“every zit is proof” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday November 7, 2017
10:33pm
5 minutes
The Time I Went Into a Full-Body Spasm for Six Days
Betty Gilpin

Okay so you made the deal with yourself
You know the one where you said you’d be kinder
(including the skin stuff, remember you said?)
and now you’re wondering how long you can pull it off
You ask evethe mirror everytime you walk by it
Will today be the day I decide to love myself
(how could you forget, you do it everytime!)
And then before you know it you’re right there
zapping all those little fuckers with the sharpest
parts of your fingernails and you make dents
you excavate
you dig a hole so big in a face you keep lying to
I want to tell you that every zit is proof
that you are signed up to the self-sabotage
e-mails and you have not unsubscribed yet
Not to hit you while you’re down but you
also said you would start eating better
(as a part of the deal, you know, full package?)
And I will tell you that those chips have
not been eating themselves

“never been good at multitasking” by Julia on her couch


Sunday September 10, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
from a text

I know I’m inching fufther away from myself when I can make sure I send you a writing prompt but I will go the whole day without writing a single word for me. And I think long and hard about what I’ll suggest to you. What I hope is something that gives you a reason to write. Because I care that you aren’t writing. I care that you must write. That the bones of your body only feel warm when you do. I know this sensation too. Cold bones. The feeling of your bed being the scariest place to end the day. When sleep takes more from you than it gives. I have been shivering these days. And I do not want to turn on the radiator because it shouldn’t be this frigid in my home. It shouldn’t be this removed from skin. I don’t remember how to fix this but I do know that it always comes back–which means it always goes away first.

“If all your favourite makers got together” by Sasha on her couch


Monday March 20, 2017
1:10am
5 minutes
Steal Like An Artist
Austin Kleon


If all your favourite makers got together and made
you all of your favourite things
then would you feel worthy of the bounty
in you life?

Beeswax candles dipped by hand and
decorated with pressed flowers
Tinctures of mugwort and cleavers
and rose
An oak wood board decorated with honey
crisp apples and dried figs
Garlands of lily of the valley
sunflowers
ferns
Lavender infused honey in a
small clay pot
Nettle tea
A painting of a dream you
had six months ago
swimming with dolphins
dancing with dolphins
the underwater music the
truest song you’d ever heard

“bore you with another list ” by Julia on her Couch


Sunday August 14, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
theestablishment.com

1.I can’t apologize enough; I am always sorry for something
2.I buy the cheapest toilet paper because it’s the only kind that doesn’t stick to your bits
3.If I pass by a basil plant, I will steal a leaf off of it
4.If I pass by a rosemary bush, I will pluck as many sprigs as I can carry
5.Sometimes I cry for no reason
6.Sometimes I take long showers when I’m trying to forgive you
7.I drink from the carton and jar and double dip knives and cross contaminate condiments
8.I make lists of ways to be nicer to you
9.I sleep really well all things considering
10.I don’t feel good about all the things I don’t know

“The secret of remaining young” By Julia on Lindsay’s Couch


Saturday August 13, 2016
7:12am
5 minutes
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde


Mom calls me to tell me about her trip tells me all about the seaside
And how people don’t care
That North America has judgments about women’s bodies and women’s
Minds
She tells me that she bought
Her first bikini
In 15 years
And that she loves it
And that she’s decided
She no longer cares
About the rules
Either
Mom tells me about her trip
How she listened to her body
Instead of punishing it
How she gave her skin a chance
How she smiled more than before
How people told her how good
She looked
And how shocking that
Was
And how nice that is
And how maybe she has
Finally
Let herself believe them
Because they are right
Because she has put the hard work in
Because she has unlocked her heart
And freed her inner child
Mom tells me about he trip
About her journey to find
peace
And how on the way
She found a whole lot more
Inside herself
Than she meant to

“In just 10 months you have come a long way” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday May 3, 2016
8:31pm
5 minutes
From the Twitter account of the woman sitting in front of Julia

