[Updated: 15 April 2021]
You may have arrived at my Medium profile from a comment I left on your article. Or you may have seen one of my original pieces. Whatever way you found me, thank you for visiting and checking me out!
I am currently on hiatus. I just accepted a new writing job and am in the midst of polishing my first novel, so I am taking a break from Medium for the time being.
I write about culture, social justice, mental health, and the craft of writing among other things. …
I was sixteen and stuck on a chairlift.
I had just learned how to snowboard and this was another exciting weekend on the local mountain. I was having fun, so when the chairlift came and I ended up next to three tall, white boys in their late teens/early twenties, I didn’t think much of it.
The boys were loud, swore a lot, and intimidating. Like many ski/board bros I’ve seen, they refused to pull down the safety bar.
Then, one of them said something along these lines:
“Man, there are so many Asian girls on the mountain today. Asian girls…
Hi! I’m Charmaine :) I list my surname first in my bylines. You can call me Charmaine or Sharkii, which is the nickname a friend gave to me in Grade 6 that has stuck.
Since I was three, I’ve lived on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples , otherwise known as Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.
If you don’t know what “unceded” means, check out my explainer, but in a nutshell, much of B.C. was never formally given up to the Canadian government during colonization. Today, many progressives, artists, academics, and writers do land acknowledgements to respect this.
Audience participation! Join my monthly newsletter and tell me what you’d like to read about. Here’s what you’ll get:
Sign up here! Thank you for your generous support :)
Many of the friends I’ve grown up with have found success in medicine, law, business, engineering — you know, professions society traditionally deem important.
Sometimes, I feel left out and less-than when I’m with my friends and they’re all discussing some complicated, scientific concept. There’s a belief that STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, math), along with a few other things like law and academia, are more valuable than the arts.
STEM jobs are good, necessary, and worthy of respect. But the importance of STEM does not negate or invalidate the arts.
If you, like me, feel tempted to compare your…
When I was in Grade 7, my 2nd year in a new school, I was suddenly pulled out of English class and made to do an ESL (English as a Second Language) evaluation for "kids who recently moved to Canada." I was born and raised in Canada. I had never, ever done an ESL test in my life. I was even in enriched Language Arts programs at my old school, and I had no interaction with ESL in Grade 6, which was my first year at that school (and which would have made more sense to make the mistake then).
Obligatory Preface: I am not a healthcare professional and this article should not be taken as medical advice. For accurate information on nutrition, fitness, and Covid-19, visit the CDC website.
[Edit 21 March 2021] This piece is getting some traction, which is awesome, but I want to clarify that a) this piece is not meant to be advice; and b) I have not gained weight to the extent that it would have a negative impact on my health. I do not meet the criteria for obesity or overweight. For an alternative viewpoint on this issue, check out Eva Grape’s piece.
Around 2014, I downloaded Spotify for the first time. Since then, I have discovered a bounty of amazing new artists. I have added their songs to my playlists, bought their albums on vinyl, gone to their shows, and worn their overpriced merch.
But I wouldn’t have shaken hands with Japanese Breakfast or seen her show twice if it wasn’t for Spotify’s algorithm. Of course, algorithms aren’t perfect — I get recommended weird stuff all the time — but when I saw Martin Scorsese’s criticism of them in Harper’s, I wanted to defend the damn robots.
To me, the debate on…
During Spring Break in my last year of high school, my aunt and uncle invited my parents and me to their time-share property in Mexico.
It was a beautiful resort apartment with an enormous, roofed balcony that became the site of one of my favourite vacations ever. Not because I embarked on crazy adventures or swam with dolphins, but because I spent every morning lounging on that balcony snuggling up with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
Since then, I’ve wanted a house with a balcony. Something about balconies — their ability to be inside and outside at the same time—fascinates me…
How much time do you spend each day thinking?
I don’t mean thinking about what you’ll have for lunch or what you’ll wear for tonight’s date, I mean thinking thinking. About ethics, politics, whether or not God exists. I mean big thinking.
I know I think a lot. I think about reincarnation as afterlife, that perhaps we will cycle through every conscious being in the universe until we have experienced every life, because we all belong to a greater oneness.
I think about whether the world would be better if, instead of countries, everyone lived in self-sustaining city-states with a…