I am at a pivotal and momentous moment in my life and the strangest feeling is knowing that things are moving fast and sure whether I want them to or not. If I could just pause somewhere for a little bit longer to enjoy whatever it is I’m doing, I would. Then I think, I can. I can do that. But then I think, can I?
I’m sitting on the couch in the dark at my friend’s place in Ottawa; my last night in the city before catching my train back Toronto tomorrow and I can’t shake this unruly “I don’t want to leave this place” feeling. But I love Toronto. It’s the first place since Berlin that I’ve felt at home and completely occupied and opportunistic in, but Ottawa was the first place that let me be me. Wholly me. And aren’t we all always in love with our first true loves? Can that first true love be a place?
Definitely. At least for me it is.
Always feeling like I was born in the wrong city (which was London, Ontario), looking for a place that could love me was a huge deal to me. I always chalked it up to the city and situation lining up perfectly, like I was staring down the neck of a telescope, always seeing black, until stars finally aligned. Sometimes it took a while. In Berlin, a month. In Vancouver, two months. In Toronto, almost a year. And it doesn’t seem like long, but every day your stars don’t align, it can feel like time barely budges.
It took however long for these cities to accept me and this past weekend I became overwhelmingly grateful to realize it wasn’t the cities at all… It’s the people in them. I mean, I knew that before, but now I really know it.
The fact that I can send an invite to hangout and someone actually shows up on the other end makes me wish I could never leave. I feel so lucky to know the people that I do and I wonder why, when I am not here, that I convince myself I so wholly do not belong in this city. What has happened between me living here before and me being here now that makes me think it may be otherwise? Like the blinders are up and I’m going to show up here and have nowhere to go and no one to see? Am I afraid of being alone, or something? You’d think I would already be aware of that.
I used to listen too a song called Love Is A Place by Metric. When I lived here, my room was bright. I had the same wood slated apartment flooring that’s in my bachelor in Toronto now (probably why I picked it). I had a purple comforter. And I drew an octopus on my closet door. I had a beta fish named Mattieu le Poisson Francais. My roommate and I had a grey kitten named Stanley. He was a jerk. A funny jerk. He died a few months after I moved cities.
I used to drink rye and diet and update my livejournal regularly and take mirror pictures every day. I used to host predrinks and I used to play the music really loud. It was always the same playlist. I used to go to Bytowne by myself and eat popcorn and cry during any foreign film I was watching because I thought it was beautiful and I wished I was from there. I used to think that my friends were people who were in my life temporarily. Like I could go anywhere and I’d find them. I used to and I still feel totally enamoured in their presence. Like when we were all together, we could do and be anyone we wanted. And when I’d make them laugh, I used to think, I could feel totally lost but at least I’m doing something right.
I’ve lost a few friends that are a part of some of my favourite memories and people keep telling me to let them go. But they’ll always be there. If you let it all go then who will you be? They are where I came from. And I hope I never lose the ones I still have here. I’m happy to know that they didn’t turn out to be temporary. And that they’re as hilarious and sweet as ever.
Where are you from?