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Rooted

 

rooted.jpeg

I’m a long-time resident of Airdrie.  I’ve been able to put down some pretty terrific roots.  My family moved here in 1993.  I was eight.  Except for a few brief jaunts outside of the city, to Edmonton, Calgary, and Munich, I’ve lived here.  Grocery trips take significantly longer most times because I run into people I know.  If I stop for coffee with a friend, there’s usually another sitting at the table, or another will see us and join us through the course of our coffee.  When manning a booth at AirdrieFest last month, I felt like I spent more time introducing people to my fellow Pride members than actually meeting new folks.

There’s benefits to living for a long time in one spot.  As a kid, my family moved several times, and I had difficulty feeling grounded.  As a teenager, I couldn’t wait to live somewhere else.  I was so excited to finally make the move out of the city.  And don’t get me wrong.  I loved my times in the cities I lived in outside of Airdrie.  I was young and single, and I met a lot of great new people, many of whom I still count as friends.  But when I had my first child, it was time to move away from the noise and bustle and move back to a place that I knew intimately.

I walked my daughter to school on the same city paths that I walked on as a child.  I can show my kids every short cut to every slurpee spot in town.  When the long-time residents and I chat, we often refer to spots by what used to occupy them.  “Oh, the library is in the old Medi-Plus”.  “The jewellery store moved to where the library used to be”.  “They’re building on the Old Hotel site FINALLY”.

But some of the things I love about Airdrie also make it a hard place to connect with other people.   It’s quiet.  People often work in Calgary.  Despite the growth, there are still services that are hard to find here, and we have to travel to access them.  And for the LGBTQ2A+ community, that reality is magnified.

Our goal at Airdrie Pride is to help the LGBTQ2A+ folks find their community without leaving this one.  We want everyone to feel connected and comfortable.  We want everyone to be able to access services in this city.

We have a plan to help that happen.

I’m so excited to show it to you.

Watch this space.

 

❤  Kayla (she/her)

1 thought on “Rooted”

  1. WOW. This story resonates well for me. Thank you for sharing this Tammy. You have inspired me to share a bit about my story.

    Born in NS and at the age 12 I moved to NB. In 1979 when I finished school, I left New Brunswick. A place I loved. A place where I belong. I was leaving two kids behind (I was helping my sister raise her two enfant daughters since I was age 12) I dedicated much of my childhood years to help raise these children, including finding a job to support them. I was leaving my girlfriend that I had been with since grade six. I was leaving close family and friends. I was abandoning my mother, who I dearly loved. Leaving her behind in an abusive situation, which I spent much of my childhood and adolescent years protecting her.

    So why did I need to “escape” from this beautiful life at such a young age? Why was I running away from my responsibilities? Why was I prepared to leave these two children behind? At that point, in my life, I was facing two options; suicide, (which I had contemplated numerous times) Thanks to my lucky stars, at the age of 12, I found a psychiatrist who at least listened to me)

    My second option was to pack my backpack and head to a BIG city, to hide, to find myself. I am still haunted to this day by the image watching my two nieces standing at the fence at the airport, as I was walking to board the plane to Calgary, crying and begging me not to leave. I was their father figure. All I could think about was, I will be back one day, but I have to go, because I will be of no help if I am dead.

    What was this all about, I was confused as to who I was, my sexuality. Since I can remember, because of my confusion, I endured ongoing abused in all forms, I was forbidden to express my true authentic self. There was no service. There was no help. In addition, you could not be “gay”.

    Today, I proudly announce that I have been with my husband for the past 34 years. I remain close two my two nieces and their children. Sadly, my ex- girlfriend committed suicide and both my parents have passed on.

    Almost three years ago, we moved to Cochrane from Calgary. This was scary for me. Moving to a small town brought back those childhood/young adult memories. I was nervous but prepared to continue to be my true authentic self in a smaller city/town.

    Cochrane is my home and feel most welcomed there. I am free to be my true authentic self without any fear. However, there is no presence of an LGBTQ2+ inclusive community. Limited supports/services, connectedness. Nothing for the young all the way to seniors. I am excited to announce that a group of LGBTQ2+ members formed a Society, which I am the President and awaiting for our official Society status. For now, you can check us out at Cochrane Rainbows Lgbtq2+.

    Recently, we met with Airdrie Pride Society to share our visions for our separate communities. I believe we have a similar mandate: to bring services and supports, connectedness to increase the LGBTQ2+ presence, so we can all live a rich inclusive lifestyle without having to leave our hometown. With all our combined values, life experiences, personal and professional, I believe collectively, working in collaboration, we will make a difference in the Town of Cochrane and the City of Airdrie.

    Cheers.
    Rob

    Like

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