“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” --Albert Einstein
Fall is a beautiful time of year. It's a time where the heat of the summer fades away, and the crisp chill in the air comes in to create perfect sweater weather. So before the brisk winter cold kicks in, take advantage of this weather by going outside and connecting with nature.
If you have hiking trails nearby or a natural park, take a morning or afternoon stroll down the trails. Not only will it allow you to get your body moving and your heart pumping, but it will also allow you to be present with yourself. Use this exercise as an opportunity to disconnect from technology. Take this time to turn off your phone for a while, live in the moment, and reconnect with your body and mind.
It doesn't have to be a race; it's about the journey. Again, it's about disconnecting and being present with yourself and your surroundings, along with quieting your mind from the hectic motions of your daily routine.
If you want to enhance your experience, why not listen to some relaxing music, have one of your favourite drinks at hand, or write about what you are seeing and feeling in a journal?
Spending some time outside and in nature brings us a state of mental and emotional clarity that relieves stress. It's been proven that spending time in nature creates positive emotions and reconnects us with ourselves. So before it becomes too cold outside, take advantage of the fall weather by spending some time outdoors and connecting with nature.
Inspiration can come at any time and any moment, and I can’t even begin to express how many times I’ve seen something and thought, “damn I wish I brought my camera with me.”
Once you get into the art of photography, the options are endless when it comes to creating a digital masterpiece, but first things first, you need to know how to control the beast and tame it in the way you like it. Yes, I’m talking about your camera.
There are so many ways you can create a beautiful shot and depending on what you’re shooting, there are a few basic skills every beginning photographer should have in their rule handbook.
The easiest way to solve this is to pay attention to the direction and softness of the light. If the light is too harsh, you could get bad shadows going across your subject, which is especially a problem for portrait photography.
If your light is coming in and creating an unflattering look on your subject, see what you can do to move around your light source, whether in a studio or outside, wait until you can see your subject properly through your viewfinder.
That’s why it’s best to be selective and remember, quality over quantity. Sure, you can take over 2000 photos over the course of eight hours at a wedding, but a lot of the times only about 500 turn out great and that’s ok. Promise your clients quality over quantity.
ISO: Controls the camera’s sensitivity to light.
Shutter Speed: Controls how long the shutter stays open when you take a picture.
Aperture: Is the opening of your lens and controls how much light gets through the camera sensor.
If you can apply all of this into your daily manual, I promise your work will start being more consistent, more clear and you’ll be proud of yourself!
2021 has been quite the year. Between lockdowns, vaccination roll-outs, an election with political division, it's understandable how people might feel uneasy, scared and unhopeful about where we are heading coming out of the pandemic.
With all that's going on, let's not forget to be thankful for some things that we may take for granted.
Throughout this pandemic, a big thing to be thankful for is that it's 2021, meaning that we have technology that keeps us connected and busy.
There's a lot of anger and fear being spread online.
Still, one giant plus for always being connected through social media and numerous devices is that it allows us to communicate with family and friends when we aren't allowed to see each other.
Also, because of technology:
Imagine if this pandemic happened before the early 2000s, before iPhones, Netflix and all the other apps and devices we have at our disposal.
People would feel even more uncertain and disconnected than they already are.
Family and Friends
When people are losing loved ones due to COVID, take a moment to be thankful for the friends and family you have in your life and cherish the relationships you have. The lockdown has put a new perspective on how we view our relationships, so we shouldn't take time with our loved ones for granted.
Unfortunately, some businesses had to close during the pandemic, which meant many people lost their jobs. If you are still employed or recently got a new job after losing your last one, take some time to be thankful for your current employment status, as many people may have lost work during this time.
Finding new ways to be self-sufficient
During the pandemic, there was a spike in DIY projects. Since people had more time on their hands, what better way to pass the time than to catch up on fixing things around the house or building a fence in your backyard?
This time also saw a spike in cooking and baking as people tried out new recipes to cook for themselves and their families. It's this type of self-sufficiency that should continue long after the pandemic is over.
The little things
Don't forget to be thankful for the little things, which can include:
This Thanksgiving, take a moment to be grateful for the small things you may take for granted daily. Especially in times of uncertainty, take a moment to remember the good things you have going on.
It's never too early to start planning. With family members getting vaccinated and looser restrictions on get-togethers, you might be planning on hosting the Thanksgiving you never got to have last year.
