When I came back to Calgary – it was all I could do to find signs and affirmations that this place was where I was supposed to be. In August, it all looked right on the outside. Amazing friends, a steady boyfriend and a new job.
And then, it started to crumble. The summer came and went, and so did the new boyfriend.
It’s autumn here, and I find myself almost in the same position as when I arrived to Canada: a feeling of unrest. And today, I am beginning to understand why.
I had forgotten that I still need to play an active role in my happiness. And to be brave enough to push further.
It’s the same in my yoga practice – last week while in wheel I yawned and scratched my head. Obviously I wasn’t going deep enough. I was just performing an asana for the hell of it. The next class, I pushed. And it was just me, the breathe, and my desire to go deeper into the pose.
Today I was talking with a dear friend, and he told me he believes that happiness is an active force. You can’t expect “happy” to come to you; hoping upon hope you will magically become the person you’re destined to be.
I had started to become passive in my own life. I know what bravery is – leaving my life in Canada to move to Botswana was courageous. But when I came back, changed, I had just been hoping happiness to come to me.
This autumn, I want to fight for that woman who wasn’t afraid to leave everything comfortable for the next adventure.
And once I begin that fight, that push to find what will allow me the freedom to be happy? There’s this essential piece: reveling in the moment.
Being present is allowing all of that active work to come into fruition. It’s the same glorious feeling as to be staring into the eyes of someone you fell for, being able to talk for hours and not noticing the time.
It’s reaching a new point in an asana and then settling into the new limit of your body. It’s the breath.
Okay, deep breaths.
An acquaintance died of TB. The more probable underlying cause of his too soon death? Having AIDS, where his body couldn’t handle the attack on an already weakened immune system. I mourn for his wife and children. He was a good man.
And a friend, whose stories read more like a Jerry Springer episode. Where every week, some other tragedy occurs. It’s inevitably an issue I can’t relate to, where I realise more and more, our cultures are so different. Maybe too different?
Or when a colleague says a racist comment, and I laugh. Because this place I live in feels so racially aware. Every day I am talked to, looked at, because I am the token white girl. But no excuses, I still laughed.
I tweeted the other week that someone should just send me home to Canada. It would be easier right?
And then my sister wrote a message jokingly, “see this is why it’s bad that we don’t live closer…..” I start crying, because all of the emotions of this place – the queues, the heat, the inconveniences, HIV, illogical bureaucracy, laziness, bad driving, slow internet, THE HEAT – are starting to add up. And I forget why the fuck I am here anymore.
I open Facebook, madly trying to remember life back in Canada, trying to find that perfect place that I can go to, does it exist there? Yet status updates read like white middle class rantings of the conservative Christians – we love Jesus, sure, but we don’t want to be inconvenienced by well, anything. Perfect lives are disrupted by the few insidious things or beings. Judging, more judging. We’ve lost the bench mark for spewing our opinions.
I close it down in disgust. Sometimes the differences in my life feel so enormous. Where do I fit anymore?
I still eat, drink, commute grudgingly to the office, practice yoga in my studio flat… things are surprisingly the same as what life would be in Canada.
But I have moments, where I can’t get free of being different. And my values, culture and colour are glaringly opposite to the place I now call home.
What scares me the most? That despite it all – I still want to stay.
This has become my place in the world, as crazy as it seems. I am trying so hard to want to go back to Canada, but I know that Canada won’t make me happy. I need to be happy within myself.
I read this quote, even retweeted it, and have been mulling it over ever since:
“Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.” -Sarah Dessen
Still trying to sort out how it all adds up, to how these rantings become a life principle, how they change something in me.