Morning Musings – My self worth & identity is not tied to my ability to procreate

kruger_1050x700

I am a human being, yet many times I am made to feel like I am nothing more than a meat bag, an incubator or an easy bake oven waiting to be used. As if my whole identity is tied in with my ability to procreate. If I do want kids then I surely must not care about my career. If I don’t want kids then I must be selfish.

I don’t want to be told what to do. I know what’s best for me, or even if I don’t, I will figure it out. I really don’t need opinions on what I should or shouldn’t do.
If you have ever told a woman what she should or shouldn’t do with her body or how she should live her life. FUCK YOU.

If a woman decides to have children she shouldn’t be expected to put her career on hold. If she decides not to, don’t judge her and ask her crap like, “what will you do when you are old?” Gee, I don’t know, get a lot of cats, train them to be ninja warriors and set them after you for asking me dumbass questions and wasting my time?

Why do we only ask women about how long of a mat leave they are going to take? Why do we badger them with questions about their offspring? Why not men? Ask them how long of a pat leave they are going to take instead. Why should a woman be solely responsible for taking care of a child that two people helped create? Because it is her lot in life? FUCK YOU.

Why do we suddenly impose certain stereotypes on women as soon as they become pregnant. CHILL OUT, they are fucking pregnant not dead.

Why do we constantly pressure women into having families. The clock is ticking… TICK TOCK. TICK TOCK. Freeze your eggs, do this, do that… WHY? Has it ever occurred to you that some of us might not want to?

Why do we view pregnant women as JUST that… pregnant and nothing else? She hustled before she was pregnant, what makes you think her career won’t be important to her once she gives birth. Oh because she will fall in love with the child, realize she doesn’t want to do anything with her life except stare at her kid 24/7? I suppose some people do want to be stay at home moms but not all. So FUCK YOU for assuming that everyone is the same.

Why do we label women who choose not to have kids as selfish or sad? WHY? Why have you taken it upon yourself to morally police them?

But wait, you are a woman, it is your lot in life to first go through 9 months of being an incubator and then give up everything. Oh you know because that’s what nature intended and because your great great great grandmother was a housewife, you should do the same cause women obviously can’t have it all. DUH. We shouldn’t get any ideasĀ in our pretty little heads šŸ™‚

Even if you don’t want kids, surely you must want to get married and be in the kitchen, because that’s your rightful place!

STOP FUCKING TELLING WOMEN WHAT TO DO. If they want to have children let them, if they don’t want to then let them as well. Bottom line mind your own fucking business.

Morning Musings – 3 Things you can do Today to Build your Personal Brand

If you google “how to build your personal brand” you will get tons of articles touting the power of social media, setting up your own blog or even doing speaking gigs. While all of that advice is valid, most of us –
a) don’t have the experience to land constant speaking gigs
and
b) don’t have the time to blog or be on social media 24/7 or , let’s face it, the discipline to do all of the above all the time.

build

but there are some simple things that you can do today to build your brand and no sending out a tweet a day doesn’t count. Yup I have tried all of them out.

  1. Build your brand one connection at a timeĀ 
    If you are someone who like to go to events just to network and then get extremely frustrated when people don’t respond to your emails, you are doing it wrong! Stop trying to gather business cards and start building connections. and how exactly do you do that? By figuring out who your tribe is.
  2. Figure out who your tribe isĀ 
    No matter which platform you use – instagram, blog or twitter, you need to figure out what kind of community you want to build.
    For example I want to connect with other community builders and women in STEM so I seek out events where these people will be or follow them on social media platforms.
    Keep in mind that building a connection doesn’t mean that you have to tweet at them every 5 seconds but rather get involved in conversations and add value instead of just taking value.
    P.S: find some good twitter chats – yes they are still a thing
  3. Mix IRL with online
    If you are just starting out your career, I’d recommend finding some events where your tribe will be and make it a point to show up. Because tweeting or sending LinkedIn invites is great but that can’t beat the magic of a real life connection.
    If you are in the startup world, startup digest has a good amount of event listings, you can check meetup.com or certain blog. If all else fails google “events in …..” and you should be on your way to find some!
    Most events have hashtags so follow those and become a part of the conversation even before the event.
    P.S: if you really love an event consider volunteering for it!I hope this helps and rest assured that I won’t dish out any advice that I haven’t tried out myself.

