Monday, 27 October 2014


So, by now, most of us who are interested have heard that the CBC's Jian Ghomeshi has been fired over his sexual practices, which seem to be centered around the BDSM culture. For those of you unfamiliar, BDSM is defined as "erotic practices involving dominance and submission, roleplay and restraint".

He is suing the CBC for $50 million (taxpayer dollars), claiming both defamation, and an unjust termination based on his sexual preferences. And if they were firing him just because he was involved in BDSM, this would most certainly be the case. It would be the equivalent of firing someone because of their sexual orientation, or because they have tattoos. Not fair.

However, what seems to be missing for many people in the discussion of whether or not the CBC ought to have terminated his employment is the fact that three women have come forward with claims of sexual abuse. Ghomeshi has countered this, saying that he has never engaged in sex with a non-consenting partner, and that the claims of abuse are most likely lies planted by a crazy ex-girlfriend.

I can't speak to his crazy ex-girlfriends, but I can talk a bit about BDSM culture and abuse. BDSM can be violent--it is frequently centered around seeking pleasure in pain. To someone unfamiliar with the culture, it might seem like anyone engaging in this sort of sexual practice deserves whatever abuse they get. But this is not the case. Making this assumption is, in fact, the same thing as saying that a woman in slutty clothes deserves to be raped.

The reason? There is something of a golden rule in BDSM culture that REAL and FINAL power lies in the hands of the submissive. This means if at any point the submissive gets uncomfortable and says "Stop" or some other safeword, it is the dominant's responsibility to do as he or she is told. If the dominant (in this case Ghomeshi) were to ignore this rule, he would no longer be engaged in the same sexual act the submissive originally consented to. In BDSM, an act morphs from consensual sex to sexual abuse the moment final power is wrested from the hands of the submissive.

Now, I'm not saying that this is absolutely the case with Ghomeshi. I don't know, I wasn't there. But I feel like if this is a case of Ghomeshi repeatedly breaking the golden rule BDSM and hurting women who didn't know what they were getting into, the CBC is most certainly right in terminating his employment, because what we are dealing with is an illegal act of sexual abuse. Too often in our culture we are willing to write off the words of a woman claiming sexual abuse as just that -- a groundless claim. I for one am glad that the CBC is taking these allegations seriously, and I hope that there is a full and fair investigation.

It is also my hope that people won't lose sight of the three women who came forward. This isn't a question of whether a person should be fired for engaging in BDSM culture--the answer to that is a simple "absolutely not." The question here is, should a person be fired for perpetrating sexual abuse to which the answer, in my book, is yes.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Forgetting to Remember / Remembering to Forget

I have come to the realization over the past few years that I have a memory like a sieve. And I'm not just talking walking into a room and forgetting what I went in there for (although that happens, too, many times over the course of a day). It isn't just my short term memory that's shot--I'm not just forgetting where I put things, or what appointments I have in a day, or what I was saying from one sentence to the next -- I'm also forgetting large chunks of my own history.

Short term memory I'm not too worried about. If I rehearse a thing enough it'll still stick. And if not, there's always the option of writing things down. Being forgetful in the short term is irritating at times, but I don't think it affects Who I Am.

My slowly dying long-term memory is a different issue, however. The speed at which I am losing memories is increasing--it used to be that I had trouble remembering things from childhood. Now I have forgotten almost all of my childhood, and have trouble remembering who I was last year, last month. Someone will try to remind me of something that happened in my childhood, and I'll draw a total blank. Someone will try to remind me of an argument we had a month ago, and again, total blank. It is interesting that most of what I'm forgetting seems to be negative things. Cruel things done to me, or that I have done, sad things, moments of anger and confusion and upset. Poof, gone, like they never happened. I don't know why my mind seems to be locking away all of my negative memories -- and, here is the really alarming bit : I've stopped caring.

In fact, I've actually started to enjoy it. Its sort of nice not being able to remember any of the bad crap in my life--it makes it much easier to forgive and move on. Sometimes I will have a vague sense that I've been wronged by someone, but because I can't pin it on any specific recollection, the feeling fades away soon enough. Sure, it might be difficult to maintain any sort of identity without really clearly knowing where I came from--but what I can remember of where I came from was worth forgetting in the first place.

So, onward, forward, and no looking back. If I want to look back, that's why I keep this blog, and have a camera. A true archivist, I will select those memories worth preserving and discard the rest--save that shelf space for something more vital.

In honour of Halloween, though, let me share with you something a bit on the creepy side which I think might be related to my memory gaps--or might not.

I have started talking like a little girl in my sleep. Child Stevie, the one adult Stevie's subconscious seems so hellbent on forgetting comes out at night and says things like "Help" and "I don't want to!" and "You can't make me!"

