The Purple Fig Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:42:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Write Because You Love It. Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:31:07 +0000 When I was in school I endured many writing workshops (public mental beatings) where I had to showcase my work and listen to what each of the students thought about it. I was to sit there quietly and nod my head as if to say, wow, you’re making a really prolific point right now and I completely appreciate it. Most of the time I did appreciate the critique. Other times it seemed that some of the people in class felt they had to say something negative because the guy next to them did. It’s happens online too.

If a weird smell travels slowly through a room and the first person to comment has a scowl on their face as they cover their nose in disgust and the second and third person follow, you may feel like an utter douche saying, “I quite like the smell actually.” Because somehow by acknowledging this questionable scent as good, you have now implicated yourself as being a weirdo. But me, I like weirdos. They make life interesting. Weirdos are usually good writers. Why? Because they don’t care what anyone thinks. They want their reader to be engaged, of course, but they’re not consumed by that.

The problem is, writers (artists in general) usually carry the burden of a stubborn ego. It can get in the way. We like to feel good about what we put out into the world, even though some of us may say we don’t care. We do. We are people. But we mustn’t be distracted by the need for a response. We live in a terrible time for people who need constant back patting and attention–they will spend the only hours they have to be productive on thinking and trolling. 

I have less of an ego about my art than I ever did. I’ve known rejection and I have experienced what it’s like to put things out to the world that never amount to much. These raw, vulnerable times have changed me. I now don’t spend much time wondering what people think or if it will ever be something bigger than it is. Do I sometimes wake up in the middle of night and think, man I suck. Sure. Don’t we all?

But the next day, if I am productive and I do what it is that I say I’m going to do, the little fire inside flickers and any self-criticism is fanned away from the flame. It is beautiful to write because I love writing. Am I rich from it? Hell no. But as one professor said to us in one of our grueling workshops, “Most of you will never make any money doing what you love.”

So, just as I couldn’t stop loving someone if other people didn’t like him, I will always write without intention and solely with blind sincerity. I think you should too :)


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Can Good Grammar Save Your Valentine’s Day? Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:00:53 +0000 As writers here at The Purple Fig, we’re already well aware of the importance of impeccable grammar. However, away from the pages of our stories, it seems that the significance of punctuation can also play a role in the world of online dating! With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, the team behind the writing app Grammarly has joined forces with online dating website eHarmony to put grammar to the test. Not surprisingly, it looks like accurate spelling and spot-on punctuation can lead to an increased number of responses from women, if you’re a man using a dating site. Here’s a look at a cool new infographic, which spells out “love” for us with some intriguing statistics.  



Featured Photo Credit:

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Calorie Counting Kept Me Isolated- A Story About Orthorexia Mon, 25 Jan 2016 15:20:00 +0000 Orthorexia feels like the new kale. It’s been around for a long time, but is recently seeing a rise in popularity among celebrities, millennials, and in social media. As a before-it-was-trendy lover of kale, I started to read each and every orthorexia article that popped up in my Facebook newsfeed or on my Yahoo! News homepage. With each article I felt the same I feeling I had when sautéed, steamed, and baked kale recipes first began appearing all over the place: this sounds like me.

Like nearly every other woman in North America I have spent my entire life criticizing my body. Anytime I lose some weight it’s not good enough and if I gain 5 lbs then I might as well have gained 100. In middle school, aware that my chubby frame did not match that of my Barbie-sized classmates, I began exercising like crazy. My parents bought a stationary bike and I kept it in my room, next to my bed, so that I could use it whenever I wanted. I lost some weight and got taller, slimming down to a healthy size 14, but I wanted to be smaller.

In high school I tried all sorts of avenues to shed more pounds. While my peers ate McDonald’s and Chic-fil-a on a daily basis, I brought a Yoplait yogurt and an apple for lunch. I ate while standing, convinced that that would help the pounds bypass my stomach. I spent a summer having a minimal breakfast and skipping lunch, drinking only the free coffee available at my part-time job from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. I spent a few weeks trying to be bulimic, but learned my gag reflex made it take too long. By my junior year I settled upon anorexia as the best disorder for me and severely limited my food intake to only those times when friends or family were around.

By college, my obsession with food and calories was as innate as breathing. Apples were 95 calories. A cup of mushrooms for a salad were 15. A cup of rice: 200. If friends wanted to go out for pizza I held off eating for the entire day so that the pizza would be my only meal. In my senior year I had cut myself down to one full meal a day: cup of reduced fat yogurt for breakfast, an apple or a bowl of corn for lunch, and frozen chicken fingers for dinner.

