Being Grateful…

face in the mirrorWe’ve been traveling for the last 12 days. In the midst of what felt like a never ending winter (when the plane left Halifax there was still at least 3 feet of snow on the ground), we headed for the west coast and have been firmly planted in your typical Northwest environment (think more rain than your remember but oh that sun feels so damn good even if you only see it for a few days).

I’ve spent more time outside in the last 12 days than I have been able to for the last 5 months. It’s been literally running from building to building dodging the next incoming snowstorm or watching any Netflix marathon show you can think of because it’s too damn cold to even think about going outside.

With all this recent time on my hands and the major changes that left me with said time on my hands, you’d think I’d be thrilled to spend endless hours on this laptop. Pouring my heart out through my fingertips. Getting back to all that soul searching that I seem to stop doing when I returned to working full time.

But to be totally honest with you, I’ve been avoiding not only the laptop in general but I think more importantly the blog. This blog…the HDD blog…The Carver blog. All of them. All of me. I can’t pinpoint why and I’m not even sure if I want to know why. I feel sort of lost in my endeavors. I feel lost in food. I feel lost in movement. I feel lost in gender. It’s not like I don’t think about shit. I think about (pretty much anything you can think of) all the time. I just don’t know if I want to take whats happening in my head (not that it’s anything life changing) and try and make sense of it here. Before I was all about “look at what I’m trying to do” and you were like “hey, we see what you’re trying to do and we’re here because we’re trying to do the same thing” and I was like “Awesome, let’s go out and kick some ass together” and you were like “fucking hell yes, let’s do this!!!” and then we all proceeded to get some shit done.

But now I feel like I’m so far removed from the “We” that mucking through the going’s on in my own thoughts without having to put them into words, into this blog and hitting publish feels okay most days. I struggle with the direction of this blog because I struggle with the direction of my being.

And here’s the kicker; while I’m not okay with the immediate decisions regarding food and movement (as in I want to hammer down my emotional eating again and kick up the notch in my Crossfit journey), I’m okay with not sharing them with the world. At least not like it used to be.

Being in the big city (you can argue that Halifax is a city, but let’s be honest it’s quite small compared to Vancouver) while Mimi has been working has afforded me some time to walk around the city and get swallowed by reality. I feel like I’ve been missing an important component to this journey called life and that component is a feeling of survival. Of wanting to fight for my little place in the world. I’ve been more grateful to having a few dollars in change in my pocket after walking around this concrete jungle than I have in a very long time. You forget to be grateful for what little you possess. That is until you’re hit in the face with the smell of urine in the early morning as you walk by a dozen people sleeping on the streets and you’ve barely gone a few blocks.

Don’t let me fool you. Mimi and I are staying in a very nice condo that’s been paid for. We’re in the middle of downtown Vancouver. We’ve eaten well. We’ve paid for our Crossfit workouts and sat and had fancy drinks while watching the world go by. By no means are we suffering.

The other day I left said condo and walked up the street to find some food. Not a hundred feet from the building entrance was a really cool performer. I can’t even begin to try and explain his contraption but it involved stilts, bagpipes and some pretty kick ass beatboxing. I had a $10 bill in my pocket and after standing there for a while I felt a little guilty because I didn’t want to leave without leaving something but for fuck sake $10 was a lot of money and it felt weird asking him if I could make change.

Just as I was getting ready to leave, find a Tim Horton’s, buy some coffee, grab the change and return to leave this guy a few coins in his bucket, another person walked into my view. I didn’t really register this person but knew right away he wasn’t “all there” just by his behavior and his appearance. I didn’t notice he had a coffee in his hand until I realized he was spilling most of it all over himself while supposedly enjoying the music of the performer. Right around the same time I began to stop watching the performer to take notice of the guy who would make me more grateful than I’ve been in a long time, the performer turns to said person and says “You’re drinking my coffee”…

He’s not all there. This coffee spilling, dancing wildly, enjoying the fuck out of the moment guy. This guy, that probably goes unnoticed by the throngs of people that forget to be thankful. Forget to be grateful for their gym memberships. Forget to be grateful for their fancy drinks on a Friday night. Forget to be grateful for the $10 in their pocket. For the bad food choices. For the ability to get up in the morning and work. For the chance to kiss those you love goodnight and sleep in the comforts of a bed. With covers. And pillows.

All of a sudden he pulls out a $20 and apologizes to the performer for drinking his coffee. It was like being knocked off my feet but I’m still standing. He didn’t do it because he was trying to be nice. He didn’t have the mental capacity to understand his actions. He just pulled out what was in his pocket and gave it to the performer because…well just because I suppose. You could see the performer was uncomfortable. He knew this guy wasn’t all there but you know when you’re performing on the streets possibly trying to scrap enough money for food AND rent you may not be so willing to struggle with the idea of not taking advantage of those less fortunate in their mental capacity.

I have a lot of my own mental struggles. Most days I have to deal with some sort of melt down regarding my Aspergers. Either it’s too loud, or too bright, or a simple choice has to be made in the moment that I can’t make and in a split second it feels like everything is going to come crashing down and I’m left on the verge of tears feeling stupid because for fuck sake I’m an adult.

As the performer’s music takes a turn for the quiet I approach him. I look him in the eyes and explain to him that I’m going to give him the $10 in my pocket. I want him to put it in his pocket because I don’t want someone to be enticed to grab his bucket and run off. I also explain to him I’m going to take out the $20 and return it to the not so dancing wildly any longer but still spilling his “you took my coffee” coffee guy.

He doesn’t resist. He doesn’t argue. Maybe in his gratefulness for his ability to bring me joy in his bagpipe rendition of Star Wars, he knows it the right thing. There’s plenty of money in his bucket put there by people who will forget the minute or two they spent standing there taking notice of the dancing coffee guy and laughing to themselves because he looked ridiculous but feeling totally uncomfortable as he put a lot of money in the bucket. Money that should have fed him. Money that should stay in his pocket. Money that no one else retrieved and gave back to him because they don’t realize how close we are to being right where he is.

I leave.

My mental health in tacked.

The performer’s Karma in tacked.

Both of us grateful for our little space in this world.

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