“For Simone” (new song!)

 

Hey everyone!

Can you believe that it’s almost the end of the year already? I thought about busting out my 2013 New Year’s Resolution post and checking up on how y’all did, but I decided to be nice and let it slide ;)

So I said that I’d share some of my music here once I got any final recordings done. This is a song that Adam Boddy and I worked on mostly back in May and June. This recording is actually from back then — I had been trying to re-record a better version for months afterwards and due to my crazy allergies I just wasn’t able to.

Well, we were happy enough with this version to go forward with it, so here it is! This song is about the heartaches of going through a difficult long-distance relationship. It’s a bit personal to Adam, hence why we’ve left the original title: “For Simone.” I created a new melody for it and added my vocals.

Part of the reason why this song is really special to me is because it’s my first songwriting collaboration! It’s been a really wonderful experience doing this with Adam and hopefully we’ll get to create some more music together in the future :)

Thanks for listening!

~ Janice

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

Going Dark on Facebook

A few days ago I looked down at my Blackberry and threw my hands up in the air. I had just about had enough! Flinging my phone to the ground, I declared: “Facebook must die!!!”

Okay, fine, so it was slightly less dramatic than that. What really happened was that over the past few weeks, I had been frequenting my personal Facebook account less and less. I just didn’t have anything much to say. I found myself browsing my newsfeed purely out of habit.

Sometimes I did come up with things to share with the world: “The TTC should burn to the ground.” “It is freezing like a biznatch out here.” “Watching Alias makes me want to drink red wine.”

But after instinctively reaching for my Crackberry and hitting the Facebook app to spread these profound thoughts far and wide, I paused and asked myself: “Does anyone really care?”

Yesterday, I had been chatting with my cousin about potentially disabling my Facebook account for an indefinite period of time. An hour later, I came across a Freshly Pressed post, Are you Being Squeezed by Social Media?, that asked the readers what justified us staying on Facebook and what would it take for us to leave?

Then today, I was scrolling through my WordPress Reader and came across Mooselicker’s post. It really didn’t matter what it was about (I don’t mean it like that, Tim) — all I saw were the words “Soul Sellers” and “Facebook” together and my mouth dropped open. My God, it was a sign.

What did justify me staying on Facebook? What the heck did I do on there anyway? I decided to take a browse around my page to determine this answer.

I found that I used Facebook to broadcast urgent requests:

I used Facebook to update my friends on what had become of me …

… and about my vacations and crazy new adventures.

My Facebook page was the home of many a football game commentary, where friends would take the opportunity to diplomatically discuss their thoughts on my favourite team.

But Facebook was also where friends would send me links to interesting videos and news articles:

And where I could easily connect with family who lived in different countries:

So at the end of my search, I was nowhere closer to figuring out the answers to my burning questions:

  • Would shutting down my account actually lead to more meaningful communication between my friends and I? Nevermind if others would make the effort, but would I?
  • Or would I simply lose connections with people I did care about, but who choose to mainly communicate through FB?
  • Are emailing and texting actually more meaningful ways of communicating? Do we give FB a lot more flack than it deserves?
  • Would I be more productive with the time I was using to mindlessly browse my newsfeed? Or would I at the very least feel less like a FB automaton?

WOULD MY LIFE CHANGE WITHOUT FACEBOOK? OR WOULD ITS DEMISE BARELY MAKE A DENT?

I’m curious to find out. But I’m not completely convinced just yet. Thoughts, people?

- Cafe

Photo Credit: Facebook stats

Titanic Communication — Men vs Women

Janice gravatarWhat up, y’all? Today I have the great delight of introducing you to one of my best friends, ‘Tage, who has written this very humorous yet — I have to admit — accurate portrayal of men and women in relationships.

Show him some love and let him know what you think — ’cause I know you all HAVE to have an opinion on this one ;)

- Cafe

* * *

It is the oldest adage in the world….men and women communicate differently. The thing is, one of the reasons for this phenomenon is that…well….men don’t seem to ever talk about this at all! (Funny, eh?) Therefore, differences widen, myths develop, and the dog house has frequent visitors (usually men, why is that?)

