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 MLM 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 might 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.

GRT Strike 2020; Waterloo Region

As over 70,000 people sit, damn near stranded in their homes and neighbourhoods as Day 7 of the Grand River Transit strike comes to a close, I cannot help but wonder how long this will last and the permanent effects. I have decided to step out of my blogging element and write about the impact of this local issue. I hope to reach many people, and have them understand exactly what this means.

Last Tuesday, January 21st, the workers of Grand River Transit, led by Unifor, did not show up to work at 5 am. The strike was officially announced only the day before, with talks about it for only a few days.This strike not only impacts the bus riders, but those who use Mobility Plus as well. They have done their best to maintain scheduled dialysis trips but no further bookings are being made/taken.

Upon arriving on the GRT website, they give off the appearance that they are here for the public. They offer alternatives to transit such as Uber, taxis, carpooling, or working from home.

Taxi services are pretty standard across the board, payment wise. However, with no busing, these companies are now consistently busy. They take longer because of this – no one wants to pay the demand rates of Uber. Demand rates? What are those? Let me tell you. Companies like Uber allow for a supply and demand rate, which means, the busier they are, the more they charge. Right now with the strike, they are charging double. Typically a trip to my closest grocery store is under $9 dollars. Now? Well over $15. That is a very lucky case. I am seeing all over twitter people having to spend $90+ per day on transportation.

Most working people who use the transit system work for retail, factory, fast food, etc. Not exactly easy jobs to bring home, in fact – it is impossible. They are also typically minimum wage jobs receiving $14 an hour before taxes. Not all, of course. I mean, my last job was $19 an hour, and I used transit. So say a minimum wage worker is spending $90 for the day on an Uber or taxi… if they bring in $14 an hour and work 8 hour shifts, that is only $112 dollars. That doesn’t even include their unpaid lunch breaks or the taxes coming off at the end of their pay period. They are now going to work to pay for the transportation. Meanwhile, a transit pass is $90 for the entire month.

Let’s discuss the non working people who use transit. We are talking about those who rely on ODSP, Ontario Works, Unemployment Income, pensions, and even worker’s compensation. These people do not have the ability to just spend any more than they are already are. These people have to budget everything. These are the people who you yell at in grocery stores because they are price matching their items. These are the people you avoid eye contact with in public.

The most vulnerable people in our region rely on this method of transportation because it is the cheapest option of all the expensive modes.

Another group I would like to take a minute to discuss are the recovering addicts who society, as a whole, has many negative things to say about these people. Everyone calls addicts a drain on the region and society. They are seen as wasted resources and taxpayer dollars. However, these addicts are trying to get to their counsellors, programs, and even clinics to either get clean or maintain recovery. Now? Unless they somehow have jobs and cars, they are not making these appointments. These people, in a little over a week, are now being subjected to facing their addiction (and possibly their biggest fears) on their own. As a recovering alcoholic, myself, I can confirm that going through detox or even just being in recovery alone, can be the most scary, confusing, and hard time of an addict’s life. While I was a lucky one, and able to get sober all by myself – I still had an addictions counsellor that I saw every single week to keep the rest of my mental health at bay. Without that counsellor, I don’t think I would be celebrating my 2 year sobriety anniversary next month. Just some food for thought, of course.

What about the elderly and the disabled that use both of these services? People with any form of impaired mobility are allowed to use the Mobility Plus service. They can plan trips to anywhere within the regions limits in advance. Most of these people cannot just walk, or get into any friend or family members car. A lot are in wheelchairs – most of which are motorized – which do not fit in the trunk. These people are on fixed and limited incomes. Imagine being on a bicycle in this weather, or a scooter. It is cold and wet and the sidewalks aren’t always completely shovelled. Travelling can be dangerous for these people.

What about our students? No one seems to want to talk about them because Conestoga has stepped up and offered their students up to $200 for transportation expenses. They have also decreased parking fares for the students and staff as well. So because Conestoga is doing the job of the region, they aren’t even thought about. It is sad, and not understandable in the least. I wish I could say more for this group, but it is obvious that students always get the short end of most sticks – but that is a blog for another time.

So what do the drivers want? Well, that is what appears to be the oddest part of this entire strike. I don’t even think the driver’s know what they want. Let’s break down what we have been told, as the public.

