So what is this blog about?
It’s about staying on the bus.
The Helsinki Bus Station Theory goes something like this: In the middle of Helsinki all the bus’ start in the same place: the town square and the first two to four stops are all within a few blocks. Once the buses get out of the downtown core, you start to get to different places, new places, and different neighbourhoods, places you have never been before.
This theory is often used to describe a creative process; each bus stop represents a year in an artist life. The first few years for an artist are frustrating, your work looks similar to another artist, you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere and you’ll never create anything unique or inspiring. So what do people do? They jump ship, they quit and start something new, and they get off the bus after stop 2 or 3 and run back to the start to get on another bus. This is a sure way of tiring yourself out and not getting anywhere. The key, the secret, is to STAY ON THE BUS. Because eventually you will get somewhere, eventually you will get to a place that is unique, you might not know where that bus is going but it is where you need to be. (Check out the article here: https://petapixel.com/2013/03/13/the-helsinki-bus-station-theory-finding-your-own-vision-in-photography/)
What does this have to do with me? Well on January 13, 2017 I was going to get off my bus in a very permanent way. What I didn’t realize is that I had people on that bus who weren’t going to let that happen, I had people on my journey who were going to keep me accountable and keep me alive. I had a person who despite my abusive, destructive, hurtful behaviour had the courage to get me the help I needed.
But how did my bus get so lost? How did my bus end up in a place that was so damaging and dangerous? I can tell you this; it wasn’t mental illness. Mental illness might have been the last step in the process, but the stops before I reached that final destination are: arrogance, pride, and self-importance. Arrogance was my belief that I could lie without consequence; pride was hanging on to the belief that I was always right and self-importance was the thought that my image was more important than my identity. As a dear friend put it mental illness is a contributing factor, not the cause.
Basically what I was doing was trying to get off the bus in the middle of the desert where I would perish and despite knowing in my soul that this was the wrong spot I was too proud to admit I made a mistake. I don’t know what kept me on the bus, but something did.
My bus has been through some pretty sketchy neighbourhoods, its been in some dark places, its been in places that aren’t even real and very dear friends have disembarked and continued on their own journeys leaving me to mine. But life is different now. I am learning to enjoy the ride. I learning to love the journey, I’m learning that if I press the “stop request” button in a place that isn’t my destination I can just say, “I made a mistake, this isn’t my stop” and life continues.