People want to do good

My brother and I had a beer yesterday. He’s going through something and is feeling a little bitter and hopeless. He turned to me and said, ‘are we just here to take all we can get and that’s it?’. I told him this story.

I recently read an article in the newspaper that made me cry. A local reporter did a story about a trailer park in Surrey ( just outside Vancouver). It is rundown. They have lost their power and running water. It is full of shady prostitutes, drug dealers, and thieves, but among them is a guy who doesn’t belong, but can’t get out. He suffers from mental illness so he is on disability, but he’s a good guy, been clean and sober for 5 years, and just wants to live a quiet life with his little dog. His trailer is so beaten up that another trailer park won’t take him. He’s stuck. Or at least he was.

What made me cry was that he felt so hopeless and inconsequential. Like a piece of garbage that no one cared or wanted to help him.

Long story short, a fundraiser was started, we all got involved, and through some wonderful people, we’ve raised enough money to get him a new trailer and give him a new life.

The moral of the story is that people do want to help each other. Apart from a few douchey self centred folks, people are inherently good. It’s in us.

I work for a radio station once in a while and I mentioned it on air. Within 2 hours 15 people had gone by where he was with dinner and clothing. Nobody made them do it. They did it out of the goodness of their hearts. We all pitched in and raised $6000, to which an anonymous donor is going to match. An RV company will give us a great deal on a trailer for him.

Not one person had a gun to their head. Not one of us got anything out of this deal other than the knowledge that we were helping out a fellow human being. And I gotta tell you, it feels pretty damn good.

I told my brother this. He cried. For two reasons: 1) it made him grateful because he has it way better than this guy. 2) he was reminded that humans can be wonderful. Not always. Hell no! not even close….but most of us would help someone in need given the chance.

Something for you to think about.
1) when yer feeling shitty about you day/life/whatever, remember that someone out there probably has it way worse. They’d kill to be in your shoes.
2) let people help you. It gives then worth, too.
3) do something good for others. I volunteer. I get ten times more out of it than i give. There is something (other than karma) that we get out of doing something for others that doesn’t involve getting something in return. Good for the soul. Depressed? Go help someone. Feeling cruddy and self esteem taking a beating? Go help someone else. You will NEVER regret it. And if you do, I’ll give you your money back.

And if you think you can’t make a difference as one person, just smile at someone today and see how it lifts their spirits.

If we’re not here to o help and support each other then what are we doing here?

XO
Sam

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Change: gotta get over it

I hate my new iPhone.

The keyboard is impossible (hallelujah for autocorrect), birthdays in fb are no longer a daily reminder, and I don’t have the same games as I used to have. Everyone says that I’ll get used to it when I grumble, but I still complain. I recognize that it’s a good thing so what’s really eating me? Change.

Change is a big threat to us all. Some handle it better than others, but change is something that the human race is still not that great at. Me included. So the question is, what do we do about it? The answer is ’embrace it’.

I love this time of year, but it also invokes change; new school year, change of seasons, and the end of another summer. I always look ahead at the end of summer with a bit of trepidation. I reflect back at the years gone by and compare them. I look a little older, I gain a bit of weight, my mother’s health falters a bit, and sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night with that fear that grips you like only 4am can….’what am I doing?’ and ‘where am I going?’ and ‘geez, I’m not getting any younger am I’. Those of you in your younger years will have no idea what in talking about and I’m glad; don’t sweat this until it hits you! Enjoy your freewheeling years. They are a joy. But some of you will know exactly what in talking about. So, lets laugh now, because I have learned that is all we can do.

I found my first grey hair a couple months ago. Since then, eeeek! They are coming fast and furious. The muffin top is harder to fight, and the ‘boys’ don’t check me out like they used to. Lol. Oh the humanity! But it’s not just that. Social media has taken over, 20 year olds are running corporations, and the polar ice cap is melting at an alarming rate. When did all that happen?

Here’s the point.

Change is inevitable. We can’t beat it but I think we can find a way to laugh and accept it. My best friend’s daughter had to show me how to do something very basic on the Internet the other day. The look on her face said, ‘ya, yer old’ because I has no idea. It shook me because WE used to be the ones who had the world by the balls. What happened? I don’t get the Miley Cyrus thing, but apparently that was a very ‘smart and savvy’ thing to do for her career. Really? Eek. Shame on you Billy Ray. I hope she regrets it one day, but right now she is getting more hits than Barack Obama, so…..yay? When I was a kid (I can’t believe I just said that), we had a rotary phone on the wall, there was no Internet, no faxing, and no bank cards, so when you ran out of money, that was it for the day!

