It’s been a few years since I’ve written to you, and I’m still alive. A lot has happened in these past years, a lot of awful things, some good things, and then the indifference. A global pandemic happened, some say it’s over but I think the jury is still out on that one. This whole COVID thing has really fucked things up and changed everything. I spent months alone in my apartment, as so many of us did, it was a new kind of hell for so many people, it was just a different brand of hell for myself. I was in a car accident, Wepeel (my trusty 2009 Volvo XC70) was murdered by a Beck’s Cab driver who fell asleep at the wheel on the Danforth Bridge. I was left without my road trip pal and also a brain injury which put me on the bench for 6 months while I learned how to be myself again. I confused lust for love, created things I never imagined I could, pined for the person I used to be, and felt like a stranger in my own body. I moved across the country, changed jobs, fell in love, had my heart broken, and tried to patch it up. Depression found me again, or the new me whatever I am now. We used to have a peace treaty but that was with who I used to be and not who I am now, so a new war has started. I miss my friends, I miss myself, I’m hopeful and hopeless. I look forward to every day as much as I dread them. It’s been 40 odd years and I’m no closer to figuring out why, but I’m still alive despite myself.
I’ve been quiet the last couple of months but there has been a lot going on, last time I wrote about change and everything has changed again. I don’t even really know where to start so this will probably be kind of a mess, you’ve been warned. Since last Dec I had been in a fairly unconventional relationship, but it had been something I had wanted to explore since my marriage had ended. For the most part, it was an interesting and positive experience until it wasn’t. That story is for another time though, I’m not at all ready to go there. It ended badly and it dredged up a lot of trauma I thought I had processed which turns out that I hadn’t. So in the wake of that, I’ve been seeing a therapist regularly because I have no idea what I am doing.
I try to see my therapist as regularly as I can, if not weekly then every other week (at best). I think we get along pretty well, I am comfortable talking to her which feels important cause this is shit I don’t even really like talking with myself about let alone other people. There is a lot of trauma for us to root through and I don’t think I’ll ever be “fixed” but maybe I’ll learn to understand myself better. A couple of the big themes we’ve been talking about are rumination, cause I’m a compulsive overthinker and lack of a home. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, and I don’t fault my parents for it, they did what they had to do. Its something I’ve thought about a lot (see rumination) but I never really delved into how it made me feel.
As a young adult, I continued moving around. It had become habitual, don’t get settled somewhere for too long cause it’ll be time to move again. I even dragged my poor ex-wife on a tour all over British Columbia while we were together. I’ve landed myself in Toronto, it’s been nearly 3 years with one foot firmly stuck in BC, I now reluctantly call Toronto home. For years I told myself it’s temporary, I’ll go home to my friends and everything I know eventually, but time kept moving and I was trying to stubbornly block it. Then it happened, the chance to move home and at first, I was elated and couldn’t wait to go back, but as I started to look into the logistics and my needs and wants it dawned on me. Toronto is Home.
I haven’t really had home in a long time, honestly, the place where I feel most at ease is in transit. My work has required me to travel quite frequently for several years so home has been somewhere between Air Canada, Starwood/Bonvoy properties, Rental Cars, Airports and whatever in between. Mastered living for over a week out of a roller bag and a backpack, and that was my steady state. When I moved to Toronto I didn’t have to travel as much for work and in one way it was nice to be in one place, on the other hand, it felt weird to not always be gone somewhere. I do still travel frequently for personal reasons so I guess that satisfies my need to roam, for personal trips I tend to prefer driving. There is something calming about be out on the road, there’s a freedom that I’ve felt since the day I got my license in 1998 that I still feel over 20 years later whenever I hit the road.
Between November and December, I finally let go of my last ties to BC identity and became a full-on Ontarian. It’s been 3 years, I can’t kid myself and call it temporary. It felt kind of fucked up and bittersweet to let go of something that had become part of me. I’m excited and scared of what is next I want to go home, but this is home, for now.
I was stuck in traffic recently and “Whisper in Time” by Bad Religion started playing. I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it, but today was different; it resonated with me in a way it hasn’t before. “Moments that just flicker and die” … what a line, it made me think about all the changes in my life recently. So much is different now: new places, new people & relationships. The things & people I thought would be there forever, well, many aren’t anymore. And there it is, nothing really lasts. We’re on this adventure and things are always changing whether we want them to or not; it’s all kind of temporary. Now that sounds kind of bleak and that’s not the direction I want to go. Change is important, comfort and familiarity can be dangerous if you fall too deep into them. Change can be scary, the whole diving into the unknown thing. Change is inevitable, but if we run towards it instead of away from it, maybe we can be less afraid of it.
There is some change that is beyond my control and I have come to terms with that for the most part. There are still times I get caught in vicious circles trying to process things that make no sense to me. It’s the curse of the overthinker I suppose. The bulk of the change I’ve experienced and I reckon all of us do is derived from the choices we make every day. Innocuous choices all the way up to massive gut-wrenching ones steer the course we end up on. As someone who makes well beyond their fair share of poor choices, when I look back I am overwhelmed by the mayhem that my choices have caused and the path of destruction they’ve left behind. Like the hell child of man-made and natural disasters copulating together in some horrible union that should have never been, that is where my mind wanders to and sits when left to its own devices.
I was talking to a friend about choices and consequences, and she expressed a wish to rewind and it made me think, would that be a good thing? Would I want to unravel and relive all the poor choices I’ve made? I don’t think so. I keep looking behind me and seeing the scorched earth they have caused, the unrest in my mind I struggle with trying to make sense of things I can’t change because they’ve already happened; becoming a poster boy for insanity. After a somewhat healthy amount of overthinking, I’ve concluded that rewinding would be the worst thing to do because then I wouldn’t be who I am right now. Plus I’ve spent too much time already looking in the wrong direction: looking back and cursing myself for what I’ve done has impeded me from looking forward at where my choices have brought me. Despite my poor life choices, or maybe in spite of them, I live a privileged life with riches I never imagined would be possible for an uneducated schlub. The power of negativity is startling: no matter how good things can be going it takes one little issue, one sideways comment taken the wrong way, or one misunderstanding to completely erase all the good things from my field of view. That little critic we all have suddenly bursts into an 8000-pound gorilla beating the shit out of my heart and mind.
It’s time to change, to stop looking backward and to stop feeding the critic. I am choosing to embrace myself the way I am and realize my choices were not poor, they were and are the choices I needed to make to be who I am right now. What’s that shitty line: you can’t make an omelet without cracking some eggs. I’ve cracked a fuck ton of eggs and I think this omelet is looking pretty good. No, wait, scratch that. I just thought of a Guttermouth song “Casserole of Life” and I like how they put it better. My life is my Casserole and I want to fill it with fun and things that make my life taste good. I love you, thank you for reading. I wish you the best of luck embracing change and the choices you make.