APeeling
Domestic
Abuse
Living
in Fear
Leading
in Crisis
November 2020

Publisher: MarketAPeel
Editor: Shanon Peel
Design: Shannon Peel
APeeling Magazine is published by
MarketAPeel
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All rights reserved. No part of this
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Photo by Blake Peel
live fearlessly
It does not mean without
. fear, it means, live Life
despite The fear

Photo by Blake Peel
Shannon’s
Thoughts
I just launched a new product, a
digital magazine called, Your Own
Magazine. A customizable digital
platform with ipbook features for
readers on computers and laptops.
For mobile device readers, a spe-
cial version to make readability and
interaction on the smaller screens
more enjoyable.
Whenever I publish a new
issue of APeeling or launch a new
product, I feel fear. Will it be re-
ceived well? Will others judge me
as not good enough? Is it going to
work or will I put in lots of effort for
nothing? It’s the unknown. I don’t
know what is going to happen and
I am putting work out there into the
digital world to be judged as worthy
or unworthy of attention and com-
pensation. As a solopreneur, it is all
on me and there is no one to sup-
port me if I fail. I’m it. Win or Lose.
Being on your own can be
scary. I know I was scared to start
out on my own. But I did it. I tried
and yes I am scared of what my
future holds. I’ve let fear hold me
back for too long. It is time to live
my dream and if I end up alone and
on the street, at least I gave it a go.
This issue is about fear. It
seems like a good topic considering
the uncertainty of the world around
us right now. I wanted to look at
what fear was and why it holds so
much sway in how we act and the
decisions we make.
It is also November, which
is domestic violence awareness
month in Canada. Many are living in
fear of an abuser, so this issue has
a secton dedicated to their plight.
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Our primal minds are all about
survival and when it feels uncom-
fortable, it spins out of control to
get us to act. It feels something is
wrong deep down in our gut and it
wants the feeling to go away, so it
cycles through problems, stressors,
and regrets trying to determine the
threat causing the feeling.
 When we consciously ana-
lyze the situation. Break it down.
We discover the situation is not as
scary as we thought and nowhere
near as stressful because it is under
our control to act on a solution,
so why is our society lled with so
much fear?
 A poll by the US National
Mental Health Association found
that 85% of Americans believe that
the USA will experience a terror-
ist attack in the near future and
Living in A Fear Filled World
Click the Peel to continue reading
by Shannon Peel

John felt like he was always
ying off the handle with his
team at work. It seemed like
everyone was unhappy and no
one was good at their job. Af-
ter his team missed yet another
deadline, he brought them to-
gether to discuss the problem
and nd a solution.
He started the meeting
by saying, “Well, you all did it
again, missed the deadline and
now we all don’t get the bo-
nus.” He grabbed a report and
ipped the pages. “Stacy, do
you even know what you’re do-
ing? It looks like you slapped it
together last minute.” The rest
of the meeting continued the
same way with others taking
by Likky Lavji
Critize or Complain?
Click the Peel to continue reading
Leading in Crisis with Character
In my opinion, there is not
enough discussion about good
and bad examples of character
in the day-to-day operations
of our organizations. Even in
the best, most reputable orga-
nizations, I suspect that small
breaches occur each and every
day. And without more explicit
conversations at all levels by all
team members, I do not be-
lieve our organizations, in fact
our society, will be able to nav-
igate the complex challenges
facing us in the years ahead. It
is time to put leadership char-
acter at the top of our list of
priorities for individual and or-
ganizational development.
The good news is there has
Click the Peel to continue reading
by Shakeel Bharmal
Bananas & Cucumbers
A New Future For Journalists
Are you planting bananas and
expecting to pick cucumbers?
Small business owners who are currently
not generating enough money and would
like to, fall into one of two categories
Journalist jobs are in free fall.
From 2008-2018, newsroom
jobs declined 25%.
The world of marketing is returning to
its roots. Storytelling. Mankind has al-
ways passed along important information
through the telling of stories. It’s how the
human brain works

Everyday Beauty
Did you ever consider being a
professional artist?
Meet Emilie Fantuz, a young Vancou-
ver artist and learn how she coura-
geously embraced her passion for art.
Just Sign it
A #ThatsLife Story
Brace for Impact
Are you making an
emotional decision?
Whether you stay married or
get a divorce is a big decision
which is fraught with emotion.
Finding support to help un-
derstand what you want is the
key to the answer.
A story of domestic abuse during
Covid-19. Shut behind doors in fear.
He crossed a line she never thought
he would and she had a decision to
make. Stay or go? When the world is
fearful, it can be magnied for those
who already live in a home of fear.
Marriage or Divorce?
In Canada November is Domestic
Violence Awareness Month
A section is dedicated to those who have survived and are go-
ing through domestic violence. With the second Covid wave,
some are at risk of increased violence from a loved one due to
increased stresses and fear. It is important to keep the lines of
communication open with those you suspect are suffering by
calling without shame, blame, or advice.
Brace for Impact: A Covid 19 Abuse Story
Why Do They Stay?
Psychological Abusers
Why I stayed: A survivor’s story
The Food Bank Line
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This Month’s Contributors
Shannon Peel Shakeel Bharmal
Emilie Fantuz Gil Gerretsen
Ash Lawrence Anthony Gruppo
Cameron Chell
Nina Thiara
MarketAPeel Clients
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Meadow Hygiene
The city noise penetrates my
sleep and I wake, alone, feeling a fore-
boding, an unease, a fear deep in my
gut. Flashes of incomplete thoughts
play in front of my mind’s eye scaring
me. The feeling in my gut gets worse
as its knots tighten growing the fear.
Rent is Due
Tasks not done
On my own
Failures play out
It takes time for the cobwebs to
clear. For the generator to turn on and
kick start my conscious mind. As my
consciousness comes back online and
my eyes begin to focus, I stretch and
my tummy rumbles - I’m hungry
Our primal minds are all about
survival and when it feels uncomfort-
able, it spins out of control to get us to
act. It feels something is wrong deep
down in our gut and it wants the feel-
ing to go away, so it cycles through
problems, stressors, and regrets to try
to determine the threat causing the
feeling.
When we consciously analyze the
situation. Break it down. We discov-
er the situation is not as scary as we
thought and nowhere near as stressful
because it is under our control to act
on a solution, so why is our society
lled with so much fear?
A poll by the US National Men-
tal Health Association found that 85%
of Americans believe that the USA
will experience a terrorist attack in the
near future and 41% said they feel fear
(Widmeyer Research & Polling, 2004).
There are countless polls and stud-
ies proving we are living in a time of
heightened fear.
One of the reasons is our daily
dose of media consumption, whether
it is traditional media outlets or social
media. To increase viewership news
Living in a
World of Fear
By Shannon Peel
media makes stories sound as dramat-
ic, threatening and urgent as possible.
The result is 24/7 drama and danger,
“contributing to what George Gerbner
called ‘the mean world syndrome’—
the sense we have, based on a steady
supply of frightening and threatening
news, that the world is a riskier place
than it actually is.” (Gerbner & Gross,
1976). We carry our news in our hands
and talk about it on our screens. It is
everywhere and the media has proted
from a decrease in censorship and an
increase in news consumption.
The news used to only be report-
ed at 6:00PM, then the early news, the
morning news, and CNN brought 24-7
news into our homes with images of
war, crime, and dangers from around
the globe. Something happens in New
York, suddenly we think it could hap-
pen down the street from us. It’s a pos-
sibility but is it a probability?
Censorship used to ensured
kids did not see images on TV. Today,
everything is available to kids online
and on their TV screens.
Children no longer feel safe. Af-
ter Columbine, the number of school
shootings has increased and the safety
features put in place to ensure their
safety, makes the fear all too real for
them. In my day, we had re drills. To-
day, schools have lock-down drills in
case of a shooter in or near the school
and too many of them have experi-
Be present. Take a close look
at the world around you and ground
yourself into your reality. Focus on the
moment you are in and not in the fu-
ture or the past. The only time you can
control is the moment you have right
now. What is happening right now is
real, everything else is possibility or in
the past.
Act. Whatever you are scared of
do it. Stare it in the face and act. If you
are scared to go outside because you’ll
get Covid but you need groceries, then
mask up and go to the store. By doing
it you will remove the possibility with
reality and when it is real you can re-
duce the risk by protecting yourself and
control your response by being mindful
of what is happening.
We live in a world of perceived
fear. You can choose to live in the emo-
tion of fear or to take the steps to be-
come more mindful and rational about
what is really happening in your world.
Poll
Choose as many as apply
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John felt like he was al-
ways ying off the handle with
his team at work. It seemed like
everyone was unhappy and no
one was good at their job. Af-
ter his team missed yet another
deadline, he brought them to-
gether to discuss the problem
and nd a solution.
He started the meeting
by saying, “Well, you all did it
again, missed the deadline and
now we all don’t get the bo-
nus.” He grabbed a report and
ipped the pages. “Stacy, do
you even know what you’re do-
ing? It looks like you slapped it
together last minute.” The rest
of the meeting continued the
same way with others taking
Keynote Speaker | Facilitator | Consultant
APeeling Columnist
up the blame game to direct
John’s attention elsewhere.
He left the meeting drained
and confused. He knew the
team was made up of skilled
and experienced individu-
als who should be hitting the
team’s targets easily. Were they
the problem, or was he? When
he mentioned this problem to a
friend, he invited John to join a
Mastermind group to help him
nd a solution.
 John told the Mastermind
group about the meeting and
how disappointed he was in ev-
eryone and the meeting’s lack
of solutions. The group listened
while he expressed his frustra-
tion, then they gave him con-
structive feedback. Brian asked
him, “John is everyone on your
team incompetent?” John as-
sured them they were all com-
petent and talented individuals.
They just were performing be-
low their potential.
 Sarah went on to explain,
“If you criticize their work con-
stantly, you are setting the
tone of the group to be one of
criticism and blame. They will
not perform for fear of getting
yelled at by you.”
 This made sense to John
and he wanted to make a
change. Sarah introduced him
to the complaint formula for
communication created by Dr.
John Gottman.

