Sunday, June 6, 2010


Dear Whoever (Whomever? Whatever.)

These are the entries brewing that I owe you before the week is up:

The Smell of Water

How I Feel About "Stuff"

Present in the Presence

Sorry I haven't been around much; I figure the issue is I have no papers to avoid writing.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Finals: Day 3

This may be the worst day so far.

I have a migraine that could end the world, conflict resolution issues, a paper to finish, a final to write tomorrow, a D on a paper from a prof who typically loves my stuff, a complex trying to figure out how I will make theatre a part of my little life, a problem remembering to take my meds, and a perpetual need for sleep.
I am praying for the rapture.
and I don't even believe in the rapture.
I'm going crazy.

I was studying Greek tonight and thought to myself, wouldn't it be lovely if I could turn on montage mode in my life? Like in the movies, I could just turn on a song from the 90s and watch little vignettes of me reading various textbooks, nodding at various teachers' comments, scribbling in various notebooks, figuring out various formulae on whiteboards, all in a span of 30 seconds after which I could sit back and write my exams confidently! Even a romance montage! Or a cleaning and packing montage! I think if I meet my fairy godmother tonight, I will wish for a montage mode in my life.

Instead of a rapture.

Finals: Day 2

Woohoo! Well, I handed in Archie's little masterpiece last night and mailed a paper into Todah today. After many many computer issues I was able to copy out and trim and print off my monologue, work it, eat mcdonald's, work it some more, have a little fun time with my Randall and watch Benny and Joon. Would I rather be anywhere else in the world tonight than in the arms of that darling Sam? No. But I am sufficiently content. I will work some more tonight, shower, sleep, and blow my class away in the morning.
Sleep sweet, dear world. I'll see you on the morrow!
p.s. happy birthday, dear Mama xoxo

Monday, April 19, 2010

Finals: Day 1

I've spent most of my day indoors, avoiding eye contact with the take-home I need to hand in by midnight tonight. Bad life choice, but they say to pursue what you're good at and I'm good at procrastinating. And making bad life choices. But that's for another blog. I think.

I went for a procrastinatory walk this afternoon around four to drop some borrowed books off at my prof's office and I was transported by the very air back to my childhood. With no breeze, the air was thick and warm and still; it could have been water in my Nana's pool on a perfect summer evening ten years ago. I walked slowly, breathed slowly, and let the deep air wrap around my legs like a watery blanket. It even smelled like summer at my Nana's house, and for the first time in quite a few conflict-ridden and painful years, I wished I could be back in the field behind her house on the highway hunting for bullfrogs; on her back deck feeding our chipmunk, Charlie; in her red-carpeted guest room listening to the traffic and her soft snoring on the other side of her thin wall as I fell asleep.

Back in my stuffy little lounge once more, after only a few minutes and a million memories outside, I am trying once more (but not very hard) to think only about this final. It's hard though, with both windows open blowing precious memories my way.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Six Months < 6 Months

Today I received a letter. The letter was from my dear old self, wayyyy back in September! It was so lovely to read and to be able to reflect on what amazing things God can do with six short months, and how humbling it is that He would choose to rain down His blessings on me, even when I am not paying much attention.

Dear Tia,

It's September 29th and it's the first cold and rainy day of Autumn. I love living in Robson with so many of my friends, but the year has started off rough. I'm still feeling some of the pain from my surgery this summer, and I'm praying for God to provide the money to make it through my school year. Mum is home from the hospital and Dad is overwhelmed with taking care of everyone while dreading his own November surgery. I have had to give him an ultimatum: if he doesn't go through with the operation, I won't come home for Christmas.

I'm having a hard time seeing my parents so helpless, and find myself making plans to take care of my little sister and brothers. Worst case scenarios are where my brain goes when I am not heavily distracted and my Doctor said it's affecting my health. A lot of days, I can barely breathe.

I think God is trying to show my just how DESPERATE I really am. I long for commitment, yet I fear it; I yearn for romance with a future, yet I feel God showing me that now is not the time. It scares me, but I know God's hand is ever present on my shoulder and path. I have made a list of ways I want to grow this year and it hangs by my bed. More than anything, what I need is a desire to grow and right now I feel more apathetic. I'm asking--or plan on asking, if I'm really honest--God to change my heart into a heart of FLESH again; something has hardened it, and I haven't objected too strongly.

