Academic Planning

I made some progress this past week by calling up the academic advisers at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan and the Okanagan College to set up appointments with both institutions to chat about returning to school.

I have been running through some ideas of what I would like to pursue and I keep coming back to a possible future in law enforcement. There’s a Criminal and Social Justice diploma program with the Okanagan College that looks promising. It would open up the way for further education at larger institutions like SFU or BCIT for further police studies in criminology. However, I would like to meet up with the advisers at UBC-O to see if there’s a similar program with them.

I suppose, if you don’t know me all that well, the idea of me being interested in criminology and law enforcement seems like it’s coming out of left field.The thing is, I have always been interested in it since I was in high school when I was taking law. Even when I look back at the courses I picked in my first few years of university (sociology, psychology, history, anthropology) I could already see a pattern forming. If I had not been on the path towards teaching and a degree in history, I might have switched to criminology sooner.

Ten years later, I keep coming to law enforcement and a possible career path. It’s the one that I am most attracted to at this point but before I make any commitments, I am going to be having these meetings with the academic advisers and I have a seminar with the RCMP recruiter in April to look at what I might need to pursue a career with them. Needless to say, I finally have a goal in mind that I am excited about and one that won’t require too much in the way of further education or financial investment.

Had I gone down the path of getting my teaching degree, I would need at least two years of catch up courses at the college and then another eighteen months in the teaching certification course. All and all it could end up costing me another twenty thousand or more. Where as the social justice and criminology diploma would only cost maybe ten thousand and there is the option to go either right into law enforcement or if I wanted to specialize into specifics, I can apply at BCIT or SFU.

I am not limited to RCMP once I have the education. I can apply at VPD or other government agencies involved in law enforcement including bylaw, security, or even private investigation. All of which hold interest to me. I don’t want to rush my interests though. I want to give myself time to absorb the information and find out what I have a natural aptitude for.

I have ordered a copy of the latest edition of The Oxford Handbook of Criminology to give myself food for thought and find out if I truly am interested in criminology before I make any more investments of my money and time. Unlike when I went to university the last time, I want to make sure I know exactly what I am doing this time so that I don’t waste anyone’s time or money. So far, I have only invested $65 into this venture with the purchase of the textbook.

On the upside to all of this, my degree in history will be beneficial to a career in law enforcement. At the very least, I can show that I have what it takes to finish something that I started and to find new applications for the knowledge that I have gained. I know that this time, no matter what I choose to return to school for, I will be a much better student and likely more driven than I was when I was in my twenties. I am even willing to pick up more student debt in order to make this happen if it means that I can start as early at January 2019.

~Clara D. Munro

An Internet of Lazy Writers

Symbolbild-Jean-B-Fotoliacom-Foto-Jean-B-Fotoliacom-466546I am a bit of a news and information junkie. I spend a good portion on my day looking over the days news stories in the Google browsers. I am pretty sure that my news is being tailored to my browsing history and for the most part only shows me things that I am interested in, which is great most of the time but every once and a while it shows me absolute garbage.

I have noticed a trend, and it’s not a new trend, of writers and journalists not taking the time to properly research topics before posting articles or they just take information from other sources and repost it without even bothering to get their own information. I am as guilty as the next writer of taking information from internet sources as citations and it’s quite lazy. It’s lazy because I know better and I have access to more credible sources but it’s so much easier to just grab a link and use that as source material. Most of the time when I write, I just use personal opinion rather than citation because I tend to forget where I read my facts. This is a habit I need to get out of as I inch closer to going back to school where that kind of lazy writing is not looked well upon.

Essay writing has never been my strong point. The benefit to keeping a regular blog like this is I get a chance to keep up with the practice of essay writing, even if they are just mini essays. Don’t be too surprised that if in the next few months you start seeking more legitimate citations and footnotes in my writing. It’s going to be rough at first but I figure, my writing can only benefit from improving my notations and finding more legitimate sources to reference.

Clara D. Munro

Future Career Pathways

While traveling in Hawaii this January, I met a couple who are retired and spend their time traveling around the United States. When I explained to them that I am a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States, they told me that I have the best of both worlds. It’s true, I feel privileged to be able to claim citizenship to two of the most well known democracies around the world.

