The Danger Issue

Page 1



I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away. DANA RESTON (1997)




Hard Turn




Urgent Danger


Pitch Black


Desire’s the Element I Can’t Fight


Spare Change


Beach Town Blues


Comfort Zone


Foreseeable Risk


The Banshee


Matte Skins


Sweet Dreams







Losing Yourself


Wildy Witchy


Stranger Danger










Front Cover


Back Cover


Inside Front


Inside Back


EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Lakyn Barton


Production Manager Katie Parkes

Literary Editor Fiorella Morzi

Danger is the opposite of safety.

Art and Photography Manager Allie Hincks

I have frequently felt unsafe. As a woman, a majority of my life has been spent constantly aware of safety, threat levels, and danger. I have walked home at night and clutched my keys. I have avoided people at work. I have silenced myself in class when other individuals voice violent and oppressive opinions.

Promotions Manager Mary Ferguson

Radio Manager Katie Parkes

Brantford Manager Carla Egesi

Interns Jessica Groom, Ciana Van Dusen

CONTRIBUTORS Tara Abrahams, Adriana Beradini, Samantha Campbell, Octavio Contreras, Amanda Couture, Alaric Dennis, Emily Kennedy, Maria Kouzmetsova, Katie McNamara, Elena Mikhailova, Ansel Oommen, Gizelle Panton, Lauren Rabindranath, Genevieve Rushton-Givens, Andrew Savory, Max Sharikov, Jessi Wood

ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher & Chair Emily Frost Executive Director Bryn Ossington Advertising Manager Angela Taylor Vice Chair Jon Pryce Treasurer Thomas Paddock Director Kayla Darrach Director Joseph Mcninch-Pazzano Corporate Secretary Allie Hincks

I could list horrifying statistics about violence and the threat of violence, specifically against marginalized people. The danger people face everyday due to their identities. It is a constant issue in my life, the life of my friends, and the life of strangers I will never meet. Danger can be threatening everyday, spooky like Halloween, sexy like a mysterious leading man, debilitating like our secret fears, or liberating and exciting, but regardless, we live in a dangerous world. Lakyn Barton Editor-in-Chief

CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 Advertise Contribute

COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent. Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.5 using Adobe Creative Suite 4. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada.

NEXT ISSUE On the theme of “Body” Submissions due November 9 On stands November 21


COVER Art by ALCINA WONG Every day, we go on with our lives while believing in our safety in surveillance. The little things we give up “for our own good” slowly eat away at us as individuals. Our entire lives are being recorded, whether it is a still ghost of your self in Google Maps, or the locations you tag with your smartphone to show off where you were or who you were with. Once recorded, it’s not likely to ever truly disappear. Our selves, our digital images are now a commodity, our data has value that can be bought and sold.


Life had just taken a turn. It does that occasionally. And here I am, fresh off my first year and not willing in the least to do anything about it. Employment pressures float over my head in a way I anticipated, and in my quieter moments, it always hits me that I bring all this misfortune on myself. Had I cared enough to not flounder my meager efforts over the course of the cushiest year of my life, I might have something to show for no accomplishments. As the shy sun started coming out of its cloudy shell to illuminate all the kids and burn-outs left in this town after finals silently concluded, a different phase of life blossomed before my tired eyes. Drudgery of a kind I was until now unfamiliar with was about to begin; swing in full force, smack us into a stupor of poor sleeping habits and energy drinks. Us, being the ones refusing to throw up our hands and get driven home; the staying ones. The ones who decided it would be more worth it to dissolve our summer away toiling for food and rent money than try to endure our families for any longer than a weekend. We, the ragged and stoned, worshiping our computers, who slumber never and breathe more smog than air; we inherit a town drenched in congratulatory platitudes and useless intellectual idealism. So useless, in fact, that it only begets the beauties of nihilism and late-night burrito runs. Nobility that we assumed was a part of the welcoming package ended up being merely the glossy coating over a town of terrified elders and keg parties. We stay and study the dichotomy of cobblestone and concrete, the difference between butterflies and hair bows and the meaning behind chicken churros. We stay and beg to occupy the greasy grab-bag jobs left alone by escaping graduate students. We stay and sleep until the chickadees call out our favorite musical riffs, asking us to come out of dive-bar concerts down the street. We stay and lick our wounds, eat our bloated words and devour our expectations of the world beyond a hometown bedroom window. We stay and keep the grimy bus seats warm. We stay until life takes another turn and tells us we’re wrong again. It does that occasionally.