Originally, it started with speculation of wage increases being the biggest issue. That soon was stomped on by the Region, GRT, and Unifor itself, all stating that wages weren’t the issue. They were offered a 6% raise over 3 years, and 15% for the mechanics as they made significantly less with the region as they could elsewhere. The bargaining team quickly accepted the terms temporarily, but at the vote it was dismissed. Did they want more money? Was this strike being fuelled by greed?

Well, that’s when it was determined that the driver’s were concerned about their safety – particularly they wanted barriers to shield them from the public. They were offered barriers by the region in the previous offer with the wages. They were also voted against. Now, speculation at this point, dictates that the drivers were not pleased with the barriers offered. Specifically, they wanted say and decision making ability in the barrier installation. From what we kept hearing, as the public, it came down to simply: they were offered a single one-piece option, and they wanted a window. Whether that is true, you’d have to ask the bus drivers as a whole. In my personal opinion – they are not paying for the barrier, so they shouldn’t get a say in what it looks like. As long as it is proven to be safe, and do what it is meant to, that should be enough.

Very little information is released, but if you are good at decoding messages and deciphering short videos, you can come to the same conclusion as the rest of the public. Other such comments towards safety include the drivers wanting the removal of cameras on the buses. Now, a single current GRT driver stated on Twitter that it is not the removal they want, but the appropriate usage of said cameras, that they are fighting for. What does that mean? Well, what it means is, they want those cameras to be used to protect them, by watching the passengers. Furthermore, they are “sick” of having their footage watched and being reprimanded for driving infractions, lack of seat belt, etc. Wait, what? Driving infractions, such as running red lights, failing to move for emergency vehicles, speeding, etc compromise the safety of the passengers. Why shouldn’t the cameras protect us as well? Why do the drivers think that they are superior to the riders?

According to snide tweets provided  by the union, the drivers want us, the riders, to treat them with respect. That is the main cause of this strike, apparently. There have been many times I have stepped onto a bus with a big smile and a happy “hello” and it is typically met with a grunt, no eye contact, or even ignored altogether. How can you demand respect when it is not given first? Respect is earned, not owed. The drivers also appear to be scared for their safety because we, the public, are unpredictable. One word – duh. In the public service industry, you constantly put yourself at risk with unpredictable people and situations. That is part of the job. Personally, I think if you cannot handle this type of job, then you shouldn’t apply for it. I am not stating that these drivers should fear for their safety, or that their safety is not important – just that it can be avoided quite simply.

What the drivers do not understand is that the longer this strike goes on, the more disgruntled the riders will be. Now, I cannot stress enough how much I do NOT condone my fellow riders becoming aggressive or hostile with the drivers, once we regain service. Please, be smart about how you handle future situations, folks. Start recording everything. Document everything. Call their bosses every single time they run a red light, or forget to put on their seat belt. There are appropriate and helpful ways to “fight back”, but fight back we will. I hope the drivers come back minding all the rules of the road and maintain respect for their passengers, or they will be called on it, every single time.

Going forward, I truly think that Grand River Transit should be deemed as an essential service. So many people have been without service for a week, and from what I am reading across all social media platforms, they are impacting so many people in very negative ways. I cannot begin to write out all the scenarios, but please feel free to check out the GRT twitter and facebook pages. Read the comments and see for yourself. People have already lost their jobs as well as students are falling very behind in their workload.  While transit is not the same as a police service, I agree, the people affected are the ones who need it most. Most people don’t just ride the bus for fun. Medical appointments, hospital trips, work, church… all by transit. Please reach out to your MPP’s to discuss making GRT an essential service. The worst they can say is no, but let’s try some positive thoughts instead!

The fact that has so many of the riders upset is, most of the people who are involved in the strike – GRT drivers, management, Region of Waterloo staff, and the union all drive cars. They do not truly understand how it feels to be stranded in our homes. I truly hope this blog does help them understand, and end this strike before it does irreparable damage. We just want to be thought of too, in this strike. Our teachers in the region are also striking, but they are on work to rule, and take one day strike days as to not negatively impact the children too much. That is 100% respectable, and I wish the Grand River Transit and their union had done the same. There were ways to get what they want without negatively impacting 70,000 people.

The strike began last Tuesday, and talks were scheduled for the following day. Everyone attended and were quickly shut down. No further talks were established at that point, and they even spent the weekend away from social media, and the negotiating table. This upset a LOT of people and I truly hope this time they sit down and do not leave until something had been agreed to. That being said talks are scheduled for tomorrow morning (January 28, 2020). We just want this settled in a way that gets our buses back on the road as soon as possible, and that’s all any of us can hope, as we continue to reschedule our entire lives with no idea when to make the new appointments for.

