Self Interview

I’m going to talk a bit about my work in the skilled trades and at the end you can find some information about how and why I read tarot and oracle cards.

Mom was my role model as a child – she still is.

She was always smiling and full of zest for life – and like Mom I enjoy an ice cold beer some days after work instead of a glass of wine any day!

After she died I set out to curate my life to what made me the happiest and bring back the smile she so longed to see after years of watching me suffer from anxiety and depression.

I refused to let the guilt and grief take over me completely and instead chose to live in honor of her and my father – who is still with us – and I’ve only ever wanted to make them proud.

Dad has suffered from Reactive Arthritis for over thirty years – also known as Reiter’s Syndrome –  and I’ve never seen the man complain about it though what he suffers through physically would have taken down any other person years ago.

He is where I derive my strength and stoicism from – along with my much beloved (and passed on) grandfather – these men shaped me and I owe a lot to them and they know that.

My mother and grandmother embodied strength and femininity and in watching them thrive under the support of their respected spouses I came to understand that not only was I created through a divine union of love and happiness – but that these people would shape me into the young woman I am today.

My sister has been my best friend since we were young – we fought like crazy as youths but came to respect and understand each other and value our differences – shaping our relationship as adults and young mothers – and I realize now just how lucky I am that my parents decided to gift me with a sibling.

I hope to extend the favor to my own daughter one day and though I experienced a rough pregnancy like my own mother did – similarly causing us to fear the next one – I know that my body can and will handle it should I be blessed with another child in the future.

Mom suffered from pre-eclampsia when she was pregnant with me and upon delivery the placenta broke up which had to be removed…manually.

It was painful and terrifying and she said no more kids lol.

Dad said to her “What about Kaila in the future? What if something happened to us? She would have no one…”

That was enough for my mother to brave another pregnancy and birth –and  she lucked out with my sister and had little issues and a much  smoother delivery.

Not to mention the fact that I had severe colic and my already over-stressed Mom was trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me and suffering with not knowing why I was crying all of the time.

When we were a little bit older, she’d say all the time “God I’m glad you’re old enough to tell me what is wrong with you!” – she hated the unknown – a trait I also inherited.

Back then there were no Google or Reddit forums to find answers or similar experiences and she said my file at the doctor’s office was thick before I even turned one year old due to the amount of time we spent there.

We are lucky – I am lucky.

Though I still suffer from anxiety and am prone to depressive bouts I do find online forums very reassuring and thankfully my sister had children before me – so she’s always been my guru.

And I am much better at coping with my symptoms and healing from them than I was before.

It’s a double edged sword because I will always miss my mother.

Her death taught me how to live.

Every personal victory like graduating from the Industrial Mechanic Program or landing my apprenticeship with the same company I did my co-op for – she is the reason I completed these goals but also the person I’d most like to share the celebrations with.

When I cried into my grandmother’s arms the day Mom died and said “How am I supposed to have children now without her?” she told me that she would be there always – and then she died, too.

Our massive family get-togethers began to shrink and the link that connected everyone – my grandparents and their house as a home base – all completely gone.

Christmas dinners, birthday celebrations – all completely different.

I had to rebuild my life from what I knew from birth to what I know now.

My Mom has six brothers and sisters and she acted like the mediator between them most times – she easily connected and communicated with everyone and that completely changed after she died.

It hurt because not only did I lose three of the most important figures in my life within a year and a half of one another – I was forced to watch my Dad and sister suffer through these losses and at the same time watch them watch me for fear of losing one more person.

I don’t think either of them expected me to survive that loss – I didn’t think I would either.

After I decided to live I made an effort to consciously work on bettering myself and what I struggle with the most right now is watching my Dad without Mom – he is okay but fuck – they met in high school and went together better than bread and butter.

When I met my husband I couldn’t believe that I had found someone who reminded me so much of my parents in different aspects – and the way he treated me as a girlfriend and now wife are incredibly similar to the dynamic I grew up with, albeit minor differences here and there.

Again, I was lucky – I am still lucky.

But I also worked my god damn ass off to get where I am and that’s saying it lightly – I think the most beautiful thing I experience is when people find out about my history and tell me they cannot see the grief or the sadness behind the stories I tell – and I tell them that it took years to be able to even speak about my mother without physically crying.

In this post I would like to offer a self-interview of all the questions I hope to be asked by my daughter one day – because I know that life is short and thankfully with the internet I was able to create this outlet.

There has not been a second since the moment Mom died in 2014 that mortality doesn’t leave my mind – I am grateful for each morning I wake up happy and healthy – a lot of people do not.

