Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…don’t bring your dope to my house.*

I think the pending legalization of marijuana is great. I believe the government regulation and taxation of the product is a smart move. What I don’t like, is anyone thinking that marijuana is now so mainstream and accepted, that they can light up anywhere. The arrogance and disregard for other people gets me a tad bit riled up.

When you are a guest at someone’s home, you should be respectful of their space and rules. Would you go into someones house and put your feet on their table, or just open their fridge and start pawing through it? I sure hope not. The same goes for lighting up a joint…inside, outside…doesn’t matter. Unless you have express permission from the home owners (not their kid or their dog, and not the neighbor, or the government), you are not, I repeat, not, to light up. It is not your “right” to light up wherever you want. Go back and read that last sentence again.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care what you do in your own home, but I definitely care what you do in mine. And, actually I care what you do in a public space too.

I went to a function a few months back where the guests ranged in age from fifteen to seventy five. One of the guests, male, around forty years old, came in, walked right to the outside deck where most of the guests were congregated and without a word to anyone, he immediately lit a joint.

Am I supposed to give him kudos for at least being outside, and for offering it around? The interesting thing was that no one said a word. Some didn’t care, a few people got up and went inside, and others completely ignored the proverbial elephant in the middle of the room.

I wonder what would have happened if it were a tobacco cigarette. I’m sure everyone would have felt much more justified in being vocal and asserting their personal thoughts but when it’s pot, people seem to shy away. Is it because you don’t want to be the one labeled as an old fashioned fuddy-duddy? perhaps a party killer? or the least cool person on earth? Come on…everyone’s doing it, right? Nope. They sure aren’t. The blatant disregard and rudeness of those that think they can smoke dope when ever, and wherever, they want, needs to be called out as unacceptable.

I’m not a prude (or I don’t think I am), and I smoked cigarettes for many years before quitting.
Society has deemed cigarette smoking dangerous and unacceptable. It’s so vilified that a smoker has to drive his car out to the middle of nowhere, lock all his doors, and watch over his shoulder to enjoy a puff. BUT smoking a joint openly in a public park, or as you walk your kids to school, or stand at a bus stop, are now all acceptable? I think there’s something a wee bit twisted here.

I find those who do not smoke marijuana are judged as being stiff, out of touch with the current trends, and goody-goodies, but I believe they are really the silent majority (perhaps too silent). The world is definitely changing and with those changes comes a difference in opinion, but not the right to be ignorant or rude. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you, but if you try and smoke dope at my house, you’ll be asked to leave.

And don’t worry, we’re going to have a chat later about the wake and bake trend that I think is frying young brains.
Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the south Okanagan. Opinions? Questions? contact me faye.arcand@icloud.com or fayeearcand.com

*Published by Black Press.

 

Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…You may need to take a closer look.*

Perception is something that affects our lives every single day. Everything you see, feel, touch, or hear is translated into your understanding or impression of the world. That perception causes you to form an opinion, a feeling, and judgement whether you’re aware of it or not. Often in the mainstream media, stereotypes are perpetuated through the common perception present in our own short-sightedness.
The next time you’re watching TV, close your eyes. Can you tell the race or ethnicity of the person speaking? Can you tell someone’s job by the clothes they wear or the car they drive? How about happiness? Can you tell whether someone’s happy just by looking at pictures of them? That’s all perception.
Social media is all about perception. Auntie simply asks you to stop and take a more conscious look at it. Look at not only what you’re reading and seeing, but also what you’re putting out there. Awareness is key.
A quick flip through Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube is always interesting when you’re looking at it with eyes wide open. All the smiles, positivity, and love that people post is amazing, but is it real? You can not, and should not, take any social media at face value because perception is not necessarily reality.
How many times have you retaken that selfie before posting? Every time you do that, you’re manipulating the reality. Have you thought of that? Why didn’t you sent the first one? Was the angle all wrong? or perhaps the picture made you look fat or your nose looked too big…there was something that made you erase and redo. The real answer is that you are wanting people to have a certain perception of who you are, and you want them to accept that as reality.
Everyone’s doing it right? It makes everything look like all sunshine and lollipops when the reality, perceived or imagined, is completely different.The problem comes when you actually accept those projections as reality. All media only gives you a one sided look at an already skewed reality.
It’s a human reaction to compare your perceptions with your own reality and they usually don’t measure up. You see a good friend posting pictures on Instagram…they’re all smiles and the images are amazing. Their lives look so interesting and incredible. Your brain goes to that negative place where everything in your own life now looks sad and ordinary.
Take another look at that pretty picture of a family with their big grins and seemingly perfect life and ask yourself how many times they took that pic to get it worthy of posting (or how many tears may have been shed, fights had, or whatever happens behind the closed doors that you’re not privy to).
Put a sticker near your screen that says “Perception is not Reality” to remind yourself that a lot of stuff you see if fabricated, air-brushed, sugar-coated, and/or the result of ten retakes. This can be a beginning of reclaiming your own power over your world because comparing everyone else’s life to your own can cause depression and anxiety. It becomes a vicious cycle when nothing you have, do, or are, measure up to what you perceive everyone’s world to be.
You’re always trying to catch up with everyone else or present your own pretty picture that it becomes exhausting. Awareness of the issue is the beginning of not allowing it to rule you.
Look at your own posts and offered perceptions. Are there times when you’re posting things for others to see, only to get attention and adulation? Perhaps you’re looking for the ….oh you poor thing…love you…feel better….all that stuff.
If you’re doing it…just remember, so is everyone else.

