“feel free to play around” by Julia on her couch

Monday January 8, 2018
9:26pm
5 minutes
http://ohsheglows.com/

I told them today about my favourite word. I told them
everything I knew about play. I invited it in like a teacher did once for me. And again when I forgot. And again when I was faking it. Don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Seriously. Don’t. And we played. We danced out of our chairs into a game. We all said yes and how glorious it was. That feeling alone won me right over. I asked them to risk being seen. I invited again and again and led by example. Some of my heartstrings were tugged so hard they broke. My own panic wove a tapestry and I wore it and then when I invited guidance I got some Serenity I didn’t know how to ask for. I think there is magic in moments like these. In giving yourself over to the open chair. The possibility of freedom. The strong and wrong balls to the wall go big or go home. I played like I wasn’t afraid of a grade or an opinion. And they played back when I called.

“leftover Hamburger Helper garbage” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday December 13, 2016
5:51pm
5 minutes
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews


Danika and I couldn’t believe her mom would let us have the house to ourselves for the weekend. The ENTIRE weekend. We were drunk on freedom and cotton balls and anything from the medicine cabinet that we could have turned into crafts or art. The first night we both had double chocolate fudge ice cream for dinner and a can of whipped cream EACH for dessert. What a life! We didn’t think to get an emergency number from Danika’s mom before she left, or find out where exactly she was going to be for this long without worrying about her 9 year old kid and her best friend. My mom would never let us stay by ourselves. So we didn’t tell my mom that Danika’s mom left a note on the kitchen table that she had scrawled in messy writing saying “Gone for the weekend, Hamburger Helper on the stove.”

“FREE” by Sasha in her bed


Saturday November 12, 2016
12:41am
5 minutes
from a vice magazine

Your head is itchy. You know lice are extinct, so it can’t be that, it can’t be – … You catch a glimpse of yourself in the side of a building, monsters, you catch a glimpse and you’ve never seen yourself like this – head shaved, breasts shrunken, combat boots without laces, eyes that have seen too too much.

You clomp through the snow and can’t believe your eyes when you see a beggar, a man, a man with a beard, matted, without a coat, without teeth. He holds up a sign, made of cardboard, and it says, “FREE”. He’s smiling.

“gathering the medicine you need for re-birth.” by Julia at her dining table


Monday, April 4, 2016
9:26am
5 minutes
Mosaic magazine
Spring 2016


I have been free before I was alone
I have been seen before I succumbed to the fear
A little heart shaped pouch holds my dreams in it
A little heart shaped pouch holds my truth in it
I’ve been running wild in my imagination
Picking pretty flowers that I can carry with me all day long
I paint up the ocean I paint in a song
The mountains they’ve been calling so I can always find my way back
I am missing my tribe
The heart shaped hearts that I live for
Mother laughing
Sister holding
Auntie listening
Cousin giving
And to the wild women I left behind
Who I fit inside my sacred space
My medicine is abundant and flowing
I can take a sip from my blessings’ cup
And take steps to find myself again in the river when the deep in me craves
to be surrounded

“Is the client’s wish achievable?” by Julia at the salon


Monday February 15, 2016
4:12pm
5 minutes
From a treatment plan at Black 2 Blond salon

I haven’t asked for permission since Charlie left. She used to make me feel like if I could just stop waiting for other people to validate me, I would start excelling in my own life, at work, in everything. Charlie knew how to get what she wanted, waltzing into corner stores and convincing the cashiers to give her something for free each time she went in. It was inspiring. But it also seems like it required a particular person to achieve such positive results. I didn’t think I could get away with it–just based on my demeanor, my fear of not being liked. Charlie used to say, it’s out there for the taking. Every single last bit is there for you, you just need to start acting like you deserve it. I’ve been doing that. I’ve been working hard and being free. It is almost better that she’s not here to watch the progression. I’m getting better but Charlie would be pushing me for more extreme results. She was good for motivating but she didn’t understand that everyone has their own pace. It feels good. To do what I’m doing. It’s faster than I thought I would..

“Reimagine your world” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, October 22, 2015
11:39pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Writer’s Festival Program Guide

There’s a little place you go to, that no one knows about. You hang your worries on the line separating this place and yours. You twist them all together to create a veil and then you pass through it once it’s in order. You see the water falls and you run to them. You strip off your doubts and you dive off the cliff. You hit the water with a gentle ease and you head down as deep as you can go. You see what you need to see then slowly make your way back up. You can taste the sunlight beaming right through you and you reach the surface with a joy you have learned how to forget. You inhale. You shake off your pain and you rise up. Higher than the water. Higher than the skies.

“Overthinking it” by Julia on Amanda’s couch


Sunday, June 21, 2015
2:10am
5 minutes
from a tweet

When Alana showed up everyone else had already taken their pill, or their half, or their second by that point. She was the only one who was seeing the world the way she was and she didn’t know if she wanted to even be there. Someone offered her some M and she took it in her hand but didn’t put it in her mouth. She wondered about leaving with the pill and doing it completely by herself so she could experiment with the environment and have access to recording devices. Alana couldn’t stop pre-planning and she was getting excited by all the possibilities of finding herself away from these people. Some guy with a bow tie danced past her and told her she looked exquisite in the moonlight. She smiled and said, “so do you”, and she meant it, but she wanted to mean it the way he did. She debated where that would best occur.

“suffers from a lack of imagination.” by Julia at her desk


Saturday, June 20, 2015
1:01am
5 minutes
from a quote by Oscar Wilde

Teeny had all her materials splayed out on the deck. She was painting her white canvas sneakers–had the idea to make them look like sunsets without actually being sunsets. She wasn’t allowed to actually paint sunsets. Just the feeling of sunsets. The essence.
Teeny’s paints were smeared across her face and neck. She was allowing herself to “get messy” and “stay messy” cause that’s what professor Islington told her she was missing in her life. “You need to let go and paint from that place of freedom and ease. Stop trying to control the product.”
Teeny couldn’t help herself, she wanted to control everything. Even this uncontrolled shoe painting that’s supposed to be free and easy was becoming work. Too meticulous and too formulaic. Professor Islington made Teeny feel like she lacked imagination. She would show him with these half planned and structured canvas shoe sunsets.

“I was just, like, wondering” by Julia at her desk


Friday, April 10, 2015
11:39pm
5 minutes
Overheard at W Caffe

I’m always wondering
Where will I go
And if I should carry you
With me
Will I know?
I’m always wondering
What will I be
And If I should stay with you
Or leave
Will I see?
I’m always wondering
If I am strong
And if I should hold you close
To me
Will I be wrong?
I’m always wondering
What should I say
And if I can forgive you
For me
Would I fly away?
I’m always wondering
Is this the end
And if I can feel you
With me
Will our hearts mend?
I’m always wondering
Can I be great
And will you please free me
From you
Will I be saved?

“Is it coffee time yet?” by Sasha on Sarah’s bed in Abbotsford


Sunday, April 5, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the bus station in Kitchener

She ties the rubber in a knot and flicks the white liquid. She scrunches her nose. She adds it to the jar. Thirty five. She texts Bec. “Up yer game bitch”. Flat Face Pug Man was completely quiet when he came. His Flat Face barely changed. She’d watch them, all of them, number six through til now, focused on the tiny muscles around their eyes, the purse of the lips, the flexing biceps.

“Thank you for using Bell, how may I help you today?” She gulps from her coffee mug. “Nancy?” She recognizes the voice. Her heart drops, a bomb in her stomach. “Hold please…” She crawls under her desk and sucks her thumb. Chris finds her like that, three hours later. “Are you okay?” She nods. Her phone vibrates on the cubicle desk above her head. “It’s from Bec,” says Chris, getting down on his knees and taking her face in his hands.

“A woman staggered into” by Julia at her desk


Thursday April 2, 2015
1:12am
5 minutes
Focus
Daniel Goleman


A woman staggered into a room filled with people locked in their cages. She was reluctant at first but when she arrived, she decided to follow through with herself.
She glanced around at all the bars, and ropes. Sad. Sad. Helpless. Sad.
She went about her business, gliding from one side of the room to the next, opening jars of jam and tasting her fruit-dipped fingers. She made eye contact with every single one of them. What are they doing here, what do they need? Why. Why. Helpless. Why.
Her freedom made them angry. And their hurt hearts thudded loud for all to hear.
Her self-awareness and self-love made them wish they could turn off their 80% brain.
You Are Not Good Enough. You Must Let Others Win. You Are Not As Important. Don’t Bother Trying To Achieve What You Desire. Forget Your Passions. Kill Your Dreams.
The smell of her lightness was pungent to the lot of them.

“And now I know he’s not my soulmate” by Julia at Aroma Espresso Bar


Wednesday March 18, 2015 at Aroma Espresso Bar
8:00pm
5 minutes
overheard at aroma espresso bar

The first thing I did was dance. Second thing was shove a Ham and Swiss baked croissant into my mouth. Still dancing. Still moving. Eating dancing moving breathing. Living. That’s what it was. Fear leaving the body. Pain released into a thousand tiny gold flakes, decorating the sky. The ham and cheese croissant was the only thing allowed in my stomach. No more knots. No more anxiety. No more burying my feelings so deep within me they could hide behind organs and slip under the radar. After the dancing eating moving breathing, FREEING thing I was doing, I threw my head back and I just laughed and laughed and laughed. The day felt warm again and I felt whole–like a hot, gooey pizza ready to be devoured by the hungry and the good.

