It’s that time of year that I do my best just to make it to spring. Are you with me? I can handle November to January, as long as it’s been gentle. Every year it seems winter is waiting longer and longer to unleash its wrath. The last few weeks have been brutal in Toronto; all over Canada really. So I thought for the next few blogs I would focus on finding some Zen. I found some Zen on the Danforth the other day. There’s an amazing shop along the Danforth strip called Gifts from the Earth. There are two locations in the city actually. The other is on Queen Street. I’ll supply geographical info at the end. Basically the shop is literally a small gallery of dinosaur bones, semi precious stones, precious stones, and crystals of all sizes. This shop is not really like most shops in this category. Their items are significant sizes and collections. They have fossils. The fossils are incredible. To think of the age from which they came is mind expanding. In our modern world of text and internet and work stress and on and on, it’s so easy to forget this whole thing is bigger than the sum of its parts. We think so small and we think we own the time. As I perused the displays and took in the scents from the incense bar, you really just have to let your stress melt away. New Age music plays quietly in the back ground and there’s an energy in the atmosphere that is really hard to articulate. Intimidating in age and yet welcoming in spiritual and geographical relevance. The earth literally gives an abundance of riches to heal, feed, calm, educate, mystify, and protect us. We just have to take a moment to slow down and allow it to speak to us. Wow, I’m sounding like an old hippy. It’s worth more than one visit. I got myself a beautiful crystal and some incense. I’ll be back soon. Maybe I’ll see you there and we can get ourselves some Zen together.
I guess I could write about the fact that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I could talk about the groundhog; he didn’t see his shadow I understand. I could even talk about Trump. I’m not going to though. I’ve got something I need to get off my chest. Disabilities and chronic illness in the workplace. This issue affects me personally. This article isn’t going to be a crucifixion to those who have affected my own personal recovery in a very negative way, but to look at why and what we can do to make it better. It needs to get better. We need to all start from that spot. I’m going to focus on my own situation. I am one of a million people who suffer from mental illness, more specifically chronic anxiety, panic attacks, and chronic depression. For those of you who read my blog weekly you may think, “I don’t see it”. Bruce’s articles are funny, ridiculous, charming, cheeky, etc, etc. The same thing happens in my day job. People don’t seem to understand that just because a person can put on a brave face and fake it until you make it doesn’t mean all is well in the mind. Everyone experiences pain, stress, and anxiety but mental illness and chronic conditions are not the same thing. I’m not going to try and explain the why’s and how’s. You can research that yourself but trust me for the sake of this article that my statement has been proven over and over again. I went on a stress leave from work several months back and on my return last summer I spent hours speaking with professionals in my company, doctors and therapists, on how to manage work stress and my own ongoing wellness. I suppose if I had to rate this back to work experience I would have to give it a 4 or 5 out of ten. In saying that I may be headed for another sick leave depending on my doctor’s advice this coming Tuesday. I don’t want to have to take this direction. I love my job. I love my team. The sad thing is I’ve been getting all the therapy and education on my illness I can, but for the most part many companies are dangerously behind when it comes to working and supporting those employees that suffer and survive this challenge. The time for change is now. How many more good and talented people must leave careers, take sick leaves, commit self harming acts on themselves because the heads of companies turn a blind eye to the ignorant leaders in their companies. Why do the afflicted have to work harder and harder but the leaders can behave in any manner they wish towards these employees? Would it be appropriate for a manager with an employee that has a broken ankle to kick that employee in the afflicted area? I’m being sarcastic here but it’s no different for chronic mental conditions. Best practices must be put in place and actually adhered to so an employee can effectively do their job and also continue to heal. I’ve been in retail management for over 20 years and I can say with certain life experiences that companies fail miserably when it comes to education and awareness of mental illness. My hats off to those I know who are working hard to change this serious problem. I have been an unexpected participant as teacher to educate people within my professional world and as much as I’m proud to speak up and try to help people understand, I’m the one with the condition and it’s exhausting beyond belief. I just want to be the best I can be. I want to build positive work relationships. I want to reach new hightail in my industry but I can’t get there if those in leadership roles above me continue to intentionally or unintentionally kick me in my broken ankle. We must hold our leaders and companies accountable for their ignorance. We are getting the help and guidance we need to cope in our professional positions but we can’t do it alone. I’m calling out to the corporate world! You want to continue to be successful and to be relevant? Then understand how you can be the inclusive place you claim to be. Lift those who work for you. Educate your teams to be tolerant and knowledgeable about these issues. Change your conversations behind closed doors. Change the stigma on mental illness. I remain hopeful but I’m worried about us. We the panic ridden, depressed, anxious, PTSD, bipolar, etc. I’m not convinced our leaders are doing their best. I find it incredibly daunting that empathy, communication, and understanding are such a difficult value to implement. If you need help I’d be honoured to point you in the right direction. You can find me on Instagram @bruceinthecity. You are never alone so keep reaching out. Keep fighting and keep the faith.