Morning Musings – How to make the most out of your job

Blogging every day – Day 1

I am doing this thing whereby I start my mornings by writing a short blog entry, it could be anything from something I am grateful for to whatever I am planning on accomplishing that day or what’s on my mind.

hustle

For today, I want to chat about how you can start enjoying each day at your job. This is a conversation I had with 4 other people yesterday.

  1. Know what you want in life
    I know this sounds a little clichƩ but it is also super important. You really need to know what you want in life. I have always wanted to be a writer and becoming a marketing manager means that I do get to write and practice my craft lots.
  2. Set goals for the month
    Try to learn or improve on one thing per month. For example I want to get better at email marketing so for the month of november I have read a shit ton of email marketing books and written draft nurture campaigns. If monthly goals are too much, set smaller weekly goals.
  3. Bring new ideas to the table and implement them to hone your skill set
    When I wanted to get better at running events, I volunteered my time to community organizations but when I wanted to run the show and really learn A-Z of everything, I decided to propose it to work. Thankfully they were open to the idea and the rest is history.
    If your work is not super open to new ideas (MAJOR RED FLAG or a sign that you work in a super corporate environment) then volunteer your time on different teams. Make it your goal to volunteer at least once a month.

That’s it for now! See you tomorrow!

Tooth Extraction – The Dirty Truth about my Teeth

3 weeks ago, right about the time I got my yearly cold sore, I noticed a lump in my cheek. My first reaction was, what the fuck? Followed by panic and WebMD-ing the hell out of my condition.

WebMD said it could be an inflamed lymph node, a tooth abscess or maybe I had cancer.

aece5a8d8a7a301236746a396f08bfb7

Obviously I was terrified. Hence, I decided to call my doctor and a dentist that my friend recommended.

2 days later I was at the dentist’s office, where the hygienist had to give my teeth a good scaling – it took her almost an hour and that was just for half of my mouth šŸ˜
Note to self: Take better care of your teeth!
Upon further examination, the doctor decided that I needed to have an infected tooth extracted. WHAT?

giphy-2

Now for those of you who know me IRL you know that I am terrified of dentists! Let’s just say an incident in 3rd grade left me in excruciating pain and the memory has been hard to shake.

This is what I have always imagined dentists to be like…

tumblr_nhpn13dloq1rp0vkjo1_500

But anyways, I needed to get this done, if not for myself then for those around me (in my immediate vicinity) I have to be a responsible adult and all that. So I was like okayyyy fineeee I will do this. On the day that I had to go to the dentist, I was visibly shaking despite reassurances from numerous people that I will be fine. I was like yeah? what do you know? Your extraction was so long ago.

An incredibly kind uber driver who drove me to my extraction said that I will be completely fine and truth be told I was, I am…

I didn’t really feel the procedure at all and it took all of what seemed like 5 minutes to pull the tooth out.

SO why did I pull my tooth out? Because there was a cyst, which I really think was an abscess, the lump in my cheek is also gone. My family doctor – oh side note, after 5 years in Canada I finally have a family doctor! yay me! – said it was a lymph node but it was definitely a tooth infection :/

Recovery

It has been 2 days since my extraction. My doctor chose not to put me on antibiotics or pain killers and to be honest I am not in pain of any sort, a little bit of discomfort sure, but not really any pain. Thank God for that.

Although I did drool a ton after the first few hours. Because they tell you not to spit out anything since they don’t want you to spit out the blood clot that’s forming.

drool

I am eating mushy food like soups, pudding, mashed potatoes, mashed bananas, milk, smoothies and such but I am so hungry all the time and want to chew and eat real food but I am also trying to be good. So far so good.

Hopefully the recovery will be swift and I can get an implant in the next few months. Rest assured that I will be flossing and brushing every single day. I mean I have always brushed twice a day but that’s not enough. I am also doing salt water and baking soda rinses religiously and drinking a ton of milk!

Wish me luck as I embark on this journey to keep a healthier mouth šŸ™‚

How do you keep your teeth healthy and sparkly clean?

 

Being Bullied & Its Aftermath – 10 years down the road

I’ve tried to start this post multiple times and though what I want to write is crystal clear in my head, I am having a lot of difficulty getting it out.

Here is attempt number 27


I’d like to take you all on a trip down memory lane, circa 2006 – 2007, where it all began. It was my 1st year of university. I, like many others, was terribly excited to be an adult… well I was more excited to be living on my own for the first time in my life.

