Sunday, January 31, 2016

#Thisisme: Artist

I decided to conclude #Thisisme with "artist" because I had joked that my 31 confessions were best described as either a really long artist's statement or online dating profile.

#Thisisme was largely about making sure I was on the right path. In all seriousness, I've been trying to redirect my career into a creative path instead of the non-profit/government nexus of awful I was headed toward. If any of the things I've written for the project are a problem for prospective employers, then we're obviously not a good fit. I will not waste my time or talent lying about who I am.

I am an artist, but I am not faithful to any medium. I lean toward mixed media, political, genderfucking, and costume arts.

Being a starving artist only works if you make art. Right now, I'm drawing a coloring book (32 images finished) and working on a set of up-cycled sculptures (9/11 complete). I'm also bouncing around some ideas for a children's book called Evelyn the Mermaid and a movie called Boxing Day.

Please "Like" my brand new Facebook artist page to stay up to date with my creative breakthroughs! #Thisisme artist.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

#Thisisme: Sex Worker

I guess if #Thisisme has a bombshell, it's today. Like with all things, context is everything.

I never really solicited. Well, I had a useless Seeking Arrangement profile for a bit. Lonely men in their 50's messaged me over dating sites, and I weighed out the pros & cons.

Depending on how you figure, I've either sold sex 1 or 4 times. Three instances are in question because 1) No sex, just nudity 2) got paid to receive a blowjob 3) exchanged sex for a favor of considerable value (who hasn't???)

My first transaction was the time not in dispute. My life was in chaos, and trading sex for money was something I needed to do to know I had what it took to survive. It was really empowering to do it then, and it's really empowering to talk about it now. I have no regrets about it; I'm no story of helplessness.

Absolutely the circumstances that provoked my sex work were economic. If this reality deeply disturbs you, I invite you to join me in vocally demanding the creation of a national basic income to eradicate poverty and ensure that all sex work is partaken in out of choice, rather than economic necessity. For me, it was a mix of both.

"Sex worker" is an interesting label. Does it have time restrictions? What all counts? Like if I got into porn, I'd literally be having sex for money but the camera crew makes it more legitimate. And there's the whole thing how mainstream dialogue focuses on portraying sex workers as victimized women, which erases and gender sexual diversity and undermines sex worker autonomy.

Some of my favorite moments as a TA for gender studies classes during my Master's were when we'd inevitably get around to talking about sex work. I gave such an authentic "the people in this room could be sex workers, so engage respectfully" speech for a reason. I hope some of my former students read this post...

The personal is political. I'm not going to lie about having traded sex for money for the sake of anyone's comfort or belief system. I don't want to live in a world that judges sex workers, so I won't judge myself. Sex work should be safe and legal.

#Thisisme sex worker.

Friday, January 29, 2016

#Thisisme: Fashion Forward

I really love clothing. I can wear pretty much anything with confidence, and I do. At the mercy of disposable income, cool clothing isn't an interest I can usually prioritize, but I'm very crafty!

This confession was actually inspired by ridiculous love of epaulettes. Gaudy costume epaulettes are my favorite! I've crafted epaulettes out of green glitter foam and many pairs of sunglasses glued together for separate costumes. I'm really hoping to do some custom epaulettes with white masks and antlers (separately).

I've always considered my gender expression to be akin to David Bowie. I (think I) normally express masculine male androgyny punctuated by performances of emphasized femininity. I really like genderfucking, but femininity is way too much effort to perform for my daily. Most of this effort gets funneled into costuming, rather than regular dress.

Style is setting trends; taste is following them. #Thisisme fashion forward.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

#Thisisme: Olympic Killjoy

I fucking hate the Olympics! I have both shallow and political reasons for doing so.

Shallow reason: I don't really like watching sports. I've already confessed my penchant for TV, so imagine when my favorite vampire or reality shows get bumped for....Javelin.

Political reason(s): the Olympics are a shining beacon of many things I want to see destroyed: corporate greed, misallocation of public funds, paternalistic development policies, unbridled nationalism, gender policing, body policing, and a long history of disenfranchising local populations.

I find Canadians much more willing to gripe about the social and financial costs of the Summer Olympics than their Winter counterpart. In true Atlantic Canadian style, curling is the sport I most enjoy watching, but it's not something I seek out.

#Thisisme Olympic killjoy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#Thisisme: Reality TV Fan

I, like Hayleigh, love trashy reality TV. It's actually one of the first things we bonded over. We totally used work hours to watch Teen Mom and Jersey shore when we worked for the student union at Carleton.

