Hacking – Are We Asking For It?

By Laura Bzowy

 

Hanging up the phone is not the answer

Hanging up the phone is not the answer

In this era of social networks and over-sharing, on any given day, I know what my friends are reading, watching, shopping, thinking, feeling, and wanting. Is it any wonder that people are getting hacked and that their most intimate thoughts are being published for all the world to see. The answer is no, it isn’t surprising. But it doesn’t make it right. When the latest celebrity hacking came to light last week, I was one of the many people who felt that if celebs didn’t want their private photos to be leaked, then they shouldn’t be taking them in the first place. But a wise friend prompted me to explore the situation further, and see that this situation in not as black and white as I originally thought, but that there are many shades of grey. Maybe as many as fifty.

Have you ever been the victim of a rumour or gossip? Some mean girl in the 10th grade likes your boyfriend, and spreads a lie about the kind of girl you are. An hour later the entire school is talking about your reputation. Life as you know it has changed forever. I don’t know about you, but I would have an extremely hard time trusting anyone. In fact, something like that might stop me from ever letting someone get too close. Your life for the next couple of years has changed. You may not have done anything to cause this to happen, except date a boy that someone else was lusting over – and now you are going to pay.

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World Suicide Prevention Day

By Laura Bzowy

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September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This day exists to raise awareness and to eliminate the stigma that surrounds suicide. I want to talk about the importance of this day a bit early, because 1) its a most important conversation to have, and 2) I have a personal connection to this cause this year.

Last night I lost a friend to suicide. A man that I liked a great deal. He was smart, and fun, and told wickedly funny stories. He was good. He had a family, and had family problems. He was struggling. I wish I had known that. I should have slowed down, and looked about me -and  realized that he needed help. But I didn’t see it. And he didn’t ask. And now its too late. Had I known how bad things were for him, I would have told him that I adored him. That he was loved and valued. That he brought a smile to my face every time we talked. I would have held his hand and looked into his eyes and asked  him how he was really doing. I would have hugged him. I would have listened.  And I would not have allowed him to be alone. And all of this is too late.  His friends (me included) let him down. My world will never be the same. And the sorrow and regret that has come with this man’s death is almost more than I can bear.

And so I urge everyone to talk about how you are feeling, let people know what is going on with you. If you are having dark thoughts, please share them. Talk to your doctor, or your friends, anyone who will listen, or a help line (1-800-273-TALK). Please, I urge you. And trust me when I say, there is someone out there that will miss you. You are adored.

And I encourage everyone to regularly tell the important people in your life just how important they are. That you love them, and that things are going to get better (if they need to hear that). Don’t assume that they know.Because there is a good chance that they don’t know.

Just remember -You Are Loved.

 

 

**Photo Source- Flickr – MGN

 



Yoga: If It’s Good Enough For the A-Listers

By Laura Bzowy

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Let me tell you something about me, in about 8 days time, my life is about to explode and I will become an over-scheduled, sometimes cranky, workaholic for the next 10 months. Along with my regular 40 hour a week full time job, I also have a part time teaching practice (that is just a few hours shy of full time). Add in a bit of volunteer work, I will be working 75+ hours a week. Now don’t get me wrong. I am at my best when I am busy. I am more creative, I feel smarter, and I smile a lot more. But one thing I am not is present. Which is why I am making a commitment to yoga. Here is where I take a moment to shout out to Alicia’s blog – Your Body, Your Mind, because this is what has pushed me over the edge to make the decision to try out this lifestyle. Through her writings, Alicia has convinced me to do something more.

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Celebrities are Humans Too

By Laura Bzowy
Robots are perfect, humans not so much

Robots are perfect, humans not so much

I have been spending the afternoon glancing at celebrity gossip sites, and reading the many comments those kinds of sites bring. And I have to ask, have we forgotten that celebrities are human too?

As members of the human race, we are allowed to make mistakes. Even entitled to make mistakes. This is what helps us grow. Wrong choices bring experience to our lives, and eventually we learn from these mistakes.

So why is it that celebrities are not allowed the same graces? Why do we expect them to be perfect. Sure they have public relations people, and hair and makeup teams, stylists, personal trainers, and therapists on speed dial. But they are not robots. They have problems just like the rest of us. So when they do screw up (and we all do) why is it to be such a big deal?

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Laughter in the Face of Mental Illness

By Laura Bzowy

5783575155_33f7a63b8b_m-3This weekend, I had the opportunity to see the comedy/spoken word one man show Fruitcake: Ten Commandments of the Psych Ward, by Rob Gee. It was a wonderful production. The performance was witty, energetic, engaging, and wickedly funny. This show was about the lessons Rob has learned from his time of working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital (with the help of the voice of God, who happens to be a Jamaican woman). It’s not easy to laugh in the face of mental illness, especially when the play revolves around the stories of his patients.

At the beginning of the play, you are introduced to Rob, the voice of God that he hears in his head, some of his coworkers and the residents of the hospital. Because of the delicate nature of the subject, the audience doesn’t exactly know how to react at first. We aren’t sure if we should be laughing -and so our response is tentative at best.

