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!

Feel free to like and subscribe to my YouTube channel

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!

I Wonder

wonderimage

 

With the movie Wonder just released I thought I’d I share my two cents worth (pun very much intended). My mind is wired in a way that sometimes annoys even myself. I can see both sides to most situations. There are very few situations where my brain draws a hard-line and refuses to see both sides. The reason why I’ve even said this is that it’s important for the following blog post.

 

The book and the movie have sparked fierce debate in my Facial Differences Facebook group. I won’t be sharing details but it’s safe to say there are strong feels on both sides. There are some who feel the book and movie are awesome and an amazing step forward for those with facial differences. On the other side there are some that see the book and movie as disgusting way to make money on our backs. I’m in the middle; I see both sides of this coin.

 

When I first saw the trailer for the movie adaptation of Wonder I didn’t get through it. I broke down and cried like I haven’t cried in a long time. I can’t describe the feeling that washed over me but I can say I was moved. Before I did a deep dive or talked with others I was excited for the movie. I was excited that in 2017 there was finally a movie that allowed me to “see” myself (so to speak). At this point I hadn’t read the book. Did you know that Wonder is only the 2nd movie to focus on facial differences? Did you know that the major difference between them is Wonder is a complete work of fiction and Mask was based on a true story. This difference is important to note; and a point of contention. The book wonder was born from the author’s briefest contact in an ice cream shop where her son reacted rudely to a little girl who had a facial difference. There are those in the facial Difference community who see that the author is making money by sharing a story that is not hers to tell.

 

Here’s my take understanding I have not seen the movie but I have read the book. I choose to see this book as the tiniest pebble in what I hope is finally a foundation that we’ve been working on for the longest time. We being those in the facial difference community and our allies. The book doesn’t tell my story but it does give the smallest glimpse in to some of the feelings I’ve had in my life. That’s what I want those who read Wonder to get; but to also remember that this wasn’t written by a member of the facial difference community. The book unlike real life puts a nice neat bow at the end of the story it told however even that end carries concerns that I shall leave for another post where I will do a deep dive and review. The aim of this post is to help people understand the role this movie is playing.

 

When I’m seeing the tweets from people who have seen the movie I’m truly concerned that people aren’t getting it. Not understanding the true impact having a facial difference has on lives. I see tons of people describing the movie as “awe-inspiring” “heart warming” and such. Pretty standard for movies that focus on personal struggles while showing a character going through life with the added stress of something out of the ordinary. I’ve heard before that people see me as an inspiration, as their hero and I’m not comfy with that. It’s as if I should be put on a pedestal just because I get up go to work, look after my mom, pay my bills..etc while having and dealing with a facial difference. My real triumph is I don’t tell everyone off who stare at me is and this is something I would accept being applauded for ’cause that’s a feat. Everyone has their battles, everyone has to juggle home and work balance and some also have to be care givers. The fact that I also have to juggle having a facial difference doesn’t make me any more of a special person than you who read this. It absolutely adds additional challenges and means I have to spend way more money on things like Dental care, eye glasses, and a ton more time doing various things but that’s it.

 

The other concerns I have with the movie and the book are the marketing strategy / campaign. Specifically the #ChooseKind and the actual image used on the books cover and now on posters and such. Let me first address the #ChooseKind hashtag; to be honest I’m not 100% hating it; as a big picture; it works. Because sadly we do need to be a little more kind to one another. We need to actively teach our kids to be kind because sometimes they grow up to be assholes. I’ve often thought about how sad it is that there needs to exist a chapter or at the vary least a sentence in all employee handbooks addressing this very thing (looking at you Sportchek). As for the image I can say at this point I think I’m 100% against it. Maybe someone will be able to enlighten me as to why a solid white face with no features save for 1 right eye is a good representation for the book; cause I ready it and Auggie has both eyes. I feel like it was almost a cop-out; not showing an actual facial difference being represented does a disservice to the story.

 

I’ve been getting asked quite a bit if I’m going to see the movie; right now the answer is no. When I go to a movie (which hasn’t happened in a long time) I want to escape my reality, I want to laugh, or be thrilled, what I don’t want is to be confronted with the telling of a story that will have me relive what I went through just to get in to the theatre.

