We’re supposed to be stronger (and know better)

- by guest blogger Lisa Mattina (from fistsclenched on WordPress)

I titled this entry “We’re supposed to be stronger (and know better)” because this is the underlying thought (among some others) that kept me in an emotionally abusive relationship for two years. One would think it’d be the opposite considering my wealth of knowledge about abuse.

It is my hope that my story will give some education to those who don’t quite understand emotional abuse, while offering some support to those who are living in it now. I’d also like to draw some reference to how my employment as an anger management counsellor has impacted my experience.

Falling For an Abuser

verbal-abuse
A little bit of background: I’m 27, a University Graduate with a Joint Honours Degree in Criminology and Women’s Studies. I’m a self-proclaimed feminist and a strong, independent woman. I am confident in myself. I am intelligent with a highly developed ability to critically analyse a situation. I’m funny, social, out-going and compassionate. However, despite all of these lovely attributes, I am not invincible. SURPRISE!

I met this fella in 2010. We started dating and I started driving past giant red-flags, and I mean GIANT.  Continue reading

Getting Past the Stereotypes: The Inside Story on the Jane-Finch Community

Paul Nguyen, my guest blogger and founder of Jane-Finch.com. Here, he has received the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada Award.

The Jane-Finch area has a bad rep for gangs, drugs and gun violence. It’s a community north of Toronto and a place many immigrants call home. Residents have fought hard to change the public’s perception by working together to show the positive reality of the neighbourhood.

I grew up there and, as a kid, I was unaware of the media stereotypes. For me, the community was an exciting mix of diversity, culture, and occasional mayhem. It was normal to shoot firecrackers at each other during Victoria Day, shop for brand names inside someone’s apartment, and witness the 6 o’ clock news reporting a murder on your street. I’ve seen SWAT guys, police, and gangsters walking around with sawed-off shotguns. It’s not your typical suburban upbringing, but those unordinary moments help give you a different perspective on life. Continue reading

What Is Your Passion?

My name’s Bernard Abarquez and I like drawing. I draw as an exercise. It’s meditative. It’s focus, concentration. Sometimes I think I have ADD, but when I draw, it kind of disappears.

I think creating something is one of the most fulfilling things. I remember as a kid, instead of going outside to play, my brother and I would take hockey cards, spread them all out and then choose six or seven cards each, and we’d spend the whole day just drawing them.

I always used life drawing and photo realism as exercices for precision of colour and likeness studies. The whole portrait commission business naturally came along with it and just spread through word of mouth from customers.

At first, commissions would feel just like another colour study — I would judge the final product on pure asthetics and its likeness to the photo with no emotion to the work. But once I started delivering and seeing the responses from each customer, I began to realize and appreciate the subjects that I was drawing. The photos given to me had sentiments and were special to whomever the work was being presented to — this realization changed my perspective and my mindset while drawing. I began to put more heart into it. I was creating gifts, rather then mere reproductions.

While time and compensation for that time is what allows me continue this work, it’s the reward of creating a gift for someone that fuels me to continue and not look at it as a business and exchange for money.

- Bernard Abarquez

Continue reading

Let’s talk about suicide. Volunteers anyone?

I’d say most of us consider suicide a sensitive topic, and it’s rare to come across someone who’s outspoken about their suicidal experiences. But is suicide more prevalent in this day and age, or is it because of social media that makes it seem more common?

My name is Tai, and I would like to share my views and experiences on the choices of life and death. I’m recovering from substance addiction and depression, and I attend the CAMH addictions and mental health program.

In my group therapy sessions we often discuss emotional well-being and its effect on choice-making. During one of our sessions a particular member came out and admitted that he had attempted suicide. Not only did he surprise the entire group and myself, but also caught the counselor off guard because she didn’t quite know how to respond to him.

He recounted that fateful night with vivid description, where he went out and purchased what he needed to hang himself. Continue reading

Do You Own Your Ideas?

Janice gravatarA note from Cafe: I really wanted to thank my friend Seto for taking the time to write this post, especially given that he doesn’t write very often (and for someone who doesn’t, I think he writes really well!). In my opinion, it takes a lot of courage to put your personal experiences and opinions out there for people to judge, so I appreciate that he’s taken on a topic that I have been afraid to talk about on my blog :)

Also, my apologies for having been MIA on your blogs as of late. It’s been a busy couple of past weeks, but I’ll be coming around to visit soon!

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Being a long-time friend of Janice and a follower of her blog, I can say that she’s a diverse writer, excellent singer and has created a great, positive vibe on Your Daily Dose. I’ve always enjoyed rallying ideas with her about random topics. I’m not sure if I’ve changed any of her ideas, but she’s not afraid to put her ideas up to the challenge which is all that matters.

Which leads me to why I chose to write about: Ideas and self: Do you own your ideas? It may sound like a vague topic, but from my experience, all of my values, goals and even emotions have evolved by developing ideas into my own rather than accepting them as is. To me, ideas make the world go round. Ideas pass by us every day — some we laugh at and dismiss, while others are so rooted in our values and principles that we naturally develop tunnel vision. Continue reading