To everyone who is impacted by the strike – band together. Let our voices be heard.

 

 

 

 

Who do the Hunbots Want?

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) is simply a cute way to say Pyramid Scheme.

All MLM companies are the same. They prey on very specific people to “join their team”. These include but are not limited to:

  • Single parents (mainly moms)
  • Military spouses
  • Obese people
  • People with visible skin conditions
  • People with mental illness
  • People who are vulnerable

Let me explain how each of these groups can get targeted.

People With Visible Skin Conditions

These people are targeted by MLM companies that offer skin care products. Everything someone has seems to be able to be cured with an MLM product. If you have acne or age spots, you WILL be contacted by someone who sells skin cream.

People With Mental Illness

This one is seen all the time on buy and sell groups. Someone posts that they have anxiety or depression, looking for medicinal recommendations or the name of people who can help, then all the CBD Oil and Essential Oils huns pop on to give you their cure. It’s always something as simple as lemon drops or eucalyptus, to them.

For the record, always seek professional help, over essential oils, for crying out loud.

Obese People

If they sell a weight loss anything, they are coming for you. They will show you fake before and after pictures to make you think that their way, is the right way. Wrong. The only safe way to lose weight is to eat better and exercise. There are ways to incorporate certain diets that are healthy, but you can’t just go with MLM shakes and think you’re going to be okay.

Single Moms and Military Spouses

This one is simple. The second easiest of prey for the hunbots. One income is hard to live off nowadays and a lot of single moms are actually on a form of assistance. So the huns step in and let you know that they are there for you, for only 99.99! This is the scammiest practice, I think they have. Younique was HORRIBLE for shoving sales surrounding baby bonus (child tax credit) down the throats of all moms on their social media.

Vulnerable People

This one makes me the most angry, to be perfectly honest. MLM hunbots like to prey on people who are going through tough stuff. I’ve personally witnessed/seen screenshots of people using deaths, abuse, and addictions to get further ahead in their business. How? Let me tell you a couple stories.

For starters, remember I’ve spoken about “relationship building”? It is when a hunbot scrolls through your social media to find commonalities between the two of you so they can find reasons to message you, and keep them on your mind.

That being said, posting any tragedy or trauma is perfect for them because they hit you when you’re vulnerable. When you’re desperate for support, love, comfort.

A Younique rep I knew once posted up a meme along the lines of “crack heads always find their rocks, don’t waste an opportunity to join my team; are you going to let a junkie out hustle you?”

On Reddit, a woman posted up screen shots of her speaking with a woman she knew. She got very personal, talking about leaving her abusive relationship, and the Hun responded with “I can help you get back on your feet if you join my team”.

I have witnessed many times, huns posting statuses about people in their lives passing away and using that as a way to gain sympathy sales. “My _____ passed away recently, but I know in my heart if I sold $200 in product she would smile down on us from Heaven. Help me out! Let’s make her smile!”

It’s horrible disgusting.

Stay safe out there, friends.

For a list of MLM 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.

MLM vs Small Business

You’ve heard it all before – MLM Huns of all kind stating they are reps for whatever company but they own their own small business. Hashtag boss babe. How true is it?

What is an MLM?

Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing,is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system.
-Wikipedia

What is a small business?

Small businesses are privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships that have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation. Businesses are defined as “small” in terms of being able to apply for government support and qualify for preferential tax policy varies depending on the country and industry.
-Wikipedia

Pyramid Schemes

We have all heard that MLM companies are called pyramid schemes. So what is a pyramid scheme?

A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.
-Wikipedia

Well, I sell products, not just enroll people.

Yes, Susan, that is correct. You do sell crappy overpriced products BUT that’s how the company tries to get around the accusation of being a pyramid scheme – by creating products to sell, while telling you to “grow your downline”. All direct sales companies will tell you to recruit, recruit, recruit. All the money is in your down line. In fact, they all have similar training…

  • Make a list of 100 people
  • Reach out to them
  • Share the opportunity
  • Relationship build
  • Follow up
  • Rinse and repeat

You know I’m right, Susan. Don’t argue with me.