I hope that when I pick this letter up again, I will be thinner, but more than that I hope I will be happier, breathing, praying, and LOVING LIKE MY LORD DOES.

if I'm not...take heart. this year is not your whole life.

The Lord is With Me Like A Dread Warrior.

Tia xoxo

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dreaming of my Dreams

I actually dreamed about the Addams family the other night. My waking life desires were close enough to touch...until I woke up. At 21, I am just losing hope. I fear I will have no choice but to become a pageant-type mother who lives vicariously through her black haired, pasty white daughter. If I ever have a black haired, pasty white daughter. Only time will really tell.
Lately when I sit down and think of it though, I don't think it's really Wednesday that captured me so much as it was her morbid, mysterious, and melancholy air. I think I feel so attracted to her because I see those same qualities hidden deep within myself. A couple months ago, I saw a heart-wrenching musical called Nevermore that just brought me to tears. I saw it alone and found myself face to face with my own reaction.
I realized that when I experience art with a friend or classmate in tow I think very differently about the subject, constantly watching for my friend's approval of the piece and for their reactions in general. Riding transit alone, finding my way to the theatre alone, and sitting alone between two very squashy (but nice) old ladies, gave me ample opportunity to get to know myself and how I interact with the world as a solitary person. Come the end of the first musical number in the production, I was surprised to find at the back of my throat a most unexpected lump. By the time intermission rolled around, tears were streaming down my face and the squashy ladies were giving me sympathetic glances...I escaped to a glass of white wine and fresh lipstick (alone). At the end of the play, as I waited for an empty cab, I think I discovered that while I felt a definite connection to Edgar (Allen Poe, upon whose story the play was based), and my heart broke at experiencing his tragic and mysterious story, what I really found myself wanting was a place in that story. A place on the stage moving my body in the almost unnatural ways these actors used to portray their characters, a place in rehearsal being challenged by my director to dig within myself until I found the darkness needed to truthfully portray Elmira or Sissy. I wanted someone to ask me, "Tia, are you dark? Tia, do you know sorrow? Tia, will you let it out?"
The overall darkness of the production (proverbial and literal), made me realize upon further introspection, that everything I have envied in Wednesday Addams is the darkness and morbidity lurking deep within myself. As a smiler and a people person, I find myself hiding from anything other than that within me--even if what I conceal is true. My joy is safe and approved of by the people around me. I desperately fear the judgment that might come were I to reveal to my friends and family the dark things of my soul. Everything I loved in the characters, set, costumes, music, and general story of Nevermore depicted the 'role' I long to play in my life. I don't want to hide behind my smile (although my joy is real) because there is more to me than laughter, there's more to my heart than bright colours and a sanguine point of view. I am coming to terms with the grief I have experienced in my life so far, and I am no longer so ashamed of the attraction I have to melancholy music and poetry.
More than I have ever feared the darkness I feel so inclined to though, I fear that no person could love or appreciate, or most of all just believe in the truth of this dark soul. It is not a despair that I harbour in my soul, rather a darkness that recognizes the hope in the light. It is not so much of an opposite to my loving and joyful nature as it is a reflection of my experiences and the suffering I have seen, little black beads stringing together a rosary of little (and big) sorrows that strengthen and justify my true joy, and the consolations of Christ that heal my broken heart.
If you're asking, I am dark, I know sorrow, and I want to let it out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Staunchly Liturgical and Loving It

Reflections of a Humbled Roman Catholic

I remember cutting an article out of the Mars’ Hill (my university's student newspaper) a year or two ago, which discussed the spiritual diversity of our campus. In it, one of my wise evangelical friends quite innocently mentioned what he seemed to think were two opposites: Protestant “Charismaniac” and “Staunchly Liturgical” Catholic.

At the time, I was still very much on my guard and pridefully fearful concerning my Catholic faith and the way I practised it. It was almost as if I expected to be offended by sloppy language or by ignorant hole-dwellers at every turn. The accusation that I was a polar opposite of charismatic, and ‘staunchly’ anything, really ticked me off.

