BRIA HIEBERT BIOGRAPHY
Original: Bria is a Canadian writer, stand-up comedian and actor. She is a member of the sketch troupe Bitch Squad. Bria has a B.A. in political science and communications from McGill University so you better believe she's judging you if you describe yourself as socially liberal but fiscally conservative. (is that line funny? another option is "you better believe she's read Hobbes Leviathan too many times" or "so you better believe she picked comedy over law school"). Bria got her start in writing as an investigative journalist. She is currently a student in the Comedy Writing and Performance program at Humber College. Bria has performed at Comedy Bar, Yuk Yuk’s and many soul crushing open mics. Her comedy has been described as insightful, political, fiery and offbeat. She is often told to smile more, to which she flashes her shiny adult braces. You can follow her rambling inner monologue at twitter.com/uncleburra.
Edit: Bria is a Canadian writer, stand-up comedian, and actor. She is a member of the sketch troupe Bitch Squad. She got her start in writing as an investigative journalist at McGill University, from which she earned a B.A. in political science and communications. Naturally, she chose comedy over law school. She now attends Humber College in the Comedy Writing and Performance program, where her comedy is described as insightful, political, fiery, and offbeat. Performance credits include Comedy Bar, Yuk Yuk’s, and many soul-crushing open mic nights. She is often told to smile more, to which she flashes her shiny adult braces. You can follow her rambling inner monologue at twitter.com/uncleburra.
Thailand represents some of the Earth’s richest cultural and spiritual practices. I want to immerse myself in these practices so I can develop my own spiritual understanding, expand my perspective of the world's cultures and its people, and learn to trust myself. To weave myself in the fabrics of these cultures aligns with my ambitions, inspiring the tapestry that I envision for my life.
I have always been academically fascinated by the complexity of cultures, languages, art, social norms, and gender roles. This fascination was fed from my first visit to Costa Rica, where I learned how to adapt to a new environment. I was able to speak the language and understand the culture since my background is Latin American, which made the transition easier.
Studying in Thailand at Thammasat University will not be as easy, which is a challenge I eagerly accept. Having only lived under a Western sun, I trust that I will face significant culture shock. To overcome this, I will draw upon the lessons I have learned through my job working with children and adults with ASD. It has taught me to be patient; patient with people, with differences, and with myself. It has shown me that people can rise up to any situation, no matter how daunting it may appear. I look forward to applying these lessons to my travels.
I plan to pursue Applied Behaviour Therapy, but I worry that the field is void of holistic practices or is not cognizant of cultural differences. I believe that my journey will broaden my perspective of culture and will influence my future studies.
My childhood lacked spiritual teachings; however, I am curious about the values and moral principles of a spiritual life. I have recently taken an interest in Buddhism, which is thousands of years old and its influence is felt worldwide. I believe I will grow a great deal personally by reflecting upon its teachings in Thailand and adding its values to my life.
I have also been scared, uncertain, and unable to have faith in my ability to fully be independent. Going to Thailand next year would thrust me into a state of uncertainty and chaos, which would propel me to trust in myself. Since the culture, language, and way of life is so drastically different from Vancouver, I will need to be patient and adapt quickly to navigate my way around. In the same way that going to graduate school, starting a career, or moving residences can be challenging, through adversity, I will learn to trust in my abilities to move past fear and self-doubt. I believe that to be learning, is to listen, to communicate, and to reflect, but also to get lost, to lose, to be scared, and to be uncomfortable. Studying abroad will challenge me holistically, which is where my learning will flourish, and is what I will need in order to grow academically, professionally, and personally. Studying at Thammasat University will actualize the artwork of my own tapestry.
I GET TO
The ‘I Get To’ Legacy began as an exercise. Replacing a negative thought with the positive affirmation ‘I get to...’ so that self-help can be realized.
We all see the devastation in the downtown eastside. Negative thoughts are everywhere. I get to be a contributing member of society. Not everyone gets to be so lucky.
By purchasing an I Get To chain, you are remembering for yourself what you get to do each day, and you are helping someone realize it as well.
Each necklace is made by someone in Vancouver’s downtown eastside who is trying to expel the negative and reinforce the positive, as much as they can.
Hand-crafted and personally stamped, these necklaces are more than just an item to be bought, they are a real contribution to a neighbourhood that needs support.
The I Get To Legacy provides jobs for people in the downtown eastside. It’s giving someone a hand-up instead of a hand-out. You get to help, you get to be apart of the change. Visit wholewayhouse.ca to find out more.
A SEPTEMBER MORNING IN RURAL JAPAN
On my drive to Kotonami I saw the hills and the streets and the rice fields as if for the first time. The scenery that I had grown accustomed to stood out as if it were new.
Like an alien finding themselves on Earth, I stared, mouth agape, astounded by the simplistic beauty of it all. Not a thing out of place. Symmetrical in every way. Fluffy trees and glistening tile roofs. Everything took on a surreal hue.
September marks six months. I am in the meat of this experience. I drink everything up as if it were my last cup.
Time is not consistent. It does not pass at the same rate for all of time. Rather, it slows down and speeds up and hangs suspended until someone comes along and cuts the string and it all tumbles down. And then it starts again.
Time for me right now is floating, like a cumulus cloud on a crisp spring afternoon. As I drift to work moments of when I first arrived come into view. April in Japan-- when everything was so new.
The ability to see the same thing with fresh eyes was granted to me this morning, as if some cosmological shift put everything into perspective. I saw things not as dreary and monotonous, but as airy and effervescent. Maybe it’s the coffee.
