How Manipulative MLM Tactics Worked on me (and everyone else!)

This is an extremely transparent story of how I got tricked into not one, but FIVE MLM companies over a decade.

I have been with Norwex, Avon, some CBD oil company, Younique, and Scentsy. Apparently it took me a while to learn a lesson.

With Norwex, it was actually really simple – someone had posted a video about their mop system, and I liked it. Joined to get the starter kit, which came with the mop system and some other stuff I don’t even remember for a cheaper price than just the mop. Haha – that was an easy choice for me, but turns out – Norwex is crap and really weird. Why the hell would you buy clothes to clean your house that you don’t use product with? Self cleaning? I don’t think so, Susan.

Avon, again, easy. I was already buying the products, and sign up was super cheap. So I signed up for $10 bucks, got $300 dollars “credit” to spend, and then spent it ALL in one  order. I had some friends ordering too for a bit, but it was inconsistent.

CBD company was free to join, but no one wanted to buy it. I don’t blame them. Who knows where it was coming from.

Younique? Well, I am sure you all know by know about my blog about Younique. If not, read it here. I joined because I was watching this girl all the time on live having so much fun, talking about her “sisterhood”, and she seemed extremely positive. I will let you read the blog for the rest. She paid for my kit and I had to pay her back when I got paid. (super against the rules!) She said it’s great for single moms! All those manipulation tactics can be read about in the other post.

Scentsy – well, I did that one because I knew how many people LOVED scentsy. Made some friends through it, and definitely sold plenty! It actually wasn’t that horrible. I have a post here about that experience.

The manipulation tactics for most of these companies are simple:

  • wait for significant pay days like Child Tax, Disability payments, and Welfare cheque day to post sales and opportunities
  • advertise a “sisterhood” and sense of belonging
  • fake everything – make people believe you sell more, get paid more, etc
  • “Hey hun! I have been following you for a while and I just LOVE how driven/outspoken/kind/positive you are! You are so amazing, and I have an amazing idea!”

Who do they look for?

  • single or stay at home moms who don’t work
  • military moms who rely on their husbands military pay
  • overweight people who need to try “the best diet shakes ever!”
  • people with terrible skin (for skin products)
  • pregnant women
  • obviously conspiracy theorists, who believe anything
  • etc etc etc

Those are what they look for. You don’t have to be driven, or motivated. You don’t have a following of amazing women. You do not have business experience. You simply have to be in a shitty situation.

That is how they rope you in.

Don’t let it happen to you, like it did to me… 5 times.

Today, I was a mean mom

I was the mean mom today.

I was the mom who followed through with a severe consequence to severe actions.

4.5 days to clean her room.

4.5 days of reminders.

4.5 days arguing about it.

Last night I decided I was done arguing with a 9 year old about what I expect from her, as her mother and an adult.

So today, I was the mean mom.

I decided last night that I don’t have to constantly argue. There doesn’t need to be a fight.

There needs to be a clear expectation and a clear consequence.

Today she woke up at 8 and had breakfast.

The expectation was set that she had until noon to clean her room.

I told her there would be no reminders.

The consequence was set that at noon, whatever wasn’t put away, was going in the garbage.

At 10 am she was twirling around her room.

At 1030 am she was playing with her barbies.

At 11 am she was putting garbage in a pile.

At 1130 am she asked me to have a bath with her sister.

At 1145 am she decided she was going to actually clean her room.

At 12 pm, well, she was not done.

At 12 pm, I went in with a garbage bag and took everything that was on the floor, scattered across her dresser and bed, and tossed it in garbage bags.

Amongst these things were all her barbies and accessories. All her LEGO. All her Pokémon cards. A stack of books. Clothing. Shoes. A computer. Her SIMS games.

Today, I followed through with consequences.

It sucks. It is hard to watch her cry and break as hard as she did. I’m her mother, of course that hurts me.

But maybe next time she will think twice about defying the expectations of cleaning her room.

Today, I may have been the mean but mom, but I gave my child a life long lesson about how to be a successful adult.

Actions have consequences.

I’m okay with being the mean mom, today.

Quarantine Diary #3: Single Parents

First and foremost, as a single parent, I get very heated when it comes to the judgments made upon us, and I do tend to let me emotions get the best of me. I can admit that, but it does NOT change the fact of how hard we really do have it sometimes.

I came across a Facebook post today in a buy and sell group calling out parents who are taking their children to grocery stores during the pandemic. This post specifically stated a 14 year old and an 8 year old. Apparently the parent is in the wrong because the 14 year old is old enough to watch the 8 year old while the parent goes grocery shopping.

Let me quickly break that down before I run my mouth about the entire situation.

How do you know that 14 year old has the mental capacity to babysit? How do you know that those two children can be trusted alone together? How do you know that 8 year old doesn’t have severe behavioural issues and only the parent can keep them in line? What if the older child cannot be without supervision due to drugs or alcohol? How do YOU know anything about that parents situation in general?

How dare ANY of you judge another person and how they have to do things? It’s so easy for all of you to sit behind your screens with all these ideas on how others should be acting, yet what? You sit here running others to the ground. Sounds like you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

As a single mom with two kids and very limited options, I’d like to spit all over every single judgmental thread I see about kids in grocery stores.

Personally, I have to take my kids with me to the grocery store, and I do not have other options. I cannot use Instacart. Click and Collect is not an option for me. I do not have extra money to be paying delivery services or the cost of items at certain (higher priced) stores.

My limited income doesn’t allow for me to keep up with the new world during this pandemic. Sometimes, even before the pandemic, what we eat depends on what is on sale.

Comments are being made about posting in Facebook groups asking for help. Asking strangers to pick up groceries for you. There are even groups who the members will do it for free (just pay the cost of the groceries).

That’s all fine and dandy for some – but many people struggle with asking for help. For some people the anxiety of asking for help might be worse than the anxiety of just braving the grocery store themselves.

Then I see comments about how “everyone has someone”.. excuse me? What credentials do you have to make that bold of a statement? Not everyone has someone. Plenty of people out there are absolutely alone. (I have the credentials to make that statement. My last 3 jobs were in Home Health Care where the only person someone has is the PSW we just cancelled on them for the sixth night in a row due to lack of staff)

You don’t know!

You don’t know why I’m on a limited budget.

It’s because I cannot work, due to the special needs of my two daughters who are in and out of appointments, doctors, counselors, etc.

You don’t know why I can’t use Instacart.

It’s because I cancelled my regular bank account that costs money, and switched to a free online bank that’s doesn’t provide a visa debit card.

It’s because my “credit card” is reloaded by my bank account and is considered prepaid and Instacart does not accept that.

It’s because I have a MasterCard that I cannot afford more than the minimum payment right now, because it takes too long for the payment to post, and when I get money, I need it today, not next week.

You don’t know why Click and Collect doesn’t work for me.

It’s because I don’t drive, I use a bus. Click and Collect would be the exact same thing as me going on the bus to the grocery store to shop myself. We are still exposed.

The fact is that you don’t know shit all about any other person who is in that grocery store with you.

Do you honestly think us single parents WANT to risk our kids lives? Do you think we enjoy it?

I can tell you I sat here for 4 days last week, without a couple essential items, having horrific anxiety about the judgmental people in the aisles of my local No Frills (grocery store).

I see you staring at me and rolling your eyes. I hear the whispers about having my children with me. We all see it. We all hear it.

It’s high time all you judgmental Joanna’s grow up.

The pandemic isn’t the worst thing in the world right now – it’s the crappy people. The people saying crappy things because they are bored at home. Get a damn hobby that doesn’t make another human being want to crawl into a hole and die.

You do not know what your judgments are doing to another person. I have a pretty thick skin and I’m even having breakdowns about leaving my house.

My mother tells me to get the kids out for a walk, at the very least, to keep them from tearing each other apart. How am I supposed to do that when people slow down their cars to glare at me with my children?

In one of the scariest moments of some of our lives, we are too busy treating other people like crap to focus on what is really important. It is time for us to band together as a community. We are the world and we are destroying it, one way or another.