When I fainted while walking across campus one day and had to rely on the goodness of my friends, I told everyone I struggled with anorexia. At the time, I didn’t know if I was telling the truth or if I was lying. I had seen people with anorexia: emaciated, size 0 – 2, not eating for days or weeks, barely able to drink water. That wasn’t me. I still ate although it was limited and anything that wasn’t a fruit or vegetable sent me into a daylong self-inflicted guilt trip. I had slimmed down since high school, but only to a size 10. I knew this wasn’t anorexia, but I knew something was wrong. The way I thought about food and my body wasn’t healthy. I was envious of my few classmates who struggled with anorexia. I longed to have the bones of my ribcage and collar bone protrude as sharply as theirs did. I continued to describe myself as “struggling with anorexia.” I felt like a fraud, but I wanted a word to describe how I felt and “anorexia” seemed as close as any.

Orthorexia is defined as “an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy; a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.” I read this and a barrage of articles and thought about my family’s nickname for me, the “Food Nazi,” referring to my constant stream of what they should and should not put in their mouths. I thought about the day I snapped at my boyfriend for surprising me with a home cooked meal of fried pork chops, thick gravy, and various side dishes. I ate half a pork chop before crying and telling him I couldn’t eat the things he ate because they were unhealthy and would cause me to gain weight. I thought about, how at 27 years old, I still spend days without meals if I know I’m going to go out with friends at night. If friends catch me off-guard and invite me for a spontaneous drink I often lie and say I’m at the gym or I’m working when in reality I’m sitting in my apartment, sad and alone and kicking myself for letting food and calories keep me inside.

Like my protective blanket of anorexia, would calling myself orthorexic be just another disguise? Would I be naming my true disorder or would I simply be taking yet another undeserving title? Again, I am not emaciated nor am I going days and weeks living off just steamed kale. What I am doing is living off the same set of meals every day:

2 scrambled eggs
8 ounces of coffee
1 tablespoon of creamer
1 – 2 apples
1 stick of reduced fat string cheese
1 cup of rice
1 cup of kale (or any other leafy green vegetable)
1 tomato
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil

This is how I have been eating for years. The days I stray from this menu bring torrents of anxiety and guilt. A chocolate bar will force me to run an extra mile the following afternoon and alcohol will cause me to not eat for a day. How do I know if this is orthorexia or just a symptom of being a plus-sized woman in America? Am I orthorexic or just insecure? All I know is that I want a word, a label, a title. Because with that word may come relief.

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Knowing When It’s Time For A Change Mon, 25 Jan 2016 15:12:50 +0000 Everyone has their own thresholds, rock bottoms or breaking points. These are the moments in our lives when we realize that we simply can’t keep going the way we have been. I reached a pivotal one in my late 20’s. Looking back now I realize that I saw it coming but I chose to ignore it. When you decide to bury your head in the sand and you eventually come up for air, you realize that ignorance is really only temporary bliss. And reality has a way of smacking you right in the face when you least expect it.

I was a young woman climbing the corporate ladder, my husband and I owned a cozy home in the ‘burbs and I had a sweet ride to get me from A to B. To anyone on the outside, I looked like a successful young woman owning it. But I knew I was ignoring red flags left, right and centre for years in both my personal and professional life. I was discounting that little voice inside that was letting me know that things just weren’t right.

I rolled over in bed one morning and looked at the man snoring next to me. I’d known him since I was 17 and we’d been married for 3 years and yet, I felt like I didn’t know him at all. I didn’t recognize us. Looking back now, I realize that it wasn’t him that I didn’t know. It was myself. I had no idea what I really wanted and needed in life and that brought me to the point where I realized I had to make some big changes. Up until then, I was going through the motions and letting life happen to me as opposed to getting clear on what I wanted from it all.

Getting hitched was something we decided to do because it was time. It was a Friday night. We decided to go to Red Lobster for dinner and he proposed seconds after the waitress served us a basket of semi-warm dinner biscuits. It went something like, “Hey, why don’t we just get married.” “Whoa. Wait. What?” I thought, “Did I just get proposed to?” I’ve never dreamt of my perfect wedding gown or babies and white picket fences but I couldn’t help but wonder: was this really how it was going down?