I’m going to structure the questions in groups so that it is easier for other people to read what they want to know and skip what they don’t – I want to show you that there doesn’t have to be a societal box for you to cram yourself into – just be yourself and work with time rather than against it – it’s a human-made construct for us to use and we ought to use it wisely.

Please enjoy and I welcome all questions and feedback and will be answering questions I’ve received on social media or frequently asked throughout my life or career.

Let’s get started!

Career

1.What exactly is a millwright?


In a nutshell – we repair and install machinery. The machinery and equipment you work on has to do with the industry you are in –  but a bolt is a bolt and a wrench is a wrench no matter where you end up.

2. How long does an apprenticeship take? Why aren’t you done yours?

To be a licensed millwright in Canada where I live – you must be Red-Seal Certified.

The actual information regarding a millwright apprenticeship can be found here but quickly – it’s about 7000 hours of time spent working in the field and graduation from the required courses is required to write the exam that will qualify you.

I have graduated from the Industrial Millwright/Mechanic program at Mohawk College in Stoney Creek (ON) and I’m about 700 hours shy of writing my exam to be certified.

I was held back when I began to work in an office as a mechanical maintenance planner and my hours no longer counted towards my apprenticeship.

Now, I spend my time between the shop floor (which counts towards my hours) but mostly office work – therefore it will take me a little longer as my peers are mostly all ticketed now.

My daughter is a delightful surprise and I don’t mind taking the long way around – at the end of the day I’m blessed to be a Mom and to be working for a company that is willing to work around that.

3. What industry do you work in? What’s it like?

I work for a steel manufacturing company – and it’s amazing.

At first it reminded me of Mordor – LOTR anyone? – because of all the fire and noise but now I view it as a network that relies on several different people and factors to run smoothly.

I am but a piece to the bigger puzzle that is steel-making.

4. Are you ever intimidated? Why?

At first I was because I didn’t know anything and I had a hard time feeling like “the dumb girl who wants to be a mechanic” – what I used to call myself all of the time before I gained confidence as an apprentice.

Upon seeing the fear in my eyes early in my career, a male coworker said to me “We are all just little boys inside these big grown men’s bodies – don’t let them scare you.” And that helped me out a lot – like a lot a lot lol.

We are all just grown children and no one really knows everything – even if they make it seem like they do.

5. What is your best memory as an apprentice?

Learning how to properly use hand tools and an angle grinder because those things caused me to sweat and shake with fear at the beginning.

And the guys that I’ve come to know – I’ve met so many outstanding individuals and they make all the difference when getting up to go to work in the morning.

6. What is your worst memory as an apprentice?

Walking up behind a supervisor who was in the middle of talking about me – the last thing I caught was “she’ll never make it as a millwright” – at the time I didn’t think I could either.

I held my head up and decided that because I couldn’t control the perceptions that some people held over me – I would simply just have to figure out who was willing to teach me and stay away from those with preconceived notions – like that person – who would only make things more difficult.

Plus, that guy retired lol anyone who’s ever said anything negative usually came from my parent’s generation – I don’t blame them for being a product of their generation and took their comments with a grain of salt.

7. You work with men most days on average. What is it like being a minority as a female?

It has its pros and cons – but at the end of the day we are all just people.

Some guys like to keep me on the sidelines while out on a job because they’re trying to protect me – sometimes without realizing it.

When I know I’ve been paired with someone apprehensive to hand a 5’5 – 115 lb female an impact gun because they think I’ll spin around when I hit the trigger lol – I will stand back and ask a zillion questions and try to get something out of the experience without forcing myself on anyone.

On the other hand – there are guys who are more than willing to give me a chance with the bigger tools and heavier jobs and I have gained valuable work experience from these people as well.

No two people are the same – no two people learn the same – and I use my intuition to gauge people and act accordingly to the people and situations I find myself working with and in.

8. Why did you choose a career in the skilled trades?

After I graduated from Brock University my best friend landed a government job as a social worker.

I thought I wanted to do exactly that but after working with the public in retail/food for over ten years, my taste for talking to others was soured and I knew I’d be unhappy going down that road.

I also take on a lot of other people’s suffering as an empath – we’re all empaths in our own way – and to be able to mentally handle that kind of work takes a different kind of strength – something I was not prepared for at the time.

So I took a leap and Googled “what are trades” and almost seven years later, I work as a mechanical maintenance planner in an office in a steel mill.

9. What is a mechanical maintenance planner, anyway?

Basically people used to get this job after years of working on the floor till their bodies gave out and they needed an office job to stay working.

