Bravery

I feel like I say this every time, but hi – it’s been a while! There are several reasons why I haven’t been posting regularly, including lack of time, motivation, and inspiration, but I’ve been meaning to write again for a while now. With the New Year just barely behind us, (Happy New Year!) and several life updates to share, I figured now is as good a time as any.

If you’ve paid any attention to my posting schedule (or lack thereof) you’d notice that the last time I wrote anything here was August 2022. Predictably, after that point, life got a little crazy. What with school and work and trying to have some semblance of a social life, I hardly had time for anything else, let alone energy.

That said, I’m thoroughly enjoying University so far. I’ve had wonderful professors, and interesting classes, and while I didn’t get to take French after all, I switched it out for German, and enjoyed that as well. Witchcraft was amazing, Greek Mythology was extremely fun, Philosophy was interesting, and English was thought-provoking (plus I got some great readings out of it.)

I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons semi-regularly, which has been an excellent way to get in some social time (and I highly recommend it for anyone who hasn’t tried it yet.) I’ve also been continuing to save for top surgery. Obviously, I didn’t get the surgery over the winter break when I had originally hoped to, but that’s ok. I’m holding out hope that it’ll happen this year (and if you’re able to donate to my GoFundMe I’d super appreciate it!) Link here: https://gofund.me/d93e804f

I’m still trying to get my editing business off the ground but have done a little editing and beta-reading this year, despite the chaos of everything. And I’m super excited because I’ll be taking a grammar class this next semester (I’m a nerd, I know) among others. I’d also really like to start working out again this semester, since I’ve been missing it so much. I just feel so much better when I’m active, both mentally and physically.

Not gonna lie, mental health has been a bit of a struggle the past year. Depression and anxiety have been rearing their ugly heads, as well as some residual and unresolved trauma. It’s not been easy but writing helps. And my wonderful partner helps.

Love is such a funny thing. It’s maddening, how you can’t really understand the clichés until you’ve lived them. And at the same time, it’s not like I’d never experienced love before. Some things don’t change. Love is hilarious and heartrending and comforting and terrifying all at once. It’s a lot of ups and downs and having patience and being brave.

I’d like to work on the brave part especially. I want to be the kind of person who’s adventurous and spontaneous. I want to be the kind of person who’s fun. I want to be brave and take risks, even when it scares me. On that note, another thing on my list of “things I’m saving up for” is a tattoo! Actually, probably more than one, but one in particular that I’ve had in mind for a while. 

Another goal I have is to get some serious writing done. I want to start finishing projects that I started years ago (at this point,) and I want to start new projects and actually see them through. I want writing to become a much bigger part of my life. I want to make it more of a priority.

On a more positive note, I got to take a trip down to Toronto to visit my best friend! It was so much fun. We visited the art gallery, went thrifting, went to the aquarium, the beach, a bookstore, and a restaurant where we had delicious crêpes. It was a fantastic trip! 

I could probably keep writing for pages and pages, and still have more to share, but I’ll wrap it up here for now. Glad I was finally able to write this post, and hoping I’ll be able to write another in fewer than five months. If you’re reading this, I hope you’re doing well and that 2023 brings with it many dreams-come-true.

Love,

Jules ❤

On: Top Surgery

As always, it’s been a little bit since I posted on here, but I’ve been meaning to get around to it for a while.

As most of you know, I identify as non-binary, though I’m still unsure of exactly where on that spectrum I fall. That said, a lot of you may not know what that means for me. It’s more than pronouns and gender nonconformity, it’s more than pins and pride flags. 

For me, it’s also dysphoria. Days and months and years of hating my body and wishing that I looked different from how I do. It’s also a lot of wonderful things, including being part of the most amazing community of people.

I’ve been struggling with how to express myself lately, in a lot of different ways, and especially when it comes to this, because I feel like I’m just repeating myself over and over again.

So, story time!

I took these photos in a moment when I was feeling pretty confident. You might notice (or maybe you don’t) that what I’m wearing as well as the way I’m posing, mostly hides my chest. This is going to be a theme. 

I’ve wanted top surgery since I was a child. I just didn’t understand that it was an option at the time. I would imagine myself with no chest, not having to wear bras anymore, and wearing clothing that fit in the way I wanted it to. I wore huge, baggy clothes (still do) all the time because it hid my chest. So much so that one time when I wore something more form-fitting, a friend commented on the fact that I did, in fact, have breasts. At the time I laughed it off, but it stuck with me, though I didn’t know why. They’d actually meant it as a compliment, but to me it was pointing out this thing about my body that I hated (and still hate.)

It’s not fun to hate your body. This is something that I think a lot of people can relate to, even if they’ve never wanted to chop part of it off.

The point I’m trying to make, is that having a chest has been a life-long struggle for me, and I’m so ready to be rid of it.

