Help and Support

Where there’s a Will

Posted by Bruce on September 02, 2018
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I love when I get thrown a curve ball!  I feel like Rachel Maddow, the host of the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC.  She’s constantly having to change things up these days with the ever changing tide of political crazy in the United States.  My reason is not as dramatic, but to me just as important.
I’m sure if you have read my blog by now you will have heard of Will Wilson, a really talented photographer and acquaintance of mine.  If not scroll back and get acquainted with this bearded fellow.
Today he is my guest writer on my blog.  I thought the subject matter perfect considering where we are in our calendar year, back to school!  I encourage every one of you to check out Will’s inspiration for his latest project and watch the You Tube posting of this relevant and touching piece.
“The project 50 shades of shade is to help voice the concerning amount of adult bullying in all forums of culture.  This is an issue that’s been spoken to before, but with 50 shades of shade I’ve had candid conversations with great people to address the elephant in the room.  Watch and see what your thoughts are.”  Will Wilson

Thank you Will for this important message and for including me in the project.  Watch closely, I get a brief cameo.
All the best to everyone returning to school this year.  Remember bullying is just not cool!  Not anywhere! Not anytime!
Please check out my own personal story and my experience with being bullied.

Bruce in the City

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

The Butterfly Bear Affect

Posted by Bruce on August 16, 2018
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The Butterfly Bear Affect
Bruce in the City
Bruce Christopher

I wanted to explore the world in which I find myself over the last few years “The Bear World”. I was a Twink until that bitch, Mother Nature, decided puberty wasn’t enough and that I was going to transform into what I first thought was a hideous beast. I’ve become much more comfortable and happy in my new skin and I was just curious how other Twink to Bears were doing and how they handled their very own Butterfly Bear Affect. It was an eye opener to me and an amazing realization that I was not alone in my experience. Here is my one on one with some Bears in my community and their journey to self acceptance. My first Gay Bear is Dann. A Queer. A Bear. A married father of one and a bearded fellow.

Bruce: Hey Dann thanks for meeting with me. This shouldn’t hurt but it could be a bumpy ride! What does being a Bear mean to you?

Dann: Thanks for choosing me. This should be interesting. Being a Bear means being happy with my body. Being happy as a larger guy. As a Bear you can say Fuck You to the stereo types people have about being a gay man. I don’t have to feel the need to fit in with gay physical norms. I’m personally so much happier. Like a weight has been lifted. That wasn’t always the case.

Bruce: Tell me what being a Twink felt like to you.

Dann: Fitting in! I recall my life in Vancouver, it was all about the right clothes, the bitchy attitude and not realizing at the time that I was conforming to social stereo types. The club scene was the norm and being a social butterfly was a must.

Bruce: When did you first come out?

Dann: I was 15 years old. Body image was suddenly extremely important. At first it was easy. I was young and thin and acceptably feminine. Quickly it started becoming a lot of work. My body was wanting to change. I got hairier, I began expanding, maturing physically against my wishes. Being a Twink was how I identified being sexy and desirable to other men.

Bruce: What was your first sexual experience with another man?

Dann: I think around four years old. I had three little buddies I explored with. It must have been around 1974. We are all the same age and all curious about our bodies. That went on for a while but then you realize early on that that isn’t the norm so those explorations stopped. I had my first girlfriend when I was around 12.

Bruce: How did you feel when your body started changing from a Twink to a Bear?

Dann: I’ve had body image issues most of my life. Suddenly I wasn’t fitting into my Twink clothes anymore and my peers were in better shape then me. It was in my 20’s that I began to work out more. I spent years trying to maintain that Twink body. In my forties I got called a bear at a club from this cute guy. I was dumb founded. I couldn’t relate to his comment. In my mind I still saw myself as a Twink but I had changed. I had not accepted that I was really a Bear.

Bruce: What turned that around for you?

Dann: Apps made it easier to cruise within the Bear community. Apps like Growlr and Grindr. I was blown away that guys were finding me attractive. I was seeing guys who were like me. Bigger, harrier, bearded, in some cases guys who looked like me.

Bruce: Where did you find your community outside of the apps?

Dann: The gay bear culture has grown and now there are more social gatherings for Bears in the community and it is even in style now to be a bigger bearded dude. Places like The Lodge and The Eagle in the village are places Bears can mingle and mix and chase.