Nowadays, the culture is so vastly different and safety-minded that we don’t have to break our bodies to work and a benefit is that jobs like this one opened up for me to apply to when I needed to get off the shop floor.

It took a couple of interviews and an internal hiring process but my education and work experience allowed me to land a mechanical maintenance position within the same company and I ended up thriving at it.

I still spend time out in the field though it is a lot less than before – and instead of receiving a work package to work on as a millwright I plan that work for the various trades we have in the mill.

Being a millwright also gave me an advantage because I dabble a little into electrical, engineering, pipe-fitting, welding, non-destructive technology and more by planning various jobs after receiving a work request from equipment specialists on the floor.

Something breaks – it is identified – ES requests work – I get that request and plan the work – send the work order out – trades perform the work – rinse and repeat.

10. What is some advice you’d give to someone wanting to enter into the skilled trades?

Be yourself and don’t give up.

I’m feminine and hardworking but I’ve made all of the mistakes – they are what shaped me as a woman and tradeswoman.

Don’t let society – or other people – direct your life – I’ve asked the “stupidest” questions and have been met with many an eyebrow raise – I don’t let it deter me and I don’t take it personally.

Applied effort pays off way more than apprehension does – I didn’t know how to do anything with math – including how to read fractions – or know any trade related language  when I first started out.

It takes time – it’s a skilled trade.

Being able to joke and laugh with the guys is also part of what makes my career so rewarding.

 In my career, the guys act like family members and treat me as such.

I don’t like placing the focus on being a woman” with a traditionally male career in the skilled trades.

There is no defining trait nor sex nor gender that should keep you from choosing a fulfilling career if you’re willing to work for it.

12. If you could say one more thing about being a female in the skilled trades…What would it be?

To not sacrifice your femininity for your career – if that is who you are.

We all have the divine feminine and divine masculine within us and some people are more keen to show both sides, while many only show one.

Duality and acceptance of such will help you – and especially knowing that you cannot control what other people say or think.

Find products that work for you – I use a lot of Axe men’s products and Olay skincare for the most part – and it’s okay if you’re not into that, too.

Just be yourself and you’ll be fine.

Money Talk

1. How did you get out of debt?


I made lifestyle changes and began budget-keeping.

That take-out coffee for two-fifty a day adds up to a lot each month – and I was always wasting my money on shit like makeup (that I would use once) or the latest products being hawked at me.

And I spent a lot of money on food whereas now, I cook.

As a vegetarian, Gardein products saved my palate and I recommend them to anyone looking for meat alternatives – their products are delicious and affordable.

Now, I spend time really looking at what I need and have narrowed my product list down to some core re-purchases – that I buy when on sale.

I don’t spend a fuck ton on shit for my daughter because I choose to spend time playing with her and doing things like reading or dancing – she doesn’t care about half the shit she gets anyways lol and I’d love for her to remember the memories as opposed to the material crap I shoved her way.

I also don’t really care about brand names – I choose items based on quality and will pay for that quality accordingly.

Some of my favorite pieces of clothing have been in my closet since I was a teenager – and they are still very much loved and used.

2. Any advice for someone trying to get a handle on their own debt?

It takes sacrifice – I missed that morning coffee but more so because I enjoyed the girls that worked at the Timmies I’d visit – I had to take some losses to make more gains.

Don’t pay  minimum credit card payments – throw a lot of money at it until it’s gone – the interest will keep you behind if you’re only paying the minimum each month.

When you’re out of debt – put that money you’re used to throwing on your credit card into a savings – you’re used to “spending” that anyway.

And pay your bills on time – make sure of this – if you don’t it’ll hurt your credit score.

My debt included the college degree I paid for without scholarships – my parents thankfully funded my B.A – but I racked up credit card debt from the time I was 17 to 29 costing me tens of thousands of dollars.

Tens. Of. Thousands. Of. Dollars.

…And nothing to show for it.

And now I am debt free – albeit my car – a 2017 Hyundai Elantra GT fully loaded – which I purchased coupled with 0% financing.

I kinda got duped into $5000+ of “extra insurance” that I likely won’t use – but I was stubborn and went to the dealership myself and that’s what happened lol but I did get free tint so whatever!

You win some, you lose some, you learn the lesson and move on.

Also, bring someone with you when making a big purchase like that – someone who is financially stable and will guide you properly.

3. What was the hardest thing about saving?

When I became debt free and saw my savings begin to build, I wanted to “treat myself” to something and then quickly realized that I didn’t want to put myself in the same position as before so instead taught myself to say no to shit I knew I’d end up not using, anyway.

It’s hard – but it worked – and now we’re saving up for our dream home.