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan.
http://www.fayeearcand.com

*published first by Black Press

Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…Hit the reset button this September.*

Have you ever gotten to that point in the year where you need a change? A fresh start? Do you have that same negative message looping through your brain and bringing you down? You know the one…it sounds like ‘who cares anyway?’ ‘why bother?’ ‘I’m not that good/smart/thin/fast so why try?’ I’ve tried before and it didn’t work.’

All that negativity stuck in your brain, affects you every single day whether you realize it or not. It’s tucked in the back of your head and sucks you in because you don’t see any other way out. It’s time to hit the reset button and give yourself a break from your own negative self talk.

When you look back at the beginning of the year, were there things you wanted to complete or accomplish throughout the year? January is the traditional time to make resolutions and set goals but it’s the wrong time of year to do any of that.

Think about it…January is a cold, miserable month and the bills from Christmas start coming in…that’s no fun. You then make resolutions and pile on the pressure of having to change something major in your life and that can be a recipe for failure. It’s sad really because though you start with the best intentions, the odds for success are not in your favour.

Fast forward nine months and you have September presenting itself with all it’s glory. There’s a fresh energy in the air that can add a boost to anyone’s mood. The days are warm and the evenings cool…sheer perfection compared to January. September is the beginning of a new school year and it’s a time when new routines are reconfigured and embraced. What a great time to start a New Year. What a great time to toss out the negative self talk, take back the control, set new goals and make positive self-affirmations.

Who said that January was the only time you could set resolutions or goals? That’s ridiculous. You still have time to revisit those you made in January or set some new ones. You’re going to do things a bit different though. You need a calendar, a commitment, and some sort of accountability (ie: a friend to share your progress with).

To set a goal, you must have a time line…a beginning and an end, otherwise it’s just wishful thinking. The goal needs to be very specific and measurable. You may have a goal to be nicer to yourself. What does that look like? Does it mean you won’t eat chips at night or you will walk 30 minutes everyday, or perhaps you’ll commit to eight hours of sleep every night. Whatever it is, you must be specific and that’s how you begin to turn a dream into reality.

One thing to remember is that any goal you set should be about you. It’s not about fulfilling someone else’s agenda, it’s about being true to yourself and doing what you want. This is about YOU. Goals can often start with good intentions, but the energy dwindles and that’s why it’s good to have someone to discuss it with…perhaps your Auntie? If you’re beginning to fall back into bad habits, you need to revisit and adjust the goal. Any goal should be realistic and attainable. Change doesn’t come over night. Don’t set yourself up for failure. That can be depressing and brutal to the self-esteem.

Also be sure to set mini-goals. For example, if your goal is to drink only one latte a week, and you’re currently drinking one everyday, make the goal to drink only four, then three, then two…

The idea is to set yourself up for success and long term change rather than to fail. If you begin to set these goals now, by January your new behaviour should be ingrained and a new normal.
G—go for it. Give yourself permission to be successful.

