One Christmas when fashion influencer Aurora James was a teenager, she was slashed by her stocking and got insulted. Her mom tossed a variety of condoms (flavored! ribbed! big and small! some for latex allergies!) along with some other familiar items, like candy and lip gloss.
“I’m sure she knew I didn’t have sex,” says Aurora. worldwide, They laugh at how shocked I felt at the time. “But what she was saying was, ‘No shame here.’ How can you normalize something more than putting a condom in someone’s Christmas stocking?” Then she pauses, examining the memory. “I think she probably gave me a dental dam, too. I’m trying to remember if it was in the same stock.”
Moments like this were really just another day of Aurora’s growing up. Although her relationship with her mother was turbulent and complex, they consistently (and very casually) covered the full spectrum of sexual health, including abortion rights and access to birth control and family planning options. This business-as-usual candor, she says, “definitely removed the stigma from me,” and was essential in shaping who she is today.
“My mother raised me to believe that bringing life into this world should happen when the time was right—not when you happened to have sex,” Aurora wrote in her first diary. Wildflower A vivid, soulful reminiscence of the years that made her a top hairdresser, a savvy businesswoman, and a fierce lawyer.
It also helped that her mom was an IRL example of what she was telling her daughter. In the book, Aurora details her mother’s relationship with her physically abusive stepfather, Winston, who sexually abused Aurora when she was 8 years old. When her mother, Winston, became pregnant, she chose to have an abortion. In the excerpt below, Aurora recalls the moment she found out about her mother’s decision:
And then, as quickly as he suddenly appeared, Winston was gone. I never asked what happened, because I honestly didn’t care. I simply felt relieved.
Several weeks after he left, I realized that my mother had been taking a shower for too long. I went to check on her, to make sure she was okay. “I’m fine,” she said from behind the shower curtain. “I just love the water running over me.”
I said, “Okay,” thinking that was a weird response.
“I had an abortion yesterday.” She was still in the bathroom when she told me she had found out she was pregnant with Winston’s child. “It was important that he not have his child,” she said from behind the scenes. Or even to tell him I’m pregnant.
Hearing the water flowing over her and running down the drain, it was evident that she was cleaning herself out of it. That was when I finally found out she left him. At that moment, I sat on the cold bathroom tiles next to the shower and felt tears falling down my face. I cried because of what she went through and what she went through too. The pursuit of being loved and learning how to love has been a lifelong journey for both of us.
But fortunately, that trip no longer includes Winston. He never came to my house again, even though I spotted him several times. Once at the mall, and another time when I was walking home. I thought he was after me and told my mom. All she said was “this is just crazy”.
Several months later, my mom got a call. Someone found Winston’s wallet with her number in it. When the simple black leather bag was returned to her, inside she found a few smashed credit cards, and then hidden behind, in a hidden bag, was a single photo. From me, in school uniform. For some reason, that was when I finally realized I was telling the truth.
“Maybe it was always about you,” she said. She wasn’t directly apologizing, and even if she did, I wouldn’t care. By then it was too late.
Despite the deep-seated issues Aurora had with her mother, she kept space for her humanity. “I remember sitting there feeling so grateful that she was able to make this decision on her own,” said Aurora. “If my mother had made a different choice, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. Having to survive and live in a world where I’m still around my mother all the time would be really outrageous. For brothers to have to deal with the fact that their father was also abusive to his brother would be outrageous. There’s all this complicated stuff.”
Fast forward a few years: Aurora is in her twenties, in an intoxicating relationship with a rebellious sexy artist, and needs an abortion herself. Exercising her freedom of choice, she said, “felt like an obvious decision to make,” especially because she knew it was something her mom would be fine with. But there were a few things about the experience, especially in the clinic, that shocked her.
“When I go there, I remember there were actually two people with signs outside, which I did and didn’t expect to see,” she recalls. “I was reminded that there are people who are so against this, that they only go out on a normal Tuesday — and in Canada.”
Afterwards, she was reassured that she had made the right call. She said, “It felt really good to live in a country and a situation where I could have that kind of autonomy. And the idea of having to associate with someone who just treated me that way and be with that person forever would be such a nightmare.”
