Application

Yesterday morning, I sent in an application to serve on City Council’s Toronto Zoo Board. A half-hearted application, to be sure, but an application nonetheless.

I’m fairly certain there is no real reason for them to select me even for an interview, let alone to the Board. I’m also fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to commit to four years of it, which is what I think they prefer. I’m not always even sure why I applied, really. Though, at the same time, anything I can do to be a voice for the Zoo is good for me.

Ironically, I just got into a heated (on my end, at least) discussion about the tragic debacle over the elephants. Someone made the mistake of asking which side of the coin I stand on (I initially said there is no side, there are many shades of grey, and everything should be taken on a case by case basis), then asked specifically about that instance, so I gave him an earful. At least he learned some things he hadn’t known before. But mostly I just ranted and now I’m all worked up and can’t focus on my work so I am eating lunch.

I’d intended this post to have something to do with my ability/inability to commit to things…or…you know, I don’t even remember why I started writing about applying to a city council board upon which I have no real chance of serving.

I think I am also PMS-ing. My sleep has been very fractured and my dreams very strange yet vivid, in most cases. My emotions are therefore all over the map. I have emotional reactions left over from dreams, and then there is the ridiculousness that is my waking life.

How did I get here, man? Where am I going?

I think I might be bumping up against that turning point again.

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Mind Reels Activity

Holy crap guys! So much happening on the Mind Reels front this morning!

Did a little promoting of our Patreon page, as per usual (http://www.patreon.com/TheMindReels – please share – every little bit helps!) and then moved on to other more immediate things.

Am just a step away from confirming the date for our next radio play, which will be happening next week, barring any unforeseen circumstances. I heard back availability from one person, then three more in a row said they were also free on those evenings, so suddenly I have a cast, and now just need to confirm that the studio is available before I cement the details! So excited! We’ll have a couple of new people and some who have done one before, but I don’t think any of them will have really done any together before. Maybe two of the guys. Anyway, I’m super stoked – we’re doing an episode of Ellery Queen this month, and it’s ridiculous! I love these old radio plays. They are so bad they’re great! It’s got to be one of the most routinely fun things I’ve ever done, and I hope this project has the legs it needs to keep going for a long time!

And speaking of projects, we just put the wheels in motion to start yet another one! This one will hopefully expand our content, as well, but in another slightly different direction, which – if it works out – should be amazing! While the radio plays act as a branch of our podcast, this new project will hopefully become a long-term branch of our blog. I am so insanely excited about it, I can barely contain myself! I’d been distracted from it for the past couple of weeks, but as soon as I started working on it again, the initial excitement came rushing back, and I couldn’t wait to take the first steps! Now I’ve started taking them, and while it’s a matter of waiting to see if there is any response from the parties I’m reaching out to, it’s hard not to kind of hold my breath in anticipation. I’m aware that there could be no response at all, or negative responses – I’m aware this might not take off even a little bit, let alone the way I’m hoping – but at the end of the day, I’m a dreamer. I’ll keep dreaming this until it either becomes a reality or falls on its face. I’ll keep believing in the possibilities until I have no choice but to concede defeat.

As well, we have a tentative interview coming up next week, but the only time it can be done is after I have minor-but-painful dental surgery, so it’ll be interesting to see how THAT goes! I was kind of hoping to go home after, walk the dog and go to bed. Instead, I’ll likely be heading downtown to try and hold it together while chatting with one of my favourite people about one of my favourite shows!

How do I get myself into these things?

The first time I did an injection of Avonex (the first MS meds I was taking), I had no idea what the side effects would be for me. Or, I knew the likelihood, but not the severity. So naturally, the next morning was the only time we could do an interview with friends who were in town. I was a mess, so it’s good that we were just audio in those days, but holy hell is that ever NOT a way to discover how a medication will affect you!

This situation will be different because, unless my meds react poorly with one another, I’ll mostly just be dealing with pain. Which is not ideal, but it still should be fine, more or less.

I just…how do I get myself into these things? #becauseicantsayno

Monday

Left home earlier than usual this morning so that I could stand on the platform and wait for a train that I could fit onto. Well, I could have fit on any of them, if the people in front of me would move INTO the train instead of just crowding themselves into the doorway. Eventually I was the one boarding first so pushed my way into the area between two cars, where there would have been tons of room were it not for the pieces of shite wearing their backpacks, oblivious to the notion that there might be other people nearby.

