titled: untitled

the world roars
at its sons and daughters
you must be
The Other;
you cannot be Both

But we live in a world of
Not monochrome or unaries

Still we persist
We know that
Mother Earth knows
It cannot just be
Summer or winter
For we have autumn and spring
And sometimes in between

Still we persist
Our souls sing out
to remind
the world
that its melody is hollow without our harmonies.

Our souls know
We do not HAVE to be one or other:
Pretty and Smart
Strong and Vulnerable
Confused yet Certain
Believing and Skeptical
Broken yet Whole
Pink or Blue
In Transit yet already at the Destination

You can be one
Or the other
Or all
Or none

But it is your song
You sing whatever harmony
Is in your soul

If the world will not listen
Your song was never their treasure to hold.


During one of my trips to China

Being Canadian has always been a badge of honour for me.

Growing up, people would always ask me “What are you?” or “Where are your parents from?” and I would answer delightfully with “Canadian”. Then, the response from the inquirer would be something like, “No, like where are you REALLY from?”

It hurt. Because I thought that my answer was delightfully correct. Isn’t Canada a cultural honeypot? Being a literal representation of that Canadian mishmash was supposed to be a celebrated part of our culture.

Time and time again, I had to answer strangers’ intrusive questions. Sometimes, I didn’t mind. Sometimes, I really minded. Why wasn’t my answer enough?

When I just wanted someone to leave me alone, I would answer their question with what I knew they wanted, “I’m half-Chinese.” Which I hated. I loved my Chinese heritage, but I resented that I was constantly telling people that I was Half of something.

When I was feeling facetious, I would say, “Half-Norwegian.” No one stops a stranger to find out if they are Norwegian or Swedish, or Scottish.


We didn’t fit in at Chinese school.  At Chinese dance, I was always too big and too tall for the costumes. The older women always commented on my size. We drew our eyeliner differently to make our eyes match.  At Chinese school I was told, “It’s ok, your mother is only white.” I would listen to Chinese people standing right next to me, guessing whether it was my mother or my father who was white. They assumed I couldn’t understand them.

In public, people would often tell me that I looked like “that actress from that show”. I learned to start naming other mixed actresses. We usually looked nothing alike. We were simply the same race: Half-Oriental & Half-Caucasian.

Looking back, I resented these interactions. I learned how to laugh them off- I didn’t want to come across as a crazy person. Most of these people were well-intentioned in our interactions.  Now, I use it as a way to discuss race, culture, and bias.

Ny brother and I were in college when a friend of ours coined the term “Scandanasian” for us. Most of the time it was just a funny joke. To me, it felt perfect all of the time.  Being Scandanasian felt good because it no longer denoted being “half”, but being fully whole.

I wasn’t really aware of the hurt that these interactions caused  me until I lived in Hawaii. Midway through my time there, a local stopped me on the beach and spoke to me in Hawaiian pigeon. I looked at him confused. He apologized and said that he thought I was a local Hawaiian girl. As I reflected on that experience, a lot of realizations began to flood in. Suddenly I understood why I felt like I belonged there. I still cry to think about how at home I felt on that island. It was the first and only time in my entire life that I had not looked different.


Until that moment, I hadn’t realized that I had never truly felt like I belonged anywhere else. (when it came to my appearance, obviously.) I never thought this was important before, but in hindsight, it obviously had some kind of an effect on me. (If you’ve ever travelled in another country and felt like you stuck out like a sore thumb, this is the best example I can give to illustrate what growing up mixed-race in Saskatchewan felt like.)

I grew up celebrating my differences. I loved my heritage. I love lefse. I loved being in China for Chinese New Year. I loved being in Oslo for Suttendemai.  But it’s also good and honest to recognize that being different didn’t always feel good.

The reason I’m writing this is because it’s important to share stories like these.  We’re not trying to cause division, or make people feel bad for being curious. I remember watching a video a few years ago in which other mixed-asians joked about how they didn’t fit in, and I related to it so strongly. The more we talk about stuff like this, the less weird it is. It also means that we can relate to each other more and more.

A key thought to have in mind is to remember that Caucasian people aren’t singled out and asked, “Hey what’s your race?”. I’m sure it happens as an afterthought when someone has asked a POC already, but it’s not going to be the driving force to start a conversation. One of the major differences here is that not all Caucasian people will have been stopped by a stranger to discuss their race, but every visible minority will have had to discuss it with a complete stranger (who is probably Caucasian) at some point in their life.

I’m not telling you that you can’t ask people about their heritage. We want to celebrate everyone’s differences and where they come from in this beautiful and diverse country. I have had some wonderful conversations with people who are genuinely inquisitive. I’m not saying that asking people questions is bad.

I am saying that commenting on someone’s appearance is never ok. We don’t ask someone how much they weigh. We shouldn’t ask someone how tall they are. We’re careful not to guess at whether someone is pregnant or not.

