My personal story.

I am a first generation Canadian, born in Lviv, Ukraine. I consider myself bicultural. I lived a third of my life in Ukraine and was raised during my teens and 20s here in Canada.

My maternal grandfather’s family came from small villages in the Carpathian mountains. They survived ethnic cleansing by the Soviet army in 1944, which is one of a number of similar deportations that uprooted families in Eastern Europe during that time but wasn’t taught in schools when I was a kid. My dad was absent from my life. I immigrated with my mom to Canada when I was 10 and we lived here ever since. I have a half-brother in Israel and a beautiful niece and nephew there, too.

Vancouver Island, waves.

For a long time I was myself in therapy for complex trauma and the grief I felt of being uprooted from my childhood home in Ukraine. Looking back, I believe that my ancestors’ wound of being displaced, abandoned and betrayed by their country affected the trajectory of my own life. Ever since childhood I struggled with very dark tendencies and the relentless feeling like I had no home in this world. I had no connection with my dad and a painful relationship with my mother. In many ways I raised myself, which made me resourceful and smart but also not quite equipped with the right guidance or support, which resulted in me making many mistakes, many life and relationship decisions that I later regretted. Which is where my journey to healing started. When I say “healing”, I mean therapy, but also many other things I leaned on throughout the years to bring me back home to myself, like good people, good mentors, kind gestures of others, and returning again to activities I loved as a kid like art and dancing. I still choose to go to therapy because it helps me recalibrate and reconnect to myself.

I now live by Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC, on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples.