This bitterness manifested in you from a long string of failures in the romance department is quite different from your typical heartbreak. Heartbreak is a sharp pain that goes away after a while and bitterness is that dull pain that persists for an indefinite amount of time. People get heartbroken after their significant other dumps them. People get bitter when that thing happens a few more times. Countless rejections, cheating partners (one after another), abusive relationships and nasty divorces can also make people bitter.
So I've been numb for a few days. Honestly most of the news makes me numb, so much that I usually avoid the news when I can. But the van attack that happened in Toronto this week that killed 10 people and injured 16 (most of whom were women) has stirred something in me. Basically ... I'm pissed.
SExT: Sex Education by Theatre came together because of Shira Taylor, a PhD candidate out of the University of Toronto, deciding to focus her thesis on using the arts to give youth the tools, information and voices they need to educate themselves and each other on the various topics of Sex Ed. More importantly, SExT gave my community (Toronto’s Thorncliffe/ Flemingdon Park) the chance to decide what was important to us, and how we wanted to communicate those learnings back to our community.
On June 3rd SExT had the pleasure of performing for Jane Street Hub as part of their Community Info Fair, highlighting sexual health as well as health and wellness in the African, Caribbean, Black, and Latino communities. The event included resources, community services, workshops, counsellors, performances (wink-wink), and anonymous testing for STIs. Having a safe space for conversations on these stigmatized topics such as STIs and mental health, and having it be accessible to everyone, is so incredibly important. I would like to thank the organizers for this.
We always say a variation of this in our love lives. If we meet someone awesome we say, "It was always meant to be!!!" But when the same person leaves us because we stepped on his Hello Kitty collection or some other stupid shit we say, "It was never meant to be *cry*". What the hell is this exactly?
Valentine's Day is a sham. If you are not in a loving relationship on Feburary 14th, all you are left with is a whopping amount of Seasonal Affective Disorder and that dreaded feeling of utter singlehood. Sure, being single has its perks (that empowering sense of individuality and freedom, that beauty of unattachment and self-discovery, and the fact that you don't have time to date because you're too busy doing more important things like making a difference in the world), but being in love is the whole reason why we make art and why movies are so damn good. I can be the happiest single girl in the world and Valentines Day can make it all come crashing down.
We here at SExT love supporting similar-minded projects that aim to spark dialogue about sexual health and healthy relationships within the community. Nuance is a project by NU which strives to create a space for diverse stories (blogs, art, poetry) about sex and sexual health that bring in cultural and religious perspectives from Newcomer, Immigrant and Second Generation Youth (NISY).
Tired of your past making its way into the present? When you are just about to talk to that pretty girl, do you start remembering all those times girls rejected you and made fun of your “not that big nose”? When you think you found the one, do you start fearing that he/she will dump you for the dumbest reason just like the last one did? When you are just about to get into a relationship with that “cool guy”, do you start remembering how the last “cool guy” ended up being a serial killer who eats people and more importantly, always left the toilet seat up ON PURPOSE, WHAT A SOCIOPATH?! Or are you one those people who love and accept their past relationships and are happy with the present? GTFO of here. Just joking. Chill out. Send this to your friends who might not be in the best place. Heck send this to your friends because this article is entertaining. (I added that just in case someone gets this article and immediately says, “Hey, you sent me this article because you think I am unhappy? Do I look unhappy, HUH?! I just haven’t had my coffee and vodka mix for breakfast yet!”)
Hey it’s your main man Mr.K, the womanizing Nutella addict here. I will be sharing some of my tips of how to impress the ladies and gentlemen at clubs, bars, sides of the roads, in dingy alleyways ... wherever you're chilling at basically.
Tired of reading stupid articles about “How to Get Over Her” or “How to Deal with Heartbreak”? Well me too. So I have used some of the techniques I read somewhere (forgot where sorry) and my own life experiences and intellect to write this for you.
Before this show debuted at the Toronto Fringe, SExT had a few semi-private shows for the youth at Flemingdon Park. The scene that resonated the most with audiences was one about domestic violence, performed and created by Mary Getachew, Saad Ilyas, and Michelle Nyamekye. After one of these performances, a young audience member approached a teacher about that scene in particular and asked for help. I’d like to think there were more who also did the same.