Wrestled with a decision all the way in. Still undecided but possibly resigned to feeling like I don’t really have a choice, and that it’s my own fault if that’s the case.

Growing weary of the bullshit and lies, yet allow them to go unchallenged because I just can’t invoke my righteous rage if it’s in defence of my own well-being.

Arrived to find more angry emails about things that aren’t my fault, yet come down on me, anyway, because life.

Forgot to mention another little thing from my volunteer shift yesterday. It involved simply drying the feet of two birds (no idea what they are called) after they’d been in the sink getting a bit cleaned up. Neither liked it, and both of them kicked a lot as soon as they were lifted out, which is why it was a two woman job. I had to grab one foot at a time, but gently enough that I didn’t hurt the little ones, and luckily for me they both stopped kicking once I’d gotten a light grip on one foot, so I could pat them dry, and leave them to kick again once I’d let go.

I talked to them the whole time (not that it helped them, but I think it helped me), and it ended up feeling like this intimate little moment between us. Not an entirely good moment, but not an entirely bad one, either.

My family’s going through some stuff, my buddy’s going through some stuff, I’m going through some stuff. I learned at a young age that people will usually stop being cruel if they don’t get a reaction out of you, as the reaction is ultimately what they/we want. Same goes for other actions, of course, but usually we don’t want the good ones to stop. I learned to hide what I was feeling – hide my reactions – and I learned it so well that I have a much more difficult time expressing them now than I do keeping them closed. It can be frustrating.

I am angry today.

Random Thought Generator

Not even 11am and I already have a headache from this day.

Come to me, Advil Extra Strength Liqui-gels!

I could write an entire rant – daily – about how most people don’t know how to ride public transit, or basically share air space, without being assholes, but I’ll save it for another day. For now, just some random tidbits swirling around in my aching brain.

