Slowly, to consciousness, come and find your face crushed on pavement viscous. Dirt falling from eyelashes, blinking it away, gradually bringing your mind around.
On a long-stretch of road, nose full of tar, all movement meagre, your energy’s long fallen from bones. Use your dwindling strength to bring back what happened. Raise hand to forehead and press down on the crumbling wound there.
At first there’s no warmth. Only the hot black pain of frostbite. Then like a shock, the blankness ends again and I feel my skin start to thaw, my blood slowly pulsing through veins that had almost forgotten how to push it.
Straight up, it’s hard to meet people. And in Edmonton’s cold north, the party is often hiding behind closed doors (of course, we’re getting better at it thanks to Edmonton’s WinterCity Strategy!). That leaves a lot of us falling into a Netflix trap, keeping to our own circles and our old habits, and sometimes, forgetting that to live in a city means being a part of the thing, gosh darn it!
To Canadians (and maybe the rest of the world), Western Canada is known for its big trucks, big houses, and big energy. Oil, gas, forestry, renewables…you name it, we make it. But if you were with me at Western Canada Fashion Week’s opening night last night, then you’ll know that the energy doesn’t stop at business—it leaks into our culture, our charisma, and most of all, the minds of the incredible artists calling Alberta and B.C. home.
Being a Canadian woman writer of European descent, I came into Fauzia Rafique’s The Adventures of SahebaNwithout background knowledge of the role (Mirza) Sahiba plays in much of traditional Punjabi culture. The beauty of Rafique’s text however, is how my lack does not impact my understanding of how the narrative turns a cultural model for perfection (Sahiba) on her head to showcase the flaws of that very perfection, and (in particular) to show that a woman can be honourable, and pure, and loyal, without bowing to the restrictive ideas and expectations that society and religion place upon her.
As Canadians, we are well-used to recognizing “Reconciliation” as a kind of buzzword for the rights of Indigenous and First Nations peoples. I for one have heard the term used in discourses ranging from the political to the geographical, and yet, (I am humbled to admit) I barely have a grasp on what that means for someone like me: a white female living within 23 years of Canada’s last residential school closure.