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Twenty one summers ago, I was 24 years old and working as a unit head at a Montreal day camp. One afternoon, at dismissal time, I was handed an envelope by a staff member. I often got notes from the parents of my campers at the end of the day, and I was busy, so I handed it off to one of the counsellors to deal with. He opened the envelope and quickly handed it over to me. “I think this is for you,” he grinned. I grabbed it, read it, and started to cry. It was a marriage proposal and a ring. Seconds later, my then-boyfriend Lee popped out of the bushes, trailed by a friend with a video camera, and asked if I would be his wife.

Lisa and I have always been there for each other. We support and encourage each other’s successes, pick each other up when we fall and send one another texts comprised entirely of strings of emojis that somehow capture exactly what we’re trying to say. Lisa’s who I call when I’m not sure of the answer to the million dollar question, or when I’m just out of dinner ideas.

Do you remember your real first concert? Possibly the one you had to go to accompanied by an adult. Mine was Elton John and my friend and I got to go with her adult cousin, which was super cool at the time.

Do you remember your first unaccompanied concert? The time you got dropped off at the Forum or went with an older friend who was able to drive? It’s crystal clear I’m sure.

The Tragically Hip was becoming my new bible and I got to go. We sat last row and it was the best night ever (more about the Hip later).

I’d be lying if I said that I was at the point in my life where I fully and completely embrace my body.  I totally get that it must be freeing to unconditionally accept yourself, I’m just not quite there yet.    But I can say that I’ve come a very long way.  My teenage years were a period of self-loathing, constantly feeling inadequate in comparison to others. I oozed insecurity.

My harsh inner-critic was so loud, so cruel, so self-deprecating…..it was deafening.  It has taken some growing up and some major work on my self-esteem to get to a place where I can genuinely say that I am enough.

Looking back at 2007, I remember a year fraught with physical and emotional pain. My agenda was replete with doctors’ appointments and visits to acupuncturists and nutritionists. I spent most days immobilized on my sofa, willing the excruciating burning in my gut to subside. On other days, I would be gripped by nausea so intense it would make me shake. My face was gaunt, my belly concave, and I dropped fifteen pounds.