Just another beautiful piece of heaven, found on the beach at McNabs Island.
Believe it or not, it was almost a year ago that I packed my bags and headed to Halifax for a new life.
The week I was to leave Waterloo, my brother Brent and his partner, Agnes, had me over for dinner. After we’d eaten, we sat down on their couch to talk about the last-minute things you talk about before a cross-country journey.
Sipping on a scotch, our ritual after a yummy dinner, we didn’t really talk about anything of great importance, on purpose. For my brother and I, who are very close and have always lived as side-by-side as we possibly could for all our years, the crazy move I was bound and determined to make meant that we would be apart, for the very first time. I was going to miss my comrade in arms an awful lot.
So we kept the conversation light, focusing on the less emotional stuff, like what time I planned on leaving, how I thought Bella would do in the car on the long drive, and other pedestrian topics.
As the evening wound down and I began to think about heading home, Agnes brought out a gift.
Me, loving surprises, ripped open the wrapping in a fury and discovered a necklace, with little trinkets of some sort knocking about inside a pendant.
Without my reading glasses on to scrutinize the wee things, I had to ask. “What are these?”
Agnes’s face exploded into a giant smile.
“Well,” she said, “there’s a note for your love of music, a wine glass for your love of family, fun and friends, a flower for how much you love gardening and nature, a compass for adventure, and a pencil, for your writing.”
Last July, when I started this blog, I made a commitment to write about my adventure every week for an entire year. With the exception of December, I actually managed to do this.
To make myself thoroughly crazy, I also committed to writing truths, as they unwound and showed themselves, even if they shone light on places inside me I’d rather not think about or acknowledge, let alone have others know.
I guess I figured, what good is truth if not the truth?
The single caveat in this truth-telling was to never, ever knowingly embarrass or shock my three sons, who read every single one of my posts.
This was a taller order than I ever could have imagined, and I often had to do a lot of writing work-arounds, including complete deletions of whole stories or sections, after spending hours working on them. But as William Faulkner famously said, “In writing, you must kill your darlings.”
Suffice to say, there is a very large repository filled to the brim with my darlings.
In hindsight, what was left out was more about blame than honesty and served no purpose in being disclosed. It was the kind of writing of the ‘great you got that off your chest, and now, burn it so you it’s never read‘ tradition.
The net result was that I became a kinder, more compassionate, empathetic writer, especially when writing about others.
I also came to understand that there are few pure villains or absolute angels in the world. All of us have our struggles, and when struggles collide, it’s really about how you look at and react to the situation, rather than the people. Writing with this at the forefront of my thoughts helped me write real, more complex and less one-dimensional versions of the stories and those that move in and out of my life.
After I published my very first post, I thought maybe I would have a handful of readers, all related to me either though blood or friendship, each coerced into subscribing by sheer force of my indomitable will.
And yup. That is exactly how I managed to get my first bunch of subscribers.
Today, though, I no longer know all my readers, and they live all over the world. I don’t have thousands, or any dramatic number even close to that, but for a woman who was happy to have an initial fifteen or sixteen, I am utterly and completely surprised to know that I’ve got a bunch more eyes ready my blog, then I ever imagined I would. Every week. And geez, that alone inspires me to keep me plugging away, doing the best job I can, each and every week.
On July 21st, 2016, my runaway year will be done.
I don’t have a lot of posts left to cover everything I’ve learned nor share all the stories that I didn’t have space to include each week. But that’s okay. I’m writing a book, which is why after July 21st, I won’t be writing weekly posts anymore because I must concentrate all my writing efforts on completing the book.
I will still post, though how often, I haven’t quite figured out. But I will let you know.
But I do promise that on or before the last weekly post, to tie up some loose ends that many readers have asked about, like where to and what next, what is going on in my head regarding running away, and yes, scouts honour, what happened with Chaps.
Last year, as I headed off to my fate, I went with the pendant necklace Brent and Agnes gave to me, a talisman and reminder of loving wishes for life here to go well and include what I hold dear.
My dear brother and Agnes know me too well, though. And it didn’t miss my notice that they’d kindly left out representation of what, at the time, I feared very much, love.
They both knew that adamantly and vehemently, I did not want my adventure to become a love story of the Eat, Pray, Love sort. I wanted no white knight to arrive, scoop me up and ride me off into the sunset on a big horse for some kind of happily ever after, in an ironic retribution that might show me, once and for all, that love could conquer all.
Hogwash, is what I thought.
No, my ending would have nothing to do with anything so trite and everything to do with independence, fearlessly embracing the unknown, and building a life that had me standing squarely, solidly and most importantly, fully balanced on my own two feet.
Well, the best laid plans and all that rot don’t hold up well when you move through a world filled with people. Simply because I wanted my story to end or evolve in a certain way, didn’t mean it would. And, if I have learned anything in this last year, it is that no one has control over fate.
In this city, I arrived not knowing a soul and forcibly ejected myself into the abyss, saying yes to anything and anyone, however often the act of saying ‘yes’ shoved me out of my customary comfort cocoon.
And as it turned out, love’s fingerprints ended up all over this last year.
Okay. You’re officially warned of impending mushiness and the end of my weekly blog. All for now, and back to normal post next week and until July 21st.
Karalee of no fixed address