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.
I met a stranger last weekend that piqued my curiosity while sitting at my favorite coffee place in Kensington Market, I was in the process of writing my last post and she caught my attention because she was working with some tarot cards. Some level of mysticism runs in my family, my dad’s mother dabbled with tarot cards and tea leaf readings and my father was into palmistry and researching old and weird things. Then there is the Filipino side of the fence, some really interesting stuff over there. Anyways back to the market, I was curious and asked her if those were tarot cards, she said yes but there was something about the way that she talked that made her even more interesting. I said hey if you’re ever looking for a guinea pig to do a reading on I’m game and so we agreed to meet up that Sunday. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen but she texted me to confirm, Sunday rolled around and I found myself at my favorite coffee spot once again. We chatted for quite a while, I love hearing the stories of peoples life adventures and she had some pretty great stories. We got onto the reading and I have to admit I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a reading myself, she asked her cards what they thought of me and they fucked with me a little which was kind of funny for both of us, the cards made fun of my “Think” tattoo (that thing is a story for another post). The process of a card reading is an interesting experience, if you’ve never done it you should try at least once if not just for the amusement of trying something new. The first reading we did was very on point, not scary or anything but it hit close to home on topics I’ve personally been avoiding cause I feel trapped to manage them. The second reading, no different from the first was just as on point and really hit home the fact that a. I need to stop avoiding shit and b. my life is pretty dope and I do some pretty dope shit (thanks Kanye). She commented that my readings were some of the most consistent shes ever done and then we got kicked out of the coffee shop because they were closing.
I have talked about my struggles with depression and anxiety but I’ve tended to skirt around the last one calling it dark thoughts or darkness. Well to bring that shitty bastard to light, its name is Suicide and it has had me as a passenger on its fucked up ride for as long as I can remember the depression and anxiety. There are plenty of reasons why I’ve never talked about it, the biggest one I would reckon is fear. The fear of judgment and persecution for admitting suicidal thoughts has kept me pretty silent about it over the past few decades. It gnaws at you though and if left alone will eventually win, a couple of years ago I caved and started talking to my counselor about the pit of despair that I felt I was in. She asked about suicidal thoughts and I nearly shut down at the fear of being sent off for mental examination or whatever, I have bills to pay, I can’t miss work. I admitted sure I think about it, but I’m good, these talks help, let’s move on. Back then I thought about it daily, and today? well, I still do. But here I am.
I am very aware that I am not alone in this struggle, people close to me, people in circles around me, people on social media and total strangers are all on this fucked up ride too. I’ve heard stories from good friends about their own struggles or those of family members they love dearly. It has been interesting to hear their perspective and how they are managing themselves or assisting their family member. Total strangers have reached out about the photos I post or words I write helping them when they were having hard times. It is nice to connect as humans and talk about something very real, something that can be upsetting but that is a part of being human I feel. The brain is a magical machine that we don’t fully understand, it can do some pretty amazing things and I am grateful for mine but sometimes it can be a real dick. Anyways the connection thing, it has been rad to connect to people but it has mostly been in private, which I understand given the nature of the topic. People get uncomfortable about it, even in this climate with more acceptance in the realm of mental health and wellness people clam up tighter than Jason Kenney in a gay bar.
So why am I talking about this unsettling business on the internet, where it will be seen by all the peoples and archived for eons and potentially get me flagged by the man for being mentally weak or whatever? Because I am tired of feeling weak when I know that is bullshit, I’m still here for as long as I can, and so are the people I know and love who are on this ride and so are the humans I have yet to meet but are also on the ride too. By sheer will and tenacity, I am here, we are here, we are doing our best. Maybe you didn’t know we’ve been fighting so hard to spend time with you and the people we love and doing things we enjoy. I don’t want to be the poster boy or voice for the people who feel lost, I just hope this helps you think differently. Because it may not be obvious to you that someone you care about is fighting for their life every day and they possibly may not want to draw attention to that because you may treat them differently. At least that is what I fear, and I am tired of being afraid. So here I am.
The new Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS), by Crisis Services Canada, enables callers anywhere in Canada to access crisis support by phone, in French or English: toll-free 1-833-456-4566 Available 24/7
For numbers in your own province click here
For readers in the United States click here
For friends in the UK click here