Fuck yeah 16 & Pregnant, Teen Mom, Teen Mom 2, Jersey Shore (but not the final season), The MTV Challenge, Faceoff, Big Brother, America's Next Top Model (RIP), Millionaire Matchmaker (with Amanda & Shannon, or Chelsea), & Chopped. I'm lukewarm for the Amazing Race, but I'll pick up a season now & then. I don't love Master Chef, but I'll watch the Canadian one.

I also have to confess that I loved the shit out of Canadian Idol. Once upon a time in high school, a small contingent of us from Sussex went up and slept out a night in a Moncton arena. Crystal and I went with the sole intentions of getting on TV, which we both achieved, her rapping It's Tricky in a sequined mermaid dress, and me meeting comedian/former Canadian Idol correspondent Jon Dore on an Etalk Daily interview. I was wearing an "I love Jon Dore" shirt I made...There's a VHS of both of our moments of fame somewhere in a drawer in New Brunswick. Well, there was like 11 ago.

Canadian Idol audition story aside, I remember voting like a fiend for the show. I got like 300 votes in for Season 2 runner-up Theresa Sokyrka during the final vote. Then I went to university and didn't follow the other 4 seasons.

Anyhow, #thisisme reality TV fan. Only 4 more confessions left in the month!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

#Thisisme: Drug User

Hi, I'm Devyn, and I do drugs! Last March, I wrote a piece about why and how I think all drugs should be legalized through narcotics acquisition licensing. If we administer a system so responsible people can own guns, why can't we administer a similar system for responsible drug consumption?

Like my perspective on sex, I approach drugs with an aversion to risk and a healthy curiosity. None of my drug consumption happened without a significant amount of research. What's a healthy amount to consume? What are the ways X drug can be taken? What risks are specific to X drug? Are their any good tips to manage your high/side effects?

I don't plan on giving up drug use. Moderating, sure, but I'm not that heavy of a consumer anyhow. I'm much more likely to give up drinking, which has been more expensive and harder the body than most of my drug use. I also think that why alcohol is socially accepted and other drugs aren't is the symbol of a tragically uncritical population.

Shaming drug use makes using drugs more dangerous and pushes addicted/disadvantaged drug users to further extremes to get high. Smoking pot is less harmful than regular boozing or smoking. I can't you tell what to think, but I can tell you when science thinks you're wrong.

Not telling your doctor you use drugs could mean missing preventative advice or early diagnosis. Drug stigma kills.
Weed's my go to (shocker!). I smoke (or vaporize) pot most days. My pot consumption has actually made more productive in many ways. I've already admitted that I smoke up to deal with anxiety, but it also focuses me. The year of my undergrad that I took up smoking spot regularly was my best GPA year. Marijuana saved my life is a 100% fair statement describing me through my two degrees. 

4/20 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa is one of my favorite things in the whole world.

I'm also quite fond of speed (or Adderall if available) and MDMA. I don't do these that often, less than once a month on average. Cleaning on speed is really satisfying, and M is a nice level-up for a dance party, cuddle session, or sexcapade.

I've done coke and oxy and had alright experiences, but they aren't buzzes I'd go out of my way for. I've done shrooms 3 times and really like them, but I keep forgetting about them. I'm not into the hardest drugs (at this point in my life, anyhow). I'll consider Heroine, morphine, and crystal meth for my end-of-life drug rage. (Think the grandpa from Little Miss Sunshine)

Thankfully, I have the furthest thing from an addictive personality. I don't have any concerns that I'll end up on hard drugs everyday. The 2 that I like have a bit of a gnarly come down, and I'm attentive to how my time is spent. Recovery days don't really fit into my plan to build an empire. But as a person who hates reality, knowing that my future probably has fun drugs and hot sex in store offers me unimaginable comfort.

#Thisisme drug user.

Monday, January 25, 2016

#Thisisme: Picky Eater

I'm quite particular with what I eat. I consider myself a foodie; I'm between competent and talented in the kitchen. There are obviously some blind spots in knowledge, but I've got a good palette. In Summer 2013, I got flown to Toronto from New Brunswick for the Recipe to Riches semi-finals. Only the finalists were televised, but still, sweet potato spring rolls flew me to TO!

I'm wiling to try almost anything, but texture is a turn off for a lot of foods. The worst food textures that come to mind are liver, water chestnuts, cottage cheese, jello, and seafood.

I'm not saying I eat poorly. I put in a valiant effort to make good food choices, but I'm not perfect.

