In the Globe, on parenting, gender and kids before puberty. I interviewed a lovely Hamilton family with a darling MTF girl named Rose.
In the Globe: what are the links between gender and adolescent depression? Girls may be going through puberty earlier, and that poses risks to their mental health.
Happy Pride! The latest issue of the Ethnic Aisle is all about sex, gender, bodies and big ol butts. As always, I am so proud of what we’ve put together: this issue has our first audio posts (from Mc Jazz and DJ Cozmic), some art, some fiction, some amazing stuff.
From Toronto Life, a story on Mitchell Wilson, an 11-year-old with muscular dystrophy who committed suicide the night before he was supposed to start grade six. Was it because he was afraid of bullies? How bullying became the crisis of a generation.
In Toronto Life, a personal story of insomnia, and the radically simple (but not yet funded by OHIP) cure being studied by Colleen Carney at Ryerson University.
From the Globe and Mail, a piece on an innovative fitness program at one west-end gym, which offers local homeless and at-risk youth workouts on a barter system.
Recently, the ever-clever Lisan Jutras asked me how it feels to be brown in a Toronto yoga class. She gets 10 points for asking me this, ’cause no one ever has before.
I have my regular stretching haunts, but thanks to the Passport to Prana (which is a sweet little deal, by the way), I have also been class-hopping around the city. So yesterday I found myself in an excellent, fast-paced class. The theme was shoulder openers, which was very welcome. Hips are the trendy tight spot of late, but as someone who types to excess, my shoulders, arms and hands can always use some attention.
The class made me think of my convo with Lisan, because the (white) teacher was very, very, very into pronouncing the full, 18-syllable Sanskrit name of every pose, every time. And then at the end of the class, along with chanting “Om,” there was another long repetitive Sanskrit chant that most of the other students knew by heart. This being downtown Toronto, I think you already know that 90% of the students were white women.
And so the question is: how do I feel? The answer is: complicated. The ruminative women’s studies bovine inside my mind goes on a long journey through Marlene Nourbese-Philip’s “She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks,” thinking about the irony of a brown chick who’s never been to India being led in Sanskrit chants by the great-grand-offspring of someone whose relatives very possibly actively forced her own great-grand-relatives to lose their native languages. The relentless urban cynic wonders if any of the other students bother to look up what their chants mean, or why they’re so eager to sing-song “Shanti, Shanti” but probably won’t accompany their moms to church this Christmas (though they will open the presents).
But, like, yoga is about positivity and accepting the world as it is right now, instead of travelling through the space-time continuum to colonial India 300 years ago. So then I get to the part where I think about all of the ass-kicking, mind-blowing white yoga teachers who have helped me physically, mentally and yes, spiritually, get closer to the person I’d like to be.
I’m me, so a super-sappy, super-snappy, or relentlessly New Agey teacher will get on my nerves, for always (also: please do not mention vaginas in class. Especially if there are male students there). But if yoga is genuinely a person’s way of positively relating to the world, well hey, that’s me too, so I try to tamper down the judgment. “Shanti” means peace, didja know that?
From Saturday’s Globe, a piece (by me!) about whether four historically “bad neighbourhoods” still deserve a bad rep. This was pretty inspiring to write – the tiny, one-table farmer’s market at Jane and Finch caused my heart to swell far more than the yuppie fest that is the Brickworks. And I say that as a veritable yuppie myself.
I had a pretty great time writing this profile of mayoral candidate, PR agent and general personality-about-town J.P. Pampena. He’s over-the-top to a point where he comes across as a caricature, but he does have a real history of dealing with adversity and disability. It seemed like a good exercise in digging beneath the surface, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. From the Star.
Is that head about being busy? Dunno. Point is, I’ve just started a gig at the Star, and the orientation is exhausting. As the actual reporting promises to be, as well.
So, here’s a weak post on what I’m thinking about. On my mind is: Caster Semenya, how wretched it is that we knew she might be intersex before she did, how devastating it is that she’s on suicide watch, how angering it is that people are acting as though “hermaphrodite” athletes are schemers who aim to rob “real” women of their medals. I’ve found Kate Bornstein on Twitter (and she read this blog, c-razy); she’s a longtime transgender writer and activist who has a lot of smart, touching things to say about gender and sexuality and how it affects us all, everyday. You should read her stuff, now.
I’m also thinking about tomato season, my favourite crop of the year. Yummy. You should make this drink and also a salsa where you roast about four medium sized tomatoes (heirloom is nice, but anything ontario is fine) and blend ‘em up with two cloves of garlic, two chipotle peppers (and some of the liquid from the can) and a pinch of salt, then stir in some coriander and green onion.
The salsa was a hit at a party I went to for the season final of True Blood, which was sadly pretty disappointing. It was awesome when SPOILER Sam ripped out Maryann’s black heart, though, even though I kind of liked her. Best line of the night goes to Jason – “If a tree falls in the forest, it’s still a tree, ain’t it?” But yeah, weak. SPOILER How boring that Eggs died. He never had a personality to begin with. We knew Maryann was going down, that dragged on too long. There should have been more juicy cliffhangers, says I.
I’m also sad that Lisa Ray has bone marrow cancer (I interviewed her once, ages ago, and she was completely lovely), and pissed off that environmental polluters (who have had a big part in raising Canada’s cancer rate from 1 in 10 in the 1970s to 1 in 2 today – stat from Wendy Mesley’s CBC cancer special about four years ago) are poisoning water all over the U.S. and everywhere.
Starting at a new yoga studio today. I already miss my old teacher, Kaya at 99 Sudbury, who was about the only good thing about that gym. She was awesome, but I’m sure this new spot has something to offer. Non-attachment, right? I like a hatha/vinyasa mix, lots of hip and hamstring work, challenging but not show-offy, with classes changing all the time, sometimes slow, sometimes fast. Not that I’m picky or anything. Downtown studio, suggestions welcome.
Ok, gotta run to stretching. Byeeeee.