I was thinking again. This time, I wasn’t even alone with my thoughts. In fact, my thoughts were accompanied – by good thoughts, by hopes, by a future and present that beats the shit out of the dark and lonely past year I’ve had. In July of this past summer, everything brightens. And, it continues to.

I realized I don’t ‘need’ my partner anymore in the way that I did previously. I ‘want’ him. But last year, I needed him with the kind of desperation that hurt so drastically it induced spurts of negativity that I could never, ever overcome in my previous hard, hard year.

I realized too, my own petty jealousies. Of my ex-best friends that I loved so much, all out in the world without me. I care, I don’t care, I’m angry, I’m ambivalant. It depends on the day, really. Sometimes with female friend fallouts, girls just want to outdo each other. By participating in this incredibly sexist, uncivilized, heavily socialized ritual, we want to win and when we see or feel we’re not winning, it makes us do ugly things and think ugly thoughts. I have enough ugly thoughts. When I feel them coming on now, I’m working on how I can replace them with good things that are happening in the moment as opposed to dwelling on anger.

But it comes up, you know? Sometimes you can’t just hold in anger or move on from it. Sometimes you feel it and whether that’s ‘right’, ‘wrong’, ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’, sometimes you just feel and you can’t help what you feel. I don’t need to apologize for that.

If my former female friends ever read this, I hope they know and understand that. I hope they’re checking in with themselves sometimes to question their role in what is now a very, very former, strained and full-on negative relationship. I hope what stands still for them are memories. I hope they realize they’re fucking bitches and admittedly, so was I. I hope they realize that what’s missing for me is closure and their unwillingness or inability to provide me with that is what brings me back to this place during times of change. And, I hope they realize that I’m sorry. Not sorry enough to want to reconcile, but sorry I’m the person who’s ousted.

In the past three years, there has been so much change that it’s exhausting. It weighs heavy on my soul, as all I want out of life is to have stability, and know what’s coming all the time. For me that might be incredibly far away. And when I think of that, I look back, as people do. I look back and what I see and feel is a yearning for something that used to be in my life and isn’t anymore. I yearn for simple days of getting up for class half an hour beforehand, pulling on some ugly dated jeans and running off to class, then heading back to my room in residence to my adult summer camp. I yearn for walking into my creative writing class and looking around the room at the most talented and wonderful group of people I knew then, and thinking that my future was in the arts. I yearn for the moment I decided to change my life and realized that I could. I yearn for that moment when I got off the plane in a tropical country for the first time in my life with my best friend beside me to revel in the best reading week ever. All of that was sacred — is sacred. And it’s gone. But it was still certain. And isn’t it still?


Why is Pride Important?

In light of the #heterosexualpride hashtag trending on Twitter, in light of the Orlando, FL massacre, in light of countless instances of institutionalized and individualized homophobia, is this question even worth asking?

Recently, a friend of mine who is marrying his boyfriend in a year from now was booking wedding photographers. Once the photographer found out it was a ‘gay wedding’ she declined the offer because as this photographer said so pointedly, they only do ‘legitimate weddings.’

Another friend of mine was once kicked out of a youth group because it was discovered that she was gay.

While I don’t have any close trans gendered friends, it comes to mind that I have students in my classes sometimes poking fun at Caitlyn Jenner.

Do I really want to press on bruises of the LGBTQ community by bringing up all the instances of prejudice and discrimination that are thrown in that community’s face every single day? Can you really ask someone who would spew this kind of hatred why pride is important? Is it true what Brian Kinney said on Queer as Folk, that “there are two kinds of straight people in this world — the ones who hate you to your face, and the ones who hate you behind your back”? I don’t believe that last statement for a moment. But, if you are a member of this beautiful, diverse, amazingly familial community that faces this kind of disgusting and somehow socially acceptable discrimination, can you blame someone for believing this?

Pride is important because every life deserves equality. Pride is important because of the alarmingly high suicide rate among LGBTQ teenagers. Pride is important because to this day, it is still considered somewhat acceptable to call someone a ‘sissy’, to hashtag ‘#nohomo’, to proclaim to men that being gay is the worst thing they can possibly be. Because people are afraid to come out to their friends and family because of how they might be perceived differently by those who love and care for them. Because trans-gendered people are arguably THE most discriminated group of individuals on this planet.

