Space Boots Levitating Somewhere on Turtle Island
Monica Olvera Olmos
This is the story of Monica’s gravitational encounter with space. Even though it might sound impossible, these events took place on Turtle Island in an intersectional period of time. The final record of this memorable levitation experience involving earth and space couldn’t be documented, but instead reveals the pair of boots Monica wore upon returning and stepping on firm ground. These boots represent the portal of eternal gratitude and the hope of becoming an inhabitant of Turtle Island.
I grew up thinking that I would become a renowned writer, and I felt I needed to make a change in my life to achieve this goal. I had to run away from a life amid precarity, drought, and grief.
The future is already too limited and uncertain. I had to imaginatively dream that something could happen to create a new path for my life, so I took the first flight I could get to Toronto.
Once in Canada, I felt immediately displaced and even more unclear than I was before. I experienced anxiety from the social barriers and pressure to conform. As a writer and artist, I struggled to keep on creating art. At the same time, I was trying to establish myself in the management of print art magazines. It was so hard.
Not knowing anyone in a new place, facing extreme weather conditions for the first time, and not having a single conversation except through retail transactions, I knew that the most valuable treasure I could find in this city would be a friend. I needed comfort. I was living in a kind of delusion. I kept praying for a friend to enter my life, someone new.
And then one cold winter night, I left my body. I truly did. I was always walking through the city streets, hoping for something to change. Always wearing my boots. And they always felt too tight. And that night, while I was walking and breaking into tears every five minutes, everything felt like a loss. It was then when I had the most beautifully bizarre encounter…
Suddenly, I don’t know why or how, but I started to lose my sense of gravity! It was as though I was in a deep dream swinging back and forth. I was losing control of the ropes—like you let them go and you’re about to fall, but you never fall. In that state between the air and soil, you feel nervous, as if the butterflies in your stomach are constantly flying without pause. I was floating in a magical dimension.
It wasn’t the comfort I was expecting at all, but oddly, I didn’t feel pain. It just didn’t make sense. In an attempt to start walking, I sort of made a soft landing. I was back in my boots and as I was walking, my footsteps sounded funny. The boots that were made out of plastic felt as warm as wool. Nothing made sense, but in reality what does make sense anyway?
And in this heightened state, I stopped and looked into a window of what seemed like a gallery or a cultural space. How did I end up here? From a place of suffering to a cultural hub, it was an epiphany. A friendly person invited me in. She started talking. And then I started talking…and among layers of conversation, from random artistic things to sharing life experiences, I showed her one of my magazines and some of my photographs. I shared my pain that I didn’t feel any more, but the words remained.
After that fruitful conversation, I completely came back on hard soil and my gravity returned. Something about the experience told me that I had to keep going forward with my future. Wondering what that vision was reaffirmed why I first decided to come to Canada—to try to find a new path. After meeting Ksenjia Spasics, the friendly artist I noticed through that window that night, I started meeting more dreamers like her. My boots don’t feel as tight anymore, and my sense of gravity, well…it sort of returned to “normal”.
I did learn something about this as my journey continued. I realized that despite the tight laces we seem to untangle as immigrants, our journey needs to be recognized by others to reach completion. It often happens with some of the things that we dream about accomplishing, but the important moral of the fable is that in the meantime, our community holds us and indeed waits for us to be happy. Community is the sustainability of our societies for all to achieve goals. It comes like healing a huge wound that we might be trying to cover in our insights. Our friends are the ones who can help us overcome unsustainable competitiveness.
I am truly grateful for our grassroots community: the resilient people here on Turtle Island. This place has taught me that even when we lose hope, there will be a hand waiting for us at the end of the tunnel. In the end, I discovered that home can travel within us. Our shoes can testify to that. And family can be created by a community, not only by blood.
Monica Olvera Olmos/cyberfeminist is the founder and manager of Artistic Entity Plastique Famille, a community-based artistic entity in Toronto. As a self-taught writer and artist, they have a keen interest in applying their multidisciplinary skills with a special focus on science fiction and new technologies. Monica is actively seeking to work with women, newcomer audiences, Indigenous artists, and other historically underrepresented communities.