Would you rather #1

My last few posts have been kind of heavy so I thought this week I’d do something lighter, I took on a would you rather challenge. I just opened Google and clicked on the first link which was one from Buzzfeed. I didn’t do all of them as I like to keep my Vlogs in or around 10 minutes so if you enjoyed the first video and are looking for me to do more just let me know. Like and subscribe, share my YouTube channel with all your friends and family. YouTube has said they would like more female creators and I’d like to be one of them, I will coni tue making videos and create discussions. I’m not the most creative YouTuber (not by a long shot) but I will be authentic and I aim to help normalize facial differences in the media.

So let’s get to it!

Question one: would you rather Be forced to wear wet socks for the rest of your life? OR Be allowed to wash your hair only once a year?

Answer: This first one was easy, I’d opt to only wash my hair once a year. Wet socks in the winter up here in Canada would SUCK, also trying to sleep with wet socks doesn’t appeal to me either. At least I could keep my hair short, and find imaginative ways to conceal my hair during the final months leading up to the one year mark.

Question two: would you rather Have a finger as a tongue? OR Have tongues for fingers?

Answer: well this one just plain sucks I hate either option but I think tongues for fingers is what I’d go for. I’d wear gloves or something, I also hope they are not fully functional, by that I mean, I hope they don’t have tastebuds and such.

Question three: would you rather Wear someone else’s dirty underwear? OR Use someone else’s toothbrush?

Answer: I dislike sharing people socks that are clean let alone anything else but underwear is 100% out of the question and thus the toothbrush to me seems less gross. Don’t get me wrong I’d still run that sucker under really hot water for a good long time before using it but at least after that it wouldn’t feel used, not like underwear would…ewww!

Question four: would you rather shit bricks? OR pPuke slugs?

Answer: since I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve puked in my life I’d go with that. I poop just about every day so the ides of having to pass a brick daily or multiple times a day isn’t remotely ok with me.

Question five: would you rather pee yourself in public once a week? OR Shit yourself in private daily?

Answer: I went back and forth on this one. There is no clear favourite here. The once a week appealed to me since it’s not daily but the being in public is really what threw me off. So pooping in private it is, just hope it would be at home where I could hop in the shower, kind of what I’d like to do after even thinking of this one.

Question six: would you rather always tell the truth? OR Always lie?

Answer: unlike the last one this one was easy, tell the truth. Although I like to think I’m a good liar I would opt to tell the truth since for the most part the truth is always the best thing.

Question seven: would you rather never have internet access again! OR Never be able to take an airplane anywhere again?

Answer: another easy one here, not ever taking a plane again wouldn’t be the worst. I don’t travel anywhere now so I’m not really giving up on anything. If I lost internet I’d lose my connection to all of you, that would make me sad.

Question eight: would you rather have your body found in a pile of sex toys? OR Have everyone you know see your browser history?

Answer: well I don’t search for anything crazy so have at it everyone! Although I’d kind of like to see the news headline on the first option there… hmmmm…. lol

Question nine: would you rather be the real-life version of “American Horror Story” ? OR Be the real-life version of “The Walking Dead”?

Answer: well if you know me at all it shouldn’t be a surprise as to which one I’m going to choose here…. Kind of already living the first one so figure might as well rock it and keep going! Zombies are overrated anyways.

Question ten: would you rather only be able to whisper everything? OR Only be able to shout everything?

Answer: shouting would be tiring for all involved so I’d opt to whisper. At least those I know are already used to asking me to repeat myself.

Question ten: would you rather run your tongue down a New York City sidewalk? OR Press your tongue into a stranger’s nostril?

Answer: I can’t physically stick out my tongue far enough for the second one so you’d think I’d choose that one, but nope, I’m not up for being in someone’s personal space. I’d just find the least dirty part of the sidewalk and have at it.

Question eleven: would you rather find true love? OR Win the lottery?