GENEVIEVE RUSHTON-GIVENS Catcall in the distance at three a.m. Someone far away is hot And someone far away is horny Decisions made with beer goggles As you half-sleep in a bubbly, pleasant haze There’s more evidence for evolution Than skeletons and theories I think as I hear a college girl Shriek just like a chimpanzee Below on Spruce Street Far away noises sound so close They are inside my tiny flat Invading How frightening it would be to venture outside so late On a Saturday night And soak up the stupidity Violence at the slightest provocation Passive-aggressive friendliness Walk past a bar Would I make it home alive? The city lights cast a morning glow On the trees and the now-grey sky It looks as if the sun is rising But, no, I’m still here in my warm, fluffy bed Half asleep, half awake like most nights When will I escape this vampire’s schedule? I long for the early mornings of my youth Seven a.m., the darkness lingering Birds chirping, parents yelling Reading on the school bus Innocence, naïveté, thinking life was so difficult then But it wasn’t That was just the beginning


The jock population skyrockets after two a.m. Because nothing good happens then Birds, maybe robins, singing at four a.m. Everything is backwards at this hour And so much more frightening Terrified of even leaving my room Down the dark, empty hallway Maybe I’m just jealous I wish I had some friends to be stupid and drunk with Some men and boys too Even just some alcohol A cold glass of beer To help me sleep To taste So bubbly and bittersweet Pop with a punch I must imagine my glass of water as a mug of beer And hope...





Writing is always risky business. Not only does it lead you outside of your comfort zone, make you rethink your boundaries and test your limits, but it can also expose to you things you didn’t know about yourself before. That may either scare the bejesus out of you or, in the case of the ready ones, allow you to stare boldly at yourself in all your light and dark and even that secret you never thought you’d tell anyone. Ever. Once you start writing, who knows what you’ll unearth. I think everyone writes for different reasons: some write to escape, to relive, to discover, to record, and others because they’ll go stark raving mad if they don’t. I’m confident that writers are some of the most courageous people you’ll ever meet. The desire to create meaningful work, the need to convey authenticity, becomes significantly more important than catering to your inhibitions. Truth-telling, be it through fiction, non-fiction, essays or poetry, becomes paramount. Anyone can learn something from an honest voice. Writing is important because it serves as a time capsule by which one can document their history, communicate sincerely, and evoke change. In accomplishing these things, even by writing your first sentence, you come a little bit closer to understanding yourself on fuller terms. Whatever propels you to write, whichever questions you are trying to answer, write to know. Sometimes through writing things become a little clearer. Write.


Pitch Black

MARIA KOUZMETSOVA My eyes are dry I long for sleep There is no way I’m counting sheep

