This week has been hard. I officially moved back to Fort McMurray, well mostly my cat Gus moved back, which to me makes it official. I have been focused on trying to answer the question of who I am, trying to live in the real world, trying to be comfortable in my own skin and then earlier this week I got a stark reminder that while my personality disorder has been the most destructive force in my life, the posttraumatic stress disorder was the catalyst that brought me to where I am today.

I watched Kubo and the Two Strings last December, a beautiful movie. (Spoiler alert) The villain at the end of the movie loses his memory and the villagers then proceed to tell him that he was not an evil man who tried to destroy them all but a kind, caring, gentle individual. One of the themes of that movie is that memory is powerful, more powerful than we can possibly imagine.  Being in Fort McMurray brings back many memories, ones of going to the fire but also movies, concerts, community events, late night conversation and early morning rides to the airport. It is hard to be here. Being back here makes me realize how much I believed the lies I was telling, how much I had bought into my fantasy world and how I was able to silence that voice inside that had its doubts about what I was doing.

In my session yesterday my therapist went through the building blocks of self. It starts with the basis of who you are, which influences what you do, and finally at the top it reflects how you contribute. I have been confused about who I am for so long that I am struggling to figure out what to do, and how I want to contribute. Before, I was a person who felt they needed to hide their true self and appear successful, so what I did was lie about my feelings and do everything to look like I had everything put together which lead to my contribution being betrayal of my friends and family.

But now, I am left to sift through all of that hurt, pain, and deception and try to find meaning going forwards. I use to define success by the money I made, I still make good money, but I realize that material things are ultimately an empty source of happiness. I thought I was striving towards some end goal, once I had the house, the nice car, the good job etc a magical source of happiness would appear, which is not true. I have all of these memories of all of this wasted time where I was trying to change the person I am, trying to cover up my feelings with dramatized stories or embellishments. Basically, I lied for so long that I believed those lies myself and lived that life and now I am trying to be me.  I am trying to reach back into those memories and find the elements of myself that I might have missed.  Find the essence of what made me truly and honestly happy and move forward from that spot.  I need to try to remember that not all of this was bad, I need to learn to be ok with me.  

Photo taken by me: Sunrise in Fort Mcmurray

Photo taken by me: Sunrise in Fort Mcmurray