Let’s Talk About You

The process of blog writing kind of means I talk about myself a lot. Pretty much all the time, really, barring a few posts where I’m talking about something like how to massage the face. Even if it’s just my opinion on something, it’s kind of written into how blogging works.

But this week, I want to talk about you. By you, I mean you, the one currently reading this. Whether you read this the day I post it or a few years down the road (in which case… hi, there, how’s the future?)

First of all, I want you to know that you are appreciated. This is a solid, incontrovertible fact. While I can say that I’m certain others appreciate you, I can absolutely tell you that I do. I appreciate every second that you spend reading my work. I appreciate every time you’ve ever clicked the “Like” button, whether you did that on the actual blog or on the Facebook post. I appreciate any time you’ve taken to comment on a post. All of that stuff genuinely helps me, and I appreciate it. Even if this is the first time you’ve read one of my blogs, thank you.

Secondly, you are important. You matter. Right now, our world is more than a bit crazy, and it can be all too easy to feel insignificant. You are not. You matter, the things you do matter, and you can make a difference. Even if it’s just improving one person’s day, you have the power to do that. That’s a pretty awesome power, use it responsibly, as this one goes both ways.

You are loved. Someone out there loves you. You probably know who most of the people who love and appreciate you are, but I’m willing to bet that there’s at least one person out there who thinks the world of you and you don’t know it. If you find yourself wishing that they would tell you, then maybe consider doing that yourself for someone you hold in high regard that you’ve never told. They may not know, they may also wish someone would just tell them that.

You have your own unique talent. If you’re lucky, you know what you’re good at already. Some of you may not. That’s why it’s good to try new things. But I believe that everyone has the potential to be quite amazing at something. I can’t promise that you’ll discover that you’re a violen virtuoso, but maybe you make the most amazing blueberry muffins. Maybe you have the knack of growing perfect carrots every time.

Finally, you are worthy of all of this. You deserve to be appreciated, you deserve to be loved, you deserve to not only be good at something but to have that talent recognized and celebrated. You may not always feel that worthy of these things, but you absolutely are.

As always, be kind to yourself and be kind to those around you. You deserve it and so do they.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Things That Won’t Surprise Me In 2020

It’s been a crazy year so far. I mean, yes, the pandemic, but all the other things, too. Murder hornets. The government releasing and confirming UFO sighting videos (note: i mean the acronym literally, I’m not trying to tell you that aliens came a-calling, just that there were flying objects that could not be identified). Dust storms from the Sahara hitting the US. As I write this, there is not one but two potential hurricanes brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.

I think I’ve reached a point where my suspension of disbelief is at an all time high. So here’s a few things that, if they come across my news feed, might not make me do much more than shrug and continue on with my day.

Big Foot comes down out of the hills and wanders into Los Angeles. Just make sure the guy has a super sized mask and keeps six bigfeet away from everyone else, okay?

Psychotic Beavers on the rampage. Well. We already have murder hornets, what’s one more creature with a scary name? Watch out for the big teeth.

Atlantis rises from the sea. Someone should probably tell them to go back down for a few more years, though, until they don’t have to worry about quarantine.

First contact with aliens. Just because I told you that I wasn’t claiming this had already happened doesn’t mean that I’d be surprised if it did. Well. I might question their poor timing, but other than that, not so much.

Snowstorms in September. Actually. This one isn’t so far out there when you live in Nova Scotia. I’ve never seen it, but I think I’ve seen snow in June once. Either that, or I’m remembering a dream. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised, we’ve had some bizarre weather this year.

Tropical Christmas in Canada. Oh, wait, never mind, that one happened just a few years ago. AC and open windows and everything.

Lizard People take over world governments. I’m not naming names, but I can think of a few places where that sounds like an improvement.

My phone develops independant artificial intelligence. So long as it doesn’t try to tell me about 5G, scamdemics or other conspiracy theories, I’m okay with this.

