7 weeks in Manitoba

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The Fool was my end card when we arrived. Now, it is my beginning card.

As we walk through Polo Park Mall, we find empty department store windows and abandoned box office kiosks, the first signs that we’re already miles away. The promos are the first to go, then the whole scene is ripped from the town. We smirk at each other knowing that we already have one foot out the door. It’s that time again. Tear down is here. Time to fold our lives back into their road cases and trunks. Our last show in Winnipeg is this Sunday, so we have a little less than a week to close this chapter, clear the air and move out into the unknown, once again. I used to smile through how stressed out this time actually made me because I really wanted to be someone who was free. Honestly, the not knowing if we’d have enough footing wherever we were going, terrified me.

This life is not for everyone, and belonging here either works or it doesn’t. We are nomadic, but I feel more settled into who I am than ever. I wasted so much time searching for belongingness. This one runs deep for me. If everything has its specific place, where at the end of the day it rests, just as the knives go in the knife drawer and the tools in the toolshed, I never felt I had a drawer or place to go. Every place felt like someone else’s, not mine. What I am learning now, is that this feeling of not having a place is, in itself, a place. My place, actually, and since it’s the only one I’ve known it comforts me. It’s not always house plants and fresh paint like I want it to be, but this place has weathered my ignorance towards it for years, so we go way back, like an old friend. I’m not totally shaken down by uncomfortable if and when it happens. I remember the feeling too well, and look at it like, oh yeah we’ve done this before. Like I said it runs deep for me.

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The “Journey to Churchill” polar bear exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

I needed a quiet place for collecting my thoughts like I do at the end of every city, but especially after this one. I wanted to remember Winnipeg for its beauty, not for the craziness of Jane, so the other day I brought my laptop to the aquarium to write in peace with the polar bears and to end my Manitoba chapter the right way. I get what Kal Barteski meant about Manitoba, The Night Circus, and polar bear strength. The journey to Churchill lead me to strength within myself. We don’t always need to be serious to be taken seriously, but we do need to get busy working in the real stuff. Real work doesn’t take as much force or actual labor as much as it takes letting go and changing. You will go head first into all of this with what you know. It’s only then that you realize the assignment is actually teaching you how to drop what you know so that a more useful tool may come into play. I’m grateful for Manitoba, thank you for your giving me your Arctic heart and bravery. Reflections from these doorways are becoming my most favorite moments, I think.

I’ve learned to thrive in this space between. This life is a wild one worthy of smoke free lungs and very bright, clear eyes. Standing in this place I’ve lived for the past 7 weeks, I take a deep breath in and a good long look around. This is the shift. I’m letting go. This city taught me a lot about myself. Most of the time it felt like maybe I was losing my groove, or momentum. I questioned myself more than I thought I could with how confident I’d felt before, at times. I even thought maybe I was moving backwards in recovery, but no, I was wrong once again! It’s always such a huge surprise to me every time I make it out of anything in one piece. How quickly I forget that this has all happened before. I complain about missing it, not realizing that it’s still happening, and I’m growing into more of who I’m meant to be. I’m leaving Winnipeg a more patient, teachable and open minded woman. It’s all useful in the end, and since I’m no stranger to all of life’s awkward stages, it would be wise to remember that life happens in stages. They’re all important. Just keep going ❤

Learn more about polar bears, Churchill, and ways that you can help save the Arctic. Donate to The Polar Bear Fund now : polarbearfund | kal barteski (click link).

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(“Mahatma Gahndi Statue”, The Forks National Historic Site. Winnipeg, Manitoba)

 

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