O—only for you…don’t do it for others.

A—attainable—be realistic.

L—look for the long term change.

September is such a beautiful time of year to get outside (another plus compared to January), so take a deep breath and push that reset button.
And to answer that loop in your head, I’ll tell you…Auntie cares. You DO matter, and you ARE that good/smart/thin/fast and you CAN make anything happen. I believe in you. Happy New Year!

*First published by Black Press August 30, 2017

Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…Stop and Think…Sometimes Less is more.*

Let’s have a chat about tattoos, piercings, and stretching. For the most part, people aren’t too shocked anymore by these things.

Brow, cheek, or lip piercings, for example, if done professionally and in moderation, can be attractive…the biggest problem might be catching them on your favourite sweater.
Other body piercings that are, shall we say, more private…are nobodies business. My advice to you though is to always use a professional to do them and follow the rules of hygiene.

The nice thing about piercings is that they can be removed and don’t have to be a permanent part of who you are.

Tattoos however, are different in their permanence and projected (sometimes unspoken) message to the world. If you’re planning on getting one, slow down and consider your options. What may seem funny or cool when you’re 18, may not be so appealing when you’re 30. Tattoos can be a work of art or they can be an embarrassing ink stain on your body for all to see. The decision to get tats or not, is ultimately yours, but I make one plea to your senses…please no tats from the neck up.

Things like a tear tattoo, nazi symbols, or language on your face, neck or head, steps over the boundary of good taste. Stop and think…if someone is pressuring you or trying to talk you into something when the little voice in the back of your head is saying that it’s not a good idea, then tell them that Auntie said you had to wait. Blame Auntie…it’s all good.

Self expression is a good thing but if you’re moving forward without taking the time to weight the pros and cons (or making the decision while angry, drunk, or feeling spiteful), you can neglect common sense, dignity and self respect. Expressing yourself should be about you and not just to shock others in a negative way. If you tattoo ‘screw you’ across your forehead, what you’ve actually done is screwed yourself with a forever label of loser.

And let’s have a word about gauging or stretching. The other day I saw a man (he was probably about 35 years old) leaving a store…he had holes in his ear lobes big enough for me to put my fist through (this may be a bit of an Auntie exaggeration, but not by much). Given the opportunity I would’ve asked him why he’d done that to himself, and did he have any regrets. I would’ve also told him that I thought it was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen. Yuck. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

This whole lobe stretching (some do it with their nasal septum as well…yuck), in my opinion, is just gross. Whether you’re doing it for attention or shock value, you definitely can’t disguise or cover it and you may not be able to fix it later. Ask yourself if that’s what you want. Do you want judgement passed about you before you have a chance to even present who you are?

Gauging is a slow process, (and apparently painful), so there’s no reason why you can’t pull back before it gets to the ridiculous proportions like the guy I saw (shiver). According to Wikipedia, the “point of no return is 10mm.” Consider the fact that sometimes less is more because once the lobe is stretched past that point, the elasticity of the skin is compromised and the holes won’t close. Mind you, this could be helpful when Auntie tells you to give your head a shake and you’re slapped upside the head by the floppy elephant sized lobes for doing it in the first place.
Be safe. Have a good week.

*First published by Black Press August 11, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…What are you afraid of?*

