Insomnia will forever be my greatest adversary in life. My efforts to catch some rest before my departure the following morning is in vain, I wake up with aches and sores and a penchant for murder, vivid images from liquor fueled dreams corrupted by the disturbance of the wake up call. I haul my luggage downstairs and check out, discovering only too late that I could have prolonged my sleeping time.
For the next few hours I continue to loiter downstairs, repeatedly lurking on my Facebook and other networking sites, checking my emails, saying my goodbyes and responding to texts that I still receive from back home. Coffee and cigarettes prolong my fatigue and when the time comes, I hop on a cab and make my way down to the ferry terminal.
The gray clouds overhead had since dispersed over the course of the weekend, replaced instead by strong winds and a fierce chill that attacks bare flesh; I skip lunch, snapping one or two photos for the blog, briefly chatting with the cabbie along the way. Outside I watch from the windows as people brace themselves against the weather, flags dancing against the flag poles scattered along the building rooftops, trees swaying against the breeze.
I’m overcome with the feeling of anxiety, nervous about the processing of customs, and my mind struggled to fathom the immense depth of my journey ahead. Already my adventures have proven to be rewarding, renewing my own sense of understanding with others from abroad – Would this pattern continue wherever I go? How long before I encounter trouble? How would I manage out there in the world beyond?
In previous years, I had occasionally traveled to Seattle to visit both friends and family, sometimes alone and with my ex. When the two of us went our separate ways and my cousin moving off to Denver, that left an immediate gap in terms of contacts and resources to be had, meaning that for the first time in a long time I had become on my own once again. I would be a stranger in the city, unfamiliar to its culture and its ways, and that meant a further renewal in vigilance.
My experiences in Victoria had since changed that initial vigilance, teaching a valuable lesson in resourcefulness; in that I am admittedly a shy introvert, the reality of the situation is that not every person I meet will be as accommodating or trustworthy. John had advised of using nothing more than common sense wherever I go. With the recession still affecting large areas of the United States, combined with the turbulent political atmosphere and fear of domestic terrorism, the climate ahead would be dramatically different.
What I have come to conclude is that places such as the Garden City are slowly fading away. The entirety of cities, be they of people or culture, will continue to diminish in time, replaced by the interests of the present and the change in the future. In time, people begin to forget all that had once transpired, that had once began with nothing, never truly realizing how valuable those roots may be. There is still hope to preserve these things – no matter how futile that may appear, how little it seems to achieve.
The community here is growing and though their own numbers are small, the young and the new seem to have found a mutual ground to flourish; their labors and efforts benefit not the individual but targets the entirety of their group as a whole. Even without having to go in depth about it, the very idea of permitting gossip and interpersonal relations to affect one another is taboo; that the very atmosphere to these deviants, almost familial at a level, is something incredibly hard to find.
It comes as no surprise that there will always be internal conflict and strife, that some people will find reason to loathe one another, yet somehow for people to continue to remain steadfast in their numbers together is something that should never be contested. The friendliness and willingness to educate and express here is inspiring to say the least. A part of me feels almost afraid to imagine whether in time, growing in size, these roots will continue to hold out.
There is a gentleness to be found here amongst people, in and out of the scene. Most of these people, the shop owners, the students, the believers and the strange, all share a common capacity for acceptance and support. In that people who starve, that people who struggle, find some form of comfort in this remote part of the country speaks for itself that there is a peace here.
The peace, I believe, is the minder and faith in their fellows. That respect here is earned and not given, much like anywhere else; it is a gift that is gained seemingly instantaneously, fragile yet very valuable. The Victorians can be described as laid back and accommodating, seemingly incapable of harboring any negativity towards their fellow man. It would not be hard to see why the few familiar faces have chosen to call this place their home, their respective communities their family.
This same faith in one another has managed to preserve the issues that affect communities as a whole within the scene. While the deviants here have experienced the occasional large scale strife, namely media interest and group conflicts, overall they have overcome by never allowing that faith to falter. It has been tried before yet it is unlikely that it should ever be broken. I imagine that these quiet folk will quickly put their feet down in an instant rather than allow anything to divide them as a whole.
Looking back I cannot help but feel distanced from my own native scene, rife with internal conflict throughout the recent years. If anything I recollect my own issues back home, between friends and acquaintances, and wonder if both merits and errors could be as easily overcome as it would here. It would seem likely that I may some day choose to relocate to this community, finding my place here in their ranks, returning the same kindness that they have shown me so far.
But I will still call Vancouver home for the same reasons these people have in this quiet little haven – that I will never question its capacity for tolerance than diversion, its own capacity for withstanding together. That for such small numbers of people to coexist in this fashion, for them to organize and persevere in light of troubles, this must serve as an example in itself. We must put aside our own needs and conflicts and never resort to separatism, find it in ourselves to forgive one another, and most importantly focus on the movement as a whole.
Everyday in Vancouver, the scene grows in increasing numbers, and while the smaller demograph in Victoria permits swifter education and guidance that should not be ignored either. If small groups of individuals are capable of putting their differences aside, this remains a very likely possibility for larger groups to do the same. These deviants are proud of their scene and recollect the foundations of what brought them together. I have since watched my own group change and for better or for worse, I support them all the same.
The pin I wear upon my left breast, an MVK pin and the flag of my country, represents my faith not in the MVK group alone but also the diverse organizations out there in my province. The flags that I carry represent not individuals but the entirety of my lifestyle, the founders and supporters from every corner of the earth; I fly my flags and wear my pin with everyday pride, knowing that the word community still exists in an age where many still find themselves alone.
Victoria, you have stolen my heart in a way I never expected, for which I promise some day to return. I will always have a certain fondness for what you wonderful people have shown and done, both for one another and to an outsider like myself. Be kind to one another, you have created something that should always be preserved. What you have is something unique, something that is very inspirational and has restored my faith and support to my own community. Thank you.
Goodbye, Garden City.
Next Update: Wherein yours truly lands in Seattle, known as the Emerald City; befriends the lovely Miss Brock, narrowly avoids the possibility of a cavity search at customs, and acquaints the fabulous Adonis.