Mangoes, A Short Story

Mango juice gushed from the fruit, dripped down his wrists and wet his lips. His straight white teeth tore through the red, orange, green skin and into its ripe yellow flesh. The juice fell onto the plastic grocery bag that was purposefully spread out in front of him like a place-mat. There was a desperation in the way this boy ate the mango. He was hungry and I couldn’t stop watching.

There was one in my hands as well, too big to fit in one hand like an apple. While I watched him eat the fruit ravenously across from me, I had my hesitations about venturing into it myself. He paid no attention to me as I took one conservative bite, breaking through its thick membrane, skin and all. I chewed with the front of my mouth like I did with my vegetables when I was a child. I never really liked mango – the texture was weird.

“That’s the best part,” he said through bites. “The skin has the most nutrients and people just throw it away.”

While feasting, he started telling me about how food changed his life. I had seen born-again Christians talk about Jesus the same way he preached about raw, natural foods. Only putting things in your body that could grow from a tree or be found in flora of a forest. It made me look at him eating the mango like he was consuming some sort of Eucharist, like it could somehow detox him of all of his sins.

“I feel so much better these days,” he explained. “My mind’s just… clear.”

He had been sitting there – biting, chewing, slurping – for a several minutes. The fruit  became sad orange bits strung meekly around a brown pit. If I wasn’t there right in front of him, I imagine he would’ve eaten that too.

We were in the atrium of our University campus, the apex of student activity and an intersection of all routes people must take to get to where they need to go. He asked me to meet me here, at this spot, this morning. It was the most convenient place, he explained.

Strangers have a habit of opening up to me. I’ve been told that I have a trustworthy face. It was especially apparent when people came up and asked me to watch their expensive belongings in the library so they could relieve themselves, or when customers greeted me with questions in stores I didn’t work for, or when old ladies volunteered their varying wisdom with me on public transportation because I was the only one who would pretend to care.

With this boy, his words poured out much like yoke spilling from a cracked egg, but I never really applied any pressure. He was a Catholic and I was his Priest at confession, listening to his year long journey – his wallowing depression, his rude awakening, and enlightenment through fruit. He spoke so eagerly and earnestly about his revelations, I had no doubt that he wholeheartedly believed in what he was saying. And, like a Priest, all I had to do was sit here and listen.

I thought of all the other strange ways people dug their way out of a hole: joining a bowling team, making stained glass windows, going to the gym. Never mangoes.

However, this boy wasn’t actually a stranger. At least, not really. He had a name and I knew it. Isaac. I had met him just over a year ago.


October 31st, 2015

greaser drawing

He stands in a kitchen, lazily leaning against the countertop. Through the air that is thick with smoke, tinged with interchanging party lights, red, green, yellow then blue, I see he is wearing black jeans with suspenders, over a white shirt. The sleeves are rolled up over his well-toned muscles, adding one small touch to a costume that looked like he probably mustered it together at the last minute. It’s a Halloween party, and he’s a greaser.

I’m just a few feet from the entrance of the kitchen, but I’m talking to guy who took interest in me the moment I walked in the door. He pulled me to the side by the arm while I was getting a drink and told me I looked beautiful.

We talk, the guy and I, first yelling over the heavy-bass party music, then we close into one another so our mouths are placed over each other’s ears as we say words.

pin-up-girl.jpgBright red lipstick makes a perfect outline along the lip of my cup. I’m a pin-up girl. The costume I put together was also last minute, all pieces combined from the bottom of my closet; tight high-waisted jeans, a red bandana and a white button up I knotted over my chest. Most importantly, my best and most trusted bra.

Over the crowd of people, all moving and meandering and making noise, I look over the guy’s shoulder and catch the boy’s eyes. Three times.

The boy is beautiful. He is the kind of boy I dream about; standing above the crowd, 6’4, with thick dark hair pulled back from his face, and friendly eyes juxtaposing his two intense eyebrows. A perfect combination of intimidating and I-swear-I-don’t-bite.

He immediately catches my eye, and somehow I am catching his. I’ve never been “that girl”. Back in high school, which seems like a lifetime ago, I was all chubby cheeks and rectangular glasses, but I’m on the brink of twenty I’m still soft, just not as round. That’s why I blame his interest on my costume. I always find reasons for the male gaze whenever it is pointed in my direction. Sober, my confidence hasn’t grown at the same rate the rest of me had.

In my drunken state, embellished the savviness of a pin-up girl and the guy at my side, my ego is slightly larger than usual. The alcohol in my red plastic cup has filled me with a pleasant haze too. The kind of drunken stupor that doesn’t hit you until you’re releasing your bladder into a toilet while walls spin around you. I’ve gone three times since I got here.

It makes my conversation with the guy in front of me run more smoothly, despite how boring and fraternal he is. Jake, Tanner… maybe it’s Steve; he said his name but it’s starting to slip my mind. I pretend to be interested in what he’s saying, I laugh because he makes a jokes,, and touch his arm at the right moments, because I want him to think I’m listening.

But, I can’t help but be distracted by the beautiful boy in the kitchen leaning against the countertop, who seems to be there alone, and whose eyes are meeting mine every time I look up.

“I’ll be right back,” the guy says in my ear.

“What?” I yell over the music.

He motions to his empty cup, and leaves to go fill it with the party’s concoction of alcohol and green Kool-Aid. The farther he is, the more distant any memory of his name becomes.

Spotting the friends that I came with, I notice they’re talking to boys they probably wouldn’t find attractive if it weren’t for the red plastic cups in their hands.

The room is spinning. I rest my back against the wall so that people can pass by in the crowded hallway and sink into that feeling that always greets me in the middle of a good time. Everything about modern house parties are so obviously intentional. Everything’s made to magnetize the opposite sex closer to one another. I can’t walk down a hallway without my ass grazing the groin of some unsuspecting stranger.

I stare at my friends, they too had fallen fool to the game.

I take a sip from my cup and finish it off. When I look over again, he is already looking back.

That boring guy is no longer tethering me to my present spot, and his eyes are saying “come over” even if he doesn’t mean to. I’ve started walking towards him and I don’t remember deciding to.


He smirks like he knew I was going to come over before I did.

“Hey,” he says back.


I stared at the same boy sitting across from me who was different now.

My eyes went to the few beads of mango juice were still dripping down his wrists.

How the hell did I get here?


red solo cupsIsaac bends down and asks me what my name is.

I tell him, and he repeats it back to see if he heard it right.

He says his, but I ask him to say it again. The speakers are right at his elbows and they pulse to the beat.

His gaze is effortless and suggests he’s used to drawing the attention of girls at house parties. He utters something about being a greaser but right now he looks like Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire. I remember playing Blanche Dubois in my high school play once.

“I’m a pin-up girl,” I say in response.

Before we get stuck in the realm of small talk, which I hate, Isaac un-crosses his arms and bends down close, mouth at my ear.

“Wanna just get out of here?”

I’m not sure what he means but I want to go wherever he’s going. I grab his hand that he offers after my yes and can’t help but notice that the crowd of people in the house seem to part like the sea as we make our way towards the front exit.

Outside, the air is crisp for October, and I didn’t bring a coat, but blood is rushing under my skin because I’m suddenly nervous.

He walks with his hands in his pockets, taking long strides with his long legs, and we bump into one another.

