I’ve been home for a week, now. Seven days in Alberta. Its been over a month since my last post, and so much has happened. Once again, I can credit synchronicity to my newly formed relationships and experiences. Out of pure spontaneity and luck, I was given a bursary to attend the Explore program in Quebec City. Five weeks of french and wind and rain and forty degree heat later and I’m a changed person.
Quebec City is quite possibly my favorite place in the world. I found home in the graffitied tunnels that run under campus. I found peace in my little dorm room that overlooked ‘Le Pub’. I found adventure in the eyes of strangers, walking down Rue St. Jean at 11pm. I found comfort in the arms of my friends, creativity in the fingertips of almost-lovers, and confidence in the white noise cheering of a crowd 300-strong. I found that I belonged in every alleyway, every path, every nook and forgotten sidewalk. I found the ability to be myself, to laugh loudly, to sing and dance and love and learn and take off my makeup, wear curlers to dinner, run headfirst into the rain.
I got my first tattoo, not out of teenage rebellion, but out of commitment to an idea, out of respect for the only thing I understand as true; impermanence, anicca. Whenever I catch a glimpse of the soft Sanskrit in the mirror, I am reminded of the fleeting nature of life, reminded of the beauty in that, and to find growth in the coming and going of things and people and places and ideas. The past seven days I’ve needed to remind myself of that more than ever before. It is absolutely heartbreaking to have to leave and be left, when you’ve grown so accustomed to living and breathing in sync with people who mean the sun and the sky and the stars to you. I cried for days and days, feeling hopeless and hopeful and overwhelmed with this new-found capacity to love and let love in simultaneously.
Of course, while I was in Quebec, there were moments in which I felt very much alone. But I find that no matter who you are with, or where you are, there will always be moments like that, and it is easier to accept them for what they are than over analyze them and get hurt in the process. Overall, however, I found a striking solidarity within the people I spent five (four in the case of my friends from Newfoundland) weeks with. I know that no matter how scattered about the earth we are, we will find a way back to one another eventually. Its inevitable. Until then, we can disregard the kilometers, and seek solace in letters and emails and phone calls and text messages and send each other telepathic love letters (skype helps, too).
Sometimes, though, that doesn’t feel like enough. Context can get lost in the brevity of a text message, and skype dates are hard to organize. Distance strikes up an entirely new brand of uncertainty, and sometimes three thousand kilometers carves itself into your mind like razor blades. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned this summer is that numbers are just that; numbers. Small, insignificant calculations of matter and connaisance and vanity. I’ve learned to give others the same respect that I feel I deserve when it comes to age. Just because I feel, on occasion, that I am thirty years old, doesn’t mean that beautiful friendships and even relationships can’t be formed with people a year or two younger than me. I expect my friends and colleagues to treat me as an adult at seventeen, and I must pass on that respect.
On the note of age and it’s elasticity in the face of maturity/ immaturity, i feel as though I have proven to myself and my family that in a year’s time, when i head off to university, I’ll be okay. I’ve grown confident in myself and my ability to thrive in a variety of situations.
Where do I go from here? Tomorrow I’m going to compete in another slam, and after that I’m volunteering at the People’s Poetry Festival in Kensington, and hoping to open mic shortly after that. There are vague plans to visit Vancouver, New York, Newfoundland, and I need to start applying to schools soon. I think for now, I’m allowed to miss the misty mornings and walking to the caf with my friends, the fragile greetings exchanged over weak coffee in french class, the long talks lying in the grass, the scrambling to meet curfew, the laughter, the tears, the cuddling, the hugs, the interconnectedness I felt surrounded by so many beautiful souls. For now, its alright to just be.