The Complaint Formula
Dr. John Gottman rened
the skill of effective complain-
ing down to a simple, three-
part formula. With a little prac-
tice and persistence, it will help
team members to talk to each
other without doing harm.
Express how you feel
Effective complaints are
best launched by stating how
you feel. A feeling may be an
emotion like anger or fear, or a
physical state like tiredness or
pain.
It moves away from blame
and personal attacks, which
accompany criticism, and often
begins with absolute phrases
like “you always” or “you nev-
er.”
Talk about a specic situation
After stating your feelings,
describe the situation or behav-
ior that caused that feeling.
This approach removes the
personal blame which results in
attaching negative attributes to
character, abilities, or talents.
You are saying the behaviour is
at issue, not the person.
It is along the lines of, hate the
behaviour not the child. Par-
ents who focus on the child’s
shortcoming through blame
Do you
criticize
other’s work?
and shame attack the child’s
worth. When they focus on the
behaviour, they empower the
child through learning and de-
velopment.
State a positive need
Finally, ask the person to
take positive action to resolve
the complaint.
Using this formula doesn’t
guarantee complaints will be
resolved. It does give teams
a tool they can use to express
their complaints without the
risk of their requests being
sidelined by a team member
who feels the need to defend
against criticism.
Let’s apply this formula to
an issue John raised, and Sta-
cey’s response to see how the
discussion could have ended
differently.
John: I feel frustrated
(here’s how I feel) when you do
not turn your work in on time
(about a very specic situation).
Can we walk and talk for a half
an hour to develop a solution
to this problem (expressing her
positive need)?
Stacey: I feel overwhelmed
(how I feel) by all the extra de-
mands the team asks of me
(about a very specic situation).
I need to know what to do and
when. (express a positive need).
Do you expect
perfection
from others?
 John: I’m afraid (how I feel)
the project won’t get done on
time because we are waiting
for your report to be complet-
ed (about a very specic situ-
ation). I don’t want you to feel
overwhelmed or stressed. How
about you make a list of every-
thing you are being asked to
do and together we prioritize
the items to ensure everything
gets done on time (express a
positive need).
Stacy That’s fair. 

While a resolution isn’t guar-
anteed, effective complaining
enables team members to en-
gage in conict and achieve
resolutions, which criticism puts
out of reach. When resolutions
are out of reach, people be-
come marginalized and either
they leave or are let go resulting
in more work for the rest of the
team.
 Many teams thrive in spite
of  unresolved conflict.
Many individuals learned
to tolerate conicts by com-
plaining instead of criticizing.
But they also have a powerful,
secret ingredient: they diffuse
the tension that builds up when
discussing these issues by tak-
ing responsibility for their ac-
tions, xing their mistakes, and
appreciating the efforts of other
members of the team.
 When team members
diffuse the tension, they are
enabling the other team mem-
bers to feel safe and included
instead of pushing them out
of the group or silencing their
voices.
 John learned that as a
leader he needed to dene the
culture to encompass a non-
critical environment and keep
everyone accountable to being
less critical of each other. By
focusing on the situation and
positive solutions to the prob-
lem, without blaming anyone,
the team felt safer to open up
and seek help from each other.
 By using Dr. Gottman’s crit-