You are a human being, and so is that single parent you are judging. The one who steps out onto her front step with her kids to go grocery shopping and the sunlight hurts her eyes from being cooped up for multiple weeks. The one who is desperate to hear the voice of another adult who lingers around the tomatoes an extra second. The same one who has to be strong and brave for not just herself, but her kids too. These same ones who have no one to help them catch a 5 minute break to be able to collect herself after her kids meltdown for the 76th time about not being able to go to the park that they can see from their bedroom window.

Stop judging other people. We are all on different walks of life and you couldn’t possibly understand another humans situation just by looking at them with their kid in a grocery store.

Enough is enough.

Be kind to one another.

Quarantine Diary #2: Sobriety in Isolation

So far the biggest struggle I am having is the ability to stay sober. I mean, it should be easy, shouldn’t it? I am self-isolating and only going to the grocery store when I absolutely need to, and not going anywhere else. I am conserving money by limiting my take-out and deliveries. So, being sober should be super simple.

Wrong.

In Ontario, they have allowed delivery services like Skip The Dishes and UberEats to offer alcohol with their meals, as well as started allowing alcohol to be purchased as early as 7 am. They have now made it 10x easier to get alcohol!

For me, that changes everything.

I am working twice as hard to stay sober now, because the temptations have now doubled. I can order fish and chips from my favorite restaurant, and it is nothing to add on a beer or two.

Now, my children are home, and I do not have the ability to send them away to their friends or grandparents house for a sleepover. I do not have the ability to visit friends where the amount of eyes on them increases, allowing me to relax a little bit. I do not have the ability to shower without worrying about them fighting or getting into things.

Recovery requires work. You will work at recovery for the rest of your life. Whether you are 30 days or 30 years sober, the temptation never truly goes away. It waits to sneak up on you.

Yes, we have crisis lines available, of course. But, us recovering addicts were also in programs, met with groups, counselors, etc. These are all things we no longer have access to.

We have to listen to people talk about how addicts are a waste in society, how unproductive we are, and more. We have to listen to how unworthy of life we are.

We get sober. We recover. We do better. We become better.

Yet, now we have to hear about how “it is not a big deal” that alcohol is becoming more and more available, and our temptations are becoming harder to subdue, by the same people who called us unworthy.

Addicts cannot win, in any situation it seems. We have been left in the dust by society to fend for ourselves.

But that is the problem, we are really do not have the options we had before, and in turn, some of us won’t make it through this quarantine.

Please, check on your sober/recovering friends and family members. They are trying to be strong and need your support more than ever.

My thoughts on gender equality

I’ve recently started following a public figure who advocates for the rights of true gender equality and she posted a video that was incredibly hard to listen to. It was a man outside an abortion clinic crying and screaming “please don’t kill our baby!” and then shots of him discussing that he took care of her other children and that he wanted to be a dad to this baby. It was incredibly heart breaking. This video and all of her social media really opened my eyes, and of course… I have an opinion! Let’s dive deeper!

Egalitarianism

e·gal·i·tar·i·an
/iˌɡaləˈterēən/
adjective
  1. relating to or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

Chloe Sunderland (Roma) has been advocating for true gender equality since she was a teenager. She is on Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok with thousands of followers. She uses all of her social media platforms to discuss gender equality and how it’s turned from oppressing women to oppressing men. She explains that she has been friends with boys and men since a young age allowing her to see the other side of non-equality. She doesn’t just advocate for men, but also for women too, although most of her videos do discuss men’s rights (or lack thereof). Simply put, she advocates for every single human to be treated fairly.

Some of the biggest points she discusses are parental alienation, consent, and that men should be allowed to have a say in abortions.

The father of her child was abusive and she fled from him with their baby for safety. She makes it very clear that it is not parental alienation if you’re keeping your child legitimately safe. When asked how she can still advocate for men after the abuse and trauma she endured her response is simple: “I was abused by one man, not all men.”

My Thoughts and Opinions

So, for starters, I’d like to state that until stumbling upon this woman, I was completely oblivious to some of the issues that men face, because society has us believing that women are still the oppressed gender. We look at the fact there is the Me Too movement and it is to help empower women. There was a Him Too movement briefly that was meant to bring awareness to fake rape allegations. If you google the movement you can see it started in 2018 and most of the first page is all articles, also from 2018. This movement did not gain the same traction. The Me Too movement for women is still going strong.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the main aspects of what Chloe talks about:

Consent/Rape

You are all aware about consent and how it plays the most important role in sexual relations with another human. Consent is a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Meaning, you have given someone permission to touch you.

Anyone around my age (30) should remember this image:

Its a mans fault. Of cource. Well since Jake too was drunk he ...

Can you tell me what is wrong with it? Okay, I will give you a small hint – they are BOTH drunk so NEITHER of them consented. Oh, that was actually a pretty big hint. Oops.

Growing up, I saw this used in classrooms and on the internet, but I actually never stopped to think about the message behind it. This photo is stating that men rape women, not that people rape people. It states that the woman being raped is more important than if the man is. Technically, neither have given consent, so they are both equally guilty. They are not both equally innocent, however. The alcohol on both their parts does not cancel out the fact they didn’t consent in the right state of mind.

The other part of consent that I have seen discussed on her page is retroactively rescinding consent. What that means is people who have “buyer’s remorse” for a sexual encounter who then state that they were raped.

Let me break that down for you – if you consent to having sex with someone, and then you do not enjoy it (or any other reason, really), you can absolutely change your mind, and ask them to stop, even halfway through the act. However if you do not ask them to stop, or voice your withdrawal of consent, then no, it is not rape after the fact. I hope I made that as clear as possible.

The other part of this is that a lot of women claim they have been raped when they are not. Men spend years in jail to be told it never happened and they are finally believed. They do not receive any form of justice after that. In my opinion, if anyone claims they were raped, and it is determined it was a lie, they need to be jailed. It is not okay to screw with someone’s life to that extent (well, at all).

Abortions

For as long as I can remember, I have heard the phrase “my body, my choice” and for the longest time, I disagreed with that statement. I disagreed for different reasons than what Chloe preaches in her videos.

I personally believe that the “body” you are choosing to abort is not actually your own, therefor “my body, my choice” doesn’t even make sense to me. Anyone who knows me knows that I am 100% against abortions as a form of birth control. That being said, anyone who knows me also knows that I don’t judge people for it, because it really isn’t my business and at the end of the day, it doesn’t impact my life.

However, it does impact the man who got you pregnant, and that is what Chloe talks about. So many women are quick to yell “my body, my choice” when they get pregnant, and do not take the man’s feelings into consideration. Women are not the oppressed gender in this situation, whatsoever. Most women who do not want the baby, do not care if the man does because “it violates my right to carry a child for 9 months that I do not want” yet no one bats an eye at a man who refuses to be involved with a child that he very clearly stated he didn’t want. In fact, women take these men to court and take away their rights to visitation but continue to make them financially support the child, or they award them visitation and then use it against them to get more money, if they do not show up for the access visits.

Why is it acceptable for a woman to use her rights as a way to abort a baby, but a man cannot use his rights to get to keep it? At what point as a society did we determine that women were superior to men? Didn’t we spend an entire lifetime trying to tell the world that men were not superior? Didn’t we scream “gender equality!” for years? Now all we have done is flipped the power to the opposite gender. How is that gender equality?

Here is how I BELIEVE it should be in regards to abortion:

  • abortions require the signature of both the biological parents – DNA tests required to confirm parentage (there is a non-invasive method for DNA as early as 7 weeks)
  • If one parent does not consent to the abortion, the pregnancy continues, and the child is given to that parent; the parent who did not want the child signs over all rights and is no longer financially or legally responsible. (The child at 18 may choose to contact the other parent, and that is up to the parent what they want to do)
  • abortions allowed if you were raped, however a positive rape kit must be present; for men who were raped, this means that if he wants an abortion, his request trumps the woman’s, and vice versa (this also allows for more rapists to end up behind bars, because a lot of victims do not report)

Remember, these are just my own opinions and while I have others, those are the basics of how I would change the laws, if it were up to me. Please don’t come at me about “what if”, because I can assure you, I have thought of every scenario, and have an idea for what I think about handling it.

Parental Alienation

There is really only one thing to say to this… Alienating the other parent for no proper legal reason (such as safety concerns, alcohol/drug abuse, etc) makes you a shitty person. Chloe is right about that.

Before anyone jumps down my throat, let me tell you two stories, about the father’s of my children.