Well, women, I’m here to offer a glimpse into the rarely seen abyss of the male psyche (now I say abyss since it is yet unproven whether or not intelligent life lives within).

Nonetheless, here goes…but be warned….it will be… *gasp*….honest.

First and foremost…and this is most important I think…communication is and should always be about the listener. I consider myself a decent talker but if the person I am speaking to leaves the conversation in a daze then, simply put, I have failed, no matter how many impressive metaphors or jedi-mind tricks I pulled. With this in mind, I am constantly aware of my listener and trying to adjust what I say and how I say it, ensuring that I am understood. This does not mean I always succeed (I’ve slept in the dog house once or twice when I couldn’t talk my way out of something) but at least I gradually learned the important lesson of listener-focused communication.

“And don’t come out until you’re listener-focused, bitch.”

Continue reading

Why Do You Blog?

When I first started out as a new blogger on WordPress a couple or so months ago, I was trying to get used to the new landscape, the new community. How could I search for other like-minded bloggers? How did you work these Widgets? And what did “Freshly Pressed” mean?

As I became more and more familiar with the WordPress neighbourhood, I kept thinking back to a post that I previously wrote – Why Do We Blog? Although I still stood by everything I said in that post, I started realizing that it didn’t truly capture the myriad of reasons, motivations, and inspirations that drive Bloggers to, at times obsessively, update their readers with the newest thing that’s gotten their wheels turning. I started realizing that blogging was truly a passion for many — a way to fulfill something that they might not be able to fulfill elsewhere.

Walking down a block in the WordPress community. (Sorry to those I couldn’t fit into the drawing, I just included bloggers as they accepted my invitation to participate! Karen — there definitely needs to be a Starbucks in WordPressville!)

I’ve taken quite a few strolls through the WordPress ‘hood and come across many different types of blogs and Bloggers, but I know that I’ve only caught a small glimpse of what’s out there. There is just no shortage of what people can and do write about. We blog about our best recipes, music we love, beauty tips, fashion ideas, places we’ve traveled to, marathons we’ve run, our eating disorders, our depression, addictions, stories we’re writing, our goals and dreams, things we find hilarious, things that inspire and challenge us, things that piss us off, and so on. We write about our opinions on things that matter to us, or maybe things that don’t really matter but that we’re gonna give our two cents on regardless. Some of us want the world to know exactly who we are and what we look like, and others find freedom in anonymity.

But what’s really interesting to me is that, in the end, despite the differences we may have, we all share one thing in common: we choose to speak out in this public space, to share our stories with potentially hundreds or thousands of other people whom we will likely never know or meet. We know that out of the thousands of readers who walk through our community (and we are a community) every day, at least one, at some point, will hear us. Some people might think blogging is silly — just a bunch of people ranting about nothing — but I’m always amazed to see how much people can affect others simply with their words and images. Many of us seek to touch or inspire others with our experiences, ideas and creations — and from having read your blogs, I know that there are so many who end up doing just that.

Two inspiring bloggers, Nadia and Den, who have never met each other but created a blog together that spreads optimism far and wide! (Photos from: Writing a blog & Dear Optimists)

It’s taken me a very long time to write this post, because I have found it difficult to convey to you, my dear readers, why blogging is such a staple in so many people’s lives. I didn’t think that it could be complete without a few words from just a handful of great Bloggers who have one way or another inspired me, gotten me to think, or simply made me laugh so hard that it hurt. So I asked them the question: “Why do you blog?” and here’s what they had to say …

* * *

“There many forms of expression, whether by music or art. In writing we take inspiration from within ourselves and place it in words, sharing with everyone our most sincere thoughts.”

– Andy from My story to you.. (Life)

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“I blog as a way to connect. I blog to entertain, to provoke, to question, to confront. Blogging is my unapologetic way of sharing myself with the world. And it can be said that life’s greatest insights come at such moments of vulnerability.”

