Location, Location, Location

October 6, 2011 § 2 Comments

I got off “the rock” (the island) for the first time in quite a while this week. A trip to Vancouver was in dire order.  I’m always surprised by how difficult it is to leave this place, and yet how, relatively speaking, it’s really quite close to travel to the third largest city in Canada — just a boat ride away.

When I arrived at Tsawwassen, I felt immediately bombarded with sounds and images — so many people, where did they come from! I had a jam-packed day planned, and got right to it. I boarded a packed bus heading downtown and was off on my solo city-bound adventure!

It wasn’t long before I started to feel overwhelmed, and quite exhausted.  I stopped to think about what was going on inside and realised how busy my mind had become, and how totally overwhelmed I was with a desire for things, places, and a future that has yet to arrive.  I thought about the nature of city living in general and saw how much of it revolves around purchasing things and food (I, as it turns out, spent over $200 in a little over 24 hours).  But it’s not just the spending of money, it’s the longing for things that really gets me. While shopping for tea cups at a store called Anthropologie, I stopped to write down a partial list of things I desire as they passed through my head, perhaps there would be some consistency over the day, perhaps it’s not that complicated, maybe, if I were more aware of my desires, I could actually attain all of them, one by one, and be happy!  So here’s the list:   money, “lifestyle” (don’t you love how vague the mind can be!), companionship, some nice boots, a nice jacket (as I saw a girl walking by with a jean jacket, sooo cool!), to be petite (she was petite), to be recognized, home decorating, art, sewing, ceramics, to be in Paris (and, therefore, not Vancouver)… and on and on…

In city life we are constantly bombarded by  images that awaken our desires, our desires to run away from who we are and what we have, and our desires to run towards something better, something that can make us whole, complete; something that can give us that edge, an identity unlike any other.   I saw at the root of all these thoughts such a strong desire to be recognized, to express myself, to be accepted, just to be enough.

Back on Salt Spring Island, I find myself preoccupied by a different universe of thoughts: Will a great owl ever perch outside on that branch of the maple tree in front of my door again?  Will I be able to write today, and will I want to?  Will my friend Kate and I  ever get to paddle around Fulford harbour in her canoe? I wonder if I’ll ever have a garden, and would I be planting tulip bulbs now, in time for Spring? Are the blackberries still ripe on the vine, time moves so fast… hmmm… maybe I need to rearrange my furniture again, it’s not quite “right”.

Of course, there are some similarities to all the thoughts. Even here, I am still imagining a future, I am still waiting for something else, something better, to happen.  But these thoughts feel like an extension of who I am rather than a panic to attain something that is out of reach (that amazing shirt I couldn’t afford). Many of the thoughts bring excitement and many of the longings actually feel possible.  I think this is the difference between living inside of a destiny and merely surviving on its outskirts, it’s the difference between self-acceptance and self-deprecation.  Perhaps it just means I’m in the right place at the right time (for me) as if there could ever be anywhere else.

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§ 2 Responses to Location, Location, Location

  • gaylemavor says:

    Hi Mary, We met or re-met at the SFU Writers Studio info session. You have summed things up very well. I feel the same way – so much of city living is about consumption – buying, eating out, requiring so much money.I felt a bit overwhelmed as well being there. I want the good parts- partaking in cultural events and courses and art events and meeting others, and being with long-time friends, but not partaking in the rest. Not sure it’s possible to separate the two in the city which requires so much money just to rent a little character-less box. Came back to SSI reconsidering my options as well. Thanks for sharing. – Gayle.

  • safranfilms says:

    Thanks for reading Gayle! Maybe you could try commuting like I’m planning on doing… I was happy to be home on the rock. We’ll see how it all unfolds, everything always works out.

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