The father of my oldest child (we will call him Daddy #1) is not someone I hate, dislike, or even disrespect. My daughter is getting old enough now to vocalize the fact she remembers her dad and the confusion she has about him. I will explain the situation to you, the same as I did to her.

Daddy #1 is 10 years older than me. He didn’t work a fancy job, or even work a great many number of hours. He did work, however. He very rarely called in, was promoted to assistant manager after only a year, and he was mostly on time every day (it really depended on who was working before him lol). We met at this work. We split up at the end of summer in 2009 and I got pregnant a month and a half later. The day after my 20th birthday, a guy I knew from school offered to come hang out with me. He brought alcohol but he was clearly already intoxicated. I will spare the details. I did not consent. I screamed “no”. He didn’t stop. Two weeks later, after a night out at the bar, I met up with Bob and we slept together. It was a comfort measure for me; I tried to erase the trauma from two weeks previous. A month later, I was pregnant. I told Daddy #1 exactly what had happened, and left it up to him to decide if he wanted a paternity test. I told him he had no obligation to be involved if he didn’t want to. We argued a couple times about the situation, but I do not fault him. It was confusing for both of us. He decided against the paternity test and stepped up to be her father anyways. Commendable.

When she was born, he lived 5 hours away in another city. I had moved towards the end of my pregnancy back to my home town. He consented to it and we were determined to come up with a plan to make that work. He told me to go ahead and name her, not to worry about him being in the delivery room, to focus on having the baby and being with my mom. He was aware that pregnancy was not predictable and that he might not make it to the delivery room and didn’t want to stress me out. Commendable.

I named her after a mix of his mother, my mother/aunt/myself (we all share a middle name), my grandmother and her godmother. He seemed pleased with the name and never once threw a fit about her taking my last name. Commendable.

After she was born, we made the trips to each other equally for a while – I would say . Anytime my mother was heading that way to visit her friends, we would catch a ride and stay with Daddy #1. Anytime he had the extra money to make the trip down to us, he would stay with us. At one point he moved down to where we were for quite a while, and he saw K quite often – multiple times a week. The only thing I really ever had to discuss with him was the fact he came over smelling strongly of marijuana and it bothered me. After that I moved to where he was for a little bit, before I moved to Cambridge to pursue a relationship and to get out of the small town we originally met. (There were a lot of issues in that town and with that town).

I made it clear in all my relationships that I will not shut down this avenue for my daughter, and if the only thing stopping him from visiting is a place to stay, he could sleep on my couch. After I had K, I dated 3 people before C’s dad. The first was a guy I went to school with and I ended up breaking up with him while visiting K’s dad, because he decided to make a production about me being there, instead of in town for his birthday. K was less than a year old when this happened. Sorry, my kid seeing her dad comes first. I did not and do not feel bad about ending this relationship, even now. The following two relationships were with lesbian women. They were very defensive. Both continuously questioned my sexuality. Both had issues with our family dynamic – because yes, that is what it was. We may not have been together, but we were a family to K. That being said, he also got into a relationship with a woman and she was very insecure with our relationship as parents, as well. It was actually a nightmare, to be honest. We were the type of parents who cared about each other for the sake of our child. We didn’t talk smack about each other. We kept our private issues to ourselves.

He always made sure, from day one, that child support was paid on the 1st of the month. If he was going to be late for any reason (usually because of the way his pay cheque and bills fell during a couple months of the year) he let me know well in advance. He never left me high and dry. EVER. In fact, I could call him anytime and he would transfer extra money (loan) whenever I needed it, or he would grab diapers, wipes, or formula and tell me not to worry about it. He was very good at making sure K was taken care of, and that included making sure I was too. In fact, he was amazing with me on holidays. One mother’s day he gave me a Playstation 3 to watch movies on, and play games. He once gave me a laptop just because mine died. We were taken care of.

We of course had some issues, but at this point, I just refuse to drag him through the dirt over it – especially because he gave in, to most of the demands in the end. (For example, K being baptized – he did not want that)

Around the time I got with C’s Dad, the visits had been few and far between with Daddy #1 and K. Eventually we sat down to discuss his lack of visitation. I wasn’t able to do any of the travel at that point, and it was entirely up to him, so I was quite lax with the whole thing. But it was affecting K quite severely. She was acting out at school and at home. It was time to sit down with him and decide the best course of action. I gave him 2 choices in the end.

  1. Come around more often/be more present in her life
  2. waive is rights and allow C’s dad to adopt her

I was under the impression that adoption was the only way out of the situation because a court would still make him pay child support even if I said I didn’t want it.

After a while of discussions, he decided for K’s best interest, it would be best to walk away. He couldn’t make the trip any more than he was, and I didn’t have the means to make the trip either. We were both struggling at that point, financially. I will always respect his decision to take her best interest into consideration. I took him off child support immediately.

Now that brings us to Daddy #2 – C’s dad. I am not going to get into full details, but it was a whirlwind relationship. We got together at the end of July 2015, I got pregnant in September, we moved in together in November. Very fast. He was extremely abusive, although I didn’t realize all the red flags in the beginning. There were all types of abuse involved in the relationship. He threatened me into naming her exactly what he wanted. I got to spell it how I wanted. That’s it. He once got angry at me and forced me to put her down on the bed at 2 weeks old, spit in my face, and then refused to let me touch her for several hours. The whole relationship was traumatic, and I felt stuck for a very long time. He was charged with 3 sexual crimes against a minor from when he was 15 years old. He was acquitted and you can read the judges thoughts here. (TLDR: he wanted to convict him). I finally fled the city and moved with my kids elsewhere. I told him where, and let him believe he was giving me permission. He knows what city I am in, but nothing else.

Now, we had issues with his inability to care for the kids for a very long time. I demanded his mother supervise him, and she lied and said she would, but didn’t. He is an alcoholic and drug addict, plus the fact of him being charged. I didn’t exactly know or understand my rights to keeping them safe. So I tried to let them have a relationship despite those things, because I thought I had to. After I started realizing what my rights were, I exercised them. So his last time seeing his child was December 24th, 2018 for a total of 3 hours.

At the end of January, 2019, K started having mental breakdowns about Daddy #2. She didn’t understand why he lied to her, didn’t want to hang out with her, didn’t love her, etc. Keep in mind, this is not her biological father, but she chose to see him as a father figure. Also keep in mind, I didn’t talk shit about him to the kiddos. I let them make up their own mind – again, because I thought I had to. These breakdowns were based on her own thoughts and opinions. I had to call a crisis line for her twice. So I told him he wasn’t allowed to see them for a while. C was starting to misbehave worse at home too, because he refused to be on the same page as me, with her. So I halted visitation with both kids for their mental health.

Contact dwindled. He messaged me last March 24 2019, and I moved March 31st. On April 22nd, 2019, my best friend passed away. I called him, out of habit, and he didn’t ask about the kids. In fact, he only talked about himself and how my best friend hated him. I did not hear from him again until January 6 2020. He messaged me on Google Hangouts to demand to see the girls and he threatened me with court if I wasn’t willing to discuss it. I ignored the message. Two weeks later he messaged again, and stated he tried every number he knew and that he was waiting for a response. I did not respond.

I choose to keep my kids safe, and I will not be allowing visitation of any kind. I will be settling it in court. He has not paid child support since the beginning of March. In fact, I don’t even want his money, I just want him to go away. The girls are clearly better off.

So as you can see, I have two very different situations, and in both, I did everything I could (even against my better judgment) to try and allow relationships with my kids and their biological father’s. Neither of which are parental alienation. I never believed Daddy #2 to be capable or responsible enough to be a parent without me, but I wanted her, so I chose to keep her.

If you are in a situation where your children are truly in jeopardy of any kind, and you choose to keep them safe, that is not parental alienation. However if you cancel visits due to missing child support payments, jealousy, or anger.. that is in fact parental alienation, and that is NOT okay.

Conclusion

I truly believe that equal rights needs to mean equal rights for all. It does not mean giving one gender or the other more power, freedom, or rights than the other. Even though it is probably not something I will see in my lifetime, I do hope one day, that men and women will be seen as equal, on all levels.

