Family had become lost to me over the past two decades of my life. When I left Prince Edward Island in search of work, money, fame and adventure, I surrendered my connections to family to make the leaving bearable. I think that all those who leave home, not knowing when they might ever return, need to do such things. Two decades later, I find myself adrift: the jetsam and flotsam of a shipwreck of my own making. The one thing that can bring me back and provide certain anchorage is a tribe of my own making.
I have accomplished all that I set out to do when I left Charlottetown for Montreal and Toronto. I have a secure career, I have a lucrative photography business, I have travelled the world, I have learned, and I have loved… and I have lost. What I now must find is the kith, kin and tribe that I want to spend the rest of my life with. I have found members; people who I love more than myself, and that is what I want for the remainder of this life. I want to be surrounded by people who love me for who I am, and who are full of life. I want to stop trying to get ahead, and I want to focus on sharing what I have with others: my own family.
The artistic realm and the imagination are key to my personal happiness. I enjoy the company of people who see more than money, sports and fashion. I like to be involved with people who can make shit instead of buying shit from China. I value the local producer. I made a concerted effort to only buy local products that I felt would mean more to those I gave to than what I would lose by giving.
Case in point…an old friend’s children led me to realize that I wanted my own children last year at this point. Until that point I submitted to the idea that I could not provide for my own needs let alone those of children, but meeting K. and S. led me down another path. Their pushy excitement at seeing me for the first time, their inquisitive natures, their acceptance of who I was showed me that I had an empty space that I needed to fill. For the past year I have thought deeply about that space. As a small gesture of my thanks, I decided to offer up a prized prototype Base Camp X knife to K. who is a keen Army Cadet and outdoorsy girl. How many knives do I need? Hearing her say that it was one of three prize possessions she has owned in her life showed me that it no longer matters what I own, rather it matters what I can give.
I am one of those people who put a lot of focus on my dogs; too much focus. Over the past three months though I have learned how to give the same amount of attention to them while worrying less about them. With that extra energy I have been better able to share myself with friends and family. Not freaking about their whining while we drove alone across Eastern Canada in a snowstorm taught me that I have enough energy for children, and I can carry a heavier load than even I thought possible.
Spending time at home this Christmas has taught me that my personal narrative needs to expand into stories where I am no longer the main focus. I am learning that it is okay for me not to be the centre of attention and not to be the wonderful Wizard of Oz. While I was not as connected and involved as I wanted to be today [I have a lot on my mind, obviously], I was able to share more of myself than ever before. I was able to relax and just listen. I was able to enjoy without judgement.
My tribe starts with those people who I share a name and history with. Watching my brother and his fiancé laugh and play with my bad dogs gave me a positive outlook on what life will be like once I get my ducks together. Mingus and India had a wonderful morning being taunted by Scott and babied by Courtney. Finally, we ended with a watercolour of our now-demolished family homestead. My brother read a passionate reflection of what our childhood and the imagination had meant to him. We then went visiting others before returning home for a rest and dinner.
Tribe and legacy are words that Graeme Cameron taught me this year. I truly believe that I have found the person I want to build such a world view with, and whether or not such gifts ever become realized, I have found the one thing that I never imagined finding. The next week will either build a foundation or burn this paradigm to the ground, but the universe has its ways of shifting tides when the currents seem to strong to swim through. Either way: whatever, whatever.