With that said, here are some tips on how to plan ahead for the festivities this year to make sure you have a game plan for whatever you're planning this year.
1. To Have Thanksgiving or Not to have Thanksgiving, that is the question.
Before starting any planning, know where you stand this year for Thanksgiving. If you're usually the host, do you want to host this year? If you're usually the guest, will you attend the entire festivity, or would you rather have a quick pop in? Know what you want to do and discuss it with other members to understand what they would like to do to ensure everyone is on the same page and to set expectations.
2. Don't be afraid to say no.
If you don't feel comfortable having Thanksgiving this year or feel more comfortable staying at home, don't be afraid to skip it this year, given that the pandemic is still going on.
Also, don't be afraid to have a small Thanksgiving with your closest family or friends, given the circumstances.
3. Spread out the preparations over a few days
Instead of scrambling to get the dishes, tables, extra seating and décor ready the night before, why not dedicate a few days to getting everything you need? Then, spread out your tasks and complete them in the days leading up to the big day. This includes making a grocery list and getting items well ahead of time.
And with that said…
4. Try to prepare as many meals ahead of time as you can, and don't be afraid to buy pre-made meals.
Cooking a turkey is time-consuming. A lot of people tend to cook the turkey and other oversized items the day of. As a result, they spend most of the day in the kitchen and not enough time enjoying company.
If you're one of these people, try to prepare as much food as you can a day or two before and put it in the oven or zap it in the microwave when it's almost time to eat. Don't be afraid to cook and carve that turkey a day ahead and heat it the next day in the oven. It will still turn out delicious, and you can enjoy your company.
Also, don't be afraid to buy pre-made meals to save time, like purchasing a pie instead of making one from scratch.
This year, try making things easy on yourself by organizing and preparing things ahead of time. This will make Turkey Day go by smoother and gives you and your family enough time to enjoy your day.
Most of us already know this, but it is essential for our inner happiness when we fall in love with ourselves. In addition, it can help us be successful in other relationships and help us connect with the person you want the world to see.
When you can fall in love with yourself, you will receive more love in return. When you exude love and confidence, you will attract people in your life that also have the same zest for living. So the cycle is clear, and it all starts with one thing, falling madly and deeply in love with yourself. But where does self-love come from? How do you build it? How do you work through the things dictating your everyday life and holding you back from true happiness?
1. Be Kind To Yourself
It seems so simple but can be one of the hardest parts of self-love to master. Unfortunately, we are growing up in a society that tells us how to look, feel, and act. The way to fix this? Take back your power. Whatever that may be - negative outlook on life, feeling empty, lost, or unconfident, take your control back! Learn to catch yourself when you fall into negative self-talk and make a conscious effort to change those words into positive reaffirming comments.
2. Change Your Self Talk
The way you talk to yourself affects your mind and your overall being, and a lot of the time, negative self-talk can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s ok to hold yourself to a high standard and feel the emotions you feel within the moment, but it’s not good to get stuck into that mindset and let it dictate your everyday life.
3. Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Remember that you come first in your life You are your number one priority, and having supportive people around you reminds you that it is a good thing to set yourself up with a positive mindset in life. In addition, creating positive and healthy relationships in your life can remind you that there is good in others and that good is present in your life.
4. Push Yourself
Getting out of your comfort zone is the key to happiness. When you get out of your comfort zone, you allow yourself to be free of your fears of failure. Pushing past those fears can bring a new and exciting aspect to your life that you once dreamed of that now is a reality.
5. Give Back
When you’re checking out, and the cashier asks you if you want to donate $1.50 to a cause, do it. It’s such a small gesture, but it can change the whole aspect of your life. When you give back, you feel like you helped someone during their time of need, but you realise that helping others could potentially be your life purpose, and when we find our life purpose, everything else falls into place.
These are just some small steps you can take to start to fall in love with yourself and your life. Life can have its ups and downs, but we need to focus on those ups and acknowledge the downs. Then, even when we fall, we can get back up and start over. There is no playbook to life; it’s what we want it to be.
Failure doesn’t need to be looked at as a bad thing. Sometimes, the best course of action is to let it be and allow what is supposed to happen, happen. When we get into the habit of labelling things as good or bad, we tell our brain that something negative happened, besides allowing them to process that event and move past it.
For example, when something goes wrong, you’ll most likely focus on making it better besides allowing it to merely float through existence. Good and bad mentality tends to pit your memories against each other, and as someone told me recently, “Comparison is the theft of joy.”
