A master index of work by Julia Marsiglio


Who am I? That’s not easy to define. But I am learning to know myself.

A white woman with long brown hair faces the camera smiling and holds a toddler with curly hair who faces away from the camera against the backdrop of the ocean.
A white woman with long brown hair faces the camera smiling and holds a toddler with curly hair who faces away from the camera against the backdrop of the ocean.
Picture of me at the beach with my oldest child.

I’m not ______, I’m Julia!

My parents like to tell this story from my preschooler years: if anyone called me “cute”, “beautiful” or “adorable” I would place my hands squarely on my hips, stick out my lower jaw in defiance and shoot back a glaring, “I’m not (cute/beautiful/adorable), I’m Julia!”. Whenever they repeat the story, I mentally high-five three year old me, because I intrinsically understood then that I am the curator of my own identity. It is a lesson I would spend most of my teenage and adult life relearning.

How do I think?

At 34 years old I began to invest in my own self understanding. I…


CULTURE

Sorry Margaret Atwood, but it isn’t intersectional

A red garment and a white garment hang against a wall.
A red garment and a white garment hang against a wall.
Image by S-Attila from Getty Images on Canva Pro

I first read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as a young 20 something in the early 2000s. As a woman who grew up immersed in purity culture, the experiences of women in Gilead felt vaguely familiar. Of course, I had not been subjected to state-sanctioned rape, but I had been raped and blamed for it. Because of what I wore. Because of the feminine shape of my body. Because I was a woman who spent time alone with men I barely knew.

I wasn’t a mother then, and I hadn’t lost a child. That part of the book (the stealing…


PREGNANCY

It wasn’t for attention

Toddler with brown hair admires the pregnant belly of his mother, who is lying reclined.
Toddler with brown hair admires the pregnant belly of his mother, who is lying reclined.
Photo taken by author’s husband

When I announced the birth of my youngest child on Facebook, I received a message from a friend I had last seen a couple of weeks prior. She was shocked. She hadn’t noticed. And she didn’t know.

I hadn’t exactly tried to hide it when I saw her, but I hadn’t mentioned it either. I wore a pair of shorts and a loose-fitting T-shirt. A group of us were watching TV, and I lay on my back (because it hurt). I honestly thought my bump would be visible at least in that position.

But I didn’t want to talk about…


MENTAL HEALTH

The gender diagnosis gap matters

A brown-skinned woman with straight black hair covers her face with her hands. A yellow tape-measure is wrapped around her hands.
A brown-skinned woman with straight black hair covers her face with her hands. A yellow tape-measure is wrapped around her hands.
Image by OcusFocus on Canva

When I was training to be a registered dietitian, I counselled patients with anorexia nervosa. I had never been diagnosed with the condition myself, but I was no stranger to body dysmorphia and restrictive eating practices. Like most young women, I grew up immersed in diet culture.

And like many others, I aspired to contort my body into the unnatural shapes presented by airbrushed magazine covers. I experimented with vegetarianism, calorie-counting and compulsive exercise.

My calorie and exercise goals were frequently unhealthy. Throughout my teenage years and into adulthood, my weight ricocheted left and right. …


Poetry

A poem on loss

Image created by author on Canva Pro

Ay — firefly, when your light goes
the whole world is darker
but in that moment, as you kiss the dusk
for that moment it is brighter.
I reach out to touch you, and suddenly I find
my soul it is lighter, and I am like Icarus
defying the earth’s rotation into twilight
chasing the setting sun in the warmth of your glow
on a lazy summer’s evening. Oh, how the lull rocks me
and sets me to dreaming, the air thick with love potion.
I am lost in content.

And ay — firefly, how the coldness sears
the blood that…


CULTURE

Pomegranates and walnuts transport me

Image of fesenjoon by bonchan on Canva Pro

I close my eyes as I take the first bite. I’d been waiting for this. Fesenjoon — it’s the stuff of legends. The silky smooth gravy contrasts with the delicate walnut crumble it envelops. The mouth-feel is impeccable. Texture makes a dish. Flavour complements it. Fesenjoon is the marriage of both. It’s perfection.

The chicken is tender and infused with walnut oil and pomegranate molasses. The sweet notes of piaz dagh (onions caramelized to perfection) linger on my tongue as the sweet and sour of pomegranate hits me and subsides. Umami loiters, inspiring my next bite.

Fesenjoon is a symphony…


SHORT STORY

Dystopian fiction

Image created by author on Canva Pro

There were no fires that night. They couldn’t risk it. Aurelia ran her fingers along the gold chain around her neck. The motion was comforting, and the feeling of the chain links sliding between her thumb and index finger anchored her. Her mother had given her the locket when she went away to college. That was a long time ago now.

Aurelia huddled with her brother and his son under a canopy of old-growth oak. Martin was sleeping against her shoulder, and her brother was disturbing an anthill with a stick while staring blankly into the darkness.

“Gus,” she whispered…


FEMINISM

How The Little Mermaid informed my voice by losing hers

Image by Fernando Cortes on Canva Pro

As a girl, I was captivated by the mythical realms presented in fairytales. Through them, I could escape the mundane and transport myself into a world of escape. And no tale held my attention quite the way that Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid did.

To briefly summarize the famous story: The Little Mermaid longs to be a part of the world beyond her ocean home and gain an immortal soul. On one of her visits to the surface, she saves a drowning prince and falls in love. She seeks the aid of a Sea Witch who makes her a…


It’s changed the way I live my life

Image by Courtney Hale on Canva Pro

It was my third birth and second live birth. I was being induced due to preeclampsia, low waters and IUGR (my baby was showing too small on scans). I arrived at the hospital the evening before the induction. There I was expected to settle into bed and sleep for the night, but not until after they placed Cervadil — a vaginal suppository meant to ripen the cervix for labour. Ripen is a strange word for it, isn’t it? I couldn’t help but think of a peach.

They hooked me up to the monitor to keep an eye on my baby…

Julia Marsiglio

I answer rhetorical questions. Intersectional feminism. Neurodivergence. Trauma. Grief. Canada things. A smattering of poetry and fiction.

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