I don’t feel safe It’s black as pitch Inside this room Some sort of glitch

I’ve tried before To no avail It’s worse than chasing My own tail

Is on outside There is no more Not any light Outside my door

And as I lie Inside this bed These thoughts all whirl Throughout my head





When you first start university, the concept of “danger” comes up quite often. You should practice safe sex and safe partying because your actions can be a danger to yourself. You should call Foot Patrol when you walk home alone at night because there are people out there who are dangerous. You should take school seriously because there is a danger that you might fail out of your program. You should get involved because there is the danger that you will regret missing out on a lot of opportunities. These are all indeed real and potentially serious dangers. They are the type of dangers that have tangible consequences. You will feel very sick in the morning if you party irresponsibly. You will likely be kicked out of university if you fail out of your program. You might cry yourself to sleep at night when you graduate, kicking yourself for never making an effort to get more involved with the campus you must now vacate. It is much harder to warn someone about the danger of losing yourself, because I think most of us don’t even realize it happens. University can be very overwhelming. You come into your dorm room or apartment or whatever you want to call your new “home” (even though it seems you just had a home for 18 years), and very few things are familiar. You moved into your new bedroom as the guy or girl who had their hometown friends on speed dial, pictures from prom on their dressers and funny stories from when you were in high school. When you move out in a year, you will have new friends, new pictures, new stories, new experiences, new life lessons and a new outlook on life. Does that mean there is a “new” you? In university, we often find ourselves pushed to identify with different groups throughout campus as a way to adjust to school life. You begin to identify with your orientation week team (I personally was a Gold Genie). You identify with your residence (or you have LOCUS love). You learn to identify with any extra-curricular activities you take on; soon, everyone in the hallways seems to have some sort of clubthemed t-shirt or House Council hoodie. You start your classes, and you suddenly become a Sociology major or a ‘biz kid’ or whatever it is you choose to take on academically.

When you begin to approach the end of the year and are seeking a part-time job or an internship placement for the summer, it hits you. You look at your cover letter, and you’re a “first year English major who has developed their leadership skills as the representative for their house council at XYZ residence” or you’re a “passionate business student, who is ideal for sales and has placed first in a stock pitch competition” or you’re any number of one-liners that seem to sum what you have been doing recently (well, things you’d actually tell your employer). You will probably be moving back home in May, and you begin to come to terms with the fact that you may not see your roommate everyday anymore. Also, doesn’t it feel awfully strange that you don’t have a group meeting at the concourse that week? You used to go to the Turret every Friday but your hometown friends have no clue what you’re talking about. Sometimes it’s good to take a breath in the whirlwind that is school life and come to terms with everything that’s going on. First of all, don’t get so caught up in everything you do that you forget to remember why you bother doing it – maybe you got too comfortable being a Music major that you didn’t even realize you couldn’t see yourself doing it in the long-run. Secondly, don’t let experiences exclusively define you; if you absolutely loved being on your house council, smile because it happened instead of feeling devastated when it ends – the same qualities and contacts you developed there will continue on whether you live in XYZ residence or not. Finally, are you fulfilled? I don’t mean you should feel happy all the time. Frankly, I don’t think anyone is particularly chipper around exam time. But do you find yourself committing to things because everyone is? Maybe everyone in your residence loved going out every Friday, and you thought that you liked it too until one day you realized you would rather have studied harder for a test. Always remember that throughout everything, the only real constant variable is you. When you are removed from the university context, you are still you. So remember to take that breath often and you will find yourself right where you should be regardless of the environment: aware of yourself, your wants and your needs.




Desire’s the Element That I Can’t Fight KATIE MCNAMARA

Dreams are a dangerous, invisible force. The danger lies in their power of unveiling your innermost desires, secrets, and fears. A dream that disturbs your waking hours taunts you to reveal your closeted skeletons to someone who may not be sympathetic, so you repress your subconscious prophecies until they stand over your bedside in the darkest hours of the night again. Dreams teach you who you really are, despite your own illusions of yourself. They tell you how utterly human you are. Do not take pride in your emotional, intellectual or physical superiority, for a dream may make you appear foolish – if only to yourself. One cry out into the halls of a dark home, and all your efforts in building your daily façade will be for naught.



I was stopped by two men. I couldn’t tell if they were homeless, only that they stank of alcohol - which is not a state exclusive to the homeless, but many attribute one to the other. “Hey buddy,” said the first. I was, at once, wary as I am always wary of anyone unfamiliar who calls me by familiar terms like “buddy” - or anyone familiar, for that matter. “Can you spare some change for the bus?” I gathered that he wanted to ride the bus, though he had falsely identified himself as the bus, asking for change “for the bus” and expecting change in return. Furthermore, his hand was not extended as one would expect, but instead clutched a lit cigarette. Besides alcohol, he stank of cigarettes. Upon which I based my reply: “I don’t have any change to spare. I spent it all on cigarettes.” I felt smug for the moment, and then a rush of panic. The two men had evidently caught on to the disrespectful tone of my wise remark, and their expressions shifted from the friendly side that had called me “buddy” to the aggressive side that would sooner take than ask. It was then that I became aware of my surroundings, a dark alley off the main road, and of the apparent danger in which I had placed myself.



