Wednesday, 23 November 2011

How to be a Bad Ass Girl Guide...

So back in the day I was a Girl Guide for a lonnnng time. We're talking 10 years here. Which is no laughing matter. (Ok its a lil funny) I used to feel embarrassed when I told people about this particular part of me. I mean c'mon. How many people do you know who went to Spark camp, Brownies, Girl Guides, Pathfinders annnd Rangers? It seems like a lifetime ago, but yes, I collected badges, sold cookies and wore the most ridiculous (and might I add 80's looking colour combo'd) outfits on a regular basis.

And what can I say that its done for me?

Actually a hellluva lot. While most kids were hanging out at home on random Wednesday nights, I was at Girl Guides, going outside, learning how to sew, making christmas tree ornaments, playing circle games, singing camp songs, telling ghost stories and planning ahead for camping trips. It sounds super chipper, and it was for the most part. But do you know what this armed me with? A serious understanding and practical knowledge of the outdoor world. Ok fine maybe not the ornaments, ghost stories or circle games, but the other stuff definitely. At 6 years old I could go to the bathroom in the woods; at 7 years old, I knew how to forage for appropriate kindling and construct a teepee fire; by 8 I was steering a canoe; and by the time I was 16 I could create a meal plan for a 3 day trip, pack an overnight sack, hang my own food out of the reach of bears and tell you the best strategy for manhunt. I was basically a highly trained espionage agent...

On the real, I am so thankful that I was handed these amazing experiences. Girl Guides helped to ground me. It gave me a strong platform to build on and helped me earn a degree in Environmental studies that I can say I am proud of. Every day this understanding aids me in thinking critically about the issues affecting the natural world in a socially thoughtful and politically motivated way. Also, if shit goes down, I know how to handle business.

I know everyone these days is kinda freaked out about where the world is headed and moreover the whole 2012 thing. But if your like me, and you believe that things happen for a reason, than I have to share something with you.

(Before I lay it all out there, I want you to suspend your disbelief for 2 whole minutes and then you can do whatever you want with this information)

I strongly believe that what you put out there comes back to you. Specifically, if you put good vibes into anything, school or work for example, (and you work hard), you will see results. This isn't some BS I dreamt up to get you on side; I truly believe this works. It's called positive manifestation. Literally, if you think about it hard enough, put all of your positive energy into it, and give it your best, eventually it will manifest. (Obviously timeline is crucial to most of us and that's why this concept is lost on far too many, but alas I digress). Now let's flip the script. If you put out negative energy, or simply put your energy into negative actions, than the reverse is to be expected. Like for example, if your in a shitty mood, and your depressed or angry about something, what are the chances that you stub your toe. (It's happened to all of us, and yes maybe its just coincidence, but isn't all coincidence the outcome of some action heretofore unknown i.e. in your craptacular mood, you didn't feel like pushing in that chair all the way? Or rather a nudge from the universe to stop you in your tracks?) Sounds inane enough but when it happens it only adds insult to injury, spurring on your original depression or anger, and thus the negativity continues in a self-perpetuating cycle.

If we think about this logically, than what are the chances that all of the negative energy out there, propelled forward by mass poverty, greed, pollution and fear-mongering by the media, manifests in some catastrophic way?

Hold the phone! wait a minute you say! What about Y2K?! Everyone thought something bad was gonna happen, and nothing did! The worst that came out of that was some crazy people hoarding bottled water and canned food in their basements!

Fair enough. I'm only bringing this up for arguments sake. I believe that something is going to happen. Whether it be a continuation of all the earthquakes, tsunami's, volcanic eruptions, disease outbreaks and riots that have already arisen, a zombie apocalypse or just a mass paradigm shift of how we think about the world. (Paradigm shift meaning a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind - in this case a shift away from greed or rather a shift towards conscientious thought).

What I'm tryna tell ya, is that if shit goes down, you best bet that I'm using all of my Girl Guide knowledge to keep me alive. Like I said, I believe that things happen for a reason. Maybe there was no reason why my parents decided it was a good idea to send me, a scrawny lil brown girl, to Sparks way back in the early 90s. Or maybe the reason has yet to unfold. Who knows? All I know is that I'm educated, empowered and I have a plan. (No, I can't share it with you, but I can definitely help you, and maybe if we're close enough friends, than you can come along too). In the mean time I want to make sure all of you are well protected.

Maybe I sound a little hysterical or just plain ridiculous, but this is some free advice (take it or leave it) -- Think about how your actions might impact the lives of other and live your life (to the fullest) in a conscientious way. And for god's sake learn some survival skills a la Girl Guides.. there's nothing wrong with being prepared.

to be continued...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

It's all Good to be Good

So this past weekend, I celebrated my sisters birthday.  It was a really fun time, involving a group of lovely 30something ladies, copious amounts of alcohol and dirrrrty house music as she puts it. 

What can you possibly learn from a group of women such as this?  Other than some super fun (and retro) dance moves, various methods of how NOT to get on a streetcar, and how to score free spinach & cheese pies?... Well theres always life lessons. 

Which got me thinking...

Somewhere on this night of excitement and exuberance, I found that not only are women really cool to hang out with, but generally speaking, tend to be awesome people.  I look around me, being the only 20something in the room and realize that these people are speaking my language.  They get it.  So I perk up my ears, open my mind and just listen. (something a lot of people my age constantly neglect to do)  What I heard was so amazing.  

