Step Out & Step Up

..can’t sleep

Well, hello old friends.  It’s been a while since I’ve logged in and touched base.  I have been working harder than I have in years, hence my absence.  Between the radio show I host with my partner 5 days a week, I have also added a Saturday radio show to the roster that I host alone.  I’m broadcasting 6 days a week.

“C” has begun a new job in another city.  We will be leaving Saint John New Brunswick.  I am currently staying in Halifax, Nova Scotia- where I’m from.  The city has changed a lot in the three years I was gone.  Some areas I barely recognize due to gentrification.  Thanks Hipsters for driving up rental costs in the city.  Much appreciated.  I have some questions though.  How many micro breweries does one city need?  What’s the big deal with craft beer and Hipsters anyway?  Why the man-bun?  I’m just gonna say it… Craft beer= glass of farts.  There I said it.  You’re all thinking it but I said it.  “C” and I are frantically searching for a suitable rental.  I say frantically because ALL the apartments have been taken by students.  Damn university town.  Guess we know who’s really drinking all that extra gassy craft beer.

On another front, I have somewhat kicked up my medical cannabis activism game.  I’m a newbie; no where near as experienced as many of my peers, but I see injustice.  I hate injustice.  I see people suffering with a plethora of illness ranging from chronic to terminal flailing around a medical system hell bent on prescribing this and that only to manage symptoms, never addressing the cause.  Pharmaceutical tyranny I call it.  I see a void in our current system and I feel like I have just as good of a voice as anyone else.  I have partaken in a video that’s going viral, standing with other patients addressing how invaluable dispensaries are to us.  I have also given an interview with a local paper- it just came out today.  Change doesn’t happen without fight; without discord.  I am stepping out of my comfort zone and stepping up.  I think more of us need to do this in our everyday lives.  Step out, step up.  A little tip?  We won’t die nor break as a result of stepping out of our comfort zones.  As a society, we have become complacent much to our detriment.  We allow ourselves to be distracted by things that don’t affect us, don’t matter or don’t serve us, and when it’s suggested we put forth an effort, suddenly, many people simply “don’t have the time”.  It’s true that there are many demanding professions and careers out there, but let’s be honest; you have time, you just couldn’t be bothered and you’re not a cardiovascular surgeon.

“Leave it for someone else”

“So and So will take care of it”

“Surely the government will step in”

No.  These are incorrect statements, and they stink of naivete.

Your government doesn’t care about you.  You know why?  Because democracy is a misconstrued notion.  It’s a dead sentiment.  Countries are run by corporations.  Money and lobby groups dictate policy and laws.  The FDA?  A laughable organization.  It’s about who can contribute how many dollars.  It’s bullshit studies done by the very same drug companies trying to patent their poisons medicines.  “Surely there are drug trials and tests” you might retort.  Yeah there are.  Two.  Two tests.  Often performed by the drug companies’ own teams.  That’s not biased at all.  You know what else happens in government?  Nepotism.  Look at how many Trumps are fucking up running the White House.  Here in  Halifax, Nova Scotia, the city police chief is our Premiere’s brother.  You can’t make this shit up folks.

Two days ago, my best friend’s dispensary was robbed in broad daylight by police raided.  A lot of people are left without medication now and two people who volunteer their time to help other patients, one- a single mother of three- are now facing charges and court appearances.  Is this necessary?  Is this fair?  This friend  has given me medication at no cost many times so that I am not sick, so that I can function at a reasonable level and enjoy a reasonable quality of life.  (It’s not illegal to give or trade cannabis among patients- just an FYI) Do you know how grateful I am?  This friend has given medication and has offered a compassionate ear to virtually anyone truly in need.  There are thousands of patients that rely on Higher Living Wellness Centre.  Thousands of people have been made to feel safe, welcome, listened to, and many have developed life long friendships, and enjoy a peaceful sense of community with other like minded individuals.  We harm no one.  We bother no one.  We have medical prescriptions for cannabis.  No one is served without a prescription and ID.  The patients they serve range in ages all over the board and the cases range from things like cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, to Fibromyalgia, to rheumatoid arthritis, to PTSD and other painful life altering conditions.  Conditions that many doctors simply give up on.  It becomes a game of “let’s try this” “let’s increase that” ” I heard good things about this drug”  Doctors are in the game of symptom management.  Although here in Canada, doctors can’t accept “kickbacks” they CAN accept training in places like the Bahamas for 2 weeks or a nice golfing vacation.  Doctors are still bought here in Canada, they just accept a different currency.