Let’s put it this way: If you did ask someone how much they weighed and they answered it, would you then argue with them and say, “No, there’s no way that’s what you weigh.” This is ludicrous, right?

All I’m suggesting is that we put a bit of that societal effort into how we interact with each other when it comes to visible minorities. Obviously, we all have differences, and it isn’t bad to talk about them. What is damaging is forcing someone to give you an answer that fits your satisfaction.

If you are going to ask someone where they are from, take their first answer. It’s their choice to tell you who they are.

It’s not un-Canadian for me to ask us to be more decent to each other. It’s the most Canadian thing we could do.

My answer will always be this:

I’m 100% Canadian.

Single and Thriving

love ehjae

A Beautiful Spring Day


Women have to be on high alert at all times. “Is this person socially-awkward, friendly and harmless or should I be calculating an escape to stay alive and safe?”

It was a Beautiful Spring Day.

I was watching my step,


Careful with my camera.

Don’t fall. Don’t fall.

Suddenly I hear it,

That shrill sound. That whistle.

Call of the predator. 


Uninvited intrusion

into my Beautiful Spring Day.

Now I’m alert.

No longer focused on my steps.

Which escape route should I take?

Is this man harmless or unsafe?

Are his friend accomplices or amused witnesses?

I could fight him,

but could I fight three?

Why is this street so quiet?

Where is my phone?

Where did all of the pedestrians go?

Ignore his words while you calculate your escape.

Could my dog jump out to help if I needed?

Would I be heard if I screamed and–

I know that I’m pretty.

I don’t need your compliments.

I didn’t dress for your pleasure.

Finally at my car.

Lock the doors.

Drive away.

I just wanted to enjoy a Beautiful Spring Day.



I was outside at 4 PM this afternoon. It was a decently busy street. Several cars and pedestrians had passed by and I was just finishing up taking some photos for a real estate listing. I had just put my things into my car so that I didn’t have to worry about them while I took the last few photos that I needed. I walked about two car lengths away from my vehicle to get the right angle and as I was taking the shot, I heard someone whistle at me and the hairs went up on the back of my neck. There is an innate survival instinct that lives inside of women. We have learned to quiet it, “Don’t be such a crazy person, he’s just being nice.” But it should be allowed to roar.

This man stood between me and my car. He stood too close. He looked at me too eagerly. He asked questions that were none of his business. When I stepped back to reclaim my personal space, I saw two men standing in the area from which he had come. They were just observing.  I looked around. Suddenly, I was I was keenly aware of several details. My phone was in the car with my other belongings. The once busy street was eerily silent. I had opened the windows as wide as they would go for my dogs. I calculated best, worse, and the worst scenarios and started to envision my plan of attack. Would I throw my camera in his face, race around him and jump in my car? Should I tell him to shut up and risk angering him into violence? Was he just an awkward and harmless old man, brought up with the misguided belief that the way he was talking somehow pleased women?

Dear people who think that the world is “too sensitive” and that “you can’t even say hi to a pretty girl these days”,

Get over it.

We’re learning to listen to the lioness inside who roars to protect us, and she will not be silenced.


Dear Church

Before you read this, I want to make it clear that I am not addressing a specific church but rather a specific group of people that exist within all churches. 

It’s been a while since I entered the doors of your building; any of your buildings. Your houses of worship have slowly but surely morphed into a treacherous place. Every day I grieve the safety of your spaces and being with your people.

I used to fit in so well. I sang your songs. I prayed your prayers. I hung out with your people. I memorized your scriptures. I loved your songs. I loved your prayers. I loved your people. And I LOVED God’s word.

Many of your members have probably written me off as having abandoned my faith or turning my back on Jesus. The truth is that it seems like many have turned their backs on love, faith and kindness, and usually these members are the loudest among you. I have slowly watched as the belief systems I clung to and admittedly ascribed to with adamance and self-righteousness have fallen beside me. Slowly, all the theology has stripped down to a simple and desperate plea to God that His two greatest commands were still true. “Love God and love your neighbour”, while watching your members consistently choose to prioritize beliefs and principles over other people.

I can relate. I get it. I grew up within your doors. I know these scriptures on which this theology is built. I understand the vehement march for TRUTH.

I know part of it is my own fault. I’ll admit that. It’s impossible to become close with others without vulnerability and I’m no longer comfortable being vulnerable. What causes my vulnerability doesn’t fit into the category of “acceptable things to struggle with as a Christian”. I didn’t know this category existed until I found myself in this dark space and I had to wade through the thoughts and structures that had formulated through years of youth group, Bible School, Bible studies and like-minded peer groups. No one told me there was such a category, not outright. But we were taught these ideas from a young age.

The thing is that while I still know these things, I have changed. I’m hurt. I now personally understand the nuances and complexity of being human.  I’ve felt really uncomfortable walking through your front doors, but still I persisted. I was desperate to find that same sense of belonging.