“Shit party, eh?” he starts, I think to break the quiet between us.

“Yeah,” I say, though I don’t agree. It wasn’t that bad.

“My place is just two streets over.”

The longer we walk, the closer we are to his place and the more aware I become of what I’m doing.

It’s five short minutes and one flight of stairs to get to his small bedroom on the second floor of a duplex two streets over. We chuckle quietly as he opens the door and clumsily stumble inside his bedroom.


I lifted up my mango. “Do you want mine? Not that hungry to be honest.”

Isaac shrugged, “Sure.”

He took a bite. I saw his lips more than his teeth this time, full and kissing the skin my mango with each bite. I wondered why, a year after our one night together, he asked me to hang out with him again.

“So… how about you?”

My eyes were still on his mouth, “Huh?”

“It’s been over a year since I saw you last.”

“That’s a loaded question.”

He just looked at me expectantly.

Sighing, I leaned back into my seat, mindful of my sticky hands. “I didn’t go on a mind-altering spiritual journey if that’s what you’re wondering.”

“All journeys are journeys, my friend.”

He smiled stupidly. 

I would’ve rolled my eyes if anyone else had uttered that faux-Zen spiritual virnacular in my vicinity. It was the kind of gab that I’d commonly mocked to my friends. But he was beautiful. Even with his hair, now twisted into hippy dreads and tied together with a rubber band, and his body that had lost its fullness after a year of fruit-eating, I still found him beautiful.

Since we had sat down, almost all of the stuff that came out of his mouth juxtaposed my carefully curated secularism. But I just nodded, and smiled, and motioned for more. There was no doubt that all things suggested I agreed with everything he was saying.

I thought of even responding with “it’s not the destination it’s the journey” or some shit. It was so easy to lose myself in beautiful boys.

A compromise, “I think I’m still in the middle of mine.”

I could’ve told him about my year, but part of being a practical person is having a hard time finding a way to attach meaning to everything. Like serendipity or happenstance, my life never made sense. Unlike his three-act story, my life never came to a coherent conclusion, revelation, or absolution.

And unlike him, I don’t like talking about myself to strangers.


How a Bra Changed My Life

dee6897f-485d-40ea-b69f-91cb640065dc-25755-00000f374f143b50-1My life changed in the dressing room of a lingerie store.

It happened one day when I was at the mall with a humble sum of disposable cash and an equal amount of free time. It wasn’t in the itinerary to be fitted that day, but with the tug of my best friend who frequently lost herself to retail therapy, I suddenly found myself being sized by the experienced hands of a nice old lady. Behind the dressing room curtain and under a violent white light, I slipped on the most modest bra, and turned to see my reflection. 

My eyes widened. 

I gazed at my body as if I were seeing it for the first time. My breasts were two gorgeous mounts of perky flesh encased in the prison of high-quality underwire and lace. Each vertebrae had aligned with the next and I swear I stood an inch taller. It was as if the entire universe had lifted me up. 

“Holy shit,” I said out loud.

“Everything alright, dear?” the bra lady asked nervously. 

I tore the curtain aside and came out, loud, proud, elevated. 

“This is fucking amazing.”


beige-bikini-top-1721047 (2)My breasts have always been some sort of a nuisance – I avoided wearing a bra when they started sprouting when I was ten. I remember mother tossed my first set of the Fruit of the Loom cotton training bras from Walmart onto my bed with a look that just said, “It’s time”.

They sat there, unused, for awhile.

Reality hit one day when I was running around my neighborhood with the kids on my street. My mom, horrified, caught sight of my untamed chest, plagued by gravity and the energy of an eleven-year-old, and forced me to wear one to school the next day. 

They grew pretty fast. Within a year I went from Fruit of the Loom to a Wonder Bra. Those sad looking, menopausal bras that were always colourless, thick strapped, fastened by hooks, that sucked in the ever-growing things on my chest. The underwire would always tear through the dull fabric into the sides of my rib cage. 


While the girls at recess adorned acute little bejeweled La Senza bras beneath their Abercrombie tanks with spaghetti straps, my chest was impossible to subdue. In the summer months of seventh and eighth grade, my ill-fitting bras would barely lift, barely contain, barely even support my preteen body. 

Growing up in a Catholic school, girls are taught to cover up their robust bodies. And from a young age, those girls are taught to make others more comfortable by hiding the parts that are soft and protrude. It was in eighth grade that I got sent home four times.

My adolescence was filled with cycles of fad diets, exercise programs, an absurd level of calorie restrictions, even consider a line of weight loss shakes. None of it was sustainable. None of it was ever enough. The world didn’t seem to like those who could pinch more than the skin at their abdomen, whose thighs rubbed together when they walked, and whose breasts didn’t fit into cute little bras. So, I started not to like it either. 

By the time I was a teenager, I had perfected the art of camouflage. My underwear drawer was filled with bralettes and sports bras that either binded my chest flat, or let everything hang loose. All my outfits were carefully curated to do the opposite of accentuate. 

Through my bras and my clothes, I made the choice to have a barrier between my body’s true form and the rest of the world.



I walked out into the lingerie shop to the floor-length mirror and touched my chest as if I had never felt it before. It was a marvelous revelation, all tightly woven in the fabric, straps, and lace. 

I turned around and looked at the bra lady. 

“Can I try on another?”

That day I left the lingerie store with a bag full of (incredibly expensive) bras that I charged impulsively to my credit card. I immediately went home and tried on all of the clothes in my closet. It was the first time that I was unsatisfied, not with the way my body looked, but at the way my clothes clung to it. 

I quickly realized that I had been buying things too large and too black. My wardrobe consisted of an impressive collection of extra large black t-shirts and bulky sweaters. Nothing in there accentuated the curves of my body. Everything was meant to disguise. 

Over the next few months, I went on a hunt to develop my style. While it had progressively evolved over the years, it was never able to reach its full potential. I began to try on things I would’ve never thought to try on before.  And since I was starting a new job right out of University, it meant I had an excuse to invest in some trendy office clothes; the clothes I had once only dreamed of wearing when I had lost a bunch of weight.

But, it was just the bras that changed my life. At some point, I had gotten fed up.

I had spent too many years dealing with a grueling relationship with the very thing that let me walk, run, swim, jump, kiss, hug, and taste. I can’t remember the number of times I’d walk by a mirror and say “ew” under my breath, or how many times I avoided the direct line with a camera. It makes me wonder how many spaces I avoided to not feel like my flaws were under a magnifying glass. 

Processed with VSCO with au5 presetAs an act of rebellion, against the things I was taught about myself and told myself on a daily basis, I had also slowly developed a habit of going to the gym – not as a punishment, but because it made me feel good.

I started reprogramming my brain to walk by a mirror and think something nice like I would a friend.

Slowly but surely, it’s working. 

If only I could tell my eleven-year-old self how a bra could make me walk down a street with back straight and my head held high. And the relief that comes every day by taking it off.


– – –

Image 1: https://weheartit.com/entry/68504005



Breakups, First Jobs, New Apartments & Falling in Love: My Life After Grad

Ten days before my Graduation, my first boyfriend broke up with me. 

He sat at the edge of my bed and ended an eight-week relationship in five minutes. I told him to leave and called my best friend like she was a lifeline and I was sinking. She rushed over and stood in the doorway holding a bottle of wine poking out of a brown LCBO bag – a lifebuoy. 

