I am an Indigenous Canadian 100m hurdler chasing down my dream of competing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Welcome to my journey...

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Starting Over Again

September 5, 2018

Autumn is my favourite season. I think it has something to do with the beautiful changing colours of the leaves and getting bundled up in thick blanket scarves carrying Starbucks cups. It is breathing in the smell of crisp cool air, and all the while, it is still warm enough to really enjoy being outside for a little while longer. Autumn also always seems to signify change. And yes, while I know that it is still technically summer right now, the leaves are bright green and the air is still hot and humid, September seems to be that moment when change is occurring and autumn just kind of ceremoniously begins early in everyone's mind. As September rolls in, so does a new school year and new classes; seeing old friends and meeting new people; tackling new goals on the track with the start of base season; and letting go of what has past to welcome new beginnings.

 

Since I turned 18, autumn has been the biggest marker for change in my life. From where I am sitting writing this right now, I would not have thought I would be here a year ago, or even two years ago at that. For the fourth time in the last six years, I am in the midst of transitioning and moving, straight across the country and then some (again). I am back to searching for a new apartment and a new car and a new job all at the same time, but this time in a much more familiar place. There is a melancholy sweetness to the whole thing. Once again, I have no real idea of what I am doing or where it is going to take me, but unlike last time, I am much more at ease about the whole transition. There are some frustrations that I am feeling for having to start all over again, and a looming sense of worrying about how it is all going to work out. Being told the word "no," or "sorry, nothing is available," is obviously not the easiest thing for me to hear over and over again. But I am happy to say that there haven't been any tears caused from anxiety this time around. I don't feel like my head is about to fly off from being so overwhelmed with everything happening around me. I don't feel so alone in it all this time either. After uprooting myself last year, I spent the entire year searching for a sense of balance in my life, believing the place I was supposed to be was far away from where I was. Instead I found myself all alone looking for the support and sense of comfort in the people I had left behind. Now, I have a better sense of what kind of balance I need in my life. I have a sense of excitement for the new challenges that are coming my way, but I am also excited to settle back into a bit of the old and comfortable. I am shifting from being that person always looking for the next place to run away to and the next big escape to just being the person who wants a place to call home and cozy up with a cup of coffee and a cat. Maybe that is one of my biggest lessons this past year: home is about the people and not the place.

 

The past few months have been a lot about learning to let go. Letting go of the plan I had set out for myself for the way I was going to do everything in my life with its timelines and imagined pathway. Life doesn't work like that. That doesn't mean I can't still go after the things I want. My ambition and goals haven't changed, nor has the life I want for myself, but it is okay if I take a different path; loop back around to a place where I feel at home and supported. I am allowing myself the chance to breathe. I find myself writing reminders to breath and trust that I will find what I want and get what I need. I am allowing myself to start new ventures a little earlier than I thought, knowing that it doesn't mean I still can't do the other things that I want to do, but I don't have to do them in the way I aways thought I would. I am learning where I need to be and who I need to have around me to be successful and to be happy. I know what it is I want and a lot more about what I need to be the best me. I am excited to be able to pursue projects that inspire me and I intend to go after all the things that make me happy.

 

And while I still have some nerves about it all; some fears I have about being judged for my choices, or maybe not being welcomed back. A fear of feeling abandoned by those who I felt were my rocks, and also the big one: the fear of maybe never really getting what I want. I know these fears come from my self-consciousness about my own decisions. No, not everyone is going to like what I do or the way I chose to go about this journey, and maybe not everyone is going to stick with me to the end, but those who care about me and have been there for me thus far will be. Even in this past year where I may not have always been my best self, I know where my support system lies. I know for the first time in a long time that I am on the right path and I am doing what I need to be doing right now. I am excited to begin this act of starting over again, all the hiccups and apartment hunting included.

 

So while I sit here in the last of summer, escaping the hot humid Ontario heat in the air conditioning, thinking about having another cup of coffee while I scroll through ads on Kijiji, I am reminding myself to breathe as I tackle the challenges of this next transition phase set before me. More than that, I have a small feeling of determination inside me and an excitement for everything that is ready for me to conquer. I know I am going to be okay, and better yet, I am okay. Now that is something I haven't felt in a long time. 

 

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