And so, as I did on my social media platforms, I’m stating it here too. I am going to get top surgery. FTM (female-to-male) no more breasts, no more bras and shirts that don’t fit how I want them to. I don’t have a set date for the surgery yet, though I’m hoping for over winter break, and I don’t even have the money to do it yet. Which is part of why I’m posting. 

About seven weeks ago, I set up a GoFundMe for my top surgery. I debated for a long time over whether or not to do this, because quite frankly, I found the idea embarrassing. I wanted to be able to do it all on my own. But sometimes in life, you have to ask for help (loathe though I am to admit it.) To be honest, I’m already overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received, but there’s still a long way to go.

So here goes nothing. Please, if you’re able to donate to my GoFundMe (link here: https://gofund.me/94b73a73) and/or share the link among your friends, I would beyond appreciate it.

Love,
Jules ❤

Life Update

Ok folks, here it is, the highly anticipated (just kidding) life update!

Truly, I haven’t had such big news to share for a while, and I’m super excited about it. Well, first things first, after much deliberation (and I do mean MUCH) I have decided to go back to school (university this time!) And so just over a couple of weeks ago, I sent off my applications to both the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University.

Then, last week, on Friday, I found out that I’ve been accepted to the University of Ottawa Honours Bachelor of Arts in English Program (Co-op)! I accepted their offer and already registered for my classes this week. I’m so excited to start this next chapter of my life. The plan is to major in English and minor in Creative Writing, and since I got into Co-op, I’ll be alternating between study periods and work periods where I’m placed in a job related to my field for a few months. It means it’ll take me a little longer to finish the program, but I think it’s well worth it for the work experience.

I can’t wait to return to school and have the “university experience.” I haven’t been able to stop gushing about the classes I’ll be taking: greek mythology, engaging with literature, first steps in French, philosophy (reasoning and critical thinking), and witchcraft, magic, and occult traditions in my first semester. And greek civilization, English grammar for professional writers and editors, science fiction, oral and written communication in French (beginner), and philosophy: fundamental philosophical questions in my second semester!

And as if that weren’t enough, I’ve also decided to become a freelance content and copy editor! I’m just working on getting my website up and running, but I’m also super excited about this latest endeavor. So, if you know of any fiction authors looking for an editor, (or you’re an author yourself) send them my way!

I think that’s all for now, but no doubt I’ll be posting more frequently again as things continue to develop.

Bye for now!

Love,

Jules ❤

Book Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Second book review I’ve posted here, and I’ve gotta say, I LOVED this book. I mean, I love everything Casey McQuiston’s ever written, but still.

Review: What can I even say about this book? It wrecked me, devastated me, and put me back together again. Yes, I’m dramatic, don’t mind it. This book was relatable in ways I couldn’t anticipate, and heartbreaking and beautiful and warm all at once. The characters are so gorgeously written and I want to cry just thinking about it. I devoured it. Truly, Casey McQuiston is an incredible author and I highly recommend this book (as well as Red White & Royal Blue!)

And that’s that! Please, please, PLEASE read Casey McQuiston’s books. They are beautiful masterpieces.

Love,

Jules ❤

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

It’s been a while since I posted, (more in-depth life update to come soon!) but for now I thought I would share a book review I did a little while ago. Despite my blog being largely writing-focused, I’ve realized I’ve never shared one of my reviews on here before! (More to come!) So here it goes, my review of Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (which happens to be my favourite book EVER.)

Review: I’ve been anticipating this sequel with bated breath ever since I heard it was happening. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is my favourite read ever, and so I had high expectations for this book. I’m happy to say that it met them. I’ve never felt so seen by any author/character, and the writing is as poignant and gorgeous as always. I cried, I laughed, I loved it. Thank you, Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

There you have it! Short-and-sweet, although I could easily say more about this book. Anyways if you’re looking for something to add to your reading list, I highly recommend these books.

Love,

Jules ❤

What do you want to say to the world?

This was another exercise for my previous life coach – I’ve been looking back through things lately and thought this might be worth sharing. The exercise was, “What do you want to say to the world?”

The truth is I’m not sure what I would want to say to the world: there are so many things to be said, I wouldn’t know where to start or how to prioritize the most important messages. Even more so when it comes to what I would want to be known about me, specifically. So, in the interests of narrowing it down, and in an attempt to momentarily disregard my slight aversion to sharing; I’m going to make a list. I’m going to approach it as “things I would want to be remembered for” and go from there.

  1. Loving
  2. Compassionate/kind
  3. Warm/happy/bubbly
  4. Funny
  5. Inspiring
  6. Fearless/bold
  7. Imaginative/creative
  8. Advocate/activist/innovator
  9. Well-rounded/educated
  10. Progressive

This list will probably change over time, but these are the qualities that first come to mind when I think about what kind of person I want to be, and eventually how I would like to be remembered.

