Brown Girls Yoga

Date #349 - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A: I was really bothered by this experience:

I recently got back into going to yoga (I go 2-5 times a week for months then stop… Bad!) and I rushed to Kula to catch a class. Yoga keeps me sane and I really needed it today. Because I was rushed, I looked at Tuesday’s schedule instead of Wednesday’s and, when I got there, the only class available was Brown Girls Yoga or hot yoga. Having asthma and anxiety, I can’t take hot yoga. “Can I take that class?” I asked, pointing at Brown Girls Yoga. The woman at reception just looked at me, pausing, then said, “No.” I said, “Because I’m not a brown girl?” I felt really angry. I wanted to say, “I have brown girlfriends.” I hated that I wanted to say that. To identify my friends only by their skin colour, just so I could be included. I was so angry at myself for messing up, for relying so much on needed to be there/to do yoga, and for not being able to take a class at a studio that is so inclusive.

I never thought about Brown Girls Yoga before. It didn’t bother me because I chose my schedule around that class. I get that it’s important to offer a safe space for those that feel excluded, but it was the strangest feeling to feel so extremely excluded myself, knowing that this feeling is exactly what the class was created for. Does that make sense? Yes, I am white, but, in my world, I don’t care what colour my skin is, or yours. I care that I am and you are nice and respected and supported and loved. I care that I and you feel safe and welcome and listened to. I care that we work together to create a great world, and a fun world. If it was queer yoga, I wouldn’t be turned away, I thought. If it was yoga for those with anxiety, or mental health squabbles, I would be able to go. I couldn’t help but think this class was for all the things that you can physically see. Well I felt excluded, and caught off guard. I left and passed a “brown girl” walking with her yoga mat and I felt so jealous. It was awful! I pretty much cried at B’s place, but he was really good at talking to me and making me feel okay about how I felt. I am happy that, of all places, I had his to go to.

B: Let me start by stating the obvious. A and I are white. We are not brown or of Indian descent and will never fully know the plight of brown women. For that matter, I will never fully know the prejudices, hate and other mean things women endure daily. I won’t know this about many groups. 

What I do know is that your skin colour does not limit your ability for empathy and understanding. Regardless of skin colour or sex or gender or pretty much anything else we have the ability to sympathize, try to understand, and lend a hand. 

Whoever programmed this class and made the “brown girls only” rule missed a great opportunity here. They missed an opportunity for a non-brown woman to walk into a class where she was the opportunity and for her to learn from her fellow human beings. The others in that class missed out on the opportunity to be shown that people of other races are willing to ask, “what unique challenges do you face as a brown woman in Toronto?”

I assume that this class was created in the best of intentions. It was created as a way to make more people feel welcome. I believe that the “brown girls only” rule was a simple mistake in short-sightedness. 

When I hear of this kind of segregation I think, “that is not what Ghandi died for.” That may be extreme and I may be missing something. Things may be so bad for brown women in Toronto that they feel they can’t do yoga with people of other races.

If that is the case it is horrible. 

I think we need to create safe spaces that acknowledge the imperfections in the world. I also think it is important to do this looking for more creative ways to create these spaces that are focused on inclusiveness.

We can’t try to create more segregated spaces while also trying to promote tolerance. It doesn’t work that way. 

After A told me about this experience I told her about how historically black colleges have been accepting people of other races while teaching a black-focused curriculum, and how women’s-only colleges are facing a similar dilemma with transgender applicants. 

We spoke about segregation and how in an attempt to create less of those negative actions, Kula somehow did the opposite.

People make mistakes and I am going to chalk it up to that. I hope A returns and I hope she gets to enjoy yoga with many people of all sorts.

Obvious Child

Date #348 - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A: B’s bud told us to check out this movie called Obvious Child so we made a plan to go. It ended up only being B and I because his friend was late and it sold out! Well, he missed a great flick. This film was so cute and good and progressive and funny. I wrote about it on my blog because I loved it so much. Basically, sitting beside B during the opening skit made me giggle a lot. Go see it and then we’ll talk.