ical formula to communicate,
team members were clearer in
what the issues were and what
they needed from each other,
which enabled them to solve
problems instead of creating
them. It took time for individ-
ual team members to change
their communication habits, but
once they did, the team was
exceeding productivity goals
and coming in before deadline.
The result was a team which
worked together in a safe and
results focused environment.
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While there has been much
public discourse in the last few
years about leader character,
for the most part, these discus-
sions seem to be only amplied
in the media when a breach of
trust occurs or a gross display
of a lack of integrity is demon-
strated by a public gure or
leader.
In my opinion, there is not
enough discussion about good
and bad examples of character
in the day-to-day operations
of our organizations. Even in
the best, most reputable orga-
nizations, I suspect that small
breaches occur each and every
day. And without more explicit
conversations at all levels by
all team members, I do not be-
lieve our organizations, in fact
our society, will be able to nav-
igate the complex challenges
facing us in the years ahead. It
is time to put leadership char-
acter at the top of our list of
priorities for individual and or-
ganizational development.
The good news is there has
been some great work done
on this subject recently. Each
and every one of us has access
to this solid thinking, with a
well-dened language, which
we can use to drive change in
our own circles.
In the early 2000s, I was
working as a management con-
sultant at a top rm. I still have
a lot of respect for the leaders
and colleagues I worked with
there. The character of these
individuals was one of the key
factors in my choosing to ac-
cept their offer of employment
when I graduated from busi-
ness school.
Leading in Crisis
with Character
By Shakeel Bharmal
It was demonstrated very
clearly in how the leadership
managed the bursting of the
tech bubble. While many of
our competitors were laying
off employees in the face of
declining client engagements,
my rm came up with some
creative options to keep most
of us employed. These includ-
ed giving staff the opportunity
to volunteer for up to a year
at a non-prot at partial sala-
ry. I beneted from a different
program, which allowed me to
take 2 months off without pay
to spend time with my newborn
son but with a guaranteed re-
turn to work date.
However, while the econ-
omy was resetting from the
bursting of the tech bubble, an-
other set of forces was already
in play that would result in an-
other crisis just 8 years later.
The 2008 nancial cri-
sis was a human-made crisis
caused by a widespread break-
down of leadership in compa-
nies and governments in some
of the strongest economies in
the world.
Early in my tenure, I was
assigned to a small team to
help develop a proposal for an
engagement with a major US
retailer. The retailer was look-
ing for assistance to develop a
new business unit. I was excited
to get that call. It was a plum
opportunity for a recently-mint-
ed MBA. As I was briefed, I
learned that the aim of the
project was to launch a new
business which offered credit
to a segment of the retailer’s
customers. But as the days pro-
gressed, and I conducted my
research into this segment, I
grew increasingly uncomfort-
able.
The segment was made up
of low-income, underemployed
families with no assets. These
families were eager to accept
the nancial boost that came
from access to credit with-
out fully appreciating the risk.
Lenders were eager to give
these families the credit, be-
cause they sold the debt any-
way, absolving them of the risk.
I submitted the approach
and workplan for the pro-
posal, went on my winter va-
cation with my young family
and put the brief assignment
behind me. Upon my return, I
was staffed on another project
which I felt much better about.
It has been 18 years since
I worked on that proposal but,
this past year, I have been
thinking a lot about that time.
When I was getting un-
comfortable about the nature
of the project, why did I not
speak up and express my con-
cerns? If I had, would it have
changed anything? Was it my
place, as a new junior employ-
ee, to express my concerns?
And if I had said something,
what would my leaders have
said or done to me? I think
these are very important ques-
tions of character.
After some reection, I
have come to the conclusion
that, at the time, while my re-
search into the subprime mar-
ket might have triggered my
“Humanity,” my “Courage”
as a new junior employee was
underdeveloped. I suspect this
was also the case for 1000s of
employees working in the orga-
nizations that were contributing
to the coming storm.
I also believe, as I reect
on my experiences, that as I
became more senior at the
Listen
rm, had I spoken up, I would
not have been ostracized. I
don’t think my words would
have made any difference in
the grand scheme of things,
but I would not have been hu-
miliated or penalized for speak-
ing my mind. I don’t think that
was necessarily the case at oth-
er organizations.
I am grateful that in the
months and years following
that brief, 3-day assignment, I
was exposed to ideas, leaders
and cultures that enabled me
to build a foundation of leader-
ship competence, commitment
and character, including cour-
age. I like to believe this lead-
ership character has contribut-
ed to my positively inuencing
the organizations I have been
part of since that time. But, like
everyone else, I remain a work
in progress.
Subscribe to APeeling
Shakeel Bharmal is a
leadership coach and
speaker. For more
informtaion about his
services, click the peel
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The Place
of Fear
by Anthony Gruppo
While helping Anthony write his latest book, Pushers of the Possible, I could not
fathom someone so capable, condent, and composed feeling fear, so I asked
him. Here is an excerpt from the book, Pushers of the Possible.
 Fear is a strong emotion
meant to keep us safe from the
real dangers to our well-be-
ing, health, and lives. In today’s
world, we fear unreal dan-
gers, which are introduced to
us through news, Hollywood,
marketing, and our political
leaders. The more we have, the
more we fear losing it and then
we spend more energy protect-
ing what we have than risking
to get more.
 Anxiety is on the rise in
teens and young adults, as
they strive to do everything
they need to do in a day. It is
becoming an epidemic in our
society as people live in fear
of losing, being judged, and
failing. Many give up or don’t
even try because fear tells them
they won’t make it so, they
might as well escape into mov-
ies, video games, social media,
alcohol, drugs, or a host of oth-
er addictive escapist behaviors.
 Some people wake up
afraid of what will happen next,
when the shoe will drop, which
curve ball will hit them, or when
the rug will be pulled.
The more these people fear,
the more their fears are prov-
en right as they lose again and
again. If you are in a place of
fear, you’ve already lost. If you
dwell or ruminate in a place of

fear, you are in a losing posi-
tion.
 To overcome your fears
and move forward, acknowl-
edge it, understand what you
are afraid of, and then decide if
the fear is real or manufactured.
 How much money do you
have in the bank? How much
do you need to make rent?
What will it take to get it? Can
you get a job? If you cannot
nd work, can you nd a proj-
ect or a contract? Have you
looked hard enough? Be hon-
est with yourself. Have you truly
done everything you possibly
can to nd work to pay the
bills? You may not like the solu-
tion, but you have to realize it is
only a short-term situation and
you can handle the situation by
making the necessary choices
to move forward.
 I have found people I can
trust throughout my life and
have surrounded myself with
helpful people by being helpful
myself I start by helping others
rst and learning about them as
I do, this way I nd the people
I can trust to help me when I
have condence cracks.
 I’ve been afraid. I know

