6 Ways to Support Artist Friends While Broke

 As the holidays approach, many people want to help out their friends who are artisans. Unfortunately, for many of us, money is such a big restriction that it can feel impossible to do. Realistically, for many struggling artists – making sales can be the biggest actual help. Not only does it help pay for necessities, it also provides additional validation, and so on. However, when most of your friends are also struggling artists themselves, then it can be a case of just honestly not having the money available to buy something yourself.

I’ve faced this concern from both sides: the broke friend AND the struggling artist who is desperate to make sales. Not only this, but I’ve faced the problem as an artist of multiple different media: writing, storytelling, music, painting, jewelry making, cooking, and so on. Sales can also mean a variety of things: patrons, clicks on ads, views, registrations, physical sales, and so on.

With this in mind, I thought that I would share a list of 6 Things You Can Do that don’t cost money, but that can help generate more sales and go a LONG way towards helping an artist sustain themselves.

Continue reading “6 Ways to Support Artist Friends While Broke”

6 Ways to Support Artist Friends While Broke
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Guest Post: From quack to quacked, Quark to quarks: A journey to invisibility.

(Note from Ania: This post by Sophie was written with the assistance of a speech to text tool. There may be some typos, which I haven’t been able to correct yet.  I will come back and edit them as soon as I have the spoons to devote to it.)

We live in a world of experts. Scientists. Astronauts. Doctors. Computer programmers. Politicians. Teachers. Husbands. Wives. Parents. Men. Woman. All the people. Everyone you see around you is an expert in their field, even if we all haven’t gone through higher education to obtain a degree.

But you don’t need a degree to be considered an expert in your field. In a lot of cases, the people who will know most about a thing are the people living with and dealing with the thing. And for the most part, people accept these masters of the universe in their own chosen specialty.

Parents are masters in parenting.

Women are masters in being women.

Men are masters t understanding men.

Even children are masters at understanding children.

Social justice warriors are masters at navigating the system and assisting people in distress because of the system.

Marginalized people are masters at knowing what it means to be oppressed because of who you are, or what you believe in.

I am sure that you, reading this, are a master in your chosen domain.

But I cannot speak to what it’s like being a part of that domain. And it’s not why I’m here today, writing this. But I did want to make sure before I began that you understood that I SEE you. You are not invisible to me. And I am quite certain that you will have experienced some or many of these things that I want to speak about. I know that your pain is real. But I must focus my thoughts and speak of the things that I personally know, which unfortunately isn’t every single person on earth, much as I wish I could sometimes.

So let me try this again, from the beginning.

Each and every one of us is a master of our own domain. We don’t all have university degrees to tuck in under our belts, but we do all have our passions, and qualifications. Today’s words will focus on one particular subset of the human culture: Being disabled, and the invisibility that too often comes with it. Because while it isn’t the knowledge I would have wanted for myself, it’s what I have become educated on, by means of the circumstances I’ve been thrown in.

It is in that light, in that guise, that I introduce myself to you.

Sophie, Ph.D.
Partially human, Disabled.

Continue reading “Guest Post: From quack to quacked, Quark to quarks: A journey to invisibility.”

Guest Post: From quack to quacked, Quark to quarks: A journey to invisibility.

Guest Post: Who Needs Social Justice Warriors Anyway?

CN: For medical details, descriptions of pain,

As early ago as two years back, I’d never heard the term “Social Justice Warrior.” The first I heard of it was from a friend. He made those “Pesky SJWs” out to be horrible things, worse than Klingons out for revenge. I didn’t really understand it, and so had no opinion on the matter. But given that I am a non christian liberal and he’s a conservative christian, I felt there might be more to it than meets the eye.

But, well… Too much life happening, and no spoons to research it. And besides, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need someone out there telling me what to do and how to do it. I’m an adult, right? Even when I don’t feel much like adulting.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Who Needs Social Justice Warriors Anyway?”

Guest Post: Who Needs Social Justice Warriors Anyway?

If Ever I Should Love You

I was going through my various writing folders, when I stumbled across an old paragraph I wrote about what I was looking for in a relationship. So much has changed since I wrote it. When I did, I still thought I was straight. I assumed it would be a man I would spend my life with. I assumed I would be monogamous. I assumed I would have a normal life; I didn’t yet know the extent to which disability would play a role in my life, or the hardships I would face as a result of systemic ableism. I still thoughts that my wedding would look like two people standing together in a church because they believed it would be witnessed by a god.

