The Q in LGBTQ+


The other day, I came across some Youtube videos about asexuality, and it got me thinking... (Video 1, 2, 3) And then I watched Tyler Oakley's most recent video about the events that happened in Orlando... I started wondering what the Q in LGBTQ+ really means, like, I know it stands for queer, but what does "queer" actually mean?

Now, I went to trusty Google with this question, and some of the results that I found confused me. Some websites said it was basically a modern word for gay, lesbian, transgender etc, while others said that it was a word for politics (this is the part that I don't understand). But, after reading multiple websites, Ive come to the conclusion that at least in the acronym LGBTQ+, the Q is basically an umbrella term for everything else, an "other" section.

This "other" section doesn't get talked about very often, does it? The videos mentioned above on asexuality certainly doesn't get much attention. In fact, I've seen many people in Facebook comments, and other comments online saying that it doesn't even exist.

But it does!

Even less talked about is the term "demi-sexual." While I was looking for the definition of "queer" I came across some lists of "common LGBTQ terms" and their definitions (1, 2, 3). Only one of those mention that term.

Okay, so what is demi-sexual? Lemme tell you a thing... For many people, sexual orientation is just one thing; if he's gay, he's just gay, and if she's straight, she's just straight. But really, sexual orientation is a spectrum. It's okay if you feel like you can't be entirely defined by any of the terms that are currently out there, because everyone is different.

I feel like before I explain demi-sexuality, I should probably define asexuality. An asexual person is a person who does not feel sexual attraction towards other people. That is not to say they can't have sex, it's just that they don't want to, and don't feel the need to do it. Like I said before, sexual orientation is a spectrum, so different people can feel asexuality in different degrees. Some may have sex and be impartial to it, and others may never have sex because that's just not for them. A great analogy is presented in this video (the cake analogy is honestly the best thing ever).

Now, enter demi-sexuality, as I'm sure many of you can derive, demi-sexual people are kind of the "in-between" of sexual and asexual people. Demi-sexual: a sexual orientation in which the person will not feel any sort of sexual attraction with another person, unless there is a strong emotional bond, usually in a relationship (I'm sorry it took me so long to get to my main point :s)

For my entire life, I never understood why I didn't feel the same feelings that other people felt. I hated it when people put their arm around me, used me as an arm rest, put their head on my shoulders, gave me long hugs, held hands etc etc. But all the other people felt okay with it.

And even more than that, I didn't understand how friends with benefits worked, like it's mind-boggling to me how someone could have sex with someone else and not be in love with them. That just doesn't make sense to me, the same way it doesn't make sense to a straight person when they think about having sex with someone of their same gender.

For me, there are very few people that can stand very close to me/touch me without making me feel uncomfortable (the same way you'd feel weird if a stranger started invading your private space), and there are even less people in which I would feel comfortable having sex with. I felt very alone, in the world of "omg let's hookup" or "everybody's having sex, let's do it!"

Then, one day, I was scrolling on Tumblr (as you do), and I came across a text post that talked about demi-sexuality. Obviously, I don't have the link to the original post, as this was a long time ago, but as soon as I read it, it was like everything suddenly made sense. There are other people that feel the same way as I do!

Since then, I have been put in several situations in which I felt the need to explain my sexual orientation, and the usual response is just, "what's that?" or "you haven't tried hard enough." Like WTF, I think I know how I feel, thank you very much.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it kinda sucks to feel so alone in this. I don't even know another person who feels the same way I do. And it really doesn't help when the people I do try to explain it to don't even believe me.

I don't think I'm ever going to "come out" and make a Facebook post, or whatever, because that would just be too much explaining, so here I am, writing this post, so that I can link the individuals to it in the future, when I find myself in those situations again. (props to me being so lazy)


If you can relate with me, PLEASE tell me, oh my god, it would be such a relief to be able to actually talk to a real human being that is like me. As always, thanks for reading.
--J

PS. in no way am I trying to say that my life is so hard, so horrible, so difficult, or that I suffer more than anyone else, please don't think that. I know that other people have it much much worse, but I just want to tell a story that doesn't get heard often.


Instagram Diary: Dogwood 52 Challenge

In the beginning of 2016, I started a photography challenge called the Dogwood 52 Challenge. It's basically a year long challenge where you take a photo every week that is inspired by a given prompt. I thought I'd go through some of my past photos and explain a few of them to you guys (so this entire post is basically a huge self-promo session hehe). All of these posts can be found on my Instagram.