Oh to be young and foolish and to think that you are living without rules.

I know first year of university can be intimidating, what with having to form new friendships and the freshmen 15. I was prepared for all of that, I joined the hall committee and made friends pretty quickly, I stuck to my exercise routine and lost weight… take that freshmen 15!

What I wasn’t prepared for was being bullied at the age of 19.

Now, this wasn’t my first rodeo. I had been bullied before when I broke my front tooth after a fall and was labelled the fucking gremlin demon child but even that didn’t prep me for what lay ahead.

It comprised of emotional & verbal abuse, coupled with sexual harassment + a dose of slut shaming.

I would receive texts from random folks telling me that they wanted to feel me up or have sex with me just like my boyfriend does. Not that it was anyone’s business but I didn’t even have sex. -_-

On another instance, guy #1 stored his number under my name in guy #2’s phone and sent him misleading texts all week. And then guy #2 got mad at me and called me names. What the actual fuck?

My personal emails to my then boyfriend were circulated amongst people who got their jollies off watching other people be humiliated.

People who didn’t even know me, called me names for no good reason except that they heard it somewhere. A guy whom I scarcely knew, met me and his first words to me were, “wow you are not like who they say you are.”

What did it do to me?

My 19 year old brain was unable to deal with all of this shit and as a result I tried to kill myself on multiple occasions and was put on suicide watch. My therapist told me to report the bullies and get them suspended but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. What the fuck was wrong with me?

I wish I could say that I was strong enough to deal with all of this and I didn’t give a fuck about what people said about me. But I did.

I lived in constant fear of my bullies spotting me across the campus and making fun of me in front of everyone. I would regularly faint and have dizzy spells because it was extremely stressful to just go on living.

To be honest, I don’t remember exactly who all of the aggressors were, there were a few key people but there were also many bystanders, who joined in the festivities. Fuck all of y’all.

The whole situation brought out the worst in me. I was a mess, physically & emotionally. I neglected friendships, school and myself. And stayed in a toxic relationship I should have ended many years ago.

So why am I talking about this now?

An email that came in earlier this year got me thinking about this all over again. Here is an excerpt:

email

I have waited for this apology for years and I thought it would make me feel better but in fact it only served to make me feel worse. Because now I feel validated that all of it – every single second of it – did in fact happen.

I wasn’t imagining it, it wasn’t all in my head but was in fact a very real part of my existence.

It took me 10 years to get over all of this. If you think I am playing the victim, fuck you. It was the fear of victimizing myself that led me to keep quiet for 10 fucking god damned years.

To the people who will tell me it has been 10 years let it rest, move on. Do you have any idea what it did to me? The bullies may have moved on with their lives because to them I was probably this sad girl who deserved being made fun of but the pain they caused me continues to feed my PTSD.

It took 10 years, a loving husband, an understanding family and moving several continents away to dull the pain.

Would I do anything differently if I had the chance?Ā 

I really hope I would. I wish someone talked to me about this and how to deal with bullying. We like to pretend that if we don’t pay it any mind, bad things will go away.

I would try to form a better support system around me. I didn’t share all of this with anyone for years because I felt so ashamed of myself.

I know I can’t turn back time but when I do have a child, I want to tell them to be true to who they are and not let anyone bring them down. To stand up for themselves instead of being scared of losing “friends” and that real friends will never put you through this kind of mental torture.

What I want to come out of talking about this

If you have ever been bullied or are being bullied, talk about it, get support from your family and friends. Don’t feel ashamed, it is NOT your fault.

Ria goes to her First Ever Baby Shower!

Today I went to my first ever baby shower & it was a lot of fun! I don’t have a lot of friends in Toronto who have kids so I don’t really get invited to a ton of baby showers!

img_0346

The radiant mom to be and CAKE! OM NOM NOM!

It was a baby shower for one of the nicest, kindest souls that I have the pleasure of being friends with. Emily I love you so much and you are going to be an incredible mom!

I met Emily about 4.5 years ago now through twitter. She is a Toronto based jewelry designer and all around awesome lady! Check out her creations —> HERE <—

img_0345

It’s blurry but just LOOK at me having a really good time :p

img_0339

One of the many photo ops

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.03.18 AM.png

Up close and personal with the cake because that’s just how I roll!Ā 

Straws

gaaaah how cute are these straws?

Cupcakes

baby shower favours!

