I Am Here.

This year has been brutal. The details matter but aren't best shared here. I'll just say I've experienced bullying, isolation, loneliness, and purposelessness for such a prolonged time and by/from people I deeply cared about that my anxiety and depression have been regular companions for the past seven months. I think humans have two fundamental needs that keep us going and fulfilled in our lives: we need to feel loved, and we need to feel like our existence on this earth matters. And I think the fear of not having those things - fear that I am unlovable, fear that my existence doesn't matter - is what can lead you to some bad places. I'm beyond lucky/blessed/fortunate - any word of gratitude fits: throughout the past months, I've never once felt unloved. My family and friends have gone above and beyond to support me in basically every way imaginable. They've listened, offered very sound advice, reassured me that I'm not crazy, fed me cookies, left

When I Was a Writer

I distinctly remember sitting in my counsellor’s dimly-lit office, my thighs sticking to the faux-leather chair in the damp heat of late-July. I was still completing coursework for my first MA, but I had long quit the program in my mind. I was experiencing the classic early-twenties, post-graduate struggle of finding direction outside of a semester-based schedule. “I have no idea what to do with my life. I don’t even know what I like to do, or what I’m good at,” I admitted, cringing at how cliche I sounded and, indeed, was. My counsellor — my third one that summer — was observant and direct: “Well, when you talk about writing, your whole body shifts. You take on a different posture. You become more animated. You are clearly very passionate about it, and it obviously brings you joy. Why don’t you focus on that?” She was right, of course. I had spent the previous nine months living in Vancouver and blogging regularly about my adventures and challenges adapting to living and

I Turned 31 and Let My Dream Die

When I was 10 years old, my dad went to England on a business trip. He was to spend the majority of his time driving in and around a village in Cornwall called Gweek. I thought he was, as my father is wont to do, joking. It turned out Gweek was indeed a very real place, and I was about to embark on the longest love affair of my life. My dad came home laden with pictures of rolling green countryside and roads framed with low rock walls. He told us about Cornish pasties and navigating the narrow and ancient streets, playing cornet with the local brass band in an old stone church, and the perils of driving on the opposite side of the road. He brought back Cadbury Flake chocolate bars for me and my sister. I was smitten. I spent my teen years periodically begging my parents to move us to England; or, at the very least, take us on a grand tour of London and beyond. But my mother didn’t fly, and a trip across the pond in the mid-1990s was unimaginable for my family. So I did the bes

How to Cope When Your Confidence is Shot

I am, generally, fairly confident. Like any human person, I have my normal ebbs and flows - sometimes I feel like I could win over the world with a single glance; other times I feel like hiding under my desk and waiting for the apocalypse. But I've recently experienced a real Confidence High, and now I'm sitting deep in the Confidence Low. My team at work has just finished delivering our annual conference. It was a massive undertaking and we delivered a complex and engaging conference experience to 500 people in a very short period of time. The lead-up to the conference was a full pendulum of emotions, as successes and failures came daily - even hourly. Still, as I checked more and more items off my to-do list and looked back at the growing pile of accomplishments, my confidence level remained pretty steady. The two-day conference was a roaring success - both for my colleagues, but also for me personally. I've never felt so proud of what I had produced. I made great c

To the Year of Returning

A toast to 2017, the year of Returning. A toast to Melinda,  whose death sent shockwaves through my present and returned me -  to summers at Starrigan; and every second Saturday; and staying far too late; and nights around our family dinner table; and an airport photoshoot; and a tearful declaration of your imprint on my life. To January 1st, 2017,  when we rang in your last New Year -  together.  A toast to London, where I've dreamed of returning since the moment I left. Everything, everything reminded me of that first summer -  cobblestones and clocks and crowds, and bridges and books and Bank, and trains and tea and the theatre, and delights, dreams, desires. To the city where I first left my heart a decade ago,  and returned to tuck it in; s afe among aged streets  until it calls me home again. A toast to stories, whose beloved prose I've revisited time and time again. To the characters and worlds I've lived in many times befor

Shouting Into the Void

Since 8 November 2016, I haven't felt quite right. I had invited a few friends over to watch the American election with me. I had snacks and a smile. It was supposed to be a monumental night as we welcomed the first female President of the United States. Instead, everyone left early, needing to process what was happening on their own terms. The next day, I cried at my desk. I flew into a fury as my fingers typed insanely, pounding out my feelings at an undeserving male coworker who chose the wrong day to make a sexist joke. I joined in the online outrage at first. I retweeted pictures of protest signs and I got involved in the political fights I had previously successfully avoided on Facebook. I read endless think-pieces and I engaged in lengthly and loud conversations with other people who were shocked and sad and outraged. They often ended in tears. As I checked Twitter one day in early 2017 to see what fresh hell had been unleashed on this planet, something snapped. I cl

The Art of Abusers

In 2014, two big pop culture events rocked my small world: the YouTuber sexual assault scandal, specifically one creator called Alex Day, and the termination of Jian Ghomeshi's relationship with the CBC following accusations of sexual harassment and violence. A few weeks prior to the accusation that Alex Day had sexually assaulted several past girlfriends and fans, I had preordered his book about the history of the London Underground. His publisher dropped him almost instantaneously, and I assumed the book would never see the light of day. However, a few months later, Alex emerged anew on the internet, sitting in front of 2000 copies of his book that he no longer had anyone to distribute or promote. He offered personalized signatures to anyone who purchased his book. I thought about it a lot. I was so interested in the subject matter, and I am a sucker for an author-autographed copy; however ordering it felt like a betrayal - but of who or what? His past girlfriends? My morals