I will soon be in your enormous embrace and I am so elated I haven’t slept much since I decided to come back to you, yet again, despite the cost. I have come as often as I could. Only a half dozen times to this place you dwell, while also existing in so many others.
Since the first time I met you, I smelled you before I could see you and I was in love. Eight years old, and I knew I was home. I also knew I couldn’t stay. I never expected to see you again. But somehow my aunt knew I loved you as much as she did, and with little money, made sure I spent time resting upon you, playing beside you, immersing myself in you with joy and careless wonder.
Even when your dangers were brought to my awareness, I would get so caught up in our roughhousing, that you would take me far away before I realized it. Sometimes, I had to struggle to return to safety, and others, I just wanted to let myself drift away into your depths.
You are my home. I will see you in 2 days. Alone.
We have never been alone, together. I have no idea what to expect. I believe my tears of joys will mingle with your saltiness. All I truly know, is I will be sober and free. I will fill myself with your beauty, then bring this feeling back to my apartment, within my heart. My soul. My very being. Until am able to live with you. My Beloved Ocean. My Sacred Stretch of Sand.
My trip to Sedona was not my first. That trip, while filled with maniacal and magical people and events, deserves a story of its own. This is the story of my valiant effort at a return where I was more prepared, but not on an emotional level.
I had been voluntarily homeless prior to this return journey. I had been living with my aunt, as my relationship was on the rocks due to a rape I had recently experienced. My partner was able to keep the apartment I had obtained and he had moved into, due to our final argument before I moved out. This argument escalated to a footstool being thrown thrown through the window before I spit at state troopers and back to the psych center, before moving in with my aunt for 9 long months. The evening of my arrest, my partner roared that he did not believe I was raped, even though I spent 16 hrs giving a police report. He was abusing Adderal, himself, and I was very drunk and very angry. This was one year after ending a 3 year long probation for 2 DWIs in less than 2 months.
Living with my aunt, not mentally able to work and unable to find an apartment I could afford with my meager savings, she and I quickly got on one another's nerves. Specifically, because the rule was I was not allowed to drink or be drunk at her house. I have since stopped drinking, but at that point in my life, I felt I had reached rock bottom, and alcohol was constantly calling my name.
I often drank, downtown, and ended up getting into an argument with her while drunk the final evening, and the same state troopers arrived. I apologized for the spitting and they were quite congenial, much to my delight. I had been running to try to leave before they arrived, and had tripped and fallen over a bunch of rocks. It is here that I should probably insert that I had a guy with me. Bob had broken up with me, again, and I was with the same sort of loser I always went to when I had no one else. A smooth talking partner who looked good when I was drinking, but who I was repulsed by when sober, mainly due to his lack of hygiene. As, turns out he was homeless. So, once again, for the third or fourth time in my life as a bipolar, ptsd, borderline; I self sabotaged even more the ruin of a my pathetic life. I became homeless as well. Not that my aunt would have taken me back after spitting on her window. I have my llama like tendencies under control, now. I have worked on my anger issues for some time, and am still in counseling and see a psychiatrist bi-monthly.
Before departing on my trip, I began living downtown for awhile, sleeping in small patches of woods, near but not with the loser. I simply drank with him for comfort, then passed out with him. We were usually found by the cops and I was averaging 4 hrs sleep a night, which the loser seemed fine with. I soon found out he was an erratic coke-head who began to scare me. So, I was camping on my own, across from my old apartment, sneaking in when my boyfriend (yes, we were back together in the figurative sense) allowed it. I bought a tent and was illegally camping on property that I had to cross a creek to get to. There, I encountered the hogweed I had heard of, and was soon to be found or flooded out. I had also been bitten by a brown recluse spider, and did not know it, yet.