Change is inevitable. In ok with that now. It took me a while, but what am I going to do? Fight it? Haha. No. The world is changing and so am I. I got ‘maam’d the other day. I am envious of 18 year olds who are just embarking on life. Grab it! Chase your dream! Make your life what you want it to be! But I wouldn’t go back to that age for anything. I’m not the tech savvy person that the kids are today, but I can learn what I need to, and smile that I have the knowledge that I have acquired over the years.

So. Me and my iPhone will continue to work on our relationship. The world will change around me and I will adapt. With a smile on my face.

XO

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I’m back!

Sorry gang!

Got an iPhone and trying to hook up with WordPress has been a bigger ordeal than I thought. But here I am.

How is everyone’s summer?

Mine has been wonderful so far. Wine tours in the Okanagan, school, lots of enjoying Vancouver in the summer. It is my hometown and a beautiful place to be this time of year…. When it’s not raining.

In fact, that is kind of what I want to mention here.

This blog was never designed to tell you what to do or be, but rather let you know what I have learned and experienced. Sometimes the hard way. Lol. I try to give you perspective on my mistakes and triumphs, hoping I can give you a heads-up on stuff that I wish someone had given me.

Anyway, I learned something valuable this summer and it is about living in the moment. I have always been very driven in my career. Worked very hard. Made sure that I was always working, successful, and taking care of business.
My career has always been my #1 priority and my friends know that work comes first. It has annoyed many of them and I’ve had to blow off many important events, but this is the life I chose.

This last couple of months has been very quiet for me. It’s the nature of the beast; the roles for me have been sparse. It’s ok. I’m used to it, but instead of sitting around waiting for stuff to happen, I said “f**k this” I’m going to enjoy my summer. And I have.
And what I learned is way more valuable than work ever would have been.

I forced myself to let work go, and in doing that, I started to live right in the moment I was living in. Sounds simple and inconsequential but it’s sooo not. And it’s way harder than you think. You don’t realize how different life can look until you make an effort to live right in THAT MOMENT. Me and a buddy drove around these small town wineries and really experienced them. No thinking about future (fear) or past (guilt), I smelled the hot morning sun, I looked the wine hosts in the eye, I savoured the wines, I really took in the stunning scenery. It was amazing. But it wasn’t just what was in front of me that was amazing, it was how I CHOSE to look at it.

Here is my point: I think that most of us have a problem with living in the very moment that we are in. Case in point: concerts. So many are busy taking pics or videos with their phones that they miss the magic of the moment. How sad. So much is lost. What are we scared of feeling? Life?? God forbid.

I let go of thoughts about the next day or the day before, And really just looked and lived in what was in front of me. It was liberating and magical. My brain was niggling at me: “what is my next gig?” “When will I work again?” “Where am I going to be in a year? In 5?”…..but I blew it off. Thank you….I will worry about u later, right now I am enjoying myself.

We all have stresses and worries in life. You are not alone, but take some moments out and enjoy the joy of just being here. Just for a second. Sounds corny, but you can go back to your worrying in a moment. Give yerself a moment of right-here-right-now.

It’s a wonderful feeling if you let it happen. Make an effort. Totally worth it.

Be well.
Sam
Xo

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Father’s Day

I always have an issue with father’s day. Not that I am adverse to people celebrating their dads, in fact, quite the opposite. Dads should be celebrated. Well, let me clarify…GOOD dads should be celebrated. It’s easy to become a dad. Any guy with a functioning reproductive system can do it. However, it is not easy to be a good dad.

I did not have a good father. Not even ok, or even sub-par. I would have been lucky with ‘jerk’. No such luck. Roy Ferris was an outright horrible human being. Period. He was a sociopath to the extreme. He was dangerous and violent and manipulation was his M.O. If that sounds angry it’s only because it’s in writing and you don’t have the sense of my tone. I don’t have any serious feelings about him anymore. I did for years (he died over a decade ago). Gawd, I was angry. At him, at my mum, at his family, whoever I could blame. Why was he such a horrible guy? Did me and my brother do something? Did we deserve this? And Mum, jesus, how did you choose this creep?

I spent many years toiling over these questions. And dated cruddy guys as a result. Then finally, I got over it and saw it for what it was. It happened over years of talking and reflecting that I realized the truth of it all. I am a firm believer that people try to do the best they can most of the time. They do their best with the tools THEY were given. My dad’s childhood was terrible itself. He was a very sick man. He loved my brother and I the best he could. Did he fall short? HELLS YA! Miserably. Utter failure. Should never have had kids. F’d my brother and I up something fierce. But he couldn’t do any different. He didn’t know a better way. He didn’t see how horrible he was because the glasses he wore in life were not those of a well and stable human being.