Beach Town Blues ALARIC DENNIS

Jonathan had never been afraid of death. As a child, the grey hairs on his young mother’s head told him that even though his afternoon adventures were spent only in the company of other children, she had somehow heard stories about the tall trees he had climbed to the top of to gaze over the sleepy beach town as if it were only his. She must have seen him run, blazing down the road to jump off the cliffs and into the cold lake below, shaming the older kids that came with their families to vacation. Somehow she knew, yet every night as she stood rigidly over the dish sink, her eyes fixed on some point miles away, he knew that she would reveal nothing about her secret knowledge. As Jonathan grew older, he grew right out of trees and cliffs and into rum and cars. He would often combine the two to increase the thrills he chased through the night. Jonathan now appreciated the ebb and flow of the beach town as it provided a constant supply of new people to listen to his stories, and plenty of girls to watch undress and scamper into the water before they crawled into his car and into his bed. Winter didn’t slow Jonathan down at all. When he had nothing to do he would walk down the cold beach and retrace the steps of old conquests. When money was short he stole rum bottles, clothes, movies, motor oil, gasoline, cigarettes and anything else he needed to survive out from under the noses of apathetic attendants. Jonathan daringly stole in front of police officers and brazenly locked eyes with the only person who would give chase, a grocery clerk, before bolting out the door with pockets full of cheese wedges, frozen juice, crackers and cookies. “They’ll never catch me. I’m too fast!” he had told one girl as she traced circles on his chest with a long yellow finger nail. She just laughed and began salvaging her underwear from a pile of discarded clothes. This was all a long time ago now. Jon learned that sometimes the greatest dangers are not the ones right in front of you, but the ones that come in from the sides and wrap you up. Jon doesn’t dance with death anymore. He doesn’t climb trees, jump cliffs, race cars or chase girls. That same grocery clerk, now a manager, watches as Jon slowly walks up the aisle with his son in tow and carefully compares the sodium levels in breakfast cereals. A slight smirk on the clerk’s face is all that remains of their old rivalry. Sometimes, as Jon sweeps the dust out of the garage where he works, he stares a long way down the quiet road and he can just make out the shadowy figure of death calling out to him. For a moment he goes as stiff as bone and his hair stands on end. Only now is he afraid.



Danger - the aspect of life that I have been programmed to fear I shiver at the thought of a raging car coming near. I prefer to live my life on the sidelines, viewing those who dance with fire For to risk being burned alive, I hold no desire. Life throws out endless twists and turns It is easier to hide behind insecurities than to risk getting hurt. I do not want to find myself pinned under a powerful horse I would rather watch TV lazily and let life run its course. However, I should take risks, even if they are small. It is better to live audaciously than to have never lived at all.




Of late, I cannot go to sleep ‘Cause a banshee weeps A banshee weeps

I hear her in the fireflies I hear her in the old tree’s sighs I hear her in mid-July

And I know why she has come Death is in the house And it scurries like a mouse ‘Tween pauses and the dark

And I know why she has come Death is in the house And it scuttles like a louse In dust and marriage bed

Everywhere I hear her cry: In the cricket’s haunting lullaby In the cicada’s coronarch Summer is ending! Summer is ending! The season of all that lives is ending!

Does no one hear her scream? Or am I lost w’thin a dream? Cause everywhere she cries: Summer is ending! Summer is ending! The season of one you love is ending!



