I Don’t Like You and You’re Going to Die and I’m Not Okay

This post was written and published with the consent and input of the survivors referenced below.

A while ago Anne Theriault tweeted something that really struck a chord in me: It’s funny how even the deaths of people that you didn’t respect or like or ever want to think about again can still sting so hard.

It’s in regards to Rob Ford, the infamous former Mayor of Toronto, known for his addictions, scandals, and general disgrace. There is a Rob Ford in my own life, and I’m 99% sure he’ll die before we ever speak to one another ever again.

I think about how I’m going to feel when I get that phone call. My heart hurts for the people that he’ll leave behind and all the wrongs that will never be righted. I’ve accepted that an apology is never coming. I’ve also accepted that I do not have to forgive him, I do not owe that to anyone. It does nothing for me to pretend like what happened to us was okay. It wasn’t okay. To withhold forgiveness holds him responsible for his wrongdoings and trespasses. He hurt me and others and caused irreparable damage that will carry a lifetime of emotional scarring.

He’s going to die one day, and it will be really hard for me. I will be angry, and sad. I’m sad that he ruined his own life over some very selfish decisions, but more so that his pride kept him from being in a loving relationship with his family. The number of times that we tried to help him, pleaded and argued with his family to help us help him, fell on deaf ears until it was too late. They were in denial that there was a problem.

To withhold forgiveness holds him responsible for his wrongdoings and trespasses.

Misogyny played a big part in his wife not receiving the support that she needed. He wasn’t physically abusive; he merely followed her around the house from room to room calling her a cunt and telling her how useless she was for years and he wasn’t an alcoholic because he didn’t slur his words or stagger. There was never any consideration for the children that lived in that house with him.

It’s an old and toxic way of thinking, and I’d like to think that his family would do better for for her if this happened now, but I’m not so sure. I likely won’t be invited to his funeral, which is is fine but I would go to support his only child, who didn’t know her father before he succumbed to addiction and undiagnosed mental illness(es).

This is the only way she ever knew this man, and he terrified her. A trip to Disneyland will not erase the times that he was drunk and made her get in the car with him to blow through stop signs and red lights at speeds greater than 80 km on residential streets. An afternoon music festival won’t smooth over that he packed up her things without warning and left them on his porch in the rain. She will never forget that he kicked her dog in the ribs, or yanked his leash so hard that the dog cried out in pain. He will never know about the tears that she cried and the sleepless nights of anxiety before she had to go to a court appointed visit with him, and to this day he still tells her that his ex wife and her daughter ruined their relationship.

But he will die one day, and he will likely die before she ever gets the chance to tell him that he is a monster, that he scared her, that she feels abandoned. He’ll leave behind enough hurt and betrayal to last a lifetime, there will be no last minute pardon of his wrongdoings. He will never truly know, because he is blind to others suffering. For us, the suffering never ends.

Written to my grandma with love

Dear Grandma,

I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately. Every time I look at my drawers of makeup and nail polish, you come to mind.

As a child, your bathroom was like a cave of wonders. You had baskets and containers of the most magical colours and powders. I would sneak a little lip colour or eye shadow from time to time, but you already know that.

You embody the sentiment that variety is the spice of life. It was so great to visit you and try a new shampoo every time I had a shower. Your lotions and potions were a constant fascination, and every wash of the hands was a new opportunity to put another lotion on.

I definitely get my love of makeup, nail polish and body products from you. Mom is starting to become this way, but I’m not sure it’s entirely her choice or because she’s Mallory’s and my mom and getting sucked in might be unavoidable. And no one else I know has delicate trays of perfumes on their bureaus. My Girl Room has become a source of entertainment to my girlfriends.

Actually, I’m a lot like you in many ways. I have a drawer full of socks that I never wear. I don’t like fitted tops or scratchy clothes. And like you and mom, I love to cook and I take pride in what I serve people.

We’re gardeners. We love animals. We’re sensitive souls. Grandma, it took me a long time to notice, but I’m a lot like you. I know I haven’t spent much time with you in my adult years, I do wish we lived closer to one another. I wanted to let you know that you’ve helped shape who I am.

You have always been incredibly generous with your time and your things, and I strive to be that way, too.

I was overwhelmed when you baked cookies and squares for my wedding. I should have known that you were going to show up with 5,000 pieces for a 150 people tea reception. But you’re like that. There is always way too much food and there is always room at your table. No one in your life will ever go hungry.

Grandma, I could go on and on. You’re a beautiful woman, from the inside out. I love you very much, and I don’t and haven’t said it nearly enough.

Also, I’m sorry for trying to steal your pyramid paper weight. That thing is a symbol of Grandma’s House and I hope you never give it away.