So, what do you do with that, right? No one to blame? WHAT?? No! Scary at first because you want to hang onto your anger and pain like a security blanket. I could hang onto the damage but who would have benefited? Certainly not me.

I think Father’s Day bugs me because deep down that little kid in me feels ripped off. All these wonderful things people say about their dads. Posting pictures. Great memories… I don’t have those. But you can turn any negative into a positive, it just takes the right angle. Everything is a learning experience. EVERYTHING. I wouldn’t be who I am without Roy Ferris having been the sperm donation for my presence on this planet. I know who I am. I have wonderful qualities and success in part because of him, so I choose to celebrate those now instead of pointing the bitter finger of blame.
Here’s why I mention this. I think some people feel weird on mother’s day and father’s day. Like they have to have great relationships with their parents and if they don’t they are bad people. Not everyone gets along with their families, and just because Hallmark has created this day for them in order to make money, doesn’t mean we have to put those feelings aside and make them perfect.

I have no problem telling people that my dad was a heel. Just because he is related to me by blood doesn’t make him a great guy. And he wasn’t. And I’m ok with that.

Is/was your dad a wonderful guy? Great! Rejoice. I’m glad for you. But if he wasn’t (and this goes for mums, too), it’s ok. You are not alone. Not by a long shot. Surround yourself with people who love you and treat you well. If your family are not in that category, you don’t owe them anything.

Be well.

X0

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it’s your choice

Ugh. I’m about to lose another role that I WAS SO SURE I would get. You never totally get used to that sinking, empty feeling. You get mad. Feel rejected. And question everything you did wrong and over-analyse everything and obsess about what you could have done differently.

But wait a minute…if I stop feeling entitled and sorry for myself for a minute, I didn’t LOSE the role…it wasn’t mine to begin with. I auditioned, it went well, they liked what I did, things looked good, then poof. It disappeared. For whatever reason. You know this by the time you get to my level: you can lose a role at any minute and for any reason. It has nothing to do with ability. It’s just the way it goes.

Besides, when you stop feeling sore about the way life treats you, you can get out of your way long enough to see the silver lining. I learned that when my friend Kelli died. She would have given anything for even a shitty day. She just wanted to live.

I try to remember that I am so fortunate. So are you. If you are reading this you have access to a computer/smart phone. It can’t be that bad, right? There is beauty in all parts of our life. We get so caught up in the crap we don’t get, that we don’t realize what we DO get.

How do you fix that? Live in the moment. Put yer phone down, take yer headphones off, and step away from the drama going on in your life for a moment or two. Look around at the miracles of life and what you have. The best way I can do this is walk in nature, but your place may be different. It humbles me.

Look around you and choose to see the good. Not the negative. It’s a choice. You may not have control over some of the things going on around you, but you have a choice on how you perceive them.

X0

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Right and wrong are subjective.

I am 44 years old now. I don’t have an issue with that. I learned a long time ago that age is in your head. I don’t connect my identity with the amount of minutes and seconds I have been breathing. HOWEVER, it amazes me when I learn something so rudimentary, so basic and obvious, that it took me this long to figure out. How have I been on this planet 44 years and not figured this out?

I recently had an incident with one of my best friends in the world. We have been pals since the early 90s. She is one of the most intelligent and ‘together’ people I have ever met. No apparent hang ups, no quirks, talented, confident, capable and successful. She has an amazing family and an envious life. Right out of a movie. We all have ‘normal’ friends, right? The ones who we look at with awe and go ‘wow, your parents didn’t f#ck you up at all. How is that possible?’. I love her life. I envy it, and if I were to be completely honest, I would probably take her life over mine. Yet, even in the most seemingly ‘perfect’ folk, you will find cracks. We all have them.
This one took me for a loop.

I can’t go into the event out of respect and privacy, but we had a conversation yesterday where I thought, ‘wow, there are things in all of us that we just aren’t willing to see’. An elephant-in-the-room, if you will. My pal is losing her marbles about something. And I mean LOSING REALITY. This is not my just my POV. This is crazy stuff. An obsession that puts her life, her family, and her decency at serious risk. It’s like an addiction. Someone willing to put a fleeting situation before her health, happiness and future.

It made me nuts. I wanted to pull my hair out. I’m jumping up and down yelling, ‘are you effing kidding me? What are you thinking!!! This is twisted!!! HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE IT?!?’. Yet, I realized that no matter how much fact and reality I plagued her with, it wasn’t going to go into her totally-normal-but-in-this-case-normal-took-a-holiday brain.

Then it hit me. I almost laughed.

Intelligence, education, good intentions, good parenting and financial success are no match for our little blind spots. I think we all have at least one blind spot: one area of our life that, for whatever reason, we just can’t see. One area that is destructive and nuts, that we would recognize in a second in someone else, but for whatever reason, we just can’t see in ourselves.

