The Chairs

The Chairs

Growing up in our family of five, money was short, so my mum used to supplement my dad’s wages by sewing curtains at home. Our former living room became her sewing space, with the dining kitchen at the heart of our home.

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Real Growing Pains

Real Growing Pains

When I was eleven, my thirty-six-year-old mother got herself an eighteen-year-old sailor boyfriend, and, rather than have the neighbors talk, she pretended he was my boyfriend. And just so the St. Joe’s nuns never found out, we moved two hours by bus away from the district.

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One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time

The day my mother gave me a journal to help me cope with my grandmother’s suicide undoubtedly changed my life forever. That seemingly benign gesture, when I was ten years old, laid the groundwork for my life as a writer. Following this continuum, and after a serious health crisis, I made a decision which went against my character. I accomplished something I never thought I would be able to do.

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That's the End of It

That's the End of It

The call came in June 2009.   I was lying on the couch, doing nothing as usual. Probably daytime TV was on, Judge Judy or something like that. 

The caller spoke with a Sub-continental accent and yes, I profiled him on the spot – telemarketer.  I hung up.  Whatever he was selling, I didn’t want it and couldn’t afford it. 

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4:00 AM Madness

4:00 AM Madness

Startled, I awaken in an anxiety born stupor. It's 4:00 a.m.Sunday morning. In the distance a siren announces a 911 while a car alarm bellows out of control. Cars race an uncontrollable rage through empty streets. Light flickers through my window yet I know there is no light outside other than the moon displaying it's devilish grin. Is it a warning?

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In the Mirror I See Who I was Meant to Be

In the Mirror I See Who I was Meant to Be

I came to the realization very recently that I’ve changed a lot as a person. This whole embracing change attitude has really made a shift in me. Life can show you who and what matters in an instant. I am not sure how to put this, but I don’t miss the old me at all. I always used to feel timid, scared, apprehensive. Like I was back in middle school and even high school. 

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The Moment I Broke the Cycle of Anxiety, Insecurity, and Perfectionism

The Moment I Broke the Cycle of Anxiety, Insecurity, and Perfectionism

I was standing in a sea of college seniors, moments away from graduating.  I gently caressed the pure white tassel on my cap, poised to turn it at any second.  

In that moment, I did not worry about how many people were graduating with a higher GPA than mine.

In that moment, I did not convince myself that I did not belong at my own graduation ceremony.

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Water Protectors

Water Protectors

In November, like many people, I watched a horrifying video of North Dakota Police backed by private mercenaries from Tiger Swan fire a water canon into a crowd of peaceful protestors, severely injuring several of them. It wasn’t the first moment that I had heard of the Water Protectors efforts against the Dakota Access Pipeline but it hit the hardest. I was a soldier. I served my country for five years and this… this offended me. And I wasn’t the only one. Veterans Stand for Standing Rock was started because of that video.

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Patronizing Bullshit

Patronizing Bullshit

Growing up, I often heard about and saw depicted in books and movies the whole idea of the “importance of work to a man.”  Men who could not work, who could not support their wives and families were frequently depicted as victims.  They drank. They were abusive, but it was okay, or at least understandable, because they world had dealt them a bad hand.  They were to be sympathized with and pitied.  To be honest, I always wrote off this line of thinking, this story line as patronizing bullshit, especially when a woman or other family member was able to provide for a family.  Why did it matter who brought in the money as long as there was food on the table?

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Unregistered

Unregistered

Four years ago, after a long day of teaching kindergarten, I sat down, opened my laptop, and wrote the words, “Bristol Ray did not exist.” 

In a few weeks, those words will be printed in a book—my book—called Unregistered. 

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Tired

Tired

On those rare occasions that I venture out into the world and interact with other humans, common courtesy makes people ask how I’m doing, but I never know how to respond. I’d say “I’m tired,” but my mind says I haven’t the right, haven’t earned that descriptor. When ‘tired’ is for marathon runners or physical laborers, when ‘exhausted’ is reserved for working 100 hours a week or a harried mom of 3, I’m not allowed to be tired. When the adolescent me had aches, they were ‘just growing pains;’ when youth me was feeling down I got reminded that there was ‘nothing to be sad about;’ and teen me falling asleep in class was labeled ‘bored’ at best or ‘lazy’ at worst.

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Le Vagin

Le Vagin

When the opportunity presented itself, I just stared. He didn’t love me, didn’t even lust after me, not like I lusted after him. He wanted another. He wanted Rose, all pretty and preppy and blonde, smiling all the time, so English, so Protestant, so Ontario.

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Eulogy

Eulogy

She was proud to be a redhead. She was proud to have been a grade school teacher. She was proud of the work she did as a waitress to support her three children when her husband went to fight in WWII. She was very outspoken. Her stories always had a moral, her jokes did not. “Have you heard the one about the fool who needed some shade? So he stood under a horses’ tail!” She was proud of the poetry she could recite from memory

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Bella

Bella

“Hey Bella,” he shouted from down the hallway. “Bella, let me make a pizza for you.”

While grabbing my textbook from my locker, I turned, trying to make meaning of this odd voice, to see a disheveled, dark-haired, dark-eyed man dash towards me. Who is Bella, I thought?

“Bella, let me make a pizza for you.”

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On Leg Hair

On Leg Hair

As I stared at my computer screen reading about whether or not my gynecologist would judge me for my unshaven wooly mammoth legs, I quickly realized that the internet is both the best friend and the worst enemy of an anxious woman. I absorbed the weight of each comment into my warring thoughts:

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