Gone Girl: From Private School to Homeless

I am honoured to know the writer of this piece that I am going to share with you. Emily Wright’s experiences with bullying, addiction, homelessness and recovery is truly inspiring. We can turn our lives around and be the people we want to be.

tw-sign3

Gone Girl: I was a private school kid from Rosedale—until I ended up on the street

She had loving parents and all the opportunities and privileges in the world. Then she discovered drugs.

My parents gave me a great chance at life. I grew up in a three-bedroom house in Lawrence Park, where I spent weekends riding my bike and making mud pies with my younger brother. At Christmas, my parents took us on vacations to Hawaii and London and Kenya. In the summers, we rented a cottage in Muskoka, where we built teepees and chased frogs. One year, knowing how much I loved acting and tap dancing, my parents sent me to an elite arts camp in the Catskills.

In 1992, when I was seven, we moved to a sprawling Edwardian house in Rosedale, effectively upgrading from middle class to nouveau riche. My father had risen from a working-class childhood in Montreal to the upper echelons of Bay Street finance. The new house was his prize for all he’d accomplished, a way to show the world what he could do for his family. Growing up, I was provided with unconditional love and support. My mother made a point of encouraging my artistic side, making me costumes for dance recitals and driving me to extracurricular activities.

My home life was as idyllic as a ’50s sitcom, but school was torture. In Grade 1, my parents had enrolled me at Branksome Hall, the private girls’ school in midtown. From the moment I arrived, I was constantly, cruelly bullied. Every day at recess, kids would steal my boots, stuff them with snow and hide them in the playground. I’d run around in my green stockings searching for them while the teachers rang the bell and hollered at me to get in line.

At Branksome, a school known for its academic rigour, I struggled with my studies. (I had a learning disability that wasn’t diagnosed until I was 16.) I was also a deeply sensitive and trusting child—I expressed my feelings, which only made me more vulnerable. When my mom confronted my teachers about the bullying, they’d tell her I was being too touchy, that I needed to pull up my socks and deal with it. I made a few friends in my neighbourhood—kids I would play with on weekends and after school—but I was always worried they’d discover whatever my classmates hated about me and disappear. Over the years, I developed a chameleonic tendency to change my personality for whomever I was with—a dangerous pattern that followed me into adulthood.

I switched schools seven times in the next decade. At most places the bullying intensified, chipping away at my self-esteem. In Grade 7, I landed at the co-ed private school Montcrest, where the kids called me fat and scribbled BITCH in my notebooks. To fill my friendship void, I became addicted to Yahoo chat rooms—primitive, unfiltered oceans of lonely teens searching for a connection. In Grade 8, I became involved with a handsome lacrosse player who lived in Mississauga. After chatting for a few months, we started dating in real life. I was 14; he was 17. That summer, he came up to my cottage for a weekend, where we made out in the bunkie. Before I knew what was happening, we were having sex. I didn’t intend to lose my virginity that night, but I don’t remember saying no. The next morning, he went back to Toronto, and I never heard from him again. I emailed and called him every day, but never got an answer.

A few months later, I started dating a new guy who was a couple of grades ahead of me. We were fooling around behind school one day when he suddenly pinned me to the ground and raped me. When I arrived at school the next day, he told everyone I’d had sex with him. The girls hissed “slut” as I walked down the hall. I started to believe them. I didn’t tell my parents what had happened, but my behaviour had them worried. “I feel like I’m losing you,” my mom kept telling me.

And she was. I barely went to school for the rest of the year, partly out of mortification, partly due to the sudden, severe migraine headaches I’d begun experiencing. My mom and dad took me to every neurologist in the city, but nothing came of it. I managed to pass Grade 9 through frantic cramming and sheer luck.

 

To read the rest of Emily’s story please click on the link: Gone Girl by Emily Wright

Pride

 

uk-unemployment

I have been officially unemployed for a week and a half but before then I hadn’t worked since August of this year. My plan was to finish my final placement to get my Early Childhood Education diploma but the motivation to do so disappeared. This is the first time I have had no work since I graduated university in 2011. While I have always been underemployed and living in poverty, I at least had money coming in. Now, I have nothing.

My Aunt emailed me some links yesterday to help me out and strongly suggests I go to the YMCA to use their employment services. My plan was to go today after I went to the bank to switch everything to no fee, close my savings account and take my money, but now I just find myself feeling ashamed and I probably won’t go just yet.

I did everything I was supposed to do. I did extra work in my grade 12 to bring my grades up. I got into a good university for social work. I completed the 4 years and received my degree. I was told that if I did all of that then I would get a good job, make money and have the life I want. This is not what happened, this is not what happened for many of us. I feel lied to.

I shouldn’t have to use the YMCA to help me find a job. I am completely employable, I have a degree, I have work and volunteer experience, I have had the opportunity for professional development through my previous employers and what I have done on my own and yet I have nothing. I should be the one working at the YMCA. How do you walk in, show them all your experience, your degree and ask for help?

It seems funny. I have no problem asking for help in other areas like my mental health but with employment, I can’t do it.  I will eventually…just not today.