Don’t stop and think what yours is. You probably don’t know what yours is. Your achilles heel. If you did know, you might probably try to work on it, but you JUST CAN’T SEE IT.

Here is what I learned is this situations. It doesn’t matter what I think or how messed up the situation is, she just isn’t going to see it. Her reality is her reality. I believe that we are all here to learn different things, and with that in mind, she has something to learn from this situation that I can’t help her with. Her reality is her reality. Mine is mine. Neither of us is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. No judgement. Right and wrong don’t play into this. What is real to you is real to you. It may not be real to me, but that is my issue.

This realization happened in the blink of an eye and when I got it, I GOT IT. The minute I recognized that I shut up. Why fight with her? Her truth and my truth were not going to meet so what was the point in fighting about it? We weren’t going to get anywhere.

So many relationships are run this way and holy JEEBUS, if more people opened their eyes to what I saw yesterday, this world would be a more peaceful (and quiet) place.

We have to let people have their thoughts, dreams, and beliefs. No matter how wrong or destructive they appear to us. It’s tough, I get it. To watch her suffer and not get it is maddening, but it’s not my job to fix. I can’t. I told her my POV and said that I didn’t want to hear about this anymore. I couldn’t stomach to watch her do this but that I loved her dearly and would always be here for her other than in this one instance.

We’ll be ok. It’ll be a bit awkward for a while but that is life. This may be her reality but I don’t have to be a part of it. Boundaries in friendships are not a bad thing.

You gotta let people learn their own mistakes. As hard as it may be. Just like you have to learn your own.

X0

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high school

I had dinner with some gals from high school on Saturday night. It was interesting. There were 6 of us and we represented pretty much all the groups you find in those tough years: the jock, the pretty cool girl, the quiet one, the geek, the new student, and the minority.

We all saw each other a couple years ago at our reunion, but this was the first time we got to have an intimate conversation about our years when we spent ages 12-18 together every day.

The thing that amazed me the most was to hear about what other people were thinking and how wrong we were in our assumption that we were the only ones suffering.

We all come from different backgrounds and different levels of dysfunction. And don’t kid yerself, we ALL had dysfunction, just different kinds and severity. So here we all were, 12 years old, with all our baggage and insecurities that we acquired at home, and we are thrust into rooms with 20-30 others young people with their own cocktail of quirks, and we are expected to have fun. Really? Well, sure! It’s that what the adults tell us…’Enjoy school! It’s the best time of your life!’. Really?!? I remember thinking, ‘shit, if this is the best time of my life I’m soo not looking forward to what comes after school….eek’.

If we had mature coping skills and there was a manual on how to handle your teenage years, and how to navigate the sensitive mind fields like sex, self-esteem, periods, conflict, popularity, insecurity…. then I think we would have had a head start but good luck finding that. We were ill equipped! We walked into social and emotional situations that we were not schooled in. Parents seem to be a little more hands-on in their kids lives these days, but in the 80s, your parents patted you on the head and said, ‘have a great day at school’. You were on your own.

So, Saturday was a real eye-opener for all of us. Through talking about it, we all realized that we were each so busy trying to appear like we were fine and had everything under control that we didn’t even notice that everyone around us was going through the same thing. Hell!

Ie. I was always outgoing and loud and funny. They all thought that I was totally self-secure and problem free. But I used that laughter and joking to mask my fears that I wasn’t worthy, cool, or intelligent. The cool good looking girl was always well dressed and seemed to have it together. But she didn’t. She had shit going on at home, and was painfully shy. One gal had HUGE boobs and it stifled her ability to communicate with anyone, the intellectual gal wished to break out of her good girl image but didn’t have the guts and was rejected and ignored, the minority was dealing with racism and problems at home…I could go on.

I feel so sad for the wounded little souls we all were. Everyone so busy acting like they were some one other than who they were. Caring so much about what others thought of them that they lost their personal identity. Ugh. I wouldn’t go back to be that experience for anything.

As I walked home on Saturday night (we drank quite a bit so no driving for me), I realized how far I have come since then and I patted myself on the back. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum. When other kids were quiet and submissive, I was loud, outspoken, demanding,and wanted answers. I was never just ok with things the way they were simply because someone said so. I had to question. And I still do.

I haven’t changed that much. None of us have, but the difference is that we are ok with who were are now. I embrace my originality. I am still demanding, outgoing, and loud. But I embrace that now. I am who I am. I don’t apologize for who I am. This is me. Take it or leave it. We all seemed to have landed in the place of self acceptance and it feels great.

Be who you are. Accept who you are. Embrace who you are…you will one day, so why not do it now?

X0

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