This story is a companion piece to the first episode of the Otherworldly Giants podcast titled, “Gold: The Akashic Records and Me.” Check it out HERE.
Today, September 4 2022, I officially release my podcast that I have been pregnant with for 4 damn years!!!
After 4 years of incubation, I decided to release my podcast today because this weekend is my 17th anniversary of living in Tkaronto (Toronto), Dish With One Spoon territory. Not only that, as of tomorrow, this will officially be the longest that I’ve lived anywhere.
I was born in a town called Dauphin, Manitoba (Treaty 1 territory) and I lived there until the age of 17. Then I moved a few hours South-East to Winnipeg, in August 2001, right before my last year of high school.
Was I planning to start over in a completely new place for my last year of high school? No. My family went through an unexpected trauma, my parents lost their livelihood, and that’s why we moved.
But, I actually had the option to stay. At the end of grade 11, I had my heart set on pursuing a career path as a concert pianist. I was driven. I was ambitious. I was dedicated. I was committed. I was incredibly talented.
My piano teacher offered to have me live with her for that year, so I could finish high school with my friends, and so she could properly support me in applying to a good music school and stay strong on this blessed path.
It would have been a good reason to stay. I could have that end-of-high-school experience that I earned, with teachers who know me, who have seen me grow, who were aware of my accomplishments and could rightly celebrate me for them. I wouldn’t have to start over a year too early, in a place where nobody even knew my name.
*If you’re a racialized kid, you know how bloody long they take to figure out how to pronounce your name!!! I’m pretty sure that at least one person at my graduation called me “SHAUG-NA…”
Moving away at age 17, instead of 18, was the last thing I would have chosen on my own.
And, I had the option to stay.
But I didn’t take it.
For a while, I was really going to stay.
Until, I heard the call.
It was what I now know so well to be the call of my Ancestors. The call of Spirit. The call of Adventure. The call of the Land.
I answered, even if I didn’t know how to name it at the time.
A wave washed over me and suddenly I was completely, wholeheartedly nothing but a feeling.
A feeling like, I know I have grown out of this place.
I have been bigger for quite some time.
Maybe the whole time.
If you can imagine what it’s like to be a cool, quirky, nerdy, brilliant, talented, queer non-binary brown kid in small town Manitoba…
Don’t get it twisted…the land loved me. I ADORED that land with everything I am.
I have a knee-jerk rage response as soon as I say, “small town Manitoba” because I can hear the racist, classist narrative assuming it’s inherently “backward” or oppressive.
Let me tell you: in the 1970s, our little town of Dauphin Manitoba was the site of a ground-breaking experiment in so-called Canada called “Mincome”, a universal income initiative to address poverty and give folks a chunk of money every month just for being alive. Read more here. It’s no coincidence when that kind of magic brews where it does.
A lot of Indigenous people lived in and around the town: Metis, Cree, Anishnabek, Oceti Sakowin. There was a small handful of otherwise racialized families including my own with roots in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. (And yes, all the people of colour families had regular potluck get togethers where we ate and hung out and supported one another.)
The land itself was and is gorgeous. Brilliant, talented, quirky, peaceful. A Survivor. Clear Lake. Rainbow Beach. Riding Mountain. Green and Yellow stretching Prairie Fields. The Allied Arts Center. The swimming pool, skating rink, movie theatre. The Aurora Borealis.
That land held me, raised me, and recognized me for my true shape, size and colour.
And sure, a lot of racist white people lived there too.
So, when I say that maybe I had been bigger than this place for quite some time…
What I mean is, that in an environment of un-processed racial trauma, I was allowed to be brilliant and talented, but only if I was helping the white kids with their homework. Only if I was smart enough to make others feel good about themselves. Only if my talent was not threatening, only if my brilliance was for everyone other than myself.
Let me be clear: when I eventually left, I was a wild hot mess made of blubbering tears and snot.
I remember sitting in the back seat of our car and not being able to stop crying for the whole drive, while listening to “There You’ll Be” by Faith Hill on the radio like it was my autobiography.
From what I have learned by now about Ancestor Radio – I know they sent that one to me.
It was really hard to leave. But I did.
I heard the call.
The call showed up in moments that my grief rose like the tide and said: It’s okay if you want to stay. You don’t have to leave. Really, truly. If you stayed, it would be an understandable choice. More than reasonable. Maybe even a good choice.
That’s when the wave washes over me. When it clears, all that is left, to borrow a phrase from my friend Terna, is Unshakeable Peace.
