The Biphentin Menace

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Well, it took a month of slow, evil degradation for me to experience the dark side of ADHD meds.

In early June, my doctor happily assigned me a low dose of a drug called Biphentin. With his blessing and laundry list of warnings; I had high hopes for a bright, crystal clear future.

Unfortunately; that wasn’t exactly what I ended up encountering. Instead; I was plunged into a deep, dark cavern of  negative emotions I hope to God I never experience again.

To the uninitiated reader; ADHD. or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that I like to describe as putting jet fuel into a Chevette and then turning the key. A person with ADHD has a myriad of random thoughts and distractions all screeching simultaneously while the person is fighting to focus on one simple thing. Add to that a complete and utter lack of impulse control; well, you have a seriously compromised human being.

I am one of these individuals.

The weird thing about this state of mind is that our wiring is so off-kilter that a depressant will wire us up; while stimulants calm us down.

Stimulants…these are the key for medicating an ADHD brain.

Take for example; coffee. Now; if the average person drank ten expressos in a row near bedtime; they’d be up all night long, jittery and sleep deprived. Not so for most people with ADHD. We “shiny brained” individuals would consider this Sominex. It’ll lull you right into a nice, sweet place where you can say “nite nite” and saw wood unapologetically.

Another difficult symptom is the struggle to stay awake or pay attention when everyone else is alert when something is less than compelling. It’s not laziness or lack of sleep. It’s literally our brains misfiring. On the flip side; if something does catch our attention that is interesting, it usually takes an act of God to pull us away from it.

After a half century of failures, incompletes and being the freak everyone avoids; I decided enough was enough. I got help.

Enter the devil’s deliverance into the abyss.

Now, to be fair; Biphentin is an effective treatment for people with ADHD. I’ve heard many testimonials about what a Godsend it was to those it worked properly for. With it, this drug gifted them with clarity and focus. That, however, was only part of my experience. The balance of said experience was, shall we say, somewhat lacking.

The first week was so filled with promise. I remember taking that first pill and waiting for the clouds to part. OH…they parted alright; as I lay pinned to the sofa. I could barely get up, let alone function. I sort of experienced what drug paralysis felt like, and I wasn’t overjoyed. Imagine that!

God, how ungrateful could I be!

During the course of this week, I got shit done. I mean, I REALLY knuckled down and made things happen. Unfortunately for me, the clear moments didn’t last all that long. However, while I was in that zone, I ran through tasks like a tornado in a trailer park. What was left in my wake was accomplishment.

It was what happened in and around those moments of clarity that left me a little less than thrilled. I started becoming dark. Only a little at first. As the week progressed, the clear moments seemed less joyful while negative emotion suddenly started taking over.

I felt rage for anger’s sake. There was no rhyme or reason for me to feel that way; but there it was. It took nothing for me to completely fly off the handle at anyone or anything. Yet…I knew it took time for things to settle, so I stuck with it. After all, the doctor had warned me these things could happen.

Through all this, I started having panic attacks. They almost always followed the blind moments of anger. I was able to talk myself down from them, but as time progressed; they started taking over.

In my second week on Biphentin, the anxiety attacks escalated. It became increasingly difficult to leave the house. I found myself so completely overwhelmed that it was all I could do to function beyond sitting in one spot completely engulfed in that state. During that week, the panic morphed into a deeper sadness that left me increasingly despondent.

Into week three, I’m calling people I care about names that should be reserved for the dregs of society. I became toxic, ugly and filled with dank, forlorn despair. The little joy I once had completely left me. All that remained were my inner demons acting on my behalf. I was powerless to stop the deluge.

In my quieter moments; I held onto the hope that as I acclimated to the drug, I would stabilize. This kept me going; even though deep inside I knew I was reeling out of control.

By week four, I have people pleading with me to get off the medication. I kept the doctor’s message in mind as I parroted to my very concerned loved ones that this too shall pass.

Month one ended with me on the brink. I wasn’t feeling all the wonderful things I had hoped. Yet, I persevered.

One bottle committed to history, and I stubbornly renew the prescription. Then, all Hell broke loose.

It didn’t take a day for this 52-year-old man to completely derail. And…at this point, it wasn’t me in control, it was my darkness that was in the driver’s seat.

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I became so overwrought I had literally experienced a total and complete mental meltdown. Couple that with access to social media; well, as you may surmise; this didn’t end well.