Look at your new smile
Your new confidence
Your new found love for yourself
You see me see you
I see you
I have always seen you
You see me see you seeing you
It is beautiful
In all the ways this world is beautiful
In all the ocean songs
And amethyst hearts
And moon cakes
And rain forests
And sounds of a baby’s laugh
Your new you is an old you returning
A home where you can
take off your shoes
Stay for a while
And dance in the magic suit you were born in
Look at your new wisdom
The kind that comes from
Re-learning how to trust yourself
Re-learning how to choose yourself
It is whole and it is warm
I would hold it
but I’ve already gotten so much
You keep it for now
Let it fill the cracks that once split you open
Let it fill the space where you said yes
To being more alive
Than yesterday

“I love failure!” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 18, 2016
9:06pm
5 minutes
from a text message

I love failure. I do. I didn’t before but I love it now. Like a long lost sister, or a cousin you used to fight with. I think before there was this understanding that I could make it pretty far in this life without actually leaping, jumping, risking anything. I think I wore a lovely outer mask that said, I am confident I am going places, but on the inside a traumatized child had the fear of how much longer were we going to play make believe. I think, now, maybe for the first time, I can hear both voices at once. Things are suddenly less hard than they used to be. Because living truthfully and unafraid of being wrong? That’s the most freedom you’ve ever felt. Because it connects you with the spirit of your surroundings, the integrity of your self-love, your deepest soul. It’s such uplifting necessity. I do not understand now how I thought feeling confined in my skin, trapped in all my conjured narratives, was easier than letting anything go; than lightening my load; being kind to myself.

“Help us fight the flu!” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 12, 2016
12:51pm
5 minutes
from the elevator at VGH

I am sitting motionless but moving on this perfect log facing the perfect sun peaking out behind the perfect mountain. Everything is wonderful. Everything around me is alive and I am still alive to experience it. There’s a difference between living and not dying. I come out here to remind myself exactly that when things feel uneasy. I ask myself, am I still alive, or am I living until I die? I am hoping to find clarity around that; peace, even. Asking myself as often as I can if this life is holding space for me or if I am holding space for it. It should be the former, shouldn’t it? Should. Huh. I know, I’m working on that too. Working on coming to perfect stillness and looking at perfect views and thinking so many imperfect thoughts. I am alone but not lonely. I feel supported from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I decide to keep them closed for the night. And I am not dying. Not yet. Not today. Although if the timing were right, this wouldn’t be such a bad last spot to be in; not a bad last feeling to have–one where I am myself inside myself inside a moment of deep desire to understand.

“I FIND MYSELF SO INTERESTING” by Julia on Jess’s and Rick’s couch


Saturday, January 2, 2016
2:43am
5 minutes
Mickey
Chelsea Martin


Dear Self,

Damn good job so far. I am proud of you. I have enjoyed being the voice inside your head, but also the fly on the wall that listens when you’re focused and thriving. I think your determination to find yourself inside yourself is incredibly inspiring. You should be proud of you too. You have not given up on your quest for truth and I like that about you. It makes things fun. I especially like it when you challenge your previous notions, opinions, behaviours, and desires. It’s very thrilling! Sometimes I hold on tight and secretly wish that you drove more gracefully but I have to admit that I would resent you for never risking anything. Nice balance! It’s a little new, isn’t it? But I’m impressed with how little the newness prevents you from investigating and fighting for yourself. I love you a lot. I’m excited for what’s next.

“I FIND MYSELF SO INTERESTING” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, January 2, 2016
6:52pm
5 minutes
Mickey
Chelsea Martin


When I find myself I’m sitting with my back up against an old Arbutus tree, the bark peeling away to reveal bright gold skin. I am surprised by how old I look, not in the sense of stained teeth from too much tea or grey hairs salting the pepper, but in the way that my mother might notice all that I’ve gone through in the months she hasn’t seen me. “Look at those lines around your eyes,” she says. “Your life. Right there.”

I find myself exceptionally interesting. We all think we just might be the most complex, nuanced, spicy creature in the herd. I sit down beside myself and don’t say anything. I take my hand and look at the palm – so known, so unknown.