When I was a child my mother made porcelain dolls She arranged them in a semi-circle in front of me She said, “Now, child, always keep these dolls in the same place as your body” I thought it was strange of her to phrase it like that, “my body” Which was so similar to the beautiful bodies of the beautiful dolls But I did what she asked and kept them with me I didn’t like them at all but they seemed to like me Staring ceaselessly from my cabinet, at me, at my body After my mother died, I stopped touching those dolls I would not touch them but that did not stop the dolls They were constantly finding ways to surprise me Shuffling in their semi-circle, raising their arms toward my body When I was a child, there were holes in my clothes that revealed my body I think my mother took fabric from my clothes to make clothes for the dolls Dresses she wanted me to wear but I refused, outfits for me… The dolls have seen my body all my life, have seen me Pinching skin, strapping flesh, sighing over my body How jealous they must be, those porcelain dolls When I moved across the country I lost one of the dolls The same day, I was making a salad for my girlfriend and me And my knife cut my precious pinkie from my body They were mad that night; surrounding my body In a looming semi-circle on my bed, were the dolls My girlfriend clutched me, shaking, but they no longer scared me I stood up, knocking all the dolls over. They had angered me. My mother had told me to keep them with my body, but it was my body I took a razor from my nightstand and glared down at the dolls I put the razor to the wrist below my bloody stump, while the dolls Lost their painted smiles between each lighting flash, and stared up at me. They were back in their cabinet before I dared touch the blades to my body. It is my body, but I do not know if they will take it from me, My twin dolls, those beautiful, wrathful dolls…




Foreseeable Risk TARA ABRAHAMS Stop. Swim forward to the edge of the pool before she fell, before you found out that the saccharine in her smile would never be enough for your hungering cells. Talk to her. Do it, before you can’t.

The sky is graying. Your glass bottles and vials are squeezed into an overstuffed locker. She’s still there, infinitely taunting you from across the water.

Hello, you say, clambering over slick tiles. The chlorine is burning in your lungs. She’s looking down at you and you’re looking up at her and the sunlight behind her is making a crown out of her hair.

You sink down again.

She doesn’t say anything. She tilts her head. She walks away. Her shoulders say you’re not worthy of her. Your chemical slurry is saying you are.

Press your head against the headstone and suck in the snot and the pain. This is your third time – in one week, three times – you know you shouldn’t but you can’t stop thinking about the maggots wiggling away in empty sockets, chewing at the ligaments and making quick work of the marrow.

Stop. Go back to the doctor’s office where the old women sit, pouring over an old Chatelaine in unison. They prod the pictures of squash lasagna and mushroom-drizzled meatloaf like visitors in a museum. You’re sitting across from them, numb, cold, stomach churning at the sight of the food you can’t eat.

You feel weak at the knees. Maybe it’s the ero guro film playing in your head or maybe your blood is screaming for attention.

The diagnoses rings in your ears like the death toll.



Beside her, the mother presses a mirror under her neck, catching the sunlight. They’re talking, but you can’t hear their voices until she looks up at you.

Walk toward the green light at the end of the street and bend down. In the grass, some kid’s left a flashlight, a novelty that can switch between colors of light with the press of a button. You pick it up and lie down with it crossed over your chest. Above, the stars are invisible. You make fireworks with the flashlight and think of glass and blood. Stop. Lay parallel to the water. You float on your back until the spots on your cornea turn a sickly shade of green. Then you dive: you twirl and twist as your stomach does.

You haven’t had any in your system since you downed thirteen yesterday, hands shaking like an old man’s.

She mouths the words him, him over there, the one with the – You sink below the surface again before she finishes her accusation, leaving behind a stream of bubbles as long as your lungs. Stop. Push the papers away and tell her you’re fine. It was just a relapse. The nurse eyes you and asks you if you’re trying to kill yourself. It takes you a second to register that she’s joking.

Think as your lungs struggle for air. You can see her in the back of your mind, lounging on the deck, legs supine and covered in sunburnt constellations. It makes you sick.

You don’t answer anyway.

She is synonymous with your disease.