Obviously, I’m kidding. Sort of. Mostly. Still, I have absolutely reached a point where news that might normally have struck me as being really noteworthy is just another thing on the pile. And I don’t even read the news religiously. What strange happenings would you fail to blink at? Let me know in the comments.

(Note: my mother told me to write this one after I made a wisecrack comment along the lines of the Bigfoot one. I was also instructed to inform you all that she told me to do it. This week is her birthday, so she’s getting what she wants.)

Be kind to yourselves, and be kind to those you encounter, even if they’re aliens, lizard people, psychotic beavers, Atlantians or a very confused sasquatch. And especially if they are your suddenly intelligent phone.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Inclusivity

I’ve written a lot about the importance of recognizing things like racism, ableism and the like. And it’s true. All the ism’s, all the phobias should be recognized and worked on eliminating.

So I would like to shine a spotlight on a television series that, in my opinion, is absolutely doing it right and having a great time doing so.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a series that ran on NBC, starting in January of 2020, with twelve episodes. The premise is, essentially, that the protagonist Zoey suddenly develops the ability to know people’s mental state/what’s on their minds, but only via an elaborate musical number (including dancers and backup singers) that only she can hear.

It’s hilarious. It’s often touching. And it’s also one of the most inclusive things I’ve seen in awhile.

For a one season, twelve episode show, it has managed to include a wide diversity of race, mixed race relationships, homosexual relationships, transgendered people, both women and men in positions of power, disability, mental illness, and terminally ill characters. Moreover, most of what I listed above fall into the realm of regularly occurring characters.

Let’s address the disabled character. She is one of the only ones on the list that was not a regular character, but even so I think they handled her story well. The character in question was a deaf young woman who was the daughter of one of the supporting cast. Her story showed her attending a prestigious school, kicking serious scholastic backside, and the plot revolved around her trying to convince her father that she was a fully capable individual completely able to follow her dream, which is an issue that many of us with disabilities do, in fact, face. I have, from more than one person who loved me and meant well.

The character was portrayed by Sandra Mae Frank, a deaf actress, and they did give her a song, one which she performed in sign (as did the backup performers), which I loved despite not being able to fully appreciate it. Now, I may not be able to fully understand what life is like for those with severe hearing impairments, but I do know what it’s like to be blind, and I absolutely identified with the character. I didn’t feel as if I was being pandered to, I didn’t feel like we were supposed to pity her, and they showed her intelligence and strength.

I feel like they did the same for all aspects of diversity that they included in the show, though as a white woman, I can only surmise on that score. Even more respect is given for appropriate casting. Alex Newell, who plays Mo, Zoey’s gender fluid next door neighbour and emotional sounding board, is themself genderfluid, in addition to Sandra Mae Frank actually being deaf.

The show is a fun romp that handled inclusivity and diversity as if it was no big thing. As if it were just normal. It should be normal.

Honestly, I love this show and can’t recommend it highly enough. Unless you hate musicals. You won’t like this if you don’t like people breaking into song suddenly. The only jarring aspect is that they do state outright in dialogue that it’s 2020, and what with the writers not actually being psychic there’s no pandemic, but that’s small.

Keep on being kind to yourself and to those you encounter.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Dear Me

Dear Me,

Hello from a year in your future. For you, it’s July 22, 2019. For me? It’s July 22, 2020.

I know you’re feeling a bit under the weather right now. All that stuff with your thyroid. Then that radiation treatment you just got. And right now, you’re feeling a bit sorry for yourself because you’re stuck in a two week long quarantine until you stop being radioactive. Actually, you’re feeling a lot sorry for yourself, stuck inside for two whole weeks. No work, no socialization, no going out.

Oh, you sweet summer child.

Okay, so, let’s start with the good news. The radiation is going to work. I mean. More or less. You’re not really done with this, you’re going to lose some hair, but in a few months they’ll get you onto the right medication, and it will be better. So that’s good, right? Oh. And don’t freak out too badly about the hair, it’s just a bit of thinning, it’ll grow back. A year from now, you’ll see that it’s not important or particularly worth fussing over.