And you know exactly who you are. Where to go. And how to move.
Instead of choosing familiarity, I chose adventure.
Without knowing, at the time, that this is ancestral, land-based communication – I tuned into the frequency of the land that was calling me.
And I said, Oh shit. That feels like Love.
I gave the people around me a lot of reasons for why I ended up deciding to go, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t tell anyone my true deciding factor.
If I go, I’m going to find Love.
I knew it.
My knowing was just, Unshakeable.
Like a Great World Reversal, like the Holy Bat, like tarot card 12, my perspective on what it meant to start over unexpectedly flipped on its head.
I’m going to be in a completely new environment! I will meet so many new people! I will have so many new experiences! I could be so happy!
The first few months in a new school were tougher than I expected. It was hard to make friends in grade 12 – everyone already had their groups and their cliques. I was lonely.
I doubted myself. I thought, maybe I won’t find the love I thought I’d find. Maybe I was wrong.
But every time I told myself maybe I should give up and go back…
…my unshakeable peace rolled through and I didn’t doubt my decision.
I was lonely. Until I wasn’t.
I did find that Love.
Or more accurately, it absolutely ambushed me! It snuck up on me, came out of nowhere, completely unexpected. How does something you’re actively looking for splash you in the face like the best surprise birthday party?
It was the biggest wave of Love I had ever experienced to that date. I was suddenly swamped with friendship, music, community, adoration, good times, growth, connection, sincerity and laughter, laughter, laauuuughter!
It was overwhelming, but I wasn’t overwhelmed, because I was having so much fun! My life looked different than I imagined, but it was better than anything I could have dreamed because it was real.
I ended the year exactly the way I deserved. I was loved. I was happy.
I don’t think anybody realized everything I had been through for 17 years, especially the year leading up to that move.
I experienced, witnessed and held so much trauma, and my space holding went unnoticed. I experienced and held so much pain, and what I did for myself and others went unnoticed. How much I had endured behind closed doors went unspoken. Injustice I experienced was not only unnoticed, in many cases it was approved, by people I trusted.
But the land noticed me. The land always notices.
Looking back on that time, I can see the land, my animals, my ancestors and my Self clearly understanding how much I fucking DESERVED the joy I experienced at the end of high school. I deserved that 4-month long celebration party. I deserved that standing ovation.
Fast forward. It’s 2022, year of the Great Six (2+2+2), here I am living in the “6ix” and crossing that special sacred threshold of year 17, the Star tarot card – my life path number.
Once again, I am being asked to Answer the Call.
I am being asked to do the same thing, all over again, in a new paradigm way.
It’s not a physical move. This time I’m being asked to root down, down, down into the Earth, into my Purpose, into my Reason.
I am being asked to Move…for Myself, for my Ancestors, and for my Story.
I am being asked to take a risk for Love, again.
I do have the option to stay where I am. If I did, it would be an understandable choice. More than reasonable. Maybe even a good choice.
But I won’t make it.
I can’t explain what this moment is, the personal and ancestral milestone, and what it means for me to share my voice with the world on my own terms, through this podcast and beyond.
I can say that what I’ve traveled, held and become has in many cases gone unnoticed. But the land notices. The land always notices.
When I tell the land that I am ready to do this, but there is still a part of me that is scared to take the risk, the land replies…
We know you’re scared. But we need you to do this. Because we need you to know how much you are loved. We can’t explain it to you. We can’t tell you with words. We can only show you.
So I listened. I answered the call. And I picked up the Mic.
When I did, colours swirled and alchemized. Flowers bloomed. Fire sang. Wind danced. Water was Free. And Earth – well, Earth was in Love.
It will look different than anything you imagined. It will be everything you prayed for, dreamed of, and more – because it’ll be real.
This is one of those moments. All other moments have been leading to this one.
You can’t pretend it’s not true.
After all, this exact moment was written down as a code and given to me on the day and place I was born.
6-3-8 was the phone number area code of Dauphin Manitoba.
For 17 years, if you wanted to call me, you dialed those numbers: 6-3-8. Any time I picked up the phone, I was calling from that number.
I turned 38 this past June.
6-3-8 is literally a code written with the land, for this moment. Translate the code and you get where “6” (2+2+2, ie the “6ix”) and “38” meet.
This is the time.
This is the number.
This is the season.
This is where you can reach me now.
It is the Call. And I’ve already Answered.