You Can Choose Your Friends

I haven't always been a good daughter. In my angsty teenage years, I stumbled around under the sway of cheap whisky, a formidable tangle of overactive hormones and over-plucked eyebrows.  Responsibility and autonomy came in floods in areas my parents knew I was ready for. I was encouraged to get a part-time job, to choose school subjects I was truly passionate about, to take driving lessons. It trickled down slowly elsewhere. I’m the oldest sibling, meaning I was the first of their children to ask permission to go to a house party where “my friend’s mum and dad will be upstairs and nobody’ll be drinking, I promise!”

Sorry for Your Loss

Sorry for Your Loss

The ritual of loss is a strange routine, danced on tiptoes and spoken in whispers. It’s full of euphemisms and clichés and awkward gestures. It smells like lilies and hot tea and your duvet pulled close to your face. It tastes like tears. It tastes like fire at the back of your throat.

A Conversation About Conversations

A Conversation About Conversations

I’m sitting on a chair in my apartment. One leg crossed over the other, one bare foot resting on the cool, wooden floor. I sip a beer that’s no longer cold, dragging out the last of it and the last of the night with it. The kitchen table is a museum of nights well spent: … Continue reading A Conversation About Conversations

Me, Myself, and Mental Health

Me, Myself, and Mental Health

I didn’t enjoy my late teens (I know, I know: who did?). Several unfortunate events happened, one after the other in quick and queasy succession, as they often do in life when we’re least expecting it. I — a kind of lost, kind of geeky, kind of insecure young woman with a block fringe that … Continue reading Me, Myself, and Mental Health

My Uncle Malcolm

My uncle Malcolm is eighty-one years old. He lives in a nice house in a nice suburb of Toronto with a nice backyard and a nice dog and a nice wife. He’s from where I’m from, and — like me — he landed in Toronto in his early twenties. We have a lot of things … Continue reading My Uncle Malcolm

Accents

Accents

It’s a little after 9am. Thick orbs of morning sunlight are bouncing off the snow in the garden. I’m standing cracking eggs into a bowl and swirling lukewarm coffee around a mug as tinny hold music bleats at me from across the room. I’d half given up on getting through to anyone at the insurance … Continue reading Accents

A Woman’s History

A Woman's History

A woman’s history is an ever-growing tree of countless leaves and branches. Its interlacing roots snake and stretch through the tender soil of firsts: first loves, first hopes, first failures, first heartbreaks. We exchange accounts of these firsts and the seconds and thirds that follow with the women around us — mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, … Continue reading A Woman’s History

Tae a Dobber

My husband laughs at a story I’ve just told, then pauses and says in his Canadian accent: “Wait — what’s a ‘roaster’?” I think about it. What is a roaster? It’s one of those words that has been ingrained in my memory for so long that whatever formal definition it once had — "noun (singular): … Continue reading Tae a Dobber

To Be a Girl

To Be a Girl

Don’t be too quiet, they won’t notice you. Don’t be too loud, you’ll draw attention to yourself. Don’t be too accommodating, they’ll think you’re a pushover. Don’t be too demanding, they’ll think you’re a bitch. Don’t wear clothes that are too tight or too short, they’ll see it as an invitation. Don’t wear clothes that … Continue reading To Be a Girl

Homesick

Homesick

Maybe you felt it during your first sleepover at your childhood friend's house: a dim twinge in your chest as your head buzzed with the rush of illicit, sugary snacks after midnight, squirrelled away from watchful, adult eyes in the recesses of your sleeping bag. Maybe you felt it when your parents went away for … Continue reading Homesick