Cancer and Judgement

Cancer. It’s a scary-ass word. This six-letter diagnosis symbolizes fear and pain for many of us. It most certainly brings overwhelming feelings of doubt. At the same time, until we find a cure, there will always exist stories of hope and great courage.

A bit over a year ago, a very close friend of mine revealed to me that she had cancer. There were tears. Just before she started her first round of chemotherapy I decided to shave my head to let her know I had her back.

FIGHT

Ok, I’m done being mushy.

A few days after my big cut, I made my way to the gym as per usual. As I walked along, I silently scolded myself for how damned cold my frigging head was. The last time I was bald, I was chilling inside someone else’s body.

Image

I better look like this if I am ever bald again. Shit, no wonder babies are fucking screaming bloody murder when they’re born. Who in their right mind would want to be yanked into the freezing-ass world with no hair?! No one. That’s who.

This was my approximate level of discomfort towards the cold against my naked head: somewhere between failing a big test and shitting my pants in public. I stopped at an intersection and waited for the walk signal. A few other people were also waiting with me; the little old lady I noticed the most because she was so adorably short. Suddenly I heard a woman’s voice call out to me over my music:

“Hey, you!”

I turned to cast my gaze upon a middle-aged woman with hair so disheveled I could have sworn her parents violently beat her every time she tried to use a comb. I looked at her, slightly confused as to if she was even talking to me.

“Yes, you! Don‘t judge me on how I look! I mean, look at you! You’re bald!”

Strange, I’m pretty sure that before she started screaming like a siren on acid, I was not even aware of her clearly sad existence. Furthermore, I did not ask for her mouth to come up into my business, especially to tell me shit I already know about myself. She must have thought she was the great Sherlock Holmes with that “discovery”, accusing me of being sans hair.

Really, asshat? You can’t even manage to run a rake through your bird’s nest of a head but you’re going to talk to me about how I shaved my hair? Carry on with your nonsense. One day you’re going to open your mouth to the wrong person and have all your teeth knocked out.

Guaranteed she wasn't even half as cute as this guy

I could psycho-analyse the shit out of this random encounter. I could delve into all sorts of reasons as to why this woman would project her fool insecurities onto me. I could write my thesis on why dumbasses think it’s appropriate to approach me at any moment in time. I won’t, though. I’ve attributed this fuckery to her depraved life experience. Also, crazies from Toronto always shout ignorant shit.

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Africa

It’s no secret that I often get strange and poorly thought-out commentary on my mocha complexion. People can’t help but open the hole in their face and exemplify how wonderfully idiotic they are. In the winter, I daily hear, “You’re so lucky! You don’t have to go tanning!” as I think to myself, “Yeah that’s God’s apology for your existence in my life.” It seems contradictory to deliberately slather in sunscreen under the natural Sun and then hop into a tanning bed with oil to turn orange. That makes no goddamn sense to me.

Aiming to be part of the Wonka entourage

This is coming from someone who enjoys the pedophilic undertones of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as much as the next person. I don’t mean to degrade actual oompa-loompas. They’re just the only orange people I know about who claim to be a race.

Anyway, back to living as the world’s official antenna for imbecility.

On the first day of class in September, I sat down for my first lecture of the school year. Halfway through, our professor asked us to divide into pairs and discuss the subject matter. I happened to be sitting next to this tall, lanky, wavy-haired individual at the time. I knew he was outspoken as during the lecture he kept having these fucking outburts of really interesting and relevant anecdotes that didn’t make me want to run him over with a bulldozer at all.

We agreed on some ideas but still had time left over before our professor resumed the class. We sat in silence. Suddenly an epiphany came to my loud-mouthed class partner.

“So, uh, what part of Africa are you from?”

He caught me. I’m from fucking Africa. Straight off the ship, in fact. Mother of God, how did he know? His intuition was so astounding, I just had to ask (calmly, of course):

“What makes you think I’m from Africa?”

“Oh, well, ya know!” he bashfully said as he made a hand gesture that ran up and down my body. “Because you’re… you’re black!”