Oh, and your writing career is going to go somewhere unexpected, but I won’t spoil the surprise for you. Just be prepared to go for any opportunity that pops up.

Aside from that, you’ll find the rest of 2019 kind of uneventful. Girl, you enjoy that uneventfulness. Just… just trust me, okay?

2020 sounds like such a great year, doesn’t it? You like to play D&D, and hey, that’s two critical rolls. You’ll even make that comment on New Year’s day. Well. I did. Maybe… don’t. Or don’t make too big a deal out of it, okay?

While I’m giving some advice, can I suggest stocking up on some toilet paper in, oh, mid-February? And hand sanitizer. Oh, and lysol wipes. You might also want to try to sock away a bit of extra money, if you can. But not in cash.

And maybe don’t make any big plans for the year. Especially travel related ones. But you could look into streaming apps that you haven’t tried yet. Only don’t sign up just yet if there’s any sort of free trial. Just, you know, be aware of it. Except Disney Plus, I know you won’t be able to wait on that one. Yes, it’s as awesome as you think it’s going to be.

Try to brace for change. But also kind of brace for monotony. Look. Just trust me on this stuff, okay?

Oh, I forgot something in the good news front. You actually find a new D&D gaming group. On Zoom! Oh, wait, you’ve never heard of Zoom, have you? Trust me, you’ll learn. Hey. You don’t have any spare funds for buying Zoom stock do you? Shame. I joke, I have no idea if they even have stocks. Also, you’re going to join a choir for the first time in over twenty years! So that’s fun, right? I mean. It’s also on Zoom, but it’s fun.

Listen, me, it’s kind of going to be a bit of a rough ride. You’re going to get used to some crazy stuff happening. A lot of it’s bad. Some of it is really bad. Things you never thought you’d live to see. Generation defining stuff. Some of it is super sad. Some of it is going to lead to some changes that the world needed to make, though.

So I guess you can ignore all the earlier advice and just go with this: be kind to people. Be kind to yourself. Kindness has never been more important than it is now. You might want to start reminding other people of that, too.

Hang in there. You’re going to make it through.

love,
Me

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

It’s Still Okay

In many places, restrictions on our lives and movements are being lifted. Many of us who were out of work for months are returning to it. Many of those who worked from home are starting to be phased back into office life. We can go get a haircut, or a massage, or go eat in a restaurant.

Now, I’d never go so far as to say that life is returning to normal. It may never go entirely back to what we used to consider normal, but it is changing.

And hey, maybe we accepted, back in April, that it was okay not to be okay. It was alright if we felt overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, inexplicably cranky or depressed.

But surely, now that things are easing in some areas, we should also be feeling better, right? Wrong.

I’m here to tell you something. Yes, you. You reading this with your very own personal eyeballs. Or your own personal ears, or your own personal fingertips.

It is still okay not to be okay.

If logic helps, then here is some logic: you’ve just been through something you likely weren’t prepared for. Something that impacted your life in extremely personal ways. Perhaps you lost someone, or are friends with someone who has. Perhaps you lost your job. You definitely lost the sort of freedom you took for granted. You can’t just wave away the mental and emotional effects of that.

Also, though restrictions are easing, the grim truth is that this isn’t over. In some places, things aren’t even actually improving even if restrictions are lifting. We might be better prepared for it now than we were in March, and that is a very good thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s over.

So of course you’re not okay. Of course you feel anxiety and sadness.

Less logically… we’re humans. Our response to grief and stress is not a rational thing, so trying to force yourself to be entirely rational in your emotional reaction is so far from unfair to yourself that it might as well be one of those carnival games that hardly anyone wins.