How do I know if I’m a small business or part of an MLM?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I get a say in naming the company?
  • Did I decide on any of the policies or procedures?
  • Do I get a say in who gets hired or fired?
  • Is there a formal interview process to join the company?
  • Does someone below me see me as a manager?
  • Did I get a say in the logo design?
  • Do I get to decide prices on products I sell?
  • Do I get a say in the products sold?
  • Do I pay my “downline” employees as a business expense?

If you answered NO to any of these questions – YOU ARE NOT A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER!

It’s as simple as that, Susan.

Stop calling yourself a small business; it is making ACTUAL small businesses look bad!

Owning a small business comes with a lot of responsibility. Usually, it does not involve sitting on your phone all day cold messaging people, friend farming, or posting generic photos of products that 10,000 other people are also selling. Owning a small business requires a business plan, more than $129.99 plus tax and shipping for a starter kit, and a brain.

Small businesses hire the same way large corporations do – with a formal interview process. Not just ANYONE can be involved in the selling of products or services. In fact, in order to be a small business you can only have so many employees (which varies from country to country). In Canada it is up to 99 paid employees, to be considered a small business.

It’s really not rocket science. Any sales company with an MLM business model is ABSOLUTELY NOT A SMALL BUSINESS.

Why I quit Scentsy

Good evening friends! I have a new blog for you, with a same old song and dance. Today I will dive into why I am quitting Scentsy and give insight on the company.

Background

Well, let’s start with the fact that the founders are actually Kara and Colette, and they founded Scentsy in 2003. It started off as a simple wickless fragrance business. Orville and Heidi Thompson (husband and wife) ended up purchasing the company from them in 2004 and relaunched with a multi-level marketing business model. Kara remained on board as a consultant, however, and at one point had over 42,000 consultants under her (as of 2012). They started in the United States, expanded to Canada in 2008, and then Germany and the UK in 2011. Recently, they also expanded to the Netherlands.

My Personal Scentsy Story

First, I already wrote a blog that you can find here about joining Scentsy. For those who haven’t read it, and those that have, please continue reading this blog, as I dive into much more detail.

I started dabbling with the idea almost right after I quit Younique. I started exploring ideas with my best friend (who passed away on Easter weekend) about possible direct sales companies. We looked at US only companies, to watch for, that might come over here. We both really wanted to look into Home Decor direct sales companies. However, she stated if I sold Scentsy she would definitely buy it because she used it quite frequently. It felt like a way to stay close to her so I joined.

I started with Scentsy in May of 2019 when they were having their 15 year anniversary promotion. I started for just $20 CAD (plus shipping and tax). With that came a surprise mini warmer, a single bar of wax (Pink Cotton – still my favourite to this day!), a bag of testers (15), a handful of catalogues, and my website free, for 3 months. It was a very basic kit, but it was still worth more than what I paid – the mini warmer is $26 alone.

How I Saw It Working

My high school best friend had been selling a while, and typically she never bothered me with her posts, didn’t ever randomly message me about Scentsy, or try to get me to host a party, so I messaged her to ask some questions. She was quite helpful in my decision making process.

I stated right away all the things I was not willing to do: cold messaging, friend farming, online parties, harassing people, etc. My friend was very understanding, and said I could do it any way I wanted. This gave me a huge sense of hope for the company, to be honest.

I always vowed to be 100% transparent with my customers and myself. Basically, if something was overpriced or smelled horrible, I would share so. I never lied to my customers.

Launching with Scentsy

During my first 30 days as a consultant, I actually did quite well. I made a whopping $1197.00 CAD in sales which gave me $316 in commission. (In Canada, before you hit 1000 PRV, you receive 20% commission x 1.32). Not bad eh?

In order to get those sales, I did three “12 Bar Specials”. Basically how it worked, is you manipulated your order to use rewards to pay the difference. So, normally 8 wax bars would cost $80+ tax, but with my special it was $67.50 +tax for 12 wax bars. Pretty damn good deal for my customers, crappy deal for me.

Here is where it turned a bit sour. In order to make the special work, I required 8 people to take the deal (or 4 people taking 2 deals). However you looked at it, I had to sell 8 “specials”. Running it 3 times, I will be honest, I didn’t get all 8 sold any of those 3 times. I had to find other ways to manipulate the cart with other orders, or pay a small difference (never more than $15, thank goodness). I still made pretty darn good sales, though.