Bruce: it sounds like your transformation from a Twink to a Bear was not an easy one. If you could help a fellow to accept who they really physically are, what would you say to them?

Dann: As a Bear I feel more at ease. Not everyone is naturally the Twink body type and that’s okay. Most of us start out that way but you have to embrace the change. It’s way sexier to be authentic. I have found men of quality to be in my life. Free yourself from those stereotypes. We are men. It is okay to be a man.

Thanks Dann. That was amazing. I could relate so much to many of your answers and hopefully dudes are having their own aha moment.

My next Bear experience with the Butterfly Bear Affect was just as enlightening and I’m thankful he decided to play along. This is John. A baker. A baseball player. A Bear. A bearded fellow. Here is what he had to say when we chatted about his unexpected transformation.

Bruce: Hey John! Tell me what being a Gay Bear means to you.

John: It means I get to be myself no matter if I’m fat or thin. I honestly don’t care what people think of me. Well, not anymore anyway.

Bruce: What did being a twink mean to you?

John: When I was younger I was very shy and I felt guys didn’t take notice of me. My self-esteem was lacking shall we say.

Bruce: When did you come out?

John: I came out when I was 16 which was 33 years ago. Yikes!!

Bruce: Were you a twink or bear?

John: I was a short, skinny, scrawny, runt so a hobbit sized twink

Bruce: When was your first sexual experiences?

John: Between the ages of 16 to 22

Bruce: How would you have described your life as a twink?

John: I was very self conscious back then and didn’t think I was good looking. I had very few friends.

Bruce: Do you think twinks get treated differently than bears?

John: To be perfectly honest I think they both get treated differently in the fact that if you are not either a muscle bear or a muscle jock then you are looked down upon by these 2 types of groups. This is my perception only.

Bruce: Perception is reality! When you were a twink, how did you feel about bears?

John: I’ve always thought that bears or big, hairy men were sexy. I realized that when I was younger and my best friend’s dad was really hairy.

Bruce: Oh those Daddy’s. That’s a whole other article. How did you feel when your body started changing from twink to bear?

John: I’ve always had a hairy body, but when I started changing my eating habits and my workouts I started to become more buff. When I grew the beard it was like I was reborn if that makes sense. I was being noticed and hit on which was very flattering since I was rarely hit on or I was too oblivious to realize that I was being hit on. I still don’t see myself as attractive.

Bruce: I’m guessing many readers will disagree with you on that one. Do you feel the gay culture in Toronto is welcoming to bears?

John: I believe it is more so now than when I first came out. Now there are all of these Bear Events and Vacation Destinations. I think twinks need to start having their events and Vacation Destinations as well.

Bruce: Oh don’t they have enough? You don’t have to answer that! Do you have body image issues because you are considered a bear?

John: I have my own internal issues with being overweight although I’m short and furry I like to watch my weight because I don’t feel comfortable when my stomach gets in the way when bending over to put on my shoes or socks.

Bruce: Is your social group supportive with your transformation?

John: I have a wide variety of friends from twinks to bears to muscle bears to muscle men to jocks. Reason for this is because I play softball and have for the past 20 years and I’ve met friends all over North America. I consider myself an Ewok because I’m the same height and furry.

Bruce: Where in the world do you think you would be most comfortable in your skin?

John: Either here in Toronto or in Europe. Sadly homophobia seems to be ramping up again thanks to Trump, religion and far right groups.

Bruce: Anything you’d like to say for the record?

John: The saddest part about the gay community is that not only do we have to deal with homophobia from around us but we also have our own internalized homophobia in the gay community. As I indicated earlier, there are many groups within the gay community and if you don’t fit into certain group you may feel alone and unwelcome. No one should ever have to feel that way.

Bruce: That’s so true. I’m glad you survived your transformation into your more authentic self. It is a scary journey but exciting too. Just like your first visit to a bathhouse. Have you ever been? Don’t answer that!?! Wink!

My final sit down is with Will. He’s a slightly different generation than my first two bears and his perspective is interesting because of this fundamental difference. Let’s see how this self proclaimed cub experienced his Butterfly Bear Affect!

Bruce: I like to start with this question because I think it helps me get a quick picture of where your head is when it comes to the bear lifestyle! So Will what does being a bear mean to you?

