“The Richest in Beauty is the Beautiful Life. That is the Perfect Work of Art.”

Hi! I’m still here and as intermittent a blogger as ever. Before moving onto the meat of today’s post, a brief general update: It’s been over a year, and what a time it’s been. My post-grad experience has been one of stress, strain, and transition after continuous transition. Due to a gifted counsellor, a shift to a stable and supportive workplace, and a lot of doing the work, 2019 has been a year of growth and levelling; I don’t feel like I’m consistently running around putting out fires anymore, while also not sitting in my anxious feelings anticipating the worst. Perhaps it’s that I’m coming into a place of contentment and acceptance that isn’t contentious anymore; I’m crossing my fingers that I’m one step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a human embodiment of the Serenity Prayer – acceptance, courage, wisdom all day every day.

An overarching theme of the past 365 has been grief. I’ve mourned a good friend who passed away; I’ve mourned my health and answers to my health issues that were taken away after an exploratory surgery; I’ve mourned my toxic relationship with codependency which I allowed to rule my life until my most recent birthday; I’ve mourned the relationships that were built and then lost due to that same reliance on codependency; I’ve mourned values that could no longer stand the test of my experiences; I’ve mourned my financial independence; I’ve mourned events that will never take place. I’ve mourned the lives I’ve dreamed up for myself that won’t come to pass in this reality. Surrendering, relinquishing, releasing, however you term it, I’ve finally developed a tiny capacity to move on. This is a life-giving development for me. This process seems to have been preparing me for another great grief – the loss of my grandfather.

Two weeks ago tonight, I was preparing to hop on a red-eye to New Brunswick. Just two days before my Grampy had hemorrhaged for unknown reasons and fallen unconscious; he never woke up. When the ultimate outcome became clear, the decision was made to remove the ventilator. The rest of the family waited until my sister, dad and I made it to the hospital on the opposite coast. We kissed his shiny forehead. Held is his hand. Told him we loved him. Hugged and held each other. And we cried.

For about thirteen hours, this process continued as we took turns sitting vigil, and it was decided that my sister, cousin, and I would take the overnight at the hospital. I took a brief nap in a waiting room before switching places with my cousin. My sister took her turn to sleep on the cot in his room.

The moment I realized my sister was asleep and my Grampy and I were alone, I began to sob. Whether or not you believe in the power of a strong intuition is up to you, but to my (highly analytical) brain, it’s as real as sensory input. I could sense that our time was short, despite a nurse’s reassurances that my Grampy’s stats showed no indication of change and his belief that he likely had some time left, so I sat there and quietly told my Grampy how much I loved him, how thankful I was that he chose my mum and Grammy, and how privileged I was to be his granddaughter while I ran my hand along his forearm for about an hour.

About ten minutes after I had settled into some work on my laptop, I noticed his breathing shift and become more shallow. I instantly closed my computer and reached for his hand and began to count the seconds between his breaths. The nurses’ station behind me was quiet, and I couldn’t bring myself to leave him, so I decided to wait until someone reappeared to be inquisitive about his symptoms. His pulse was thready, and the space between his breaths became longer and longer and suddenly, less than fifteen minutes after his breathing shifted, we found ourselves across our most final of finish lines – sixty seconds – and he was gone. I called out and the nurse appeared; her monitor hadn’t registered the void yet, but I felt a vacuum in the room where he was just a moment before.

The week that followed was one of excessive sleep, carbs, tears, laughter, and hugs. We honoured my Grampy’s life in the best ways that we knew how. He would have loved to have seen us all together the way we were.

And for the living, life goes on. We packed up and headed back to BC a week ago, and the transition home has been hard. I’m struggling to embrace the Christmas Spirit that my Grampy and I shared that, previous to his death, I was vomiting all over anyone in moderately close proximity to myself. I’m struggling to balance informational boundaries with clients while being true to myself and my grieving process. I’m struggling to not drop everything and fly home to my Grammy. I’m struggling with the isolation of being in my apartment-for-one after all of the togetherness. I’m struggling with the loss of a man who meant the world to me; who taught me that loving someone doesn’t mean never getting angry with them, who won’t be at my wedding, or meet my kids, or make me anymore biscuits, or pick up my Bluetooth calls during long drives.

