A long journey home

Breakdown, Covid-19, Life change -

A long journey home

Hey anyone and everyone who might stumble across this blog, I hope today finds you in a peaceful and satisfying mood.  I woke up this morning after dreaming for the first time in what seems like forever.  I felt somewhat refreshed from my daily body aches and pains of this past weekends events, which included some strenuous physical labor is this beast of a place we are in.  It made me realize I hadn't really taken the time to just sit and write out some of the things that have happened since the dawning of Covid-19.  
So let's start somewhere in early February...
 
We were headed down from Oregon where we had been staying with some dear friends whom had just moved into a house with some property.  They were in the beginnings of turning it into a homestead, which is well underway and thriving these days.  We were on our way back to L.A. (in the most sarcastic L.A. voice possible) where we, me and Emily would separate ways for 2 weeks while I worked an event in Costa Rica called Envision. Maybe you've heard of it lol! Pre-Show I was paid to help organize and establish the harm reduction department which included the medical station.  On-site I was a Sanctuary Supervisor, and it honestly was the highlight of my career.  Not only did I get to go with my best friends at the time and leave the country for the first time but I got to meet and work along side some of the most amazing humans this world has to offer.  Learning from all of the amazing herbalist's just next door at the herbal clinic, watching some of the most famed psychedelic researchers speak and not to mention the astounding musical line-up all while standing in the middle of the jungle just mere yards from the ocean.  

But like with most truly astounding things, they almost always come to an end; in this case it was the ends of my hair, not the bottom ends but the top. As in I started losing chunks of my hair, my luscious curly hair that has taken me years to adorn.  All while experiencing the highest of highs, talk about a buzz kill! Once those 2 glorious weeks ended we were headed back to L.A. (again in the most sarcastic voice lol) Where I would finally reunite with my LOVE!!

Pre-Envision we had made plans with a close friend who needed some work done on a family owned property in Pomona.  We were insanely excited to be in a house for a few months to just have some alone time from the previous months of living with friends.  Not to mention I love working, especially when I have no idea what actually needs to be done.  Learning the challenge and taking it head on is by far my most favorite thing about being me, in terms of my work ethic and ability as a craftsman.  It's just down right fun to figure it all out, utilizing what is already in place or what may be available on site.  It's like a huge puzzle that just happens to allow you to live.  We were loving every minute of it.  But let me back up, at the time we were leaving for Costa Rica, Covid-19 was just becoming a national news story.  They hadn't stopped flights out or in, and weren't making much of a fuss other than suggesting people should maybe possibly wear a mask.  Now we are one week into the Pomona project, L.A. shuts DOWN. 

WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO NOW???

Well to be completely honest we didn't think much differently.  We were already used to being hermits in the van and honestly we were simply enjoying the solitude of having personal space, from certain friends and each other.  Which is something we weren't completely used to after 2 years in a 16 square foot living space.  We braved the grocery stores, waiting in hour long lines to buy the foods we could find.  Luckily being vegan fresh food was almost always in stock unlike the canned goods or dried foods like pasta, rice or beans.  Those things were gone like the wind, but we were used to it.  Most people can't possibly fathom living the lifestyle we did in the van days, literally pushing the minimalist limits.  

I digress.

So here we are just a couple of weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic, all of our plans to get to hangout with some of our closest friends who happen to live in the same area are simply gone.  The difference in someone wanting to be a hermit versus telling us we CAN'T do anything has proven to be a real issue.  We were getting bored, even with the copious amounts of work to be done in the house.  So we decided to have a garage sale to get some things moving, everyone wore masks we never touched and followed all major guidelines.  But that was the day that preemptively got us here today.  Those few moments of just enjoying human company, my sweet angel went to grab a table from the patio to bring out front.  As she turned the table to come inside the top glass slid off the table and landed directly on her foot.  Immediately slicing open a hefty vein sending blood pulsating through the air as she screamed for me. 

This is where I still to this day, months later feel absolutely guilty about.  