Ok this months Beard is most inspiring. His name is Wilson and he has a very big following on Instagram. This fellow should seriously be on the big screen or even the small screen for that matter. I’m thinking Vikings! I’m thinking Game of Thrones! I admit I got a big beard crush on this one and not just because he’s crazy sexy and perfect in every physical way but from the look of his Instagram account he is an amazing family man. He also does a great job at promoting different beard products etc. Ladies this ones just deliscious! Follow him today @wilsonlimabeard on Instagram!
I thought it would be fitting to explore a book that reminds us of importance of science. In a time when some world leaders are grossly irresponsible when it comes to the importance of science. This wonderfully written Work explores four remarkable friends who transformed science and shaped our modern world.
The Trans Military ban in the United States has been getting some attention of late, as it should being a message of hate propaganda against a minority group of people. Some of my readers may think, why speak out now against this particular hate message? Well to be fair it hits the closest to home, but in all honesty bigotry in all its forms in 2019 is complete bullshit. You would think as a civilization and after all the torture and hatred we have inflicted on each other we would finally wake the hell up and act like the evolved beings we like to pretend we are. I don’t understand why there is always some asshole trying to impose his or her control over someone else. Take this Trans Military ban for example, what difference does it make what gender a person identifies as and how does that affect whether it makes them fit for military service? What does one have to do with the other? Not a damn thing! That is the real truth about that. Sexual orientation, religious beliefs, creed, gender, station or any other assigned or understood label can’t possibly determine whether you can fight in the military in its own merit. Physical ability and mental capabilities should be the only real reasons to have to deny someone the honour of serving. Whether one has a penis or vagina or some form of either has nothing to do with an ability to do anything. The truth is, not a damn thing! People should be tested on real ability and if they pass the tests like stamina, mental and physical, they get to participate. It’s that fucking simple. People try to use their positions of power whether it be religious, political, mental, or physical to control and oppress anyone who appears weaker or different. It’s a basic primordial instinct to behave this way but thought and intelligence are suppose to steer us away from behaving as such. Unfortunately our ability to think and reason is also the achilles heel. Take religion for example, it’s not even based in literary truths and yet millions of people allow it to control their very existence. It’s fear. We are so afraid we will self destruct that we craft rules and laws and beliefs to keep us all under the thumb of some spirit in the sky. It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus to dictate your every waking minute. What could possibly be more insane than dictating to another how they wish to live their 80 plus years on earth. Harm ye none. That’s it. Don’t you think it’s time we allow ourselves to evolve beyond what we think we already understand. If we stayed as we were there is a tonne of shit we thought made sense only to find out later we were full of ego and frankly bullshit. If trans people want to serve their country then let them because whatever you are, the basic rule is if it’s your country you have the fundamental right to protect that geographical spot. Isn’t it? What asshole has the right to tell you you can’t if you are mentally and physically able? I could have a ten inch dick, it doesn’t make me automatically able to fight in combat. Neither would it be if I decided for my own happiness that I didn’t want to keep my 10 inch penis. Cringe or laugh all you like. That’s exactly what Trump is trying to say. I think it’s even more disgraceful than that. I think he is just a cheap ass and doesn’t want the government to have to pay for sexual reconsignment. That’s just an uneducated guess. The bottom line is it is no one’s business. Your decisions on how you desire to live your life (pending it is not to harm others) is no one’s business. No one has that right. But those crazy little power mongers make it their desire to control and manipulate everybody else. Fuck, we’ve built an entire belief systems on it and we throw millions of dollars into the pockets of these belief systems every year and we have no idea how to step away and just know that you are perfect in every way just as you. You don’t have to control or be controlled. You don’t have to harm someone to open their mind to new ideas. You don’t have to isolate anyone because they are not like you. I don’t get how we all survived this long to be honest but we better get it right sooner rather than later because we’ve built hatred into a billion dollar industry. Leave the fucking trans people alone. Your hatred is revolting.