Of course, you can learn from the bad experiences, but you can also gain wisdom from the good ones. Attaching a description designated to an emotion can increase your chances of unreliable narratives.
Now, it’s no secret that some things that happen are bad, and some experiences may feel unequivocally good or bad, but this all has to do with your approach.
Letting life float without labelling things as good or bad allows you to focus on what’s important - you.
With school starting, one thing that parents should always have on their radar is the subject of bullying and whether or not their child is a victim of it.
Bullying takes on many forms. It's far more than occasional teasing or kids excluding other kids from playing games with them on the playground. Instead, bullying includes recurring incidents of harm or humiliation.
For years, schools and parents have tried to push the importance of choosing kindness over harassment - either verbal or physical - and celebrate our differences instead. Unfortunately, bullying can be motivated by many different things. For example, some kids feel the need to bully others to feel superior to others that are different, weird, or "weaker" than them. Bullying can also be motivated by racism, homophobia or transphobia, disability, etc.
As reported by a study by CBC, more than half of young people that identified as visible minorities say they've been subjected to racist names or comments. In 2019, one in four students who attended high schools in the Greater Toronto Area, say they have been called hateful names or have been subjected to comments that are homophobic or transphobic.
Other types of physical harassment include:
Bullying doesn't stop once school is over. For some students, it follows them home when they log in on social media. Cyberbullying has been increasing as a way to taunt their peers through social media platforms. Students now call out and tease their peers in video game live streams, Instagram, and TikTok videos for other classmates to see and comment on. They'll even go as far as to post humiliating videos without their consent.
37% of Canadian students stated that they had been the victims of cyberbullying - where someone has said or done mean or cruel things to them online.
Bullying can often lead to emotional, social, and academic problems, low self-esteem, anxiety, and some people may even turn to self-harm in some cases.
Here are some things to do and resources to help you and your child in case they are being bullied.
Windsor-Essex Branch Violence, Bullying and Abuse Prevention - Ontario - Canadian Red Cross
Get Support - Kids Help Phone
"We're all born naked, and the rest is drag" - RuPaul.
Clothing has always been used to express ourselves and as a way to express our attitudes and behaviours.
On a lazy Sunday afternoon, people typically wear comfortable sweatpants and a loose t-shirt to lounge around the house instead of dressing up as they would at their office to look the way they feel.
Clothing gives you a chance on how to present yourself to other people.
Some clothes never go out of style, like a pencil skirt, jeans, a nice sweater, animal print, etc.
Some old trends even tend to come back in style after spending years away, like loose ponytails, knee-high boots and fringed clothing.
While some trends make it full circle and become popular again, others fade into obscurity as a relic of their time. I can't see Hammer Pants from the '90s or 70's bell bottoms coming back anytime soon.
Some trends stay the test of time, but one trend that's pushing forward is the current trend of more gender-neutral clothing.
In 2021, clothes can stand for individual gender expression, or the lack of it, with more examples of individuals using clothing as a way to break down barriers to show off what they're most comfortable displaying to the world. For example, Harry Styles unapologetically wears dresses and other flamboyant clothing because he likes them. Rapper Kid Cudi also proudly wore a dress during a performance on SNL.
Women also don't need to be confined within the norms of dresses or skirts.
Depending on the clothing brand, gender-neutral clothing can have more neutral colours and shirts and pants can have a baggier fit.
Clothing through history was meant to signify personal reflection. In the 17th and 18th centuries of European fashion, men wore more flamboyant clothing to reflect their wealth, as it showcased how much money they had. It was campy and grandiose, but it was normalized as a typical fashion for men.
When women began dominating the office in the 1960s, the rise in pantsuits were worn to reflect their new position in what was then considered a mostly male-dominated workspace.
When it comes to personal fashion, people like to mix and match clothing styles to find their amount of comfortability, regardless of being male or female.
It wasn't until the 1940s where clothing was getting marketed more gender-specifically, with blue being associated with boys and pink being associated with girls. Pants were considered practical for males, and dresses were meant for girls.
Clothing has always been a way to break down barriers, regardless of gender. Women’s rights activist Elizabeth Smith Fuller wore pants in order to fight for women’s dress reform, for example.
We have seen many trends that come and go throughout the years, but bending the rules has never gone away.