‘Don’t you know, Mars’ Hill writer, that I am quite charismatic myself when given the opportunity?’ I shouted in my brain. ‘Don’t you know that you don’t know me?’ Well apparently, I didn’t know myself very well either.

While a perfect storm has been brewing in my head since reading that article and posting it on my bulletin board all those months ago, I have been trying to come up with a noble way to ‘defend myself against the haters’ who accused me of this heinous crime. Quite recently, a curious professor challenged me in class to look at what shapes my lifestyle, and I was forced to think on the spot about the culture surrounding my spirituality. I realized, to my embarrassment and excitement, that I am staunchly liturgical!

My life, spiritually and generally, is shaped around the liturgy. It is through the liturgy, through the ancient prayers of David, Mary, and the Church Fathers, repeated and relived through the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours (the two official prayers of the Roman Catholic Church) that I have come to know and grow
in Christ.

It would be unthinkable for me to miss Mass on Sunday and painful for me to go too long without the sacrament of Confession. While you may catch me praying in tongues under my breath or raising my hands to our Lord in Praise Chapel, I can also be found in that posture during a recessional hymn after Mass. I am most at home on my knees before a tabernacle with a missal or rosary in my hands, praying in the ancient liturgical (but often fresh and charismatic) tradition that I am so proud to be a part of.

Friday, March 19, 2010

my fears

fingertips and tailbone aching,
torn heart breaking,
why do the ones we love
hurt us most deeply?
i am so afraid.
what if i can't do this?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I am Crazy.

Tomorrow morning I'm waking up at five to stand in line to sign up for a hockey game.

Monday, March 8, 2010


to the one who
burned me:
i hate you.
with all of my charred heart,
i love you.
which is not awkward
and entirely comfortable.
and i'll bring you milk and honey
even if i need
to break my bones
climbing the hills
and milking the brown cows
to get it for you.
even if the bees sting
while i fetch your honey-
you break me worse,
you burn me worse,
you sting me worse,
you love me worse,
"my little bee".
you'll change the world,
you broke my heart.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I prefer to end sentences with prepositions, so I will tell you where my Lord is at.

Psalm 73

How good God is to the upright, the Lord, to those who are clean of heart!
But, as for me, I lost my balance; my feet all but slipped,
Because I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they suffer no pain; their bodies are healthy and sleek.
They are free of the burdens of life; they are not afflicted like others.
Thus pride adorns them as a necklace; violence clothes them as a robe.
Out of their stupidity comes sin; evil thoughts flood their hearts.
They scoff and spout their malice; from on high they utter threats.
They set their mouths against the heavens, their tongues roam the earth.
So my people turn to them and drink deeply of their words.
They say, "Does God really know?" "Does the Most High have any knowledge?"
Such, then, are the wicked, always carefree, increasing their wealth.
Is it in vain that I have kept my heart clean, washed my hands in innocence?
For I am afflicted day after day, chastised every morning.
Had I thought, "I will speak as they do," I would have betrayed your people.
Though I tried to understand all this, it was too difficult for me,
Till I entered the sanctuary of God and came to understand their end.
You set them, indeed, on a slippery road; you hurl them down to ruin.
How suddenly they are devastated; undone by disasters forever!
They are like a dream after waking, Lord, dismissed like shadows when you arise.
Since my heart was embittered and my soul deeply wounded,
I was stupid and could not understand; I was like a brute beast in your presence.
Yet I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand.
With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor.
Whom else have I in the heavens? None beside you delights me on earth.
Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever.
But those who are far from you perish; you destroy those unfaithful to you.
As for me, to be near God is my good, to make the Lord GOD my refuge. I shall declare all your works in the gates of daughter Zion.