The first prompt for 2016 was to begin things off with a selfie. But me being me, I can't take selfies to save my life. However, it was the beginning of the year and I wanted to complete the challenge badly so I settled with a picture that included as little of me as possible.



Week 4's prompt was a headshot. The picture is one of my friend Neesh on a day where he was basically showing me around the UofT St. George campus. In the photo, the lighting is pretty shitty and that's why it looks kinda blurry, but Neesh made it up by being an awesome model :)


Week 8 consisted of the big ol' panorama. Taken on the gloomiest day ever (thanks Canada). It was raining, super windy, and freezing, so I didn't even bother to check if the photo was a good one, or to take more than one. Thank god it turned out okay (or I would have been photoless for a week)


I didn't even know what highkey meant in the photography world before this, lol. This photo was actually taken when I tagged along with my friend during his shoot of the week. While we were walking home, we came across my old elementary school. Feeling very nostalgic, I asked to stop by and take pics. Trying to get even more of a schoolgirl vibe, I posed on the bench in the typical picture day pose— knees together and hands in lap.



This photo was taken after my first trip to downtown Toronto alone for the sole purpose of wandering around. I was hoping to get a picture of Chinatown (as I haven't been there very many times). I went in not knowing what to expect, and came out with lots of photos and bubble tea.

There are some other pictures that I took that day and didn't use for Dogwood:

2 bananas in one! How cool!!

Pastel houses are the best.



This picture was taken on a night when I went to visit my old cadet squadron, and is my first attempt at a light trail type of photo. It was taken over a highway, but sadly there weren't as many cars as I hoped there would be.


 This was taken just a few days ago on a yacht called Obsession III at a dinner party that was hosted by my dad's work place for their 25th anniversary. The boat toured the GTA waters and I got to see this beautiful skyline in the day and night.

There are some other pictures:




I'm just gonna hope at least one of you found this interesting LOL, thanks for reading,
--J

8 Shows You HAVE TO See

Gosh, sometimes it astonishes me how much great content there is in this world. And, I, like most other people, love snuggling up in bed to watch a good TV show, so I thought I'd share some of the ones I like the most with you :)

1. Sherlock


To me, Sherlock isn't really a TV show but more more of a series of movies, as every episode is 1.5h long. I love Benedict Cumberbatch in this show, I love how he can string together long lines at an amazing speed and not mess up. I also love Sherlock's relationship with his partner-in-crime, John Watson. BBC does a very accurate modern interpretation of Conan Doyle's books. If you haven't seen the series, you must.

Avatar


By Avatar, I'm talking about both The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. The first thing that I really noticed with these two shows is the different art styles. Legend of Korra seems to have a very comic book art style, while Last Airbender looks more like an anime. 

Even though these two shows are meant for children, it still has a very gripping storyline, one that I would say is better than some of the adult TV shows I've seen. While I was watching these series, I found myself wishing that magic like this existed, that I, too, could be a bender. It's the perfect mixture of serious action and comic relief. If you want to watch this show (which you really should), I recommend clearing up your schedule, because you will not be able to stop at just one episode.

Scandal


Yes, yes, I know this is not the most recent show, but I started about a week ago and I must say, I'm hooked. I'm not even done the series yet, and I already know that it's one of my favourites. I love how many powerful, smart, and cunning women there are in this series, I love how the main character is a strong independent black woman. This show has a way of conveniently leaving out crucial information that the plot needs and ends every single episode on a cliffhanger, which only makes me want to see the next episode even more, and thus the reason to my binge-watching behaviour for the past week.

As a person who is a sucker for corny endings, the love triangle I found myself in was perfect to keep my eyes peeled to the screen. I can't properly review this one, as I haven't finished it, but there is something truly amazing about this show, and if you were to watch even one episode, I think you'd see what I mean.

Gossip Girl


Another oldie, but another goodie. The story starts when the super rich and super popular Serena Van Der Woodsen arrives back in the Upper East Side of NYC. There, we meet her best friend, Blair Waldorf. Blair, who is by far my favourite character is so sassy and cunning; her remarks make my entire life.

As we watch, we get entangled in the drama of the Upper East Side, watching as an anonymous blogger, Gossip Girl, leaks everyone's secrets. If, like me, you've dreamed about living lavishly, with more money in your bank that you could imagine, this show is for you. Side note: this show contains one of my favourite ships everrr XD

The Vampire Diaries


Don't judge till you've seen it, okay? I know the vampire fad died out a long time ago, after Twilight, but, this show is nothing like the die-hard romance you find in many other vampire series. Even though this show is mainly following Elena Gilbert and her love interests, it's so much more than that. Through The Vampire Diaries, a whole new world is created, a world whose history seems to all surround in Mystic Falls. While I ship Blair and Chuck so hard, they have nothing on Delena. Delena forever!!