This obviously doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for emotional stability. Of course we should. We should make full use of every tool in our toolbox to try to cope, as best as we can, and be on the lookout for some new, shiny tools to tuck away in there. We just shouldn’t kick ourselves for not being entirely okay.

I’m not entirely okay. I’m crankier a lot of the time. I get scared. I get depressed. I have far less patience than I should. I’m doing my best not to let that negatively impact anything else, but I still feel those things, and that’s okay.

If you’re still feeling those things, it’s okay. If you’re not, then hey, please feel free to drop me a message and tell me the ways of your people.

In the meantime, and as always, for god’s sake be kind to yourself. And to others.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday

Kind Vs. Nice

Kind
a: of a sympathetic or helpful nature
was helped by a kind neighbor
They were very kind to us.
b: of a forbearing nature : gentle
kind treatment of animals
c: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance
a kind act

Nice
a: pleasing, agreeable
a nice time
a nice person
b: virtuous, respectable
… I met nice girls whose skirts reached the ground.
— Jack London

The above definitions are taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary (www.m-w.com). I did nab more examples of kind than of nice, but only because nice has a lot of meanings, and I didn’t think that being exact really fit the sort of niceness we’re talking about today.

So, in recent months I have taken to putting in a reminder at the end to be kind to yourself and kind to those you encounter. Times are difficult right now, the world could use a bit of kindness. I chose that word very deliberately. I just as deliberately have not been advising niceness.

To be frank, I have reached a point of saying “screw niceness”. To me, to be nice is to be polite, to be agreeable, to just get along and not cause waves. We, as a society, cannot do that anymore. I will no longer be nice.

If I see something that I disagree with, I will speak up. Now, I will do my utmost to do that in a respectful manner, I’m not out to verbally berate people who don’t agree with me, or badger anyone into compliance with my way of thinking. But I will speak my mind. Generally, this applies to the spreading of misinformation, fake facts, racism and statements of white privilege (such as “all lives matter”, because that statement does come from a place of privilege, even if you do mean it well) I’m not going to tear a strip off of you for not liking the same usic as I do.

On the other hand, now more than ever is a time to be kind. Be sympathetic and, more importantly, empathetic to those around you. Listen to what they say. And by listen, I don’t just mean “sit there and let them vent”. I mean actively listen. Think about what they’re saying and why they might be saying it.

If you have help to give, give it. This doesn’t mean “help people even at the cost of your own physical, financial or emotional well-being”. It just means that you can use the resources you have to help others.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this: You should try your best to be kind, but you don’t always have to be nice.

So, be kind to yourself, and be kind to those around you.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

My Girl

Twelve years ago, I sat up late, all curled up on the sofa waiting for a phonecall from England. I was unwilling to go to bed for fear of sleeping through the ringing. When that phonecall finally came, I cried. My first niece had made her way into the world.

Three weeks later, I was on a plane to England to meet her, and it was love at first sight. She was so tiny and so, so perfect. I saw her again later in the summer when my sister brought her across the Atlantic to meet the clan. I remember singing her “Hippo In The Bathtub” when she cried, and every single time, she stopped. Possibly to wonder why I was making those weird noises.

Over the past twelve years, I’ve watched her grow. First into a rambunctious toddler, then into a doting big sister, then into a thoughtful, intelligent and creative young lady.

I’m so proud of her that sometimes, I feel like I might burst from it. As a kid, I was an avid reader, particularly of the fantasy genre. My niece has not only followed in her auntie’s footsteps, but surpassed me. Man. I thought I was an advanced reader, but this girl read the entire Harry Potter series by the time she turned seven.

I love giving her books, though it isn’t always what I go for. Actually, what I love the most is giving her books that I either loved at her age, or else ones I wish had been written when I was her age. A few summers back, she told me that her favourite books were the ones I gave her. I think it may be the best compliment I’ve ever been given.

She doesn’t just read, either. This girl can write. I think there may be some sort of genetic tendency for this endeavour, as her Mum is a published and talented poet. My neice has written both prose and poetry, and everything I’ve read from her has absolutely astounded me.