Will: Well, I wouldn’t fully consider myself a bear, however, it just means I am being who I am. Living my truth.

Bruce: And what did the truth look like to you as a Twink?

Will: My life was in chaos when I was labeled as a “twink”. I was young and vulnerable in the big city. Thankfully I had some wiser friends who aided in some semblance of a path. The men who did that themselves being labeled as Bears.

Bruce: What were you like during those twink years?

Will: When I was a twink, it meant something different to what I feel it means now. It meant I was desired yet judged, small but loud, though always having fun.

Bruce: I’m assuming you were considered a Twink when you came out? Or did you come out later?

Will: No I came out in my teen years. A little punk kid who needed to leave home, coming to Toronto from Niagara at the age of 16, thinking I knew what was best for my life and I did! And yes I was a Twink at that age, fresh and full of sass. I’m 31 now!

Bruce: Do you think Twinks get treated differently than bears?

Will: When I was younger, I feel it was different. I felt when I was a twink I wasn’t taken seriously. Some youths and adults who define themselves as twink are advocates and great members of the community.

Bruce: I was a Twink myself and I’m really amazed how similar all of our experiences are and also body image was a real stress when growing up. How was body image for you? When did you start really seeing your body begin to change?

Will: I would have to say at 25. I was FINALLY able to keep the weight on, I would eat so much and still not gain. At 25 that definitely changed, lol.

Bruce: What do you think about the bear community?

Will: I have a great deal of respect for most of the “bears” I know. Though I would say I am more a cub then a bear.

Bruce: Do you feel the gay culture in Toronto is welcoming to bears?

Will: I would say yes, though I feel there are times when personality conflicts come up, as in any culture.

Bruce: What is your social group like?

Will: Most are in relationships. I have a great group of friends, male and female, queer and straight, that have been with me through thick and thin.

Bruce: What other way would you describe yourself as a young man?

Will: I’m an artist, always have been, always will be. I would consider myself possibly that.

Bruce: Where in the world do you think you would be most comfortable in your skin?

Will: As I’ve recently been traveling around the world, the one place I felt the most comfortable was in Spain. The way they view body image is great, and nudity doesn’t always equate to sexuality.

Bruce: As part of a younger generation of LGBTQ people how would you describe your overall transition with the Butterfly Bear Affect?

Will: As I appreciate this interview, it’s important to note that not all fall under the labeling, that has become all so prevalent. Being a queer adult and advocate is how I see my “label”. If we’re spilling tea, I would like to note that we all JUDGE each other way too much. Some comments that people say online are truly shocking, control yourselves people. I think if you feel you can say it to their face, first time talking, go ahead. If not, don’t. Social media is a beautiful and strange thing, though, like communities, it too has a dark side.

Bruce: I hear that. It wasn’t easy for sure. Keeping busy within your community helps during your transition from Twink to bear. Some guys are naturally going to grow up and out as their truly authentic self emerges and I think the aging process is difficult on most groups straight men, gay men, bi men and more than it’s discussed. I know one thing for sure for some reason I have felt more at ease in my bear body and bears just seem to be way more inviting. Of course there are a lot of great Twink fellows out there. I just haven’t met any! I’m totally joking!


edited by Mary Ellen Monk

A Deep Breath

Posted by Bruce on July 29, 2018
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This week was not an easy one in my city. Someone took what was left of our innocence away. My Instagram was flooded with typical Bruce in the City rants as I tried to come to terms at what took place. I’m certain I won’t, but I will move forward as most people will. After we’ve all gone home however, there are families that will never be able to forget what happened that day. The horrific memories and for some the horrific loss. As one insignificant man writing what amounts to a few notable words here and there.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this week so I decided to offer you a moment of calm and an introduction to a very dear friend of mine who inspired me spiritually many years ago. I’m not sure she knows she was the beginning of an amazing transformation in my life and though I lose my way from time to time her words of peace and wisdom always return to me. I’d like you to meet Janet….

Meet Rev. Janet Fotheringham mediums/clairvoyant/psychic

Janet has the ability to connect with loved ones who have crossed over, help you with past, present, and future.

Janet typically connects with a number of spirits, and through the use of images, smell, and sound, Janet is able to communicate to the best of her ability.

