Lisa Jane (My Big Sister!) – transcript

SPEAKERS
Lisa Avramenko, James Avramenko

James Avramenko 00:01
Friendless is presented by the Saskatchewan Podcast Network. My sweet babies. I’m back. It’s me, your host James Avramenko. Back from winter break with a brand new episode of Friendless, the only podcast about me losing all my Facebook friends, one hour at a time. And this week, I have a very special guest to kick start the second half of season three, my big sister Lisa. Lisa is a lawyer and yoga instructor who lives in Halifax and also used to hold me down and tickle me until I peed my pants, which instilled in me a lifelong fear of touch. We talked about being called to the bar, incremental social justice within systems of oppression, aggressive zoom angles, the tradition of old men in powdered wigs, trauma effects on memory, and hamsters. The episode is an absolute blast. And we will jump into it straightaway stick around to the end of the show. And here’s some fun updates on what’s coming up for friendless and in 2021 and beyond. But that is then and this is now. So for now, enjoy my interview with my big sister Lisa, here on Friendless. One of the one of the things I was thinking about in starting this show was Oh fuck, what’s gonna happen when I start having to have my family on? And so you’re This is a really exciting day because you’re my very first family guest. So welcome to friendless my big sister Lisa.

Lisa Avramenko 01:50
Thanks for having me. I feel very special to be here today.

James Avramenko 01:55
I feel God in this Chili’s. Right.

Lisa Avramenko 02:00
I gotta adjust this here with these laughs.

James Avramenko 02:04
Oh, it’s all good. I can fiddle with that later.

Lisa Avramenko 02:06
Okay, great. Um, so so I’m just this, this is an aside usually, like, pull your head away when you laugh, right? Like

James Avramenko 02:14
Yes, yeah.

Lisa Avramenko 02:15
Is there a name for that like in podcasting?

James Avramenko 02:18
Oh, my God, I have no idea. All I know is if I laughed directly into the microphone, I’ll blow some poor listeners ears out. So

Lisa Avramenko 02:26
I’ll try that. I’ll try that next time. I wasn’t. Yeah. Okay. Great. Good.

James Avramenko 02:30
So yeah, so like I say, this has actually been, this is a very monumental moment, because you are somebody who try you might you’ll never be rid of me. And so it’s a really exciting kind of exploration of that, that side of it of like, are family members, friends, right? Or do we just have to hang out at holidays?

Lisa Avramenko 02:53
Oh, my gosh, this is Rich. This is Rich fodder.

James Avramenko 02:56
Right. Right. So you know, so now Normally, I would, I would sort of kick the interview off by talking about like, maybe how we met or what we know about each other and how we sort of came to be but I’ve I have literally never known a world without you leering over me. And that’s true. This is accurate. So I guess, I guess, like, you know, you know, sort of leading question, how do you sort of summarize the way that you that you sort of spend your life these days? With all the different jobs that you do?

Lisa Avramenko 03:34
I’m like an onion. I have many layers. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s That’s a hard question to answer, because I know like business advisors tell you to come up with like, an elevator pitch about what you do. And I have never been too lazy to do that. So. But right now I’m practicing law part time, I took a 10 year break from the law after getting called to the bar 10 years ago, I immediately quit. And then I did, yeah. And then I started a yoga business. And I was doing that for the last 10 years. And I still do that part time, and I practice law part time. So that’s pretty much what I do for J. ob. But yeah, I, I guess that’s the summary. I don’t really have any persuasive sort of pitch related stuff behind that. But that’s kind of what I do. So feel free to ask me any more questions you have.

James Avramenko 04:29
You know what, that’s the interview. I think we’re good there. I think we got everything we need. just when you say called to the bar, like, do they like are they standing at a bar and they’re like, hey, Lisa. Hey, hey, come on over here. How does that work?

Lisa Avramenko 04:45
Kind of, I’m not really sure. It’s like, yeah, that’s a really good question. I don’t really I don’t even really know. I mean, they call the bar, like the membership. It’s basically the membership site for all the lawyers. But so my original bar call was in a courtroom and there was a judge and you had to get up and swear or affirm that you abide by the regulations of the barrister society. And then this year when I got called again, they did it online through zoom, which is amazing. And I was like, way less stressed by it. Because like, when you go into the courtroom, you have to wear robes, and they always kind of fit a little weird, and it’s all kind of very uncomfortable. It’s not really, it wasn’t really a fun experience. I know. It’s supposed to be like exciting, but the ceremony of it was kind of I just found it a little odd. So that’s the usual way they do it. But I think they had a couple bar calls this year that were just online. And I mean, who knows what will happen when things open up again, but they might just keep it online, which would be cool. So

James Avramenko 05:52
How many of those participants do you think were not wearing pants?

