The past weekend was a good weekend in mykesworld.
Many of my good friends know that I worked for Statistics Canada in Ottawa for a period of time in my early 20’s. I was away from home and beginning to express myself and explore who I was.
At the same time, I was reeling from events in my past, which left incredibly deep and damaging impressions on me, some of which exist to this day.
Last weekend the Hamilton Gay Men’s Chorus (HGMC) went to the Unison Festival – a quadrennial Canadian choral festival for LGBTQ people and their allies. Throughout the build up to this festival, I was leery of attending as my experiences in Ottawa were mixed at most. In fact, visiting our nation’s capital had honestly filled me with much fear and trepidation.
Let’s just say, my time in Ottawa was the start of a ten year cycle of self-destructive behaviour that has taken its toll. I was worried about returning to the scene of the crime and experiencing the same triggers that I experienced 20 years ago – thankfully this time was different:
1. I am no longer closeted and am comfortable with the person whom I’ve become. It’s taken a while for me to learn to love me, but I think I’ve got reason to celebrate who I am in my life and no longer feel the need to bury my true self under layers of mind-altering chemicals and food.
2. I had the luxury of revisiting my past with a great deal of perspective and insight into why things transpired the way they did. I was also able to visit with a friend, whom I haven’t seen since High School graduation.
3. I was surrounded by friends and family this time around. Thanks to Lorne, Chris, Kevin, Drake and Michael – I knew that I had someone to talk to, someone who would help pick me up and brush me off if I fell and someone I can trust to call me on my delusionary bullshit should it spring forth.
4. I was able to tell folks who may not have had my best interests at heart “no” or “fuck off.” This is key to my self-preservation. I know this chafed with a number of chorus members as I was not present for a number of group events, but in all honesty – if they want me to be around and be present in a good way – I need to take some me time and focus on my life. I am an introvert and find social events to be draining. I need to be able to do things on my own terms folks and prefer smaller gatherings where I can get to know folks better. If you can’t understand or accept that from me…
So yes, I’ve been able to finally feel that a huge wound in my life has been healed and I can move on. I am happy that a new door that was just opened a crack for me has swung open in a massive way and I’m looking at moving on, gaily forward, in my life.
I now no longer fear visiting Ottawa and now have two wonderful reasons to visit there a little more frequently…