She’s a fantastic actress, too. Granted, I’ve never been lucky enough to attend a performance of hers, but I’ve been sent videos of her performances, and she treated me to a live rendition of a monologue (written by her, too) that had me laughing so hard.

Did I mention her musical ability? Because she’s got that, too. Before the current shutdown, she performed with some classmates in a band, and while I admit to auntly bias, they were really, really good.

She paints. She does synchronized swimming. She can rughook. And she’s only twelve years old. She blows my mind.

She is twelve today, and I don’t think I could be any more proud of her than I am. Of course, I’ve said that before, only for her to turn around and do some new, amazing thing, and I discover new depths of pride and love.

If I had one wish for her, it would be this: never, ever forget how special you are, and how many people love you. No matter where you go in life, no matter what you do, your Aunt Jenn is going to be right there, cheering you on. And bragging about you to anyone who will listen. (Seriously, kiddo, I do that. Like… all the time.)

Happy birthday, Clverkins. (That’s what I called you when you were tiny… I was right to do so, I see.)

((Note: If you are reading this and know my wonderful girl, and want to chime in to add your own praise in the comments, please do so, but I also ask you to protect her privacy. My choice to leave her name out of this was deliberate.)

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Words

I don’t know what to say, here.

Maybe that’s an ironic openning line in a blog that clearly has more words after it, but it’s true nonetheless.

I just don’t know what to say. Because if the senseless, brutal death of a man doesn’t open your eyes to the fact that things have to change, nothing I have to say will do so.

Why did it ever need to come to this? Why haven’t the past senseless, brutal murders of people been enough to change things? Why haven’t the voices of people of colour crying out that they were scared for their very lives if confronted by a police officer change things?

And if you are sitting there, reading this and thinking that this is a problem that only happens somewhere else… you are wrong. People with black and brown skin in your communities almost certainly are afraid. They have grounds to be afraid.

And it has to stop. I, as a white woman, live a life of extreme privilege. I can count on the police to be on my side. I can’t ever truly empathize with the plight of my fellow humans whose outer layer happens to not match the shade of my own. I can’t speak for them.

But I can speak. I can say “Enough.” I can say “No.” I am only one small voice, my words on their own don’t have much power, but that’s not the point. The point isn’t my lone voice. It’s all of ours. If you feel the same way, please say so. Not just in the comments section, either. Say it on any platform you have. Say it more than once. Say it when a friend or family member says something you don’t agree with.

Say it. Speak the hell up.

I guess I do have some words, after all.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

One Year In

On May 21, 2019, I posted this: https://jennifermorash.com/2019/05/21/an-introduction/. It was my very first blog post. In it, I introduced myself, gave a synopsis of where I was, and a bit about where I wanted to go.

The final line of that post reads: “”Deep breath, best foot forward, and let’s see where this goes.”

That was one year ago tomorrow. So, where did it go?

Well, the introductory material has almost entirely remained the same. I’m still a blind woman and still a massage therapist, though you can tack a year onto the age and length of time in the profession.

But I am not a recreational writer any longer. More on that a bit further in.

I detailed how I was finally trying to write a novel, wich I’d only been at for a week and a half when I began. Since then, I have completed first the rough draft and then the second one, taken the novel through the beta reading stage and began the third draft, the one I intend to submit for publication. So, I call that a goal completed.

I no longer write every single day. That is unsustainable. However, I never intended for that to be a permanent state. I only wanted to do it for long enough to build up my writing muscles from a state of atrophy, and I did. I am still writing frequently.

After a few posts, I settled on a schedule of publishing one post per week, every week, with occasional bonus posts when the mood or situation struck. That is a schedule I have kept to, with two exceptions. I missed one week last fall while utterly miserable with the flu, and took a planned and pre-announced break over the holidays. To be honest, I’m surprised at myself. I doubted my ability to come up with something to write about each and every week. Somehow, I have.