Answer: I’ve been alone this long and although it’d be sweet to have my one true love, right this second I’d choose to win the lottery. I have a basement that I need to completely gut, fix, than re-do, roof, driveway and fence I need to replace, and honestly I’d love to go on a trip somewhere warm. Call me jaded but love can’t help me take care of my house and this my family.

Question twelve: would you rather fight off a dog-sized cockroach? OR A horse-sized rat?

Answer: I’m going for the horse-sized rat cause cockroaches are just nasty.

Question thirteen: would you rather immerse yourself in a bathtub of spiders? OR A bathtub of tobacco spit?

Answer: well truth be told, neither….like ever… yuck. However since I had to choose one it’s be the spit followed by a very long shower. Spiders don’t scare me however a tub full of them just crawling on me… yeah no thanks.

Question fourteen: would you rather receive a lifetime supply of meals from your favourite restaurant? OR Receive a lifetime of free gasoline?

Answer: again another super easy one. I can’t drive so free food for the rest of my life? Yes please!

And last one

Question fifteen: would you rather Have a photographic memory? OR Be able to totally forget anything you want?

Answer: although forgetting some stuff would be cool I think those memories also make me who I’ve become and so far there has been nothing in my life I’d really want to forget. Well I think my brain took care of most of that on its own, it’s scary the amount of my childhood I simply don’t recall. So having a photographic memory would most likely come in handy.

So those were my choices, what would you have picked? Again feel free to share and let me know what you’d like to see more of.

Link to my Vlog

Link to Buzzfeed Article:

Why?

Over the last 2 months 3 of my favourite shows have used a sad cliche/trope and I want to share my feelings, share where my heads at. This isn’t the first post on this blog where I’ve talked about this issue and by the looks of it, it won’t be the last.

The issue? The cliche/trope I’m talking about is the use of a facial difference to signify to an audience that a particular character is evil, or “the bad guy”. In the last two months alone there have been not one, not two, but three instances of my favourite shows using this as catalyst to tell their stories. These are shows where I’m a fan, where I’ve watched every episode, where I’m invested in both the characters and the stories. But watching these episodes left me angry, sad, and confused.

I’ve been told that I should just suck it up, that I shouldn’t take it personally, I need to get over it. I would love to, nothing would make me happier than to just watch my favourite movies and shows and just get lost in story. I’m writing this because I’m trying to help kids who have and will be born like me. Kids who will already face a life time of struggles I know all too well. I want kids with facial differences to be able to turn on the tv, open a magazine, and watch a movie, and see themselves. I have ZERO clue what’s that’s like. For 99% of you who read this you will not get what I’m talking about because all that is portrayed are versions of yourself. Are all minorities positively represented as much as they should? Of course not, society needs to do a lot better for a lot of people. There are so many injustices I wish I could fix, but this one that I’m talking about today is personal. I’m not going to “get over it” and I assure you this is t simply “butt hurt” it’s an actual problem of systemic, institutionalized discrimination and I’m tired of it. As a society we’ve determined that blackface is wrong, that white washing is wrong, yet somehow I’m just supposed to accept that using prosthetics to mark up an actors face so that they can appear to be “ugly” thus evil is not a slight against me. That is ok that the only time there is a facial difference on screen it’s a big red arrow showing that this character that they see is absolutely the bad guy, not a hero, not someone to invest your time in, not someone that should be loved, just a throw away character, someone for the hero’s to kill.

I get that most of you who read this don’t have a facial difference and some of you won’t be able to wrap your brain around the message I’m trying to convey. Honestly if that’s the case please tell me what part of my discussion is unclear? Tell me please, without using the justification “it’s just a story” or “it’s just made up” how wrong I am.

Earlier I mentioned three shows in the last two months that have made me cry, make me think there is zero hope for the future regarding this concern.