Here's a partial list of my food quirks!

  • 95% of the time I prefer hot food to cold food.
  • If there's a light version, I get the light version. For example, I torture people who order Pizza Pizza with me by imposing a whole-wheat crusted just cheese pizza on them. I'm calling it harm reduction. 
  • A lot of foods only under certain conditions: 
  • I only like tomatoes cooked. 
  • Chunky salsa is a crime. 
  • Don't get me started on cilantro. 
  • I like raisins, but rarely baked in things. 
  • Scrambled eggs should have some color, cook them longer.
  • Stevia in my coffee, exclusively. I buy Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl stevia extract liquid sweetener. I might actually have a compulsion about stevia. I get anxiety when I have coffee, and I don't have stevia on my person. I usually order a mocha in those cases, less often I'll use other sweeteners, or rarely real sugar.
  • Recently, I rediscovered that I really love evaporated milk in coffee. 
  • I buy granola bars based on a balance of cost and fibre.
  • I'm soy intolerant, so I have to buy the veggie beef that's made out of wheat and pea protein. (All the gluten!)
  • I thought I hated all mushrooms, but I've discovered I like enokis. 
  • Sweet cereals are desserts or snacks, but not breakfast. Favorites include Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, Fruit Loops, and Honeycombs. I'm more inclined to buy a cereal that compromises between sugar and fibre like apple cinnamon or chocolate Cheerios, granola types of cereal, Mini Wheats, Raisin Bran.
  • My smoothies are always vegan. It just feels right that only plants go into real motivation. Smoothie base: grind flax and chia, spoon a table spoon of peanut butter, chop half a banana, sweetened vanilla almond milk (Silk is the best). Whatever frozen fruit combination usually ends up delicious. 

See what I mean? #Thisisme picky eater.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

#Thisisme: Anti-hero

I feel pretty evil, often, and I feel this way having spent inordinate amounts of time reflecting on what my personal concept of justice is. Somewhere along the way, I just gave up on the idea of happiness and slipped into a cold utilitarian approach to life and politics.

WTF, right? How someone be 'over' happiness? Well, anger and anxiety just tend to be burning in the background of pretty much everything I do. I like being happy; don't get me wrong, but there's much more to life than being happy.

Life is an unregulated opportunity. Each life will fall on a scale of selflessness-selfishness, but it doesn't matter where. We all die alone. I'm someone who can see that the world is always burning; if I was going to make happiness a real priority, I'd be doing a lot more drugs to escape from the clusterfuck that is reality.

So I'm bitter. I like seeing returns from my efforts, I enjoy personal growth, and there's nothing quite like an 'I told you so' in your back pocket. But like a fine wine, a ripe lime, or vinegar on your chips, bitter makes the sweet and savory moments of life all the brighter.

It's my fierce individualism too. The idea of community never really stuck to me. I don't really feel requisite allegiances to queers, or New Brunswickers, or Canadians, or blood relatives. I have allegiances to people who are working in the same direction toward a better world.

Adrian in Watchmen is my kind of guy. He killed millions of people to save billions and erased his role from the history books. I've always felt a strong sense of duty or guardianship (and my Briggs-Myers quiz agreed: ESTJ). Combine with my distaste for rules, and here we are: honorable ends and ruthless, impatient means.

#Thisisme considerate but decisive, an anti-hero.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

#Thisisme: Mentally Unwell

Starting in the final 6 months of my graduate studies at Carleton, visceral anxiety attacks began derailing my life. They weren't consistent or equal, but they were and are a problem. In the most extreme cases my hands and legs shake, and I sweat. In all cases, my mind and heart race, and I obsess about a some terrible thought or feeling until I can snap myself out of it.

While I have to admit that I do think about killing myself a lot when I'm freaking out, it's never something I feel has a potential to turn into action. It's more like a trap than a plan. For me, thinking about killing myself is just another deep dark hole I fall into like questioning my value, or measuring myself against unrealistic standards, or worrying about things that can't be controlled. My anxiety attacks last from 20 minutes to a longest of 8 hours.

I need to made a distinction between a few of my dark complicated feelings. The four worst options are thinking I'm dying, wanting to die, thinking about killing myself, and wanting to kill myself. They're listed in order of occurrence, and I'm aware of the red flags around wanting to kill myself.

The only time I found myself wanting to kill myself was in early 2012 during what's fair to call a major depressive episode. I did go to counselling, after a 6 week wait (:s), and developed effective coping skills. Looking back, I know my struggle in 2012 was transition into a painfully self-aware perspective. I needed to learn how to live chronically dissatisfied in this broken world without being depressed.