With that privilege, there comes responsibilities though. Not only do I have to keep up to date with current politics and affairs in the city, province, and nation that I live in but also the nation in which I don’t. If you think keep up to date with politics in your own country is hard, try keeping up to date with two. Being an active member of the democratic process is difficult in an age with so much misinformation spreading through the internet like a virus. You can’t trust information from just one news source, you have to keep looking at different ones to get some resemblance of the full picture.

As a student of history, I know that eventually the truth will come out but that certainly doesn’t help in the moment when decisions and opinions are being made in the now. As much as I would like to be able to see the whole picture right away, I have to make my own best guesses as to which horse to hitch my cart to in any political race. When I was filling my paperwork to take possession of my US citizenship, I was asked to pick my political party right there. I honestly didn’t know much about which party supported what when I did, so I picked my mother’s party, the Democrats. From what I knew from my observations of Republicans in the early 2000s, I figured that Democrats were the closest to Canadian Liberals as I could get but in reality, what a liberal is to Americans is very different than what it is to a Canadian.

Last week, I had an enlightening discussion with a Bostonian. Hearing his points of view and politics in the United States and finding out what a liberal is to him, got me thinking about how much of my own political views are influenced by Canadian thinking. There was a point in the conversation when he asked if I felt so passionate about history, sociology, and politics, why I didn’t go on to study it further. My answer was simple, money. Thinking back on it now, my real reason was I ran out of stream for the university, I just wanted out. I needed to live in the real world for a while and grow up a bit.

After that conversation, I started thinking more about what my passions are and what kind of a future they can give me. With music, I am enjoying challenging myself on a daily basis to get better at the guitar. For me, music will always be the slow burn in the background of my life but not my focus. In regards to writing, I think that I will continue to write in my blogs about subjects that I am interested in and I am passionate about. I don’t think it will be a career for me but more of an ongoing project. Then there is my certification as a yoga instructor. There’s a game new yoga teachers have to play in order to find teaching opportunities that I am just not willing to play anymore. I will always have my certification to teach yoga, no one can take that from me. At this point, I am using it to continue my own yoga path but as far as going out of my way to teach more, I will put that on hold. I believe that I have gotten a world of value out of my teaching certification that was as valuable as my history degree, if not maybe more so.

This brings me back to my degree in history and what can I do with it. I have been tossing around ways to build on my degree but after hours of countless deliberations, I am brought back to one simple revelation: I need to focus point of direction. Getting the degree was the easy part, figuring out what to do with it was hard part. Ever since I finished up my degree in 2008, I have been waffling for a direction and how to use the degree appropriately.

I have been looking at changing careers for a long time now. I don’t want to just run out and get more education if I don’t know what I want to do though. I have been contemplating what to do next. My first instinct was to finish my education degree but now I am thinking that career might not be best suited to me. I am tossing around a few other ideas but I don’t want to share them yet as I have a feeling people may try to talk me out of them. The last thing that I want is someone trying to influence me before I have come to my own opinion on the matter.

What I do know is that I will likely need to upgrade my degree somewhat, it’s just a matter of deciding on how I want to do that. My first step is upgrading some of my adult basic education in English and Math. After that, I will need to bring up my university GPA with ten credits, which is a full semester of courses from 400 level classes. After I bring up the GPA, I may consider applying at other Universities outside Canada. If I can be the good student I know that I can be, I may be able to achieve bursaries to cut down on further debt.

Figuring out a plan of action at this point seems to be the next logical step. I have some ideas of how to move forward but I don’t want to do so until I figured out the next career path. I have some seminars that I am going to attend to learn more about prospective careers and I am going to go up to the university to get my alumni card and talk with an educational counselor there about what do next as far as how to expand on my degree.

~Clara D. Munro

This is My Feminism

I have always considered myself to be an educated feminist, someone who is aware of the limitations on being a woman in a man’s world. As a student of history, I have come to understand that before there were inequalities between races, there were inequalities between the sexes. Ideas gender and gender roles only feeds into a culture of sexism and sexism hurts everyone.