I need it to be clear here that while I am new to the whole egalitarian scene, I am not against it in any way. I truly believe that women are no longer the oppressed gender, especially now after really taking a look into all of Chloe’s social media, reading the comments, looking at articles, etc. I really suggest you check her out and start looking into it yourself.

I would love to continue to look at this further and continue to discuss it on my blog, as my research progresses. I urge my readers to reach out to me – both genders – and let me know some of the issues you face as a man or woman based solely on your gender.

Quarantine Diary #1: I’ve completely lost faith in the citizens of my country

During this world-wide pandemic I’ve learned many things about my fellow humans in my country that I’m entirely not happy about.

Humans as a species are greedy, it appears, but Canadians seem to be the greediest. Our Prime Minister is offering brand new financial supports for people impacted by this crisis. In the comments of all his updates and videos, all I keep seeing are whiny comments such as “what about me?”. What about you?

I’ve seen groups and Go Fund Me’s being made for nurses and doctors in hospitals in our region, and I see people having the audacity to comment “what about me? I’m a bus driver!” UH first of all, this is HEALTHCARE APPRECIATION Go Fund Me Group. Second of all, as per our region, busses are NOT an essential service, and you all have insane precautions in place to ensure you do not come into contact with the virus. Nurses and doctors do NOT have the luxury of telling patients to use the back door, or to stay behind a yellow line. Also, we just had an 11 day strike where we had no busses at all… and the citizens were reminded by the drivers on MANY occasions that you are NOT an essential service, and are allowed to strike. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You’re non-essential and self-entitled.

People are asking for rent payments to be deferred, car payments, mortgage, cell phone bills, etc. Deferring payments is not necessary when MOST people will be receiving benefits from EI, or this new Covid support program. Just pay your bills, for crying out loud. Rent is due in just a few days and most of the shut downs happened within the last week – there is little to no reason for your April rent to not be paid. Just pay it. Even if you have to pay your cell phone bill a couple weeks late, waiting for unemployment insurance… so what? Don’t act like you’ve never been late on a payment, Susan. Not to mention, evictions have been suspended at this time – you have the chance to catch up, if need be.

I see comments about people being on pension, disability, or welfare, and everyone is asking how much they will receive extra. The answer is simple. Nothing. Their fixed income is guaranteed. They will not shut down the pension, disability, or welfare programs. Nothing changes for them. At all. However, I’ve learned that if you contact your welfare/disability worker, you can receive a one-time emergency payment of $50-$75 dollars for extra cleaning supplies/food. I cannot confirm if this is just in my province or nation-wide.

Let me break this down for you. I’m a single mom with two kids, and I am currently off work right now due to the behavioural, mental/emotional, and medical needs of my two children rendering me unable to work. I am on Ontario Works, which is welfare. My “entitlement” is $1032 per month from that program. That is all I get from “welfare”. We do not have food stamp programs. This is it. (Also, our low income housing wait lists are 3-10 years in almost every city). That is not enough to live on, by any stretch. Child Tax gives me the ability to pay all my bills and take care of my children’s needs (and wants!), thankfully. However, my rent is $1100 for a small two-bedroom, diapers for the little one cost me $100 per month (she requires day ones and night ones, plus her wipes), I have two cell phones on contracts (one is my oldest daughters), we have internet, I’m paying off a Mastercard slowly that I got when I was in a better financial spot (that I need to build my credit), plus we need to eat, pay for public transportation, holiday spending such as gifts, other basic needs, emergencies, and more. I MAKE IT WORK. Trust me when I say I’d rather be at work than at home with my kids. I did the stay at home thing with my oldest, when I was just 20 years old. I’m 30 now, and I’m over it. Lol. The point is, nothing for me has changed. My rent stayed the same, diaper costs stayed the same, we still require the same amount of food, etc. NOTHING HAS CHANGED FOR RECIPIENTS OF THESE PROGRAMS so why would anyone need more than what they are already getting? I’d love to know why Susan on disability thinks she needs additional money.

For any of my international followers Child Tax is a monthly allowance you get from the Canadian Government to help lower income families support their children. It is meant to aid in the costs associated with being a parent/having children.

So they release this new benefit that gives pretty much every single person $2000 a month, plus they will still get their child tax, etc if eligible. So basically, the whole nation that isn’t deemed an essential worker will get roughly the same amount of money, depending on the program. (I’ve seen some confusion in regards to unemployment rates vs this new support, saying they will get less)

PEOPLE ARE STILL COMPLAINING! It’s not enough, apparently. The government is releasing 82 BILLION dollars for COVID-19 support, and it’s still not enough?! Wow.

I’ve also learned that humans are incredibly selfish. People are still coming and going as they please. I know many people who have family or friends in quarantine because they decided to go on a trip after the government told them not to. We have a rise in cases and are leaning towards being the next Italy, at this rate, and people seem not to care. What the hell are you people doing?! You’re literally making this harder on the entire country.

We have a national crisis here than truly impacts every single person but not everyone is doing their part to protect their family members and friends (or their neighbours).

A few days ago 2 brand new video games were released and people thought this was essential enough to say “screw it!” to the social distancing/self isolation advice, and go stand in a line to buy them! Are you kidding me? I’m an avid gamer, and NO game would have me risking my the life of my children. Not even Elder Scrolls 6.

People are still going grocery shopping every 2-3 days, when our Prime Minister made it clear to stock up (not hoard!) so trips out into the public were few and far between. I went grocery shopping and stocked up for an entire month, like I always do. Before this pandemic, I would make a weekly trip for fresh produce, milk, etc. I made sure I wouldn’t have to go back to the grocery store for at LEAST 2 weeks for anything perishable. Why is it so difficult for others to do the same?

Let’s also discuss this hoarding issue. WHY?! Why is everyone buying all the damn toilet paper?! This virus doesn’t give you diarrhea. No family needs 180+ rolls to last them 2 weeks… if you do… go see a doctor, because there is something physically wrong with you. Yikes! Also, stop buying all the baby wipes because there is no toilet paper. If you do not have a child in diapers, you do not need baby wipes. Plain and simple.

Hand sanitizer? Really? You’re stuck at home… just go to the sink and wash your damn hands. Leave the sanitizer for the people who NEED it. Also plain and simple. Same with masks. Stop buying all the masks!

I went to get baby wipes and toilet paper at the start of all this, and both of course were gone… but you know what the store had plenty of? Soap. Are you kidding?! In a pandemic where the number one way to stay protected is “wash your hands” and y’all are out buying canned tomatoes and toilet paper.

Honestly. I can’t even with you people. Stop hoarding, it isn’t necessary. Grocery stores are open. Supply companies are open. We will not run out of these items. Use some common sense here, please! I’m begging you.

Lastly, I want to discuss the unnecessary amount of self entitlement I’ve seen over the last couple days. This self entitlement has come out in a few ways.

A comment I saw under one of our Prime Ministers videos was this : “people are starving and unable to pay their bills; the government is slow!” Wait, what?! People who were laid off in the last 2 weeks are already starving while they wait for unemployment? It’s only been 2 weeks.

What about the people who have been starving for years? The ones without a roof over there head? The ones who don’t remember the luxury of a cellphone, internet, or hot running water? The ones who are unable to self isolate right now because they do not have their own space? If this virus hits the homeless population, we really are screwed.

Another time I saw self-entitled behaviour was when I made a post politely reminding people that March 20th was Child Tax day – meaning some families haven’t been shopping in an entire month. The post was to politely ask people who could shop at other times, to do so, so the families finally had a chance to get their basic needs met, and feed their family. That’s it, a polite reminder that there are children on their last roll of toilet paper, last can of soup, last diaper, etc. The amount of “laugh” reacts I received absolutely disgusted me. The amount of “I’m going to go when I want, fuck ’em!” comments I saw, brought me to actual tears.

Our Premier decided to deem the liquor and beer stores as an essential business, and couldn’t close. I made a simple comment that it is getting really hard as a recovering alcoholic, to stay sober. (I mean, I’m self isolating with my special needs kids, who pretty much hate each other, and I have no private space, or time to myself… like many others). The comments people made to say their needs as drinkers were more important than those of the recovering addicts, brought me physical rage! Excuse me, what? People complain and degrade addicts, but then when we recover, we are still dirt on the bottom of most people’s shoe. It’s quite ridiculous. Recovering alcoholics are working double time to stay clean and sober. While the drinkers get their alcohol at 7 am now, we cannot access our addictions programs and services. While your wants are being met, our needs are not. However, our opinions are opinions and we have helpful solutions. The people not suffering recovery simply say “it’s not a big deal, don’t worry about what time the liquor is available”. That’s not how it works for us. (Also, in case it comes up, the mortality rate of deaths from alcohol withdrawal is between 1% and 6%)

This is the mindset people continue to use, that has our case numbers rising further and further, and needs to stop. The selfish, greedy, and entitled behaviours of the many, are truly impacting the spread of this virus.

