Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Live In Wonderland

Well, if I were to begin at the beginning, as The King of Hearts might say, I would have to start by explaining that I might just live in Wonderland, and that this probably started the day I turned two years old.

My Fall Down The Rabbit Hole

You see, on my second birthday after the celebrating, I was put to bed in my crib and the rest of my family carried on with whatever they planned that night – for my brother and sister, this happened to be watching a movie in the basement. Perhaps I was bored in my crib like Alice was at the riverbank having nothing to do; Alice glanced at what her sister was reading and was considering whether making a daisy chain was worth getting up to pick the daisies and similarly, I was considering getting up out of my crib to see what my siblings were watching. Perhaps it was the boredom, or perhaps it was the curiosity regarding what my siblings’ were doing or the film they were watching – but it must have been the same kind of boredom and curiosity that makes one follow unusual, long-eared strangers ... and pay the price for it.
Somehow I managed to escape my crib – apparently I mastered this and would frequently emerge whenever I saw fit – and silently made my way past my mother without her knowledge toward the stairs. In another moment I was attempting to go down the stairs all by myself, never once considering how I might manage this, and then slipped down suddenly completely unable to stop myself! From what I hear, I was no longer so silent or undetectable during that fall.
Recall for a moment that Alice claims after a fall down the rabbit hole she would think nothing of falling down stairs: I must strongly note here that there is evidence to suggest that Alice fell down her rabbit hole very slowly and therefore could not be injured in the same way that a two-year-old tumbles down stairs. There is of course the other hypothesis that she did not fall slowly, but that the rabbit hole was simply very deep, and this is the reason the fall lasted so long. In this case one might think Alice was as brave as she claims to tumble down such a deep hole, but I feel I should strongly note here Alice landed upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves ... I DID NOT. The documents that detail Alice’s excursion in Wonderland state that “Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped onto her feet in a moment,” and if she truly fell very slowly and landed on a pile of sticks and dry leaves I am not at all surprised! The accidental fall through my rabbit hole was not as fortunate, slow, or cushioned! But I can tell you with some certainty that mine did involve crying a pool of tears upon reaching the bottom. My head was severely hurt by a blow that could have been as fatal as someone dropping an empty jar of MARMALADE on it, or perhaps even as fatal as some controlling, tart-hungry, queen with an inferiority complex demanding its removal altogether!
Apparently my fall caused some unconsciousness, as well as periodic bouts of rigidness while awake. From the descriptions of this event, I’ve deduced that this birthday came very close to becoming an UN-BIRTHDAY, if you catch my drift.

The Dormouse and Garden of Live Flowers

Anyways, I won’t bore you with details about everything that followed that night, particularly because I only remember it very vaguely and the rest of the details are known to me through the accounts of others, but also because there are several more pieces of evidence that I live in Wonderland ...
For example, I’m pretty sure that my mother is the Dormouse. She has always loved tea since childhood – coincidentally, Red Rose tea – and drinks it several times throughout the day even now. Apart from her love of tea, my mother also falls asleep frequently in front of the TV, perhaps due to some difficulty sleeping through the night – or due to the poor quality of television programming – and it is in front of the TV that she often drinks her tea! So like the Dormouse, Mom seems to fall asleep during tea time! I should also note, that the wall paper in Mom’s room is a floral design, and one flower in particular seems rather human as if from a Garden of Live Flowers ... coincidence? You decide:

The photo above is the unaltered image of the wallpaper, and the photo below is the same photo with an outline of what seems to be the profile of a woman facing left, wearing a flowery hat!