You would think that in our day and age, we would have evolved more as a species but in all honesty, we are still fighting the same battles that we were a century ago. Women in many parts of the world as still seen as less than their male counter parts. No matter how many steps forward we take here in Western developed nations, women still are making less than their male counter parts in similar jobs . As much as I would like to see humanity grow beyond the need for our current consumer system, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, which means we still reply on jobs to pay for our basic needs as humans.

I am an independent woman. I own my own car, I control my own finances, and I take care of my own household. I am so independent that I have no need of a male counterpart to take on those tasks that have been traditionally held by men. In the same way I see men in my life who are still single taking on skills and tasks once held by women. We are reaching a point where our roles are no longer defined by our sex/gender.

I love and respect the men in my life and while there are only a few of them who hold onto old world ideas about women and occasionally don’t speak about women with the greatest respect, I give them the forgiveness to try again tomorrow. Most men who have met me will learn very quickly if I think they have spoken or acted in any disrespect. I don’t hesitate to tell them they are out of line and need to change their tunes. I have dated a few men who over time showed their true colors of being sexist in both their treatment of me and other men and women. It doesn’t take long for me to leave them once I speak to them about it and see that they have no desire to change.

With the #metoo movement and the expose of the abuses in the politics, Hollywood, and the music industry, many women and men are joining in on the chorus of voices that have had enough of a culture of sexual harassment and abuse. In order for the pendulum to swing to normal, it has to swing to an extreme and this means that we have to act more politically correct and hypersensitive for a while before we can find the balance where it’s normal to treat each other with mutual respect.

A friend of mine once gave me a keychain that read: Woman by birth, Bitch by choice. I haven’t associated words like Bitch, Whore, Cunt, Pussy, or Slut of personal negativity in a long time. I know that they are intended to be words meant to control women and subjugate them to male power. Any word used to degrade women can be used to degrade men. They are used to make men feel less male by associating them with women as if women were less than men. If you take the power out of words, they can’t hurt you or anyone else for that matter.

This bring me to the issues of body image, clothing, and make-up. The biggest villain of sexism in our culture is the media and consumerism. Our biology is being overrun with our minds trying to fit in an unreasonable view of what our bodies should look like. When once upon a time large women were more desirable because they could survive better in times of scarcity they are now ridiculed. We are constantly judging each other by what we wear, what cars we drive, and anything else that is being sold to us. We have a media culture that picks women on one body type for movies, music, and television and a porn industry that creates unrealistic views of what our sexual intimacy should look like.

Then there’s the clothing industry which hasn’t changed its view on what men and women can wear since the late 19th century. I think in this regard, men have suffered the most because women have more diversity in clothing options. It is still unacceptable for men to wear skirts because they are seen as women only clothing. Which brings be back to the point about men being seen as lesser when they are associated as women. We have to stop thinking about objects that are for women as being less than those for men. I will say it again, sexism hurts everyone!

There are so many aspects of feminism and gender inequality that I could get into that still need to be addressed and changed on the consciousness of our whole society. From child care rights to gender specific jobs in the workforce, we still have a long way to go before both women and men are on the same page. If you add the issues of racism and ethnocentrism into the mix, we need to become more enlightened as a species before we can even begin to move beyond our current limitations.

What is the key to all of this? Education, of course. Investing in the education of girls and encouraging them to see the world beyond their socio economic situation and their cultural limitations only helps the nations in which women are seen as lesser than men. There is scientific proof that shows that when women are educated, the nation improves both culturally and economically. It’s like thinking with only half of your brain when you educate only men. There are over seven billion humans on Earth and half of them are women. If you help girls overcome the idea that science and technology is only for boys, you see the results of improvements in all fields of academia.

In the late 90s, there was a upturn in women enrolling in the sciences in something that was dubbed “The Scully Effect”. I have spoken about my love for Dana Scully previously but I didn’t go into depth about her characters influence on women enrolling in the sciences.

In more recent media, we have The Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen and The 100 with its whole cast of strong female leaders in all fields from science to leadership. We can even look to Wonder Woman for proof that movies about solo female superheroes can be successful. The lead character in the new Star Wars films, Rey, shows that someone from no education can overcome it to be one of the most enlightened people in the galaxy.

