What will you become today?


What will you become in 2020? by Amanda Ramsay, FolWoman
I'm focusing on helping where I can and ensuring I take responsibility for my own accomplishments & efforts this year. I was always happy supporting others' visions because I failed to see the value in my own vision(s). 
These days I am far more confidant than I used to be because I know what I am capable of. The only reason people fear for me is because they really don't see the depth to which I ponder or consider. 
People have called me a "Philosopher at Heart." Instead, I consider "FolkWisdom" more my thing. I don't like to define boundaries. Typical communications are all about arguments, "persuasive essays," or "Policies." I don't think we need anymore excuses to argue, we need more excuses to cooperate and collaborate.
I have lived and worked in over a dozen different communities and went to 13 schools in 12 years. I have been across this country many times, sometimes on my own dime and sometimes on someone else's. I have 15+ years in sales, marketing & advertising. I grew up with an entrepreneur / contractor family with a Dad who is Red Seal certified in three different trades. I've taken a broad scope of educational programs myself and that likely won't stop either. For example, I took medical terminology in grade 9 while the other gals in my school were training and trying out for volleyball or basketball. 
After I was hit by a truck in 2014 Work BC encouraged me to "retrain" so I took 4th Class Power Engineering. I don't think there is anything too complicated for my brain. 
In fact, I have custody of my daughter solely because I refused to adhere to the system, the way things are, rather-I see things as they ought to be. I didn't assume I needed a lawyer, I assumed the system had a way for me to be able to represent myself, and I was right. I heard many lawyers say "Well, if you want to win...."
“Divorce lawyers stoke anger and fear in their clients, knowing that as  long as the conflicts remain unresolved the revenue stream will keep  flowing.” A quote by Craig Ferguson, from his book American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
 
Oh, don't worry you overpriced policy pundits, I Won
My ex and I had a toxic relationship. He is a good man, but together, we were not a good match. He is now with a woman and they work so well together, but during our break up, he and I were not nice to one another. Although there was a lot of control going on from his end, the lack of respect was flowing out of both of us for different but equally legitimate reasons. However, at the time I couldn't, as the mother of a two year old, conceivably leave our daughter with him. He was prone to tuning out people including me when he was upset and it had gotten so toxic that he was deliberately neglecting our child to hurt me. He no longer does this, but marriages breaking apart will do that to some. 
Reese Witherspoon from "Sweet Home Alabama" saying "Get your stubborn self down here and give me a divorce."
In reality, neither of us is negligent or hurtful, but in that moment as people without coping skills, we didn't know how else to go about getting what we needed. 
In 2008 my ex husband had been laid off in PG and we moved to Whitehorse when he was offered a great paying gig up there. I was pregnant at the time. 
I realized very quickly the following things: 
  • I'm a BC girl and always will be.
  • the trees are too tiny in Yukon, they look like toothpicks sticking out of the earth.
  • I was alone. Completely.
I wouldn't wish the pregnancy or labour I had on anyone, so I won't go through the details, but it left me broken, vulnerable and traumatised. My ex husband had no idea what to do and is non-communicative by nature, we began splitting up the moment we moved to Yukon. 
My daughter and I after her birth, May 2010.
Ultimately, I realized that divorce was impending and if I wanted to get home to BC with my family (and my daughter in tow) then it was going to be very difficult. During our breakup my ex told me I wasn't allowed to leave Whitehorse with our daughter or he would call the cops and tell them I had kidnapped her. I've met many women and men who have been charged with this; it's legitimate. If I had left Whitehorse without my ex's permission, the cops would've seized her from me, charged me with kidnapping and thrown me in jail. The custody battle would be over before it began.
Scene from Legally Blonde, Professor Stromwell (played by Holland Taylor) says: If you're going to let one stupid prick ruin your life, you're not the girl I thought you were."
 