All my love,
Rochele xoxo

PS- I love grandpa, too, and I’ll never forget the day he took me to the Dollar Store and let me buy whatever I wanted. He’ll get his own letter one day.



More often than I care to admit, I stand in the kitchen of my office and have an overwhelming desire to drop one of the water glasses on the stone tile floor and watch it shatter. But I don’t. Mostly because my coworker’s workstation faces the kitchen and I look around and find him watching me. It’s like he knows what’s going on inside of my head. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, is what I’d like to say. I don’t drop it, instead I put the glass in the dishwasher or fill it up and go back to my desk.

And sometimes I look at my phone and I want to hurl it off the pier at Crab Park. DROWN THE PHONE! Good riddance! Digital detox here I come! That’s not rational. I need my phone to text people. I realize that I don’t know anyone’s phone number anymore and they probably wouldn’t answer my calls anyway. It’s like, “Why are you calling me? Do you hate me or something? DID YOU JUST LEAVE ME A VOICEMAIL? What is wrong with you?” Ugh people, sometimes I hate you. But also, I can’t log into anything without my phone because I have two-step verification enabled. Maybe that’s a win/win situation.

Talk to me about the time I drowned my Blackberry. Unintentional, but exactly what I needed at the time.

It’s dark, wet, cold and it will go right through you. I hate and I love it. It’s so much easier being miserable when you have wet feet and frizzy hair and mascara that’s bled all over the place. Finally, the outside matches the inside.

Daylight sadness, am I right? This too shall pass.





Those things on my chest

Can we chat about breasts for a moment? They’re great, they look nice, they’re fun to play with blah blah blah, okay we’re done with that part.

I sprouted breasts stupidly early, and because young men and women aren’t taught about puberty and respect for one another’s bodies early enough, my breasts were a fascination to everyone else but me. I wanted to tape them down until I was old enough to wear a bikini and let them fulfill their true purpose (I was ten, that’s the only thing boobs seem to be good for when you’re ten.) I dreaded PE and anything that made it obvious that I had breasts. Boys said stupid things like, “Those aren’t real. You’re stuffing.” What do you even say to that? If I bothered to comment on their authenticity, it was often met with, “Prove it.” My mom taught me to tell boys to fuck off at young age.

I was also unusually tall when I was ten. I was the same height as the two tallest boys in my grade, who were very tall. My stepdad walked me to my first day of grade four, looked in the classroom and declared that we were in the wrong place; the children were way too small to be my classmates. The teacher checked my name against her list and assured him that we were in the right place and that his daughter was an exceptional height.

Let’s all take a moment and laugh at the situation. I grew to be a giant 5’3″ and stopped.

But back then, I stood out.

I was tall for ten years old, and I had breasts that garnered unwanted attention. I dressed like a boy for a year in huge t-shirts and track pants; girl’s clothing wouldn’t have fit anyway. I don’t even want to talk about how my parents bought my clothes so that I would grow into them. I didn’t. I wore big clothes for a long time.

I also learned that if I hunched over, my breasts were less visible. Almost 20 years later and I’m still trying to correct my posture.

Puberty is awkward as fuck.

Being an adult is awkward as fuck. Does every affordable bra have to be covered in hot pink zebra print with level 10 push-up? Do I seriously need to have cleavage up to my neck? Why are visible bra straps so risqué? I get mixed messages about breasts all the time. You’re not attractive unless you have big, full breasts. If you have big full breasts, you’re supposed to want people to notice them. If you have small breasts, you should want them to be bigger so people will notice them. Breasts are for the enjoyment of other people, but you can’t enjoy your own breasts without being a show-off. You should be modest about your breasts. You have to wear a bra, but you’re totally indecent if anyone can tell that you’re wearing one. You should be proud of them, except when there is an infant attached, and then they’re gross, please put them away. Pushup bras are fine, but bra straps are a no-no. Gratuitous cleavage is fine, but visibly cold nipples are not. I’m 29 years old and I’m still brutally uncomfortable with my nipples poking out, and I’m not sure why. That’s what nipples do when it’s cold. It’s fine for everyone else to have nipples, but my own are strange to me. Who decides this bullshit? All the things we’re taught about breasts are wrong.

I just made an investment in being a woman and spent $345 on nine bras. I went to a lingerie shop that wasn’t LaSenza and was properly fitted. I’m not a 34, I’m a 30. I’m not a C, I’m an E. And before you lose your marbles, it has everything to do with where the underwire sits. For years and years I’ve been wearing the wrong size and the underwire has been sitting on top of breast tissue. NO WONDER WOMEN HATE WEARING BRAS, it’s not supposed to be that way. I compensated for the wrong cup size by wearing a band size that was much too big. My natural waist is a 27, and now that I think about it, there is no way that the band size under my breasts is seven inches bigger.

