In a couple of weeks, I’ll have lived in Vancouver, British Columbia for an entire year. When I arrived I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea what I was going to be or what would happen.
Usually I evaluate my years chronologically; on my birthday, on January 1. It’s been a long time since I’ve evaluated my year based on location.
I moved to Vancouver on July 4, 2013. I had a friend breakup, I was on the verge of a real breakup, and I was on the verge of finding out whether I could really be a teacher. I was naive, but I was also past naivety. I was insightful, but I didn’t always understand insight and why it was important to be insightful. I was unsure of what was going to happen, but I was willing to let anything happen because I had the promise of a “new life”. I had the opportunity to reinvent myself and be a new person, and embody a different spatial and emotional place.
One year later, I don’t even know who I am anymore. I don’t know where my moral code is, I don’t know what kind of person I am — am I a teacher? A monster? Confident or lack thereof? Am I the kind of person who would be considered courageous or cowardly? And if everyone in my life knew the types of paths I’ve been down since moving to Vancouver, what would they think of me? Maybe I haven’t told them because I don’t want to give them the opportunity to answer these questions for me – maybe I only wanted to answer them myself.
Is it this city that changed me? My program that changed me? Did I change myself, to prove something to myself, or disprove that who I was before was unsatisfactory, lonely, a mess of a different kind?
There are three people and three people only – who would read this and be seething with curiosity upon reading this. They would want to know so they could pass judgment, so they could watch me bleed on the sidewalk and throw stones. Three only. And to those people, I take satisfaction and safety in knowing that they will never know. They can only guess. And they can never ever live my life or understand it, so keen are they to pass judgment, so keen are they to find out everything wicked and bad I’ve ever done. Their leering eyes watch me even when they cannot and will not watch me. And I revel in it. My adventures are my own. Never to be shared, especially with the morbidly curious ‘wicked three’.
There is something that can be said about me: I am not the same. I am not the person who looks at once-significant dates and still cares about my progress on that date, 5-6 years later. I am not the person who wakes up with the sandy blonde, green-eyed boy in my head first thing in the morning when I wake up. I am not the person who is fearful of her own transgressions and how they will make me feel. Nor am I the person to make accommodations for anyone who could never and would never make the same accommodations for me.
Since moving here I have reconnected with people who do deserve my attention, and made new connections with strangers. I have navigated a foreign city but I never tire of its beauty. I have an appreciation for all people, from all walks of life, in various states of economic, emotional disparity. I’ve found I can care for villains and discard real villains.
I have come upon a moral pivot point of, “Who is the monster and who is the man?” and am more confused than ever about how to answer that question.