  • I had a dream last night that I was at a Raptors game and they were doing pretty well, but then I had to go get my uniform on and get ready in case I was called on to play, too. SO STRESSFUL! I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be of much help to the lads, but at least I could see the game unfold better from my new spot next to the court. I don’t remember actually getting put into the game, but the stress of worrying about the possibility was more than enough. Similar to the dream I had once where I had to fill in for a member of a boy band just before they – we – went on stage. I could hear the pre-teen girls screaming their heads off, and not only did I not know any of the choreography, I was also not sure of any of the lyrics. The other guys seemed to think it would be okay, but I knew that none of those girls would believe I was actually part of the group. They’d know I wasn’t a boy, for starters.
  • You know, when I was a manager – or even a supervisor – I rose to those positions because I was adept at the positions reporting to them. I could help those employees when needed, and perform different tasks on top of those required of said employees. I also knew exactly what I was asking of them when I was assigning duties. I miss those days, but even more I would say that I miss teamwork and being assigned tasks by people who have some idea of the scope of what they are asking. These days, I could be performing miracles and no one would know.
  • The safe room I made for Flynn yesterday seemed to work, except when I got home last night the whole apartment smelled strongly of paint fumes or glue or something. I opened the other window and turned both fans on to try and get that out of there as quickly as possible. Still, Flynnie was in a good mood even this morning. She was playing with a broken shoe lace for a few minutes, and her eyes were more green than yellow. I left the window open halfway today to see if we could avoid the toxic fumes while still making her feel safe. We’ll see.
  • For one to be considered an activist, shouldn’t one actually do something beyond than just talking about what other people should do? Or am I misunderstanding the definition of the word ‘active’?
  • If all that is really required of parents these days is to stand around looking at their kids, I wonder why I thought teaching was hard…
  • I’ve lived with a lot of different people over the years, so far. I’ve lived with immediate family, I was an exchange student in high school, I’ve lived with roommates who were friends first, I’ve lived with roommates who were strangers before we moved in together, I’ve lived with romantic partners, I’ve lived with members of both sexes; sometimes both at once. And I’ve had jobs, even right now. I don’t think I’ll ever really understand the whole taking and/or using of someone else’s things without asking. Food, clothes, electronic equipment, parts of movies or music collections, etc. In situations where it’s immediate family or romantic partner – situations wherein things are generally shared – it’s different. But if I buy groceries and come home after work to find that someone has eaten what I was planning to eat…I don’t get that. I’m sure I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve never deliberately just taken something of someone else’s simply because it was handy. And when I borrow things, I take extra care with them; more so than when it’s my own stuff. Because when it’s not mine, I intend to return it in the same condition in which it was loaned to me. Treating it like it has less value simply because I didn’t pay for it is a mysterious notion to me. Same with how some women leave public washrooms in less than savoury conditions. You don’t do that at home, why do it anywhere else? Why take my stuff without asking, and then consume or wreck it while you have it? If it was one instance, I could chalk it up to just being a random happenstance. But when it happens all the time in a variety of environments, I have to deduce that it’s just a thing. That people are just like that in general, and that not being like that makes me the odd one out. Which I am used to, of course. I just don’t think it’ll make it any easier for me to have roommates again, if and when that time comes!
  • Speaking of living with people, did you ever have imaginary friends when you were small? I did. I may have even talked about them on here before. I can’t remember. They were Sam and Jody. Sam was three and Jody was two, and we used to ride our bikes together but Jody always lagged behind. Because he was two. In my head, I pictured them looking much like the little boys in those terrible Family Circus comics I’d read in the Saturday Star. Ah funny pages. So rarely funny, yet when you did come across a good one, it usually made it onto the refrigerator door!
  • I don’t drive. I know how to drive – I took Driver’s Ed in high school, and everything. Even had my learner’s permit for, like, 5 years, or however long it lasted back when graduated licensing first came into effect in Ontario. I got it in my last year of high school, though, and didn’t need to drive while away at University. I lived on campus the first year, and within a few blocks for the rest of the time. Then I lived close to work, then I moved to Toronto, where public transit became my main ride. I was pretty sure I couldn’t afford a car, parking, gas and insurance on top of other monthly expenses, and it was all pretty unnecessary once I came to the city. Plus, I hated driving. It was always so stressful for me, largely because I don’t trust my own reflexes and reaction times. Naturally, I also don’t trust other drivers. I can barely handle walking some days, because even in the city, some people end up driving into houses and bus shelters and the like. I mean, how fast do you need to be going in a residential area, anyway? Seriously. Once I was launched onto the path to an MS diagnosis – given that I could barely see out of one eye – I was pretty glad I wasn’t behind the wheel of a killing machine. I guess that was the other thing, really. I wasn’t concerned so much for my own safety when I was driving as I was for the other lives I was aware I could take. I think most people don’t think about that; about the responsibility in having so much power in their hands. For most, it’s a mode of transportation. For many, it’s even a form of relaxation. For me, it was a lot of pressure and anxiety, and now that my reflexes are minutely hindered by the disease eating away my central nervous system (as well as the knowledge that I can lost control of motor skills and sight and the like at any given moment), I am far happier letting others take the wheel. Plus, I like looking around too much. Drivers miss so much of the world because they have to focus on the road, whereas I can focus on everything else.
  • When I am out with Brody, I’m not just going for a walk and taking him along. I’m spending time with him, and it’s more his time than mine. Often it’s not very much time, or not enough, but that’s life. I still take him out with the intention of getting things done that he needs and/or wants to get done, and going places he likes to go. I watch him, and talk to him – I’m not on my phone or listening to music on headphones or anything like that. My focus is on him, and on watching for any potential trouble coming up. I give him however much time he wants to sniff around, I watch to make sure he’s not eating anything he shouldn’t be, and I try to watch for any potential food items along our course. I watch for traffic, I watch for people with strollers or anything that might make a loud noise as it goes by and scare him. I watch for other dogs, just in case. Mostly, though, I watch him. I can tell what kind of mood he’s in, usually, and I like figuring out where his focus is, and what he wants. It’s different with the cats, of course, but I do try to spend time with each of them, as well. They are all different, and want different things from me at different times. Unless it’s meal time, then they all want everything at once, the little beggars. For the most part, however, I know which ones want to snuggle when, how each one wants to play and when, and whether or not one of them just needs time and attention from their mama (aka me). I try to give them all what they need, and some of what they want, especially because I am away at work all day, and asleep for so much more of the time I am around. They are all individuals, though, and not just cardboard cut-out pets the way some people think of non-humans.
  • Speaking of which, I think I had cardboard cut-out friends once upon a time, too. I think we drew characters from Battle of the Planets – more or less life-sized on paper bags taped together – then cut them out and taped them up on the walls of a relatively empty closet. Then I’d sit in there and talk to my paper superhero friends.