The summer before I left home for University, my mom and I decided to go for a drive along Spanish Banks, one of my favourite places in Vancouver. As we sat in our beloved camper van and stared out into the ocean, I took a moment to feel gratitude and excitement for the life that lay ahead of me. It was in this completely meditative and calming state that my mom decided to give me a sex talk.
Our family never discussed sex or even matters related to the opposite sex. When I first told my parents in Grade 5 that I told I boy that I had a crush on for the past year that I liked him (and that he said he liked me back!) they looked at each other in tacit agreement and then said to me firmly, "You shouldn't do that." There was a period of silence. I went up to my room and felt like I was in trouble.
When I really got my heart broken by a boy for the first time, my mother waited a few days for my tears to dry before she looked at me and said, "This is proof that you CAN'T TRUST ANYONE."
My mother was very good at getting straight to the point in only a sentence or two. Our sex talk in the camper van was no different. The talk basically went like this: "You are going to meet a lot of people in university and boys will want more. You better be sure he's worth it because once you 'lose it', it's gone."
I never took my mom driving for years afterwards.
Looking back on it, my parents did their best with what knowledge they had and you know what, I figured it out! (I also had a really awesome older brother who was always there to hear about my boy problems and answer my questions.) And sure, if I was in that camper van today, my sex talk would have gone quite differently:
I would have clarified that there's no such thing as "losing it". When you have sex for the first time, you don't lose a part of yourself. You are still yourself just experiencing something new. You definitely do not lose your value and you do not lose your worth. And if someone makes you feel that way, YOUR SEX LIFE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. These kinds of people tend to make a career of judging other people anyways. So just remember: Your body. Your choice. Your life.
I would have told myself that I would get heart-broken a lot in my life and that's a normal part of dating and romance. You learn from every relationship. If a boy breaks your heart, it is not your fault. You are beautiful and you will find someone that will fit you better and make you happy in the way someone else cannot.
I would have re-enforced the importance of "no glove no love". Men will come up with every excuse under the sky not to use a condom. The best one I heard was: "they don't work on me." (?????) Stick to your guns. If you don't want an STI or to get pregnant, NO GLOVE = NO LOVE! Also know how to put on and remove a condom: remember you want the sombrero not the tuque. You may have to instruct some partners on how to do this. If you want a re-cap, come watch our show SExT at the Fringe and Summerworks Festivals and Beyoncé will break it down for you ;)
My sex talk would also touch on the importance of peeing after sex, because urinary tract infections are a bitch and more common than you think. A simple pee and a wet wipe can save you the agony of trying to flush everything with cranberry juice and waiting uncomfortably in the doctor's office for a prescription.
To cap it all off, I would given myself a high five for telling that boy in Grade 5 that I liked him. You go girl.
I didn't grow up in a sex positive household. My sex education consisted of strangers coming in and waving condoms in our face and making us fill out crossword puzzles, and marking them together. I prayed that when it was my turn to give the answer in front of the class, I wouldn't get #15 across: vagina.
It was a production of the "Vagina Monologues" that I did in my first year of university that was the first sex positive experience I had. Talking about our bodies was easy and normal and liberating and empowering. I rid myself of the shame surrounding my body and how people perceived it. I was in charge. I also started to love saying the word "vagina" because it was no longer a swear word or a secret. I re-claimed the word. Eve Ensler is a genius.
No matter what sex talk or lack thereof you have with your parents or what kind of sex ed curriculum you have at your school, you will be ok. It is more important to know to trust your gut when it comes to anything. Your comfort level with your body and with sex is different than the next person's. Go at your own pace and never let anyone pressure you to do something or to not do something. You are in control.