Pride is more than just a celebration of homosexuality; it is a celebration of diversity and of its importance. Pride is about being proud to be different and sticking it to the bullies, and the bigots. I’ve participated in pride celebrations not as a gay woman but as an ally, and despite being an outsider in that community, I felt completely at home because despite that the LGBTQ community is one that often experiences hate, never responds with anything except love.

Pride is important because it gives voice to the voiceless, no matter who they are and how they identify.


I had a whole life 7-8 years ago and that life has been completely destroyed. I look back at old photos and think about old memories as if I’m someone looking at the rubble of their former city. I wonder sometimes how I even go to a place in my life when almost everyone and everything that was so important to me — that once made me feel complete, and alive, and safe – dissipated entirely until it was 100% nothing. People that I once shared everything with from jewelry, to Halloweens, to annual birthday trips, are now just old crumbled foundations of buildings – strong, beautiful buildings — that have been burnt to the ground. They’re glimpses of something that is long, long gone as if in an old decrepit and unrelateable photo in a history book. I never expected life to turn out that way.

Losing people so catastrophically, violently and grandly feels like a divorce, a death, a train crash. It’s so much more than just letting events and people and memories go. It’s rebuilding your life, a new life where you have to consider that everyone and everything you trusted, held true and believed so deeply in, was all a big, nasty lie. That there are no such thing as the ‘bffs’ that your first real love told you in his cynical, sardonic tone did not in fact exist. That there’s no such thing as retiring to Palm Springs with your lifelong college mates as Carol Shields suggests in “The Stone Diaries”. That the notion of girlhood and everything associated with it as you believed it, to be washed away as simply as waves dredging rogue seaweed scraps onto barren sand. Losing people this way- with betrayal on one end and yelling and purposeful hurt on the other – is something you don’t really forget. You may not lose sleep over it, but what happens instead is this pang. This realization whenever these people come to mind, that out there in this big wide universe, you have enemies. Enemies that couldn’t even be bothered to make things right. Enemies that talked shit about you on social media in their late twenties. Enemies who at one point cried in your arms because of the boy who ghosted. Enemies who at one point you sent care packages to when they moved across the country. Enemies you texted so often each day that you literally blew up each other’s phones with mundane and frivolous conversations. Enemies that make you an enemy, too. When you never wanted to be ‘enemies’. The most hurtful thing is that you both became enemies. And if you encounter each other again, there will be either death stares, or side eye, or worse: truly, painfully awkward silence. Enemies who are all still as close as anything in the world with one another but who have all decided to kick you to the curb.

Why did this happen? How does this happen? What I lost is different from similar losses. The enemies I have made now were so close with me we received joint wedding invitations; we were never seen apart; when in the same classes during our undergrad years, we literally blew our TA’s mind with our thinking alike and acting alike and laughing alike. We weren’t just friends. We weren’t just friends who had a ‘falling out’. We were family whose family tree rotted, died, turned black, fell apart into irreparable ash. And when I think about it, even for more than the split millisecond I think about each day, I cannot fathom that pain, that shattered dream, that ruined close connection. If I dwell on this for even one split millisecond longer, I get suddenly so angry and sad and confused and ask again: WHY? WHY and HOW do people who were  this close with me, completely disappear? Why can’t things ever be like they were? What happened to the formative years of my twenties and when can or will something replace that notion of girlhood that has been cruelly ripped out of my gut? Why do people get divorced, why do we have to let go of the ones we love so much that an old photo just triggers so much of this incredible anger that I feel towards people that I would have done anything for?

In life now I have the most amazing career someone could ever ask for. I live in a place that doesn’t feel like home but it’s quiet, charming even, and full of incredibly wonderful people. I have a partner who I’ve gone to hell and back with and still value our Friday night dinner dates as much as I did when we were first falling in love. I have reconnected with my oldest friends and realized the qualities they possess, and the qualities they awaken in me, have been more worthwhile and important than I ever realized and that realization has both made me feel guilty, but also made me feel grateful. We can’t have it all, and we can’t sometimes let things go as easily as we’d like but we also can’t ignore the hope that the good things have brought in the wake of what has been broken. The world is incredibly complicated and strange and shocking. There are things that pain and things that heal, and things that lay dormant in the small, cozy caves of your mind before one day out of nowhere they sneak out of their hideaways just long enough to make you feel that pale-faced, hand-shaking anger and springing tears just one more stupid time before you cram them back into the place where they came from. I took a day today to think of and honour those feelings in a way I haven’t really done in a long time.


