Author: iamgreige

city kid. veggie. optimist. intj. Toronto. human.

“Hey monkey.” “You guys need to stop having so many kids and being deadbeat dads.”

“Why can’t you guys put away the guns and stop killing each other?”
These are comments I’ve personally received in the span of 24 hours this weekend. 
The fact is, these words don’t hurt… I’m not even mad. But simply put, I am tired. I’m tired of having to explain and defend myself against extremely ignorant and one-dimensional opinions using a blanket statement based on stereotypes. I’ve become immune to hearing racial slurs being shouted my way while using transit in a city considered to be welcoming of other cultures. My experience, my education, my choices, my words, my thoughts, my feelings… all overlooked when the colouration of my skin is used to classify me within a very narrow “ideal”. 

When I’m told all lives matter, I wholeheartedly agree. All lives should matter, but they clearly do not. What happens when I’m told repeatedly by strangers that my life isn’t worth as much as theirs because of the amount of melanin my body has produced? Why is it wrong to say #BLACKLIVESMATTER in response?

If you feel uncomfortable with people using this hashtag, asking why there is a disregard for the security of Aboriginal women in Canada, or the importance of having gender parity… let’s have a positive and constructive discussion about it. 

Difference in thoughts and opinions are guaranteed to happen since we are all different individuals. However, respect should be a mandatory foundation instead of a luxury given to a select few. 

Peace, Love and Happiness y’all. 

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You Don’t Complete Me

I recently went to a dinner party attended by some of my nearest and dearest friends. Always a nice pick-me-up, especially considering we haven’t all been together in spot in a very long time. What made this dinner a different was was a +1 affair. Everyone was encouraged to bring their significant other and after dinner there would be some party games. Although it probably didn’t stick out to my friends, I was the odd man out with no +1 to accompany me. I have no significant other, no major romantic love interest… nada.

I had a fun time and my lack of accompaniment was a total non-issue for the night. However, it did provoke some thoughts about love, relationships and romantically involved significant others. I’ve come to realise (a long while ago actually) that my views on love are quite different than the norm. These views that tend to stop me from the desire to pursue romantic endeavours with absolute seriousness.

My main views are this:

  • I don’t believe in someone being my “better half” or completing me
  • I think it’s totally possible to have more than 1 “soulmate” and not have said soulmate be someone you’re romantically involved with
  • I do value the ideals of companionship and love but… meh, I’m lazy.

I think for these reasons, I find myself not much into dating. Any when I do date… it doesn’t end well (HAHAHA!). Most people I mention some of these views to tend think it’s because I haven’t been in a serious relationship or found “true love”. And you know what, this could be very true! But at the same time, I feel like North American social norms keep telling me that I need to find someone to start a family with (-_-)…

I chalk up my viewpoints on love/relationships to a few things in my life. I’m a super introverted & independent person. The type of person who would go without if I couldn’t do something on my own. I don’t really see myself being “fulfilled” by being with someone’s husband & dad. Those are titles I may have one day but would never solely define myself with… at least not in this point in time.

Am I jaded? Am I going against the flow? Have I just not found “the one” yet?

I guess time will tell…

 

The New Guy

People around me know that I embrace change and I’m a fairly confident person. However, one thing that makes me uneasy is being the new guy. Walking into a situation/environment where you are the only new variable is nerve wracking for me. 

I recently started working with a new department at my company. Although I knew of my future coworkers, I didn’t know them. I was very nervous how I would fit in with the rest, if they would like me and etc. I guess I wasn’t as confident as I thought I was. 

From this new “new guy” experience, I learned a few things about being the situation and myself. I realised how great a new beginning can be. It’s a chance to redefine yourself, motivation to make the changes you talked about but didn’t start… just a fresh,  clean page.

+Positive Vibes Only+

A lot of my friends will tell you that I’ve changed a lot over the years. One of the biggest changes is that I made a conscious decision to make myself happy. It’s a decision that took a lot of work though. I spent a lot of time thinking about what happiness is and means to me and how to achieve that feeling. The number one thing I learned is that I need to be positive and stay positive. I think it’s easy to underestimate the role of your state of mind in our everyday life since we usually don’t put conscious thought into it.

To me, it’s important to be positive because of the binary system of positivity vs. negativity. By being negative, you’re not really doing anything to help yourself get out of the situation you’re in or change the circumstances. You’re literally stopping in your tracks saying “I am defeated, this is the end, there’s nothing I can do”. However, being positive in my opinion is acknowledging that there is a chance of a happy outcome or that things may not be as horrible as you see them right this second.

I’ve been asked a lot over the past year how I am able to be so positive all the time. (That was actually a weird sentence to type out. Not boasting, but it’s really is a question I’ve been getting a lot lately!) So here is my unofficial guide to those glorious positive vibes.