I also had someone join my team at the very end of May. She saw a post, and reached out to me. She joined before I woke up the next morning. (Shoutout here, because she sure as hell rocked the shit out of her sales!)

How I Made Sales and Gained Customers

At this point, I had no idea how to gain customers outside my personal Facebook, without cold messaging. I decided to use Facebook Marketplace. I didn’t really care if it was against compliance, but I tried very hard to just remember the old compliance rules from #Poonique, to be honest. I posted up new products in local Buy and Sell groups – which didn’t really work. I was fast, and would get them up before anyone else but then people would just go to their regular consultants. So I started posting specials – those 12 Bar Specials, if you recall. I actually gained a LOT of new customers – most of which were one time only buyers, though. I even managed to make a couple friends in the process.

I started a Facebook page, and I have 22 likes after 7 months. Not really successful, if you ask me. It has been unpublished, so cannot be seen anymore. I also had an Instagram page as well. I never ever received any sales from my FB/IG business pages.

When new products would come out, I would message previous customers but ONLY if I knew they might like it or had ordered similar before. For example, my one friend likes the whiff boxes (Scentsy mystery box), so I always shared the content once we knew what exactly it contained. If she said no, that was that. I did not push, and I did not try and guilt anyone into buying what they didn’t want or need.

Oh boy, this next part is what everyone is waiting to read.. the dirty secrets of Scentsy. The nitty gritty. Well, I will try my best not to displease you, but I can pretty much guarantee that it is not as juicy as my Younique blog. Don’t forget to check out my one month Younique follow up blog here. Let me know what you think in the comments.

The Hiccups aka Where it All Went Wrong

I think where it started to go wrong was with the specials, alone. As I stated above, if you didn’t sell all your “spots” or mystery bags, etc, then you were either paying out of pocket or manipulating your cart even harder. I had many many people say they wanted spots in the 12 Bar Special, and then back out when it came time to pay, so then it would put everyone else behind while I tried to replace those people, or find a way to manipulate my cart.

Nothing pisses me off more. No one saw me as a business owner (because you aren’t! More on that later), so they didn’t think I required the same respect as even a Wal-mart. I had one woman, who I know spent hundreds a month on Scentsy, say she was going to buy me from me, almost from day one. Her rep went out of business and she knew me – her friend also became a customer of mine. I had seen this lady buy over $500 in Scentsy bars on more than one occasion. She would say she wanted 2 or 3 spots and then never pay me. She would ignore my messages. Then once I stopped doing the specials, she messaged me saying her old rep gave her good deals, and “what could I do for her?”. Nothing. I can give you the items for what they cost. This isn’t Dollarama. So, she never became a customer, even after placing orders (remember, she didn’t actually pay for them). The same goes for people who would send me money, place the order, and then ask for the money back. Buyer’s remorse I am sure – but it didn’t help during the times I was doing specials. Flaky people should not be allowed to message direct sales reps or ANY home business (this happened to me with my legit home business all the time too – so I started asking a 50% nonrefundable deposit up front).

Anyways, when you close out a qualifying order you earn free credit and then half priced items. Those are what you use to “make deals”. You really aren’t actually giving anyone a deal, you are simply forfeiting your own rewards to bring in sales. Kind of a deal, I guess.. for them, anyways. The problem with these rewards is that if you don’t use them, they make you pay a fee for it. Yep, that’s right. If you don’t order free stuff, or pay half price on things you may or may not want – you pay for it. Excuse me? I didn’t care for that at ALL. Why should I be charged for not needing/wanting product? So, all the time I was either buying extra items for myself, or offering my rewards to other people when I couldn’t afford to use them myself.

The other big problem I had were the other additional charges, like above with the rewards. My website cost me $12.00 CAD a month. In September, Scentsy decided to change the shipping cost tiers for orders. Originally qualifying parties (200 PRV) got free shipping – now, you pay 10% shipping. Excuse me? Now I have to tell my customers that they are paying shipping because I don’t have a large enough customer base to get the new required amount for free shipping (500 PRV). I maintained only TWO customers once that happened. I couldn’t afford to pay for everyone’s shipping, so bulk orders were pointless. They could have ordered from my website and pay the same amount for shipping, and it shows up at their front door. However, having customers go through your website, well, always room for error, or mind changing. That is what you are taught in direct sales – to be involved 100% of the way. It cost me money to sell outside my own region (I was region 1, so was Mexico and USA, but I only got a Canadian website with my $12.00) – so I paid $6.78 CAD to be able to sell to friends in the USA.

