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Grip - Fall 2013

Grip - Fall 2013

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Published by: Venture Publishing on Oct 24, 2013
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013 FALL 2

Flood of strength
A High River teen and her community were down but not out in the face of disaster

What it means to survive and thrive

Two lives at stake
How pregnancy became a wake-up call for a teen suffering from depression

PM #40020055

The Command Sisters: Teen duo rocking it in their own healing style

and photographers between the ages of 13 and 18. Join the conversation and help Grip cover issues that are important to you. Send questions and samples to creative@griponlife.ca. You will be paid. Really. Not a lot, but it’s still money.

Grip magazine is currently seeking writers, journalists, illustrators

The Flourishing Issue:

what’s inside

A Message from a new Grip contributor as well as three others who helped out with this issue

The idea of flourishing means not only surviving, but thriving, despite what life throws our way – which is sometimes tough. It means being able to meet challenges and set goals for ourselves in the face of adversity. In this issue of Grip, we examine the idea of flourishing from many angles, including teen pregnancy, mental illness, natural disaster and emigrating from one’s homeland.
A Hairy Problem One Grip writer talks about her struggle with mental illness, her road to recovery and taking control of her life
By ROsalIe CaRTeRs


It Happens anti-cyber bullying website; Mental illness awareness week; sweet recipe; Fun clubs; iHuman youth society; and Mental health myths deconstructed Plus! Music, book and video game reviews Off the Wall Quirky, fun-filled facts and images you don’t want to miss Help Wanted need some advice? Just ask Fan Fare nothing Cute or Idle Here: Teen sisters Command an audience, and heal a little along the way
By KaTe BlaCK

14 16

The Day The Water Came a High River teen remembers narrowly escaping the flood that threatened her life and engulfed her town, and the days that followed
By PaIge MCCRedIe

Giving Back Places for teens to lend a hand in Calgary and edmonton

Defining Flourishing Grip veteran writer brings his own meaning and life experience to explain what’s behind the word
By evan TRan

Quiz: Are You Flourishing? Take the test to see where you stand

Crisis Averted natural disasters like the alberta floods in June can have lasting effects on young people without the right intervention
By IsaBel ROdRIguez

And Baby Makes Two a teen mother shares her story of how becoming pregnant at 15 changed her life
By IRTIza Oyen

Opinion: Stigma and Mental Illness
By ann lee and sTePHen gusT

18 20 23 24 25 26 29 32

34 36

COveR IllusTRaTIOn: CarOLIne HameL

This Is … Sarthak Sinha Calgary’s whiz kid discovered a passion for science – and pursued it
By alexandRIa eldRIdge

Mind and Body: A Balancing Act syncing mental and physical health is more important than you might think
By alana WIlleRTOn

Portfolio Crafty! Grip contributors from around alberta share their sketches, photography, poetry and prose Dodge sonny is put to the test as he is faced with summer school to bring his marks up Last Word ever get a bright idea that turns out to be a bust? Check out these well-intended inventions
By evan PROPP

Where I Came From The joys and growing pains of being a newcomer to Canada
By IRTIza Oyen

40 42 44 46



Making Your Cash Count lesley scorgie, author of Rich by Thirty, A Young Adult’s Guide To Financial Success speaks with Grip
By ann lee

How To Drive Your Parents Up A Wall In 9 Easy Steps
By MaRlee salas

Find Grip on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/GripMag


From a Grip Contributor


he third-worst natural disaster to ever occur in North America completely devastated the small town I’ve called home all my life. High River. It affected many people’s homes, the majority of business, and unfortunately, some heroic lives. The power of water is never fully understood until actually witnessing it first-hand. For some people, like myself, we learned about the force water possesses the hard way by having our own rescue story. Read about how I experienced one of my worst fears – being trapped in a vehicle as it filled with water, on page 20. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have survived and be able to share my story with others. It is a story of facing adversity and coming out on top. Of flourishing. Incidentally, that is also the theme of this issue of Grip. Now High River, which has proven its resilience, is well on its way of being back to a new kind of normal. Businesses are set up in a temporary strip mall so people can focus on getting back to work, and other businesses are slowly opening one at a time. In no time at all, High River will be back to a “new” state of normality – possibly even flourishing. Speaking of flourishing, there are lots of great stories surrounding the theme in this issue. Among them is a Grip writer’s account of how she faced her mental illness and came out stronger for it on page 18; a teen’s struggle with depression and how an unplanned pregnancy became her wake-up call on page 29; two writers facing off in “He Said, She Said” over whether stigma affects people’s ability to deal with mental illness; and how a newcomer to Canada faced the challenge as a chance to recreate herself. Find all this, plus the usual book, game and music reviews, cool clubs to join this winter, and some helpful tips on how to stretch out your hard-earned dollars – and so much more within these pages. Grip is a magazine by teens, for teens, so there is sure to be something you can relate to inside, whether it’s having your question answered by experts in the “Help Wanted” section, reading a line from a poem that hits home or enjoying a photograph that catches your eye in the Portfolio pages. Enjoy! Paige McCredie


Fall 2013 | Volume 7, No. 2

Ruth Kelly

Joyce Byrne | comments@griponlife.ca


Beth Evans

Shelley Williamson | creative@griponlife.ca


Mifi Purvis

Beth Evans, Taryn Pawlivsky, Rebecca Hohm, Erin Walton, Shiela Bradley, Leslie Munson, Debbie Gray, Jennifer Basler, Trevor Vezina, Cheryl Houtekamer, Roxy Thomas, Trish Hanson, Melissa Jay


Charles Burke


Andrea deBoer Colin Spence Betty Smith


When all the other kids wanted to be pirates and princesses, Isabel Rodriguez always thought to herself “I want to write.” Now that she’s older, she says she realizes to be a writer you have to be all those things; to have an open mind, and to experience life from all kinds of viewpoints. She’s currently in her first year of university, attending Mount Royal University and majoring in English in hopes of becoming both a writer and a teacher. You can read Isabel’s debut piece in Grip on page 26. Evan Propp is 13 years old and a Grade 8 student. He enjoys video games, making sock animals, writing and cross country running. He has also been taking piano lessons for YEARS and has a job delivering papers. He has been writing ever since he can remember and has some ideas for the next great fantasy series with himself being the award-winning, world famous author. His life goal is to become a psychologist or a super hero. Or, perhaps a psychologist for super heroes. You can read his game review on page 14 and his article on page 54.

Brent Felzien, Brandon Hoover Karen Reilly | getgrip@griponlife.ca Kate Black, Devyn Byfield, Rosalie Carters, Tiffany Diack, Alexandria Eldridge, Christine Green, Samantha Gross, Stephen Gust, Ann Lee, Michelle Mark, Paige McCredie, Gabrielle McKinley, Irtiza Oyen, Evan Propp, Isabel Rodriguez, Marlee Salas, Brock Scott, Reshma Sirajee, Evan Tran, Joanna Tran, Alana Willerton Brian Buchsdruecker, Buffy Goodman, Eric Gravel, Stephen Gust, Caroline Hamel, Emmanuel Moya, Robert Propp, Robert Reid, Masuma Sheikh Grip is published by Venture Publishing Inc. for Alberta Health Services

The content of this magazine is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultations with your doctor or to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any personal medical and health questions that you may have. Printed in Canada by Transcontinental LGM Graphics Canadian Publications Mail Agreement #40020055 Contents copyright 2013 by Alberta Health Services. Content may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission from Alberta Health Services.

Venture Publishing Inc. 10259-105 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 1E3 Tel: 780-990-0839 | Fax: 780-425-4921 | Toll-free: 1-866-227-4276 circulation@venturepublishing.ca
The views expressed in Grip are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Alberta Health Services or Venture Publishing

Evan Tran has been contributing to Grip magazine for almost two years now, and he absolutely loves it! He only wishes he could have started writing sooner when he heard about Grip in Junior High. Evan is an avid gamer and a health nut, and has been playing piano for more than 10 years! He’s not sure exactly what he wants to do yet, but hopes that writing stories like the ones he has for Grip will be a part of it! You can read his CD and game reviews on pages 12 and 14 and his article on flourishing on page 24!



it HaPPens | news


Learn before you hit the slopes
Interested in learning something new this winter while getting active in the great outdoors without losing your social life? Winsport, the Winter Sport Institute, runs a snow school at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary with lessons in snowboarding and downhill skiing. Fall 2013 sessions begin November 16 (weather permitting) and Winter 2014 sessions start January 6, 2014. Afterschool and weekend teen (ages 1317) lessons are available in up to 90-minute group sessions and include rentals. For those looking for a little healthy competition, the WinSport Academy also offers seasonlong recreational and competition programs in alpine ski racing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing for various ages. Visit winsportcanada.ca for details.

JoIn tHe CLub
Financial literacy tips for teens
Got a head for business? Junior Achievement (JA) is a not-for-profit organization committed to bridging the talent gap and advocating for business education in the classroom. Across Canada, Junior Achievement offers 12 national programs, delivered to more than 230,000 youth in elementary, middle and secondary classrooms. Junior Achievement programs help prepare young people for life in “the real world” by showing them how to earn and manage finances, create jobs which make their communities more robust and apply entrepreneurial thinking in the workplace. For more information about JA programs, events and scholarships, visit southern-alberta.jacan.org (for Calgary and southern Alberta) or northern-alberta-and-nwt.jacan.org (for Edmonton and northern Alberta).

Get in the Writers Guild
Aspiring creatives can try their hand at being a writer in residence through the Writers Guild of Alberta. The organization offers week-long camps, suitably named Wordsworth, every summer for young writers aged 12-19. It’s a residency sleepover at Kamp Kiwanis and a place for teens to come and get a unique writing experience. Genres covered include spoken word, visual poetry, photography, comics, non-fiction, journalism and fiction. Registration for upcoming 2014 camps is happening now at youngalbertawriters.com/wordsworth. Youth who want to connect with other writers on a monthly basis year-round can check out the guild’s monthly writing groups, available for literary-minded types aged 14-19 (Edmonton) and 15-18 (Calgary). To learn more about or join one of the groups, led by mentors Erinne Sevigny (Edmonton) and Kelsey Attard (Calgary), visit youngalbertawriters.com/writing-groups.

Y not show your artistic side?
Teens with an interest in art can get creative on Thursday nights at the Art Gallery of Alberta, in Edmonton, as part of Studio Y. Studio Y Workshops are designed for aspiring artists aged 13-17, and offer young artists opportunities to explore their own artistic styles while learning about contemporary art-making techniques. The drop-in workshops introduce projects and ideas that allow youth to discover their creative voice, develop their range of technical skills, and explore materials in a supportive and challenging environment. Visit youraga.ca/education/youth.

My Dusty Bookshelf
The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reviewed by Marlee Salas
The Great Gatsby, written by the well-known and highly-praised author F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a story narrated by one of the main characters, Nick Carraway, about a mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby. The story begins when Nick moves to Long Island to pursue his career in New York. Nick’s new, small house is next door to a mansion that belongs to none other than Mr. Gatsby himself. After attending an extravagant party at the Gatsby manor, Nick realizes there is much more to Gatsby than meets the eye. When Nick mentions his new friend, Gatsby, to his colourful cousins Daisy and Tom, more secrets about Gatsby’s life unfold. Friendships blossom, romances are revived, secrets are shared and lives are lost. The story is equipped with the fancy parties, stunning cars and bold personalities that come along with life in the 1920s. While creating many memorable characters, Fitzgerald uses the tale to portray simple life lessons, into a monumental story. He paints a picture of the dramatic lives of his characters page after page, creating memorable quotes, characters and settings. The story not only captures readers with Fitzgerald’s impressive writing, but by the complex story that develops between the easily-loved characters. Gatsby, the main character of the story, always has an alluring side to him when he speaks or is being spoken about, leaving both the character and reader wanting more. After Nick meets Mr. Gatsby, he’s swept into the whirlwind life of Gatsby and company; yet, throughout the book he manages to maintain a kind of innocence. The Great Gatsby, a tale about love and lies, is fantastically written. The book may be old but it is no doubt still an incredible read. The classic was even portrayed on screen in a movie remake filmed in 2013. I strongly recommend the book to everyone, not only as a good read but also because it may open readers to other classics in the literary world. Grade: A-

CliCk out abuse
Website to combat cyber-bullying and photo sharing



it HaPPens | news


By Christine Green

It’s (not) a Fact
Despite increasing awareness about mental illness, many myths are still prevalent. Read on to learn about four of these misleading myths – and what the facts really are.

Debunking Myths about Mental illness
rituals (such as handwashing) are compulsions. The subject of someone’s OCD thoughts and compulsions depends on the person, so not everyone with OCD is troubled by perceived contamination. Other OCD behaviours can include constantly checking, arranging, counting, cleaning, organizing and more.

Myth: People with mental illness can never
lead a healthy and happy life or achieve great things. Fact: The majority of people with mental illness can live a full, balanced and productive life if they receive proper treatment. Many people can learn to live with a diagnosis of mental illness and still have a fulfilling life. For example, look at Ludwig van Beethoven. This famous composer had bipolar disorder but his talent is still recognized today. Also, consider a celebrity such as Demi Lovato, who has struggled with self-harm, bulimia and bipolar disorder. Despite that, she is still an actor, singer and soon-to-bejudge on the TV show The X-Factor.

