I’ll start with two facts. One; I’m not a patriot and two; I realize that’s a horrible way to start a blog post about a country. However, I feel compelled to thank this country for helping me find myself; not once or twice but many many times.
Since I don’t usually thank people, or say sorry, or approach concepts with a normal human decency, I don’t really know how this will turn out or whether I will even publish it by the end of it.
For me, Canada is an emotional attachment, a defining piece of my personality, but a part hard to write on. Like the page of a diary, you crinkled up but couldn’t rip apart.
Like the engulfing blue of a serene lake. The waves lap at your feet, as you jump at the prick of the coldness. It’s not summer yet you remind yourself, but it’s never summer so it doesn’t matter.
Like the blanket that leaves your feet bare, but only just.
Like the beauty of dying leaves, that you call fall. Like the hanging mist on a summer’s farewell.
Like the kiss of dawn that makes the sky turn pink.
Canada is poetry.
Canada brought me to poetry.
Therefore some parts are too brutal to talk about but some parts must be said.
So here’s a random story about my life that nobody asked for, because I always speak the most and say the least.
I started writing when I was 7. My first poem was about tying shoelaces, which at the age of blowing dandelions instead of expectations, is a proper problem. So began my journey of venting out my daily life struggles to pieces of paper. I entered my first poetry competition here, in fact, I studied poetry here. The only poetry I’ve ever studied from school came here, in third grade.
Without Canada there would have been no Frost in my life. What an ingenious pun, I know.
Come to think of it; my favorite poet was Shel Silverstein, who taught me that writing doesn’t have to be tragic even when on a sad topic. For those of you who don’t know Shel Silverstein, he writes deep and thoughtful poems that are laced with humor and imagination; a life lesson enveloped in childhood.
But that’s not all he writes, of course for a third grader…I’m glad that’s all I saw. I wouldn’t have been able to respect his humor then, as I do now.
So there I was 9 year old, the first seeds of competitiveness had bloomed in my soul and I wanted to win this competition. We are taught that winning isn’t everything but fuck that shit I’m brown and Canada isn’t going to take that away from me. The beauty of it, is that it doesn’t want to.
We had to write a poem on a color. My friends chose your average colors. You know like pink and purple. Every girl with their pink and purple bullshit- and let me tell you I was no different. Those were my favorite colors, but I wanted to be different. So I wrote on the color white.
My teacher told me that I was shortlisted to get published. It was between me and a boy who wrote on green and a girl who wrote on pink. I was told later I won, though I never saw that copy of the book so I can’t confirm.
It’s not a simple story of win and loss, it’s about being unapologetically myself. God knows, being myself was a crime I’d have to apologize for, for the rest of my life back “home”. God also knows that I was closer to him here, but that’s a personal story, and it’s not because I was a child then, it’s because I hadn’t been molested.
So thank you, Canada, for accepting me but most importantly for making me. For teaching me, in a span of three years, what being myself means. Here’s to the doses of self esteem and respect you instilled in me. Those are the only ones I got on time. Here is to beating up boys in a game of Teen Titans ( I was 10… and explicitly challenged by a boy. He said “Boys are better and stronger than girls,”). Here’s to running. Running so fast that you leave everyone behind, except yourself.
Here’s to watching the fireworks, in the moment I’ll never forget. Here’s to sitting on the lake-shore staring up at the sky wanting to be swallowed whole by their remains. Here’s to the full moon and the incandescence of a present my anxiousness destroys. Here’s to the merriment of patriotic people who gathered only to celebrate; who cheered from the roof tops, here’s to the crowded buses where you don’t get catcalled. Here’s to the day I’ll never forget.
Thank you for the best moment of my life.
I have so many memories stored in my brain, rattling to be let out. If only words would do them justice and my brain would allow them to escape. Somethings aren’t as easy to write as jumping on a pile of leaves.
Thank you, for teaching me what love is. Unfortunately for me that’s all you ever taught me; to love. I love too much now, I love too easily but most importantly I don’t hate. When I do, it seems unnatural to me, even when it’s justified.
Like when you supported USA when they bombed Syria. Or when you made that arms deal with Saudi. Indigenous people are angry with you too aren’t they? Black Lives Matter doesn’t trust the Toronto Police. Also what’s up with that white woman demanding a white doctor?
I’m not saying you’re perfect. I’m not a patriot.
I’m saying; thank you.
I owe you myself, that’s the biggest debt I’ve ever had to pay.
Oh no, I have to pay back my loans for college tuition. That’s the biggest debt I have.