What we need now is recognition of our real world female leaders in politics, science, art, and technology. My hero in American politics right now is Senator Elizabeth WarrenwarrenShe not only calls out bullshit when she sees it but she’s active in advocating the need for affordable education and healthcare. I would love to see her as the first female American president.


As for women who are making waves in science, please check out this link. These women are making not only history in their fields but changing our world for the better. If they had not been given the chances to success by having access to education, our world would be less for it. Just think of all those women in the world who are being oppressed and not given the chance to learn and become education. Can you imagine if every girl and boy in the world had access to the same education and where we would be today if it weren’t for sexism?

I could honestly go on and on about my views on feminism and ways we can overcome it but I am not ready to write a book on it at this point. I will finish up by sharing  this playlist of rad female musicians from around the world!

~Clara D. Munro

Travel Blog: Vancouver

This past weekend, I took a trip to visit some friends in Vancouver and to see a concert. The trip started out a little rough with some severe winter weather causing some major delays leaving Kelowna.

To make the best of it, I went to have lunch at the White Spot in the lounge and there I shared a table with a man working in a similar industry as my own. We chatted about music and working in the tech industry. We had some similar former co-workers and he invited me to check out his company in case I was interested in changing jobs.

I finally made it into Vancouver around 7pm and my lovely friends picked me up from the airport. We had an awesome dinner at a ramen place. I tried Japanese curry for the first time and loved it. Afterwards, we went back to their place and they showed me all the pictures from their Japanese trip and shared their stories. They brought be back a very cool travel cup from the Osaka Starbucks.

The next day was spent hanging out, listening to records, doing some shopping at Daiso, and watching old animations. It had been forever since I had watched Atlantis and Road to Eldorado. I somehow managed to polish off a bottle of my favorite red wine in the process.

The next day, I headed out to check into my hostel and hang out with a different friend for the afternoon. We had a lovely chat over some nachos at my favorite pub, Malone’s. After which I headed back to the hostel to get ready for the concert only to find out that the band that I had been looking forward to seeing had been denied entry to the country and would not be performing that night.

I was so bummed out that I didn’t even want to go see the other bands performing. At which time I met a man from Boston who was looking for a nice place for dinner. I asked him if he didn’t mind taking a trek out to Commercial Drive. Since he had no idea where that was, I went with him and we had dinner at Stormcrow. The rest of the night was spent drinking, playing a card game about news headlines, and talking politics between Canada and the United States. So what started out as a bummer of a night turned into one of the most memorable conversations with a stranger I have ever had.

The next day, I took the Skytrain back out to YVR which was way smoother than taking a taxi and a hell of a lot cheaper too. I ended up there early so I just watched some downloaded episodes of Aquarius that were on my tablet.

I am happy to say that I enjoyed flying with Faire Airlines and I will likely be flying with them in the future. I am even looking at flying out to Toronto on them in the future.

~ Clara D. Munro

Confessions of an Undiagnosed Learning Disability

I have had trouble articulating how I feel into words for as long as I can remember being able to write. I struggle with spelling and grammar. I just can’t remember the order in which letters go in unless I write them out a million times and even then, I am just remembering the pattern in which I spell out the letters. It comes from what is likely an undiagnosed dyslexia and dysgraphia. Trust me when I say that 90% of the words I write often have a little red line under them.

For a long time, I was embarrassed to show anyone my writing because of my fear of them discovering my flaw. I was actually ashamed of it. Everyone else I knew what so much better at grammar and spelling that it made me feel like I was somehow defective. Don’t even get me started on reading aloud or mathematics. If my ability to write was bad, you should have seen my math scores or listen to me try to recite poetry. I distinctly remember a time in high school when I was asked to read Shakespeare aloud and it was a train wreck. Hard to believe that I was any good at choir because I had a hell of a time remembering lyrics. The tune was easy but the lyrics would always get messed up. Somehow, I managed to ace music but barely pass subjects like math and English. I have been resistant to improving my basic grammar and math skills but I decided that it was time to change that.