If you are a parent reading this because you googled "how to give my kid a sex talk" and you're panicking a little bit, bring them to our show SExT at the Fringe and Summerworks Festival which opens tonight!!!. The youth will give you and your kid the best sex talk of your life. ;)
TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL
LOCATION: The Annex Theatre at 730 Bathurst Street
June 29th at 8:45 PM
July 2nd at 5:45 PM
July 3rd at 12:30 PM
July 6th at 7:00 PM
July 7th at 9:15 PM
July 9th at 2:15 PM
July 10th at 5:45 PM
TORONTO SUMMERWORKS FESTIVAL
LOCATION: Factory Studio Theatre at 125 Bathurst Street
August 7 @ 12:00 PM
August 10 @ 7:45 PM
August 11 @ 9:15 PM
August 12 @ 6:00 PM
Happy Opening, Fringe Festival!
- Post by Elena Juatco, Actor & SExT Creative Facilitator
The year I met him, I made a New Year's resolution: I will only be in loving, healthy relationships.
Until then I had continuously found myself in a pattern of heartbreak and disappointment. I must be inviting these kinds of men into my life, I thought. I can't put up with this anymore.
I was desperate to start fresh. I needed to cleanse myself of all relationships where I felt guilty over wanting things that made me happy, insecure about myself, and like I wasn't enough. I was tired of trying to get boys to like me. I wanted to be in a relationship that didn't exhaust me mentally and emotionally all the time.
So I made a list of 98 things that I wanted in a man (not joking). These things ranged from the deep and personal (must have strong sense of social responsibility) to the questionably superficial (must enjoy food as much as I do). Then I dreamt about what it would be like to be in that loving relationship. It was my first real exercise in manifesting my desires and projecting out to the Universe exactly what I wanted.
And then I met him. And it wasn't long into the relationship that I realized: Wow. THIS is what a healthy relationship feels like! How did I put up with anything else before this?
My Top 5 "AHA!" moments that I was in a Healthy Relationship:
1. I share my dreams and my fears with him. And I don't hold back.
In previous relationships, I found myself compromising or downplaying my dreams for another person. Men were often intimidated that I travelled so much in my work and that I loved doing it. I remember once telling a frustrated boyfriend that "I'm not going to want to be an actress forever!" (HUGE red flag went up, but I ignored it for a few more months longer before we ended things.) The moment I was able to tell my biggest dreams to my partner and not be afraid that he would run away, I knew that I was in a relationship that was different.
When I went through rough times, it felt different too: he listened to me and I felt like he was going through it with me. In other relationships, I felt a disconnect - like my boyfriend was just waiting for me to stop crying and cheer up because it made him uncomfortable. Now being able to share my highs and lows like this with my partner makes me feel less alone and more optimistic for the future.
2. I stop trying to make him like me.
When we try to get people to like us, we censor ourselves. We are conscious of what we say, how we act, and how we dress among other things. It's a freeing feeling when you realize that you don't need to worry about that anymore. That all those genuine things that make you you are seen, not ignored, and even loved.
3. He's weird with me.
He dances in the kitchen with me. He freestyles with me to random songs in the car. We talk in accents. He loves it when I go somewhere like Medieval Times and scream like a crazy person. His weirdness matches my weirdness. It's weird and it's awesome.
We're all a little weird
4. I'm more creative than I've ever been.
I stopped writing songs after my last break up. But when I met him, I picked up the guitar again. A year later, I finally finished my first album that included a song I wrote about him (my first love song!). I was doing some of my best work in my career. I was taking more classes and fine-tuning my Art. I was painting. I was writing ... I'm still writing :)
5. He is my best friend. And my other best friends are still my best friends.
He is without a doubt my best friend: the person I go to for advice and the first person I tell when I have news, good or bad. But the best friends I had before I met him are STILL my best friends. I still get my quality time with my besties and they are still an important part of my life. I didn't have to sacrifice or minimize friendships to have a relationship.
A healthy relationship is not about having the same life as your partner; it is not a love where you consume each other and rely on each other for existence and a healthy well-being. A healthy relationship is one where you SHARE your life together. Individually you are strong, beautiful people and together you shine even brighter.
You do you, boo. And comment below on whether I missed anything on my list. xo
- Post by Elena Juatco, Actor & SExT Creative Facilitator
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