Lisa Avramenko 06:02
I’d say 80 to 90%? Yeah. Cause it’s quite a long robe.

James Avramenko 06:07
Yeah, right. Exactly. I also can’t feel like I just like, you know, it’s sort of like, what’s the point of pants?

Lisa Avramenko 06:15
Oh, my gosh. Yeah. When you’re like, maybe belly button up at the hot at the lowest. Why would you wear padnts?

James Avramenko 06:22
And that’s pretty risky. If you’re showing off that belly button.

Lisa Avramenko 06:25
I know. Right? That’s like a little aggressive actually. Yeah,

James Avramenko 06:28
they also don’t have like, the camera lens doesn’t work for that kind of angle. You’d have to be really far away from the computer to get your belly button in.

Lisa Avramenko 06:37
Like just shoulders and head. Yeah. Yeah, people just wearing crop tops. Like, no one’s even wearing a full shirt. It’s like, I just have a Dickey. Right.

James Avramenko 06:51
Just a little bib. I just, you know, and that’s not to say like, you know, I because, like, from what I understand, and you obviously will know far more about this than I do. But you know, Canadian law and tradition takes its cues off of British and Commonwealth law, right?

Lisa Avramenko 07:07
Yes, that’s right. Yeah.

James Avramenko 07:08
And so they’re building off of the sort of like pageantry and tradition of like, British lawyers, and they’re like, they’re how they have to wear their little wigs and their little curls, and they’re, you know, and and yeah, I can’t. I just can’t fathom how men men predominantly can take themselves. So seriouslywhile wearing these costume.

Lisa Avramenko 07:33
Oh, yeah. It’s so bizarre. It’s literally dress up. And but yeah, you’re right. I don’t either it it’s really hard for me to keep a straight face around those situations. Like what I did a a term in, in the UK of school. And they took us to the old courthouse and all these. Yeah, they took us on some tours around the old historic courthouses. And it was like, almost like me as a woman, sorry, there’s a we’re letting the dogs out here the doors. But like, as a woman, I didn’t feel even comfortable there. They were like, it was like, they were reluctant to even have me there. And they were talking about tradition, and how much tradition meant to them? And, and so I know, it’s just bizarre. I was like, okay, like, should I even be here, let alone You know, people of color or, you know, it’s just, it’s not diverse at all. So it’s, it’s, that’s always been a bit of a bit of a friction point for me with the law, because it’s like, do you work within the system and try and make positive change, because I really wanted to get back into the law to do some social justice work. But then I realized it would be a good fit for me right now. It’s a real lifestyle fit where I’m at, it’s, uh, I’m doing some of that. But it’s a lot of like, real estate law, wills and estates, like, very, sort of basic small town lawyer stuff. And it’s really interesting. But anyway, it’s just like, I just, I, that’s friction for me, where it’s like such, it’s so rooted in tradition, but this tradition comes from so much prejudice. And it’s basically people trying to keep, you know, make basically white people trying to keep their power, you know, in certain ways. And so, yeah, that’s always something I’m just thinking about and navigating and, and even like doing real estate law, we have to do these searches, like title searches to see if someone actually owns their property if they have title to their property in order to be able to sell it. But then I’m just like, Yeah, but we’re all on indigenous land. Like, it sometimes feels. Yeah, sometimes feels a little silly, like, so I don’t know if that really answers your question. But yeah, there’s definitely some arbitrary tradition that goes with it that I’m not super into, but I kind of tolerate in order to sort of, you know, move ahead, my own agenda of social change.

James Avramenko 09:58
Oh absolutely, I talk about that all the time. And I don’t think it’s something that is completely comfortable. I’m not completely comfortable with it myself, but it’s something that I feel like we sort of have to at some capacity accept is that we might want the whole world to just flip on a dime and just become this brand new, you know, socialist paradise. But the reality is that nothing can change that quickly. It’s this, it’s this really tedious, you know, molasses riddled machine. And, and we, you know, we might want everything to be different, you know, changed last year, but it’s gonna take, you know, decades and, and you know, that the concept of like, incremental systemic change is really frustrating for a lot of people. Yeah, it doesn’t. It’s not like, it’s like, not sexy, right? Like, it’s not like a cool like alluring to be like, well, you, you do your best, and you try and change what you can and then you hope the next people pick up the torch? And yeah, get a little further, you know, because we have it in our head that it changes instantly. And it doesn’t.

Lisa Avramenko 11:01
Yeah, and that’s a really good point, because I know, like, you’ll ask me later about friendship. And I feel like that’s a very metaphor, like a good metaphor that we’ll come back to, because it reminds me when I’m thinking about fitness, right, and training, and it’s like, you’re not going to get fit in one workout. Right?

