You Cannot Make Me Hate

A few weeks ago, I subscribed to The Guardian. Read more news, Em, get smart, she said to herself, still in the habit of self talk and third person perspectives after four months in the northern outback of an Alberta lookout tower. I thought that if I was taking more initiative in understanding the ebb and flow of the political landscape, I would be able to find better ways of articulating my anger, my almost boundless frustration.

Something is wrong, someone is wrong, and I do not know if it’s me. That’s what I would think before writing another unpublished satire, essay, poem, you name it. I feel as though I’ve only just started to seriously consider making more of my work public and now something has me pulling back- hard. My thoughts, my goals, even my daydreams, are short-lived and undermined; I am deeply uncomfortable in all social spheres, highly aware of echo-chambers;  increasingly tired of beat-around-the-bush safe space conversations; enraged that my deep-rooted concerns for creative and liberal exclusionary landscapes have manifested into a resentment of writing- my writing; and I am broken by the unrelenting despair of change and blame, to which social media, social movements, and institutions now worship.

I have a thousand and one assignments that were due yesterday (a consequence of cramming too many classes into a very short window with the intentions of saving money- and time. Never enough time), but right now, I am sitting in the basement of my hulking and aged rental in Langford, balancing on one arm, a cat who has picked up the unfortunate habit of meowing constantly (literally constantly- I talked too much with him this summer), and typing furiously with the other. About ten minutes ago, I opened up an email from The Guardian to find yet another long list of news stories detailing sexual assaults by actors, directors, and MP’s. A few weeks ago, I heard a word of mouth story about a man who committed suicide after a social media “outing”. The war on trauma, sexism, and advocacy has been raging, and I find myself now, in a highly uncomfortable position, because I really am done with sensationalized trauma.

As victims, we are awarding further power and focus to the very figures that have contributed to our own lack of power and focus. We are looking back and asking for an apology and a justice that cannot possibly begin to reconcile the trauma, at times screaming for it. Is this really visibility? Sure, it’s bringing a lot of awareness to an issue and a movement, but there’s something darker happening here, and at the end of the day, I am finding myself absolutely resenting the convoluted mess of intentions and agendas behind these media releases. I feel like we are opening up and staring mutely, waiting for the rest of the healing to be found somewhere in the heaping mass of collective rage and blaring media headlines that validate the injustice. We are entitled in our pain to the point of assuming generalizations and turning a blind eye to progress, to change, and to the individual- this is not a society that wants to heal, this is a society that wants to hurt. This is a society that is writhing, broken, and begging for stability, and borders that lend complete and total large scale transparency in the name of “awareness” and “education”. We are pursuing wide spread manuals and social protocols for conversation and social positioning, not to mention tip-toe tactics that make it incredibly difficult to communicate across divides, and don’t even get me started on the rampage that is blind fear of insensitivity.

In other words, we are engaging in the complete and utter rejection of what it means to be a single mind, in a single body, limited in compassion and inevitably flawed, influenced by social environments, and born unknowing, destined to learn with growth or drown.

I am not sure it has ever been more difficult to find personal forgiveness, redemption, and healing, not when your actions could make their way onto the world stage for judgement.

Here’s why I say this. We promote blind equality and fairness, which actually work to protect and validate bigoted and prejudice beliefs. We are not spending time condemning those who still believe their private boundaries and beliefs extend over those places and people in the public sphere. We are sticking to our “tolerance of all things” guns. In our pursuit to show the world the regularity of bigotry, misogyny, and racism, we are choosing our sides and demanding unattainable ransoms for our forgiveness, not realizing that we are also forgoing collective healing and reconciliation.

Where fear of speaking out was once rooted in the neglect and alienation of a culture that would support the offender, we, and our children will now learn to censor our thoughts, and our actions out of fear of condemnation, of asking questions and seeking understanding, in the event that we commit unforgivable social blunders- regardless of our intent, our identity, and our background. Who we are- who they will be- does not matter. Nor does community, integration, or healing. We have created a world where there are few second chances, and trauma is a chronic and terminal diagnosis- it is, in fact, the worst thing that could ever happen to you, and it will haunt you.