The Royal Pains of Wonderland

Another piece of evidence to support my theory that I live in Wonderland would be my sister, who has much in common with The Duchess, The Queen of Hearts, The Red Queen. It is as if she is these three wicked creatures in one!
Now, I should note here that on most occasions I refer to my sister as another character from a beloved children’s book about a magical land, as she probably has more in common with The Wicked Witch of the West, but I do see a certain similarity to the Queen of Hearts also. For starters, there is something very contradictory about her title ... the Queen of Hearts was practically heartless and my sister Claudia is similarly contradictory in that she is a child psychologist who probably left me with more psychological damage during childhood than anyone else in the world. You might say I’ve lost my head after dealing with her for so many years! Furthermore, she has quite a few psychological issues herself. Though undiagnosed, I believe 100% that she is a narcissist, partly because she flies into fits of rage at the drop of a hat. She is certainly the type of person who would fly into a violent anger if grown white roses instead of the desired red. It is these drastic mood swings that also lead me to conclude that Claudia is The Duchess, whom Wikipedia explains, “is often seen as a child's-eye-view of emotionally volatile and mysterious adults, switching back and forth between dark moods and condescending affection at unpredictable times.”
Furthermore, if you recall, The Duchess mistreats her child ... as I have noted, I have taken much bullying from Claudia over the years, but what I have not yet mentioned is that, though only six years my senior, Claudia has attempted quite literally to take on an unnecessary mothering role in my life starting when she was merely sixteen years old! For some reason, when I was in grade 5 and Claudia in grade 11, she told me frankly that she believed my parents were doing a poor job of raising me, and so endeavoured to educate and influence me about various issues on her own. I should stress that I believe many sixteen-year-old girls make fine and loving mothers, but when it comes to their own infants! Not children more than half their age! I have nothing against teenagers raising their own infants from birth, you see, but I do find it inappropriate for teenagers to suddenly raise ten-year-olds who already have perfectly functioning mothers who are loving and experienced! In my experience, a bullying, loud-mouthed, disobedient teen to usurp the role of mother in a child’s life when a child already has a mother is strange, eerie, ridiculous, and a bit scary on many levels! And so, I went on from about age ten to age thirteen engaging in depressing talks with my sister that were meant to correct my thinking, enlighten me on various issues in a similar way to the invasive Duchess teaching Alice morals in Wonderland.
Due to Claudia’s unearned and undeserved attempts of authority over me, I often explain to strangers that Claudia is really less of a sister, and more of a bitchy governess. Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating. She seems to hold frank discussions with my mother in which she tries to influence and have input in my up-brining. For example, when my first year of university was drawing near, Claudia sat down with me that summer and informed me that she and my mother feel I should join a sorority! I was quite taken aback by this ... I know by the very nature of this idea that it was not originally my mother’s idea, but that meddling Claudia put it into her head! It is this lack of trust in my own judgment and lack of willingness to let my mother raise me on my own that I see Claudia also as The Red Queen, whom Lewis Carroll described as “the concentrated essence of all governesses!"

Cheshire Cats

Also, there is a certain strange attraction of cats to my house ...

... unusual cats!

Cats who you would think could understand English, just as if they came from a world where they wouldn’t say “Meow,” but rather, “Yes, Miss Lilly,” just like people! From the way the visiting cats behave, you would think they journeyed to my backyard from a world where cats and rabbits reside in fancy little houses and be dressed in shoes and hats and trousers! Allow me to elaborate:

My current cat companion is a black and white “tuxedo” cat who appears to be wearing white boots and gloves. When first we met she was walking along in our backyard as if dressed formally for some important date – of course, unlike the White Rabbit she was not in such a hurry that she could not get better acquainted with me! We soon became good friends, and since she could not tell me her name – at least not in this current world – my family and I chose to call her Boots, or Miss Boots temporarily due to her fancy clothes. She would visit me in the backyard on average 2-4 times each summer as if they was some kind of annual occasions she planned, and each time she recognized me and trotted towards me excitedly, like we were good friends who could not visit frequently due to being from lands a great distance apart. Even back then – probably more than ten years ago – I would remark how uncanny it was that she seemed to consciously visit me, but only in the warm season, as if she was only in the country on some kind of yearly vacation or trip. Once she even visited me on my birthday!
One year, when my mother was hospitalized after a back surgery Miss Boots came to visit just as I was leaving the house to go and visit my mom. I petted her briefly and told her that I wished she would come back another time because I had to visit my mom in the hospital, but that I would very much like to have a visit with her, and if she would come back after my mom was sent home it would lift her spirits greatly to see Boots. Somehow, as if she understood every word I said, she did return the next day to have a visit with me, and then the day after that, and the day after that until my mother was sent home and Boots could have a visit with her also. Unlike previous summers when she visited on 2-4 occasions, Boots visited every single day until September when she eventually moved in with us.
As I mentioned above, I truly do think this cat understands English, and that she simply pretends not to the majority of time as an excuse for not obeying most of our commands. Often when my brother says things to tease her – out of love, of course – she often turns to look at me with an expression of complete annoyance and disbelief. It is as if she cannot believe what a fool he is making of himself, and often she turns to me as if to say, “Can you please do something about this?” Once when we were talking about dogs my brother jokingly asked her if she would like a little brother puppy. At this she jerked her head and looked at him wide eyed and terrified! My brother and I burst out laughing. It was as if the suggestion of getting a wild, loud, rambunctious puppy caused her to accidentally break character and reveal that she could understand every word we say ... she looked at us as if to say, “WHAT?! YOU’D BETTER NOT!” and then jumped down off the chair and walked off in disbelief.