For many of us, we have come to rely on communities like this.  Let’s not forget, the fast approaching legalization debacle was built on the backs of compassion clubs and dispensaries just like Higher Living Wellness.  It’s infuriating to me that the people with all the knowledge, the care and understanding of this plant; this GOD GIVEN plant are being locked out of an entire industry.  It’s infuriating to me that the government thinks it’s OK for a stage 4 breast cancer patient to get in line at the liquor store behind two twenty year olds looking to enhance their bar game that night.  It’s infuriating to me to tell someone dying of cancer that he has to log in on a computer with a credit card to a faceless entity for his legal medicine?  There’s no one you can ACTUALLY speak with when dealing with LPs.  It’s all email.  There no recommendations, there’s no teaching moments between an LP and a patient.  This is access for sick people??  Are you joking?  This must be a joke.  No one really treats the ill like this do they?  They do in Canada.  They do in Halifax Nova Scotia.  The Nova Scotia government doesn’t care about us, they don’t care about you.  I have already lost faith in doctors, I have since lost faith in my government, I have now lost faith in the police.  It’s become clear to us that we are nothing in their eyes.

We can’t have that.  I can’t have that.  I cannot foresee a future where all my rights have been stripped and I am forced to live a bed bound isolated life again and not have at the very least TRIED to fight back.

I have always been a fighter, I will always be a fighter.

Maybe cannabis is not your fight, that’s fine.  But I bet there’s something you need to be fighting for.  Don’t let your hesitation fester in to a life long regret.  Don’t be caught off guard and steamrolled; governments are notorious for silently removing rights while you’re playing Candy Crush or taking the latest Facebook quiz.  Take action.  There is SO MUCH wrong in this world right now, pick your battle and fight for it.  Fight with everything you have.

Step out, step up.

HLWC shirt

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Advertisements

My First Liebster Award On the Blog Broad

liebster awardI was nominated for the Liebster Award by Lavender and Levity .  This blog was designed as a coping tool for Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) which goes hand in hand with ADHD.  It’s defined as “an extreme emotional pain and sensitivity triggered by the perception (not necessarily the reality) that a person has been rejected, teased or unfairly criticized by important people in their life.” (Wikipedia)  Often, these emotions can be quite destructive and usually manifests as frustration, anger, sensitivity or depression so it’s important to learn how to manage them.  Lavender and Levity takes her anxieties in stride often with a twist of humor.  I highly suggest you check her out and I thank her very much for the nomination.  I wish nothing but the best for my fellow chronic pain/illness/depression warriors.  Stay strong!

 

The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers.  It is intended to recognize and encourage another writer’s work and efforts.  It also helps to shed light on what may be some lesser known blogs.  Essentially, once you are nominated, you pass along 10 other nominations and so on.  Some people actually find it an annoyance, but I can’t see how increasing traffic to your blog and discovering new writers is annoying.  It’s an honor, and I will take it.  Thank you!

 

I have been blogging for about 5 years now.  Originally under Sparky Lee Anderson but I didn’t want to write under a pen name anymore, so I left one final post on that, and the Blog Broad was born.  It’s a name I’ve been thinking about for close to 2 years and I really hope to register a domain with it soon.  I try to use humor while living (coping) with chronic illness, ME/CFS {Fibromyalgia}, Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Depression,Anxiety and PTSD.  It basically helps me from losing my mind completely.  I feel like I have changed and grown a lot since the original conception of my blog.

 

The instructions for accepting the Liebster are:

 

  • Create a new post thanking the person who nominated you, link their blog and insert the award graphic.
  • Answer the questions provided to you, share a little bit about yourself.
  • Develop a new set of questions for your nominations to answer
  • Nominate 10 others and share your post with them so they see it.

 

My Questions from Lavender and Levity

 

 

  • What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?  Do you think it describes you?

