What really matters…

Hello my loves, here with this weeks existential crisis.

To blog, or not to blog.. that is the question.

Not actually, because I plan on continuing to blog mostly due to the fact I have an incorrigible desire to verbalize my opinion all over the internet…

But the content…

Sigh.

City Style Country Smile has always been a beautiful distraction for me.

I started it to distract myself from the fact I got laid off, and then it was a great distraction when I caught my (ex)boyfriend of 5 years searching though the craigslist personals. It worked perfectly well to get me though breaking my pelvis, going back to school, finding my career, getting dumped, getting over it and growing up a bit more.

Even though I was pretty late jumping onto the blogging bandwagon, I didn’t really realize what I was getting myself into, because really… who even reads blogs when you aren’t a blogger? Who really cares what I wore or how much I saved or if overalls are in? At the time I just wanted something pretty… some sparkly thing to distract myself from the big bad world as it crumbled down around me. As much as I love blogging, and I love your support, I cannot help but feel like my energy has been wasted.

Perhaps wasted is the wrong word, because I don’t really consider anything I’ve done to be wasted time; its all building towards something, but now I’ve been building for a while. I started this blog as a way to focus on writing, to give myself goals and mini-deadlines and a reason to write on the regular. As I build my world back up I have to ask myself, what kind of person I want to be? I am proud of what I’ve done so far, but am I content with where I’m heading? When I look in the mirror am I happy? Can I look myself in the eye and believe I have done something worth doing?

To be honest, City Style Country Smile has been a journey of personal acceptance and a battle towards seeing my life in a positive light. While so many girls struggle with accepting their body, their beauty, and themselves, I have always had a strong sense of self. Through all the pressures to be thin and beautiful and popular I have never lost sight of what I believe. I know who I am, every flawed inch of me. I am beautiful because I am a collection of imperfections wrapped up into a being that will always TRY to be be better. Not perfect, but better. All I want to be is better than I was. I know I have ugly man hands (as some have pointed out) and crooked gap teeth, my toes have corns, my knees are knobbly thanks to multiple dislocations, and my skin is covered in scars. I don’t care; I am a collection of my experiences, my story is written on my skin and I am not ashamed. I am not defined by the worlds external views on beauty.

As far as blogging goes, I have tried my hardest to make this a positive place for to find inspiration, and honestly it has been a stepping stone for me on the path to mental health; after all as Marcus Aurelius said “your happiness depends upon the quality of your thoughts”. And it’s true, although often easier said than done; you can choose to dwell on the bad or focus on the good. I find it unlikely, with this beautiful, positive facade I have erected around myself, that people would believe I have struggled with depression for many years. I am better than I was before, but am I really better? Depression is an ambiguous demon because it lurks just out of sight in all the dark corners of your mind; are you better now or are you having a good day today? The path to recovery starts within; accepting your imperfections, recognizing your strengths, pushing yourself to grow stronger where you can and gracefully accepting the things you cannot change. I am tired of photo-shopping away my scars.

When I look in the mirror I don’t see a beautiful girl. Not because I do not think I’m beautiful, but because I only see what I want to become, and that vision is significantly different than my reflection. I started this blog with the hope that through it, other girls could find a way to accept their own imperfections and grow into beautiful confident women. If I have helped even one person do that then not a moment here has been wasted. When I look into the mirror I am fine with what I see, but when I look inside I am much more discontent. I feel guilty for allowing my superficial side to take up such a large portion of my time. I feel like a hypocrite, like I have spent my time on an exercise in personal vanity and the desperate search of self validation from others when I should have been working on something much bigger than myself.

This is the trap we fall into as women. Society tells us to be valued we must be beautiful; the larger our thigh gap, the greater our self worth. People like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian are the icons of our generation. Whores. I don’t give a shit if we’re supposed to support other women, I refuse to support people who made their millions by spreading their legs. To be famous these days all you have to do is sell your soul; I imagine it must be easy when you have no self-worth in the first place. Do not mistake me, for women who explore their sexuality should be celebrated, however rich whores exploiting their bodies on tape for money should not. My god, I live in a generation where to get on TV all you have to do is be 16 and Pregnant. As women we set ourselves back by continuing to sell our sexuality instead of our smarts. We buy into the idea of beauty that they sell us, and we accept what they tell us as true.

