Sunday, 15 January 2012

About Me, Part 15: Break On Through

I entered the Creative Arts program at Dawson College in the fall of 1987. By then, huge changes were underway on the home front. Both of my parents had met someone new. For a time, their energies were directed elsewhere besides confrontation with each other. Both relationships were well under way by the time I started CEGEP.

As for myself, I felt like I was growing (up) by leaps and bounds. I was in a program with courses in English literature, film studies and painting. I had finished painting a psychedelic mural on one of my bedroom walls that summer. I was meeting new friends and acquaintances, some of whom had gone to alternative schools, all of whom were creative or artistic in some way. I was exposed to a much wider palette of personal expression subculture than I had seen, or even knew was possible, at high school. I felt that I had been given a free pass to explore myself and life.

Also, as I was somewhat of a new age persuasion at that time, I was intrigued by the an event called the Harmonic Convergence that summer where spiritual folks in various parts of the world had gathered at sunrise to usher in a new era: the fabled Age of Aquarius, a phrase that I had previously heard only in the context of oldies radio and my mother`s record collection. I, and I don`t think that I was alone, had been taught by prevailing attitudes that our own decade (as if decades belonged to anyone) was supposed to be a conservative one: no protests or rebellions or real creativity allowed, they tried it in the 60s and, see, it didn`t work. Former punks like myself, who wouldn`t have been caught dead `becoming hippies` a year earlier, dove into the second wave of the movement with gusto. We all seemed to be exploring ourselves in some way. I, for one, drew a correlation between the `conservative 80s` and my horrible experience. Narrow minds were responsible for keeping me repressed and unhappy; now, I was going to smash their boundaries for them.

My increasingly `hippie` ways of presenting brought stares out in public and from most of my former high school friends and acquaintances. It also brought embarrassed looks from family, even from a particular relative who had the same reputation back in the day. As my personal expression, what I saw as simply growing up, brought me into direct conflict with family. I had been overprotected almost since infancy. I had been set loose into adolescence and beyond without any real boundaries and incredibly naive. My desire to fit in and be approved of had resulted becoming a stranger to myself. Now, I was trying to become my own person, and somehow, someway my folks were trying to prevent it.

I spent that Christmas with mother and her boyfriend who was a standard issue yuppie. Needless to say he had plenty of opinions about what I was doing. Everyone seem to tolerate the `young man` who seemed to have gone off ... way off.

In the meantime, I wrote, I drew, I collaged, I dressed colourfully and I listened to LP after second-hand LP of 60s rock groups: blues-rock band, psychedelic rock, garage rock and progressive rock. Intellectual and creative leaps and bounds. I wondered if I would ever meet anyone of like mind. In the spring of 1988, in the college coffeehouse, I did. My social life was about to take a flying leap into unknown airspace.

To be continued ...

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