I’m a tax payer too.

I shouldn’t have to write this because quite frankly, it’s truly no one’s business what goes on in my life behind closed doors. I have always been a private person.

Always.

I feel that we live in a day and age where there is no such thing as boundaries anymore. I get hate mail from random strangers because they don’t care for the images I post on my Facebook photography page. I get messages from strange men who are trying to stalk my friends. I get friend requests from people I have never heard of and pile of Instagram followers who are only following me in the hopes that I will follow them back or buy their wraps, nail stickers, sex toys or followers.

No thank you. 

I put myself out there in some ways because it’s good business sense. I’m working on cultivating my brand and getting my name out there while completing my studies. Which for all intents and purposes would technically mean: I’m self employed. I’m also a student.

Which was born and bred out of necessity. After I lost my job in 2014, I foolishly assumed that I would get another one in no time at all. I was a Chef, getting another job is super easy.

Until it wasn’t.

I hadn’t worked in an actual full blown restaurant in over a decade. The last five years of my career spent in a private daycare. People like to assume that was an easy, ‘cushy’ job. Sometimes it was, more often than not, not so much. My CV game was on point. The first 40 CV’s I sent out, not a peep. Which is odd, given the sheer amount of restaurant jobs in this city. So I adjusted my CV and used the acronym for my previous employer instead. Figured I was still being honest and it would at the very least, get my foot in the door.

Which worked, for a little while. Until I got to the interview. 

It was almost comical to see the looks on their faces when they asked what was ‘insert acronym here’. It’s mind blowing that people automatically assume that I make copious amount of KD and call it a day. No really, someone asked me that. Or there was the ‘ your CV looks great, but we’re afraid you’re over qualified’. OK well then why, oh why DID YOU CALL ME FOR AN INTERVIEW?!? Did they not bother to actually read my CV? Bus tickets cost money and my savings were starting to dwindle quickly.

So I revamped my CV once again. Except this time I left a lot of things out. Anything I felt that would imply that I was over qualified was gone. It did not however disguise the fact that I hadn’t worked as a line cook in forever (some things you can’t hide). So I went on countless interviews, all of which went swimmingly until the fact that I hadn’t worked on a line in forever came up. I had four opportunities before me, only four people out of the 100+ CV’s I sent out were willing to take a chance on me. Restaurant one was a hole, I didn’t measure up to their expectations and they sure as hell didn’t measure up to mine. I draw the line at leaving raw potatoes in the fry cutter so that there’s mold and fruit flies. Teamed up with the fact that they left raw meat out on the counter over night.

OVERNIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY!  Who does that?!? Needless to say, that didn’t work out. Which is kind of a shame because the staff was really nice. Even if I didn’t feel safe eating there… At least I tried. At the very least, I was still in school, working towards my dream and goals of becoming a professional photographer. I got offered another job at some random poutine place but when I showed up for the job, the owner never did. Which was fine because I wasn’t too keen on working there anyway -but- a job is a job. Then I found a job that was ideal for me, my skill level and the executive chef was totally cool about my not being in a formal restaurant in forever. The job was mine for the taking, it paid well and I was excited until I found out it would take me TWO HOURS to get there since it was in the Dix30.

Well fuck.  

So I upped the ante with my courses at school, started hustling my photography services and contemplated re-opening my then defunct Etsy store. Still looked for a job of course. However that became more complicated because of school. The downside of being in the hospitality industry? There’s not a lot of flexibility to be had. Preference will always be given to someone who has a completely open schedule. I get that though, scheduling people can be a giant pain in the ass. Been there, done that.

Also, while this was all happening, my father was dying. So that was fun. Still kept looking for work here and there, was enrolled in university full time and fighting with Emploi Quebec to get employment insurance while dealing with my ex employer. Couldn’t find a suitable job that would accommodate my schedule/didn’t require me to speak French, wasn’t eligible for welfare because I lived with my boyfriend and he made ‘too much money’ (which is comical) and I hadn’t been out of work long enough to be eligible for any of Quebec’s social programs. Thank god for savings, the monthly solidarity tax credit and credit cards. Not the most ideal way to live but I would rather cut out my own liver than borrow money from anyone. Especially family…

Yet somehow we made due, on our own. 