My Grampy was a unique and vibrant man. He lived with only partial lungs after repeated illness in childhood. He met and married my Grammy, and adopted my mum within seven months. He made the best biscuits in the Maritimes, and loved to take me on long drives to take pictures of scenic New Brunswick backroads. He had the biggest belly laugh and made unparalleled commitments to white v-necks and Corn Flakes. He made friends everywhere he went, and often hummed as he walked. He knew how to call me on my shit when I acted like a smartass, but he also trusted me and helped me feel emotionally validated. When I lived with him seven years ago, our relationship blossomed and he became one of my favourite confidants, and we talked on the phone regularly. I was so lucky to have him.

I don’t have a firm conclusion to this post, no overarching lessons to share or promises of change and replication to make – I’ve always carried this man’s influence in my demeanour. He’s in my intentionality and commitment to the people in to my life; he’s in my love of gardening; he’s the warmth in my interactions; he’s certainly in my stubbornness, and almost definitely the reason for any vibrancy I bring to the table. He’s also in Up! by Shania Twain which was our musical compromise when I was in Elementary School. He’s in the Salisbury Big Stop sweater that I’m currently wearing, and in the Christmas Spirit that I’m warring with as the string lights on my tree brighten the room.

It’s been said that grief is the price that we pay for love; the process of losing such a precious human who we had the privilege to learn from and love was never going to be easy. Though I will always wish my Grampy and I could have spent more time together and I had called even more, that’s the nature of loss – the root of which, I suspect, is the desire to do life all over again as much as it is to right some perceived failing. After this past year’s lessons in grief and mourning, I am not moving forward with regret, not picking up a new albatross to carry around for 27 years. I’m just moving, without contention, into a place of acceptance and overwhelming gratitude.


“Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way it is…. dying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing.”

Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting


I’m in the last hour of 25. And I’m a sentimentalist. And a procrastinator. So here I find myself for the first time in a long time. Someday I’m going to have to expound on my mental health journey, quitting my job and moving to Chilliwack, and my ever-fluctuating love life, but today is not that day; I’m not in the place in my process where I can craft a cohesive narrative without spinning into refrains of “I don’t know” – but I’m getting there for the first time in a number of years.

What I want to share about are some of the big learnings of 25. Enter: my first listicle, and definitely too many cliches; I am what I am. *Insert shrugging shoulders emoji girl here*