I pulled up to my Grad in a white dress, red lip, fresh balayage and a $40 spray tan. I smiled from ear to ear, feeling joy for the first time since he left. The breeze grazed my hair and sunlight hit the highlight on my cheek, as my friends snapped photos of me outside the school I had attended for the last five years, and posted them to Instagram as if to say to the world, Here I Am.

That day, my friends took me to lunch and over a bottle of wine I was able to see each of their faces and realize how lucky I was. How each of them had taken the time to comfort me in my time of need. It was strange that just days before I was considering moving back to my hometown because my world had been shaken so much. How that one instance in my bedroom ten days before was able to rid me of my confidence and self-assuredness. How, even just for a moment, it made me think of moving away from a place I now called home. 

Looking back now, I realized I needed something to shake me. To wake me up. To snap. Because now, I feel better than I could have ever imagined. 


Life since graduating, albeit not a breeze, has been the most fulfilling. 

I moved into my own apartment in the heart of Centretown. It’s a humble bachelor with a wall of windows that faces East, and each morning I drink a pot of tea while I watch the sunrise with my cat. I’m surrounded by pieces of used furniture I’ve curated from Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji. I cursed my way through assembling a Mid Century-modern desk by myself. 

I tell myself each month when I hand over a rent cheque worth 40% of my income that it’s worth the proximity to everything; my friends, my grocery store, my gym, work- because quite frankly, it is. 

Every Wednesday I go to my best friend’s apartment up the street, and we have therapy sessions over (delicious) home-made food at her dinner table. 

I started my first ever real adult job. With benefits. And a salary. And while I never thought I’d be working for an IT Recruitment company, I’ve learned so much since starting up there. I’ve received my first taste of office culture and the politics that come with it. My all-women team is super supportive and they’ve essentially adopted me as their little sister. Our team-building exercises have gone from painting pottery to doing yoga on Parliament Hill with 200 other public servants. I even marched in the climate strike with some of them on my lunch break. 

While my teenage self would scoff at the concept of anything intercepting my freedom, a regular 9-5 has greatly impacted my mental health. It seems as though all those self-help books were right. Through a (non-perfect) regiment of journaling, meditating and exercising, all of which have given me an outlet to not only be aware of what I am feeling and why I am feeling it, I now have the space to move and do something about it. 

Looking back at the last year, I’ve done an incredible amount of work getting myself out of a tough place I never thought I’d be free of. Life, as I’ve realized, comes with all of these situations and feelings no one can control, but with stability, I can just treat them like I would the weather. (You just have to pack an umbrella.)


Summer slowly simmered down and in the months of August and September, I found myself in this place where I was thriving.

After five years of fighting off bouts of debilitating depression between essays and assignments, and a rough breakup in early June, I was finally reaching out to old acquaintances and the people I chose to connect with weren’t there because of convenience but because I enjoyed their presence. For the first time in a really long time, I was happy.

I saw this happiness seep into every part of my life. I was no longer resentful of people who had things I wanted. It made being a good friend, a good coworker, a nice stranger, easy.

Then, by happenstance, without really meaning to, I fell in love. 

And I mean, I could go into all the details and tell an elaborate story of how we met and the lengths went through to be together. But the thing is that our story, so far, has been pretty simple. Almost too simple. I can’t help but think that because I always used to associate love with pain, loss, and betrayal. Every so often I gaze at him, feeling my old skepticism rising to the surface and I ask myself, is this real? And he reminds me every day that, yes it is. 

I wish I could tell my past selves in each moment of crisis where I would be in time. 

How grateful I am that I didn’t move back home because I thought I was drowning, because I would’ve never gotten this job. I would’ve never met him, who challenges me to be the best version of myself, and inspired me to pick up my pen and start writing again.

So, that’s why I’m here, at The Crooked Friend. I’m learning how to do the things I love without negative inspiration. I don’t need a fantastical story to write about to escape from my reality. I don’t need heartbreak to write a good poem. 

I can be a writer without pain, its just a bike I’ve never ridden before. 



The Latchkey Kid

We laid side by side under the covers, close enough so that I could feel her trembling.

Sleepovers were a common attribute to our friendship, and continued even through our transition through adolescence. They usually took place at her house. This time it was at mine.

There was a year and a half gap between the two of us, and the older we got, the smaller the bed seemed to get and the bigger that gap seemed to become. Sometimes it felt like I was slowing down my pace so she could keep up. Not with walking, but with everything else.

She was scared, like she always was after scary movies. And I felt guilty. I was used the terror they induced, but was able to convince myself there wasn’t a monster under the bed, no matter how much it felt like there was.


Her mom was ever-present. Her mom redecorated the house every few months, and she stopped to talk to people at grocery stores; she had time and spent most of it on her kids.

Her mom preserved my best friend’s innocence with a fervor, skipping over sex scenes in the movies we watched, swatting our heads when we said bad words, and bundling us up like the Michelin Man the moment the thermometer read negative.

It was an alien concept, attention. It was not something I’d commonly receive, at least to that degree. When I played with my best friend, I was also under the temporary care of a woman with lots of time. I’d drop off my stuff after school and immediately make my way over to their house. I wouldn’t ask for food, but I’d make rather obvious hints that I was hungry. But, it wasn’t just the food that I was there for, it was the conversation. Sitting on their kitchen island, grabbing handfuls of Goldfish crackers, sipping apple juice from straws, her mom would lean over on the other side and let us in on the neighbourhood gossip.

The bubble-wrapped kid and the latchkey kid. A 21st century friendship.

It sometimes felt as though my best friend’s mom knew me more than my own, but as I grew older I knew this wasn’t the case. My Mom went to work at a stressful job and came home to do her stressful paperwork. Time was a luxury my she did not have even for herself, and even if she wanted to give me more.

I looked over at my best friend who’s fear made her cry. Sometimes it felt like the responsibility of retaining her innocence was in my hands too. I would get glances from her mother that could only suggest that she was aware I knew more than I was letting on. Thinking of the look I got when I’d let it slip I didn’t believe in Old Man in Red when I was eight years old made avoid a similar conversation three years later when I stopped believing in the Old Man in the Sky.

I didn’t have hard life, not at all, but when I came home from school, I didn’t have anyone tall enough to close the blinds; I learned how to get a chair and grab the box of cereal on the top shelf; I watched the war torn news because it was my thumbs pressing the buttons on the remote.

Some part of me wondered if my best friend knew how lucky she was, but as I watched her trembling, I didn’t know if lucky was the right word.

I reached out grasped her trembling hand in my steady one, and stayed awake until she fell asleep.


Why “Call Me By Your Name” is an Important Film

Set in 1983 “somewhere in Northern Italy”, Call Me By Your Name tells a tale of first love between two men and a subsequent coming of age. Elio, played by Timothee Chalamet, is a bookish music prodigy, and at the ripe age of seventeen, he meets the new live-in grad student who will reside in their home as his father’s academic assistant for six weeks during the summer. His name is Oliver, respectively portrayed by the handsome Armie Hammer, who becomes the figure of distant longing for Elio while he discovers different parts of himself and of life that cannot be read in a book.

