Doing My Time In Toronto


Vancouver I love you, but I’m still doing my time.

It’s been nearly three years since I left. As I was leaving, I never questioned whether I made the right decision. There was no doubt in my mind that I was done with the city of Vancouver. A city so beautiful, so serene, so manicured, and so full of humans that I love. It’s full of memories of my youth and my early adulthood and it’s the city that saw me through.

I never had it easy, but I still lived in the Vancouver bubble. This bubble drove me to places that I didn’t want to be in, and there was a moment in 2015 where I realized that I would never evolve if I didn’t move. I wasn’t satisfied with who I was, so I bought a one-way ticket without any real plan and announced it to my family.

I arrived on January 8th at 11 pm and I promised myself that I would get through anything. It hasn’t been an easy road by any means, but it’s been the most fulfilling part of my journey through life so far.

Over the last two and a half years, I’ve had successes and failures, I’ve found my soulmate, I’ve felt the pain of being away from my loved ones, and life has come at me like I’m wearing a target on my back – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’ve learned more about myself than I ever could have, had I not put myself in the most uncomfortable scenario possible. The yin and the yang; the shit I had to work out but never really did; my weaknesses and my strengths; my resilience; my ability to love; the necessity of learning healthy coping habits; my ability to move forward. Everything has been tested.

Lost. Jobless. Reckless. Without my support system next to me. That’s who I was when I moved here. I had dreams, but more than dreams I had a desire to feel something real, without the aid of a drink or a drug or the dependency on the people I was surrounded by. I wanted to feel life. I wanted to feel what life felt like without the crutches.

I still fall down sometimes, but I always get up. Despite the hardships, I’ve felt unparalleled happiness- something that continues to grow in me every day. Despite the setbacks, I’ve learned to get up stronger. I’ve learned that life will never be perfect, or easy, or even simple. Life is complicated and it’s hard. It hurts sometimes, but it’s also the only thing we have. A soul. An existence. A glance into this bizarre world. This is it.

Being home this summer gave me tranquillity. Yet, with every lovely moment I experienced, I remembered that I still have work to do. I’m not done learning. And while the city I spend my life in now smells like hot garbage, and people are edgy, and sometimes it drives me crazy, this is home now. This is where I grow.

WORDS BY | Shadi Bozorg |