In addition to that, I know I want to create something original; I want to put something out into the world with my own philosophical, whimsical, quirky spin on it, and then hope that it has some kind of impact. I want to create something worthwhile for someone to fill some of their limited time with, that, with any luck, could be a bright spot in their day. Whatever I do, or create, I want to help other people to feel loved, heard, hopeful, and accepted. I want to create something that brings people joy. Because that’s what I need too. Especially with the current state of the world. I want to make everything just a little bit more bearable for some people. Metaphorically; I want to give the world a hug. 

So, I suppose if I could shout it from the rooftops, I would say: “I love all of you!”

Love,

Jules ❤

In an Ideal World

I actually wrote this a while ago, as an exercise for my previous life coach, but I’ve recently been feeling a pretty significant loss of identity – no longer feeling clear on my values or beliefs or what kind of person I want to be (call it a quarter-life crisis) – so I decided to revisit what I wrote and see whether or not it still applies. The exercise was to write about what I would want “In an Ideal World.”

I want to be unwaveringly kind, and warm, one of those “sunshine” people. Someone who makes someone else’s day better, hopefully every day. It would be nice to have a few close friends that I see fairly often, who occasionally reach out to me first, and enjoy having interesting, in-depth discussions and, of course, having fun. Whether that be through adventures or just laughing together.

I would love to work in a creative, fulfilling field that I genuinely enjoy, where I can do something that makes me feel like I am contributing to the world and spending my time well. Ideally, it would also support me enough financially that I don’t have to worry about money, and can help support causes that I believe in.

I think I would like to be a writer. To spend my time living in the worlds and stories inside my head. Coming up with plots, descriptions, and characters, while also researching and taking part in pursuits that give me a broader range of knowledge and experiences. It would be wonderful to then also be able to follow my various passions and interests, exploring many different hobbies; like performing (including singing/acting/dancing/voice acting), drawing, digital art and design, photography, violin, piano, anatomy, comparative religions, aerial, gymnastics, various other odd-skills, languages, travel, etc. I would also love to be fluent in my target languages (German, ASL, French, etc.) and to travel, reasonably often, and possibly even live somewhere else outside of North America for a while.

I want to feel like I’m living my life in the moment, actively working towards my goals, and not treating it as a transitionary period on the way to something else. Living simply, in my own space that I can personalize however I want, and not constrained to a schedule set by someone else.

I never want to stop educating myself, or close myself off to awareness and change. Instead I want to learn constantly, and eventually able to speak (and maybe even write) in an educated, informed, and impactful way on many subjects; feminism, the climate emergency, current political affairs, philosophy – the list goes on. My goal is to be a well-rounded person, unapologetic about the things I enjoy, and about who I am, comfortable in expressing myself and in standing up for myself. Healthy and happy in all senses, not worried about what other people think of me. I don’t want to have any regrets; or feel like I’m not living my own life.

And that’s what I wrote. If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment on or share this post. I know I’m not the only one feeling lost right now.

Love,

Jules ❤

Queer Eye My Life

It’s hard to know where to start because there are so many thoughts in my head. Like scraps of paper, constantly spinning away on a fresh gust of wind. I feel like I have a lot to process, but it’s hard to find an answer when you don’t even know the question. Well, first of all, I guess I’ll say Happy New Year once again! I can’t believe it’s January 1st, 2022. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, which believe it or not is entirely new to me. I’ve listened to plenty of podcasts for work, but never for leisure. Specifically, I’ve been listening to The Sensual Revolution with Marlee Liss, and The Struggle is Real with Justin Peters. They’re both very good (in my opinion) and I find them both thoughtful and thought-provoking. I never really thought I would enjoy podcasts, but as it turns out, I was wrong. In fact, I’ve started listening to podcasts instead of music while I work out. 

I miss having clarity in my life. I feel like I used to know what my purpose was, and where I was headed, and now I have no clue. I only know that I want that sense of purpose and direction back. The sixth season of Queer Eye came out yesterday, and I honest-to-god sat down and made a spreadsheet on how to “Queer Eye My Life” because I’m just so sick of this inertia. What I’ve found so far is this:

 Queer Eye My Life 2022What do I want/need?How do I get it?
Jonathon (Grooming)I want to grow out my hair, I need to take care of my skin and wear spf.Time and patience. Do research and then go buy some spf for my face.
Antoni (Food)More experience cooking different meals.Try out cooking new meals from my cookbooks until I find some favourites to make on a regular basis.
Karamo (Culture)I need to take care of my mental health and go to therapy. Plus do some self-reflection on my purpose and goals.Research the affordable therapy network and get a job with a stable enough income that I can afford it. Journaling.
Tan (Fashion)A wardrobe I love with clothes that fit me.Get a job with a stable enough income that I can afford to curate a wardrobe I love.
Bobby (Design)A space I love with basic furniture that I love.Get a job with a stable enough income that I can afford to live in a nicer space with my partner and buy the furniture we want.