“How is one to know—with strangers?” by Julia at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library


Saturday March 14, 2015 at the Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library
3:10pm
5 minutes
The Midwich Cuckoos
John Wyndham


Caught her staring at me from underneath her sunhat. She was trying to catch glimpses of me incognito but I could see her there, plain as day, paying all her attention to me, avoiding everything about herself. In her slight defense, I would be sneaking glances at me too if I were her. From an objective perspective, I was talking about some fascinating things. People always seem to perk up when they hear the words “wild” “unbelievable” “mind-blowing” “freedom” “sensual” and “magic”. I didn’t want to shame her for watching. After all, it was my choice to leave my house and interact with other human beings. You can’t really blame someone for wanting to see how another person lives, talks, eats, breathes, shares, listens, reacts, lies, sinks, falls, achieves, succeeds. I was curious about her too; sad girl hiding behind her over-sized beach hat.

“nothing has ever summed me up so succinctly” by Julia at her desk


Saturday March 7, 2015
12:54am
5 minutes
from a caitlinjstasey Instagram post

Put me in a bottle, ship me out to sea
I float along like a magic little oyster pearl
and I found the freedom there in a wave’s whisper
caught up real high in conversation
with the night
with the night
She sang “don’t come back again”
but I was long gone by then

Put me in an envelope and ship me out to sea
I bob along like a magic book inside of you
And I found the freedom there in a wave’s anger
Up up and away down
up up and away down low
Cause I would be a million miles away from me

Put me in a memory and ship me out to sea
I’ll crash along the shores all the way there
And I found the freedom there in a wave’s evening dress
she pulled out a letter saying
Who is this from? A letter to my soul…

How does she know
Just what I’m looking for?
And she was caught up real tight in conversation
about lost oyster pearls
With the night
with the night
with the night

“Parking available at the rear” by Julia on Jessica’s couch


Monday, July 7, 2014
12:02am
5 minutes
from a window sign


I don’t know if you know this, but I just got my license so I am free now and I can ride.
I can be the party bus.
I can be the one you call. Don’t drink and drive! So if you want to, I’ll take you there.
I’ll go anywhere. Just as long as I can get out of the house. It’s stuffy inside. It feels like the walls are made of rock crumble and at any moment it could come crashing down on me, burying me alive in all the rubble.
My mother is a sweetheart. She watches TV all day and tells me to heat up the carrots for dinner.
Nobody likes cooked carrots around here. Not even her. But she doesn’t know what else to feed me and she’s scared if she doesn’t I’ll go blind.
I heat up the carrots and put them on her TV tray beside the couch. She doesn’t even sniff them. They sit there all night. I don’t eat mine either so the house smells like warm mushy carrot and I don’t know if she knows this, but it’s not helping her case against my future blindness.
I want to get out and just drive along the highway.
I want to roll the windows down and breathe in the fresh freedom that I’ve been so hopeful for.
I want to drive away and never come back.
My mother is a sweetheart, but she won’t even know I’m gone.

“I think I’m crying from happiness” by Julia in her backyard


Tuesday May 27, 2014
10:23am
5 minutes
from http://www.buzzfeed.com

Maybe it’s because a butterfly is currently sitting on my knee, or because my baby brother got accepted into med school, or because my older brother just flew his first plane by himself. Maybe it’s because life keeps astounding me and I can’t keep up with how good it all is. I broke up with Massi because he was begging me to move to Milan and live there with him while he relaunched his sculpting business. He called it a business so I would feel more secure in moving my entire life to a place I’d have to completely start over. New bank accounts, new driver’s license, new language, new food, new government, new phone plan. Not to mention Massi was a busy man and I’d see him probably 3 times a week if I was lucky. He told me saying no was an admission of defeat for our relationship and for my existence and he said it in such an Italian way that I almost believed him. But he was wrong. I was not giving up on me. I was giving up on the idea that I needed to please someone else. And so maybe it’s because for the first time I’m living independently. Maybe that’s why I’m so happy.

