its not fine, its har-ASS-ment

its not fine, its har-ASS-ment

with international women’s day just passing last week and so much talk about women’s rights flooding the tvs dueI’ve started looking at my own daily life and realizing being a female in 2017 is wayyyyy harder than it needs to be.

in the past week I have been harassed by a co-worker, so much my senior in fact that they’re older than my own parents, i was harassed and frightened  downtown toronto by a stranger (legit i thought i was being kidnapped), and i’ve been really recognizing the fact that in this day and age women are still fighting for right to walk into a room and not be objectified.

harassment at work has plagued me everywhere i’ve gone. its so pathetic that we have an epidemic of men making women feel so uncomfortable in the work place.

when i was in university i spent a summer working in a restaurant downtown. i had two managers, one was super friendly, supportive, caring, this was the man who hired me to work there and saw potential in my ability.  even if he was attracted to me, he never made it obvious or uncomfortable. my other manager however…. let me tell you.

this man was a pig. there isn’t any other way of describing him. the restaurant industry can be good money, but definitely not my scene. its partying everyday, drinking after every shift (giving all the money you just made back to the establishment), and drugs.

at this particular location it was also a place where most of the girls put up with our pervy boss.

i generally never stayed after work to drink with the crew i worked with. this one evening however, i was feeling up to having a little fun and everyone really wanted me to stay. so, i did. i had maybe one drink… maximum. my ‘boss’ at the time was eight or nine pints in and hitting up the bar for shots.

the conversation started simple enough. as the night progressed though, he got more aggressive. he was making me so uncomfortable and wouldn’t let me leave. it got sooooo bad that my other manager noticed.

me, being basically still a teenager and not knowing how to handle such an encounter was extremely uncomfortable. the next day i went into work feeling disgusted with myself, my boss, my work. my nice manager pulled me into the back office. he has spoken to the other manager, told him what he did was wrong and that he owed me an apology. this all seemed extremely nice, until the, i apologize on behalf of the company please don’t sue us came out.

my safety, my feelings, were never the concern. getting sued up the ass, that was the concern.

flash-forward to when i finished university and ended up getting an amazing first job in the field i had studied for. i was so excited. i was working with adults, real professionals, somewhere i could go to work at and finally feel respected for my work and not disrespected for my ass or my wrack.

well of course this wasn’t the case.

one evening i had just left the gym after posting a selfie. i had been on a major fitness binge and was feeling pretty damn good about how i was looking and posting was keeping my fitspiration game strong. i receieved a facebook message from a superior. not my direct boss but a boss that worked in conjunction with mine. it was disgusting. the things this, very clearly, drunk superior coworker of mine was writing.

i was working in the professional world? i was working somewhere where we promoted women in the workplace, women as equals, harassment as the devil. this guy was married. his wife was pregnant. yet, here he was going off about how sexy my ass was and how fine i looked in my insta photos.

i went to work the next day completely depressed and unaware of what i could do. i could complain to my direct boss, but what would that do? i had been shamed already at work about the fact that when i wore button up shirts my cleavage was too obvious, because you know i’m a chesty women with breasts.

basically, i brought the ogling on myself. i clearly deserved this.

so, i kept the facebook messages encase anything came of it, and moved on. i shamefully acted as if nothing had occurred anytime this individual entered my office. this happened with MULTIPLE coworkers in this office btw. i had a some amazing male coworkers in this office that became life long friends, but more often than not, many of my male coworkers would treat me like meat online while drunk and then go to work and act as if it was just another monday at the office.

most recently i was harassed in my latest job. i love my job. i love my coworkers, but theres always one asshole who ruins it for everyone else. this harassment takes all forms. sexually explicit comments, picking on my personal life and life choices, making me feel so uncomfortable that i feel i cannot preform at the level required in my field of work.

the worst part is, even though EVERYONE knows its occurring,  the male coverup of the century is the answer. its always a slap on the wrist, don’t do it again, leave her be sort of response.

i dealt with this harassment for nearly a year before i finally broke down last week into tears. i tried so hard not to, but was pushed so far i broke down into tears, was sent home from work, and learned that not only has this been happening to women again and again for years that i work with. yet consistently nothing gets done about it.

my hush hush reward was to take as much time off as needed. my coworker wasn’t punished. he won’t get punished. and i’ve reached a tipping point. i’m not ugly, i’m no victoria’s secret model, but regardless of what i look like i should not have to deal with this.

women should not have to deal with this.

the WORST part is, somehow its always the person who speaks up who suffers. its the double edged sword of, i can’t say anything, no one will believe me, someone may lose their job on my behalf, i can’t be the person to do that to someone. or the flip side of, if i don’t say anything this will just continue. the next young girl to walk into this building will become the next victim.

the cycle continues, it never ends.