I have enrolled in the adult basic education program at the Okanagan College for the summer sessions. I am just waiting on hearing back from the school to get more details. Last year, the government declared that all adult education classes are now free. There are a few things that I would like to re-learn: English Grammar, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. I fully intend to get a better understanding of all of them.

Why am I doing this? For one, I am bored. For two, I don’t have enough saved up for collage yet. I have also been out of the school game for almost ten years now and I have a feeling I need to remember how to be a student again. I figure, it can’t hurt to improve my knowledge of the foundations of education. If I do return to university to pursue further education, I want to know that I am at the top of my game again.

In preparation for this, I am looking into seeking assistance for how to strength the visual and kinetic skills I need to cope with my dyslexia and dysgraphia. I took a little online test from the point of view of a parent who has concerns about their child’s apparent learning disability. I was brutally honest about the answers to the survey about my experiences from both childhood and symptoms I still suffer from today. In doing so, I was able to find some clarity about what I have been struggling with for the last thirty years. I have noticed that there are not a lot of resources out there for adults learning to cope with dyslexia and dysgraphia, so if you know of a resource, I would appreciate the help.

Clara D. Munro

Role Model


I was about fourteen years old when I started watching the X-Files for the first time. The show was already two seasons in and my family didn’t have cable, so we had to get a friend of the family to record the show on VHS and lend it to us each week. This was all before the age of on demand internet streaming, of course. During that time, I fell in love with the characters of Mulder and Scully and the overarching mysteries of the story. I even came to love the Smoking Man and his tragic loneliness. I found every book in our library on the show and deep read into the conspiracies once I did gain access to the internet in 1997.


The character of Dana Scully (portrayed by Gillian Anderson), was the first female character who I considered to be a role model. She was an independent, career driven woman. Although she made career choices that her family didn’t approve of, she still followed them. She didn’t come off as butch or tomboy, she managed to still stay feminine while keeping in male dominated professions (medical doctor and FBI agent). I think that if I had continued to follow her example instead of getting distracted by fluffy shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I might have been a bit more dedicated in my career.

When I left high school, I had no idea what I wanted. I thought about archaeology because it combined two things that I love, history and science. I ended up with a degree in history but by the end of my studies, my academic effort was less than subpar. I am not sure what happened to my passion to success, it might have been depression or possibly that I didn’t find that school what a challenge to me. It’s easy enough to regurgitate facts and figures for a test but I found that I wasn’t great at writing essays. I bet if I went back now, that would be a different story.

With the recent release of new seasons of the X-Files, I am watching the series from the beginning. Now that I am an adult and in the same age range of the characters in the show, I appreciate Dana Scully more than I did as a teenager. She is an intelligent, practical, and rational woman (except in regards to religion). She lets the facts dictate her understanding and findings. I think that because I look up to Scully so much, I have become more skeptical in my views on politics, religion, and science. It’s not that I buy into conspiracy theories but I do read every news story and research article with a grain of salt. It’s because I studied history and learned to question every document for both bias and motive. Between my training in sociology and history, I have learned to become skeptical about everything. I still want to believe (I had that poster on my wall for years) but I know that belief is not enough by itself and a certain amount of facts and figures is required before I can take any leaps of faith. But Like Scully, I have a spiritual belief that adhere to. I know that many of my belief cannot be completely supported by science but like Scully, I still have faith in them.

The strength in Dana Scully’s character lays not with her skepticism or her devotion to her partner, Fox Mulder, but in her feminist pragmatism. From her determination to not be overlooked simply because she’s a woman or her willful desire to do things herself, Scully is an inspiration to women who want to be seen as equal to their male counter parts. While Scully is a pretty woman, she’s not too pretty. Her beauty lies in her intelligence rather than in her appearance. She doesn’t play up her looks and in early episodes, she quite geeky looking. Later on, as fashion for professional women starts to look less Murphy Brown power suites and more clean cut famine business casual, Scully takes on almost a softer looks. It’s like she cares more about being comfortable rather than trying to keep up with the boys. Her shirts are never too revealing and her makeup is subtle.