Myth: All people who have eating disorders are underweight. Fact: Eating disorders are not diagnosed only according to body weight. Abnormal and unhealthy eating patterns, along with a preoccupation with food and body image related thoughts are a part of the diagnosis. Frequently weight fluctuations can occur due to irregular eating and harmful dieting behaviours. Binge-eating disorder can even cause people to become overweight because they consume such excessive amounts of food. Also, people with eating disorders who are recovering could be at a healthy weight but are still struggling greatly with eating disordered behaviours and thoughts. Myth: Everyone who has OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) washes their hands constantly. Fact: OCD can cause persistent and overwhelming thoughts called obsessions that create anxiety. The repeated behaviours or

Vegan Cheesy Pesto Pizza Bites
By Gabrielle McKinley
Looking for something healthy, yet delicious, but something vegan as well? Well, look no further. These Vegan Cheesy Pesto Pizza Bites are a little taste of heaven! What you’ll need: 4 ounces fresh basil leaves 1/4 cup pine nuts 2 medium cloves of garlic 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 French baguette 1 cup tomato sauce 1 cup vegan shredded mozzarella cheese Directions: 1) In a food processor, grind basil, pine nuts and garlic until finely chopped to make pesto. Add olive oil and salt and process 10 to 15 seconds, or until oil is incorporated. 2) Preheat oven to a broil and prepare a baking sheet by either lightly greasing with oil or lining with aluminum foil. 3) Slice baguette into one-inch slices. Place in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and spread approximately 1 teaspoon of pesto on each slice. Next, top each with approximately

sweet Recipe

Myth: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not a real mental illness. Fact: Depressive disorders, like SAD are recognized psychiatric illnesses. SAD is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, most commonly in late autumn and throughout the winter months. It can be as serious as other kinds of depression, because although SAD symptoms may dissipate when the weather changes, the symptoms are still challenging, if not debilitating. Symptoms of SAD and other forms of depression are similar. Since depressive disorders have long been recognized as mental illnesses and SAD is included in that category, it is clear that SAD is a “real” mental illness.
Sources: stampoutstigma.net, nydailynews.com, sharecare.com, ocd.about.com, aafp.org, mayoclinic.com

1 to 2 teaspoons tomato sauce, then sprinkle with vegan cheese. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before consuming. And remember, enjoy!


iHuman YoutH SocietY
By Alana Willerton
The iHuman Youth Society has been the beating heart of Edmonton’s inner city for more than 15 years, using arts-based, youthled initiatives to spark change in hundreds of Edmonton’s high-risk youth. Every day, the organization sees an average of 60 to 80 youth walk through its doors, most between 12 and 24 years old, who are overcoming addictions, gang affiliations, difficult family situations or are known to law enforcement. “Most of the youth are traumatized, meaning their environment is such that it has impacted their mental health. They’ve grown up and lived on the street and they may have tried to go to other agencies but they’ve been turned away. So, basically, iHuman works with kids that no one else would work with,” explains Steven Csorba, a long-time volunteer and brand-empowerment coach at iHuman. The non-profit organization focuses on outreach crisis intervention, arts mentorship and life skill development and uses art, music and fashion to try and keep Edmonton youth off the streets. After years of providing a place of refuge for at-risk youth, iHuman will finally be able to lay down some roots this spring. The organization has changed locations five times in the last 12 years due to a lack of funding, but has finally purchased a new building that will become its permanent home. The new space, a warehouse bought with the help of the City of Edmonton, sees iHuman jumping from around 10,000 square-feet to 22,000 square-feet of space. The building renovations will cost $10.5 million, though costs are being offset by donations of free services and labour by local contractors, engineers and architects. Csorba says the building should be completed by spring and that having a permanent home will make a huge difference to the organization’s effectiveness. “It just takes energy away from all the staff, mentors, the health and social caregivers … when you’re working in a space that’s less than ideal,” says Csorba. “When you contrast that with moving into a space where you have tons of space to do things, where it’s a permanent facility, where your partners can come in and you can be face to face with them and building solutions and working through problems, I believe that the program, not only in terms of its stability but its ability to showcase what iHuman can do for youth, will become a global solution.”

Mental Illness Awareness Week
By Michelle Mark
A local initiative has taken root and blossomed with a national campaign, as Alberta Health Services gets ready to align its “Flourishing with Mental Illness” theme with the larger, Canada-wide Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). The week, from October 6-12, operates under the organization Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) and aims to educate Canadians on mental illness through a series of events and national public service announcements. Although CAMIMH has been focusing on its “Faces of Mental Illness” initiative – featuring five Canadians recovering from mental illness – AHS decided to work with its own, smaller campaign under the overarching theme of resilience. Erin Walton, a co-ordinator of mental health promotion at AHS, said the theme of flourishing came from a desire to transform conversations about common mental health issues affecting youth – such as depression and anxiety – into a more positive discussion on resilience. “Our theme in mental health promotion really tries to approach our work from a positive mental health framework, and positive mental health has the basis of resiliency as its foundation,” she says. “Part of resiliency (is) if you’re resilient, you can be flourishing. So, people who are resilient and can cope well with life’s stresses and bounce back from adversity, those are people that you tend to see flourish in life.” Throughout MIAW, Albertans can expect to see increased information and resources from AHS about flourishing with mental illness, including posters, PDFs and quizzes. Walton said the main goal of the campaign is to educate youth and the general population about what flourishing is, and the many forms it can take. “There’s never just one way that we do achieve mental health. It’s usually by a combination of things, and they can be everything from healthy coping and health focused behaviours to getting proper nutrition, good sleep and physical activity – all of those things, plus many more, impact our mental well-being.”




it Happens | Reviews

on. They connect instantly and when a fatal accident draws them even closer, their strong connection becomes inseparable. But what happens when your hunky, purple-eyed boyfriend turns out to be the prince of an underwater kingdom? And next thing you know, you can talk to fish! Anna Banks’ Of Poseidon explores romance, mystery, and the dangerous waters of the oceans, as Emma and Galen work through their tangle of problems. Banks has successfully managed to add a new spin to the boy-meets-girl, mermaidromance genre, written not only for classical romantics, but also for every teenage girl who has ever wanted to escape to a magical undersea kingdom and have the entire ocean as her backyard. The relatable characters make the journey fun and exciting. Throughout the book, Emma and Galen’s struggles and adventures will have you on your toes, immersed in this entirely different world. Join Emma as she transforms from being a normal teenage girl to a super-powered human that has the seven seas under her command. Grade: A With the perfect balance between wit, humour and adventure, Of Poseidon is a must-read.

Timeless tomes for fall
1984 By George Orwell

George Orwell’s 1984, published 35 years before the titular date, is a definitive volume of the literary sub-genre known as “dystopian fiction.” Although it becomes textbook-ish at times, there is not a single aspect of the dictatorship left unexplored, which makes the scenario upsettingly plausible. Even if you are not familiar with the book, you have likely heard the terms “Big Brother,” “doublethink,” and “Room 101” – all coined by Orwell in 1984. Perhaps the ultimate compliment to the gravity of this novel is the adjective “Orwellian” which has become synonymous with “dystopian.” London in the year 1984 is a city of Airstrip One (formerly Great Britain), which in turn is a province of the nation of Oceania. Oceania has been constantly at war with Eurasia for all of history. winston Smith, however, can recall that only four years ago Oceania had been at war with Eastasia. in a tragic irony, winston is a member of the Outer Party employed by the Ministry of Truth in order to “rectify” the “errors” in historical records: magazines, newspapers, and archived media of every kind which are

not aligned with the Party’s current ideological stance and must be altered to suit the Party. Thus, the only objective record of the past exists in the mind – and if this can be altered, one controls all reality. Surveillance is common fare – devices called “telescreens” which simultaneously receive and transmit audio and video ensure that everyone is watched and heard, while propaganda is distributed. The telescreens cannot be dimmed or turned off, either, meaning once again that one’s only shred of privacy exists in one’s own mind. But even this is not absolute, as the surveillance exists even to the terrifying extent of Thought Police, and the natural progression, thoughtcrime. The year 1984 has come and gone, and nothing has existed like Orwell predicted. But 1984 is more relevant now than ever in the advent of social media and the sale of personal information. As we become a more globalized and technologically capable world, 1984 is becoming less of a fantasy and more of a cautionary tale. Grade: A+ Although some might award 1984 a lower grade due to Orwell’s idea-thick style, this is precisely what lends the novel power: it is so ideologically-detailed and meticulously worked out that it is altogether terrifying in its plausibility.

Of Poseidon By Anna Banks

it’s summer vacation by the beautiful ocean, and Emma couldn’t be happier. with the gleaming sun, blistering heat and cute boys, nothing could go wrong, right? wrong. in two seconds Emma’s world is turned upside-down. She collides with Galen, the hunkiest guy she has ever laid her eyes


Just because it’s time to hit the books doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the titles you enjoy. Our Grip team reviews a few faves.
In Case of Fire By Spencer Beach with Naomi K. Lewis
Reviewed by ChRistine GReen

spencer beach, a once young and healthy 29-year-old edmontonian, had a five per cent chance of surviving. he was given the choice to receive compassionate care (until his almost certain death) or to fight. he chose life. suffering beyond comprehension followed, but became part of his story – which he writes about in In Case of Fire. it tells what true strength is in the face of unimaginably horrific circumstances, which, in this case, were due to a jobsite incident. beach received extensive third- and fourthdegree burns to over 90 per cent of his body because of a fire on the job. In Case of Fire chronicles his experiences in the days, weeks, months and years that followed. you will cry, laugh and gasp, but the experience of journeying with him is worth the ride. One reason why his story is so compelling is that despite being permanently affected by the fire, beach is a positive person. in his own words he describes himself (after the fire) by saying: “i am an extremely hot man.” that remark is not beach’s only funny comment in the book. while not making light of what he went through, he frequently uses his sense of humour to engage the reader in an even deeper way.

the book is especially inspiring to those who have mental illness, severe injuries or disabilities. beach went through severe depression and anxiety; but, without giving too much away, it’s fair to say anyone would be encouraged after reading his book. Grade: A+ in Case of Fire is not just “some book” that you will quickly forget. If you want to be inspired and moved, you must read this remarkable book!

The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho
Reviewed by Reshma siRaJee

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist portrays a tale of an andalusian shepherd boy, santiago, who is on a journey to discover his personal legend in life. Personal legend, we learn, is an individual’s mission on earth – a mission which the universe conspires to help us achieve because it is the only way to attain true happiness. at this point, santiago is satisfied with just being able to travel with his sheep and fulfill his desire of admiring the great wonders of the world.

the story travels along the life of personal legend as santiago has a reoccurring dream about a child leading him to treasure in the pyramids of egypt, which triggers his present lifestyle. believing that dreams are God’s language and prophetic, he sees a gypsy fortuneteller, who interprets that there really is hidden treasure located near the pyramids. earlier in his journey, he meets an old king, melchidek, who advises him to listen to his heart, follow his dreams and pay attention to good and bad omens. along his adventures, he encounters love, betrayal, danger, regret and language barriers, which only help him to discover more about himself and the soul of the world. during his journey, santiago meets many people who teach him about personal legend: a remorseful crystal merchant afraid to try to live up to his desires; a beautiful girl named Fatima, who teaches him to follow his heart; and finally an alchemist, who instructs that it is more important to find the personal legend rather than the treasure that lies within it. Grade A- This story’s core belief is focused on self-discovery and flourishing through experience. the alchemist deals with very complex optimistic and analytical themes that will force you to think about the importance of pursuing your dreams. An enlightening must-read!



it HaPPens | Reviews


To top it off, disc 2 includes “Han’s Original Sketchbook,” a 28-minute bonus that highlights the original music suite that Zimmer created in the process of finding his thematic choices and textures. if you’ve listened to Zimmer’s music before, you know what you’re getting into. The soundtrack to Man of Steel will please fans of Zimmer’s music, but won’t be particularly fruitful to those that aren’t. Composition enthusiasts might not enjoy the bombastic bass provided by an overpowering brass section, present in “Tornado” and “Oil Rig.” Grade: B Zimmer’s latest creation is rife with his signature sound, which captures the essence of a brooding Superman. Unfortunately, Superman has always been known as a symbol of heroism, not as a lonely, brooding soul.

Cool beats to start your school year
need some inspiration to finish that 2,000-word essay? Here are some tunes that just might help
Man of Steel Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Standard Edition Hans Zimmer
Reviewed by evan TRan

Following high profile releases such as “Christopher nolan’s batman Trilogy” and “inception,” Hans Zimmer has become one of the most recognizable composers for movie soundtracks. Zimmer’s latest creation, the Man of Steel soundtrack, continues the blockbuster trend of synth and bass-inspired sounds. Those familiar with John williams’ classic “Superman Theme,” created back in 1979 won’t find any of it here; this is an original score that manages to differentiate itself for the Man of Steel reboot. So how does Zimmer’s “Superman Theme” compare to the one we all know and love? it does a decent job, a theme that orbits around a two-note progression that is strung throughout the soundtrack. The highlight track of the album has to be the last track, “what are you Going to do when you are not Saving the world?” it is here where the main theme gets to shine and develops with grace, intertwined with the feeling of the character finally becoming a hero.