InuYasha


I have no shame in admitting that I am in love with this children's series. Honestly, I don't even understand how this was meant for children, the storyline is so bloody and gruesome sometimes that I would rate it PG 13 at least. If you're going to watch this, I recommend watching it in Japanese with subtitles. That way you can really see the exact words of each character and their intended tone.

From the beginning, you can tell Kagome and InuYasha were destined to be with each other, but, for 99.9% of the story, they remain only friends, and I love that about the story. There love for each other is completely emotional and not tinted by physical attractiveness at all and that hits me right in the feels. Not ashamed to say that they're my OTP <3 <3 (insert crazy fangirl noises here)

Suits


Canadians represent!!!! I feel so proud of the fact that I can recognize some of the sets in Suits because it was shot in Toronto, even though the story itself takes place in New York. Suits is about an illegitimate lawyer who is a super-genious-mastermind and the lawyer that hired him. As their relationship grows, and drama surfaces, we learn that they would go to any lengths possible for the people they love, especially each other. This is another binge watching worthy show, so set aside a lot of time for this one, folks!

Once Upon A Time


Why don't I hear people talking about this more often!?!? This show is golden! I can't be the only one who still loves a good fairytale... This show starts when Emma is taken to Storybrooke by Henry, a son she had and gave up for adoption. Henry tries to convince Emma that she is the daughter of Snow White and that all the fairytale characters were stuck without their happy endings. Emma is the Saviour, she is the one that will bring back all the happy endings. But, being the normal, sane adult Emma is, she doesn't believe Henry. 

This show is so friggen good. Unlike Disney, where everything is super duper happy and everyone is fine and dandy, Once Upon A Time tells these fairytales in such a real and heart-wrenching way. The producers almost make you believe that this could have indeed happened, in a far away land, in another reality. This show is the perfect mix of magic and the real world. If you really like princesses, and fairies, magic, and adventure, this show is the one for you!

---
Yeah, when I started to write this post, I didn't realize it would end up just being a massive fangirl session for me. So, sorry if I don't make sense at some points; it's only because I am so so so excited and passionate about these shows. They honestly are the best ever. 

If you have any shows that you think should have made this list, please comment below, because binge watching shows is one of my all time favourite activities ;)

--J

Massive Book Review!

After school was over, I decided it was time to get back to book reading. As a child, I absolutely LOVED reading, but slowly, as I got more and more homework and other stuff, I stopped. But its long overdue that I start again.

So I went to the library and signed some (a lot) of books out and I thought I'd share them with you. Going from left to right is a short review for each book.


Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

Garden Spells is about a woman named Claire Waverley who loves structure and things that stay. Throughout the book, she finds that the best things are found in things (or people) that don't have definite structures, and things that might not last forever. You find out why she's so terrified of uncertainty as old faces come back into Claire's life, and new ones appear. This book of magic realism is one where people find where they belong.

I've only read 2 of Sarah Addison Allen's books thus far but I love how she incorporates magic into normal daily life and how all the main characters are in at least their late 20s and still trying to figure out who they are. It really reminds you that you don't need to have your whole life planned out before you finish high school.

Rating: 4/5

The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen

This book made me cry! I was reading this one late at night, and parts of it really made me feel the feels. Josey is 27 and lives a life where she is constantly trying to right her wrongs from childhood. As a result of this, she doesn't really have a social life. She learns the importance of forgiving herself, and in doing so, she creates a life that she wants and finds meaning in the word "happiness." 

I love how Allen makes you get attached to all the characters, not just the main one and how all their different storylines mix to make one. Again, like Garden Spells, magic is incorporated smoothly into daily life.

Rating: 4.5/5

A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

Gemma has immense power that most would not be able to even imagine. On her 16th birthday, Gemma suffers the loss of her mother, a death that she was able to witness in a vision. She is then sent to the Spence Academy to learn to become a proper lady of the 19th century. There, she finds out more about her mother, and learns about the responsibility and power that sits on her shoulders. This book is part of a trilogy (I am currently reading the other two books, reviews coming up!)

Rating: 3.5/5


The List of my Desires - Grégoire Delacourt 

Jocelyne lives an ordinary middle-aged life, wishing for something better. Suddenly, she is given the choice to change everything, to go from ordinary to extraordinary. Sadly, she spends too long debating what it is that she wants, and the choice is taken out of her hands in the most startling way.