November 8th, 2017 I was catching up on an episode of Hawaii Five-0, it was their Halloween episode and they made up a character, a girl who’s backstory states had been kidnaped, brutally beaten and held captive only to be tied to a tree where her half her face was pretty much eaten off by some wild animal. The writers than saw fit to use this as the reason why she turned into this evil monster hell bent on killing people. Here is my Twitter rant I went on that night so you can get a a sense as to where my head was at when watching it. Hawaii Five-0

November 11th, 2017 I was catching up on an episode of Blindspot and the bad guy had a giant scar down his face.

Last night I was catching up on an episode of Frankie Drake Mysteries, you’d be forgiven if you’ve never heard or seen the show. It airs here in Canada on CBC (and I think a few other countries not sure where or what networks). It’s a great show set in Toronto in the 1920’s and follows a forward thinking group of amazingly badass women solving what cases land on their door step. The episode titled Ghosts sees a few guys murdered and off they go to gather clues. As soon as I seen the main character pick up a “mask” that had a partial face drawn on it, I knew. I hoped I’d be proven oh so wrong, but I knew I wouldn’t be. The “bad guy”was killing those responsible for his facial difference.

In each of these three instances (there are more) I’ve tired to use social media to engage the writers, show runners etc. In each case there has been crickets in return. It’s frustrating because no one responsible is willing to engage. I’m not unreasonable I want the opportunity to have that conversation to see what their thought process was.

As exhausted, angry, and sad I am, despite the fact that some days I want to give up on this whole advocacy thing, I can’t. Even if it’s me against the world I will continue to call this BS out every time I see it. I’m not the villain, and I refuse to accept that this the only way I “see”myself in media.

Please watch my Vlog

Let’s Talk

On January 31st Canadians will come together to share their battles with mental health issues or to show their support for others. In today’s post I wanted to open up more about my own struggles. Bare with me as this isn’t easy and I’m trying to convince myself not to just highlight this whole thing and hit delete.

I’ve always thrown my support to others. I’m the one (and proudly so) that people come to when they need to talk, vent, laugh. However as I’ve been the support it’s not always easy to be the one to ask for help. I’ve tried counseling a few times but it was never the right fit. The last time I went the person said “well you seem really well adjusted” I didn’t disagree but that made me feel so much worse. I’m good at faking it until I make it, clearly so well that I fooled a professional. After that session I didn’t go back figured like everything else in my life I’d have to just suck it up and deal. And that’s what I’ve been doing. A few close friends I’ve confided in know some of the struggle I go through but like most people they got their own shit to deal with so I tend not to want to bother anyone.

I’m stubborn and most people who are close to me know I rarely will ask for help, I just figure out how to do something on my own or I just don’t do it and I’m always ok with that. For anything dealing with me I tend just not to care. For example, right now my hair could use a cut but going to hair dressers gives me anxiety so I don’t go. Friends have suggested people who would be awesome but I hate calling places and talking on the phone so I just don’t do it. I think I get this attitude from my mom who despite what people said about her was not that strong of a person as they thought. As soon as she could she gave up that control said “fuck it”and I was left to be the adult. This was many years before her stroke which again really enforced the role reversal.

The idea of mental health and well being is something I strive to understand. Is it a Nature vs. Nurture thing? Is it really all about brain chemistry or is it about genetics? I imagine it’s a combination of all of those things. How can I who has seen some shit, been constantly made to feel inferior by society able to continue putting one foot in front of the other yet someone who is loved by all has had no traumatic events suddenly not able to get of bed?