I can't say enough about bibliotherapy. Reading your way to resolve is a very powerful tool. Well, I'd assign more credit for the thinking that goes alongside that reading.

I'm an ontologically depressed gender non-conformist. It took me years of academic study to understand these experiences. Post-modern theories have helped me to articulate myself as incapable of accepting the way things are when the way things could be seem so obvious to me.

The German word for this feeling that I cannot escape is weltzsmertz, which directly translates into world pain. It describes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who understands that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind and the anxiety of the world's social ills. The tyranny of binary gender is one injustice in particular that plagues me. My life is partly an exercise in surviving constant erasure and lapse in logic.

I'm pretty good at handling my shit. I know what zens me out (which includes pot; I'm not ashamed of this), but these activities don't really apply in social settings. I can't just withdraw from my life at will to go draw or take a bath. Social situations, especially family dynamics, are difficult because some people won't understand that withdrawing from from certain conversations or relationships is just part of surviving.

In January 2015, I decided I wanted to ask a doctor about medication. I was moving back to New Brunswick and would be signing up for a family doctor, so in my first conversation with this theoretical doctor, I'd hoped to raise my anxiety. I was never paired with a doctor during my 10 months in New Brunswick, and I never felt my experiences qualified as emergencies. I came back to Ottawa in November, and finally, I get OHIP coverage February 1st. I will be following up with a doctor at the turn of the month.

I want to use the rest of this post to talk about stigma and struggle. When mental health is considered solely as a medical illness, disabling social determinants are inadequately figured into approaches to support and remedy. We can't end the stigma on mental illness without also ending poverty. Dividing mental health initiatives from the pursuit of social justice is inadequate.

I choose to say "mental unwellness" or "mental struggle"in recognition that many more factors than diagnosis create mental struggle and human suffering. Unwellness/struggle help to deconstruct the binary tendency of medical authorities to group people as either healthy or mentally ill.

Neurodiversity is the concept that articulates individuals along a spectrum of neurological profiles with varying degrees of conformity to hegemonically defined norms. Neurodiversity aims to replace binary classifications of neurological profiles as either enabling or disabling by meaningfully incorporating the social model of (dis)ability into the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry.

Socially modelling (dis)ability and neurological profiles means that the unit of understanding becomes difference among individuals on a spectrum of possibility. Difference is not an inherent disadvantage; it is a factor that characterizes those outside norms as disadvantaged because of social context. Condition cannot disable without context.

Attention deficit and hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are the common examples of the contextual disabling of neurodiversity. People who experience ADHD and ASD exhibit a difference that is disadvantageous only because of a set of expectations of human interaction and behavior defined in the most narrow of terms. The world wasn't built for these neurological profiles to excel, despite competencies that allow them to exceed expectations where neurotypical brains fall short.

Embracing neurodiversity as public health strategy means leaving behind the oversimplified de-politicized pathologization of mental health. This approach to mental health means we need to stop saying "you'd see a doctor for your heart, why wouldn't you for your mind" without taking responsibility for the policies and practices that exclude and disable neurodiversity.

#Thisisme mentally unwell, but managing.

Friday, January 22, 2016

#Thisisme: Potterhead

I'm a proud Harry Potter super fan. Ravenclaw for life!

Yes I do mentally sort people into the Hogwarts houses all the time. Yes I do mutter spells under my breath, and obviously anything remotely wand-shaped gets brandished with a flick and a swish. I've also thought through in painful detail how smartphone apps would put spell book publishers out of business. 

I'd have been a Ravenclaw at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Members of this house are characterized by their wit, learning, and wisdom. Its house colors are blue and bronze, and its symbol is an eagle.

I was reading the books from middle school through to my undergraduate studies at Carleton. I tore through the first two sick in middle school, then followed along as they were written and released. I know a lot of my love of Harry Potter is that I was the target audience as it was being published.

Book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, was my favorite. In grade 9, I ended up re-reading it a few times because it was the only book I had in my bag for silent reading most days. I definitely cried a few times reading the books. Sirius' and Dumbledore's deaths were heart-wrenchers. 

Handing Harry Potter to the next generation of readers is going to be a neat part of adulthood for me. What could possibly be a better eleventh birthday gift?

#Thisisme Potterhead.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

#Thisisme: Kinky

Maybe if you're related to me, then you skip this confession?

In the bedroom, wild is much better than mild! My approach to sex (and life in general) is that I don't want to bring any curiosity to the grave, and it makes no sense to spend time having sex that isn't great.

