Tag Archives: Real Life

Red Umbrella Day 2012

Red Umbrella Day

Yesterday, for the second year in a row, I participated in Red Umbrella Day  (International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers ). I learn so much from these events, and there is still so much work to do when it comes to making sure sex workers are safe, and respected.

We walked down one of our city’s main roads, carrying signs that read “Consent is Sexy,” “Sex Work is Real Work,” and “Respect Sex Workers.” We then participated in a candle light vigil and read off the names of victims who were killed in the last year.

Here are the names I read, and some info :

January Marie Lapuz –Age: 26  –From: Westminster, BC, Canada –Date: September 30 2012 –info: Transgender sex worker

Jessie Anne Wilson –From: Mt. Gambier, Australia –Date: October 1, 2012

15 Women –From: Rwanda –Date: September, 2012 –info: Unknown if connected mostly sex workers.

Julia –From: Kirovograd, Ukraine –Date: 2012

Karima –From: Limoges, France –Date: 2012 –info: Transgender, suicide

Maria Felix –From: Antigua and Barbuda –Date: 2012

Marland Anderson –Age: 39 –From:Los Angeles, CA –Date: April 8, 2012 –info: Undetermined cause of death, following altercation with LAPD.

Mike –From: Vancouver, BC, Canada –Date: 2012 –info: Vietnamese male escort.

You can find the full list of names from this year here: 2012 Names

The cumulative  list of names can be found here: List of Names

Violence against sex workers is under-reported, and ignored. One of the organizers for the event said that often police reports involving the assault/murder  of sex workers contain the language NHI or No Humans Involved. I found this particular bit of information, incredibly disturbing.  Remember, we are all someone’s child.

It’s important to listen to the voices, and know the names of the people who were lost because our society is indifferent and ignorant. They are worthy of being noticed and heard.

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“For Good…”

On Valentine’s Day we all tend to think about the loves in our lives;  thanks to the commercialism of the holiday, they tend to be thoughts focusing on our romantic escapades.  In previous years I’ve wondered about loves gone wrong, and on some occasions I was hoping for a new love to blossom. This year I broke with tradition, and thought about the warm fuzzy feelings I have for my friends.

For the past few months I’ve been thinking about who fits into my life, who’s a good friend, and who makes me want to be a better friend. I suppose this is a constant process because life is always changing, people are on their own metaphorical paths and sometimes they really don’t coincide with yours. Yeah, it’s frustrating to watch a once beautiful friendship fall apart for whatever reason it does. It’s even more maddening to be the only one who sees that things are no longer working, but I digress.

The reason I’ve been pondering who I want in my circle of friends, is because these are some of the most important relationships we will ever have with other human beings. However, they don’t get the same treatment that romantic relationships do. Do you know how hard it is to find a best friend?  I’m talking about a true best friend who loves you even when you’re talking shit about the girl who was checking out the guy you’re into. The person  you can call early in the morning because you upset about something, whether it be a relationship that failed or the fact that your story/poem got rejected. The friend that will actually listen to you vent, instead of making blanket statements because said friend likes to think they’re an enlightened individual; but really they just like the sound of their own voice. Write me a screenplay about that, Nora Ephron.

Then there’s trying to find a group of female friends who can coexist peacefully without some weird psychological shit going on. Oh, it happens, and I’ve witnessed it plenty of times, but finding the right chemistry and balance is a tricky task. Look at the friendship dynamics in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants versus Now and Then, or Sex and the City (the tv show, those movies never happened) v. Desperate Housewives. Finding friends who get along with each other, or who are capable of having a deep connection with you is not as easy as pie.

We also have to maintain friendships once we’ve made them. I understand that anything that requires direct contact with a person is a bit more difficult to do than written communication. There have been times I’ve had some serious “games” of phone-tag going on, or one of us had to cancel for whatever reason. However, replying to an email and Facebook message is a little easier to work out. Yes, at times we fail to reply to an email or snail mail(sorry!), but at the end of they day it’s the minimum effort letting people know how you’re doing and showing that you in fact care about them and want to know about their lives. Communicating is such a big part in an ever evolving friendship that it’s sort of ridiculous how we let it fall apart.

Look, I had a pretty traumatic experience with a friend not returning a phone call. My friend knew she was dying, but didn’t tell me.  I called her to wish her a happy holidays/see how she was,  she didn’t return my call and died a few weeks later. I found out she died via Facebook invite to her memorial service. Yes, I should probably let it go, but I’m still angry. I’m mad about the fact she didn’t give me the chance to say goodbye to her and that the last few times we hung out together she was on business calls  the majority of the time. I suppose the latter taught me to be “there” with the person I’m hanging out with instead of checking my phone. I feel the whole experience opened my eyes to cherishing the friends that are in my life now.

