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

acne things

acne things

happy basically Tuesday everyone! writing todays been a struggle since i’m sick… AGAIN. i live in canada and lately the weather here has beens super hot and cold… literally. one day it was 20 degrees out the next day its snowing. thanks to temperamental mother nature and this inconsistent winter, colds have been worse than ever around here.

but today i want to start on something super close to my heart and something i plan on sharing a lot of information about including: how i deal, products i use, and tricks of the trade to making it seem like its better than it is. i’m talking about skin. as an honourary member of the my skins a piece of shit club i want to share as much as i can and let everyone else know they’re not alone in a daily bathroom battle against their face.

when it comes to skin i can’t win. its dry. its oily. it cracks. i have acne. its the fucking worst. theres no polite way to describe it. you think when you finally grow out of the awkwardness of being a teenager that the hormonal teeney-bopper skin goes away right?

i unfortunately didn’t experience this. to be honest, in high school i generally had okay skin. it wasn’t porcelain pretty but i could go out in public comfortably without foundation on. around nineteen all of this changed and its had a HUGE effect on my life as a whole.

late. onset. adult. acne. when i finally got to see a dermatologist this is what they called it. what to say about it really? besides the pills they pumped into me to help with the problem i was told to just wash my face and things would work out…. ummm how about no? sometimes no matter how hard you try and how many hours and products you invest into it, your skin just won’t cooperate.

living with skin problems is a huge hassle physically and mentally. its taken some huge tolls of my self-esteem.we live in a judge first ask questions later world. people do create an opinion of you based on first impressions. people tend to embrace beauty… and having terrible skin is a huge first impression.

sure no one is going to look at you and think i’m not talking to this girl her skin is disgusting. although their first thoughts may be closer to, ‘look at this poor girl’s terrible skin. thats so sad to have skin like that’. trust me, whether people mean to or not they do judge and appearances are important. the pity looks are wayyyyy worse. not to mention trying to establish yourself as a strong, working woman when you’re too busy stressing about how your face looks is no easy feat.

lets also clarify here. guys have these same issues and self-esteem concerns. this applies to guys just as much as it applies to women ESPECIALLY because at least we have makeup magic. guys actually have to brave the day and truly learn to love the skin they’re in. more power to them.

my acne is hormonal based. like most of my issues thanks to my thyroid, living with acne is something i’ve had to learn to accept. hormonal acne tends to focus heavy around your cheek and chin areas. this is why when you see someone who has had really severe acne, you tend to see pockmarks on the cheeks and even the skin near the temples.

hormonal acne is a doubled edged sword. you’re either battling the acne or you’re battling the aftermath. after many medications (this includes accutane  which i plan on posting about my experience with eventually) i have managed to keep my acne to a much more reasonable level.

the downside of it is the cystic acne that is associated with hormonal acne leaves deep scarring. severity of the scars are determined by how long and bad your acne is. it can also be affected by the sensitivity of your skin and ass luck would have it i’ve also been blessed with extremely sensitive skin sooooo basically acne kicks my ass.

the thing is, all of this takes a huge emotionally toll on you that you just can’t imagine or see coming. i never expected that at twenty i would be borderline depressed because i was so ashamed of what i looked like. i hated most pictures of myself, i hated leaving the house… i couldn’t even go out in public without layers of makeup on. i was ashamed about something i literally had no control over.

there were actually times when i would cancel plans with friends because i was too busy in the bathroom staring at my face and crying because i felt absolutely hideous. i basically was the beast in that scene where he sees the old portrait of himself and puts the claw marks through it. i more or less was locking myself away in my little castle because i felt like a horrid monster. trust me i know this sounds a bit dramatic but this is how much of a toll developing acne later in life had on my self-esteem and it was a huge struggle to move on from this mindset.

over time i’ve learned that its not something to be embarrassed about. you can’t control it.  lately i’ve been trying once a week to have a day that i don’t wear any makeup at all. i call it my ‘give my skin a rest’ day. i more or less want to let my pores breath. even now on those days when i go out without my makeup on i’m so proud of myself because i’m soooo self conscious of the leftover scarring i still have. my flare ups reached a point where medication was my only remedy. plus i still get pimples all the time.

now every night when i look in the mirror i have to actively remind myself not to pick at my skin. even though i can see all the blackheads in my cheeks and in my nose or on my chin. no. its worse for your skin and there are SUCH healthier ways to deal with all of the hormonal chaos happening on your face.

don’t get me wrong, some days i’ll still look in the mirror and want to cry because when my skin is flaring up and i feel so ugly. its a constant battle of the mind. i’m super lucky though. on these days where i’m feeling like garbage i’m super blessed to have a very supportive boyfriend who reminds me that just because i have some acne on my face it never takes away from my beauty, even if i can’t always see it. sometimes you need the extra support and voice of reason… that’s totally okay. find someone who when you’re starting to feel down or depressed because of your acne that can remind you of how beautiful you are regardless. if you don’t have that? i can totally be that for you.

a lot of upcoming posts are definitely going to be skin related because its such a huge passion of mine. whether its great finds for dry cracked hands i’ve stumbled upon or my absolute must haves in my bathroom for attacking pimples, i plan on sharing products i’ve found have helped me along the way. i also want to talk a lot about makeup hacks for when your acne gets super annoying and how less can actually equal more in these situations.

always feel free to comment and post about your drama skin too. i’d love to hear from you. its always nice to know that other people struggle with the same problems and that we can all be here to talk to each other when its making us feel like shit.

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