How Do You Take a Compliment?

Written by Evelyn Taylor 😘

Compliments. They can be exciting, uplifting, insulting, awkward and weird. They can make you feel a range of emotions, including indifference. They can even make you unwittingly support capitalism.

Yeah, I went there.

Maybe you’ve noticed it from others, maybe you’ve noticed it in yourself, maybe you’ve never noticed it and maybe I’m a bit off my rocker for thinking it’s worth noticing, BUT, have you ever noticed that sometimes a compliment is immediately responded to with a recommendation or testimonial for a business? I love your necklace! I got it at Smart Set. You look great in that dress! Thanks, I found it in Value Village. Great haircut! I got it done at Sally’s salon down the street.

This pattern of responses works to accomplish a few things. Most of which are troubling.

#1 Deflection – Yes, it can be hard to take a compliment; to accept that someone sees something positive, interesting or beautiful about your appearance and that pointing it out is not only ok but justified. Deflecting a compliment by attributing it to something beyond yourself allows you to accept the compliment as valid without requiring that you let it change your self-image positively. It’s a tool – an effective one at that, but it seems somehow unfortunate. I mean, people compliment each other for all sorts of reasons, one of which is because they generally like you and want to show that they notice and appreciate you. Since we never truly know what happens in other people’s minds, why not choose to believe that people like and appreciate you? If they want to know where you got something, they’ll ask you.

#2 Individualistic Pragmatism – A compliment is clearly all about being practical and so clearly the only practical response involves promoting an action that will end in tangible results i.e. acquiring the desirable object or service. Unpractical, relationship-oriented things are useless! Right? Wait.

#3 Capitalism – Buy things! Let’s all buy things together! I bought x at y store and if you buy x at y store, we can both have x together! No sharing; that is not allowed. If you like something of mine, get your own! Objects can be the source of fun and good times, but unless it’s your friend’s shop or a place you really want to support, why promote it? For that matter, why attribute the store when they likely didn’t make it themselves but instead probably are exploiting other people for profit? In fact, I think if someone ever compliments you on how you smell (thanks to some LUSH product), you should keep in mind the person’s name on the container and respond with “Someone named (insert worker’s name) made it!”

#4 Fear of Lying by Omission – This one gets me. I think sometimes we immediately word-vomit when people compliment us so as not to be interpreted as hiding information from them, or “secret-keeping”. When I found out that omission is considered lying, I began to panic. The part of my brain that said “don’t say anything dumb or upsetting to anyone ever” had an epic battle with the part of my brain that thoroughly believed that “honesty is the best policy” and the casualties were so bad on either side, it’s hard to tell who won. As I get older, I’m beginning to rediscover the wonder and excitement of secrets and mysteries and have been less worried about lies. People believe what they want to believe and we can only truly know our own flawed perceptions of reality anyway, so what does it matter? Truth is relative and dynamic. Be mysterious if you want to be.

Do I think that responding to compliments this way is wrong? Not at all. Do I think it’s weird? Absolutely! People are weird and often times they just do things because they imitate others and generation after generation ends up repeating strange habits. I advocate for thinking about these strange habits and seeing if they need to change. I also like to think of life as a choose-your-own-adventure story that you tell yourself, so let’s not make it too dull or predictable, ok?

Thanks, Tips: I Wanna Dye My Hair Blonde

The first time I ever put permanent colour in my hair was in grade 8. My stepdad, a beauty aficionado,  convinced me that I should get some blonde highlights– the good old chunky ones– for my grad pics. I didn’t dye my hair again until I was in University. I didn’t know what I was doing with hair colour until this past year. So now Im gonna tell you how to dye your hair blonde.

