Books for Sale!!

 

These books represent reflections on life including nature, LGBT+ issues, faith, and even life in the mall or during an election. I hope you enjoy them and find inspiration.

Poems of a Gothic Christian Andrena LeBlanc

  • Tablo
  • December 2, 2015
  • 21 pages

Poems From Younger Days Andrena LeBlanc

  • Tablo
  • December 7, 2015
  • 39 pages

 

Reflections on Attawapiskat

Nothing breaks my heart more than to see how much I have compared to how little other people have all over the world. What is stronger than a broken heart? A heart that is both broken and enraged. Mine is enraged because not only do I have so much and people in the world have so little, but it only costs me a simple bus ride to go to places in Canada where people with so little have.

Canada, a “first world” country. “First world” is a dream to so many of our Aboriginal people. Across the country they face racism; poverty where some communities have no running water, or have been under a boil water advisory for years; and people face injustice brought on by local police forces, the Canadian government, and their non-aboriginal neighbors. This is Canada, and in it there are people that might as well be living in landfills in the Philippines.

The Residential Schools are part of the reason why aboriginals live in such conditions. The Residential Schools were a means created by the Canadian Government under the Indian Act in the 1800s to make our aboriginal peoples assimilate into European culture. Children were stolen from their families to attend a school where their language, culture, and any sense of love was literally beaten out of them. They suffered emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of their school masters. They lost their culture.

As a person who talks about her Christian faith a lot on this blog, it makes me ashamed to bring it up. Those Residential Schools where run and funded by both church and government. It is another dark mark against a church that is supposed to be a witness to a loving Lord and Savior. I do not blame our aboriginals for wanting nothing to do with a Christianity as a result.

Residential Schools are all gone now, but their legacy remains. Most aboriginal reserves in Canada are plagued with poverty and families wrought with alcohol and substance abuse, and domestic violence. That’s what happens when generations of children are raised with no love, people, culture, and sense of self: They turn to things that can either numb the pain or act on what they know, no love and no violence. It is a tragic state of affairs and one that should have no place in Canada.

Yet it continues. This is because the government likes to drag its feet in order to make amends. It was only 10 years ago under the Conservative, Stephen Harper government that an apology was given for the Residential Schools. About a year ago the Commission that was created to turn that apology into healing and reconciliation. But only Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government are the recommendations being implemented. For some, it is coming too little too late.

This is where the story adds insult to injury: Many people on aboriginal reserves live with mental illness: depression, and suicide are too common. In the reserve of Attawpiskat suicides, attempted or completed, were over 20. The weekend before last a group of young people, one as young as 9, made a suicide pact. The Chief declared a state of emergency. Because of it, crisis mental health workers were sent. This last Saturday, 5 more children attempted suicide.

Why is this insult to injury for me? After all, I am not aboriginal. Two reasons: 1) What happens in Native reserves affects everyone and it should matter to everyone. As someone asked our Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Carolyn Bennette, “Why is it so easy for the government to welcome refugees and offer them first-class citizenship in our country? When will Canada wake up and open its eyes to First Nations communities?” While that is another issue entirely, I agree it is a valid question.

Second, I compare my experience to the experience of those children. 10 years ago I tried to commit suicide on three separate occasions. 8 years later, mental illness comes to me again in similar ways. This year I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder, on top of my Asperger’s Syndrom (yes, that’s why I did not write a lot in this blog recently). Unlike the people in Attawapiskat, I did not need the mayor of Mississauga to declare a state of emergency in order to get help. I was able to get a psychiatrist, crisis team, and enter into psychotherapy in order to be on the road to recovery. Yet a bus ride away, people are lucky if they even get a family doctor, never mind mental health professionals.

The last two years have been the darkest of my life, yet even in those dark times I knew I was loved. I have a God and family who loves me, a culture I can be proud of and celebrate, and access to all the resources I need. Furthermore, as a non-aboriginal Canadian citizen, I do not see helping refugees as being at my expense.

Why must I be so privileged? What makes any of us non-aboriginal Canadians more special than our Aboriginal Canadian people? Why can’t their children know love, culture, and acceptance? Why do some not even know what their heritage is, and why it is not something to be erased? I know the history, but those answers aren’t good enough. Being Aboriginal isn’t a good enough reason for the injustices these people are enduring as I type this in my nice house with fridge full of food, clean running water, and good electricity.

They should know and love their culture. Their parents and grandparents should’ve known love. Those little ones should have access to the healthcare systems the rest of us do. They do not, and that is not fair. It is an injustice that should’ve been remedied decades ago.

I’m glad the current government is finally doing in months what the conservatives couldn’t be bothered to do in the decade they were running things in Ottawa. It gives us all hope, I think. Right now it is the people on those reserves, especially the little ones, who need hope.

Smile little children, the sun is starting to rise. Please be alive to see it.

Let’s Talk… Let’s Listen

I have gone through so many ways to write this down. I’ve debated between being purely academic to talking about my own experiences. Today it hit me: Now is not the time to pass on interesting information, nor making up a happy go-lucky discussion about my own experiences with mental illness. If it were the time, Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign would not even exist.

Let’s Talk campaign began many years ago by Bell Communications, a Canadian telecommunications company, in order to lessen the stigma of mental illness and finally get people talking about it. Some people call today a marketing scheme, and others call it pointless. For people like me, it is the one day we get a chance to actually talk about what it means to be us. What does it mean to have a mental illness, and what does it mean to put up with people who would rather stick to their own prejudices. Unfortunately, the prejudice ones are often loved ones, including family and close “friends”, and it makes mental illness much harder than it has to be to live with.

That is why I realised the point of today is not about being nice or being objective. The point of Bell’s Let’s Talk is to destroy stigma and actually talk about mental health, and mental illness. I am going to really talk and bring up a real issue surrounding mental illness; no niceness is in this essay, just the blunt experiences. I shall do this without naming names, as you’ll know if what I write applies to you.

My message is so simple, yet so not done with regards to mental illness. This is especially from people on the outside, and especially especially true of people walking the road of mental illness and substance addiction. You ready for it? I am not a stress, but a person.

There, it is that simple. People with mental illness are human beings who are ill. We are not an annoyance, we are not lazy, we are not looking for attention or an excuse to not work, and we should not be labelled those things by anybody. We should not put those labels on ourselves We are human beings who have an illness, not stresses and troubles that need to be corrected or treated poorly. Continue reading Let’s Talk… Let’s Listen

Autism isn’t something a person has, or a “shell” that a person is trapped inside. There’s no normal child hidden behind the autism. Autism is a way of being. It is pervasive; it colors every experience, every sensation, perception, thought, emotion, and encounter, every aspect of existence. It is not possible to separate the autism from the person–and if it were possible, the person you’d have left would not be the same person you started with.

  • Quote from Don’t Mourn for Us by Jim Sinclair  in http://www.autreat.com/dont_mourn.html

 

So Much Death

So many, so dead

Where did they come from, and why?

Why do they hate us?

 

So much death, so much

Young people die much too soon

Parents live to mourn.

 

Some of the young died,

Because their vests hid the bombs.

Executioners.

 

What should we do now?

How can we stop all of this?

Or must more die first?
 

Poem written in response to the recent terrorist attacks all over the world.