what it feels like to be disap-
pointed. I’ve been anxious. I
have believed I wasn’t enough
and didn’t have what it took.
I know the taste of fear. I just
don’t swallow it. I roll the fear
around in my mouth, use my
other senses to touch it, smell
it, experience it, to get to know
the edges of it. I know what I
don’t want to happen. I know
what I do want to happen. I un-
derstand what I am really afraid
of, and then, I drive myself past
it.
Anthony Gruppo is an In-
ternational CEO, Speaker,
Author, and servant lead-
er. Click the Peel to learn
more.
Available on Amazon
Can you Find 10 Differences?
Answer key - click Peel
F
earlessly
To Live
Lose
Control
Control
I asked my LinkedIn followers
to dene fear and this is what
they said:
Jessica Coulthard
I like to reframe it to EXCITE-
MENT about the unknown
Will Mackey
Fear is not being able to have
control of the unknown, wheth-
er it be real or imaginary.
Ken Baldo
Fear is the opposite of love.
Most fears are False Evidence
Appearing Real.
Tammy Boljuncic
Fear immobilizes us, paralyzes
physically and mentally high-
jacking our ability to act in any
rational manner.
It takes the life out of our lives
and has us repressing, oppress-
ing and supressing until we
regret not doing something to
save ourselves from shame and
guilt. It holds us hostage , not
for ransom, but in exchange
for our soul and purpose on
this earth. It kills us slowly while
stealing our self worth, so that
we having nothing left but
tears.
Writers use emotion to
motivate characters and move
them through their story. The
two strongest motivators for
human behaviour are fear and
love. Both are on either side of
a weight scale and still interact
to fuel each other
An author can use the fear
of losing a love or a child to
motivate a character into ac-
tion. She can use the fear of
never nding love to create
conict and depth in a char-
acter. Fear of being hurt by
someone we love to keep a
character stuck and distanced
from their target; love. Fear of
being loved so much that the
character can’t reciprocate, can
inspire self awareness or intro-
spection.
We fear that which we do
not control. Think about it.
Fear of loss - We can’t control
if something is lost or someone
is lost.
Fear of object - The object is
in control of our response and
our safety
Fear of future - No one con-
trols time, the future, the past
or right now.
Fear of the unknown - You
can’t control what you don’t
know
Fear of people - Can’t control
the actions of others
Fear of public speaking - Your
inability to control what they
will say or think when they pay
attention to you
So, if we want to live a
fearless life - We need to lose
What is Fear?
by Shannon Peel
control. We need to let it go,
accept it, and trust that things
will be as they will be. We need
to see things for what they real-
ly are and not what they might
be.
Due to global communica-
tion our world is micro and we
fear things that are not a threat.
We create threats. We are our
own worst enemy because we
have irrational fears, anxiety
and panic attacks. We start hid-
ing from the world, shutting off
from those around us becom-
ing isolated.
All one needs do is watch
the news to know we are in a
state of fear. Covid, protests,
violence, division, and personal
attacks.
It can be a scary place if
we focus only on what we can-
not control. By focusing on
what we can and acting accord-
ingly, we can go out and suc-
ceed.
I live in fear every day, but
I do not let it stop me from
trying to succeed. Yes, I am
scared, but I’m still here trying!
How does
fear fit into
your story?
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 The economic decline be-
ing experienced by the news
industry may precipitate one of
the biggest marketing shifts of
the next ten years. Here’s why.
 The Free Fall of Journal-
ism: Journalist jobs are in free
fall. In the 10 years ending with
2018, newsroom jobs declined
25%. But in 2019 and 2020, the
bloodletting has been horric
for journalists. This is happen-
ing not just at newspapers, but
also magazines and digital me-
dia. There is no longer a safe
haven in the news business and
journalists are desperate to g-
ure out their next move. The
traditional news business is not
coming back and they know it.
 The Return of Storytelling:
At the same time, the world
of marketing is returning to its
roots. Storytelling. Mankind has
always passed along important
information through the telling
of stories. It’s how the human
brain works best. The rise of
the internet took us away from
that for a season, but now that
information has become abun-
dant and functionally free, peo-
ple are no longer enamored or
interested in information. They
seek relevance and authori-
ty. That is best accomplished
through storytelling.
 The Emergence of Social
Media Fatigue: While these
above mentioned changes are
active and visible, there’s a third
and related trend impacting the
world of marketing. People are
getting weary of social media.
A New Future
For Journalists
By Gil Gerretsen

They nd themselves wasting
too much time on senseless
scrolling. They are increasingly
frustrated by people’s increas-
ingly unpleasant online be-
havior. They nd themselves
actively distrusting the social
media platforms. As a a result,
more people are either reduc-
ing their activity, disengaging
for a period of emotional recov-
ery, or deleting their accounts
entirely. People are looking for
better and more trustworthy
ways to know what’s going on
in the world around them.
Five Year Career Shifts:
Twenty years ago we saw the
emergence of computer pro-
grammers as a force in busi-
ness. They changed the world.
Fifteen years ago we saw the
emergence of graphic design-
ers as computers allowed them
to polish the look and feel of
marketing materials. Ten years
ago, we started seeing the
emergence of website design-
ers who combined program-
ming skills and graphic skills to
build amazing online marketing
machines. Five years ago, we
Wasting Time?
saw the rise of app develop-
ers who took their skills and
insights to the world of mar-
keting through phones and
tablets. The realignment and
redeployment of journalists is
next!
Journalists Leave The
Cocoon: There’s a powerful
marketing storm on the hori-
zon that is creating a fresh op-
portunity for savvy marketers
and journalists. Skilled journal-
ists are trained to write and tell
stories in a memorable way.
Few programmers, graphic
designers, or app developers
have that skill. As the world
of marketing embraces story-
telling as the best way to get
messages across, companies
will need skilled storytellers.
Larger companies will hire jour-
nalists (or teams of journalists)
to become their corporate sto-
rytellers. Many more journal-
ists will start creating fractional
agencies where they split their
“freelancer” services across
multiple clients -- much like
programmers, graphic design-
ers, and app developers have
done in the past.
Why It’s Smart to Hire
A Journalist: The era of inter-
rupting potential customers
with self-centered “marketing
material” is ending. Compa-
nies wil l be forced to migrate
towards creating and offering
interesting stories and insights
that intrigue people and caus-
es them to seek out a deeper
relationship. Having a journal-
ist on your team who can do
this will set you apart from the
competition and give you a
signicant edge in the market-
place.
Journalists Think Differ-
ently: Of course, a journalist
thinks very differently than a
marketer, so if you hire one,
you need to be aware of the
differences. First, they are ac-
customed to deadlines and
often thrive with the associated
adrenaline rush (even if they
complain about it). Second, by
virtue of their training and eth-
ics, credible journalists can’t
and won’t spew out corporate
gobbledygook. Third, their nat-
ural ability to sift through in-
formation and opinions, weigh
options, and then write clear
stories means they will see op-
portunities that more tradition-
al marketers might miss. You
need to provide transparency
and give them comparatively
free reign!
 The Bottom Line: The sto-
rytelling shift is inevitable. Cor-
porate journalism will become
a signicant new career path.
Journalists who become cor-
porate storytellers will become
the best way to connect con-
sumers to the people behind
the products and services that
will lead the way in the coming
decade.
Gil Gerretsen . a veteran
marketing consultant,
business builder, and
turnaround specialist
Think 
Differently