Step One:  Find a Beauty Supply Store (Sally’s will do)

You will need to buy some powdered bleach. Wella’s Colour Charm Powder is just fine. They sell small packets too for you short-hair babes out there. It’s usually under $20 for a tub of bleach or $4 for a packet. Then you will need to buy some developer. Developer is basically the active ingredient that opens up your hair cuticle to let the colour work it’s magic. If you have really healthy hair //or// you’re such a cool artsy type that doesn’t mind making their hair look kinda dry and frizzy, you can use 30 volume developer. The higher the number (max is 40), the more lift you get. I don’t recommend buying 40 volume developer ever. It’s pretty intense. For you peeps who like to keep your hair looking mighty fine and are afraid to ruin the shiny shiny you have going on, I recommend 20 volume. You likely won’t get a crazy light blonde with 20 volume unless you already have naturally light brown/red/whatever hair. To reach platinum blonde, you will likely need 30 volume. Grab some toner as well. This stuff will do. You will need to buy a small bottle of 10 volume developer for the toner.  Buy an applicator brush and a bowl. And buy some disposable gloves, or better yet, some re-usable rubber gloves.

Step Two: Application

You will need to look on the container of bleach for its mixing ratio. It will either say 1:1 or 1:2. It really depends on the kind you get. Mix your bleach powder and your developer accordingly. If you’re a drug dealer, use your scale to measure it out. Best to be precise. If you’re only trying to dye one part of your hair (say, the top), you can use conditioner to block the rest of the hair. Use your brush to paint the area of the hair you don’t want to bleach with conditioner. You should be applying the bleach to dry hair. Wear a shitty PJ shirt. If you have a friend around, ask them to apply it for you.. starting at the most resistant area of your hair which is often the back of your head. If your friend is applying it for you, get them to divide your head into 4 quadrants (2 in the front, 2 in the back).

If you had blonde in your hair and it grew out, you can start at the back of your head. Do not overlap bleach. In other words, if you have blonde in your hair, try not to touch that blonde as your hair might break off. If you have gray hair, you can start in one of the front sections and move to the back sections as you go.  Take small sections of hair and coat the hair using your free hand as a base. I recommend avoiding the scalp. So, paint the hair 1/2 inch from the root to the ends. I personally love a good dark root. HOT. No jokes.

If you are alone, you can try painting it on using the quadrant method in a mirror, or you can simply work free-hand. I often just use my hands like a child would. No brush needed. Make sure your hair is fully saturated, meaning that you don’t leave any dry spots. Often the ends of your hair are more porous and can soak up colour quicker than the root/mid shaft. If your hair is already a little damaged, you might want to pull the colour through the ends later on as opposed to painting the hair completely at first.

Once you have fully saturated the hair, watch it closely. Your hair might lift quickly, or it may take more time than usual. This depends on the amount of gray you have, how thick your hair is, and how damaged it is. You can test to see the colour of the hair as it goes through the various changes in colour. Slide the bleach off of a few strands of hair using your two fingers. This should give you an idea of how light the hair is. If you want to avoid a golden blonde (blonde with more yellow), then you will need to leave the bleach on for longer. For reference, Golden blonde is a level 7 blonde. Platinum blonde is level 10-11.

Lots of people wonder why their hair is a yellowy blonde after they bleach it. Likely, you didn’t leave the bleach on long enough. If you want a white blonde, you have to leave the bleach on for longer so that it reaches level 10. You probably took it off at level 7 or 8. To get rid of those yellow tones, you want to use a toner after you’ve rinsed out the bleach and washed your hair with shampoo.

Step Three: Apply the Toner

Rinse the bleach from your hair. Use cool to lukewarm water. You don’t want to burn your scalp. Be gentle when washing your hair with shampoo, as your scalp could be sensitive. Make sure you thoroughly wash out the bleach. You don’t want that sh*t chillin’ on your scalp. Now it’s time for a toner. Your hair should be wet/ freshly shampooed for the toner. You can do the toner over the sink. The toner likely needs to be mixed with 10 volume developer. Follow the instructions on the package of toner. Like I said, toners take away unwanted pigments in the hair. Sometime bleach does weird things and leaves your hair with strange tones. You’ll want to use a toner to get a nicer blonde. On rare occasions the bleach application alone will suffice. You can be the judge. The toner will work very quickly. Often you only need to keep it on for 5 minutes or so. Again, to see the colour while it is on your hair, just wipe some of it off of a few strands. Rinse the toner out and then shampoo and condition.

