April 3 – skin to skin

253/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Most of my friends are white.  Yeah, I said it.  I’ve been told that I have sold out as I don’t hang with my own kind?!!  Wow, that’s a whole lot of subtleties in one statement!  My question – how does one sell out their own ethnicity??  That doesn’t make any sense to me.  Just because a lot of my friends are white means I have left my ethnicity behind?  Uhm, no.  I have similarities with people who enjoy the same thing as me and the majority just happen to be of a different skin colour than my own.  As well, I don’t consciously choose my friends based on skin colour – I choose them based on looks (LOL, I kid, I kid).   I actually have very cool Indian friends.  And Chinese friends.  And Filipino friends.  And Black friends.  And white friends too.  Finally, I wasn’t raised very Indian even though I came from an Indian family.  No fault of my own.  I am being true to myself – not denying my ethnicity.  My soul sister who I believe totally gets me is Orene.  This awesome, funky, cool, stunning black girl understands that your outside skin colour doesn’t define who you are as a person.  We became friends about 15 years ago but were not as close as we are over the last year or so.  Because of other friendship dynamics, we didn’t really keep in touch with each other personally as sides were taken over friendship breakups but we always were on the same side of friendship ourselves and reconnected over Facebook.  Even that connection was slightly superficial so we took it upon ourselves to meet for lunch which turned out to be an afternoon of craft beers and Top Model posing on the streets sometime last year.  We then started bonding over our love of The Walking Dead and Orphan Black and bringing back others into our fold that we had also lost touch with.  Orene is honestly another sister from another mister as she gets what it is like to be a person who is defined by most others by your outside skin colour but really colour really has nothing to do with who we are except that we are human beings that should be seen as that first.  We are both fortunate that we have the majority of people in our lives who fall in the latter category and see us for who we are and not our stunning complexions 😉  Orene is also just a great ego booster for me – I can do no wrong in her eyes but on those rare occasions, she tells me like it is.  But I gotta boost her ego – she is an amazing mom and creates amazing clothing for herself and her kids as well as a fashion bag line while still working outside the home.  Yeah, she does it all.  I am so very glad we reconnected and even more glad that I am sharing tonight’s Walking Dead finale with you and yours!!  To our continued friendship Orene!!

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March 17 – bigger is better

236/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Finally 2016 when big has become acceptable. It’s about time!! Actually, it’s not even big – it’s average sized. And it shouldn’t be acceptable – it should just be. Today’s gratitude post is a result of just reading about the first “brawny” man to be signed as a model about a month after the first “full figured” model graced the covers of Sports Illustrated. I love how “brawny” and “full figured” are the PC adjectives created for what is just a person on the spectrum of normal but I digress. I grew up always conscious of my weight. Got bullied for it. Got restricted food allowances because of it. Got no choice in clothes – sack like pants and shirts and suspenders. Got all the wrong attention because of it. I have had weight issues my entire life. Yes, at the end of high school because of a very late puberty, I shed the weight but have always had the last 5-10 pounds to go since then. I hear from people all the time that I’m not fat/overweight and I tend to hide it well (perhaps not so well these days) but that’s the very point – why am I compelled to hide it? Why not just be who I am. And that is why I’m glad that there is a media shift on what we’re being shoved down our throats as consumers. I grew up on GQ and like to sport a unique, Randy style but when all the clothes are slim-fit, hip hugging, low rise, basically one is left with a limited choice in how to create their look. I’m not saying I want to be an XXL but I also don’t want the pressure of having to be an S just so I can wear something that I like. Most guys aren’t like me and will wear whatever but I did that as a child/pre-teen and never again. I’m glad that the winds are changing – I’ve probably got another decade before the grandpa sweaters make their way into my wardrobe but good for all the younger males and females to have icons and fashions that represent “fit” them!

March 8 – Happiness

227/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Do you have a song in your life that just moves you? Or lyrics that get at the very being of who you are? I love music but more for the beat or melody – rarely for the lyrical content. However, there is one song that lyrically gets at how I want to and try to live my life. It’s called “Happiness” and it’s by an artist that I do admire and it’s very apropos that I choose today to post this gratitude blog as the singer “liked” one of my social media posts today. Although I want to keep the celebrity gratitude posts to a minimum (thus far, I can count them on one hand), I must honour Vanessa Williams. I’ve always thought highly of the first black Miss America and also the first Miss America to be dethroned as she became the most successful beauty pageant winner thus far in history in what she accomplished since her pageant days – television, movies and music (the latter by far my favourite). I mean, what a way to not let negativity destroy oneself and ignore all of it and become the best possible person ever – responsible for your very own Happiness! It may sound like I have digressed but no, this is about her song “Happiness” which gets at my core. With lyrics such as “Life is as good as I make it, I can’t sit around while you make it for me” and “I’m the only one responsible for me having fun and you can’t take my Happiness” is exactly how I live my life – I am the one responsible for what happens to me and I try to live my life trying to be happy. I also try to avoid as much negativity as I can. Time and time again, the lyrics of this song come back to me and remind me that I am in control and I can either feed into things or move on into my own Happiness as I’m the only one who can fulfill myself. Yes, sounds like an inspirational poster but isn’t that what most songs are about and why they move us. This is my song. This is my mantra. Thank you Vanessa Williams for bringing these lyrics into my life and reminding me to always be responsible for my own Happiness!