The rain thunders on the surface of the water and everyone’s clambering to get out, streaming over concrete and tile in a haze of flesh and chlorine. You get a foot to the shoulder as you follow someone up the metal ladder, skin shivering against the steel.

You resurface.




You’re on the deck and running for your bag when you see her, hiding under her mother’s mirror, quivering in the grey. You curl your lip and grab your bag and watch, hapless, as a bottle you forgot streams from the open pouch and shatters on the deck. You don’t stop to brush away the glass. You don’t have to stop for anything. You’re just like her.

They’re running now and you’re watching the glint of the glass as the rain sizzles over concrete and tile.

You don’t care.

You look away as she screams and lifts her foot, shards of glass cutting lines into soft skin. The blood is bright and infallible even in the halflight. You look and look away. It all happens so quickly. She stumbles and her head, cracking against the tile, out of mother’s reach, body slipping – deep end, always off the deep end, always – and now the mother’s left screaming as the half-dead body of her daughter floats to the surface.

Stop. The flashlight is starting to flicker out. It was trash, you realize – useless, forgotten – not something wanted and missed. You throw it aside in the grass and sit up. The light still plays across your field of vision. The watch on your wrist reads midnight, but to you, it’s noon on a Sunday. It will always be noon on a Sunday. The shards of glass shining in the sun at its zenith. Stop. You’re standing under the lifeguard’s awning, waiting for the storm to pass. Across the deck, they’re hurrying in unison. You watch as she forgets her sandals and rushes on regardless. They’re worried about perms and fake tans, plastic breasts and skin. You want to laugh but your adrenaline’s shot, the dopamine in the chemical water a thousand years old.

(She forgot her sandals, you think as it happens. You want to tell her to go back, but you can’t. You don’t care.)

Start. Speak, says the judge. You stand. You’re crawling out of your own skin. You can feel the blood in your veins clawing at the fleshy walls, begging – scraping at the mahogany seats, begging. He is looking at you with indifference. It was an unforeseeable risk, says your defender. You sink below the surface again. You think to the waiting room again. You think if only you’d left, if only you’d left sooner – if only all moments were less than catalysts. Maybe this time, you think, still sinking, things will be different.




The drink tastes cold, but the feeling is warm. Encroaching walls of rubble draw near, he knew they meant no harm. Hands grazing the blades of grass, he reaches for the glass cylinder he calls home, only to find that its abandoned him too. From beginning to end, this felt all too familiar. The forever-sprinting runner he’s known as time has caught up, no longer does his cradle support him. No longer will he triumph over the trials of day and night, he knows his final evening has arrived to bid him farewell. Like a tattered flag on a windy day he struggles, his aching joints grind and turn with every reluctant inch. Gradually they come to a halt, just as a train does at its last destination. It all feels wrong now, too soon, he fears that he can’t avoid it, only to realize the inevitability of it all. This makes him smile one last time. Slowly he turns his head and lays down, like he was taught when innocence ran through his veins. Using the rock as his pillow he finds comfort, yet solace evades him as a frigid blanket of blue air puts him to rest.





Gooey brew, flying broomsticks, love spells and black kitty in tow. What’s a witch? Is she the evil black-magic woman that Disney tells us she is? Does she celebrate Halloween every day of the year and relish in the lucklessness of Fridays that end with 13? Or is she something entirely different? Is she the girl in the yellow dress waiting for the bus? Does she love the color pink? Who is she? Since as far back as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a witch. At six years old I got my first impressions of the idea from the Halloween decorations around the house of mysterious witches cut out of black construction paper, flying into a circular shape that was supposed to be the moon. It wasn’t long before I began to daydream about the day when I would pull my friends aside at recess and show them my cool flying skills. Of course, this imaginary moment of mine was followed by a series of gasps from my friends and an envious gawking at my magical abilities. Even then, something about being a witch enticed me. I’m grateful that my childhood curiosity (still intact today) lead me to discover these mystical beings, not only because they are the subject of much admiration and representation in popular media, but also because I have learned to define “witch” in a way that transcends the widely-held stereotype and allows for an expansive understanding of who it is these mavericks really are. First of all, it’s important to consider the potions, cauldrons and sorcery that have created our mainstream awareness of witches. These ideas can be traced all the way back to medieval times and have largely influenced many historical and contemporary artistic works. At present, our notions of “witch” include folks like Hermione Granger, Marnie in Disney’s “Halloweentown”, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West), and even Ms. Frizzle. On the surface, these depictions seem to paint varied portraits of witches, however they are limited in their portrayal of witch identities as more than supernatural beings. Many representations place strong emphasis on paranormal capacities and focus less on fundamental witchy-ness that is unrelated to magical power and instead associated greatly with the strength and individuality of “magic-less” cis/trans* women.