I kinda miss those days, too.

 

G-Force_-_group_shot2

Learn To React Out Loud

I’ve realized that most of what I know of my friends and their lives – including the ones I talk to almost every day – is gleaned from posts they make online, as opposed to anything said to me directly. That realization hurt at first, until I made the realization on top of it that I do pretty much the same thing.

Except that I don’t really post much online, either.

It’s possible that’s where some of my communication frustration is coming from. Haha

I lean more toward not posting things online in public forums because a) when it’s in writing it’s harder to revise and re-state, b) the general public has no business in most of my bizness, and c) I’m of the notion that those I do choose to share with are closer to me in some way; I trust them with more of me.

So be it in person or via text/email, I much prefer small groups and individual conversations to mass online postings. In a way I choose those trusted few very carefully, but in another way I really just run on instinct. I’m crazy naïve, and of course just want to be liked (emotionally I’m, like, 8 years old on a good day, but most of the time I’m pretty much still an unborn fetus), so my instincts are often steered wrong just by those factors alone. I usually consider what I want to say before I say it (so writing is easier; I’m just not a fan of the public), but I also try to consider who I’ve decided to say it to.

Writing a personal blog each day is ridiculous for someone like me, but one can’t grow and improve unless one ventures out of their comfort zone once in awhile, and thus far I’ve remained mostly inside my comfort zone as far as this little project is concerned. I want to say I’ll work on changing that, but even as I think about typing it, I am also tempted to just let it be. So we’ll see, I guess. I want to keep those closer to me, the chosen few, still closer than this, and to venture further outside my comfort zone with them, too. With them more, actually.

But I guess sometimes I can talk about something other than what I did today, or whatever.

Like fear.

What are you afraid of” and “what scares you” are questions that come up all the time, to celebrities, to potential relationship partners, to friends sitting around a campfire splitting a bottle/several bottles of wine.

I’m not saying alcohol is necessary for conversation, but it definitely helps!

I once did a presentation in high school about fear. I actually can’t remember what it was for, or what I even talked about, specifically. I just remember I started off my presentation with the first 20 minutes of the original When A Stranger Calls. The whole, “have you checked the children” babysitter/phone call bit.

The calls are coming from inside the house!!!”

Guys! Some of the scariest 20 minutes put on film, if you’re me. And apparently if you are some of my classmates that day.

I, myself, am afraid of lots of things. Most things, really, but to varying degrees. I learned very early on in life to not react to some things, because my reactions would make everything worse. If someone thinks it’s funny to scare you and they don’t get the reaction they wanted, they stop trying. I bottle a lot of that shit up, even to this day. Sometimes it’s even practical – if you encounter a wild animal, don’t run. It makes you look like prey. So freezing up on the outside and screaming on the inside can actually be helpful in some situations.

Not in most, though, so training your instincts to do that is not the greatest idea, and it’s incredibly difficult to re-train yourself to scream on the outside once you’re older. I’m still trying to learn how to react out loud; to actively defend myself instead of freezing up.

I’m afraid of any kind of violation, be it of my person or of my home/safe space. Both at once would be unimaginably horrible. Yet I do imagine it, all the time.

I am afraid of the elements, mostly wind and fire. And water, though I guess the chance of a tidal wave coming off Lake Ontario is pretty slim. I think I am less afraid of dying in some sort of natural disaster as I am of losing someone to it. The animals; friends; family. I spend so much time being afraid and trying to prepare and/or avoid catastrophe that I feel like I would survive, but lose someone important to me, and spend the rest of my life re-playing it over and over in my head, trying to make the outcome different. Even losing Alysia – I wasn’t there, but there are still nights even now when I imagine all I would have tried to do to get those kids and Frankie the Kitten out of there safe. I mean, all I think or wish I would have been able to do. Just…anything to make the reality different. I would possibly just freeze in that situation, too, but not necessarily.

