When I started this blog during the wee hours of June 23, 2013, it wasn’t a “dream come true”. It wasn’t a “I finally decided to do this after thinking about it for so long” moment. It wasn’t a lifetime of ideas that I could “finally” extricate from my mind.
Although I knew why I was starting a blog, it still felt like a random thing for me to do. Some of my friends thought it was a natural fit, but I didn’t understand how I could go from never thinking about having a blog, to starting one the very next day.
I felt like I didn’t know how I got here. That nothing in my life had ever pushed me down this path, or had given me an inkling that, one day, this was a possibility.
As dumb as it may sound, that was something that bothered me for a long time.
All I wanted to know was, “Why?”. That was too much ask for, apparently.
It wasn’t until two months ago, when I started writing poetry, that the lightbulb in my head started to flicker.
After I posted my first poem, I sat in front of my laptop not knowing what I had done. The fact that I just wrote a poem was as puzzling to me as I’m sure it was to my followers. I sat there asking myself, “Why?”
Poetry was never something I was interested in. Bloggers would follow my blog and I’d feel bad that I couldn’t follow them back because all they wrote was poetry. I didn’t want to read their poetry.
And now, here I was, writing poetry.
As I wrote more poetry, I realized how much fun I was having putting words together that meant something to me, while leaving readers in the dark. The fact that my poems could mean something different to everyone that read them, was exciting.
And then I had a flashback to my childhood and things started to make sense.
I was about 9-years-old when I found out my older sibling had a school assignment which required them to listen to a song, write down its lyrics, and then figure out the meaning. For some reason, I thought that was the coolest thing. Why wasn’t I getting assignments like that?
So, my mom, being the best mom in the world that she was (and still is), told me I could do the same thing and we would save it for when the assignment was given to me in a few years.
What song did I choose? “Kryptonite” by, 3 Doors Down. It was my favourite song at the time.
Now, this was before the Internet held our hand and guided us through life. This was before I could just look up song lyrics on Google. My mom and I sat in my room and listened to this song play on a CD. Every five or ten seconds, I pressed pause, and my mom wrote down the lyrics. If we missed some words, I pressed rewind, and we listened for them again.
“You called me strong, you called me weak, but still your secrets I will keep, you took for granted all the times I never let you down.” – 3 Doors Down, Kryptonite
Eventually, we had all the lyrics written down and went line by line trying to find the meaning. It was like a puzzle. There was an answer; we just had to put it together.
It was so much fun, we did the same thing for a second song.
A few years later, the assignment was never given to me at school. They must’ve changed the curriculum. Darn.
Ever since then, the meaning behind the lyrics of songs has always fascinated me. In Grade 12, one of my classes required me to give a presentation on a song and explain what it was about.
I chose, “Where The Streets Have No name” by U2. Again, my favourite song at the time. Actually, it’s still one of my favourite songs.
The Internet is filled with theories about what songs are about, but they are just that, theories. The only person who knows for sure what a song is about is whoever wrote it.
It was that memory from my childhood that made me realize I had always enjoyed lyrics and how ambiguous they could be. Only now, I was the one writing them, in the form of poetry.
When that started to make sense, the lightbulb in my head stopped flickering and started to shine right through.
I was reminded of a time when I was in Grade 6. There was a group assignment where we had to make a newspaper. Each person was responsible for writing an article for a specific section. Naturally, I wrote an article for the sports section.
It was an article about the NHL Playoffs and a quick preview of each matchup. The picture I included was of Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators) and Mark Recchi (Philadelphia Flyers). I remember it so vividly.
I just tried to find that picture on Google, but couldn’t.
In my school career, that remains one of my favourite assignments. I was so proud of it. I felt like I was a real sports writer. I was 11-years-old.
I started this blog with the intention of it being a sports blog. I wanted to write about sports. I wanted to feel like a real sports writer, forgetting that I had already felt that way once before.
Once that piece fell into place, the pieces kept coming.
The name of this blog is The Captain’s Speech (slush those S’s together) because I gave pre-game speeches to my intramural team in university. Fine. But going back to elementary school, I always loved giving speeches, especially because they let me pick any topic to talk about.
Naturally, I went up to the front of the class and talked about sports. The first speech I ever gave was on the Air Canada Centre. It was a multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility that was just built.
I memorized how many seats, washrooms, concessions, TVs, elevators, stairwells, and everything else it had multiples of. My teacher was surprised I could remember all of the numbers without looking at my cue cards. So was I.
Now, was that a seed that was planted way back then – that I liked speeches – and took many years to grow? Perhaps? I have no clue. I just think it fits nicely in this story.
As stupid as it sounds, that’s when the whole “Paul has a blog” thing finally made complete sense to me. That I didn’t have a blog just because I woke up one day thinking it was a good idea. Or that it was just an outlet in which I could write hundreds of words without irritating someone scrolling through their News Feed.
But that there were actually clues along the way that, when put together, make this blog as obvious as two plus two equalling four.
I’ve realized this happens to me a lot in life. Where I find myself in a situation that I never pictured myself in, only to realize that it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.
For example, when I first got my job at camp, it took me a while to figure out what I was doing there. I had never gone to camp as a child. I had never thought about working with children. It just didn’t add up.
Then I remembered back to elementary school, when they paired up kids in older grades with kids in kindergarten and called us “buddies”. A few times during the year, we would meet up and do some activities together.
I remembered how much fun that was. How I felt like such a role model to a little 5-year-old dumpling in kindergarten. How I just wanted to make them happy and be the cool older kid that gave them high fives in the hallway.
All of a sudden, I knew why I was working at camp.
I could list more examples, but we would be here a while and I don’t schedule “bathroom breaks” in my blog posts, and neither should you.
Everything I’ve laid out in this post could be considered a stretch, a coincidence, or a search for meaning where there is none. I’m aware of that. I’m also aware that this may come across as downright delusional.
However, I can’t help but believe that everything in life is somehow connected. That there is a strong link between where we were, where we are, and where we’re going. And that our childhood gave us more direction than we ever realized.
It is as though life is a giant game of connect the dots, except we can’t draw the line to connect them without having time, perspective, and understanding on our side.
That is when we finally see the things that were always right in front of us.
That is when the internal question of “Why?” is answered.
And that is when the pieces are put together.