  1. Stop waiting to live your life actively. It’s not merely the fact that life is short – which it is – but even more importantly that you might as well make the most of the opportunity that is in front of you. Don’t wait to lose the weight, to unpack another box, till the time is “right”, because you’re never going to be perfect, and neither is the moment. “Being patient” is too often a mask for fear and passivity. Just start and be ready because life is about to get crazy good.
  2. Budget. I reiterate my last point. DON’T WAIT.
  3. Counselling is therapy. Literally. Why aren’t you there? My listicle, your hairdresser, weight loss, and your essential oils are not going to a be fix-alls. Talking to a human who helps you understand and craft your human experience is at least going to help you build a narrative to the process of living. Enter empowerment.
  4. Your living environment is a reflection of what’s going on inside – and sometimes vice versa. Invest in your living space – internal and external.
  5. Living close to work is brand new to me and it’s gonna be a thing that happens from now on.
  6. Find the strong women. Learn from the strong women. Study the strong women. Become a strong [enter your name here]. Empower others to be the best them that they can be.
  7. It’s okay to quit the most rewarding job of your life when it’s taking it’s toll on your physical and mental health. I did it. The position where I’ve ended up isn’t my dream job, but the way I’m treated by my employer is giving me the headspace to be present, focused, creative, and diligent – both at work and in my personal life. Respect is a catalyst for long-lasting passion.
  8.  No is always a full sentence. It needs to be respected. And the people who respect it will receive often receive an explanation. And those who don’t won’t be invited back. AND THAT’S MORE THAN OKAY. #healthyboundaries #byeeeee
  9. Sleep is the great healer. I know, it’s shocking that it’s not the avocados or essential oils (I am on a kick tonight and I don’t know where it’s coming from – all this pent-up-essential-oil-rage). But seriously: the lines on my face are going away on this new sleep schedule. When people ask me how I’m doing, I instinctually say “tired” after years of establishing the habit AND THEN I STOP AND CORRECT MYSELF BECAUSE A MIRACLE HAS HAPPENED AND I’M NOT ALWAYS TIRED ANYMORE. Yay for sleep hygiene; all the effort to establish a wake up time was worth it and it only took 25 years to make it happen.
  10. If you are well rested, you won’t find yourself in the Starbucks queue as often. But still often enough to maintain your Gold Card.
  11. Don’t give up on the good ones. They have their moments and seasons, too. Take the time to consider whether or not your ego is worth a friendship. Mine wasn’t and still isn’t.
  12. ALWAYS say yes to holding a baby. Your stone-cold heart will explode and you’ll start your application to become a foster parent (LITERALLY. It’s in progress). Even after they’ve been screaming bloody murder for an hour. (SECRET TIP: hold them close on your left side, and breathe really deep – pretty quick their breathing will sync up with yours and they’ll feel that dreamy biological validation of their distress. BAM.)
  13. A plain McDouble is rarely an impossibility.
  14. You have too much stuff. Throw it out. Give it away. Don’t replace it.
  15. When the anxiety kicks in, figure out what you can control and micromanage the crap out of it. (Wisdom: this only works if you admit to yourself that this is what you are doing – intentionally).
  16. Leave space for margin. You will not run perfectly on time (or, if you’re me, you will just never run on time, ever. Full stop). You won’t have the capacity for as many meaningful interactions as you hoped for. You will run out of gas if you drive on “E” for too long. You will have to go to the grocery store sooner than anticipated. You will have big feels. You are not unlimited or inhuman – you are very, very human and very, very finite. Build in room for failure and simultaneously give yourself space for the outcome to still be a successful one. And a little extra time in the calendar leaves room for the magic of being a human to happen; the good stuff can’t always be anticipated.
  17. Feeling is hard – don’t force it. After you’ve been in survival mode for too long, those feelings might go underground for awhile. It’s okay. They’ll come back as you work through the trauma; don’t push too much too soon. I promise they’ll return with a vengeance. HA.
  18. When it comes to exploring romantic relationships, follow the gut and know when it’s time to cut your losses – and keep yourself safe. Monitor the red flags; everyone has a few – don’t be a jerk – but when you know it’s time, just go. Keeping in mind…
  19. Self-sabotage is always a temptation. It makes you feel invincible and all-knowing, but let go of your ego. Believe that good can happen – not that it necessarily will – but that it can happen to you, too. The theory of The Law of Attraction has its merits.
  20. Don’t fall asleep with your contacts in twice in one week unless you want a bacterial infection in your EYEBALL. Foolish, B.
  21. Overconfidence isn’t competence. Let it go and live in a world with a little grey. Or at least a world where you’re open to the fact that grey could exist. Your pomposity is not going to end well, DONALD. #impeachasap #littlehands #thisisaboutmorethanjustdonaldthough
  22. The best kinds of friends are the ones who get along with your family. Radiant fricking gems.
  23. Also, parents are cool. If yours aren’t, in all seriousness I’m incredibly sorry, and please stay away from people who predictably induce trauma and drama. But if yours are alright, hold them tight.
  24. If you have to force it, it’s probably too restrictive for you to breathe. This goes for clothes, budgets, and people. BUT…
  25. You do not need to shrink. Being rather intuitive right from the get-go, I grew up often acquiring friends who needed someone who would get them and build into them. The trouble was, they didn’t really want my help in their growth, just my validation. I was often told I carried too much presence, too many opinions, and far too much desire for more. They didn’t celebrate my growth; in fact they often made me feel like I was “too much”. Listen to me: YOU are NOT “too much”. Do not let them force you into their little tiny boxes and expectations. You are a person, not a mug covered in bubble wrap preparing to move. And if you hear the line “you’re too much”, you’ve merely outgrown them – and hopefully their bullshit, too.
  26. *Insert shrugging shoulders emoji girl here*


Hey, Anna – I know you’re there; My Year finally happened!