My poor roommate FINALLY got through to me, and snapped me out of the state I was in. I truly was on my way to find a place to secure my noose. In fact; it was almost a compulsion. I couldn’t see past my sadness. What’s worse, there was no cause for me to feel that depth of despair. It was a state of mind I could not find my way out of.

Then that little window of clarity hit. That’s when I finally woke up and realized what was going down; the damage I had done, and what I almost accomplished.

I called the doctor, and my roomie took me  down to the doctor that evening. My own physician was not in the office, but his collegue immediately ordered me off the medication; and warned me it’d be a week before that drug was completely out of my system. Honestly, I felt the greatest sense of relief knowing the drug was no longer going to dictate terms to me on a daily basis.

Regrettably; the symptoms didn’t immediately dissipate once I stopped the drug. I spent the next day grinding my teeth until my head felt like it was going to explode. It was that, or my risking a volley of insults at anyone I encountered.  The following day; I cried a river of snot. There was no reason for me to cry; yet, there it was. By day three, I felt me, myself and I starting to emerge from the depths. Consequently; so did all the racing thoughts and distractions.

I couldn’t wait until Thursday. Despite the dark half of that month; that clarity and stability I experienced was like a high for me. I tasted normal thought; and I wanted more!

When I returned to see the doctor; we re-hashed what had occurred. He told me that he didn’t think the drug itself was the issue; rather, it might have been things lying under the surface of my emotions. While I agreed with that, it was clear this medication amplified everything to such an extent; I wasn’t always cognizant of what I was doing until the next window of clarity was upon me.

I am guessing Sybil must have been familiar with this sensation as one of her choir took over and sang whatever song she wanted.

So…I’m now handed a piece of paper containing a different medication. He said if this didn’t cut it, I’d need to see a specialist. He also told me not to wait a month if I ended up feeling anything close to as strong a reaction as I had with Biphentin. So, I crossed my fingers and prayed for sunshine.

I think I got it too! In fact, I know I have. Da Taz is smiling now!

Here’s to hoping my demons are safely locked away; someplace where they have no access to my mornings, noons or nights. Let them have at it, somewhere they cannot deprive me of the light I’ve been feeling since that nightmare ended.

Keep smiling, and thanks for stopping by!

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Reality With a Biphentin Chaser

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Well, it’s been two weeks Wednesday that I started my descent from the clouds that is my 52-year-old brain; and as promised, here’s some actual writing. Whether anyone bothers to read any of this or not is up to the Gods I guess.

The doctor gave me a lovely little pill called Biphentin to control the squirrels running up inside my attic. And, let me tell you folks, these are some wild-assed squirrels!

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Day one: Well, a whole lotta nothing got done. I sat there on the couch in a total coma. This shit walloped me! Totally brought me to my knees mentally.

I kind of expected I’d have to adjust to this stuff, but I’m sorta wondering what’s what right now. I mean, it is working…somewhat. The stuff has indeed slowed my brain down just a wee bit, but I’m still wrestling with those mother-loving varmints. I still see a lint burr on the sofa and suddenly the TV program is a thing of the past as I’m picking crud off the upholstery, or worse; vacuuming. Then I forget I have to start dinner, which means I have to get out the door, almost forgetting I need actual outside clothes and a shower before that happens. And then my phone rings, and I’m off on another tangent, lint, tv, meals, dog crossing his legs and dancing the dance of the RIGHT NOW OR THE FLOOR GETS IT all get launched into space.

My brain has never been normal.

So, the drug seems to calm these things a bit, but not a whole lot. I do seem to be able to focus for short periods of time, but it rarely lasts. A side effect I could do without is the moodiness. It doesn’t take much to set off the powder keg that is my temper.

Alone for now is best. Alone for now keeps the murder charges to a minimum.

So, tonight, as I write my first installment in regards to the journey I’m currently on; I wonder to myself if I’m ever going to be right in the head. For that matter; do I even want to be. I do know this much; as time passes, I know I can be so much more than I have been. This much the drug has given me…hope.

So for now, I’ll ride the wave and try grabbing a few squirrels by the tail along the way.

Stay tuned…

Switching Gears

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I’ve spent the last few years seriously neglecting my personal writing on this blog. Oh, I’ve come in and promised more content; only to leave the reader with little else but the sounds of crickets and some very stale work to read.

This isn’t another one of those promises I have no intention on keeping.

I started this blogspace in order to develop my humour writing. In turn; I’ve gained some very great opportunities from this.

I also learned that when I set my mind to something; I can actually make it happen.