I remember once when I was living with Lizz in our cute little house, I was home alone, in the living room, when I heard a cat jump down from her bedroom window and in trotted Kate. Moments later, another thump of paws hitting the floor and Dodger appeared to grace me with his handsome presence.

Then there was a third sound in the back bedroom, and we only had two cats.

They both heard it, too, and together the three of us stared at the dark hallway until a massive raccoon sidled into the light, looked at us, then went into the kitchen to eat all the cat food.

Frozen in my chair, I placed a panicked call to Lizz, who was on her way home from work, and kept an eye on the cats and our unwanted visitor. Everything was fine – more or less – until the raccoon made its way back into the hallway and disappeared. About 2 seconds later, Dodger and Kate took off running after it. I’d heard about how vicious raccoons could be, and how quickly they could kill a cat, and panic washed over me again, but this time it kicked me into action instead. I raced after the cats, yelling the whole time, and they were so startled that they came back immediately. I kept them with me until Lizz came home, but by then the huge critter had made its way back outside through the window from whence it came.

Or from wherece it came.

Anyway, the point is, I was terrified and I froze, but once I was more terrified for the cats, I sprang into action hero mode, if only for a few seconds.

I’m afraid of spiders, though more because of their unpredictability and the whole jumping thing. I don’t like the jumping. Nor the crawling in my mouth while I sleep. Bugs in general…let’s just stay as separate from one another as possible.

So yeah – basically I am afraid of weather, animals/insects, and other people. This is what makes it difficult to leave the house.

However, I am also afraid of embarrassing myself. It’s a different kind of fear, but it ends up having the same result. Often, my ability to freeze and not react has helped me not embarrass myself, though. Or, at least, embarrass myself less.

Like, my first MRI, I did all this research so I’d know what to expect, but still, as I slid into the tube and felt the machine pin my arms to my sides, and looked up to see the cage over my head and the top of the tube inches away from that, I sucked my breath in – and froze. The tech asked if I was okay, and I said “yeah”, which forced me to expel a little bit of air, just to make sound come out. I felt like kicking and screaming and oh-HELL-no-ing my way right back out of there, but that would have been humiliating. One of the techs was hot and I didn’t want to make a bad impression, so I reminded myself to breathe, and let even more of that air out. Then in, then out. And repeat.

Since then, I’ve been admittedly kind of an expert on the whole MRI thing, and even give a little coaching to anyone I meet in the waiting room who’s nervous about it themselves.

I don’t like causing a scene. It gets me into more trouble than it’s worth sometimes, but once in awhile it helps. I just never really found the balance, because I’m still so focused on the freeze and stay silent than I am on what a more appropriate and beneficial reaction would be in some circumstances.

I haven’t found other ways to defend myself, even though my go-to doesn’t really work out very well most of the time.

Writing Choices

I realized something this morning, or at least noticed it happening again.

I was going over in my head some of the things I’m planning to do with the story contained in my first novel, and what I’m toying with having some of the characters do. One in particular is bothering me more than I’d realized at first, because it’s the one loosely based on moi.

Now, don’t get me wrong – our lives are not at all the same. I have a brother not sisters, I am the oldest not the youngest, and I am nearly a decade older than the character is in the book. I’m not with a Sarah, both my parents are still alive, I didn’t grow up in that house, or have Trick for a dog. I don’t think I’ve ever even carved a pumpkin for Halloween. Not on my own, at least.

So really, I guess that character is just more like how I think I’d react in the situation I wrote her into. Though I guess that could be said for everyone I write, in a way, because there’s part of me in all of my creations, to a certain extent. But that one in particular was written to give myself an alternate story to exist in, just as Sarah was written to give the person she was inspired by a different imaginary path to tread upon. Neither of them are more or less real to me than the others in their story, though. I just have I guess more of an emotional attachment to one in particular. I don’t want her to do anything I don’t think I would do.