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It’s Gonna Get Better -It’s Just Gotta

By Laura Bzowy

6115510699_504f843a3e_m-2Depression has been a big topic in the news lately.  And I won’t lie to you, depression is hard, really hard. The isolation, the silence, and the noise, and on and on and on. Depression is a quite contradictory, have you noticed that?  And when you are in the throes of it, it feels like it will last forever. But it doesn’t. It tricks you into thinking that it lasts for an eternity, but it always goes away. And we get a reprieve of some sort.

Reading is a big help to me when I’m depressed, it takes me out of the moment and into another world, which is partly why I think of writers as A list celebrities. In matters such as these, I tend to accept wisdom from people who know themselves, and I find that people who spend endless hours alone know themselves better than people who surround themselves with an entourage.  

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What Robin Williams Taught Me

By Laura Bzowy

13790125_bc563eef20_mLike the rest of the world, I have been grieving the loss of Robin Williams. I have had a hard time talking about his death. And now that there has been a week to distance ourselves from the news, words are starting to come a bit easier. There has been a lot of talk about his dealing with mental illness, and now the parkinson’s disease revelation, and how that had affected his mental state and general well-being. Everyone I know has had a very definite opinion about this tragic event. Some are understanding, some are still in disbelief, while others are extremely angry. But me, I’ve just felt kind of lost. I wasn’t terribly surprised, and I don’t really know why. I certainly didn’t expect this to happen, but I can’t say that I was shocked to hear about it. But I will say that his suicide has hit me very hard.

I’d like to share my story, not because its special, or magical, or entertaining. I want to share it, because I think it might be common. I think others might feel the same way, and I think it needs to be said.

I believe that I have been so troubled by this news because somewhere along the way I formed a personal relationship to him. I have never met Robin Williams, but I grew up in a dysfunctional household, and he brought giggles and smiles to a kid who desperately needed them. There wasn’t a lot of laughter in my house when I was growing up, but my father found Robin Williams to be hilarious. Life was always better when my father laughed. And so for that alone, Robin Williams was cherished.  But there was something more. Something that reached a little farther than making my father happy.

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Privacy Is Needed For Grieving Families

By Laura Bzowy

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For most of us, when a family member dies we are granted the gift of grieving in private. Our closest friends may call and send flowers and notes of sympathy, but for the most part we are given some time to say good-bye to our loved one in peace. But for the family of a celebrity, this is not the case.

This week, we lost a beloved and gifted actor/comedian. His fans (I am among them) have been trying to make sense of this tragedy. But we are not alone. Robin Williams’ family, those who knew him best lost someone greater than a comedian. They lost a husband, a best friend, a father, a confidant, and many other roles that he filled. This family deserves to mourn in solitude. The last thing that this family needs are internet trolls, and people hurling abuse at them. This family has already been dealt a difficult hand, why are there people out there trying to make them feel worse?

According to Slate, Zelda Williams (the daughter of Robin Williams) has deleted her social media accounts, because of people sending her “cruel and unnecessary” photoshopped images of her father’s body, and harassing her, because she didn’t have enough photos of her father on her instagram feed. She is 25 years old. How many people at the age of 25 have instagram photos of their parents?  

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RIP Robin Williams

By Laura Bzowy

 

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It is being reported by several reputable news sources that Robin Williams passed away this morning, at the age of 63, from an apparent suicide by asphyxiation.

He was best known for films such as Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, and TV’s incomparable Mork from Mork and Mindy.

His publicist says that he had been battling severe depression as of late, and had recently been seeking treatment for drug abuse.

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The Best Friend Problem

By Laura Bzowy

4358801736_e572df9be1_mBest friends are sacred. They are to be treasured. They are our playmates when we are children, partners in crime when we are adolescents, and our confidants when we reach adulthood. They are our mirrors, they give us our true reflections. We are so protective of these relationships, and for good reason, we need them so we can become our best possible selves. They are there to listen to us talk about the worst date ever, they will stay up all night with us because we are lonely and can’t sleep, they hold your hand through the mess that is your life, and when you get the courage to make a fresh start they don’t let go during the scary times. and most importantly they help you bury the bodies.

But sometimes, for reasons you can’t comprehend, there is a change in your BFF status. It becomes harder to get together, or make time for regular calls, they get married and have children, and next thing you know, you have lost the most important relationship in your life. And it’s heartbreaking. It’s worse than breaking up with your boyfriend. For me, its equal to the death of the beloved family pet. Why? Because this person was the best part of you. He/She was integral in shaping your personality. You were smarter, wittier, happier, and way more fun when they were around. It’s painful when you lose them. And when you are the one responsible for the change, the guilt can become unbearable.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog post. My imaginary husband, also known as Malcolm Gladwell, told his story of how he ruined his relationship with his very bestest friend. While its a completely heartbreaking story, enough time has gone by that he can see the humour in it. Still there is a lot of pain, but he tells it very well.

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