In the Wildflower Excerpted below, Aurora takes readers through her romance and the moment she decided to terminate her pregnancy:
I landed in Los Angeles for New Year’s Eve and I’m ready for adventure. The warm desert air was a welcome relief from Toronto’s frigid cold, the skies felt vast, and the city sprawling. We drove from the airport to a friend’s house, where I immediately put on a mustard-colored lace dress with leopard-print stockings, applied a messy glitter eye, and messed up my hair, which I crowned with a set of cat ears. Even I’ll admit this was a bit of a strange look back in 2008.
DJ AM and Steve Aoki were headlining a party we were attending in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse that was packed and buzzing when we arrived. Neon Americana camo, acid-washed denim, shutter glasses, and glow sticks have been weaving and rocking to Mstrkrft, Peaches, Justice, and A-Trak. I found a couch to sit on and was eating all my hypnotic Technicolor mess when I heard someone say, “Can I buy you a drink?”
I thought that was an odd question considering it was an open air bar, and was about to say it, but when I looked up I saw a cool guy in a leather motorcycle jacket over a vintage T-shirt and jeans. His cheekbones, strong beams under his sleepy eyes struck me, and then I knew I knew him!
He was new, the guy I interviewed. I had sent him a MySpace message to tell him I was coming to LA, but not that I was coming to this party. It was even more amazing in real life. We hit it off right away, to the point where he came home where we were staying and fell asleep on the couch. Since then, we have become inseparable.
My plan to stay in Los Angeles for a few days turned into two weeks. I quickly fell in love with Fresh. He was part of the graffiti and party scene for kids in Los Angeles, and it was a few pretty young, artistic and a little reckless, like Corey Kennedy, Katy Perry and Mia Moretti, who were often covered paper And nylon. Samantha Ronson DJed and Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter videotaped it all.
Fresh had no interest in participating in capitalism, but made some money selling art and doing small jobs, such as bartending or painting houses. With no real job, he could move back to Toronto with me. But he didn’t have any government-issued ID, so he was turned away the first time he tried to enter Canada, then held in customs for six hours the second time before finally crossing.
For the first several weeks we were together, I showed him around. When Fresh sees an advertisement in Kensington Market for a breakdancing competition that has a cash prize, he enters and wins handily. He marveled at the fact that we had a cannabis coffee shop three blocks from our house—noting that it would never happen in California. He was even considering moving to Canada, until I woke up feeling nauseous. My breasts were swollen and that afternoon, the doctor confirmed I was pregnant. My mother raised me to believe that bringing life into this world should happen when the time is right—not when you have sex. She was talking to me about reproductive rights long before she could have children. She also knew Dr. Henry Morgenthaler, who went to prison for performing abortions on women when it was still illegal in Canada. Being pro-choice and being independent of your own body was a central belief in our home.
But Frisch was conflicted. I didn’t know much about his background other than his mother, who was Filipino, met his father, who was black, in Soul Train And his mother raised him alone. I agreed to sit with him for a few days, to give him time to process the news.
One afternoon, I went to the grocery store and when I got back, Fresh wasn’t in the apartment. I felt something strange so I started calling his phone. I was trying to process the idea that he might have just dumped me when I remembered he had his mom’s number on my phone. I called her and learned he was on the Greyhound bus to L.A. Before she hung up, she said, “How do we even know it’s his baby?” I put the phone down and burst into tears.
Getting an abortion was an easy choice. I’ve never seen myself having a baby in my twenties, certainly not with someone who left my life almost as abruptly as he entered it. I started trying to move on, and when a couple of my friends invited me to spend my birthday in Los Angeles that summer, I thought it was time to go create some new memories there.
One night, I had too many drinks and called fresh. answered. He was so apologetic and kind, and my bar for male behavior was low enough that I felt okay letting his behavior slide. We picked up where we left off and decided to stay in Los Angeles
Wildflower Offered for sale now. Shop
Associate News Editor
Christine is the Associate News Editor worldwide, covering everything related to pop culture, celebrities, and things going on in the world. Previously, she was a feature reporter for the Chicago Tribune where she specialized in lifestyle and culture topics such as health, dating, relationships, parenting, home, race, and more.