Well, yeah. That’s how it went down. And that experience epitomized the way I had been living. I was living from a place of routine – I was going through the motions. As I moved through the world robotically, I didn’t stop to ask if what I was doing was making me feel good. I didn’t take the time to enjoy the little things. I made decisions not because I thought they were in my best interest but because I figured it was just time.

So there I was. When my husband’s career moved him out of the city, I followed right behind him and we moved to the ‘burbs. I found a job from a posting that he came across in the paper. Even though I wasn’t really made for a stiff corporate environment, I wore a buttoned-up shirt and blazer every day. I figured it made sense. You move to the ‘burbs, settle down, get a good job and get married. Done deal right?

Sure, if that’s what you want. But I had a nagging feeling that there was something different out there for me. And so came that fateful morning in bed. As I realized that I didn’t recognize myself and the life I had built, my initial reaction was, no doubt, akin to a mid-life crisis. I decided to overhaul my entire life. We landed back in the city in a downtown condo and I found a new job at a cool agency within walking distance. I think I was under the impression that changing my surroundings and work would cut it but that wasn’t enough. After months of couple’s therapy, countless yelling matches, slamming doors and flying expletives, we decided it was time to call it quits.

And that was when it hit me. At 29, I was a freshly divorced woman and I was building a new sense of self. I had moved through my relationship for years without speaking up about what I wanted because I didn’t want to look selfish or needy. I suppressed the experiences of my emotions because I didn’t want to be too complicated. I tempered my opinion because I didn’t want to be too bossy. I allowed the fear of what others might think of me to rule my actions. And I knew that all had to stop. It was time to rediscover who I was.

I started with adding small things to my life to feel better. Small stuff – like being aware of the sun shining on me on my walk to work, the smell of a fresh cup of coffee or the first bite of cheesecake for dessert. When I started to feel good again, I decided to explore different things in the city. I went out to different events, met new people and took a chance on novel experiences. For the first time in a long time, I was able to see what resonated with me and what didn’t. And I continued to follow the stuff that felt good.

I think we’re constantly changing as our circumstances shift around us and we have to be open to change. But when we feel good about ourselves and understand that life is more than routine and going through the motions? That’s when the magic happens. That’s when we can create a life we love.

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How Two Very Different Women Shaped My Outlook On Life Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:59:22 +0000 I have been very fortunate in my life to have had two very different, but equally influencing and important female role models.

Firstly my mother, this woman was a towering academic who was recognized worldwide for her articles, books and teachings on her chosen subject. She broke barriers as a woman in her profession before she even left University and when she did leave University she finished with the highest marks achievable. And she blazed into the Academic world like a comet and is still known at several schools for her hard work and commitment.

Then there is my Aunt my father’s younger sister and an equally brilliant mind. She headed up a division against very specific white collar crimes in her branch of government before she hit 30. She traveled the world and accomplished anything she set her mind to.

Two very accomplished women, with the ethics of hard work and on paths to success and all the economic and material rewards that our Western culture worships. Great role models for a young child growing up in the late 80’s and into the 90’s.

By all accounts they seem to have a lot in common, thankfully they are night and day and I couldn’t be more grateful.

By the time I hit my teenage years the cracks were showing in my mother’s life. Intent on having it all, she refused to see when things were going wrong. My father attempted to balance out her rage and tantrums but I was terrified of her. She hated herself and always stove for an image of perfection that was not possible. Despite her success in her career, despite having two healthy children, after being told she shouldn’t have kids, despite having a husband who worshiped her and despite having the big house and the multiple holidays a year she was miserable. And wow did she take it out on us.

And yet to the outside world we appeared perfect, often showcased in newspapers when she was nominated for prizes like Career Woman of the year among others. I am sure many adult children of parents like this can relate to the absolute head*bleep* this has on your perception of your family and the terror that you feel.

My Aunt in contrast did not enter my life on a constant basis until I turned 19. By this point she had quit her successful and powerful job to become a dance and drama therapy teacher. I remember my mother scoffing at the idea of this and railing about how my Aunt would regret such a decision. She broke up with her long term boyfriend when she realized that she did not want children and he did. My mother was adamant that he had left my Aunt because she wanted children and he did not. My mother could not conceive of a woman making a choice so profound and different from her own. I believed this version of the story until I finally got to know my Aunt years later.

