It’s okay to be single

I know I’m not the best person to say this since I’ve been married for over a year. I’m going to throw that out there right now.

However, I was single before being married.

And I did not love myself.

What’s brought this up is watching the movie How to be Single. I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve seen enough rom coms to expect the boy to get the girl, blah blah blah.

It was almost like a mini Love Actually with different couples connected but everyone with their own story of finding love, finding themselves or, in the case of Rebel Wilson, just being kick ass and totally cool with herself and her life.

For a rom com, thanks to Rebel Wilson’s brash honesty, it spoke very openly about how someone can change when they enter a relationship.

I was very lucky to find myself while in a relationship and had a boyfriend/husband who was very supportive of that. That is not always the case.

For Alice, it’s a completely different journey and one that was not easy. Every fear about being alone, every expectation about love and relationships are right there. Enter Joe, a guy on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. His fear of settling and different expectations of love and relationships are also very much right there on screen.
It’s great how this all flawlessly connects into this realistic, modern look at being single.

I am a ball player and so can you

Co-ed rec leagues piss me off.

Nine times out of ten, the team organizers get female players as a warm body.

I saw this so many times last year playing in a softball team in Halifax that I started calling people out on it. It was numerous games into the season and female players were still left to their own devices, swinging baseball bats like hockey sticks and looking like fools.

So many times I’ve heard the excuses; it’s their first game, blah blah blah. At your first game, you should at least be showing them how to swing a bat, when to run, when to hold up, basic rules. Step up, people.

Next reason, I can hit. I’ve been able to swing a bat and hit a ball since I was four years old.

Don’t move up on me. Sure, yes, I can’t hit as far as some guys, but there is a point where you are just downright insulting.

Playing ball tonight, even in an intermediate league with experienced women, left field moved right up to the edge of the grass when I came up.

So let’s see. I had solid hits all game. I look like I know what I’m doing. I switch hit and hit off field, you’ve seen me do it. And yet, you move up to a point in the field that is downright insulting. Yeah, way to call it, buddy.

Guys, come on. Women can and do play sports.

Wanna to make your team stronger, if your girls can’t play, show them how. Women coming up to bat, give them a little credit until they show you otherwise.

Raspberries and Roses

Lots of things take me back to growing up on the farm.

Fresh raspberries from the grocery store. One berry and I am 8-years-old and back in my grandmother’s garden picking fresh raspberries off the stocks.

When my grandmother was still relatively healthy, she had a beautiful garden. She had flowers everywhere, her vegetables in tidy rows. I’d come home from school in the spring or go for a bike ride during the summer and I could see her, bobbing between the rows, diligently weeding the dirt, the greenery almost tall enough to hide her from view.

It was hard “helping” her in the garden because as soon as everything was ripe, we’d eat more than we’d pick. Everything tastes better fresh.

The roses are something different but still remind me of my grandmother. I don’t know if red was her favourite colour. In all honesty I never asked her but I’ll always remember this red sweater she had. And this red blazer she would wear to almost every wedding and fancy-do. To this day, when I see red roses, I’m reminded of my grandmother; deep, rich and vibrant.

She was a quiet woman, but never a hold-things-in kind of woman. If she had something on her mind, she’d say it, she’d discuss it with you. She was the person I turned to a lot of the time. When parental knowledge wasn’t enough to calm the nerves, off to Grandma’s place I’d go.

When I was 12 and freaked out about Y2K (give me a break, I was 12), Grandma held me and told me it would be okay. When 12 year old logic didn’t see a solution to the problem, Grandma’s wisdom always did.

She loved ALL of us unconditionally, even considering she had 30 odd grandchildren from two marriages and 12 children.

Love was something she never could exhaust.

I’m disappointed that I became a journalist after she was gone. Along with my grandpa and my dad, her life was one of struggle and perseverance. But I’ll always remember her when I see roses and raspberries.

Thank you, Coach

So I’ve joined a women’s tackle football team this spring.