Watching the show from the beginning, I realise now how much of an impact Scully had on my own feminist ideals and my choices as far as my indepence goes. I never wanted someone to look down on me simply because I am a woman. I never understood why men would think that just because they are men that it gave them a right to think of women as lesser or at the very least, less capable. When I am met with someone who does have this ideal, I get angry at them and my respect for them disappears. The same thing happens to me when I meet women who think that men are lesser. All and all, I just want everyone to be on the same playing field.

I made the choice a long time ago to put building any kind of a relationship second to my own passions. I left long term relationships when I felt like I was going to get trapped in it. I have even sabotaged perfectly good relationships because I didn’t want to end up married or with children. When I tried to change directions with this, I found that I didn’t actually want to be in a relationship with anyone and that I didn’t want to do the normally get married and have children path that so many other people take. I am perfectly okay with being single and driven to my own career.

It’s easy to let yourself become wrapped up in work and in daily routine; it’s harder to allow yourself to open up to the commitment of a relationship or to raising children. My last relationship said that I would be good as a mother but I don’t think I can commit to that at this point in my life. At thirty five, I want to be focused on myself and on my life. I barely give myself room to be with friends or family and when I do, I limit my time with both. The longest relationship I have been able to commit to, is the one I have with my dog, Dexter. His life is in my hands and I barely feel that I am responsible enough to handle that at times. I can’t even imagine taking on a child and raising it to adulthood at this point.

I haven’t finished the X-Files, so I don’t know what Scully’s fate is but from what I have seen of her, she remains true to her character and is still an inspiration to me and if I could be so lucky to live with such integrity and passion in my life, that maybe one day, I too will be some one’s role model.

~Clara D. Munro

My Never Take It Off Vow

I recently came across an idea for helping to keep yourself accountable to your actions or promise of action. It showed up in my life as a product from a company called “Never Take It Off” that partners with artists to create limited edition jewellery, like bracelets and necklaces.

The purpose of these bracelets and necklaces is to come up with a promise to yourself, put on the item, and then leave it on until it either breaks or falls off. They can be things like, “I will not have another drink while I wear this item,” or, “I will make sure to follow my dream of being ______.” Essentially, this is not a new idea. It’s similar to tying a string around your finger in order to remember to do something. It’s like an expansion on friendship or WWJD bracelets.

@nevertakeitoff loving the @thejulietsimms snowflake bracelet.

A post shared by Clara Munro (@wildmoonwitch) on

I picked up one of the snowflake bracelets designed for Juliet Simms, a singer who I started listening to this summer who has a kind of Americana sound to her music. She came in second on the Voice at some point, which is pretty cool. She’s also totally independent and works hard for everything that she’s earned. I’m actually pretty inspired by her. The reason why I picked up one of these braceletes was because I wanted support the artists and the causes that Never Take It Off support. I know that I could have made one of these bracelets myself but that wasn’t the point. I purchase it during the holidays as part of my way of giving back and giving to myself.

So, here’s my “Never Take It Off” vow:

I vow to not sacrifice practice for procedure.

Meaning, I will continue to keep practicing, keep improving, and keep following my dream of writing and recording music.



Social Media Detoxing

About ten days ago, I started removing social media apps from my devices. I have successfully removed Facebook from my phone and tablet. I think of this is some kind of detoxing that’s going on. I would totally delete my Facebook account if it weren’t for the fact that I use both the groups and messenger to organize with people. Facebook has managed to totally integrate itself into our lives.

I know that the groups feature for Google+ is better than Facebook but getting people to move over to it will be like pulling teeth. I don’t think I have ever used the messaging feature for Google before. If I could just import all my Facebook contacts into it and hybrid over Facebook, I would.

I have also removed Instagram from my tablet because I really just need it on one device, not all of them. I have found myself logging into the Facebook website on the tablet but I spend less time on there because it’s so clunky on the mobile web browser. I have found that I spend more time on other apps like Pinterest now. Mostly when I am finding myself needing a distraction from what’s going on.