“the usual agreements” by Julia at Coco et Olive


Monday September 28, 2015 at Coco et Olive
3:56pm
5 minutes
Environmental Theatre
Richard Schechner


I have told myself (AT LEAST ONCE IN MY LIFE)the FOLLOWING:
1. I have a head of curls on me that can RIVAL FUCKING SHIRLEY TEMPLE. (It’s a glorious MANE and I’ve said this to myself three times in the last week)
2. You win some, you lose lots! (This used to pertain to softball. I used to think it would be a good yearbook quote. Now it’s just true for everything so why stop TRYING?)
3. I am the best looking person of my exact physical features that I know. (this is like saying, there is only one you, so you’re the best you! This one comes into play after smoking ALL THE WEED and holding my own face as I tremble at my own fragility)
4. I am smarter than I think I am (when I believe I’ve left my phone at home and only my phone has the power to save me on days where I feel like laying on the pavement outside my house until it FUCKING POURS)
5. You are growing. It hurts cause your heart is expanding in your chest and sometimes the room you’re in is too small for you. (This one more and more lately. When I write letters to myself. And I cry honest tears.)

“a work in progress” by Julia on the futon


Monday September 21, 2015
11:33pm
5 minutes
from a dramaturge’s notes

I stare into the mirror, I am naked.
Paint me.
I hear myself say.
I am naked.
Am I ashamed?
Paint me.
Do I need clothes?
Paint me something good.
I hear myself whisper to myself.
I want layers of art. Not fabric.
Paint my heart, thumping.
And I do.
Paint my lungs singing.
And I do.
Paint my mind growing.
Paint my skin softening.
Paint my posture straightening.
Paint my arms strengthening.
Paint my smile more genuine.
Paint my eyes brightening.
Paint my worries lessening.
Paint my self-consciousness subsiding.
Paint my risk taking.
Paint my understanding.
Paint my learning.
And I do. I do.

“If you find yourself with a free second” by Julia on her patio


Thursday, June 11, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
from a staff meeting handout

Take that second to hold your face in the mirror and smile at that beautiful thing that is growing and sharing and developing in front of your very eyes. Such self love is necessary to survive and thrive and achieve and believe. It starts with an appreciation for magic and mistakes, for findings and failures, for dreams and denials. We can love a loaf of bread with every fiber of our being, but when we hold ourselves up to the light we can’t indulge in ourselves the same way. We can not crave it or feed ourselves with it. And we must. We must feed our souls with intense and concentrated self love, the kind that springs eternal when it’s allowed to enter. And though it’s not a vampire and it won’t kill us, it still won’t come in unless we invite it in.

“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.

“Jeff Jones, I’ll kill you!” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday April 1, 2015
2:36am
5 minutes
Bulk Basics

I have had it up to HERE with you JEFF JONES. Oh don’t smile at me you smug piece of shit, I will end you before you can even raise your eyebrows in that cocky ass way one more time. That’s right, I’m angry. I’ve said it and I stand by it. What were you thinking? Seriously, do you have an explanation or are you going to play the “This is just who I am BULLSHIT CARD?” Cause it is bullshit. You afraid or something? Is that why you’re so guarded and so resistant to help? Cause you secretly hate yourself? Well guess what, we all hate ourselves sometimes if not at all times so I don’t give a shit if you feel a little less self-love. It’s NOT AN EXCUSE, JEFF FUCKING JONES. Even your name makes me recoil. It’s such a pretentious name. You remind me of that two first names guy, Jeff David, from high school that everyone liked because he had spiky hair and a bad attitude. He was an asshole, Jeff. And just because you share the same name doesn’t mean you have to share the same behaviour. Now. Let’s discuss it. I don’t want to even HEAR any excuses!

“a new relationship to the vagina” by Julia on the subway going west


Wednesday March 25, 2015
5:28pm
5 minutes
Vagina
Naomi Wolf


Yesterday I glanced down and I was surprised. Surprised that after all these years (31 if you’re wondering), I actually liked what I saw. Yeah get over it I’m talking about my vagina. Why can’t I? Don’t answer that, I don’t give a shit. I’m allowed to talk about whatever I want, especially when it’s something I love. You hear that, I don’t just like my vagina. I love her. With a thousand deeply regretted shitty comments I’ve uttered about myself, I take a stand today, mirror in between my legs, and facing the setting sun. I see who I am all over. Soft. Capable. Hungry. Open. Closed. Both. Alive. Strong. Resilient. Self-preserved. Willing to house others.
My vagina is my spirit animal.
I am she and she is me.