“Witch”, for me, extends beyond the idea of magic in supernatural terms and embodies a realness that women communicate to the world every day through their distinct human experiences. It points to an intuitive energy that dwells inside of the heart and a radiance that shines with every step of a messy (sometimes marvelous, sometimes not) journey towards self-discovery and self-love. Women from all walks of life, varying in size, age, class, and race, Halloween-lovers or not, cat owners or dog fanatics, are nevertheless witches. What classifies them as such is their bright voices, inquisitiveness, and a relentless desire to understand themselves on their own terms. Being witchy is about mustering the courage to assert your identity in the face of adversity, living dangerously, and learning to love. Magic as it pertains to women is found in the ground they walk on, the relationships they build, their families, bodies, interests, and insights: it’s the kind that runs along their spines, rests in their dimples and lovehandles, spreads along their stomachs and lives in their blood. An authentic magic manifested by simply being alive - feeling, thinking, choosing - burning like a million stars, untangled and visible. wShe may indeed be curled up on the couch affectionately stroking her black cat, or she just might be dancing the night away at a club across town in a neon-green body suit. She might like to do both. She may fit the spooky stereotype or have nothing to do with it at all. The point is that being who you’ve chosen to be, acknowledging and expressing the beauty and complexity of your identity, is jam-packed with magic. My reclaiming of “witch” is about empowering all women and inspiring a movement of wicked, kick-ass witches (and witch-lovers) rooted in authenticity, determination, and connectedness. Finding your inner witch doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be flying on an enchanted broomstick anytime soon, but it does mean you can rise.

Being witchy is about mustering the courage to assert your identity in the face of adversity, living dangerously, and learning to love.






I am 21 years old and I am still afraid of being abducted. It is, admittedly, a ridiculous fear, especially considering I come from clean, suburban, dead-after-11pm Aurora, Ontario. Still, every time I walk past a parked vehicle the image of someone opening the side-door and kidnapping me crosses my mind. My mother’s overprotective nature likely has something to do with this; she still gets anxious about my night classes. When you consider society as a whole, however, my fear seems a little less farfetched. After telling my boyfriend about an older man who approached me and asked if he could “sit down and talk for awhile” at the park, he said “The world is so much different for girls.” This got me thinking. For females, going anywhere at any time of day can result in unwanted and unprovoked male attention. Getting honked, hollered, and leered at may sound great to some girls, but I’m sure many more have experienced feelings of fear or anxiety when faced with male(s) undesired advances or comments. Don’t get me wrong guys, I understand – at the bar. But at two in the afternoon on the streets being screamed at by a group of five guys, no matter how ‘flattering’ these sentiments may be, can be unnerving, and in most cases, rude. Just because you’re a male and I’m a female doesn’t mean you have the right to express your thoughts about my appearance, touch me, or leer at me for extended periods of time. I AM A PERSON. Respect that. If you think I’m attractive and are in an appropriate setting where you think I might enjoy that information, calmly approach me by yourself. Talk to me like a human instead of a piece of meat. Respect that I might not feel the same way about your ugly mug and leave me alone if I don’t. P.S. I don’t think anyone ever got laid by honking their horn.