– Fraser McGuire at Unsolicited Advice (General Interest)

* * *

“Why did I start blogging? Because I felt like I had something to say and needed someone to say it to. There sometimes feels like there are things in my head that are trying to escape. It’s like my brain has a cage around it and there are thoughts and ideas trying to get out. Blogging allows me to reach an audience. It cleans out my brain and keeps me creating. It’s an easy schedule to maintain, since I make the schedule. I also want people to like me and tell me I’m handsome. That’s why I do everything I do.”

– Tim at Mooselicker (Humor)

* * *

“I created a blog to show my ability in Graphic arts and media communication.”

– Jake at Time After Time (Graphic Arts & Photography)

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“Writing makes me happy. I`ve always wanted to write but I think I was always afraid of how it would be recieved or what people think. It`s hard when people critique something that you love doing. This blog was my way of breaking away from that and creating a happy place that I can always come to. Also, someone needs to document ridiculous things that happen in everyday life ;)”

- Karen at The Skinny Jeans and Starbucks Chronicles (Humor)

* * *

“I blog mainly because I love writing and telling stories and disseminating knowledge — it’s an extension of my everyday life as a teacher. I also blog because there’s nothing like making someone laugh, or smile, or think about things a little differently, and blogging gives you the most immediately available means to reach others and touch them in some way with your words and experiences. I blog to share what I know, to question what I don’t know, and to examine what I think I know or what I could know. I blog to share my newest works in progress and my experiences writing and revising with my readers, and to hold myself accountable for completing those projects — there’s nothing like those emails demanding the monthly sneak peek! For me, in the end, it’s all about individual and collective understanding and communication. I blog because it is one immediately tangible way to be in relationship with the rest of the world.”

– Melissa Ridley Elmes at Cerridwen’s Cauldron (Lifestyle & Eclectic)

* * *

“I blog for a lot of reasons, but mostly, I like the process of figuring out how to say something in the most direct and resonant way. How can I make this funnier? How can I make this more emotional? How can I make it more true? And because blogging is so hurried, I have to make those decisions in a compressed timeframe. It’s an academic exercise, but in the best way.”

- Yoona at Yoonanimous (Fashion, Food & Other Ephemera)

* * *

“One of the greatest inspirations for this blog is my desire to help people find the beauty in life, and therefore find their own Wonderland.”

– CT at insearchofwonderland (Self Improvement & Enlightenment)

* * *

“We blog because we want to make people smile, we want them to read our post of the day and realize that sometimes, the little things in life are all we have, and to cherish the short moments of bliss, the smiles, the laughs and the hugs that people have on a daily basis but are so small that sometimes they forget about them when the bigger, tougher parts of life overwhelm. We blog because we like to make others feel good, which in turn makes us feel good and want to continue making others feel good, and thus keep a circular motion of positivity that continues on and on and on and on…do you think we are the ones making people smile? Well the reality is that those very same people that we make smile are just as equally making us smile as well.

That, my friend, is why we blog.”

- Den and Nadia at Dear Optimists (Humor & Optimism :)

* * *

And as for me? “I always had a hard time expressing my opinions and feelings through talking about things when I was growing up. Sometimes I still do. Writing allows me to get all of it out in a way that makes sense. But this blog isn’t just about me. There is so much that I want to say and share with others, but I also love hearing about others’ perspectives and own experiences and getting a good discussion going. This blog is my creative space that let’s me explore, discover, and share.”

- Cafe at Your Daily Dose (A Mixed Bag ‘O Goodies ;)

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Thanks so much to the Bloggers who took the time to participate in this post and send me your answers. I would love to hear from more bloggers about your own motivations and inspirations for blogging! So answer me this, my dear readers:

For the Bloggers: Why do YOU blog?  (Don’t forget to leave a link to your blog!)

For the Non-Bloggers (or the Not-Yet-Bloggers): Why don’t you blog? (Just never thought about it before? Don’t think you can write? Don’t have the time?). And if you were to create your own blog, what do you think you’d blog about?

- Cafe <3