Modern Vampires of the City Vampire Weekend
Reviewed by MaRlee SalaS

vampire weekend released its third album in May, titled Modern Vampires of the City. The band has produced yet another catchy album, filled with upbeat hits like “diane young” and “Unbelievers” as well as slower melodic songs like “Hannah Hunt” and “everlasting arms.” The band started the album in spring of 2011; it took roughly two years to finish. while most of the songs on the record were written in new york, the band also flew down to los angeles to produce and record the album. The four-person indie rock band – which consists of lead singer ezra Koenig, pianist Rostam batmanglij, drummer Chris Thomson, and bassist Chris baio – met while attending Colombia University in new york City. lead singer ezra’s hollow and soothing vocals man GRIPMagazine

age to amplify powerfully. They fit the music perfectly, like the way the band’s instruments seem to combine effortlessly on every track. Modern Vampires of the City is an album you could easily dance around to, sing along with on a road trip or even play in the background while you finish your homework. The album’s variety of song tempos and melodies makes it good for any occasion. it has a harmonious indie vibe that slowly grows on you more and more. Grade: A+ The album takes on a different tone from the band’s debut album self-titled vampire weekend and its second album Contra. Modern vampires of the City is a darker and more romantic sound, sure to leave fans of the band and new listeners pleased.

Lapland By Josh Mease
Reviewed by StepHeN GuSt

when reaching for a mindlessly perky playlist to take on your morning jog, Lapland is not the album you’re looking for; it is an Lp to save for when you can find time to snuggle up alone in an armchair, dig out your best pair of headphones, mix yourself a cup of hot cocoa and simply immerse yourself in music. Lapland is the debut effort from Nyc’s indie singer/ songwriter Josh Mease, under the pseudonym “Lapland,” a name appropriately reminiscent of the sparse, vast and atmospheric nature of his arthouse-style tunes. the album is one cohesive journey: Mease’s biggest priority seems to be experimenting with musical texture. the result is a collection of dreamlike landscapes, from the immense sound-quilt of acoustic guitars and inorganic synth in “unwise,” to “Aeroplane,” which aptly wants to drift the listener away, to the steel guitar twang of “Metal Lungs.”

perhaps Mease’s only downfall is the lack of variety among the 10 tracks offered on Lapland. what Mease tries, he masters; however, there is a sense that he has not pushed his artistic range to create Lapland. each track takes the listener for a trek through an immense “soundscape,” which is quite a listening experience, yet Mease doesn’t really deviate from this pattern anywhere on the album. this being said, since it is only his debut, and since his music pushes exactly the buttons he wants it to push, a lack of variety is easily forgivable. A sophomore album will tell whether Mease’s is a niche talent or whether Lapland is simply an artistic phase. Regardless, it is quite an enjoyable phase and deserves a listen or two – and that cup of cocoa, of course. Grade: A- A solid first effort, Lapland is a feast for the ears, if somewhat repetitive. Lapland is definitely an artist to keep your eyes on in the near future.

Trouble Will Find Me The National
Reviewed by bRock Scott

Trouble Will Find Me draws on some of the creativity of the National’s early work, but it is firmly rooted in the progressive sound that the band has been developing over the last 12 years. the same old National sound is

certainly evident; however, this album really covers more sonic ground than any previous album. the intro track “i Should Live in Salt” starts the album off with a folky strum in an unusual 9/8 time signature. it creates an interesting kind of rhythmic stumble that carries listeners through the album on a wavered journey, with expansive building arrangements revealing powerful melodies to ensure the listener’s full attention. Self-evidently, the theme of the album revolves around trouble finding the narrator. essentially every track on the album possesses some mention of “i” or “my” or “me,” making Trouble Will Find Me a vital and personal listening experience. certainly one of the most powerful tracks on the album, “Sea of Love” recites the name of the album in the chorus “if i stay here, trouble will find me.” the track is echoed throughout the entire album, not only in a thematic sense, but also musically. the track creates vivid contrasts

of big, bright, layered builds collapsing into deep and dark (yet familiar) baritone soliloquies. this contrast is echoed as soon as “Sea of Love” fades into the beautiful, piano-orchestrated “Heavenfaced.” the album ends with the ambient and powerful “Hard to Find.” the airy guitars and horns work together in a beautiful outro, wrapping the listener in with its finally revealed warmness and openness. it may not have been the feel-good album of the year, but it certainly captures that feeling that had been tantalizing the listener throughout. Grade: A Overall, trouble will Find Me creates a beautiful and interesting musical journey for listeners. Even though the album has a similar sound to previous albums, you’ll notice after a few listens, this album really shines through in its details. The National has really captured an amazing sound and this is a great album to portray all of what they’ve learned along the way.


it HaPPens | Reviews


Game Time
Here are Grip’s game picks for fall
Title: Brothers,A Tale of Two Sons Platform: Xbox Rating: T for Teen (XBLA)

Off th

Reviewed by evan TRan Last year, a PS3 exclusive known as “ Journey” was launched on the Playstation network, allowing many to revisit the realm of artistic expression in video games. Recently, the company Starbreeze Studios released its story-driven adventure: “brothers: a Tale of Two Sons” as an exclusive on the Xbox Live Marketplace – a game that manages to capture the harmonious essence that “ Journey” was able to imprint on us a year before. Two brothers must find the “water of Life” to cure their ailing father, and must rely on each other to survive. Thus is the plot to “brother: aTTS,” a fairly dark backdrop that contrasts with the serene settings the brothers travel through. Gameplay is centred on navigation and puzzles, which abound in this world of gibberish-speaking characters. The control scheme is unorthodox yet simple: the controller is seemingly divided in half and each side controls their respective character. The big brother uses the left side and joystick, while the little brother uses the right. interaction with the world is brought upon by pressing left and right trigger buttons in context-sensitive situations. it’s an odd way to play and it takes getting used to, but it supplements the charm present in the adventure. The game’s greatest flaw is that it’s a short-lived experience. Clocking in at around three to five hours in a single playthrough, it’s not a sufficient amount of time to get invested in the characters. it’s a shame since the experience, though fleeting, is an enthralling one. Grade: A- “brothers: a Tale of Two Sons” kicks off XbLa’s Summer of arcade with a short yet beautifully engrossing experience. Give it a try with a free demo available on the Xbox Live Marketplace accessible through your Xbox 360.

Title: Terraria Platform: Steam, Xbox, Playstation, iOS Rating: Everyone

Reviewed by evan PRoPP To jump into things, Terraria at first seems like your basic 2-d crafter game, but after a while you can see that this game has a lot more than first meets the eye. although gathering materials can feel long and tedious, it will surprise you how much fun you are having. one of the game’s downsides is after a while you will find yourself doing the same things over and over. it’s also hard to find the character that you want to be. building your house is something you need to do in this game. it gives you many little pieces of furniture like benches, banners, and tables and chairs – that will spruce up the interior. The multiplayer game doesn’t work quite as well unless you play it with your friends only. one good thing about it, though, is the feeling playing the game gives you once you beat one of the many bosses. when you start, they all seem very difficult but after mining and gathering supplies, you can take your first one on and probably win. after that, the game gets rolling and you seem invincible until you take on the last boss. after you kill it, the game only gets harder, to the point where you get angry at it. you can have many non-playable characters (nPCs) such as a guide, a nurse, arms dealer, or a clothier. To get them to move in with you first you have to prepare a room or house for them. For some you have to do extra things like beating a boss or obtaining a heart crystal. a bad thing about nPCs is how helpless they are – in no way can they defend themselves. Since it doesn’t give you a warning that they are being attacked, they will die often and it takes a while for them to come back. Grade: A GRIPMagazine

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want, (someone to listen, someone to help set up a counsellor, a visit to a doctor) but be open to their suggestions. You may receive suggestions you don’t like (get a job), but remember they’re just trying to help. “Another concern is how a parent might react. Will Mom be mad? Will Dad be disappointed? Most of the time parents are supportive and understanding if you express yourself thoughtfully and calmly. If it turns out your mom or dad can’t help, go to another adult (such as a teacher, counsellor, coach, or relative). Don’t give up until you find someone who can help you.”

Got a question that no one can answer, or that you’re too afraid to ask your parents, teacher or best friend? Send it to us at Grip. We guarantee anonymity, and we’re beyond embarrassment. We’ll find an expert to answer the most persistent question you have related to any topic: relationships, school, sexuality, puberty, drugs, love, life and the pursuit of happiness. So … what are you waiting for?
How can I tell my parents I am depressed? I’m sure they just think I am being moody and distant.
Taking on the above question is Fred Bowen, the program co-ordinator at Lasting Impressions, Hull Child and Family Services. “Talking with parents about depression takes courage and willingness to open up. It may be difficult to share personal feelings with your parents, especially if you think they may not take you seriously. That, however, may not be the case at all and you may be surprised to find tremendous support. You won’t really know until you try. Sometimes parents can offer a new angle that helps you figure things out. Just talking about it might help you see things more clearly for yourself. They can also support you in finding other resources, like a counsellor, if they are uncomfortable with more personal involvement. “If you’re like most people, you probably wish your parent would start the conversation. Sometimes a parent will ask what’s wrong. Much of the time, though, it’s up to you. Set up a time when you and your parents are most available for a serious conversation. If you bring it up when your parents have other distractions or are in a bad mood, chances are the conversation won’t go as smoothly. Be aware that this conversation may be difficult for your parents as well and be patient with them. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you

How common is it for guys to have eating disorders? Are there differences in how an eating disorder may show up in a guy vs. a girl?
Trish Hanson, manager of access initiatives and support, Primary and Community Care at Alberta Health Services, has taken on this question. “Eating disorders in boys are more common than you might think. According to NEDIC

(National Eating Disorders Information Centre, 2012), the lifetime prevalence ratio of eating disorders for males to females sits at around 3:1. This takes into account anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. The more commonly cited statistic is for restrictor-type anorexia nervosa (not eating), which affects females more frequently than males, at roughly a 9:1 ratio. “As far as how the symptoms might show up, guys and girls present pretty much the same – preoccupied with food, eating, and weight; voicing body image distortion and ‘feeling fat,’ especially around the abdomen; along with related problems with mood, concentration, and overall functioning. Differences are mostly in the societal trends and pressures that men and women encounter, dictating what the attractive body type is seen to be at any given time. For women, the ideal body type has progressed from waif-like to ‘strong is the new skinny.’ For men, the focus has been on whether they should be more muscular (‘bulky’) or more lean (‘ripped’) – and men have also encountered the waif look as a fashion ideal. “More males are accessing treatment for eating disorders. In the past many believed that eating disorders were largely female problems, adding to the stigma for men who might need help but feared that reporting their symptoms would cause them to be perceived as feminine.”


Help Wanted is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultations with your doctor or to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any personal medical and health questions that you may have. Email helpwanted@griponlife.ca or mail Help Wanted, c/o Grip Magazine 10259-105 St., Edmonton, AB T5J 1E3

The Flourishing issue
Flourishing is a word often used by mental health experts referring to people who are filled with emotional vitality and who are functioning positively in their private and social lives. They’re living rather than merely existing. In this issue of Grip we examine, from many angles, the concept of flourishing in the face of adversity.