Love and Spirituality

1. You make your relationship seem perfect in writing – is it? Or is it just a façade?


Definitely not a facade – I don’t really post a lot of him or my daughter publicly anymore out of respect for them.

Tim and I are a team – first and foremost – and we discuss everything as members of the same team who sometimes have differing opinions.

We always have the same end goal, though.

Sure, we argue the odd time about my leaving dishes in the sink or something lol but at the end of the day the respect and love is there so that I don’t have to fear any outside influences negatively affecting my relationship.

As a person who has been in relationships where I’ve been constantly cheated on and disrespected, I knew what I was looking for and when we connected so effortlessly I knew our relationship was destined to be different – communication and respect were first and foremost and remain so to this day.

What I learned from my husband is that there are partners out there who are deserving of us – it just takes a little confidence and getting yourself up to be who you’d want to date and your partners will level-up accordingly.

Your vibe attracts your tribe – and I believe all of the inner-work I did lead me to him – and I’m grateful.

2. How has parenting changed your relationship?

Truthfully, it has only amplified our love and understanding between one another.

We have amazing chemistry and I can just look at Tim for him to know what I am feeling or thinking – this helped me significantly as a pregnant person and our strong willingness to communicate with each other openly has paved the way for the start of a beautiful little family.

Also, even when I was almost a hundred pounds heavier while pregnant – lol – he still treated me like I was a beautiful goddess and I’ve felt that way since the first time he looked at me.

3. Any advice for me? I hate being single and I can’t find someone who fits!

Devote time to yourself and work to curate yourself to who you wish to attract – this will draw potential partners toward you effortlessly as they will see your confidence in doing so.

Being in a relationship of any kind should offer you room to grow while creating the stability you’re craving – two whole people who come together will always be stronger than a couple of halves trying to complete themselves with an other – work on yourself and the rest will follow.

4. What is one thing you love the most about your husband?

All of him lol – but especially the way he treats me and my daughter.

And because he’s a fellow tradesman, he taught me how to eat properly as a vegetarian without sacrificing taste or nutrition – and it helped my conscious growth substantially.

Plus – I’m in the best shape of my life now and I’ve had a baby – eating well does the body well.

5. What’s up with the tarot and oracle cards?

I use tarot reading as a tool to offer others a peek into the world I discovered after my Mom died.

I was devastated and searched for an explanation to the feeling I had felt and was guided to using tarot as my divination tool of choice.

Anyone can read tarot, it’s a skill.

I love it because I never know what I’m going to get and I’ve had really positive feedback from others so far.

At first I was terrified to read for other people because I couldn’t understand the messages coming through, but the client always seemed to know exactly what was coming through.

As a former skeptic and a person who relies heavily on research, science and truth it was hard for me to accept this world of energy but alas we accept light and air yet we cannot physically see it.

We can feel and sense it, though.

6. What’s the difference between tarot and oracle cards?

Tarot cards are usually 78 cards split up between Major and Minor Arcana, and though the interpretations vary, there is a standard for which these cards can be read that can be found almost anywhere.

All decks come with some kind of instruction booklet or guide and though I have a couple of tarot decks, I prefer to use my Rider-Waite deck because it is compact enough to shuffle well and I resonate the best with it.

I have a Universal Tarot deck which I purchased in Toronto in Kensington Market on one of my first dates with my husband and it is a large, masculine deck that I use upon request.

The Dream Raven Tarot deck is the one I used to learn and I wrote on them to help me out, which worked really well.

I keep them all and my accumulated crystals on an alter on my bookshelf and will have an entire room dedicated to practice and readings for in-person readings upon moving to our new home in March of 2020.

Oracle cards are created differently and some may follow themes, like the Amenti Oracle deck I currently use to compliment my tarot readings.

This beautiful deck follows the 42 ideals of Ma’at (see photo below)

And the crystals have either been purchased on outings to Toronto or gifted from my mother in law, like the Amethyst pictured here…

And I really enjoy wearing the Lepidolite bracelet that she gifted me as well which helps calm and relax as well as provides intuition boost.

I’m taking my spiritual journey significantly forward as I dive into readings and offer others the chance to experience what I was lucky enough to have figured out upon losing my mother.

It helped me heal and still does each day with practice.

I work forty hours a week and love to relax and extend this service to others, especially since I vowed to help other people if I could figure out how to relay spiritual/energetic messages to those who need it.

Well…That is all for now.

To book a reading, please see the “Book a Reading” section in the menu above.

I look forward to reading for you and if you have any questions about my career in the skilled trades, please feel free to send me an email at themindfulmillwright@gmail.com.

Kaila A. Notto

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