Remember the Cheshire Cat's smile? Well, my cat definitely has a smirk!

And Finally, The Host of the Party ...

I happen to be very close to The Mad Hatter or, at least he is frequently very close to me. You see, I have a small collection of teapots which I began collecting a few years ago with three small teapots I purchased from my place of work. I painted a special shelf on which to display them, which I hung above my bed and have used to display the three teapots and a candle that I thought completed the arrangement.

It was only about two years after arranging the pots and candle this way that I noticed an odd shadow appeared on the wall, and that this shadow looked very familiar. You may see the gentleman’s profile for yourself ...

Notice the obvious top hat that can only be a trademark of one individual! And where else would he appear but with a collection of loved teapots!

Well, I think my evidence speaks for itself. Perhaps this is why I have been inspired as of late to create Alice In Wonderland themed crafts ... although, it might be in part due to being impressed by the Syfy miniseries Alice starring Kathy Bates, Caterina Scorsone, and Andrew Lee Potts. I do watch this film and sometimes its commentary when painting crafts like the following:

I welcome any feedback or constructive criticism on these pieces, as well as suggestions for any other crafts relating to the Alice books. I intend to continue with my Wonderland crafts and am planning a collage, some boxes, and some small shelves next. Until next time, thank you for visiting me here in Wonderland, and yes, we are all mad here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Evidence That Feminism Is Relavent Is All Around Us and VERY Disturbing

Okay, this is disturbing!

I sometimes go on Yahoo!Answers to try to answer people’s questions when I am bored. One individual by the name of "Jimmy MD" asked the following question:

“WTF is a feminist and what do they think about woman...what is their stance?”

I replied trying to make it as accurate and inoffensive as possible, and yet I got no “thumbs ups” and 5 “thumbs downs.” Other answers were completely offensive and disturbing. I can’t believe some people ... As much as I like trying to help people on Yahoo!Answers, I often come away feeling hurt or saddened by the ignorance, arrogance, bigotry, abuse, and the lack of any regard people seem to have for one another. If anyone wants evidence for the relevance for feminism in today’s society, all they need do is spend time on Yahoo!Answers. The following are some quotes from other repliers to this question:

Someone who calls himself “The Grappler” had this to say, “Feminists as such range from the artery hardened lockstep strap-on lunatic fringe, who hate men and believe that all their personal 'issues' are caused by men.” Isn’t that charming? I wonder if, by “artery hardened” he was calling feminists unhealthily fat or just heartless? I am guessing the latter, because let’s face it, working to stop prejudice in ALL areas isn’t exactly a loving or selfless thing to do ... oh wait ... it is!

Another replier who goes by “Joe Bloggs” said, “... Another example, is when a young mother murders five of her children by bashing a rock into their head or drowning them in a bathtub, feminists blame the husband rather than the murderous woman.” So basically, Joe Bloggs believes that feminists – ALL feminists mind you – condone murder, and are perhaps murderers themselves. He also claims, “feminists will talk about this or that company which has had issues with sexism and how women are treated. Yet it consistantly fails to address sexism directed at men.” I find this strange as it is not only inaccurate but my reply actually disproves this. We care very deeply about sexism against men!

And now, my personal favourite is the reply by “peterdouglaszohrab” who states,
“Deep down, it's really just that Feminists think men are bad and women are good. This means that, if a Feminist has a job which carries with it the power to decide some issue which pits a man against a woman, she will automatically side with the woman, because nothing negative that the man says about the woman will be at all credible to the Feminist, whereas everything bad that the woman says about the man will seem obviously true to the Feminist.

And what makes that worse is that women tend to go for jobs that involve (power over) people, whereas men go for jobs that involve things.

That's why Feminists should not have jobs.”

Wow! I do not even know how to comment on this one. I think it speaks for himself.

Even if these men believe that feminism is really only about women’s issues, shouldn’t they at least respect that out of respect for the women in their lives such as THEIR MOTHERS! Not to mention WIVES or DAUGHTERS!
If you ask me these men, and probably others who regard feminism with such hostility, feel personally inferior to women for some reason – possibly because they have encountered women in their lives who had a superior education or job position. Where else would they get the hostility? Deep down inside they miss the times when men naturally were given jobs and placements at schools over women just because they were men and not because they worked (or could work) any harder than women. They know now they can’t just walk into a job interview and say, “Okay, here I am! I’m the only man applying for this job, so I guess you have to give the job to me!” They know that they can’t do that now, but they know there was a time they could have, and that just boils their blood!