I had around $1,500 when I left my aunt's house. The first night I left her house, I convinced the troopers I would call a cab and go to a motel, which I did. The man behind the counter, at around midnight, was not about to take cash from the two of us, me in my pajamas, and actually demanded a $200 deposit, if we had no credit card. I gladly paid and was told I violated the no smoking policy (it was actually the loser, when I was sleeping), so I ended up losing a good chunk of my trip money, there. Then, when my partner was no longer comfortable sneaking me in, he suggested to save our relationship, that I take a bus to Sedona and he would meet me there, by Christmas. This was a few days before Halloween, and I had been homeless for a little over 2 months, and it was starting to get cold for camping, in upstate N.Y.
I paid for two more hotel rooms, so I could gather items for my trip from my aunt's while she was working, buy what I needed at the mall, and even had my Mom up for lunch to tell her "good-bye". The two days were meant for Bob and I to spend some time together before I left, but I was so spun that suddenly I was leaving, that I just kept drinking, which led to a hectic and traumatic departure from the bus station. Where the loser happened to show up, as I was throwing things out of bags to make sure my klonopin, alcohol, marijuana, and cash were in a carry on. I had about $900 left, but I had a new tent, sleeping bag, and four suitcases as well as two carry one and a backpack. Obviously, I had packed way to much, but as we will soon find out, Greyhound took care of that problem for me.
Before the bus even left the state, I was so drunk I dropped the water bottle with my wine in the toilet, and grabbing for it, the tips of my scarf. When we got to Chicago, I went to the bathroom to clean up, as I did at most rest stops. As I said, I had been voluntarily homeless before, when I was 25 years old, I spent August through the end of October on the streets of N.Y.C. I knew it was important to keep clean. That trip is another book of its own, with many chapters.
Chicago. I will never return to that heartless city. From my personal experience, of course. I had a 10 hour delay, so, it being 9 a.m., I decided to drink to kill the time. I had the greyhound luggage people watch my things, although I would later find out this was a huge mistake, as they sent half of the bags on while I was walking around Chicago, and not even to my destination, as we will later find out. After drinking, smoking, making a cool black friend who was also going to Sedona after she left her boyfriend, I arrived back to find my medication, tent, sleeping bag, and half my clothes and essentials had been sent on. I thought it better to leave my meds there rather than lose them in Chicago. People do not make great decisions after drinking for 2 months straight...
This is a good time to come back to my spider bite. I had gotten treatment and medication (which had been sent on) before I left, but not for a spider bite. Doctors never believe it's a spider bite. (One year later, I was again bitten by a brown recluse). I met some Amish in the station. Amish often traveled by greyhound. I noticed this the first time I went to Sedona, and also on my way back home, after driving from N.Y. to C.A. when I was 20, right after my Grandfather's passing, to go on Further and Phish tour, then hanging out homeless in Arcata, C.A., for a while, until my Grandmother guilt tripped me into coming home.
That too, is another story. The Amish were very friendly, as I have often found them to be. They actually offered me some ointment because they said my bite, which was by my eye, looked very bad. And that my eye was leaking. Inebriated, I had not noticed my leaking eye. I had not looked in the mirror in 8 hrs. After hearing the news about my meds and half my possessions being sent ahead, I was first in line to get on the bus. But I was sitting down in line, which apparently greyhound doesn't allow. I started kvetching about my belongings, and immediately the driver said I was too drunk to ride. I had another 8 hrs to kill, and after one look in the mirror, I decided the best place to go was the E.R.
Doctors are never kind when you come in inebriated. Apparently, this one had been called out of bed. I gratefully slept while sitting up as I waited, something I can’t normally do, especially in strange and potentially dangerous places, but I was ashamed, exhausted and in a ton of pain. That was about to get worse, as when the young and cocky Dr. did arrive, he proceeded to cut and then drain my eye of pus, fluid, and venom. No anti-venom, topical analgesic, oral pain medication, just digging right in after telling me what he would be doing. I was not alright with this, and suspected that he was behaving so inhumanly was because I was inebriated, but cooperative up until the first cut. I screamed, asked for pain killer, novocaine for the laceration, was denied, and continued to scream my head off while 4 vials of puss and venom where removed. My face was now totally caved in and looked black, as well as around my eye. I was not given any medication or supplies, so I helped myself to bandages and salve on my way out.