Well, I’m not here to give you all another shag in the ol’ kisser. I’m here to explain. To those that don’t know me; I am a man with severe ADHD. As such; I tend to be all over the map. There are days I can focus my attention on a task and create something brilliant. Yet, however, there are most days where I have to check my keys ten bloody times to make sure I haven’t forgotten or lost them someplace.

Such is the life of a stupefied hack.

Part of the problem is I don’t interact much with others. That makes for some slim pickin’s in the imaginarium. As well; I was receiving a lot of complaints about the self-deprecation in my work. So I just stopped and never tried to fix it.

I noted tonight I’ve written a bit of my dark observations over the last several pieces. It’s clearly a reflection of where I am at this point in my life. I have, however, been hard at work writing; just not on this space.

This old fud has learned he’s got a gift for writing articles and columns. And I must say; I am good!

For a guy that has zero confidence in himself; that’s saying something.

But I digress.

I think I want to dig into a new subject; something I CAN provide first hand insight into. My ADHD, and discovering what it means. You see, I know very little about the disorder I have struggled with my entire life, despite being diagnosed for over ten years now. I’ve been learning about my weaknesses, and how to overcome them as of late. I’ve also finally made a decision to try medications to balance out the flaky parts that have held me back for so long.

I think this Tazzybehr site is due for a fresh subject. So; I am going to journal here. Not some boring dissertation on my day to day musings…no. I mean I am going to start using my discoveries and pitfalls as food for the muses; and create based upon that.

I want to see what medicated me can do with a few words and a wicked sense of humour! Now, I’ll probably pull out my damned soapbox and megaphone every once in awhile. I mean, I gotta be me! But, I hope to also give some focus on what I learn as I go along as well as offering up some new laughter in the process.

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So, for those of you that have stuck around (thank you), I will endeavour over the next little while to re-created the site I had originally intended to be the “next big thing”.

There are other writers and bloggers with ADHD already working their own magic. Many are humourists. I have no intention on riding their particular wave. NOPE. This will be pure Taz, and it won’t have much in it you’d be able to print in the daily news.

So, for now, please do stand patient. New work will come once I start the medication. I might even change the look of this site to celebrate this new chapter in my life.

I ask you all to please ignore the grammar, typos and run on sentences I’m notorious for; and please do give me feedback once I start to seriously write again. It’s important for me to have that input; so I know if I’m heading in the right direction or not.

Thank you all for your time, patience, and support.

I remain,

Da Taz!

 

 

Unhappy Endings

It’s been a dog of a week.

I won’t get into details, but if it could go wrong, implode, explode, what have you, it did.

May has never been a great month for me. Each and every year, something comes out and makes me wish it was February. At least that particular bitch of a month is upfront about how it’s going to make you miserable.

May smiles at you like a Cheshire Cat while it drops it’s load on top of your head. At least it does in my world.

May has found me in intensive care. It’s found me scrambling to avert disaster. It’s a month that farewell ALWAYS comes.

This particular May has run the gamut.

Now, while May might be filled with life lessons; it’s always the ones that hurt the most. Today, one cut deep. I’m honestly not sure if this scar will ever heal.

I had to do some thinking this fine, rainy yet grey May day as I was confronted with a big, ugly surprise. My thoughts went to “give it time” to “I’m done with this bullshit”.

So…like I do so well when I’ve been dissed, and make no mistake, I have, indeed, been dissed; I excised.

I started with social media. Buh Bye Felicia. Then I turned to communication devices and apps. So long flakey-assed so and so. I then sat here; steam coming out of my ears, and decided enough was enough.

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Disrespect me, repeatedly = dead to me.

I’ve reached critical mass. My heart, my soul, my head, not one cell in me can take another hit. Especially when I’m down for the count.

So….I write this as a time stamp to a day I’d rather say so long to. I write this as a reminder to myself to NEVER invest any time and emotion into a thing that does not pay any form of worthwhile dividends in return.

I’m taking back my pride, and saying “go fuck yourself” to those that don’t see fit to communicate their feelings; after countless conversations regarding that very point. I’m flipping the bird to those that decide for me without discussion. I’m putting in print my spin on “friendship”. With that kind of friendship, who the fuck needs enemies!

I’ve worried my last hour. I’ve pleaded my last case. I’ve given my last shit.

I say “go forth and be successful. Just leave me the fuck out of it”!

‘Nuff said!

Shame On You!