In the course of one evening I found that other people understand the value of being good to others.  Not earth shattering stuff, but real nevertheless.  This is something that I'm always on the lookout for and never seem to find (mostly because I work in retail)

In more than one setting, and in more than one way, I saw it first hand.  A respect and love for others that ultimately transcends race, religious affilition, status and so much more.  I saw and heard these women talk about their life experiences (and fine in the context of a party, it didn't go in depth), but they did in a real way. 

For example.  I had a conversation about homeless people.  What do you do when you see a homeless person on the street?  When your stopped at a red light and that bearded homeless guy is petitioning uncomfortable looking drivers for spare change while haphazardly waving around a squeegee?  When the crazy lady on the corner asks you again for a hand out?  While your just walking home after the club and see a lump under a jacket with just a scraggly mutt for company?

I was always taught to be nice.  If you don't feel comfortable giving out your money, for whatever reason, you at least give that person the respect of direct eye contact, a smile and a wish for their day to get better, or some variation thereof.  I've never, ever, seen my dad for example be rude, snotty, or cold to someone who had less than him, because I honestly thought it never occurred to him to act as such.

And why should he have? 

So anyways, the night moved to Rasputin's Vodka Lounge, to more drinking and a hell of a lot more dancing.  I love to dance by the way.  It's definitely part of my roots, and it always succeeds in making me all kinds of happy.  We pretty much took over the dancefloor and made an awesome party and with these huge fans blowing warm, humid, club air on us, it felt like we were in another world.  It was good times and with all the good vibes floating around, there weren't any bad feelings when we all got on the streetcar at the end of the night, only to then rapidly exit cuz one of the ladies (who shall remain unnamed) didn't quite manage to stay with the pack.

But again, this only helped to strengthen the group.  And it had me reeling, when one of the ladies jumped off the streetcar, followed by my sis, followed by me, followed by everyone else (who had just paid).  May the record state that for the night in question, no one was left behind...amazing right?

I have had so many nights where people get lost, go off with randoms, go for food or just fuck off somewhere, and this was very different.  It was foreign to me almost, because the lady in the lead was so adamant about finding our dawdler that the whole group followed suit.

And why not?

It makes sense.  If you actually publicly call someone your friend, than why not actually act like a friend.  Far too often, we are caught up in the label of a friendship and actually forget to be GOOD to people.  Which is only kinda surprising.  But again, people in my generation don't often care to commit to their friendships, and aren't actually there for their friends.  I'm sure your guilty of it, and so am I at some point.  Regardless, this night really taught me something.

BE GOOD TO PEOPLE.  It doesn't matter if that person is your BFF (Best Fucking Friend) or a homeless stranger on the street.  Give them your respect.  Because only then can you expect it in return.  (Not that you should only give to receive).  It's called reciprocity.

And by the way, our move as a group to go back and find our lost companion will go on to be referred to here as a classic example of instant Karma.  Karma in the form of a gay man, who was locked out of his building at 3:30 in the morning at the exact time we were finally making our way back home, that felt the need in his heart, to buy us all spinach and cheese pies.  For no other reason than we were there, we were fabulous and we were hungry.

I love when it all makes sense.

- sending you urban hippie love and good vibes so that you too may find some good karma :)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A New Age: the Urban Hippie

As a young, innocent, recent grad from the Bachelors of Environment program (Environment & Culture: Philosophy, Arts, Technology and Culture) at York University, I’ve so far experienced a lot of heartache and melancholy.  Mostly because I haven’t found a great job.

So, here I am.  Starting this blog.  Because I want to do something meaningful in the meantime.

I realized over the summer, while the beautiful city of Toronto is crawling with hipsters and fashion forward people, that I lie somewhere in the indistinct middle.  At times I can appear very “hip”.  This regrettably only means that I take an extra hour to get ready in the morning.  Other times, I am what one would call my true self - I am comfortable.  The milieu is the interesting part.  I rationalize all of this by telling myself that I neither care (which sometimes is not true), or I am above all those people who take themselves too seriously (I’m not).

So with that in mind, I am starting this here blog.  So that I can actually quantify how all of this makes me truly feel deep down.

I would formally like to introduce to you (drum roll please…) the Urban Hippie.

I am what you would call an Urban Hippie.  I love being outside, going canoeing, camping and playing guitar.  I also love fashion and beauty products, doing my hair, clubbing till the wee hours of the morning and driving my car (for the most part).  So this is how I am reconciling my two alter-egos.  At some level I find it soothing because I know there are others like me.  People who went to Girl Guides for 10 years and who clubbed their asses off in their university days.  People who don’t scream at the sight of bugs and who (closeted) watch Jersey Shore.  People who know how to start a raging campfire and identify more than 5 species of plants that grow locally (garlic mustard, marigold, Jewel-weed otherwise known as “touch-me-not’s”, milkweed, American Ash, Sugar Maple) and who know how to navigate all of the majors in Toronto while texting (sorry dad) and wearing 4 inch pumps.

I am reaching out to you.  Because I think - quite shrewdly - that I’m not alone.  The only thing more closeted than Queen Latifah and Tom Cruise put together is the Urban Hippie.

Welcome :)