 

First, I needed to take an online test, which I found here .  I am INFP: The Idealist. (Introversion- I, Intuition-N, Feeling- F, and Perception-P)  This states that I am an introvert, that is guided by my intuition.  I make decisions based on feelings rather than thinking and I perceive rather than judge.  It states, and I quote “that the main characteristics of an INFP include:

  • Loyal and devoted
  • Sensitive to feelings
  • Warm caring and interested in other people
  • Strong written communication skills
  • Prefers to work alone
  • Values close relationships
  • Focuses on the ‘big picture’ rather than the details

INFPs tend to be introverted, quiet and reserved. Being in social situations tends to drain their energy and they prefer interacting with a select group of close friends. While they like to be alone, this should not necessarily be confused with shyness. Instead, it simply means that INFPs gain energy from spending time alone. On the other hand, they have to expend energy in social situations.

INFPS typically rely on intuition and are more focused on the big picture rather than the nitty-gritty details. They can be quite meticulous about things they really care about or projects they are working on, but tend to ignore mundane or boring details.

INFPs place an emphasis on personal feelings and their decisions are more influenced by these concerns rather than by objective information. They also dislike conflict and try to avoid it. When conflicts or arguments do arise, they usually focus more on how the conflict makes them feel rather than the actual details of the argument. During arguments, they might seem overly emotional or even irrational. However, they can also be good mediators by helping the people involved in a conflict identify and express their feelings.

When it comes to making decisions, INFPs like to keep their options open. They often delay making important decisions just in case something about the situation changes. When decisions are made, they are usually based on personal values rather than logic.

Because they are so reserved and private, it can be difficult for other people to get to know INFPs. They tend to be quite devoted to their circle of close friends and family and place a high importance on the feelings and emotions of their loved ones. Much of their energy is focused inward and characterized by intense feelings and strong values. They tend to be very loyal to the people they love and to beliefs and causes that are important to them.

INFPs tend to be very creative, artistic and spiritual. They are often skilled with language, but may prefer to express their thoughts and feelings through writing. Because they have strong ethics and values, they also become passionate about advocating or defending their beliefs. While they feel strongly about their own values, INFPs are also interested in learning more about others and are willing to listen and consider many sides of an issue.

INFPs also have strong interests in making the world a better place. In addition to wanting to gain a greater understanding of themselves and how they fit into the world, they are also interested in how they can best help others. People with this personality type spend a lot of time exploring their own purpose in life and thinking about how they can use their skills and talents to best serve humanity. (http://www.onlinepersonalitytests.org/mbti/infp)

 

Well, I’d say that pretty accurately describes me.  

  1.   Which technological invention of the past 100 years could you least live without?

Probably my hair dryer.  I use it everyday and my hair would be a curly frizzy mess without it and my ceramic round brush.

  1.     If it were solely up to you (no medical, job or family demands to dictate otherwise), what time would you go to bed at night and what time would you get up?

I’d probably stay up all night and go to bed around 8 am or so.  I like the quiet during these hours.  I also like watching the sun rise, having a good breakfast then going back to bed.  It happens often when I am writing plus I don’t sleep well at night so I’m sometimes up all night anyway.

  1.  What is your favorite pizza topping?

Mushrooms.  All the mushrooms.  (But only if they’re fresh, canned mushrooms can go in the trash where they belong)

  1.     What superpower would you choose if you could have only one?

I think I’d go with invisibility.  I have (embarrassingly) spent time fantasizing about being in the kitchens of fabulous restaurants and bakeries going unseen while I sample all of their wares.  I used to have a recurring donut dream, right before my monthly, where I was behind the glass just grabbing donuts of every kind, taking bites out of all of them.  

  1.     Again, assuming no financial, medical, job or family demands, and that all options were available where you live, would you rather drive your car or take public transportation?

That’s a no-brainer for me.  If I had a car, I’d use it.  I hate public transportation because I hate people’s smells.  I hate loud people, drunk people, smelly people- period.