I kept fighting my battles with the government, won my lawsuit, my father passed away, I kept hustling and I was finally eligible for some help. Which was about freaking time. Lord knows I’ve paid my share of taxes, employment insurance and contributed to society. I don’t like handouts or charity and somehow the universe provided. I got a handful of freelance jobs, revamped my Etsy game and looked into going to school full time. Quebec has an amazing amount of social programs for people who are ‘low income’ and want to go back to school. I was deemed eligible but between the holidays and having to juggle things between my agent to get approval from Emploi Quebec and the school, they were full for January. So I looked for other things to do in the meantime and registered at a different school starting at the end of March for French. You can’t begin to imagine how pissed I was to discover that RTC had opened up a new class that starts on the same day as my French studies.

Fuck.  

So I had to choose. Did I drop out of the French program that I paid for out of pocket and enroll in the other program or did I take the French program that I needed to take anyway and hope that RTC opened up another program in June. So I opted to stay in the French program because I need to take it regardless. Given that the past year has been difficult dealing with my dad’s death and my anxiety and depression on top of trying to plan our wedding, I figured it would help me get back into the groove of things at a reasonable pace.

Which bring me to my ultimate frustration: People commenting on where my income comes from. Ever since I got engaged, I have been having to deal with a pretty undesirable litany of comments in regards to money. I am well aware that weddings are costly, yet some people, several in fact felt compelled to point that out. Oh my, how are you going to pay for that? We don’t want you to go into debt because we can’t bail you out (see above about my wanting to cut out my own liver…). But you don’t have a job. (um actually, I do, I work freelance). Oh you make money selling crafts? Really? Oh must be nice to sit around all day and do nothing (wrong). Oh I wish I had her life, sitting around taking pictures and making crafts all day (not as easy as it sounds). So what do you do all day, watch TV? (yes, that’s exactly it). You can’t possibly make enough money to live (we do OK thanks) and I could at least respect what you do if I knew that you were trying (to find an actual job) and the list goes on.

Quite frankly, I am tired of it. I haven’t said a word about it because why bother? Until Sunday, when after hearing three different comments about my income or lack thereof, I finally snapped. Where does anyone get off on commenting on *MY* personal life? Since when did it become your business? Do you think you were the first person to say something about this? Newsflash, you’re not. I could have/should have handled it better, i’m not going to make excuses for letting my temper get the best of me. Sometimes I’m an asshole. I own my mistakes and can freely admit when i’m wrong. However, it doesn’t disregard the fact that it’s no one’s business. Quite frankly, far too many people have chosen to make it their business. I have had enough.

I get being frustrated by the amount of people who take advantage of the system. I honestly don’t know how those people function, it’s not as if welfare gives you a lot of money. Even the stipend that they give you for going to school isn’t enough for one person to live on, on their own. The system is a lot more complicated than you would think. Trust me, I worked my way through it in sheer desperation. Had it not been for the fact that I have other talents that lay elsewhere, I would have ended up in the metro shaking a cup and begging for change.

I still might.    

Just to let you know, I pay taxes on the money I bring in. So before you make assumptions or feel the need to comment on things that really shouldn’t matter to you, know the facts.

Now you do. After all, knowing is half the battle. 

It’s not always about you…

This meme, and several others like it are a pretty accurate depiction of what my life is like on Facebook lately:

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It often makes me wonder why people jump to the conclusion that anything I post is about them. Makes ME wonder what YOU have said or done behind my back that would make you feel that way. If you haven’t done me any wrong, than why are you concerning yourself with it?

I know that there is someone who is trolling Facebook and feeding information to they who shall not be named. Then they in turn twist it around and somehow manage to loose all of the meaning and trash me on Facebook. Which is fine because I blocked them long ago. Like that time I was praising someone who called me out on something I needed to be called out on. I’ve been going through life with my head up my ass since my father died. Depression sucks and it’s also very, very selfish. So no, sometimes I really have no idea that I may have hurt your feelings, unless you say something (I’m only human, sometimes i’m ignorant too). Said person is very near and dear to my heart and it’s a shame they live so far away. In any case, i’m glad that they said something. It takes guts to speak up about how you feel. I will always respect that.

Sometimes I post things because I know that someone in my ‘circle’ might find it helpful or relevant. Sometimes I just like it or it resonates with me in some way, so I share it.

Doesn’t mean it’s about you. 

