Welcome to my world, full of late nights and fun people; the depraved but never deprived; and where a cocktail in one hand and a megaphone in the other constitute the base ingredients of any outing worth its salt. Here you will meet politicos, unicorns, winos, weirdos, superfreaks, supernovas, gypsies, faeries, the beautiful and the damned and a little of everything in between. Mine has been an unconventional path on a search for ever greater joy and the meaning of life, where I’ll pretty much try anything once, if only to have a good story to tell afterwards.
So who the hell am I exactly? In a nutshell, I’m half American and half Canuck, although I’ve spent all my formative years in the States. Growing up, no less, in a part of the country (New England) where I never seemed to quite fit in, which further fueled both my early need to travel and my cultural identity crisis. As soon as I graduated from Boston University, I beelined to Europe and lived, worked and gallivanted abroad for over a year. I had many incredible adventures there, which could easily be another blog altogether. I afterwards returned Stateside and heeded the siren call of the West, hightailing it to San Francisco with nothing but two suitcases that were crammed with my most precious belongings, having nowhere to stay when I landed, literally arriving on a wing and a prayer.
I can honestly say that San Francisco is where I discovered myself, blossomed in many ways and sowed lots and lots of oats. (A psychic I saw before leaving for Europe predicted my time to come in San Francisco pretty accurately, telling me that she foresaw life in the fast lane for me for a while but that it would only be a phase. She was right and I will never have a midlife crisis.) I always found it very fitting that while I was there, San Francisco was filled with all of these Wizard of Oz references – some quite literal and in-your-face, while others were more subtle and lay scattered throughout the cityscape like Easter eggs.
I followed that yellow brick road for a full thirteen years, towards the end perhaps lingering a little longer than my past due date. But there I met poets, artists (and sketch artists), tweakers, klowns, cheats, drunks, Lords, lovers, visionaries, daydreamers, demons and angels. I freely experimented, followed my bliss, made many mistakes, lost myself more than a few times, had my heart and my trust broken more times than I care to count and yet bounced back more times than any one person ought.
There were the lost, dark years of religiously going to “Church” on Sundays, also known as the Endup, where the party that got started on Thursday night would still be carrying on into Monday morning. It all began innocently enough, with a fun and friendly vibe, bonding over a love of house music and connecting with all kinds of people of every walk, some of whom would improbably enough later become lifelong friends. But all good parties must eventually come to an end, and the lightheartedness did give way to quite a lot of general self-destructive and numbing behavior. And life started strongly resembling an episode of Breaking Bad. But we all somehow pulled through in due time, when we were finally ready to move on from Purgatory.
On the brighter side, I discovered Burning Man – a surreal sandscape where Mad Max meets Star Wars; a rumpus room for the mind and a sacred space with some real spiritual mojo; a magical place that lent us its ability to accelerate our powers of manifestation while simultaneously forcing our faces into the mirror, so that we’d face whatever it was (joy or sadness, being lost or found, pain or rebirth) we most needed to at that given time. I made the pilgrimage to the desert seven times. I’d say that three of those years were quite painful, filled with hard learning, while I got to experience the rapture during the remaining years. But of all of those trips, this is my most cherished experience:
It was the second to last time that I’ve ever been. My long-term boyfriend and I had just broken up, after we let the end kind of drag on. And I had gotten to that point where I was a little bit like a shell of my former self. Yet we nonetheless traveled to the playa together, which became a little sticky. Once there, I also decided to start entertaining the advances of a new guy in our circle. And then that became too much, I was definitely moving in an uncomfortable direction. So there I am, only on day two and already losing my mind, standing at dusk on the edge of our camp and feeling the world closing in on me. Oh, and I ought to mention that I was wearing this wonderful costume that had been gifted to me, which was a deconstructed wedding dress. With a glorious train that stretched for a full few feet.
So I’m standing there in this getup and in the middle of losing it, when this massive art car suddenly rolls by. And I, without missing a beat, cry out, “Look, sparkly!” and take a running, flying leap at it to try to scramble on. I of course end up rolling over and off the other side, but the boys couldn’t see that. So I just kept running and running and running – out into the center of the playa, past the art, the music and the people, finally settling in a remote spot where it was noiseless and unpopulated, with nothing but the millions of bright stars that twinkled above like rhinestones. And that’s when the magic happened…
It was if some higher power upgraded me, if you will. Or, more specifically, downloaded a more advanced program into my psyche. Time suddenly slipped away and I saw very clearly. I had great revelations out there as I felt the overwhelming, unconditional love of the Universe and a higher power. I began to uncontrollably weep tears of joy and felt connected to absolutely everything. A growing sense of peace and reassurance overtook me as I came to the realization that I am never truly alone, that I’m my own best friend. I looked up at the gorgeous stars and remembered that I came from them, and that my essence is joy. I had never in all my life felt so incredibly happy and fulfilled. And I rolled around the dust in that magnificent dress, which flapped around me like angels’ wings.
After who knows how many hours, I finally stood up and started to slowly make my way back towards the people, the music and the action. I wandered through camps and around humans as if I were an invisible alien visitor, taking it all in from a distance but feeling so much love in my heart for every single person out there. And eventually, as the intensity abated, I was able to draw closer still and begin interacting again with others.
Suffice to say, that was the night I married myself and became my authentic self, my own person, the woman I am today. Throughout the rest of that week at Burning Man, I danced so freely, and interacted so openly and fearlessly with others. I had the time of my life and developed my backbone. My ex said he thought that I had become a bit of a bitch. But that’s only because I had learned how to say no people and how to stand up for myself.
Even though I eventually returned to my day to day, with all of the ups and downs that that entails, and the occasional slip of the memory of this great knowledge I’d gained, that experience forever changed me. It stayed with me during the rest of my months in California and throughout my eventual relocation to Canada, right through to my present time in Vancouver. And I swear to you that it wasn’t because of any substances. I tapped into something, and whatever it was has since inspired me to want to help guide others to this same point, so that they can set themselves free. And hopefully some of you reading these words are receiving a needed reminder that you too are free and strong and more powerful than you know.
So that’s me in a nutshell. Mainly, this will be a space for telling my little anecdotes about my maneuvering through life while a lot of weird shit just kind of happens to me. (It always does and it’s more often than not highly entertaining, if not character-forming). Next time I’ll be sure to introduce the Senator, we’re hitting up the campaign trail soon and there certainly is never a dull moment when that happens.
Over and out.