 

At the end of the day I hope tons of people see this movie so that my (and everyone else’s) facial difference is more normalized. I’m pretty tired and jaded so I’m thinking this movie will get tons of award buzz and lots of people are going to get a ton of money because of it however it will help the community very little. It won’t ensure that kids with facial differences get access to the care they need more easily, it won’t ensure that they truly can grow up and choose any profession they want (actor, news anchor on the evening news, model… etc), it won’t stop kids growing up like I did with no friends. We are all human and flawed and one movie based on a book written I’m sure with the best of intentions won’t make my life any different. For those who see the movie seeing your difference being represented by an able-bodied actor wearing make up to look like you is akin to mocking us. I had kids try to contort their features to try and mock the way I look which was something I had forgotten about for a long time and something I hope to once again forget; but movies like this won’t make that happen. Remember that you can make a difference by having real conversations with kids about differences; facial differences, is just one. Talk to your kids about how wheelchairs are not a burden but provide much needed access to mobility and thus freedom to do the simplest tasks. Tell your kids that those with wheelchairs or facial differences or any difference shouldn’t be pitied or admired but respected as you would respect anyone. Remember that this is only a movie, and that those who live with a facial difference don’t always get happy endings. Remember that love is a powerful tool and can overcome a lot.

Rant…I’m pissed! Again!

Bare with me… rant incoming with F bombs. You’ve been warned.

This photo is a still from an upcoming / already aired episode of Legends of Tomorrow.

flash

If you can’t figure out yet what this rant is going to be about… you clearly don’t know me.

This Character is known as the Black Flash and as you can see like so many other fucking villains they’ve decided to make him “scary.” How did they achieve this… well they decided to fuck up his face.

I’m so fucking tired of never “seeing” myself on TV and instead seeing “bad dudes” made up to look like a version of me. I’m tired of saying that the only character I can identify with is The Phantom (he doesn’t even have a name!) from The Phantom of the Opera. I’m tired of realizing that kids today born as I was STILL have never seen a true, honest, “normal” role in a movie or TV show that represents them.

When they choose to cast able bodied or “normal” looking folks in roles in which they play someone disabled or with a visible difference (facial or otherwise) I often hear people say (in defence when I start ranting) that “well maybe no one with that disorder, disability, facial difference auditioned or may not have been a good enough actor to play the role or that they don’t exist”. You know why that is? Because we are not GIVEN A SNOWBALLS CHANCE IN FUCKING HELL to try.

If I went to an open casting call I’d be laughed out the door. If they are looking for someone with a difference it’s normally a tiny role meant to further the plot in some way or the actor/difference is being used as inspirational porn.

I get that I will never win an Oscar, I will never be an actor. I work in a call centre because I was NEVER told I could be anything I wanted to be or DO anything I wanted to do. You know what? That’s because I never had to be told that, I already knew. It’s 20FUCKING17 and in a time where we are focused on valid world issues such as #BlackLivesMatter (Damn right they do), #Feminism and all of the other valid struggles;  those with facial differences are STILL screwed over. There is ZERO public outcry, or a desire for society to change this. Zero movements or effort to raise funds for organizations that actively help those with facial differences navigate life.

Side note: In most workshops I have attended run by groups like this they actually advocate to call the employer ahead of time to “warn” them that you have a facial difference. FUCK THAT, if you see me and the first thought is FUCK she’s ugly and you decide NOT to hire me, you can go tuck yourself. I have ZERO desire to give anyone the chance to prejudge me. I’m tired of the fact that there is a HUGE assumption that just because we look different it automatically means we have a lower IQ. When I’m with anyone and we encounter a stranger the stranger will AUTOMATICALLY start talking with the person I’m with as if I don’t even exist. This is ALWAYS the most evident when I’m training a new volunteer. Someone will walk through the door and even when I say “can I help you” with my trainee by my side, the person will IGNORE me and first speak with my trainee (they clearly miss the deer in headlights vacant look most of my trainees have that first day). I have NEVER mentioned this but anyone of my trainees who reads this can probably remember this happening.