In Kinksterland, I'm a switch; I like being either dominant or submissive depending on who I'm with. I'm much more a hedonist than sadist or masochist, but I definitely have a few tendencies of both. I have the really fucked up idea that I should try to be the best sex all of my sexual partners have ever had. I already told the internet I've slept around my share, but I didn't get to the details of the fun stuff I do in bed.

I'll start the oversharing with my preference against body hair. It's usually not a deal breaker, but less is more. Obviously, a list of demands is no way to improve a relationship (sexual or otherwise) between two people, but there are creative ways to make sure everyone gets satisfied. I've had some great times with erotic shaving. It's particularly practical foreplay that ends up being pretty intimate. I have mostly positive experiences with shaving as foreplay. The one thing I have to say is that you need to be aware of how your body will react to hair removal. If you're gorilla hairy and you blade shave for the first time, your life is going to suck after because of breakouts and ingrown hair. Trimmers are good options to keep in mind.

Obviously, I like anal; it's why I mostly sleep with men. Rimjobs, toys, and fingering are all great ways to spend some time fucking around!

I use silicone lube for anal stuff. You can't really have it all when it comes to lube. Silicon lube is slippery and long-lasting, but it's really hard to clean up. It stains and doesn't wash of skin easily. I have sensitive skin, and if I don't get silicon lube off my skin relatively quickly, I break out. (Pro tip: use dish soap) Water based lubricants clean up easily, but they aren't as slippery and may require re-application more frequently. If there's only going to be toy/manual sex, coconut oil is an option with benefits falling between those of water and silicone lubricants. Latex condoms are not compatible with oil based lubricants, so make sure you choose the right lube for your body any activities!

I wouldn't even be mad in the slightest if some of the aforementioned assplay was happening while one party was tied up. I'm definitely into bondage but rarely hardcore. I've done and liked hardcore play, but I'm more into "tie me to the bed and have me" than collars, hoods, rubber, etc... If I'm the one tied up, I don't like blindfolds or gags at all. I need to see and speak. I'm much less limited in a dominant role than an submissive one, but that's not to say I enjoy it inherently more.

Ongoing consent is an important thing to talk about at this point. Consent must be constant throughout sexual activity. That means whoever is restrained has to, at any point, be able to shut the scene down and withdraw. If the opportunity to withdraw consent is not part of a kink scene, it's sexual assault. Ongoing consent can look like a lot of different things: a safe word, a bell to jingle, a marble to drop, but it's a necessary part of any sex! I hate that I even have to type this, but people need to be conscious to consent too.

Having a conversation about consent before any sex is the best idea, but especially if you're getting into restraints or violence. When I'm restrained: no blindfolds, no gags, no means no. I'm an adult; I don't have issues telling you what's working and what's not. I like real words not safe words. I also impart that if at any point things cross into non-consensual activities, I have no reservations reporting them to the police. (Scary feminist win!)

If I'm performing a dominant role, I absolutely despise when people say "no limits, do what ever you want." It's dumb, and it's not sexy. It shows that the person can't communicate what they want from a sexual experience. It's one of the ways you can tell if someone is actually into kink versus just trying it out.

Last disclosure for this post is that I'm into pretty violent sex. Ideal sex for me is 60-70% sensual/passionate and 30-40% violence. So what do I mean by violent sex? Slapping, spanking, choking, rough nipple/genital play, holding down, hard fucking. I don't like providing submissive oral (throat fucking); I have awful gag reflexes, but I do like receiving.

Despite my tastes for bondage and S&M, I'm really not into leather or role play. I don't need to pretend someone's a slave or kidnapped to like what's going on. Role play is too contrived and disconnected from the reality of the sex for me to enjoy it. Leather is a casualty of my vegetarianism. Not really a political thing; I just don't like leather. Wearing dead animals as fashion statements just isn't my vibe. I own leather shoes, and I'm not consciously resisting leather, but I'd never mindfully support it. I'm a vegetarian who likes rough sex.

Harnesses are really sexy, though. I want one made out of like upcycled seat belts...Is that a thing? It should be.

Random hot guy in a harness.
I've totally tried way more things than I've written about here, but these are the kinks I keep coming back to.

#Thisisme kinky.

Mother Monster in a kink photo shoot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

#Thisisme: McDonald's Patron

On any given day, I'd much rather McDonald's coffee than Tim Horton's.