I didn’t know about the team until last fall. I’ve never been to games or practice until this season. But I will admit I went into this team thinking it’s going to get the same level of respect that all women’s teams do.

It’s been a lot of fun and everyone is working hard. We are taking the drills, the lessons, the plays very seriously because we want to be taken seriously.

The best thing organizers have done this year is get coaching staff that are committed to the game.

They’ve taken to this responsibility as they would with any other team, putting in the same (if not more) time and effort as they would with male teams. Now the coaches are male, except for one female coach.

But you don’t have to look very hard to see that they have committed themselves to the team.

Part of me wants to deny that gender would be a problem but I’ve had encounters with people who become surprised when I use the words women and tackle football in the same sentence.

I went to watch the Grey Cup at a bar here in Halifax, hoping to write an article about CFL fans in a town with no team. I got talking with people.

One gent in particular with his two friends, one male, one female. As soon as I said I play football, he politely nodded.

“Touch?”

“No, full tackle, full gear.”

“Oh, I didn’t know women could tackle.”

To this I responded, “why?”

This self proclaimed misogynist started to stutter. Oh course, by now I knew where his mind was going.

“You think we’re too delicate to play?”

“Well, yeah.”

Looking at his female friend, we rolled our eyes in unison.

“But, women have babies,” was his witty argument for why we couldn’t possibly play tackle football.

Continuing with his logic he said that since we carry a human being in our bodies for 9 months, shouldn’t we protect that? We might get hurt and then what will happen to our baby making abilities.

Either this guy was in a class all his own or yes, there are men out there who would agree with him.

I can tell the coaches realize there is a difference between the male and female teams. One of them catches himself every time he starts to use male descriptors, like guys or linemen, and always changes it to ladies and line woman or line person.

Now I am not pointing this out as a bad thing. He know he is coaching women but I can tell this hasn’t changed his attitude towards his players.

So to the coaches who are treating us like any other football team and putting in the same passion and effort as they’d put in anywhere else, thank you!

My Amazing Mom

She is going to protest every word written here but I believe them with all my heart.

She is the strongest person I know. I have never seen her be anything else.

She’s had her problems and I’ve seen her down and I’ve seen her cry. None of that means that she isn’t strong and amazing.

She moved two provinces away to be with my dad who she had only known 9 months and yet followed her heart to be with him. They had the most amazing marriage I had ever seen. No one has ever had a more truly romantic story than they did.

She is strong in her opinions and beliefs. She made the decision to have all five of her kids without drugs because she believed it would be better.

When my father died, she made the decision to mourn but not give up on life. She continues to be herself and she has not let the experience negatively change her.

I remember when I was 18 and living in Newfoundland for three months. The rest of the family had also moved away from home by then and even my dad was working in Alberta during that time.

She was alone. Maybe for the first time in her life, truly alone. Yet she did not pity or feel sorry for herself, she just went on with her life and continued to be amazing. She knew we were all okay and safe and that is all she needed to know.

I sometimes feel guilty about leaving home just because I know how much she worries about me. She has never pushed this guilt on me. She has always been the one to give me a push and say see how far you can go. Katimavik, university, Halifax, there has never been a time she told me not to do it because of the pain she would go through.

Times when I was sick or lonely, I heard the pain and nervousness in her voice as I’d tell her what I was going through.

Words that will always stick with me is both mom and dad saying, “you got to know.” They have not only said those words but practiced them, leaving decisions up me.

Do I go do Katimavik? You got to know.

Do I go to university? You got to know.

Do I go to Halifax and become a journalist? You got to know.

There was only one time dad broke this rule. I laugh every time I think of me telling him that I had dropped out of university because I was on the waiting list for Katimavik. No classes had started yet and I had everything planned when I got the call that I had a mere chance to travel. Classes, an apartment, a job, all cancelled in a day because I knew no matter what happened, I wanted that opportunity. Both him and my brother were furious that I had cancelled everything on a whim. My mom and my sister stood by me and trusted me to make this decision on my own.