I was trapped until I could get the courts to give me permission to leave Yukon with her. If I was denied permission, then I guess I was going to be stuck there for the remainder of my days with no family support. For my kid, I'd have done it. Meanwhile, I had worked for about 3 months and then been put on sick leave. I had no relationships, friends or even work acquaintances. 
When I went to legal aid to ask for help (I have never completed my degree, so I do not earn "degree" wages, but I still have "degree wage" student debt) they told me that I would be "assigned" a representative-if, I qualified. But, I didn't qualify. 
“Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught." Quote from Honore de Balzac
I made $40,000 a year, you could only qualify if you made under $30,000. I was paying $1200 a month for a studio suite, $860 per month for childcare, and I didn't qualify for child care subsidy in Yukon while still married to his "wages." And yet, he refused to pay child support or childcare for her first three years of life. Marriage never put him in a sharing mood.  When we were still married, he would make supper for himself but not make enough for me or his daughter. It was my opinion that though we had signed marriage paperwork, we never really were married. He wasn't going to financially support our daughter until a court told him he had to. I believe because during the pregnancy he'd really invested a lot of his emotions into having a son, and when we had a daughter, I think he was legitimately disappointed. He became depressed and solitary. Today, you see him look at his daughter and you know he loves her, but I think he had to understand the value of women first. 
GIF saying "Boys will be held accountable" after the animation crosses out "Boys will be Boys."
Carrying on with the story: I do well with policy language, legal jargon and lexicon; I was able to ask the free law-line which precedent-setting case would define my fight in the court of law. The fellow from Yukon's law-line defined a family battle that occurred in Alberta. The father had applied for permission to move the child out of their county, but he had been denied. Judges are required to outline exactly why a person didn't meet the requirements for their legal request. In this way, the first case tried in any issue is the pathway that others use to judge similar cases.  
I took this case to be the bible for my own situation. If I could prove that I had a good reason, a good job offer, better culture, or socialization, etc., then maybe, I could persuade a judge that I ought to have permission to take my daughter out of Yukon. Then, my strategy was to deliver a persuasive argument: with me, she would not only be taken care of and nurtured, she would blossom because my whole family and network of support existed in BC. My ex was also alone, although he had friends and teammates in the Yukon now, he didn't have a network, even his network of family is in BC.
“For there is but one essential justice which cements society, and one law which establishes this justice. This law is right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions. Whoever neglects this law, whether written or unwritten, is necessarily unjust and wicked.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
I represented myself in the Supreme Court of Yukon in a trial regarding custody and getting permission to take the child out of territory against the wishes of the father. It is one of the single most difficult cases to prove to a family court judge; so much so that seasoned lawyers regularly refer to it as a crap-shoot because there's usually little that separates the parents. How could anyone choose between two people? Well, when I thought about it in this way, it became an easy task: convince the judge that my daughter would not only fare better with me, but would have opportunities to excel. 
I believe that there are no bad people or parents, there are people with the tools to teach and raise others without hurting them, and then there are those without those tools. Some parents choose not to go out and get the tools they need to raise their child: the emotional, physical and financial commitments that it takes to raise another human and its psyche. My ex, at least after he and I broke up, was not ready to take on new tools for our daughter. He'd failed to learn new tools just to make our relationship work, tools of communication among adults; I doubted our toddler was going to be able to keep him on track. (It took two years to get custody.)
"The minute you read something that you can't understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer.” Will Rogers
My first affidavit was two inches thick. It contained affidavits from mutual friends and acquaintances that showed my ex was not ready, and that's putting it nicely. For example, he would honestly just forget that our daughter needed regular diaper changes. Our relationship was such though, that if I suggested "hey, could you change her diaper?" he would deliberately not do it. So, of course I worried. I began developing major anxiety in a way I had never experienced it. My mother had always been protective and anxious, but now I was feeling the shaking and rumbling of fear in my own gut because this time it was my child to fret over. 
Sylvester the Cat from Looney Toons shakes and spills coffee as he's trying to pour it. His eyes are too wide and filled with circles. His body is the only thing moving and it does so in a jerky style.
On September 6th, 2012 I won custody of my daughter and left Yukon at 4:30 am on September 7th, 2013 and moved to Prince Rupert where I was hired by North Coast Hospitality as their Sales Manager in order to build and grow their corporate portfolio. And did I! I was able to raise corporate fiscal commitments by 32% and in less than a year, they sold to The Prestige. 
I have a brain for how things should be. But so do you. When you feel frustrated and upset at something, that is your brain sending hormones out to your body trying to get you to respond. It's begging you to interact, begging you to make change. 
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow raising an eyebrow.

I responded by becoming a legal superhero. What will you become today?

Remember, it's a new year. 

Get rid of resolutions and just go do something worthy of your time, talents & efforts. You won't regret it. 

Thanks for coming by. 

Amanda Ramsay
FolkWoman
Signature Block image, "Your Publisher, Amanda Ramsay" Logos for FolkWoman, Rabble Rouser & Folk Living.

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