Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wheels up

It's scandalous that I'm taking the 5 minutes necessary to type this when there's so much to do.  I have to hit "publish" by 9:30am in order to get all this madness finished and done.

Pack the truck today, dispose of the last of my chattels.  The most significant traces of my presence in Vancouver will become the people who know me.  Most of my things will have become someone else's things.

4 minutes left.

Still tied to the mast.  I don't know if I'll have a camera for the burn, which is tragic, but I got a faulty waterproof one and couldn't get an on-the-spot replacement... so here we are.  I'll figure it out.

3 minutes left.

No hyperlinks to speak of today.  Heaven help me.  The wheels are about to leave the runway and I will be offline until September 2nd, barring surprise access to an internet cafe on the way down to Burning Man.

2 minutes left.

A friend of mine yesterday picked up her djembe.  She found out I was going to the Burn.  She said "I'll see you at home."

With what I've done to this home, that feels like a scary idea... maybe an accurate one, too.

0 minutes left.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Pre-departure blues

August 19th.  I'm sitting in a mostly empty apartment.  The last pieces of big furniture have just been taken along with the last dregs of the things I expect to give away.  The rest is trash, and I know it.  No one wants it.  Not even me.

A week ago I sat on the couch where I had the first kiss with the girl I love.  I slept in the first bed I ever purchased for myself (still the most comfortable I've ever slept in).  I typed at the computer I built myself.  Each of these custom made pieces of life, and when I rested in them, they all fit.

Now there's nothing that fits.  I'm sitting on bare floor.  There's nothing else to sit on.  I have a backpack I need to pack, and when I hand in my keys, it's all over.

Is it possible to excise an organ that you don't need?  Something that feels like a part of you, but then when it's gone you're still you?  These past 2 years have been the most stable in my life, in this humble little apartment.  I lived, cooked, ate, hosted, fell in love...

Now, in the gunshot echo of the mad scramble to get rid of my belongings, mostly what's left is just to pack a backpack and walk away.

I don't know why I took on 20 days of volunteering and recovery right before I did this... why I functionally only left myself 2 weeks to pack up a whole life... I mis-stepped.  Exhaustion has me, and there's still a lot to do.

I don't want to walk away from the woman I love, not even just for 6 weeks.  I don't want to pack, get rid of everything comfortable, rip up all these contracts.  I don't want any of this.

But... I made my Ulysses Contract with myself.  I'm tied to the mast.  This is happening.  For all intents and purposes, I leave town tomorrow.

The rest of this trip might put today in context, but right now I just feel sad to be tearing things apart like this... and sad to be leaving.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

(For the past 2 weeks I've been neck deep in a youth camp.  July 24th and 25th was the staff training, July 26 - August 4th was the camp itself.  I'm going back in time, but there was enough that happened each day that you can expect a post for each of the 12 days I was away.  Just bear with me - these are going back in time a bit)


It's July 24th at 12:10am.

I've heard it said that if a fish judges itself by the ability to climb, it will always be a failure.  There's the expression "a fish out of water" that points towards the experience of not really being familiar or comfortable.

Familiar... from the same root as "familial" or relating to family.

In my personal history I've spent years, literally years doing transformational youth camps (which you could also call personal growth youth camps).  Youth on Purpose, which used to be a thing in the Vancouver area, was my first taste of the personal growth world and while it had its challenges it also helped me make some really positive changes in my life.  It created a good foundation.

Now I'm here with the Teen Journey society on the Sunshine Coast doing something that's similar, but not the same.  I've had three people call me "the camp dad" tonight, because in years past I've been the timekeeper, the structure provider, the person who tells the crew that they need to wash their dishes and clean up after themselves and still somehow I find out that I've created this unexpectedly close connection with teenagers.

If I do this well, it's not because anything in my life before ever pointed towards me doing this well.  If I'm a fish, this feels like water and not like climbing.  Before becoming involved in the Teen Journey Society I never knew that one of the things I was good at was running youth camps.

It makes me wonder sometimes what other secret genius lives inside of people.  What weird circumstances would make someone into a superhero for a day, or a week?

TJ remains the most meaningful volunteer work I've ever done.  There's so much here that's good.  As an example - we're having a honest-to-god sit down talk with a frank, awesome sex educator this year, and already some of our staff are wishing they could wind the clock back to when they were kids and get this kind of information about their bodies and desires before they made a mess instead of after.

Imagine how fortunate I feel, to not only be doing this but to find out that I'm good at it.  Just imagine it.