I have rarely been called beautiful.

Beautiful is not for girls like me, so I have been told.

I have felt beautiful a few times – but it is not something that I am, so I have been told.

Pretty. Yes, pretty.  

I have been called that often enough that I even believed it sometimes.

Cute, adorable sometimes.

Sweet has been uttered more than a few times in reference to me.

All words that others have used to describe me, to describe who I am.

What I am really, not who; because who I am is what I am of course – and that is wrapped up easily in descriptors of my physical attributes.

These are the words that sprinkle my life like garnish.

Garnish that the entree that is me needs to be adorned with if I am to really be complete.

“Make sure you wear something nice for your first day of school. No one is going to want to talk to you if you don’t look approachable.”

“Smile. You’re prettier when you smile. You’re not going to make any friends if you don’t smile.”

“How are you ever going to find someone if you go out looking like that?”

“You could be so much prettier if you just put in some effort.”


Helpful words of advice to the younger me so that I could learn how to perfectly present the commodity of me for approval.

For purchase.

For acceptance.

For friendship.

For love.

I was the best student of these lessons – I always aim to be perfect so why should I not be perfect at this learning after all.

I have known since as far back as I can remember that I am worth something to someone if I am pretty, cute, quiet, polite,well-behaved…good… but mostly if how I look and behave is “right”.

That “right” though is the slippery, elusive, mist-shrouded image always just out of my grasp.  

It is a picture made by someone else that I could never seem to bring into focus.

A picture that I knew held the secret to me feeling “right”.

For so many years, every incarnation of me was shaped to try to fill the nooks and crannies of the boxes that I kept trying to fit into.

Girls that looked like me did certain things – and didn’t do certain other things.

Girls like me behaved a certain way.

They lived inside very specific boxes.

Boxes that fit girls like me.

Except that they didn’t fit me.

They hurt.

Trey pinched and chafed and suffocated.

I tried to pretend that I poured into them effortlessly and perfectly but I could never live that lie for long before the boxes just hurt too much.

Over and over again.

So many times that after a while I didn’t even know what shape I was and what the box would look like that DID fit me perfectly.


I felt wrong.

Wrong in a way that can’t ever be made right.


It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t need a box to live inside of.

I had learned the lessons so well that I knew – not just knew but believed so deeply that it was truth – that I was not complete if I wasn’t framed in someone else’s parameters.

It never occurred to me that the package that I came in was complete and perfect and whole.

That there is no such thing as “girls like me”.  

That the real truth is that I am the box.

And it is not wrong.

It is right, perfectly right.

And it’s rightness has nothing to do with how it looks.

And that is fucking beautiful.

I stir, trying not to wake her, as I stretch on the couch.
She is next to me, half on me, her body and mine easy in rest; her head on my chest as we both pretend we haven’t been napping.
We are tangled in our version of half-reclined and somewhat upright, still trying to appear not too lazy in the summer afternoon hours.
Eyes closed, I hear the movie that we have dozed through as it plays on, ignored.
White noise.

My arm is tossed casually back over my head; the heat makes me feel languid and I am indulging in it in this moment.
My eyes open slowly as I feel her start to stir.
Her body twists slightly, she turns towards me fully and I feel her sink softly forward onto me.
Her hand rests, seemingly absent-mindedly, on my wrist.
The heaviness of it holds my arm lightly in place over my head.
She moves lazily, slowly, as do I.
Shuffling a bit as we nestle into each other.
I inhale deeply, settle more deeply into the couch cushions, notice the shadows on the wall from the late afternoon sun – and exhale slowly.
Her head leans forward, towards me.
Her lips touch the smooth skin where my arm meets my body.
I close my eyes and let my head drop back on the pillow; the warmth of her breath on my skin tickles me.

The warmth turns to heat as her mouth closes on me.
Her teeth sink deeply into my tender flesh, her body pressing against mine, she bites.
Her bite is steady, unwavering in its intention to both satiate and evoke our desires.
My breath hissing between my own teeth as I inhale sharply.
The searing pain seeps into me, fills me, envelopes me.
A smile plays across my lips.
I feel my body sink even as it rises to meet hers, she moves with me, her teeth never loosening their hold on my flesh.
We dance on the sharp-edged crests of waves made of our flesh.
I surrender to the riptide that wants to drag me down, my body silently begs her to come with me.