But since the screenwriting conference, I’ve been considering doing just that. I’ve been struggling with a reason for it – a believeable reason, something that felt true – and haven’t come up with one as of yet. I did come up with a plausible yet similar act for which there would be justification (at least in her mind and kind of mine), so I might very well go with that. I’m not certain it’ll make the story stronger, but I’m not sure that it won’t, either, so I am betting on at least keeping the sense of truth to it all, instead. Because truth can do wonders for the power in a story, and for real life.

The crazy thing I realized or noticed again this morning was how much it was actually bothering me to try and come up for a reason for my character to do something against my own inner traits. I felt a little nauseous, and distracted, headachey and sadder than usual. When I say it was depressing to think about – to imagine possible scenes that would lead the character down the path to making that choice – I don’t mean it in a flippant or surface way. I mean that it affected me on every level – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I felt horrible just thinking about it in detail and trying to make it work.

My imagination can be pretty strong sometimes.

I felt worse about that than I have about many actual things that have happened.

So I’ve decided that – whether it works in theory or not – it won’t work for me. As in, I won’t be able to make it work, not for that character. I could easily have a different character in the story perform the act as it started out in my head, but that would have been more believable and far less powerful than having this particular character do this particular thing, but have the scenario leading up to it be a little different from what I had originally considered. Which means I get to add power to my story, while not making myself sick, or at least not in that way.

It’s amazing how much better I felt as soon as I realized the effect even thinking about it was having on me and made the decision to literally change my story. Even just a tiny alteration made all the difference.

Ghomeshi Verdict

Well, turns out that, no matter what else I was thinking of talking about today, there is now only one subject that’s worth my voice. Yet I am so angered and ashamed and sitting here in frustrated, impotent disbelief that I can’t even think of words. So bear with me.

Back in 1988 (nearly 30 years ago now) powerful film called The Accused was released. Starring my love, Jodie Foster, it told the tale of a woman who had been publicly gang raped, and the struggle she went through in both the court of law, and the court of public opinion, to bring her attackers to justice. It was a very tough but very necessary watch.

Today, we’ve been shown that our justice system – and indeed much of our society as a whole – have not come nearly as far as we pretend we have in those 30 years. I want to say today’s verdict hurts my heart (which it does), and that I’d hoped for a different outcome but am not surprised by the actual one (because that’s also true). I also want to say again how angry and disheartened and frustrated I am by the result – because I do feel all of those things.

But mostly what I want to try and express is the very physical effect it’s having on my body now. I feel sick. I can’t focus on my work. I am shaking and every muscle in my body is tense like a wire pulled too tight. I am damn near crippled by it, and I don’t even know any of the people involved personally. Yet there are no words for the effect this verdict has had on me, and from what I can tell, that’s a large part of the problem in situations like this as a whole. There aren’t words to express it. There are just emotional, mental and physical reactions, all happening on the inside, out of sight (except for all the trouble I am having typing this…the amount of backspacing and correcting I have to do is obscene). In cases where there is physical evidence, it’s much easier to prove a point to an outsider. In cases where the loss of a loved one is involved, it’s easier for someone else to have some sort of sense of what that means, having also lost loved ones themselves, but to varying degrees.

But in cases of rape and sexual assault – you just can’t. If you’ve had no personal experience with it at all, you just can’t imagine. And to those who can imagine, there are no fucking words. None that come close to expressing their experience, nor the effect it has had on them forever. Forever, guys. It’s not something you get over, or forget, or have any control over. You can go years without thinking about it, and then something random happens and you’re right back there in it again, experiencing it all again, on the inside, just like you did the first time. It’s a wound that never truly heals. It’s cut that does not scar. It just breaks open again from time to time. For the rest of your life.

And whether it happened yesterday, or 30 years ago, some details you never forget. Everything that happened during the assault remains fresh as a daisy (whatever that means – never mind – it stays crystal fucking clear). Yet everything before and after is gone. A blur at best. Your body and mind don’t consider those details to be important, so they are let go, and 100% of your focus is on what happened to you. Maybe you have even thought before about what you would do should you ever find yourself in such a situation, but guess what? You almost never do what you think you’d do. You can’t plan a reaction to something like that. When it happens, some other subconscious part of you takes over. Self preservation – of your whole self, not just your body – takes over, and when all is said and done, the very first person to judge you is you. You go over it and over it in your head, and imagine other outcomes, and things you could have done or should have done – you envision every possible scenario, including whether or not someone else could have helped, or something you might have said instead that would give your attacker pause.