Now I’m going to floss my teeth, and turn on Sports Net, and then go back to the tedium of my idle Tuesday in late April.


Sweet Sixteen.

I look at my life as a series of cuts and additions that are either sewn together or repaired when seams fell apart.

The cuts were so, so significant. Coming up to Valentine’s Day, and coming up to Random Acts of Kindness week, important dates for my relationship and also my career, I am reflecting on both love, and kindness. Not just romantic love, not just random kindness.

Love to me today, means to respect someone with your whole heart. To not stab someone in the back, to hear them out, to show them how much you care about them. To respect memories and laughter and happiness that once was, to really internalize how important it is to have allies who feel so strongly about you, one way or the other. Do I always respect and acknowledge and recognize the love I had or have? No. I don’t. It’s something I continue to work on because I know my weaknesses and limitations and to be the best possible human being I could ever be, I need to really and truly appreciate the love that surrounds me, and even respect the love that’s not anymore.

I cut people who didn’t love me anymore. But when I cut them, the truth is that I still loved them.

I maintain that you can only hate someone you  love. Once you fall out of love, you fall out of hate. It’s a continuum of strong, heated impassioned emotions that prove one can’t exist without the other.

When I was double-crossed, when I was betrayed, abandoned, dumped, back-stabbed, I felt those things as deeply as I did because of love that I felt so strongly for those in my life who are no longer there. Everyone who’s gone now, is gone not because I stopped loving them ever. It’s because they stopped loving me.

To those who don’t love me anymore: I’m sorry that I lack perfection that you need. I’m sorry I don’t have what you need. I’m sorry that I continued on a life path that you didn’t want to be a part of anymore. I’m sorry I followed my dreams or spoke about my feelings too much or that my vulnerability made you uncomfortable. Maybe this makes me sound like a martyr but it’s true. I am sorry for those things. Sorry? Yes. But can I change them? No. It is what it is. I’m sorry for it, but this is how it is and maybe even how it was meant to be. Do I believe in BFFs or love at first sight anymore? No. These were lessons I had to learn when I was old enough to uncover these taxing lessons.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve really made peace with the idea that these things are gone, that the people I once loved did and said what they did and said, that I didn’t act my best and there’s more I could have done to show my love or at least, contain it so much that I wouldn’t get angry about it.

I’m good. It’s good. There are other people to love and new ways to try and be authentically kinder, better, more observant, more on track. My success in doing these things more and being more cognizant of them is key to who I am going to be and how I am going to get past these difficult pills to swallow.


Happiness Challenge, Lucky 13.

I was trying to find essays to teach my class and in doing so, felt inspired to get back to writing again (in a more formal, thought-out kind of way.. not a “blog what you’re feeling” kind of way). When I write, I feel more like myself. I think sometimes that the part of me that writes is the part of me that feels most like myself…depending on the day. Soul-searching is complex and ever-changing. amiright?

Sometimes when you have the most amazing story to tell, you can’t necessarily find the words to tell it. It’s like there is too much to say and the organization of the story is difficult for that reason. There’s a story on my mind that I think is an amazing one to tell; about my life, and another person’s life, about an amazing an unlikely friendship that I have which was better and more enriching than the friendships I recently lost. Friendship is a hard pill to swallow. It is the kind of relationship that can be confusing and it can make your head hurt and it can force you to keep secrets that the loved and trusted people in your life wouldn’t want you to keep from them. It’s about helping someone against your better judgment maybe, but then realizing later you were glad you took that chance to help that person because you learned so much from them in the end. This story is that kind of story. There is all of that to say in 1,000 or so words and I don’t even know where to begin.

So on Friday when I had a bit of down time and after reading spectacularly good essays by the likes of Joan Didion et. al, I began to write. And for once, I didn’t hate or find hideously awful the events and the way in which I was telling them. My writing goal for the next month or so is to continue chipping away at that story with the hope that I can carve it out of the block of marble that I see right now.

Storytelling helps me become a more positive and well-rounded person. I constantly feel more enriched, more in tune with myself and more okay with the world I’m living in as long as I can see how I feel and the words I’m speaking and the feelings I’m feeling written on paper or a screen or something tangible. Words are like fine wine pouring from a glass that I want to drink when I’m stressed out or unhappy. That was how I found my positive in the last couple of days.