I step out in public every fucking day to provide for my family when there are days I’d rather stay home than venture out KNOWING I’m going to get stared at, looked at, laughed at, pointed at, and talked about. I step outside every fucking day and endure that and when it happens I either want to cry or snap. I FUCKING gave the finger to a kid at Costco yesterday and I laughed. I laughed because the alternative was either teaching that kid a few new swear words or cry. I can’t go out and shop in piece… nope I have to deal with shit like that. Most articles produced for those with facial differences talk about how to approach such topics, suggesting we make eye contact or politely strike up a conversation. I disagree with ALL of these methods; how about we start teaching children at an early age that people come in all sorts of shapes, colours, and flavours. How about we start producing movies, art, TV that show all walks of life so that when everyone is growing up we see EVERYONE and oh look no one is considered a freak (unless you like that sort of thing). It’s akin to victim blaming; I have to approach you differently simply because you’ve never seen another human being that looks different even though unless you are a twin we all look different from one another anyways.  I’m ok with being the anti-role model; I’m ok teaching kids to stick up for themselves and being able to tell others to mind their own business and stop fucking starring at them; they should be allowed to be anything they want to be but instead we teach little kids with differences that you have to teach others ducking decent human manners.

YES, I have a job, I have a house, I have a sister who is my rock (shout out and lots of love to Crystal), I have amazing friends and co-workers and complete strangers who think I’m awesome. That helps it really does however this post if for the rest of the world, to those agents, casting managers, film makers etc… Pull your heads out of your ass! I’m FUCKING tired of all of this shit. Yes to those who support me (you know who you are) I get that I’m loved, I get that I’m luckier that probably 80% of the world but that doesn’t help me get out the door every morning. If anything it adds to it. I have a voice I can say ALL of this but it won’t make a difference. Those countries who treat their disabled like shit will continue to do so, those countries who throw away their children because they look different will continue to do so. Until we as a society decide that those with differences are a VALUE and not trash, not something to be pitted the world will NOT change and I will continue to have to write these words. I won’t stop, as much as it gets me mad, upset, everything I will gladly take on ALL of that. I would take on all the hurt that children suffer and I would be ok, I’m USED to it! I keep putting one foot in front of the other because if I dared to stop, I would crumble and I wouldn’t be any good to anyone.

PLEASE share this, please ADD to it. Tell YOUR story! Together we can change the world; one voice really CAN make a difference.

Transit

grt1

For those who don’t know me or haven’t heard me complain about it often enough; I’m not legally allowed to drive, so my only option is public transit since I haven’t won the lottery and cannot afford a private driver.

 

Living in Kitchener-Waterloo (aka Region of Waterloo) we are serviced by one transit system that spans 3 cities (well I guess it’s more than that now as it also serves some smaller townships). For the most part over the years I’ve seen vast improvements in both the routes and the customer service. However this post is going to focus on the huge pain points that me and my family have gone through with respect to Grand River Transit.

 

Weekend Service:

I typically start work at 7am, no matter what day it is. I thought by working on Saturdays I would be able to get to work before 7am. Sadly the first bus that goes by is 6:21am the time it takes me to get from my house to work is 58 minutes which includes an 8-minute layover for another bus. By taking this option this would get me to work for 7:20am IF they were on time; unfortunately, this would make me 20 minutes late for work, not cool

I’ve been lucky a co-worker (hi Cory) has been able to go out of his way to come and get me however on the off chance he cannot (as he won’t be able toon an upcoming Saturday due to vacation) this has left me with 2 options for which I have to choose to get to work on time:

1) walk, it’s about 10km one way which takes me roughly 2 hours; or

2) pay a large sum to a cab or car-share ride program to get to work on time. I’ve done this on the way home one night because I was tired and it cost me just shy of $18 (that’s with 20% off promo code) to get home from work going to work will pretty much be the same cost.

 

When I bought my house Sunday bus service meant 1 bus every 60 minutes. This has slightly improved to be 1 bus every 45 minutes however the first bus that goes by our house is at 8:15am. I typically start work at 7am, or 8am, however when bus goes by after you are already scheduled to start your shift with about an hour commute to go you can see the limitations I face. Thankfully I don’t have many Sundays where I need to work so if I do go out it’s by choice and has not been the biggest pain.

 

Weekday Service:

I really can’t complain about the weekday service. I can get a bus at 5:34am which gives me a nice layover where I can grab a coffee and still get to work before anyone else at around 6:25am. Even coming home after work at around 3pm hasn’t been that much of a problem. Now I have been doing some odd shifts and I can say that trying to get home after working until 9pm isn’t really fun as I usually have a 45 minute wait in the cold (it’s winter) for my connecting bus which will get me home but those shifts are few and far between so I honestly don’t mind them.