There are only a few menu items I indulge in, but I quite enjoy them when I do. I also have to say that the upstairs dining space in the McDonald's North end of Bank Street in Ottawa is a really good space to do work for a few hours.

Foremost, the coffee & muffin deal - low fat cranberry-orange - is my order (It's a toonie, fuck yeah), but I'm no stranger to an Egg McMuffin (no meat), grilled cheese Happy Meal, and since I've already revealed my less than perfect vegetarianism, I'll disclose that the McDouble is a favorite cheat (also under $2). It's cheap, delicious, and if you don't have fries with it, it's not off the rails. I used to have the Santa Fe Veggie McWrap, but it got discontinued. 

Don't get me wrong, I love hash browns. When I'm granted a last meal, there will be many crispy delicious hash browns, but I broke myself of ordering them for the most part. For the record, A&W has the best hash browns. 

#Thisisme McDonald's patron. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#Thisisme: Having a shitty day

Not the confession I was planning on making, but it's what the universe calls for.

I'm 28, and my back is fucked. I've had back pain everyday for at least the past 2 years. Last night, I tore a ligament in my chest/shoulder doing a yoga twist. There was quite a lot of swelling and moderate discomfort. I iced it and made mental plans to hit up the clinic today.

Most dramatic blog pic ever...

Context matters here. I ripped a ligament doing yoga in the same shoulder (not exact same spot) in the Summer. I had been doing really well with exercising, and I got super discouraged that I couldn't do anything with my upper body for 6 weeks. Since returning to a regular fitness routine, I've been so careful to stretch my shoulders everyday, and I hadn't even made it back to using weights.

The body image issues I've already posted about cut across a bunch of shitty parts of my life in moments like this and make it hard not to feel super defeated. My upper body is the area I'm most self-conscious about, so I just got a triple kick in the face from the universe. Physical pain x derailing fitness progress/agitating anxiety x reminding me how poor I am. Boooo!

Basically my life offered up a perfect storm anxiety attack last night. (Much more to come about those later in the week)

Today, I get to the Somerset West Community Health Centre to speak with the nurse practitioner, who confirms what an RMT/Chiropractor, has already told me: I have scoliosis. My options are to stretch and bear it (FTR what I'd been doing) or spend money on massage, chiropractor, oh and it's best to yoga in a class, so they can correct your poses.

I don't know at exactly what point she figured out that she'd completely misread my socio-ecomic status, but she did eventually. In the end, I didn't really gain anything from seeking medical attention, and I'm stewing about it enough that I couldn't write about anything else.

So yeah, fuck ableism and classism in fitness and healthcare.

#Thisisme and my shitty day.

Monday, January 18, 2016

#Thisisme: Green

Another non-shocker for day 18 of #Thisisme - I'm a Green!

I don't feel the need to go into why, since I've already teased out my socialism during the project. It should suffice to say that I think a Green government is the shortest path between the present and my ideal for Canadian politics. The party isn't perfect; no party is. Unabashedly, I am a policy-first, party-second politico.

#Thisisme is about revelations, so I want to share some of my (non)partisan evolution. Here's my federal & provincial voting record.

January 2006 (Federal) - Green in Ottawa Centre
October 2007 (Ontario) - Green in Ottawa South
October 2008 (Federal) - Green in Ottawa Centre
May 2011 (Federal) - Liberal in St. Catharines
September 2011 (Ontario) - Green in Ottawa Centre
June 2014 (Ontario) - Green in Ottawa Centre
October 2015 (Federal) - NDP in Fundy Royal

Both times I didn't vote Green were strategic votes I made while living in Conservative strongholds. I do regret those votes nominally, but I don't lose sleep over it.

Even though I co-endorsed and voted for the NDP, I can't blame Canadians for the smack-down they dealt them in October. The idealists in the party balked at the centrist platform Mulcair campaigned on, and the pragmatists chose a much-friendlier-than-Harper Liberal majority to work with.

Ego is the last gas in the NDP tank. Unless the membership has the gall to toss Mulcair and put a real socialist in charge, they're doomed (like Linda McQuaig, but I don't think she speaks French...). Being flanked by a more principled opposition party (Green) and a more pragmatic (read: neoliberal) governing party (Liberal) is an awful place to campaign from. The Liberals have ~a safe decade to govern unchallenged.

So what's a progressive to do? Two strategies seem better than sticking with the NDP. 1) Get more Greens elected and more Green issues heard. 2) Join the Liberals and drag them kicking and screaming to the left of the political spectrum (lest we forget federal policy endorses a basic income).

#Thisisme Green.