Being Transparent

I liked to answer: “Better than yesterday, Worse than tomorrow.”

That was my way of getting around the “I’m fine” that I hated so much.

I wasn’t fine.

I was a teenager going through a break up when I thought up those words.

I’m probably not the first and last person to come up with this reply.

Still, 15 years old me found it really clever and I find it partly imaginative, partly amusing today.

The truth is it was my attempt at being transparent without actually having to deal with the consequences of what that meant.

The reason I’m writing about this is precisely in the interest of transparency.

I’ve always valued transparency and authenticity in other people but failed to take mine to the level I sought in others.

Even in writing, which one would think is the easiest way to practice transparency, it is not that simple.

That’s one of the things that writing this blog everyday has taught me.

Showing parts of myself through my stories is fun and scary at the same time. It competes with my need to be perfect and insightful. Being myself is what happens when I try to find a middle ground between the two.

Much of life is about finding that balance between being totally opaque and being totally see through.

There’s things we want to say, things we need to say and what we really say.

Sometimes all three are the same.

Sometimes not.

I guess transparency is found in which one we choose.

What do you think?


*Photo Credit: <<saigerowe>> flickr Creative Commons 2.0


Blue Monday 2017, Money Talk & Self-Love Magic

Today is Blue Monday 2017. As if we didn’t already have enough with Friday the 13th this month, now we have to deal with what is apparently the most “depressing” day of the year.

Surprisingly only one of the two days is surrounded by a superstitious cloud. January 16th 2017 (today) is a bad day because mathematics say so.

Yes, really.

Credit: The Sun

I don’t know about you but I didn’t know these variables were a barometer of my mood until now.

All jokes aside, the silly idea of Blue Monday may have been thought up by some PR company but it still deserves some recognition for underlying something a lot of people, including me, do deal with at this time of year.

I’m talking about the dreading feeling that the new year will unravel to become a lot like all the other years where things didn’t turn out exactly like you wanted them to.

I mean, how often does that happen anyway. 

At this point no one even takes resolutions seriously. Everyone expects others to fail. Heck, we don’t even expect ourselves to succeed. That is if you’re being honest with yourself.

It has become a joke, a running gag because let’s face it, we’d rather laugh than cry about it.

Still, it pinches our heartstrings a little when we’re in private, looking at our reflection in the mirror.

I read in a survey that only 9% of people say they succeeded at keeping past resolutions.

It’s fair to say that most of us can put a number in for Q= time since failing our New Year’s resolution.

Which brings me to my next point; the money variable.

Nobody likes to talk about it but fact is apparently 8 out of 10 Americans are in debt.

I am. And chances are, you are too.

Weather is for sure a part of the equation too if you live in the North.

The point is there seems to be a lot of things weighing down on us at this time of the year.

I’ve sure felt it these past few weeks in my personal life. I thought I’d take the opportunity of this very special day (Blue Monday) to ask myself and you this:

So what if all the variables in our life are negative values?

Does it mean we can’t change the result?

Life isn’t a set formula. When things don’t go our way we can always include new variables.

If, like me, you’ve never liked math maybe it’s time to give it a shot.

I do believe there’s a variable that can change a lot of things.


I think Mickey would agree it’s sort of magic.

I’m personally working on quantifying it and I won’t let myself have a Blue Monday.

I hope you won’t either.

What do you think?

Have you been letting the January blues get to you?

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.


*Photo Credit: JD Hancock flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Winter Reflections

I know winter.

I wish I didn’t but I do.

One of the most cliché advice people tell writers is “write about what you know”.

 It’s a tired rule that nobody uses to measure up their work anymore but there’s something different about writing on what we wish we didn’t know.

The things we stare in the face everyday unwillingly always teach us something valuable. I wrote about using winter’s stillness to find silence within ourselves a few months ago. Ever since I wrote Winter Stillness and the Magic Bush, I’ve made it a point to look at winter with no prejudice. I want to find peace within myself and accept its presence.

It’s not easy. Every half-year of my life I struggle with winter’s harshness. Winter lasts about 6 months out of the year. That’s 13 years of my life spent getting to know it. That’s also a lot of time spent hating it.

As I type this my dry hands hurt and I remember I hated winter today too. I will also hate it tomorrow with the 5 inches of snow that awaits us.

Going from inside to outside and to inside back again everyday I get reminded of the extremes our human life is ruled by.

We have day and night, light and darkness and winter gives us even more to balance.

They say you can’t appreciate happiness if you’ve never known sadness.

Snow reflects the light that surrounds us and we have to walk in the cold and dirt.