Sometimes it feels like the whole world is going crazy. Whether it’s terrorism at an Ariana Grande concert, raging wild fires, the death of a loved one, or a scathing remark from a ‘friend’…they can all have the ability to stop you in your tracks. Your heart races, palms get sweaty, you lose sleep, and things that once made sense, now seem turned on their side. It can make you realize just how little control you actually have, and that in itself, can be very scary.
As per Wikipedia, “fear, is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat…”. This is a very basic definition, but Auntie wants you to be aware of it and the affect it can have on your life. Fear can sometimes be a visceral response based totally out of emotion instead of rational thought. Imagine having to speak in front of a crowd. There’s no real physical threat yet it can cause you to freeze and be unable to function.What may be a breeze for some is sheer terror for another.There’s also the deep seeded fear involving the fight or flight response where life and death appear imminent…like fleeing a wild fire.
Do you know where your fears lie? Is your fear based globally, in your community, in your own home…or maybe even in your own head? Does fear grip you when you watch YouTube or news casts? Does it creep in every morning as you’re opening your eyes? Is the fear external or internal? Do you fear for yourself or for others?
That’s a lot of questions I know, but if you stop and think, it may help clarify your own situation. Fear can rule your life through manifestations of anxiety, stress, and heightened awareness; fear may also creep into decision making, thus shattering your confidence and blocking the freedom to be who you really are (or want to be).
What happened in Manchester, was heartbreaking and senseless. It’s an extreme act specifically meant to instill fear and the likelihood of that happening to you is so remote that unless you’re traveling in high risk areas, your radar can be lowered. It’s the same with recurring natural disasters, such as wild fires, earthquakes, or hurricanes…just to name a few. Media often shove them to the forefront and this can heighten fear. If you’re at ground zero, you have no choice but to act, but if you’re out of the zone and still have a fear of a natural disaster striking, you may need to take a deep breath and step back…turn off FaceBook/YouTube, make a plan of action if/when something does happen, and accept that your fear may be larger than the reality of the situation.
Depending on where you find yourself in relation to fear, you may have to go talk to a professional. If your fear hinders everyday activity, is present even though you know it’s not rational, or is so crippling that functioning through daily life is difficult, then you need to seek help. A good start may be with your family doctor or local mental health.
The thing is, you can never, ever, give up hope. Fear itself can be so debilitating and drive you to your knees but it doesn’t have to rule your life. Knowledge is power and sometimes when you sit down and study the reality of the situation and what can and can’t happen, you empower yourself and feel more in control. Try it.
So…is fear holding you back from doing what you want, or need, to do? You’re the only one that can answer this and it may be harder than you think. The answer is very telling as it shows where you are in many areas of your life. Whether it be maturity, confidence, or a willingness to explore alternatives to live, or think, outside of the box, you’re the only one that can identify and deal with it.
As an Auntie, I’ve seen many young people miss opportunities simply because they couldn’t find the courage within themselves to move forward.
The world is a crazy, scary place sometimes, I know, but somehow, you’ll find your way because the alternative is scary too.

*First published by Black Press July 28, 2107

Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…Graduating? Now What?*

So here you are at the end of a 13 year journey.You’ve completed about 11,650 hours of classroom time, spread over 2430 days (give or take), done countless exams, and performed who knows how many fire drills. It’s been quite a ride but now, the grad caps have been tossed in celebration, the prom gowns will soon be hung, and the tuxes returned…it’s over…the final bell has rung.
It started off with such wide-eyed curiosity and wonder. Do you remember the thrill of going to kindergarten? Entering those doors as a five year old was one of your earliest steps towards true independence. It may have been the first time away from your mom and dad, and it was probably a new experience having to follow instructions whist trying to harness the energy and excitement of the life going on around you.
I’m sure there were good times, and maybe even a few not so good times, but you made it. Hopefully, your school days will now be memories of the songs you sang, the games you played, and the friendships you’ve nurtured. It’s said to be one of the best times of your life, but that’s not true for all. Graduating from the hallowed halls for some means getting out of the hell hole and finally away from the bullies, the jocks, and the masses you’re forced to contend with everyday.
Well, let me tell you…whether you attended high school kicking and screaming all the way, or were the kid who skipped down the hallway with a silly grin plastered across their face, the real world is now open for business…and it’s all yours.
Are you excited? I hope so. I’m excited for you because high school is like a small little pond and your future is the ocean.
Just think about it. For the last 13 years you’ve spent your days with many of the same people, not out of choice, but out of the dictation of catchment areas and random (and sometimes not so random) classroom assignments. You’re put into a situation where you must befriend those around you or be completely ostracized. Your life has been structured by the school agenda, but now everything you’ve known and relied on for so many years, will change.
It’s a thrilling time of your life and it can be a little overwhelming too as personal choice actually kicks into gear…full throttle.
You need to exercise wisdom, common sense, and at first, walk slowly through your new world to avoid falling victim to accidents and impulsive decision making that can lead you into trouble.
Go forward with your own sense of wide-eyed curiosity like when you started kindergarten, knowing that pitfalls and life lessons await.There will be broken hearts, empty bank accounts, and shattered dreams, but there’ll also be the beauty of a sunset, the realization of a goal, and the growing of your soul and spirit.
For several years now, you’ve been surrounded by the same faces, attitudes, and struggles. Will that continue? Only you can answer that.
Often when you separate physically from a group, you can choose to lose touch and go your own way. You can declare your independence and freedom from all things high school and forage out a new identity if that’s what you want.
Many young people blossom in college because they’re free to choose not only their educational path, but also their friends and cohorts. Even staying in touch by means of social media may hold you back in the high school mentality, as the cliques and inherent insecurities never really change…the “popular girl” will always be that in your mind. Do you want to read her status and always feel like you’re back ‘there’?
You’ve got the world waiting for you. It’s there with all it’s opportunity and potential. Hard work and perseverance can guide you in your pursuits.
Congratulations on getting through the 13 years…now go forth and conquer!