 

MobilityPlus

When you live in the Waterloo Region and you are physically unable to take the traditional city bus there is a door-to-door service called MobilityPlus. It’s an off-shoot of GRT (Grand River Transit) which provides transportation for the elderly, disabled, and such. Since my mom had a stroke 3 years ago my sister and I have become very much aware of this service, how good it can be and the clear gaps and improvements it needs to make it the best it can be. Currently the only way to book a ride is by calling; they seem to have 1 human at any given time manning the phone to answer your call to book your ride. There is one gentleman who works there (no idea what his name is) who has the customer service skills of sandpaper. He is extremely rude, he makes frequent errors (when pointed out to him blames the customer), and seems to have zero regard for plain decency. And yes before you comment asking if we have lodged complaints…we have, almost after every single interaction with him. While he is still employed in the role is beyond us; the fact that I work in customer service makes dealing with him all the more frustrating because I can promise you if I EVER talked to my customers like that I’d be suspended, talked to, and if it happened again on top of mistakes that cost the company money I’d be out of a job. I figure the guy is protected by a union however I would imagine they could give him any other role that is not customer facing to satisfy the employment requirements. The other few agents they have working in the office are 100% awesome; sweet to talk to and never make you feel rushed.

 

Because they seem to only have 1 person manning the line at any given time sometimes the wait times are absolutely nuts. I think our record wait time was over an hour however recently you can’t even get through it just rings busy. Now you might be asking yourself “Why don’t you book online?” That is a GREAT idea…sadly the systems they are using are SO dated that booking online is not even an option. As someone who can only hear out of one ear waiting on hold having to hold the phone up to just one ear I can tell you is NOT very comfy. I tend to use my cell however if I put it on speaker I risk missing it because their hold music is so low and of such low quality it might as well not exist.

 

Once you have your ride booked (which at this point we can all agree is no easy task) comes your pick up times. They tend to give you a 30 minute window that is at least 1 hour from your scheduled appointment. So if my mom has a doctor’s appointment on a Thursday at 1pm the pickup time will be between 11:30am and noon; assuming there are no other pickups (there never has ever been) it’s a bout a 10-15 minute ride. This in turn means if we get picked up at 11:30am on the dot we will get to her doctor’s office by 11:45am-ish that means we have a lovely 1 hour and 15 minutes to sit doing nothing while we wait. We all know that doctor’s appointments tend to be quick; so lets say we are seen right at 1pm (cause we’ve been sitting there for an hour) he chats with my mom and we are done by 1:15pm-ish, MobilityPlus will take the appointment time of 1pm add an hour and make our pick up for our return trip home to be 2pm-2:30pm this means yet another potentially hour or more that we are waiting for a ride home. Now that’s IF they get there by 2:30pm its very possible that they forget you, or they are just plain late. This means a simple 15-minute appointment has taken half a day. This frustrates us to NO end because it is not convenient.

 

We have also been told that because we live in the North end of Waterloo we will always get least priority since they have to come out further to get us. This means longer wait times but also has meant that mom has not been able to attend a day programme on Thursdays. She used to be able to go but apparently due to cut-backs they have had to limit rides and thus my mom gets shafted. She has not been able to attend the Thursday program for about 6 months now and it upsets her since she had so much fun going. On Wednesdays she also attends a day program however because there is a therapeutic component to it the program director fought with GRT to have her rides on Wednesdays consistent. This means that they are prescheduled and we do not have to call every week to book both the pick up from home or the return trip home. We did try to have this done for the Thursday program however GRT declined and as such we have waited on hold an average of an hour every Thursday morning to book a ride for the following Thursday only to be told that there are ZERO rides available…why? Because of “cut backs” “because of where you live”. When it comes to non medical outings you can only book a week ahead of the day you are calling. So if mom and I wanted to go to the mall THIS Saturday we would be out of luck; the earliest we would be able to go would be the following week IF they have time slots available that work.

 

I’ve provided feedback and short of going to the Mayors office (Waterloo and Kitchener) I don’t know what else to do to accomplish the sweeping changes that are clearly desperately needed. I know that we are not the only ones that struggle with GRT as I do work with two gentlemen that also rely on the service and have the same headaches we do.