I’m sure I’ll add to it as time goes on, but it’s a start. I really want to improve all aspects of my life, and I just felt like I needed to do something that was a step in that direction. Now of course, as you can see, there’s one issue. At least three of the five different areas depend on my finding a job with a stable enough income that I can afford to expand in those areas of my life. Kind of sobering, especially when you consider that getting a job is only partially within my control. I can send out all the resumes I want, make all the calls I want, and put myself out there as much as I want, and it still won’t matter without the participation of at least one other person. That said, I don’t like feeling like things are out of my control, so I’m going to pretend that with enough effort on my part, something will inevitably come through. And who knows, maybe that’s true. 

To be honest, I’ve never had trouble finding work before, a privilege that I don’t take lightly. But as many, many people can tell you, looking for a full-time job is a much different experience, because most full-time jobs (even entry-level positions) want experience. Experience that I, among others, simply don’t have, because almost every entry-level position wants experience, so where are we supposed to get it? That’s not to say that I don’t have any experience in the workforce. I actually have quite a lot. But I’ve found that it’s not the type of experience these positions are looking for. 

Anyways, enough of my lamenting. I’m determined to find something. I’m determined to change my life and improve it. I’m determined to figure out my goals and then work to achieve them.

Happy New Year y’all. Hope you’re having a great one so far.

Love,

Jules ❤

New Year, Old Goals

Trigger Warning: for discussion of suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and mental health in this post.

It’s that time of year again when resolutions are creeping round the corner. I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions because I find that I never stick to them, and then I just end up feeling like a failure – a feeling I certainly don’t need more of right now. That said, they say it takes 21 days to build a habit and today I’m attempting to kick off two. First, I want to start working out again. It’s been far too long, and I feel crappy in my body when I don’t. Second, I want to write for fifteen minutes a day. Just fifteen minutes, a completely reasonable, underachieving goal in my opinion. These are not New Year’s resolutions because I say they aren’t, and also, I’m determined to stick to them. I already worked out today, and now I’m finally writing.

On feeling like a failure: to be honest, I often feel like this these days. In regard to my career, my health, and my ambitions. I keep seeing people around me who appear to have their shit together, (whether that’s true or not is entirely up for debate, and comparison is perhaps one of the least helpful things we can do to ourselves, but still.) I want to be one of those people. The truth is, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I mean, I know I want to be a writer, but there’s this little nagging voice in the back of my head that says if I really wanted to be a writer, wouldn’t I be doing more writing? Now, that’s not to discount how difficult life has been lately. What with the pandemic and trying to find a new job (coming back to this) and mental health challenges, things have certainly not been easy. But I don’t really want to focus on that. What I really want is to figure out a way to move forwards and achieve my goals. What are my goals? To be a writer. To make enough money that I don’t have to worry about money. To go to therapy and sort myself out. To work out so I feel good in my body.

Back to jobs. My time as a seasonal employee at Lush is about to come to an end, and I need to find another job to fill my time and pay my bills. Ideally, I would love to work from home as a freelancer, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to get enough clients in time to make that work. On the flip side, I’ve been applying to a lot of full-time jobs in the hopes of gaining some stability in my life. Nothing has panned out as of yet, but I’m trying not to panic. I want to have a career that can sustain me without having to work six different jobs at once, and ideally, I want to not hate what I do.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about vulnerability. It’s something that’s always terrified me, and honestly, I don’t know why. I really resonate with that quote though – you know the one. 

“if we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known.”

– Tim Kreider

Am I afraid that people won’t like what they see? Afraid that I’ll be judged? Or maybe afraid that I’m secretly a terrible person who isn’t deserving of love. Maybe it’s all three, maybe it’s something else, but for whatever reason I’ve always struggled with vulnerability and intimacy. 

On that note, I’m going to share something. Like many people, I struggle with depression and anxiety, as well as something called panic disorder. I don’t think it’s a secret that I have mental health challenges, because quite frankly, I’ve written and talked about them in the past. But as far as I know, I’ve never explicitly said that these are the disorders I’m dealing with (except to people close to me) and I’ve certainly never said outright that I used to self-harm, and I’ve considered suicide before, and still do sometimes.

The reason I’m sharing this now is threefold. One, I want to combat the stigma around mental health and make it clear that it’s ok to talk about this. Two, I hope to show others that they’re not alone in these feelings. And finally, I want to practise being more vulnerable. Am I afraid to post this? You bet. Am I going to anyways? You bet.

Anyways, I hope that this post is helpful to someone, or at least not unhelpful. I’m trying to figure out what I need to feel supported, and this is just one small step towards that goal.

Happy New Year!

All my love,

Jules ❤