Making waves and making change

I have been incredibly busy these past couple weeks. I spoke at an online advocacy convention on September 26th, reflecting on my experiences in the education system. I wanted to focus on the fact that I, someone who dropped out in 11th grade and ended up getting my GED, was still able to be successful and thrive. I wanted the parents who were participating to understand that their child’s success in the school system will not necessary determine their success in the future. Not everyone thrives in a regimented system.

Then, on September 30th, I spoke at the BC Legislatures Provincial Budget meeting (at the 02:05 – Two hour and five minute mark) https://twitter.com/BCLegislature/status/1443671164690173960 in regards to being a disabled person and a small business owner. I spoke about being self-employed and the lack of support and was asked by one of our MLAs to submit a letter. I just wrote it and emailed it off.

I’m so passionate about highlighting our voices because we are left out of the narrative. The press releases for September’s British Columbia DisabilIty Employment month didn’t include one quote from disabled small business owners or self employed people. It just included quotes from people who hire us. It’s frustrating to know that there are folks out there who didn’t even know we exist and thus, by default, didn’t choose to include us in this very important conversation.

I wrote two articles as well, one here in regards to inclusive employment and being self employed and one here about disability and entrepreneurship.

I also want to share that i’m almost completely sold out of my Neurodiversity Pride Pins in the regular size. At the time of posting this, I only have 11 left. That means i’ve sold nearly 200. I have more on the way in the upcoming weeks but if they do sell out, I also have the mini, 1 inch version available.

Did you know that I released a new style of pin?

This is my “Flower Power” collection! I also have matching stickers and patches will be arriving October 4th. You can find these items at retrophiliac.etsy.com, alongside many other items I have available. Every time a purchase is made, it further ensures that I am able to live my dreams and hopefully be given the chance to help other people who want to be on the same path of independence that I am on.

I also secured my 10th retailer! I am grateful that I reached this amazing milestone, alongside other milestones to celebrate:

-Over 500 sales this year alone

-Over 1000 sales in total

-Over 200 five star reviews

And, I also celebrated my 33rd birthday and felt more accomplished than ever.

Now, to fight the good fight and continue advocating for disabled small business owners and self employed people. I’m not going to stop, i’m just going to keep pushing forward! Thank you for navigating this journey with me.

-Margaux

More good things!

I have some exciting news to announce.

Not only was I a recipient of a BC Arts Council grant – which means I have the ability to create more awesome things, but my local MLA (Member of the legislative assembly) Rick Glumac spoke about me at the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria.

Here’s the video!

I am so grateful that my hard work was acknowledged and that he spoke up about the puzzle piece, awareness vs acceptance and used my correct pronouns.

I also wanted to announce that not only was I an independent consultant for York Universities Mental Health Literacy for Autism, but I am so pleased to show you that they chose to use my “Love Grows” image on the cover as you can see here.

If you like this design, I actually sell pins, patches and stickers with it in my etsy store!

I’ve also contributed to a few “Nothing with out us” segments on CBC’s “on the coast with Gloria Macarenko”, and i’m incredibly thankful that I have been given this opportunity.

I’ve been keeping myself as busy as possible and I will have many new items that i’ll be releasing soon and I even got my first dose of the covid-19 vaccine. I’ve been working on keeping myself hydrated and my mind in a more positive state. It’s a challenge though and I can’t wait until my family, friends and roommates are fully vaccinated.

I really can’t wait to share more good things with you.

Thank you so much for supporting me and reading.

I’ve got those self-isolation blues!

A new piece of art – “Bright Skies”

As usual – I have been slacking when it comes to writing and updating this blog. That’s a little unbecoming and not up to the high standards I reluctantly uphold for myself.

It’s been hard and my energy has been fluctuating. There are days where I am apt to clean and tidy up my surroundings and then there are days that are spend entirely in bed, sometimes accompanied by cookies.

I’m on a constant rotation of just a few things. Netflix, napping, eating, art and a minute amount of self care. I’m trying to focus more on that because I know how important it is for my mental health.

Some tasks are more difficult than others, including running Made by Autistics Community on facebook – a task that is emotionally draining at the best of times – it puts me right in the forefront of having to maintain some order and good reading comprehension. I’m not great at the comprehension aspect and I find that keeping objects orderly versus people is already something I obsess over. Throw emotions in to the mix and I sink, real fast. I make mistakes, we all do – but there’s one thing we can choose to NOT do – and that’s call people names. I had enough of this in my past (hurled towards me with a cold blast of anger, no less) and I don’t need to be triggered.