This is the darker, unspoken reality of the image I receive from the media, and from the radical policies and safe spaces now prevalent in universities and workplaces.

Maybe this is our new answer to the disappearing fear of god. We are all gods, with our devices and our massive social media platforms. We can find the exact reassuring judgement we want from communities that will blindly condemn, while news providers jump on the trend of large-scale public disclosure, all of this working to remind you- and others- that in order to find healing and validation, you must find it in both communal consensus, and the utter condemnation of another, blocking any and all avenues of forgiveness, personal growth, and remorse.

I swing, and I bite.  I am the last person to roll over in a conflict or an injustice, and my passion- my rage- has always been a curse and a blessing. I have done and said incredibly hurtful things. I have seen red and broken frames I will never be able to fix. I have let pain and self-entitlement cost me relationships, stability, and health. I am terrified- and enraged (surprise surprise)- that I live in a world which asks me to publicly condemn and exile individuals (and, what at times seems to be, a whole gender) in such a way that wishes only to blind the other eye with the cultural knife that has already left women in what seems to me, a mass of blood, tears, and pain.

I have scars, we have scars. They’re not the most noticeable thing about me and I don’t ever want that to change, my adversities do not define me. I don’t know how we are supposed to heal, or learn, or trust, when in these sensationalized stories of trauma, these social media broadcasts, there is no genuine desire- no possibility- for change, healing, and forgiveness. You reap what you sow, I really do believe that. So I won’t do it. I won’t carry hate and fear. And I won’t support a cause that asks me to do exactly that.

Em

The Recruitment (IntlWmnsDay2017)

She is the battle front, the sharp eye,
and the quick hand.
She is the strategist and the disturber,
the clean gavel, and the dirty worker

purpose
just a peace we might never see

a peace chasing tides in wake and rolling foam
Instead, to shake the earth 
and find us under fine cover 
in salt water to rich doors
cracking fine tile
and expensive leather

this is your general
the first order of the 21st front 

 

The Sound of Drowning

Pale cobalt and cracking until the skin of your lips met your jaw
unable to reach an agreement, 
your mouth clambered for hours in the cold
a language spoken by the wind when the sun has left the day

Choking,
wishing you’d never caught her eye from the ferry deck
the railings a cotton bed
and you’ve always preferred the floor
breathing softer and hoping to be ignored by the lighthouses that lie
far         away        as      some other
maybe Spain

The distance of the isles                to you, the ribs on your coast
and you ask not for the first time why your ribs can’t be posts that spine a torrent
the back that breaks a boat
and the wind         
leans         in           close

No, it says,
its a marker for a shallow shoreline
swim past the ribs and grab a rock
see I hope
you kept your shoes because they’ll shred your feet sooner than the tide will sell them short
and the navy of the water
won’t love that pretty mouth when its lost that bluish color so I suggest you make a fire
and start praying to a warmer god.

 

 

Kale Chips

So I have this theory: no one actually likes kale chips. And I mean, compared to their delicious potato counterpart, it’s really no competition- but not everyone can eat a bag of Lays, and more to the point, not everyone wants to eat a bag of Lays. Cue the entrance of our green chewy savior. Salty, spiced to flavor, and I get my iron. Win, win, win, win, win. Win.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Yield: As Much As Your Green Little Heart Desires

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1/2 tbs of avocado/olive oil
  • Optional, choose one or two: salt, nutritional yeast flakes, chipotle seasoning, pepper

Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Strip kale stems and cut into potato-sized chunks. Place in a bowl.
  3. Drizzle oil onto kale, mix thoroughly.
  4. Season kale.
  5. Place kale on pan, spread evenly, with little or no overlap.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges turn slightly brown.
  7. Kale should be crisp and dry.