Which brings me to my next big hiccup. After purchasing the region 1 subscription, I sent my link to a friend in the USA, as well as her friend. Both were interested in items. Neither had credit cards, they only had “debit cards”. I had to research the exchange rate and get them to send me the amount in Canadian through PayPal. Then when I received it, I had to ship it to them in the USA. I remembered from Younique that shipping could be ridiculous, but apparently I didn’t learn my lesson. It ended up costing me a significant amount of money to ship the items. They offered to pay, but I didn’t want to charge them for my mistakes. I cancelled my region subscription, and closed to the doors to any non-local customers unless they wanted to drive and pick it up.

I made one rule about delivery/pick ups. I required 48 hours from delivery to establish a delivery schedule, as I use public transportation and my bus line connects 3 major cities. OR you could pick up within an hour of me receiving the shipment. I always asked when I was putting the order through so I wouldn’t be surprised with deliveries the day I received them. Well, that didn’t help. I had several people decide to change their minds after the order went through, that they wanted delivery. Let me lay this out. I am in the city on the right, Cambridge, and most of the deliveries were in the middle city – Kitchener – or the one to the left – Waterloo – of the tri-cities. To get to Kitchener, it is minimum 45 minutes one way on the bus.. Waterloo is minimum 1.5 hours. EACH WAY. So, if I knew about deliveries, I would plan to spend the day in said city, running errands. Towards the end of my journey, it became expected that I would deliver with no previous discussion, and that was starting to bother me. My time is valuable too.

I still have 3 customer orders sitting here from various different shipments in the last 6 months – one of which dating back to my second order, back in May 2019. I am not sure how to even get a hold of two of these people because I lost my original Facebook.

Let’s stop and talk about that for a moment. That was probably my huge turning point, when I stopped caring about sales. After posting my link several times, sharing with previous customers, etc during a flash sale, I lost my Facebook. I also had a disgruntled customer at this point. One of these two reasons was the cause of losing my Facebook. Facebook took my account in August due to “spam or fake profile”. I have sent in proof that I am who I say I am about 12 times now. At this point, I will probably never see that account again. I was able to download my photos and videos but most of the things I lost are irreplaceable. When my best friend passed away in April, I was made her Facebook legacy contact. I controlled pinned posts on her wall, as well as allowing friend requests to be accepted. Her Facebook turned into a memorial page. I lost all access. (I had to use an old fake facebook account, and turn it legit – and we weren’t friends on there… so now I can never see her wall again). She also had a business page that only I was the “owner” of, after she passed away. That is now gone too. I lost all our messages from the 6 years of friendship we had, all our wall posts, etc. Those are thing I cannot get back – no matter how hard I tried. I am still very very angry about this. In fact, I need to stop talking about it, before I lose my mind again.

The Okay-ish Stuff

I am in several team Facebook groups and while sometimes they were helpful, I found them more annoying than anything. One of them was rather underwhelming, and kinda dead. However, the big group (my uplines, uplines, upline) was always booming. I did find the owner of that group (our star director) was a mix of blunt and straight up rude. I mean, she seemed very knowledgeable (as she should) but sometimes her responses could be mean and condescending.

You get paid once a month. So say you make sales from December 1st to December 31st – you get paid for those sales on the 10th of January. This was a huge difference from Younique – where you got paid for each sale 3 hours later. Not a big deal, but I was super unaware of that before joining – my fault, I should have asked. With that, you also had to make at LEAST $30 in commission or they didn’t pay out. Wait what? It was my money, but I couldn’t have it unless I hit requirements? That didn’t sit well with me.

The products I personally used were scent circles, warmers & wax, scentsy wall fan & pods, counter clean, and washer whiffs.

The washer whiffs, in my opinion, didn’t work. After using the ones by Gain and Downy, I definitely had high expectations for this product and it fell short.

The counter clean I used was Lemon Verbena. I have mixed reviews, to be honest. I somewhat liked it on my counters, loved it on my stove, but hated it on my island and coffee table. I felt it was just another product for specific use – which I have no use for. I like my products to be all purpose. The other thing I hated about the cleaning products: the fact they did not have disinfectant. Not even the bathroom cleaner. That didn’t sit well with me that I would use this product and then another product to disinfect.