When I got accepted into the program two weeks later, my dad couldn’t be happier. My brothers on the other hand went into full on protectorate modes.

My brother Darren was scared because I wouldn’t know anybody.

My brother Duane was worried because I could get hurt and be so far away.

Mom silenced them all because it was my decision to go.

So Mom, on your birthday, I want to thank you for showing me what I strong, hardworking woman is. I want to thank you for always supporting me, even when that meant not seeing each other for months and years. I want you to know that these gifts you have given me will never be forgotten.

Raise women, not wives

Looking at you, Duggars (except Jana)

So I’ve unfortunately have seen an episode or two of (insert # of kids here) and Counting and I really couldn’t figure out why the show made me so uncomfortable.

It dawned on me during Jessa Duggar’s wedding.

I would never deny anyone the “happiest day of their life” but is that the only thing to look forward to in the Duggar household?

Is this family, which consists of 9 girls, just raising their girls to be wives instead of women? And, as women, is that really the only thing we have to look forward to? Are we that unfulfilled until we belong to a man?

These girls live in their parents house until they marry, moving into their husbands house. Do they not have any sense of independence or freedom to enjoy their lives or make their own decisions? Is it just moving from being one person’s possession to another?

When I saw the article in the October 6th edition of US Weekly (http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/19-kids-and-counting-rules-of-romance-inside-the-duggars-world-2014249), I had to give it a read to see if what I got from the TV show was all there is to the Duggars.

While some of their philosophies do carry some ground, the article does hold the traditional female role vibe.

It is the girls who must be careful to not arouse male attention but they are in service of their husbands.

Some quotes from the article:

“The [Duggar] girls agree being alone with guys put them in grave ‘moral danger’.”

“The First Kiss Happens at the Alter: Waiting ensures ‘there’s no regrets,’ Michelle, 48, says. In the meantime, the courting couple can focus on the ‘spiritual and emotional aspects of a relationship’.” (I agree to some extent. There is more to marriage than sex but really? No kissing either? Kissing is fun.)

“Duggar women don’t get headaches. ‘Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love.'” (So we are all sex slaves then?)

“Jessa…shares that no sex before marriage is ‘good motivation’ for a short engagement.”

These people are breeding wives and the public is eating it up. Getting married is the only thing that is expected of the girls and the only aspect of life that the TLC show focuses on. Which led me to Jana Duggar, the apparent black sheep of the family.

After some more digging (which made me feel all dirty), I discovered more about Jana, the oldest daughter, who was rumored to be leaving the show solely because of her lack of air time. OK Magazine had to have a piece dedicated to her life to show that she does other things besides think about boys and dating (sorry Michelle, “courting”) and is actually doing a lot of amazing things (http://okmagazine.com/photos/jana-duggar-cinderella-outcast-19-kids-and-counting/photo/1001134824/).

In the midst of traveling, being a firefighter and a midwife, all while *gasps* remaining single, she is bashed by the media for not following in her younger sisters footsteps.

And in case you didn’t know, her sisters are married with children before turning 25.

www.inquisitr.com/1526486/jana-duggars-single-status-sparks-rumors-about-why-shes-not-behaving-like-her-sisters/

http://www.crushable.com/2014/10/15/entertainment/jana-duggar-not-courting-or-engaged-why-theories-lesbian-19-kids-and-counting/ (yes, this one might be satirical but still pisses me off)

So according to many news agencies, Jana is destined to be the spinster aunt to all those little Duggars her sisters and sister-in-laws are going to breed. Good for her. Jana may be the light in the dismal Duggar tunnel.

Yet she is the least talked about sister because she isn’t courting, married or pregnant. I guess TLC doesn’t want to send the message that there is more to life than marriage and kids. God forbid the girls want to see the world, have their own apartment or *gasps* not get married but I guess if they do we just won’t talk about it.

Thanks TLC and Duggars, I guess you are not solely the ones to blame. Go Jana.