I also have a rule about not saying anything behind your back that I am not willing to say to your face. Which means that I don’t go out of my way to “vague book” about family and friends, especially the one’s that are on Facebook. Even I have more class than that. Although some would disagree with that.

Doesn’t matter anyway, because you guessed it: They’ll assume it’s about them. Even when it isn’t.

Makes me wonder why it’s so “obvious” to you. Makes me question your conscious once again… I mean really, if you’re taking offence to the things that I have posted or assuming they’re about you or someone you know, what have YOU done behind my back that would make you think that way?

Yet, no one sees it like that. People get all defensive and start saying things to me like i’m a hypocrite, narcissistic, a liar, childish, self centered and soooooooo many others. Yet, they themselves should take a nice, long look in the mirror.

And mind their own business while they’re at it.  

If something isn’t clear, I will happily clarify. However, if you still assume that it’s about you, your family or someone you know; I once again urge you to look at the skeletons in your own closet before commenting on mine.

 

 

A year later.

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It’s only fitting that it’s snowing today. My dad loved it when it snowed; it was the one thing that gave him peace while he was in the hospital right before he died. It’s been a year now but it doesn’t feel like it at all. I remember reading this post someone had wrote lamenting about the first year she had lost her mom. It was beautiful and sad. I thought to myself I wonder what my first year would be like without him. My father was still very much alive at the time, except I knew that his time would be up sooner rather than later.

A year ago today I was rushing off to the airport trying so hard to keep it together. Alternating between sheer panic, tears and praying that I would make it home in time while kicking myself in the ass for not going home the night before.

My father and I had a tumultuous relationship at the best of times. Moving to Montreal has been both a blessing and a curse for our relationship. When my dad first got diagnosed, it was suggested to me to ‘have it out’ with my dad for all those times he did me wrong.

I disagreed. I didn’t feel that it would solve anything.

I was never a passive person when it came to my father. He knew all those times he pissed me off or did me wrong. I didn’t need to call him out for being an asshole again. The man was dying. While that didn’t give him carte blanche to do what he pleased, I didn’t see what the point of dredging up the past.

So I let it go. For me and for him because sometimes it’s just easier to accept an apology you’re not going to get. I felt at peace with this decision and I still do.

Everyone really liked my dad. He was a good man. He was also horribly flawed and when he fucked up, he fucked up pretty hard. He turned into an asshole when he drank too much. He had narcissistic personality traits and, a fragile ego.
As a result, a lot of people got hurt and I, more often than not, got caught in the crossfire. I am fiercely loyal to those that I love and I spent my formative years with a not so savoury opinion of him. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my dad. I didn’t always respect him though.

I was the apple of his eye though. My father adored me like no other.

I did not expect for it to hit me this hard.

I had already started to experience bouts of depression right after I found out my father was diagnosed and loosing my job two days later. Which is normal, depression doesn’t always last forever. What I wasn’t ready for was how bad my depression actually got. It’s become a daily struggle for me now.

Less than a week after my father died, my mom called me from Ontario. We had been robbed. The bastard that my father rented out a room to had cleaned us out in the middle of the night and he stole everything. He even took the damn dog food.

As if we hadn’t been through enough already?

I couldn’t breathe. I had just come home from Ontario 2.5 days ago and there I was standing there in my office stunned and enraged. The anger I experienced in that moment was like no other. The mind has this way of protecting itself from too much damage. I was in shock for another reason this time and I just felt so violated. How dare someone, anyone do such a thing to another person? It’s even more insulting when it happens right after you just lost your dad.

That was my childhood home. He contaminated it. I would never feel the same way after that.

There’s not much less frustrating than to be 760 km away and be that helpless.

I was surrounded by people, but I never felt more alone than I did at that moment.

I look back on the year that has gone by and it’s a jumbled blur. I attempted to go to school for French but had to drop out because my mind wasn’t capable of storing a damn thing. Memory loss is common with depression.  I went home in May to say goodbye at his celebration of life and to say good bye to the house. It sold in July and it will never feel quite right not to go there again. It was the only home I had known for 37 years.  I can’t eloquently break it down into months because one day just melts into the next. That’s what depression does to you. It robs you of so many things. I knew that it was coming, I just didn’t know when. When I lost Jason in 2009, I suffered from depression and that’s also when my OCD reared its ugly head, except I didn’t know it at the time. So I foolishly thought that I would be prepared this time around. Except…

Your mind can’t heal when the hits keep coming.