As the change occurred within me, I began to be quiet. I listened. I watched. I systematically categorized people as “safe” or “unsafe”. I began to mourn the friendships that I once believed to be supportive. I could see that when I no longer checked off all of the “Christian” boxes, I was no longer worth pursuing, nor did my heart/thoughts/values matter anymore. I had too many things to sort through and not enough answers. Jesus felt far away and I had never experienced such a silent time in my spiritual life. Some of your members tried.  But it was often people I wasn’t close with so it made me grateful yet simultaneously anxious. The ones closest to me that I could bring myself to reach out to would eventually slip into silence, or the occasional “ We should get together” when they uncomfortably found themselves face to face with me.


A consistent theme began to show up: Non-Christians were the people who surrounded me without preaching, without spouting off scriptures.  They didn’t need me to fit into a mold, they didn’t need some kind of elaborate change to take place in my journey, and they sat with me in my pain without forcing anything. Non-Christians seem to be more comfortable with angry truths without immediate resolution and letting people work things out in silence. I was guilty of this before everything happened. I talked too much, didn’t listen enough, and wasn’t comfortable sitting with someone in their pain. I now understand how divisive and isolating that is.

For self-preservation, I began to observe. For the most part, I listened to the words people spoke or shared. I listened as your members words spoke to me while they were actually writing to someone else on the internet. Their words slapped me with the blunt self-righteousness that I also once had. I don’t think your members know how easily they slam your doors shut with the words that they speak.

Systematically, your members showed me which of your doors I could never enter. I don’t know which place is safe, but I do know which ones aren’t. It’s not God’s fault. It’s your people, those loud ones I mentioned. Arrogant. Proud. Unwilling to listen to those willing to be vulnerable enough to share. Fighting for “TRUTH” at all costs even if it costs the commandment to “Love your neighbour”. As I’ve been observing, arrogance and pride masquerade in many different ways. Condescension and an unwillingness to apologize is one of the most common ways I’ve seen it. Many of your members treat others as if they are “illogical”, “unknowledgeable”, and “too emotional” without being willing to listen to any other schools of thought. Don’t get me wrong, I have studied and understand the concept of absolute truth, so I won’t need your members to explain that logic to me. I get it. But I also think that we oversimplify and miss the point. All I wish for is a bit more patience, or kindness, or just a plain acknowledgement that some of the topics your members address can be really painful and personally relevant subjects. Meanwhile, for your members, it’s just a non-truth that needs to be debunked for the sake of politics or in the pursuit of truth.

I know some of your members might be upset by this “attack”, claiming that I’m too sensitive, or I haven’t put in the work to get right with God etc.  I suppose that is their prerogative to feel that way. I just had to say this because it’s been so long since I have walked into one of your buildings, and even longer since I felt like I belonged there.

Writing that sentence broke my heart. I didn’t leave because I hated you, I left because I couldn’t stay.

It saddens me to say this, but the most love, kindness, patience and acceptance that I’ve found have been with people outside of your doors and outside of your organizations. So for now, I guess that’s where I’ll stay. I’ll drive past your doors each Sunday and wonder if the day will come again when I will ever feel safe enough to enter.



Dear Danielle

A few hours ago, a post was shared in one of our Women’s Football Facebook pages.

‘Yesterday I received a message from a lady named Jamie. She has an 8-year old daughter named Danielle who loves football and is getting ready to play her first season of tackle football. Yesterday was her first football camp. She was the only girl at the camp and the only girl registered to play tackle this year and first for their league. She had a boy tell her yesterday “girls don’t play football, what are you trying to prove’ “

I wrote this post for Danielle, but I also wrote it for all of the girls out there. You are all warriors, heroes and ground breakers. Keep chasing after your dreams, no matter what they are.

Dear Danielle,

I know how you feel. Maybe not exactly the same, but I have an idea. I was just like you, I just wanted to play my favourite sport. I just wanted to be the football player I knew I was inside. Unfortunately, unlike you, I lacked the bravado to step out and actually play organized football until I was older. In fact, I allowed society to tell me it wasn’t even an option. You didn’t let that stop you, and for that, you are my hero.

You are inspiring. You are showing other girls that they too can play whatever sport, be whomever they want to be, and chase any dreams they dream, regardless of what is considered “normal”.

I used to skateboard too. But I let insecurities surface when I was asked over and over again, “What are you doing here?” None of the guys I skated with were asked that question, and quitting because I let their fears seep into my consciousness is one of my greatest regrets still to this day.

“What do you have to prove?” Nothing. Not to yourself, not to anyone. The better question is for those who questioned you, and it is “why are you so threatened?”

They’re insecure and feel like they are going to have to prove themselves beside you.

You do belong out there. You belong because you want to play football and it is a football field. You have no one to answer to besides yourself. It is my prayer for you that you push yourself into greatness in whatever you choose in life for your sake and your sake alone.

