Time of reckoning, time for healing

By Abbey Wolf

Personally, July 1st has always been about and for my mother. It was her birthday. But this particular birthday rings like no other. Today, I imagine how she would have reacted if she were still alive. Recent events have triggered a slew of emotions and have filled my thoughts with complex reflections. I will start at the beginning of my mother’s story and then bring in the connections so you may have an understanding of where I am going with these thoughts. 

My mother knew of suffering and struggle. She was born in Winnipeg on a small farm where her father and mother ran a fur trading post. During her early childhood, she suffered TB (tuberculosis). At the tender age of four, she was struck by a car and had to undergo facial reconstruction at the famed Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She was the clinic’s fifth patient as they had just opened their doors to the public. As a result of the TB and the trauma of the accident, she was immune-compromised for the rest of her adult life. She had numerous battles with illnesses of various kinds, such as cancer (several bouts), chronic lung disease, and osteoporosis. She fought off each one of these illnesses until the last, which inevitably took her life. Kay (as everyone called her) married at age eighteen and shortly after had left Winnipeg to start a family of her own. Unfortunately, due to her fragile health, she was unable to bear children. She had over six miscarriages, three of which went to term. Both my parents wanted nothing more than to raise children, as they had passionate intentions about creating a family. They decided to adopt. So entered my siblings and me, all newborns, spanning four and more years apart. Although they began parenthood later than most, they were as energetic in comparison to younger parents. 

I, unlike my siblings, was an abandoned baby. My mother never wanted me to know this fact and couldn’t imagine how anyone could abandon their child considering what she endured trying to bear her own. She could not fathom the reality. She did not want me to know that my biological mother had rejected me. The truth was unbearable for her, so she projected and chose to “protect” me from this truth. Kay borrowed/created my adoption story. I was raised with intense love and caring from her and accepted it. I had no desire to know the details about my biological parents. But just as many truths come to light later in the years following the facts, this truth slipped from my father’s tongue when I was well into my thirties. I will never know why this was hidden for so long simply because my father didn’t know what compelled him to reveal this. He simply said that it was time that I know the truth. 

Hiding the truth was often how my mother felt she could protect me. Mom was conditioned to be a survivor from a very early age and self-taught on how to overcome. Her existence and experiences molded her into the most humble, selfless, and empathetic person I have ever encountered up until this very day.  

These reflections bring me to imagine how my mother would have reacted to the genocide of over a thousand (and still counting) innocent indigenous lives. I have no doubt it would have hit home for Kay, as she grew up playing with indigenous children at the trading post. At that time and still, to this day, Winnipeg has the largest indigenous population of any major city in Canada. Although her memories of the trading post were few, she held most of them fondly. However, she recalled how her father was opposed to the mistreatment of his indigenous partners, as government regulations increasingly restricted and controlled trade. Mom would rarely share memories of her struggles and strife. Her generation preferred to “bury” rather than admit or take responsibility for shameful events. Stories as such were covered up, sugar-coated, or silenced.

I do not doubt that if my mother were alive today, she would speak out. She would have attested to being a witness of hatred and indifference towards indigenous peoples, and sadly, I believe she would have felt the remorse of her silence about it. 

Now is not the time to commemorate Canada day, or take pride in that celebration. It is the time for reckoning and healing. 

On Being Positive: A cliché of the times.

By Abbey Wolf

We all know how challenging life is, at least most of us do. It doesn’t matter where we live, or what we do, life will always have a shit load of ups and downs which we need to endure. Maintaining positivity and especially in the face of adversity, is one of the best circumstances in which I find the strength to resist negative circumstances. 

 It is also crucial to remain in the present moment, because it helps to keep a healthy mindset. Performing our best and keeping our energies high and empowering, will reinforce us and the consistency in which we do this is important to maintain. Oprah Winfrey notes how beneficial being present is when she says ” doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”

— Oprah Winfrey

Positive attitudes are empowering. We all know this because we all know how good it feels to be optimistic. Although the idea of remaining or being positive is a moth-eaten cliché, it happens to be true and irrefutable. The practice and the dedication of being positive, is worthy of that cliché; which is annoying when it’s especially hard to remain positive in hard times such as these! Consider that a positive attitude and taking positive actions has a whopping amount of power. It is something everyone has access to. 

smilies, emoticons, especially

Being positive can and does effect change in the world.  So why isn’t everyone trying to be more positive since its common knowledge that a positive outlook is the best one to have? Because it’s easier to complain, blame and give up. Personally, I make an effort and I deny the thoughts which bring me down. Happiness is high maintenance worth all the effort!  When happiness rather than misery spreads, the tides of change will be for the better. That is why I much rather laugh than cry.

Happiness is high maintenance worth all the effort!

 

Isn’t it remarkable how the actions and wisdom of just ONE person can spark a movement?  We all know that the influence of simply one person can change the world. Famous individuals in history such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Ellen Degeneres… The list goes on of the countless individuals who have had a remarkable influence on humanity. They changed history. When masses of people unite with a common belief , it gives birth to movements. We are witnessing the rise of some of the most critical movements in human history. Greta Thunberg leads in the movement to clean and take care of our environment, especially if we want to ensure a healthy future for generations to come. We have movements to protect our wildlife, which we took for granted far too long. The Black lives matter movement can and will be for positive change. We can’t be more ready than we are NOW and at this moment in time, for positive change.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world”. 

Mahatma Gandhi

Most people believe that the power to change the world exists only in public figures, politicians, or famous people with popular platforms and hoards of followers. Having a positive attitude and taking positive actions has a whopping amount of power. It is something everyone has access to. When we emit positivity, it has a ripple effect in the world because it changes the perspectives of how others see us. It makes us engage in the things we do with more clarity and enthusiasm. 

It is for these reasons (and a few more), why I am down with this particular cliché of the times, 

6 thoughts on “Banter”

  1. Loved to read your article. If I may, I would add, that Feelings just ARE. Like the weather just IS. How we deal with them is the important point you make. There is always a positive way to confront a difficult issue.

    Continue your work in making this world a better place

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