I’m thankful I have people I can speak to who have been supportive of me because I can only take so much criticism in one day. I burn out faster than i’d like. It’s been hard not having any physical affection or the inability to see my friends and hang out in close quarters. I realize that we’re trying to do our best as a whole to stop the spread of a really horrible virus and some of the things we can do are:

  1. Wash Your Hands
  2. Maintain Your Distance
  3. Be Nice

Three rules that could make a big difference. Hope you are staying healthy and happy!

PS. I also started a petition to make it mandatory to have ALL cosmetics be tamper-proof sealed. Could you sign it?

Align Entertainment Presents Annie

(I received complementary tickets in exchange for my review)

Annie has always been one of my favourite musicals. I watched both versions on VHS religiously as a child, had a chance to be in a production in school and saw it at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre many moons ago.

Photo taken by Emily Cooper

This version seemed different to me and I learned that it’s not uncommon for the scripts to change and get rewritten. There were songs I didn’t remember and scenes that seemed off to me. I also didn’t know why they said “always” instead of “only” during Tomorrow. It’s actually because the movie version changed it. Who knew?

Camryn McDonald plays Annie and brings a very unique approach to her performance. She’s incredibly animated, professional and focused, much like all the seasoned professionals around her! I see a bright and successful future for Camryn.

The whole ensemble had great chemistry and I really enjoyed the choreography. A Hard Knock Life was a great display of the talent of the young ladies playing the orphans. It was really mesmerizing and one of my favourite songs.

The sets were beautiful but it was hard for me to not pick out pieces that didn’t fit the depression-era that the musical is set in. I don’t blame them, it’s not easy (or cheap) to completely retrofit the set to be 100% accurate. Same thing can be said for some of the costumes. There’s a scene where President Roosevelt is seated at a table with his staff and two of the ladies look like they came right off the set of Laverne & Shirley, but again, there’s only so much you can do with budget restraints. I also can’t help that I have an innate attention to detail.

Photo taken by Emily Cooper

This is the second Align Entertainment production i’ve seen, the first one being Legally Blonde which I was SO excited to review.

Align has an incredibly dedicated team, committed to providing experiences you and your family will enjoy. It’s so important for the soul to immerse yourself in some arts and culture. Clearly i’m a big proponent of this!

Align Entertainment presents:

Annie: The Musical
Dates: February 1–16, 2019
Preview: February 1, 8pm
Family Matinee: February 2, 2pm
Opening Night: February 2, 8pm

Ticket Prices: Regular: $29–$42

Special Preview Pricing: $20
Thrifty Thursdays: $25
Family Matinee: $15
Address: Michael J. Fox Theatre
7373 Macpherson Ave
Burnaby, BC V5J 2B7

Tickets: http://alignentertainment.ca/tickets or vtixonline.com
Website: alignentertainment.ca

Reliving my (painful) past

I want to preface this post by saying that these are things i’ve experienced and at the time of writing this, I do not have a PTSD diagnosis. I, in no way, want to make those with a proper diagnosis feel less than or devalued in any way.

Often times I find myself in these dizzying spells with negative thoughts running rampant. They flood my mind: terrible, painful memories that I wish would vanish.

Discovering deceased pets, multiple instances of being bullied which included: thumbtacks, sharp side up- They would be left on my chair with an audience that consisted of my entire class, watching and waiting to see if I would notice and sit on it, purposely having dodgeballs thrown at my face, having friends-of-friends find out personal details about me and they would attempt to humiliate and berate me based on it, being excluded from birthday parties, having the whole class turn against me while the teacher was out of the room – that’s just some of the bullying that occurred during my elementary school years. Can’t forget the workplace bullying with all kinds of instances that included customers yelling at me, management making me cry or not believing things I say (I am very honest) and being fired – which was one of the most humiliating things i’ve ever lived through, co-workers being nasty to me for reasons i’ll never know.

I also can’t forget all the things my Father did: the daily verbal abuse, screaming so loud that you could hear him down the block, chasing me to my bedroom and holding the door closed so I couldn’t leave, yelling at me for questioning things he said and having friends witness his emotionally destructive behaviour which was embarrassing and continued to pile the stress on top of me. 

This is just a small portion of the hundreds, maybe thousands of memories that flow through my mind.

Even though I had the support of my Sisters and my Mum, I still felt so alone and depressed. I didn’t think I would survive so I failed to look after myself. I think sadness was one of the first emotions I remember experiencing.