Finally arriving back to the bus station, I bought earbuds, even though they shocked my ears, as I had lost my headphones. I tried to sleep but was unsuccessful; I was also unsuccessful the 2 days remaining, as I tried to sleep away the pain, in the back of the bus, by a toilet that was never changed. I found out my luggage, along with medication for bite, antibiotics, pain killers, and klonopin, was being sent to Cottonwood.
Now, my first trip to Sedona started in Cottonwood, and I pissed off some Mexican gang members. I was not about to go there. When I finally arrived in Oak Creek Canyon, I had my Mom use my Christmas money to pay for a hotel room. It was my hope I could get my luggage and medication, then go to Sedona the following day. My room was by a door that opened to the outside. I had people who saw me smoking pot, knocking on my door that I believe were sleeping in the brush behind the motel. I could not sleep and it was now over 3 days without klonopin. I could not eat, either, so I decided to walk down to the health clinic and try to get my meds filled based on the fact that my luggage was now in Montana, or somewhere random, and I had no idea when I might get it. It turns out a month. I, too, had some salve I had made from herbs I grew. I used that and walked down, my heart racing, nauseous, but staring at the Red-rocks to the East, my long awaited destination.
I was fortunate in that the Dr. agreed to see me, even though it was a private practice and not a health clinic, as my helpful driver had pointed out. He was a retired vet who drove me from the station. I did not know about Uber at that point, and was happy to find this driver who charged a flat fee of $15 to drive to Sedona or the surrounding areas. I received prescriptions based on my high vital signs and what I had told them, much to my great relief. I then had to see if the pharmacy could push them through. I knew klonopin was $30 out of pocket, so that was no problem, but I also badly needed the antibiotics.
The wait was excruciating. The music in the pharmacy so loud, the pharmacist seeing what they could do to help, I waited and prayed. It was just a few days before Halloween, and that’s when a little bee named Faith buzzed over and asked what was wrong with my face. I told her that it was a spider bite, but that most spiders didn’t bite. I was sleeping in his home. So with Faith shaking her little booty when someone asked about her stinger, I was filled with joy, then relief as my scripts were full. It was all I could do to walk to the store next door, buy some wine, food, and flip flops, then go back to the motel and change my stay. I had Bob pay for another night there, until I could heal, but I could not stand the creepy vibe. I looked online while waiting at the Dr., and found a Days Inn just a few blocks away. I told the desk clerk I would be checking out and would like my money refunded as I would be staying, for only $15 more, in a safe, clean room with a pool and a hot tub at my disposal. The desk clerk refused. I threatened to call the sheriff. He invited me to do so. I did, and as I was talking to them, had the paperwork thrown at me, showing the refund. I dragged my belongings a few blocks, where I was told check in was not until 3pm. I waited in the lobby, and must have looked beyond pathetic, because once the room was paid for, I was invited to go up. It was through a process of many phone calls and online work on Bob’s end, that enabled me to secure the room for two nights, the second I would be paying cash for, so this created confusion.
Finally it worked out and I was in a clean, safe room where I could finally rest and unwind. The time went by too fast, and before I knew it, I was going through my belongings, trying to figure out what to leave. I had no tent and sleeping bag as they were traveling around on its own journey, less than $900, and was unaware of Airbnb, at this point. So, I called the vet who drove his own car as a taxi service, and went to meet my girl, Sedona, once again. We smoked his medicinal marijuana pipe, and I watched, enraptured as the gentle valley turned into a road surrounded by Red-Rocks. I was beyond excited, despite the difficulties I had faced and was still facing.