There’s glitter on the floor after the party

It’s taken 5 months, a 5 page running Word Document, 5 days of vacation, and a literal 5 hours sitting here editing down those 5 pages to bring you this:


By now you’ve probably picked up on the fact that the past year and a half has been tough – to say the least. I buckled down. I lived intentionally. I made different choices. I built a life based on my actual worldview, and overall feel like I’m living rather congruently. It was the hardest season, but I became almost enamoured with building myself a new life, one built on a simplified, holistic day-to-day. I can honestly say that I am incredibly proud of the results of this investment into myself. It hasn’t been easy. Truth is, until the past few months I was so childlike in my pursuit of a healthier, more process-oriented self that I was having a lot of fun with it. Problem was, until the past few months, I was blindly stumbling around in a metaphorical petting zoo a little too long. Long enough that the friggin metaphorical goats ate holes all through my metaphorical corduroy overalls. Let me explain.

Sometime in November I looked down at the corduroy overalls of my life (probably at the same time that metaphorical Brittany also remembered that she has hayfever, ya fool) and realized that the trappings of my life were all torn apart while I was prancing around, living in the moment and petting all the metaphorical animals, and I was sitting there in an exhausted haze, content and happy. I suppose that, to keep with the weirdest metaphor of all time, to some degree, I was sitting there watching the goats gnaw away squeaking “SWEET BABY JESUS, IMMA INSTAGRAM THIS BABY GOAT EATING MY CORDUROY OVERALLS!”

Basically, life has kiiiiiinda felt like it’s in shambles. Good shambles, and shambles of my own making, but shambles nonetheless. I dismantled all the pieces of my life and was left with a blank slate – sans a memory full of experiences and some pretty hefty student debt – as close to a tabula rasa (*sorry for letting my inner sociology nerd out there for a second) as I could get without amnesia or being shipwrecked on an uninhabited island (mind you, CSLSC would probably track me down, leave me there, and message me repayment reminders in bottles that would drift ashore once a week).

After listening to my constant refrains of “but I should be doing better than this! Why can’t I get it together? I’ve done all the things to fix my life!” the counselor at work described much of my recent experience as “psychological whiplash” while asking me to reflect on my instance in doing “all the things”. I’ve not-so-fondly referred to myself as having “having depleted resilience stores”. The difficult year had finally caught up with me, and dairy-free cheesecakes are not half as effective at mood-stabilization as the real shit.

Despite all the intentionality and conscious change I’ve shared about, I lost a lot of myself in this journey of finding myself. It was time to come to terms with the fact that I had yet to mourn the losses – and the past year had handed me a lot of them; friends, jobs, communities, romantic interests, gluten and dairy, 40 pounds, and half my boobs – just to name a few. All of these cuts were good, important, and intentional, but they were still losses.

Once I realized what had gone on over the past year, I began to work through the losses, one cut at a time. Hence the lull in posting. To quote my queen Jane Austen, “I must confess, the view from where I sit has been rather grey.” I’ve been running on fumes – again. In some ways it’s felt like I’m repeating the past year while I wade through the puzzle pieces and reassemble the parts that work while I purge swaths of mental clutter.

Since my last post, I’ve started a brand new job that I’ve fallen in love with. I’m working as an addictions support worker in a recovery home for expecting and new mums and their brand new babies; it’s hard work, but it’s also made work the highlight of my week. When I’m at work cuddling those brand new infants, I often find myself chatting with [at?] them. I almost always hear myself muttering the same thing when I feel the discontentment rise in their tiny bodies: “It’s okay babe; growing is so hard and you’ve got a lot of it to do. We’re all too hard on ourselves when it comes to growing. You go ahead and have a good cry if you need to. I’ll hold your hand, baby.” Each time it kind of shocks me; this isn’t a cognisant thought, it’s like a subconscious love letter to myself.

So, yes, admittedly the sparkle of this adventure has worn off a bit. I’d go as far as to say that my sparkle is a little more dim than usual. But I’m in here – the hiatus is over – and I’m going to give myself a little more room to be creative, particularly in this space, because creativity is where we source our beauty and I root some of my emotional regulation. Ready, set, go?