Because most of the time, it’s someone you know. Maybe even someone you love. Someone you trust. Someone you wojuldn’t have suspected was even capable of such a thing. Someone in a position of power or authority. An employer. A healer. Every single time, it’s someone who should have known better. And then when they treat you like nothing happened, like they did nothing wrong, and that you should know better than to think them capable of such a thing, that’s when the fun self-doubt game sets in! You can’t remember what led up to the assault, so maybe you did do something to encourage it. Maybe it was a huge misunderstanding. He did say he likes it rough (though to my mind, that means he likes rough stuff done to him, not the other way around), and you consented, so maybe you just were too embarrassingly naïve to understand what he meant. He’s just so logical and likeable and no one will believe you when you’re not even sure you believe yourself. So yeah, forget it…you misunderstood and blew everything way out of proportion. Give him another chance, and you’ll see how wrong you were about him. Or he’s your husband…for better or for worse, right? You promised him that. Or you’ve slept together before and this was maybe just a one time thing…just a mood, or whatever (though even a one time thing is one time too many…I tell myself and then don’t listen when it pertains to me). Or you work together and still have to see each other at a time. No sense in rocking the boat over a simple misunderstanding. Be nice. You weren’t raised to be rude, and you’d like to keep your job, so just forget it and move on already.

These women – “the complaintants” (dumbest name ever for what they actually are – heroes, champions, survivors, not-taking-any-bullshit-igans) – they stood up. They gave a voice to the only words they were able to find along the way. They spoke out, for themselves, and for everyone else who has suffered through a similar life-altering event. They said no, I will not let you do this to anyone else. Not one more.

Because one was one too many.

And their reward for taking that impossibly difficult step? To be put on trial themselves, instead. To be the most recent victims of an ancient system of “justice” that still favours the perpetrator. The accused didn’t even have to take the stand in his own defence. He didn’t even really say he didn’t do what he was accused of – he simply said it was consensual. Which…isn’t that speaking FOR the women? However. His actions were never really put on trial. The actions of the women were, instead. Oh, they didn’t tell the whole truth in their original statements? Maybe because they weren’t the ones on trial. Maybe because their actions before and after the assaults had zero to do with his actions during the assault.

Then, to add insult to injury (and more insult), the judge basically accuses the women of lying under oath, says we have to put a stop to women submitting false claims of assault (because apparently that happens all the time, even though the vast majority of such crimes go un-fucking-reported), and then throws out some statement about how his verdict isn’t the same as saying that the events didn’t happen, just that there’s reasonable doubt that they didn’t happen.

Um, Judge Super-Genius, sir? That’s actually exactly what you’re saying.

He’s not only dismissed the women’s claims as invalid, but he’s also sent a very clear message out to anyone else who suffers a similar fate and has dillusions about stepping forward to accuse their attacker. This verdict has basically silenced every other survivor – not just in this city, but everywhere. Canada’s women lie about being raped. And if the oh-so-polite Canadians can do it, then surely every other country’s women are liars, too.

Does anyone even know what a struggle it is to come to terms with the notion that what happened to you is assault? That it’s a crime? Just to get your own self to understand it is a huge inner battle, and you are your own worst critic. Guaranteed, every single thing said to those women during the trial has already been gone over by them themselves. They have already torn themselves apart and then pulled themselves back together enough to take the enormous step of speaking up. At the risk of not being believed, of not getting justice, of not getting some sort of closure.

And thanks Canadian Justice System! That’s exactly what’s happened today.

You know Ghomeshi is going to get laid again. And you know it’s only a matter of time before some woman gives him the benefit of the doubt and it happens again to someone else. Will that woman step forward? Or will she think about herself what so many others will think – that she was warned, and that she should have known better. That it would in fact be her own stupid fault.

To that woman – or women – whoever you are, and to the women who left the courthouse after the battle of their lives today, I will say right now that I believe you. I stand by you. And I will vent my impotent yet righteous rage online for all the world to see or not see because I believe you. I believe in you.

And it’s not your fault.