Without boring the viewer, Call Me By Your Name starts off slow. As a director, Luca Guadagnino does this by gently motioning the viewer into Elio’s introspective world. For the first half of the film, there are drawn out sequences of him transcribing music, bike riding through the villa, and eating breakfast with his adoring parents, chatting seamlessly in English, Italian and French.

elio 2
Elio, Call Me By Your Name

These sequences are complemented with wide shots of the dream-like Italian landscape that become a definitive character in of themselves throughout the film. The calm that is drawn out from film’s slowness dramatically contrasts with the majority of modern cinema gives the viewers what they want right away. The slow start is also something incredibly reflective of the love story that plays out on screen.

armie hammer
Oliver, Call Me By Your Name

Elio is enamoured by the twenty-four year old Oliver, who can be seen as everything Elio isn’t. Oliver jumps off his bike with easy grace, he drinks juice in fervid gulps, he shimmies solo on dance floors – he’s confidence without pretension. It’s Oliver’s obvious self-acceptance that Elio both envies and desires. Elio is pictured quiet and withdrawn, shifting in his body as he slouches and shuffles restlessly. His admiration for Oliver is first seen only through wistful glances and boyish flirting that implies more by what is unsaid. Timothee Chalamet, an actor I’m sure we’ll all see more of in due time, captures the character of Elio perfectly by saying more with a look than he does with his words.

Although, the most refreshing aspect of Call Me By Your Name is its lack of an antagonist commonly seen in queer films. The only antagonism is Elio and Oliver’s hesitancy. It is at a fateful moment by a war memorial, breaking through his layers of apprehension, that Elio decides to indirectly tell Oliver how he feels. It’s the moment when an unrequited love becomes requited and his true self unfolds. 


When viewing Call Me By Your Name at the Bytowne cinema downtown, I was enchanted at how real this film felt. The screen became the eyes of a resident of Elio’s home. And the story isn’t just told visually, but also audibly. The actors speak over cars that drive by and Church bells that ring – birds chirp, flies buzz and doors slam. While the two men fall in love, we are all effectively transported into their world and it makes us feel like we’re there.

I think this film is important because it asks powerful questions with subtlety. Is it better to speak or to die? Is better to feel nothing so as not to feel anything? It challenges people who may have originally been skeptical or embarrassed by intimacy between two men but proves that love is love is love. Elio’s father delivers an incredibly powerful speech that encourages his son to love and feel fully without fear of the pain that comes with it. Though I have never fallen in love, after seeing this film I hope welcome such intimacy with another human being, even if there is a chance it will end.

call me by your name 2The film ends with both young men still in love, and with heartbreak. Elio explored his own sexuality, with men and women, and a once bookish teenager becomes a young man who participates in his own life. With this, the characters leave the summer unpunished. Call Me By Your Name will stay with me for a very long time. My advice before watching: be patient with it and let the story sink in. There weren’t many dry eyes when I left the theatre, but in the end, to avoid something that makes you feel – “what a waste!”



Sex, Tinder, & 90s Sitcoms

Recently, I was intrigued by the golden age of television, and the era of the 90s sitcom. Most notably I was fascinated by their aesthetic, from the straight-legged Mom jeans, the plaid mini skirts, to over tweezed eyebrows. To be honest, I still see remnants of that era in my own wardrobe, and I can’t even count the times I’ve referenced Jennifer Aniston’s perfect golden locks to my hairdresser. I’ve seen these trends coming back within the clothing racks of Urban Outfitters and H&M, but what I presume will never go back in style is the way they went about dating.

Born in 96, my memories of that era are only fragments from having to dial up my home computer and listening to the Spice Girls on my walkman. The only real window to dating in that world was through shows like Friends, Seinfeld, and even Boy Meets World, and because I grew up with those shows, I expected that my life would replicate those images on screen. One solid group of friends that meets at the same cafe everyday, a steady career right out college, and maybe even marrying my high school sweetheart.

The genesis of Tinder was in 2012, two years before I started university. I knew by then that the images on television that taught me about dating could not be applied to this new reality. By then, it was no longer uncommon or looked down upon to have accounts on OkCupid or Plenty of Fish. In fact, that seemed to be the main way people met and interacted with people they might want to fornicate with.

I don’t like Tinder. I can definitely say with confidence after having an account off and on for just over two years. While I know people who have fulfilling relationships and adventurous sexual escapades, it has just become incredibly tedious to me.

However, what is the 90s sitcom equivalent? Would it be when Joey from Friends flirted his way with a girl in a public space to get her phone number? To which, later he would come home from work, pick up his curly-wired telephone phone receiver, and call her up. Assuming that she gave him the correct digits, the cute girl answers. There they would have to have a pleasant conversation that would usually lead to a nice dinner, and the cute girl, feeling obliged since he put his card down on the table to pay, would have sex with him.

Now, you swipe, you talk, and you meet up, and yeah.. The rest is history.

It’s like dating is the same puzzle, but with pieces rearranged. All first encounters are online, but people just want to see a similar picture in the end.

20th century dating is strategic, and I was able to understand it for the most part. I was able to select the right selfies and group photos that would enable a butt load of matches and superlikes on Tinder. In my first year, I took it too seriously, getting caught in the web of guys who saw me as disposable as my profile on the site.

But, I grew, and I learned to hold my own ground. It got to this point where I just kept swiping and swiping, thumbing through pictures of guys while barely looking at their name or age, and getting a rush to my ego whenever they already liked me and feeling temporarily disappointed when they didn’t. It was a game – like Candy Crush or Temple Run – and just a way to pass my time in bored moments with no actual thought to what it could lead to.

It started making me question why I couldn’t find someone, out of the hundreds of people who swipe on Tinder, there ought to be a perfect fit for me, right? Except, I haven’t actually formally dated anyone, or have been able to call someone my partner. Thanks to Tinder, I’ve had “things”, which have been extremely casual and not worthy of introducing to my parents; so after a while it just stops either due to our busy schedules or sudden lack of interest.

I’ve fallen into this growing category of millennial who have been single their whole lives. That makes us believe that there must be something off kilter, and that it can probably be found within ourselves.

This mentality used to plague me for a little while. But then, over the last two years, I realized that I actually haven’t been actively searching for anyone. I’ve been content growing and living on my own, finding fulfillment through many amazing friendships.

The whole “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” rhetoric is definitely not as apparent. Far more frequently, I message them first. I’ve offered to pay for my dinner, despite it being turned down almost every time. And in no way do I ever feel obliged to do anything I don’t want to do.

It reminded me of the first episode of Friends, and how the writers were hesitant to write a pilot where one of the main female characters, Rachel, forgets the name of the man she hooked up with the night before. They didn’t want her to be perceived as promiscuous. Now we literally have shows like Broad City, where the two female leads, Ilana and Abbi, openly talk about their sexualities like its the weather.

So, I think that’s where the main difference lies. It’s not just the way we go about dating, and the means to which we meet people, it’s that the social norms that came along with dating then have slowly melted away. Society is more open with everything, including sex, and I prefer it that way.

90s dating 1

If someone asked me what era I would rather date in, I definitely would say today. While there are flaws in our current era of Tinder and casual sex, there’s flaws with every era. I’d rather be dating in the time where, to be a women and to be sexual, aren’t as negatively co-existing concepts. And, I’d rather on my iPhone restlessly waiting for a reply, than the landline, because well, at least I can see if they’ve read it, right?