DIY Christmas: Mason Jar Prism Light Candle Holder

I’m seriously excited for this one!

mason jar

Materials

  • Mason jar
  • Round glass decorative elements
  • e3600 glue (or any glue rated for affixing to glass)
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Tea light
  • Lighter
  • Brushes

Instructions

  • Apply E3600 glue in small patches (please be in a well-ventilated area) with your brush. Apply glue to a small area on jar, working from the base of the lid downward.
  • Apply glass stones over glue. Take time to consider your design as not all of the stones will be possibly be the same size. Do a small area at a time to make sure everything fits the way you want.
  • Let dry when completed.
  • Once the jar is dry tie ribbon or twine around the neck of the jar where the lid would go. Put a candle in, light it with a long BBQ lighter and enjoy!

 

DIY Christmas: Watercolour Mugs

For all the coffee, tea and hot chocolate lovers!

watercolourmugs

Materials

  • White ceramic mug
  • Bowl or container
  • Warm water
  • Nail polish (colour of your choice)

Instructions

  • Fill the bowl with warm water.
  • Add a drop of nail polish to the water and let it spread out. You can also use a skewer to swirl the color around a bit to give it the effect you’d like.
  • Dip your mug in the water.
  • Use nail polish remover to remove any excess nail polish on the bottom and inside of the mug or parts that got messed up.
  • Carefully pat mug dry with paper towel.
  • You can repeat with additional colors if you want.
  • When done, let it sit for at least two hours.

Note:

  • Use a decent type of nail polish. A cheap kind may not give desired look.
  • It is most likely best to hand wash these mugs.

 

DIY Christmas: Book Heart Picture Frame

More DIY Christmas gift instructions coming your way!

Book Heart Pictureframe

Book Heart Picture Frame

Materials

  • Book (one you have laying around that you won’t want to read anymore or go buy a cheap one second hand)
  • Heart stencil (or your desired shape)
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive (something to stick the hearts down with)
  • Patterned paper (for the final heart, optional really)
  • Picture frame (shadow box frame would probably work best in the size you want)

Instructions

  • Go through your book and find meaningful words. These could be words the remind you of the person you are giving the gift to or words that make you feel good if the frame is for yourself!
  • Use a stencil to trace around the word and then cut it out.
  • Arrange the hearts on a background in the order you want them to appear
  • Using an adhesive stick the hearts to the background (you can buy adhesive squares that raise the paper off the background, that would probably look really good!).
  • Using the stencil again, you can cut out a heart in patterned paper to just add a little pop of colour to it.
  • When all of that is done you can put it in the picture frame!

Enjoy!

 

DIY Christmas: Decorative Wine Bottles

I have had a request for instructions for the DIY Christmas gifts I’m making this year. What is good about these gifts s they are also not Christmas/Holiday specific so they can work for gifts at any time and also never forget to make yourself a gift because you deserve it!

So, let’s do this!

Wine bottle, tape, and spray!

Decorative Wine Bottles

Materials

  • Wine bottles (as many as you like, I plan on doing 2 or 3 per person)
  • Painters tape
  • Spray paint (in the colour of your choice)

Instructions

  • Clean the bottles very well. Having dirty bottles could leave unpainted spots or cause the spray paint to not stick. Make sure the labels have been removed from the bottle (here’s a link for how to do it easily: Easiest Least Messy Way to Remove Labels from Wine Bottles)
  • Lay painters tape in desired design over the bottle’s surface (painter’s tape is best because it comes off easy). Remember, where the tape is placed will remain the colour of the bottle so put tape everywhere you do not want paint.
  • Follow directions on spray paint can for application. Spray the paint onto the bottle.
  • Let dry.
  • Once the bottle is dry you can remove the painter’s tape and reveal your design!

Note: It appears that you do not need a specific type of glass only spray paint. Keep in mind though that glass is a smooth surface so the paint will chip easily or over time. These are bottles are for decoration only. You can of course do touch ups if chips occur.

I’ll post another DIY gift with instructions tomorrow!

 

 

DIY Christmas

This year I am doing a Do-It-Yourself Christmas. Majority of my gifts will be made by yours truly. Not only is this fun for me and more meaningful for others, it is also helping me save money (I’m unemployed). I believe my most expensive gift has cost about $12 in materials but that’s pretty good given one DIY gift to my knowledge is completely free because the materials are found/borrowed.

Here are some of the gifts I plan on making!

Wine bottle, tape, and spray!

Watercolor Mug DIY - this is incredible! What a great holiday gift idea.

 

mason jar

 

Secrets by Mary Lambert

A friend sent me this song :)

“Secrets” 
By: Mary Lambert

I’ve got bi-polar disorder
My shit’s not in order
I’m overweight
I’m always late
I’ve got too many things to say
I rock mom jeans, cat earrings
Extrapolate my feelings
My family is dysfunctional
But we have a good time killing each other

[Pre-Chorus:]
They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
Inside ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it

[Chorus:]
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are) So-o-o-o-o what
So what
So what
So what

I can’t think straight, I’m so gay
Sometimes I cry a whole day
I care a lot, use an analog clock
And never know when to stop
And I’m passive, aggressive
I’m scared of the dark and the dentist
I love my butt and won’t shut up
And I never really grew up

[Pre-Chorus]

They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
Inside ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it

[Chorus:]
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what

(I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are)
So what
So what
So what
So what

Remembrance Day 2014

home of the free

 

lest we forget

 

 

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