Do we even question WHY we’re buying that O.P.I. Kardashian Kollection? When you paint that red polish on and feel your self-worth buoy up as the instagram likes roll past 11, do you ever think about the fact that the only reason you are wearing whores-r-us-red is because Kim K. fucked Ray J on tape and her deplorable mother sold it to the world? Do you think about that, or do you just buy a new color when people stop liking your photo?

I think about it… and then I buy a new color anyways. Because thinking about it hurts. It hurts to think about the world, when you really give it an honest look, so instead we distract ourselves with the pretty things they tell us to buy and listen when they tell us that everything is fine. I don’t want to listen to their lies any longer. I don’t want to hear about how I look, I want to hear that I made someone THINK. That I provoked THOUGHT as opposed to LUST. That I am valued for my mind and not for my waistline.

On June 17, 2013, Alberta passed the “RESPONSIBLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ACT” which dissolves the Environmental Resource and Conservation Board (a government body) and replaced it with the Alberta Energy Regulator (a private corporation) and I’m honestly completely devastated. Just look at the words. ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION board… versus the Alberta ENERGY REGULATOR. Gone are the days of ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, replaced now with “responsible ENERGY DEVELOPMENT”.

Our government is done protecting our land, they have lost control. They handed over all land owner rights to a CORPORATION, which is funded by the oil industry and has no regulations in place to regulate the regulator. This has all essentially been done to make good and goddamn sure no pesky land owners like Jessica Ernst (that’s the 2011 UN International Woman of Courage to you, fuckers) can sue the government for failing to protect landowners from industry actuivity. You can’t sue the government if the government has no accountability, right? In the meantime, the Judge on Jessica’s case has been called up by Harper (don’t get me started on him) to a higher position and her lawsuit, filed in 2007, goes back to PHASE ONE, where they decide if she even has the RIGHT to sue the government for failing to uphold their own regulations. Well they solved that problem for any future troublemakers, if there are no regulations, how can you sue for failing to comply? But even if you could, they closed that up for debate by putting it right into the law; the AER cannot be sued, cannot be held accountable for their decisions and not even the crown has the right to review the Alberta Energy Regulator’s decisions. In other words: HAH, WE HAVE THE MONEY AND POWER HERE, ENJOY YOUR PEON LIFESTYLE, HIPPIES! I mean really, can’t you all just die of cancer already? We pumped enough chemicals down there to kill your cattle, how the fuck are you still around making noise?

This corporation has the power to make rules (literally) but there is no body in place to govern them. The Public Trustee Act does not apply to this Alberta Energy Regulator. Apparently the public is just supposed to blindly trust that they are looking out for our best interests. Certainly there couldn’t possibly be a conflict of interest having the former head of EnCana corporation on the Board of Directors for the AER, they are just here looking out for the common good, just making SURE that energy development is done in a RESPONSIBLE manner. GUARANTEED. Its totalitarian rule and not one fucking person I talk to about it here has any goddamn idea it even happened. We are all so busy distracting ourselves with superficial things- designer bags, fancy cars and big houses, each just another totem to our desire to be coveted.

We all want to be wanted. In our desperate search for acceptance we buy into corporations who charge us more for a fucking handbag than some people spend on food in an entire YEAR. Maybe I would have more followers if I was wearing Valentino instead of Value Village. How many times have I pinned the rock-stud heels, wishing they were mine… but if I had them, would I feel better about myself, or worse? You can sit and wish for what you want, you can covet what other people have, but if you cannot look yourself in the eye and be proud of who you are, then you don’t have shit. I have more beautiful things than I know what to do with, and I still feel empty.

