When the Devil Dies the Demons Linger on…

butterfly let go

A few days ago my mom sent me a message saying “he passed away”… Since I read that sentence I’ve been in a physically fully functioning emotional coma… I’m going through the motions of life… Working, socialising, going through the daily requirements… but inside..? Inside I’m frozen… I’m dead… I just don’t know how to react…

You see… “he” is the devil who stole my childhood… who, for 6 years, from 3 – 9 years of age, abused me, terrorized me, and threatened my family if I were to say anything… So, I never did… My wings were clipped and I just carried the weight of guilt and shame with me well into my 30s…

Burdon

Until I read that sentence “he passed away” I honestly thought I had dealt with it, I thought I had moved on, I truly thought I had healed… And now, here I sit… feeling like I am a little kid again… lost and scared… Add on angry and full of regret…

On some level I wish I had confronted him, my demon, yelled at him for taking away my innocence… for filling me with shame filled self loathing, which in turn led me to 15ish years of self destruction… drugs, promiscuity, suicide attempts… and yet, what good would that do? He wouldn’t have cared… if he apologised… would that make me feel better? Would it, in fact, heal me, give me closure? Probably not, his smirk, his arrogance, it most likely would have killed me…

So, I guess I have a lot more work to do than I had thought… a lot more healing, a lot more coping… I need to find a way to allow forgiveness into my heart… a way to forgive myself and to forgive him… I can’t keep dragging this boulder of hatred around with me… I am better than that… better, stronger, smarter, more beautiful… I just need to allow my wings to be set free…

 

free butterfly

Warrior Women

As I walk through this world, a seemingly, beaten and worn down woman… A woman who has suffered at the hands of cowardly men who abused her for their own sick sense of power and then turn around and blame her for their actions; men who took from her what should have been hers to give; men who left scars so deep that they will never truly heal… physical scars she sees each and every day that force her to revisit the emotional and spiritual scars from so many years ago…

I oft times wonder “how am I still standing? How do I go on each day with a smile on my face and some semblance of peace in my heart?” These are just a few of the questions that are thrown at me whenever I tell my story…

My only answer is, I do it because of the women who came before me, the brave warriors who fought so courageously, who laid a path for me to fight and conquer my demons, so that I can, somehow, put one foot in front of the other and blaze my own trail of freedom, of strength, of power, of femininity, of kindness, of compassion, of love…

These cowardly men may have taken from me what was only mine to give, but they have not won, for each day I wake up with new sense of determination and focus, to not allow them to break me down… to not allow them to destroy me… but to fill myself up with pride, confidence, beauty, and love…

To those women who went before me, I humbly and sincerely thank you… to those women who walk with me, may our heads always be held high, may we hold each other up when we feel like falling down… to those women who will see the trail left by me and my sisters, may it guide you to a place of strength, power, self-respect, dignity, equality, faith, hope, kindness, compassion and love… and may your trail be one much less volatile than those that walked before you…

Peace 

International Women’s Day, #IWD2014

While I appreciate the sentiments of “Happy International Women’s Day” and all the wonderful men thanking the strong and powerful women in their lives… to me, that is not what International Women’s Day is all about, it’s not Mother’s Day, it’s not Valentine’s Day, it’s not Thanksgiving… 

International Women’s Day is not simply a celebration of women worldwide, it’s a day, yes, just one day out of 365, to recognise our struggles, to bring awareness to how much work we have to accomplish to reach our goal of equality… This year’s theme by the United Nations is “Inspiring Change”… Below are just a few of the changes that are needed for women and girls around the world… 

 

  • It’s about providing free and safe education for all females…
    • There are 600 million girls living in the developing world. Two-thirds of the world’s uneducated children are girls, and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women.**

 Education

  • It’s about providing Equal Rights for Marginalized Women Workers….
    • Many working women continue to face sex discrimination and other unfair treatment on the job, including sexual harassment and assault, wage theft, unequal pay, and other injustices. Women in male-dominated industries and those who are marginalized by race, poverty, immigration status, and/or sexual orientation often confront multiple barriers to equal opportunity and fair treatment at work. ***

 equal rights

  • It’s about a woman’s right to make decisions concerning her own body….
    • Pro-choice, the right for a woman to make her own decisions regarding abortions
    • Ending arranged, forced, under-aged marriages; The right to marry who we want, if we want

 my-body-my-choice

  • It’s about ending violence against women…
    • According to a study done by the World Health Organisation, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner*

 ending violence

  • It’s about all females living shame free…
    • Stop victim blaming
    • End rape culture
    • Stop shaming the victims and protecting the attackers
    • Allowing our girls to grow up feeling good about their body image, respecting themselves and being the strong, powerful, beautiful, funny, creative, talented, successful people they were born to be.

 Things that cause rape

So, this is what International Women’s Day means to me, it’s not only honouring the amazing women in our lives, which we should do every day anyway, but it’s about standing up, both females and males, and taking action, finding solutions. It’s about a world I can show my niece with pride, a world where she and all our sisters are safe, and honoured, and educated and healthy and proud….