“we deliver” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday November 25, 2013 at the Starbucks at Queen and Bay
11:20pm
5 minutes
The American Express Ad
The Wifi connection page


We deliver all the things! To your front door, your back door, your wherever’s most convenient door! We even do it when you’re not looking! When you’re not home! Like crazy people wearing ski masks in the dark! Just kidding! We don’t own ski masks! But we do creep around a bit. But only so it doesn’t disturb you! Only so you can rest and relax and watch your family show with your family, in absolute peace! We know about the family show, yes, but don’t be alarmed! Every family has one. It’s an easy thing to know about a person. We also know that you were saving those frozen pizza shells in the freezer for a special occasion and when it finally came, you wouldn’t eat them because “someone” forgot to buy the proper “melting cheese”. We know about that because don’t fool yourself! That one is more common than you think! The uncommon things you do are the common things we know about. We know because we’re human beings! Human beings are connected by the root, by the guts, and by the throat on most days! Those feelings are not new. Someone somewhere has had them before. That’s a wonderful thing! Your cheese problems are not rare! You are! But the experience is shared! Don’t you see? It’s not meant to trouble you! It’s meant to free you! I am you and you are me and we are we are we are we! Say it with me! I am you and you are me and we are we are we are we. Whatever you need! You can call us and we’ll know exactly when, where and why!

“EXIT HIGH PARK AVE.” by Sasha on the subway going East


Saturday, August 10, 2013
9:12am
5 minutes
from the High Park Subway station

Whenever I climb stairs I think about climbing ladders
Which makes me think about letting go
And that reoccurring dream of


LETTING GO

When the second hand passed the number ten
I knew that I was saved
I was free
I had a pass
To collect the tax
Of my own volitions
Then
When you interrupted
When you called my bluff
“What are you doing?”
I shook loose the hair my mother and father gave me
And felt much more


FREE


L
E
T

M
E

S
H
O
C
K

Y
O
U

It’s the permission
That the teacher gives
When the kid asks to go to the bathroom
A basic thing

“one morning in late July” By Julia in her backyard


Thursday August 1,2013
5:23pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


One morning in late July, my friend, my old friend, came home. He was tired from all the lying and all the dodging bullets. He didn’t want to answer questions about his personal life, or his new found freedom, or new found captivity, depending on the day. He didn’t want to go roller blading on the promenade or take pictures of newborn baby birds. He was gone a long while. Some said he spent his time fishing on the Grand or entertaining stories of his sister’s brush with death last December. I believe he was just sitting in his room waiting for the seasons to change. Waiting so he could emerge again with a restored sense of faith and discovery…something to mask his insecurity and guilt with. He was missed, surely, sorely. I was the one who spread rumours of his existence to all our mutual friends. I told them, each and every one of them, and never tired of it, that he would in fact be returning soon enough and that we should call upon our patience so we could be all the more ready to receive him when he arrived. It was one morning, it late July. The tiger lillies were everywhere and the kale grew in abundance in Alan’s backyard.

“The slip, Sir, the slip” by Julia at Nova Era Bakery


Monday June 17, 2013
11:19am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare


Remember when we were young and we’d look forward every day in the summer to sliding down some plastic patch in our backyard, completely dangerous and soaking wet, just for a July or August thrill? Slip N’ Slides they called them. Such an accurate name. Remember mom hated them because she thought we were going to behead her rosemary busy or accidentally slide into her rhubarb and fuck everything up for her summer baking plans? I don’t think she cared when we’d come into the house covered in twigs, mud, and bruises as long as we didn’t smell of basil or have any lilacs stuck to our swimsuits. We were young and free then. And beautiful in life’s simplicity when all you could do was Slip N’ Slide in the backyard with a few friends from the neighbourhood. I don’t know if I’d even be confident enough to do it. Age has convinced me I’d have to analyse things closer before attempting to do them again. Even speaking takes more care. The things we’d say when we were young. Never bridled with responsibility or consequence.

“33. Make mistakes faster” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday, December 11, 2012
12:27am
5 minutes
The Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
Bruce Mau


Just because the answers look like pretty little humming birds doesn’t mean you need to hold them in your hands and doesn’t mean you need to want them like you do. You can’t hold a humming bird at all, they don’t like that. But they do like to do what they do so it’s probably best if you just let them do it.
A kind of loneliness occurs when you’re told not to touch the birds. Any bird. We think it’s within our rights just to touch them and watch them, and keep them in cages. We find ourselves justified because they represent freedom with wings and we want some of that for us. Caged Freedom is what they become, singing songs of desperation for release, singing songs of melancholy dreams.
They don’t like to be behind bars. How could anything with wings like that? They need the sky at its grandest, its most expansive, its infinite, to catch them and let them fall, and guide them through the night without beacons or signs. They just need to go where they were meant to go. Here, there, tomorrow, today.
Little birdies with their beaks twisted into knots.
The smart ones keep them closed; only this way will we get bored of them and let them go.