Last year in June it was “Re-entry” for Fort McMurray residents after the Wildfire; armed with water, non-perishables, cleaning supplies, my dad and me made the trip up to McMurray. This year, I am doing a re-entry of a different sort. I’m headed into Phase 3 (see Onwards… for more details), I am afraid, but I am also excited. Re-entry this time is a process of creating community, building a support network and finding ways to find those connections and relate to people. It also means bridging the communities between Edmonton and Fort McMurray as I will be back and forth on a regular basis.

So I have a few things planned:

The first one is continue to use art, both writing and photography to raise awareness for mental health. I also want to partner with other artist and mental health professionals to continue to spread that message. This might be the start of a exhibit or a foundation or something but I am not going to get ahead of myself. First I need to reconnect with the arts community is both cities, Edmonton has been incredibly welcoming. Fort McMurray will be more difficult as I know hurt feelings and my reputation needs rebuilding. But I finally feel like I have a passion in my life and I will take this one slow step at a time.

Second is to find my queers! Fort McMurray is planning its 1st Pride and I plan to participate, I am also hoping to give back to the Edmonton Pride Community. Having been in the closet for so long, I have been sucking information from the Edmonton Pride Centre for years, like a cancer. The Edmonton Pride Community has been a secret source of comfort and now I would like to give back somehow and I am hoping later in July I will get that opportunity.  (more on that I promise)

Third is to admit that I like working out. I know I know, I have always made fun of gym nuts, the grunting weight lifters and the cult like atmosphere of crossfit. But I enjoy that, its community and its awesome. So, I’m going to try to start a November Project in McMurray. November project is a free fitness movement that is basically people meeting up at a location and working out together. In McMurray its going to start as just a bunch of randoms meeting on Wednesday mornings 6:30 at the Syne Community Building, every Wednesday, even in the winter. You can’t be an official group until they actually accept you in (I know, its cult like) which takes a minimum of 8 weeks, but I hope to see some of you out for a fun run around with some pushups, burpees, squats, lunges, hugs, highfives and of course some crazy pictures. Even if we are not an official November Project, I still think it will be fun. (July 5, 6:30 Syne Building, $0, come out, I promise a good time)

I have been going to a few workouts here in Edmonton, Calgary etc it has been a great way to meet people. It also connected me with a bunch of folks at the Edmonton Pride Run, so its building the small connections to eventually lead to community.

Honesty will be the core of all of this. Therapy will continue, challenges will arise, but unlike twelve months ago where I was trying to be someone I’m not, I get to be me. I look forward to continuing this journey, out of the closet and I look forward to connecting with all of the readers of this blog in a real way. So come get to know me, not just my crazy, the real me. Reach out, tweet, facebook, email, whatever. Time to leave my protected mental health shell and be an adult. 

#ymmstrong #yegheart

In Kindness,