 

“So, until all my sisters are free, really, none of us are free…”

 “Equality for women is progress for all” ~ From the United Nations page for IWD

 Here’s hoping to one day not have a need for International Women’s Day…

 international-womens-day--001

 

 * http://www.unwomen.org/

** http://www.educatinggirlsmatters.org/

*** http://www.equalrights.org/

 

Hate is hate, and the Salvation Army is full of it…

After posting the article a few weeks back, about the Salvation Army’s long running history of their anti-LGBT, homophobic beliefs, I was presented with this question:

“How can you deny the great work that the Salvation Army does for the public at large? Why does their stance on LGBT issues have to come into play, that’s their right to believe how they believe? Why should I withhold my money from an organisation that provides such great charitable work to the needy?”

Needless to say, this person is no longer my friend on Facebook, or in the real world… My answer to this is… Hate is hate, no matter how you wrap it up to disguise it, hate is hate…. No matter how many Santa’s on street corners, no matter how many donation kettles in stores, no matter how many people are helped by the money collected, hate is hate…

If the work you do is segregated, if you are selective in who you help, then your work is not true charity… Webster’s top two definitions of the word ‘charity’ are:

  1. benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
  2. generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also :  aid given to those in need

NOT:

  1. benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity; UNLESS YOU ARE OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY
  2. generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also :  aid given to those in need; UNLESS YOU ARE OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY

The Salvation Army has a long history of trying (and on occasion succeeding) in wielding their power to fight against the equal rights of our LGBT community… See the Huffington Post article here…  

I can’t, and won’t, ever support any group that actively promotes hate… There are so many wonderful charitable organisations out there that do as much ‘good’ for the world, and their mission is to help people, ALL people, regardless of their sexual orientation, their skin colour, their nationality, their religious choices, their genders, etc…

The Canadian Red Cross’ Mission Statement is: “The Canadian Red Cross mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.”

United Way Toronto’s Mission Statement is:  “To meet urgent human needs and improve social conditions by mobilizing the community’s volunteer and financial resources in a common cause of caring.”

With organisations like these, and countless others, all encompassing, inclusive, accepting, organisations, how on earth could I give my money to a group that promotes inequality, segregation, and hatred… Sorry Salvation Army…. but until you learn the true meaning of the word ‘charity’ you won’t ever have my support….

Peace

A Big Girl’s Fairytale…

Once upon a time there was a girl who, after the most difficult and tragic year of her life, gathered up as much courage as she could and went on vacation alone…

While sitting on the beach and speaking in Spanish to one of her dear friends who lived in the Dominican and worked on the beach, she overheard two girls sitting behind her, two absolutely beautiful, skinny, model-esque girls, talking about her… They were saying things like, “I wouldn’t even leave the house if I had a body like hers let alone go out in a bathing suit in public” and “how on earth someone could let themselves go like that is beyond me.” Some more comments, more harsh and thoughtless comments, followed…

The only thing this girl could hope for is that these two models thought the girl didn’t speak English and that’s why they were being so loud, and heartless with their words… This girls friend saw the change of expression on her face and he asked what was wrong, as strong as she tried to be, a tear rolled down her cheek and she looked at him and in Spanish, said “nothing my friend, I just missed you so much and am glad to see your sweet face” He then hugged her, told her to stop crying and enjoy her vacation…

As her friend walked away, she stared at the ocean, quietly sobbed for a few minutes, and begged God to release the anger and sadness in her heart… By some miracle, God did just that… right in front of her beach chair she saw a teeny tiny crab doing a little crab dance, side to side, as if he was performing just for her… She wiped her tears, and smiled, and the smile grew to a laugh and the laughter grew to release… She no longer felt sad and angry, AND she felt forgiveness, she forgave the models for their hateful words and she forgave herself, for allowing their words to hurt her so deeply…she felt connected to the universe and all of its wondrous, mystical and magical, beauty… When the crab finally disappeared under the sand she lay back on her beach chair and began to enjoy the feeling of the warmth from the sun on her BEAUTIFUL body, she put on her iPod and she found peace…

An hour later this girl was hungry so she got up to go to the beach front restaurant for her daily hotdog and as she passed by the two models, she looked at them right in the eyes and with a big genuine smile she said “I hope you beautiful girls enjoy your vacation!!” The shock on their faces proved her earlier suspicions that they didn’t think she spoke English… and then there was a look of fear… to which she replied “The Dominican is a magical place girls, I hope you discover it and appreciate it!”

The girl went to the restaurant and enjoyed her hotdog, and the rest of her vacation… And that night, at the buffet, they were serving crab legs; in honour of her earlier gift from God, she chose not to eat them! And she, so far, is living happily ever after…

Shameless Self Promotion… If I don’t… who will?

bragging

A few weeks ago a local stand up comic, Mark Forward, posted the following message on Facebook

 “Recently I realized no one will promote you in this country unless you do it yourself. So, I’ve been trying to do that. Maybe I post things too often or too much, but I’m just feeling it out. Sometimes you post something five times, and no one sees it. Now, I know, we as Canadians for some reason frown upon self promotion. But I just wanted to thank you all for sticking with me, and being so supportive and kind with everything I post. That’s all. It’s the Canadian in me that feels I need to apologize for promoting myself. Hopefully one day, we promote our own. Cheers.”