Tablets, smart phones, computers, and TVs are all built to keep us distracted. I of course own all four of these now. At least with my TV, I just use my Chromecast and I cut the cable cord years ago. I have been re-watching The X-Files from the beginning. Strangely, it’s the X-Files that’s having the impact on my to cut down on my time spent on social media. Watching episodes from the 90s about people who lose their lives to time spent watching too much day time TV or surfing the internet kind of punched me in the gut. We have been worried about too much electric time for over twenty years now. As a teen during the birth of the mass consumer use of the internet, I should know better.

I may take the final leap to rid myself of Facebook this year. I have been dancing with it but I will need something else to use to organize the groups that I have been using Facebook to manage. I think that it’s crazy that I have been using Facebook for over ten years now. Given how fast other social media platforms died off, it’s almost unheard of to have one like Facebook still around.

I will keep you posted on how I progress on this decision.

~Clara D. Munro

A Chemical Romance

It was early 2011 when I started my love affair with the band “My Chemical Romance’ (MCR). I remember the moment it happened, I was looking up the recent tour dates that another band I enjoyed post, Neon Trees, and they announced they were going on tour with MCR. I was instantly not impressed, these shear amount of times I had been forced to endure “Welcome to the Black Parade” while working at Subway was enough to make me never want to listen to any other song by the band. Furthermore, MCR had a bad reputation for promoting self harm and suicide.

Let me stop you there, right now, I am certain you think that I hate this band. Retrospectively, I was being completely unfair in my judgement of the band and their music. I did my research after the fact and found out that not only were the rumors false but the band actually supported their fans in their struggles by sharing their own stories of dealing with depression and PTSD.

Back to the story, I decided that I wanted to see Neon Trees anyways, so I set out to listen to MCR’s newest music. I wanted to know exactly what I would be getting myself into once I got there. I have been to enough shows to know that the you shouldn’t judge a band by its radio plays.

That’s when I watched the music video for “Na Na Na [Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na]” and the follow up video for “SING”.

There was some kind of magic in those two videos because for the first time, I was really listening to the music and I understood that there was something more interesting going on with it.

After that, I had to listen to the whole Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance. Thus began a love affair that would last until the spring of 2013 when the band decided to call it quits on their career. After only getting to see them perform twice and a strange encounter with the leader of the band in a clothing store, I was left wanting more and knowing that I would never again hear my favorite song played live again.

There was a moment during an MCR show when you knew these was something special happening in the room. Something that I had only experienced once before at an Angels and Airwaves show. It was like a hush fell over the crowd as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. Like you were standing in the eye of a hurricane and you knew in the next moment something big was about to happen. MCR played their shows like they were telling you a story about their music and about their lives.

Music has transformative properties to it and when you experience it in a live setting, you walk out of it a different person than when you walked in, if you let it. Between the sound, lights, and performance on the stage and the excitement of the crowd, the whole thing sweeps you up and you get lost in it. It’s highly addictive, maybe even more so than substances. My Chemical Romance had that perfect mix of darkness and light to their stage show, pulling from their entire collected works and experience. No two shows were the same and you never knew which side of the lead man you were going to get that night.

Eventually, I came to love all of MCR’s music and respect the members of the band as individual artists. The front man, Gerard Way, came out with his own work after the band ended, as did the guitarist, Frank Iero. I actually met Frank a couple of years back in Vancouver where he signed my Epiphone Wilshire Phant O-matic.


When I first learned that MCR was calling it quits, I felt like something died inside me. I know that sounds dramatic but I can’t help that’s how I feel. I felt like I was being let down in some way. These men whose music had come to mean so much to me, I felt like they were giving up on something some people only dream of coming to in their lives, even for just a moment. My desire to make music died with that band, my own momentum just came to a dead stop, like a ship without wind in the middle of the ocean. Even though members of MCR have taken steps to make more music on their own, the magic that they had is broken up into pieces.

It took me a really long time to even look at my guitars again. It has only been recently that I was able to process that grief that the break up of MCR inadvertently caused me. I don’t blame the band for their choices for their own mental and emotional health, in fact, I support them %100 all the way in moving on with their lives. I found comfort in that support and moved forward with my own dreams.

~Clara D. Munro