“can’t go a day without” by Julia on her bed


Monday March 9, 2015
9:27pm
5 minutes
from a comment on YouTube

thinking about bread
wishing i was better
praying to a god i no longer believe in
touching my hair
remembering
examining my fingernails
snagging my ring on the inside of my jacket
sighing deep and audibly
dreaming about chocolate
playing with my earrings
singing to myself
communicating with my love
apologizing for something
tricking myself into stillness
cracking my back
touching my face
biting my lower lip
smiling
holding space for pain

“I know it’s scary but” by Sasha at 49th Parallel on Main St.


Friday October 3, 2014 at 49th Parallel
4:41pm
5 minutes
from a text message from Jess

I’m more interested in
organ keys than deep bass
brown rice than the colour orange
maps than keys
I’m more about
here than later
down than up
breaststroke than butterfly
I’m all the
leather and feathers
diamonds and dust
mountains and quartz crystals
I’m making
magic and lullabies
quinoa and pencil shavings
bullets of beauty and porridge with a kiss
I’m growing
crow feathers and fern patterns
grammatical tongue tickles and boots like moss
cactus of ambition and dreams like the milky way

“you’re obliged to keep living” by Julia at a park in Charleston


Thursday April 23, 2014
4:29pm
5 minutes
Locked In To Life
Mark Brazaitis


Keep pushing, keep moving, keep trying trying trying.
Don’t believe you’re stupid. Don’t believe that because nobody believes that and you don’t want to give them any new ideas about it.
Keep.
Pushing.
Yeah, it’s hard.
And yeah there will be lots of crying.
(With you, there’s always lots of crying. Get used to it.)
And there will be lots of laughing.
(With you, there’s always more laughing than crying. See?)
But there will be no regrets.
You don’t have time for those.
You don’t even have enough time to call your mother.
Or send that postcard to your boyfriend.
Or apologize to your inner person for being so damn-self-deprecating on a daily basis.
You don’t have time for that stuff.
So you most certainly do not have time to wish you did it differently.
The universe can be cruel.
I know that. You know that. Everybody knows that.
But it can also be kind.
So be a little nicer.
Be a little less quick to place the blame.
Be a little less okay with believing you’re mediocre.
Even when you forget how to spell “Disappointment” without an electronic device correcting you.
And even when you convince yourself you can’t do simple math in your head when trying to tip the server.
Be a little more confident.
Because you’re here.
Because you’ve made it this far and because if you didn’t want to be alive, you just wouldn’t be.

“I might forget” by Sasha at Cherry Bomb


Saturday February 22, 2014 at Cherry Bomb
9:57am
5 minutes
overheard on Roncesvalles

I’ve been following my heart
Like it’s an old friend whom I trust unconditionally and unequivocally.
You know that friend
Who you call when things collapse and you’ve lost all sense of time and morals?
I’ve been letting my heart lead me by the hand.
I find that she often takes me towards strong coffee and sunlight playing through azure stained glass.
Today, she surprised me with shopping on eBay for black boots and paisley dresses.
We’re poor, so I laugh and shake my head and stick my pinky into the jar of almond butter.
We are well worn for our twenty eight years,
us gals.
We find dead birds on the sidewalk and a sob catches in our throat.
We chase the love that we promised ourselves was truest
Even when it aches
Even when growing pains threaten
And thunderstorms brew heavy.

When I forget that she’s there,
that sweet one,
swollen and ripe like an August peach,
she taps me on the shoulder and hums with a tone that sounds like a cello.

“I spent decades awakening” by Sasha at the table at Knowlton Lake


Sunday, September 15, 2013
10:04am
5 minutes
Her Account Of Herself
Amy Gerstler


It’s like you re-learned your name. Now, when you say it, you claim it like a plot of land. You put your flag down and mark the territory as yours and only yours. Remember when you called yourself “stupid”? Remember when you looked at yourself in the mirror and you sucked in and pushed out and puckered and picked? Remember the sound your father makes when he sneezes, rattling the paintings on the wall? I was glad, when you breached for air, that your face wasn’t blue. I was glad you had colour, high in your cheeks, the colour of fruit salad. You’d been underwater for quite some time, so I wasn’t sure what it was all going to look like. You were stronger, your shoulders screaming “SWIMMER!”

The last time I saw you, you were wearing your flippers and goggles, your navy blue bathing suit, but you said you’d misplaced the mouthpiece, the scuba diving paraphernalia that would allow you to breathe down there, with the coral and the tiger-fish.