 

Reading his post kinda pissed me off… Why is there such a stigma on embracing your talents, being proud of your work and promoting yourself? Mark is a very talented comedian, he’s one of my favourites! His stand up is bizarre and insanely funny, his tweets are equally as bizarrely funny, and his character, Mr. Leung, on CBC’s Mr. D is dark, creepy and hilarious! To me, he’s a comedic genius, you can tell he loves what he does and it shines through his work.

 

So why should such a talented person apologise for promoting his work? Why would people look down on someone who is simply saying “hey, this is me, my work, I’m proud, check me out”… Since we live in a society where promoting others seems like a negative thing, shameless self promotion is all we have… and so what???

 

I am an event planner in Toronto; I have my own business, and have been at this full time for over 7 years… I work my ass off to produce high quality events, provide my clients with confidence in not only my suppliers, such as caterers, staff, decor etc. but also in me. I work my fingers to the bone, and I am sure I annoy my staff with my attention to detail, but my clients all walk away with a feeling that I have taken care of each of their needs and made them look like superstars to their managers and guests… I know I am good at what I do, I have a stack 5 feet high of positive testimonials and thank you’s and not one complaint… and yet I still have issues with selling myself, promoting myself…

 Is this, like Mark says, a Canadian thing? If we don’t promote ourselves who will? I try to promote businesses that I like, I spread the word on talented people, I refer people all the time to trusted sources… A lot of my business is referrals from clients, and I am always so appreciative of that… However, my postings on Facebook and Twitter are, for the most part, tame, I put up pictures of events, or simply state that my event went really well and I had a very happy client… I’d like to say “it was the best event ever and you should all hire me!”

“You have to do a little bragging on yourself even to your relatives-

man doesn’t get anywhere without advertising.”

John Nance Garner

 

So, I am going to make it my mission, from this point forward to ensure you know

it’s not only ok but encouraged for you to Recognise Your Strengths,

Sing The Praises Of Your Talents, Toot Your Own Horn, promote yourself…

and even BRAG ABOUT YOUR TRUE AWESOMENESS!!!

 

And I am starting with me… “I am Lalita, of Events by Lalita, I love what I do, it’s truly my passion and because of that passion I am an amazing event planner and will work so very hard to make sure your event is flawless!”

“It is important that you recognize your progress and take pride in your accomplishments. Share your achievements with others. Brag a little. The recognition and support of those around you is nurturing.”

Rosemarie Rossetti

Bragging2

 

“They’re Real and They’re Spectacular” Until you go shopping for a dress!

Today I went shopping for a new dress to wear to the awards gala in Atlantic City this weekend… It’s the first time in a couple of years I’ve gone shopping for something fancy schmancy…

 I left my home with the highest of expectations… I mean, in the past 8 or 9 months  I’ve lost well over 45 pounds and am like 8 dress sizes smaller than I was, so I figured I could hit H&M or Suzy Shier, find one of the sexy dresses I see in their ads and actually fit into them! I mean, my intended budget was $45.00, and as my plus sized gal pals can attest to, that’s insanely unrealistic in plus sized stores…

So I went to Dufferin Mall… walked right passed Cinnabon, (a victory all on is own) and into H&M I go… I found a few dresses I liked I held up their ‘large’ size, and quite frankly it wouldn’t even cover one of my nipples! So, a tad disappointed, but not yet defeated, I went into Suzy Shier, and they were having a sale, ALL DRESSES $30.00!!!!!!!!!! I was even more determined to buy one there as it was under budget! I picked up 5 dresses, went into the change room, and again, my chest, my DDD chest, beat me down into a puddle of shame, a quivering mass of depression, and an informal decision to walk straight to Cinnabon and feed my depression as I’ve done my entire life…

I thanked the lady who helped me, and left… close to tears, wondering how, after all my hard work I still don’t #$^#*$ fit into a ‘regular’ sized dress… then it dawned on me, slowly, (thankfully before I got back to Cinnabon) that while the dresses didn’t fit over my chest, they DID fit everywhere else… HOLY CRAP! They fit my ribs, my waist, my hips, my ass!!!!

So this realisation is a big deal for me, all my hard work IS paying off! But what to do? I still need to shop in a plus sized store to appease my giant breasts… So I went to a plus sized store, Addition Elle… I tried on 4 dresses, all of which fit over the girls, and I fell in love with one of them… I felt like twirling around and dancing like a Disney Princess in this fantastically beautiful dress… and I felt beautiful… So what if I, because of my ‘girls’, have to keep shopping in plus sized stores, (other than the fact the prices are at least double, another topic for another blog entry), I felt gorgeous, sexy, and happy, with me, my body and my boobs… My boobs are part of who I am, who I’ve been for over 30 years, (read “My nickname in grade 4 was ‘Tit Wiggle’” for insight into that tale), I love them, they, in some way, define me, who I’ve become and who I want to be…

So life is good, I have an awesome dress, I went $60.00 over budget, and I am quite ok with that! I just won’t eat during the month of May!

p.s. I’ll update this entry with a photo once I wear the dress this weekend.

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