While she stood there screaming, I was out front talking with some buyers and simply enjoying the conversation.  I literally could not hear her screaming, a major down side to working music events is loss of hearing.  With my back facing the house I absolutely cannot hear anything behind me.  Another buyer actually had to alert me that she was screaming, I immediately ran inside.  She was standing in the sliding glass doorway covered in glass with the most panicked look on her face. I immediately ran over and scooped her up, grabbed the paper towels ran her outside to a bench in the shade.  As we tried to apply pressure to the bleeding wound she wailed so intently I knew something else was wrong.  I ran to the front to advise everyone to leave because I had to take her to the hospital, I immediately started to pack everything back inside the garage to do the thing we definitely didn't want to be doing.  

Going to the E.R. in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak was absolutely not what we expected to be doing that day.  I carried her inside where they would only let me sit in the waiting room for her since they weren't allowing visitors.  She comes out an hour later with a soft cast and a broken foot, my immediate thought.  "Oh shit. She is going to be pissed."  If you didn't know Emily broke her heel bone at the beginning of last year, same foot different bone.  As a performance artist you can only imagine how heart breaking this is for her, not to mention how depressing.  Her heel break had done quite a number on her mental health just from sheer lack of mobility.  But it was those times that I learned how valuable movement was for her and how her body utilizes those physical actions for her to release her true emotions.  I learned dancing and free movement meant MORE than the world to her.  But it wasn't until this accident that I learned truly how much of an impact this would play in the next few days.   

Just to put this into perspective, she was off her foot for 3 to 4 months with her heel break, which the doctor advised to "literally do nothing!"  Imagine trying to be in her shoes, has a cool ass job working at the biggest music festivals in the world, and can't do anything.  No showers, no dog walks, no hooping, no dancing no nothing...  And now for the second time within 12 months here we are back in the lamed world of having to wait on her hand and foot.  (Partial pun intended lol) Now imagine it during Covid, with no friends, no hugs and no one else's energy to thrive from. Obviously I am more than happy to be her servant in these times.  That is what we both signed up to do in our partnership that  we have together.  She holds me together in so many ways that most people never see.  Which is why it was so incredible that she taught me what she needed in that previous experience to be able to handle what happened next.  

Working the past 4 years in Festival Harm Reduction, I have learned skills I never knew I needed.  Constantly giving thanks to the Universe for creating a niche "work" environment that I not only thrive in but absolutely, wholeheartedly love.  I love figuring out the drastic situations, and calming folks down in a heightened mindset.  Every single detail is a challenge on its own.  But I never really imagined those challenges hitting me directly in the face.  Mental health crises are a very real situation in this world, you and I both see it every day. Whether it's the homeless guy on the corner passed out in the sun drowning in alcohol or the Chad that ate 10 hits too much of Acid on his first psychedelic experience in the the Forest during String Cheese. It affects everyone.  It affects everyone of all shapes, sizes, colors and creeds. It affects our mothers and fathers, our aunts, uncles and cousins.  So with that in mind, just days after breaking her foot, my absolute love of this life has a serious psychotic breakdown.  Ultimately causing an extended stay at a mental hospital.  I won't go into detail too much on that in this blog, as we are working on another project with all of that.  But it is a vital part of the journey we have been on to arrive to this beautiful home coming.  

I can't really put it into words quite yet.  Which is a big reason why we haven't really talked about it much to the outside world.  It's not a secret by any means but just an undeniably horrifying experience.  Just the sheer amount of negative layers that were put on our minds already; with Trump and his horrendous excuse of existence along with his tweet squad running this country into the ground, we have the pandemic going full blast, my hair is literally falling out in chunks (and at this point in the story had grown drastically in size), consistent battles with family about how we choose to live (on both sides); but also fear of being stuck across the country from our parents during a fucking pandemic even though they drive us nuts, just the thought is beyond frightening and not to mention just being LGBTQ.  And now the one piece that holds me together on a daily has broken.... 

What the fuck did I do???  

I was feverishly asking the universe for answers, falling deeper into my own psychosis of sorts, from lack of sleep, food and my normal fulfillment of love.  But I had to act, I had to figure out what the actual fuck to do, so I did.  I'm not going to sit here and tell you that all of this was easy, I was TIRED.  I was so incredibly tired.  Realizing it wasn't going to be easy by any means I just acknowledged that I did not really have control over the situation.  I was losing it, just over the idea of giving in.  I'm not a quitter, I always figure it out, but this was beyond just physically hard.  This was the hardest mental game I have ever played.  I wasn't allowed to see her because of Covid, I couldn't legally ask anything because we aren't married and well HPPA rules are so adamantly obeyed by the medical system.  I can't speak to her because she's is doped up on god knows what in the Hospital.  I can't even explain what that kind of turmoil feels like, the closest example would be something like tapping on a glass at the zoo, just hoping to catch the eye of the tiger, he's not acknowledging you because he is not required to. Therefore making you absolutely invisible to the man.  