I got lost, putting out fires, “Life Tetris”, the dark and twisties, and some big feelings on change

This was the place in the story where I originally thought I’d start this blog – how often do things really end up how you think they will? Parts of this post actually go back as far as January, though I’m sure I’ve teased out a lot of those original unfinished knots. Let’s be real here: when you’re about to publicly tackle the dimensions of the dark and twisties, you definitely have to be in the right space. How on God’s green earth would I neatly unpack the situation I was in, particularly while maintaining the honesty and integrity of my journey while still protecting the privacy of my coconspirators – and myself? What situation was I even in? For the sake of all that I just referenced, it’s probably fair to tell you that between this and a gander at my bank statements after a month of not getting called in to work, I had a full-blown panic attack later during the day that I wrote this next part.

“There can be beauty in getting lost. Sometimes we have to get lost to find each other and sometimes we find each other, only to get lost all over again. We can’t always control it, the thing that’s going to set you adrift. And as you stand there on your front porch staring at the life you are about to leave behind, you have to accept it’s gone, it’s lost. Just like you. All you can do now is stand very still, breathe in the moment and try to be open to wherever the wind’s going to take you next.” – Meredith Grey

In January 2016, I posted a quote to Instagram that I’d lovingly scrawled on my chalkboard. I sourced the quote (from Grey’s Anatomy, obviously) as I was crafting my goals for the new year. I knew I was on the verge of change – graduation was impending, relationships were shifting, and my beautiful mutt of a dog was on her last legs. It just fit my situation… I felt lost, and I knew life was about to get messy. My mother often likes to remind me that I don’t do change well and never really have. Her favourite anecdote revolves around surprising three-year-old Brittany with new “big girl” curtains that resulted in me – inconsolable – “WHY DO THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE, MUMMY?” I’ve never been very open to where life’s going to take me. Like I stated last time, in this period of life, living meant “passively observing one moment, and digging my micromanagy claws into the next”.

One late afternoon that spring, I was camped out at Beatnik’s Bistro with a friend over a bowl of honey mustard chicken wings and yam fries. I was squawking about all my troubles, likely attempting to rewrite them into some pleasant narrative [see why I’m hesitant about writing all this down?], when she spoke the most startling realization into my life. “You’re always running around putting out fires you have burning all over your life. Don’t you want to not have so many fires?” I’m not sure if it horrified me because I’d been hiding from that fact for years, or simply because she clearly identified how flawed I was – with specific examples …almost needless to say, I ended up back in counselling about a month later when I stopped being about to run from problem to problem; we’d put the dog down, I was taking space from a friend, and my final semester of university was not going well. I had run out of space for error.

Despite my awareness of all the fires, I was still putting up an exhausting fight against change. By August 2016, my resistance was contributing only to a rather unmanageable existence. I like to describe the events that followed as “Life Tetris”; where you can only handle so much, so fast, for so long before it all piles up. Too many of my closest relationships began to flounder. I had ended up in the friend zone again. Things with my family were tense. My final semester’s worth of grades were barely passable and I began to resent what and where I was studying. Then I finished my full-time studies and the debt repayment letters began rolling in. I applied for 60 jobs and lack of sufficient prospects and callbacks meant that I ended up with 3 jobs and a 70-90 hour work week, and an income that didn’t come close to reflecting the hours I was putting in. I didn’t open any mail that came from a banking institution because I didn’t want to know how many digits-worth of debt I had. Every time a phone or email notification came in, I froze, always believing it was another commitment, reprimand, or failure looming there in my inbox. When I graduated high school, I held that (supposed) millennial belief that I was bound for greatness, but the reality 6 years out was that greatness was basically just a day that included chicken nuggets. I felt chronically unattractive. That was probably compounded by the fact that my body was a total mess. Basically I couldn’t wear pants with buttons anymore; I would physically swell all day long. I stupidly chalked it up to stress-induced university weight gain. That explained the clumps of hair that came out in the shower, the horrific skin, and sweat that poured down my face all day long, right? To tell you the truth, even just stepping back into it now, I can feel the heaviness settle on my lungs again; I felt completely trapped. Whenever I wasn’t working or at my Twelve Step (another story for another day), I was camped out in my bed; crying, staring at the ceiling, and mourning the life I thought I was supposed to have that had completely evaded me. This continued throughout the fall.