We all tend to handle stress differently. The fact that I have people depending on me is a huge motivator, it gets me out of the house and on to the dreaded city bus. Helping others is oddly satisfying, I’ve been volunteering for the past 15 years as it gives me a sense of purpose. Although I don’t have an actual service dog (yet) I can say that the three crazy pups I share my life with also help. Something I’ve been doing since childhood that unconsciously I think may help may also be something akin to self harm. Before I continue I’ve never ever before mentioned this to anyone. My sister knows because she lives with me and I know she wishes I would stop but I’m not sure how. Also before I continue it’s not as bad as you are imagining I don’t cut myself. What I have done and still do is pick, I pick at scabs, I pick at cuts, when those don’t exist I pick my nails, or the skin around my finger nails or mostly my toe nails cause it’s easier to hide. I tend to go until they bleed, my sister would ask if it hurts and oddly it’s a different kind of pain. I can’t really describe it, it does hurt but it’s not painful. Am I embarrassed that I just admitted this? Yep, but I’m keeping this in here because I believe I might be able to help someone else, someone else who may have found a creative self harm method that they feel ashamed of or that makes them feel less of a human being.

Below are two pictures which show an example of what I do. They aren’t really gross but viewer discretion is advised.

How do you manage your stress, how do you deal with the crazy, can’t ever unsee things you’ve been thrown? I’m really a “fake it until I make it” when it comes to those I care about I will give more than I have, but when it comes to myself I could care less.

As we look ahead to January 31st remember to be the shoulder someone’s needs or to reach out if you need help. January 31st I will be tweeting up a storm on Twitter so please follow me @PLoker or just say hi to someone, smile, do a random act of kindness.

There is so much darkness in the world be the light someone needs.

Tokyo Treats a taste test blog

I’ve been excited to do this weeks blog because I love trying new and amazing things from all over the world. Today I’m trying items from the Tokyo Treat box. It’s filled with things I’ve never before seen. Here in Waterloo we have access to some great Asian supermarkets but even there I haven’t seen these items.

The box is a vibrant orange with cute little drawings and writing. Typically with these types of subscriptions a little booklet is included which tells you exactly what you are eating; this one not so much. Had to visit their website to get all the details since I know ZERO Japanese. In no particular order here are the items.

This one was a bit odd. I was expecting a chewy texture and for a flavourful sour candy. Sadly this one was underwhelming. The texture was okay but I’d be ok never having this again. The packaging was the highlight of this one.

The packaging really ropes you in. It’s cute and I noticed that it’s from Ban Dai which here in Canada they are known for toys NOT candy. This one is grape flavour and as soon as you open it you smell the fake grape scent. I’m not a fan of grape flavoured things so I wasn’t expecting to like it. To my surprise I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it but if someone handed me some in the future I’d eat it.

These came in individual bags of what I thought were going to be cookies but turned out to be another item made out of rice. The flavouring was all on the one side so as soon as you put it in your mouth it was WHOOP there I am! It had a mild yet kinda of salty tinge to it. Not bad but not that great either.

Yep…potato chips. Will say the chips here in Canada are better. These were pretty bland with an odd after taste that I couldn’t place. But I will probably finish the bag off because they were horrible and I hate to see an okay chip go to waste.

Things seem to be made out of corn or rice. This hollow tube snack packed all the flavour on the outside. The texture is odd as they seem to puff the corn leaving the majority of this snack without much going for it. This was the first time I tried and I didn’t hate it but I’d be okay never having this again.

These were one of my favourite items from this box. Good crunch and packed with tons of smoky BBQ flavour. They are shaped like Cheetos and are similar to the crunchy Cheetos. Although a while after filming the Vlog I’m still burning the flavour of these …. so there’s that.

These were the dark horse for me. I’m not a fan of kimchi but these were surprisingly really good. They have this cute tiny shape which means I can pop them in to my mouth without any issues. They didn’t remind me of kimchi which is most likely the reason why I liked them.

I was expecting to like these since strawberries are my top of the list fruits. Sadly these were a giant let down for me. They got this odd wet texture to them which is hard to describe I het the act of chewing will make anything wet but this was beyond that. It had a horrible fake strawberry toasted that really didn’t help their cause. I will say this they smelled okay.