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It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done some non-professional writing, but tonight, I truly felt the urge to put a few thoughts to (electronic) pen.

Anyone close to me knows that I’ve suffered from confidence and body issues my entire life. From being a human Q-tip as a kid, to suddenly growing multiple asses after I quit smoking; it’s been a rocky journey.

I’m a porker. I’ll call it what it is.

Recently; I listened to a podcast from one Joe Rogan, a man I used to admire. On it, he and his buddy decided that devaluing people of size was to be the object of their derision and scorn for that broadcast. He also “suggested”, no, exclaimed that body shaming was good for fat people, and that we damned well deserve it! He sunk even lower by declaring that body shaming would surely force these lazy fat asses to see the light and turn our forks in for stair-masters.

I’ll not be listening to anything this man has to say again as long as I live. Take that to the bank. It’s also highly unlikely this piece will ever find its way onto his laptop screen. That kinda sucks, but hey, I can’t control the web.

If, however, by some miracle, this man ever did happen to read this; and I was fortunate enough for him to do so before he 420’d his brain into orbit, I’d like to point out the following. Fat-shaming…the thing that you defend and extol your motivator for thick-waisted morons like myself does immense harm and little good. In fact, it’s an act of pure malice; plain and simple.

If he required proof; I’d happily point his nose to the year 1983 when the first public figure died from complications of Anorexia Nervosa. Her name was Karen Carpenter; and like so many that followed; she was fat-shamed publicly. That incident, where some insensitive journalist called her “chubby” in print, forever changed the course of her life. And as history now recalls; it ended it far too soon.

I remember watching a television special The Carpenters made back in the late 70’s. Karen came out in a pair of overalls and sang her song; sparkling plenty and full of energy. Where I should have been enjoying the performance; all I could do was try and contain my shock at how “off” she looked. Even to a child, you could tell she wasn’t right.

Her death saddened me deeply. No one with that much talent should meet their fate so young.

She became the poster child for Anorexia Nervosa in much the same way Rock Hudson would become the face of AIDS a few years later.

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I remember my grandmother once poking my sister in the gut and commenting on how “pudgy” she was becoming. I also remember how deeply that hurt her. She was far from fat, but those words cut into her like a scythe. It was a miracle she didn’t end up going down a darker path like so many other teenage girls have for hearing such things themselves. She was fortunate enough to be able to brush it off. So many others aren’t.

During my youth, I read a book titled “Blubber” by Judy Blume. It is a tale about the fat girl in school being mercilessly bullied and how she coped with it.

That book has haunted me ever since. As a person that’s survived many attacks from bullies throughout my travels, I certainly identified with her.

Personally; I’ve had my own battles with body image and casual “help” from others.

In the late 80’s; I was going through the worst period of my life. I endured a deep betrayal from someone I loved. In spite of  that emotional pain, I faithfully remained their pillar of strength as they fought for their life in the intensive care ward.

As fate would have it; my best friend was going through a similar experience at that time. I blindly went to him for advice and support. He, unfortunately, had none to give. I certainly was in no position to provide him with any in return.

I was utterly on my own; no support from anyone but God.

I attempted to go to my family; but that was just not in the cards. The one conversation I had with Mama resulted in my telling her off for the first time in my life. Because of her claim that I was exaggerating the situation to get attention; I didn’t talk to her, or anyone else in my family for a very long time afterward. I spent years filled with rage and hate after that phone call.

It took me a long time to forgive not only her, but myself for being that angry.

Then one day, a “concerned” friend decided I needed his valuable “opinion” at precisely the wrong moment. He thought it was a great idea to comment (maliciously I might add) on how tight my jeans were becoming (at that time, I was anything but large). He further offered that I should be like him, and that my fat was disgusting.

I wasn’t fat. I was 135 pounds. I had gained exactly seven pounds. I was, however, very very impressionable and in an incredibly fragile state of mind. So, to please him, I dieted. I ate my salads and I Jazzercised myself into a heap every spare moment I had to work out. I made a total effort.

Two weeks in, I hadn’t lost any of the weight. In frustration; I cheated and bought myself an ice cream cone. Well, soon I started feeling very guilty for that treat, so what did I do? I decided to yawn it up in Technicolor over the porcelain god. That one incident soon became a habit. The reason was simple; I liked the fact that I could get into a size 26 jean comfortably after only a couple of weeks.

