Meg’s story

Here is a short clip from Meg talking about her experience with addiction and learning new coping strategies. Her message is very important and we hope others think so too.

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An update on Cameron’s Story

Cameron sent us his story a few years ago, but in light of Bell Lets Talk day, he decided to create a video to update us all on his journey!

Cameron’s story reminds us that sometimes we need to learn new ways of coping that we didn’t have in the past as we grow. Mental health is a life long journey and it will not be the same for all of us.

If you would like to read the first post of Cameron’s story, click the link below!

https://thestorytellerweb.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/cameron-macdonalds-story-submission/

Why Must I Be Silenced? by Annalissa Crisostomo

Why must I be silenced?
As if my vagina makes me a secondary citizen
As if I am not a distinct citizen of the world but solely bearer of its children
As if my place in this world is in the home
As If i couldn’t make it in this world alone
As if the outside world is more dangerous than what my feminine Self has seen before
And yet,
However masculine some of my qualities, I am further silenced even more
Opportunity does not knock but closes the door sometimes for strong women

My vision for equal pay and equal consideration
is too grande a concept to fit
My command for respect
Is somehow a threat to the Ego in ways that too many are afraid to admit
My request for attention
Is just that ..
a call for attention
Despite my call to attention to the fact that it is my mind that is worthy of mention
Not my body
Why must I be silenced by my body?

Why must I be silenced by my body when “No” means “No”?
As if the word itself means something different
As if it’s definition changes when I utter it
As if it does not hold weight but turns into a “Yes” when I succumb to him
As if my message is not clear
As if fear can drive it away
As if “No” is a sexual move I make
Opportunity does not knock for those that refuse to play the game

Why must I be silenced?
As if describing what it means to be a woman only concerns me
As if my words will always hurt me
As if my tongue like a sharp knife, draws blood from the concept of ‘Man’
As if I am attacking Him rather than supporting Him
As if my voice only exists in relation to him
As if finding mine silences yours
Opportunity does not knock for those that wish to question our system of doors

My cry to be heard is perceived as loud rather than necessary
It is not welcomed within this realm of silence
My opinions are conceived as invalid and selfish
they are not considered within this realm of soundness
My justifications are worldly and compassionate
they do not exist within the realm of structural boundedness
Why must I be silenced by my feminine voice?

Why must I be silenced by my feminine voice?
As if there is something wrong with being emotional
As if emotions have no place within this world of patriarchy
As if only Reason rather than Feeling could dictate truth
As if being a woman provides me with no Reason to discuss matters with you
As if i cannot participate in provoking thought
For a woman like me, Opportunity simply does not knock

Apparently my demands for Humanism are too much for ManKind
as if I am only calling for the change of the one Kind, that is ‘Man’
It was never in the plan for us to question the plan
It was never intended for women to fall under the mindset of “can”
I was conditioned to believe that I “can’t”
Can’t win
Can’t compete
Can’t follow the pursuit of “Me”
Can’t speak unless spoken to
Can’t exist amongst the likes of you
I was conditioned to believe that I can’t
Just because…
Just because I am not a man
I am a woman.. .
and so I am silenced.

“Bitter Survival”

In elementary school, the teacher asks us what we did over the summer.
Flashback to days alone with my mother, chased by butcher knives for having long hair, hiding in a closet with pounding outside the door, and being locked in the dark basement.
I told her I played outside.
In high school, the teacher asks us of our earliest memory.
Flashback to my mother holding me by my throat and dangling me over the stairwell, the garage door closing on my leg, and my scar itches.
I told her it was being read to in a library.
In university, people ask me if I miss home.
Home was a place of terror and walking on eggshells. Home was a place of being yelled at and beaten because someone else had a bad day. Home was the hell I clawed my way out of to get to where I am now. Home is the scar I wear on my heart, the damage I carry with me.
I do not miss home.
but I tell them I was always an independent person anyways, and I call every once in a while.
I lived two lives, and I am a bitter survivor of both.

“I was, I am, I realize”

So many lessons I have learned have been upon reflection of what I have done, what has been done to me and furthermore what I must do in response to people, situations and Self-realization.