Step Four: Maintenance 

In order for your blonde to stay vibrant and looking good, you should use a purple shampoo once or twice a week. Most purple shampoos are fine, but you want to get one with the purple pigment in it. I don’t love John Frieda’s. The shampoo itself should be a vibrant purple colour. The purple keeps those brassy yellow tones away.

That’s it babies! I’m happy to answer your questions. Blonde on. 

Don’t Be A Pussy: A Lesson in Not Being a Douchebag

I feel okay about using the word “douchebag”. Michael Mark Cohen thinks that douchebag is a prominent white racial slur. I feel that is true. I have no problem calling people douchebags when they deserve it.

On any given night, you can find me scrolling through the comments section on Facebook and more specifically, the comments section on CBC News. The news will tell you their version, but if you want a quick sample of the popular opinion it’s best to scroll down further and see what Jim Roy or Samantha Cairns from Alberta or New Brunswick has to say about it. You’ll notice a lot of right-wingers like to comment. They are probably hired by Harper to stir shit up.  Recently, Shauna Hunt, a Canadian Sports Reporter, was harassed while on the job. A passerby quickly blurted “Fuck her right in the pussy” (FHRITP) while she was on air.

She confronted him and told him that she’s sick of being harassed and that these comments are not funny. I mean, they really aren’t. The FHRITP shouter was later fired from his job. Good on em’ (Hydro One). The comments on that news story were polarized, as predicted. Some people said that firing him was extreme and that this FHRITP shouting tradition is harmless and not aimed at degrading women. I promptly replied to several of those comments simply with the word “No”. No is powerful. I happen to see lots of people using only the word “no” when replying to sexist bullshit on social media. It’s pretty great. It’s like slamming a door in their face and having them yell at it. Goodbye, douchebags.

I hear a lot of people call each other pussies. I hear married fathers with daughters call other men pussies. I am usually most surprised when I hear it from people who know me well. I always imagine myself as this walking poster of someone who isn’t down for sexist shit. Maybe it just slips out? I can understand that to some degree.  I’m all fine to throw the word around when I’m having sexy times, but otherwise it just feels too vulgar for everyday use. BTW I’m perfectly happy for women to call their vaginas “pussies”. Duh.

But when men use the word pussy outside of their bedrooms it really disturbs me. It irks me even more when they aren’t even talking about vaginas.  Like, why are you swearing at me? Or why are you using the word vagina to insult some other guy who can’t lift something or prefers to wear gloves when he handles toxic materials? Isn’t that just good sense? Why are you calling him the name of the thing between my legs? I’m right here. And it can hear you. And even if I wasn’t right here, he still isn’t a vagina. When someone can’t lift a box, or wants to drive safely, or chooses to wear earplugs when you’re using a saw, I can assure you that they are very normal people who are taking necessary precautions and/or simply don’t want to hurt themselves. They are a not a vagina. They are a person. And most of the time they don’t even have vaginas. So stop calling them one. Maybe help them lift the box. Maybe you should also put on a pair of rubber gloves.

And now, for some sound money-making advice, you can listen to this dude. The steps are simple:
1. Stop fucking around
2. Stop being a pussy

Ask Your Tongue What’s Wrong With You

This isn’t a new science or anything. Tongue Diagnosis has long-standing place in Chinese Medicine. Ayurvedic practitioners also use the tongue as a map of the organs. Even your regular good old MD also looks at your tongue sometimes. But I suspect they do it because they want to gag you with popsicle sticks. Especially if you are child, it seems. Nevertheless, tongues are totally gross to me. I try not to think about mine too much. It feels like some slippery alligator that hangs out in my mouth, guiding french fries to my throat. It’s basically a super controlling wet muscular monster that pushes things around. Bossy lil’ guy.  Ugh, and that disgusting thing that holds it in place. The little ball and chain under your tongue. Stop. No.

I’m pretty obsessed with health. Not to the point where I actively do everything I should, but knowing more about what’s going on in my body is really satisfying. Why go to the doctor when I can read forums about everything? Symptoms are so obscure anyway. Google will help me figure out why my tongue feels fat.