B: I’ll just tell you…the opening skit talks about what really goes on with women’s underwear. It was a revelation for me and, based on the way many of the women in the theatre were laughing, it was totally true.

I thought “yeah, I always figured it would be kind of messy down there…it just makes sense,” and finally someone was de-mistifying it for me. 

Anyways, the movie was hilarious and I am so happy I saw it with A. I was sad my friend missed out. I really like when A and I get to hang out with other people. We’re so busy it doesn’t happen much.

Our new company + Fried cheese

Date #347 - Monday, July 14, 2014

A: If ever I want to eat a bag of chips or box of cookies, B makes me friend cheese. Literally. Slice up some cheddar and fry it in the pan. It’s delicious. We watched the Jays game and worked on our logo for the company we’re starting. It was a nice, relaxing, and productive evening. We didn’t get a whole lot done but, like coming up with our name, we found it effective to brainstorm then let our ideas settle. 

B: Yes, that plate I am holding - that looks like it has mashed sweet potatoes or raw cookie dough - is actually fried cheese. Basically you heat coconut oil and butter in a pan on medium, add one large block of cheese, let it melt, flip once. It’s a half-decent way to get some healthy fats and a great way to satisfy cravings.

After we watched the MLB Homerun Derby - which I love. A didn’t quite understand the derby before it began. But, when the Blue Jays' own Jose Bautista hit 10 homeruns in a row she got in to the festivities. Unfortunately it was all downhill after that. 

I had a great time working on ideas for our company. We settled on a name and did mockups of a logo and started brainstorming social media profiles. We’ve been thinking about this for awhile and I will say it is an idea that perfectly fits our personalities. Stay tuned for more…

Back from the cottage

Date #346 - Sunday, July 13, 2014

A: I don’t have any photos from the night so here’s one I took as I was waiting for people to get in the cars and go. I spent the weekend at a friend’s cottage… without B. Last year, it was the opposite. When I got back we hung out and… Hm… Can’t remember what we did. It was probably relaxing. :P

B: A was away at the cottage all weekend. We talked a few times when she was there. I could tell she was relaxing away and that we would catch up more when she got back.

I was watching her cats so I was at her place when she got back. It was nice to be there to greet her.

Sailing

Date #345 - Thursday, July 10, 2014

A: B’s parents are awesome! They sailed to the city! Woah! Of course we went to visit them! I love Toronto Island. It’s such a nice little escape RIGHT in the heart of such a metropolis. I love that you have to take a boat and you can bring your bike and that it feel like you’re so far from all the dirt and spin of urban living that it’s a mini-vacation-feeling-experience. I’m happy to share all that with B… Well… that he brings me along with him on these sorts of things. I wouldn’t have had the chance to do this otherwise. 

B: I think it is super adorable and inspiring when my parents go on adventures like this. They do it a lot actually. Growing up my sisters and I would always be included. Now, they finally are going on their own adventures but they still like to include us as much as possible.

I think they were as ecstatic to see as as we were to see them. It was pretty amazing to get this perspective of the city. I love going to the Island, but being on a boat in the water with this massive city towering over you is kind of an incredible feeling. I felt small and vulnerable but also happy to be a part of something so much bigger than me. I was happy to be sharing that with A and my parents.

I hope when we are their age and have been together as long as them we still find ways to do amazing, new, and scary things like my parents do.

Onion Goggles & Cookies

Date #344 - Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A: You can make fun of me all you want but those onions were STRONG and those ski goggles helped…. a little. The acid fumes still got to my eyes believe it or not, but we got it done. B and I made lentil masala (I’m guessing that’s what it’s called) and the BEST pale chico chip cookies ever!! (We haven’t made them in SO long!) And… of course… Orphan Black.

B: This was hilarious. A put on these goggles from the 80s to chop onions while we made dinner together. She is adorable.