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a hairy proBlem
one Grip wRiteR tAlks About HeR stRuggle witH mentAl illness, HeR RoAd to RecoveRy And tAking contRol of HeR life By rOsalie carters

26 29

crisis averTed
nAtuRAl disAsteRs like tHe AlbeRtA floods in June cAn HAve lAsting effects on young people witHout tHe RigHt inteRvention By isaBel rOdriguez

The day The waTer came
A HigH RiveR teen RemembeRs nARRowly escAping tHe flood tHAt tHReAtened HeR life And engulfed HeR town And tHe dAys tHAt followed By Paige Mccredie

and BaBy makes Two
a Teen moTher shares her sTory of how Becoming pregnanT aT 15 changed her life and perspecTive forever By irtiza Oyen




One Grip! writer talks about her struggle with mental illness, her road to recovery and taking control of her life


By Rosalie Carters*
Trichotillomania. It is a long word that I am all too familiar with. When my battle began, I did not know “it” had an official name. Later I discovered there was actually a disorder that matched what I was doing: compulsively pulling out my hair. The forced removal of hair by my own hands quickly became an ingrained behaviour. I have always been a sensitive person and a perfectionist. Doing the very best; not my very best, especially when it pertained to pleasing others was extremely important to me. As I entered adolescence, these characteristics fuelled my budding anxiety issues. However, what really ignited my disorder was a hair scare. After spending some time with other kids who later were discovered to have lice, there was concern that I could be affected. As a precautionary measure, my mom took me to have my head examined by a nurse at a clinic. During the examination, the nurse had to pluck a few strands of hair to examine the ends and follicles for the tiny eggs that could lead to a full-blown case of lice. Much to my (and my mom’s) relief, there was no evidence of lice. Despite that, the fear of lice bubbled within me. Slightly terrified, I started to pull a few pieces of hair just to be sure that I wasn’t harbouring unwanted little creatures. The thought of pulling out my hair did not occur to me until the lice scare. When my slightly obsessive fear of lice combined with my mounting general anxiety, my true struggle with trichotillomania began. My fear of lice eventually subsided, but I found a strange release when I felt the hair being pulled from my head. Although it may seem unusual, it extinguished part of the difficult emotions that were burning within me. Slowly, my daily stress continued to mount and I turned to removing hair from my scalp. At times, I felt rejected by certain friends and classmates, which only added to my hair-pulling behaviours. Perfectionistic tendencies with schoolwork and internal pressure to be perfect in whatever roles I played also created stress. My lack of positive coping strategies to deal with the daily stresses of life led to other issues that created even more problems. Not surprisingly, I increasingly turned to my trichotillomania-related behaviours. It progressed to the point where I developed a toonie-sized bald spot on the top of my head because that was the area I pulled the most hair from. There was a massive shame I associated with that noticeable bald spot – I could not stop pulling out my hair and felt deeply embarrassed. In response to my shame at the time, I bought a number of thick hairbands and hats to wear. “Why do you wear hairbands all the time?” “What’s with all the hats?” Comments similar to that became more and more frequent. My confidence dropped faster than a cheetah in pursuit of an unlucky gazelle. As I ripped a chunk of hair out, I felt relieved. That moment of relief was almost instantaneously replaced by intense frustration and self-hatred. This cycle of torturous thoughts caused other self-destructive behaviours, causing more problems. It was actually the other self-destructive behaviours and psychiatric conditions that led me to receive help. After seeing a family physician who suspected a couple of mental illnesses, I was referred to a psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with trichotillomania and a few other conditions that required prompt treatment. I was put on medication, including an anti-anxiety medication, in hopes if my anxiety was decreased, so would the hair pulling and other harmful behaviours. Unfortunately, the anxiety medication had virtually no effect on me. Meanwhile, the psychiatrist referred me to a psychologist who I talked to about what was going on in my life. In my most outrageous dreams I never would have imagined something so incredibly difficult and painful. It seemed like all of my illnesses were attacking me at once and I had no armour to wear. I felt as if I was an inflatable beach toy and someone pulled out the small plastic plug. The life within me, like the air inside a plastic toy, drained quickly. Fast forward a couple of months – and more medications and various therapies – and eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, I saw dramatic improvements in many of my conditions. However, trichotillomania continued to haunt me, just not with the same intensity. Stress, anxiety or other difficult emotions still pushed me to pull out my hair. This went on for another year and a half. Different medications, treatments, therapies and counselling finally seemed to help. There was not one thing that I believe freed me from trichotillomania; rather, the combination of mental health improvements through the various forms of help I was given. I now consider myself victorious and recovered from trichotillomania. I have not pulled out hair for months. That does not mean that I never have urges to engage in those behaviours, but I have found a way to overcome them. Sometimes I will use skills mental health professionals have taught me, such as “thought stopping.” This technique, just like it sounds, involves stopping a thought in its tracks and asking myself questions like, “What am I feeling right now?” “Why do I want to pull out my hair?” “What are the consequences if I pull out my hair?” “What could I do instead of pulling out my hair?” If I think it through, usually I can stop myself. Other times, when the urge seems too strong, I will do something to keep my hands busy, such as squeezing a stress ball or even doing a simple artistic activity like colouring. It is pivotal for me to try to manage my emotions before they become overwhelming and unbearable. I do this by journalling, painting, talking to helpful and qualified people, exercising moderately, reading inspirational books, going to a support group occasionally and participating in my religion. For anyone reading this, I hope this has given you a look into my struggle and a nugget of hope. I’ve learned that overcoming a mental health condition such as trichotillomania can be a strenuous and lengthy road, but it is possible to recover and regain your quality of life. It can be almost impossible to fight an illness alone, but with treatment, you can emerge successful! Do not let shame prevent you from getting help, like I did for some time. You do not have to suffer in silence. Tell a responsible adult you trust, such as a parent or a school guidance counsellor that you are struggling. Help is available and you are not alone. Even if you are struggling with self-injury, anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, recovery is possible with help. My struggle with trichotillomania is over, I have a full head of hair and I have found and continue to find positive ways to cope. With treatment, victory over mental illness is possible – I am proof! *Not her real name.

“It seemed like all of my illnesses were attacking me at once and I had no armour to wear. I felt as if I was an inflatable beach toy and someone pulled out the small plastic plug.”



Paige McCredie revisits the scene on Four th Street in High River. The platform she posed on during the flood, inset, was washed away.


The Day the
One High River teen remembers narrowly escaping the flood that threatened her life and her town. The days that followed were hard By Paige McCredie


photo by brian buchsdruecker

n June 20, 2013, raging waters engulfed the place I call home, High River. What seemed to be just another day turned out to be the exact opposite. I simply woke up and started to get ready for work doing my daily routine, such as checking my Facebook, of course. High River has been known for its flooding due to recent incidents in the past, so it was no surprise when I saw updates explaining that High River was under a flood advisory. Reading that didn’t really shock me, so I continued to get ready for the day. That day I decided I would walk to work, joined by my dad and my dog, Marty. We took a shortcut where we go behind the museum and across the railroad tracks, but when we got there we realized that crossing the street was not an option. It was surreal to see people crossing the street downtown in water up to their waists and others struggling to drive their vehicles through the water to find dry land. Evelyn’s Memory Lane and Café, where I work, is located on Fourth Avenue, and I could see the water was slowly creeping its way up to the entrance. The Highwood Museum porch was filled with locals. You could tell that everyone was distraught. Some were taking pictures, while others talked to one another trying to figure out

just exactly what was going on. After receiving a text from work saying not to come in, my dad and I decided we’d seen enough and walked home with our dog. Nothing had changed from when we left the house that morning. Dry street and dry house. I was sitting in our living room watching television, when I happened to glance out our front window and saw a thin stream of water running along the gutters of our street. It didn’t appear to be threatening, but I was wrong. Within five minutes, that stream of water turned into a river. Running on adrenaline, I ran outside to start moving the flower pots onto the deck lining the front of our house. Once the water reached the brink of the curb, it smothered the boulevard and filled the yard completely. I immediately knew our problems were about to get far worse than drowned flower pots. The water was approaching the deck now so I ran inside while I still had a path in. My dad was in the basement already and noticed water spewing from the toilet and shower and coming through the garage and the walls in all rooms. Since we had no sandbags, we had to improvise and came up with a couple of flour bags and heavy flannel jackets. It wasn’t enough. There was no point trying to stop the water coming in; we were no match for the force. Instead, I bolted for mine and my sisters’ baby photos as well as


several Rubbermaid containers filled with collectibles, old cut-out newspaper articles, and other memories. Carrying two boxes at a time, I ran up the stairs with water coming at me through the front doors and was able to place them on the main floor that remained dry. The garage door had burst open and my dad had a hard time keeping it closed. I took a few last loads up the stairs but my dad was getting concerned about the basement windows bursting, as the water was halfway up them. We waded back to the staircase because we knew it was no longer safe to be down there. Water was already past my waist. Our home is a split-level and the water was only one step away from reaching the main floor. At this point, dad suggested we at least try to leave in case the water reached the top floor. My sister’s car and mine were already submerged, revealing only the top of the windows, but my dad’s truck started. We each packed a bag in a hurry, including phones, and a change of clothes. We whistled to Marty and headed outside Climbing into the truck I was able to open the door but, due to the high pressure of water, was not able to close it. The original plan was to head east down the alley to the bottom of the hill, where there was dry land, but there was a garden shed floating there blocking our path. Our only other option was to head west and try to cross the street where the alley on the other side was dry. The water swept us away in the truck while we were trying to cross and Dad ultimately lost all control of the vehicle. The truck with us in it swept into our neighbours’ yard and banged around in the big poplar trees, smashing all four windows and sheering off both side mirrors. Due to the broken windows, water started to come in, causing the truck to sink. At one point we got stuck in between two poplar trees but managed to get unstuck and continue floating down the street right in front of our house. The front of the truck was submerged, so we were able to climb to the back and crawl out the window – planning to swim with the current to the bottom of the hill. To our pleasant and completel surprise, we saw a boat and began screaming and hollering for it to come save us. It was like we were in a movie! The two men

“There was no point trying to stop the water coming in; we were no match for the force. Instead, I bolted for mine and my sisters’ baby photos as well as several Rubbermaid containers filled with collectibles, old cut-out newspaper articles, and other memories.”
inside the boat were able to manoeuvre their way through the ravaging waters to the truck’s side. I climbed in first, carrying my dog, followed by my dad. They were able to transport us to safety at the bottom of the hill where people were waiting there to give us warm blankets and support. My dad and I climbed out of the boat – each wearing one shoe and the clothes on our back. A kind lady had given me her shoes and her jacket. We were extremely fortunate to escape with only a few scrapes, cuts, and bruises. My dog was wearing an old boat rope as a leash. My dad was still wearing only one shoe and sporting a bloody knee. He lightened up the mood with a joke: “Now all we need is a shopping cart to complete this look!” Able to coax a smile on others’ and our faces, we were safely transported to the Highwood High School that was now the Evacuation Centre. Here we found many others affected by the flood. My mom, who works at the school, was also there. We spent that night at a friend’s house up on the hill by the water tower, which we called “the safe zone,” as no water was able to climb up the hill and reach the neighbourhood. At about 5 a.m., we heard the fire truck’s sirens and firemen yelling in their megaphones that the town was under mandatory evacuation – and we knew we had to leave now while there was still a way out. Life after the flood has definitely been hard. What we thought would have been just a few days, turned into just under three weeks until we were allowed back in. Finally being let back home made me realize that you don’t really understand how much you have until it’s all gone. Our home was one of few that was categorized as safe for human habitation on our street. Things will never be the same, though. Many houses along our street and the street over have

to be demolished, including the Baptist Church. It will be like living in an entirely new neighbourhood when everything is remediated or rebuilt. The restaurant where I work, Memory Lane, was the only business to remain undamaged due to little things that all added up in our favour. All other businesses downtown sit there, still and lifeless. The only signs of life in those buildings are the construction and restoration workers toiling to save them so business owners can get back to work and restore their lives. Even though it will take years for High River to be back to normal, people’s spirits here are what keep us going. This flooding was named the third-worst natural disaster in North America, after Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. Such an extreme event like this, though, has brought out the good in everyone. Donations from all over the country have come in great abundance, and the coming together of everyone is extremely incredible to witness. Although it may seem High River is torn up and broken, it’s really not. It’s going to take a lot more than some water to break this town’s spirit!

Volunteering 101
Helping others is one way to allow yourself to flourish, to live up to your full potential, and feel good in the process. We’ve put together a list of opportunities and websites to give teens a place to start exercising their philanthropic muscles, and have a little fun at the same time. Giving Back
Places to lend a hand in Calgary and Edmonton Be a Reading Buddy
The Calgary Public Library is looking for reading buddies to bring stories to life for students in Grades 1 to 3. Reading buddies encourage children to read, offer a supportive environment to develop strong literacy skills and make reading fun! The library will be placing volunteers starting in late August for fall programs running in October through December 2013. Opportunities are at Alexander Calhoun, Bowness, Central, Forest Lawn, Glenmore Square, Shaganappi, Signal Hill, Southwood, Thorn Hill and Village Square locations. Dates are from Sunday, September 8, 2013, through Sunday, November 17, 2013. Required aptitudes include literacy skills, enthusiasm, patience and a desire to work with younger children. This position is open to youth ages 12-18 only. More information is available by contacting Jody Watson at 403-221-2062 or jody.watson@ calgarypubliclibrary.com. To apply online, visit calgarypubliclibrary.com. boot size – all with a little training from the rental shop’s experts. If you are 13 or older and are someone who thrives in an environment full of people, boots and a sense of excitement to get out on the hill, are able to adjust to the ever-changing ebb and flow of the crowd at peak and slow times, and enjoy the sense of accomplishment when hundreds of boots and poles are back on the shelf, this could be the opportunity for you. Required skills are strong communication, knowledge of skiing and snowboarding, and the ability to take direction, work independently and effectively in a fast-paced environment. To apply, go online to winsport.ca/volunteer or call Michelle Mungar Lumley, HR advisor for volunteers, at 403-247-5409.

Plan a Group Effort of Sorts
Got a day off school? Are you an organized group of four people or more? Do you like projects and crafts? Edmonton’s Reuse Centre is looking for groups to volunteer as sorters. Volunteer groups will help the Reuse Centre by sorting donated materials, alongside store staff. Individuals may also be required to lift items 10 to 25 pounds in weight. Shifts are flexible during Reuse Centre hours and training is provided. The City of Edmonton Reuse Centre has three main goals: promote the idea and benefits of reuse, provide affordable items to organizations/individuals and divert waste from landfill. Please contact Hayley Orton, Reuse Centre volunteer co-ordinator at 780-495-9851 or hayley.orton@edmonton.ca for more information.

