When a greeting card stumped me, I knew I had a problem

One particular February 14th, I found myself wedged against the wall of a crowded subway car in the midst of a small life crisis.

In one hand, I held a greeting card decorated with curlicued writing and watercolor flowers. The inside was blank. Balancing on the crook of my elbow on that same arm was an open notebook, covered in messily scrawled sentences, each with lines drawn through them. In my other hand, I held a pen that I was chewing on to help me think. It wasn’t helping.

I had already written six drafts for the card’s message, but…

I fell in love with the minimalist aesthetic. Then I realized what was wrong with it.

A brunette with perfect winged eyeliner gestures to a single clothing rack beside her. I only wear 32 items of clothing, she tells the camera proudly. All year.

The ensuing video consists of short clips of her modelling each item. A pair of tan culottes from Everlane. A single set of black Aritzia leggings. A taupe cotton maxi dress from Reformation (ethically made! she chirps).

She showcases the clothes in front of an impeccable backdrop, which is apparently a corner of her actual home where she lives. Against the crisp white walls are two plants, one placed on the floor…

Amidst distancing and lockdowns, it was casual friendships that suffered

As vaccinations roll out, my concerns about the pandemic have gradually started to ease. For the first time, I can imagine a world in which we can go to concerts again and throw parties and sip on draft beers in crowded bars. Man, I miss draft beer.

But as my pandemic anxiety has started to subside, another question has risen up in me, involuntarily like a tablespoon of bile creeping up my throat.

Do I still have friends?

It wasn’t an important question to consider for most of the pandemic. When I was locked down at home, I was concerned…

We don’t control the culture anymore, and that’s okay

In my first year out of university, I lived in a student neighborhood. It wasn’t intentional — in fact, I didn’t know enough about the city to know which neighborhoods were for students.

It worked out, because I still felt like a university student. I was freshly 23, fairly broke, even with my new grownup job, and I lived in a shared apartment with two strangers and no air conditioning to save money. What is more student life than that?

Over that first year, friends and I checked out student bars in the neighborhood, motivated by a search for cheap…

Talk about learning a lesson the hard way.

We’re coming up to a year since the first Covid-19 lockdown, which means it’s also been nearly a year since I was laid off. I lost my job, along with hundreds of my non-profit colleagues, back in March, when we all still thought the lockdown was just an extended spring break.

As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t blame the organization that let me go. As the markets crashed, donations dried up, and my marketing job was considered non-essential for the charity’s operations. But losing my job was — unsurprisingly — the worst. The moment I got my termination…

As a vegetarian, I’ve never been all that interested in Beyond Meat, or the other plant-based meat options on the market. Luckily, they’re not just for vegetarians.

I’ve only been a vegetarian for a couple years, but already, I’m so accustomed to living without meat. It’s funny how quickly it happened.

There are a handful of meals I miss sometimes. A steaming bowl of pork belly ramen in a rich, meaty broth. A toasted bacon avocado sandwich to cure a Sunday hangover. A junior chicken sandwich on a late-night McDonald’s run with friends.

But for the most part, I don’t think about meat. I love what I eat. My main sources of protein are tofu, chickpeas, lentils, and eggs, and I complement those with an array of…

Quick tips to help your petitions and donation requests gain traction online

If there is one itty bitty silver lining to everything happening right now, it’s that we are seeing more people engaging in social justice, especially online. And they’re taking concrete action. Across my social feeds, I’m seeing more people than ever asking their friends, family and colleagues to sign petitions, call their local representatives, attend protests, or make donations to a cause.

It’s encouraging to see people taking concrete, meaningful action at times like these, instead of stopping at a vaguely supportive social media post. Donations, calls, petitions, protests — these are the activities that catalyze change.

That said, for…

A lesson from a fellow activist changed everything for me

When I was an activist, I got used to being told I was wrong.

We were doing anti-sexual violence work on our university campus, and it felt like all the forces in the world were working to shut down our efforts. Our cause was straightforward. We wanted better sexual violence prevention programs in place at our university, more supports for survivors of sexual assault, and better policies to handle sexual misconduct when it happened.

Campuses are hotbeds for sexual violence, and most university administrations do little to nothing to address the issue. The majority are much more concerned with the…

Working from home in sweatpants made me consider how my shopping habit was harming the environment

I can remember the first time I felt it — the itch to shop. It was in fifth grade, when my friend Kaitlin strolled onto the playground in a brand new pink floral rain jacket and matching hoodie. Everyone ooo’d and ahhh’d and admired the set, which was the height of elementary school fashion.

I spotted the same jacket in a store window when my mom and I were at the mall the next week. To my delight, I saw that it came in orange too, and I suddenly wanted it more than anything. …

It’s time we stopped internalizing sexism at work

Out of the hundreds of endless meetings throughout my early career, there is one that will forever remain cemented in my mind.

It was back when I was an assistant for an executive. The purpose of the meeting was to hand off accounts from the top executives to lower level development associates. They were big, desirable accounts, and the associates all had revenue goals to meet, so this meeting would have a significant impact on their success at the organization that year.

There were a handful of other people in the room, but the executive was calling the shots. He…

Kelsey Gilchrist

Toronto-based writer and marketing specialist. I write about equality, activism, and culture.

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