Here’s the definition I gave. I had to add some more information to it a couple of times based on the other hostile answers I saw, but I think we can all agree my answer is more accurate than those of the uninformed bigots:

The most basic and accurate definition of a feminist is:

someone - male OR female - who believes in equality for everyone regardless of gender, race, ethnic background, health and dis/ability, sexual orientation, financial situation, religion, creed, etc ...

This does not mean that all feminists agree with each other on every issue - far from it! But we try to acknowledge that we all have certain biases, and try to recognise what their own are.

Many believe that feminists are automatically women, often lesbians, and often women who feel that women are superior to men. Believe it or not, this view is false and completely against what feminism really is. Real feminism is the opposite of bigotry. I understand if someone does not want to consider themself a feminist out of not wanting to subscribe to a label, but as far as I am concerned, anyone who is AWARE of the true definition of feminism and is AGAINST it is admitting bigotry and should not be trusted.

I will leave you with a link to a feminist blog for men, as well as one for girls and another that is more inclusive in case you would like to explore this further.


I feel I should add that my mother actually experienced and witnessed a lot of sexism and sexual harrassment at her place of work. She worked for a big company, of which there was eventually an inquiry into how the women were being treated, so if anyone tries to convince you that feminism is somehow dead, that its problems are solved, or that the issues a feminist fights are myths, they are either gravely mistaken or benefitting from someone else's disenfranchisement or abuse.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Okay, I have a few minor things to report about this last week, the first item being somewhat negative:

1. I was very disappointed to miss Art In The Park last weekend. Even though it was the storm which flooded the park that caused the event to be cancelled a day early, I cried like a grieving child when our van pulled up to the park entrance revealing empty tents, bare tables, and turned over display devices littered throughout the soulless, puddle-park. Apparently artists were knee-deep in water, but nevertheless, my eyes flooded like the park because I blamed myself and my uncooperative body for having missed this once-a-year, two-day event. I was achy and exhausted the day before and incapable of attending, but on the last day I fought with my body and my urges to sleep to attend, and as we drove past the park I cried like a three-year-old feeling like it was my own fault for missing the event and not the storm, but also feeling like a immature baby for crying over it. Mom ending up taking me to the mall instead, where I succumbed to fast food and haunted the aisles of Chapters – my usual temple of rejuvenation – but my heart wasn’t longing for books that day. On a positive note, I decided to buy a book that I have considered buying frequently but always passed over – Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Now that I have started reading the book, I know that it is right up my alley, and the perfect book to comfort, encourage, and inspire me at a time when I was feeling weak and powerless. I am looking forward to reading more of it.

2. I had a very good day Friday pain-wise! I still had pain, but it was sooooo much better than the pain I have had this last couple of weeks. I wish everyday could be like Friday! On a coincidental note, I am in front of the TV which is playing the 2009 Robert Rodriguez film Shorts, which has to do with a rainbow coloured rock that grants wishes to whoever holds it ... if only it did the same for whoever liked the movie it was in I could have only tolerable pain everyday!
3. One of my goals was to exercise at least 3-4 times per week, and this week I achieved that. I walked at the mall on Sunday and at the craft store Michaels yesterday, and on Friday and Saturday I did my physiotherapy exercises. It would be nice if I could get both the aerobic exercise and the physiotherapy exercise up to 4 times per week, perhaps being able to do both types of exercise in one day. But what I have accomplished this week is a start.
4. One project I have been working on is some scrapbooks – not the family/photograph kind. I buy a lot of scrapbooking stickers, letters, and embellishments from Dollarama and Michaels to use in these scrapbooks, but I use normal binders a student would use for school, and different kinds of stationary, cardstock, and scrapbooking paper. These scrapbooks are really personal handbooks on various topics. Lately I have been working on one entitled “Health and Well-Being” which I will be using to keep any health information I have collected over time, including nutritional information, physiotherapy exercises, articles in magazines and newspapers, and so on. The other is entitled “Crafty Ideas” and is going to store actual ideas for new craft projects I plan to do, instructions on how to achieve certain techniques such as a crackle finish, samples of unique fonts, and so on. COMING SOON are photograph or of the title pages I have created and further discussion about these handbooks for any readers who would like to create something similar.
5. When I went to Michaels yesterday I purchased about $100 worth of craft supplies. The last couple of times this happened I cried in the car on the way home hating myself, wondering why I need these craft supplies to make me happier, especially considering that I have not completed a notable craft project in a long time, save my scrapbooks discussed above. Though I probably should have hated myself today, I actually didn’t; I left the store feeling relieved that I purchased what I did. Maybe it is because there were many items I came very close to buying that I ultimately put back on shelves, or perhaps because many items I did purchase were on sale, but the more likely reason is that I had such a depressed and lethargic day on Thursday that I needed these supplies to cheer me up.
I should firmly note that I am not proud of this, and that I would very strongly like to end my craft-supply-shopping until I have accomplished a significant amount with what I already have. I should also note that I am experimenting with re-used or recycled items to be used for crafts, which will be featured on this blog COMING SOON with instructions and a list of supplies needed to create similar items.
6. Lastly, I spent last night trying to make some more progress on one of my Alice In Wonderland themed crafts. It was very frustrating and tedious, but I think that I made some good discoveries through trial and error that I will have to follow through with at another time. The night involved deciding on a colour to write in on a red background, realizing after writing in gold that it was unattractive and painting over it, making a stencil, using it, using gold paint over the stencil, repainting red over the gold paint to undo all the errors, and creating (what I hope is) a better stencil. I will soon attempt to paint over the stencil in gold paint once again, and will hopefully be more successful.