When my Aunt met her now (awesome) husband, who happens to be quite a bit older than her, my mother was ever critical. With her toxic form of feminism that taught me that not only are men idiots they are toys to be played with and discarded. She was rude and cruel to my father and manipulative and engulfing with my younger brother. She could not fathom a relationship where both parties were equal and where my Aunt valued her husband’s opinion and took time to acknowledge him and his needs as well as her own, my mother ignored my father and manipulated my brother.

My Aunt turned her back on what society tells us we should strive for and made her own path towards happiness.

My mother leaned in to her profession, her career, she built an image around our family that made it look, to the outside world that she had leaned in to that as well. In reality she was a woman who could find no peace in the waking world. She strove to control everything before her and has only succeeded in driving everyone away.

My mother taught me what not to do with my life. She taught me how not to treat people and look inward at myself and see if I was able to love the person that I am and if I wasn’t, to make the changes necessary to ensure that I was.

My Aunt taught me that it is OK to walk away from the societal norms of what success is supposed to look like and that the pursuit of happiness does not have to be a complicated one. That love is equal and that marriage is about teamwork. And that heart stopping, breath taking love is out there and possible for everyone.

Now firmly in my 30’s I feel that I am in a place of peace and balance, where I might not have been had I been without either one of these women in my life. They gave me focus and direction and no matter how painful it has been over the years I know that I have learned valuable lessons.

It is OK to let go of toxic people, even when society says that they are family and you ‘have’ to love and forgive family. You don’t, let them go and move on.

Success is not the same thing for everyone and can look very different depending on the individual and what makes them happy. Learn to look inward, see yourself and learn to be happy with yourself. Figure out what success means to you, don’t take cues from society, listen to your heart and what moves you. If all you feel is as though you are drowning, then make that change, no matter how scary, because life is way too short to sweat the small stuff, and believe me, it is all small stuff.

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Where Does Time Go? Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:46:34 +0000 Can I freeze time, please.

Time has been on the fast track since I had my daughter almost eight years ago, but my mind can’t seem to accept that we’re in the twenty-tens. I do a double-take anytime I’m reminded of the date.
Watching “Back to the Future” with my kids for the first time didn’t help. It just reminded me of my fuzzy, aging brain. I didn’t remember the part where Marty (Michael J. Fox) comes up with a strategy that involves him sexually assaulting his mom (Lea Thompson) so that the 1955 version of his dad can punch him in the face.

I also couldn’t seem to shut up. I sounded like an elderly aunt—or Marty’s nagging mother—giving a running narration about how things were a lot different in 1985.  And my kids didn’t care what I was saying. They were too busy watching.

“Yes, Marty does look like he’s old enough to go to college but he’s supposed to be a teenager. They usually cast teenagers in teenager roles nowadays.”

“Look at that, he’s wearing a watch. Everyone used to watches. Now we don’t need them.”
“So funny they keep showing Pepsi. It didn’t used to be a bad thing to drink soda.”
I sounded so old but the movie still seemed relevant. Some things were familiar to my kids already: Darth Vader is huge in our world (Marty channels his inner Vader while trying to scare his dad into being more assertive with his mom), and the product placements of JC Penney and Texaco don’t seem out of place. The McFlys’ town is passionate about its clock tower, just as we are in our small town (although ours was not struck by lightning 30 years ago, never to work again).

What the kids couldn’t handle was the intensity toward the end, the most exciting part of the movie. The threat of Marty’s siblings disappearing unless Marty got his parents to kiss freaked my son out, and my daughter cried while Marty desperately tried to get the DeLorean to start up.
“Trust me, it will work out,” I kept saying, but they couldn’t relax.

It was my fault for picking the movie. I was in a nostalgic mood. It was the weekend of my 20th high school reunion and I wasn’t going.

One of the film’s writers, Bob Gale, attributes a flip-through of his dad’s yearbook for inspiring him to tell Marty McFly’s story. Gale wondered if he would have been friends with his father in high school.

Imagine that.

I’m not sure that I would want my kids to see me in high school, when I was insecure about everything I did and everything I said. When all I wanted was for time to speed up so that I could get away from all the people in it.

I graduated, I moved on. The brief moment I looked back, when the reunion date neared, I decided it was too late for being sentimental. I’m in the here and now, and I want time to come to a standstill. Even though I know it won’t.

