Take one look at the biography of popular Vancouver musician Bif Naked, and you would assume it's all fiction.
Born in New Delhi. Adopted by American missionaries, ends up in Manitoba. Achieves Canadian rock stardom. Hit by cancer diagnosis at a young age. Survives and becomes a motivational speaker, while continuing to churn out hits.
In other words, she has lived her life -- as fans of the rock mock-documentary "This Is Spinal Tap" might say -- with the volume knob on 11.
So when I had a dream that I was supposed to interview her about her extraordinary life, I picked up the phone. This is what she had to say.
CT: This all came about because of a dream. Do you listen to your dreams, too?
BN: I do. Once when I was in New York City, I had two dreams in a row about the Indian guru Sai Baba. As a result of that, I decided I needed to go to his ashram in India. So I went, and it was fantastic.
CT: You recently wrote an article about menopause, which you went through after your cancer treatment. Why was that important for you to talk about?
BN: Women are so fearful about menopause, and it's got such a funny connotation. It's not sexy. But we need to open up a dialogue about it. Here I am going through it, and I'm still on a skateboard. It's a different visual of what menopause looks like. I just thought, I've got a big mouth, why don't I take one for the team and put it out there? If it helps take the trepidation away for just one woman, then it's worth it.
CT: How are you feeling healthwise?
BN: I've always felt alright, even the whole time I was sick. Some people get upset and say I shouldn't be so positive, because it takes away from the horrors they experienced. All I can say is, I experienced those horrors, too. But when I met others getting treatment, who had full-time jobs and kids and had to take the bus for hours back and forth to chemotherapy, how could I ever complain for a single day? So I didn't.
CT: Your Twitter feed is full of so many different causes. Any particular one that's close to your heart right now?
BN: I like them all. Anything to do with animal advocacy, I'm all over it. Then one day it could be people with disabilities, and the next it could be victims of childhood trauma. I get 30 or 40 messages a day from people about different causes, and I can't even look at half of them, or I'd be totally incapacitated emotionally. I'd just lie around crying all day long.
CT: After your split from your husband, are you back out in the dating scene?
BN: I was definitely shell-shocked from my last divorce. I didn't go on a date for five years, not one. I had a sweet little dog who was my whole world. Once he passed away, I actually met someone who I've been dating for about a year. He's the same age, he has a great sense of humour, and he's into heavy metal.
CT: What's next musically for you?
BN: I've been writing a rock record for the last couple of months. Over the past while we've put out a couple of singles on Canadian radio, called "The Only One" and "You're So Cool". Some of my fans were like, 'What are you doing? Where can you stage dive in these songs?' But it's fun to find a balance, and now I'm finding it fun and joyful to do some really loud guitar music. If people really let me have my way, I'd probably do a death-metal record and just scream.
CT: You're also writing a memoir?
BN: It's in its final stages right now. I'm such a Luddite with computers, so a lot of it I actually wrote by hand in my journals. That was unfortunate for the good people at Harper Collins. I think I gave them hundreds of thousands more words than I was supposed to. We don't have a title yet, but it should be easy enough to find a play on words with "Naked" in the title.
CT: You're a motivational speaker now, so any final words of motivation for your fans?
BN: Just breathe. Once you relax, you can get through the day, whether that day is stressful or joyful. It's the key to everything. And floss. My dad was a dentist, and that was always the last word with him.
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