After much needed help from some of the absolute best friends a couple of wooks could ask for, and some strategic planning, we had to literally change our lives.  We both take mental illness extremely seriously, and I knew she would need the best situation for her healing process once she was released.   I had made some plans with some old friends down in Louisiana to stay with, (they were trusted friends at the time.) So I spent $1400 on a shipping box and packed every single thing we owned into it, because I realized early on, we couldn't live in the van anymore. 

 The old van life

As much as we absolutely loved our vanlife experiences I knew she needed a stable home to be in.  That was a HUGE chunk of our money that we had been saving.  More than we typically had ever had available at any one time.  The fact that it was even possible was an absolute manifestation of ability; had this situation occurred any other April or May I can definitely tell you I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this, in the way I did.  

I did everything the way I thought she would want it, a neutral hotel so she wouldn't be triggered or traumatized by going back to the house where it all happened. I flew her best friend in from Denver, and rented a car since I was able to sell our beloved van to some very close friends to keep it in the family (which has meant the world to us.) I had some of her hoops and other flow toys available for her to play with since we would have a couple days between her release and the flights down to New Orleans in which I am beyond thankful for Atlas joining us on that crazy day of flying.   

 

Ironically through all of this, the opportunity came up for us to live in and long term own my childhood home and property in the panhandle of Florida.  And while I wasn't quite prepared, willing or wanting to immediately move again the situation wasn't quite what we needed in Louisiana.  Though we are thankful for the warm welcome and hospitality of those previous friends we needed our own space.  And when I say space I mean a beautiful and luscious pine tree backdrop with faint sounds of the bay behind it.  A rather large and interestingly built brick house with rooms for all of our passions, and space to share.  A place where we can grow, not only our own food but together as a partnership between people on a long journey home.  So i guess the moral is just because we don't feel prepared for a journey doesn't mean the journey won't prepare us for the experiences we will endure. I/we lost a lot of friends during this experience, for several reasons but mainly ego. While we once considered those friends our closest family we couldn't be blinded by the jaded reasonings for some of their actions through our difficult experience. Some may consider those bridges burned I see them as torches that light the path already travelled. No need to turn back now. Forward march!!

Thank you for reading this blog post, and thank you for being here. Because more than likely if you are reading this, you we're probably one of the friends who helped us get through this.  Even if you weren't physically there to help I know a lot of people helped us from afar in many many ways.  We truly feel blessed to know you and to call you our family.

Our Hopes For This Space

We have a ton of aspirations for this place, but also a lot of up in the air thoughts due to the state of our nation.  We are currently in the house renovation process, since this house had been empty since 2006 giving way to all kinds of problems.  One thing we learned in Pomona was that houses die when no one is around and that is definitely true here as well.  This beautiful property is completely surrounded by overgrowth and close to being take over by the swamp between us and the bay.  We spend a lot of our time clearing and cutting away the overgrowth, building new gardens, composting, vermiculture and a new chicken coop that I was able to build from materials found here on site! 

While it has been fun having our own true space to call our own we are starting to need some help around with big projects, we'd love to have visitors once the pandemic slows down.  We still have rough days, mental illness doesn't just go away, and my physical health is questionable at times.  But these are things that we can only take one day at a time.  We have truly enjoyed watching this place come to life in the recent months and we are so so happy to have it.  I literally don't have the words to describe ho lucky I am to have her safely at my side, on the other side of all of this.

I have to give serious thanks to my parents, while we disagree on everything politically, I am insanely grateful for their trust in me to take this off of their hands and for the insane amount of help that they have given.  Being in nature has truly brought the joy to our lives that we knew we needed. I believe we just needed that serious nudge in the right direction. These months that have passed I've had a real chance to be with myself and hear nature's call to be the community we needed for others. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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