Toronto on film

I came to Canada for an exchange program 5 years ago, and tbh, I was extremely nervous and not excited for the semester. I had thought Canada was too far, I didn’t know anyone who was headed there, and I wasn’t sure if I would survive the cold. But, I still went ahead. What I thought will be a boring, non-exciting experience turned out to be one of the best times of my life! And I’ve always secretly made plans to go back (perhaps to stay longer). I went back recently, and felt like I was 22 again. It was refreshing, rejuvenating and an incredibly healing journey for me.

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Editor’s Letter: Mental Health

Beyond The Hijab

by Diana Rahim

It’s hard being a person. Nobody truly tells you this, nor are we really encouraged to look into this fact deeply. As a society, we are uncomfortable with confronting sadness and despair, and would rather concentrate on a superficial, easy-to-understand pursuit of happiness. We are taught to meet our basic material needs, to obsess over our educational and career paths, and to succeed in our society. Far less emphasis is placed on meeting our very important psychological and emotional needs, and in fostering the kind of habits that are emotionally healthy not just for us, but in our reactions to others as well. Very often, even basic emotional responses and sensitivity is stigmatized. Just think of common, dismissive phrases one often hears – “Don’t be so sensitive,” “You’re being oversensitive,” “Why can’t you take a joke?”

In truth, I truly believe that to see someone express emotion…

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I Tried to Warn You About Junot Diaz

alisa valdes productions

JunotDiaz

An old colleague from the Boston Globe sent me a link to today’s article about the flurry of women coming forward about (alleged, I guess) sexual misconduct towards them by Pulitzer-winning novelist Junot Diaz. My friend sent the article out of kindness, the way an old pal might place a comforting hand on your shoulder by way of saying, “I believe you. I always did.”

Author Zinzi Clemmons sparked today’s uproar across social media when she tweeted about Diaz cornering her and forcibly kissing her when she was a graduate student of just 26. After she tweeted this, two other female writers, Carmen Maria Machado and Monica Byrne, both came forward with similar tales of misogynistic abuse at the hands of Diaz. I wasn’t surprised. But anyone who has followed my own literary career knows that.

I publicly said Diaz was a misogynist opportunistic liar more than ten years…

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