When I read this I immediately sent him this request, “If you are happy to share this further and have a wider impact upon those who read it, can I post it in my diversity blog, NEVERBLENDIN?”
His positive response, “I’d love that, thank you ; ) …actually this is a BIG step for me i’m still processing lol…but for now i’m flattered that you want to share this as I feel they are important messages that people need to sometimes be reminded of,” was gratefully received.
Voices like Don’s are vital if we are to progress.
Today, I’m feeling blessed that he has shared this with me and has given permission for me to share it with you.
Don is a little modest and private and he explained that he likes to be respectful and not force his “agenda” on anyone but that he is always receptive when someone actually takes the time and makes an effort to promote something he feels is important.
“I’m not very political or even that outspoken but i’m extremely passionate and when I feel I can make positive contributions about the human spirit and turn dark situations into something meaningful and hope to inspire as I’ve been inspired by so many decent human beings, that’s all I can ask for.”
Breast are Wrong, Pornographic, Corrupt, Dirty, Shameful, no wonder we hate ourselves – DON VAILLANCOURT
From day one, my mother taught me the value of never being ashamed of my body. She taught us the proper names for our body parts. That men had penises and women had breasts and vaginas. Her mother, god bless my grandmother, was very Catholic, proper and never discussed sexuality with her, she had to find out the hard way what a period was and her older sister explained it to her. My mother didn’t want us to experience any kind of self-hate as far as our physical bodies were concerned. When the time came she gave me this thick book that had a title along the lines of “Sensuality and Sexuality”. It was a very tasteful educational, glossy, appropriately illustrated and she basically said “read this and if you have any questions just ask”. I basically only had questions about the menstrual cycle and I think subconsciously I didn’t actually want to know because after she explained it several times I basically said “fuck it” and moved on. I was gay anyway so I knew from a young age I didn’t particularly have to concern myself with “periods”. My mother was still very private, classic in her ways, never too sexy, always looked beautiful and I accidentally walked in on her once and we were both a little freaked out but all I can remember thinking is “wow, mom has perfect breasts”. I think she was a little more shooken about it than I was. However, growing up French/Canadian and having lived in Montreal where boobs are not only not shamed, they are just part of life, it really is no big deal. It’s normal to see your neighbours naked, when it’s humid and scorching hot from dead of summer heat waves, people get naked! It’s normal! However, when you’re someone like me who’s always had weight issues, it’s not so “normal”. It can be traumatic to expose yourself. I’ve never talked much about this because body issues are generally considered to be a “woman thing”. I have always been EXTREMELY insecure about my manboobs, to the point where it affected my posture and spinal alignment. I actually did serious research on male breast reduction and through that process realized that not ONE “after photo” looked like there was improvement. So at age 37 I finally accepted that yeah when I put on a few pounds every now and then, that’s where it’s gonna hit first. A few years ago I had colo-rectal surgery and was very sick for a few years prior, I had lost so much weight for the first time in my adult life, I was finally the 32 waist I had always wanted so badly, oddly enough, I still had “boobs” and I looked deformed and realized that I’m actually comfortable at 180 lbs, instead of fluctuating between 145 and 265, literally. I was dating someone who was an art curator and when I had spent a couple of years in my hometown to grieve my mother’s passing, and subsequently my grandmother’s passing, I had a lot of time on my hands so started photographing my body to force myself to deal with it. My lover at the time changed my life, he convinced me to show these photographs in an art show he was curating for the first time, after several months of pushing me, I agreed and even the day of the show I had a panic attack and picked a fight with him since I was wanting to bail out, but I braved it and the entire experience really opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking. The strange thing is, although I’m primarily nude in some of the photographs, I show no genatalia, it’s the rest of me that I was terrified of exposing. It was the moment in my life where I wasn’t going to allow society to dictate to me what I should look like to feel “attractive”. I get so exhausted and literally repulsed when I hear gay men go on and on and on about how fit they are, what gym they go to, to me that’s like advertising how many times a day you shit. The irony is i’m quite healthy, i’m primarily vegetarian, I almost never eat fast food, processed food, asparthame, i cut out milk, don’t drink alcohol, i’ve experimented with drugs of the legal and non legal kind and I’m thankful daily I actually don’t have addiction issues. Sometimes I just need a vacation from my own brain. My only addiction that sometimes rears it’s head is sugar. I walk and bike a lot and much rather spend a few hours kayaking than doing dizzying routines and repetitions on machines in front of wall to wall mirrors in crowded gyms.