She releases from me suddenly, brutally, her mouth wet as she draws away slightly.
There is a spark in her eye that flashes in the sunbeam that plays on her face.
“Foreplay!” she exclaims, laughing as she jumps up and takes my hand to help me off the couch as she leads me to the bedroom.

(Sometimes a writing comes to me in a flash, an image, whole and complete – and this is one of those. Stories are alive and just what they are sometimes.My first glimpse of the sand dunes in Oregon last summer and this was it. I spent the better part of the past year trying to write it differently, less than, not what it was in my head. Not so dark and not so what it wanted to be. Finally gave that up and let it be what it was. It is what it is.)


She sat on the crest of the dune and watched the sun as it raced itself to the horizon. The sunset was her favourite time of day. It was in these last few moments when the sun, blazing its most brilliant, would slip below the edge of her vision, that she was at peace. The enormity of the ocean would swallow it whole, entirely consuming its fire, leaving only a dark chill behind. The beauty of the transition from day to night was almost magical in its simplicity.

For now though, for just a few more golden shrouded minutes, the sun still shone.

She closed her eyes and felt the soft breeze that rolled off the water. It was warm on her face as it caught her hair, dancing her dark curls against her cheeks. She lifted her chin slightly to catch it a bit more, and her lips parted in a soft smile.  

The air had a slight chill under the warmth though and that edge told her that time was running out. The sun was swiftly nearing the horizon line and she wanted to be gone before the sun dipped its final dive below the waves today.

She breathed in deeply, the salt in the air tangy on her tongue. Opening her eyes to drink in the last glimpses of sunlight, she was surprised to find them wet with tears. Blinking them away, she exhaled slowly.

The flash of sun reflecting against the metal that she held in her hand was so brief that it might have almost not happened at all.

She moved without hesitation, smoothly. The blade so sharp that it was done before she even began to feel the sting of its edge against her forearms.

A shiver ran through her as she leaned forward, wrapping her arms around her bent legs, hugging her knees to her chest for a moment.

She sighed and let go slowly, dropping her arms to rest beside her. The sand darkened with her blood.

The roaring of the waves below her on the beach were being drowned out by the sound of her heartbeat in her ears and she welcomed the silence she hoped would follow soon.

Her head raised slowly and the fiery sun met her gaze.

It was just starting its final fall into the waiting embrace of the ocean.

She felt herself slip quietly with it as her head fell softly forward onto her knees and her eyes closed.

quiet fills the spaces left behind as the setting sun has spent its final glory for the day.
the world waits and eyes are closed against the absence of light that encompasses all.
ships rock easily in the harbour, the water depthless in its blackness.
the village streets barren in the moonlight that casts a misty silver curtain.

it is the witches hour that silently approaches.
midnight is theirs, the newly blackened skies simmer the darkness that cradles their magic.
they haunt the hour that rests in the shadows as the hands of the clock reach for the heavens.
the night air as cold as their words that fall in whispers over their cauldrons.

the devil plays in the coal black hour that slides into being as the witches take their leave.
the clock strikes three and she dances brazenly in her hour of seduction, enticing the minds of her lovers in their slumber.
beckoning their hearts to fall into her embrace, her gossamer wings fold and envelope tightly.

the hour of lost souls calls to its tribe; they answer with surrender.
four am is the beautiful torment of time reserved for those who wander, ever meandering.
it awakens those who most desperately seek the promised solace of sleep, their rest denied.
it is a hushed reverence of secrets hidden in graves too shallow to ever find peace.

the shifting shapes transform, change, grow.
creeping away, begrudgingly, as the night begins its slow transformation into the light.
stirrings appear at the edges of awareness. the darkness releases its grip reluctantly,
the shadows that will lurk in the sunlight, its delicate promise of return.

the wind is restless around her body tonight.

the breeze kisses her face as the night begins its entrance.

the chill in the air nips at her exposed skin,

her breath catches sharply and she shivers.

her bare feet are grounded, rooted to the edge

of the precipice she is so easily balanced on.