I first wrote that post over ten years ago, then modified it somewhat before meeting Alyssa, after I had been dumped by my partner of two years.

That relationship had taught me about the need for common interests. I realized then how important to me it was to be able to have different conversations with my partner: about books, movies, social issues, politics. To be able to share stories and discuss different aspects of them and different things that stood out to us. To be able to share knowledge about interests we might not share but find interesting because of our partner’s interest and to have the same courtesy returned.

Seeing that post at this time, while I’m still processing the dissolution of my marriage and the myriads of revelations after the fact, I considered writing a new post. I ran this idea past my therapist and she strongly encouraged me to do so as a step towards determining what it is I want and how it differs from what I had/thought I had.

Continue reading “If Ever I Should Love You”

If Ever I Should Love You

I’ve started Wrapping

… wire that is.

I’ve recently restarted making jewelry out of semi-precious stones and beads. It’s been a fair amount of work, and you would not believe the blisters I’ve developed on my fingers. It’s been an interesting  lesson, and a good way to disconnect from time to time. Just focus on moulding the wire.

Here are just a few of the pieces I’ve made so far.

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If you like any of the pieces you see and want to buy them, they’re all available in my Etsy page. You can also use the splainyouathing coupon code to get 10% off.  Purchases help keep me afloat.

I’ve started Wrapping

Guest Post: A Night at The Opera: How A Blind Date Got Blind-Sighted By Humanity

CN: Ableism, Threats of Violence,

It’s been a hard week for me. Today was the first day I could walk semi- normally after crashing my e-bike into a car on Thursday.My legs are black and blue. I’ve got whiplash, sore muscles, and have spent the last several days in bed with icepacks at the ready.

I was happy to be feeling better today, because tonight I was going to see “Phantom of the Opera” at the NAC with my 11 year old niece.

Being barely able to move, with my legs looking like a cross between a gorilla and a black and blue elephant, and not to mention that fabric on my legs is extreme agony, I opted to wear some comfortable pants and running shoes. I wasn’t going to risk falling again by wearing heels, or risk having a miserable evening by wearing clothes that hurt my legs, or revealed their startling mosaic of bruised hairy nightmares to the whole NAC. Pants are definitely more respectful.

When we arrived at our seats, sitting directly ahead of me was someone I knew. The person who told me Phantom was in town and one of the reasons I bought tickets for this showing for this specific section. This way I’d have someone nearby that I knew, and my anxiety wouldn’t be as bad. When we get to our seats, I see that she’s there. So far, so good.

I said hello as I sat down. She looks at me with disgust in her eyes. “Really? You couldn’t dress up? This is the NAC, Sophie, you’re an embarrassment.” Well. I’m sure my hairy black and blue legs would have been more so, thank you very much. The safety zone I’d planned on wasn’t going to happen, clearly, but I had a backup plan. I took out my Anxiety Duck. He comes with me to my appointments all the time, and helps keep me calm. Again, my “friend” felt the need to comment: “Really? Put that away. You’re humiliating me.” OK fine. Guess who’s on ignore the rest of the evening.

Continue reading “Guest Post: A Night at The Opera: How A Blind Date Got Blind-Sighted By Humanity”

Guest Post: A Night at The Opera: How A Blind Date Got Blind-Sighted By Humanity

The Emotional Labour of Asking for Help

I think one of the hardest things for me to learn after I became disabled, was when to slow down, and when to ask for help. We talk about the energy cost that comes with living with chronic illness, but accepting it is still a process. Coming to terms with the fact that you can’t do certain things is hard. You’re determined not to let being sick change you, but you have no choice. You have to. Because you are different now. There are things you cannot do, and moving on and becoming yourself means coming to terms with that.

What many people don’t understand is that it’s not a onetime thing.

It happens again every time we have to ask for help.

Society tells us, as well as everyone in our lives, that we are a burden and that that is all we can be. No matter how much we learn that it is not the case, it is still hard not to internalize that message. The message is passed along in the media around us – with disability being presented as the worst possible thing that can happen to anyone, and in the reactions of people around us.