I actually wrote about some other amazing girls who were just like you in my previous post,  “Girls Games” . Their names are  Mo’ Ne Davis and Maria Pepe. Both faced adversity while playing baseball, especially Maria. The boys were so scared of her as a pitcher that they fought to have her thrown out of the league because she was too good! But she didn’t let it stop her. Her inner warrior came out, and she changed the rules for girls who came to play after her. When Mo’Ne Davis came to play, she became one of the best in the league!  Whenever it gets frustrating, just remember that you are doing amazing things. Don’t let anyone take that from you.

We’re rooting for you.

Love, Ehjae

I’ve posted other responses below too! (many have been shortened but not altered in any other way.)

“I play semi-pro Female Football in SC in the USA. It isn’t very popular here for women to play unless they are wearing little to no clothing. Danielle you are doing what you love and need to prove that boy and all the boys that say a girl can’t play wrong! Practice and play your heart out! The most important thing is to have fun! Danielle you are my hero for taking this step at such a young age! Go get em!”- Amanda

“Never let anyone say you can’t do anything.”
Love from the Oklahoma Lady Force.

“I have been playing for three years. At this time, I am the only girl on a men’s semi pro tackle football team. I have to practice with guys, and have to play against men that are two or three times my size, weight, stregnth and are faster than me.
When I first started playing, no one believed I could do it. Some of the men were rude, some of their wives and girlfriends were rude.
There were alot of days that I came home from practice frustrated, sad, or angry. I cried so very many tears… but NEVER in front of the men on the team. What I learned was that girls are stronger than anyone expects them to be, girls can both be beautiful and strong, girls can do absolutely anything they dream of.
My advice to you, young lady… is to go to practice every day and be the best that you can be..
Its absolutely ok to be scared, to be sad…
Do not give up on what you want, because someone doesnt believe in you.
Above all else, love yourself, and your family, do good in school and believe that you can do anything. BECAUSE YOU CAN!!”- Dani

” Don’t let them break you down just use that to help you get better and stronger, hit them like no one has hit them before keep your head up and no matter what we all have your back , and never stop your love for the game”- Patti

“Go Danielle! Always remember that you’re not alone when you have this entire international football family to support you. Keep it up girl you’re awesome! Much love from the Budapest Wolves Ladies all the way in Hungary” – Anna

The amazing comments go on and on. You are not alone. Please feel free to comment below if you have a message for the Danielles of the world.

All photos courtesy of Louis Christ, lchrist.com

Dimmed but not Extinguished

It has been months since I touched my journal, and even longer since I could bear to open my bible. These two staples of my life that once brought healing, peace, and comfort have been collecting dust as my heart seemingly turns to ash.

It’s not for lack of desire, but an overwhelming sense of fear. It’s not for lack of content, but the presence of unanswered questions upon questions and a pervasive loathing and contempt for the person reflected in my own writing.

I am not who I once was and I am not who I want to be. The words of Paul echo in my mind “I do not do what I want to do, but the very things I do not want to do, I do.” Yes, Paul. I feel you. I am often selfish, impatient, cold, and hard-hearted. I have never seen the direct result of disregarding God’s presence reflected so strongly in my own life.

It’s been a bit more than a month since I started medication for my depression and anxiety. I’ve spent a lot of time hiding from the “darkest” emotions in my soul, which has (in my uneducated opinion) led me to this place where I struggle to see the light. It’s funny how something so tiny can represent hope.

Why do I even write? I’m not sure. Some people call it courageous (it doesn’t feel courageous). Others say I need the attention.  I think this is my way of reminding myself that I’m not alone in this darkness, and I suppose I hope to God that there is someone out there who resonates with my words and it brings them a glimmer of light in their darkness.  I once lived as a person who could simply “choose” to see the beauty, optimism, and good in every person and every situation. I’m realizing that I was incredibly blessed to have had that ability, and I’m thankful for this new understanding that I now grasp.  Life happens, things change. We learn through life, and we grow and are ever-changing. My greatest fear is that I will burn every bridge in this journey. Will God really still love me after my desertion? Is He really patient, faithful, and kind? Will my family still love me after I continually let them down in my selfishness? Will my friends?

I’m learning that I can believe something to be true despite how I feel. I still believe that the same beauty, optimism and good exists in the world, but that my sight has been clouded by a dark veil. The light has been dimmed in my soul, but it is not extinguished.

To my loved ones: I am not lost, I have only been diverted.

To my dear broken souls: We are not alone. You will be OK. We will be OK. Today may not be the day, nor tomorrow, but SOMEDAY WE WILL BE OK.

Your light is only dimmed, it is not extinguished.

It’s Gone

I’ve never been ready. I’m still not ready. I don’t know how to express what’s inside and I’ve never been able to prepare myself for the responses I may receive. I’m still not prepared. This was an immensely difficult post to write and share, and my only request is that any responses could be thought out sensitively and lovingly. I’m battling this out the best way I can, and I fear that in sharing, I may retreat even further. I know that as soon as I share this, I will want to wither up into a ball. I will feel small, judged, useless, and far, far away from where I want to be. However, I also hope that in sharing, I leave some of this darkness behind. With that hope leading the way, here we go.