her body sways in time to a melody that only she hears.

the setting sun casts a brilliant shadow play against her closed eyes

as it escapes the horizon.

the sky, now barren of warmth and light

envelopes her in a shroud of twilight.

she waits.

her darkness is coming.

she waits.

steady and strong is her stance.

her pulse quickens,

her heart beating a song that enchants her soul.

her spirit, singing an aria in response,

a call and answer harmony that bewitches,

binding a spell

in the night air that swirls around her.

the night air lifts and plays with her hair,

sending wisps of her black hair to tickle her cheeks.

the moment, her moment, approaches.

she waits.

feeling the darkness inside of her

ripen the intention of movement that has been awakened.

it lies deep in her being,

growing with a swiftness and surety

that brings a smile to her lips as her heart beats ever faster.

she is awakened.

she waits no longer.

lifting her face to the rising moon, her eyes open slowly,

drinking in the cold light that washes over her.

drawing her breath in slowly, fully,

her chest expands and her soul reaches upwards, exploding.

her wings unfurl and stretch with a rustling that is a symphony of beauty to her spirit.

she gazes steadfastly upward,

her wings beat down hard,

releasing her,

carrying her off of the ledge and into the void.

she soars,

into her darkness.

I say that I’m not creative,

that I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.

I assure you, when you say I must be wrong,

that my hands hold no gifts of artistry.

No paintings or drawings spring forth from my fingertips.

A crudely scribbled stick person is the extent of my skill,

and even those, I don’t do very well at all to be honest.


But oh my, you should see the webs that I weave.

The beautiful mirages that I craft,

the masks that I sculpt – and wear with such conviction.

Wonders of illusion, they are creations to behold, I tell you.

So perfectly honed and presented

that there are times that even I am fooled

by what I see in the mirror, reflected back at me.

Sweaty and spent.

Two of my favourite things to be.

I am on the floor, not caring one bit that my sweat is probably making the carpet damp.

Earbuds are in and on high volume.

The music is anything but slow and calm for my stretch time.

I like it loud and fast and driven while I come down from my run.

The music pounds in my head louder than I could ever get away with playing it out loud in my apartment.

I go limp from my final long stretch. My arms reach out above me and my legs wiggle a bit.

The music fills my head with it rhythm.

I close and my eyes and a smile creeps across my lips.

The invitation is there and the answer starts in my hips and shoulders.

They pulse with the thumping beat of the drums.

Slowly, the rest of my body follows suit as the music builds.

I groove, sway, funk a bit even.

A little reclined solo bump and grind set to music that only

I can hear.

I trip the light fantastic.

Floor dancing.

Top 10 – Life Lessons From The Desert


“What I Learned While Jeeping Through Arizona With Friends”


  1. Perception is not reality. The clarity of the desert air and the landscape can be deceptive. Don’t always take something you see at face value. A destination may seem like you are “just about there” when in fact it is another hour of travel. Likewise, a rock formation that is “way over there” will be reached in two turns of the road and 3 minutes. Don’t trust your perception of things.
  2. Things are not always what they seem. This is not just another way of saying #1; this is physical and real. Fuzzy looking things may not be (and in the desert – most likely are not) fuzzy. Chances are that the fuzzy soft looking plant fur is actually prickly little spines that you will soon regret brushing up against. Trust me on this one.
  3. Just go limp. Seriously. There is nothing to be gained, and much soreness to be added to your life when you resist what is coming your way. 4 x4’ing in the desert will teach you this in short order. Relax, go limp and just roll with it; and have fun while you get tossed around. It’s going to happen anyways, you may as well enjoy the ride.
  4. Accept help when it’s offered. Sure, I could have struggled and made it in and out of the jeep without help; but it sure went a lot smoother with a helping hand or two. There are enough times in life when you won’t have help and you will HAVE no choice but to go it alone. Why in the world not take the help when it’s there.
  5. Trust. Sometimes you can’t see what’s ahead and you have to trust someone who says that they can and that it will be ok. Just point the wheels in the direction they say is good and give it some gas. Trust.
  6. Don’t be a litterbug. Seriously. The sight of a lone beer can in the vast expanse of desert is infuriating. Don’t be a douche. Clean up after yourself.
  7. Death is a part of life. Looking across the landscape you see the cycle of birth, growth and death in action. Dead plants and animals decompose and nourish the new growth that goes on after them. Sometimes new life even springs up inside the old dead husks left behind. Sad and beautiful all together. Life.
  8. There is always hope. Waiting for the return of rain, the desert embodies the hope for the tides to turn that we sometimes have a hard time holding onto. The rain always returns, even if it takes longer than expected. Hope.
  9. Life will always balance. Life will always change. A two for one… A look around at the rocks that seem to have landed, like giant’s playthings, on one another, shows that perfectly. It all balances. Until it doesn’t anymore, and the rocks tumble and find new resting places where they fit.
  10. Not all truths are universal, some are fluid and specific to persons and places and situations. “Winter” in Arizona is not “Winter” in British Columbia, Canada. The same season looks wildly different but they are both “Winter”. The sun and the warmth of January in Arizona is not what the truth of “Winter” means to me; but it is truth in Arizona. It’s still winter even if it doesn’t look and feel like my winter.