I thought I had the possibility of actually making it. Of finding cool people, a place to stay, a job…The first time I came, it was with a cult member with crazy dreadlocks. This time, I was on my own. I found the Salvation Army, but they were out of tents and sleeping bags. I downsized to a smaller suitcases, still towing 3, two backpacks, and my coat which was too hot to wear during the day, but I would clearly need in just a few hours. I first went to a café where I had met a lot of cool people, my last trip. Enlightened conversations, jewelry making, and a lot of pot smoking outside; this was my first destination after downsizing and it was closed.
Of course, I next walked to a bar, with all my luggage, and bought a beer. It was a bar I knew well from my previous time in Sedona. They often had live music at night, and I had met the motley crew of beings that helped me, here, as well as the closed down café. It was now 2 p.m., and I was trying to play it cool, but no one I knew arrived. Hardly anyone at all, arrived, in fact. Disappointed and now quite buzzed, I was about to leave when a guy I had talked to outside the Salvation Army showed up. I had told him I might go there, if he wanted a drink. He invited me to stay at the place he was subletting, and I immediately concurred, seeing literally no option other than this, if I wanted to try to stay and make it in Sedona.
Downtown Sedona isn’t that far to walk, unless you have a lot to carry, but the traffic is brutal. Everyone gawking at the scenery, not knowing what and why they are feeling something awaken inside them; the power of the multiple vortexes. Last time I was in Sedona I only went to one power spot, and it did not involve climbing. I did climb straight up a mountain my first trip, but it turns out it was rather small compared to the mountain I would climb to escape the person I thought was my hero, the person I followed home, who lived right beneath the airport vortex.
The first warning sign should have been the people who lived in front of where I stayed for approximately 3 weeks, waiting for news on my luggage, then a Western Union telegram from my Mom, money from my stepfather’s death, that I used to escape a place I had yearned to return to. From the start, Sedona felt wrong. The ground had gone bad. The neighbors who lived in front of where I stayed inside, and sometimes outside in a tent I was lent, and in a sleeping bag I finally broke down and bought, were familiar faces from my last trip. The woman, we will call her Star, was a wreck. When I had met her 5 years ago, she was being used by a handsome, younger man. It turns out this man, his current girlfriend (who I stayed with in a camper she lived in for a few nights my first trip to Sedona), and a bunch of their friends were now living in a homeless, drug fueled existence, that apparently involved cannibalism. I doubted her at first. Her appearance lent her no credence. Her hair was short nubs with bald patches. She kept twisting and pulling the nubs. She said it was from thorns stuck in her hair from cacti, when she had to escape them.
She said this group was stalking her, that she was staying in her van at one point, and they came out into the desert, shined their lights on her, and then turned them off and sat there. When she went to drive away, they tried blocking her. She could hear them yelling how good her flesh would taste, what little of it she had. Her daughters were with her, and they listened as she told me the story. I remember her eldest being advanced, and five years later she had proved me right. I could see the wisdom, fear, and resignation in her eyes as she confirmed her mother’s story.
The guy who invited me and his roommate gave little credence to her story. Another person I had met five years ago, did. His name was Stickman, and he was named so for the staffs that he carved, with ornate crystal wrappings at its top, very wizardly. I ran in to him on one of my daily trips to Whole Foods, and road with him as we smoked and he told me similar encounters with the same group. Except they got him wasted, and abused him, and now were haunting his moves as well. He dropped me off where I was staying and I saw the first rage and not my last, from the person who took me in and seemed to respect my having a boyfriend and seemingly wanted to genuinely help. I don’t know what it was they were trying to get from me, but it wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts they let me stay there. When the guy saw who dropped me off he flipped, saying he didn’t want that person knowing where he lived. Stickman was a harmless, scared old man, who I couldn’t convince to leave. Maybe it was time I should think about it, however.