There are parts of my story that I just can’t talk about yet. This part of my story has been clawing its way out for a while now and I suppose the monster finally got out.   I’m sorry in advance, this is not an uplifting post. I know that this blog has served to bring light and love and hope to some, and that has always been my prayer and my purpose. More than that, I’ve always made it my purpose to be honest and genuine, no matter how raw it may be.  There is a gaping hole in my soul that can’t seem to be filled, and to keep it inside seems to be untrue to you and untrue to my journey.

I don’t know how to start, because the brokenness of my spirit seems so fragmented that I’m not sure I can.

The gaping hole? My faith. It’s gone. It wasn’t a decision. It can’t be forced back in. (Please, I beg of you not to try.) I’ve tried. I’m still trying.  Oh if I could only describe to you the desperation in which I have called out to God, the broken-hearted tears that I have sobbed, the emptiness in scouring the Bible for that glimmer of truth and light that used to always find me in the darkness.

The best way I can describe how I feel is as if someone has died; someone so dear to me that a piece of me died with them. I suppose that is true in a way.

I’ve had dark moments, but in those times- the light always shone in the window to guide me home. Today, I am lost in the woods and the candle has quit burning.

It’s not like I’ve become a drug addict, I’m not sleeping around, and I don’t party so hard that I don’t know what day it is (all things thought to lead to a lack of faith within the church world) My life looks the same.  I just. Don’t. Feel. God’s presence anymore. Surprisingly, life didn’t end there.

But I won’t sugar coat it either and try to tell you that everything is ok. I’m less patient, I’m less kind, and I’m less capable. My depression, which used to hit me hard somedays but always lifted shortly after, has become persistent, overbearing, and debilitating at times. I’m not going to deny that this isn’t a massive battle for my mental health as well as my spiritual life.

I am just a girl who has had some crappy things happen. In the midst of the pain I sought God’s comfort. I sought Biblical counsel. I desperately ran after healing. I busied myself with things that I love doing. I tried to do the right things and often failed, I’ll admit that. I tried to find meaning in the healing, and purpose in the journey. More and more, as the feelings of being lost, hopeless and the overwhelming desperation settled in, I felt myself floundering and often wondering why I was doing what I was doing, but I was just trying to survive. I still am.  I needed a break from feeling completely, and utterly broken. I think the worst part is having grown up in the church. I know all the answers that I could possibly hear:
1. I need to pray more.
2. I need to go to church more.
3. I need to just let God love me more.
4. I need more time in a community (which is effing hard when you are dealing with external and internal demons)
5. I’m probably making sinful choices that block me from sensing God’s love.
6. “Here are the top 10 verses when faith is hard.”
7. ETC…

(I even know that some people will be thinking, “no, you don’t do anything– it’s God who does the work”)

I would be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that I resented every word.  Songs that used to encourage now discourage. Quotes that used to inspire now breed hopelessness. I always wanted to be a better version of myself, because I was never good enough– and now I just wonder why I felt that way? Outside of the church, I have never felt more loved for my brokenness and struggles– loved Just as I am. Seem backwards to anyone else? Please hear me when I say that I don’t think it was the fault of any church body that I attended. I just wasn’t in a place where being at church seemed to help more than hinder. (I attended an amazing church for the past few years, I want to say that right now.) I  don’t understand how being in the midst of those people made me feel terrible, while being with non-christians felt more uplifting/less judgmental/more safe. I think it’s because so many people within the church seek to live honestly with their struggles, and I didn’t want to think about what I was going through, I didn’t want to be asked, I just wanted to hide from the pain.

Oh what I wouldn’t give to just love Jesus and walk with him like I used to. We were so close. He was my best friend. And now, I feel like He’s moved on. Like he was my imaginary friend and has decided to make me grow up from my childhood fantasies. I feel like I’m the desperate one post break-up who just doesn’t get why things had to end.

Right now, there are so many people who think I’m still the girl who loves and leads with a godly heart, and earnest faith. Oh if I could only just BE that person again. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time. There are moments, when I feel so lost. Because now, with all of these questions- if God isn’t real. If Jesus didn’t live and die for me. If my whole relationship with this “living” “loving” God has been a lie, then my whole life’s purpose has been shattered. I still live for love. I still live for people. I still believe every person is created/here with a purpose. I just don’t know what is at the root of that purpose anymore. And I’m not saying that I reject the idea that God exists either, I’m simply admitting that I struggle with it immensely. This is NOT where I wanted to be at 26 years old. This is NOT how I wanted to feel, and this is a faith journey/struggle that I NEVER expected, perhaps that was my problem: believing that this “Blessed Assurance” would never leave me.