Whipping up a bowl of kale chips takes hardly any time at all, and depending on how you cut the kale/ how you season the kale, I find this to be a perfect substitute for popcorn. Salty, crunchy, with lots of room for creativity.
Eat up.

Banana Bread

I eat a lot of bananas. Unfortunately, I can’t always get to them before they brown, and this has resulted in a rather large pile of suggestively shaped bricks sitting in my freezer. After trial and error with many, many different batters, I finally hit the jackpot.

And the jackpot happens to be gluten free. Hell yeah, baby.

I make the almond meal myself (refer to almond meal/milk) and I find the coconut flour helps to keep the bread from being too damp, if that makes sense. Fair warning, my recipe makes an entire loaf and a dozen muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 cups of almond meal
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs of peanut butter
  • 1 tbs of maple syrup
  • Optional: Crushed walnuts, crushed pecans, brown sugar crumble.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients.
  3. Mix all wet ingredients.
  4. Combine, mix evenly, and distribute between loaf pan and muffin tin.
  5. Sprinkle top of loaf and muffins with brown sugar and nuts.
  6. Bake the muffins for 27 minutes, and the loaf for 58 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Well, I never said this recipe was easy on the sugar, but I have absolutely no regrets there.

Enjoy!

Almond Flour Biscuits

Now before you start thinking to yourself “who the hell still eats biscuits in this day and age”, let me explain myself. If you’re celiac, gluten-free by choice, or you just want to feel good- plain and simple- there is no more diverse food item than the biscuit. You’ll find this gem under an over-easy egg, topped with nutritional yeast flakes, and gone in about 2 minutes flat. They store well and age better than your finest red, that is, softening rather than turning to stone. They’re filling (because rabbit food can only get you so far) and they kept me fed and happy for a night on top of a mountain, slathered in peanut butter and warmed by the fire.

Almond-Flour Biscuits

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 3/4 sea salt (in the past I’ve had to use the salt that comes in tiny little pebbles, still breathing)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil (melted, usually supposed to wait for it to cool but I never do)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (I am currently using maple syrup- I prefer the tang to honey)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Optional: additional eggs (yes that means you’ll need more flour, look at you go)
  • Optional: oat/seed/raisin crumble topping

Baking:

  1. Moment of truth, most of the time I just put all the dry ingredients in and splash the wet stuff in after.
  2. If I’m adding extra eggs, I’ll begin by slowly adding tablespoons of additional almond flour until the dough reaches the right consistency- which in case you’re wondering, resembles chocolate chip cookie dough, except its just considerably more disappointing without the sugar and chocolate.
  3. Use parchment paper (compostable) or avocado oil to grease the pan, and I forgot to mention, but you should’ve had the oven preheating to 350f (175c).
  4. Begin placing large tablespoons of dough separated evenly on the pan. Just let them do their thing, it’ll be fine.
  5. You can now sprinkle the oat/seed/raisin topping mentioned above, and don’t worry if you make a mess on the pan- you’ll just toast whatever doesn’t bake onto the biscuits, which makes for a yummy side bowl with almond milk.
  6. Bake for 15-20minutes or until golden brown. Be warned, almond flour burns very easily and suddenly.

Eat with eggs, peanut butter, jam, and pride.

Lazy Sunday Breakfast

I wake up every morning stupidly excited to have this gluten free breakfast spread to kick start my day.

Ingredients:
– Half an avocado
– Some sort of sweet fruit to balance the flavors
– 1 almond flour biscuit
– 1 egg
– 1/2 teaspoon of nutritional yeast flakes
– Salt and Pepper to taste
– Optional: additional vegetables/fruits

Instructions: 

  1. Set small pan on stove, at medium heat. Grease pan with olive or avocado oil.
  2. Cook the egg, obviously to personal preference (though soft sunny side up is hands down the best way to eat this).
  3. Place biscuit in the bottom of the dish, garnished with nutritional yeast flakes, salt and pepper, and any other vegetables. Red peppers go really well with the egg and yeast flakes.
  4. Put all the remaining stuff on your plate, and eat warm. Now go save the world.