Reminds me of home

Let me get this straight. A university-educated, grown-ass man deduced that I’m from the African continent based on a single clue: my skin colour. This guy needs to ask for a full refund from the university. Or better yet, he should sue. Clearly he’s learned fuck all so far. They didn’t teach him to think critically. Hell, they didn’t teach him think, period. If I were him, I’d be writing a strongly-worded letter to the Dean. It would go something like this:

Addressed to the Dean’s Office of the University of Toronto

To whom it may concern:

Today, as I was sitting in my upper-year university class, I decided to open my numbskull trap and ask some girl I just met if she was from Africa. She was not wearing traditional African clothing. She did not have an African accent when she spoke. She did not look phenotypically African. She never even mentioned anything about Africa at all. However, I was able to confidently draw the conclusion that the person sitting next to me just showed up from Africa yesterday. Unfortunately, I ended up greatly embarrassing myself in this situation. She was Jamaican-Canadian. Shit, right?

Furthermore, I would like to request all my money back. I am only able to come off as exceedingly pretentious to other people and without the God-given gift of filtering my thoughts. In fact, on a scale of one to Charlie Sheen, I reach the cast of Jersey Shore on the douchebag scale. I have clearly wasted several years of my life at this institution as my degree means nothing without the applied skills I should have gained along with it.

Thank you very much for your time and understanding,

A complete asshole

Yep. Clear. Concise. Accurate.

Summer Camp and Eyebrow Piercings

This past summer I had the pleasure of working at an overnight camp for kids with learning disabilities (LDs) and mental health struggles due to their LDs. All of the kids were so fantastic (mainly because they liked to have dance battles and eat food as much as I do, but also because they impacted my life in such a positive way). It was a really enriching environment and fulfilling as a job.

On our days off, a lot of the staff would end up sleeping in the staff lounge to have a break from the kids whilst remaining on camp grounds. One day off of mine stands out as particularly memorable. After a night of gorging myself with chocolate chip cookies, pop, and other assorted cancer-inducing bullshit, I was able to roll my now-bloated ass out of bed at 2pm with all the grace and charm of Ke$ha herself.

Mmm... classy

I walked to the dining hall to grab a bowl of cereal and noticed there were a few kids in there because it was raining during the program period. After giving a few high-fives to the kids I waddled over to the kitchen, poured myself a bowl of cereal, and then plopped down in the main dining area at a staff table. One of the older teen boys we had at camp, we’ll call him Lucas, sat down next to me and struck up a conversation. I didn’t mind; he was a pretty cool kid.

Then Lucas brought up the subject of body piercings.

“I think it’d be cool if I got an eyebrow piercing when I’m older.”

“Oh yeah?” I replied. “That’d be pretty sick. I can see you rocking that one day.”

“You think so? Well I was also thinking of getting one here… and here… and here…” Lucas said as he excitedly pointed to various parts of his face into which he wanted to shove alien objects. Of course he did. You give an inch, they take a mile. At that point, I turned to put a spoonful of cereal and milk in my mouth. I turned back to face him just in time to hear:

“Oh yeah, and maybe… down there” as his eyes shifted downwards.

The next 10 seconds were dedicated to me trying to keep milk from flying out of my nose faster than Michael Jackson on a jet pack during the Thriller tour. All the while, Lucas was gazing at me expectantly for an answer:

Me: Oh… That would be… painful.

Lucas: You think? I was thinking that if I was dating a girl for a while and I was really into her, we could both get one. That could be kinda cool.

Me: …

Lucas: So… do you have one?

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. A teenaged boy that I work with asked me if I had a genital piercing. I’m sorry, that’s my day off. My time of rest. A period void of bullshit. What the fuck?

Me on the inside

My next move was to fake emergency explosive diarrhea and make a quick exit. Crisis avoided.

Spiteful Girl

This literally JUST happened to me. I’m still wiping the tears away from laughing so hard.

