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When I first heard Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off”, I remember thinking that this was a catchy beat. After the initial listen, I paid attention to the success of the song — who was sharing it in my community? Who was enjoying it? It seemed like she was able to create a dance anthem for the current generation while doing something incredible — tapping into generations past. On her album, 1989, she explores so many great songs that all offer throwbacks to the music of the 80s. The music I grew up on. Songs like Out of the Woods, a synthpop song, instantly transports me back to my bedroom, hair brush in hand, bouncing around from foot to foot in my leg warmers with Roxette’s Joyride pumping full blast from my boom box. Not long after the song’s release, a video creator matched the music to a 1989 aerobic workout video and it fit perfectly. It

2007. I walked the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal until I stumbled across a tiny little gallery nestled in between other art galleries. Rue Saint Paul appeared to be lined with them and for whatever reason, on that very random day, I decided to wander into Espace B51 Art Contemporain to view some of the artwork that was on display. A particular piece caught my eye. It was bright and yellow and it shocked my system. The artwork had a discomfort to it and the person in the painting seemed to be experiencing emotional pain. I wandered over to it, dropped my handbag on the floor beside my feet and stood there. I was completely still and it was a few seconds before I realized that I had stopped breathing. I was completely captivated and enthralled and drawn in to a degree at which I had not experienced before in my

A few weeks ago, I sat on the plush, red couch in my living room having a great conversation with someone I love very much. It was the kind of conversation that fills you up with that juicy, positive energy that we all like to cozy up to and wrap ourselves around like fresh-out-of-the-dryer-sheets. A comforter of connection. The conversation flowed through various valleys and ravines but eventually it capsized after hitting up against one of my emotional triggers. You know the kind, the triggers with the sharp, jagged edges that remind you that you still have some sensitive scar tissue kicking around. Something was said in the conversation that made me react to a pattern that I had built up over the course of my thirty-one years. As I began to slide into my usual way of dealing with the pain of bumping up against this pattern — avoidance