Well, that’s all for now. I am off to bed ... at seven o’clock a.m. It’s awful being nocturnal. That reminds me : I can’t wait for True Blood tonight! It’s the 3rd season premier and my mom and I have been waiting for so long!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Comment On Bitch Magazine's Article, "Eat, Pray, Spend"

The following is the comment I posted on the website in response to Bitch Magazine's article "Eat, Pray, Spend." I strongly recommend reading this article at the following website:

This article comments on the self-help genre, what the article refers to more as "priv-lit." Here is the comment I posted, and of course I would love to recieve comments on my comment and opinions about the article itself. Enjoy!

I Wish Everyone Would Read This Article - Here's Why:

I loved this article so much! I partly loved it because it reaffirmed a lot of what I already felt, but I loved it also because it was so informative.

I would like to add an example that I feel proves that this article has much truth. I have a copy of the March 2010 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, the cover of which displays the headline “De-Clutter Your Life!” As you can imagine, this issue claims to offer organization or de-cluttering solutions, and if these claims were true I could have benefitted from them greatly. Naturally, I turned to page 155 to read the page entitled, “Organize Everything!” The ideas on this page come from experts in certain areas, like Craig Kallman, chairman and the CEO of Atlantic Records. The advice given to us based on his idea to store music records and CDs is as follows, and I quote the magazine directly:

“To house the hundreds of thousands of vinyl records and CDs in his collection, Kallman is turning a three-room Manhattan apartment adjacent to his own into a music library.”

Wow ... I never thought of that! I should just buy a second home to store what I don’t have room for in my own! Thanks Oprah. Where would I be without your expert advice and creative solutions?

Another reason this article spoke to me is that I have a sister – who is a psychologist, ironically – who buys into the whole “self-help” genre and doctrine discussed in this article. For me, this means that I cannot be free from the doctrine by simply refusing to read the material, because I have a sibling who does, and seems to believe it as if converted into some kind of religion. This would be fine if she kept her beliefs personal and accepted that I am free to believe otherwise, but this religion of “self help” seems to have an elitist effect: the converted believe themselves superior to the non-converted, they too begin to presuppose that there is something deeply flawed and inherently wrong with the non-converted, and then endeavour to convert them under the guise of “helping” them. In my experience, when the help is refused, the non-believer is then looked down upon as stupid and irresponsible. It is just like you said, “it’s the wolf of the mean-spirited makeover show or the vicious high-school clique in the sheep’s clothing of wellness.”

Though my own use of money for self-improvement is not necessarily anything to be proud of, I value the more inexpensive paths to wellness, or at least the paths that are more realistic for my needs. I try to focus not on how I appear to be, but on how I actually am (unfortunately another topic for criticism from my appearance-obsessed sister). I find that attempting new hobbies, learning new skills, and taking classes I otherwise would not consider gives me a sense of accomplishment, growth, and a realization that I am more capable than I otherwise thought. I also keep a binder of various magazine and internet articles that I find appropriate for my own personal “self-help” needs.

I find it very reassuring when Bitch Magazine has an article like this that makes me feel that my own feelings and instincts about things like the “self-help” genre are not just illogical or silly, but grounded in fact. It makes me feel that my instincts about things are more accurate than some would like me to believe, and that I should just trust my own judgment more often.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mad Tea Party!!! June 26th 2010

I stayed up late again last night working on some crafts, but I think I only worked on them for a reasonable amount of time. I stayed up painting my Alice In Wonderland inspired crafts because I plan to post pictures of them on June 26th for the Mad Tea Party, hosted by A Fanciful Twist. I think I should have at least 2 pieces completed and posted. So far I'm really happy with how they're turning out.

Anyways, that's all for now.