I want these painful memories to subside. Easier said than done. I can’t seem to shake off things that happened as far back as I can remember. 

People often say things like “Forgive and forget”, “don’t dwell on your past”, “move on” and “live in the present”. It’s NOT THAT EASY. Diminishing the valid feelings of those who often have to suffer in silence is not something that sits well with me. It’s hard enough to allow those feelings to come to the surface, let alone feel comfortable enough with anyone to actually allow the words of pain to flow out of ones mouth. It’s a PRIVILEGE to listen to such agony. I don’t think it’s okay to interject comments telling someone to forget, move on and live in the present. It makes things worse.

I have reached out to some people that have caused me pain and forever haunt me in my memories and I was unsuccessful. I also was left feeling as though what happened was my fault. I do my best to cope.

Forgiveness is so much harder than its made out to be and it has stages that are very similar to grief. I would say that one of my biggest faults or personality flaws would be the severity of my anxiety. Many thoughts continue to haunt me, not only during my waking hours but even during my sleep.

I’m talking about those nights where my mind and my heart feel like they are racing in unison.

Trying to fall asleep, I toss and turn. Sometimes, I wake up at 3am and lay there, trying so hard to go back and sleep peacefully when my mind is at war with it’s self. My body becomes warm, clammy and my night sweats are the worst. I try to find something to think about or something to do. If one of my cats happens to be awake I will gravitate towards them; their soft hair, their therapeutic purring – it helps me stay mindful, it’s calming, it puts me at ease.

Every day is a new chapter but my story starts with pain and my book is still being written. There’s still a chance for happiness.


Contradiction

white and multicolored love is love banner

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

The fact that people believe that LGBTQ2+ is a completely separate issue from being autistic blows my mind.

inclusion is inclusion.

diversity is diversity.

You can’t rally for one group and marginalize the other.

-How I feel about this whole Laurie Guerra issue and the comments here.

View original post

Laurie Guerra, AUTISM BC + ANTI-SOGI

This is happening:

Laurie Guerra, Director of AUTISMBC spoke out at an ANTI-SOGI Event.

She is a bigot. To deny the rights of the LGBTQ2+ Community and work at a place where you are promoting inclusion and diversity and then turn around and make hateful comments is not acceptable.

Please share & sign the petition:

https://www.change.org/p/autism-bc-remove-laurie-guerra-from-her-board-director-position-with-autism-bc

UPDATE: I spoke up against Laurie on twitter and she blocked me. If this is how she handles things–with ignorance leading the way, she does not deserve to be in a place of power in any sense of the word.

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According to this website, Laurie makes over 400,000 annually.

It must be nice to make that kind of money and not have to worry about the consequences of hateful, homophobic speeches.

 

steak night-2

Laurie Guerra’s Socials:

AutismBC:

New ABOUT ME video!

I’m honestly not sure if my microphone even worked, it was plugged in.. Hopefully the sound is okay for my viewers!

 

Interested in supporting me?

art sale

Are you interested in buying art? Do you know someone who is?

Please share! Price reflected in image is for shipping within the USA through USPS.

If you’re local to Vancouver/Surrey/Langley I have some lower priced options and I will meet up with you. Payment would be in Canadian dollars.

I am 30.

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My Birthday was a couple days ago and I felt as though a new decade in my life deserves a tribute.

 

This past year I have felt like a lot has changed. I’m not sure if it’s for the better or if it’s just me being a persistent piece of work. I don’t feel as though i’m any different than I was as a teenager. Perhaps less of a social circle, more angry and frustrated. Less energetic and definitely more anxious. Those are not the most positive attributes but I honestly believe that i’m trying to live my best life and create some social change.

This year, I was featured in a local newspaper earlier in September. I also have multiple speaking opportunities coming up and I have done nearly 50 collaborations with various brands and attractions. My traffic to my website has increased significantly from last year (1,454 visitors in 2017 and so far 5,243 this year, apparently that’s a 260 percent increase!) which, I firmly believe, is a true testament to my hard work and fierce diligence.

close up of hand over white background

Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

I am able to express myself through art, writing, videos, and podcasts. I always said I wanted to start a blog and I feel that I am finally in the right headspace to contribute my voice to a bigger cause. I have only been diagnosed as an Autistic individual since I was 28 years old and now that i’m 30, the clarity and self-awareness continues to grow.

The hurdles I faced as an infant, child, teenager and now adult are just things I need to live with and I am so lucky to have some incredible people on this journey with me.

Older and wiser voices can help you find the right path, if you are only willing to listen.
-Jimmy Buffett