I was 14 years old when I was raped by a 23 year old man who took my virginity at a small party. It was when I told someone that same night and they didn’t believe me that I realized my voice had only just begun to embark in a lifetime of resistance against being silenced as a woman.

I was 20 years old when a man stalked me on my school campus, asking everyone I knew where I lived and where to find me. It was when I had to start taking new routes to class that I realized my path would often be dictated by the actions of my male counterparts.

I was 22 years old when a man got out of his car to chase me down the street at 7pm near my school and in my neighbourhood. It was the moment I glanced down at my clothes and wished I had not worn shorts that day that I had realized I had been conditioned to self-inflict blame for my lack of precaution and impure clothing choice.

I was 23 years old when a close friend of mine took advantage of me one drunken night after an event in a house I once called a home. It was when I was slut-shamed for drinking too much that I realized I never really had as many allies as I had thought.

I was 24 years old when I found out that the legal system could not serve me justice. It is only now as a 26 year old woman that I am able to come to terms with the injustices that I have been dealt with. Often still I wonder whether I was to blame. Often still I am triggered by nonchalant rape jokes and insinuations of assault. Often I still deal with unwanted advanced like when a bus driver told me a few years ago that he wished to get me drunk because he would ”love to take advantage of me”.

I had prayed for death many times in my 26 years and only once had tried to bring such prayers into fruition. Now I still struggle not only with myself but with my past. I was in so many ways too masculine and at the same time too feminine to be a “homie”. I was not aggressive, I was a bitch. I was not empathetic, I was too sensitive. I was not an ally, I was their competition. I was not a friend, I was a piece of ass.

I was a victim, but now I am a survivor.

Submission about Cancer by Kristi

On December 19th, 2017 my grandmother Sharon lost her battle with cancer. Over the years of her life she struggled with skin cancer, biopsy after biopsy. Then, she struggled with colon cancer. She had it surgically removed and was told she was cancer free, but unfortunately she wasn’t. When she had colon cancer it had metastasized into her liver and her doctors had missed it. When we got the diagnosis it was really difficult on my mother and I. A lot started changing really quickly. There was never enough time to be there for her, to take care of her properly. Her chemotherapy gave her thrush – and because of it she refused to eat or drink and she had to go to the hospital twice because she had diabetic episodes. It was so scary, she seemed like she had been through a stroke. She dropped a lot of weight then from the combination of chemotherapy and not eating. She was really unwell and it was really hard. With everything else going on in my life and my moms life it was hard to take care of eachother as a family.

Her liver cancer took her really quickly. I believe she was diagnosed in March-ish, started her chemo, then was taken off her chemo because it was too volitile for her. In October/November she was in and out of the hospital for weeks at a time. In the beginning she still had a personality, still talked, could move around. It was alright, things looked okay. But within the matter of about two weeks she went downhill. She was sleeping a lot, was disoriented, in pain; in short, she was miserable. It made me not want to go see her, I was afraid honestly. And then at the beginning of December my mom told me that she was being moved to hospice and made comfortable. She stayed there for maybe a week or two before she passed away. But it wasn’t really her. When she came to every once and awhile she’d tell me “I’ll be dead by the time you come back”. And sure enough, she passed. On Monday I went to get a tattoo that she always wanted to get together and I was going to go visit her that evening, but something came up and i said I would see her tomorrowOn Tuesday morning I woke up to my mom on the edge of my bed telling me that my grandma had passed. I didn’t cry, I still don’t feel like I’ve cried enough. My mom, my brother and I got in the car and went to the hospice to say goodbye to her body. My mother hugged her, kissed her and said goodbye. My brother touched her hand. I couldn’t touch her, I couldn’t look at her. The nurses had left her eyes open and it was literally haunting. I missed out on a goodbye because I was scared. I really regret it.

Yesterday we finally had her celebration of life and it was beautiful. So many friends came, and there was so many family members too. A family friend read a speech that I wrote, and I still barely cried. Maybe it’s just not real to me yet? Who knows. At the end of the day I still felt like it wasn’t enough to do her justice. She was a shining light to EVERYONE, never missed anyone’s birthdays or anniversaries, she missed nothing. She was always thinking of others.

Cancer took away the woman who helped raise me, and helped me to be who I am today. It was a long painful fight for her, and on some level I’m happy she’s finished fighting.