I also ditched the molded cup and went for lace. For the first time in my life, my breasts don’t look like they’re sitting on a shelf. They look much more natural and soft than pretend implants. And… the buttons on my shirts are staying closed because my breasts aren’t sitting artificially high on my chest. I also said no to a soft cup, because nipples are real and we should stop pretending they don’t exist. I think I’m confident enough to tell someone to stop looking at them, or at least I will be with some practice. Do one thing every day that scares you, and for a while that will be wearing an unlined bra.

After twenty years, I think I’ve accepted that I have breasts and that I don’t need to dress them up or down for anyone other than myself. I have breasts, they are on my body. And really, they are none of your business.


The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting that you have one, right? See my Instagram account for my nail polish and makeup collection at home.

And now I bring you to the contents of my drawers at work. Let’s go through this, shall we?

Should I be ashamed?

Should I be ashamed?

  • Mr. Sketch Scented Markers
  • SPF 15 Sunscreen (you know, for when I eat lunch in the park in the summer)
  • THREE sticks of antiperspirant
  • TWO tubes of toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • TWO cartridges of floss (apparently I am dedicated to my oral hygiene)
  • Floss threaders for flossing under my permanent retainer, SO SHEXY!
  • Foot powder
  • FIVE tubes of lotion
  • Hairbrush
  • Nail strengthener
  • Nail file
  • Nail whitening pencil
  • Nail brush
  • Fully stocked makeup bag
  • iPhone charging cable
  • ereader charging cable
  • Vicks Vapor Inhaler
  • Eleventy billion bobby pins
  • Cotton pads
  • TWO glass cleaning cloths
  • TWELVE pencils
  • THREE bottles of essential oil
  • Paper coaster
  • Perfume sample
  • Thumb drive with all my personal secrets
  • EIGHT different kinds of tea
  • EmergenC vitamin drink packets
  • Granola
  • Bikini bottoms
  • Jawbreakers
  • Mints
  • Stamps

It took me five years to accumulate this amount of crap at work. I think it’s safe to say that I’m prepared for pretty much anything and I have no excuses for ever looking like a train wreck at work, and yet sometimes I still do.  I can justify everything in my drawers except the bikini bottoms. I’m not sure why those are here and why they aren’t at home with their compadres. MYSTERIES! Also, send help. I need to do something about this.

Intimate on the I-91

I’m tired. I’ve only had two hours of sleep. I danced until 4am. I watched the sun rise. I trekked around in wet grass in my pajamas. I found my bed when people were getting up.

And yet here I am, in a car full of people that I don’t know very well, but I’ve become quite fond of. I’m the driver and we’re speeding down the I-91. It’s hot, and we’re all tired, and in all fairness, we’re hungover. We’re following a car of people that are guiding us toward a promise of a swimming pool and relaxation. It’s a long drive. Thanks to an upgraded car rental, we’re driving the Hot Passat and we’re listening to CBC Radio 2, which is suggested after listening to terrible R&B from the 90’s. The car is packed with luggage and remnants from the previous day’s wedding, along with my four companions.

Vampire Weekend’s Unbelievers comes on the radio and one of my car mates asks if I will turn it up. I oblige; I also like the song. He hasn’t said much the whole weekend, but he’s singing loud enough that I can hear him from the front. I quietly join. It’s not long before all five of us are singing in some way or another. I can’t help but think in a couple of hours this will all be over. One of us will have to go back to London; one of us is moving to Turkey; one of is returning to Haida Gwaii; only myself and another are going home to Vancouver. I will likely never have these people together in my car again, so I smile and enjoy the moment.

It is a song that will play over and over in my head for weeks to come. Of all the songs, this is the song that defines my summer. It’s unexpected in a time of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. There is nothing about the moment that I would change, it’s perfect for everything that it is.

Mental health… the last six months

Back in February Twitter opened their hearts and shared their stories for Bell’s Let’s Talk day, and then the conversation died. Around the same time, my world was collapsing.

Actually, my life began to implode sometime in November. I kept waiting for things to get better. I should have known something was up when I didn’t want to have anything to do with Christmas, because it’s my favourite time of year. My heart is usually bursting with joy and I’m that sick individual who counts down the last 100 days to December 25th. I didn’t feel it. I felt angry and numb instead. I didn’t put up my Christmas tree or decorate. I made one batch of chocolate gingerbread cookies, but I gave most of those away.

Around the beginning of December I lost my appetite and developed insomnia. I told myself it was stress. I did not want to go to the doctor because I knew the first thing they would do was put me on medication and I’m a bit of a hippy when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Less is best.