Remember no one person is more valuable than the other. We are all human and all worthy of our lives. We are all apart of the same glorious country. We need to start thinking about the needs of our neighbours and not JUST ourselves.

Stay home. Wash your hands. Stop hoarding toilet paper. Think about someone other than yourself. It’s that simple.

I have lost all faith in humanity at this point.

I’m Two Years Sober!

730 days ago, I got sober.

I chose to end the unhealthy relationship I had with alcohol.

It took some persuading. I tried to bargain. I didn’t see just how toxic it was.

I didn’t see myself as an alcoholic. Like most people, I thought you had to drink copious amounts of booze every single day to be an alcoholic.

Oh how wrong I was!

Being an alcoholic can mean so many things. We have our daily drinkers, our weekend bingers, or just people who have a destructive relationship with liquor.

I was the latter. I was self-destructive. I was mean. I was angry. I was not myself.

I would spend my last 20 dollars on a bottle of booze. My rent was always paid, and so were my bills, but never had money in savings or for emergencies.

It wasn’t even the booze I liked. I mean, yeah, the buzz was alright, until it wasn’t, but it was something else. The escape. I would get myself liquored up to the point of not remembering the problems I was facing.

My drinking was mostly situational. Of course, I had drinks with friends but I went out of my way to drink alone when I couldn’t cope with reality.

I was addicted to escaping.

You can see it everywhere in my life. I don’t stay anywhere longer than a year or two. I move city to city like a tumbleweed blowing in the wind. Besides my most recent relationship, I typically never stayed with anyone past the 2 year mark. I hated being tied down to anything and anyone that could prevent me escaping. I don’t have a lot of family or friends. Any friends I do have, are mostly texting relationships, so it is easier to leave later.

Escape. The only think alcohol gave me, that I was happy with.

Now? Even though I am 2 years alcohol free, I still crave escape, but I cope in a much healthier way. I read books that take me to far off lands. I write books that let me creatively express my own need for escape through my main character’s. I blog to help me get out my own thoughts and feelings.

I am one of the lucky ones. I fought my addiction and won the war.

Everyday is still a battle though. Every day I wonder if I am doing the right thing. I wonder if I can handle just one drink and not go back to my old ways.

But every day I choose recovery. Everyday I choose sobriety.

I am not perfect – I have made many mistakes in the past – but I know this is the best thing that ever happened to me.

In my sobriety, I have learned to ask for help – which I used to be too “proud” to do. Whatever that meant. I had nothing to be proud of.

I have learned what healthy relationships should look like, how to set and keep boundaries, red flags vs green flags, and how to happily be alone. I have been single for over a year and a half now – the longest I have been single since I was 13 years old. I was a serial dater, and now I am happy to be by myself.

I have learned healthier coping strategies and I always have a safety plan in place to stay sober. I read, I sing at the top of my lungs, and I dance around my house. I do what needs to be done, as silly as it may look to my neighbours through my open windows.

The biggest rule I made for myself was no alcohol in my house and so far, I haven’t had any issues enforcing it. My house is my safe zone. It is the only place I can control, so I do. This is not something that will change.

My sobriety is my own, and I know that. I cannot force other people to be sober or to care about my recovery, so I have to take extra care to remain sober.

For my two year soberversary, I didn’t do much celebrating. In fact, I spent the morning with my daughters at the walk-in clinic. But I don’t need an anniversary date to celebrate – I wake up in celebration, that it’s another day clean under my belt.

For anyone reading this who has never had an addiction – please know that getting off alcohol is no different than meth or crack. All addiction is a struggle, and some of us do not make it. Some of us become another statistic.

Not me.

I am lucky.

730 days lucky.

2 years lucky.

Stop Glorifying Alcohol

I’m not here to preach sobriety on you nor tell you that drinking makes you a bad person. I am not here to judge you. I am simply here to discuss the societal norms of alcohol glorification, how it can lead to “acceptable” alcoholism, and how we can change it.

The first culture that comes to mind is the wine drinking mothers in all the Facebook mom groups we see on the daily. Typically, we see moms post up about how hard their day is, followed with a one-liner about wine. “Is it time to drink yet?”, “send the kids to bed early and pop a bottle.” – these are normal questions and responses within the mom communities. As a mother myself, I found it so easy to condone my own drinking if I just popped into a mom group and read a few posts. It felt socially acceptable to grab a glass of whatever at anytime of day.

It seems that as a whole, society finds it acceptable to grab a drink after a long hard day at work, or a tough day with the kids. Perfectly acceptable.

What about sports? They are usually all sponsored by alcohol – beer in particular, and there are always sales and specials surrounding major sporting events such as the Super Bowl or NBA Finals. They make alcohol cheaper than pop, so why would I spend $4 on a pop, when I could get a dollar beer?

Why as a society are we making alcohol so cheap and attainable?

Alcohol is becoming more and more accessible as the days go on. Of course we have bars and pubs, but now we can walk to the closest grocery store and grab a case of beer. Alcohol is served at every restaurant. Alcohol can be ordered from a delivery service. We also have bootleggers, and people selling off alcohol on buy and sell websites. Hell, we can walk to our nearest legion or banquet hall on almost any given weekend to join in someone’s Buck & Doe. It is becoming too easy to get alcohol in our hands.

We all know that alcohol can lead to liver disease. We all know that driving while under the influence can lead to the death of yourself or someone else. We all know that alcohol lowers your inhibitions and raise your impulsivity. We also know that people can turn into a completely different person when drinking – usually angry and/or abusive.

So why, as a society, are we so quick to glorify alcohol?

Why do we all this alcohol is just so acceptable when it is responsible for ruined marriages and deaths?

I also wonder what part of alcohol do people enjoy the most. I can answer this myself, even as someone who is almost 2 years sober. It is simple really. It is an escape. You drink alcohol, you get a buzz, and then you forget about all your troubles. However, as you keep drinking, you can start to change. Alcohol is a “downer” which means if you keep drinking your mood goes down. You get sad, angry, upset. So, while you start off happy, in a different mindset, it only makes it worse later.

So, I ask again, why are we glorifying this? When will we be able to stand up and say “no!” to making alcohol the answer to every question?

Being newly sober, I have had a chance to see both sides of this divide. As an alcoholic, it was socially acceptable to have drinks at almost any event you could be invited to. I have seen baby showers that allow alcohol. Buck and does, as well as weddings – alcohol is always encouraged. Birthdays, Christmas, family game night… we mix alcohol with already fun activities.

When you get sober, and you go to any of these events, and turn down alcohol, you are always asked why. There are always assumptions as to why you aren’t drinking. You’re pregnant, you’re lame, you’re a buzzkill. This is not acceptable, in my opinion. It is really no one’s business why you aren’t drinking. You do not have to explain yourself to anyone, even though people feel entitled to an answer.

We need to stop making alcohol seem like rainbows and glitter – we have little ones looking up to us. If they constantly see you drinking at social events, what do you think that shows them? I’ve seen or heard of kids as young as 12 getting drunk, and that just isn’t something we should be seeing.

We have the power to teach one another and our children that alcohol isn’t needed to have fun. We have the power to stand up and say “no!” to alcohol.

Drinking alcohol doesn’t make you cool. You’re not more popular, as an adult, for announcing to social media that you’re drinking. So stop doing it.

When I first got sober, people I knew would send me snapchat videos of them drinking, as if I cared in the first place. It was insensitive, rude, and disrespectful. When I pointed that out though, who was called rude? Me. Who was called disrespectful? Me. Wait, WHAT?! That’s right. It’s easier to turn it around on someone else than it is to apologize.

Yes, my sobriety is MY issue. It is not yours. It is not up to anyone else to make sure I stay sober. I understand that. However, friends and family – be supportive of your loved ones who are trying to climb out of the pit of addiction.

