I took a few months away from music – it wasn’t giving back to me the way it once had.
2 years slumming in Toronto had drained me. I was a tired, skinny, broke dirtbag who spent most of my limited mental energy convincing myself I still had enough cash left in my savings to keep smoking, (I did not).
Dangerously thin and drowning in debt, my body was broken from playing guitar and general neglect. I ate like shit, substituting full meals for caffeine, cigarettes and refined sugar, (thankfully, I had a roommate who worked at Starbucks who could provide me with free coffee and expired baked goods).
I rarely slept before sunrise, trapped in an endless insomnia cycle that no amount of pot or melatonin could regulate. And to top it off, one of my teeth fell out (and no, I did not have dental insurance).
Perhaps I’m being melodramatic, things weren’t dire – I was mostly just sad. All was not lost, however and every bad situation can be turned around. I am lucky enough to be born in a country that allows me to move to the wonderful city of Calgary at a moment’s notice.
Calgary! What a city – you really can’t beat it. Every place has it’s charms, but if you want to be happy, healthy and stable there is no better spot. 6 months in the new west and I paid off my debt, quit smoking, gained 20 pounds and all of my teeth are now safely inside of my head.
Of course, there is nothing special about me that allowed this progression. I was surrounded by people who care about me who answered my call for help, however masked the invocation may have been.
Here’s an insufficient, but necessary roll call:
Mom and Dad – For letting me come home without asking why.
Valerie – My best friend in Toronto.
Sean – A fellow AB expat who understood why I had to leave.
Lindsay – She knows.
There are more of course, but to avoid gushing I’ll leave my gratitude unpublished, replaced instead with a boilerplate “thank you,” to be eventually supplemented with a proper, real life acknowledgement.
Work, as well can be cathartic. For the past few months I worked as a vaguely defined marketing professional in Telcomm – traveling around Alberta, living in hotels, while taking advantage of free trials at gyms in each city I visited along the way.
I worked and worked out, then hit repeat. I bought groceries, but little else, tacking all of my paycheck onto my debt until it was gone, (celebrating my red line finish with a trip to Seattle and a pair of Fluevogs).
Now, equipped with a sound mind and body, (and a new pair of boots,) I’m ready to head back to Toronto, because let’s be honest, it’s fine there – I’m just a baby.
I have an amazing band waiting for me and a new album fully written, aching for the contributions of a world class drummer and bassist, (stoked to see you Sean and Ally).
If I had a checklist then I have no doubt that I could accomplish everything I want out of life in Alberta. But, I don’t, so I’ll continue to stumble aimlessly, writing on each opportunity life affords me, in whatever medium calls out.
Above is The Killer’s indie rock anthem “Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll” – the Sawdust version, which is much more glamorous, (although slightly less indie-rock and roll,) than it’s Hot Fuss predecessor.
Hated by the songwriter himself, but protected from cliché by it’s b-side status – when I hear GIRR, I want to to move across the country with nothing but a suitcase and a guitar, which is, I suppose, exactly what I’m going to do.