Proof of this? Both my mother and my boyfriend have heard me do it,
Further proof?
How about a suitably spooky and poorly done recording? 'tis the season. You hear me say "I don't want to! Don't want to!" and some other sleepybabble.

Further to this creepiness, I've started having dreams--at least once a week now. Dreams where I am running through dilapidated, mold-ridden, collapsing, rat-infested iterations of my childhood homes. I spend my nights scampering through these "rooms of ruin", breathing in the cinnamon scent of mummified mice and old paper, and I look for things. Childhood relics. I find them on shelves, or perched precariously under a bit of ceiling about to fall in, or under all the ooze and muck and grime, and I find them, and I salvage them. I am driven to do it. Salvaging these trinkets in my dreams is the most important thing. Sometimes I am being chased by something that threatens my life, but I still always find the time to pluck a jewelry box from the closet where I'm hiding and stow it away, with the sense that even if I'm killed now, at least I've accomplished something. 

Simple analogy, perhaps. Houses--particularly childhood homes, are meant to represent the mind. Mine is collapsing. The trinkets are the memories that are left. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Thanks Giving

So, Canadian Thanksgiving was this past weekend and although we didn't celebrate in the traditional sense, I thought I'd harness the spirit of the season and throw down a few things from the past year that I have been thankful for (in no particular order):

* First of all I am thankful that my Dad wasn't horribly crushed in his tractor accident a few weeks back.

What's left of the tractor

* I am thankful for having a family that I am close to, and getting closer to. Even if we don't always agree and sometimes have fighting and sadness and hurt feelings--in the end its all worth it.
* I am thankful for the friendships I am building/rebuilding. I am grateful for all of the people who let me be a part of their lives and put up with my weirdness.
*I am thankful for Stewart--for his patience, gentleness, warmth, intelligence, and humor.
*I am thankful that I have a truly great set of co-workers that make going to work a pleasure. Likewise, I am thankful for my job which has enough variety and fast-paced interesting action to keep me busy and absorbed for hours and hours.
*I am thankful that I seem to have matured from the person I was even this time last year. I am more honest with myself and others, and this has had the added benefit of making me feel less shitty about myself.
*I am thankful for nachos and salsa, which I have recently rediscovered.
*I am thankful for nerdy television, which will get me through the coming winter.
*I am thankful, always, for hot baths. Preferably hot baths with candles, incense, bath salts, and a beverage.
*I am thankful that I have rediscovered the joys of reading for pleasure in the past year.
*I am thankful for my health plan.
*I  am thankful for my little RAV, and my drivers license, which let me get from place to place to place at a whim. They don't call me "road warrior" for nothing.
* I am thankful for the unseasonably warm October we've been having.

For awhile there I was keeping a gratitude journal--writing down five things every day that I was grateful for. You'd think this would be hard, but really it's not. The world is full of amazing things--small miracles and big ones--that can be seen only when you're in the frame of mind to look. I'd like to get back in the habit of a gratitude journal. Its a good way to remind oneself that no matter how you square it, things are never as bad as you might first think. There is always *something* to be thankful for,

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Master of Extremes

Because talking about myself never gets old--AHAHAHAHAHAHA

ahem. . .
Trying to get out a thought that's been bobbling about in my head all day regarding two equal and opposing beliefs about myself that I hold with absolute conviction.

The first will surprise those of you that spend any amount of time with me. I believe, with every fiber of my being, that I am a great person--maybe even an amazing person, with massive amounts of potential, mad skillz. a good head on her shoulders, more personality than your average bear, a unique way of looking at the world, and a good deal of inherent strength.

At the same time, I believe, just as strongly, that I aim a huge failed waste of flesh, and should probably be trampled to death by a rogue mammoth. This will be more familiar to those around me, as I tend to talk myself down more than up (something I think I do because I fear talking myself up would make me unbearable to be near--and I'm already unbearable enough (there she goes again)).

Having these two contrary self images--that I am invaluable, and that I am un-valuable; that I am both awesome and insignificant--sometimes feels like the emotional equivalent of being strung up spread-eagled on barbed wire, being pulled in two different directions.

You might laugh, say "Stevie, Stevie. Don't you know you are not either of these things? You are just a human, like anyone. You have successes, you make mistakes" , and I would have to agree. Let me rephrase : CONSCIOUSLY , LOGICALLY , and RATIONALLY I would be inclined to agree. Unfortunately I am rarely rational, infrequently logical, and usually just barely conscious. I am unable to disabuse myself of either the notion that I am somehow super, or the notion that I am superfluous. I have been trying, for a long time.

So, I suppose my question for you, dear reader, is this : do you ever feel this same way? Torn between two extremes, neither of which reflects the reality in which you exist?