Rock the Rental Shop
What do you get when you have 1,000 skiers, 2,000 snowboarders, 5,000 ski poles, 2,000 pairs of boots and a dump of snow? A very busy rental shop at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park! That’s why they are looking for volunteers to help the rental shop team fit hundreds of winter sport enthusiasts with the proper gear and get them out on the hill as quickly as possible. Duties include assisting with traffic flow at the entrance and exit of the rental shop; talking to guests in line and ensuring they have paid for rentals; escorting unpaid guests back to guest services; and helping guests back to the rental shop to get to their lesson on time. The opportunity also involves helping the rental team clean equipment and put it back in place and assisting guests to find the proper

old, speak English and be comfortable using computer games. Benefits to the experience include helping others, snack privileges, free parking, an annual volunteer breakfast, youth scholarship opportunities and pins recognizing service hours. A police record check is required through the facility’s agency. For more information or to apply, contact Shelley Sorensen at 780-735-2354 or Shelley.Sorensen@covenanthealth.ca.

Use Your Brain, Help a Senior
Like video games? Covenant Health is looking for volunteers to interact with seniors by playing “brain games” at the Villa Caritas, to help provide an opportunity for patients to use their fine motor skills, socialize, and have some fun. Daytime, evening, and weekend shifts are available, with a minimum two hours per week commitment. Volunteers must be at least 16 years

Other places tO pitch in: • volunteercalgary.wordpress.com • youthvolunteer.ca • volunteeredmonton.com • volunteeralberta.ab.ca • edmonton.ca/volunteers • volunteerreddeer.ca • volunteerlethbridge.com • medicinehat.ca



By Evan Tran

One Grip writer brings his own meaning and life experience to explain what’s behind the word

brought our momentum to a standstill. Sometimes, it’s the exam you got a mediocre mark on even though you studied all week. Other times, its heavier stuff: your friend is crying on your shoulder because of a conflict at home, or you start noticing symptoms of depression as your understanding of the world gets more confusing. Put in another way, our struggles can affect our morale, stop us in our tracks, and cause doubt in our ability to flourish. Last year in Grip, I published a story on tips to combat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Since then, I’ve gotten my feet wet in finding out how my brain works. At one point I asked one of my teachers about the nature of my mental illness and how to stop it. His response was blunt and simple: “There’s no way to get rid of OCD, there’s only ways to cope.” Here I was, struggling with an erratic OCD spurt caused by copious amounts of academic-related stress, and coping was all I could do about it?! That wasn’t a solution; coping is all I’ve been able to do ever since I was afflicted with this illness! As frustrating as his answer was, it instilled a new question in my mind that needed to be answered: Was there a different way of coping that I hadn’t tried? Is there a way to flourish in spite of the fact that my mental illness may never disappear?


s teenagers, many of us get into situations that have

It’s about having the ability to push past limits, in which we as people have been blessed with the ability to do.

I didn’t have an immediate answer for myself, and needed to find one. The school year ended, the summer blew away, and here I am writing about one of my findings in August. To flourish is to continue on despite the pain and frustration. One of the best ways to flourish is to be productive; occupying yourself with something that keeps you busy instead of being immobile. You can either be paralyzed in fear of your mental illnesses, or learn to move step by step. Many people see the end goal for mental illness as “I want to be cured” and sometimes that’s the problem – focusing so far ahead instead of fixing the issues in the moment. It’s a matter of mapping out your course and asking “what actions can I do now to lessen my illness, and what do I have to do here to move to step two?” You might not know what step two is, but it’s better to look for it than stand still and wait for it to come to you. That is flourishing. It doesn’t have to be the absence of mental illness, but the strength to move on regardless of your struggles. That’s the stuff of our favourite storybook heroes. It’s about having the ability to push past limits, which we have been blessed with the ability to do. It’s time to get up in the morning and think to yourself: “OK, I’m going to do more than anyone else can because I have something that others don’t, and my potential to grow from my traumas is far bigger than those without them.”

Quiz Are You Flourishing in Life?
Flourishing is a positive mental health concept that measures overall well-being and is important to the idea of happiness. People who flourish have high levels of emotional well-being (e.g., feeling happy, satisfied with life), psychological well-being (e.g., living life with purpose, personal growth), and social well-being (e.g., social support, close relationships).

Are You Flourishing?
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
I lead a purposeful and meaningful life. My relationships are supportive and rewarding. I like aspects of myself. I accept others. I am optimistic about my future. I feel like I am in control of my life. I am engaged and interested in my daily activities. I am meeting my goals. I have zest (emotional vitality) for life. I am on a road to personal growth. I contribute to the happiness and well-being of others. For the most part, I eat right, exercise and get enough sleep.




If you answered “often” and “sometimes” to the majority of these questions, you are flourishing in life. But remember, it is not unusual to fluctuate between these answers at different points during your life, depending on your circumstances. The content of this quiz is for information and awareness purposes only and is not intended to replace consultations with your doctor or to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any personal medical and health questions that you may have.





Natural disasters like the Alberta floods in June can have lasting effects on young people without the right intervention
By Isabel Rodriguez


y parents would tell me horror stories about the flooding in the Philippines during monsoon season. Flooding is almost a regular occurrence there though, so I can only imagine how difficult it must’ve been for communities that haven’t been hit with such a tragedy in more than 30 years. These catastrophes affect everyone differently, but more so for young people who may be still grappling with the situation, and for those with mental illnesses

who may be struggling most with the fact that their home has been lost so quickly, say the experts. During an event like this, people can become very frustrated and confused with how they’re going to deal with the future. This can result in long-term effects such as drinking, drug abuse, or even domestic violence. Experiencing such a downfall can affect a young person’s mental state, growing to become withdrawn and can lead to depression. In extreme cases, some youth may even show

symptoms related to post-traumatic stress. Alberta Health Services has been keeping a close eye on these stats, and says that fortunately they haven’t been on the rise. The difficulty of the flood can especially hit hard for those with mental health concerns. Change can be a very difficult process, and with any natural disaster comes both short-term and long-term effects. “Oftentimes, serious instances within somebody’s life are trigger points,” says Wayne Steer, Fresh Start director who spoke in a newspaper interview.


Material possessions, such as a beloved toy, blanket, or jewelry, can be of utmost importance to those young and old, whether they suffer from mental health problems or not. But to those who do, losing such an important part of their life can be an extremely stressful experience. That can result in a trigger point if they undergo a similar situation that might bring about severe panic and anxiety. The timing of the flood was also troubling for students who were about to take their PATs or diploma exams. Victims or not, youth had been attacked on both ends: those who had evacuated their homes now not only had studies to worry about, but to also deal with the fact that their home may not even be a home to return to once the waters recede. Students who live in communities that were not near the flood zones were also affected because the rising waters had paralyzed Calgary’s public transportation system.

A lot of teens relied on the trains to get them to their schools. With service restricted, as it was in the days following the Calgary flood, the stress of getting to diploma prep and even school, itself, to take the tests ran high. Thankfully, the Board of Education recognized the severity of the situation and made provisions to allow youth who were entering university the option to take or not to take their diploma exams. It was a tremendous load off the shoulders of Grade 12 students like me.

“Oftentimes, serious instances within somebody’s life are trigger points.”
But to me, the more remarkable event happened after the floods, when everyone, including the youth of the city, responded very positively to help clean up what the murky water left behind. Volunteering and joining together has helped build a sense of

community and a boost in self-esteem. The organizers of Global Fest gave away 2,000 tickets to victims of the flood in order to raise spirits. The Calgary Region Community Board has also provided assistance ranging from practical to financial aid to those who need it. Alberta Health Services was also proactive in its approach to dealing with the challenges faced by the young flood victims. Currently in the works are plans to implement more programs in schools to help younger kids deal with anxiety. Dealing with a natural disaster and coping with what comes afterwards can be difficult for children. Even if their troubles aren’t flood-related, there are still many other kids who need guidance and help with coping. In some schools there is a program called HeartMath, an easy-to-learn skill that is used for relaxation. Although they aren’t finalized yet, there are more programs planned for both younger kids and teens as time goes on.




The Red Cross has also announced a community outreach strategy for those affected by the Alberta floods in late June. It organized the distribution of basic necessities and clean-up kits to families in affected communities, assisted in the management of seven shelters, and has even set up an online donation box where you can make both single and monthly donations. Saddlebrooke is also temporarily housing more than 50 kids from the hard-hit community of High River, and anticipating more in the near future. Staff has also been hired to help youth settle comfortably. “Extracurricular activities are important,” says Dr. Michael Trew, Chief Mental Health Officer

of the province. “Things like basketball or reconnecting again with friends help these kids transition back into ordinary life.” The new school year will bring mixed feelings for returning students, he adds. Some may feel that going back to school will put them at ease, while others might feel confined, as if the whole thing is surreal. The best coping process is simply regular exercise, a good diet, and plenty of sleep. “It’s not the most exciting, and you hear it time after time, but it works,” Trew adds. To help those with mental illness, the most crucial thing is support. Family and

friends should keep themselves calm before trying to help their loved one in a state of panic. The constant reminder that “Everything will be OK,” and that things will get better in time will provide a source of hope for them, and make them feel emotionally well. Looking at things from a short-term perspective, many communities have really pulled together, creating a strong bond. This has given many youth a sense of accomplishment. From a long-term perspective, however, there are still a lot of unknowns and only time will tell how the flood has affected the lives of southern Alberta’s youth. The best we can do as a province and as neighbours is to lend a hand where we can.


PhotograPhy By: Buffy Goodman

And Baby Makes Two
A teen mother finds a silver lining despite having to deal with depression and conflict from an early age By Irtiza Oyon



Kidding Around: Raising a child as a teenage mom leaves Mercedes Larocque, above with her son Jayden, little time to be a kid herself.



he first things I noticed when I met Mercedes Larocque was her flaming red hair; next, her warm, bubbly laugh caught me off guard. Having no friends with kids of their own, I wasn’t sure what I had been expecting when I set out to interview a teen who had gone through pregnancy – but Mercedes was a wonderful surprise. As we talked on a bench ouside her school with the beaming sun on our backs, her story unravelled. “I first began showing signs of depression at nine years old,” Mercedes explains, adding she was officially diagnosed years later. Lacking a father figure in her life, she feels, contributed largely to her mental state: “I would see all the other kids and my friends, the sort of things they would do with their dads and with a father who rarely contacted me, I really felt that absence.” Although still undiagnosed with depression at the age of 14, seeds of the illness remained in Mercedes, easily triggered by the adversity she faced in her life. As a form of selfmedication to cope with her deep depression, she did drugs with abandon, and engaged in intimacy with the opposite sex frequently – and without protection. “To be honest, at the rate I was going, I wasn’t very surprised when I found out that I was pregnant,” admits Mercedes, “but the day I found out, I was terrified. I was 15 years old and was going to have a baby.” But how do you raise a child, when you’re a child yourself? In a sense, the pregnancy was a wake-up call for her. “When I realized I was pregnant – that I had another human being inside of me – I realized I needed to change,” she says. The negative stigma associated with teen pregnancy soon manifested itself: friends who had been close to her before began to refer to Mercedes with slurs and obscenities. “I finally realized the negative influence my friends had been on me,” says Mercedes. Having friends that condoned the selfdestructive behaviour she had been a part of had only worsened her depression up until that point. It was, in effect, a vicious cycle. Until her pregnancy, Mercedes admits, “I had been afraid of asking for the help I needed.” But being


pregnant, Mercedes now felt the responsibility of two lives on her shoulders and she began reaching out. “It was so difficult to talk about the experiences I had been through, and that was why I had put off getting help, trying to deal with things myself,” she admits. The first hurdle was telling her mother; having known her daughter’s lifestyle, however, Mom wasn’t surprised. “Mom wanted to be supportive,” Mercedes explains, “but at the same time, she wanted me to deal with my own mistakes. I wanted to be the best parent for my son, so I took charge.” The most significant source of support for Mercedes was the Terra Outreach Centre, along

“When I realized I was pregnant – that I had another human being inside of me – I realized I needed to change.”
with Braemar School. “At the Terra Centre, I was hooked up with my own support worker, as well as an educational support services (ESS) worker, who helped me out a lot with continuing my education.” Some of the supports provided by ESS workers included providing bus tickets for Mercedes to get to and from Braemar, or even simply being someone to talk to when she was having a bad day. “Another person that made a huge difference was my mental health worker,” Mercedes adds. Although she has been able to overcome her clinical depression, at times of stress, such as impending diploma exams to write, Mercedes experiences symptoms of depression. At these times, her mental health worker helps her organize herself: “We do things like write everything down that’s troubling me, and make steps to deal with the issues.” As Mercedes reached out, things began getting better. “Halfway through my pregnancy,” Mercedes explains, “my mom saw the changes I was making in my lifestyle, and became my source of support from then on.” Braemar School, easily accessible by transit, was Mercedes’ school of choice: with its integrated childcare system, the facility met both her and her son’s needs as she pursued further school-

ing. “I’m able to drop my son off at the daycare, and focus on my studies stress-free,” Mercedes explains. As she realized her passion for forensic science (using science to investigate situations after the fact) with the electives she took at Braemar, Mercedes explains, “I was able to discover myself.” Although some of her past friends were supportive of her pregnancy, ultimately, she made the decision to change her social circle altogether. “I think depression is something that will always stay with me,” Mercedes explains, “but the friends I’ve made through Braemar School have been through a lot of the same experiences I have. It’s created such a positive environment for me, being able to easily talk about my experiences and trade parenting tips with my friends, and that has helped me stay focused on the good stuff in life, instead of the negatives.” In terms of advice, Mercedes urges: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what my difficulty was, and if I had asked for help sooner, it would’ve been that much more beneficial.” By reaching out to the community and taking advantage of the resources she had at her disposal, she has been able to turn her life upside down – for the better. In the face of difficulties most people can hardly imagine themselves in, today Mercedes is an honours student at Braemar School. She plans to pursue her interest in forensics by majoring in biochemistry and forensic biology at the University of Toronto after graduation. Being a biochemistry major, myself, I felt extra kinship to this girl sitting in front of me. Her ordeals have strengthened Mercedes, and she feels ready for the future. As we packed up our things while the bell at Braemar rang for class, Mercedes paused, and stopped me: “I want to add something. When all of my troubles had started, I felt like it was one long, dark road I had in front of me. But to anyone dealing with a similar situation, I want to say, it doesn’t matter how dark the path appears; if you access the supports available to you, you’ll have the chance to find your inner self, and make it across that road. I didn’t think I’d make it to my 17th birthday, but now I’m almost 18 and going to university.”