This fact doesn’t stop me from wanting my kids to always look for my hand when they cross the street, to always demand one more cuddle before turning off the light, and to have the need to ask me why the Tooth Fairy has taken three days to show up.

When they grow up, if my kids happen to come across a time travel–enabled DeLorean, I’d hope for them to choose 2016. I would love for them to be reminded of how they were when they were really young and how we were as a family, before they turned into teenagers who want nothing more than to leave us and our small town.

Chances are I’ll be just as confused to see them as I am when I look at today’s calendar.

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Unapologetic Parent on The Huffington Post Sun, 10 Jan 2016 19:16:53 +0000 Trish Bentley, editor of The Purple Fig, has started writing a column for The Huffington Post, called Unapologetic Parent. Informative and relatable articles on parenting hot topics, “Unapologetic Parent” will examine the pressures and scrutiny parents often face when making personal choices on how to parent.


. Check out the articles below:


Stop Shaming Moms Who Bottle Feed


The Big Business of Baby Sleep Training


This Practice Will Help You Keep Your Cool With Your Kids

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A Letter To Depression Tue, 27 Oct 2015 22:35:49 +0000

Dear Depression,

It’s been a long fight hasn’t it? I still remember the first time you came. You didn’t saunter in. You didn’t even announce your presence. I had my back turned towards the door, I was looking out the window-trying to find the perfect moment to get swept away in the whirlwind of life. I had left the door open from my last visitor who finally got tired of throwing things around, who decided to leave when I was no longer the perfect puppet. I had just never turned around to close it.

And in you crept.

And even then, for the longest time I thought that the shadows that made their way across the floor was just the remains of the sun setting. And when the sun didn’t rise again, I thought the only thing wrong in the room was my lack of vision. Or else, surely, it must have been a hallucination. Because the sun had risen, I just couldn’t see it, right? And when the shadow fell over the trees, and I could no longer feel the warm breeze on my cheek, I still didn’t check to see if something was wrong. It’s just one of those days. The wind doesn’t feel like blowing today. Doesn’t feel like lifting me up and twirling me around. That’s okay. It’s just a few hours, right?

Just a few days?

Just a few weeks? 

Just a few months?


And I only turned around when there was a chill in the room. When I thought that the draft must be coming from the door and obviously not from the open window and so I had decided to close it before it got even colder.

And you announced yourself.

At first, I thought you were just another one of my guests. Completely black, sweeping away everything in your path with one swift draw of your cloak. Maybe it was just another hallucination? How long had we stood there, staring at each other? Waiting for one to make the first move? To start this torturous game?

How long?
But I guess you finally got tired of waiting. And I got tired of expecting. Because when you whispered to me, your sharp words couldn’t find any resistance in my mind. And when you took the beautiful strands of my thoughts and very precisely sewed them together just so you could add it to your cloak, I didn’t do anything. I was too busy trying to convince myself that it was an illusion. That it will pass. I was too caught up in accepting the fact that you were no longer a visitor, but that you had been formed out all of the dark crevices found in my mind.
Then you got closer; instead of the words you decided were too weak, you had moved on to actions that were sure to make me snap out of my illusion.
And when you twisted my arm behind my back, I never cried out mercy. I thought it. But I didn’t call it. Because
I knew you wouldn’t let go, and no one would ever make you.
And when you landed the first punch, I was a little shaken but still standing. You applauded me for my efforts. And then you knocked me down. You threw so many hits I couldn’t find a way to defend myself, couldn’t find a way to stand, couldn’t find a way to call out, couldn’t give myself a chance.
And so I bled.

And when you finally stopped, when I was so broken and bruised that each movement sent a fresh wave of agony, you-in an act of kindness-offered me a choice. In one hand, you held out a small bottle. Glass, tiny, and it glittered in the fading light if I remember correctly.

Do you remember?

Clear liquid that flowed like a stream over a solitary path of pebbles.

Release, you promised.

And in your other hand? A closed fist.

Choose carefully, you warned.

But I was in too much pain to think carefully. Was in too much pain to consider the past and the future. The ripple effect I may have through these empty corridors. All I could hear was myself, frantically trying to pull a breath through broken ribs. All I could see was the darkness coating the walls, the window that had long since been closed. All I could think was mercy.

And so I chose the bottle. I knew it was poison. But it was not your gentle whispers that this would be a balm to my suffering that made me accept the bottle. You had given me two options but really only one choice. To accept the closed fist would mean endless torture. To accept the small bottle would mean peace. Was I wrong in my thought process then? The strands that were now frayed and cut could find no connection between reality and pain.

