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A Thundering Kind of Calm

I can hardly believe how much happened this year. My feet took me to new places, high places, dangerous places. My heart opened up to take in new people, and it too went to high places and some dangerous ones.

My heart raced with fear alone at a bus station in Limerick Ireland, and swelled with hope after a magical frolic and heart to heart with a London busker and gem (“Jem”) of a human in a secret rooftop garden. I learned “I can” in the rain in Edinburgh with a flight to catch and everything going wrong. I learned “I can” on Heart Mountain, scrambling alone, heart again racing with fear and swelling with elation.

A song I’d written out of my disillusionment with theatre helped get my band into the finals of a nation-wide songwriting competition.

I fell back in love with theatre, re-entering the relationship gingerly. A well-placed refrain of Joni Mitchell’s Blue in a visceral production of Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre in London may have won me over, and a saucy rendition of The Twelfth Night also at the National Theatre sealed the deal.

In the fall I took on 3 acting roles over the next half-year, bingo, bango, bongo, and am having fun acting again, much to my own surprise.

I brushed off my Spanish, took a risk, and fell hard into love and a beautiful, painful adventure. I learned so much about myself and gained so much perspective on how many different ways there are to live and what it means to be Canadian.

I said some goodbyes and sunk deeper into the love of old friends and my family, summitting mountains with Jason, sharing songs with Sarah and Kathryn and Mandy, running stairs with Hailey at November Project. I felt like an island on Salt Spring Island, but I hiked, swam naked and then washed the car and my blues away.

Rae’s badassery inspired me to run harder faster, and thanks to Michelle, I no longer do my push-ups from my knees. Genevieve’s boldness in art, nature, and womanhood made me bolder and freer myself. Ale and yoga taught me that come what may, my breath will carry me through whatever discomfort I endure, and I am stronger than I think I am.

On my bike, countless gorgeous sunsets, fingers aching and face stinging with cold, snowy wipe-outs, and twinkling city horizons made every day full of delight, beauty, challenge, and triumph.

I had a party on the weekend to celebrate my birthday. In the strange December warmth, I stood atop a pile of pilfered pallets in the backyard, in my blouse, mini-skirt, and hiking boots, hammer in hand, smashing away, pulling apart wood for the fire. I think this year brought me into my skin; into my strength. To a feeling of safety; of rising above. Of grounding. A thundering kind of calm. Respecting who I am and what I need while I grow toward being better.  I’m in love with life, and all the people in mine. My brothers and my sisters, thank you for walking with me, loving me, and living your lives big so I can follow your footsteps. Here’s to another year down. Let’s dance, swing hammers, and pedal hard into to the next!

About natalieinga

Natalie is a young actress and singer/songwriter from Alberta. She plays uplifting folk music, adores her bike (Dora), her blue spatula, and her beloved guitar, Alexander von Larrivee.