They do work, just not in the way people think

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For three years, my Monday afternoons, Thursday evenings, and Sundays were spent at a hole in the wall gem shop next to a medical marijuana dispensary. To date, it was the highest-paid and most interesting job I’ve ever had.

We were open from 9 am to 9 pm and were home to a host of regulars who’d come in for mediocre coffees, free crystals, or tarot readings from our resident psychic and herbalist (yes, we had an herbalist on call).

In my typical shift, I’d be a barista, a therapist, and an exorcist all before taking on the role of…

Here are the habits that got me there

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Ask anyone that knows me: I can fall asleep anywhere.

I’ve introduced myself to people at parties, to which they reply, sly grins on their faces, that not only were they introduced to me weeks prior, but that I had been dead asleep on the couch while the party rages around me. My boyfriend’s friend has photos of me, mouth wide open, fast asleep on a fifteen-minute flight. For four years, I slept in the attic of my parents' house, where the summer temperatures reached forty degrees celsius. …

Going vegan, then going back: one year later

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When I was vegan, I’d carry an indigence around with me wherever I went. What I was doing was right, morally and socially. Everyone else was wrong. Not only was it right, but it was also easy.

In a way, I had a point.

Being vegan for three years gives you a leg to stand on with certain points — no, it’s not hard to find food; yes, there are some vegan cheeses that taste good; no, it’s not all beans and rice. It is easy, simple, and (depending on where you live) can be cheap. …

closest I can come to explain
it’s those mid-july afternoons
laying on a trampoline hot and stained
wasting days looking at the sun in the skies
all you see is that
black, orange, red…

If you’re not close enough to be sweat on, was it even worth it?

That night held the mystical warmth of the Pacific North West in January; light rain and heavy clouds holding in heat and humidity. The streets sparkled as the lamps bounced off the slick of the afternoon’s downpour. We walked down Yates street in a cloud of bodies, arms slung together, moving as one from the bus stops towards the music.

Friends passed me with a pre-game stumble, passing the stub of a joint. The smoke surrounded us in a sweet haze. Young, untouchable, and ready for anything.

We’d gotten tickets three days before, and we’d never heard of the band…

But then again, so have I

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There are only so many things you can expect from eating fried rice out of a marinara-stained Tupperware in the semi-renovated kitchen of your lackluster office. The list of reasonable expectations begins with small talk, the smell of other people's food, and a bit of sawdust in your mouth. Meeting your favorite celebrity from your punk-rock childhood lingers down near the bottom, alongside getting a raise, and discovering a cure for cancer.

It’s a moment you wish to have at thirteen, and by the time you reach twenty-two, you’re more preoccupied with the fact that you work in insurance despite…

On the things you hide from yourself

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When I was working in the crystal store, I would always offer black tourmaline. It’s an unassuming stone — black and chunky, glimmering only in the best positions. Without the hype of its benefits, I would be surprised if a single stone would ever be sold. But its benefits were second to none, and thus it became a must-have product.

It’s like a mirror, I’d say to curious crowds, holding handfuls of stones dug from the earth. It will show you everything you’re hiding from yourself.

I’ve always owned a few, but I’ve rarely put the crystals to work —…

Step Seven: Act like Keanu Reeves

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Sometimes all it takes is an off-hand comment from someone to make your entire day.

“You look like John Wick today. The jacket, the walk. A female John Wick.”

Let’s put that in one of my top ten compliments received. I’ll credit a good deal of it to the blazer of the day — black, mild shoulder pads, and surprisingly sexy looking for a blazer (the $20 discount price tag increases sexiness' tenfold) — but to be honest, that day I was just feeling good. Confident. It was a Monday, I’d had a killer weekend in the mountains, I was…

Written in real time

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

7:26 am: Shaken awake by my own innate fear of accidently sleeping through my first Saturday shift at the job I’ve held for five months. My first Saturday shift in over a year.

Weekends have been a blissfully unaware time since being laid off in March from my primarily weekend -heavy university job; my free-floating jobless spring; my “I only work weekdays” summer job where I stood my ground against working the prime biking summer days; and the first five months of my current employment where issues relating to staffing levels and global pandemics prevented our doors from being open…

Kae Smith


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