Alcohol isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Most people can agree, even if they drink.

But stop glorifying alcohol.

It is not the be all and end all.

Tricks Hunbots Play

You may not be aware but all MPM companies give pretty much the same training to all their hunbots. I know, I’ve been in a few. Check out a few of these major “tricks of the trade”. *insert eyeroll here*

The Trick

Closed ended questions

How It Works

When asking if you want to know about the opportunity or products, they don’t give you a chance to say no

Example

“I’m holding some sniff and sips for my scentsy business. Do you want to come Monday or Tuesday?”

Why they think it is effective

They think people will have a harder time saying no, if they do not ask an open ended question.

The Trick

Friend farming

How It Works

You are simply asked if you want to have an online party. They create an event on Facebook and you add all your friends. Then, once you’ve added all your friends, they send friend requests to them all “to make sure they have a way to reach out if they have questions”.

Example

Facebook post that says: “hey guys! Who wants free stuff?”

Why they think it is effective

If they add 100 of your friends, that is 100 people who might join or buy. That is 100 people helping their algorithms by interacting with posts. That is 100 people who might have a party, and then they can friend farm again, and again.

The Trick

Offering a supportive community (team)

How It Works

They speak out about the sisterhood within their team. Their sisterhood is so supportive of their dreams and ambitions. Always super supportive… as long as you stay brain washed that is.

Example

“Join my team and get a sisterhood!”

Why they think it is effective

They know single moms and vulnerable persons lack friends and/or community support, so they use that as a way in.

The Trick

Exclusivity

How It Works

Sharing things about the company without actually sharing about the company.

Example

“This is my biggest pay cheque to date!” But they black out the amount.

Why they think it is effective

If you’re interested, you’ll message and ask. Once private conversations are being had, they can try and loop you in with other tricks.

Is it an MLM?

For a list of companies click here (simply type in a company name OR click “view all” at the bottom of the page) or check out the pinned post of r/antiMLM on Reddit.

I hope this helps!

My Struggle With Mental Health

I have struggled with mental health issues for as long as I can remember.

As a baby I suffered from unexplained seizures – the cause was never found, even to this day. During the process of trying to figure out why it was happening, my doctor’s noticed abnormal brain activity, but not seizure activity.

Later on, as a toddler, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which turned out to be the explanation for the abnormal brain activity. I was on so many different medications over my childhood, trying to find the ones that “worked”. I felt like nothing worked, but I was always told what did and didn’t.

I had a pretty typical childhood, I suppose, despite the medications. I was bullied relentlessly almost everywhere I went. I had a strong personality and I was a bit of a weirdo. I moved around a lot. A new school every year, sometimes two. It was difficult, I suppose, but I think I did an okay job of handling it. Looking back on it now, it is probably the biggest reason why I move around as much as I do as an adult. I don’t feel tied to any one place.

When I was 14 years old, we lived in a small town called Gananoque, and an incident at home prompted me to take a bunch of my nighttime medication, called Clonidine. I had gone out the night before to my friend’s house to hang out and watch movies. I hung out with her, and her family. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, except for being out of the house while my mother was at work. I accidentally locked the door and forgot the keys, so when I got home, I tried to break in. I had asked another friend to come help pick the lock. It didn’t work and of course we did damage to the door knob. I slept in the stairwell while I waited for my mother to come home. When she got home, she was pissed, of course, and we had to borrow a ladder to go through the window. When we got in, she decided to kick me out. She couldn’t handle my behaviour. So, I decided to take the pills to go to sleep. My hope was that she would forget about kicking me out, while I slept and that I could stay. I was not trying to kill myself, I just wanted to go to sleep for a while. I figured if I was asleep, I wouldn’t be bothered. Ah, the thought process of a 14 year old, eh?

During my time in the hospital, my downstairs neighbour, who I thought was my friend, visited me in the hospital, and then promptly returned to school to tell everyone my business. When I returned to school, I had been nicknamed after the medication I took. Yep, people called me “Clonidine”. They made fun of me because they thought I was suicidal. I went back to school very alone, and hurt. It was around then when I started really cutting classes.

I was admitted into Hotel Dieu in Kingston, in their psych ward for several weeks where they did all kinds of assessments. I was additionally diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder. For those who are not aware, Conduct Disorder is an aggression disorder in both children and adolescents. It has a different diagnosis in adults called Antisocial Personality Disorder. I have never been diagnosed with that, however.While in Hotel Dieu, I was given weekend passes, and my mother would come and pick me up. During one of my weekends, my mother took me to a wedding where I met a guy who was a year older than me. I ended up sneaking booze all night and getting completely wasted. I still do not remember exactly what happened, but I know that I embarrassed my mother and her friends. I was forgiven, but the damage was done.

When I left Hotel Dieu, the talks of sending me to Foster Care had started. My mother worked and couldn’t provide 24 hour supervision, and I couldn’t be trusted to be alone or behave appropriately. From this point forward, I would spend my life assuming that if my own mother didn’t want me, no one else could. It was the pure desperation of wanting to be loved that fueled the rest of my relationships. How could anyone love me? I was clearly a bad person.

I was sent to Mallorytown for my first placement. I was able to stay at my high school, but of course, there were a lot of incidents. I spent a lot of time on in-school suspensions, and even got fully suspended. I started acting out in the home, and began stealing cigarettes from my foster mom. She asked me to leave. I went home until another placement could be found.

I went to a home in Kemptville and transferred high schools. This didn’t work out either, after even such a short time. I called my mother crying all the time begging to come home. One day she let me. When I got home I had a list of rules a mile long – I actually still have a copy of them somewhere within all my paperwork boxes. I couldn’t stick to them and was sent to a home in Seeley’s Bay. I was there the longest, and my foster mom was a lot more patient with me than any of the others. She gave me time to adjust, but I never truly did. I loved her, and her daughters, but I just didn’t fit in there. I didn’t know how to behave. I felt broken. I started stealing toonies from her for cafeteria cookies. After a year and a half, she told my CAS Worker that she couldn’t deal with me any longer, and I was sent home again temporarily. My last foster home was with a 70 year old woman in Lansdowne. At this home, I had my 16th birthday. I had a boyfriend who lived a few houses down, who was significantly older than me. I started drinking really bad in this home. After an incident where I snuck out twice in one night, I was sent home again, for the final time.

At this point, I was 16 years old and had no where to go if I misbehaved. But, I didn’t care. I had stopped taking my medication at this point, and I was spinning out of control. I was smoking and drinking. I got a boyfriend who was only a couple years older than me, and ended up moving in with him. I quit school. I drank quite a bit but not as often as people thought, as my boyfriend at the time wasn’t a big drinker. He worked while I sat in his grandparent’s basement sleeping and playing video games. I was basically a bum.

After that relationship ended, I ended up moving home again, and went back to school. That is when I met a guy who would be one of my most significant relationships regarding my mental health. He was in the same grade as me, new to the area, and he liked me. We started talking right there on the first day of school, in grade 11. Within 2 weeks, it was his birthday, and we went out to his mother’s for a huge barn party. I got hammered, but for the most part, I am pretty sure I behaved – I’d have to ask him. It wasn’t until a bit later that I really stopped tolerating my alcohol. We started fighting a lot, mostly about stupid shit but a lot of it was about my drinking, and how I’d act when I drank. I was embarrassing. I had a temper. I got bold and brave for all the wrong reasons. I would also get very mouthy. The end of the relationship really came on a night where the fight turned physical. He pushed me into a door frame and then I punched him in the head. Cops were called and I was arrested (with my dog). This would be just the first time I spent in the drunk tank. I ended up getting charged but it is no longer on my record after community service hours, and completion of my probation. I moved back home.

After this, the next relationship I got into was with a man 10 years older than me. He lived in a rooming house with a bunch of other guys, and is a drug dealer. He was an alcoholic, so for me, it was easy to have alcohol at my constant reach. I worked, but only to drink. I never gave him money for bills, I literally spent my pay cheques on snacks and alcohol. I drank every single day for a year. During this time, I also started doing cocaine – for 6 months towards the end of the relationship. I never had an addiction to the cocaine however – it impacted me so differently than it did other people. I still slept, I had no problems eating, and I didn’t feel I needed it. I really just did it to fit in with the crowd. “It was free, so why not?”. This relationship ended quite sour. Almost all our fights were physical. I was beating people up at bars, calling on people constantly. Never lost though. I had several nights in the drunk tank under my belt. The drinking. The drugs. But finally I had enough. I called my mom to move home, and quit everything. I am not sure she knew about the cocaine at that point, but she knows now.