Clothing has always been a means of self-expression, showing who you are, whether it's to be comfortable or to express your true style, regardless of colour or make. Fashion and - the people wearing them - are constantly changing.
Listen, I am no therapist or coach, but through working with a good amount of them, I have learned a thing or two about to structure your life properly and how to find a healthy balance between you and your mental health. Now mind you, I haven't applied all of this into my own life yet, but small steps make quite a significant change.
Have you ever heard of the Wheel of Life exercise?
This handy exercise that most therapists and coaches use offers a complete view of your current life situation. It was made to help you quickly identify areas of imbalance in your life and allows you to create goals and set priorities based on your life vision. This will help you figure out what you really want out of life and when I say it, I mean it.
So how do you do it?
Image and instructions courtesy of: Inside-out-coaching.com
Now that you’ve done the easy part, it's time for the hard part; actually making the changes to fulfill all that you want out of life! Allowing yourself to be driven by your desired future is the first step in making differences in your life! After doing this exercise, I'm sure you have more of a clear idea of where you really want to be in your life, with your health, finances, relationships, career and more.
What is it about the silence that makes you so on edge?
With technology demanding our everyday attention, sometimes it feels good to shut everything off and to just be with your thoughts. While technology has allowed us to overcome communication gaps and connected us in many ways, it has seemingly allowed us to abandon any comfort in silence and trust me when I say, it can be scary to be alone with your thoughts but it can also bring you a lot of clarity.
Engaging in comfortable silence, alone or with others has many health benefits both physical and mental. Loud noises have been linked to causing an increase in blood pressure and stress, where meditation or sitting in silence has helped many calm their nerves and reduce their stress.
While it may be hard to ditch our phones and our everyday distractions and get some time to just be with ourselves, there are some steps you can try and implement when it comes to building back that silence that is comfortable rather than awkward.
Put The Phone Down:
Okay, this may be an obvious one, but it’s easy to overlook! Oftentimes we spring to social media due to our FOMO and wanting to be up to date with everything but one day away from your phone is not going to kill you. Learn to make the conscious effort to enjoy your everyday life, the people around you and what you are doing, besides using your phone as a way to distract yourself.
Imagine this, you get to a coffee shop to meet your friend and you come to the realization that you forgot your phone in your car, what do you do? Most times you would go back to get your phone to avoid the feeling of being uncomfortable due to needing to have an activity to do. But maybe this one time, you can accept the silence and learn to click into your mind besides distracting yourself constantly with an object. Sit with yourself, even grab a napkin and a pen and write out all the things you want to achieve in a year. You would be shocked with how much you can learn about yourself while being in silence for 5 minutes.
This one is still hard for me, it’s okay to be mad at yourself, disappointed, angry, sad or just done with yourself but the number one thing you need to apply is forgiving yourself. It’s hard to fully move past things but with some inner work you can do it.
When was the last time you sat in silence?
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you’re in charge of.”
– Jim Rohn
We’re all human. Everybody makes mistakes.
Whether intentional or not, we can do or say something that can hurt people or cause a larger problem for others at work, school, in a relationship, etc.
When it comes to making mistakes, the best thing to do is to start taking responsibility and owning up to your actions.
Some examples of taking responsibility for your actions can look like:
For some people, taking responsibility for their actions is a real challenge. As a result, some people blame others or make it seem like that problem was out of their control, but in reality, it was from something they caused themselves.
While it is true that external factors and other people can contribute to a problem, always making excuses and relying on pointing fingers as a way to distract people from something you’ve done can cause friction and make the situation worse.
Unfortunately, you can’t change people who don’t want to change. Some people are stubborn or too proud to admit when they have done something wrong.
But to improve ourselves and those around us, some simple steps in accountability can go a long way.
Taking responsibility is a way to start taking charge of your life. Taking responsibility can help build trust and respect with others for owning up to your mistakes. When you identify things that aren’t working in your personal or professional life, you can make goals on how to improve them.
I’ve done it and so have you. We keep doing the same thing and expecting the same results. Sometimes they are the results we don’t really want and when it comes to the challenges, the same goes. We keep manifesting the same problems into our lives.
Why is that? Why do the same problems keep occurring?
Proponents of the Law of Attraction, believe that if you keep complaining about the same problem or challenge, or keep obsessing over it, you just keep recreating the same problem.
Could that be the reason? Possibly, there are many things that happen to us that are completely out of our hands, but remember events and circumstances keep happening to you till you have that one moment, that one take away. The one that is life transforming, the aha-moment!