The morning after my girl Hillary lost the election south of the 49th, I broke. I came to the conclusion that if she could get out of bed on November 9 and be a grown ass woman, then so could I. Between that and a blood pressure spike of 169/96 the same week, I finally found the motivation to quit one of my 3 jobs. I set a date to move to Maple Ridge. I cut the foods that were rotting my brain and my body (I still miss you, brie). I had a consultation with my surgeon about a breast reduction, and went in for blood work and a transvaginal ultrasound to help me deal with those pesky ovaries – and yes, that was one-hundred precent as awful as it sounds. I realized that if I wanted my life to change, I had to change my life. I had to surrender to the fact that I was lost. I had to stop running to put out fires and just let them burn. I had to let the blocks pile up and wait for the new game to start. At some point I’ll explain how messy those processes really were, but for now I’ll just ask you to not romanticize it, because it was the farthest thing from elegant or smooth.

As for that quote, I keep telling myself that once it feels less relevant to my day-to-day I’ll erase it and replace it. Two moves later and it’s still there.


I took a 9 month retreat from my life – a broke post-grad’s Eat Pray Love

I remember shuffling in the front door with two frozen pizzas and a bag of obviously gmo’d green grapes. I had given myself a review of the alarm codes from the welcome mat where I scooped up a couple of newspapers. THE PLAN was to hide away for a few days at this near-chateau in the forest and complete my online Human Kinetics course (read: adult gym class) to wrap up my graduation requirements while my friends were away on their vacation. I dumped my duffel bag and backpack at bottom of the stairs and began my hunt for the wifi passcode but I got distracted – first by the wall of windows and glass doors that opened onto the cliff face that was the backyard – and then by a vibrant painting in the otherwise neutral living room. I later learned it was an bird’s-eye rendering of Golden Ears Park, the same forest the house was nestled into. Between the haze of puffy white clouds was carved out the message that changed the course of my life: Live with Intention.



That course never got done. Instead, I polished off two bottles of Barefoot Moscato, cried my eyes to the always inspirational Seinabo Sey, sent bumblebee-filtered snaps rapping à la Nicki Minaj, and read Brené Brown books on the back patio. Ironically, all that perceived meaninglessness formed the most centring two days of my life.

On the last day, I sourced out a small walking trail and wandered around until I hit my 10,000th step where I cut myself off from the bliss that was the weekend and drove back to my reality across the bridge. I distinctly remember my tear-stained face and how blue my blood-shot eyes looked when I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview on the way back to my parent’s house. I didn’t know how to go back to the life that I was living – and by living, I mean passively observing one moment, and digging my micromanagy claws into the next.

It’s been a year, two months, and sixteen days since my self-titled “Come to Jesus” staycation. When crafting my About Me [insert 20 minutes of writing and rewriting after months mulling over what on earth was possessing me to share about God knows what] what remained was “Reflections on living intentionality and soulfully in the midst of the grind”. On one hand, I barely know what that is as I’m scraping the surface of adulthood – mind you, I do transport all my food in tupperware and I hear that’s a pretty solid prerequisite to join the ranks. What I do have some insight on it is when to trust my gut, when to let the potential relationship and the friendship go, the importance of uncovering and sharing my health struggles, how eat gluten and dairy-free on the cheap, and the perils of what I’ve termed “late-onset dating”… all while relinquishing my perfectionism and choosing instead to relish in my perma-hot-mess status. Intention – and my life – looks drastically different than I ever would have anticipated.

Parts of me are definitely anxious about sharing my journey without the safe context of relationship; after all, I’m a recovering vulnerability and commitment-phobe. At the same time, I’m confident that it’s time to immortalize what was and is, knowing that it’s far too easy to rewrite history, even your own, to fit into tiny little boxes, then call them lessons, and click post. I like to find the lesson in my circumstances, but I’m committing to not sharing a summary without adequate regard to the struggle and feet-dragging involved in the process.

The first truly [independently] intentional choice of my life manifested four months later when I ended up moving into the basement suite of that same house in the woods.