I am so grateful that my God is faithful even while I wander. Lord, teach me to be faithful as You are faithful, to love like You love, and to open up my broken heart to Your healing power.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Is there anything more terrible than having a runny-nose-pluggy-ear-teary-eye-hurts-to-swallow head cold?
Genocide, for one. Leprosy. A colicky baby through the night.
There, doesn't that feel better?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring Break: Day 1

I'm busy sitting in my favourite coffee shop, the WaterShed, eating a beautiful bowl of broccoli & cheddar soup. I know I shouldn't be, since I didn't take a Lactaid, but it is too good and beautiful to pass up. There is such a thing as a time machine in my life, and that is either a distinctive smell or a taste of familiar food. Today, as I spoon generous helpings of warm and earthy soup into my mouth, I am transported back to my grade 2 elementary school days.
When I was in grade 2, the year was 1995 and I was 7 years old. Even now, at 21 years old, when people ask me the best year of school or life that I can recall, I immediately jump back to Miss Bonnah's classroom in my mind. Miss Bonnah was a tall woman, and I always remember her in teal cotton pants with either a white collared cotton shirt with matching teal stripes or, on an important day, a beautiful handmade soft, pink sweater. She wore a pearl necklace and earrings with it if I remember correctly (which I often do). Miss Bonnah had short charcoal coloured curls and she lived somewhere in Burks' Falls I think, with her father whom she took care of. Miss Bonnah was passionate about phonics and her faith, and she often played guitar in class as an aid in teaching us about God or the alphabet. I think I had more homework that year than any other year! Every week we learned all about a new letter, brought a page of fool scap home and wrote out equal amounts of lines of printed lowercase, printed uppercase, cursive lowercase, and cursive uppercase letters. I remember how my hand hurt and how Miss Bonnah and my Dad told me it was because I held my pencil wrong. I hated to hear that, and the stubborn child in me still holds my pen the way they told me not to and I have a permanent bump on the ring finger of my right hand as a trophy to prove it.
If you're still with me, I imagine you're wondering where my soup comes in. Well, it's one of my favourite memories of the Autumn of 1995. We read a picture book in class called Stone Soup, about three travelers who came upon a very poor village who refused to share any of their food with the pilgrims. The pilgrims had nothing but an empty pot so they filled the pot with water and a large stone and started cooking it over a fire. As villagers walked by and asked the pilgrims what they were doing, the pilgrims replied that they were cooking a most delicious stone soup but that they needed just a few more ingredients to perfect it. One by one, all of the villagers contributed a little something to the pot which before long became a beautiful soup that the whole town shared and enjoyed. In honour of the story, Miss Bonnah took our class on a field trip to the Farmers' Market to buy fresh vegetables so we could make our own Stone Soup. We each picked out an ingredient and the next day we washed a large stone which we put in the bottom of a giant pot with water and each contributed our ingredient to the soup. It was the best thing I ever remember eating, so warm and full of everything fresh and good and autumnal. The soup I'm enjoying this afternoon reminds me of that stone soup in its earthy depth, and thanks to this soup I am reliving a favourite memory that I haven't revisited in years. No wonder I love food so much.
That was also the Autumn that my parents and my Poppa went on a trip to Japan. I don't know if I'd even really heard of Japan before that year. They won the trip through a Labbatt's contest, I remember my Poppa entered and grumbled about how he didn't know why since he never won anything, and a few weeks later my Mum received a phone call from Labbatt's, looking for my Poppa to let him know that he had won a trip for four to Japan! While they were away, my closest brother and I stayed with my Nana and her new husband, my Grandpa Carl. My older sister and baby brother stayed with our aunt and uncle just down the road from my Nana's. My brother and I missed my parents and Poppa like crazy but they faxed us pictures from the Hilton in Nagasaki almost every day for the two weeks they were away. It was fun getting a ride to school with my Nana everyday and having exciting lunches unlike any my Mum ever made for my brother and I. Nana sent us hot lunches and treats, cookies that my Mum had baked for us before she left for Japan. I remember feeling guilty/excited since the cookies had chocolate and peanut butter chips in them and my Nana didn't know that our school was supposed to be nut-free. I never would have and I never did tell my Nana, because I didn't want her to feel bad. As I remember those thoughts, the old familiar pit in my stomach that is the classic sign of an overdeveloped sense of guilt (especially related to food, for some unknown reason--I never was a chubby child) is strangely present now.
