultural Centre on Feb. 23. Those not in my area should seek out a production nearby and take it in. These shows are usually fundraisers for local non-profits, so it’s for a good cause.

Who knows? You might learn a thing or two.

-A.

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Oprah for president?

If you didn’t watch the Golden Globes last night, you may have missed the future president of the United States making a speech.

Here, give it a watch, I’ll wait.

After that glorious speech, many on social media were calling for Ms. Winfrey to run for the highest office in the land in 2020. And really, why the hell not? If America is all about having celebrities run their country, they could do a hell of a lot worse (and currently are).

Oprah comes from nothing, built herself up and created an empire that is actually successful! She didn’t get any handouts to get herself started and hasn’t gone bankrupt several times over—you want a businessperson running the country, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one!

Imagine having a woman this eloquent giving a press conference, or the State of the Union address, or hell, even an inauguration speech—feeling uplifted and inspired rather than ‘holy shit, what have we done?!’

Yes, she’s got little experience in political office, but Winfrey’s a damn smart woman, and damn smart people know that when they don’t know something, they turn to advisors and those with experience in such matters to help guide them to make the best decisions for the people.

Also, there wouldn’t be any tweets letting her followers and the world know that she’s “like, really smart”—smart people don’t have to say they’re smart, their actions tend to prove that point.

While I think America should veer away from this disastrous experiment in allowing non-politicians to run their country, if Ms. Winfrey did decide to throw her name in the race in two years, I wouldn’t be against it (especially sitting from the sidelines north of the 49th parallel).

However, there are currently plenty of women in office right now that have the right experience and could be potential candidates, with the proper support. So maybe look to them as well? Just a thought.

Side Note: I fucking LOVE Oprah’s glasses. Seriously, glasses aren’t seen as a hinderance to looking amazing anymore. You can go to a gala and rock your glasses rather than cram plastic bits into your eyes—LOVE IT!

-A.

 

Do no harm, but take no shit

This has been a hell of a year for sexual violence.

That men (and the occasional woman) are finally being held accountable for their gross actions is a HUGE step in the right direction, but as always, we have so far yet to go.

Calling out those in power that have abused others gained so much momentum thanks to a resurgence of the #MeToo movement. Originally started by social activist Tarana Burke in 2006, it exploded on Twitter this year with thousands of women (and plenty of men) sharing their stories of being sexually harassed, assaulted, and abused. Every woman you talk to has a story, whether it’s being catcalled, having unsolicited dick pics sent to their phone, having their ass grabbed, or being violently raped, be it by a total stranger or someone they thought could be trusted.

We all have story.

The New Yorker exposé on Harvey Weinstein is a difficult, often nauseating read, but because of that story, it’s no longer a so-called “open secret” that he’s regularly committed sexual assault against numerous women. There had been allegations against other powerful men earlier in the year, but the Weinstein story set off a domino effect, with more and more women—powerful women, no less—coming forward. It showed the world that sexual harassment happens to all women, no matter how rich and famous.

Having the “Silence Breakers” as TIME’s Person of the Year was a monumental step for women finding the courage to speak out about sexual assault and harassment. This was the year that people finally started listening, or at the very least acknowledging, that women experience sexual violence and harassment on a regular basis. It’s everywhere right now—you can’t turn around without hearing about another politician or celebrity that did some very bad shit to multiple women and men.

This is a good thing. Breaking the silence about serial abusers will save others from becoming victims and hopefully help those that have been victims start to heal. Who would have thought at the start of this long, ridiculous year that we’d actually be having these discussions? Especially after the most powerful country on earth voted a known sexual assaulter into the Oval Office.

Then you get people like Matt Damon saying stupid shit like this and it makes you wonder if we’ll ever move out of the dark ages.

I’m sorry (not really), but any time someone mentions this man, all I can picture is this:

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Not raping someone doesn’t make you a goddamn hero, it makes you the bare minimum of a decent human being. So no, we’re not going to start praising the menfolk that have somehow managed to not stick their dick where it’s not wanted. Try listening with your ears instead of your mouth, dude.

Yes, we’re talking a lot about those men, because we need to talk about those men. Get used to it, the tide is turning and we are not taking that shit anymore. This is a conversation that’s been needed for decades, so it’s going to go on for quite a while. The Matt Damons of the world need to take a seat, and people need to stop asking their opinion.

As this mindfuck of a year winds down (remember how batshit 2016 was and we all thought 2017 would be better? Oh, we were so naive) the momentum that started needs to continue into 2018 and beyond.

To those that have come forward, anonymously or not, you are heroes to so many of us and we are grateful for your courage. To those that haven’t come forward yet, know that you are not alone.

-A.