I include myself, for I am just as guilty, if not more so.. as I see it and choose to ignore it. Or rather, its not that I choose to ignore it, its that I have no fucking idea how to stop it. Because its really, really hard to look at your country and realize that despite living in “our home and native land, so glorious and free” our rights have just been sold to a corporate body, who can now buy their way into the favor of the Regulator. Its starting to feel a whole lot more like the native lands in our anthem; you know, the ones we European immigrants stole from a native people and then dehumanized their race to justify it? Shut them up, those people don’t know what they’re talking about; why live in a Ti-pi when you can build a mansion as a monument to your own self-importance? Environmentalists are just wolf-criers who hate all of our beautiful money. The oil sands are a sustainable energy future. LOOK, MONEY!! Stop all that THINKING dear, just go buy yourself a new pair of heels. All the while a relentless media campaign is brought to you by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) explaining how the “polluters pay, not the tax payers” and how many more jobs this will bring, and how it will stimulate our economy. Alberta’s Oil Sands – the best thing since sliced bread.

Now that is some serious media spin – the POLLUTERS pay, not the taxpayers and EVERYONE WINS!! Okay, just wait one little minute, you mean the oil companies can literally just pay the regulator to look the other way??? No, that would NEVER happen. Not here in this land, so glorious and free. The regulator is here to PROTECT US. We’re going to need to re-write our anthem soon, as the destruction of our land is already in the works (you can’t even imagine how much development they have planned over the next ten years, there will be nothing glorious about it) and we are far from free here.

In Pennsylvania two children, aged 7 and 10, were given a lifetime gag order from EVER talking about Marcellus shale (that’s the nice way of talking about fracking) after their parents settled with the oil company who polluted their water. (full story HERE) In some ways, after reading that story I only feel angry that the parents, formerly outspoken advocates, gave up their rights and the rights of their childen for free speech in order to be able to afford a new home, but what are you supposed to do when your home is taken from you? When your children are threatened? When you find carcinogens in the water and can’t afford to truck in clean water, what are you supposed to do except for accept the money and hope to god it’s enough? What do you do when the industry that is causing all the problems, has enough money to buy their way out of any trouble?

I choose to do the only thing I can and talk about it. I don’t have any money, and I don’t have any gag order to silence me. I refuse to be quite as our rights are secreted away from us. I refuse to accept this as being the way things are. At the same time, I don’t really know how to change things, either. All I know is that every change begins with a single decision; to make a change.

I think I need to make a change. I am taking off tomorrow on a road trip to beautiful British Colombia, and I need to take a break from the blog for a bit. I need to re-energize, re-focus and re-evaluate my goals. I think I need to put my writing towards talking about real issues instead of talking about how to make yourself look skinnier. I need to be inspired by the beauty of the possibility of real change, as opposed to trying to fit the mold of what a fashion blog should be. Half the time when I read blogs I come away so inspired and uplifted, but the other half I just add up how much that outfit cost and think about how much time I just spent reading about other people’s trivial decisions and wonder what the cost will really be if I keep on distracting myself.

The biggest flaw I find with our incredibly connected modern world, is that we are so intimately aware of how many other people there are that we imagine someone else out there is doing something so we don’t have to. We believe that we couldn’t or wouldn’t make a difference, or that what we do doesn’t matter because we’re just one person. After all, how much change can one person make? All you need to know is one person is better than none. Change starts from within, so be the change you wish to see in the world. Now is the time for you to speak, you were given a brain so you could think and a voice so you could ask questions. You weren’t given ears to be told what to do.

I haven’t decided where I want to go from here. I’m not sure I can justify “wasting” my time on the frivolities of fashion much longer, but I also don’t know that I can face reality in all its brutal ugliness without a little something pretty to fall back on. If ever there was a time for an encouraging word, this is it. Or, if you hate my blog and think I’m the most annoyingly vain person in the world you should fire away in the comments as well, one perfectly vitriolic comment might just do it in for good!

xo, aiyanajane

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3 thoughts on “What really matters…

  1. Enjoy your break, BC and the Canadian Rockies are beautiful and relatively unspoiled in spite of being so accessible but don’t stop your blog against the corrupt polluters of the world. you are an inspiration

  2. Don’t leave! You are such a bright soul. Take a break, go on your vacay, have some fun, but come back! There are no rules here, talk about whatever you want, whatever lights your fire! Have a wonderful trip and hope to hear from you soon, friend.

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