He said s
Two Grip contributors lace up the gloves and take on tough questions about mental illness
I was confounded by the general response to the news of my diagnosis. People are much less eager to cross sensitive boundaries than the media is. Friends were respectful and kind upon hearing the news, and I was able to joke about my issues with them. For the most part, however, people are largely uninterested. It is astounding how self-absorbed the human psyche is – in my self-absorption I assumed that this would be life-altering news to them. Yet in

HIs OPInIOn: “nO.”
I can see why people say “stigma” may prevent people from seeking help with mental illness. In fact, my parents resorted to tricking me into seeing my psychiatrist. But I should note that the reason I have written “stigma” in quotation marks is due to the fact that it doesn’t truly exist. When the idea had surfaced at my house that I might benefit from a psychiatrist for my anxiety and perfectionism, I shut out the idea immediately and completely. After all, television, films, magazines – all forms of popular media – seemed to suggest that seeing a therapist humorously implied that you were “crazy.” I was too short-sighted then to understand that pride makes you look for things that aren’t really there, and if you find anything that can even remotely prove your point, you blow it out of proportion. I scrutinized all of the media I consumed for any shred of evidence that mental illness was the butt of the joke. Yes, I have seen one or two instances in which television writers took the opportunity to make a throw-away joke about a character being “crazy” because he seeks mental help. Somehow, for me, one or two jokes about mental illness on a silly sitcom constituted an entire societal bias against seeking mental help. In my self-absorption, I forgot that television programs poke fun at everything, including topics much more sensitive than mental health. The media has virtually no sense of boundaries and uses little discretion when joking about topics that require sensitivity; jokes such as these are not personal. I also forgot that the world is a much larger place than the TV screen – the media’s “opinion” does not represent the general opinion. The societal consensus is not that therapy is for “crazy” people, regardless of what you might think your late-night comedy programs tell you.

In my opinion, the stigma that may exist in the media does not exist among real people. Very few people hold the opinion that therapy is a sign of stupidity or insanity.
their self-absorption, this event which pertained so little to them was quickly forgotten. Your world may revolve around you, but certainly no one else’s does. Furthermore, this news came as little shock. My friends and family had already noticed my obsessive compulsive behaviour; it is not particularly easy to conceal. My fear was that seeking help would lower others’ opinions of me; however, the reality was quite contrary. If anything, the labelling of the problem telegraphed to others that it was on its way to being under control. For most, however, it simply confirmed suspicion and affected them very little. In my opinion, the stigma that may exist in the media does not exist among real people. Very few people hold the opinion that therapy is a sign of stupidity or insanity. I only say very few people because I have not met every person on Earth and cannot guarantee the phrase “no one” to be true.

People form opinions of others based upon character and the manner in which one conducts oneself; they seldom change. Not even for a mental illness diagnosis. Perceived “stigma” does prevent people from seeking help. An aversion to any notion of damaging our pride or undergoing humiliation is hardwired in our human nature. So much, in fact, that the alarm bells of embarrassment are often set off by triggers that are not real triggers. Thus, stigma does not prevent people from seeking help. Pride prevents people from seeking help, even when stigma does not exist.


she said
Grip asked “Do you think stigma around mental health prevents people from seeking help when they need it?” By stephen Gust and Ann Lee
or co-worker to confide about a family member with mental health problems, and that upwards of 46 per cent of the population believes mental illnesses are merely an excuse for bad behaviour and laziness. Because of these numbers, I think it is pretty clear that stigma against people with mental illness is a huge problem, and that it is probably one of the primary reasons why an individual may not want to get help. Sticks and stones can break your bones, treat you differently. Stigma surrounding mental illness can also cause people to discriminate against, bully, or harass you. Misperceptions and myths about mental health problems cause so much pain to those subjected to the stigma that people with disorders like depression may choose to suffer in silence. No one likes to be a pariah, and being branded as mentally ill may also be a cause of embarrassment to your family because there are various myths

Misperceptions and myths about mental health problems cause so much pain to those subjected to the stigma that people with disorders like depression may choose to suffer in silence.
but words can never hurt you, right? What if these words created a wall between you and those you loved most? What if these words cost you your job, or your home? If you stop for a moment, you may come to the realization that the stigma associated with mental health issues can be more crippling that the actual illness itself. Common misnomers include the idea that mentally ill people are incapable of being independent, and that mental illnesses cause you to be aggressive. Because of these kinds of beliefs, a landlord may be hesitant to rent a home to a person with a mental disorder, and similar pre-conceived notions may bar or limit employment opportunities, if the information is disclosed up front. As with other kinds of stigma, mental health problems cause many people to feel shame, and compel people you know to about disorders having a familial cause. To anyone out there who thinks there is a chance that they or someone they know may have a mental disorder, it’s best to consult a family physician. Many issues nowadays can be resolved or managed with a combination of prescribed medicines, counselling and therapy. It is also better to have a diagnosis because catching any problem early – whether it be a mental illness, or a car’s engine malfunction – is usually helpful, and knowing what you’re up against can make your life in the long-run much easier. And besides, thanks to better education about mental health issues, and the work of countless rights activists, stigmas surrounding mental illness that were once extremely harsh are beginning to subside. Hopefully one day soon, the problem of people discriminating against those with mental illness will cease to exist.

Her OpiniOn: “Yes.”
According to smsb.ca (sound Mind Sound Body), it is estimated 21.3 per cent – or one in five Canadians – have a mental disorder. Based on that statistic, one would think that because there are so many people affected, the stigma against people suffering from mental health issues is not a very significant problem. Unfortunately, that is far from the case. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (camh.ca) reveals that just 50 per cent of Canadians would trust their friend




Nothing Cute S or Idle Here

Teen sisters Command an audience, and heal a little along the way

By Kate Black
Photos by Magda Kirkwood Photography
arah and Charlotte Command are in a band together, but they don’t come from a family of musicians. Their dad played the trumpet in Grade 2, if that counts. The Spruce Grove sisters are everything but a cookie-cutter teen band, which leaves a lot of room for them to figure out who they are as musicians. Sarah, 15, and Charlotte, 18 – better known as the Command Sisters – are using music to heal others and find themselves along the way. They never sought out to be professional musicians. When Charlotte was nine and Sarah was six, somebody overheard them singing for their grandma and asked them to sing at an event. From there, performance

requests built up. Their career has now snowballed into two studio albums, Nashville performances and a party of fans across Canada. This afternoon, the girls are at Earls in West Edmonton Mall with their family and were singing to kids at the Stollery Children’s Hospital earlier today. As she sips her iced tea and pushes the last few noodles around her plate, Charlotte muses over how these afternoons at the Stollery capture her philosophy about music. “The main thing about music is that it’s meant to heal people. I think a lot of people miss the purpose of it. It’s not just fancy shows and cameras and lights and all that. It’s the healing, the helping, the giving back. That’s why we love doing it,” she says. Though their sound has a stripped-away feel in contrast to huge stage set-ups, people are taking notice. After landing a spot at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Cafe (it appears on the show Nashville), the girls caught the eyes of Nashville’s who’s who. Soon after, they signed a production/publishing deal with David Malloy (who’s written hits for Dolly Parton, Reba McIntire and others) and a management deal with Scott Siman, Tim McGraw’s past long-time manager. The two perform by themselves with minimal background music, allowing Charlotte’s unique, mature voice to shine. It’s punctuated by Sarah’s harmonies and skills on the guitar. Their YouTube channel racks up thousands of views and includes a handful of covers – including an acoustic, soulful version of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” – and their original songs. Songwriting comes easily to Charlotte, who has a knack for art and poetry. Sarah’s had her shot at writing too. She’d been writing a song over the winter in secret and didn’t want anyone to hear it. She finally performed it, though, when Charlotte was getting her wisdom teeth out, and had to take over a show by herself. When asked what the song is about, Charlotte cracks a smile, which bubbles into a laugh. They share a glance and break into a laughing fit, giggles concealing a secret between them. “It’s really personal.” “When people ask us how we write songs, it’s funny. Everybody’s different and I didn’t realize that until I started writing,” Sarah explains. “Charlotte can write songs about anything. I can only write songs if it’s totally in my life, like people I know or something that’s happened to me.” So what was the song about? “Let’s just say, it’s about life,” she says. Charlotte says about half the songs she writes are about things she hasn’t gone through herself, but she has seen happen to other people, like “Green and White,” a song written about last December’s Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut or “High,” which is about a friend who got caught up in drugs.“It just feels cool to know that you’ve written a song about them and they don’t know it exists,” Charlotte says. “Dude, it’s awkward though when you sing a song about a person and they’re at that show. We’ve both done that,” Sarah says, then laughs. “I think people mistake writing about real life as trying to call somebody out or blame them, but that’s not why I write. Sometimes I just get an impulse and have to write about it. Whether I’m upset about something or struggling about something, or somebody hurt my feelings, writing is a way to release in a healthy way without turning to negative things,” Charlotte says.

Music is a healing process that goes both ways for the Command Sisters. Writing allows them to “release” pent-up emotions, while their finished product is inspiring to other teens who may be going through the same issues. They’ve recently paired with the RCMP to produce an anti-bullying and suicide prevention music video for their own song “Something to Live For.” Often labelled as “young artists” by the media, the sisters are constantly proving their work is far from “cute.” Charlotte says they’re learning to blow off criticism when people dismiss them as teenagers, because the sisters feel that young people have something important to say. “It bothers me when people downgrade younger people. Younger people go through so much in such a short period of time,” Sarah says. “Once people figure out who you are and where you are with what you’re doing, they learn to respect you,” Charlotte adds. While proving themselves as artists and working on their upcoming third album, Sarah and Charlotte are still enjoying life as teens. They both like doing hot yoga and Sarah claims to be one of the only longboarders in Spruce Grove. Charlotte muses that she doesn’t longboard, but tries to keep up to her on her scooter. “My friends and I think we’re really hip because we longboard. But we really aren’t,” Sarah says. But you’re a musician. Doesn’t that automatically make you hip? “People automatically think you’re the cool girl because you’re on TV or whatever, but I don’t really feel that way.” By experimenting with new sounds and writing, the Command Sisters are crafting their own place in the music scene. Coolness or uncoolness aside, their fans and peers can agree that they’re definitely on the right track.



photography by brian buchsdruecker



This is

By Alexandria Eldridge

Calgary’s whiz kid discovered a passion for science – and pursued it


ost 17-year-olds spend their free time hanging out at the mall, going to the movies, or kicking a ball around the soccer field. Sarthak Sinha spends his at the lab. Since Grade 9, Sarthak, now a Grade 12 student at Henry Wise Wood Senior High School, has been working in a University of Calgary lab doing graduate-level research on stem cells. “I’ve been working on the possibility of introducing dermal stem cells as a means of clinical therapy for people with skin burns or people with spinal cord injuries, and seeing how we can regenerate tissue using the healthy stem cells,” Sarthak explains. If it sounds like pretty complex stuff for someone still in high school, that’s because it is. But Sarthak doesn’t consider himself any different from his friends. He just has different interests. “You know how a student plays soccer and they go night and day playing soccer?” he says. “It’s the same thing. I don’t see a reason why those two things are different. I love to do science and I can do that night and day, and I can do that with my whole commitment. Same with somebody who plays sports.”

“I love to do science and I can do that night and day, and I can do that with my whole commitment. Same with somebody who plays sports.”