Of course; there were repercussions.  My hair was my crowning glory. During this period all the hair at the bottom of my head fell out in chunks; not to mention the constant laryngitis I suffered. I also had a whole lot of acid reflux accompanied with chronic headaches. Yet to me, it was all worth it. That so-called buddy certainly complimented me on my rediscovered waist. Of course, he then decided my feet were too wide and suggested I have my baby toes taken off so I could wear narrower shoes like he wore.

You can’t make this shit up. But he was certainly filled with it.

Words…they can sometimes cut deeper than a machete.

I learned that Elton John years ago also suffered from Bulimia. He as well had faced one too many toxic pen critiques for his weight and took his woes to the loo. In fact, I’ve long since learned that many men had traveled a similar path. Some didn’t escape, others grew stronger for the experience.

Fat-shaming is sooooooo helpful, ain’t it, Joe “ol’ pal”.

Here are some statistics for the uninformed.

30 million people will suffer from some sort of eating disorder in their lifetimes. Women tend to be the biggest “losers” here.

Did you know that 50% of all women will eat unhealthily at some point in their lifetime while trying to lose or maintain their weight?

It’s a fact that 70% of women between 18-30 years of age don’t like what they see reflecting back at them in the mirror. It makes you wonder how many of them have heard “thunder thighs” being uttered when people thought they were out of earshot.

We men are not exempt.

37% of all men will binge eat at some point. This is usually prevalent in older men (like yours truly) and can lead to a viscous cycle of depression, not to mention weight gain and health issues.

It’s also a fact that 43% of us are suffering from body dysmorphia issues. As well, younger men will often resort to binge eating when they are being victimized or bullied (are you reading this Mr. Rogan). This does not lead as often to Bulimia or Anorexia Nervosa, but men do still suffer from it. And…that figure is on the rise. In fact, it’s up by 70%.

And to what do we owe this alarming trend? Body shaming for the most part.

We all pass the magazine racks and see that body beautiful. Impossibly toned and tanned; each man looks like they inhabit Mount Olympus. Every model on the cover of Cosmo looks like she ate a blade of grass for supper a month ago. Add to that jerks like Joe Rogan who have suddenly decided they are your personal judge and jury.

Where does this stop????

Demi Lovato recently decided to put an end to her weight loss efforts publicly. This beautiful and incredibly talented singer has a crazy strong body. She, however, has had a lot of people attack her for her very natural curves. So she’s basically taken a moment to tell her shamers to go fuck themselves.

She’s my new favourite person.

In Mr. Rogan’s smoke-filled world; if people aren’t running around trying to attain that 3% body fat ideal; they’re to be chastised and bullied until they see the light.

I wonder how many have sought their own “final solution” due to people like Joe. Many, from what my Google search has brought up while researching for this blog post.

I say it’s high time we all put our foot on the brakes. Hate is hate, no matter how many puffs of smoke you spew while using it as a weapon.

I’m throwing down the gauntlet, Joe.

Mr. Rogan. If you ever do read this; pay attention. I too, like you and your friend Mary Jane, have something to say.

You, Mr. Rogan, DO NOT get to tell me how to look. You also don’t get to tell me how to feel. And you certainly don’t have the right to bully me into dieting and exercising.

Joe Rogan, and all those out there that think their painful words are spurring me on to hit the gym; fuck you. Seriously, FUCK YOU!

The day I decide to finally break this cycle, it won’t have anything to do with you. It won’t be because I’m trying to please you or people like you. It’ll be because I decided I need that change. I could care less about what you think of me. Seriously.

If I never lose another pound, know this; I am good with it. In fact, I’m quite happy with  it. I lovingly embrace my gut, butt and chins.

Yes, I am the product of my own bad habits. However; its I, not you, that looks into my mirror each and every day. And only I get to either admonish or praise that reflection staring back at me. I choose to praise it, devil be damned!

It may be in Panavision, but it’s mine. You, sir DO NOT have the right to try and diminish it; or me.

Stuff that in your hash pipe and smoke it, asshole!

 

Reading; A Child’s Entrance Into A World Of Possibilities.

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I remember as a kid Ma giving me the gift of literature. Now, we were all avid readers in our house, Shannon and I being the biggest fans in the house.
 
Most who know me know I didn’t exactly have it easy. I was a weird kid, afraid of the world; one that rarely smiled past the age of 7. As a weird adult, not so afraid of the world, I look back on some of the special kindnesses Ma bestowed upon me when no one else was looking.
 