I drank daily, and this bothered the roommate, so I started staying in the tent, more. I was at a loss as to what to do. I was quickly running through my savings, as I bought food and gems, tinctures, frankincense, Palo Alto, sage, beer and tobacco, to keep my mental and physical health as well as I could while drinking.
The constant traffic in and out of the small Adobe type home, although welcome for the marijuana, was driving me insane. I was getting no sleep, and had paid rent to ensure I was secure for a month. Although, I would be leaving before that contract was up. It was one room with a kitchen, an open bedroom except for one wall, and a bathroom with no door. It was not clean until I was invited to stay. I cleaned it and tried to keep it that way.
I started paying attention to the conversations when sitting around the table, on the couch I slept on, but in the day was used by whomever walked in. The conversation tended to be ones that would cause fear. Not that the story teller was the one to fear, but others, the ones the story was about. They didn’t confirm or deny the cannibal story, and I later learned why.
One day, in the endless days of drinking, making jewelry to sell uptown once I ventured there, and pot smoking, the would be hero turned villain of the story appears to extend a kind gesture and invited me to walk the airport vortex; up the Red-Rock with its amazing view of all of Sedona, and down the very small and unmarked path, which led to a brief walk uptown, and also to a place called Jack Rabbit Run, a hiking path of its own. We ate out, I of course paid, just grateful to be out of the adobe, which felt like a time trap. Just waiting for luggage, having daily, stressful conversations with my boyfriend and sometimes mother, and getting more and more freaked out by the energy there, with the exception of a young veteran and his girlfriend who would often come around. They were fun, smart, and creative, and I loved spending time with them. But they never stayed long.
So, after hiking and buying beer, I figured we would walk back. But, it was getting dark, and he had brought his tent. I hadn’t noticed, as he always wore a pack with tons of gear inside. I had my yoga mat and no sleeping bag. So, as he was planning on camping on Jack Rabbit Run, I resigned myself to sharing a tent and using my yoga mat as a blanket. I was in the tent while he was outside, pissing out beer, while I was in the tent, opening a beer. I spilt the beer on his sleeping bag, and was trying to get it off when he came back. He was outraged. I tried calling my boyfriend and I thought I had dialed and he could hear, but he later said he did not. The phone was ripped from my hand and crushed; but still usable, thank God. He then started attacking me, talking about how he was going to eat me alive as I cowered under my yoga mat. He then left the tent and began to tear it apart with me in it.
Paralyzed, as often happens during the many traumas I have faced, some due to my poor decisions while drinking, most from a childhood filled with abuse on many levels, I continued to crouch under my yoga mat. Instead of eating me, he raped me. After being raped that Spring in the place I had fled from, I knew reporting it would do no good. Besides, I was now homeless and did not even know this person’s last name. His roommate was free with this information, but the monster who attacked me was not. After his assault, I saw him grab his sleeping bag, as I used my body to cover my backpack, clutching it in one hand, my phone in the other. He marched off and I stayed in a crouch around my bag, yoga mat for warmth on what had to be near freezing temperatures at night, and listened for his return.
Instead, I heard coyotes and was strangely comforted. They were close by, not on a kill, just talking to each other in their mournful voice, voicing what I was feeling. Too afraid to cry, let alone move, I let their presence comfort me as I prayed for the first ray of dawn, knowing I had no chance of finding my way back in the dark. When dawn finally came, I gathered my belongings and ran as fast as I could towards what I believed was the trail. Fortunately, I found it and had a pretty good idea which way to go. Speaking of going, because of the open bathroom door, I was having trouble moving my business, and felt scared enough to go right then. Thinking it too early for hikers, after a safe distance away from the disaster site I decided to try and go. Off trail but close enough to see it, I heard voices and quickly pulled my pants up. I calmly told them I was headed toward Sedona and asked if I was going in the right direction. Indeed I was.