James Avramenko 11:20
Yeah exactly,

Lisa Avramenko 11:21
you have to kind of commit to like seeing nothing for a long time. And then eventually, you’ll see a lot like, if you compare yourself, you know, over a year, you can see a lot more change than if you compare yourself day to day. And, and so I think social changes like that, to where it’s like, you can’t just like go to one rally and be like, why didn’t the world change, like, Oh, actually, I have to start with myself and be like, a better person and start implementing some, like habits to help move that change, like, you know, donating to, like, groups that uplift people of color in my community on a regular basis, or, you know, just things like that, like setting up some habits to make that change happen.

James Avramenko 12:05
And that actually is such a big factor for me about not only the show, but but the way I interact with social media in general. Because, you know, I think that the, with the with the proliferation of social media and technology, it’s created a conditioning habit of instant gratification, where we think if we share this link, we will get clout, and will be liked. And that’ll validate us and we’ll be done. But like, you know, but then but then that’s a that’s a, that’s a reoccurring loop and that never ends. And so it’s funny that we’re, we’re, we’re, we believe we’re gonna get one thing from this behavior, and yet we’re actually participating in the behavior that we claim to be rejecting. Exactly. I know, it’s really

Lisa Avramenko 12:45
yeah, it’s, it’s complicated.

James Avramenko 12:48
So actually, speaking of this other side of your life, you’re, you know, so you’re the founder of, of happy fit yoga. And, and you’ve been doing that for, you know, like the last like, decade. And I’m just wondering, what sort of what, what attracted you to yoga like, because, you know, when, when you were getting into it, we, I mean, it’s not like we weren’t speaking, but like we weren’t, we weren’t really as sort of, I guess I should say, like, you just seemed to find it. You know what I mean?

Lisa Avramenko 13:19
Yeah.

James Avramenko 13:20
And it hadn’t been a part of you. And then suddenly, it was and then yeah, just went for it. Right. And I’m wondering what, what attracted you to it? And

Lisa Avramenko 13:29
well, as you know, I’ve always been into fitness. And so that was always just something that was on the back burner my whole life. Like, it was always something that really helped me, you know, cope with stress. And I always found it very fun and satisfying to like, build strength and, you know, be active, right? That’s always been a part of my lifestyle. And then when I just, I quit law, and I was like, oh, what am I gonna do? Well, this is something I’ve always enjoyed, maybe I can make some money on it. So I was like, I’m just gonna go for it. And luckily, I had Josh to sort of support me because it doesn’t, I feel like businesses take take time to build it takes time to build that trust, and to build a client base of people who trust you and trust that you know what you’re talking about in order to, you know, help gently help them move in a direction that they want to move. So, yeah, it didn’t just sort of happen overnight, but it’s something that I just committed to instantly as soon as I quit, because I was like, well, this is what I’m gonna do. So. Yeah, it’s just one of the things we like, where you’re like, Oh, can I make money at that? Yeah, I think I can. I’m just gonna do that. Yeah, it’s something I enjoy anyway. Yeah.

James Avramenko 14:39
Yeah. Right. I just think that that’s such a great attitude. And And honestly, you know, you’re God, I always screw this up. You’re four years older than me.

Lisa Avramenko 14:48
Yeah, I think so.

James Avramenko 14:49
I think I don’t know. Yeah, it’s a gray like I don’t fucking know. 83 to 87. Yeah, that’s four years. Yeah. And, you know, so you were always like, you know, you’re Always four years ahead, and so, and you know, when, when you were starting, happy fit I was still in university and, and and really worried about what was I going to do when I got out of school and knowing the pitfalls of the art world and the next to impossibilities of surviving in it and seeing you, you know, reject the reject the bar said, I’m not calling the bar back, you know, outside doing yoga. It was inspiring. And it was really, it was very, I can’t even really place what the right word is. But it just, it was very reassuring to know that, that you can make a choice for yourself and go for it and sort of like, I kind of hate the term, like bet on yourself. But yeah, it is that sort of attitude of like, yeah, you know, well, you could you know, it’s, again, it’s that thing of like, I think it’s Jim Carrey talked about, like, you know, you can fail at the thing you don’t like too.

Lisa Avramenko 16:00
Yeah, right.

James Avramenko 16:02
So you might as well like, you know, do something you enjoy and risk failing, right.

Lisa Avramenko 16:06
But, well, I was lucky enough to, I actually came across the book, The Art of nonconformity by Chris guillebeau, right before I quit. It was just on the shelf in the library. And I didn’t, hadn’t heard of him. I didn’t know about his work. And I read it, like cover to cover and it was so interesting. And then I wrote him an email. And I was like, Yeah, and I was like, Hey, I’m just like, I’m just in the process of quitting the law. And I found your book really inspiring. And he’s like, he wrote back and he said, something like, well, in my experience, former lawyers are the best kind. But, but it was like, inspiring to know like, Oh, hey, I don’t have to do it. Just because I can doesn’t mean I have to that was the mantra that I had, like quitting, just because I can, doesn’t mean I have to. And, and, and, like, there are definitely pitfalls to making your passion, your career, like, that’s something I’ve learned over 10 years, but I was able to hone it in a way where it’s been very interesting and satisfying and rewarding for me. But I am happy to be back in the law. I’m at the point now, where I’m really craving something a little more cerebral, you know, working on creative problem solving, and, and I’m still feeling like I’m serving the community like that, I think is very key, like having that sort of tactile, like connection to the community, where I’m like, helping people with their day to day problems.