After, while watching Orphan Black we made these Paleo cookies (no grains or processed items). I think the recipe is vegan too…

Anyways, the cookies actually were even better than they looked and I ate way too many. Mmmmm…

She’s Black He’s Jewish Oh Vey!

Date #343 - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

NOTE: B talks about sexually specific issues in this post.

A: B and I went to see She’s Black He’s Jewish They’re Married Oy Vey! at the Fringe Fest this year and it was… interesting. It was about married couple - she’s black, he’s jewish - and their performance was about successful marriage and how, if two people stemming from arguably the most repressed histories can come together and be incredibly happy in life and love, then you can too. In that regard it was funny. I enjoy sexually humorous and adventurous content, especially in public, but I am so passionate about not fitting into a box that I get a little turned off when shows are simply about heteronormative love. I think we live in a day and age where we no longer have to fit into boxes and follows formulas and there’s a freedom in that. I know a lot of people don’t see this or understand it or have had the opportunity to learn about this sort of approach to life and that heteronormative art/shows/stories take away from the possibility of people learning that there’s more to life and love than that.

I was happy to be there with B. I hope that we can spend the rest of our lives going to shows and seeing art and experiencing people in this way.

B: OH MY GOSH this play was hilarious! I laughed so hard!!

I think a play featuring people making fun of themselves, talking crudely about their own sex-lives, and ultimately offering up some great relationship advice is the perfect date. I’m so happy that we went.

I understand A’s observations about things being slightly heteronormative, but I also think these two were trying to say “this is our story and here’s what we learned that may help you too.”  There were a few times where they made broad statements that painted all couples as woman + man. 

There was one point where I felt somewhat uncomfortable that I haven’t talked to A about…It was when the two went on about the lesson “never let him cum first.” It was a lesson based off the idea that when a man ejaculates he doesn’t want to do anything else. Taken further and more broadly, this could be meant as “always put your partner’s needs in front of your’s”…or not.

Anyways, I know this feeling well. It’s quite often true. I don’t know what it is or why, but when I ejaculate I do loose most of my sexual interest. It has nothing to do with A and I am happy to kiss her and cuddle, I just don’t really want to do anything sexual after. 

I love making A happy in all ways. Sexually, I know she often pays a lot of attention to me (with no pressure or suggestion from me at all). So when this came up in the play I felt like I was blushing a lot and thinking “Oh no! I cum first all the time. We’ve never talked about this!”

Looks like we need to have a conversation…

Guardians Let Down + Deliver Us From Evil

Date #342 - Monday, July 7, 2014

A: I got intel on a preview of Guardians of the Galaxy and found out how to get tickets. I went two hours early, B meeting me there, only to find out that it was a 17 minute preview of the scene - and we didn’t even like it. I was so many. I hated that we wasted so much time there and no one even said once it was only 17 minutes. Multiple people were confused, too. Well I wrote IMAX later and complaint that their wording was off. The ticket read: Guardians of the Galaxy - first look with an exclusive 17 minutes of footage. What do you think?

IMAX ended up compensating us with two tickets which was really nice. We also went to see Deliver Us From Evil which I thought was funny. It was our first horror in the theatre (and second overall). When we first met I asked B if he liked horror movies and he said yes. I was stoked to have a buddy to get scared with! ……but every time I suggest a horror movie B looks at like and says, “But that’s scary.” It’s adorable so I can’t get mad but, finally, we’re watching them! What should be our third??

B: I pay a lot of attention to customer service. I’ve worked for a lot of companies and I currently freelance in Media, so I really obsess over intended messages, audiences, and connecting with people.

I think Marvel Studios’ “preview” was a MASSIVE fail. I think it set the wrong expectation and, as a result, let a lot of people down. Also, they missed out on an opportunity to get a bunch of fans talking about the movie super-early.

But, it’s killing at the box-office and we were nicely reimbursed for our time so that’s all good.