Baby shower favours for everyone to take home – handmade soup that says from Ruby Shower to yours! How cute!

If you haven’t guessed by now, the theme of the shower was flamingoes and it is a girl! Congratulations Em and Alan! I can’t wait to meet your little bundle of joy and babysit her!

P.S: We played games and I actually won one of them! HUZZAH!

What’s up with Ria? Vacations and more…

There is a lot going on right now. I could go on and on forever but in short, life is happening at an unexpected pace.

I am trying to read as much as I can, as often as possible, but sometimes life gets in the way. My reading list has definitely become more interesting and diverse than I was expecting it to be.

Museum of Human Rights

Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba

We ( C & I) also took our first ever trip to Winnipeg! Which was a lot of fun. We met lots of family and got some well deserved down time – well as much downtime you can actually get on a vacation.

I feel like vacations exhaust me. I come back feeling really tired instead of recharged. Anyone else feel me?
We got back on Wednesday night, I worked from home on Thursday and have basically been watching Sex and the City movies to really relax. I feel like I might take a week long stay-cation at the end of the year.

Well that’s it from me for now. Chat soon.

FANGIRL – When a book gives you all of the feelings!

big deal alert
This post is part review and part me fangirling over FANGIRL!


I just finished reading FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell and it is giving me all of the feelings. I do read fiction but lately I haven’t been reading a ton because you know, “I am an adult and adults only read non fiction blah blah blah!

Also, I have read some pretty awful fiction and I have comparatively high standards when it comes to fiction. You don’t need to give me Harry Potter feels but I do need to feel like I am in the bookā€”just give me one relatable character and I will be a happy camper. Sadly, not all fiction has the ability to do that.

A few weeks ago I was wandering around a second hand book store here in Toronto (Shout out to BMV!) during my lunch break, cause you know that’s how we should all spend lunch time. And I started thinking about the good old times when I used to read and sometimes write fiction.

Little known fact about me, I started writing Buffy and Spike fan fic when I was 13. No, I am not going to share links.

Summer always does this to meā€”it makes me want to read fiction; I know summer hasn’t started officially but you get my point.

So there I wasā€”basically in heavenā€”wondering whether I should dabble in fiction, when this book appeared in front of me, in all its hardcover glory.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 1.48.58 AM

First Impressions

1. I thought it was going to be a sappy teenage love story, which to be honest I kind of enjoy. Takes me back… way back.

2. Was I ready to commit to a 437 page long work of fiction? Will I have the time?

3. Will IĀ be able to relate to the characters?


After Reading

I am not going to write a plot summary on here but if you do want to find out what the book is about, please feel free to peruseĀ Rainbow’s website!

But I will tell you this, the book chronicles twinĀ sisters Cath and Wren’s first year at university.

Cath, our heroine, is a writer and prefers the company of fictional characters to IRL encounters. Whereas her identical twin Wren is the outgoing one. It involves boys, writingā€”lots of writingā€”coming to terms with who you are and learning to be comfortable in your own skin.

Honourable Mention:Ā Leviā€”Cath’s boyfriend. OMFG Levi is only the most perfect boyfriend ever. Cath writes and he wants to hear everything. SO PERFECT! I CAN’T!

By the way, in case you are wondering, yes Cath Wren, Cath-Wren, CathWren… Catherine!
Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 2.02.26 AM

The first thing I did after I finished reading the book was to tweet about it because it was so freaking good! Honestly, I haven’t read something this good since Harry Potter and I really really hopeā€”with all my heartā€”that Rainbow Rowell writes another book about Cath and Wren.

Who did I relate to more?

Sometimes I was Cath, sometimes I was Wren but mostly I was Cath.
In my first year at university though I was definitely Wren. Read the book and find out more about Wren and I guess find out more about me.

From page 1, I was hooked and read it in 3 days!

I felt like I was back in university again and could relate to everything. The fact that the book was about learning to be comfortable in your own skin made it all the more relatable.

I think that’s something a lot, if not all, of us struggle with even as adults. Easier said than done.

Has Rainbow written a universal coming of age story?Ā Nope.
Did I love it? HELL YES!

Thank you for getting me hooked on to fiction again Rainbow! I can’t wait to read the rest of your books!

P.S: I am trying to read one book a week for June. Wish me luck! The first one I read was The Clasp by Sloan Crosley, had been trying to finish that one for a while! Next up is Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings.