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Paulette: A work in progress

Here is the first post in the series of HERstory, from the Blogging Carnival on kickaction.ca

You can read more of Paulette’s story on her blog. Paulette was my 9th grade English teacher, and I’m super happy that we’ve since developed a great friendship.


1. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?


2. Where are you from? How has where you’re from shaped your life?

I was born in Newfoundland, Canada. At the age of 19, I left all I knew and moved to Québec to learn French and start MY life. I didn’t know it at the time, but I left home to get away from the unhappiness I was feeling in my family unit. I needed a BIG change, and I unconsciously found a way to get it. So I became independent at an early age.

Being from Newfoundland has shaped my life in many ways. It’s an island, so ‘different’ from the rest of Canada in that respect. We are a proud people, and very attached to our ‘unique’ traditions. I have carried those aspects with me to this day. I have always felt a little ‘different’ (maybe because I have lived in a French-speaking province with its own ‘special’ language and culture for over half of my life) but I am extremely proud of where I’m from. This has helped me stay strong during tough times.

3. Where do you live? How has where you live shaped your life?

I now live in Montréal, Québec; a fabulous, multi-cultural city where I can live in both English and French. Living in a place so different from where I grew up has made me more open, has introduced me to many opportunities and things I would never have known otherwise. As an Anglophone not born in Québec, I have challenges that most people around me don’t. I see things differently than most, as my background is not the same. Sometimes that makes things easier, sometimes more difficult. Living here makes me see the links between how Newfoundlanders are (proud, unique) as the ‘québecois’ are similar in that way. This, in turn, makes me understand others on a different level than most. But the bottom line is this: no matter where we were born, where we grew up or what language(s) we speak, we are all human beings and are therefore the same. Without disrespecting our specific cultures or backgrounds, I firmly believe ‘people are people’ and more alike than we sometimes (or would like to) think.

4. What is your greatest achievement?

Now that’s a good question….huummm. My greatest achievement to date is remaining positive and curious about life despite the hardships I have encountered. Sure, everyone has his or her hardships, but mine have affected me on a deep emotional level. I am not bitter or blasé, I am happy to be alive. I am grateful for every day I get. This is an achievement because I choose to ‘live’, not just exist as a living thing. I try to make each day count.

5. What is your greatest regret? Or what is your greatest fear?

My greatest regret is forgetting to put myself first. I am a natural ‘people pleaser’, who wants to do the right thing and when others are involved, I give more than my all to make things work. In doing this, I lost myself and this wasn’t good for anybody. I had to hit a hard wall to get my wakeup call. I lost people I loved, yet I ended up hurting myself the most.

My biggest fear is not being loved. Maybe a cliché, but this feeling continually hovers over me. Sure my friends ‘love’ me, but due to my past relationship failures and my age, I do fear never finding my ‘soulmate/life partner’. It seems unfathomable to me to spend most of one’s life alone, not sharing it with someone special. I do remain hopeful but am fearful it will never happen.

6. What would you tell a young girl who is struggling with something like her identity, bullying, not fitting in, etc.?

I would tell a girl struggling with her identity or feeling like she doesn’t fit in a simple phrase: Believe in yourself. That is the starting point. Each person is ‘different’ and should remember that each one of us is special and valuable. This has been a life-long struggle for me so I get it. Believing in yourself, believing you are worth it is the best advice I can give. It’s not always easy, but if you can get up in the morning, say these words and believe them, all will be okay. Don’t let others put you down or make you feel worthless, because they are wrong. We all have a special uniqueness about us that needs to be respected.

7. What’s next?

Staying on my path to happiness, remaining grateful for all I have, and remembering to focus on the positives. Live my best life and don’t sweat the small stuff. Make each day count and try to be the best person I can be every day. And if some days I fail, to accept it, move on and keep trying. A work in progress…