James Avramenko 17:23
I think the ability to pivot is really important. And because I think that, you know, so many people in so many facets, I mean, you know, Jennca and I just watched the documentary, Seduced about the the NXIVM cult, and how

Lisa Avramenko 17:37
Oh, my God, I heard about that. I didn’t watch it.

James Avramenko 17:40
It’s incredible. But you know, especially at the start, but throughout almost the entire series, one of these really common refrains was, well, I committed so much already. So I told myself, I couldn’t give up. And it’s this idea of, yeah, and there’s, and there’s an attitude, I think, in a lot of like, you know, the sort of like, really toxic hustle culture, and then like, in like, sort of, like, entrepreneurial spirit. And, and, but then also, like, you know, committing yourself to a degree, or all these kinds of things where we get in our head that, well, I’ve made this choice, and I’ve invested, you know, X amount of years and X amount of money. And so I cannot give up on it, even though it’s

Lisa Avramenko 18:20
Yeah, what’s that called? Isn’t that called the sunk cost fallacy.

James Avramenko 18:24
That’s it? I knew you’d know that.

Lisa Avramenko 18:28
where it’s like, oh, I’ve already invested so much. I might as well just play it out. But, ya know,

James Avramenko 18:33
But it’s always a losing game.

Lisa Avramenko 18:35
Mm hmm. Oh, it is. It doesn’t matter how much you put in. If it’s like a bad decision, just stop. Exactly, exactly. It’s good. These things are good, because they helped to, like get us thinking, and then hopefully not make the same mistakes, because it can happen in all kinds of areas. Like I don’t know, if you watch the Bikram documentary. But yeah, you know, the yoga space is rich with these kinds of examples to where people basically, I think, come to yoga a lot of times because they don’t feel so good, and they want to feel better. Like that’s a way to sort of summarize it, and and then those kinds of people can be very vulnerable to narcissists taking advantage of them, right. And a lot of people who get into yoga leadership, are those people who are like, Oh, it’s, you know, they’re trying to be a personality, or they’re trying to be like, all knowing a guru, right? And, and this is something that I’ve been really mindful of the whole time is just to be like, I’m not better than you. I don’t know more than you, my students are my peers, right? Like we’re equal. I learned just as much for my students as I learned, as they learned from me, right, because we’re just sharing space together and like, I know some yoga poses and they’ve been helpful for me, but you got to do you right and, and just coming from that angle where it’s like, not like, do exactly what I say I know best and then you’ll find enlightenment. Like we’re so vulnerable to that because I think a lot of us too, like I feel like everyone could get benefit from therapy like, yeah, psychological help. And, and a lot of times, like, there’s still a lot of stigma around therapy. And, and even, there’s a lot of therapists who are really shitty too, like, I think everyone needs good therapy. And then we wouldn’t be so susceptible to these cults and these groups that just sort of sort of pick you up and sweep you away, where it’s like, No, you have the answers inside you, like, you know, how to make yourself feel better. And like, just sort of don’t like rely on someone else to give you that, that feeling

James Avramenko 20:33
the validation, you know, and there’s, there’s, yeah, there’s such a culture of toxicity behind the wellness industry, and the fact that so much of it is monetary base, you know, whether it’s supplements or whether it’s, you know, Zen and and I always think, you know, one of the stories I always think about is Alan Watts and how he, you know, he’s obviously just an incredible speaker and incredible thinker, so eloquent, so enlightening, so powerful. And, you know, he was at the forefront of this movement in the 60s, but by like, even by into the 70s. And you know, when he died, he rejected at all because he was, he was so disillusioned with the way that had been commodified. And monetized. Yeah, that he was like, if all you’re doing is is trying to make a buck off of this, then you are in the wrong business. Yeah. And you’re ruining it for everybody else. Right. Yeah. And, and I just feel like that’s the case for everything. Like, we’re no longer allowed to have hobbies, right? We have side hustles we can’t just do something that makes us happy. Yeah. Because it enhances our time,

Lisa Avramenko 21:43
heaven forbid, you’re bad at something, too. It’s like there’s so much pressure to be good at everything all the time, you know, and like, oh, if I can’t do this yoga pose, then I might as well just not do yoga. It’s like, yeah, such baloney. But I mean, I do believe that people should be paid, like compensated fairly for what they do. You know,

James Avramenko 22:00
We still live in a monetary system, we still have to be paid.