She’d pick me up a record album here, or an odd end book there, but the one gift she gave me that stayed with me throughout my life is the gift of The Scholastic Book Club.
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Now, to say money was tight back then is an understatement. Both my parents often went without even the basics so that we had clean clothing and food on the table. That’s what makes this gift so cherished.
 
Once a month I was allowed to buy a single book. It could be whatever book I wanted. I’ll never forget how happy I was to get mine in class. The first was Amelia Bedelia. I was engrossed in the disasters she’d get herself into, and how it was always made better by one of her special pies. I always wanted to see the brass fire bell she polished too much. This girl worked it!
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There were many other such books, but my favourite was “Blubber” by Judy Blume. It was about a fat girl who was teased and bullied relentlessly, and how she overcame the cruelty. You can bet I read that cover to cover at least 20 times. I read it until there was literally nothing left of the poor paperback.
 
At times, books were the only things I had to relate to.
 
So, I’m always glad to see programs like “Imagination Library”
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and “LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary” being made available to underprivileged kids.
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A young imagination can see possibilities in the simplest things, and dream them into a future if properly nurtured. In a world of words, I was the captain of my own starship, a figure skater, a professional dancer, a designer and a world-class vocalist. I pursued the dance career, briefly, because I believed I could from books that inspired me throughout my youth.
 
The point I’m trying to make here is that in a world filled with iPads and PVR’s, there’s something so important about the written word. It not only stimulates young imaginations, it helps bolster confidence, gives new focus when needed at times, and accelerates logic and reasoning.
 
So, to all you wonderful young parents out there, I invite you to have a look around at all the wonderful words you can translate into an adventure for your little one. The Public Library is a good place to start, and costs nothing.
 
The gift of a video game is cool, and I’m sure your munchkin will play it off the map, but what do they truly gain from the experience.
 
Reading, it’s a concept that should be a part of every child’s world. Take it from one former child that survived largely because of the need to read.
 
Food for thought = 1 great book!

Blown Away

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I will start by saying I’ve never been a fan of an artist named Kesha. Her songs were, well, for a younger audience, and her style made me want to throw her into a shower. She just ooozed gross.

I also thought she had about as much depth and talent as Milli Vanilli, or perhaps even that dude that made a bazillion bucks singing that Macarena song I hate so much.

You can tell she made me puke up the worst of the nineties whenever I’d see her videos or hear her music.

Well, I, along with a whole lot of other people, got one fuck of a shock tonight.

Kesha, that dirty raver chick has, wait for it….T A L E N T, DEPTH AND A SOUL.

She released a song today entitled “Praying”. I started watching it, well, out of curiosity. The title itself promised it’d be something deep.

I thought she was as deep as a wading pool. It turns out she’s in possession of great depth, angst and a well of forgiveness.

I, like everyone so far (the video in one day has over 2 million views) bawled our eyes out watching and listening.

Kesha can actually sing!
Kesha can actually write!
Kesha can move a person to tears witnessing the pain she’s sharing with her listeners.

It’s been a VERY long time since anyone moved me that powerfully. You can actually feel her rage, hopelessness, angst, and finally…hope.

She enlisted the talents of Eagles of Death Metal and Dolly Parton on her upcoming album “Rainbow”.

All I can say is…”WOW”. Alanis Morrisette once moved me this deeply, but unlike Kesha’s latest effort, Alanis was raw, pure rage. Kesha’s anthem is definitely in possession of these emotions, but it looks towards forgiveness and her future.

When you hear this girl hit her crescendo, every last hair will stand up on end. There’s no escaping it.

While she’s no Celine or Whitney, she’s got a pretty decent voice, even if it’s head singing. It’s perfect for the lyrics, the video and delivers what can only be described as a one-two punch without so much as a single fist being lifted.

I think you should sit and give this girl her props, and have a listen. It’ll move you.

150 Years Of The True North Strong And Free

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I was born into the greatest place I can think of almost 52 years ago.

In that time, I’ve witnessed some really awesome things. I’ve seen a Canuck astronaut command a space station, and then send us the coolest video off earth. “Space Oddity” will never mean the same thing to me after that.

I’ve watched an intolerant society learn to not only tolerate, but embrace in some cases. I’ve seen bullies from other countries try to bring us to our knees financially, only to have themselves slapped down a few pegs, and learn that good…like it or not, ALWAYS wins in the end.

I’ve also watched with reverent pride a little known singer from the East Coast take United Airlines down a very dark path with…well, a very Canadian response to negativity…using his talents and his head. His name is Dave Carroll, and he’s got awesome to spare.