Are you planting Bananas
& expecting to pick Cucum-
bers? In my experience life
is all about cause and effect,
do you remember learning at
school that every action has an
equal and opposite reaction?
Call it what you like, cause and
effect, sow and reap, action &
reaction one thing is for sure
we are all currently getting the
results of the action we have
taken in the past. So I’m sure
that you, like me, will agree
that if we want something dif-
ferent we need to do some-
thing different!
As a psychologist I am al-
ways looking at the Behaviour
of my clients, and come to
that, at a lot of the people
that attend ABC Networks and
what I see is people getting a
poor result and then moaning
about it… How crazy is that?
Psychologists are con-
stantly trying to prove or dis-
prove theories and a theory
that I have knocking about
in my head at the moment is
this… Small business owners
that are currently not generat-
ing enough money and would
like to, fall into one of two cat-
egories…
1 – They don’t know what to
do to.
Or
2 – They know what to do but
don’t do it.
If they don’t know what to
do then that’s easy to x; nd
out what you need to learn and
then Do It Now!
Bananas &
Cucumbers
By Ash Lawrence
The second group is some-
what harder to solve as they
really do need to ask them-
selves why it is that they are not
taking action on the knowledge
that they have. For instance, do
they really want what it is they
say they want?
I speak to lots of small
business owners and I’m
amazed at how many people
seem to have a different view
of the sow and reap theory, for
example they go networking
don’t engage with people,
they don’t get any business and
then say that networking
doesn’t work. They then try a
different networking group,
don’t engage again and funny
thing is they don’t get any busi-
ness again. Is this group 1 or 2?
This behaviour isn’t just
restricted to networking events
either, it happens in other areas
of their business. A business
owner I met recently was telling
me about his current cash ow
issues and how he gets ahead
for a bit and then the same
thing happens. I asked him
what his systems were for col-
lecting money from his clients
and he said he hasn’t got time
to put any systems in place be-
cause he is always chasing sales
so he would have enough cash
to pay his bills… Is this group 1
or 2?
One thing for sure is
that it is absolute
madness, to keep
doing the same
thing and expecting a differ-
ent result, it’s just like planting
bananas and expecting to pick
cucumbers! It doesn’t work…
If you are happy with the
result you are getting, that’s
great. If not and you want a
different result, then do some-
thing different and if that
doesn’t work do something dif-
ferent and if that doesn’t work
do something different! Are
you getting the picture?
First of all you need to
know exactly what result it is
that you want and then you
need to measure every day
what has worked and what
hasn’t. Every day I ask my-
self have I moved towards my
target or away from it. If I’ve
moved towards it, great, I’ll
do more of what I did. If I’ve
moved away from it, I’ll change
what I did, it’s really quite sim-
ple.
It doesn’t matter what we
do in life we can’t plant banan-
as and pick cucumbers.
Ash Lawrence is the
Flip Flop Psycho who
helps people change
the ‘Cause’ of their
results!
Video https://youtu.be/1k4eY2q_RoQ
Either you live life or
live in fear of it
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content library lled with generic
evergreen content which they can use
for their own social media posts
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About Cameron Chell
Cameron Chell is considered
a ‘serial entrepreneur’ with his
rst ventures beginning at age 14
and a trajectory in business that
spans more than 25 years. He is
the co-founder and CEO of the
Business Instincts Group (BIG) and
BUILD Impossible. He has launched
numerous successful tech start-ups
such as Dragany Innovations (CSE:
DFLY) (OTCQB: DFLYF), ColdBore
Technologies, Raptor Rig, Urthe-
cast, KODAKOne and Currency-
Works (TSXV and OTCQB: CWRK).
His entrepreneurial success is
based on principles of clear vision,
quantiable results and tireless pur-
suit of goals.
A sought-after speaker, Chell
has addressed audiences of thou-
sands in settings around the world.
His presentations include speeches
at the United Nations, Tony Rob-
bins, and TEDx Montreal Women.
His talks touch on themes ranging
from technology to homelessness
as he shares his life experiences of
overcoming hurdles and doing “the
impossible.”
Cameron Chell
Gets Schooled
Everyday
Beauty
From her favorite place in
her Vancouver art studio along-
side her artist husband, Emi-
lie Fantuz has built a life and
career from the moments that
most bring her joy—everyday
beauty. After discovering the
medium of oil paint and pal-
ette knives that would ignite
her art while living immersed
in the beauty of Hawaii, Emilie
found her time in Michigan and
subsequent move to Canada a
welcome adventure but it was
everyday life that honed the
practice that would ultimately
birth Emilie’s success and hap-
piness.
Emilie cultivated a practice
of seeking beauty in unexpect-
ed places—the reection of a
bluesky and white clouds on a
skyscraper’s glass side, the col-
orful lights of store signs shim-
mering on wet streets. Finding
beauty in the unexpected has
not only brought Emilie person-
al joy, even helping her carve
a new life in a different coun-
try, but has also developed the
quality that makes her work
powerful both for her audience
and herself—authenticity.
Every artist must consider
the question of who they paint
for and why. Do they paint for
collectors and nancial suc-
cess? Do they paint for an au-
dience and their acceptance?
Do they paint for themselves
and their own happiness? Each
answer comes with its benets
and challenges. In her pursuit
of authenticity, Emilie’s choice
to paint only what draws her
eye and stokes her passion has
culminated in both an unmis-
takably unique body of work
and a lifelong practice of fol-
lowing her bliss.
 It’s the courage to take the
path that calls to us, regard-
less of whether others can see
or understand this path, that
leads us to the life of authen-
ticity, beauty, and joy we all
desire. In art, Emilie found a
never-ending adventure with
limitless potential for growth
and exploration. It’s this search
for the moments of everyday
beauty—palette knife in hand,
working beside her life part-
ner—that shows Emilie Fantuz
she’s found her path.
Emilie Fantuz is an artist, using oil
paint and palette knives to create art
that preserves a glimpse of beauty in
the subtle scenes we often overlook.

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Marriage
or Divorce?
By Nina Thiara
 I support women, like you,
make the most critical decision
of their lives, whether to leave
or stay in a marriage.
 It was my own personal
journey of going through a di-
vorce that made me passion-
ate about helping other women
gain clarity on whether they
should leave or stay in a mar-
riage that isn’t working.
 I was so unhappy in my
marriage that I decided to sep-
arate from my husband. I feel
in some ways my decision to
separate was done in a reactive
mode without fully feeling my
emotions. I did not fully explore
all my options before making
the decision to separate. When
I separated, I was angry at my
partner and I was coming from
blame.
 I then got myself in the
busy mode of taking care of the
children, managing the house,
nances and going back to
school. Everything a person
who is going through a heart-
ache will do to x the problem
on the outside.
 I failed to look at my EMO-
TIONS and really hone in the
ROOT cause of me wanting to
leave. The busyness was a dis-
traction and was a temporary
solution. When the busy-ness
subsided, I hit depression and
that’s when I realized that if I
wanted to really leave my hus-
band from a fully empowered
place, I rst needed to accept
my situation for what it was.
 I needed to feel my emo-
tions and gain the clarity I
needed to leave or stay from
a place of forgiveness, grati-
tude and acceptance. It doesn’t