Upon my family's reunion at our house in Muskoka, we sat out on the deck in the backyard and shared stories of our time apart. I was so overwhelmed with joy to be back with my parents and my Poppa that I remember fighting with my siblings for a place on their laps, as well as for time to speak of how much I had missed them and the adventures I had had in their absence. The adults had brought back all kinds of presents for us kids, including authentic traditional kimonos for my older sister and I and wooden katanas for my little brothers. I also remember the weird candy they brought back for us that wasn't even very sweet, and looked something like chocolate covered cheesies. My parents talked about how much the locals seemed to love my Poppa, about the old Japanese widows who stopped him in the street to pray buddhist blessings over him and the hotel managers who brought him baskets and baskets of his favourite apples when he started to get sick, and how he swore the apples stopped his cold in its tracks. My Mum brought me back toy make-up and little Hello Kitty toys, purses, and school supplies before anyone in my town had even heard of Hello Kitty. My dad had bought a video camera especially for the trip and showed us videos he took in a restaurant of a man in another booth eating rice with chopsticks faster than anything he'd ever seen. You could hear my Poppa laughing loudly in the background and my Mum whispering, "Andy! You are so rude! Stop it!" to no avail. The details that I remember from this period of my life, even from the days following my parents' return from Japan is surprising to me, especially since I can't seem to recall things I've learned in classes in the past week.
It was in grade 2 that my mum was given a Breadmaker, that I wore a red and navy blue knitted vest with a kilt and a smiley face t-shirt to my school pictures, and that my older sister and mum spent a whole afternoon tying my hair in rags in the living room while I watched a movie--possibly Cinderella. That particular detail is one that stands out clearly in my mind. At this time, my older sister was dating one of her first boyfriends, Travis. The day that she and my Mum tied my hair, Travis came over for dinner to meet my parents. When supper was ready, my Mum sent me downstairs to my sister's room to get her and Travis for dinner. I went downstairs in my housecoat and rags, knocked on her door as I'd been told to do, and no one answered. I knocked again, and still no one answered, so I opened the door and went inside to get them. What I saw has been burned into my memory, and until this past summer, brought an instant sick and guilty feeling to my stomach: Travis and my sister making out on her spare bed, my sister's shirt half undone. My sister gave me a deadly look that I will never forget, and told me that if I ever told my Mum what I saw that she would kill me. I believed her, swallowed the tears that were beginning, and ignored Travis's comforting calls to me to come back, and ran up the stairs to tell my Mum they were coming. I didn't tell my Mum or Dad what I saw until it occurred to me that there was something wrong with being 20 years old and still affected by a 13 year old empty threat. I told my Mum last summer in an attempt to free myself and received a laughing reaction from her, and was given the freedom I hoped for and laughed myself. She wondered that I had kept that inside for so long, and I think it speaks volumes of the loyalty and fear I feel towards my now-distant older sister, even after so many years. After that night, I never let my sister and Mum do my hair in rags again because I was afraid that somehow history would repeat itself, even if just in my mind.
Without going into details, a list of other memories of this year include:
my First Reconciliation and crying in front of Fr. Broda because of my sins
practicing Confession at Miss Bonnah's desk with fake sins
baking loaves of bread with my Mum for my religion class
my First Holy Communion
bringing a witch shaped cake to school for a Halloween party
learning about puns with Miss Bonnah
learning the song Auld Lang Syne before Christmas break
the Summer Olympics in Atlanta
representing Mexico as a class for Olympic events at school, and being placed on team Japan in intramural sports. (I even wore my Kimono to school for our Olympic assembly)
entering a contest to name a ship that a local retirement home was purchasing
flirting for the first time
my best friends' Jacqueline and Roch moving away

Can you believe that all of this was inspired by one spoonful of soup?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fahlman wants a post.

Hello, Internet.
My name is Tia. I am a student of Christianity & Culture, a lover of the arts, and a proclaimer of heroes--heroes like Hercules.
Just kidding. Sort of.
I'm just sitting down to a hot cup of coffee and looking forward to starting my blogging experience anew. When I was in high school I started a blog which was mostly full of poetry from angsty to zealous, and while some of it was admittedly quite good, I don't have the same vision for this blog. You should know that I still tend (usually on separate occasions) to occasionally be both angsty and zealous, and everything in between, so I apologize now if any traces of that make it in.
I guess we'll see what happens!
Signing off for now!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lists of the Things I Like Tremendously.