I shook in fear during 9/11, working in the tallest building downtown, while seeing those horrifying images again and again. Many operators were crying, and couldn’t control it, and the entire building was sent home, except for us…the money floor.

I felt so proud when Newfoundland took in all those flights that were bound for New York, housed them, fed them, and hugged them. We were with the U.S throughout all of that. And I for one won’t ever forget just how Canadian we were doing what we do best; offering all we could to try to ease the pain.

I’ve lived through the terrorism of the FLQ without so much as a scratch, as did most Canadians, I watched Rene Levesque as a young boy blow cigarette smoke into Queen Elizabeth’s face, and in later years, a notorious marijuana advocate give said Queen a lovely spray of pot greenery, mixed in with the flowers she was carrying.

I lived to see our Lancaster fly with her British counterpart, and wept at the sight. I once even got to sit at the feet of a former WW2 pilot of one of those Lancasters; a man who made his home in Canada after the war. No superstar could equal the awe and respect I felt that day, and the warm thank you I tried to give him for what he helped do all those years ago.

I’ve seen the very best and the very worst in people. Sometimes I brought out those two states in others.

I’ve lived a charmed and privileged life. Only weeks ago, I lay in a hospital bed, trying to recover from something that would have killed me had I lived elsewhere. Our universal healthcare ensured I’d eat horrendous food, wake up with needles stabbing me, and a crick in my back from the torture device that was my bed.

But every moment of every day, I know I’m about as blessed a man as can be.

We may not be the richest or most powerful country on earth, but we are one of the most respected.

Thank you Canada for nurturing our spirit. We stand true north strong and free because of you and your ideals.

happy-150th

Hate

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It’s been an emotional day for a lot of people across North America. I’m once again pulled back to this pivotal moment in my life (and the life of every gay person in Canada).
 
Why is hate so deadly. What causes a human being to fear another so deeply that they have this need to end them.
 
August 21st, 1989 is my “Cuban Missile Crisis” moment. We all have one.
 
As a gay man, I’ve been assaulted. I’ve been discriminated against. I’ve been marginalized.
 
I like to think that I’ve risen above all that over the years.
 
The fact remains, though, that I still feel the deep emotional scars throb every now and then. I guess you cannot escape your past, you can only learn from it, and move forward.
 
Now I’ve posted about Alain Brosseau many times over the years. And to be blunt, I will until the end of my life.
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It took a heterosexual being mistaken for a gay man and brutally murdered before Mr. and Mrs. Canadian finally started to wake up to our community’s reality. Up until then I’d hear things like “if my son turns out gay, I’ll beat him to death”, or “AIDS fuckers”. I’d hear, when a person was murdered, and it was discovered they were gay (make no mistake, a LOT of gay men vanished in Ottawa during the eighties, and like the police have done with the Highway of Tears missing Native women’s plight; they ignored the “dirty faggots that had it coming”, and focused on “important” crimes). All of these quotes, by the way, they’re direct quotes from persons in positions to make a difference, but wouldn’t.
 
I never ever thought I’d be on equal footing with my sisters. Never. I assumed my entire life I’d need to fight for respect, and to be that angry Dave that always looked over his shoulder.
 
Well, I’m less angry now, but I still feel a bit of that rage come to the surface, especially when it involves a minority being fucked over.
 
We’ve come a LOOOONG way, but we still have a lot of hill to climb here in Canada.
 
How many of us go to bed each night worrying about who they’ll have to defend themselves against when they wake up. Now, not as many, back in 89, I did. I saw friends beaten up, brutally, in their homes. A person I knew that lived in Centertown Place apartments brutally hacked to death with an axe by a queer basher he mistook for a night of pleasure. He was found almost decapitated in his sunken living room. The police never pursued his murderer.
 
Another acquaintance of mine was shocked when one day he discovered a foul smell coming from beneath his porch on King Edward. Imagine his surprise when a trunk was discovered underneath it, containing the rotting corpse of a friend of the prior tenant. The residence was once a “common bawdy house”, and the landlord had assumed when the police raided and arrested the residents that everyone had just moved on, and he re-rented the property. When it was learned the victim was gay, his killer was never brought to justice.
 
This is the city I grew up in as a man. This was what I woke up to each and every day. I wondered constantly if I’d be picked out and clobbered, or worse, just for walking down the street.
 
