lucky;

“hesitant to say lucky

because it took pure hard work to get here,”

 

but you were born in a country

where war was only what John Lennon faced,

and your culture was validated

and your dreams could be chased,

and you were given the opportunity

to not be erased.

 

and you battled your hardships,

and it wasn’t perfect

but people around you

told you you were worth it.

 

                   you were strong.

 

and you did wake up

and you did brush your teeth

and you went to school

and went back to sleep

 

and this isn’t me saying

that you didn’t work hard,

that you aren’t worth the fame

or that you haven’t come far,

 

but let’s be honest.

 

a child like you

in a world like yours.

 

luck has a lot to do with it.

• • •

We recognize that life is a difficult journey to navigate, but we pledge to recognize that we are privileged and lucky to have a voice, to have access to an education, and to have our survival needs met. We recognize that we, as immigrants, have collectively wronged Indigenous peoples in the past, and we pledge to respect them and their land as much as we know how to. Finally, join us in pledging that we will use our privilege to do something good, whether that is standing up for what we know is right, making somebody else smile, working to become our best selves, or something else.

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, there was a world full of beautiful, vibrant, incredible life. Among the billions of inhabitants on the Earth, there were a few that stood out. Each creature possessed a unique set of characteristics, yet was bound to the others by a thread stronger than any other: stories. These creatures were obsessed with those who came before them. They used storytelling as a way of passing down who they were to those that would come after them. The creatures created thousands of systems called languages, in order to better communicate with one another, and they recorded much of what they had been told by their ancestors. They used their imaginations to fabricate entire worlds, which they controlled with the sound of their voice, the stroke of their pens, the movement of their bodies, or the tap of their fingers. Yet at the same time that all of this creation was occurring, the creatures also ravaged their lands, and treated themselves and each other terribly. Soon, the balance tipped, and their world was plunged into chaos. The creatures had destroyed so much of their home for the temporary benefit of their own personal stories, and had forgotten that the best story of all was the story of their own world. It was too late when they finally remembered just how wonderful their story had once been, and they were crushed by the thought that they could have once kept it that way.

Stories make us. We are the stories of those who came before us, and those who surround us. Stories tell us who we are, where we came from, and why we’re here.

Stories take us. We are enthralled by classic tales, and intrigued by contemporary narratives. We go to such lengths just to uncover our own stories, and to share them with others.

Stories break us. There is a drawback to our ability to empathise, and to connect with stories in such a fundamental way, and it is just that … The day that our story ends, we will be broken by the realisation that we could have changed it for the better.

However, it is not too late. If you believe that this is the story of our world, and our people, think again.

This is the story that could be, not the story that should be, or will be. Those in the tale above forgot that, being the innovative, imaginative, storytelling creatures they were, that they had control over their own story. We will not make the same mistake. If we are bound to each other by the threads of stories, then we are also bound to the world with the same. We have the power to write our own story.

Once upon a time, there was a world full of beautiful, vibrant, incredible life. Among the billions of inhabitants on the Earth, there were a few that stood out. Each creature possessed a unique set of characteristics, yet was bound to the others by a thread stronger than any other: stories. They used this commonality for their world’s collective benefit, filling it with beauty, ingenuity, and creativity, wherever they went.

• • •

We need a mindset shift. If we have the power to change our personal stories for the better, then we have the power to change our collective story. What's missing is our belief in ourselves, and our united mentality. Join us in changing that. Join us, change your world, and change our world. 

Our Own

we took this land

and made it our own.

 

and i get it.

the food is great,

the water feels nice,

the plastic is there

and we don’t see the ice,

 

but it is melting.

and the fires are roaring,

and the typhoons are terrorizing

and the floods

drown us.

 

they drown our hard work,

and the typhoons take our creativity,

and the fires burn the manifestations

of what we have to offer.

 

we may have something left

after we use it all up

and we may not,

but for right now,

this is our home.

 

there is mold growing in our cupboards

and our sink is cracked.

the windows are shattered,

and we cannot bring them back.

 

our pride will not fix the messes we have made.

 

we took this land

and made it our own,

alright.