It forces us to seek light within ourselves to re-establish the balance.

Winter teaches us commitment.

We have to find our own sun and warmth and do it daily.

Mine is cuddling with my cat at the end of the day and sipping endless amounts of tea.

What is yours?

*Photo Credit: Cindy B. flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Why Having a Vegan Partner Is the Best

Sleeping with a meat-eater isn’t wrong by any means (obviously) but to us vegans it can sometimes feel like we’re doing the same as those women who marry serial-killers in prison. Sure it may be fun to cling to a bad boy (or bad girl) but in the long run we’re better off not sleeping with the enemy like I wrote about a few weeks ago.

All jokes aside, being with someone who doesn’t share our ethical beliefs can be hard. There comes a time where we have to make a decision.

Stay or go?

If you’ve been wondering how it would be to have your vegan cake and have them eat it too 😉 , here are a few of my favorite things about having a vegan partner.

1- Your fridge will never contain dead animals

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

The truth is everything related to food is better when you eat the same. You don’t have to compromise on restaurants and argue on how to split the bill for groceries.

They understand your excitement when Gardein products are on sale and they never laugh at you when you’re genuinely sad that you’ve run out of nutritional yeast in the pantry.

2- You can rant all you want about the rampant carnism of society

Remember all the times you had to hold back from saying something about the sad state of the world after watching another bacon commercial on TV because your carnivore partner could be offended?

You won’t have to anymore.

Trust me, it feels amazing to be able to share all the feelings you have without having to constantly filter them between non-vegan appropriate/inappropriate.

3- They smell and taste better (yes the hype is founded)

You can actually use the bathroom after them without wanting to die.

There’s also the obvious upside of tolerable morning breath.

It may sound silly but it’s nice to not have to worry about kissing someone with cheeseburger breath.

4-You can send them 20 pictures of your cat because he/she’s cute and they won’t get annoyed

Because chances are they will do the same.

It’s also nice to know that when they say they love animals they really mean it.

You don’t have to explain why you won’t go to the zoo on a date. Bonus: both of you are as excited to go to an animal sanctuary instead.

5- They get the big picture and the little things

Not only do they really get your lifestyle but they are aware of all the little things that makes being vegan sometimes difficult.

They can comfort you when you’ve seen far too many burger restaurant billboards on your way home from work or when the restaurant mixes up your order and your nachos come out covered in extra cheese.

The bottom line is you don’t have to be alone in your little world.

Do you have a vegan partner?

What are your favorite things about sharing your beliefs?

If not, what are your tips and tricks to make it work?

I’d love to know your thoughts on the topic!

*Photo Credit: Susanne Nilsson flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Women of Pompeii Wore Snake Rings Too

I’ve always liked history in spite of the fact that most of what we know is based on a conqueror’s story of the past.

In his-story, pieces of them can still be found. Them; the  women who walked the earth long before I did.

As a young girl I searched for their stories. I wanted to know what they had to say about themselves and the world.

Although I could never hear how high-pitched or low their tone was or the way they laughed, their voice would echo in my head through their words on a page.

I read Anne Frank’s diary and I am fifteen and I don’t want to die by Christine Arnothy. I liked that they wrote about their good and bad days. The things that made them laugh and cry. Most of all, I was thankful their kind spirit and  courageous disposition could live on because of their voices.

Apart from 20th century women who lived through tragic events or whose lives were cut short, personal accounts are few and far between.

When I looked at my family tree, there were no stories. I knew what my ancestors were called but that’s it.

I was young but even then I felt that if something was to happen to me, the idea of me should still exist.

I didn’t want to be just a name like them, my story erased. The world’s narrative going on without me. I thought if I recorded everything, I couldn’t be lost.

Call me delusional but I like to think that my life and all other women’s stories are important to the world.

The essence of who we are and how we spent our existence can benefit generations to come. If our experiences transcend time and distance so does our connection to the women who will inhabit the earth after we are long gone. Our voice today can bridge the gap between us. Our innermost thoughts and feelings are not lost if they create an intemporal bond with them.

That’s something I’ve come to realize somewhat recently.

A few summers ago I received a snake ring as a gift. I wore it everyday. I liked the way it looked when it sparkled in the sun. I felt more me wearing it.

That same summer I visited an exposition on Pompeii, the city that was lost for centuries but whose story was preserved through the very people who lived there, their bodies protected by layers of ash.

Platters of fruit and fresh bread remained along with them. I was walking through the displays of preserved artifacts  when the sparkle of gold caught my eye.

An array of women’s jewelry was showcased and among them many snake rings, just like the one I was wearing at that very moment.