I was bashed by some men going into my apartment I shared with a friend on Gladstone Avenue. I got out of a cab, heard “Faggot” and then felt the first of many punches to my head. Fortunately, I had a pocket knife, and stabbed one of them (these guys were out to seriously hurt me or worse). They ran off, realizing I wasn’t exactly defenseless. Cowards. I walked with brass knuckles and pepper spray after that, and stopped wearing dressy clothes from that day forward. Took me years to finally relax enough to finally throw the knuckles down the garbage chute.
 
I always said, and continue to say “I may die trying, but you’re going to the hospital with me”. I guess Mama made me tougher than even I realized. I do know that when I go into mad dog mode like Ma would, I blanked out, and didn’t know what I was doing. I certainly am capable of the worst if provoked.
 
As a man of fifty, I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve loved, been loved, and have watched the world change before my very eyes. Sometimes it’s for the better, but far too often, it’s for the worst.
 
I don’t know how many years I have left on this earth, but I do know one thing; I won’t ever live in fear again. Not ever. Nor will I stand idly by while someone victimizes another human being, just because they happen to be of a different religion, or colour, or because she was once a he.
 
Hate is hate, and it’s got nothing to do with being a Christian, a man, or a parent.
 
Start teaching your kids to love, to respect, and to ask questions when they don’t understand. If we can all do this, within a generation, we’ll start to see real change; a community of individuals that all bring a certain beauty to each and every one of our lives.
 
Black, red, yellow, pink, furry, hairless, gay, straight, female, male, identified as, Muslim, Christian, Agnostic, Atheist, whomever you are, we’re all born into this world through the same method. Most of us came into this world innocent, and surrounded with love. ALL of us will leave this life one day.
 
I think it’s high time we all shared some of that love. Not like a hippie on pot would, but as equal human beings should.
 
God bless and cheerz folks!

History Repeating?

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I’m getting a lot of negative press releases showing up on my PC lately. A few of them contain an underlying tone that I find rather alarming. One of the ugliest underlying “tones” comes from the recent referendum in England.
These reports are claiming “Brexit” came into being so that Britain could shut its borders down permanently to any and all immigration while driving out anyone that isn’t white Anglo-Saxon. Here is but one example: ‘Get back to Africa’: Teenage boys filmed launching ‘disgusting’ racist abuse on Manchester tram
 
I’m rather disgusted by what this video contained. I’m also rather glad that there were many more people defending the person being victimized; rather than stepping in and fueling the “Neo Nazi” like behavior coming from two young men.
 
I know Mary, Mark and Colin, British citizens and friends; would never ever engage in any such vile behavior. Yet, it concerns me that there is a reported 57% rise in hate crimes and acts of bigotry since this vote.
 
We have similar problems here in Canada too. A LOT of people are of the mindset that we shouldn’t allow in any more refugees or immigrants, that we should only ever take care of ourselves, and shutter the border to everyone else.
 
I think it’s important that people understand that this “not in my backyard” mentality many of us share is leaving out one very important detail; that we are no longer having large families. These social programs, like Universal Health Care, CPP, roads and infrastructure, etc…etc…are all now relying on these immigrants that are working the jobs we Canucks feel are beneath us.
 
The tax dollars generated from these immigrants are what’s going to help us all sustain these programs we now enjoy in the future.
 
I also must add that while there are immigrants and “refugees” that abuse the system, most of them are honest, hard-working, and damned glad to be living someplace that they don’t need to worry about running for their lives.
Or do they.
 
I must say this as well. Every last one of us, unless you are Aboriginal, are the descendants of immigrants and refugees.
How many Irish persons living in Canada had relatives that came over during the famine. How many Asians looking for a better life happily came to Canada to help these Irish men dig the Rideau Canal. How many persons of colour escaped slavery by traveling in the Underground Railroad. I could go on and on and on.
 
We live in one of the richest countries on earth. Yes, times are tough, and they are doomed to being even tougher. So why is it that instead of looking at our blessings, that we focus so strongly on what we don’t have, or what we will lose.
 
I have a friend, a Syrian, living in another nation that would set quite a few of you straight on what’s really happening there.
 
I once had a Skype chat with him, and literally heard bombs going off. It doesn’t get any more real than that. While he may be safe, his family is still living there, and is in danger every moment they do.
 
So to England, the U.S.A, Canada, and every single European and Commonwealth country I say…remember WW2. Remember how Hitler lead a nation to genocide. It wasn’t much different from what I see happening now in not only England, but many other countries.
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We are all in this together, folks. Never forget that.