We (or maybe it’s just me), need to embrace the friendships we have, see the potential in the new ones and appreciate the ones that are no longer active in our lives.  We need to say, “thank you for being a friend.” There are so many memories I keep close to me: the diet coke pow-wows, coffee and lunch dates, crazy train rides through France, stealing cake, re-enacting ANTM, dancing like a fool and not caring,  the poetry meetings, wandering through bookstores, tarot readings, car tag and teasing our hair. Thank you for everything, my friends! I love you.

“Just as long as we’re together…”

Yesterday Jezebel.com featured an article about childhood friendships; it was originally published in the Daily Mail. The piece is mainly about how friendships from childhood are the ones that tend to last forever. Because we are forced to spend all day with our friends during our formative years we supposedly create these intense bonds that last well into adulthood.  Now I don’t completely disagree with that sentiment, I’m still friends with a few people from high school and middle school. We’ll always share certain memories and experiences from those times in our lives that the friends we make later on won’t understand/care about because they weren’t there.  However, that doesn’t mean that the friends I’ve made over the last few years won’t be life long nor does it mean that they are any less valuable than those I’ve had for a longer period of time.  Two of the people I’m closest with are people I’ve met within the last 5 years, one of the two I met last year.

The comments on the post are mixed: some are still friends with their preschool buddies, others are really only close to the people they met later on in life, a lot have a mix. Some commenters point out that childhood friendships (turned into adult ones) can be simply friendships of convenience, or have pathological/co-dependent elements to them. I have seen that side. I’ve also seen how exclusive those friendships can be, to the point where it means ignoring friends who aren’t in that group because they aren’t as “important” as those friends are.

I once had a friend/ex-roommate, *Ellen, who conducted our friendship like the ones she had with her “friends from home.” What this meant was, I basically had to initiate contact between us, because God forbid she ever IM or email me first. I had to tolerate her flakiness and not get wished “Happy Birthday” because she didn’t see at as important. I think the cake topper was when we had a falling out she chose to side with the friend she knew longer–even though they were being false. I suppose what frustrated me was as roommates I really saw the potential for us to have a great friendship–to the point where I would’ve considered her one of my closest friends. But, when I was constantly being compared to that group of friends and their standards there was no way we would’ve been able to maintain any sort of friendship, especially when she wasn’t willing to meet me half way.

In the end I do disagree with the article’s author, Lucy Cavendish’s statements. I don’t think it’s fair to limit ourselves to the friends we made when we were kids. We never know who really will allow us to be who we truly are, who will help us grow into a better person. Saying that it will only be our tween/teen friends ends up limiting our possibilities. I want the option to have a great friendship with those I’ve met in the last few years and those I’ve known forever. I also want the chance to make even more amazing friendships.

Facebook: creating the life you want people to think you’re living.

Chloe is a Facebook addict.
Inspired by Sara’s post.

I joined Facebook back in early 2005; my first instinct was to snark on the site because the only people on there were my former high school classmates, and I wasn’t ready to “care” about what was going on in their lives. Then more of my friends started joining, and people I hadn’t seen in 13 years started contacting me. Soon it was the place to make plans, and keep in touch with my friends. I was even more excited when the UK hoped on the bandwagon because it meant I no longer had to write individual emails to my friends, all I had to do was update my status and write “how are you?” on their wall. Voila, a way to “maintain” a friendship.

I was also won over by the addition of applications and quizzes. Let’s face it, I think it’s important that people know I’m most like Elizabeth Bennett, and that if I were an ice cream flavor then I would be mint chocolate chip. One Facebook friend complained that these quizzes were about procrastination and a waste of time. It’s possible that those are some peoples’ motivations, but I think it all boils down to narcissism.

At this point, Facebook has become about showing the world who we think we are. We’re selling ourselves trying to prove to our “friends” that our lives are pretty damn good. Example: I know people who are constantly telling their SO via facebook that they love them. In reality, the relationship isn’t so good. Another example: a friend, wanting to show what a good step-daughter she is, posted a Mother’s Day message to her step-mom(who doesn’t have a Facebook)This resulted in a number of “likes” and showing of approval from various friends. Why not actually call the step-mom, the person it would actually mean something to? Well, the direct call doesn’t show the world that you are amazing for caring about someone you really don’t have to.

Maybe that’s unfair, maybe people do care, but I do think we’re getting pretty lazy when it comes to showing affection/interacting with people outside of Facebook. What happened to actually emailing/writing friends to fill them in? What about calling them? A few weeks ago I had a friend message me via FB instead of calling me to tell me she couldn’t make it to our lunch. Just a few years ago she would’ve called, left a voice mail and I would have known sooner rather than later that my plans had changed. Maybe I’m one of the few that doesn’t have instant access to FB, but honestly, a call seems more personal. It seems like your actually participating in a friendship.

Maybe it’s time we back away from the computer, call up one of our friends and see if they want to meet for coffee. Maybe we actually make the effort instead of letting FB do the work for us. Maybe it’s time we get back to the “real world.”