At this point I had walked away from that relationship, moved back home, and was ready to figure out my life. I was 19 years old. Time to grow up.

On October 2nd, 2009, just one day after my birthday, I was sitting on my mothers computer, chatting with people on Facebook. I started talking to this guy, who was very well known. Everyone knew him. I had kind of hung out with before in a group setting, but basically didn’t know him. He asked me why I was alone during my birthday weekend, and I ended up inviting him over for some drinks. I cannot remember where my mother was. I think she was gone for the weekend to Brantford. I cannot honestly remember. Anyways, the guy showed up while I was making dinner. I decided to make pasta because it was quick and easy. He brought a bottle of Fireball with him. He had already been drinking and started downing shots. I only had 2 shots of the fireball, so I was basically sober. He started talking inappropriately to me, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it. I should have, looking back, but for some reason I just thought he wanted to be nice and come hang out. He threw me down on my mothers couch, and ripped my pants and underwear off. I tried to push him off me, but he was much stronger than me. I struggled quite a bit, shouted “no” and “stop”. He didn’t. While he raped me, I cried. To show he was done, he passed out on top of me, clearly hammered. I got out from under him, grabbed my cell phone, his booze, and my dog, and locked myself in my mom’s room and cried. I was bleeding, and sore, and threw on a pair of my mothers pants, then I called a friend who came over and sat outside my mothers window. When he left, I grabbed the phone, walked out to the living room, shook the guy, and told him he needed to get the hell out of my house. He left after accusing me of stealing money from his wallet, and demanding to know where his booze was. I lied and said he drank it all – which was almost true. He drank over half of it, in a very short time. When he left, I locked the door immediately, and called another friend over and explained what happened. When my mother got home, I didn’t tell her what happened but she noticed white stains on the couch (I couldn’t wash it properly, apparently) and I lied to her and told her I spilled milk. To this day, we have never discussed it.

Shortly after that, less than a week, this guys girlfriend messaged me calling me a liar. Several people messaged me to tell me I made it up. Apparently one of the friends I called decided to spread it to the wrong people. I was scared for my life, after everything that happened and then being threatened. I had nightmares every night for several weeks. However, roughly two weeks later, I met up with my previous ex one night, after a night of drinking, and we slept together. The only reason why this is significant is for the next part.

In November, I found out I was pregnant. Being honest, either could have been the father at that point, and neither was a winner. The guy who raped me or a drug dealer. After testing, we determined it was most likely the drug dealer, so that is who I told was the father, but he knew right away that it was possible he wasn’t. He, for the most part, took full responsibility and never demanded a paternity test.

This pregnancy itself was very easy, but also one of the toughest things I have ever gone through, because I was very alone. I did not get back together with my ex, and I went to all the baby appointments with my mom. I was lonely. I ended up moving back to Brantford, with my Mom, towards the end of my pregnancy.

After having my oldest, I had a really bad experience with Postpartum depression. I didn’t hurt her, or myself, but I spiraled again. The drinking, the depression. At this point, I started seeing a psychiatrist and I was unofficially diagnosed with Bi Polar disorder.

I drank significantly and would throw parties. I always boasted about how she could sleep through anything. I had two same-sex relationships that didn’t turn out well at all. The first was with someone who also had severe mental health issues, and our issues clashed. She spent the entire 2 years cheating on me, and I spent the entire two years staying. She was consistently depressed and suicidal, including a time where she grabbed a knife and tried to end her life. I had to call the cops. The whole thing was just a huge mess, but it eventually ended. The second relationship, was much more my fault than hers, but it was too much, regardless. She had low self esteem, and didn’t trust me. But, let’s face it, she had good reason. I spent over half of that relationship cheating on her with men.. she still, to this day, doesn’t even know. (Or maybe now she will?) I was horrible to her, because I spent most of it drunk. I don’t think I ever truly wanted that relationship but I was too scared to be alone. If it wasn’t with her, it was going to be someone else. When we broke up, it was bad. I did get my best friend in the end though. (She was actually my ex’s friend first, but we got incredibly close)

A month later, I moved in with my mom, temporarily, while I looked for a place that I could afford, in Brantford. A few days later, I started a relationship with my childhood crush. This man was my first kiss, when I was only 11 years old (he was 15/16). I wanted him to also be my last kiss. I was finally living my fairy tale, or so I thought…

We got together July 30th, 2015. Right from the beginning, I was a completely different person. Stuff that normally bothered me, I didn’t say anything about. Feelings I had were not brought up. Thoughts I had were left unsaid. The guy practically got away with whatever he wanted.

October 4th, I found out I was pregnant. I wasn’t sure I was that excited, but I went with it. I didn’t believe in abortion and I wasn’t going to let my emotions about the relationship decide. On Halloween we came to Cambridge for a friends birthday, and he wouldn’t come unless his friend did. I drove and he was drinking in the car. I kept telling him not to, and he basically told me to fuck off. I told him if he kept drinking, he wouldn’t be able to stay with me at my house. My mom had enough of dealing with us drinking all of the time leading up to me getting pregnant. He kept drinking at the bar, and then kept trying to drink in the car on the way home, but also kept passing out. I threw his booze out the window, and dropped him off at his house. I told him the reason why he wasn’t coming to my house was because of how intoxicated he was and I had already explained to him that if he got that drunk he wasn’t coming to my house; he text me a bunch trying to make me feel guilty – he told me he broke his hand by punching the brick wall outside – he eventually passed out and stopped texting me. The next day he texted me and I told him I was still very upset with him; he called me and screamed at me and broke up with me for having feelings “they are too much and I am done”. He went as far to say “I will see you in June when the baby is born”. I said “okay, is that all?” and he said yes, so we hung up. He called me back 7 minutes later to say he didn’t mean it and that obviously he didn’t mean anything to me because I was so quick to let him go. I explained that I didn’t feel it was necessary to beg him to stay – those would be feelings. We ended up getting back together that day.

There were a few other issues during that time in regards to another woman, him not actually going to work, and some other stuff, but it really started to go south when we moved in together at the end of November, that year.

I am going to spare quite a few details of the abuse I endured mainly because it would take too long to type out, plus, it is hard putting myself back in that mindset, but, just know the following few paragraphs have a huge trigger warning. These are just a few of the traumas I endured during the 3.5 years together.

He would constantly call me an “idiot” and a “retard” while screaming at me. He used porn as a threat (if you don’t do this, I will go watch porn by myself). Refusing to work. Making me pay for everything. Financial abuse, verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual. Gaslighting. He did it all. He spent every single day lying to me about the simplest of things. Some things were just not things you need to lie about while other things, I suppose I could understand about not wanting to “get in trouble”, but let’s face it, he didn’t care what I thought. It was him who scared me, not the other way around.

Halfway through my pregnancy, he decided to have a few beers, and we were sitting down talking at the dining room table. He had just told me that if him and his sons mother had met later on in life, he would still be with her. As his pregnant girlfriend, I found this very hard to hear, and started crying. I told him how hurt I was. He then threw a drink in my face and smashed my cellphone against a wall. Another time, a few weeks later, he overturned all the furniture in the living room, by throwing it at me. A couch coming at you, at 6 months pregnant, is pretty scary.

One night, he came home hammered out of his skull, while I was somewhere between 7 and 8 months pregnant. I was asleep. He was pissed off at me, so he woke me up by kicking the mattress as hard as he could, multiple times, and then ripping the blanket off of me. He kept yelling until I woke up. Then once I was awake, he kept screaming at me, calling me names, and wouldn’t let me speak. Once he was done being mad at me, he crawled into the bed and demanded sex. When I said no, he started getting mad again, so I did it anyways.

In May 2016, the police were involved. He threatened my friend by raising his fist at her, after she witnessed him punching a whole through the glass entry way door of the house when she was driving by. The police did absolutely nothing, and I ended up taking my oldest, and our dog to his friends house around the corner, for the night. The next day, he left. This was the last time we would officially live together.