Lisa Avramenko 22:04
I mean, I ideally would not want that to be the case. Like, I definitely reject capitalism. And like, as someone who’s been a beneficiary of, you know, capitalist ways, then you know, I have a conflict with that, too. But I mean, while we’re still in the system, you should be compensated fairly for your time and for what you do, but I don’t think you should be like, preying on people’s insecurities in order to sell yoga or telling people enough or anything really, that’s all that’s marketing is like, hey, yeah, you feel shitty because of this, or I’m gonna manufacture something for you to feel shitty about. Let me sell you the cure. So funny. We’re so silly.

James Avramenko 22:54
What I’m curious, always with every guest is their their answer to this. And I think that, I think that your perspective will then lend itself very nicely to it is how would you define friendship?

Lisa Avramenko 23:07
I think of friendship, as being like, a habit. It’s not like friendship is a verb, basically, it’s like, you have to be a friend, to be a good friend, you have to be a good friend. And to have good friends, you also have to be a good friend. So I think of it like a muscle. This is a analogy that I borrowed from my teacher in Maui, my yoga teacher in Maui. But it’s like a muscle that you have to keep working or it’s going to atrophy, right, you have to squeeze it. And and like when you squeeze a muscle, it circulates blood into the muscle from your heart. So it helps your heart work. And it also helps your bones like when you squeeze and flex a muscle when you lift weights, it makes your bones stronger. So like friendship is like that. You have to just keep checking with your friends make sure they’re Okay, tell them you’re proud of them for their accomplishments. You know, you just have to be it’s work, it’s it’s work. It’s a habit that takes some work if you’re especially if you’re not used to be a good friend, if you’re just like, you know, liking stuff on Instagram, or Facebook, and you’re not actually reaching out and like touching base, it might feel a little foreign to be like sort of touchy feely with your friends and to reach out but I think to be a good friend, you have to do that. It’s like a practice that you have to cultivate and bring into your life. And then the the benefits of that are so nice, because like you, you get what you give, right? And so, if you’re a good friend, then people like they, they like being around you. And then they reach out to you and you just have this nice like connection. Right? And so and then and then like then there’s like old friends too, who kind of like every once in a while you kind of neglect them a bit, but then you get back in touch and that’s great, too. So you’ve already put in the groundwork like you know, me and Shannon like we get in touch we video chat all the time. Now, but every once in a while we’ll go a couple months without chatting and but it’s okay because we were friends since we were in grade six. So it’s like it’s not a problem. You know, you kind of built up that foundation. Yeah.

James Avramenko 24:58
I love that. Yeah, you’re spot on is still a you have to cultivate it and

Lisa Avramenko 25:04
Plant some seeds and water them.

James Avramenko 25:06
And like yeah, like every once in a while it’s every once in a while it’s a long, what are those called? You know, like the seeds that you plant and they don’t bloom for a while, right, you know? Oh yeah, like you still do have to water it and you still have to go back to it. Yeah, and some and some friendships like you won’t get out anything and then you can just be like, I’m just gonna let that one die. That’s fine. Like you kind of put in enough effort and you realize, Hey, I’m not actually it’s not a two way street. It’s just a one way street. I’m gonna just, you know, move away whatever This flower doesn’t even smell very good.

Lisa Avramenko 25:35
Yeah, it doesn’t I don’t really like it that much. So I’m gonna put it in the compost and then it can help someone else. Yeah.

James Avramenko 26:40
So this is one this is actually one that I’m this one. I’ve been excited and dreading with you because you’re somebody who knows the the entire breadth of my life. And so I’m curious what is your most vivid memory of our friendship? But yeah, I realized that’s the wording of that’s the wording of the of the show, but you know,

Lisa Avramenko 27:04
yeah, well, I was just, I was thinking about this, obviously, there’s a lot, but I think I just remember when you were born like I was only four but I just remember a little new baby. And just going to visit you in the hospital. And it was like the best I was so excited. I’m getting a little teary.