Tonight after getting home from class, I decided to brew myself a relaxing cup of herbal tea and put my feet up. I needed help unwinding, especially after some lonely and untalented soul decided to wave his arms and gyrate his hips in my direction as he approached. I wasn’t too alarmed, though. I was pretty much prepared for it after watching a Discovery Channel documentary on the mating initiations of physically disabled emus.

However, the zipadeedoodah fun didn’t stop there for me. I turned on my computer to surf the Internet with MSN running in the background. It seems, at some point, I accidentally added a random. She had the same name as a friend of mine from childhood so I naturally responded, thinking she still used her old account:

Jenny: Hey! What’s up?

Me: Hey! Not much. What’s up with you?

Jenny: Hey there. Hope you don’t mind chatting with a SPITEFUL dirty girl… soo how are ya?

I figured out at this point a stranger was asking me how I am. How am I?! Who the FUCK are you??

Me: I’m a heterosexual woman. Sorry.

Jenny: All woman here, baby ­čśë

Me: Yeah, I’m sorry. Unless you’re a man, I’m not interested in you that way. Good luck finding what you need, though.

Jenny: Suit yourself… Ur prob a virgin anyways… Peace!

At this point, I stopped conversing with Jenny. She’s clearly a moron and doesn’t know what a heterosexual is. She also presented the biggest logical error I’ve seen in a long time. I’m “prob a virgin anyways” because I refused her proposal. Or, you know, I don’t engage in cyber-sex. Listen, Jenny, if you’re out there. You’re a cretin (in the non-dated medical sense of the term). You can’t grasp what a heterosexual is, nor do you understand what constitutes being a virgin. Also, being spiteful is probably not as sexy as you think it is. That’s probably why you’re alone and prey upon strangers on the Internet.

On the other hand, I admire your perseverance.

Facebook Foot Fetish

Facebook. The longer I have an account, the more I regret having created it in the first place. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but the universe/karma/God/what-have-you has made it so that I am desirable to the most psychotic people on the planet. Online, they lurk in the shadows Ted Bundy-style; they “Facebook stalk” :

"What have you been up to today, my darling...?" *fapfapfap*

Don’t play like you don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. You do. Everyone with a Facebook account has creepily gone through a profile in hopes that sharing a love for dinosaur puzzles will forever unite them with Chad, the hottie from the club on Saturday. “Investigating”, “doing research”, “working on your fifth restraining order”; whatever you want to call it. It’s still sketchy. Usually the intention looks something like this:

In the 21st century, this sort of thing is “normal”. Unfortunately for me, the people who stalk my profile are more along the lines of:

The man I want to marry ÔŁĄ

True keepers, in my opinion.

One in particular, who called himself “Rex” on Facebook, decided that it would be a positive life choice to send me a friend request. I have a few friends who wish to keep their real names private on Facebook and use pseudonyms with cartoon profile photos (myself included). I very stupidly thought this might have been one of those cases as I sent Rex a private message asking if I knew him.

“No, but feel free to add me anyway ;)”

Now, to the average person that response is as unsettling as watching Bambi’s mom die. At best. I made damn well sure to ignore his friend request. Lucky lady that I am, he made sure to send me another message a few days later:

“So, I was just wondering… If someone would do anything that you wanted them to, would you like that?”

This is where it is completely my bad. I should have shut the hell up. He was very obviously outside his damn mind.┬á I mean, the dude asked me if I would enjoy having a slave… How in God’s name are you going to ask a black woman if she likes slavery?! Instead (because I can’t read social cues), I thought we were going to have a philosophical conversation:

“No, I think that that would undermine the autonomy of that person. Paternalism should be reserved for extreme cases.” God, I’m a fucking idiot for this.

Rex and I got into a back-and-forth for a few minutes, him still pushing that having a slave would be as much fun as going to Disneyland, until he came out with:

” The truth is, I have a foot fetish. I would love for you to be my dominatrix. I’d just like to lick, kiss, and suck on your toes. In return, you will have me at your every disposal.”

