these photos were taken a year ago. at 22 years old. a time in my life when
- i was living out of a duffle bag in australia after giving away / selling everything i owned
- i was 3.5 months into a 1 year working holiday visa
- i had not touched my hair with bleach for 11 months
- freckles covered my entire body
- i was manically depressed and craving any sort of familiarity + comfort
- i was missing toronto for that reason
- my hair was salty from daily ocean dips
- i had no money except for a credit card
- i was extremely unsure of where to move forward with my life, in fear of making the wrong choice
- i was battling the first stages of major post traumatic stress disorder
- i was trying my best to make the most of my time in australia because i knew i had given up so much to be there... but i also knew i would never feel fully settled because my time there was temporary
i took these photos because i knew that one thing i loved about living in toronto was always being able to express myself through photography. i'm looking back on these photos now and they make my heart sink. although coming back to toronto and starting my life over, after a long 8 months of backpacking around australia, was a very humbling experience... i can't tell if where i'm at now, a year later, is any better or worse. coming "home" was supposed to be my saving grace, yet, despite having the few comforts that i was craving so badly back then (an apartment, a permanent bed to sleep in, my cat, ect)... i'm still poor and living pay cheque to pay cheque. i've continued making wrong choices, even if i made them with the best of intentions. i've continued to feel restless, unsettled, and unsure of what i'm doing. i've still met shitty people and i've had terrible jobs. i've continued to battle my mental health, possibly more than ever. if anything, being back in a zone of comfort allowed my mind the metal capacity to fully be effected by the consequences of every heavy hardship i went through on that trip. that makes sense, right?... because i wasn't worried about where i was going to sleep, or what i was going to have for my next meal, the darkness i tried to push away in the back of my mind had room to expand. the demons i was battling began to sink deeper into my bones.
what i've realized while pushing through, day after day, is that no matter where you go on this planet, you are going to experience dark times and hardship. would i rather experience these struggles while living alone beside the ocean in australia, or, by sitting in the comfort of a 236 square foot apartment in downtown toronto? my head and my heart have been at an aggressive war over this.
as my 23rd year starts to come to a close, i can confidently say that it's been the hardest year of my life. so i'm sitting here. heavy. reflecting. at the time i took these photos, i didn't realize how significant they would be for marking a page in one of my biggest milestones to date. i'm proud of myself for taking the risk and going on such an awfully big adventure. i'm so thankful that i had the strength to last 8 months there on my own... and i'm grateful i felt like i had a place, that meant enough to me, to come back to. for now i can either continue to sit in the darkness and regret that's nearly completely consumed me, or i can reach for the light (wherever that is). maybe, somehow, i can find the courage to kill the monster that's been living in my chest.
i feel torn in every direction. i miss the ocean and the sunshine, but i also love cuddling with my cat. i miss my strawberry roots and freckles, but i also love my white hair and pale skin. maybe one day i'll find a balance where my heart is full and my mind is at peace.
for now, and for a while, i'll occupy space in toronto.
i'll forever be a lost girl. a wandering soul.