I encourage you to take a picture of your tongue or go stare at it in a mirror for a while. What do you notice? Take note of wetness, any coating on the tongue, shape, redness, swelling, bumps, and colour. It’s best to check it out before you brush your teeth in the morning. This will likely give you the best reading. Apparently Spring is the best time to check your tongue, as it is supposed to be the most “normal” during this season (based on how our bodies respond to temperature). Check the above tongue chart. Do you have delicate lungs?

If you have a thick white coating on your tongue, this may be a sign of candida (yeast) overgrowth. It may mean that your gut isn’t performing as well as it would like to and you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria. If you feel this is the case, probiotics are usually helpful and start incorporating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir into your life. Also, brush your tongue reaaaal good.

If your tongue is pale you might need to eat more iron-rich foods. This could be a sign of low haemoglobin in the blood.

If you have teeth indents on your tongue, like I do, you might not be absorbing minerals and vitamins properly. This could send you on a serious health quest. Perhaps you might want to get a few blood tests to find out where you are low. My tongue feels like it is compressed in my mouth– like it’s too big and so my teeth press against it. I am very b12 deficient.

Little red bumps can indicate a hormone imbalance and Qi Deficiency. Qi can be understood as “available energy” in the body. When Qi is deficient or stagnant, it means that our available energy is low, which makes us feel tired and more stressed. Warm and sweet foods are used to restore the Qi– foods like oats, beef, tofu, molasses, sweet potato, lentil, figs, and ham.

If you have a bright red tip you might be very stressed out or dealing with sadness, depression or anxiety or the fun combo of all three! “Um, maybe try yoga?” It could also be an indicator that you’re drinking your coffee when it’s too hot.

Basically, your ideal tongue would look like this. But this picture was probably photoshopped. Who could be sure? That tongue is quite beautiful though. I’d like to eat ice cream with that tongue.

You can read more about your tongue here.

Heaven is a place where you go and it’s for forever

 photo Full-sized-hologram.png

As a child and into my teenage years, I would lie awake in bed and think about God, heaven, life and death. The basics. I would sometimes run through horrible thoughts of my mother dying, and I would cry softly and it was therapeutic somehow. I would then pray to God, half asleep sometimes, mumbling my usual memorized rant which rarely had any variety to its wording. It was a mantra that I said to God so that he could release me from some of my daily stress and worry. I never really questioned this strange relationship with my God until I was a bit older– until I could fully realize that my words with God were purely said out of fear. I was paralyzed, and to some degree still am, by the lack of control I had over my life. Anything terrible could happen at any moment and it could happen so easily and from then on everything would be different. This is how a child comes to terms with the preciousness of life, I guess. Once a woman driving a car, the next she could be a woman flying through the window of that car onto the road. How fucked up is that?

Heaven is a place where you go for forever. My life already seemed to feel like it was three centuries long at the age of 13 and I wasn’t ready to deal with the fact that I might be stuck on some never-ending loop of some weird holographic lifestyle up in the clouds where maybe I couldn’t even enjoy the taste of fruit or cheese anymore because my mouth would be just a shiny image of a mouth. There might not even be things! Or there would be things but I wouldn’t be able to grab them with my hands made of light particles. I would have nightmares of being stuck in this purgatory state– even if it was full of gardens and birds and beautiful things and all of my favourite people– I could not be okay with being there for forever. I would be so tired of being there for forever. When I would then remember the possibility of re-incarnation, I felt relieved (but only for a moment). The cycle would continue. I would imagine my life, my death and the potentially inevitable cycle of being in heaven and then being reborn. Again, and again. How horrifying. Where does one go to rest, in the deepest of ways?

Some years later I stopped caring as much about this devastating theory. It helped that I looked around and realized everyone was on the same unavoidable path as me. Some years later than that, I could see that my grandfather had begun to struggle with the idea of dying. P.S. He is still alive. At first he began to be more careful with himself. He would walk around gingerly, mindful of areas where he could trip and fall. He then began to become very conscious of where my grandma was at all times in the house. He would shout her name at very regular intervals– “Connie? Connie! What are you doing?” He is now at the phase where he jokes about death, but certainly hasn’t come to peace with it. He is praying he dies first, before my grandmother. I get that.