so i wanted to write this to tell you, don’t allow yourself to be the victim. i’ve been playing the silent victim for years. enough is enough. i’ve taken it upon myself to escalate the issue at work.

unfortunately its a super scary thing to go through but i have the support of some amazing co-workers (male and female) to get me through. at first, i was ashamed that it had gotten to a point where everyone was talking about what i’ve been calling ‘the incident’. but you know what? not anymore.

the people who have reached out don’t pity me like i thought they did. they want to help. they know what i’ve said, companies hide these monstrosities because who wants to have that smear their perfect corporate image. and they know its not okay.

women are shamed all of the time for speaking up about harassment, rape, etc… and its not okay. women need to start building a world of support for each other. if you see it happening reach out to people, stick up for them, help them.. and people need to come forward more often. the occurrences at my work have been happening for ever, just before, it was a boys club and no one cared.

the world is changing. not quickly, but it is changing.

i hope sharing a little of my experiences lately speaks to someone else who feels scared or trapped. i’ve felt like this almost my whole life, and finally dealing with one of these situations has lifted me to a whole new bliss.

xo bri

harassment

 

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Sleepy sleep sleep

Sleepy sleep sleep

sorry for the lack of posting over this past week. my personal life is a little all over right now and its been making it difficult for inspiration or desire to write… let alone do anything but watch netflix.

however, i made a promise to myself i would in fact write today so here i am!

today i wanted to focus on something that effects so many people and can really have a huge impact on your life. sleep.

as a shift worker, i lack in the sleep department. having health issues, this only exacerbates so many of the issues that are going to come natural that has odd working hours. add life into the mix. well, sleep becomes a thing of the past at times.

for myself personally, i find my thyroid impacts my sleep, a lot. when my levels are off, my body more or less feels like its running on adrenaline and needless to say sleep sort of isn’t even an option. there is nothing worse than feeling so tired you want to die but staring aimlessly up at the ceiling.

the second issue…. shift work. working in the aviation industry i am a certified zombie a lot of days. i often have enough energy to use my brain for work, but the rest of the day, is more or less a write off. some days I start at three in the afternoon, the next day i’m at work for six or seven in the morning. and not being able to sleep the night before you need to get up at four am is a super shitty thing.

most people don’t get ‘it’. they don’t understand how i can function, and to be frank, neither do i sometimes. and the amount of caffeine i need to function on a regular basis has made me really prioritize my sleep issues.

sleep is so important in every aspect of your life, ESPECIALLY for your health. your body needs sleep to regenerate. your brain needs sleep for rest and so you can think clearly. after working out, your muscles need sleep to rebuild and recover.

without this most fundamental necessity in your life, its going to suffer in every way. i personally become a moody, emotional bitch when i haven’t slept. i give new meaning to the word bitch face. i am the bitch face. i drink gallons of coffee and energy drinks to try and compensate and my skin radiates sadness.

yes my skin suffers. and as i’ve made clear my skin is already the bane of my existence. nothing makes me more depressed then when i put on a pound of foundation and concealer and use higher on my eyes and i still look like i’ve stayed up for six weeks with quintuplets. just to be clear i don’t have children… shout out to all the parents out there who just find a way to deal.

lately another huge factor that’s destroying my sleep schedule is anxiety. i basically work on an anxiety curve i get to an optimum sleepless anxiety level where i no longer am able to sleep at all. then i hit rock bottom and i almost go into a depressed state where all i do is sleep. my goal is to never reach that, but you can’t control the weather, and you can’t control when life is going to shit all over you.

lately, things in my personal life have been extraordinarily stressful. plus i over think EVERYTHING. overthinking leads to four am deep thought sessions about how i could have stopped this, or prevented that, or changed something else. even when things aren’t my fault i just want to fix everything and make everyone happy, or help people, etc, and sometimes this makes it so i cannot sleep.

now, unfortunately there is no easy fix for this sleep dilemma i live through. i love my job and i refuse to make sacrifices in that department. i cannot control my health. i cannot control my anxiety even though i try my best to just ignore the thoughts in my head during the witching hour.

i do have a couple tricks up my sleeve though to help. i generally use medication to sleep as my last resort. i have and will probably use it in the future… but generally using meds to aid in sleep guarantees a shitty sleep and a worse morning after.

to start, when you’re sleeping like garbage booze is not your friend. alcohol is fun, it has its relaxing aspectss, but ultimately if your sleep is suffering so much so that your health and wellbeing are being affected, don’t drink. just don’t. you can pick it back up when you’ve got a couple nights of zzz’s under your belt. alcohol may put you to sleep initially but as you sober up it messes with your rem patterns and you’ll feel like crap the next day.

my next suggestion is something that i was actually given by a facebook friend a month or two ago when i reached out to the facebook sphere to see what tips and tricks other people used to help fall asleep and i LOVE it. buy a diffuser. any type, any brand, one that you smell and makes you think damn this is relaxing as fuck.