I want to take a moment now to discuss pricing. I touched on it above but barely. Most of the Scentsy products were, in my opinion, overpriced. The Darth Vader warmer was almost $100. No wax included. They had a limited edition snow globe warmer that was damn near almost $200. Scentsy buddies – scented stuffed animals – were ~$40+. The same cost at Build-A-Bear which includes personal messages and heart beats as well as scent. I recently picked up scent tarts at Yankee candle for $1 a piece. They are higher quality, in my opinion for less money. In fact, they have a new scent system that offers a scent system similar, but their single pods are $6 instead of $8, and last 5x longer.

Which brings me to the scent selection. They were constantly retiring scents, and it seemed they were always my customers favorites. Aside from that, the scent selection was… weird. Yes, weird. That’s the word I am going to use. They mixed a lot of different scents to get their scents. Whereas Yankee candle scents have a mix of single scents or mixed scents. They had plain cherry, plain apple, but also blueberry pie, pink sands, grandma’s kitchen, etc. The selection outside of Scentsy is much more grand. Hell, even Wal-mart has ~100 scents for only $3 per bar and they last around the same length as Scentsy.

The Good Stuff

That all being said, as I stated way above, Pink Cotton is my absolute favourite wax scent, that I haven’t found anything similar anywhere else. I will continue using that scent, going forward. I also absolutely LOVE the wall fan I bought. The pods last FOREVER – they say 120 hours per pod but I have been using the same pod (running 24/7) for around a month now – the scent has not changed, or lost strength. Superbly pleased with that purchase! The warmers I have are also superb quality. No issues whatsoever, and the bulbs seem to last a long time.

The End

So, here we are, Facebook profile gone, coming up on the fall catalogue. Lots of new and exciting products coming out. Star Wars, Disney (yes, I separated those on purpose), fragrance flowers, blah blah blah.

I couldn’t sell any of this shit! Not a damn thing! How was I supposed to promote the things I found too pricey for my own cart? No one I know has that kind of money laying around.

I know at Younique we learned not to “be in peoples wallets” but.. these people are my damn friends! I AM in their wallets because it’s my job as their friends to make sure they succeed in life. It is my job as their friend to be helpful, not a hindrance. I didn’t feel comfortable pushing these things onto my friends or even strangers. I couldn’t help it.

My last sale was in November and in order to get half of it, I had to offer it at half price. As of December 31st, I am an inactive consultant because I hadn’t made 200 PRV in THREE months. In fact, I made only $17 in commission, in those 3 months and they still owe it to me.

I also recently learned that I have to request the money, after I’ve gone inactive. They don’t just pay it out. I contacted Customer Support after my upline told me she spoke to them. She stated that as soon as I go inactive, the money will be released. She said I could receive it early by going inactive early. However, when I spoke to them I was told something completely different. I contacted them last week, and the guy I spoke with said that the money isn’t released until it’s been requested as it is under the $30 restriction- but first he told me that it wasn’t possible at all. So then he tells me I can cancel early, but then it’s a minimum 6 month wait to rejoin, instead of 3. Oh well. I said, “onward!”. After 35 minutes of all the above banter back and forth he tells me that it is too close to the holidays and the request to cancel wouldn’t process until January 3rd at the earliest, when I’d already be inactive. He said to contact Customer Support again, once I am inactive to request my commissions. That was that.

If I hadn’t been contacting him to cancel/go inactive, I surely would have after that interaction.

The decision to go inactive was not a last minute decision. I had been planning it for months. Originally I just needed a break, but then it turned into more effort than it was worth. I sold ~$150 in product and my commission was only $17 dollars. It didn’t feel worth it anymore.

The other factors resulting in this decision are irrelevant to the post, but extremely relevant to who I am as a person. My mental health, my goals, my children – all need to come before direct sales companies, and I felt like that wasn’t happening anymore. I have way too much on my plate as is.

Closing Statements

So that’s it, my entirely honest review of yet another MLM. This time, I think I’m done with direct sales entirely. It is clearly not for me.

Right now my sole hobby is my writing. Please give my Facebook page a like here to follow my journey. I am currently writing my first novel and debating joining the podcast community with my own.

Thank you – and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out.

Why the “village” raising your child needs to be more exclusive..

Last week I had an encounter that really had me thinking.. first I’ll share the encounter and then my thoughts.