Shock is a funny thing. It can last for a couple of days, or in some cases, years. Shock is normal after any traumatic event and loosing my dad was no different. I got up; I went to school once a week and just tried to do whatever I could to function. I was living life on auto pilot and I was grateful that I didn’t have a job to go to at the time. I never knew when I would get an attack of the feels and I am not one for public displays of such things.

I developed anxiety. No surprise there, its depressions bestie. I would stay in bed until noon. Being a functional adult was exhausting. Even more so when you have to pretend to be OK when you are anything but OK at all.
Having to pick up the phone to make a phone call was terrifying. Panic attacks were the norm. So were emotional outbursts. This was my life now and I didn’t know how to cope.

In some ways, I still don’t.

Loosing a parent is a special kind of hell that no one understands until it happens to them.

This is why Nick and I didn’t announce our engagement right away. I needed time and space to just breathe. Only a handful of people knew before our official announcement and it certainly didn’t help matters when a few people said: “Now that the cats out of the bag.” Which made it sound like it was some big, dark secret from some people, which was not the case AT ALL. A lot of people got upset about that, but I can’t and WON’T take responsibility for the things that other people say, nor will I apologize for needing some time to myself. I have long since learned that you can’t please everyone and I stopped trying long before Nick came along.
It was nice while it lasted, some moments were bittersweet though. Like when my wedding dress arrived at the end of March.

It was a final gift from my dad. Except he knew nothing about it, he just gave me permission to rack up his credit card in whatever way I saw fit. I was supposed to buy a new laptop as a graduation gift but plane tickets for Nick and me and ultimately my wedding dress took precedence.

I remember how excited I was when my dress arrived, I pulled it out of the box and marveled at how beautiful it was and then I sat there and cried. It hurts knowing that my dad won’t be there when Nick and I say I do.

So it’s been a year. It’s been full of struggles, most of which I kept to myself. It’s taught me a lot of things though.

• That people automatically assume that depression is a feeling, not a disease. So you have to try not to get angry when people say things like: “Don’t dwell on the past.” This isn’t helpful at all, in case you were wondering. Especially when they themselves still have a dad.
• That it’s OK to not be OK.
• That there will be days when you randomly burst out in tears and have no idea as to why.
• Those moments of I’ll just call my dad and ask him and then remembering that you don’t have the means to do that anymore will cut you deep and fill you with regret for not taking the time to learn how to do whatever it is that you want to do, from him when you had the chance.
• To be more open about my mental illness. Depression is hard on so many levels. Some days it’s all consuming and getting out of bed is a bigger challenge than most people know.
• You’ll see the true colors of your family members and some of them are rather ugly.
• That the people you expect to be there for you aren’t. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the one’s that do.
• Little things can cause a memory trigger and it usually brings forth more tears. Like the first snow of the year after you lost your dad. It reminded me of one of our last conversations.
• Birthday’s and other special occasions are hard. Especially all those firsts, it’s funny how a quick text or a quick phone call takes on a whole new meaning when they stop coming.
• Some days you will feel like you’re drowning and you are helpless to stop it. All you can do is hang in there as best as you can and hope that you have a rope to hold onto.

The list goes on and on. The worst part of loosing my dad is/was loosing myself in the process.

I used to be such a different person than I am now and I am not sure how I feel about this. 

I miss the person that I used to be and while I begrudgingly accept that I can never return to who I once was, I would give anything just to feel whole again and not hurt anymore.

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The truth about income tax. A PSA:

It’s that time of year again!

I keep seeing cheeky meme’s such as this on social media:

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I hate to disappoint you, but that’s not how it works…

In order to actually get a tax return, you need to pay income tax.

Feel free to read more about how income tax works here.

I just did my taxes for 2015 and you want to know how much i’m getting back?

ZERO.

In spite of having limited income, being a student (with almost 3 grand in tuition costs), buying bus passes, donating to charity and more, I get nothing.
Because I didn’t pay that much into income tax or anything that is considered a write off last year to generate a refund.
So no being poor AF or being a student doesn’t automatically generate some sort of huge windfall during tax time.
In fact, you get nothing.
Just in case you weren’t aware. You are now.

You’re welcome.