When my youngest was born, I had literally no say in naming her. He had told me what her name would be, and I was allowed to spell it how I wanted. At this point, I was so scared of making him angry, that I had to sign the birth certificate the way he wanted it. He demanded to be on her birth certificate. Legally, I knew I was in trouble later, but the fear was far greater than anything I could imagine.

A few days after my youngest was born, we decided to have a couple drinks (I grabbed two Mad Jack root beers, that’s it). He drank a bunch. His friend was over. He got wasted and couldn’t find his xbox controller (he was setting the xbox up downstairs in the living room so he could have “alone” time – which just meant time to sit around and jack off) so he ripped apart our bedroom – the mattress was off the bed, all my dresser drawers were
emptied, etc – he screamed at me to find his remote and I told him “in a minute” – I was
feeding the baby – and he flipped out because he wanted it done right then and there; went and found it in 3 seconds and then apparently I was “too snappy” with the way I said “here, found it” and he went off on me. His friend actually had to leave because he couldn’t watch it happening (later informed). He screamed at me all night, so I told him I would gladly leave and he said “go ahead, but you aren’t taking the kids”. He said I was not allowed to take them, so I told him he was being a piece of shit. Then he forced me to put the baby down on the bed and stand up, and he told me to repeat myself, and when I did, he spit in my face and then refused to let me touch or hold the baby for several hours.

After that the abuse got worse, and I stayed. I was too scared to end the relationship. I was still making excuses for his behaviour. I later learned that is something called trauma-bonding. I started drinking more often, just to get away from it. I was the only parent these kids really had. Anytime he would try to abuse the kids, I would shift the focus from them to me, so I would also endure their abuse too.

In November of 2016, he was charged with 3 sexual charges against a minor. This is when he left my home and started staying with his mom on a permanent basis.

February 2nd, 2017, my mother called CAS on me because she showed up in the morning and I was “drunk”. I was drinking the night before, well into the early hours, and a sober person took care of my daughters in the morning. They were never alone with me. But, CAS, decided to take them away from me, even though it was a first time thing. Being so angry at my mother, I fought with CAS to let my ex take both girls. What a stupid fucking mistake that was, but it was also my saving grace. I had to rent out a room, elsewhere. For one month, I had access to my kids but couldn’t be with them for longer than 3 hours. He let me stay longer when I was “behaving” but if I was upset at him for anything, he would take away my visitation. One night, neither of us had the kids and we got into a fight. The next day, I showed up at the house for my visitation and he came flying out the house calling me names, and getting in my face. I simply went into the house and sat at the dining room table, waiting for the baby to wake up. He decided he didn’t want me there and tried to take away my visitation. He was stomping around the house screaming and yelling, while I sat there with my head down on the table, being quiet. He came over and put his arms around my neck (a chokehold, more or less), and tried to drag me out of the house by my head. Halfway to the door, I attempted to punch him in the stomach to get him off me – he was really hurting me, and he pushed me hard against the wall. He called his mother. I called his mother. Her words still haunt me to this day. “He told you to leave and you refused, what did you think would happen?”.

During the month he had the girls, he had rules to follow that were not being followed. He was drinking in the house, having random women over at 3 in the morning, etc. One day I showed up, and decided to search the house. I found a significant amount of cocaine in his coat, and a case of beer in one of the pantries. I immediately called my CAS worker and told her I was home, staying, and that he needed to get the fuck out of my house. He was gone. I was alone. It was over. We would never be considered a couple again.

I started going back to the psychiatrist who unofficially diagnosed me with bi-polar and I tried every medication she had. Nothing worked. I saw a trauma counsellor, and spoke with the local domestic violence woman’s shelter. I was trying to get better. Nothing was working. I wasn’t done yet.

I moved into my own apartment, in another part of town, that I could afford. In fact, he helped me move. I still felt obligation towards him. I still felt bonded. He spent a long time grooming me to believe only he loved me and no one else ever would. I still believed it, even after 6 months. We tried reconciling several times but they didn’t work. There were always issues, and I never trusted him. The abuse never faded.

I was still drinking, but only on weekends. The problem was, I was home with the kids, and drank copious amounts, when I did drink. I would black out. I wouldn’t wake up at decent hours. I counted on my 8 year old to help raise her sister who was a small toddler.

One night I decided to drink, and do the right thing. I called my ex over to stay so that way I could drink, and they would be “taken care of”. Instead, he purposely picked a fight with me to set me up. I told him to leave and he refused. So I called the police and then my mother. I was never alone with the kids that night/morning. My mother showed up (I called her) and she said she wasn’t leaving without calling CAS. This time, they demanded I get sober but I was allowed to keep my kids. Something in my brain knew I would never drink again, but all they insisted on was 3 months sobriety to close the file.

On February 18th, 2018, I became sober. I’ve been sober since – 2 years next month. My mental health along with all the trauma I endured made my recovery difficult. I didn’t drink to get drunk, I drank to escape. My addiction wasn’t the booze, but the feeling of “getting away”. That is what I chased. I mean, I had a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol but the addiction itself stemmed from wanting to escape.

He began stalking me and the kids. A week after the final incident, he saw me and the girls downtown once, and he came up from behind us and picked the little one up. I panicked. He followed us to the bank and waited outside. We quickly ran out the back door and onto a bus. People from the building would text me to say they saw him outside the apartment walking around. He wanted to know what I was doing, when, and with whom. That’s when I had enough, and so did my best friend. We very quickly planned for me to flee Brantford and come to Cambridge – where I am now.

Less than 30 days later, she passed away so suddenly. Long story short, we had been out shopping, and we stopped at her moms house to quickly paint a dollar store rabbit for the centerpiece for Easter dinner. This was the Saturday, dinner was the next day. My mother had the girls. At her moms, she complained about feeling dizzy and her feet going numb. She sat on the small sofa chair and had a seizure. I called 911. I got her off the couch, and safely to the floor. When she was done seizing, her head was in my lap. She stopped breathing and her heart stopped breathing, right there in my arms. I turned her over onto her back, and started doing CPR. The paramedics got there, shocked her, and brought her back. She spent the next 40ish hours on life support. She passed away early in the morning on Easter Monday. She was not just my best friend, but my soul mate. I actually woke up that morning struggling to breathe. It felt like there was an elephant on my chest. Moments later, her fiance called me to tell me she was gone. I had woken up at the exact time she took her last breath.

Now, I continuously struggle with mental health. I have one daughter who takes up all my time and energy with her sensory processing issues, and inability to self regulate, and another daughter who has her own mental health issues involving trauma, grief and her own diagnosis (ADHD, ODD, and anxiety). There is no time to deal with my own mental health. I frequently spend my time in a fight or flight response mode. I have flashbacks to abusive moments in my past relationship in the form of dreams, or just subconscious thoughts, which then trigger anxiety attacks. I fall into spirals of depression almost weekly, where I struggle with everyday tasks. I spend a lot of time in bed watching movies with the kids. We have started extra curricular activities (well, they have) to force us out of the house more often and so far it is working.

I have no one to really talk to anymore, and feel very alone most of the time. I have been single for almost 2 years now, and haven’t opened up my heart to anyone since my best friend died. No one else will be her, and I cannot be bothered to get that close to someone again. I have closed myself off emotionally to everyone in the world. This isn’t exactly by choice, it is because of everything I have been through. I have tried to put up a wall of protection, but it is more a wall to keep people out. I know that is something I need to work on.

My youngest starts daycare next week and the biggest item on my agenda is to seek counselling, and visit a psychiatrist or get a psychological assessment (which is super expensive, if anyone wants to send money – JK!). My mental health cannot be put on hold anymore, because these kiddos need a strong, healthy mom. I am all they have and I am running on empty. I will get better. I will always have mental health issues, but I will get them under control. Anything else is no longer an option.

Please end the stigma surround mental health. Everyone goes through things in their life that impacts them. No one is safe from these issues.

Thank you to everyone who reads this, and I just want everyone who struggles with addiction, and/or mental health issues to know that you are not alone. I hope my story inspires you in some way. It is okay to not be okay, and it does not make you weak. You are strong and you can get through this. My door (and inbox) is always open for anyone who needs to vent.