So today, a lady in the dollar store come up to me today because she heard me telling C to put things down and stop grabbing things in the cart because she would break them..
So she comes up and says
“Is your child sick? Because if she isn’t you should let her get out of the cart and walk around. So what if she touches things? Just let her be a kid. Stop telling her what to do. She isn’t sick and has full use of her arms and legs, so she should be allowed to use them. Just let her out.”
I stated that I wouldn’t be doing that because I didn’t come to the dollar store to chase her around and prevent her from breaking things. I came here to go shopping, and the cart is perfectly acceptable for a 3 year old to sit in.
She then proceeded to tell me that it’s such a shame the kid can’t have something to do besides sit here.
So, I walk away and continue shopping.
When I’m done, I go to pay for the things I grabbed, and she is standing in the line ahead of me.
She looks at me, shakes her head, and then pays for her stuff.
Charlee tries to lean out of the cart, and touch yet another thing, so this time I gave her a slight slap on the hand and firmly told her no. She started crying immediately. I, of course, tell her to stop.
This woman then hands my daughter a treat she had just bought herself, tells her such, and then tells her to stop crying. She says thank you to the lady.
So then C asks if she can open it and as I’m about to answer her, the lady says “of course you can, tell your mom to open it for you.”
C starts to tell me to open it for her… before she even gets out the whole sentence, I tell her no, because we need to eat lunch first.
The lady then says “well I bought it for her and she can have it now.”
I said no. That’s it. No need to say anything because she already heard me say why she couldn’t have it now. I told her she can have it back, if she wants.
So, of course, C has started crying again…
The lady is done paying for her stuff and is literally standing in the doorway trying to tell C to stop crying because she gave her a treat. It didn’t work out the way she hoped, that’s for sure.
C continued crying, she left, and I paid for my stuff like I couldn’t hear her – the kiddo, I mean.

So, what was wrong with that encounter?

First, coming up to a stranger and telling them how to parent their child, or critiquing the way they parent – that’s a huge no-no in my eyes. Just don’t do it. Not everyone will be as patient and calm as I was.

Secondly, in this case especially, no child was in danger, not really a tantrum happening, so there was no need to insert yourself regardless. You don’t know the reason why the child is upset or crying – and it is more than likely not your business to know.

Lastly, when we say it takes a village to raise a child, I think nosey people tend to use that as an excuse to be rude and judgemental. Unacceptable.

I see the worst of it in Mommy groups on Facebook, but it does happen out in public too, as you can see from my above encounter. We are in a world of keyboard warriors who love to insert themselves in your lives in the worst possible ways. I’ve seem families ripped apart because of Mommy groups. I truly hate what happens in them.

I’ve seen moms genuinely post asking for help and then get ripped apart for something they are doing “wrong”, with at least one person defending themselves by saying “well, it takes a village to raise kids…” like it is some kind of excuse to belittle someone else.

This experience has taught me that no matter what, you WILL be judged, but you need to just let it roll off your back. Their opinion won’t matter next week, so ignore it and let it go. I know that is tough, especially when they make you feel like you’re failing as a parent. Just remember it is not their right to make you feel that way.

Everyone struggles with parenting, and everyone has a right to help. How they get that help, is ultimately their choice, but most choose to ask questions in Mommy groups because of the amount of similar, like-minded people could read it and respond. However, I think we need to start making our “villages” more exclusive.

What I mean by that is, we should get to decide who we want to help raise and mold our children.

An Exclusive Village

The first step – keep it off social media. Plain and simple. For example, you don’t need to let 5000 strangers know that you have no money and aren’t sure how you will get Christmas presents, nor do you need those 5000 strangers to tell you if your pregnancy test is positive or negative. Keep it off Facebook.

Find community resources. There are parenting programs, drop in programs, counseling programs, Christmas hampers, toy drives, clothing closets, etc.. tons of programs for anything you could possibly need help with. Start by contacting churches in your area. Google programs. Find an outreach worker or community worker whose job is to know all the supports. Family and Children’s Services (CAS) is actually an excellent resource. (I know there is a huge fear with calling them though – more on that later).

Don’t feel obligated to have people in your life that are toxic, judgmental, bad influences, etc. No one has a RIGHT to your child unless they provided you sperm or an egg – aka a parent. (Even then, it is sometimes questionable).

You are responsible for raising your child(ren) and turning them into successful, happy, productive members of society. No one else. Stop letting other people try and mold your babies ESPECIALLY if they don’t have any of their own!

Find your tribe, and keep them close.