 

To be fair we are extremely lucky to have such service in the first place. I’ve heard of some other similar services in other parts of the world and they have their own limitations. Overall the transit in the Region of Waterloo is pretty decent and again has expanded as the city has but as someone who will only ever be able to take the bus I see flaws that don’t need to be there, barriers that could be overcome and great people who work hard to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

 

Gobble Gobble!

turkey

Today up here in Canada we celebrated Thanksgiving today! Anytime anyone says “Happy Thanksgiving” I find myself wanting to be different and always tend to respond with “Happy Gobble Gobble!”.

Being Atheist, this tends to be the holiday that I mostly gravitate towards. For me it’s a time to reflect on the past year, to sit down with my tiny family of 4 (including me) and have dinner at our mostly unused dinning room table.

It’s thought that Canada first celebrated Thanksgiving in 1578 when an exbidition from England by Martin Frobisher (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Frobisher) landed and gathered with the remainder of his fleet and they had a feast. It seems to have taken shape after that in 1604 when Samuel de Champlain shared food with Native Canadians. The dates in which our Thanksgiving Day have shifted over the years and is now celebrated the second Monday of October and has been fixed on this day since 1957.

For me it’s much less about what I’m thankful for since not a day goes by when I don’t look around and think about the good things around me, which I do to compact the negative feelings I have about all the crap that is going on. Crap that is either happening to me, those I love, or just the world in general. I have a great house (that needs some repairs), I have great friends (that I don’t see nearly enough), I have a great job, (really no down side here), I have a great family (not big but they are all I need). Thanksgiving for me is reminding myself about balance, about love. I’m truly thankful to be Canadian, to have a healthcare system that doesn’t bankrupt me or has left me for dead. To be Canadian with a leader who may not be perfect but has Canadians in his thoughts, who is a stable human being. I’m thankful that I have an audience to write to, who appreciate my quirky sense of humour and who are forgiving for my lack of writing.

I originally conceived this post to make be a bit of a commentary on the U.S. elections however I figured that wasn’t in the spirit of Thanksgiving. Well except the part where I’m thankful not to be American. That may be a post for another day, today as I write this I’m fighting the food coma that comes with having had a full plate of food. I think the only regret I have this day is that I didn’t do enough to help others today. I know that this is my first post in a very long time please forgive it’s shortness however I’m going to go and watch a movie with my mom, who I’m very thankful I can still watch movies with.

To those who are struggling (in any way) on this day know that you are in my thoughts. Today is a day of reflection, and of love and I appreciate and love all of you. I don’t always feel thankful, or even act like it some days but on this day I try to make an extra effort.

turkey2

Our Turkey dinner tonight!

1983

on June 30th, 1983 at the age of 42 Allan Douglas Loker died of a heart attack. He left behind 3 daughters and a wife. I’m one of the daughters that got left behind.

I don’t much about him, I know that he liked to race stock cars, he did skeet shooting, he did those fancy plaster things you see on ceilings, that he worked for the same company for 18 years, and that he was unfaithful to his loving wife. I always used to imagine that when I turned a certain age there would be a package sent from him to me or a letter that would allow me to get to know him more than I do. My mom never talked about him much, whenever we really pressed for information she would say she didn’t remember. Now after her stroke any hope of any information is now long gone. My view of him is tainted by the acts of betrayal I knew he committed.

My mom had 4 girls and my aunt had 4 girls, needless to say I haven’t had a lot of positive male role models in my life. Not to say I haven’t had any but for the most part I’ve looked outside my family for role models. I’m a huge fan of TV, movies, science, pop culture, etc so the ongoing list of men with whom I admire is as follows. There is no particular order but each of these men have qualities that I imagine my dad would have had, or what I’m looking for in a future husband.

William Shatner

Photo Credit: @WilliamShatner twitter

Mr. Shatner is the father I wished I had, he is funny, smart, witty, loves horses, and he does a hell of a lot of charity work. With the social media craze Mr. Shatner engages his followers, fans and haters like no one else. I’ve been lucky to exchange a few tweets with him.

Lennox Lewis


I’ve met Lennox and we attended the same high school (years apart), He is genuinely nice engages with his fans. He is a family man above all else which is the biggest reason why admire him. I like to think I can consider him a friend.

Kevin Hart

Photo Credit: @KevinHart4real Twitter

I’ve been a big fan of Mr. Hart’s movies, and I always look forward to his next project. In all the interviews I’ve seen him give he seems true to himself, is compassionate and speaks with true passion about his family. He would be someone I’d just love to hang out with, have a drink. I would love to seem him do a dramatic roll to balance all the comedy.