I’ll leave you with my last journal entry, I think it really captures the internal battle that wages on. I can’t face the thoughts in my soul, but maybe someone else is struggling with this too. Power to you, my fellow desperate faith-vagabonds, my soul aches for you and with you and our journeys. I hope and pray (to anyOne who will listen and care) is that your souls find rest and peace.

December 14, 2015

I’m back. It’s been another long haul. I wish I could blame my silence on the fact that I can’t find my journal, but the fact of the matter is that I was avoiding the act of journalling. I didn’t want to self-reflect. I didn’t want to think about the things that have been consuming my mind– the questions and fears that I have been relentlessly pushing as far away as possible. There is a dark, ugly, black pit in the midst of my soul and I fear it grows everyday.


I lack faith in all regards. I lack it in a way that I have never known; In a way that terrifies me, yet brings me to a new horizon of true, honest questioning.

For the first time, I’m standing in an understanding of how calloused, insensitive, and ridiculous Christianity can sound to an unbelieving mind. Sadly, that is because I currently possess such a mind.

Although, most days, I still can’t admit it. It hurts too much.  I still possess all of the “Biblical, Apologetic knowlege”  that my hungry mind and eager soul has consumed over the years. My mind, when I allow it, is wrought with an internal struggle; an endless debate.  I desperately long for intimacy with Jesus, yet feel hopelessly lost in the thought that He might exist solely as an imaginary character that I have loved, cherished, and clung to all of these years because a religion enabled it. Simultaneously, my flaws are both embraced and disgraced. I love and hate myself because 1. God is love, yet 2. He “calls me to be Holy and Righteous, which are attributes far from how I would describe myself these days.  I celebrate and despise myself because we should love everyone, including ourselves but I still wonder how that lines up with conservative Christian opinions on many topics.

However, in the midst of this struggle, I have never felt more earnest, genuine, or willing to be unbiased in my questioning.  Is THAT love? Am I ignorant? Who is right? Can love and righteousness co-exist? How can/does love have limits? Can faith and science be reconciled? Where does faith come from?

For the first time in my entire life, no answers bring me peace.  Nothing makes me feel safe, nothing makes me feel sure of anything except that I am sure that I will never be the same. I will never fit in where I once did– and I will never fully understand any of the ideas that I currently question.

I say this out of desperation, not of arrogance– I’m not sure if there are any answers that exist that I haven’t heard, nor speeches that could help me in this journey. I’ve always been one to enjoy the journey of life, but this one can’t help but feel like a massive shackle that I will never shake. It all seems too big.

I still find myself talking to whom I used to call Jesus. I still call Him Jesus. Because I’m not prepared to give up on “It” being Him. He’s all I’ve ever known– But I can’t deny this growing knot inside. “What if I just needed Jesus to exist? What if I just believed that He is there so that I could feel more at peace about the unknowns in life? What if I want to be a Christian so that I can be the person that everyone has thought me to be?” I’m trying so hard. I only hope that if I’m totally wrong, and that the God I’ve loved and served with my whole heart for over 25 years is truly there listening and loving me- that He truly is as patient and kind as I always used to say that He was; As kind, and patient, and loving as I believe that He would be.

God, if you are real, I desperately need you to show me.  I don’t know how I go from believing with every fibre of my being that you love me and hear me and care for me, to this listless sense that I’ve been living a lie and talking to an imaginary being for my whole life.
What is happening? Why can’t I feel you? I know, I know.. it’s not you, it’s me, right? You’ve never left.. I’m the one who “turned away”, right? But why, when I’m turning and turning and turning around, I still don’t see you? I still don’t feel you?
Emotionally, everything inside of me wants you to be true; to be real; to not be a fairy tale.  But I can’t wish you into reality anymore than I could with a dragon. I want to be sure that you are real- that would be easier.  All I know is that my so-called faith as of late is nothing more that this: a desperate hope that you are true.  But for my lack of trust, I can’t help but feel as though I wouldn’t really deserve your love if it is there.

love ehjae

Why I was ashamed to be a Canadian

I think the best way to begin this is by telling you about my family history.
My father arrived to this beautiful country all by himself as a teenager. After finishing high school in Manitoba, he came to study at the University of Saskatchewan where he met my mother, received his two degrees and proceeded to work there for another two decades.

Over my entire lifetime, I have had to learn about ignorance because it wasn’t something that even existed to cross my mind as a child. My household was a literal example of cross-cultural acceptance.  I simply thought it was normal that people had different backgrounds and cultures. I learnt about Norwegian customs: we celebrated Christmas eve with Yule Bread, the Nativity scene, and lefse. I learnt about Chinese New Year: All of the superstitions, what the big meal meant, and how to get that red envelope from my elders 😉 Two of my great aunts spent several decades overseas, one in India and the other in Ethiopia, so we heard all kinds of stories about life across the globe and how differently people lived, yet how similarly we all love.