The best way to explain Janet’s ability is she acts as a telephone line between spirits, guides, and angels, which allows client to ask questions and provide answers.

Janet’s ability allows her to see, smell, taste, and hear spirit. Janet is often given images and/or symbols of events/objects that may have taken place. This is where Janet will provide what she has been given to you.

Janet Fotheringham discovered at a very young age that she had a special gift, “The gift of spirit and mediumship”. Janet grew up having exposure to spirit and understanding the spiritual ways of living at a young age.

Janet’s true passion is helping those in need, whatever that need may consist of. Janet has over 16 years of experience working in the field of addiction, mental health, life coaching, and counselling in the vulnerable sector. Janet has discovered her deepest desire of the natural methods of healing those in need.

Janet offers empowerment workshops, meditation to calm the mind and soothe the soul. Janet is a certified Reiki Master Teacher, a Spiritual Healer, certified in HypnoBirthing®, Certified Hypnotherapist, Master Hypnotist, Certified in 5-PATH® Hypnotherapy &
Certified 7-PATH® Self- Hypnosis Instructor.

To some her spiritual journey is unique and maybe even strange but I’ve experienced first hand the calm in which Janet’s life is directed.

There are so many ways to achieve spiritual awakening, sometimes all it takes is a helping hand to clear your mind.

I encourage you to reach out to Ms. Fotheringham. The worse thing you have to lose is your spirit of negativity.

Janet Fotheringham

Blissful Beginnings Spiritual & Wellness

1 Division Street
Bowmanville ON

905 767 8629

Message anytime


edited by Mary Ellen Monk

The Badass B.I.T.C 2019 calendar!

Contest for a Cause!

Inspiration Point part 2

Posted by Bruce on April 01, 2018
Book Review, Check it Out!, Help and Support, Local Talent / No Comments

Hey Brucesters!

Before I get started this week. I wanted to first wish everyone a Happy Easter!

And now As promised part two of Inspiration Point, my blog on Ruth Mead Author and Finance Exec who has inspired many in her field and beyond. I wanted to spend a bit more time on her best selling book, though to be clear it’s not Ruth’s main focus currently as she now runs her very own business venture in Financial Consulting and Planning.

In fact, Ruth has managed to transition herself into a seasoned leader of the ilk she once sat alongside for over two decades! Head of her own Wealth Management Practice and mentor to other Consultants; she puts into full force the power of all her past international experience in business coupled with the operational swiss-like efficiency capability borne from her years as UK’s award winning Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff. The combination and effect of all this has catapulted her success to the almost “unheard of” category leaving many pondering her “secret sauce”

In Ruth Mead’s international bestseller Jewel in the LEADER’s Crown, Ruth shares her over two decades of experience working with some of the highest-ranking leaders of global industry. This includes FTSE 100 & Fortune 500 corporations in the UK, Europe, Middle East and North America including some global businesses you may know quite well: PepsiCo, McDonald’s, O2 plc, Canadian Tire, and BMO Financial Group.
What Ruth offers in her book is an up close and professional look at what she describes as lessons from her own highs and lows that helped Ruth discern the secret of her success. The catalyst being politicians, members of royalty, and executives the world over. If your goal is this type of success, these would be most definitely the people to pay attention to.
“It’s often hard to detect the many layers of unspoken traits.” she explains. Ruth asks how and why the finest gems sparkle. “It’s that “aha” moment as you break down the science behind the workings of magnificence”. Ruth adds.
In a world where being successful, even for a glimpse of a moment is more difficult then ever before, Ruth’s book seems to be the bright light of inspiration to those who may find themselves business bruised.
You’ll find a treasure trove of tools from practical tips to prepare you for those unwanted negative surprises in your day. This read just may be the guide to living your best life. There is no doubt Ruth is one of the most positive women I’ve spoken to in years. She’s open, strong, commands a room I’ve no doubt, and yet with all her ability and talent, surprisingly gracious and approachable. Here’s a quote from one of her previous UK “bosses”, a “Sir” no less! which I found most impressive.

“….there has been little attention paid to the role of the executive assistant in lifting organizational performance. Jewel in the LEADER’s CROWN rectifies this omission….”
Sir David Varney, Former Permanent Secretary HM Treasury, London UK

Not a bad resume I’d say! Certainly this book is a gift worth taking a look at.