So, why do I say that I’m no longer a recreational writer? Because I’m a professional one. Starting this blog led to the opportunity to do paid writing for the blog that my clinic runs, which you can find here: https://www.massageexperts.ca/blog/

That job makes me a professional freelance writer, which is absolutely not something I thought I’d achieve in under a year. I am exceedingly grateful to Massage Experts for the opportunity, and sincerely passionate about my work there, as it brings together my love of writing with that of educating my clients.

Blogging has not always been easy. There are weeks I just don’t feel like writing. There are subjects that can be difficult to write about. And in our current global crisis, it gets even harder some days. However, writing is cathartic, enjoyable, and it brings me a lot of satisfaction.

To those who have been with me from the start, I thank you. Your support has encouraged me at every step. To those who have joined me somewhere along the path, I thank you, too. Your joining in shows me that I’m not just shouting into the void.

So. Deep breath, best foot forward, and let’s see where else this goes.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

The Longest Month

I think April of 2020 has been the longest month of my life.

I’ve certainly had other long and difficult months. I’ve spent months at a time in the hospital, often not being allowed to get out of the bed or, sometimes, sit up. Much of that as a child who wanted to go outside and play. I’ve spent months in some very serious pain. I’ve spent months where depression and anxiety kept me away from the world by choice.

But nothing has been like last month for me, and I know I’m not alone.

It’s not just a matter of boredom, though there was some of that. It was the worry, the fear, and eventually the overwhelming grief and confusion.

(Let me put in a warning here. My posts tend towards the positive. This is not going to be a happy post. For those reading when I post it, you may have already taken in more sad and worrisome things than is good for you to handle. I won’t be offended if you stop reading.)

Right now, as I type this, we are in the midst of the pandemic known as Covid-19. It has infected millions, and killed over 200000, it has brought life as we know it to a standstill globally. It is like nothing I have experienced before. We are all stuck where we are. Public gatherings are not happening. Travel has stopped. Public venues are shut down. Grocery stores have arrows on the floor to indicate what direction you are allowed to go in, and taped marks to show where you can stand. We are all staying six feet apart from one another. Many are off of work, more are working from home, and the essential workers still have to go out and brave getting sick to keep us going.

Then, here in Nova Scotia, a maniac whose name I will not include here because it doesn’t deserve to be remembered, went on a rampage in a place near and dear to my heart, perpetrating the worst mass shooting Canada has ever seen, in a tiny little place most had never heard of. A place we can see from the cottage. A place close to family. Too many lives were lost.

The next week, a NATO helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece, costing the lives of six more Canadians.

April was, in many ways, a series of blow after blow. It seemed like when we started to pick ourselves up off the ground, or even start to, something else happened.

I can count on one hand how many days in April didn’t see me crying at some point. From sadness or just because everything got so overwhelming. And, yes, sometimes in joy because there have been some wonderful things people have done to bring us together, too.

So, why am I writing all of this? Many of my readers are in Nova Scotia or have ties to it, you already know all this. Those who aren’t still heard the news.

I’m writing this for myself. I’m writing this because for me, at least, getting it all out and down into words is good for me. Thoughts can get all cluttered up in my brain, sometimes I just need to sit down and type them out. I’m writing this for you guys, as a reminder that while you may be by yourself, you’re not alone in how you feel.

I’m also writing this because I don’t want to forget. I want something out there that I can look back at next year, or in five or ten years. I want to remember, not because these are good memories, but because to forget is to once again take for granted what we have.

And I want to write this down because I want to remind all of you, as well as myself, that it is a new month. Spring is coming (in theory, it did snow last week here). A time of renewal. We’re going to get through this. Nova Scotia is as strong as she is beautiful, and we humans are a resilient folk. And beyond my beloved province, we’re all, as a society, going to weather this storm.

Once again, please be kind to yourselves and to those around you.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.