What is more important is how A and I noted the one female character (and I include all background characters in this statement) we saw during our 17-minute scene. Yes, only ONE. It was an indicator of what I already suspected, a studio who in its ten releases has yet to release a film with a female lead, still doesn’t get it. Not having seen the entire film, I’ll leave you with a quote from this Salon review:

Gunn genuinely went out to create a film with “strong female characters” and was savvy enough to include a basic Bechdel pass. But then secure in the knowledge that he was meeting that goal, he failed to realize that jokes about prostitution and background characters like the Collector’s assistant and Peter Quill’s one-night-stands would serve to undermine those intentions.

We needed… space

Date #341 - Sunday, July 6, 2014

A: Brian and I were having internal dialogues with ourselves that completely clashed once the words came out. I drew this self-portrait on an app I found because I was looking for a distraction and wanted to seem busy. We don’t have other photos because it was one of those days. Do you take photos on those days?

I ended up leaving B and biking home crying. When I got home I paced a lot and cleaned my apartment until I decided to go to TURF anyway, even if I was going alone (Good idea because Jeff Tweedy is incredible and bad idea because Wilco songs make me cry a lot). I wanted to make things right with B but I’m learning that space is good, sometimes. In the beginning I would press and we would argue and nothing ever got solved until we had some space. Well we had some space. And it got solved. I am awful at remember the small details, but I knew I missed him very much while listening to Jeff Tweedy. I even sent him a song whose lyrics I cried to while standing in the crowd and I held my phone so tightly waiting for a response, hoping it was positive and loving. I felt like I was 15. I know we’re only on date #341, but I would be utterly heartbroken without B. It was an emotional day. 

B: I was so happy when I found out that A ended up going to see Wilco. We had one of those arguments where a bunch of stuff builds up and you can’t really say what you’re fighting about. After things and I was sitting on my bed feeling sad I thought, “I caused this and A shouldn’t miss Wilco because of that.” She didn’t and that was good.

One of the things I’ve learned is to focus on how you’re feeling and what you need. I realized in this moment that I needed my own space. I remember feeling like I was being pulled in a million different directions and completely overwhelmed. I’m not sure why but I know in those moments I have a tendency to take it out on the people closest to me and blame them for my feelings. NEVER blame others for your feelings. It will get you no where.

So A and I took some space and I started to accept that that was what we needed and I was totally afraid to admit that. I’m afraid sometimes that I will loose A and I’m afraid to be alone and so I hold on to things so tightly that they can sometimes reek havoc. 

What I learned is that A and I need to accept that sometimes we need time apart and that is OK. The big question is how we will get this “alone time” when we live together….

TURF Day 2! Gaslight Anthem, Violent Femmes, and The Strumbellas

Date #340 - Saturday, July 5, 2014

A: I felt awful but really wanted to go to the second day of TURF. It was a beautiful day and we took it easy. I love going to these things with B. He knows people, we mingle, sit around, I occasionally see someone I know, usually drink beer (except I had the flu)… I am happy to spend these summer days with B outdoors listening to incredible music. It makes me feel lucky and un-alone. Like I’m part of this big group of awesome, talented, and hip people who are all there because we have something in common and, for the first time, I’m going to these events with a partner. An actual person that I’m trying real hard to build something with. And I’m really proud of it. There was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever have or feel this.

Gaslight Anthem was incredible although I wish the other band members, or at least one or two, spoke more. Maybe they don’t like to speak, so I shouldn’t assume what I’m assuming (lead singer syndrome!). Last time I saw them at Sound Academy I had recently been dumped and my friend ditched me so I cried the entire set. This show was way better and definitely a highlight of my summer. I liked singing to B too, even though my voice sounded like a million dying drones in the desert.

B: Looking back on this day I can already tell what was building to Sunday…

Anyways, this festival has an unreal lineup but I was so tired I could barely enjoy the festival. Yes, A was sick but she seemed really energized by the bands. I, on the other hand, was happy to just laze around. I was also still really sore from my bike accident and was trying to stand as little as possible. Even writing this now I can’t believe how hard it was to stand even for a short while.