The executive assistant role and how it can be the stepping stone to some of business greater achievements seems to be the silver lining here. Anyone looking to climb their own personal business or personal mountain should check out this jewel.

“…to this profession, I gave my lifetime – it gave me, the time of my life. ~Ruth Mead

Perhaps a further clue to figuring out her own fine personal brand, she says:

“Be the Picasso of your art, the Ferrari of your field.
Be the exclusive, Hermes Birkin of your industry and
As distinctive as Christian Louboutin red soles”!

…and those very fabulous red soles have become her signature and claim to fame – perhaps it’s no wonder she was first in line to meet their maker during his visit to Toronto’s Holt Renfrew!

And that my friends is simply, Ruth Mead!


Edited by: Mary Ellen Monk


Just a Thought

Posted by Bruce on January 31, 2017
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I would be lying if I said I knew much about the Muslim faith and it’s people.  I have read some of the Quran, of course not making me any further knowledgeable about the faith.  One thing I know, killing anyone because they are unlike yourself is in my mind one of the most evils possible.  No chance for growth, no chance to learn, no time to grow.  I’m outraged really to my core as I watch people use their faith to bring destruction and devastation.  As people of faith, it may be time to accept there is evil at foot for everyone; Muslim, Christians, Jews and all faiths that offer so much beauty to the diversity of our earth.  There are those who use religion for one purpose, to destroy.  My heart goes out to the Muslim community not just for the tragedy in Quebec but around the world who’s faith has been so misunderstood and mistreated.  We have all felt the hand of hatred whether it be Christians killed for their faith, the horrific history of the Jewish people, and now the Muslim people are being slaughtered and treated in a way God would be horrified.  If we truly believe in LOVE than there is no other choice but to come together like never before.  Accept our differences. Denounce world leaders who want to segregate us because it’s that segregation that makes us weaker.  You cannot take down millions of people choosing LOVE no matter what.  Their voices would pale in comparison to all our voices and they know that.  If we think we can stand alone, even those with the choice to have no particular faith, Love is the faith and it is time we all talk .  We all grieve together, cry for each other, talk to one another!  We’ve tried everything else.  Now it’s time for LOVE!

Bruce in the City

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

22 push-ups 22 days!

Posted by Bruce on October 23, 2016
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Hey Brucesters! img_0507

Ive been doing these push-ups! You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter or insta gram! When I began many days ago it was tough. I haven’t done much working out of my little old lazy arms could barely hold up my solid frame!

Im keeping it going! It’s getting easier day by day. I was nominated by one of my favourite Canadian Actors Arwen Humphreys. I’m so thankful actually because she got me off my butt!

please have a look and see if you You’re able to get involved. I would sure love it if you would.


Bruce in the City!

Arwen made me do it!!

Hey Brucesters!

I was nominated today by Actress Arwen Humphreys to participate in the 22 days! 22 Pushups!! Please check out these links and cheer me on! I did my 22 pushups today! 21 days to go! Arwen is pushing along getting the job done!! Amazing cause and an amazing Actor and a rebel with a cause!! Watch Murdoch Mysteries Monday night at 8pm on CBC!


Got Land Will Build

Posted by Bruce on October 04, 2015
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It’s that time of year when we all get back into our routines now that the summer is behind us.  Your kids may be back in school.  Your summer holidays are a distant memory.  Classes are well on there way at our local colleges and universities, not to mention the boardrooms are full blown planning for the year end and the coming year.

I’ve been chatting a bit lately about balance and what better way to find balance in your life from the noise and 9 to 5 but to give back.  Back in the summer I was talked into helping out at a build for Habitat for Humanity.  I have to be honest I wasn’t thrilled to do it because who are we kidding, I can even fix the little broken things around my home.  But on one of the hottest days of the summer I went with pink hard hat glowing to a Habitat build. 11753706_10155867348055521_3351534996762202295_n

It was very cool to see this group of people engaged in an act of kindness and whether you are a supporter or not of this particular charity the point is get out there and get involved and help out.  I was painting walls that day and it was an excellent experience.

There are all kinds of opportunities to give, you just have to look for them and choose what works for you.  Thanksgiving is upon us so what better way to be thankful but to give to those who have less than you do.  It will, if anything, bring some of that balance back into your life!


Habitat for Humanity

Editor: Mary Ellen Monk


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