#1) Being positive is a choice. We could debate this, but I firmly believe that you need to choose to be positive. It’s the first step to acknowledging that you can do it, that there is a way out, that it’s not a hopeless cause. By choosing to stay positive, you’re giving yourself a stepping stone towards an outcome in your favour.

#2) Being positive takes work. We all want good things to fall into our lap out of the sky. But the reality is, 99.99% of things take work. Positivity is no different. Staying positive goes against our primal human instincts of worrying about what’s next, jumping to conclusions and seeing the big picture (IMHO). That’s why positivity needs to be a conscious effort. You constantly have to remind and motivate yourself to stay positive. 

 #3) It’s okay to be sad and have negative emotions. It’s unrealistic to say we can all be happy and positive 100% of the time. Situations come up, life happens, and shit hits the fan. I think it’s important to acknowledge your feelings of sadness/anger/depression. At the same time, I think it’s unproductive to dwell on them too long… you need to acknowledge and move on. And that takes you back to step #1!

 All in all, this is just my viewpoint. I’m in no way saying I’m perfect or discreding mental health issues. This is just a system that has worked for me.

Putting the ‘Hi” in Hiatus

It’s been a while!

The end of summer brought about a lot of changes, challenges and learning. And while I thought about updating my online journal, time did not permit. However, I’m back!

We’ll see how things develop with this reboot 🙂

La Petite Mort

I recently was making a little trip to the suburbs of Toronto and had a few minutes to spare before getting on the bus. Since I was at Union Station, I decided to stop at the much talked about Union Market. I’ve often passed it while walking around the area but this is the first time I went through the stalls.

It was a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon in the city so am ice cream stand naturally caught. An ice cold sweet treat was sure to be delightful relief. As I walked up to investigate, I noticed the stand had vegan selections clearly highlighted… I was instantly sold. After discussing options for sizes and flavours, the guy behind the glass had sold me a pint of a flavour I wasn’t even considering.

The name of the stall/company was Death in Venice Gelato. I ended up choosing a sorbet of strawberry, juniper and Thai basil.  I had it with my friends later that day for a post BBQ dessert. It was well received and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We made some lemon coconut cookies, and it was a great compliment to the sorbet.

From the first bite you can tell that it’s 100% real fruit. The berries were as decadent as eating the real fruit. The Thai basil was an interesting twist to add in as well. I think it gave the sorbet that “je ne sais quoi” factor that makes new foods memorable. The basil was a good balance between pungent and polite. You could tell it was in there but didn’t stop the other tastes from coming through.

I will say that this wasn’t the best sorbet I’ve ever tasted. I think mint would have been a better choice than Thai basil. However, I am a lot more interested in the brand and trying their other flavours. 

M*A*S*H

Since the kitchen is my laboratory, experimenting with dishes is a common occurrence for me. Last week I decided to play around a bit and do something new with some sweet potatoes I bought. Usually I would bake or fry them, but that particular day I felt like having mash potatoes. In true Darrell fashion, my brain started wandering and thought of what else I could have with it. I raided my fridge and decided to add a carrot I chopped up and froze last month plus a half can of cooked lentils from the previous week. When thinking of what flavours/spices to use, sweet potato pie came to mind and provided some comfort food type inspiration. I became pleased with this train of thought and started putting everything together.

The end result came out way better than expected! I was not only pleasantly surprised, I went in for seconds and thirds. If it were a song, it would be 2 Legit 2 Quit by MC Hammer.

I got a positive response after posting a picture of it on IG. I even had a few people say they were interested in the recipe (little did they know I didn’t use one…). So in an effort to remember what I did and share it, here’s a post with the recipe!

Fried tofu with sweet potato and lentil mash.

Fried tofu with sweet potato and lentil mash.

 

Darrell’s Lentil & Sweet Potato Mash
1) Chop 2 sweet potatoes and 1 carrot. Boil until very tender and then strain.
2) While the vegetables boil, sautée half an onion diced and 3-5 cloves garlic minced. I personally love garlic so feel free to add like 8 cloves, I won’t judge. Once a nice golden-brown colour, set aside.
3) Warm or sautée half a can of lentils, add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
4) Add about 2 tbsp vegan butter to the sweet potatoes & carrots plus 1-2 tsp each of cinnamon/nutmeg/all spice/chilli powder. Mix & mash together!
5)  Add cooked onions, garlic and lentils to the sweet potato mixture. Mash some more!
6) Eat away!

*I like my mash chunky, I think the different textures keeps things interesting. If you want a smoother/creamier mixture, slowly add more vegan butter and a bit of soy milk until you get the consistency you like.
*When it comes to spices, we all like different things… I personally used 2 tsp cinnamon & chilli powder, 1 tsp nutmeg and all spice. Feel free to use more, less, or none at all. You can add or use different spices that you like (rosemary and thyme are good ones too).