January 23 – soul mate

183/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Everyone needs an ego boost – especially if you feel that you never mattered growing up. I know that I didn’t have it happening at all when I was younger and that shaped me subconsciously as an adult and any attention I received, I wrote off to people just being nice. I can honestly admit to this day that I have no clue when someone is paying genuine attention to me and elaborating on that, I would never know if someone would be hitting on me. I have no idea what that is about as I don’t believe I am hittable if that makes sense – yes, years of not mattering have an influence on one’s ego. During my year in the Education program at UBC, I made acquaintances with quite a few people inside and outside of my Business Education option. I vividly remember sitting in the library just when we had found out our practicum placements. Two other people whom I didn’t know were sitting at the table – a guy named Sergio and a stunning, absolutely beautiful girl named Julie. They were in the Elementary option whereas I was in the Secondary one. Julie asked me where I was placed and I told her East Van. Then I went on a tirade about East Van schools and played on the stereotypes of gangs, shootings and drugs etc just to break the ice and joke about schools. I didn’t mean any offense but that is not how Sergio took it. He looked up at us and said that there are people from East Van who do actually graduate high school, go on to university and create something of themselves and then told us what school he went to in East Van just as he hastily got up to leave. I looked up at Julie and she looked at me – we were ashamed at the same time but we burst out laughing  I felt an immediate connection with her and had a quick conversation but I also had to get up and gather my books as class was about to start. A couple of weeks later, a few friends invited me to a social at a Kitsilano pub and I got there a bit early. No one I knew was there but a few Elementary teachers and who was in that crew but Julie. She invited me over and we hung out easily over some food and beers until my friends eventually arrived and us Secondary folk started talking education – most of them noticing my companion and making innuendos that I wasn’t cognizant of. A few weeks later, there was a beer festival on campus for Education students and my Business Education cohorts convinced me into attending and who was there? Yup, Julie. By this time, the guys in the program were all about bugging me about her and I was still oblivious. She came over, made conversation and everyone told me that I had an admirer. I was confused. I can admit that after that conversation, I knew Julie liked me and we had awesome chemistry that couldn’t be denied and an easy flow but the fat kid in me couldn’t understand why – yes soul mates that kept being drawn to each other but the timing wasn’t right and it just wasn’t meant to be. Years later, I was walking downtown minding my own business just looking at the sidewalk and then something made me look up and, yes just like in a movie, there was Julie walking in the opposite direction. She looked up at the same time. Hearts skipping a beat, we chatted. We were in different parts of our lives but the chemistry and connection was undeniable. Once again, we went on our ways but I often think of Julie who saw in me something I never did and made me feel that I was worthy. Yes, we were not meant to be in this lifetime but I do think I met my soul mate and I know that we are destined to meet again in another lifetime!   However, this does not mean that one should not live their life just in the hopes of waiting for a soul mate as most people won’t find that person and could lose out on a lot living. If you happen to meet your soul mate and they fit at a time that works for both of you, awesome. If it isn’t meant to be at that moment, one still has a lot of life to live and should do just that. Thank you Julie for meeting me in this lifetime – until the next one, let’s see what takes place!

January 12 – those Indian beauty queens

172/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Growing up, I really never saw any Indians represented in the media probably creating the guy you know today. I am not upset by it as I like who I am but I could have totally grown up to be a different man if I had which would be interesting. Today my kids have tonnes of Indo-Canadian entertainers that they can relate to and I do see the influence on them. My family did have a tradition of watching Miss Universe when I was growing up and even though you may think it’s sexist, outdated programing, back in the day it was a different world and beauty pageants were not negatively perceived. The show was the first instance of Indians on television I actually saw – Miss India. I recall seeing my parents being proud of their homegirl being called into the finals whenever it happened. This pride filtered down and I’d be very happy when the delegate from India would hit the catwalk. I kept watching the show over the years even after leaving home as it sort of became a tradition. I had no other connection to these Indian beauties other than that my ancestors came from the same mother country but that was enough for me to root for them. In the 90s, almost every year saw the Indian girl hit the finals with two taking the crown – that was a cool time seeing a sister being recognized albeit for her beauty rather than her brains but hey, she was a fellow Indian and that’s what mattered 😉 Thank you Indian beauty queens for making this Indian guy get his first glimpse of his kind in the media. No runnerups anywhere!