Downtown Girl - An Ode (Journal Entry)
Updated: Nov 28, 2018
“You have to leave the city of your comfort, and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself” – Alan Alda
Nothing could have prepared me for the lessons that I would learn while traveling. Those lessons weren’t exactly apparent until I landed back in the city of Toronto after years of being away.
As a Calgary born woman, I traveled to Toronto every summer since the age of 14. My parents supported my journey of musicianship and entertainment and every summer I would fly out and partake in any sort of music event I could; Canadian Music Week ( My first performance at the Drake Hotel at 15) MMVA’s, Indie Music Week, The Juno Awards etc. I kept going back. The high I developed when things were well and exciting, I became addicted to. The low I felt when I landed back in Alberta was very real, and I had to face the ridicule of my peers; the curiosity they had of my absence turned in to judgement and rumours; my perspective constantly changing.
I developed the idea that it takes a certain person, and level of self awareness, to realize that they are the common denominator of their own misery. After graduation I moved to Toronto to live full-time. I was seeking that high as a constant in my life. But at no surprise, that rush of adventure and dopamine, was not a constant. After 2 years living in the city, living the romance of the city life, I could see the naivety I had brought with me. Keeping jobs became a problem, my loyalty to friends and relationships seemed impossible, I developed a flu in the winter that cost me a work opportunity and jeopardized my living arrangements. A bit of tough love was sent my way which I now know I needed, even if I felt I didn’t deserve it. My mental health took a toll and I had thoughts of suicide for a long time. That is something I have never revealed to another person. Even to someone so young and vulnerable – I’d never known loneliness like this. My obsession with fame and celebrity came to an unhealthy level and I received hate for that.
There's a hypothetical I used to play with a friend, “which city matches this description”.. sort of thing. “Which city would be a great lover?” Venice and Tokyo were popular answers. “Which city would be a great husband?” Sydney and Edenborough took first place. It sounds crazy but I always had a good feeling when it came to cities, I belong to them. There’s a personality to each major city in the world. But..”Which city would pack up their bags and leave you?”
"Los Angeles is the crazy parent you rebel from, New York the one you learn from."
Toronto has a heartbeat; mine did not beat to its rhythm. My heart was beating two times too fast. I feel as though you can tell when a city doesn’t want you. Like a cancer, the city treated me like a symptom it was nervous about.
What I think is cool about living in a major city is that from a major celebrity, a Ryerson student to a Syrian refugee family, we are using the exact same city to our own device. A city can be used in a thousand different ways. That perspective was eye opening to me. I met someone from Brisbane, that took me under their wing and inspired me to move over seas and take some time to myself in other cities, to try to grow and learn from other places.
“The best part about living in a city like this, is leaving it” – Sex & The CIty
Miss Toronto and Mr. Brisbane took a move to Melbourne, Australia; three different heartbeats. Open hearts. A new family. We continued on for a year, a heartbeat that lasted two. But there came a time that we couldn’t dance to the rhythm anymore. I remained in Melbourne after the breakup, and it gave me everything. A new start, happiness, strength, positive challenge, and now a beautiful past. But that’s all for another story.
I’m back in Toronto now, temporarily. I’m back with a perfect balancing act. My job is steady and wonderful. My love life is full of warmth and desire. I’m lucky, I’m grateful, i’m less stressed out. The wave of change was smooth and mature. There’s closure to being back, a trip that I would have never thought possible. I was scared of this place and didn’t want to try again.
I’m at peace here, but peace isn’t what I’m after forever; I still want challenge. I’m just glad that I can associate this city with a memory of pure excitement. A dopamine high in a slow excel. Toronto is a parent that helps me grow and one that I’ll now always look forward to seeing again. I’m proud of the woman I’ve become
- Travel Taggs