Anyways, I was happy I got to see The Strumbellas. They are awesome. I left A to listen to them. I really like that we are confident and independent even together.

Here’s a track for your enjoyment:

Sick. Again.

Date #339 - Friday, July 4, 2014

A: It was Independence day AND the first day of TURF… And I had the flu. TURF is my favourite summer festival in the city and I wanted to go so badly but B encouraged me to rest up for day 2 and 3 of the festival instead. It was a good choice, since I was really sick. I never used to get the flu… I guess that’s long gone. I’ll never forget date #2 when B convinced me to come over, even though I had the flu. We watched a movie that used to make me bawl my eyes out as an adolescent. Where the Heart Is. Have you seen it? I think I’m due for a re-watching. Or a re-reading. The book is heart-wrenching. 

B: It’s really hard to tell how sick A is because she HATES being sick and hides her sickness really well. Should we have gone to TURF? Well, Beirut, Born Ruffians, Deer Tick and more were playing. If you don’t know, those are bands that we both LOVE. 

That is how sick A was (and how completely tired I was). I was really tired. I only know this now because I’m asking myself “Did you really miss out on Beirut?”

Andrea gets the flu - from B’s sister???

Date #338 - Thursday, July 3, 2014

A: All of this cost me $80 which I thought was a lot at the time but I later realized one or two pill or even a bag of protein could cost $65 or $100 easily! Over the past few years I’ve gotten into herbal remedies. I’ve never been one to take meds - ever - not even advil unless my headache is exploding - so working with people and meeting B who are/is interested in similar approaches has really inspired me. For example, I never knew about oil of oregano until I worked at my last job. It’s a miracle. Take it when you’re sick, and when you feel like you’re getting sick. Two hours after you take it, have a probiotic like kombucha or even a probiotic supplement. Oil of oregano kills the good and bad cells - everything - and the probiotic will restore the good cells. It works wonders.

Also - if you’re anemic or take iron - take it with vitamin C! You absorb 100% more of it!

We watched Orphan Black all night. I had the flu. It was legit. B was on all the pills too to ensure he didn’t get sick. What a lovely man, for keeping me company. Looking back fondly on date #2……. We were so eloquent in that entry. (If I could rewrite it, it’d include: I thought B was nuts for inviting me over having the flu, and I felt even more ridiculous driving over to his house as sick as a dog. We watched one my my favourite books-turned-movies and he was so open and accepting about how corny it was and how awful I was feeling that I was totally aghast and smitten. He told me was an intense person. I wanted to tell him I was difficult. Instead, I thought, maybe this will work out.)

B: I don’t know why, but I like taking care of people when they are sick. I think the body is remarkable and I’ve always been especially interested in how nutrition can help. I’m a big supporter of natural remedies and maybe part of me treats treating A like an experiment…sorry A but it seems to be working.

My little sister totally gave the flu to A. Luckily our friend Nathalie Niddam has given us an awesome routine that involves Oil of Oregano (followed by probiotics 2 hours later) Vitamin C, D, Zinc and an immune booster featuring Rishi Mushrooms. It totally works (especially if you start right when symptoms present).

Also, taking care of a sick person can be awesome. You get to sit around and watch movies and eat soup and drink orange juice but you don’t feel sick. Anyways, A got better and I didn’t get sick and now we have a pharmacy in the kitchen.

1st Anniversary Jays Game

Date #337 - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A: B’s parents got him a ticket to this game. I wasn’t originally supposed to go but when my schedule freed up my pal and I used our seasons pass to get in. We ended up sitting together and it was so much fun. We were in the same place but with new people and different seats and it was a really refreshing and fun game. 

Two weeks prior I had emailed and called to set up a visit from Ace, the mascot, and Jays force for Brian, and I waited the entire game for him to show up. He never did. I can’t lie. I was really upset, though I hid it. I ended up texting the guest services number that they have plastered everywhere and their team came by with a postcard wishing us a happy anniversary. B was really pumped and grateful and, although I tried to hide it, I can’t help but feel as though I came of as an ungrateful child. Oh well. Maybe next year Ace will come for a visit.