• • •

We understand that the value of taking care of our planet has been undermined when compared to economic prosperity, but we pledge to love and cherish our planet as much as we can. We pledge to remain aware of the harsh realities of how our planet is doing and the trend it continues to follow, and to encourage others to do the same.

promising;

promising;

sometimes i question politics.

i mean, it’s hard to comprehend something so invaded by ‘big biz’ and ‘quick fix’,

that turns itself inside out promising, and promising, and promising

‘we’re the best pick’.

apparently not, because it’s been a year, or two, or three, or four

of only reassurance given to those who have real needs.

young people are sick of being pushed aside, of being told that our future is

so promising, so promising, so promising,

but that we still have to be patient, and just wait.

can’t you see that if we wait, our fate is sealed?

we’re suffocating in exhaust, crying tears of oil,

all because change just takes too much toil.

we try to find a place to live,

while it takes your whole term to gain perspective.

the reality is, our time on Earth is running out, and

your time in power is almost up.

still, when we ask for radical change, often the sole response we get is

‘come on, just grow up’.

yet, we persevere.

i am growing up, and learning to see

that cynicism doesn’t help our situation, much less help us agree.

it would be far better to put our potential to the test,

dream up a system much less flawed than the rest.

we want something that will give other options than driving,

than drilling, than killing, so we can start thriving.

we know that we’re promising,

we sure know that you’re promising,

whether or not you’ll keep those promises, we’re not sure,

but our promise will ensure that we will endure.

• • •

We would like to pledge that we will always concentrate our efforts on hope rather than cynicism. On the other hand, we're not sure if that would be possible. Our world has a lot of problems, and the fact that those with power often do not keep their promises to fix them is disheartening, to say the least. At the end of the day, though, we're reminded of the beauty that exists for us to save, in nature, in others, in small moments ... and it's enough to pledge to protect those. 

Your Problems Are Valid

Disclaimer: This article is written with a very privileged point of view, as most of our pieces are. Please keep in mind that we would never intend to discredit the experiences of minorities, and this is simply one perspective on a multifaceted issue.

Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take a survey in school that was presented by UBC. The survey addressed many aspects of the life of a student, from school life, to home life, to wellness in general. It took about 30-40 minutes to complete, and I personally took my time answering each question thoughtfully. The survey, however, made me think about my privilege, my role in the world, and how valid my problems truly are.

The questions were interestingly black and white. Do you have a mental disorder, or not? Have you attempted suicide, or not? Have you tried marijuana, or not? Fill in the bubbles with the mental disorders you have.  Fill in the bubbles with the drugs you have tried. Fill in the bubbles with the privileges you have. Oh, and some children in Vancouver go to sleep hungry at night, because their families cannot afford dinner. Has this happened to you?

Reading these questions and answering them to the best of my abilities was a thought-provoking experience. Firstly, I definitely recognized how privileged I was to be able to afford basic living necessities and to feel safe most of the time. I understand that many children around Vancouver do not have this luxury, and I do my best to use my privilege to help those who aren’t as lucky as I am. After the questions surrounding privileges, however, I found myself saying that I didn’t have issues that I actually do, particularly about mental health, but in other categories as well. Every single time I do struggle with my mental health, I tell myself that I am making myself feel this way, it is my fault, and that I am doing it for attention. I struggled to answer questions about my mental health on the survey, because in that moment, I felt that it was not fair for me to say that I struggle in certain aspects of my life due to my privilege. I allowed for my awareness of my privilege to invalidate my experiences, and felt the need to say that I do not struggle with anything “serious” enough to be accounted for in a survey. Perhaps because I am constantly told to recognize my privilege in a somewhat demeaning manner, it has come to a point where when people say, “others have it worse,” it becomes synonymous with, “your problems are not valid”.

Rich people problems are still problems. White people problems are still problems. Male problems are still problems. Although I am not rich, white, or male, I know for a fact that I am certainly a privileged individual. Yes, people who are not blessed with privilege live difficult lives that have been systematically deprived: this needs to be recognized, understood, and the alleviation of this reality should always be supported. My statements in no way, shape or form diminish the struggles that minorities and others live with. However, this does not invalidate the problems of people who lead privileged lives, and still struggle. Life is hard, and for everyone, it is difficult in different ways. It is not right to underestimate the issues that privileged groups face, in order to validate the problems that minorities and underprivileged people face. Not only does it create yet another divide in our world, but it becomes unhealthy, and leads to the resentment of one another and the development of hatred. Recognize your privilege, but do not invalidate your struggles or anybody else’s; we all have them, and that is okay.

Your problems are valid.

• • •

As this piece was about the validation of other people's struggles, we would like to pledge to always use our privilege to act as allies for minorities who need to be heard. Furthermore, we acknowledge that issues such as mental illness and addiction are widespread, and we will work to diminish the stigma and detrimental behaviour that only exacerbates these issues. We would like to acknowledge and send love to the children that were killed in Afghanistan this week after a bomb was dropped by the U.S., and are praying for those in Syria who may be affected by the threat of military strike.