*First published on July 14, 2017 by Black Press

Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…ANGP? ’Tis the Season*

It means All Night Grad Party. I know, I know, you don’t need a lecture about safety, drinking, drugs, or making smart choices. After all, you’re a senior and about to graduate…you know it all.
I also know that every year a parent is met at the door by a police officer and told that their graduating teen is dead or injured because of an accident at some bush party or a choice made to get behind the wheel drunk or stoned. There’s also the lifetime sentences caused by alcohol/drug fueled sexual assaults, permanent disfigurement from a crash, fights, or humiliation through video and social media.
Take a second…stop and think. Don’t get so caught up in the build-up and “tradition” of all night parties that you lose perspective that you’re graduating so you can start a new life…not end it.
I’m not saying that you can’t party. That’d be unrealistic just make sure you do some planning and be smart. So, here’s a check list for you.
1.)  Know who you’re with. That sound so simple and straight forward, but you’d be surprised how many young people will get into cars with a group of strangers all because there’s a common theme of ‘party’. Stick with your friends and make a decision together to stay that way. Keep an eye on each other. That’s what friends do.
2.)   Know where you are. Again, this sounds so simple, but if you’re going to a bush party in the middle of nowhere, for example, the roads all look the same at night and you could easily get lost. Do you have enough gas in the car? Also, will you still have cell service?If you’re out of range then it’s even more important to pay attention to point #1.
3.)   Know who your DD is. Every time you go out you need a designated driver. If you have a group of friends then you can rotate and switch it up. If you’re in town, make sure you have someone to call. I don’t care if it’s the third cousin of your best friends brother in law…have someone reliable and mature enough to pick you up if trouble surfaces.
Note to parents/aunties/friends: If you have an agreement with a young person to call you **no matter what time or circumstance** to pick them up…just do it. Don’t lecture or judge or ground because believe me, next time they won’t call.
4.)   “No” means No….that goes for everyone…male, female, or otherwise.
5.)   Drugs, to me, are a loud resounding no. If you’re at a party, you need to know what’s going on around you and not be so hammered that you can’t see straight. With so many pills, and even marijuana, being laced with fentanyl, it could be the end. That would really suck.
6.)   Are you going to the ANGP to be part of the crowd or because you want to? The parties aren’t mandatory and are not a rite of passage. They’re a reason to get drunk, act stupid, and make an ass of yourself. Think about it.
7.)   Don’t forget…it’ll all be recorded for prosperity. Do you want your boss to see you passed out? or you Auntie to see you naked and running through the fields. Umm…I hope your answer is no…’nuf said.
8.)  Find an alternative to the ANGP. Grad committees did this by adding in and supporting Dry Grad. There are many ways to celebrate and have fun with your friends without getting wasted and putting yourself (and possibly others), in harms way.
9.)  Don’t be a statistic. You don’t want to be that roadside memorial tribute with the fake flowers and half filled balloon flopping in the wind. A dead teenager kills all their potential. Get it?
10.)  Last, but definitely not least…have some respect for yourself and others. Stop and think about how your actions, words, and choices are a reflection of who you are and how they can affect another.
Have fun, but be safe.

 

*First Published on June 16, 2017 by Black Press