I am much more of a Winter Solstice person than I am a New Years Eve person when it comes to what feels like it clicks for me. I love New Years Eve for what it is; like Christmas, a chance to celebrate and enjoy a slower work schedule for a few days and time to spend with people I enjoy hanging out with. The concept of resolutions that simply get recycled every year on December 31st seems incomplete somehow.


Oh but the Winter Solstice is where it’s at for me. A time of renewal and rebirth, the turning of the season, the return of the sun. A time of clarity and setting intentions to move into the next cycle of seasons. I don’t mean it’s time for a list of promises to myself or others about what I want to accomplish in the next 12 months, but rather a time to reflect on what my values and visions are and how my life, lived so far, matches up with those. A time to check in with my values and visions and see if or how they have evolved.


Life is fluid, it evolves and with it, so does our path from time to time. Taking a look at what is important to me and whether my actions show that or not is integral to being well – mentally, emotionally and physically. I’ve been shown this past year – in a huge and nasty way – that when you neglect your Self and your course, it hurts. It’s a lesson that I’m seeing was needed. Got it, universe, thanks (could there not have been an easier way to show me the same things ?!)

Last year,  I did what I often do. I wrote myself a letter, dated to be opened at the next Winter Solstice. It wasn’t a list of “by this time next year….” it was a look at what was important to me – then – and what direction I intended to take to bring me closer to my dreams and visions of life for me. It was vague and that is what I aim for. Oddly enough, for all of my perfectionist, itemized, list-making tendencies that I possess, setting intentions has always been about the big picture rather than the micro view of details.


Now, a cycle of the seasons has come and gone and I read that letter and see much that is true. What makes me tick is still there and still waiting patiently for my actions to match my internal “really this is a priority” sense. What I hope to achieve is still on the mark – all good there. Yet, when I take an honest and raw look, I have to say that this past year has been drifting rather than paddling in my life. Granted the last 6 months have been holding on for dear life rather than being swept away, but still….


My last post hit the proverbial nail on the head and as I sat down to dive into actually naming what I want and what dreams I have – if nothing was impossible, what would you want to do? – it quickly became clear that two lists were evolving for me.


One was definitely a list that slapped me hard with a feeling of why in the world I wasn’t making these things happen??? They are absolutely achievable! Things like: be less afraid; be more self-confident; paddle boarding, taking a cooking class, trying my hand at pottery, publishing a piece of writing, finishing that novel. These things were not “I want to visit Mars” type of dreams, they are all attainable. I just need to get off my ass and make them happen. Point taken, universe.


The other list was no less attainable, technically… but the visions on that list are not the “bang that off with a bit of effort” type of items. Things like: grow old with friends who are family to me in my life; buy a piece of land and build on while I live in a trailer (preferable with a bunch of those Framily people 🙂 ) ; own a dog; hike the West Coast Trail; travel to Greece; . These are things that require some foundation time and planning to bring to fruition. That list shows me the big picture of what is important to me. Freedom, adventure, connection, love.


Resolutions? Nope.

Intentions to live so that I am moving in the direction that I want and need to be? Absofuckinglutely.


to be continued….