the one i bought was some random brand from winners. its a melon cucumber smell and honestly since i’ve started keeping it on my bedside table i’ve noticed a change in my sleep. the smell triggers a relaxing in me that with high anxiety and sleeping issues has been a major game changer.

i’m actually so impressed with how much the diffuser has aided in my sleep recently that i am going to invest in one of the electric diffusers so i can have a variety of oils to diffuse.

the next two tricks are melatonin and noise machines. melatonin and noise machines are for the super desperate nights where my brain will not shut off. some nights it hits around one am and my mind will not give me any rest or relief. melatonin is the great natural technique for assisting your body into sleepy time mode. the noise machine generally helps distract my thoughts until the melatonin can really click in and work its au naturale magic.

when all else fails, sometimes you may have to accept dealing with the issues in your life that are causing you stress. if you tackle the bigger issues head on, your sleep will be able to find its rhythm once again. you also need to remember you’re human. some nights will be restless or without sleep and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

if you are finding consistent issues with your sleep, go to a doctor. just the other day i’m pretty sure they drained a quart of blood from my arm because i haven’t been sleeping well and i haven’t been getting to bed either. i’m also finding i go to bed freezing and am waking up in the middle of the night on fire. i’m in my 20s, i have a few more years until that should be a factor.

the original tests showed nothing with my thyroid so i voiced my concern and now my doctor is testing everything from cortisol levels to my b12s. if you’re not sleeping its not healthy. maybe you have sleep apnea. maybe its something else all together. take it upon yourself to ensure that you are operating at your optimum.

xo bri

yes i’m a glutard

yes i’m a glutard

one of the most frustrating things that has come along with my plethora of auto-immune diseases is the fact that around the same time i discovered i had Graves Disease i also discovered that i was slowly poisoning myself with gluten.

let me start by stating, i would not suggest a gluten free life for the sake of it. a carb-free life sure when you’re trying to lose weight. even then, carbs have such a bad rap! good healthy carbs are so good for your health, i may just write a post about healthy carbs all on their own. but yes, a gluten free life, not so much.

firstly, gluten free foods like bread, english muffins, pasta, etc, only just started tasting good. when i first started changing my diet and lifestyle the bread was literally a bunch of seeds more or less fused together and when i used to put my gluten free bread in the toaster it would start to crumble as it cooked.

the major difference in the gluten free market came when Novak Djokovic started raving about how fabulous he was feeling after starting to live a gluten free lifestyle. he claimed he felt a million times better and that eating gluten free was a real ‘gamer changer’.

suddenly GF (gluten free) products were popping up everywhere and along with this came a better understanding for the general public about what being GF was all about. for myself this had two benefits: 1. the price of GF foods finally came down; 2. they started to put effort into making GF things that didn’t taste like cardboard.

how did they do this you ask? sugar. sugar sugar sugar. check before you eat. a lot of GF products are jammed with sugars… not all but many. often people claim they’re changing to a GF lifestyle to lose weight but they don’t realize just because you’re eating a GF chocolate chip muffin doesn’t make it healthy. chances are its probably worse than a regular chocolate muffin.

when people drastically lose weight when they start eating gluten free its because you become highly limited to what you can eat in general. especially when you’re on the go. plus many super tasty wonders have gluten hidden in the ingredients. just yesterday at my work we had a group rib fest. a coworker of mine brought his smoker to work and everyone was enjoying ribs while i ate kale salad. why? because most bbq sauces (especially bourbon bbq sauce) are jammed with gluteness goodness.

however… an issue i’ve come across since becoming GF became the super fad to the stars is that i’m constantly judged for how i have to eat. again, i don’t want to eat like this, i wish normal food didn’t make me sick or have to shit my pants, but it does. the other day at work a coworker of mine walked by and offered me some homemade fudge. when i asked if there was any gluten in it the response i got was “oh god you’re one of those gluten free assholes aren’t you”. nope, not an asshole just don’t want to be sick, thanks though.

GF has a stigma now which in my opinion is ridiculous. some people choose a GF lifestyle and if that makes them feel healthier, power to them. i don’t get that choice and if i choose to ‘cheat’ i pay for it later. even my boyfriend didn’t really believe it was actually a real thing when we first started dating. but one time when were out drinking in niagara falls i ate something i shouldn’t have and ended on my death bed. the poor guy just hugged me begging for me to tell me how he could help. he couldn’t, we had to wait out the storm until i was better. now when people ask if its actually real or if i’m just exaggerating he’s the first one to come to my defence about how sick i can get.

what is being celiac like? what does it do? basically it makes stuff with gluten become poison to your body. it kills the villi in your small intestines so you stop absorbing nutrients. when i was in high school and still eating gluten regularly i ended up so sick one night after dinner my stomach swelled up and became as hard as a rock. back to the hospital i went with no answers in sight.