No, I would suffer no longer. We both thought that you had won.

But you lost.

I didn’t know it. And you didn’t know it.

But you never closed the door behind you.

And when someone walked by the long deserted hallway, when they saw me raise the bottle to my lips, they raced inside and snatched it out of my hands. And although first shocked, I quickly transitioned to tears. To have release be snatched away!

You had not become the villain, this outsider had.

I had screamed with all the breath I had left to give it back to me.

And you tried to get it back for me as well. But you couldn’t touch them. And when you tried to conjure a new bottle they snatched it out of your hands every time.

I begged.

I screamed.

I cried.

I fell silent.

They banished you to the corner like a misbehaved child and then in a loud voice called out to others. They tended to me until all I has left was scars. They scrubbed and wiped the walls clean and got rid of the darkness when they brought in the light of love. They pulled and pushed at the window until it finally opened. They dragged me to the window-unwillingly I might add-and forced me to see the sun. Forced me to feel my hair flowing back off my face as the wind caressed my skin.

But you would not be forgotten.

You whispered to me from your corner. You held one last bottle that they hadn’t managed to take away. And I don’t blame you for what you did. And sometimes, I will visit you.

But I will never submit to you.

I will never allow myself to mistake you for a friend.

I will never allow you to completely control my life.

I will never allow you to banish those who saved my life.

I will never allow you to close the window again.

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How Women Today Can Find Parity And Purpose Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:00:33 +0000 From Being Equal Doesn’t Mean Being the Same:

Starting a business is killer hard and frequently all-consuming. Yet it’s been attracting women at all levels, in every location and in greater numbers than at any time in history.

Far from being Plan B for women who can’t make it or a part-time stopgap for stalled careers, women most often start enterprises nowadays because in a wide range of circumstances it’s so plainly the better option.

If women can’t find the flexibility they need in a corporate setting, they figure they can do it if they set their own hours and agenda. When you’re the boss, with or without employees, you have the satisfaction, the privilege and sometimes the indulgence of making your own compromises. No one chooses for you. That freedom can be exhilarating for women – or, uhmm, “liberating.” Often, it starts with having a baby.

Is it any wonder so many professional women are jumping off corporate ladders and opting out of male-run companies to assume the reins of their time, lives, family and future?

Let’s be clear. The current American workplace is an entirely different playing field than existed mid-20th century. Better educated and skilled, shaped by a half-century of advances and freedoms, women today have their pick of unparalleled options. No matter that men still relinquish power only reluctantly. Starting with the 1940s wartime reformation, once women integrate any working ranks—in construction, sports, politics, finances, unions, symphony orchestras, the presidential cabinet and on and on—the genie never goes back into the bottle.

Ongoing challenges do not belie the dramatic inroads women have made across the business landscape. Likewise, urging women to start their own enterprises has nothing whatever to do with whether selected women can perform as leaders of global conglomerates or commanders of corner offices. Of course they can. But, same as most men, the majority of women have neither the chops nor the drive to ascend to Fortune 1000 CEOs (though we know women have a much lesser shot at it).

It’s precisely because of all the choices women fought for and secured, not despite them, that so many women now are questioning how best to expend their well-honed talents, energy, passions and abilities. Why keep struggling for pay and parity within rigid corporate precincts when the lines keep wavering, the goalposts keep moving and the battle is never won?

It might just come down to time and money. How much of each is important to you? How much of each are you willing to sacrifice? How well can you adjust to the corporate sandbox, which hands men the shovels while women get the buckets? How much frustration and lack of recognition can you swallow?

We each have only the one life, typically the one family and, usually, only a couple of decades or so to build a career, though that window is widening with longevity and advances in technology. In many respects, women have a way broader continuum for work and life choices than do men, with many more potential roles and transitions.

So what’s worth doing?

With patently difficult paths for women in the corporate arena, and having “leaned in” so long and so hard that thousands of women professionals are bent double, women are increasingly deciding to run their own shows.