The Nice Girl

Rough patches are common, and come quite often, but this is the first time in a long time that I don’t really like myself.

This isn’t one of the periods of life where I can’t get my hair right, or none of of my outfits look good, or my makeup can’t really hide that pimple. Just like every other young woman, I’ve been experiencing those things as well, but this has something more to do with my character.

Recently, I was thinking back to when I was younger, and how people always described me as nice. I was a nice girl. My mother raised me right; I had good manners, I smiled at strangers, I complimented girls in public bathrooms, and said yes to almost every favour someone asked of me.

I even perfected the formalities of professional gatherings adults would have, strongly grasping the hands of socialites, making the right kind of eye contact, and laughing in all of the right places.

I think I prided myself on that. I grew up in school with some girls who weren’t that nice; who could pretend in front of parents that they were a golden child, but would draw nasty things on my face when the lights turned off during a slumber party. Or later in high school, when those same girls would make fun of just about anyone who was slightly atypical.

I was not usually an active passenger of my meanness; it happened passively when I laughed at the wrong times or didn’t stand up for someone who needed it. Sometimes it’s because I was tired and impatient, acting irrationally towards someone who also didn’t deserve it. Either way, those incidents I’d always later regret, and ponder restlessly into the night.

When it came down to it, I was just a friend to anyone who needed one. I gave my time to people who did not deserve it, and offered generosity to people I knew would never give it back. There were people who really hurt me, and they never knew how much they hurt me. Perhaps someone could argue that this gave me a sense of heroism, but looking back I genuinely think for the most part I was being good, to be good.

The nice girl appeared in the first year university, too. But she appeared in areas of life that she had never appeared before. Like dating, and professional settings.

After joining organizations and doing a range of small networking activities, the definitions of nice and formality became interchangeable. I’d converse with associates and then two seconds later they would turn around and their bright smile would disappear. Genuineness became rare. More than anything, being nice seemed like a tool in a well constructed PR campaign.

Soon, some things became apparent to me. I didn’t actually have to smile at everyone. Girls who glared at me as I walked by deserved, in my mind, to be stared back at just with the same amount of intensity. A sorry didn’t have to escape my mouth every few seconds as I made my way through a throng people. A man was not entitled to my attention, just because they showed some kindness. I no longer felt obligated to keep toxic people in my life.

My gradual gain in confidence let me hold my head a little higher. Unapologetic for the space I took, I compromised less with people who made me feel like I was in their way, literally and figuratively.

It isn’t necessarily like my niceness has ceased to exist. It just that it isn’t on all of the time.

Now, I focus on things like a tone of voice or a look that carries an ounce of disrespect and immediately turn the nice girl off. I could get an angry customer at work or a pushy stranger on the bus, I would let them know with a lingering stare that their disrespect was heard, and I didn’t like it. I’ve allowed this space where my confidence has grown – with the idea that my time, my space, my feelings are my own – to also grow an annoyance that bubbles to the surface when people get in my way, literally and figuratively… With strangers, it’s different. With family and with friends, my quick temper isn’t excusable.

I haven’t been able to compromise between my old self and my new self. I think that’s where my fault lies. 

People from high school would be surprised at how much I have changed. People I’ve met within the last two years would have a hard time can’t imagining me as anything but a little outspoken, confident and perhaps even to some, a little intimidating.

However, no happiness can come from reacting to every single act of rudeness. While being a good person makes one more vulnerable, I’d much rather be vulnerable than completely closed off.

The only thing I think I can do is plan to use the strength that came with my newfound confidence in all areas of my life. And with that, maybe allow the nice girl to visit more often.

The Pinball Wizard

Free verse, stream of consciousness, not sure what it means, do you?



They say I live in the moment but I call it short term memory

My anger is strong but short-lived

They say I’m chill but its cause I’m used to the cold


Did you know,

My finger lies between the divide of coincidence and destiny?

I dance along it’s edge with my thumb and fore finger, pinching

How close is it?


On the tight rope of uncertainty

My heart pounds at a steady, glamorous beat to which I match my footsteps

My thoughts bounce off the walls of my head, heavy like a metal ball

They call me the Pinball Wizard


Where am I?

I’m looking out the window as the cars go by and people walk

Somewhere in the middle, a one way, like Metcalfe or Laurier

A perfect place to people watch through the window of this coffee shop

The barista calls my name


Who am I?

I’m consumed by multiplicities

and all of the directions that things can go

All these people and their feelings, stuffed in buildings, in this city

and mine mix in like radio waves


They say I live in the moment but I call it short term memory

My anger is strong but short-lived

They say I’m chill but it’s cause I’m used to the cold

Tomorrow I will forget

But today I will reminisce

The Shameful Acquittal of Colten Boushie’s Murderer

murder is murder 2
“There should be an outcry”

A nation is angry right now. In Canada, dozens of rallies occurred this weekend to “prompt in reckoning across the country”. Many of us are ashamed – and we should be.

It was on August 6, 2016 that Colten Boushie, a 22 year old Cree man Saskatchewan, was shot dead by Gerald Stanley. Colten and his four friends, stopped at a farm house with a flat hire to seek help. Stanley shot Colten in the head at blank range killing him instantly. Stanley was accused of second-degree murder on February 9, 2018 he was fully acquitted by an all-white jury. The defense: “he brandished a weapon and it fired accidentally”.

Colten’s death was an “accident”. Stanley shot two warning shots into the air when he saw Colten, but the third, the one that went through the back of his head – that one was a misfire. If the jury believed Stanley intended to kill then he would have been found guilty, but they determined that the white farmer was simply careless in discharging the firearm.

But then, could Stanley have been found guilty of manslaughter? Afterall, Stanley ended the life of a 22 year old man. Colten’s death, beyond intent, should have warranted some form of justice. But, it turns out that the jury found him guilty of nothing. Thus, another white person killed an Indigenous person and was lawfully able to walk free.

This weekend, I witnessed Canadians finally see the institutionalized racism of which this country so often ignores. Those who were shocked asked, how could this happen?

The reason Gerald Stanley was acquitted for Colten Boushie’s murder was because the case was slanted in Stanley’s favour from the very beginning.

For one, the initial police report said Colten’s friend were taken into custody as part of a theft investigation.

Second, the RCMP officers who came to Colten’s home after the shooting were said to be insensitive and treated his family like suspects.

Third, the court alluded to Colten and friends being intoxicated during the time of the crime. Colten’s family members had to remind the court that it was Stanley that on trial, not the deceased.

Fifth, the trial took placed in a community plagued by a well-documented racist and colonial past that has always favoured white folks.

Sixthmany Saskatchewan people defended Stanley and presumed his innocence through initial online discourse. These opinions were posted alongside a floodgate of racist and derogatory comments connecting Colten’s indigenous identity to criminality, and so of course Stanley had the right to defend his farmland… They believed Colten’s death was justified.

Seventh, and definitely not last, was the fact that Colten’s case was examined by a judge and a jury of no visibly indigenous members.

Homogenous juries are flawed juries; they should represent the community of which the case takes place as a whole, and ultimately the white jury incontrovertibly taints the verdict. It was biased, plain and simple.