it wasn’t until a friend of mine from germany who also had celiac disease came and told me to get tested. she figured i had celiac disease since i had the exact symptoms she had. after some more testing it was official. i was what my friend termed a ‘glutard’. europe was way ahead of the game when it came to testing and diagnosing people with celiac disease and not just writing it off as IBS (irritable bowl syndrome). looking back through my families history its probably a genetic thing.

i never met my grandmother on my mom’s side but throughout her short life she suffered greatly with stomach and bowl issues. every time she went to the doctor they told her she had some for of IBS and to just not try to eat so much salty things. and since i figured out what the hell was attacking my insides a few of my cousins have realized that they have it too (the also have auto-immune diseases). some times it just takes being educated about these things to figure out its affecting you.

i won’t go into details today into celiac disease testing but if you think that its a possibility for you talk to a doctor. if you have other auto-immune diseases, trust me, they’re totally related.

thats all for today. i’m on break at work and i have about ten more minutes until i’m back to airplanes. i’m planning on posting some of my favourite GF snacks in the next week or two (they’re great hacks for commuters on the run). being super busy becomes one of the most complicated parts of being GF.

and if you are one of those assholes who just eats GF to be trendy don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that either. you’ve helped those of us who have to eat that way. plus, don’t let anyone ever make you feel bad about trying to keep your body healthy too many people in this world treat their body like shit. fuck them

xo bri

post numero uno: hola

post numero uno: hola

a good friend of mine recently talked me into starting up this blog. she’s a blogger and has been telling me for months that just because you have no gift for writing doesn’t mean you can’t start. so i’m giving it a shot, people may hate it, but whats the internet without some spelling errors and trolls. my goal is for this to be super informal,  possibly fun, and a place for people to take some of the experiences i’ve had and maybe relate to them. whatever direction it takes will be wonderful, i only hope that one or two people may benefit from things i’ve learned along the way.

last night i attended an event with my friend from Classy on the Run for  David’s Tea and Me to We celebrating their 1 year partnership. while there drinking some fab cocktails i ended up chatting away with a woman who happened to have a lot of the same health issues that i do. this actually started off as a conversation about skincare and hormone imbalances  and became the topic of the evening. afterwards i was inspired to share a little about what i went through/ am still going through and how a lot of it has turned me into the fabulous ‘basic bitch’ i am today. and really how i really don’t give a shit when people try to use that term to offend me.

in high school i was diagnosed with a variety of autoimmune diseases after spending months and months in doctor’s office after doctor’s office. one doctor even had the nerve to tell me i was lying about feeling sick and my pitbull mother kicked his ass to the curb and we chased down real answers. i was tested for, and diagnosed with, hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease as well as celiac disease. i will do a post at a later time on this more in depth and  include a lot of my symptoms. but yes so basically i was now gluten free before gluten free was a thing and the only reason i even knew where to start was because a girl in my grade was from Germany and GF (gluten free). europe always knows about the upcoming trends before we ever do. gluten free for me isn’t a choice. i would never wish celiac disease on anyone and yet now i get judged as an asshole all the time for having to eat the way my body has made me.

flash forward to my 20s where i started getting acne for the first time in my life, became highly depressed, went as far as trying accutane (demons work that shit is) and still battle shitty skin on a daily basis. i still am in and out of doctor’s offices, i can’t live the savage life of all of my other friends in their 20s, and i randomly end up sick all the time because of my terrible immune system and the abundance of gluten in EVERYTHING. and all of this has changed my lifestyle so much. i gym (when i have the energy) which i hated when i was younger, I eat very specific things, and i have a beauty store in my bedroom/bathroom to help coverup the marks on my face from deep tissue acne and prevent it from continuing.

a lot of these things get associated with being a stuck up bitch or ‘basic’. i’ve learned to embrace the term basic as meaning i put effort into my health. i do also like some of the prettier things in life so i won’t stretch and say i don’t fit said definitions as i’m drinking my David’s Tea and texting with my furry phone case. my friends all call me basic bear and i own it like a badge of pride.

bracing has two meanings according to the dictionary

  1. the definition of bracing is something invigorating and fresh
  2. bracing is defined as something that provides support to a structure

i see this blog as being both; adding something fresh to a term that is often meant to be a knock on things that you like and the way you choose to live your life and creating a supportive space for other people like me with health issues just trying to enjoy their life, their friends, and work their ass off in this crappy economy for millennials. i have no idea what direction my posts are going to go and this is all a trial for me so please try to bare with my blogging growing pains!

this is probably the longest intro ever but oh well. i have a lot of ground to cover and i’m a scatterbrain so this is me just trying to keep things sensical at best.

xo bri