moving forward

I keep meaning to write more about what's going on right now, but the truth is that it's a lot to keep up with. I'm saying my goodbyes in so many ways, in so many corners, to so many faces and special places. As a whole, it has been bittersweet, and it has provided me with a catharsis that is so necessary for healing. This whole experience. I feel grateful for so much of it, despite the sting of grief on my shoulders. It kinda makes the goodbyes a little more meaningful in their own way. It has been one heck of a wild ride. 2 weeks until moving day.

On the 15th, it was the 3 month mark since Breakfast passed away. I don't know why I felt the need to do so, but I took his ashes for a walk; to begin the process of letting some of them go. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it, because of how much it hurt to think of parting with him again, but it actually didn't feel that way at all when I got there. I don't look at Breakfast's ashes as 'him.' They're just what is left of him in the physical world. A little bag of ash and bone. Amazing to think what they used to be. It's hard to accept the end. Instead, I keep a memory box, that I stamped with a leaf, which I collected from one of our many adventures. Inside, is his leash and the ball he last chased, and I'll probably throw his crusty cheeseburger in there too. Those things mean more to me (and to him) than a plastic bag of pieces. My beautiful boy, I miss him so damn much it hurts. Deep breaths. I knew I was ready to get out there and try. 

I started with our first comfort spot, under a tree, next to a school, in our first neighbourhood when we first moved here. We would go there every day, every summer, for some familiarity, to feel at home. It was our spot. We've have a number of special spots like this in the city, but this was our first. So, I took a deep breath, said some words to the sky above me, and I sprinkled some ash at the base of 'our tree.' I cried a little bit, but it really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It just felt more like a tribute. A sprinkle here, more deep breaths, and a silent farewell to some sweet moments that once existed between us. I heard some great words about grief recently that have helped me cope. "We don't move on, we move forward." That's absolutely what's happening. 

Upon reflection, I've felt like a goldfish in this city. Floating in a bowl, feeling like an outsider, not quite fitting in with the current. I have my own little community within my fish bowl, but not much expands outside of that. I know the ladies who work at the post office, the man who pushes the carts at the grocery store, the vendors at the markets (free fruit!), nods from my neighbours, high fives from the kids on my block, all the way down to the sweet good mornings from the lady who cleans my building. I don't have many tight relationships like I do back home (where I'm heading, temporarily, to calibrate.) I have family there, lifelong friendships, my own roots, people I can be myself with; without an agenda or the need to entertain, or explain. Here, I'd say I have a million acquaintances (that I made on my very own), but no matter how many sweet hellos and connections I make on my daily commutes; loneliness exists. I need my backup to get me back on my feet. I need my roots to remind me who I am, who I've always been. Connection is a big deal to our emotional health, and while I'm glad to see how many people I've gotten to know in my time here, you really can't grow in a fish bowl.

The beauty in all of it, is that it took an incredible loss for me to stop in my tracks and realize something needed to change in a big way. Ever since I got back from the west coast, in 2015, it just hasn't been the same. I didn't realize what my heart needed until I was provided the opportunity to see it for myself, and I'm so grateful that Breakfast was a part of that process. I think he'd be pretty happy to know I've put my dreams in a place that I can aim and reach for. I have never done that before. So, it's a happy feeling, to know I don't have to pretend I'm okay where I am, because I'm not. Like a pair of old pants (metaphors work for me) the comfort has been sweet, but I've worn the shit out of them, and they don't fit anymore. As my dear friend Marc put it so well today, when I shared this accurate metaphor, he said, it's like there's a hole in the crotch that can't be hidden. These old pants can be retired for a new pair that'll fit me in the right places. Nature is calling me home. The ocean, the trees, the peace and quiet, the slower pace and presence, those sweet and beautiful corners that connect me to the earth. That's the stuff I need. That's the life I want.

It'll take some time to sort out how or when I get back to the coast, but I'm getting little nudges from the universe that my wishes are being acknowledged. I had an interview come my way, from that direction, and the timing is pretty comical. I have 2 weeks before I move out, back to Winnipeg. What if... What if.. What if I have to turn around and come all the way back? It would be pretty funny... but not. But totally. That is a lot of driving! I admit, I don't mind an extended road trip. I've been on plenty, and I always find them to be an emotional journey on their own. I'm looking forward to it, no matter the direction. The soundtrack, whatever it may be, will be fun to sing along to. 

If I don't get the job, that's fine. I'm just glad I got to see that there are opportunities in the direction I want to go in. This interview was a surprise to me, in so many ways. I didn't feel insecure at all. I felt at ease, I felt a certain confidence I didn't know I had. It made me acknowledge the work I've done, when I've so often felt like it has never been enough. A lot of my job as a freelance artist has pushed me into a deep dark corner, and that's a new post all on its own. I might go there, I might not. All I know is that my position as a business runner, on the internet, on my own (without legal protection) has been horribly damaging for my stability, my state of mind, and my concept of personal value. I'm ready to close that door, very hard. Just, where do I land? It'll be interesting to see. The surprise of the unknown is kind of fun in itself. I'm just glad I had the chance to speak my truth out loud, that I'm damn good at what I do. And mean it.

And so, with all of this loss and heartache, gratitude, release, realization, depression, anxiety, LIFE! I'm being provided with endless opportunities in front of me. Not to mention, I don't feel so alone anymore, in that fish bowl of personal limitations. I have so much support from so many people around me, who want me to succeed and be my best (and to wear a pair of pants to strut in.) The instant I picked up the phone to tell my parents "I'm not okay," I was provided with open arms to take me back without any questions asked. I'm not a failure for asking for help, I'm not weak for needing it, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. We all need someone to lean on when the world gets too heavy for us to handle. I feel so supported and loved, it's quite overwhelming. It brings tears to my eyes in a different way. There's a lot of crying going on in my world these days, but it's cleansing. It's necessary. It's time.

As I picked myself up, I continued on from our tree, and into the field where Breakfast last played. I sprinkled some more ashes in front of me and acknowledged the present. How on earth did we land here? I knew this point in time had to come one day, but wow, is it ever profound to be standing in it. I took another deep breath, remembering all of our special times here. When I was ready, I let it out into the open, to acknowledge for myself, and for him to hear if he's out there, I'll be leaving soon. I thought it would feel different to hear it for myself, but it actually felt good. It feels right, yet it feels so strange to be leaving without him. And while his memory remains in every little corner of this city, I know he is most certainly coming along for the ride, in spirit. How I wish he was here for real, but that's life/death as she goes. One more deep breath, I whispered one more time, "thank you, for being mine."

And now... we can move forward. 

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