Most importantly, I learnt about how crucial it is to embrace people and make them feel like they are home. My mom has taught English as an Additional Language to immigrants, and my dad worked as a researcher out of the University for years. Through their jobs, we met several different people from all over the globe.  Over the years, on holidays and for different family events, we welcomed foreign students, new immigrants and some people who just couldn’t get all the way home for special holidays. I remember my dad once telling me that it was important to him to do so because so many people welcomed him and made him feel at home when he came to Canada. It never really was a question, if we knew someone would be alone for a holiday, they were to be invited to the Chan household.

Tonight I sat in shock as he recounted the following story to me. He has an assigned parking spot at the location where he has been working. When he came to park in that spot, he was surprised to find someone sitting in the spot. After pointing to indicate that it was his spot, the driver refused to move for him. After a bit of a standoff, he had to go back to work, so he got out of his car and asked the lady to move out of his parking spot. Her response still confuses me. “You’re trouble. You immigrants are the problem.” She then threatened to call the police and told him he was in trouble.

Ok, let me just stop there. I’m very confused by this statement. So, his immigration to Canada over 4 decades ago somehow relates to YOU parking in HIS spot HOW? This person repeated this phrase and sentences similar to it over and over again, somehow insulted by his simple request to park in the spot that he was entitled to.

In light of recent events around the world, the issue of immigration/refugees has garnered quite a lot of spotlight. Ignorant, rude, racist statements have been exchanged over social media and fear has somehow overtaken this once open-hearted nation. My father, who always seems to find a way to make new friends laugh, yet possesses a quiet, strong way of taking in the world around him has never been one to “cause trouble” because he believes it wouldn’t change anything. Perhaps he is right. I’m sure there are people who will always harbour this kind of fear, anger, hatred and ignorance in their hearts. But I have to believe that the more we talk about how wrong these kinds of occurrences are, the less it will happen.  My heart is broken, and it took me a while to figure out why.

My heart is broken, because I realized that it had nothing to do with my father being an immigrant, and everything to do with the fact that he wasn’t white. And some white person somehow believed that she was more entitled to a parking spot for that simple fact. Here’s a thought: Unless you can trace your ancestry back and are 100% native to this land, all of us have been immigrants, or come from people who immigrated at some point.  And, not only have we broken the hearts of those who cared for and loved this land before we set foot on it, but have flourished simply from being here, instead of somewhere else.  How does that entitle any of us to anything more than another? This kind of hatred and ignorance is something that I had believed in my heart of hearts wasn’t part of Canada. I don’t know that I could say that I’ve ever felt ashamed of being a Canadian until tonight. Because tonight, I am ashamed of sharing citizenship with someone who could be so wrong.

But then, I think of others who have immigrated to this country. And it makes me proud to share citizenship with someone who could be so right. And this is what being a Canadian is truly about. My father has taught me a lot of things about being a Canadian: do not create conflict- but stand up for yourself and what is right, respect your government, seek peace,  care for your neighbours and your neighbours’ neighbours, always do what is right-even when no one is watching, work hard, do your best, be proud of who you are, show grace and forgiveness even if it is unsolicited and probably undeserved.  I suppose I have a lot to learn from my father, who it seems, has grasped the true nature of being Canadian better than some who were born on this soil.

Initially I was angry, and wanted to post an image of that person, but I knew it would only create more anger and backlash for that person. I guess you could say that I then became ashamed of my own anger and hateful attitude.  Plus, I just don’t believe this kind of hurtful behaviour really deserves specific attention. Despite my own initial anger, I know this is not the Canadian way.

In conclusion, I’m not ashamed of our country at all and I’m sorry if the title threw you off. I’m ashamed that we still have people like this here. Because I do believe that we are a nation that stands for multiculturalism and tolerance and peace. None of these attributes were represented in this woman’s actions, but I believe that my dad did stand for these things in his response. Initially what I wrote began as an angry outlet, which I didn’t necessarily intend to share, given the amount of anger already floating around on the Internet. It soon became my attempt to write a different sort of post- one that doesn’t just stand by and let this kind of behavior simply happen without note, but brings to light a more positive outlook instead of feeding the monster I call the angry Internet troll. Peace, love, grace and patriotism do prevail- I LOVE being Canadian. It’s true: pride ourselves on being kind, polite, and welcoming, and we do love beer, maple syrup and hockey (along with apologizing too much, eh?).

But let’s not fool ourselves, we still have much work to do. Above all my patriotism lies with the human race and all of the people fighting to let love win. Far too often, people stand on two sides of an issue and fire different kinds of hatred at each other. I’m hoping this encourages people to stand for justice while keeping in mind that love and kindness go a long way.

My dearest Canadians and fellow citizens of this beautiful planet, let us open up our hearts again. Fight hate and fear with love, grace and forgiveness.


love ehjae




An Open letter to the Brokenhearted

I’m sorry. Those are words that you need to hear, but you may not have heard them yet. So, I am sorry that you are hurting.