38 Thisis Sarthak Sinha


While Sarthak says he loves science, he actually didn’t set out with the intention of becoming a researcher. He says before Grade 9 he really had “no clue” about science, but decided to give it a try. “No one is born a scientist. Back when I got interested in the field, I was trying a lot of things,” he says. “It’s sort of like a journey. You go on certain paths you didn’t anticipate before and you come out with a better idea of what you like.” To start off his journey, Sarthak had a scientific idea he came up with, and he wanted university professors to look at it. He began contacting numerous researchers at the University of Calgary with a scientific proposal. Finally, he heard back from someone. Dr. Jeff Biernaskie wanted to meet Sarthak and offered him the chance to tour the lab. Since then, Sarthak has had a mentor and Biernaskie found a way for Sarthak to be involved in a project. “That was sort of my big break,” he says. Ever since his big break Sarthak has been adding to his resumé. He’s continued his work in the Biernaskie lab, moving onto more advanced research, including how stem cells communicate through signalling – which could have implications for people with skin-related injuries or with neurological diseases. He admits it’s not always easy being the youngest one in the lab, but he’s proven himself through hard work and dedication. “I kept the spirit up of asking questions, doing experiments and learning new things, and actually started gaining the trust of people around so they start to trust me with bigger and bigger roles,” he says. His strategy worked. In the past several years, he’s presented research nationally and internationally, representing the University of Calgary everywhere from San Diego to Barcelona. He was also selected to represent Calgary at the Canada Wide Science Fair in 2011, where he won a silver medal. That fair was an invaluable experience, he says. “It was an eye-opener that I’m not alone in this journey. I got to meet a lot of Canadian students who were attempting to solve real-life problems.” Many of the students and mentors he met at the fair remain connections to this day. Sarthak has also competed in international competitions, representing Team Canada for two years in a row at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which attracts students

from 65 different countries. Sarthak received a third place medal in 2012 and 2013 in the areas of medicine and health sciences. As if he’s not busy enough with research and international science competitions, Sarthak has also taken on extra schooling. He’s studied at the university level – the Ivy League level, in fact, taking an undergraduate biology course during the summer of 2012 at the University of Pennsylvania. “What, in your right mind, would make you think that a Grade 10 level biology would be sufficient for you to take an undergraduate level course from one of the best universities ranked for medicine?” he asks rhetorically. Then he laughs. “It was a stupid decision, but I’m glad I did it.”

“It’s sort of like a journey. You go on certain paths you didn’t anticipate before and you come out with a better idea of what you like.”
Why is he glad for an experience he called one of the worst in his life? Because it was a challenge, he says. More than any of his other goals, Sarthak seeks to continually challenge himself to develop. He wants to work on his English and humanities subject areas once he attends university after high school graduation, as those skills have never been his strongest. And he has another reason for wanting to bolster his knowledge in the humanities. One of the accomplishments Sarthak is most proud of is his work with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada as an ambassador. “We design policies, like old-age pensions, so that’s something I’m really passionate about,” he says. “Sometimes it almost feels like you’re all about the biology aspect of the disease and you never get to see another side, which is the people side. Some of my interactions with MS patients have actually motivated me and changed a lot of my perspectives of how I look at things.” This experience with the MS Society has led Sarthak to decide his ultimate goal. He wants to be involved in the field of clinical science,

which requires a doctorate degree and a medicine degree. “This would allow me to look at the patient side of the disease and then take some of the problems back to the lab bench and actually try to answer that with research,” he says. This human interaction would give him something he’s sometimes missed in research over the past several years. “Science alone is isolating,” he says. But it doesn’t have to be, and Sarthak is hoping for a career where he can help others and be challenged and fulfilled himself. Judging by the already impressive length of his resumé, it seems pretty likely that he’ll get there. He’s already been listed on the on Maclean’s magazine’s Under 25 Ones to Watch, the Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine and the Top 20 Under 20 by Youth in Motion. He recently won the neuroscience research prize from the American Academy of Neurology, and gave a TEDx Edmonton talk on the future of education. That talk gave Sarthak the chance to speak about one of his other passions – learning. He sees some kinds of education robbing a student’s ability for creativity and ingenuity and doesn’t want to see that happen. And despite the accolades, Sarthak still thinks of himself as just an average kid who loves learning – and he never wants to lose that. “Nobody ever perfects learning,” he says. “It’s always a process, so there’s always room for more and more.”

If You are Interested In scIence, check out these cool camps In alberta:
• encana badlands science camp: tyrrellmuseum.com • mad science of southern alberta: calgary.madscience.org • calgary science school: calgaryscienceschool.com • university of alberta: science.ualberta.ca • red deer college: redhotscience.blogspot.ca • university of lethbridge: uleth.ca/science-camps




Mind and Body:
A Balancing Act
Syncing mental and physical health is more important than you might think
By Alana Willerton



ental wellness is the ultimate balancing act. Whether most of us realize it or not, our everyday actions have the ability to affect our mental health – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. And in today’s world of increased concerns and stress, it’s more important than ever to know how to achieve mental wellness – and once you do, how to maintain it. Mental health, which is essentially measured by our ability to find balance, happiness and resiliency in life, is influenced by positive and negative behaviours. But what many people don’t realize is it starts with the basics, from your diet to getting regular exercise to catching the proper amount of sleep at night. Erin Walton, co-ordinator of mental health promotion at Alberta Health Services, says each of these three things has a significant impact on mental health in its own way. The amount of sleep and proper nutrition we get, for instance, are both huge factors in how we deal with daily stressors. “We’ve all had those experiences where we haven’t slept that great and then someone says something to us and it hits a nerve the wrong way. Well, a lot of that has to do with the fact that when you’re not fully rested, you’re going to have to manage your emotions and how you deal with stress a different way because your body’s not at its full capacity,” Walton explains. “The same goes for nutrition. If you’re not fuelling your body to either get through a day or be able to manage all the stuff you do in a day, it can have a very similar impact.” She also highlights the benefits of regular physical activity, which acts as a natural mood elevator and can lead to increased physical health as well. While there tends to be more of a push for physical wellness in youth because of its tangibility, finding the right balance between the mind and the body is key, since they interact to play a critical part in our health. “Everything for me, in terms of mental health, is always about balance. How are you maintaining that balance [and] what are you doing to understand what balance is, because it is different for everyone,” Walton says. The effects of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs are not always the same for everyone either. For example, some people might try smoking once and say “never again,” but for other’s they can quickly become addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes and trying to quit smoking becomes a life long struggle. What is similar for young people is that they all go through physical development, and that includes their brains. Leslie Munson, a consultant with the Addiction Prevention Team at AHS, says “smoking, drinking alcohol or using other drugs can have a negative impact on the developing brain. And during the teen years and into early adulthood the brain is still developing. I think we also have to consider that during the teen years young people go through a great deal of transition socially as well. They face a lot of different pressures from family, teachers, friends and their own internal pressure of figuring out who they are and who they want to be. If you throw experimenting with substances on top of all of that – it can be kind of a toxic mix.” Both Munson and Walton agree that the teenage years are a critical period for mental health development. As youth begin to develop hormones, gain a better understanding of relationships and begin to

make decisions for what they want to do in their life, choosing between negative and positive behaviours becomes all the more important. For this reason, Walton says it’s more critical than ever that youth have a good understanding of what mental health is, which will hopefully prevent them from getting caught up in drinking alcohol, smoking and using other drugs due to peer pressure, bullying or other reasons. “I think in general, being a youth is hard these days,” Walton says. “There’s a lot of influence, and when you combine that with understanding that their brains are still developing, it’s hard to make choices that are in your own best interest if you’re feeling peer pressured. So I think that there are a lot of major influences on youth.” So why does someone choose a negative behaviour over a positive one? In the end, it comes down to coping, say the experts. The way we choose to address the issues in our lives ultimately dictates what turn our mental health will take – do you deal with stress by going out and partying, or by getting a good night’s sleep? We all cope with life and stress differently, but if done in a healthy way, it can be the answer to achieving mental wellness at a young age. “A really important point is for people to understand that we all are different, and the way that we respond to situations is different across the board,” Walton says. “The response to situations can be common, but the degree to which we respond to them varies from person to person. And that’s the same for coping. So it’s always important to understand what coping is, and what healthy coping is, and how that can help you get back on track from the mental health perspective.”

Tips for how To geT back on Track: 1. Don’t be afraid to tell someone if you think you’re having mental health issues. Open and honest communication is key, so confide in someone you trust, whether that’s a parent, caregiver or teacher. Be sure to do it in a safe environment where you won’t be judged. 2. Make sure you’re making positive choices when it comes to your eating, sleeping and exercise habits, and make the decision to stay away from negative choices such as smoking, drinking and using other drugs. 3. Take advantage of local mental health services, which can offer immediate information about services and programs that can get you through a tough time. If you have questions, call ahs’s Mental health helpline, which is open 24 hours a day and can be reached at 1-877-303-2642. If you find yourself in a more serious situation, the crisis/Distress line for the Edmonton region is 780-482-4357/ 780-342-7777 (mobile response team), and for the Calgary region is 403-266-1605. 4. familiarize yourself with organizations and initiatives across Canada dedicated to improving mental health, including casa and Lions Quest canada (The Centre for Positive Youth Development).



One writer explores the joys and growing pains of being a newcomer to Canada
By Irtiza Oyon



f you grew up in another country, would you be the same person you are today? The likely answer: far from it. I didn’t grow up in Africa, but I didn’t grow up in Canada, either. My home country is Bangladesh – a tiny little country tucked near India and Pakistan. It may as well be an entirely different planet than our multicultural, egalitarian Canada: this is a country where traffic lights are a luxury, where not even the wealthiest owned houses, where 99 per cent of the people are Muslim. Most significantly, family, in Bangladesh, is everything; I had 30 cousins that I had grown up with, and having to move at the age of seven to Canada turned my life upside down. I was horrified. Nothing was the same – Canadians seemed to be ethereal, magical creatures, with their pale skin and fluent English and enormous, glittering buildings, and for a seven-year-old, it was terrifying. First day of Grade 2 was a disaster. Back home, I had been the rabble-rouser, the leader of my gang of seven year olds, the loudmouth – here, I felt as though I was nothing. Although I couldn’t understand what my classmates were saying, body language is universal – they were making fun of me. I was angry, but I didn’t know what to say, as I could barely speak English; as a result, much of my time in Grade 2 was spent glaring at my classmates, and as much as I’d never admit it, I was lonely. While it’s true that my classmates could have been more receptive, they were, after all, seven years old – hardly at the epitome of their social prowess. But at the same time, glaring probably didn’t make me a very approachable person. I ended up developing a real fear of moving that day; to me, moving meant change, and change was terrifying. I was far from mastering the art of moving. The next time we moved, it was, thankfully, within Canada. However, it wasn’t your typical move – I was moving from Toronto, arguably the most multicultural, busy city in Canada, to a tiny little town up north in British Columbia, on the other side of Canada: Fort St. John. I was at an awkward age of 14, where your social status pretty much defined your worth. I was determined to make a name for myself. I thought that to be popular in this new environment, where people of my nationality were the undeniable minority, meant giving up some of my “less cool” hobbies and interests. Few people even knew what anime was, let alone watched the same ones as me; badminton was hardly considered a sport amongst my classmates, whereas it was my favourite activity. In a town as small as Fort St. John, I felt as though every move I made was being judged; the pressure was intense. My rise to popularity would be now or never. I chose now. It was an extreme makeover – both of my looks and my personality. I abandoned badminton to pursue more popular sports, like volleyball and soccer. (While they were fun, it was never the same rush as badminton.) I began watching popular shows so that I could joke around with my classmates and be part of the “in” crowd. I died half my hair purple – I didn’t even like the colour purple – but instantly gained small-town fame. And I’ll be honest: it worked. I was popular. It was hard to keep up the act. Being popular meant that attention was con-

stantly on me. I was afraid to voice my own opinions until the other popular kids had voiced theirs, so that I could simply echo what they had said, and remain in a safe bubble of conformity. I never quite knew if my friends were with me because they liked me, or to leech off my popularity. It became suffocating. Ultimately, all my efforts to be popular were meaningless, as we ended up moving once again, this time to Edmonton. I think, as I was packing my odds and ends for that last time, I realized how little the opinions of those popular kids would truly matter in my life. I had given up the things I loved to do for people I’d most likely never see again, and it really wasn’t worth the sacrifice. In the end, the only person I was accountable to was myself. Between losing my identity in the pursuit of popularity and completely refusing to embrace my new environment, I’d been at both extremes. As cliché as it was, the third time was the charm for me. What made the move to Edmonton so much easier was my decision to get involved in the community and have a life outside of school. I stopped caring about what others thought was cool, and focused on what I thought was cool. It all started off with volunteering. By volunteering, you don’t just contribute your time towards a meaningful cause – you also get to make connections and friends from all stages of their life. Most importantly, your experiences give perspective. By volunteering at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, I’ve met kids whose worries make mine seem trivial; when life itself is in danger, popularity is a joke. Experiences like watching a child coping with her own mechanical Berlin heart (a device worn outside the body to help pump blood) are the type of images that make you realize the value of simply being healthy, and of how precious life is. As well, volunteer opportunities are abundant across Edmonton – as they say, Google it! Student clubs are also places to explore your interests and make friends with similar ones. By joining the anime club at my high school, I didn’t have to hide my “uncool” interests – I was able to show them off in our events proudly! I also joined the badminton team, where we made it all the way to provincials. By embracing my interests with enthusiasm regardless of popular opinion, I made what I did popular! People that were into the same things as me seemed to come out of hiding and badminton became a major sport at our high school. As I became more involved, I chose to pursue a skill I had always admired in others – painting. While it was definitely hard to get started at first, it was made easier with the instructional oil painting classes I took with my friends. Including friends in my activities built solid relationships between us that have survived through first year university, and with perseverance, I’ve attained a level of artistic accomplishment that makes me warm with pride. I found that through putting myself out there in the community, I gained what is most important to have to face any major change: confidence. Moving to Edmonton became a chance to broaden my horizons and expand my social circle. Although moving can feel as though you’re leaving a lot behind, your experiences in each residence shape you as a person, leaving a permanent imprint. Moving is change, but change, rather than being terrifying, is a chance for you to develop your identity – a chance for you to flourish.