Have I told you how much I love Instagram? I think it’s still one of the best social media plateforms. Great photos! No tweeting bullshit. It’s just light and informative. You can say so much with a photo and a few direct words. As you know, I’m a fan. Last year I did a weekly beard contest on my official Instagram account. It was a hell of a lot of fun and I met some amazing fellows from all over the world and had the chance to post their little stories right here on Bruce in the City!
This year it’s a whole new Beard feature. One bearded fellow who follows my Instagram @bruceinthecity is chosen at random. Only one a month. You all can vote for that fellow by hitting the heart associated with the contest! Don’t worry, I will make it clear which post counts. This year it’s not just about how badass the beard is but how badass he does his part to make his community a better place!
January’s InstaBeard belongs to John!! John has served in the military in Afghanistan and Iraq. His journey lead him to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery where he lived and worked. John is currently living in China. His first language is welsh. I wonder how many languages he can speak? I should have asked. You can always follow him on Instagram and ask him yourself. As if all those things weren’t badass enough, the man has played rugby his whole life. Straight out of the womb no doubt! Ok Brucesters head on over to my official Instagram @bruceinthecity and vote for John! Also follow John today @johnireland1 and tell him Bruce in the City sent you!
As promised a monthly bearded Instagram account will be chosen the last weekend of the month! Tomorrow we will find out more about this guy! Our January InstaBeard! Head over to my official Instagram account. You could be chosen for February!
The first real snow and deep freeze has hit Toronto and already people have disappeared inside the tunnels and undercity walk ways to escape the grigid cold. I don’t know about you but I’ve got to dance! It’s the best way is to chase away the winters blues. I decided to go with some buddies of mine to retro night at a local leather bar. I don’t mean a Harley Davidson sort of leather bar but a fantastic gay club in the heart of Toronto’s Gay Village. An adult venue with dark, industrial decor catering to the gay leather & denim communities. The Eagle with all it’s rough looking edges is one of the friendliest clubs in the village. The heats turned up! The clothes come off and the winter chill is a distant memory for at least the next several hours. Where is this den of leather bliss? 457 Church Street, Toronto! That’s where. The bar tenders are heavily tattooed, bearded and non bearded sweethearts that service from behind the dim lights of the bar. I fell into a leather crush with one of them. After one two many cocktails I can’t recall his name. If I remember correctly it is more of a nickname than a real name. Hmm, I gotta find out. I guess I gotta go back don’t I? My friends and I had a blast and I’ll be sure to share our eagles eye view of our adventures on our next visit! I may be brave and hit up jock night February 3rd! You can check out my daily Instagram @bruceinthecity
Great to have you back after a fast and furious holiday season. Let’s not waste any valuable reading time! If you’re looking for the best in LGBTQ etc literature. Glad Day Books is your one stop party shop for the avid reader and nauvis alike! It’s a bookstore/coffee shop/club like no other and the oldest LGBTQ landmark in support of the Gay community. Supporting local Queer authors when it wasn’t the trend to do so! If your a supporter of the gay arts then you should really stop by and enjoy a cup of joe and pick up the hottest in LGBTQ lituature!
At a time when several of Toronto’s independent book stores have shut their doors, Glad Day Bookshop is still here, and still queer.
“I think it’s more vibrant and more inclusive of different cultures,” he said of the 43-year-old store. “It’s more than a bookshop; it’s becoming a community centre.” Kwame Stephens Author.
This quote was taken from a great article in the Globe and Mail by JENNIFER GOLDBERG PUBLISHED JUNE 29, 2013 and UPDATED MAY 11, 2018.
Januaries Book club selection is called The Boy Who Brought Down a Bathouse. The Boy Who Brought Down A Bathhouse, the first book by notorious gossip columnist Rolyn Chambers, who toiled as the last manager of infamous gay bathhouse St. Marc Spa, is sure to get everyone nice and hot in this cold grey January! Stop by Gladday Books today for your autographed copy. While supplies last!