mean that the journey ahead
was going to be easy, what it
meant was that I could take full
responsibility for my journey
without blaming anyone. If I left
from a place of blame, I knew I
would continue to re-create the
same problem somewhere else.
That’s when I decided to
do the deep inner work need-
ed to make a clear decision of
whether to leave or stay. What
was interesting that the emo-
tions coming up were my own
suppressed emotions from
childhood that I had to work on
feeling and releasing. Although,
prior to doing the emotional
work needed, I put all the blame
on my ex-husband, but after
doing the work, I realized that
what I had in my marriage was
what I subconsciously co-creat-
ed based on my own family his-
tory.
I not only had to heal my
marriage, I also had to heal my
childhood programming and my
cultural beliefs around relation-
ships. Once, I gained the clarity,
not only the depression lifted
and I healed, I also was able to
leave my ex from a good place,
keeping the future of my chil-
dren secure and emotionally in-
tact from any effects of divorce.
I also took care of my nances
so I didn’t go broke after di-
vorce, but had a future cushion
for my children and me.
I really want the same for
you. If your marriage is worth
saving, let’s work together to
explore that option, if it doesn’t
have a potential to be saved,
let’s not leave from a place of
anger and blame. The world
needs happy women so do our
children.
To explore the option of
whether to leave or stay sign up
for my free product where I will
share 3 challenges women face
when it comes to making the
most critical decision of their
lives, whether to stay or leave
in a marriage that isn’t working.
Nina Thiara is a Divorce Coach who
provides her clients with the emo-
tional clarity they need in making the
decision whether to leave or stay in a
marriage
Subscribe to APeeling
In Canada November is
Domestic Violence Month
As an adult, wife and
mother, I thought I had pre-
pared myself for the worst of
anything. I was always an in-
dependent being, resourceful,
willing to learn, grow and de-
velop into the best version of
myself. I didn’t suffer from any
diagnosed anxiety, other than a
self-diagnosis of being able to
cope effectively with quick re-
exes and a penchant for prob-
lem solving. Bring me the prob-
lems as I attacked them with
vigor, logic and experience. But
nobody prepares you for your
own trauma. Nobody.
I became a statistic of
domestic violence during
COVID-19. My husband
crossed the line I condently
told others many times over he
would never cross to physical
abuse or harm to myself or my
children. With that assault came
shock, disbelief, and a ight
response I didn’t know existed
in my being. I was a ghter…
and I chose not to ght back. I
simply couldn’t believe it hap-
pened. There was no warning,
no air bag with oxygen mask to
drop from the ceiling, no pam-
phlet to inform me of a water
Brace for Impact:
A Covid 19 Domestic Abuse Story
The following stories were submitted to APeeling for Anonymous pub-
lication. I applaud their courage in leaving a bad situation and sharing
their stories to inspire others to nd their courage. Domestic abuse is a
pandemic, one many ignore because it make them uncomfortable.
landing. Nothing.
Current state of affairs in-
cludes a steadfast routine of
counselling, seeking wisdom
and a path to end a marriage
that had been overdue to be
ended, but with children in-
volved, it’s not always easy.
Pandemic or not, there is no
easy time to go through some-
thing like this. To try to make
sense of anything is part of the
healing and it’s going to be
scary, hairy and purposeful. I
refuse to become a victim by
sharing my story, albeit anon-
ymously. Keep in mind that’s
just for now as I seek to protect
myself and my children through
our healing. And one day I will
be proud to call myself a survi-
vor.
5 months later...
The aftermath.
A lot can change in 5
months. That impact resulted
in a time of extreme growth.
I chose to commit to working
and healing through the impact
and its aftermath. Aftermath is
commonly related to negative
events and I’m not going to lie,
our aftermath included a very
ugly relapse of alcohol abuse,
continued verbal and emotion-
al abuse to both myself and my
children. My aftermath also had
positive results. Most impor-
tantly, I found my voice. I found
my voice and most importantly
the words to conclude that I
refused to live any more days
unhappy and in a situation that
clearly needed my voice to
move forward to work towards
a life of happiness and joy de-
spite the growing pains to our
new family dynamics, a naviga-
tion of recovery, and becoming
a single parent.
In this aftermath, the grass got
cut and regrowth is a very won-
derful thing. The grass is green-
er where you water it, even if it
got cut short.
-Still Anonymous
Domestic Abuse is up in 2020
According to St. Joseph’s SADVTP
St Joseph’s Hospital is located in London Ontario Click for more info.
When someone is physi-
cally assaulted it is easy for us
to believe the person is abused
and needs help. However,
when the abuse is psycholog-
ical it can be easy to dismiss
as over sensitive or looking for
sympathy instead of help.
The person may not know
they are being abused and
slowly, over time their self-es-
teem is worn down until they
believe they don’t matter, are
unworthy of help, and are
numb to the humiliation and
degradation. They may even
welcome it because it feels nor-
mal to them due to condition-
ing over time.
To undermine your self
esteem, the abuser will humil-
iate and criticize constantly to
reinforce the idea that you are
nothing. An abuser may con-
stantly call you stupid or have a
derogatory “pet name” for you.
They will do their best to assas-
sinate your character by saying
you are not “good enough” by
accusing you of “always” being
something negative, incapable
of being successful, or unwor-
thy of good things. Words hurt
and a psychological abuser will
use their words to demean and
break down the person they
claim to love.
Psychological abusers will
not hit you with their sts, but
they will with their voice. They
will yell, throw things, pound
their sts to scare you and
make you feel weak. They will
threaten you with violence or
something you are scared of
like being alone or losing the
kids. They will embarrass you in
public and push your buttons
every chance they get.
At the core of psycholog-
ical abuse is control and they
will do anything to ensure
Psychological Abuse

Shannon Peel

they control you. Monitoring
your whereabouts and digital-
ly spying on you so they can
nd something you are doing
wrong and punish you for it as
if you were a child. They may
even make important decisions
for you, like taking control of
your nances to make you ask
them for money.
Abusers have insecurities
and they want to ensure you
are beneath them in everything
so they will blame, accuse, and
deny ensuring they are right,
and you are wrong. They will
blame you for their abusive
behaviours, it’s all your fault
they are like this, they are re-
ally good, but you make them
bad. Or they will deny their
abusive behaviour all together
and tell you that you are imag-
ining things. They will gaslight
you by making you question
what you know to be true. You
agreed that if you bathed the
kids, he’d read them a bedtime
story. When it comes time to
read the story, he says you nev-
er agreed to that and contin-
ue until you think you’re crazy.
They will blame you for their
problems. It’s your fault they
have to stay at a job they hate,
even if you found them one,
they’d love but they choose not
to take it.
It is all about them and
they will emotionally abuse
you to ensure their feelings are
more important than yours.
They will demand you respect
them, but they don’t need to
respect you. They ignore you
when you need them or get
angry if they have to help you.
Some will isolate you from
friends and family to ensure
you are dependent on them
and alone without them. Your
feelings mean nothing to them,
they will ignore your pain and
say you are being “silly” for
feeling a certain way.
Fear is at the core of psy-
chological abuse. The abuser
uses fear to keep the abused
person under their control. The
abuser is also scared of being
alone, losing them, or being
seen as they see themselves.
 There are resources out
there for people who are
abused to help them to break
free and to heal.
 It takes time to heal and
those around you may not want 
to help you, hear you, or wait for
you to be better. Friends and
family may expect you to be
the person they think you are,
even though you are far from
it. This is why it is important
to nd resources, meet other
people who have gone through
what you have, and take time
to be alone to discover who
you are.

Women often stay because the
abuser has threatened to kill
them himself, or the children:
About 26% of all wom-
en who are murdered by their
spouse had left. Half of the
murdered women were killed
within two months of leaving
the relationship.
Women are 6 times more
likely to be killed by an ex-part-
ner than by a current partner.
Almost 60% of all dating
violence happens after the rela-
tionship has ended.
Women stay because
they are nancially dependent
on their partner. Women who
leave a partner to raise chil-
dren on their own are ve times
more likely to be poor.
About 1 in 5 single moth-
ers in Canada live on a low in-
come.
Some women stay because
they have strong beliefs about
keeping the family together.
Sometimes, relatives or in-laws
blame the woman for the vio-
lence and insist she stay.
The mental health conse-
quences of abuse can make
it difcult for women to leave
a relationship. Sixty-four per
cent of battered women exhib-
it symptoms of post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD).
Domestic abuse is often
a gradual process, with the
frequency of assaults and seri-
ousness of the violence slow-
ly escalating over time. Since
abusers often express deep re-
morse and promise to change,
it can take years for women to
admit that the violence will nev-
er stop.
The long-term experience
of being abused can destroy a
woman’s self-condence, mak-
ing it more difcult to believe
she deserves better treatment.
Why do Women Stay?
Click for sources and more info

The answer for this question taken from CanadianWomen.org Click button for more information