But, how can the case of an poor Indigenous man killed by a white farmer have garnered such a homogeneous cabinet? David Butt from The Globe and Mail explains that, “When the Crown and the defense lawyers select jurors at the start of the case, each side has a number of ‘peremptory challenges’, a number that varies with the offence charged. These peremptory challenges allow each lawyer to automatically disqualify potential jurors, no reasons required”.

In Colten’s case, the defense used the peremptory challenges to eliminate anyone who was visibly Indigenous.

all of them

The unjust death of Colten Boushie and acquittal of Gerald Stanley led to dozens of rallies throughout the nation. People wore T-shirts and buttons with the words, “Justice for Colten”. Indigenous folks are angry and heartbroken, believing the justice system, and the country as a whole, treats them unfairly.

It quickly became a trending topic of discussion on Twitter.

Colten’s family is distraught, feeling as though their son has been killed for the second time with news of Stanley’s acquittal. They have recently arrived in Ottawa to discuss the “the distrust and the injustices that we experienced as a family with the loss of Colten, and throughout the trial process,” and their lawyer is in discussing the matter with the Minister of Indigenous-Crown Affairs. The family claims that people are finally listening.

justice for colten
Justice for Colten GoFundMe

In a moving article by Shree Paradkar from the Toronto Star, he states:

“Why is it that Friday night’s not guilty verdict in the young man’s death, which is a moment of national shame, does not shake you to your core? Why has the grief and outrage that led spontaneously to more than a dozen protests across Canada the day after the verdict not enraged you, not fired up your fears for your children’s future, and not driven you to speak up against repeated centuries-old injustice enacted under your nose?”

Indifference makes us all complicit, Paradkar concludes. But being aware, tweeting, sharing articles about Colten Boushie’s death are also not enough.

The first vice chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says, “It’s easy to send a tweet. We need to translate that into action, not just a handshake and a hug”.

“Justice for Colten” can only happen through systematic change. The Crown needs to file an appeal for Colten Boushie, and the only way that can occur is if people email the Attorney General of Saskatcheqan (jus.minister@gov.ska.ca) and Attorney General of Canada (jody.wilson-raybould@parl.gc.ca) and pressure them to file the appeal.

By reporting the GoFundMe started to support Gerald Stanley, the money can hopefully be returned and the man who killed Boushie can no longer be financially supported. Sadly, the campaign received  $41,000 in one day. However, the fund goes against its terms and conditions as its associated with crimes of “hate, violence, harassment, bullying and discrimination”.

Another GoFundMe campaign was started to support the Boushie family, and I encourage everyone to give donations to help a family in mourning. 

Clicktivism and “spreading awareness” are things we should no longer prioritize. You can like the status of an Indigenous activist, you can be angry just like everyone else, but it doesn’t matter unless you are willing to examine your own lives and families, and attempt to foster some change.

But really, for me what Gerard Stanley’s acquittal and Colten Boushie’s death has done was instill me with a seeing-red anger. This will forever stunt my patience with Devil’s Advocates, with the white folks who blindly defend other white folks, and casual racists who type vile through keyboards online.

I personally repent for any notions I’ve previously made that have emphasized virtues of “guilty until proven innocent” perpetuated by a flawed and biased system that presumes the innocence of guilty white people and criminality of others. It’s true: Canadians, its institutions, and myself – we all need to do better.





RE: Am I a bad feminist?

Margaret Atwood’s Criticisms

Margaret Atwood wrote an article for The Globe and Mail titled“Am I a bad feminist?”responding to the #MeToo movement and calling for greater transparency in investigating the claims of sexual misconduct, referring to the case of Steven Galloway, a former creative writing university professor from UBC. Accused of sexual misconduct, he was subsequently fired for the accusations. It was later revealed that there was no evidence for such accusations and Atwood believed the man was treated unfairly.

She asks, “If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? Who will be the new power brokers?” In her article, she affirms that #MeToo is the product of a broken legal system as victims and allies of sexual abuse use the internet to take down abusive stars.

Victims have been empowered to tell their owns stories and with successful results. But Atwood remarks that the #MeToo movement brought upon an attitude of “guilty because accused” where “the usual rules of evidence are bypassed”.

Her article sparked debate and criticism on Twitter.Alicia Elliottsaid the letter “wasn’t calling for systematic change; it was upholding the status quo”. The status quo being, in this case, focusing on the perceived innocence of the accused over the needs of the victim. And she makes a good point.

In Canada, between 2009 and 2014, one in five sexual assaults reported by police led to a completed court case, about 1 in 10 of those court cases led to a criminal conviction. #MeToo wants to change the results of accusation, and to create a space for women to come forth with their stories in a world that silences and blames the victim.


The #MeToo movement is historical and absolutely necessary. Tarana Burke founded the movement in 2006 to spread awareness about sexual assault in underprivileged communities of colour.

The hashtag was adopted by celebrities in 2017 and took off after the accusations towards Harvey Weinstein were made public through online discourse. A multitude of stories came to light of his repetitive occurrences of sexual assault and harassment towards women, and men, within the industry. In Hollywood, it was also a well-known fact that he was a predator; it was commonly joked about at award shows and received snickers from the crowd. The accounts written about him are terrifying, disgusting, and quite frankly it’s shame it took so long for him to be “caught” so to speak.

Ultimately, Weinstein’s downfall, like the movement itself, was absolutely necessary. His life was rightfully ruined without a conviction as industry professionals and people around the world were served a wakeup call.

The waves and influence of this movement are unavoidable. It wasn’t too long afterward that Kevin Spacey’s downfall came with Anthony Rapp’s allegations of attempted rape when he was only fourteen years old. His career, his fame, his reputation – all swiped from under his feet, almost like he never even existed.

Women and victims have an enormous  amount of power right now unlike we’ve ever seen before. No one knows how long it will last so it’s been used extensively and rapidly, taking down people left and right.

m etoo
Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo Movement 

My Initial Response

It got to this point where I was reading different articles with different names with different and equally disturbing stories.

I quickly discovered my responses to these articles remained the same each time:

  1. Disappointment and disbelief
  2. Reading the account and feeling deeply disturbed
  3. Empathizing with the victim

I’ve discussed this issue with a wide range of people. Most women identified with one or a few of the women who came forward, and they gained support by posting #MeToo on Twitter or Facebook during its prime.

Some men also identified and empathized with the victims. Others were perhaps a bit more apprehensive, but overall saw the necessity in the movement.

I’ve noticed that many people, including sometimes myself, have a hard time separating the man from his work. Casey Affleck, luckily enough for him, experienced similar waves of accusations a year before the “Weinstein effect”, and just last year won an Oscar for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. Since this wasn’t a pressing issue in 2016, as it is now, his career was still intact and he was even celebrated for his work.

I saw the movie, it was good. His performance was great. It’s hard to separate Affleck from what he did to several women throughout his career, whose accounts of their experience with him, are just as terrifying as the accounts made towards Weinstein. Aggressive, entitled, powerful, and abusive.

When I asked the person, who didn’t see a problem with Affleck winning an Oscar, why he supported him, he said that he simply had the best performance that year.

My response: “If he was sent to a fair trial and declared guilty of his crimes he wouldn’t have been able to act in that movie.”

“Yeah, but he wasn’t,” this person said, and then added: “I separate the man from his work – you can be an asshole but still be great at what you do.”