My Best Friends.

Someone who I consider to be my best friend is someone I never should have been friends with. I played with fire because I believed no harm would come to me. And no harm did come to me. I was right. I met someone who taught me so much about the world, the other parts of the world that I’ve never been privy to or understood. I reached my hand over into the darkness and allowed an incredibly dark person to lead me in. And then I pulled us both out. I won’t ever, ever, ever forget him. The only thing I want for him is happiness and healing and forward movement.

My childhood best friend is someone who I’ve known almost my entire life, whether we were friends or enemies at various points in our lives. I would never say I “worry” about him, because I know he can care for himself and figure things out for himself. I was finally, after more than a decade of friendship, shared my darkest secrets of him before I moved away from the beloved neighbourhood we both shared for the last two years. And I think we walked away from that as better, more understanding people. The person I grew up with, I have come to know, as one of the smartest, funniest deepest people in my life, who has gone through hardships and bullying and segregation I could never imagine.

My best friends from university are the best girlfriends I could ever ask for. They’re so drama-free, girl talks are not something we ever shared when we first knew each other; the beginning years of our friendship were filled with child-like trolling and stupidity and laughter, and later in life we grew into deeper and more introspective women. There was a time in my life when I thought I didn’t need those girls, but I do, and I did, and never truly realized just how much I love them. Even after over a year apart,we can consistently pick up where we left off. It sometimes just takes the following of another path to realize how much someone’s friendship means to you.


Preoccupation With the Past.

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about the past- the favours it’s done for me, things I wish I could change, or things I’m glad changed because it made me a better person and a better professional right now as a result (even though I’m not always the best of professionals, despite constantly striving for perfection I’m not sure I’ll ever really reach, but that’s another story…) and things that I’m willing to admit here because I can, and I have no real reason not to.

In my writing life, and my personal life, the past has always been interesting to me. There’s a lot of power and gravity and magnitude of what has come before and it can be either an indicator of what’s to come, or a warning of what should never be again. And sometimes I look the past right in its three-headed beasted face and I am able to say that I’m not afraid of the hideous beast that I’m looking at anymore. And words to no one, words just to me, words read by strangers, are my way to stare it down, because I quite frankly am left with no other option. The past has always been something I’ve explored in my writing because so much can happen in a life that now ceases to exist, and it shapes so much of who we are and what we do, for better or for worse. I remember the first time I walked into a high school and the popular kids still intimidated me. In fact, kids intimidated me. So much so, I could barely speak to them. My jaw was locked. I was frozen in a space of watching them at a distance that I could comfortably handle, but I was mentally and physically, then, unable to go any further. I think of that now and I can’t believe I made it through that and that I’m where I am now. It’s unreal. We all live so many lives. Some of them are stagnant and stoic, but most of them aren’t. They come and go, they mar the shores of the beaches of our lives, then retreat back into their ocean waters. They come and find us where we sleep but once nobody answers the door they’re knocking on they don’t come to call again. But maybe someday in a distant life when all over lives have passed it, it will come back and it will be just a pebble that you can skip across the lake.

I don’t care about what people think of my preoccupation with the past. I don’t care that it seems crazy or nonsensical or that it doesn’t serve a purpose because what’s right for society and what we always see in memes and movies and books is the idea of “forward movement”. Life isn’t a plot graph, though. Life isn’t a linear story. Life is a cyclical, dynamic, ever-changing, loop-de-loop roller coaster of sorts that stays on a track and is thrilling, and continues to be so even if we have seen and felt those same thrills over and over again. We sit and watch life soar by as a swirl of blurred lines and colours, then we line up for cheap thrills again. And if the coaster falls off the track.. it was worth it. I can revisit whatever I want. I can turn off the bathroom light and close the doors and summon Bloody Mary and tell her, “I’m not afraid of you” and watch her faded image dissipate into nothing. I can do whatever I want with my past and my memories. They’re my little bag of treasures.

My past is an incredibly rich and prosperous one in some lifetimes, and an incredibly dark and traumatic one in others. All of those things are valuable and I remember it all. And when I stare into the faces of the past, those faces on that great multi-headed beast that grunts its ugly grunt and gnashes its teeth and wails and whistles and demonically cackles, I can be glad that it still has all of its heads, and that no one has done anything to sever them. Perhaps three heads will ultimately sever themselves.