For me, what really resonated with me is that sometimes, if you are given a chance to change something you don't like, you should just go for it, carpe diem! Jocelyne spent too much time thinking, and lost hers.

Rating: 3/5

Every  day - David Levithan

Imagine waking up to a new body and life everyday, but loving the same girl. This is the life that was given to A. Is it possible to sustain a relationship with such bizarre circumstances? This book explores topics of gender, sexuality, and the importance of outwardly features. As A dabbles with his affection for this girl, A learns what it means to truly love someone.

It was a really interesting concept, and I appreciate that the ending was as realistic as it could be (even though I am a total sucker for over-the-top corny endings hehe)

Rating: 4/5

The Five People you Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom

This book is an interesting approach to what happens after life, the 5 people you meet are people that wil help you understand your life. Eddie is a war veteran and maintenance guy at an amusement park; it was just another normal day— until he dies. The 5 people he meets help him realize that his life wasn't a waste like he thought it was and helped him understand why things happened the way they did.

Rating: 3.5/5

Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

This diary is a peek into a 30-ish year old woman struggling with obnoxious people asking about her non-existant love life. Along with that, we also take a look at her perception of her body, smoking habits, and alcohol consumption.  We get to read a time-accurate break down of her life from January to December, trying to find love before it's too late. 

I'd just like to mention that I found it extremely weird that sometimes she would have like 54 cigarettes a day (like how!?!?!), also I found it a bit annoying that Bridget wrote in a very brief way and sometimes did not use proper grammar.

Rating: 3/5

Faerie Wars - Herbie Brennan

The storyline of Faerie Wars takes place in two different worlds, ours, and the Faerie world. It's a story of a rebel prince, Pyrgus who is in danger. He finds himself lost outside of his world, and in ours, and meets a boy named Henry. They, along with other allies, work together to find out who is coming after the prince and his family. Pyrgus learns what it means to be a prince, as he avoids death time and time again, and finally steps into his responsibilities.

This book had quite a slow start for a few chapters, but once it picks up, oh man, does it really pick up. I could not put it down! It is the first book in a series by Brennan, so again, I will be reading the rest of this series and maybe doing a full series review.

Rating: 4.7/5


This One Summer - Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

I don't usually read graphic novels, but when I do, I apparently pick very good ones haha. Perhaps one of the things I love most about this graphic novel is how Canadian it is. Written and illustrated by Canadians, there are little references to Canada everywhere (eg. Tim Hortons, UofT, Niagara falls etc.) Seriously, if you're Canadian, I would say read this just to see if you can find all the references! 

Patriotism for my country aside, the art completely blew me away. I am in love with the art style, how everything looks to be a cross of watercolour and charcoal, and how the ink is an off black-ish purple, the font, and how detailed everything is.

The story follows one family on their vacation to Awago Beach. For as long as Rose could remember, they always came to Awago Beach and has many great memories there. This summer, however, is different. Her parents are fighting, and she gets in a mess of her own. This story is a great one of transitioning from childhood to teen-hood. 

Rating: 4/5

China Rich Girlfriend - Kevin Kwan

This isn't in the picture, but I also signed it out (I returned it before I took the picture, sorry!!) But here's a picture from the web:

China Rich Girlfriend is a sequel to Crazy Rich Asians. In this book, we have a detailed description of the lives of people so rich, you'd get a headache just trying to fathom how much money they have. A hilarious read about scandals and problems you'll never have, but somehow, Kwan still makes the characters so darn relatable.

Rating: 4/5 (I'd rate Crazy Rich Asians 4.7/5 though, I remember it being amazing)

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I have a plan to read as many books as I possibly can before school starts up again, so expect many many more to come! If you have any book suggestions, please leave them down below, I would love to hear what you've been reading, or what books you love. 

As always, thanks for reading,
--J



Exploring my City || Art Gallery of Ontario

A week ago, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario (or AGO for short). Even though I wasn't there for very long, I managed to snap some pics. I hope this post inspires you to go out more often and see what you can find in your city :)

By the way, this trip to the AGO was free. Often, museums or galleries will have certain days/times of the week where there people can have free entry (sometimes this is limited to students only, though). So, before you plan any trips, check to see if you can get in for free! haha

This is what you see as soon as you enter. The architecture in this building is AMAZING!


One point perspective. Although, it is better to see things from more than one perspective irl


The epitome of art. Red Square with lines and an off-centered circle.
A lot of deep thinking to be done on this painting.



Till next time!
--J



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