I was troubled by these remarks because this is exactly the kind of behaviour that allowed Weinstein to prevail for so long. Opinions like this are, as Alicia Elliott said, “upholding the status quo”. And I’m quite certain that this person never took the time read the accounts written by Affleck’s victims, because I hope that if he had it wouldn’t have been so easy to say those those exact words. After taking the time to listen to the victims, I was then able to look at Casey Affleck differently because I placed what he did over his performances.

I know why it is so hard to look at these accusations and not want to believe the victims. Some of these people being accused are people that others have looked up to. When Johnny Depp was accused of domestic abuse, I shamefully admit that I didn’t believe Amber Hard, his wife and accuser during that time. I thought, what would motivate her to accuse of him of this? Money? Attention? A few months later, a video was released displaying his aggressive behaviour; screaming and throwing dishes around Hard, along with pictures of her bruises, and later, an article that stated she donated all of the money she received from her settlement with Depp, to an organization that helps women in domestic abuse. I couldn’t not believe her allegations and I was embarrassed that I didn’t before.

The most difficult part about peeking behind the curtain is that it forces us to examine our own behaviour, and some of us see are afraid of what we will see. 

The main reason I’m discussing this, and my experience with the #MeToo movement is to demonstrate that I am simultaneously in support of the victims, that I want to believe the victims, but that I am also conflicted.

The Allegations against Aziz Ansari

I have three stages when it comes to seeing an article with allegations towards someone. Three steps, and these steps were carried through when I read a anonymous piece about a date-gone-wrong between a woman and Aziz Ansari. 

(Before continuing, I implore you to read the article in full.)

Once I was finished this article, I was incredibly uncomfortable. The sexual encounter between Ansari and the women reminded me of the aggression and entitlement I’ve encountered throughout my University career. This was the first time I had read something where I could say “Me too”.

I believe the allegations and understand why this woman felt the way that she did. But this account lies under a mysterious grey area in which the notions of sexual assault, misconduct and a bad sexual experience become hazy.

Was this woman rightfully uncomfortable? Yes.

Can Aziz Ansari read minds? No.

I don’t have any license to say whether this was sexual assault, the only people who will know exactly what occurred were the people in the room, Ansari and the woman.

If Aziz Ansari’s allegations can speak to anything, it’s that it’s a symptoms of a much larger, systemic problem. Our parents’ generation call it “boys will be boys”, some girls in my classes call it “rape culture”.

I was floored to see men online commenting that if what Ansari did was sexual assault, then every girl they’ve been with was sexually assaulted. Because along with them were responses amongst female readers who noted their similar experiences. Both are indicative of the fact that we live in a world consumed with an incredibly unhealthy sexual culture. That some men must coerce, manipulate and press to get what they want, and that women must appease.

This unhealthy sexual culture obliges women to go along with uncomfortable sexual experiences when all they want to do is stop. It’s expected of men to decipher mixed signals and body language that belong to the grey areas of consent. To blame the women and say she could’ve gone home at any time isn’t fair, and to expect Aziz Ansari to read the mind of a woman who seemingly gave him consent, also isn’t fair. It’s so much more complicated than that.

rape culture

Am I a bad feminist?

I want to avoid declarative statements, especially today. Declarative sentences are dangerous phrases that can’t be taken back. But, if I were to answer the question Margaret Atwood posed in her Op-ed, who answered yes, then I think I would also have to say yes, I am a bad feminist.

Right now, with the #MeToo movement, to be a feminist is to read an account of sexual abuse and to denounce the abuser. Women, and men, have taken this issue into their own hands due to an ineffective legal system that lets powerful people like Casey Affleck fall through the cracks. To be a feminist means to dawn a robe and type on Twitter, to denounce and defame, and in a sense, become an online vigilante. If the system doesn’t work for us, we must do it ourselves.

Right now, feminists have a bomb in their hands and a crowd full of the accused where there’s a 99% chance they’re guilty. Let’s say there’s a 100 people there. All of them are exposed to the shrapnel.

Let’s say one one person was innocent.

This isn’t based on any data, this might be an impractical analogy for what I’m trying to say which is this: While I have grown to be empowered and in support of the #MeToo movement it has also given me an increasing sense of anxiety.

I’m apprehensive right now because the movement has been adopted by rich female celebrities at the “Times Up” Golden Globes, who have used activists of colour as their new fancy accessories on red carpets, and bullied women who didn’t dress in all black.

I’m apprehensive right now because the movement has led celebrities to publicize their support, more as a public relations move than an act of integrity.

I’m apprehensive right now because I live in a new culture where being accused makes you guilty, negating all previous notions that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

People view this issue in black and white. You’re on one side or you’re on the other. Because I am empowered and I support #MeToo movement, I have one foot alongside line and because I am anxious, ask questions and have my doubts, I’m also alongside another.

Fairness hasn’t existed for victims of sexual abuse throughout history, that is why the movement started. Yet, the notion that we must believe all women that come forth, without question, is based on the logic that all women are incapable of lies and deceit. Anyone can capitalize on an issue that is trending during a specific period of time for an ulterior motive. And to treat all cases with the same weight and pressure, for example Weinstein and Ansari, is not fair. If feminism is about fairness, then what has feminism become in the post-Weinstein era?

I want to support and believe but I also want to be fair, and right now that makes me a bad feminist.

I wholeheartedly think that more focus should be placed on the people that come forward on their stories than the perceived innocence of those who are accused; placing more importance on the victims doesn’t mean we should completely ignore the latter. But I also assume that most people read the headlines in the morning and don’t take the time read the entire story. It’s difficult to peer behind the curtain and see what nightmare is on the other side, it’s difficult to see all sides of the story. But, what’s harder? I think it’s telling the story.

#MeToo movement 

My “Lady Bird” Film Review

I’ve been fancying myself with writers and narratives that capture the facets of female complexity. Fittingly, while sitting in the quant Ottawa Bytowne Theatre awaiting the start of “Lady Bird”, I read the first pages of “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” by Joan Didion, a prominent thinker and writer of the late twentieth century, who also happened to be a woman. A few moments later, a 1979 epigraph by Didion would fade onto the screen in black and white:

“Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent Christmas in Sacramento.”

lady bird 5Director Greta Gerwig and Joan Didion, I would later find out are both from Sacramento. As with Christine McPherson, but as she so often corrects people, is Lady Bird – a name “given to me by me”, she explains. And that sets the premise for the story: a girl who demands a different flavour of life from the one the one that was given to her.

Before her directorial debut with Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig had a pretty successful acting career.  She spent her times on set as an opportunity to learn, observing and asking the directors question like a makeshift film school. A coming-of-age story is what Gerwig set out to create, deviating from the male-oriented algorithm that they usually follow. And in the simplest of conclusions, it was a masterful success.

“Lady Bird” tells the title character’s coming-of-age story in Sacramento in between the years of 2002 and 2003. In the final year of her Catholic high school, Lady Bird (played by Saoirse Ronan) desperately wants to leave the suburban wasteland of Sacramento and go to New York City for college, where the culture is. As protagonists go, she’s driven by a bravado and naivety that only young protagonists can encapsulate, fittingly juxtaposing the weary, disciplinary Mother who can, at times, be perceived as the antagonist.