Eternity is often used in threatening ways. For example, “I was at the doctors office for what felt like eternity”. Eternity is actually a pretty pleasant term for many Christians. Eternity for me is a confusing state of hell. Eternity feels like a place where nothing new is possible. I equate eternity with a relapsing memory or a seizure or one of those dream-states where you feel paralyzed.

Anyways, ALL OF THIS TO SAY, heaven terrifies me. Hell equally terrifies me. Forever terrifies me. Life terrifies me. And because life terrifies me, I at least have hope that wherever I will end up, it can’t be any worse than living. Haha! Seriously.
I mean, come on! Life is so dramatic.

Best case scenario, heaven actually relieves me from all of my worries and anxiety and I am free! I don’t even know what that feels like, so I may as well not fear it. It could be divine. It could be better than all of these human pleasures. Make me a hologram, God. Let me float around with effervescence. Let me bubble like fresh kefir.

I bought it so I own it


 Photo cred: Huang Qingjun

Author: Evelyn Taylor 😍

I like your shirt. Do you have a car? Let’s swim in my pool.

Possession is embedded in the way we use our language. It is a pervasive concept that has become difficult to divorce one’s self fromI bought it so I own it is the underlying logic. I remember reading about that logic and how it had been applied to a few other things, people, lands etc. in history, and was left feeling unimpressed and embarrassed for my ancestors. Yet it still surrounds us.

People in North America, and presumably other “developed” nations as well, have a habit of defining themselves by their possessions; owning the latest technology, wearing high-end brands of clothing, living in luxurious houses. Coming from this place geographically, socially, historically, I find myself using objects that I bought, and therefore own, not only to define myself but also to exercise some small measure of power within a system in which I feel powerless. 

I may not have much control of my earning potential, but hot damn do I control the use of my blender!

Unlike so many other things in lifeget to determine the state of cleanliness of that blender, who uses it, for what and when and I get to know that it will always be there when I need it.

Ahhhhh, this fear of not being able to have your needs met, of not being taken care of underlies this need for control. Who knew a blender could unlock such philosophical epiphanies?

When you believe you will not be taken care of, you hoard whatever you think you’ll need because you don’t trust that you’ll have what you need when you need it. Logic that is both very smart and very dumb. Of course, if you are the only being in the world that can supply the things you need to get by then it makes perfect sense to amass things you may need in the future, but it’s just not true – especially if we throw out the idea of ownership.

Once ownership is gone, then we can really get somewhere. Once ownership is gone, then we can see how abundant our world truly is. 

I’m glad to say that potlucks and stuff swaps are common these days, and that the advent of websites like Freecycle and Kijiji are allowing strangers to know what each other are abundant in and to give freely or trade equitably. We are living in an exciting time in history when people are opening their eyes and taking advantage of the wealth that surrounds us. But there’s still a sense of uneasiness when people use objects that we feel belong to us without our consent. Let me tell you a story.

Shortly after a brand new roommate moved in, I left the house one day and saw that my bike was gone. The neighbourhood in which we lived was friendly and community-oriented so I’d never felt the need to lock up my bike. I didn’t need it at that moment but I was still worried it had been stolen. I continued about my day with the thought that if I saw it around town, I’d know it was mine and I could take it back somehow. Later on, as I was sitting on a patio downtown, I saw the new roommate biking past on what I believed to be my bike.

At first I was shocked that they had taken it without my permission, especially without really knowing me at all. What if I had needed it? What if something happened while they were out? Many what ifs. Then I realized that I hadn’t needed it, and when I returned home, it wasn’t long before the bike returned home too. Everything was ok. That was the beginning of my journey to reprogram my thoughts surrounding the ownership of things.

I started letting go of my possessiveness and instead started realizing that whatever the problem, I can find solutions that don’t all necessarily require ownership or buying stuff. There are always other ways to solve problems – always. I started learning that other people generally like to help so long as it’s not asking too much of them, and often times helping leads to fun and bonding experiences. So challenge yourself: what things do you hold too much power over and how can you learn to let go?