I was married to a psycho-
logical abuser for 20 years. Why
didn’t I leave in 2002 when I
rst thought of leaving? Why
didn’t I leave when my friends
offered me a place to stay?
Why didn’t I leave when he rst
said he wanted a divorce? Why
didn’t I leave when...? The an-
swer is fear.
I was scared of losing the
privilege of being with my kids
every day. They were my ev-
erything and the idea of not
having them in my daily life
was scary. Little did I know that
they were determined to come
with me and stay with me. A
few years later they moved out
on their own and I had to face
down my fear of them not be-
ing in my daily life and of being
alone in the world. Guess what
- I survived.
I was scared of pover-
ty. During the times when I
Why I stayed:
A Domestic Abuse Story
thought of leaving, I didn’t
have a job and no money.
When I did have a job, he de-
manded I pay 50% of all the
bills – sounds fair right? 50%
was always more than what I
made, and I still had to buy the
groceries and pay for the kid’s
extra curricular stuff. What do
you do when you need to pay
for something and you don’t
have enough? You use your
credit card. In the end, I had
no job, I had a credit card bill,
which my ex wouldn’t pay be-
cause he stopped paying any
bill that was in my name. Can
you guess where I ended up by
myself? You guessed it, in front
of judge admitting I was a -
nancial failure. I made payment
arrangements and a month
later, I nally got a job and af-
ter 2 years paid it all back, but
my credit rating was gone. He
didn’t pay much in child sup-
port and what I made barely
paid the bills, but we made it
through.
I was scared of being
alone. By this time, I believed I
was worth nothing to the world,
that no one could possibly
love me and I didn’t matter. If
I left, I would be alone for the
rest of my life and the pain of
that fear was worse than stay-
ing. When my marriage broke
down, I went out into the dat-
ing world trying to prove to
him that I could be loved and
be loved by someone amazing.
Well, that didn’t happen. I was
provided more evidence that I
was unlovable or only wanted
by men whose behaviour was
worse than my husbands. Fun-
ny thing, I am now happy with
being alone and the idea of a
solitary life no longer causes
me pain or fear, in fact, I enjoy
being alone.
I was scared of my par-
ents. This has got to be the
most irrational fear I had at the
time. I was scared that my par-
ents wouldn’t love me if I left
him. I had no good reason for
leaving besides I didn’t want to
be with him. He didn’t cheat,
he was responsible, and he
didn’t beat me. He only yelled
and told me all the ways I was
useless. Growing up, I was
taught marriage was forever
and you didn’t bail because
you were unhappy, you stuck
it out through the bad times
for the good times. Divorce for
the sake of divorce was unac-
ceptable and bad for the kids.
Never mind that my son was
begging me to leave his dad.
In the end, my relationship with
my parents is better than it
ever was. I now realize they will
love me even when I fall at on
my face. I know, I should have
known that before.
I didn’t see myself as be-
ing abused. I didn’t see his
behaviour as abusive. I didn’t
understand that I was in con-
stant fear of his moods and
believed what he told me,
“I didn’t deserve better.” He
didn’t want to be whipped and
doing anything for me meant
he was whipped. I thought I
was OK with never having help
and always picking up the slack
around the house because I
was more than capable of do-
ing it all, work, home, kids. His
constant criticism was normal
to me. I ignored him when he
blamed me for his lot in life and
the dust. I always get blamed
for the dust. I believed he was
the best partner for me be-
cause our strengths and weak-
nesses were opposite and he
forced me to do the things I
didn’t want to do, like clean
the house. Real romantic huh. I
look back now and wonder how
we stayed together so long.
After he forced me out of
the house, I started meeting
with lawyers and other divorce
professionals. Each one told
me there was government help
because I was an abused wom-
an. I’d stare at them blankly
and tell them I wasn’t. Then
they would explain how my be-
haviour and attitude was that of
an abused woman.
I was terried of upsetting
him. I wouldn’t demand full
child support and was willing to
take the pittance he offered be-
cause I was scared of his tem-
per. I didn’t think I deserved
my fair share and the only thing
I cared about was having the
kids with me full time. I’d sacri-
ce anything and everything for
that one thing. I am not a timid
person and I am smart enough
to know how to protect my
interests, still the idea of him
nding out I’d put a lien on the
house terried me.
 After 3 years, I nally got a
lawyer and I felt protected for
the rst time in years. He had
my back and a no contact order
to send to my ex.
 My recovery started on
that day. It was like a huge
weight of fear was lifted off me.
Every day since then, I have
gotten stronger, more con-
dent, and less afraid. I have a
lot of work to do still, but I can
be proud of myself because
I am a strong, independent
woman who doesn’t need a
man – Which is exactly how my
son described me soon after
the separation, I didn’t feel that
way then, I do now.
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Charlie’s Story
 Just sign the offer. I’m with
my client in the other board-
room waiting for her ex hus-
band to sign the divorce pa-
pers and settlement offer. He’s
drawn this out too long and
cost my client too much mon-
ey. It should have been simple,
easy, 50/50 split. No such thing
as an easy divorce. People think
the law is black and white, but
its not, its full of loopholes,
precedents, arguments, and
procedures.
 I like practicing law. I en-
joy putting a case together and
arguing the points to get the
best deal for my client. It’s like
a game of chess, you gure out
what your client really wants
and what they are willing to
compromise, then you build a
game plan.
 In my opinion it’s best
when my client makes the rst
move, that way we can ask for
everything they are legally en-
titled to and have more con-
trol over the chessboard at the
start. Then it’s just a matter of
give and take. She’ll give you
the car in exchange for the
home’s contents. He’ll give you
the savings account balance
and you waive rights to his pen-
sion plan. Figuring out what
the other side will be willing to
exchange and making the right
moves so my client will get
what she really wants.
 This case. Not so easy.
He decided to represent him-
Just Sign
By Shannon Peel
The Novel #ThatsLife was written as a serial
series. Each Issue of APeeling will include a
chapter for you to enjoy.