Gerwig successfully examines the world that Lady Bird lives in, not with a critical lens, but with an observant one. So many little specificities of the film stick out to me, from the kilted Catholic uniforms, to the strategically placed early-2000s pop tracks, to the subtle backdrop of post-9/11 tensions and war overseas.

It is through Gerwig’s observant and specific lens that we get a zeroed-in narrative, lacking any political agenda, simply telling a story of a girl wanting more in a specific place, in a specific time. And she does this while simultaneously making it touch just about anyone who sees it.

lady bird 6Out of every shining detail, the most engaging part has to the be the central focus of the film; the relationship between Lady Bird and her Mother (played by Laurie Metcalfe). Because, while I had mentioned that she can, at times, be the antagonist, she is also the other half of Lady Bird’s tumultuous love story.

While this film could’ve fallen under the wide umbrella of female coming-of-age tales that are always aligned with the girl’s love for a boy, this film deviated from this in the best way possible way. It is in their mother-daughter relationship – the screaming-in-your-face, pushing-every-button, so-different-but-the-same relationship – that is so reflective of that contemporary dynamic that I was brought back to own life just a few years ago. It is so reflective of my own life, that I think that’s why my brother, a domestic observer of my relationship with our Mother, was the one who recommended I see “Lady Bird”. And why, just a week after seeing it the first time, saw it again but this time with her at my side.

lady bird 3

“Lady Bird” is a breath of fresh air, and probably my favourite film of the year. Much like the confidence and authenticity found in pen of Saramento’s Joan Didion, Greta Gerwig created a vivacious girl whose story captures the some of the facets of female complexity and authenticity. It taught me that love and attention are usually one in the same, and that one’s coming of age is another person’s letting go. It is a love story to hometowns, high schools, douchebags, best friends, and Mothers alike, and I cherished every moment of it.




Finding Resilience in a World That’s Breaking Down

I often envision myself in the middle of a history textbook, taught forty or fifty years from now to disbelieving high school students. I imagine that future youth reading the sometimes ridiculous, sometimes catastrophic histories with a better understanding of the events than I do now.

An infamous real-estate mogul and reality television star elected as President of United States of America; an ever-changing climate growing increasingly chaotic with each change of the seasons; racial disparities sprouting riots on the streets of cities; two imbeciles across oceans with hands over a red nuclear button. Wars leading millions of people to different parts of the world in the hope they can find a new home. The list goes on, and on, and on.

tumblr_owyt1nfNGC1qmp5efo1_500The future youth will have the luxury of looking back at a distance. Right now, it’s almost though I wake up each morning to an alarm on my phone, along a notification from the world’s most recent tragedy.

I am also studying it, analyzing the world and these intricacies in real time.

Professors who are there to prepare us for the real world, to make us productive citizens and fine attributes to the workplace, are simultaneously making us question every layer of society and the systems the expect us to work for.

All the while, our lives keep going. Classes still need to be attended, work still has us on the schedule. Friends are there, and then they are not. Family gets older.

Cynicism, despite my lack of trying, has seeped into my daily life. It’s hard to find motivation to keep going in a world that insistently tries to tell us not to.

And honestly, it’s difficult to envision a future. The one thing I know about the future is that it’s shrouded in uncertainty.

So, in the least preachy way possible, I’ve compiled a small list of things to do when that uncertainty seems to overpower everything else you’re doing in life. These things aren’t the typical “stay positive” or “eat healthy” advice on most “How-To-Be-Resilient” think pieces all over the internet. And, I say “least preachy” because my sermon would be like the sick healing the sick – I’m also doing this as a reminder to myself.

Look for someone wise words.

There might be someone in your life – an eccentric aunt, the old man next door, your old piano teacher, or a professor who moved you with her words – someone who seems to know a bit more about life than you do.

Reach out one of them.

At this age, we know so much about the things we are studying and using concepts that our parents haven’t ever heard of. But we might be coming home to dirty dishes in the sink, an unmade bed; you might have not called your parents in a while, or are in a fight with the person you’re dating; or you might’ve not been able to eat a home cooked meal since Thanksgiving.

Whatever it is, your twenties can give you a whole lot of life, but no credentials to know how to deal with it.

That person doesn’t have to have white hair and nearly a hundred years under their belt. it could even be your Mom – while she doesn’t understand some of the things you’re passionate about, I’m sure she could give you a hefty list of relationship advice, as well as an easy recipe to make from her Pinterest account.

Consider un-burning those bridges.

Perhaps it’s that little bit of Catholicism left in me from a lifetime ago, but I have found one of the keys to my inner peace has been forgiveness.

It could be a person, event or thing; some girls who bullied you in elementary school, a friend that turned sour and never figured out why, a neglectful parent…It’s amazing how good it feels to let go of the resentment. Hatred, regret, betrayal, all of these things that can sit in you like toxic lead.

There’s already enough happening in the world that can poison us, it’s unhealthy to harbour such feelings from our own lives. If you can let go, do just that.

And I know, somethings can’t be forgiven. You can forgive someone or something for the sake of shoving the weight off your shoulders, with no intention of letting them re-enter your life. Sometimes forgiveness isn’t a selfless act, it’s a selfish act.

Out of sight out of mind?

My parents may have read too many articles tying a connection to phones and the increase of anxiety and depression in college students.

They might be right, I’m often distracted by my cellphone, and find myself worrying too much about the content I chose to share and what people might think of it.

I’m consistently disappointed by the news I read and misinterpreting the things my friends text on a daily basis.

Realistically, turning off your phone just isn’t likely. It’s our main form of communication, professionally and personally. Getting a notification has the same psychological response as someone calling your name. You have to look.

Your phone is a window to the world, and even though it’s an amazing tool that to have access to, it doesn’t mean it needs to be used every waking moment. I’m not saying you should feign ignorance and look the other way at what’s happening in the world, because to me, ignorance isn’t bliss. I’m simply saying that, for a few moments of the day, it’s okay if you don’t look at your phone.


Problems have solutions, look for one.

I know people who face troubles and their main solution is to not deal with it, to run away and never look back. I often wonder if that works out for t

hem in the end, because I question its long term effectiveness.

I mean, we could all pretend a problem doesn’t exist. But each problem can become a wound that festers.

Looking back, I realize that I’ve faced most conflicts with the desire to settle it. Not going to bed angry, as my Mother would say. Sometimes you have to 

re-break bones in order for them to heal properly.

But what if that problem is something that’s bigger than a falling out with a friend, or a class that you’re bound to fail? Something that seems so far out of your reach, that the only thing that can settle in 

the pit of your stomach is hopelessness?

Something like one of those things your professor mentioned that kept you up at night.

Every problem has some sort of solution, but not all solutions fix the problem. They heal it.

Finally, just take a deep breathe.

Our generation hasn’t been dealt a fair hand, but we’re often blamed for some of society’s downfalls. Our mid-life-crisis have become quarter-life-crisis, and then we are accused of not being resilient.

I think we are quite the opposite. Considering the hand we have been dealt, we are the first generation to finally address things past generations have been sweeping under the carpet. That should be proof of our resilience in itself.

Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from something that hurt. I think I am resilient despite the fact that stress sometimes overpowers my life. I have to let everything that happens sink in, I need to feel it, so that I can move on and deal with the rest of the world.

Putting one step in front of the other, you focus on one thing at a time until you’re ready to move on to the next one, and know that not all things can’t be solved at once.