B: My Mom had planned to go to the Jays game with my Grandparents for awhile and she gets really good seats and A was supposed to be working and so I said “OK.” Well, it turned out A wasn’t working and this was the 1 year anniversary of when A asked if I would be her boyfriend right before I got off the subway.

I was actually really worried about this day being special. You see so many things in the media about anniversaries and I didn’t have anything like that planned. I think this day was perfect though. It was filled with things and people we love and we got to share our celebration with all of them…including the Blue Jays!

Yeah, I sent them a tweet about our anniversary and then they came and brought A and me a card. I thought it was the tweet but it turns out A wrote them awhile ago! (she’s great) Then the Jays hit a walk-off home-run in the 9th to win it all.

Later we got coffee and had dinner and other people who saw our Instagram posts wished us a happy anniversary too. I think I’m so lucky to both have found someone who I love so much and who inspires me to share that love so much.

Loon Choir & Fireworks on the water

Date #336 - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A: We played the train game again but this time B’s dad didn’t play. He totally wanted to after we were 20 minutes in so he hopped on to B’s grandma’s turn and it was hilarious. I was dying of laughter. Had to be there, I think, unless the photo above is any indication. It was adorable.We headed to the Oshawa Canada Day festival - and how few photos we have! - to see B’s sister’s incredible band, Loon Choir, play the gazebo stage. It was lovely. Oshawa reminded me a lot of London. That is all.

Later, we went to the harbour and sat on the front of B’s parent’s sailboat to watch the fireworks. It was really sweet. I felt really lucky to share this memory with B. I keep thinking, “It’s crazy that I’m on a boat right now with a sexy man in some suburb of a huge city. How did I get here???” And then I remember that everything happens one step at a time and then all of a sudden you’re knee deep in all the good things.

B: This was a really great day. I’ve realized with holidays that it is important to keep things simple - surround yourself with people you love. I love watching my sister play with Loon Choir. She is and the band are really talented. Plus, we were on a lake and that is awesome.

Watching the fireworks with my parents and Grandparents was pretty great too. It was a triple date and that was kind of funny and nice. Watching the fireworks my Mom kept remarking at all the smoke and how beautiful it was. I kept saying how we were watching massive pollution.

I liked the moment and am really grateful for that, but do wish for a more environmentally friendly way to celebrate our Nation’s birth.

Swinging Life Away - literally!

Date #335 - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A: Canada Day! We went to the beach/park with B’s family. It was so lovely. Until B and his sis were all, “Hey, you HAVE to go on this spiny park toy. It’s SO fun.” So I did. And it was AWFUL. You don’t even know (and never will because I made B delete the video). I couldn’t stop spinning and my feet didn’t reach the ground, and there was nothing for me to reach for to stop myself, so I freaked out. Literally. I was in a weird headspace from the night before and I know it was completely selfish and unfair of me to act the way I did. I was always really embarrassed which didn’t settle well in my stomach. It was an off day. And I feel so silly for not acting like a grown up, but I guess we all have these days every once in a while. I just… usually try to have them alone in my apartment and not in front of my boyfriend’s entire family. Hah.

B: I wrote about the whole “playground incident” in the last post so I won’t get in to that here. Instead, I will tell you about the awesome things that happened. We walked along this beautiful peer and we laughed and we all spent time together - A and I and most of my family.

My Grandparents have little arguments about a lot of things. They are both opinionated individuals and so they but heads. I think it is hilarious…despite feeling very awkward at times. A got to see this. What was best was that one of these arguments was going on when A and I asked my Grandparents to swing together so I could take a photo of them. My Grandfather pouted while my Grandmother pleaded. I saw A and I in that moment.

Eventually they got on the swings and had a great time. They laughed while I took pictures and forgot about their argument. It gave me hope that if you are willing to just stop and joke around for a moment, you can always come back to the person you love.