James Avramenko 27:27
I know. I just love it because like I was just your play thing. You were like my, oh my god, I get a real baby. I don’t have to play with dolls anymore. Anyway, and, and then so that was great. And then I think the like the most fun we had recently was like we talked about this at Sibsmas. But like when you and Jennica came to visit us on Vancouver Island, and we did that really shitty puzzle and we got drunk on ramen eggnog Oh my god, that was so much fun. Cuz it’s just like a nice to like reconnect as like, you know, it’s always fun to reconnect as adults and just to be like, having fun and just like chilling out and like no stress. Like it was just a really nice time to, to like, have some fun. And Jennica is amazing. I just remember you guys are so cute. You’re doing all these bits together. You’re doing like that. Oh my god, I remember like, it was like a tableau like you kind of like you would like pause and like a pose. Like the two of you. I don’t even know if you remember doing this. But you climbed a tree at one point. And then you both just like posed in the tree. Like it was so cute. I was just like, Who are these people? No, it’s so funny. We were just laughing the whole time. So, yeah, I’ve really appreciated like, yeah, reconnecting with you as an adult. Because like, obviously, like, you know, we have our whole childhood together that I that I really treasure and I think especially in in retrospect, you know, when you’re a kid, you don’t really even realize what’s going on. And I don’t think you’re, you’re just sort of in it. Right. And yeah, I mean, I think that’s probably the case for most of life in general. But like, Yeah, but like, when you’re a kid, you’re just sort of living in you don’t realize how connected you are and how vital your family is. And and and, and it’s only until, you know you look back on it that you realize how how important it was and and and, you know, you know, I’m watching old, you know, David, our older brother he sent me like a harddrive of old family videos and just watching us like just just the shit we used to get up to and, and, you know, it’s funny because like, you know, as a as, in my initial memory when I sort of think about childhood, I always see myself as alone. I always sort of see myself as like, you know, in my bedroom playing with my action figures or whatever it might be. And then you watch these videos and you realize just how, what a gang we were. Yeah, you’re probably trying to get away from me. Honestly, you’re like I need some alone time. Like kind of an introvert. Let me just read my comics. I just need to leave Yeah, exactly. I was like, let’s do a play. I’ll be the director. Oh my god, like, oh my god like Sherlock James.

Lisa Avramenko 30:08
Yeah.

James Avramenko 30:11
And like, you know the hamsters? Yeah. Yeah. There’s so many so many amazing like, those videos really helped but Oh, it just so many so many like jogged images right for me. You know, I still to this day, and I wrote about it recently. But I To this day, I will never forget. I’ll never like I’ll never remember what happened but I will never forget the day I broke your nose.

Lisa Avramenko 30:39
Yeah, who knows.

James Avramenko 30:41
like I truly I think I was so stressed out by it. Yeah, that I like I just like blacked out what actually happened? Oh, I think me too. But the gist of it was like, I either fell or I threw my stick dad seems to think that I I was just like trying to slap shot and I just lifted stick too high. And I just caught you in the face and broke your nose and you know your little kid nose it was like pliable. And I just remember what I remember most of it. It was you going to the hospital and getting your nose fixed. And then us coming to see you. And The glare? Oh my god. The glare you gave me. Yeah, the hairy eyeball. We called it Yeah the hairy eyeball. Oh my god. Yeah. Well, I mean, and again, I think about our now and I’m like, I don’t think I was even mad at the time. I don’t know what my problem was. Like. I think I have ways to cope. Like I honestly think back now I probably like, like, I think honestly, all of us, including our parents had like, like undiagnosed anxiety disorders our whole life. You know, and and so you kind of just, like, have different ways of putting up walls to cope with feelings. And I just I think that was that and I feel bad that I made you feel so bad because honestly, I never harbored any ill will. So I’m really sorry. It’s really interesting that you Well, thank you for that. That’s that’s very sweet. I You don’t need to be apologizing for me hurting you. That’s all right. And honestly like they did they fixed my nose? They put a cast on, but let’s, I probably didn’t even need to go the hospital. Let’s be completely honest. It was probably fine. But like our mother was very, yeah. Yeah.Intense. It’s like a great, great mom keep staying on top of things. But like, I feel like 99% of other kids, they would have been like, oh, you’re fine. Keep playing hockey. Yeah. I, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s really interesting that you talk about, like, the sort of the anxieties because I, you know, I, it’s something that I’ve really struggled with, through I mean, through my whole life, but especially in, in my most, you know, in, in the last 10 years, I’ve really tried to very intensely dive into, you know, writing in multiple forms. And, and I believe, you know, you know, writing is a is predominantly at its core about like, knowing yourself, and finding out about yourself and figuring out how to first reveal yourself to yourself, and then put that on the page and show the world. And I have huge gaps in my memory. Yeah, massive gaps in my memory. And I and I feel so guilty for that, because I’m like, Oh, fuck did I like smoke too much weed in University like what is it, you know? But it’s not it’s like totally, like, anxiety coping. Yeah, right.

Lisa Avramenko 33:32
That’s a symptom of anxiety and trauma.