Sometimes people just don’t know where to draw the line with strangers. Some people get too friendly and touch you too much. Some people don’t realise that the joke is over. In Rex’s case, it was a little harder for him to discern the line between friendly conversation and Edward Cullen watching Bella as she sleeps.

I now can’t touch feet.

Opa and the Underground Railroad

Before I get into the actual story, some background information is required.

During the school year I look after an 8 year-old boy for some side cash. We’ll call him Simon. The kid is freaking adorable and he likes Star Wars. That’s enough to make me stick around. That aside, his mother is a single parent and when I am unable to play Wii with him for two hours, she’ll ask her parents, German immigrants, to hold down the fort. I’ve met “Nana” and “Opa” a few times and know them to be really sweet and gentle people.

Back to the story:

Right before Christmas break for elementary schools, Simon invited his grandparents and I to his school’s Christmas concert in which he’d be performing. I had to pick him up from school that night anyway so I agreed to stay the extra hour and bemusedly watch sunglasses-wearing kindergarteners rap a song in French (I’m not kidding; that was a real performance).

Soon after Simon and I got home and had a snack, his mother and grandparents make their entrance. After some shuffling around is done, we start piling on the winter clothes. As I tugged on my boots, the following conversation took place:

Opa: Timmi, I have a question for you.

Me: Of course, what’s on your mind?

Opa: Were you born here in Canada or in your country of origin?

Opa and I had never talked about me having a “country of origin”, but in Toronto this is a pretty standard question. Nobody was born here. Not even white people. We resume:

Me: Oh, I was born in Canada.

Opa: Ah ok, then. In that case, did your ancestors come to Canada using the Underground Railroad?

Me: *poker face*

Simon’s mother: Jesus Christ… *face palm*

Nana: Oh, it’s ok! It’s not a bad question! Besides, Timmi doesn’t mind!

Me: No, no! My biological parents are Jamaican.

See, I’m not even mad at Opa. I’m really not. I applaud his curiosity, in fact. That could be a valid question if you didn’t know that about 90% of Torontonian blacks are from the Caribbean, making it extremely unlikely that I have Canadian ancestry that goes back very far. It would also have been a valid question if I were a mermaid. I’m not sure. Perhaps to Opa I bear a very striking resemblance to my great-great-great grandmother:

Harriet Tubman

Disclaimer

I figured that the “Shit People Say to Me Because I Am Black” section could get “controversial” so I would like to make one thing clear: this is NOT written with the intent of making any sort of impact on racial and social hierarchies in my community or in others. In fact, I have no interest in arguing with anyone about “injustices”. This does not mean that I do not welcome intelligent and thoughtful comments. By all means, tell me how you feel! However, this does mean that I do not give a single fuck if you think I am a racist. I lack the energy for the bullshit that is attacking others for things about themselves they cannot change.

Now you, dear reader, might wonder why I’m even talking about my ethnicity if it “doesn’t really matter anyway”; why attract more attention to the bull in the china shop? I have realised over the course of my very short 21 years that people’s curiosity, ignorance, lack of goddamn sense have inadvertently introduced me to awkward and highly inappropriate racial conversations. I first noticed in high school when other students began calling me “Oreo” and thought they were paying me a compliment with fuckery like, “I really like you because you’re not like other black people.” Then it finally dawned on me: “God Almighty, I am surrounded by great minds who have learned first-hand that black is a personality type.” Of course! It all makes sense now! How presumptuous of me to have thought it was within my racial boundaries to attend university, employ words with more than two syllables, enjoy music other than hip-hop and rap, and not like watermelon (too many seeds…)! Clearly, all this makes me less black and, therefore, more likeable to non-blacks. In fact, I’m so keen on not being black that I’m going to go out and bleach my skin tomorrow!

For anyone who still wants to believe this is an “angry black woman” attack on white people/ search for racism, I’d like to take the time to address that I was adopted by a very loving, white Canadian family. So if you’re an idiot and let me know it, don’t be surprised when a story about you is published on the blog.

Cheers =)