I Want to Win

"Everyone was saying I should be happy with how I played and stuff. But, like, I don’t care about that. I want to win." 

The quote above is from an article written by Patrik Laine, right-winger for the Winnipeg Jets. The article generated buzz on social media for a number of reasons, including Patrik's self-professed love for my hometown (fuck the haters, Winnipeg is good). But it was the insight into the inner monologue of a professional athlete that has stuck with me. Even though I'm partially allergic to exercise, I relate to it. I also want to win. 

My partner learned this recently when we played badminton together for the first time. I hadn't played in eons and forgot most of the rules but that didn't matter. I went in hard. After volleying for a bit, he commented on how I was better than he anticipated. I gave my best "awwww, shucks" face and continued with my strategy of playing to his strengths while blinding him with mine. After all, I'm not there to look cute while feeding into someone else's ego. I always bring my A-game. I'm there to win. 

I recently had a psychometric assessment of my personality done at work. To no one's surprise, I came out as an extreme type-A, being very purposeful and structured with tremendous attention to detail. But also competitive. Very competitive. In fact, it was the highest rated quality of my persona at 98% (and it was my competitive side that wondered if anyone ranked higher). I did shrink a bit as our team compared notes, wanting to conceal what I initially perceived as a negative trait, but I'm learning to embrace it more openly. This aspect of my personality never stems from a dark place, only one of potential betterment (for myself and, I believe, others). For example, I would never aim to "win at all costs". If my body, mind and accumulated skill level can't get me to succeed on their own, I see it as a means to improve myself, not cheat. This is where the challenge of competition can lead to great things. It can motivate. It can elevate. Picture a world in which the genius of Thomas Edison wasn't feuding with Nikola Tesla. Imagine where we'd be without the duelling technological might of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Being inspired to evolve, rather than simply adapt, is what gives humanity purpose. 

It also reminded me of a piece of advice my father, also a former athlete, once gave me eons ago: 

"Don't lower yourself to anyone else's level. Make them rise to yours."


Press clippings from my father's hockey career. In this, he is pictured in the middle row, far right (©Deborah Clague). 

Press clippings from my father's hockey career. In this, he is pictured in the middle row, far right (©Deborah Clague). 

Press clippings from my father's hockey career (©Deborah Clague)

Press clippings from my father's hockey career (©Deborah Clague)

A letter inviting my father to attend the Winnipeg Jets training camp in 1969 (©Deborah Clague)

A letter inviting my father to attend the Winnipeg Jets training camp in 1969 (©Deborah Clague)

Homecooking

Pizza is one of my favourite foods. I would claim that, over the years, I have become somewhat of a pizza aficionado. I have my favourite restaurant for sauce. I have my favourite restaurant for quality – and variety – of toppings. I know the difference between New York, Chicago and authentic Roma styles and regularly indulge in a slice or two (or three ... or four) of each. But in all my years on this planet, I have never made a pizza at home. To be fair, I had no reason to. I didn't know how to cook and it was honestly just easier to wait a few minutes for delivery.

But all that has changed now.

For this weekend, we made a homemade pizza from scratch and it was life-changing. 

I combined this Bobby Flay recipe for the dough with this ultimate pizza sauce recipe, along with the freshest mozzarella I could buy, hot pepperoni, white onion and green pepper to make one of the best pizzas I've ever had! Seriously. The dough evolved into a perfectly thin crust that allowed the savoury and robust sauce and fresh-from-the-market toppings to shine through. Cost-wise, this was definitely no $5 Little Caesars take-out. I estimate that it cost $27.50 to make two pies, not including our time and labour. 

But I'm not sure I can go back. This was THAT good. 

I'm planning to make/freeze dough and sauce in advance so that I can insert this into my regular meal rotation. It's taken awhile but now that I am limiting processed foods to as few as possible, it's only natural that my favourite food gets a fresh makeover. 

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Vintage Travel: Dubai

Was hit with a bit of inspiration today and now want to create a series of vintage-style travel posters based on places I have been. In particular, I want to explore different – and unexpected – ways of incorporating colour in my designs. First up: Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which I visited in 2016.

Connect with me if interested in purchasing a signed, limited edition print. 

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June 1956

My mother, age seven, at her first communion at Saint-Boniface Cathedral in Winnipeg, Manitoba. These are the first images I've seen of my mother as a child. They are beautiful and haunting, depicting a life that I am connected to yet I look at in wonder, as it feels so very, very foreign to my own upbringing. 

First communion is an important rite of passage for followers of the Catholic Church. The tradition takes place when a person first receives the Eucharist (a commemoration of Jesus' last supper) signalling confirmation in the faith. Religion had a large influence on my mother throughout adolescence and young adulthood. She attended mass every Sunday. She even attended a Catholic school where she was taught by nuns (later intimating that she was physically abused by them). Eventually she would part ways with the ceremonial aspect of Catholicism, becoming disillusioned with it, but the core teachings it instilled in her – to always aim for moral good and have belief in the power of prayer – remain to this day. On this note, another beautiful, haunting image that will always stay with me, not caught on film but seared into my memory for eternity, is of my mom feverishly praying during the final months of my father's life. She always believed. Always. Religion carries some. It awakens others. 

In contrast, I am not baptized and have never even set foot in Church. 

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And Repeat

It shouldn't need to be said, but here we are (again): 

Women, all women, should have agency over their own bodies. 

Absence of no doesn't mean yes. 

Coercion is not consent. 

It's not up to women to change how they react. It's up to men to change how they act in the first place. 


The public response to the Aziz Ansari story has been disturbing – and triggering – to watch unfold. People, including many women, surprisingly, are describing the event as simply a "date gone bad". But is it really? Maybe it's because I've been in a similar situation and know the god-awful dread of feeling trapped in the presence of someone that is making it clearly known they don't respect you and won't adhere to your persistent wishes but I feel this was not simply courtship gone awry. This is premeditated behaviour meant to demean and dehumanize women for the sole benefit of male ego. And it is more common than you think. 

The debate seems centred on defining degrees of severity regarding sexual assault but conversation should actually be about consent. There are no shades of grey when it comes to consent. Just yes or no. If a woman is not into your advances, then leave her alone. Period. Don't badger her. Don't further try to coax her. Just stop. 

"Well, she could've just left."

Well, HE could've just stopped. 

"Well, she should've known better."

Well, HE should've known better. 

As a society we've consistently denied women sexual autonomy, then act surprised when women have trouble asserting themselves when it comes to sex. This story is not just about an anonymous woman dubbed Grace in the media who was appalled that a celebrity she looked up to didn't live up to her ideal. This is about all the Graces, the Carols, the Deborahs et all that have learned to be accommodating towards men in difficult situations because eventual compliance can be the only weapon we have against escalation towards something worse. This is about how much of one's dignity we are willing to negotiate away just to secure a relative feeling of "safety". This is about male entitlement in all aspects of society.  

The balance of power sits with men.

The balance for change needs to sit with them as well.