paris.

Tonight, I can’t sleep. Tonight, I am coming to you with tears in my eyes and a heart that is breaking. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m currently reading a book detailing the events of one of the most well-known American tragedies of our time, or simply because I can’t fathom how this keeps happening. I really can’t. I don’t care about your political views or your opinions on gun control, today’s (yesterday’s) events in Paris should never, ever happen.

Just a few days ago, I sat with a large number of people and spent the morning honouring those who put their lives on the line to protect my country. We were reminded of the sacrifice that were made by the soldiers of WWI , and the sacrifices that continue to be made every day, so that we can live a happy, healthy life under the protection of these brave men and women. We remembered the fallen and showed our respect for those currently serving, and the whole time, I was overwhelmed by how lucky I am to live in this great country. The attack in Ottawa last year shook me in a unique way. The feelings of fear and helplessness I experienced while watching the news coverage, surrounded by my coworkers, are not anything I ever want to feel again. However at this point I’m sure that I will again in the future. I couldn’t believe that it could happen in Canada – my Canada.

As a human being, I feel so violated when I hear about these terrorist attacks. Every person has the right to feel safe, and when cowards like those today (yesterday) in Paris threaten that safety, it destroys us as people a little more. We only get one shot at this “mankind” thing, guys – we can’t waste that shot killing each other. Hatred and evil is found in cowards and villains, but bravery and love is found in each of us, and it will always win – that’s not something that only happens in fairy tales.

Because I am, always have been, and always will be a silver lining kind of person, I’m desperate for some kind of positive message or sign of hope to come out of this, and thanks to Hank Green, I have one. Tonight, there was one act of terrorism in Paris, but tonight, the great majority of acts in Paris were out of heroism and love. There will always be heroes, helpers, and those who put their lives on the line for the sake of others. These are the people that mankind will always need, and I am forever thankful that they exist.

While I love seeing countries unite in the wake of senseless and unnecessary tragedies like these, I wish it …lasted longer.  I wish we as people would learn, take these experiences and somehow, create a plan to eliminate terrorism and hate. I’m not smart enough to create that plan. I don’t have the answers, obviously. But I believe they’re out there. Terrorism will never destroy democracy, and while it may take a chip out of us sometimes, terrorism will never destroy mankind. We cannot – and will not – let it.

Tonight, we stand with Paris. Tonight, we are all Parisians. Ce soir, nous sommes tous Parisiens.

peaceforparis

Hedley: 10 Years

Today, I might get a little personal. I’ve been neck-deep in nostalgia in the last few weeks with some old friends, and I am loving it. Last month was the 10 year anniversary of my favourite band’s first album. Today, October 05 2015 is the 10 year anniversary of the first time I saw them live, AKA the best day of my life and something I’d been waiting for over a year to have the chance to do. In the last decade, they’ve put out 5 albums (and are currently working on LP6) and I’ve seen them every time they’ve been in my province. I’ve met them, I’ve had late-night chat session with them, I’ve had the insane opportunities to listen to rough cuts of songs before they’ve been released, and I have had the absolute joy and pleasure of meeting some of the most amazing humans because of this band. Today, I want to talk about Hedley.

I never thought that a band would have so much impact on my life, but they have. Somehow, they push me to be a better person, and to become someone worth being. They remind me that no matter who you are, you can have an influence on someone or something. They’ve taught me how to actively seek happiness instead of just waiting around on it. But I think the biggest thing they’ve taught me is to just be yourself. Honestly, truly, fuck anyone who doesn’t like you, just be you. And when I talk about these lessons and values they’ve placed in my life, I don’t just mean that they’re lyrics have inspired me that much. That’s the thing about discovering your favourite band before they “make it” – you actually have the chance to get to know them because they have like, 100 other fans. You spend late nights on their fan forum and they begin to recognize you – first by your username, then your photo, then they just know you.

But in all honesty, the fact that those 4 guys know my name isn’t even the best part. The best part is the community they’ve created, and the friendships I’ve built because of those 4 guys. This band is one of the reasons that my best friend and I initially bonded during lonely nights chatting on MSN Messenger until 4AM. I have phone numbers in my contact list stretching from Surrey, BC to London, ON to who-knows-where in New Brunswick even thought I’ve never been to those places, because I’ve had the opportunity to meet other fans from across the country. I’ve made some genuine, lifelong friends and I don’t know if I otherwise would have ever met half of these people. Hedley did that for me.

There’s so much I need to thank these guys for – friendships forged, memories made and life lessons learned. They are always there for me in a way that I can’t explain. They somehow seem to always know what to say and when it needs to be said. I am so genuinely proud of these 4 boys for growing from a shitty garage band to an amazing, refined talent, and I’m insanely lucky for having them to grow up with. They’ve challenged and shaped me in a really weird way and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Remember you matter.
Remember they don’t

-jwh

Photo Diary | July 2015

It is insane how easy it is to not do something. To procrastinate and put it off until you almost don’t even want to do it anymore. Of course, I am talking about me and what a lousy blogger I am. I kept making excuses for not posting and blaming my sudden lack of creativity, or the fact that it’s summer and I’m too busy having bonfires and drinking beer to write a blog post.

So now that it’s almost mid-August, I thought it would be supremely appropriate to post a bunch of photos from the month of July… starting with one from June, obviously.