James Avramenko 33:34
And I know they’re there. I know that the thing too, is that it’s like, I know that the memories are there. Because they when they’re triggered, they’re very vivid. And I’m yeah, oh, shit. Yeah. Okay, I’m there. I remember that. But it’s a it’s about, it’s about figuring out how to excavate them, right? And how to how to bring them back to the surface, you know, and like, you know, it’s why I’ve been using, I’ve been using old old videos, and, you know, I have this box of old family photos and try to use that to jog my memory because yeah, cuz Yeah, I’m just if I’m just sitting alone, quietly thinking I’m off in Lala land. You’re not gonna get Yeah. And also, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, like you remembering being alone. More, that’s also like a symptom of anxiety too where you just like, we’re kind of like not like capturing or remembering, like, the moments where we are all together as much because it just was kind of wasn’t as sharp in your memory as like you feeling more alone. Right. And that would sort of make more of an imprint on your memory. Right. So yeah, there’s all kinds of interesting things the brain things the brain does to protect itself. So yeah, Also like my action figures ruled. So I just have great memories of them.

Lisa Avramenko 34:46
For sure, yeah.

James Avramenko 34:55
You’re actually in an interesting space because in the Maritimes, you’ve had I don’t want to say quite a different experience, but it has been a different experience in terms of COVID, and quarantining and bubbles, and, you know, you know, and you’re near family in a way that we’re not. So you’ve, yeah, you’ve had a bubble in a way that we haven’t and not not meant as some kind of passive aggressive comment. You’ve had a different experience than us. And, and so I think that you have a really nice perspective on on this that may be more hopeful than I might have. And, and so, you know, with the world potentially opening up again, you know, slowly, incrementally whatever it might be, and, and with what we’ve hopefully learned from 2020, I’m guessing, I’m curious to know, what do you think it’s going to take to be a good friend in 2021? And then going forward? I think, yeah, that’s a good question. No matter what I think it’s important to listen, and just to sort of, listen to what your friends are saying, or not saying, and then just be there for them. And like, often, like, often, we try and help our friends by giving them answers to everything, but sometimes you just have to be I think most of the time, you just have to be there for them. And like listen to them you know, and, and just to be like, sort of accepting each other for who we are, right? I just and I mean, I just think there’s, there’s a certain level, like, as a good friend, you do have to hold your friends accountable for certain things. Like if they’re doing things that are like, shitty, you need to be clear with them, like, but but always sort of jumping to an answer, you know, if they’re going through a hard time, and being like, Oh, well, you should do this, that’s like, not not so helpful or fun, right? Because like, sometimes friends just want to talk about it. And you just have to be there and allow them like, just give them space, right? And just be you have to let them work through it themselves.

Lisa Avramenko 36:54
Exactly. And then at the same time, also not being like, waiting for your opportunity to be like, Oh, yeah, I had an experience like that, too. Like, it’s good to like, but like working on our communication skills, I think is essential. And this is something I’m always working on. And I honestly, I follow a few therapists on Instagram who really provide some helpful, you know, kind of those like snackable contents about where to start with this. And then there’s like books, you can read that, that help with this as well, but just how to sort of be a good friend, be a good listener, and love your friends without judgment, right? Again, not letting them like set up clear boundaries, don’t let them walk all over you or, or do things that are like dangerous to themselves or others. But also don’t always be like trying to solve their problems all the time, just like listen to them. And often they’ll just come to a conclusion on their own. Right. I think that’s really key for being a good friend. Yeah, just like I said before, and also just getting in the habit of checking in with your friends. noticing what they’re doing, like telling them you’re proud of them. Like I saw this post once I was like, let’s normalize telling our friends we’re proud of them. Just make it weird. how proud you are, you know, cuz like, yeah, yeah. Like, often, a lot of people don’t have someone telling them, they’re proud of them. And like, really, it’s most important that you’re proud of yourself. But it’s really like, I think it’s really like a gift you can give someone by like paying attention to what’s going on in their life. And then just like, tell them like mark those things, because we’re in this society now where, you know, we’re just like, okay, we get stuff done. And then we’re on to the next thing and, and just like marking those even like very small accomplishments and telling your friends, you’re proud of them. Like I think that’s really powerful practice, to cultivate. So

James Avramenko 37:11
I love that I get to the idea of letting letting people get to their own conclusions, I think is really important. And I think something that I’ve you know, and I think something about, I think that we have really mistaken sympathy for empathy. And I think that I think that we need to get back to a more empathetic position. Yeah, like it’s not about condoning. It’s not about forgiving. It’s not about it. But But we do have to understand each other. And we have to understand each other with love. We can’t, we can’t you know, anybody who says, I want a brave new world where we love each other, but we can only get there if these people die. Yeah, they don’t want that world, you know, and and they need to stop lying. And so it’s about it’s about genuine empathy. Yeah, with the understanding that that doesn’t mean that’s an endorsement of Yeah, or letting them off the hook or giving them any airtime. Yeah, exactly. So I want to recommend a podcast if you haven’t already listened to it that really speaks to this what we’re talking about right now. And it just came to my head. It’s the Mr. Rogers podcast. It’s called finding Fred. And it’s and it’s written it’s made by a black man who is sort of navigating this world like if you know, how do we how do we like be in community and be good to each other without like condoning like violent acts or Yeah, no and how Mr. Rogers was kind of like a master at this in some ways, but then also points out some flaws. And it’s a really good listen highly recommend it, because it sort of helps clarify like these questions, it helps me anyway, clarify some of these questions about how to be a good neighbor, you know? Yeah. And I think the last element that I think is really important, important is understanding your right to hold somebody accountable. Because I think that we actually overstep that as much as any other element. Gosh, I think understanding where your, like, where your gentle understanding is required, and then your actual, like, militant accountability, right.

