« Il est l’heure de s’enivrer! Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du temps, enivrez-vous sans cesse! De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise. »

I was sitting in my French class in college 10 months ago when something in me clicked when our teacher translated us that poem from Baudelaire, a French poet. How can someone write in a poem to get and stay drunk as he did? At first it didn’t make sense to me. As always translations always lose some of the meaning so I took my courage and went over to talk with the teacher after class. I still remember my reaction to his words when he told me that we each have something we’re passionate about in life. That Passion and the love surrounding us is the one thing he described as being his “wine”, his escape when things get rough and challenging. He left me that day with the meaning ringing in my head and some confusion starting to rise in me.

When I left the reservation, I felt hollow and hurt… The longer I stayed away however, the more I missed home, my brothers and most importantly my mother. Mark and Caroline both noticed that feeling in me and reluctantly, I started telling them about my family and friends, being careful of the details that went through. That night, I started to open up more about my childhood, telling them stories of the various things we used to do growing up on the reservation. The more I talked with them, the more I seemed to realise what was missing and what keeps me going. The light in my eyes as I talked about what we considered “story time” when we were kids along with the class about the world legends I was taking made me understand exactly what Mr. Tremblay was telling us about in class with that poem. The importance of the stories forming our tribe’s history, the reason why they keep passing it down from one generation to another brings up a sense of belonging that was being rekindled in me.

I was now more determined than ever to find out as much as I can about our histories and those coming from people around us. Not only do legends tell us about the history, but they also hold important lessons within them.

When I think back on these events, realising that I have known my friends for a year now brings me joy, for without them and my mom, I probably wouldn’t have grown so much in the past year. As much as it hurts to think I almost killed my mother by losing control of my emotions that day, it’s a relief to know that she’s behind me one hundred percent and even if she was out of my life for a few weeks, the things she taught me when I was a kid still hold to this day and helped me get through it all.

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