self. Never a good thing. He’s
cocky and believes he knows
the law better than I do be-
cause he read some textbooks
and got some free advice. He’s
using every trick he can come
up with to draw this out and
my client is left holding the bill.
Thing is, I still have one ace up
my sleeve and if we have to go
to court, I’m using it, that is if
my client doesn’t chicken out.
“Maybe we should just give
him what he wants. I don’t want
to do this anymore. I want it to
be over.” My client is pacing
back and forth. “I mean I don’t
really use the vacation house.
He can have it. I can’t take the
stress anymore.”
“STOP.” She stops pacing
and looks at me. “I know you’ll
give away the farm just to have
this over. You have to let me go
at him with everything. We’ve
been as nice as we can. If he’s
going to cost you more, you
have no choice.”
“I don’t know. I just can’t
do this anymore. The stress is
too much.”
“I understand. I’ve been
there. Right now, you’re only
ghting for what’s fair, in fact
less than fair. You’ve already
given him more than he’s legal-
ly entitled to. The mediation
judge is going over it with him
now. Let’s just wait and see
what happens rst.”
Judges don’t like it when
someone wastes the courts
Five Women
Navigating Life in
the 21st Century.
time or plays games to punish
the other party by using the
system, that’s what this guy is
doing. He thinks he’s pulling
the wool over everyone’s eyes,
but he’s not. I hate men like
him.
The door opens and the
mediation judge comes in.
“I am sorry, he won’t listen to
reason. I’ve tried explaining the
laws to him and what will hap-
pen if he goes to court. He’s
determined to play lawyer, he
wants his day in court.”
I smile.
“No. No. No. We should just
give him what he wants.”
“Sherry, listen. I know this is
hard.”
“It’s expensive that’s what it is.
And now you want me to pay
for experts.”
“I know. He wants it to be ex-
pensive for you. He’s punishing
you.”
“I know. I just. Oh I am tired.”
“We’ve talked about the next
step. Are you prepared to go
ahead with it?”
“Do I have any other choice?”
“Not really. This is for the best.
I know court is scary and that
you are scared about what a
judge will say. I can’t say for
certain which way it will go, but
if we do this, I believe you will
come out better off than that
deal we just gave him. OK?”
“Are you sure it’s going to cost
that much?”
“I’m afraid so, but if I’m right
then you’ll have the money to
cover it.”
She nods and I open my
briefcase to take out papers to
give to the mediating judge.
“I have a petition for a full psy-
chological assessment of both
parents, the children, and ev-
eryone who lives in the homes.
Names are there.”
“Let’s take a look.” He reads
the paperwork. “It all looks in
order.” He signs one copy and
hands it to me. He signs the
second copy to present to the
other party.
“I’m not done.”
He cocks his head at me,
curiosity in his eyes. I smile at
him and hand him another set
of papers.
“This is a letter stating my cli-
ent rescinds all offers up to this
point and requests copies of all
nancial documents again.”
“Again? Why do you want
those?” The judge asks.
“Because my ofce’s forensic
accountant believes he may
have some money hidden. He’ll
go looking for it now. Don’t tell
him we are looking.”
“They always think they can get
away with it.”
“I know. He’s not going to be
happy when he gets these. If
you want I’ll get security up
here before you present him
with the papers. He has a tem-
per.”
I turn to my client she’s as
white as a sheet, I’m scared she
might faint. I grab her arm to
guide her to the closest chair.
“What’s wrong?”
“I’m gonna be sick.” With that
she puked all over my new suit.
The Food Bank
By Shannon Peel
The Novel #ThatsLife was written as a serial
series. Each Issue of APeeling will include a
chapter for you to enjoy.
Sophie’s Story
I’m standing in line at the
local food bank. You know I
used to drive by here every day
and I had no idea it was here.
Funny.
It’s humiliating. I… Sorry…
I mean… I’m grateful.
I’m thankful that the kids are
at Rose’s place and not here.
I told her I had a doctor’s ap-
pointment, I couldn’t tell her
I was at the welfare ofce and
then coming here. I couldn’t.
When I checked in the nice lady
give me a card that says 3 and
another that says 2. This means
I’m able to collect food for 3
people and 2 school lunches. I
should be grateful, and I am in
a way, but I mean, it’s just, I’m
not supposed to be here.
I’m supposed to be able to take
care of my kids. I’m supposed
to be living in a nice house in
an upscale neighbourhood. I’m
supposed to be married with
2.5 kids and 2 cars in the drive-
way. That’s what adults are sup-
posed to do, right?
You know, I had that, I did.
Really. Before I had to leave.
I lived in a 5 bedroom house
on a cul de sac backing onto a
quiet green belt, I lived there, I
did, honest. I had 4 cars in the
drive way, well only one was
mine, the oldest one and the
other 3 were my husband’s…
Oh right, my ex husband, now.
I have to remember that.
It’s not fair. I did everything
right. I did what I was supposed
to do and here I am standing
in line for food other people
didn’t want. Well I guess it’s t-
ting somehow, because like this
food, I am not wanted.
Craig, that’s my ex. He still
lives in our 5 bedroom house.
He still has 3 cars and he still
has a good job. He hates his
job, but it pays good, it just
makes him miserable. It was
good enough to keep us in that
house. Good enough to keep
the kitchen stocked with food.
Good enough to keep the kids
in good quality clothes and lots
of shiny toys.
It is a good paying job. He
should be happy with it. He’s
not. Now that I’m gone he says
he will be. He’ll be happy now
that I’m not there.
I moved into a small 2
bedroom basement suite in an
old house outside town. Me
and my 2 kids. We t into it,
somehow. I sleep on the couch
because the nice lady at the
courthouse said it was better
for the kids to have separate
rooms cause they’re a boy and
girl. The courts will be happier
if they have separate rooms,
she told me. It’ll make it hard-
er for Craig to take them, she
said. I’m supposed to be giving
them the same life they had
before the separation, she said.
I’m not. I can’t. I don’t make
enough on welfare. Craig,
when he feels like it and I beg
for it, gives me a few hundred
dollars. I’d rather stand in this
line than beg him for money.
I wonder if she likes the kitchen
I designed? I miss my kitchen.
The thought of her, his girl-
friend, in my kitchen, in my life,
it makes me sick. The pain in
my throat burns it and my eyes
have started watering, right
here in this stupid line. I wipe
them away quickly. I hope no
one saw. I look down at my
feet. I need new shoes.
“Tuna or ground beef?” The
lady behind the counter asks
me.
“Ground beef.” I answer.
She gives me two frozen
packages. I shufe on to get a
couple carrots and some pota-
toes. I am grateful for the food.
I am. It’s just that I’m used to
roasts, steaks and chicken.
Ground beef? What am I sup-
posed to do with that?
Boxes of Mac n Cheese
made with toxic orange food
colouring. Craig would beat me
for feeding the kids this. They
aren’t allowed to eat this pro-
cessed food. It’s food though. I
can’t afford to say no to food.
Rose wants me to get a
lawyer and take him to court.
Demand child support and my
share. I can’t. She doesn’t un-
derstand. I’m not sure I under-
stand. When Craig told me we
were getting divorced, he told
me no lawyers. He’d be fair, he
said and we could do this with-
out the courts, he said. We’d
both be fair. This doesn’t feel
fair
He told me the courts will
mess everything up and cost
a bunch of money. Money we
could use for the kids. The law-
yers would take our kid’s mon-
ey. He said the courts would
decide where the kids lived.
We could do this on our own,
he said. He’d be fair, he said.
Can the court make the kids
live with him because he can af-
ford them and I can’t? He says
they can. The court lady said
she couldn’t say what a judge
would do. She said that the
court would assess each situa-
tion and do what was best for
the kids. What is best for the
kids?
My neighbour Liz, she
went to court and they took the
kids away. She used to have
them almost as much as I have
mine, all the time, but now she
has them only half of the time.
Liz said the judge hated her
and was unfair. Would a judge
hate me? Would he force my
kids to go live with him instead
of always living with me? I can’t
lose my kids. I just can’t.
I put the apples and orang-
es they’ve given me into my
bag, a weak smile on my face.
“White or Brown?” Another
woman asks.
“Brown please.”
She hands me two loaves of
day old bread and I’m grateful
for it. I am. Without this I would
have nothing.
“Are your kids allergic to pea-
nuts?” I shake my head. “Here
you look like you could use
this.” She passes me a large jar
of peanut butter and another
jar of honey. I can’t even afford
to buy my kids peanut butter
and honey. My nose is burning,
my eyes are blurring, I’m sob-
bing.
I feel someone’s arms
around me. It’s one of the la-
dies from behind the counter.
I feel her pushing against my
shoulder moving me towards
the back. Hide. Hide the bro-
ken woman who no one wants.
“Here sit down. Here’s a box of
tissues. Are you ok?”
Her words sound absurd,
but I nod. OK? Am I OK? Am I
ever going to be OK again?
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