I kept waiting for things to get better. But they didn’t. I told myself I would feel better once Christmas was over, but if anything, I felt worse. I told myself I was worked up over the anticipation of going back to school and things would settle down once I got into a rhythm. But they didn’t.

And then my friend passed away. It was the first time anyone my age had died. It sent me into a downward spiral. I was dealing with this crushing sadness and I didn’t know where to go from there. I felt helpless.

I was having a hard time at work, too. I didn’t tell my employer I was taking evening classes and my work was slipping because I was so tired from staying up every night to write papers and study. The few hours  I spent in bed were broken, and many nights I just didn’t sleep at all because I couldn’t.

There was major upheaval in my husband’s company. There were times I had to ask him not to tell me any more because I just couldn’t handle it.

My relationships were falling apart and I began to withdraw from the people that love and care about me. I couldn’t exactly explain how I was feeling. There were nights when all I could do was sit in the bathtub with a drink to numb the sadness and anxiety.

And then my grandfather passed away. I can’t say it was unexpected, but it was one more thing to add to the burning pile of emotions I didn’t want to deal with.

Things were going to get better, I kept telling myself as I sat crying for no reason, almost every day. I’m tired and stressed out because of school/work/marriage/family/deaths/friends… it’s going to get better.

Except it didn’t. I started to run out of excuses for things. I finished school for the semester. My husband’s company was doing a lot better. My life was settling down and yet I wasn’t. The more stuff began to wind down the more anxious and sad I became.

And then I had an unfortunate experience online where a friend’s privacy was breached and several conversations between us were leaked. The information itself didn’t hurt anyone but us, but what followed did. My friends thought they were doing the right thing by standing up for me, but the things they said were misinterpreted and it ended up hurting other people. It was never the intention, but the fallout was huge. All they were trying to do was protect me. People were calling for my head to roll. I did my best to apologize to those I had unintentionally hurt, but it didn’t matter. Suddenly I felt very alienated from my online community. I had to step away because everything I said and did was being mocked by a small group of people who really had no idea what was going on.

That was the last straw for me. There was no longer one single aspect of my life that I was comfortable in. I felt like I had let everyone down. I felt worthless. I felt terribly alone. I had this crushing sadness. I wanted to throw my phone off of a very tall building, seemingly every notification was bad news or someone flipping out at me for my poor life choices.

I had a few full-scale meltdowns and anxiety attacks. The kind of anxiety where you think your heart is trying to escape your chest and you’re not sure if anything in your world is ever going to be right again. I dwelled in that place for a few weeks.

I finally admitted THINGS WERE NOT OKAY and I WAS NOT GETTING BETTER. I didn’t know where to begin to regain control of my life. I had no idea what I wanted or who I was anymore. I didn’t love who I had become and I didn’t know how to change things. I was overwhelmed and terrified I was going to fuck up the rest of my life. I hit my bottom and couldn’t find the way out of the hole I was in.

I made a critical choice and decided to talk to someone and GET SOME HELP. I accepted that I couldn’t do it on my own anymore and as much as I was leaning on friends and family, I needed something more.

Bottom line, every two weeks I sit down and meet with a qualified professional. Some days are better than others, but I’m having more good days than bad ones. Not everything is such a big deal any more, and I’m learning to take life one day at a time. I still struggle, but at least I don’t feel like the sun is never going to shine for me again.

Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you because on the outside- my life looks fantastic. I’m married, I own a home, I have a stable job, and I have a lot of friends and I’m living the dream. On the inside, though, I was going through hell.

We don’t talk about mental health, and I don’t know why. For me, it was one more thing for people to judge me for. I had a lot to be grateful for and I felt selfish for not being able to appreciate my life because it could be so much worse. It was thrown in my face a number of times. Depression and anxiety can hit anyone, and it often comes without warning. Instead of telling someone it gets better, shut up and listen to them. Maybe you know someone who is in my position, or maybe it’s you. Either way, you don’t have to do this alone.

Mental health is so important. Take care of it. You go to the doctor, dentist, optometrist, specialist etc. when things in your body aren’t working, so why are we so afraid to take care of our mental health? Why do we wait until everything around us collapses before we seek help?

It’s part of taking care of you and there is no shame in that.

I’d like to thank all of the amazing people who have rallied around me, especially over the last six months. There have been some awfully dark days, and without your love and support God only knows what would have happened. I borrowed your strength when I could not find my own, and I’m getting the help I need because you told me I was worth it, even when I felt like I was not. Thank you for loving me, no matter what.

Check out The Canadian Mental Health Association to find out more about Mental Health Week.