One Halloween, Jen and I decided to dress in matching gorilla costumes, complete with gorilla gloves and masks. I was slightly taller, and one year younger, so we decided to switch classes. I would go to her “Career and Life Management” (C.A.L.M) class, and she would sit in on my computer class. The idea was silly to the point of being a bit absurd, and so were we. Perfect. 

So many of my other dear friends were in Jen’s CALM class. By Junior High, I was enjoying being friends with lots of people in grades above me, but in a rural school, truth was, we all grew up together. There were few people in my school who I didn’t consider my friend. This type of attitude served me well throughout my entire life, and our dear family friend, Carol would say, “It’s easier to be friends than enemies.” My mom would share Carol’s wisdom with me over and over to deal with the complexities of female friendship. Girly politics start early in life. 

Not halfway into my CALM class, Jen, with her mask and gorilla hands off was standing at the door with Mr. Lekas. She took off her gorilla mitts off to type,we didn’t factor in as an essential part of computer class. Her white hands gave us away! Later Mr. Lekas’ wife, Gail explained to my mom that her husband had been playing zookeeper.

There are many nuances to friendships, but having fun is absolutely essential. Belonging and feeling like you fit is so essential to mental health. This time in my life I was secure and happy, and naively unaware of the bigger world.

PROMPT: Do you have positive experiences with female friendships from childhood? How has that shaped you? The way you parent (if you are one)?

Can you send love to someone from the past? How would you do that to reconnect and show love for what they’ve done for you in your life?


She Was, Sabrina’s first book of poems about her phenomenal influences is available for $20 and $5 shipping

in support of CASASC


Join for more information on Women’s Circles every Friday, 7pm on zoom

Tuesday, May 25 Write a Tribute Poem Workshop – $35 to register


Lloyd and Vermillion For Equity Book Club meets Sun. 2pm ALL WELCOME – drop in

I wanted this to be a self improvement, inspirational, hope-invoking romp through my adventurous, colourful past. Then I got to thinking: Some of my best friends used to regularly piss their pants and live outside. Now they have families, companies, and big lives. They are back from a hopeless despair nothing could really get at. Rehabilitation is sometimes not always so dynamic. Sometimes it’s just improving the quality of thought and self belief so slightly, that one day you notice you are doing things better, and it all pays off.  

I smoke weed again after 10 years clean from it, live alone, and am often underemployed. The “victory lap” of a memoir had to be scrapped. I did a few things right however, when it came to eradicating excessive drinking, hard drug use and self hatred from my life. Even though the past few years have been mired in major losses like death, job loss, loss of mental health, family relationships, racial discrimination and sexual assault, I didn’t relapse. 

I’m so proud of that, because that means spirituality works. And I have so much music left inside me.

Inside that narrative is also the friendships I’ve built, the activism I stepped into, the massive support from so many people, education in yoga and business, and a deeper connection to the spirit that keeps grass growing and me going. That means even in the absolute shit of human suffering grows the bountiful nourishment my soul needs to keep going for maybe just another day.

I felt less than, worthless and suicidal all the time. It changed gradually. I learned to show gratitude and find others with similar problems and to serve and show up for others. And I learned to let go and to make boundaries. I am still learning.  

The reality of bipolar disorder, grief and loss, and going it alone through a global pandemic presents different problems than my overly scheduled friends giving their every last effort to keep their families and jobs and households afloat.  Sometimes just giving life to the story takes the pain from it. And at this stage, maybe that’s all I could really offer – the story of this life as it continues writing itself. 

This is not the year I became a writer. It’s the year I let the world see. This is not the year I became a lover of justice and equality. It’s the year I let the world see. This is not the year I could help heal families. It’s the year I trusted myself enough to let others in and trusted my ability to be seen, heard, and felt. The alchemy of self examination and meditative calm met to produce SHE WAS. A work to change my life and the lives of other women. I let the world see.


She Was – Write a Tribute Poem Workshop

Thursday, May 20, 7-8:30pm on zoom.

$35 includes your mailed copy of SHE WAS and 1.5 hr. together and guided instruction. A thoughtful heart is needed more than writing expertise. ( to etransfer – please include your mailing addy. Additional books are $20 each)

Surrender Living Women’s Circle

Friday, May 21, 7:00pm on zoom. FREE (or by donation: to e-transfer)

She Was $20/book and $5 delivery outside of Red Deer to etransfer:


Below is my appeal to the RDPS Board to have Pride Week. I submitted it as an Aunty at large. To send your letter of support for Pride Week, please email before March 10.

Feb. 26/2021


To the hardworking board of Red Deer Public Schools,

My name is Sabrina Samuel, and I joined the Central Alberta Pride Society last year at this time as a reaction to the City of Red Deer’s vote against banning a proven form of child abuse: Gay Conversion Therapy. My heart broke as I drew nearer to people exposed to all forms, from extreme physical torture, to psychological abuses to “ungay” them as children. 

My beloved second grade teacher, Audrey Lang had a gay child that changed my life. She was a singer by the name of k.d. Lang. The first form of activism and advocacy I saw was her stand as a young vegetarian in the heart of cattle country saying “meat stinks”. 

This caused our welcome sign proclaiming, “Consort: Home of k.d. Lang”  to be defaced with the words “Eat Beef Dyke” sprayed across it. I felt so alone in my feelings about that as a child. Some village women went and washed it off, and the press came. 

I learned what standing up entailed, even when it meant standing against the environment in which you were raised. 

As newcomers to Canada, my father wanted me to stay away from that controversy, although all I wanted was to join in to correct the injustice. Unfortunately, several people with less power than you as board members felt the way my father did. He couldn’t get involved, and feared his child and family may be hurt in the crossfire.  

The ethnic diversity of young students is also another case for Pride, rather than diversity days. Children like me coming from countries with oppressive regimes towards women and sexual minorities need to be educated on sexual and gender diversity in Canada. Other intersecting identities fall under the Progressive Pride flag with brown and black stripes for BIPOC people.  

I believe strongly in the power of formalized education as a means of gaining greater understanding, so the board allowed me to start working on a committee to achieve that end. It has been an illuminating personal experience sitting with some of the most incredible activists, artists, educators and citizens from the region who amplify and expound on growing up gay in an ultra-conservative backdrop.

Of everyone I chatted to, I would say the expertise of Dr. Kristopher Wells – whose work you are all familiar with developing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy – was the most compelling argument for Pride Week. Diversity Week is the least effective way to promote Diversity and Inclusion. 

I hope you reconsider your position, and take into account your own policies backing what was a quite simple request. Please find a little less wordy explanation of my position below. 


Pride Week 


Pride Week is for the meek,

not eating lunch alone


The rainbow burst

With the last, first 

The unicorn ice cream cone


Pride stops suicide and helps our self esteem

It shows us the realization, 

Of the Pink Shirt Day Dream


Pride is unity, strength and celebration

what joy to the hurt it could bring 


So let’s Enjoy Pride at school


let the little k.d.’s sing



Aunty Sabby


I admire and respect teachers in a new way since following the work of luminaries like Shelley Moore (@fivemooreminutes) , Jesse Thistle ( , Lori Mac (

Education is completely different from even 10 years ago, and the name of the game is mental health. When I see these amazing people setting the stage for transparency, vulnerability and ownership of our own stories it makes me want to do better and be better for the next generation.

Like so many, I don’t want the next generation to suffer the way I did. And take heart: with people like Laura Louise Vangen, they are not going to.

Here she is, a mother and educator giving us crucial information on navigating the health care system, school system and self care in the midst of it all.