Let’s break it down, why do you keep experiencing the same problems?
In other words, you are only choosing to see or hear what you want. You are not allowing yourself to see the full picture out of fear of disappointment, fear of that same problem rehappening again, besides that, you just choose to ignore it.
2. You believe your way is the only way
This all has to do with your ego. You'd rather tune out what others are telling you and don’t allow yourself to grow or learn differently. You choose to look at things your way so that they work out in your mind the way you planned it, but do they actually?
3. Your communication is kinked
When a wire is kinked, it can’t transmit a signal properly. If you allow yourself to be closed off and expect others to understand everything about you, you’re wrong. Communication is key when it comes to trusting in the process of life. If you want something, you need to communicate, if something is becoming a problem, communicate.
4. You are stuck in your ways
Sometimes problems can be resolved pretty easily, but when you’re stuck in your own ways and don’t listen to others opinions or try and venture out of your bubble, you will keep experiencing the same thing. Venture out of your bubble to experience new adventures, surroundings and environments. You will never grow if you’re content with being in the same spot, always.
5. Be true to what you want
Excuses, excuses, excuses. We can keep making excuses as to why we are not getting where we want, or doing what we envisions but at the end of the day, all of that is on you. Nobody is going to give you what you want, you are the creator of your own life! Figure out what you want and what is aligned with your purpose, put yourself out there and go for it!
Whether you are older or younger, there is always room to learn something new. Look at some of the top leaders, they pushed past every single problem they have experienced and learned to move forward with what they had. The ability to move past big road bumps in your life is the major key to success.
What's the ideal body for summer? Short answer: there isn't one.
As spring quickly approaches, it seems as though people are eager to shed the extra pounds they've gained during the winter and begin setting their sights on swimsuit season and working towards their "beach body", where people will strive to get to their ideal body to look their best.
Since it's summer, you might start seeing posts or articles popping up that mention the steps to achieve your perfect summer body, what diets you should use, and how much you should tan. There are even tips on how to look less bloated on the beach, so your stomach looks as flat and acceptable as possible.
As publications push us to live out our Baywatch fantasies, there shouldn't be this much pressure in trying to have the "perfect body". But, unfortunately, these articles only add an extra level of self-consciousness that might not have been on everyone's radar. Is all this effort essential to look presentable in a bathing suit? Is my body good enough?
With that said, if you like the challenge and enjoy setting fitness goals for yourself, then reaching your "beach body" goal can be an excellent way to keep a fitness routine and stay motivated. But for everyone else who's looking for some fun in the sun, just know that you shouldn't feel intimidated or feel the pressure of needing to look a certain way.
While swimsuit season often means more skin and body exposure, there shouldn't be this expectation on what a "beach body" should really look like.
While on a beach or at a public pool, it's easy to fall down the rabbit hole by comparing your physical appearance to other people and pointing out the areas you believe are lacking.
"Why can't I be toned and tanned like that person?" You may ask yourself.
"Why can't I have a tight six-pack and bulging muscles?"
While some people work towards trimming belly fat and gaining tight abs for the hotter months of the year, we should also promote body comfortability, no matter what your body type is.
Be yourself, have fun in the sun, stay hydrated and wear sunscreen and just let loose. Summer is only three months, so take advantage of it by living your best self. Stop worrying about having the perfect summer body and letting the term "beach body" seem like something you must have. Every body is a summer body as there's no one way to look at the beach.
Do you ever find yourself focusing on things that are so useless and distract you from the things you need to get done?
Yeah, we all know what this feels like, but sometimes it’s hard to shut off that secondary voice in your head telling you to focus on that little thought. Unfortunately, we live in a world where most of us focus on stuff that isn’t important at all, but we expect to get things done. And then we realize that we’ve wasted valuable time that we can’t get back.
Life is as short as a breath, and it should be lived fully with every moment because each new day is a gift. The problem with most people is that we believe that the future holds all the things that we’ve ever dreamed of. We never think about the now and acknowledge that those dreams can be made a reality quickly if we just stopped giving so much attention to the bullshit.
It may seem like a hard thing to grasp, but it’s not. First, you need to stop focusing on insignificant things. Then, once you can get over that hill, you will be able to take control of your life and do the things you have wanted to do for years.