  1.     If you could only eat stereo-typically “breakfast” foods, “lunch” foods or “dinner” foods for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

Breakfast foods.  I LOVE bacon, eggs, hash browns, pancakes, waffles, omelettes, fruits, and cereals.  I could very easily live off that and when I go somewhere that serves all day breakfast, I usually announce it like a BINGO caller, “Oh! ALL DAY Breakfast”

So that’s a little bit about me, again I’d like to thank Lavender and Levity for the nomination and here are my 10 nominees:

A Fractured Faith 

Oh Words 

Sunlight in Winter  

Sleeping Tiger  

Bethany K  

GabFrab  

Confessions of a Brat  

M.U.D. Life  

DGGYST (Damn, Girl, Get Your Shit Together)  

Spooky Action at a Distance  

Here are your questions:

  1. If you could travel through time and live in any era, when would you choose?
  2. What was the last good book you read and why would you recommend it to a friend?
  3. If you could change one thing you’ve done in the past year, what would it be and why?
  4. Tell us one of your guilty pleasures.
  5. What is the goal of your blog?
  6. When did you start writing?
  7. If you could fight a celebrity in a boxing ring, knowing you’d win, who would it be?
  8. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
  9. What show can you simply, not miss?
  10. What game (Board, card or video) are you best at?

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

I’m Drowning in Notifications

It’s Sunday (but feels like Saturday with undertones of Wednesday).  It’s a grey humid day and I need tea.  I’m stumbling around after a restless night’s sleep from the sinister torment creeping through my legs from myofascial pain and arthritis, muttering to myself about the good old days and whether spiders are as afraid of us as we are of them like the old lady I am quickly morphing in to.  I am trying to clean out my emails from both accounts and holy shit, the amount of emails is overwhelming.  Overwhelming to the point where I avoid it sometimes so long that it literally takes hours to sift through.  I have to psych myself up to even open it. “Ok, you’ve got to do this, here’s some wine, here’s some Queens of the Stone Age and a big fattie, and.. Go!”

 

Let me begin by saying, as a staunchly anal retentive woman of my forties, I simply cannot understand the need for so much communication.  Before the Internet age and smartphones we never knew what other people were doing at any given point in the day, and that was ok.  We didn’t need to talk and stay in touch constantly.  There was quiet time and face to face time and time to read books.  We even used to watch TV and just sit there, on one channel through the commercials and all- doing nothing!  That seems like a lifetime ago.  The other day I noticed that when I posted on Facebook I got a notification letting me know I just posted on Facebook.  Like, I was there Bitch!  I know!

 

I can’t stand the constant notifications.  I have disabled all of them on my laptop but in case something happens, I have slight FOMO- (fear of missing out) I have not disabled them on my phone although I do, at the frustration of many, constantly keep my phone on silent.  I have PTSD and even the sound of the TARDIS materializing (my notification sound) or the Coronation Street theme (my ringtone) often scares the crap out of me.   My problem is that I can’t stand to see the light on my phone blinking or a red number icon showing on my apps alerting me to notifications.  I HAVE to clear it.  I’m drowning in fucking notifications.  I have taken to turning my phone off at night because of the damn blinking light and my constant need to clear it.

 

The Facebook emails.  The majority of my inbox consists of Facebook, Twitter and WordPress notifications.  These are apps that I am on daily, regularly.  Why can’t I just get notified on the app rather than receive an email, a text, a telegram, morse code and a carrier pigeon telling me someone liked my post/tweet/blog?  I don’t know, maybe there is a way of eliminating all these emails, if someone knows how, please tell me in the comments before I lose my damn mind.

 

It’s a typical Sunday here in Saint John.  I’m playing with this useless Snapchat app that all the kids are using, another time waster and more notifications. The wife is making homemade egg rolls which takes her hours so I am preparing myself for the cursing, the tears, the throwing of things and the eating of the ones that don’t come out perfect.  The pain is bad today so I’m just gonna get vertical on the couch with Lucy the Dog and the Doctor (this past season of Doctor Who for the fourth time), while I think about the good old days and what I would do in the event of a Cyberman attack, oh and clear 600 emails and notifications.

 

How was your weekend?

