Yesterday I arrived in Victoria at 8 am, which was about 8 hours after I expected to arrive here. After a tragically brief interlude at the Vancouver Airport Sheraton in the most comfortable bed in the universe, the fog cleared enough for my plane to land.
I had a meeting with a new client yesterday, or at least I was supposed to have a meeting with a new client. When they suggested a 5:30 start time, I said that the next day might be better. I was barely standing upright on 4 hours of sleep.
On Sunday night, on the flight from Edmonton, I was banging out some functional documentation for something I developed and watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
When I was almost done both the movie and the documentation, I closed my laptop and just watched the movie, the tears streaming down my face. High School, Boarding School, with its structure and rules, close community and common purpose were not that bad for me.
Junior High (what many of you will call middle school) was a morass of lost to me. I struggled, floundered. Flailed. I could not find my way, my peers, my identity. I struggled to find someone who loved me for me, when I didn’t know who me was.
I thought I would be lost forever. I very nearly ended my life and stayed lost back then.
And there I sat, in seat 14C on a plane, flying to work, banging out documentation in my jeans and my converse, thinking about the things I had to do this week. I will probably talk more about some of the challenges of this week, later in the week. I feel like I am already late writing this.
I thought about all of this and how we never know how things will end. This was my greatest struggle all those years ago. I looked at how hard everything was, how hard it was to connect, to find meaning, to find love, and I thought it would always be like this, and perhaps with all of that, it is no real wonder that I tried to kill myself.
It is still hard, I suppose. It is still hard to find meaning, to connect, to make people more important than my list of things to do. It is still hard to find time and space for what really matters. It is still hard to let all the rest go.
I lay in bed last night, thinking of the words of a co-worker about a meeting today. You will dazzle them, she said. I thought about that, and I thought about 14 year old me, and I thought about all of the me’s I have been in-between those times and now.
I will do my level best to dazzle them today.
A thing I would not have thought possible at 14. And mostly I wish there was me now to reach back to me then, to hold her by the shoulders, resting my arms around her neck. To whisper into her ear, softly:
One day you will have a life which you could not even imagine now. You will do things, meet people and go places that you don’t even know exist now. You will do this. Get through this. It isn’t easy, it is hard. This is a crucible for you. The teasing, the mocking and the confusion; the drugs, the sorrow and the pain. All of this it is making you stronger, tougher and more resilient. It isn’t fair and isn’t right that it is happening, but it is, and you will do things with this.
Because one day, wearing a suit and high heels, in a town far away from here, you will dazzle them.