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.
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…


PREGNANCY

It wasn’t for attention

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…


The migraine hack your doctor never mentioned

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I am an occasional migraine sufferer. Luckily I do not experience them with the same frequency as some others do. When I do get them, however, they leave me sick for a day or two — a piercing headache, sensitivity to light or noise (a difficult thing to handle with two small children underfoot), and nausea and vomiting.

The vomiting is my least favourite part, to be honest. There’s just something about seeing the contents of your stomach laid out in front of you that makes you want to call it quits on the day.

Recently I had one such…


A poem in free verse

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The years stitch themselves into my grief
with copper threads of longing
and I — I am belonging more and more
to the land of living things — of earth devoured
parsnips growing long into autumn, of my fingertips
punctured by a wild rose spindle, and finally
and surprisingly, I feel that pain once again.

I am of two minds — one who isn’t and one who is
one with nothing left to gain — numb, disappeared
and tired of all this incessant rain. …


Reentry is a rebirth

Image by Alessio Mattei on Canva Pro

Reentry. It’s something we’ve all thought a lot about in recent months as we navigate our way towards post-pandemic life. We joke about lost social skills and debate the merits of continued masking. Plans are made and cancelled as governments dip their toes in the water of normalcy only to coil away again on contact. Too hot. Too cold.

Reentry is never easy, and it’s never smooth. You see, for it to be reentry at all, there must have been something that tore us away. And that something, that rendering — it changes us. Reentry is to enter a once-familiar…


Fiction

A short story

Image by Aleshyn Andrei on Canva Pro

The honeybees had wintered under the magnolia tree. As the snow melted, the bees emerged from their labyrinths between the roots to pollinate the blushing branches. The swing sat empty. Nobody wanted to disturb the buzzing earth and risk being stung.

Evelyn’s mother was afraid of bees and wasps — all insects really — but especially biters and stingers. She’d called an exterminator: 1–800-BYE-PEST! But they’d said that there was nothing they could do. Honeybees were protected in Illinois. They couldn’t be moved when they were in the ground, but they would leave of their own accord soon enough. …


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…

Julia Marsiglio

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

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