After having all of these unique treats ending with a gum was a good idea. If it was any other gum that would have worked. It started out ok. The mint was a different mint than what I’m used to but I wasn’t mad at that, it quickly turned to be mad at me with this nasty flavour that just punched me and made me actually spit it out. I’m trying to figure out how it enhances memory.

I didn’t try these as they are big and would be hard to talk while eating. But pretty sure they will be good.

I love the DIY candy kits. This one remains undone but maybe I will post a video of me doing some various DIY candies in the future.

That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to head over to my YouTube channel (Taste test) to watch my gut reactions as I ate these.

If you’d like more info on Tokyo Treats check them out on their site: https://tokyotreat.com

Check-in: still single

It’s been just over two years since I went head first in to the world of online dating. If you’ve read my post from that time you will already know what a colossal fail that was for me. It might come as a shock to some of you but I’m still single! I will say thanks to an awesome coworker I gathered the courage to try Tinder for a little bit however it produced zero results. I did get one guy who chatted with me for a tiny bit but he was only interested in coming over and tickling me… the world can be a strange place some days. I don’t judge, just wasn’t my thing and we just ended our conversation. I’m thrilled to report that I wasn’t the recipient of any harassment or negative comments like last time. I was however ignored; again nothing new to me here.

My views on relationships haven’t changed. My views on online dating for me haven’t changed. Only difference is I’m two years older and still haven’t really made any meaningful connections. I’m still a hopeless romantic that hopes that aspect of my life blossoms like it does in all those romantic comedies.

I know in order to make those types of connections one must venture out and put ones self out there however being a full time care giver really makes it that much harder. In a group I’m a member of within Facebook this topic hasn’t recently been talked about. Specifically on how it relates to having a facial difference. For me it’s heartwarming and encouraging that so many members of the facial difference community have connected with the loves of their lives or have just dated. It was also kind of comforting to see many facing the same struggles as I do, to be able to see I’m not alone.

One of the reoccurring thoughts I have in my head is that I’m ugly. That despite my bubbly, witty, and sarcastic personality I won’t find someone simply because of the way I look. Why would a guy choose a short girl with an odd face with a great personality when they can have a tall amazingly beautiful woman with an equally awesome personality? These thoughts tend to spiral and I think that maybe this is why I’m not further ahead in my career…

It’s an odd feeling to be alone when you crave companionship. This is an ongoing story in my life so stay tuned as I continue to navigate this thing called love in life.

As always I’d welcome your stories and thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment. Check out the companion video to this on y YouTube channel.

https://youtu.be/j8sGy4Aa8Z8

EDIT: I’m tired when writing posting this. In the video I elude to my online dating thing happening last year forgot it was TWO years ago. Wow time flies!

Nice to meet you!

For today’s post I’d thought I’d talk a little bit more about myself. My name is Penny Lynn and I was born on September 16th, 1981; which after a quick search on Google I find it was a Wednesday. I could probably use Google to tell me what the weather was like but figured that might be over the top.

I was born in Kitchener Ontario Canada, at the time of my birth my family consisted of my mom Marian, my dad Allan, and my two older sisters Pam and Crystal. I don’t really recall where exactly we were living but I’m pretty sure it was in a little area in town known as Centreville, pretty sure we lived in a townhouse complex.

I’m currently 36 years young and not quite sure how that happened. Time just kind of flew by; it’s odd that with the passage of time it feels as if it goes faster the older you get. Would you agree?

I was born with two craniofacial conditions called Goldenhar Syndrome & Left Hemiofacial Microsomia. I’m not sure if my parents knew ahead of time that I was going to be born this way. I have memories where I thought we talked about how it was a shock but I don’t always trust my memories. I spent a good amount of time at my local hospital KW hospital now known as Grand River Hospital before being all packed up and flown by helicopter to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. I’m ptretty sure based on limited information I have I spent the first year of my life or near it in Hospital. When I was born I weighed about 2.04kg (4.5 pounds) and I was born at full term.