With just a few steps, you can get there:
Even if you think you can’t get out of the mindset of focusing on stuff that you can’t control, remind yourself you can do it and be proud of your progress every step of the way.
Let’s just say it outright, what Britney Spears has gone through in the last decade is something many should never have to endure.
Britney Spears’ ongoing battle for control of her life has moved from just being something that was talked about to the broader public’s attention. Let’s just say, we are saddened by this news and when we express that we mean, we are confused about what has happened to the universal human’s desire for freedom?
It seems as though, no matter how many headlines we see about it, her fight continues. So, here’s some background information for you.
Following her public breakdown in 2008, Spear’s was put into a conservatorship by her family, mainly ran by her father, Jamie Spears and another co-conservator power. Her father was granted the conservatorship by a Los Angeles court after Britney was struggling with mental health issues and was hospitalized. At that time, her father petitioned the courts for an emergency “temporary” conservatorship alluding to the fact that his daughter was temporary unable to take care of herself. But from there, her father was given legal rights to make decisions regarding Britney’s finances, health, business deals and even her personal life up until this point.
As of recently, Britney told the courts in a rare public testimony that she wants the conservatorship to end. Explaining that she has been traumatized by the people that have controlled her life for more than 13 years, Britney expressed in her hearing, “I’ve lied and told the whole world I'm ok, I'm happy, I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized," she said. "You know, fake it till you make it. But now I’m telling you the truth. Ok, I’m not happy. I can’t sleep."
This Mississippi girl needs her life back. Not only is she one of the most powerful pop divas of all time, but to think something was happening to her behind closed doors that was ran by her family is a true example about how money is the root of all evil. She has not had legal control of her life for 13 year’s, this is why we are all for the #FreeBritney movement.
What are your opinions on it? Do you think her conservatorship should be dismissed? Leave a comment below.
Summer is here and with restrictions loosening up, people are looking ahead at what to do. With that said, here are some activities and events in Windsor-Essex that you can do this summer to get you out of the house and doing something fun with the family. Read our list and plan some summer fun!
Just a heads up, due to Covid-19, these events/activities may get postponed, cancelled or run with restricted hours. Remember that social distancing and mask wearing still applies.
Spend some time outdoors:
Take a drive to Point Pelee or to the beach at Seacliff in Leamington
Take advantage of the nice weather and spend the day outdoors at the beach or in nature at Point Pelee.
There’s plenty of downtown markets to stroll, eat on the patio, and shop this summer. Here are a few:
Downtown Windsor Farmers - shop for local produce, food and artisanal vendors and more at Pelissier Street and Maiden Lane on Saturdays from 8AM - 1PM
Kingsville Open Market: Located at Main and Division, stroll the streets of downtown Kingsville this summer on Saturdays 4:00 pm-10:30 pm.
Amherstburg Open Air Weekends
Every Friday from 4-11pm and Saturdays beginning at 4pm till Sunday at 11pm, the streets of Downtown Amherstburg are open for visitors to experience outdoor patios, cafes and shops.
The Boonies Drive In:
With theaters closed, why not take a trip to Tilbury for a double feature of this summer’s latest blockbusters in the comfort of your car? With a concession stand filled with delicious treats, support this family owned and operated business right in our area.
For more information visit: thebooniesdrivein.com
Lakeshore, 4625 Richardson Side Rd, Tilbury, ON N0P 2L0, Canada
Drive In Attractions at Rock Star Music Hall
Rockstar | Live. Music. (rockstarplatinum.com)
Pick your time, pack your car and treat your family to an amazing and safe experience. Each show is 25 minutes long with special shows such as SteamPunk Circus coming up in July, make sure you check out their showtimes for other upcoming events throughout the summer.
Art by the River:
10 AM - 5PM
Support local artists with Art by the River. $5 to enter, free for children 12 and under.
Fort Malden Historical Site / August 28th and August 29th.
Written by a F.A.B.U Contributor
In 2004, author Brent Hartinger released a book titled The Geography Club about a group of queer high school students who form an after-school club to discuss what they're all going through. So naturally, they decided to call it The Geography Club, a club so dull, it wouldn't draw any unnecessary attention to itself. And besides, who wants to join a Geography Club, anyway?
Even though attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community have changed over the past 17 years, it still teaches how relevant safe spaces are for LGBTQ+ youth. It brings together other LGBTQ+ students who can lean on each other to share their experiences.