I’ve never had issues with the fact that I was attracted to men sexually. However, in the gay world, if you’re one pound overweight, you’re often considered undesireable. I think even more so than in the straight world. Men who pack a few extra pounds are reminded daily on dating profiles by headlines and descriptions that remind us that “no fats or fems, must be fit and in shape” blah blah blah. Well finally there comes a point where the “fuck you” attitude kicks in. I’m not gonna let anyone shame me for being who I am.
Today was Debbie Harry’s birthday, whom I’ve always idolized from a really young age. My aunt Lynda introduced me to her in the late 70’s all of my aunts and uncles had her albums, as did my parents and even my grandmother had her albums. She was beautiful, always smiled when she sang and I was always drawn to her “semi good/bad girl” air. Each song she released was so different from the other, she sang in French and even had a song about my dad “Denis”. She had modest breasts, never needed a bra and wasn’t afraid to just look like a cool chick and what I respect her the most for now is that she embraced her 70 years on this planet, she’s not all botoxed and silicone filled, she allowed herself to be human, to age and I think she’s just as, if not more beautiful if that’s even possible.
As an adult, I could also relate to her since she also was an individual who was selfless and took care of her partner’s health for several years.
Today I found an image of her from 1969 where she’s topless and I was in awe at it’s innocence, beauty and the freedom it represented. So I posted it along with birthday wishes and for the first time I got an alert saying it had been reported for being offensive in regards to nudity guidelines. GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK, FOR REAL? It’s being reviewed and I was given the option to delete it as the only remedy. Well I’m not deleting it, they can delete it. The images attached to this post is the result of me blurring her nipples out which is the primary rule, NO NIPPLES.
When my mother was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, it was the most incredibly intimate, difficult, spiritual, loving, rewarding experience I had ever had to go through. My mom truly was my best friend. I feel guilty because I feel I should perhaps advocate more to women to get regular pap smears. A woman getting cancer in the part of the body that gives life, subsequently having to forsake your uterus, then 1 by 1 every other organ in proximity, it’s not only the most horrific and acute way for a woman to suffer, it’s actually one the most aggressive and rarely survived cancers. Yet there’s a quietness about it as opposed to breast cancer which is strange since more women actually survive breast cancer. So without exploiting the 3.5 year process of going through that entire experience with her, I will share this since it was the most beautiful experience of my life. Towards her final days while she was in palliative care, I was basically so beside myself with hopelessness that I crawled into bed with her layed my head on her bosom and came full circle from where we started, we held each other and cried and reconnected in a way only a mother and child can. I can only hope every parent and child should. So FACEBOOK. I will not allow you to tell me breasts are something to be ashamed of. If someone is offended by the site of nipples, get some fucking therapy! I took a self portrait today of my own “breasts”. I’m in a “fat” cycle these days and obviously insecure, but i’m posting this image because my “breasts” are not that much smaller than the one’s in Miss Harry’s photo so why are my breats not considered “offensive” by Facebook guidelines? If i’m cold they can get pretty erect and men’s nipples have no purpose so it’s baffling to me why women’s breast, providers of sustenance and vitality are considered “offensive”. It’s fucked up!
We can all choose to be better in how we relate to others. Never make assumptions, don’t limit others with labels, always give someone time, restore some faith and respect their human dignity.
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