Heart Direction

These days, I have been asking for clarity.  I feel directionless. I feel exasperated. I feel exhausted… ‘cause I’m not sure if I am staying on the unceded lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh and Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territories known as Vancouver. I’m sure this is an odd thing to read from someone who is running for council in the upcoming Vancouver municipal election. However, it is my reality.

I love Vancouver. I loved it from the moment I step off the plane for my first ever visit. I had a deep sense of belonging here, and my life made so much sense after I moved here. I love it when I glance at the mountains or go to go the beach or see a big giant tree. I love when it rains. I loved discovering myself here. I identified as straight when I moved six years ago—and now I am a professional queer! I feel like I’ve bloomed into my most authentic self. I’ve had so many beautiful precious moments here. I’ve had so much fun! I’ve felt so much love and given so much love. I’ve gotten to perform as an artist here. I’ve gotten to enrich my thinking as a scholar here. I’ve solidified my nursing practice here. I have rich, meaningful, and deep relationships with a community of brilliant, socially conscious, and radical folks… lately there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t run into someone I know! I love that. I feel so grateful.

Here I am co-hosting the 2022 Pride Parade at Denman Mall

Even better, in the last few weeks these spontaneous encounters have involved getting feedback that the work I have been doing matters. I feel seen/heard/validated in so many ways by my community here— and that is a wondrous gift. I want to be a mirror and shine that kindness given to me so generously back for it is so heartwarming.  

Yet, I am truly uncertain if Vancouver is still my home. The chances of me being elected are very slim…[of course, if I was, then I would be devoted to being a great disrupter here for the next 4 years]. As a registered nurse, I am not lacking in job opportunities. I am however lacking in housing security. I am also missing the sparkle I once had about this city as

–favourite arts venues get demolished for luxury housing projects

–cherished friends move to suburbs because Vancouver rent is too high

–extreme poverty is sooooooo normalized

–capital is repeated prioritized over people

I recognize I have mind-blowing amounts of privilege. Yet still I am suffering. I’m waiting for some sort of sign about what the next chapter of my life might involve…I’m looking for that click I have felt so many times before when the stars aligned, and I just knew what I wanted/needed to do. That click I felt when I first arrived in Vancouver and thought: I belong here!

But all I feel these days is

so sad that our planet is dying.

so sad that people are dying preventable deaths.

so sad that many are just ?okay? with the state of the world.

I’m just so so so sad…

My grandma calls me brave. You’re so brave Kiki, she tells me. She thought I was brave to move so far from my family, by myself when I came to Vancouver. I didn’t feel brave then, I felt like I was following my heart. I don’t feel brave now. I feel sore, raw, and porous. I feel like I’m waiting. I am waiting.

I’m waiting for my heart to tell me what to do next…

and I’m wishing…

I wish that you follow your heart as well… (if that feels good for you)… and I hope that in doing so, we all might make this world lovelier, warmer, kinder for all of us.

When I feel those waves of this endless sad, I put my hand over my heart. I tell myself, this is a moment of suffering. I let my tears flow without judgement, after all, crying is just a biological response. I’m gentle with my nervous system. I practice my self-compassion.

I’m not brave, but I do try to be courageous.

Author: Kyra Philbert

Artist. Nurse. Scholar. A ciswoman settler on the unceded territories of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Nations. A compassionate mess. She believes in futures where we (and our planet) all are safe, loved, respected and 'enough'.

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