Once at the highway,I simply couldn’t make myself walk up it. After a night of no sleep and being severely traumatized by someone I trusted, I could just imagine the traffic, and in my mental state, not only would the noise set me over the edge, I would feel as if each car was looking at me. Which most probably were. Who doesn’t look at someone walking down the highway, as they drive by? So, I went in the direction we had come from. To the base of the Airport Vortex, and began my ascent.
I was on the trail for awhile when I stopped to have some prune juice out of my camelback. I had no water with me and was glad for the juice. I kept going, but suddenly I found myself in a garden of prickly pears. I thought of the commercial where the kid is on a bus bench, asking Siri for directions. I knew I could use google maps, but my hands were full and I needed a fast solution. She told me to go left 500 ft. That led straight into the prickly pears. Although I had my cash and other essentials on me, all I could think of was my possessions on Willow Ave, and what might be done to them. Like my recently purchased sleeping bag. I panicked and threw my backpack up a Boulder, then my yoga mat, praying they wouldn’t roll, and hauled myself up. I did this continuously going upward, hoping I didn’t rouse a sleeping snake. I finally reached a peak. I could see where I was in conjunction to Sedona. I could almost spot the Adobe on Willow Ave. Yet, I was still off the path. Just then, I received a text from someone who was a spiritual advisor, a guru of sorts. Someone I trusted and had worked with for some time. He wanted to know if I needed to talk. “Thanks, Universe,”, I gasped and called. He didn’t answer. He then texted he was in a session. He had meant later. I texted what had happened. He texted back one line and it was a question. Had I been drinking.
Wow. Not that it mattered at that exact moment, but yes. Of course I said no, and shut my phone off. I started in the direction the path should be, according to my breathtaking birds eye view. Despite my circumstances, I was still in awe of the beauty of Sedona, but I knew she was sick. My first visit, I had a hard time leaving. Another time warp, if you will. This time, I felt like Sedona was not ejecting me, so much as showing me her sorrow and regret at her condition, and my eminent departure that She and I knew was now time for. So I continued my trek, now not directly up, but over a Red-Rock. I couldn’t just walk over, there was a gully in between where I was and where I needed to be. Luckily, I was on the right side, so just over and up was now the way.
Only it was not that easy. My prune juice almost gone, I continued throwing possessions above me, pulling myself up by plants, many of which immediately uprooted and sent me reeling backwards into cacti numerous times. My possessions never rolled down the canyons, however. I felt like I was close to the plateau I had taken pictures from the day before. Yes, I definitely was. But where exactly was this oh so thin and unmarked path. I sat down for a rest and heard footsteps. A girl was walking above me. I called out a greeting to her and asked if she was walking the airport vortex path. Indeed, she was. I then apologized, but said I needed a hand up. She obliged and as thanked her. She offered me a drink of water and I almost wept. Almost. Instead I asked her name. It was Holly. I said I had a Holly leaf on me and gave it to her. She went on her way and I went to the plateau where I had gazed at the beauty.
Now, I was on a mission to save Sedona, and myself. I rooted through my backpack which also had my camelback inside, and found my herbs that provided protection, clearing, and attracted the Angels. I prayed for myself, Sedona, my relationship with my Boyfriend and Mother, and what to do next. I meditated, knowing I would have to trust my belongings were safer as he was surely back at this point. Meditating on how to deal with the situation once I returned, and what to do next. I was still waiting on word regarding my most recent luggage location, but more importantly, at this point, money to get me a hotel for a night then out of Sedona. Once I started getting thirsty, I ended my ceremony, as I still had a ways to go before I reached my destination. Calmer, now, I even chatted with some Australian cyclists on the way out. The trails being so narrow and rocky, I was impressed by their speed and said so. I asked if I was a Sheila. They concurred but added I could also be called a Jenny, when they lapped me as a I ended the trail. I most certainly could be, as that was what my Beloved Grandmother had called me; short for Jennifer. My middle name I shared with her, Phoebe, and she had been and I became an avid bird lover. I should mention here as I did my daily treks around downtown Sedona, that a Raven often followed me. The same Raven. And I told the roommate about it. He said I should try to catch it and slit its tongue, then it could speak. I said nothing, thinking it would surely bleed to death.