High school is a time of self-discovery. It's a time of finding out where you fit in, who your true friends are, peer pressure, etc. It can be a pretty lonely time, especially if you're LGBTQ+ or questioning.
During this time of self-discovery, having a safe space can give youth comfort and a place to turn to with no judgement, even if meetings only run once a week. It's also necessary for those students who haven't come out yet.
In my high school, this safe space took the form of a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) that met during lunchtime once a week. These meetings were not only meant for students who identified as LGBTQ+ but also for their straight allies. The club had five teachers who came to every meeting and made it their mission to accept every student who came through the door. It created a welcoming school community to support students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The point of the club was also to spread positivity and tolerance in the school, which my school desperately needed. It wasn't long after the club was established that it was soon dubbed "The Gay Club". The club was never the target for harassment or hazing, but it wasn't without its instances.
The club did get an eye roll whenever it was brought up during the morning announcements. "What do they do in The Gay Club?" I remember a student in my homeroom ask, to which their friend lazily retorted, "gay stuff". This was when I knew the club was written off and deemed "uncool".
The club once decorated the halls with balloons to spread kindness. But, unfortunately, those balloons were taken down by a student as soon as they were put up.
During Spirit Day - a day to wear purple to show support against bullying and bullying-related suicide – the GSA organized a potluck during lunch. Anyone could participate in the potluck as long as they wore purple. Two male students wearing purple showed up for the free food, but once they found out it was organized by "the Gay Club," they turned down the food and left. They laughed as they walked away and called the club a homophobic slur.
Those few instances of passive homophobia were why students started the GSA to begin with. Even though some students wrote off the club, it was not written off by the members that did attend every meeting. It was a place you could go to make sure you weren't in the crossfire of a slur or an eye roll just for being who you are.
In 2021, people might think there might not be a need for GSA's anymore, because tolerance is promoted everywhere, there is still a need now more than ever.
Even though Gen Z is considered more progressive than older generations by being more open to different identities, interests, and modes of self-expression, high school can still be dangerous for students who are different.
We've all heard the phrase "times may change, but high school stays the same".
Unfortunately, putting teenagers with clashing personalities in one location can still lead to an unsafe environment.
This is more relevant due to the rise in cyberbullying, where high schoolers use many social media platforms to harass their peers. Students now call out and tease their peers in video game live streams, Instagram, and TikTok videos for other classmates to see and comment on. They'll even go as far as posting humiliating videos without their consent.
In terms of Gen Z students bullying their LGBTQ+ peers, CBC reported that "in 2019, one in four students who attended high schools in the Greater Toronto Area, say they have been called hateful names or have been subjected to comments that are homophobic or transphobic."
Schools that have established safe spaces or GSA's have proven to create positive impacts on LGBTQ+ students. It allows those students to build trust and relationships with their peers. It can make a place of comfort and safety and be used to identify which supportive adults they can turn to for guidance. All this ultimately leads to a better learning environment where students have higher self-confidence levels and better grades, which benefits students in the long run.
Overall, everyone wins when there's a safe space where students can attend whenever they feel like there's nowhere else to go. In addition, GSA's provide an area of support so students know which teachers and peers to turn to if things get tough, either at school or at home. When students feel supported, it can impact their grades and their overall self-esteem.
High school can be a vulnerable time. The world might not be a kind place, but a little support and some kind faces can go a long way.
LGBTQ+ students belong.
If you’re a student or a teacher, here are some resources on GSA’s and how to start one in your school.
Written by Julianna Bonnett
Over the past decade, the idea that we are "born this way" has become increasingly important. Coming out as a person that is a part of the LGBTQ+ community is a very personal and life-altering journey.
Regardless of the circumstances, there is no right or wrong way to come out to the people you love. Some people of the LGBT community choose to come out in a public way, some just to family and friends, where others choose not to share their stories out of fear of judgment or not being accepted based on the public's view on sexuality.
Windsor-Essex Pride Fest, which attracts over 7,000 people each year to the downtown core and takes place in August this year, many people are still wondering if the event will take place or if it will go virtually due to Covid-19
24-year-old Elijah Gauthier, who recently came out about his sexuality almost two years ago, said he's never been to Pride and was looking forward to it.
"I just came out to my family and some friends a while ago, I've never been to Pride, but it would have been something I would have loved to have gone to."
Gauthier, who discovered when he was eight-years-old that he was attracted to the same sex, expressed that over the years, he felt the need to hide his sexuality due to his religion and the fear that people would look at him differently.