I looked at my own finger and I wondered, did they feel like me wearing it?

How they did feel when they put it on in the morning? When they still had days ahead of them.

I will never know.

Even though the objects that belong to us paint a picture of the kind of people we might be, they can’t talk for us.

All I know is that women from Pompeii wore snake rings too.


*Photo is public domain

Diet and Nutrition Obsessions Are Detrimental to the Vegan Movement

Vegans as a whole tend to be an health focused crowd. It’s not that surprising considering studies of current and former vegans/vegetarians show that 45% of people say that they adopted the lifestyle for health reasons and animal protection.

Indeed, when prompted, most cite health as one of the reasons for going vegan. It’s rare to have people mention only animals.

Although being careful about eating right and knowledgeable about nutrients is generally a good thing, it can also be detrimental.

That’s a rightful conclusion to come to considering that 95% of ex-vegans cite health as their only motivators for trying the diet.

A plant-based diet is often championed as the cure all. Obviously it’s great and has been shown to prevent diabetes, heart diseases and a host of chronic diseases but its reputation may be doing more harm than good in terms of actual veganism.

When a diet is so tightly linked to our health in our eyes, every bump along the road is cause for concern.

Feeling foggy one day? It’s probably our diet’s fault.

Our mood is low for a week? Obviously it’s the lack of eggs that’s affecting our brain.

You get the picture.

Most of us have been conditioned our whole life to consider a diet rich in meat and animal products normal.

Normal is never put under scrutiny.

The default option can never be wrong. 

While plant-based eaters put their ailments as a direct consequence of their diet, meat-eaters rarely ever do.

Every possible explanation under the sun will be explored before diet gets put on blast.

Being vegan is not a science experiment we make on our bodies. At least it shouldn’t be.

What do you think?

Are nutrition and diet obsessions doing more harm than good?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

*Photo Credit: fouilbreizh flickr Creative Commons 2.0

5 Things Writers Do When They Have a Bad Day

We all have bad days. I think it has something to do with being born human. Or just living on this planet.

Then there’s good days that turn into bad days.

I have a lot of those as a writer. I may wake up feeling fine and at peace with myself but as soon as I sit down and start to write, it happens. My joyous disposition turns sour when I take a long hard look at my words on the page or their lack there of.

Bad writing days have a way of becoming just plain old bad days.

Writers, can you relate?

 As I was having one of those days recently where the muse just wouldn’t pay me a visit, I thought to myself “Shouldn’t I have a some kind of back up plan?”

I didn’t so I devised one.

Here is my 5 steps formula to make things better:

By the way these tips might help you even if you’re not a writer. (at least I hope so, ha!) 

1- Write something. 

While you may not be able to get your words down for a specific project doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Try working on some fiction if you’re stuck on an academic paper or an article.

Stuck on a story? Write an article on the mating rituals of bonobos if you want to. (I won’t judge)

The point is, give your mind something different to tackle.

If nothing works, journaling about your feelings is always a good option.

2- Don’t write

I have an uncanny liking for contradictions. What can I say?

In all seriousness, sometimes the best antidote to solving a writing problem is rest. The perfect word you’ve been looking for all day? It will probably come to you after that nap you’re avoiding taking.

3- Go to the library

This one is an no-brainer. If there is one thing all writers like, it’s most definitely books.

Being surrounded by thousands of them is always inspiring for me.

Choose a good novel or two and read. Time spent reading is never lost.

A change of scenery plus a good read is sometimes all it takes to get back on track. If not it’s at least a solid start.

4-Watch TV shows

If your mind is tired from all those pesky words, a good story packed full of suspense TV show or movie is a good option.

A story is a story no matter what form it takes.

Your brain will get some rest but your imagination will likely be sparked.

5-Draw, paint, sculpt, do scrap-booking…

I don’t know about you but as a writer I sometimes feel like I’ve pigeon-holed myself into one art form.

The truth is my creativity should be explored in other ways.

Even if it’s just 30 minutes coloring in one of those trendy adult coloring books, at least it’s something new.

Stimulating your brain with a hands-on activity is a sure way to quiet your thoughts. Especially that nagging writing critic living in your mind.

And if it doesn’t work, well you’ll have a nice piece of art to hang on your wall that you can look at next time you’re having a bout of writer’s block.

Bonus tip: Drinking excessive amounts of tea curled up in bed with your cat is always a good idea.

There you have it; all my tips and tricks to make a bad writing day, an at least tolerable day.

What do you do when the muse fails to visit you?

If you’re not a writer, how do you manage bad days?

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

*Photo Credit: barbara w flickr Creative Commons 2.0