U.S.A. Student Activism–March On!

Auntie Says…My thoughts are with the American students. March on!

Columbine. That word pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

It was April 1999 and I’ll never forget seeing the images of terrified high school students running for their lives. I, like everyone else, was horrified and sickened, but It got worse—much worse. School shootings in the U.S. became, I hate to say it … commonplace.

While for the most part I don’t talk politics or religion, my heart and voice are with every student in the U.S. marching and protesting for a safer tomorrow. I’m optimistic as I witnessed the planned walk out one month to the day after the Florida school shooting. It was an illustration of choosing a course of action in solidarity and it makes me proud.

The young people of today are the voters of tomorrow. Getting angry about the abhorrent gun laws, political rhetoric, and the seemingly lackadaisical attitudes surrounding school shootings is not only necessary, but required, for change. It takes a lot of courage and tenancity to take those first steps against the status quo and I applaud these young people for what they’re doing.

Like many, I’ve wept as the body count rises in the name of U.S. democratic freedoms. Even from a  distance where I don’t feel the same physical (gun violence) threats, I can still understand the grief faced by so many —too many. I seriously don’t know how they all cope and carry on after such harrowing circumstances.

In Canada, we don’t face the same fears about school shootings, but we still feel our neighbor’s pain and the aftershocks of grief and anger. For every individual that dies, there are survivors—the other students, the family, the teachers, staff, and first responders—forever changed in a way that we can only imagine, but there’s also the public. Let’s not forget the average person watching the tragedy unfold on TV and how it affects them. It’s a mood of uncertainty and helplessness suffered by millions of people in both the US and Canada. It’s a sad truth of the day.

Even if you don’t think your kid is aware of the news and current events, believe me—they know. The kids talk about it to each other and in class. They watch YouTube .It’s not a secret and yet as far as I know, the schools here don’t do anything like security drills or heightened vigilance. Who knows how much all the school gun violence south of the border is adding to the anxiety and depression for teens everywhere?  After a televised incident, I’d bet that all the teachers and administrators walk back into the school with a heavy heart. How could you not? It doesn’t matter where the incident occurs, it affects us all.

When I see the anger and determination on the faces of those young people marching, it gives me hope. Hope that there will be change. Hope that someone amongst those students, is a strong and forever leader—a compelling voice—that will bring about positive transformation. I also hope that the protest continues until it’s voice is so strong that it can no longer be pushed aside or ignored.

We joke about having ‘first-world problems’—school shootings should not be one of them. Let’s pray that the students voices raised in protest will be heard and acted upon. #NationalWalkoutDay #StudentsForChange #EndGunViolence #AuntieSays

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan. She can be reached at faye.arcand@icloud.com  or www.fayeearcand.com 

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…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