Lisa Avramenko 40:41
Yeah cuz we do that so much?

James Avramenko 40:43
Yeah. It’s like, well, Who the fuck are you?

Lisa Avramenko 40:48
And then when things go out online, and then it just people like, you know, I mean, anyway. Yeah. That’s a whole other conversation.

James Avramenko 40:56
It is really,

Lisa Avramenko 40:57
But it’s true. It’s like fine navigating that line. So yeah, yeah.

James Avramenko 41:01
Fuck yeah. Lisa, you know, I mean, fuck, You know, it’s, you know, we’re, we’re coming down to the end of the show. And I, you know, I realized that this is going to do very little to our overall relationship. But I do have to do one last thing. But I guess, you know, before we do before we do the the Facebook thing or Dee Dee booking, you know, yeah, I just, you know, I don’t even know how to express it truly. Because it’s like, well, I just, you know, I love you, Lisa.

Lisa Avramenko 41:33
I love you! You’re my little brother.

James Avramenko 41:37
You’re my big sister. and I’m just really greatful that you’re my big sister. Right? Yeah, it’s, it’s really,

Lisa Avramenko 41:43
I’m hugging my microphone right now pretending it’s your boney little body.

James Avramenko 41:50
Look, if 2020 has done anything, it’s made me a lot less boney. But I’m just yeah, I’m really grateful for our relationship. Just, you know, it’s Yeah, it’s, uh, you know, we’ve, we’ve talked about it before, but, you know, and I’m not gonna get too gushy with it. But, you know, you know, the way the way, you know, Jennica and I live so, so separate from everybody makes it really hard. And so, it’s really, I’m so grateful for moments like this where we can reconnect and, you know, and, you know, and, and, and, um, you know, you talk about, you know, being, being a good friend means being a good friend and yet, you doing the work and that’s something that I’m not very good at. And it is something that I, I knowingly am very bad at and, and, and, you know, relationships with our family is one of them. Like, you know, when we talk, it’s great, but I’m really bad at maintaining it.

Lisa Avramenko 42:44
Yeah. Well, I always just said that, like, oh, you’re the youngest child, you’ve always had people coming to you. So you know, that’s fine. That’s just something that I am like, have resigned myself to you know what James probably isn’t gonna call me. I’m just gonna fucking call him so. But I will say you have called me like a couple times in the past year, which has been like super, super nice and like a nice treat. So I appreciate that. Yeah,

James Avramenko 43:09
well, You’re Welcome. That’s all you’re gonna get.

Lisa Avramenko 43:13
Love it.

James Avramenko 43:15
Okay, we got one last thing to do. Yes. So here we go. Lisa Jane. Yes. We are no longer Facebook friends.

Lisa Avramenko 43:27
What? Let me refresh I was just looking at your profile. Oh, my God. We’re not friends any more!

James Avramenko 44:01
And that’s it. Thank you, of course to Lisa. I love you. And I promise I will try and call more often. No promises though. If you like the show, please be sure to review it on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your pod goodness, it helps me out so much. And I cannot thank you enough for this easy and free way of supporting the show. Speaking of supporting the show, there’s a myriad of new ways you can join in the conversation and get all kinds of fun benefits. Why not sign up for my newsletter. It’s a once a month update filled with articles, book reviews, and starting this month, a fresh piece of writing that you won’t find anywhere else, or at least until I can figure out how to trick somebody into publishing me but the link for that is in the show notes. I’m also about to launch a Patreon so keep your peepers peeled for that. I’m so excited to be launching this. There’s so many incredible benefits that you’re going to find exclusive writing ad free episodes as well as bonus interviews. episodes and invite to a private discord channel and so much more. I’m hoping to launch this along with a new website pretty shortly but I will keep you up to date on that when it happens. That’s it for me. Next week, I have an old co worker Dave Smith on the show. Dave is an absolute sweetie. And I think you’re gonna love it. But as always, that is then this is now. So for now. I hope you have a wonderful week. I hope you delete somebody who makes you tired off your social media. And I hope you read a really good book or comic comics count. So do audiobooks. It all counts. who’s counting anyway? Fuck them. You do you. Anyway, that’s it for me. I’m out. Fun and safety, y’all


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