Day 10 - Brittany (5th person I approached)
January 10, 2015 - Today I meandered. It was one of those 'I don’t know where I’m going to end up, but I’ll walk down this road for a while' kind of days. Then I’d immediately turn right. Perhaps that's why I went around the block a few times yesterday. So I added a few lefts along with the right turns. Fortunately, this brought me right into the path of Brittany. She was standing outside a coffee shop, cup in one hand, cigarette in the other. She told me she wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere and that we could chat.
“I was born in Carman, Manitoba. It’s a small town of about three thousand people,” she said.
“I have two older brothers, one is eight years older, and the other three years older. And I have a twin.” Brittany and her sister are identical twins.
“We’re identical but I’m the tom boy, and she’s a girly girl. My sister was ‘pulled out first,’ it was a C-section delivery, so she’s older, by one minute,” she told me. Her sister lives in Australia, and there is no apparent psychic connection.
“If my sister is hurting, say for example, her boyfriend were to break up with her. I feel it deeper than if it were a non-twin sibling in pain,” she told me.
“That’s about as far as it goes. I can’t tell what she had for dinner or anything like that, no. But that would be kinda cool,” she says, laughing. The brother who is three years older, is Brittany’s best friend.
Brittany’s father was a Pentecostal Pastor. She went to school in Barrie until Grade ten, when her mother passed away, from complications of diabetes.
“We moved to Abbotsford. My father quit being a Pastor. I might have the dates mixed up a bit, but it was a while after my mother passed away that he quit. We moved because my father got a job working at a camp. He worked with people who were becoming Pastors, and helped their evangelical learning. He wasn’t a Pastor anymore, but he was dedicated to his beliefs,” she said.
“I finished my last two years of high-school, and then went directly to Summit Pacific College (Abbotsford). I was going to become a Pastor myself.”
A woman approached us as we stood on the street chatting. She asked me if I had a spare cigarette. I told her I don’t smoke. The woman looked at Brittany, who told her that she a cigarette for her. Brittany gave her a cigarette, and asked if she needed a light. the woman took it, said she had her own lighter and walked away, without so much as a thank you. Brittany asked if I would mind if she smoked while we chatted.
“I was at Summit College for about two-and-a-half years. Then I came out as gay,” she said. Her father had a difficult time with Brittany’s sexuality.
“It was tough because the church was my community. No one wanted to be the one to be okay with my being gay. It was just the way our belief’s were, what we grew up being told. The church put me into reparative therapy. I went willingly. There wasn’t any forcing me. But I know now it does more damage than good. I came to realize I’m not a heterosexual person with homosexual tendencies. I am a homosexual woman. I’m a lesbian. I’m gay. I'm full blown gay. I told them that the reparative therapy wasn’t working,” she told me.
“I’m glad I went through that because I think it helped me to figure out who I really am. There was always the choice to keep my faith, not be gay, and be miserable. Or be gay, because I am, lose some of my faith and live a happy life. I met a woman, fell in love and left Summit College,” she said. Brittany’s father had remarried and moved to Mexico to do missionary work.
“My brother and I moved to Vancouver not that long ago. I had been working as a barista, and realized how much I had developed a love for coffee. I got interested in (coffee) roasting and I had gone as far as I could working at the place I was, in Abbotsford. So my brother and I made our way to Vancouver. He lives in Kitsilano (neighbourhood) and I live with my partner,” she said.
Brittany works at a popular, independent coffee shop as a barista.
“I’m going back to school in September. I’m going into the joinery program at BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology). I’m specifically interested in making furniture, perhaps designing offices,” she says. I happened to mention that a friend of mine, who also is a twin, is a lesbian, is studying woodwork. Brittany laughs,
“Well it is currently the favourite subject amongst the lesbian community.”
“I like living in Vancouver. Being used to living in a small town and then living in Abbotsford, this definitely feels like a big city to me. That's probably the only thing I notice the most. In Manitoba, you can say hello to someone on the street without them thinking you’re a little weird. I find it’s harder to feel a sense of community or a part of a community, in the bigger city. I live in the Mount Pleasant area. I feel like it’s a community, more like a neighbourhood within the city, and that’s great,” she says, smiling.
Brittany isn’t on Facebook.
“I deleted my account a few months ago. I felt like my connections with people weren’t genuine. It was too easy to sit behind my computer and try to communicate. I prefer to go out and make genuine connections and have real conversations. Like we’re having right now,” says Brittany.
It’s her day off and I asked what she’s doing for the day.
“Well, I work at a coffee house as I told you, and so on my days off, I like to come to other coffee houses and sample their expresso. Do some comparisons and taste different roasts. See what the competition is brewing.” #notastranger