About eleven years ago I sat by the Mediterranean Sea , contemplating life in the south of France. I’d been living in the sub culture of the sex and party scene. For me it’s a combo that took me all across the United States and made New York and Amsterdam my second homes.
Once upon a time I had lived in the south of France. There was a bench in the old port of Marseilles I’d sit on thinking about life to the blue waters of the ocean. I wanted to go back to that bench once again to sit and think.
Instead what happened was my wallet got stolen on the way down from Paris, and all weekend was spent dealing with figuring that mess out and not getting to sit on my bench.
So I kept moving forward and decided I’d take in the Mediterranean from the beaches of Nice.
It was a glamorous way to feel lost. It was during this time I realized as I sat on the beach gazing out onto the waves of infinity that I had simply stopped believing that I could have a life any different than that the one I had. I call it my “Peggy Lee” moment. You know the one, where I imagine I’m smoking and as I blow out my last puff, I say to myself “Is that all that there is?”
At the time I felt that was it. I had run my health so much into the ground from flying away to places to party - and then come home to fall apart. At the time I was resistant to a lot of the medications, so I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a new combination for me anytime soon.
I had some resistance to what I was taking. I had a viral load of about 4,000. It doesn’t sound like a lot. Imagine a leak in a damn. It doesn’t cause damage right away, but over time it can be quite corrosive. This is what happened to me. Not only was I depressed, I was tired all the time, and this was all that was left for me.
The list og goals I wrote on that beach in my journal is one that I keep with me to this day. Looking back they seem like such simple goals. I wanted to get the drugs and partying out of my life. I needed to get my act together so when new treatments came out, I wouldn’t fuck those up as well. I wanted to go back to school. I needed an overhaul.
All these years later it stuck me how much of a full circle has come out of that moment of reflection. All I needed to do at that time was believe that there could be more. No more than that, just believe.
Next week I will be flying back to the Mediterranean yet again. This time, I will be on the other side, Tel Aviv. The symbolism struck me last night for the first time. I’m heading back to the sea to reflect, write, also travel and be a tourist.
In 2002 I realized what it was like to lose all faith that life could be better. In 2013, eleven years later, life is unrecognizable compared to those days. At every stage of my life, if someone had the knowledge to tell me what I’d be doing in the future, I wouldn’t have believed them - converting to become Jewish, doing comedy and producing a storytelling show with some of Canada’s top comedians and storytellers. In just over a year I went from being a spectator to full-on participant sharing the stage with the likes of Scott Thompson, Sandra Shamas, and Elvira Kurt.
Health wise I’ve gone from being constantly sick and viremic to slowly piecing together the tools that can help, with a naturopath. This time it’s working. The constant infections are now being minimized. Discovering I was anemic was a huge step in getting my life back.
A lot has changed. There will be no more Peggy Lee moments. Life has become an adventure again. No trips to the south of France trying to re-create old moments from the past.
This time I’ll be sitting by the sea writing, thinking about how much life has changed. I’m hoping the distance and tranquility will allow me to finally get started on storytelling writing. Once I have enough stories, I’ll have a solo show to put together.
In the meantime, I’m sure in between great pensive moments, I’ll be taking in a lot of the scenery of hot Sephardic Israeli men.