It’s been a rough 2 years of living in Victoria. I’ve been forced to move from place to place, existing everywhere from basements to hostels, to sketchy modified living rooms. I’ve been taken advantage of and screwed over by two sets of landlords, four roommates and many employers. I’ve had my possessions stolen, my faith in humanity shaken, lost all my savings, gotten them all back, lost them all again. I have picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again more times than I can count, I have endured continuing health and hearing difficulties. I’m worried someone has taken my hearing aid because I can’t find it anywhere, and it’s not the kind of thing I would lose. The man I love is issues of his own, and my worry over him is even more crippling than the stress that I feel over my own problems.
Once, when I was a child, I was at Long Beach with my parents, I went out into the surf wearing the life-jacket my mom insisted I could not be without. When my she looked away, a huge wave grabbed me and pulled me under, the life jacket tugged me incessantly up, and the current pushed me unrelentingly down, until I didn’t know which way was up, and as the I ran out of oxygen – for even my abonnormally large lung capacity has its limits – and as the colours blurred and the sounds became soft and I thought to myself “this is it, this is the end” I saw before me this beautiful light – it was the sun glimmering like a million diamonds through the green water – and all of a sudden, there was air, and I was still alive.
I heaved myself onto the shore and mom said “how was your swim?” I replied “oh, fine” and went on with my day, as though nothing had happened.
I feel like that now, like I’m still caught between the forces of the current and the buoyancy of the lifejacket, struggling between pull of the darkness and the optimism of hope. But it’s been two years now, I am still waiting for the sun and the air, and the chance to heave myself back onto the sand.
I have a job now, a good one, where people are kind to me, and they have pastries and popcorn, and a clean staff room. I get paid for my breaks and my lunch and I go home at five. No one expects me to lie or make small talk, they leave me alone, and are happy with my efforts. I work hard there, I do my best, and I feel like I belong somewhere, at least for eight hours of the odd day. My job helps people who need it, and is kind to the environment. It brings me some peace instead of adding to the burdens of my already exhausted conscience.
But these people and this job can’t keep me safe forever and I don’t have enough days, I barely manage to get by. Soon, they tell me, next month I will have more hours, but I don’t know how many, and the unpredictability scares me.
Every moment has been so difficult. Four more months, just four more and I will be living with my sweetheart, somewhere where my landlord won’t hurt me and I don’t have to have any roommates, four more months and I’ll be back at school with a part time job and professors that know me and like me. Four more months and I’ll have the only thing I want: a life.
Four more months. I keep that repeating that to myself in the dark, when I’m at my most alone and vulnerable, four more months…honestly though, I don’t know if I can last even that long. There are days when I decide I’m going to give everything up, everything last thing I have worked so hard for and just go home to my family who loves me and won’t take advantage of me, my family who I who I feel safe with and who will protect me. To my father who would stop a moving locomotive with his bare hands before he let it hit me, to my mother who would wrap herself around me to shield me from the world. But then I think of what that would mean, and I stop packing my bags, and I turn on my computer and watch youtube until two in the morning so I don’t have to think about how terrified and alone I really am.
I’m sorry I haven’t written in a long time, between dealing with the government, the rental office, job searches, anxiety, having to move again so suddenly, I’ve not really been in the right state to think about blogs. I try to move forward a little every day, but even though I have the help and support of the people I love, I still feel trapped and alone. I always try to be honest when writing these articles, and sometimes that’s difficult, because I’m afraid of what people will think if me.
I guess what I’d like the reader to take away from this post is that people forget the results of their actions. They forget that one little unkindness may add up, and become part of one huge unkindness. I seem to be collecting everyone’s little unkindness’s. I don’t have enough room to keep them, I don’t have enough strength to carry them all.
If you’re a person out there, overwhelmed by life, please remember that it does stop somewhere. That every time you decide you’re not going to hold up your end because you’re having a bad day, you’re not going to do the right thing because you can’t be bothered, remember that someone who can’t say ‘No’ who doesn’t have a choice, either because of circumstance or a sense or moral obligation, will get stuck with your problem. I would ask you to do your very best to put your best foot forward every day no matter what problems you may be facing. Don’t leave them for someone else to fix. Your burdens do not become any lighter on another pair of shoulders.
I’m a tiny person, I have tiny shoulders. And yet, at this moment in time, and for the last two years, they have been forced to bear the entire weight of the world.
I am reminded of David Wiffen’s song ‘Skybound Station’ in it, he wonders:
“Is it just our imagination, the pictures in our minds like waiting at some skybound station for the train to bring us some peace we may never find…”
A very talented man, he ended up giving up his music entirely, moving to Winnipeg and becoming a limousine driver. No one has heard from him since.
I wonder if, at some point in his life, he too had hope that things would work out somehow, some way, despite all the odds against him.