Sadly I don’t have any pictures of me as a baby so I can only imagine what I looked liked. The two conditions I was born with impact the bone and soft tissue formation in the face and typically impact only one side (but not always). For me my left side was just missing a good chunk of the structures. I was born with no bottom left side jaw bone, no left cheek bone, the bridge of my nose was not present, half of my left eye lid was missing, my esophagus slants at an odd angle to the left and my top jaw was in two pieces. I also had a number of skin tags just randomly placed although I’m not sure how many. Must have been quite a few as this is the tissue they used to reconstruct the missing half of an eyelid.

I’m not sure if NG tubes or feeding tubes directly in the stomach were widely used in the 80’s or even trachs but I didn’t have any of those. My mom told me that to feed me she used an eye dropper. Can you imagine how long that would have taken? I know had I been born in the 2000’s I’d most like have been tube fed.

In addition to my eyelid being fixed my palate was sewn together however to this day my top jaw is still technically in two pieces it remains what’s is called as an un-repaired midline cleft. It does make a difference that I can tell but I do know that the roof of my mouth is more like the top of a pyramid and not rounded like yours most likely is. This is probably why I can’t whistle, blow bubbles from bubble gum, or even blow up balloons. My tongue also seems to be misshaped and I actually can’t stick my tongue out. When I try it reaches the very tip of my lips but it’s not very visible. When I was younger and I wanted to stick my tongue out at a kid who was being mean I used to get my sister Crystal to stick her tongue out at them on my behalf.

Most adults who were medically fragile as kids are able to say how many surgeries they went through but I honestly cannot say. I don’t know how many procedures and actual surgeries I had as a kid. From my memory I’ve had my nose fixed twice, deviated septum fixed twice, two attempts to fix my jaw. The first one I kind of remember but nothing really. Two reversals of said attempts to fix my jaw, plus a few minor procedures some to do with my condition some not related at all. Oddly I still have my appendix and tonsils. My mom wasn’t the type to write things down or keep a journal. She also just went along with what the doctors told her and never really asked a lot of questions. I don’t blame her for that it’s just an observation.

As an adult I’m fairly healthy I’d say in the last 5 Year’s I’ve gained some unwanted weight and I’m not eating the healthiest but sometimes the easiest food to eat due to my jaw is the stuff that is pretty bad for you. Like cheesecake that stuff doesn’t require a whole ton of chewing power for me to plough one down my gullet….dang now I want cheesecake…

Well guess that’s the best place to leave this post. Until next Monday!

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Happy New Year

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas, holiday season, or just enjoyed some much needed rest. We haven’t been big in to Christmas for a number or years so it’s not something that’s important to me but I did enjoy my long weekend.

I wanted to try something out this year different from what I’ve done in the past. I want to try to do a weekly blog on my YouTube channel and pair it with a written blog. So that they compliment each other. Also I know I’m not tech savvy enough to know how to add closed captioning to my YouTube videos but I want them to be accessible so if I write a blog post as a companion it will be a great way for all to be able to be included.

I wanted to try and set goals as I’ve never been one to really finish much I’ve started, doing one weekly I’m hoping will be achievable. I’ve got about 8 weeks worth of ideas written down. If you have suggestions on things you want me to cover let me know. I don’t have a real niche I’m kind of all over the map I like that about me. Some of what I will talk about will be about living with a facial difference but other stuff will be just random.

Some of my other goals for 2018:

~ will be to lose some weight would love to lose 10-15kg (20-30lbs).

~ will be to get some awesome make up and get good at applying it myself.

~ knit myself something awesome

~ pay off my credit card debit. Thankfully it’s not crazy high but still keeps me up at night.

Those are about it. Nothing really “out there”. All of those goals are obtainable, tried to keep them realistic. These are goals I can break down and have milestones set throughout the year. What are some of your goals?

I wish all my readers, friends, and family a wonderful 2018. Let the lows just flow away and let the highs be your light. Be kind to those around you and know I’m always here for you!