"Growing up in a Christian household while also attending a Christian school, I was constantly told that homosexuality was a sin, and that was all I was surrounded by," shared Gauthier. "I was so fearful of my family kicking me out or never talking to me again."
Even though the significant changes in the laws and norms surrounding same-sex marriage have changed over the years, public acceptance of homosexuality remains divided throughout countries, races and religions.
After Gauthier came out to his family and friends, he felt a complete shift in his confidence and regardless of the acceptance people had towards his sexuality, he was tired of hiding who he was.
"My advice is to come out when you're ready," explained Gauthier. "There are so many people that have a past and are embarrassed about it, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about, it's your sexuality, and you should take full pride in it."
Written by Julianna Bonnett
Are you a dreamer? What are your dreams? Are they small, big, or too large and too complex?
Whether you have a dream or not, the dreams you have are there for a reason: to be realized as a part of fulfilling your life purpose. For many people, making their dreams a reality is something they don’t see possible or obtainable because they don’t see how it will ever come true. They just can’t see how taking time to plan out and make that dream realistic could ever work. Have patience! Although your dreams have not been fulfilled yet doesn’t mean they never will be, you can still make your dream a reality.
Of course, you can’t force dreams to happen, but you can take steps towards analyzing them. Maybe you’ve always had a dream to travel to Paris, have you done anything to make that dream become more real? Are you saving money weekly? Are you doing your research on reasonable places to stay? It all takes a planning strategy to obtain your dreams and if you want to move forward with making your dreams a reality, you need to take the first step into making it happen.
Overcoming your limiting beliefs-
The beliefs we end up holding about ourselves is what ends up framing our daily actions. If you believe you will never go anywhere in life, never have success, never feel the joy that happiness can bring, you will forever be stuck in that state of mind and that will hinder you from moving forward with making your dreams a reality.
Self-doubt is a constant and repetitive pattern we have all developed that makes us stay in the same spot for years, it riddles our bodies with such fear of stepping out of our comfort zone that we don’t believe we can every pursue a dream we have. I've got one question for you, do you want to continue living your life in a bubble or do you want to step out of it and become the person you’ve always envisioned yourself to be?
Get over your fears of failure and disappointment-
Failing is a part of life, the faster we fail the faster we learn. Never fear failure for its there to help you grow and failure brings you closer to your goal. Failure is a lesson and with that lesson you will learn not to make the same mistake next time.
Dreaming is vital to helping us realize our authentic selves and what we really want out of life. Using techniques like creating a vision board, planning, prepping, and strategizing what we want to do will bring us one step closer to making our dreams a reality. But ultimately, like Nike says, just do it! Stop holding yourself back and do what you’ve always wanted to do, you will be shocked to see how much you fall in love with your life once doing this for yourself.
Written by Julianna Bonnett
Everybody knows that the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a complete and utter lie. WORDS do hurt, or at least they can, but on the flip side, sometimes people's words can help you or even save your life.
As crazy as it sounds, everyone has their own opinions, and with having an opinion, things can become challenging. Sometimes your beliefs and opinions can hurt someone you care about. People may look at you as an uneducated fool or have some people fearful of expressing their opinion in front of you simply because they are scared of being shut down. So, where do you draw the line on having such an open and honest opinion around others?
Let's start with an outline; there is a difference between having an "opinion" and being "overly opinionated."
For example, having an opinion means you have a strong conviction, but you know you may be wrong. You challenge someone, but you are open to being challenged. You are critical, but it's not personal. You want to change someone's mind, but you are ready to have your mind changed.
Where being overly opinionated means you are convinced because you are right. You challenge someone because you know better. You are critical because that person is wrong. You want to change their mind because they are wrong. You attack them because they are wrong and because your opinion is the only opinion.
Having an opinion on something is natural, and it's not a bad thing; it means you're using your voice and expressing something you believe in, but sometimes words can hurt others. With that, your opinions can affect people negatively. Sometimes though, your voice can guide others and give them the confidence and strength to be open and honest about their truth.
With every conversation comes different opinions and approaches; being open with one another creates more discussion, and when conversations happen, more change can begin. Learning to respect others for their views and thoughts is the first step to having a real conversation and being open to learning more.
Once you're able to implement that, you will be confident with your opinions while also learning and listening to others. This can lead to a free discussion, whether you agree or disagree respectfully.