Ryan Reynolds

Photo Credit: @VancityReynolds Twitter

I’m drawn to other Canadians as I feel being from the same country we “know” each other. I of course have never met Mr. Reynolds but meeting him is totally on my bucket list. I’m constantly amazed at how much of himself he gives to the world and have to thank him for it because he truly does make this world a better place. I’m slightly jealous of his wife who gets to know him as no one else does but knowing how devoted he is to his family (based on things said in interviews) I can’t help but admire him.

Dwayne Johnson

Photo Credit: @TheRock Twitter

The Rock…Dwayne…Mr. Johnson, whatever name he goes by there is no denying his genuine appreciation for his fans. He loves encouraging others to be their best. He has made me laugh with his tweets, and has made my day when he has tweeted me back.

Chris Hadfield

Photo Credit: @Cmdr_Hadfield Twitter


Mr. Hadfield, another Canuck, made space “cool” again. He made others look up to the stars and dream about what lay beyond. I have NO doubt that some of the kids he interacted with while on the International Space Station will grow up to become astronauts themselves. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting him but when I do a hug is in order. His bravery, curiosity, and inelegance are qualities that should be celebrated.

Stephen Hawking


Mr. Hawking is a brilliant mind who doesn’t let anything stop him. Having to deal with tons of personal issues while producing mind blowing science is simply amazing. I wish I had only a portion of his smarts. I heard some years ago that he was coming to my neck of the woods to do a lecture and I missed it; I hope he comes again because seeing him speak is something on my bucket list. I have no doubt I would be hopelessly lost in the lecture but just being there would make me feel a tad smarter.

Nathan Fillion

Photo Credit: @NathanFillion Twitter


From Firefly to Castle Mr. Fillion has never ceased to entertain and make me laugh. It’s his work outside of that I admire the most. He has lent his voice to a number of charities that I hold dear to my heart. He regularly engages his fans/followers on social media. Oh and he is Canadian as well 🙂

Zachary Levi

Photo Credit: @ZacharyLevi TwitterOne 

One of my favourite things about Zachary is the work he does for Operation Smile (http://www.operationsmile.org/). For the past few years during SDCC he has gotten a bunch of people together and raised a lot of money to help kids who like me were born with a facial difference. Mr. Levi is funny, kind, generous, and super cute! One day I hope to be able to attend SDCC again but specifically go to all the Nerd Machine events.

Joseph Mallozzi


Joe has been responsible for some of my favorite TV of all time. He has one of the most creative minds that I know and he genuinely cares. He has been keeping up a blog daily for a crazy amount of time and when I started my own blog I had hoped that I would be just as good at it as he is. Sadly I’m not but i’m totally ok with that. I’m super excited that his Dark Matter season 2 premiers tomorrow and I hope everyone gives it a watch. You should also read/follow his blog (https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com)

Jared Padalecki

Photo Credit: @jarpad Twitter


#AKF stands for Always Keep Fighting, as Jared continues to work on an amazing show called Supernatural he has been upfront about his battle with depression. He used is reach to let us all know that we are not alone. Many in the SPN Fandom have opened up and come together to help each other through some really hard times. I love watching Jared tell stories of pranks he and his casts mates have pulled on each other and I love seeing the love he has for his family.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Photo Credit: @Lin_Manuel Twitter


I’ve only recently discovered Lin-Manuel thanks to the success of his Broadway hit Hamilton. I’ve listened to the soundtrack and like probably 75% of the world I really REALLY want to see this musical. I have watched a lot of the interviews he has done and he seems like one of the nicest people ever. He genuinely wants to help people and the territory he comes from. If I saw him on the street it would be hard for me not to give him a hug. On a side note I creeped his Twitter to find a picture and in almost every picture he has posted he is with someone else and has the biggest smile on his face! Class!

This list could go on-and-on-and-on. I know who I am as a person, I’ve said this before and it still hold true. I don’t need a “man” to define me but would be sure nice to have one stand with me. I like to think that some of person I am is because of these guys influence. As I continue to grow as an individual I will continue to seek to look to positive influences to help continue to guide me. On this the anniversary of my father’s death this might be one of the first years I haven’t wondered so much on what would have been. I continue to look forward and hope that he would have been proud of the woman I have become and that he would have agreed with the men I choose to look up to and admire.