Step Out of the Sandbox You Know

‘I’m leaving – but god willing, I’ll be back home/ To drop these heavy ass bags up off my back bone/ Around the world with a catalogue of rap songs…’

As a child, I obsessed over any and everything that involved the risk of scraping my knees, slicing open my fingers or losing my teeth. I didn’t totally understand what a risk/reward ratio was and without knowing it, I was an adrenaline junkie in training since I learned to walk. Having some very ‘spiritual’ parents and boundless energy meant I could explore the concrete jungle at my own pace and the sooner I could rip off the training wheels, the sooner I’d be exploring the world on my own. Between BMX’ing, skateboarding, being a 7 year old WWE World Champion and not telling anyone that I was Superman in the evenings, I had a penchant for believing the unbelievable until I could make it come true.

The other day I was sitting with Mama Thoro before her going away party (they are moving from our child hood home this week) and we were going through photo albums. On top of the countless photos of me fighting with my two older sisters (love them to death if you haven’t figured that out yet), there were lots of us at birthdays, with friends, acting as the entertainment at our parents’ parties and even more at the park. One in particular stood out enough to earn a diatribe from her. I was wearing some 80’s clothing (you know the type) and was still looking under 20 pounds with a 15 pound smile. On the swingset in Don Mills, my mom was behind me and I couldn’t have been happier to learn how to fly on the pendulums of the playground.

“Memories don’t live like people do – they always remember you – whether things are good or bad”

My mom began to recount how I would request/beg/demand to go to the park every single day but she knew I just wanted to be on the swings. Not content with riding the swings and getting a push every few minutes, I taught myself early on how to pump back and forth to get higher and higher on my own. “You could never go fast enough or high enough,” she told me as she held back tears. Always a metaphor – now you know where I get it from.

I’m a little older now and my playground has changed over time. The slides have been replaced by elevators in marble buildings in the world’s largest cities and the swings have evolved into airplanes. No matter how many times I rock back and forth on the pendulum, earning an extra inch or two here as I float to what seems like the top of the arc at the time, there is not a single feeling in the world as powerful as that chase to eclipse my previous highest. I will never go fast enough and I will never go high enough to stop. The truth is, despite the fact that it goes against your most basic survival instincts, you will never learn to fly unless you jump out of the plane.

On July 26th 2014, I’m on a one-way ticket out to London to start working with a global team that is going to help me take this shit to a whole different level. I’m excited at the light on the horizon but sad to have to see some of my best friends via the rearview. No amount of Skype calls, texts and abbreviated Christmas visits will put us back in high school together, on the same residence floor in university, experiencing our first true romance down at the lake or back in the first recording sessions of our misguided Canadian music careers. And it absolutely shouldn’t. Together, we are leaving our mark in this world and if I have learned one thing from the swingsets to the airports, its this: You can’t change the world from one sandbox.

“Easily taken for granted when you up in it – but its sweet scented when you been down for a minute”

Quick note to all my North American homeys to thank you for contributing to the last two decades of scrapes & bruises, late nights & early mornings, broken cell phones & broken hearts, new jobs, friends & new beginnings, rooftop jamborees and basement Sweet 16’s and most importantly – helping me become the man I am today. We built everything together and nothing means more to me than the untainted memories of our quarrels, struggles, successes and that millisecond of human contact as we tap knuckles over a beer at the finish line.

If we don’t connect in person before I leave, rest assured that I will toast to us chasing a million more finish lines, finding a million more swingsets and most importantly, packing our Ninja Turtles backpacks to take that permanent step out of the sandbox we call home in perpetual search of the horizons – Together, even when we are apart.


This entry was posted on Monday, July 14th, 2014 at 9:59 pm and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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