It has been an odd couple of days… and I’ve been sick, which only compounds things. I slept most of the last two days away… except for breaks to feed, water, and potty the dogs and other animals (and myself). Until today at suppertime when the girl got home from her Friday night sleepover and her cousin Finn’s second birthday party – big thanks to my parents for taking her to the party while I’ve been in bed. Okay… so all that doesn’t seem so odd? No, you’re right. What has been odd though, is that I’ve been home alone through all of this. Usually it’s me who’s off traveling places, but this time Damon’s gone. He’s off at a shop steward conference.
Damon has been a shop steward for over a decade now (if memory serves). And while it’s not a volunteer position very many people would take, it’s always been something I’ve been proud of him for. Not sure what a shop steward is? Well, at their most basic they are there to stand up for the unionized employees in any meetings or disciplinary steps. Feel like you might be on the short end of the stick heading into a meeting with management? You can count on your shop steward to go in with you. They know their unions policies, and they’ll have your back. It’s a pretty thankless job, as many volunteer positions are, but I’m proud of my husband for all he does, for everyone he’s helped, and those he will help in the future. Shop stewards are pretty awesome!
Heroes. They are something we should all have, and they come in many shapes and sizes. Some may be the usual suspects, heralds of a cause, but others can be found unexpected places. In truth, I believe everyone has the potential to be a hero. And I can’t think of any better way to demonstrate this fact that to share a few of my local Saskatchewan heroes who also happen to be members of the acronym community.
Mikayla Schultz is the founder of TransSask (support services). She is a tireless advocate and campaigner for equality. Through tremendous efforts, she recently put government to the test and had many successes with the signing of a declaration formalizing March 25-31 as Transgender Awareness Week in communities across Saskatchewan.
Don Cochrane is a former University of Saskatchewan professor, who continues to educate everyone he meets. His groundbreaking work into subjects of importance to the Sexual Minority and Gender Variant community continue to force change, improving the lives of everyone in Canada. You can see his hand all over this province, and especially at the annual Breaking the Silence conference here in Saskatoon.
Sarah Houghtaling is a local high school student. She strives diligently to make lives better not only for those who attend school with her, but for minority students across our province. A student activist who’s name I highly recommend taking note of. She’s one of the many young people who WILL change our world for the better. If you are ever able to attend one of her talks, DO! You will be inspired.
Kay Williams is one of the most outspoken allies you will ever meet. A determined advocate for her son, and a helping voice in a confusing world for parents new to the world of parenting LGBTT2QI children and youth. Kay is a proud volunteer, and one of the founding members of PFLAG in Saskatoon. She also was awarded the Peter Corren Award for Outstanding Achievement this year at Breaking the Silence – and yes, I teared up during her acceptance speech (which I recorded, and will share at some point).
Four individuals, all unique, all at different stages of their journey, all willing to do whatever it takes to see things become better for those around them. All four are heroes, and all four I’m proud to call friend.
Who are the heroes in your life?
I’m feeling generally dissatisfied tonight. Just too much going on that I’m really not all that happy with, and no time to sort it all out just now. …and this isn’t due to my January blah’s. It’s not a blah feeling, and it’s not January. This is me, wishing I could just shake the snot out of people and tell them to wake up – but I’m too tired to put that kind of effort out. So for now? I’ll just gripe briefly and feel dissatisfied. It’ll pass, one or two things will get worked out, and I’ll be back to my chipper self. Right now though? I’d be quite happy to take a paid vacation somewhere… most anywhere… anyone wanna send me some place? Please? No? Well, ya can’t blame a grrrl for trying.
I don’t know. People can’t move forward as a group when there’s dissension. Discord and argument for their own sake? I’ll never understand it. Work together, compromise, make change happen. Create progress. In a small grassroots group this should be easy. It has always been easy in the past. Even when we’ve disagreed we do so peaceably knowing we need to work together for the common good. Two or three people causing strife for what seems like the fun of it. It doesn’t benefit anyone, and I just don’t get it. Give the wrong individual the illusion of power and see the friction they can create. And that’s what’s happened here. One person voted into a position in the interim… temporarily. And it’s a role with no power, a figure head, someone to present to the public who can put voice to the decisions the executive has made… and suddenly there is no end to the conflict. It’s a comedy of errors that has resulted in near-atrocities, that thankfully for the long standing reputation of another board member was able to be smoothed over. Ugh. So many of us have considered just walking away, but the idea of leaving all our hard work to bring things this far in the hands of individuals who would run things into the ground? Not something we’re willing to do.
There you go. That’s my gripe. Volunteering is sooo not worth this type of headache, but there are some things we do for the good of the collective, things that most people will never have any idea we’ve done… things that need to be done. It falls to us. Often because there is no one else willing to pick up the torch. So it’s onward, and we truly hope upward.
If I try to pass the torch, will you be there to pick it up and run with it?
My blog tends to be a weird mash-up of topics. I’ve taken to rambling on just about anything that gets stuck in my head. All I can think is that it’s a consequence of being on board the mommy train. And further to that, is that no matter what I may end up bashing out of my keyboard, I always come back to that which is most important of all: Lily-Ann.
Regardless of what turns my life takes, or what I happen to be feeling at the moment, who I am is clarified the instant I look at my daughter. She drives me, gives me purpose, keeps me focused, and reminds me of why I keep going. Why we slog on through this maddening rain.
If not I? than who?
Who better than I?
We cannot assume that if we leave things undone that someone else will pick up our torch and run with it. If something matters, if it has value, you must see it through.
I don’t like politics. I really don’t. I believe that a spirit of cooperation better serves people than the two-faced, fence-sitting, bunch of suits yelling at one another or leaking unsubstantiated rumours to the ill-informed right-wing news machine… Ugh. I really hate politics. I hate what it turns people into. I hate that politicians become nothing more than puppets of their parties, unable to think, or stand, or reason for themselves.
So why am I involved? And not just involved on the fringe? But right there in the middle of things, president of a provincial political party involved?
If not I, then who?
Who better than I?
I believe that regular people can make a difference. If we are vocal enough, if we speak loudly enough, if we make noise – someone will hear us. What we say will reverberate through the halls of government, but it will only happen if we are willing to get involved, if we are willing to put ourselves out there.
So, no. I don’t like politics. But that’s exactly why I’m involved. I am determined to see change happen. I will ensure change happens. I put myself out there – as a political candidate, as a volunteer, as a spokesperson, as a voice for reason and right.
I may not change the world, but maybe I’ll inspire the person who does. All I know is my daughter sees me, and even if she’s the only person who does, that’s enough reason in and of itself to keep fighting.