001 June 26 | My baby brother graduated high school
one

002 July 1 | Happy Canada Day
three

003 July 4 | Girls night ft. sushi
four

004 July 4 | Girls night continued ft. Magic Mike + so much wine
five

005 July 9 | Boardwalkin’
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006 July 14 | The prettiest sunset you ever did see #nofilter #forrealzies
six

007 July 16 | Concert + rain
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008 July 18 | I drove and drove, but I couldn’t find the end
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009 July 24 | What does it mean when people compliment “my aesthetic”?
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010 July 28 | Even the worst storms gotta end
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I’m going to make a real effort to be back, and post regularly. I have lots of ideas, I’m just bad at follow-through sometimes.

See you soon, blog.

Photo Diary // 14032015

This weekend, we had our first taste of springtime in Canada. Winter is so depressing to me – everything is grey, cold, and dead. The novelty of pretty snow wears off pretty quickly once you start having to put on 20 layers of clothing every time you want to leave your house.

So when the snow started melting and the birds started singing, I was so happy to put away the parka, break out some sandals and spend time in the sunshine. I dragged my boyfriend to the nearest beach, thinking it would be sandy and clean, and we could go for a walk while sipping some smoothies. Unfortunately I was not greeted by the warm vision I was hoping for.

It was still pretty messy and frozen, so we were forced to stick to the boardwalk. That’s okay, we still has fun in the warmth of an early spring.

After the beach, we went to this cute little antique shop in town and explored. This place had all kinds of amazing nicknacks, from original publications of Archie comics to vintage luggage. We dug in and wandered through a little bit of history.

Not wanting to stay indoors just yet, we stopped by a park and hopped on the swings. And of course, I made my boyfriend pretend to be a photographer and take OOTD photos “for the blog.”


Shortly after this impromptu photo shoot, I realized that there were patches glued to the inside of my pants, underneath the distressing. I got really excited and ripped them off because my theory about distressed jeans is that you better go big or go home.

We finished off the day with an amazing (and kind of strange) dinner of pepperoni and mushroom pizza, and Brussels sprouts (I love them. I love Brussels sprouts. Sue me.). I wish I had thought to take a photo of that, because once we plated the pizza and veggies, it honestly looked like such a weird and unappetizing combination, but it was exactly what we were craving. We ate while watching Big Hero Six and Horrible Bosses 2 (another weird combination…), and we laughed a lot. Despite the muddy beach and the fact that this headcold of mine is a stage 5 clinger, it was a wonderful time spent with someone I truly love, and that’s all I need to have a perfect day.

This Is About More Than Birth Control

[originally published 8 months ago on stephaniefaye.sbvtle.com]

Unless you’ve been living under a rock that doesn’t have free Wi-Fi for the last few days, you’ve probably heard the outrage over the Hobby Lobby ruling. I didn’t really want to share much of my opinion on this because I was kind of flippy-floppy. I understand the frustration women are having over not getting their birth control covered (which I can say from personal experience… sucks), but I also understand that a corporation wanting their right to religious freedom, if that’s what it really comes down to. But I think the thing that bothers me most about the it isn’t even about birth control – it’s the fact that it sets a terrible precedence for company health plans. Based on this ruling, any boss can reject any claim for medical coverage for any reason, as long as he can say that it falls in line with his personal beliefs.

Let’s say that the CEO of a company is a Jehovah’s Witness. Now let’s say his company has an employee that needs a blood transfusion. Well Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t agree with that sort of thing, so those are medical expenses that won’t be covered by this employee’s company’s health insurance plan – that’s a bill of almost $1000 per 2 units of blood, plus hospital stay and the cost of whatever other medical treatments he needs. Now, I’m writing this while sitting comfortably in Canada, not having to worry about that because free health care is a thing we have, but for an average American citizen, I’m going to go ahead and that’s a unexpected expense he probably can’t afford to pay out of pocket.

“Well sure, Stephanie, but what are the chances my boss is going to be a Jehovah’s Witness?”, you might be saying. Alright, let’s say you have a heart condition, and need a valve replacement  – hospitals usually use bovine or porcine tissue for these procedures, as they behave most like that of a human heart valve. However, if you boss observes Jewish or Hindu faiths, respectively, you can forget about your devout Bossman covering a procedure that requires part of a pig or cow to be placed in your body.

It’s a tough line to walk, and I understand a corporation not wanting to fund practices that they don’t believe in. But I feel like, as an employer, when you hire someone, you should understand that that means you will do what you can to look out for their well-being – which includes providing a health care plan to aid them in paying for potential medical expenses that could be life-saving. I’m not saying that because someone is a big time CEO, that they should drop their own values and beliefs. I understand that you wouldn’t want to support something that goes against what you believe is right, and unfortunately you can’t aid one group of people without subsequently helping the other. But I also think that it doesn’t make you righteous in your faith to deny someone what they require to be healthy, even if it is indirectly. And let’s not even discuss the levels of disgusting that a corporation could sink to by potentially taking advantage of this ruling, and using faith as a reason to simply cut their costs for employee health plans.

What I’m outlining here is entirely hypothetical, but I think that this ruling is going to open a very scary rabbit hole, and I’m not looking forward to seeing the results. I’m the most optimistic, silver-lining type of person you’ll ever meet, but even I’m not naive enough to think corporations won’t use this ruling to their advantage, even if they seriously screw some people over. I wonder what people will think of Obama Care in a few months? Might want to sign up now, American friends.

ETA: It was pointed out to me after publishing that if 5 or fewer people own 50% of the shares of the company in question, and all share the same religion, only then can they claim a devout belief and refuse someone’s claim for medical treatment (thank you Josh!). While that information does relax me in a small way, as this means there can’t be a jerk Bossman sitting in his throne and abusing the system as I originally thought, corporations are still corporations, and their purpose is to make money. We can only hope that at least one in five people has a good moral compass.