This morning I am waking up so much earlier than ideal. I have slept 5 hours which is pretty typical these days. Sleeping in is what just happened. It is 8:30. This is how I know I am not actually 21. But in so many ways I am deeply connecting with my 21 year old. Like, my inner 21 year old. When I was actually that age, I worked at the U of T bar and lived in the Annex in Toronto. It was 1990. I would close the bar and walk home on Bloor Street at 3:45 Am, pop in to the 24 hour grocery store and get a little tub of coffee Hagen Daas. At home on Brunswick Avenue, I would eat half the tub of that perfect deliciousness. Then I would pass out. At around 12:30, I would wake up and throw on clothes from the night before. I would not wash my face or brush my hair but just go two doors down the street to the By the Way Café and order eggs dilemma. I sat on the patio with some filtered warm sunlight through the tree and read–often a novel by Margaret Atwood, or maybe the Tattooed woman by Marian Engel, or actually, maybe it was Jane Rule that morning. After my huge meal I would go back home and back to bed to read some more. Finish the ice cream. Shower and get ready for work. Repeat the cycle. On my days off I would have band practice with one of the groups I played and sang with, or I would go to see some friends or acquaintances that were playing at Sneaky Dees, or Lee Palace, or The Cabana Room or the Silver Dollar or the Free times Café. Depending on the particular month in that period I would either be with a serious girlfriend or have various adventures in various degrees of inebriation.
Life then was troubled and insecure but oh so adventurous,expressive and creative. In a matter of one year from this time I was in a serious non-monogamous non-straight relationship with a man, and two years later I was going to be a mother. Over 5 years I got two university degrees, had two kids, moved 4-5 times and started and therapy and sexual education practice. I was a FUCKING ADULT. For real. I was so loaded up with responsibilities it was mind-boggling.
During the last 19 years I have indeed managed to pack in lots and lots of art, dance, music, writing and patronage of the wacked and amazing arts scene that is Montreal. But always, I have just “fit in” my doses of creativity. I raised two creative kids–one full-time musician and one dancer.writer.reader kid who also plays violin (in some way better than I do). But MY RESPONSIBILITIES have always taken such a massive chunk of my life.
My kids are both tree-planting right now. My house is spacious and quiet, except when I, or my man, are rehearsing or practicing an instrument. Cycling around this neighborhood, going to fringe shows, DOING MY OWN FRINGE SHOW, and going to the 13th hour and cycling home on the dark streets, I feel young. I feel so young. I feel 21 again. It is as though I have picked up some of the threads that I let drop out of my life when I was 22. But of course, I am not 21. You know how I know?
When I go to the bathroom and see my face in the mirror, it reminds me that I am not how I feel I am as I look around the room at all the youthful and actually young people filling the spaces I am in. I am expecting to see a me from 1990–the time of the Skydiggers, Blue Rodeo, and Moxy Fruvous, and Jane Siberry. I also know because my back and muscles are killing me–just from the fringe lifestyle. I also know because as I left the Café Campus last night, a young guy on the prowl going into the toxic club upstairs made a disgusted/disappointed grunt as he saw me emerge—like, yuck.
But anyway, this morning I feel so fucking grateful. And full, and free. And overflowing with hope for the future. My kids are busting their asses making money planting trees, and I am, finally, getting back to being a performing artist (of original work). I feel full of affection for the fringe team for making this happen and all the exquisitely original creations I have seen so far, and this community that dares and dares and dares to make things out of nothing. Glad to be a part of it.