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

 

Sam

Snapchat

 Find me on SnapChat sam_clattenburg if you’re bored

Weird Things From My Childhood That Made Me the Weirdo I am

AnxietySo this is a little more personal, I often try to write with humor, but some things just aren’t that funny and that makes it difficult to put a humorous twist on it. Like many of us, I had an unconventional childhood. My parents had a rocky marriage, we didn’t have much money, I spent my early childhood living in a trailer. My father drank a lot, my mother cried a lot. My parents fought a lot. I hid in my closet a lot. I was an only child with no freedom who was afraid of everything and overly anxious. I grew up to be an overly sensitive, massively anxious adult.

My parents split up at age 12 so I had a lot of firsts at that age you’ll notice. I’m not going to get into every little detail but rather I will just highlight a few things that made me the neurotic mess I am.  

My father’s idea of playing with me was throwing plastic spiders at me, knowing I was terrified of spiders. He thought making me scream was funny. You know when your parents used to say “if you don’t eat your food, I’ll dump it on your head.” He actually did that. When I wouldn’t eat my dinner, he’d dump it on my head and laugh hysterically. Somewhere there is a photo of me crying with clam chowder running down my face. Hilarious. 

I wasn’t allowed to stay overnight anywhere until my parents separated. I stayed overnight once or twice at my cousins’ house, but they lived next door and it took a lot of begging. At my cousins’ house we could stay up late watching TV and eating treats. At my house, I had to be in bed while it was still light out and no treats unless it was a Friday.

I wasn’t allowed treats. Not to say I never had any, but it was limited. Sugar was limited. As a child I was underweight but my mother was overweight so I think she was trying to prevent me from being overweight in some weird way. At Halloween she’d ration the treats much like the Third Reich rationed butter during the war. I’d still have candy left come April. Same thing happened at Easter and at Christmas. I think this made me indulge too much as an adult. I only tried McDonald’s for the first time at 12 when my friend’s Dad took us and I thought it was amazing! In my twenties I had ballooned up to 260 pounds. I have since lost that weight but it made me obsessed with food for years. 

My family aren’t the hugging ‘I love you’ type. The way we showed affection was to make fun of each other until someone ended up with a crippling case of self consciousness. I got made fun of for my choice in music, clothes, make up, friends, grades, you name it. Doing that resulted in a lack of confidence. I was also being bullied at school, I wished for love and reassurance from my family, but it has always remained just a wish.

I never had a shower until I was 12. We had a dug well so my father’s logic was that it would run dry. It never ran dry that I can remember but my father insisted that we take baths. So first my Mom would take hers, then I would take mine, then Dad would have his- all in the same tub of water. At the time, I figured that everyone did this, but then I heard they didn’t. It was just us. The first time I had a shower was at my stepmother’s house and I had to ask how to use it. She couldn’t believe I had never showered before. I flooded the bathroom not realizing to put the shower curtain inside the tub. Now I bathe several times a day. I am obsessed with hygiene and I’m a compulsive hand washer. 

I wasn’t allowed to have friends over, I had to spend my summers babysitting my younger step brother with not even an allowance. I wasn’t allowed to join extra curricular activities; the list goes on and on. My aunts and uncles labelled me “the little prisoner” as a child for a good reason. I felt like a chained up back yard dog that you only occasionally pay attention to. I think this is where my love of animals stem from. My pets would become my best friends. 

There are so many other things that come to mind, some of which are hard to talk about. As an adult I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with things, I have PTSD and have been clinically depressed since I was a teenager. Writing about it helps. It can be therapeutic. Seeing it in print and learning about other people’s experiences seems to make it a little easier to deal with.  

I don’t have a relationship with my parents. It’s been almost 2 years since I spoke to my father and 5 since I talked with my mother. I miss them but it’s more like I miss the idea of them rather than the actual people. It feels weird to say that, but it’s true. I don’t feel connected to my family, I never really have. I’ve just always felt like an outsider, like I didn’t belong simply because I’m not like them. I am more compassionate and sensitive, I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings and I care about others. Some of these characteristics I attribute to the fact that I had a less than caring family and in many ways I’m glad that I am who I am.  

Just know that actions you take with your children can last a lifetime. It can hurt and even damage them. Show your kids what unconditional love is, be patient, listen to them. 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Image courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net