When Alyssa and I were together for example, it was not uncommon for members of her family to question her as to what good our relationship was with me being so broken. When she had called her mother to announce our engagement, what should have been happy news was instead met with a sense of mounting horror and dramatic exclamations of “no, no, no”. Later when discussing it with her father, the concerns about tying your fortunes to a disabled person came up again. When I was with my ex before Alyssa, so many people would tell me over and over again that I was lucky to have found someone who was willing to stay with me. I think the worst however, was when a friend who also happened to be Alyssa’s partner tried to talk me out of getting a dog to train as a service dog for myself by bringing up how much Alyssa already had to do around the house.

Although it was never flat out said, the implication was obvious. I was a burden.

Continue reading “The Emotional Labour of Asking for Help”

The Emotional Labour of Asking for Help

Quebec’s Bill 62 puts abuse victims at risk

If you’ve been following Canadian news at all, you might have heard about a new bill that passed in Quebec. Bill 62 which essentially mandates that you cannot access public services, including bus transportation, if your face is covered.

This is just the latest in a history of bills aimed at specifically targeting Muslim women, including the horrible Values Charter and many other suggestions. They parrot similar laws passed in France, also aimed at the increasing number of refugees from Islamic countries.

The bill is racist, plain and simple. It is legislative legitimization of said racism, giving bigots a convenient cover for discriminating against brown people. Yes, Islam is a religion, but the social perception of “Muslim” is of someone with darker skin. Additionally, there is a tendency to presume that all brown people are Muslim. Many Sikh people and Indian people of various faiths have faced discrimination in Canada and the US, with a strong implication that the bigot in question assumes them to be Islamic.

Continue reading “Quebec’s Bill 62 puts abuse victims at risk”

Quebec’s Bill 62 puts abuse victims at risk

10 Tips for Men to be Better in Bed

Recently a series of conversations on Facebook took place surrounding a very funny summary of sex between a cishet man and a woman. The jist of the joke had to do with the experiences of women who sleep with cis men and an exaggerated version of the very similar script followed by many of these men. Basically along the lines of of ‟kisses for 20 seconds, fingers you for 30 seconds, immediately wants PiV intercourse. Pumps away with no clitoral stimulation. Cums. Asks did you cum, then rolls over and falls asleep.”

The number of women and non-binary people  who commented on the shares of this post was both entertaining and a sad commentary on the average straight sexual experience. Many of the comments included additional frequent script additions including the stereotypical downward head push when some guys want oral sex, the rareness with which men actually offer or go ahead with eating out, and the tendency for sex to really be all about his orgasm – while at the same time many men are convinced that they’re Dynamos in bed.

As I’ve written previously, I’ve been having some sexy adventures of late, in an attempt to live by the old adage: “The best way to get over someone, is to get under a lot of someones.” While it is only recently that I’ve engaged in more diverse adventures, even before my possibly tawdry experiments however, I had an uncommonly good knowledge of matters related to sex and sexuality.

From a fairly young age, I was intrigued by sex and my research took various forms including but not limited to pornography, literotica, various articles, sex and relationship advice columns, as well as actual academic studies in sexology. What’s more, for all that I may be awkward, I have been told that I have fairly good insight into people’s motivations, wants, fears, etc. Even before I lost my virginity, it was not uncommon for friends and acquaintances to seek my advice on issues related to sex and relationships, and my advice very frequently proved helpful. A few years ago, I even looked into starting an advice column, but had no idea how to seek out questions.

Continuing the fun, I asked my friends about advice they could give to cis het men when it comes to being a better lover. More hilarity ensued, but there was also an undercurrent of anger. I mean… seriously, wouldn’t you be if guys bragging about what great lovers they are, but continuously turned out to be nothing to write home about?

Based on the comments and my own experiences, I’ve put together a list of advice designed to help cis het men, and frankly anyone who sleeps with either women or people with vaginas. Note that because this article is targeted at Cis Het Men when interacting with women with vaginas, the language used may be somewhat binary in nature. This is not meant to exclude non-binary people as both existing, their identity being truth, but is only meant to deal with a very specific set of circumstances and not be a general essay on sex and different orientations. Those posts may yet be coming. Remember: Not all women have vaginas, not all men have penises, and there are more than two genders.

Without Further Ado: Ten Tips On How to Rock Her World Continue reading “10 Tips for Men to be Better in Bed”

10 Tips for Men to be Better in Bed