A MUSING FROM A FAR AWAY PLACE
The breeze blows the fumes from the ferry and the sea in my direction— a mixture of salt water and gasoline. The captain makes an announcement in Japanese. I can hear it from the wooden bench on which I sit. I stare out at the water and islands and mountains and sky, all varying shades of blue. My outfit matches the scenery— blue jeans white converse grey-blue sweater. The sun gently begins its descent behind me. A sea of emotions bubbles up inside.
The first person I talked to today was Jordan. He responded to my insta story and I sent a :p in return. Next was my mom while I was waiting for the train at Zentsuji station. She told me about a credit card fraud she fell victim to. Once in Takamatsu on my way to Kitahama Alley Daniel facetimed me. He was with the homies on the Sunshine Coast— Camping 2.0. Seeing all of their faces turned my heart inside out and I smiled like a lunatic in the middle of the street. Anthony sent me a pic of Whole Way House and said it reminded him of me. My dad called a little while later as I shopped for groceries. We talked about Hong Kong while I absentmindedly scanned the aisles for things I didn’t need. I talked to Keara and Bria and Kaitlin, too.
On my detour back to the station I stopped to lie down on this bench, wanting to soak up the views of the sea before leaving this lovely city. That’s when Sarah messaged me and told me the news about her parents recent split. I told her I was sorry. She told me she’s trying to be happy for them. She also said she saw the video I made and it made her teary-eyed. In fact, she said she was in the same condo that her parents rented that time we were there.
There is so much symmetry in life— so much beauty and destruction. happiness and joy. sadness and despair. I don’t know what’s controlling what happens to who, but I do know, as I write in blue pen about this blue world, that a thing can be anything depending on what angle a person views it from.
The sea of emotions in me has calmed. There are tears I want to cry but don’t. I am in a place where no one knows my name and all my loved ones are too far to reach. Soon that won’t be the case. Soon my eyes will rest upon a sight that really isn’t that different from the one I see now.
The ferry is docked. The captain has gone silent. Small waves lap against the cement barricade. The breeze still brings the scent of the sea towards my face, and I still breathe.
EXCERPT FROM 'PERPETUAL SUMMER', A SHORT STORY
A Saturday morning near the end of July I awoke with a start. I had thrown the covers off sometime in the night, and the a/c unit was buzzing. I was naked and sweating. The dream I was having shocked me straight to alertness.
I got a phone call. You were in trouble. Said you needed me. There had a been a party. More like a city event. A festival of sorts. You had gotten really fucked up. Like scary fucked. And needed me to help you find your way back to yourself. We went back to the festival where you talked to people who had seen you fucked up and called for help. Someone showed you a picture of what you had looked like. My eyes widened. I sucked in air and forced myself not to cry. I was the rock then and had to remain one now. Watching you apologize, I could see the shame register across your face. You choked it down but I saw it swell in your gut, eating you alive from the inside like some tapeworm of disgust. You did not enjoy having to admit to strangers your weakness. There was another girl at the festival. She was with you. You told me she would never have been your girl had I let you have me. It was there that I realized what I was going to do. There was no demand, no force, just a simple thing we call love leading me to the decision I made. I grabbed your hand and led you to the car. You had said your apologies and now we were going home. To my home, I said, and your eyes lit up. The first light I had seen in days. The car lulled as I held you in my arms. An objective view, of two kids trying to navigate the world together, a world full of loss and pain and trauma. In my home, I took you in sealing my fate to sit with you in any room, in any shade, until both of us were safe. I led you through the door. I took off your clothes. I washed your feet with my tears. I laid you down. Brushed the hair out of your eyes. I carried you up the mountain and sacrificed myself instead. In my dream, I didn’t have to make distinctions between things. Boundaries were dissolved. I acted entirely from love, for love. Unfortunately for me, reality was not that simple.
I met Taylor at a party when we were sixteen. The first thing I heard was her laugh. A peeled-peach explosion of infectious sound.
When I heard her laugh I turned around and saw her. Leather jacket. Coal-black hair that rustled like silk passed her shoulders. Eyes pure as day the color of turning leaves. Even then, amongst a crowd, she stood out.
There was no reason for us to be friends. We went to different high schools. Lived on opposite sides of the same suburb. But something about her laugh drew me towards her— she the storm and I the debris that gets swept up in it. We’ve been friends ever since.
What started out as innocent talks turned into screaming our favourite Bowie lyrics at the dashboard of a car. There was no tiptoeing, she pulled me into her world faster than I could say hello and it’s never been a mistake, not once.
In dark theatres we’d watch double features til our heads spun, movies being more than mere escapism from a lackluster adolescence. Laughing loudly in public, she taught me to never be afraid of expressing joy. Or of loving something so much — a book or a song — that you could cry and in fact, she would.
When she introduced me to her mom I understood. A strong daughter born of a strong mother. Wendy made us tea while in candlelit rooms we stared with awe at the many forms a friendship could take.
Beyond our stories and our secrets, we shared a desire to escape the place of our youth. Not that it was bad, but because it was small. She always seemed to be moving towards some ineffable place, movements like her laugh too huge to be contained. As she collapsed mountains I watched, chin in hands, inspired to do the same.
The time it took for us to go from strangers at a party to sharing the same duvet makes me realize how much bigger our friendship is than this particular space and time. How we’ve shared lifetimes together. How I’m grateful to be sharing this one.
Although we are both far away from the place that brought us together, we are never far from each other. Like she’s supported me, now I get to support her. Even when she takes, it’s never all, and she always gives, never not once does she not.
I’ve gotten to witness so many magical things by being Taylor’s friend, because of the person she is, because of the magic she shares. And now the rest of the world gets to share in that magic and I could not be more proud.
Our heroes are proud of you too.