You are hurt and confused.  You thought this relationship was the end of the games, the confusion and the hurt. You’ve thought, “Given the pain I’ve been through, there can’t be more.” Yet here you are again, alone with the pieces of your fragmented heart, wondering how it could happen again. After all of the time that you spent rebuilding and learning to trust again, how are you sitting in your room, crying over someone?

It will be your first inclination to close off that wonderful heart of yours. You are thinking, “That’s it. I’m not doing this again.  I don’t ever want to hurt like this ever again.” Please don’t hide that light from the world.  Not everyone will speak lies.  Not everyone will betray you.  Not everyone will hurt you in your weakest moments.  But everyone DOES see that glittering light that shines from your soul, and they are drawn to your love and joy. Don’t let him/her steal that from you on top of everything else.

You are asking yourself, “How will I ever trust anyone again? How will I ever trust myself again?” You will.  Not today, and probably not tomorrow; but you will. How do I know? Because that’s what makes you you.  Your resilient heart, your enduring optimism, and the light that you see in every other person. You have your own beautifully unique way of reaching others. Only you can love people the way that you do. Don’t let anyone put out your light.

Don’t run away from those wonderful friends and family in your life; those people who see your worth and never capitalize on your love.  They will endure with you, encourage you, and speak truth to you. (Even when you don’t want to hear the truth).  They will listen with love and care for you in the ways that you need.

Do listen to your feelings.  Do feel. Do process with your closest people. Do trust again, it will be worth it. The right person will never let you feel like this. The right person will never let you question your worth. The right person will see you, all of your darkness and scarring, and they will still choose you.  The right person will make you feel like you are the only person in the world that they could possibly love. The right person will be the one who makes you feel alive again.

For now, let that person be you.  Love You with all that you have.  You are worth loving.  Your heart is worth protecting.  Your mind is worth knowing.  Your soul is worth celebrating.

You will wake up one morning and the ache will be a memory; you will breathe deeply into your soul and celebrate the new adventures you are about to embark on. When that day comes, I hope I can join you on that journey.


love ehjae

3 Things That are NEVER Funny

I consider myself to be a person with a hefty humour, and I like a good sarcastic joke. But something that I have been reflecting on as of late is the misogynistic jokes that have found their way into my relationships with guys, and I let them slide because I didn’t want to be “That girl.” You know that girl, the one who is a little too intense about women’s issues, the girl who takes every opportunity to share her opinions about women’s rights.. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  But if I don’t take the time to speak these truths, then I am doing a discredit to the fiery passion for human dignity and empowerment that is written on my soul.

Here are three recurring jokes that I can pinpoint throughout different times in my life that are NEVER acceptable, EVER.


I have actually had guys jokingly threaten me when not happy with something I am doing or saying. “I will punch you in the face,” “I will kick you,” “I want to choke you right now.” I am not kidding. At the time, I would just jokingly return in kind, saying that I would hit them back or kick them in the balls. Now that I reflect back, I am horrified that I ever spent time with these people. It is NEVER funny to joke in this way. A guy who is genuinely concerned about your safety and cherishes you wouldn’t find this funny or acceptable in any situation.

2. Numbers

Believe it or not, I actually had a guy give me a score on my “Wife-Abilities.” There were categories such as Cooking, Appearance and Mothering… The list goes on. I kid you not. I know what you are thinking, “Where in the world do you find these guys, Ehjae?” You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I cannot express the damage that was done to my soul in this experience. While it is the most extreme case that I’ve experienced, sadly it is not the only one. I have heard guys describe women as numbers in different categories more times than I care to repeat. “Her face is a 4, but her cannons are a 10”
Women struggle with perfection and comparison on our own. We always feel like we fall short of the standard, and are gloriously reminded that this is the case with the barrage of media reminding us to stay fit, but not too fit; to be nice, but not too nice; to be successful, but not too successful; and to be the perfect mother/wife. If a guy ever, EVER removes your dignity by describing you OR ANYONE ELSE by a number, walk away. No, RUN away. It will never change, and you will forever feel like a prisoner trying to be freed from the prison of “Not Enough.”


Have you ever been called, “Woman” by someone? It’s always said in a mocking voice, “Woman, make me a sandwich; Woman, bring me a beer.”


Calling me “Woman” tells me that this is all that you see. You see my breasts, and the opportunity for conquest between my legs. I can hear some of you protesting- that’s not the case. So what is the case? What is the pressing need for you to diminish our worth? The sake of a joke? I can tell you that no one is laughing. And further more, why would calling me “Woman” somehow grant you power, as if to say that a woman is weaker and must submit to your request?

The verdict is out, and the joke is on you, misogynistic men. Women are strong. We are courageous, and we are not going to be treated like this. “It was a joke.” is NOT a reasonable explanation to ever do any of the above. Having let people speak to me, and treat me in this way for much too long, I hope that it will take some of the beautiful women out there less than a quarter century to stop enabling these destructive language and patterns. It starts with us, ladies.  We must stop joking back, and start walking away.

photographs. people. purpose.