I stopped caring about what others thought was cool, and focused on what I thought was cool.



A Grip writer sat down with Lesley Scorgie, author of Rich by Thirty, A Young Adult’s Guide to Financial Success, to ask her for advice about money
Interview by Ann Lee
AL: At what age should I get a bank account? When is it too late to save money for college/university? LS: Starting from grade school, a person should have a bank account. This means that parents have to accompany their children to the bank with proper identification to open the account. The earlier a young person gets familiar with how to manage a bank account, the better. It is never too late to start saving for college/ university; I started saving for school when I got my very first job at the public library at the age of 14. AL: At what age should I get a credit card? Are there dangers if we get one too early? LS: You must be 18 years old to be a primary cardholder of a credit card. That means you are the sole owner of the card and are 100 per cent responsible for it. Parents can co-sign for a child to be a secondary cardholder of the parent’s card earlier than 18, but the responsibility to pay for the card falls on the parent. To build credit, you must be a primary cardholder. The dangers of credit cards become apparent when a young person overspends and doesn’t have enough money to pay it off. That’s when they are charged expensive interest rates. AL: How do credit cards work? What are the benefits and drawbacks? LS: You buy something on the credit card and you have 30 days to pay it off before interest is charged. If you don’t pay it off, you must pay interest which is typically around 18 per cent. Each month, whether you pay it off or not, you are required to make a minimum payment which is typically two per cent of the balance or $10 – whichever is higher. The benefits are credit cards are convenient methods of payments and they often allow you to earn loyalty points. The drawbacks? If you can’t pay off your card, you’ll pay hefty interest rates.


AL: Is a savings account or a chequing account better? What’s the difference? LS: Savings accounts are for saving for larger things and often earn small amounts of interest. Chequing accounts are for day-to-day purchases like groceries, fuel, etc. Chequing accounts don’t earn interest. Neither account is better. They just have different purposes.

AL: I want to go to university. What are some ways I can save for this? LS: I started to save for university in a low-risk mutual fund when I was 14 years old. This allowed me to contribute to the fund each month when I was paid from my part-time job. The best advice I can give when saving for school is to contribute to a low-risk savings account, GIC or money-market mutual fund that allows you to contribute automatically and is sheltered from the ups and downs of the market. Also, whenever a student gets extra money, perhaps through longer hours at their part-time job, they should contribute extra to their school savings plan. If a student is under 16, they can contribute their money to an investment or savings plan within a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). The Government of Canada provides a grant of up to $500 per year to this plan. Students should take advantage of all opportunities to earn grants, bursaries, and scholarships. Many students have to take on student loans and this is fine. But it’s really important to ensure that students live frugally and don’t take on a bigger loan than is necessary. AL: What are some pitfalls young people fall into when it comes to spending money? LS: Debt – when a person spends beyond their means they fall into debt. The biggest mistake I see students making is that they apply for credit cards with too high a

limit, max it out, and can’t afford to pay tuition. Students typically do not need a credit card limit of more than $1,000. Students need to learn to live frugally so that they can avoid taking on unnecessary debt. When I was in school, I had to pay for everything myself. So I got creative and took on extra hours at work, sold things I didn’t need on Kijiji, carpooled, and used coupons for groceries, etc. I had to live on a tight budget, but it was worth it because I was always able to pay my tuition. AL: What are some good reasons for teens to save money rather than spend it? LS: Having money allows a young person to have the freedom to choose to do the things they want to do. Without money, a young person’s choices are very limited. Young people have an advantage that no one else has – time. The greater time a person has to grow their money, the larger the benefit they’ll receive from the power of compound interest and reinvested returns. That’s when a person earns interest on both their principal amount they invested and the interest they have already earned on it. I don’t suggest that a young person deprive themselves of living a normal fun life. Rather I suggest a young person balance between saving for their future and enjoying the present. A good rule of thumb is to try to save 15 per cent of everything you make – the rest is up to the young person to decide how they want to spend it. AL: What are some tips for saving money when you only have a part-time job that pays minimum wage? LS: I’ve been there. The easiest way to save is to have your savings taken out of your bank account the day you get paid. So if a young person earns $500 a month and they plan to save 15 per cent, that’s $75 a month that they should have transferred from their chequing account to their savings plan on the day they got paid.





Parents. We all have them, and like Will Smith said, “Parents just don’t understand.” Parents are embarrassing, whether it is taking baby pictures out when you finally get your crush to come over, or yelling about how much they love you when they drop you off at school. We all have that lucky friend whose parents are cool; they seem much less embarrassing and more understanding than our own. Most parents are undoubtedly uncool. So, here’s a satirical look at 9 ways to drive your parents to distraction like they do you. By Marlee Salas

1. Be annoying.
Play your music as loudly as you can, complain about what they cook for dinner, slurp your drink loudly. Do little things that bug them. When they point out the annoying habits, keep doing it. Their reaction will be priceless, and they won’t bother you for a while.

6. Give them no relaxation.
If your parents are about to curl up with a book or watch a TV show, interrupt them and ask them to do something with you. If they ask if it can happen another time, pour it on. Explain you just wanted to spend some time with them but,“Oh no! You’re way to busy with your show to spend time with your own child!”They’ll feel torn with wanting to relax and wanting to make you happy and eventually they just won’t know what to do.

2. Play your cards right.
If your parents are bugging you about cleaning your room or walking the dog, play the “I have way too much homework card” or even the classic “I think I’m sick.”You have to be careful with this one because the prehistoric creatures you call Mom and Dad will eventually catch on to your excuses, so be sure to switch them up and the odd time do what they ask.

7. Have patience.
Don’t get too frustrated with the time it takes – you won’t be able to drive your parents to distraction immediately. Rome wasn’t built in a day; so don’t get down when things aren’t changing as fast as you’d like them to. Take the time to use these steps and put your own twist on them

3. Use siblings to your advantage.
You know your parents constantly ask questions like “Is your room clean?” and “Have you done the dishes?” If you have siblings, convince your parents that it’s not your turn to do the dishes or tell your parents you want to spend some time with a sibling. They’ll love the idea of you and a brother or sister doing some bonding and from time to time will let the chores slide.

8. Be full of surprises.
Surprise your parents by doing things to clean up around the house or keeping your room tidy. That way they have no reason to be mad at you and it will leave you more time to bug them till your heart’s content.

4. Overreact often.
Be a moody teenager every so often and completely overreact about something they don’t expect you to. If they ask how school went, throw a fit about why they need to know every detail in your life. Then simply answer their question and walk away. Get angry at certain things and let the same things slide another time, confusing them. This tactic will eventually make them stop asking questions.

9. Remember they were kids too.
Your parents were your age once too; they remember what it was like and may even know your tricks. This may mean you have to be creative. But giving your parents a taste of their own medicine and adding a dash of your own is a sure fire way to drive them up a wall.

5. Have “girl problems.”
Girls: this one’s for you. If your parents try and drag you to grandma’s for dinner or to the grocery store, blurt out that you have “the worst cramps in the world.” This tip works best on Dad, who is sure to let you stay home without a second thought because, trust me, he does not want to deal with a hormonal teenage girl. Be careful using this excuse on Mom, because she’ll just hand you some Midol and make you go anyway.

Though it’s really funny and you’ll get a kick out of bugging your parents, know when to call it quits. If your parents have said “no” to something, or have done or said something you don’t like and you’re actually fighting or having a disagreement about it, know when to stop. People say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment and that can’t be taken back, so if you feel like you’re going to blow up – stop, maybe head to your room, calm down and then try to talk things over again later.




In each issue of Grip, we feature creative works from our readers – poetry, personal essays, short stories, illustrations, comic strips and photography.

I Survived

When you tried to tear me down I didn’t give up I didn’t let go I didn’t give in When things got hard I didn’t run I didn’t hide I didn’t let you win When you pushed I didn’t cry I didn’t scream I didn’t tell on you I pushed back And guess what? I am not going to give up ever And I have you to thank You taught me how to be strong However I don’t owe you anything I don’t give you any pity I don’t give you any sorrow I hope you learn that you cant abuse the ones you care about I survived you I am a survivor

Ferris Wheel


Winning submissions are awarded $50. They are also featured in the magazine and on the website at www.griponlife.ca. Send in your submissions to creative@griponlife.ca

I’m Supposed to Swallow an Elephant….



And I’m a vegetarian. As the saying goes, you must eat it one bite at a time. Chew it slowly and it will go down right – so they say. What if eating plant-based foods is all I know? What if the idea of eating meat is so foreign, so troubling that I narrowly escape hurling at the very thought of it? How am I supposed to take one bite, let alone consume two tonnes of leathery flesh? Perhaps that deceased pachyderm will provide me with the nutrients currently deficient in my body. Do I have any choice but to take a chance and ravenously ingest the tusked animal, trusting that it may be my elixir?






Around this time the snowbank cozies to the fence a stepladder heavenward and a hop to the roof I lie where the peak of the roof runs along my spine and my eyes train upwards to a deep, thulite yonder obscured by the thick breath of winter There is nothing to see, but you can see it for miles a great nothingness stares back at me and once I cognize that there is truly nothing I begin to notice my face bladed by bitter wind my cheekbones cool as they burn the sepulchre above me spins Easterly – it makes me nauseous. As soon as I touched the sky, it barked at me in my smallness and before I knew, I was once again upon the ground.

l Park ationa N r e p s D REID Ja AYMON


d Untitle

The New Girl

Silence fell over the room as Harper wandered in slowly. Tripping on her shoelaces fastened to her cream colored Converse sneakers, she made her way to a desk. As she plunked herself down onto the chair, she placed her binder on the desk and let her bouncy ginger curls swing around to the back of the chair. She took a glance around to find that everyone was studying her as if she was some sort of test to be passed or failed. She looked down at her ripped blue jeans and purple V-neck tee shirt, bracing herself. She then glared across the room at the giggly blondes in the corner snickering at her favorite colorful dragonfly barrette pinning her bangs down. The teacher rose from her bureau to introduce herself but Harper knew no one was interested. Harper let out a sigh. “This is gonna be a long day.”


A bird’s broken wings Do not serve to sublimate Its longing of flight






All That I Am


e. not what you se All that I am is I am. ho w t no is e se And what you is all that I am Hidden inside t spoken, Thoughts not ye come through Wishes not yet I am... at Because all th e se u yo t Is not wha n be So different I ca you see to the one that e Not even clos I used am Because conf e is hidden insid am I at th l And al ay aw ed or Deep down, st u see. , is not what yo All that I can be not yet know My identity, I do nt to be What I was mea u are , how wrong yo ow You think I kn ul so a eyes, Because I have y tit en id an I have see. is not what you And all that I am e, even to me A stranger insid to reveal One I don’t wish is who I am is I accept that th eant to be m as And who I w who you see But know that n be Is not all that I ca e. m All that I am is





Last Word
By Evan Propp


Here’s a list of some not so brilliant inventions.
INVENTOR: J. Trout Sturgeon Are your fish getting tired of swimming circles in their bowl? Take them outside to enjoy some fresh air with the fish leash. Your fish will flip and flop with excitement. DRAWBACK: Their excitement dies within a minute or two.

INVENTOR: Seymour Smiley Braces can be a pain to get off. Well, why not make them out of sugar? Straighten your teeth with these tasty dissolving braces. DRAWBACK: Teeth rot before actually getting straightened.

INVENTOR: I. M. Smudgy Ever in a rush to get your makeup on, then make a mistake and have no time to correct it? Try invisible makeup. No one will ever see your errors. DRAWBACK: People won’t be able to fully appreciate your makeup skills.

INVENTOR: Ima Sleepinin Alarms keep waking you up and annoying you? Then the thing for you is a silent alarm clock. The buzzer is set at a frequency only dogs can hear. DRAWBACK: Slobbering dogs now wake you up instead.



INVENTOR: Will Scoragoal Need energy during the game? How about the licorice stick? Provides the power you need to make it through to the third period. DRAWBACK: Sticks are delicious and generally get eaten before the first period ends.


From the people who brought you grand theFt tetris comes...

escape from the invisible box and experience the silent world of a paris mime! check out all the exciting things you can do ...
• Climb the invisible stars! • Pull on the invisible rope! • Trip over objects that aren’t really there! • AND then go down the invisible stairs!

Entertain the citizens of Paris to receive prestige points. BEWARE the infamous Critics who can sink your career and put you back into the dreaded INVISIBLE BOX!

warning: Excessive game play may cause inability to endure noises such as music, conversation or well - sounds of any kind. Loss of speech and the inability to articulate without dramatic gestures occurred with some users. The desire to wear white face make up, berets and striped shirts affected some users. Other players expressed a desire to watch Mr. Bean marathons. Use with extreme caution.

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