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What Mama Didn’t Tell Us….about HORMONES Mon, 28 Sep 2015 17:40:35 +0000 maininnerimageWMDTU



Wednesday November 18th, 2015

6:30 – 10:30 pm


Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave


What Mama Didn’t Tell Us is an intimate uncensored cocktail Q&A evening taking place on Wednesday November 18, 2015 from 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm. Think wine, education, and frank interactive Q&A with our audience of over 100 local women. Featuring Cynthia Loyst, Co-Host of CTV’s The Social, this event boasts a lively discussion with a panel of entertaining, brutally honest women who have made a living studying and discussing the nature of the female experience. Panelists include Kathy Buckworth, six-time author and parenting expert; Dr. Stacy Thomas, clinical health psychologist; Social Common, moms from the wildly popular online show Social Common. 


Cynthia Loyst, Co-Host of CTV’s The Social, on Twitter

A passionate advocate for healthy sexual information, Cynthia Loyst (@cynthialoyst) is best known for giving advice and opinions on the joys and complications of love. She’s also known for being an enthusiastic user of the word “labia.”

A multi-faceted writer, public speaker, and host, Cynthia has shared her expertise on THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, ETALK, CTV News Channel, 99.9 Virgin Radio Toronto, 103.9 Proud FM Toronto, 104.5 CHUM FM Toronto,, and TVO. She’s also a certified relationship coach which is a lot like a sports coach but with less yelling.

Previously, Cynthia was the host and producer of SEX MATTERS and the documentary series SEXTV for which she interviewed a wide range of experts including academics, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, celebrities, and fetish enthusiasts.

Prior to THE SOCIAL, Cynthia co-hosted the daily, national entertainment program INNERSPACE where she was able to combine her passion for love with her passion for geekdom. She also got relationship advice from Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), parenting advice from Jonathan Frakes (STAR TREK), and talked about defining sexiness with Idris Elba (LUTHER). 

Cynthia is a graduate of York University’s Film and Video Department where she also studied with York’s Women/Gender Studies Department. She has received awards from SSSS (Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality) and a Sexual Health in the Media Award from Planned Parenthood Toronto. She is SAR (Sexual Attitude Reassessment) certified, a member of SIECCAN (Sex Information and Education Council of Canada), and continues to take ongoing courses in human sexuality.

Kathy Buckworth, six-time author and parenting expert, on Twitter

Kathy Buckworth is an award winning author of six books, including her latest “I Am So The Boss Of You”, published by Random House. She is a columnist with The Huffington Post, Post City Magazines and writes regularly for other national publications. She is the parenting and travel expert for Tim Horton’s TimsTV and has been a regular on CityLine and CBC’s Steven & Chris, and is a regular contributor on CanadaAM’s Parenting Panel. She is also the Chief Family Advisor for Presidents Choice Financial and Loblaws PCPlus program, and acts as spokesperson for companies such as Nintendo, Microsoft & Hallmark. Kathy has a regular travel segment on Sirius/XM Canada and writes travel features for Metro News, the Toronto Star and the Vancouver Sun. She travels and works a lot because she has four children and they cost a lot of money and also because she needs the break.

Dr. Stacy Thomas, clinical health psychologist 

Dr. Stacy Thomas, is a Clinical Health Psychologist who is skilled at helping people navigate and overcome life’s big challenges, particularly those affecting their physical health. Over the past 15 years, she has worked as a member of several multidisciplinary health care teams, treating patients with a range of conditions, including chronic pain, musculo-skeletal injuries, cancer, and diabetes. Now in private practice, Dr. Thomas has expanded her expertise in health psychology to concentrate on women’s health, including those with mental health challenges associated with pregnancy, postpartum, menopause, and infertility.

In addition to assisting those in need, Dr. Thomas is passionate about teaching people how to apply psychological skills in order to become their best selves.  Her work helping clients make healthy lifestyle changes has had her sought out as an expert for presentations to the general public, medical professionals and in the media. 

Social Common, mom experts and YouTube show hosts, on Twitter

Dr. Dominika Zarzeczny, ND and Hormone Expert

Dr. Dominika Zarzeczny N.D. is a licensed naturopathic doctor based in Toronto. She is registered with the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy of Ontario, is a member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and is a member of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors.  Dr. Dominika received her undergraduate degree from the University of Ottawa in Biopharmaceutical Science and her Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto. While earning her stripes as an expert in treating women’s health and menopause, Dr. Dominika developed a special interest in mental health – including stress management, depression, anxiety and PTSD. She has been a guest speaker on topics such as chronic stressADHD and depression in menopause.



Get your early bird tickets now for $35, includes a glass of wine :) $45 after November 1st. 

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