As I reached the area where I had to go under a fence and go through part of a backyard to get to the road that led to the next part of the path, I stumbled and rolled down. There at my feet was an unopened bottle of Sedona Natural Spring Water. I did cry then. I was humbled with gratitude as I slowly drank half the small bottle, then tucked it away as I walked down the street to the next part of the path that led down to Sedona. I was feeling peaceful as I walked the path, despite my trauma, at this point I was checking out a bit. I went off trail some, scoping out possible places to camp, in the hopes that Salvation Army finally had a tent. I was even thinking about building a shelter when I saw a group of quail came scuttling from the brush and thickets to my left. I had time to get them on video using my still working phone, despite a very damaged screen. I continued my video as I walked back to the path, commenting that this may be the place to camp. The quail being a good omen, for sure. I sent the video to my Bob, and off I went to encounter the inevitable and the unknown, still reeling from trauma and now hunger.
I returned to the monster sitting calmly in the kitchen. I entered without speaking, but acting calm and confident, I washed up in the bathroom and then returned to the living area to use vinegar as an antiseptic for my teeth cleaning kit. He was thrown into another rage, snatching the spray bottle out of my hand and yelling about how he can’t stand the smell. I had been using my vinegar to wash clothes for weeks and not a word had been said. He roared it was time for me to leave. I concurred quietly and began to pack. My belongings were all together, but not packed. It was taking me longer than he wished, and he began raging more. Just then the veteran walked in the door. I was so very happy to see him. I was in the middle of saying that if he stopped yelling at me, I could pack and leave, faster. The vet asked what was going on. The monster said it was time for me to go. The vet then quietly asked, “Then why don’t you let her go?”. I could have wept with relief as he stood guard and I packed my belongings as fast as I could and then began walking down the driveway. The vet said nothing, just watched, but as I was leaving, Star’s daughter came out, and handed me my telegram from Western Union. I gave her a huge hug goodbye, a crystal, and walked down the road to a hotel called the Baby Quail Inn.
I had passed the charming little hide-a-way many times, and with its ornate metal archway entrance, hot tub, and secluded location nestled deep in spa Cypress grove, it looked just like Heaven. I rolled my belongings to the entrance, leaving most of them hidden behind a bush as I walked in to the office. A cheery woman was behind the counter; it was 11 a.m. and no where near check in time. I explained I needed to cash a check, and would then like to book a room. I knew there was a chance she may say no, as a I had no credit card to back me up. She immediately said that was no problem and offered to let me put my things in the back. I confessed I actually had more, and asked if I could get it. She happily agreed and I went and gathered my bedraggled possessions and self back to the office. I told her I would be right back, thinking I would have no problem cashing the check. I went to thank her and broke down in tears. I did not tell her of my night and morning adventures, but I did tell her my struggles with greyhound and my spider bite. She was very sympathetic and comforting.
Feeling somewhat secure and on my way to a brief recovery before my exit, I went to Whole Foods to cash my check. No dice. I went to the nearest bank. I would have to wait two weeks. I went to the National Bank of Arizona, where once again, I was treated with respect and empathy despite my appearance, and I’m sure, obvious declining mental health. I was able to access my money right away and went to pay for my room.
I returned to the hotel, which had a room in the office with breakfast foods, and on the walls, were pictures of a man with various celebrities and in various military pictures. I asked who the man was, and the lady replied he was the owner. He even had a book for sale talking about his life. It turns out the place is quite famous. While processing my paperwork, the new hero in my life at the present moment, offered me the breakfast food. I had some juice and a muffin, not wanting to seem greedy. She said they would just throw it out, seeing I had only a muffin, and told me to put some in my bag if I wanted. She then through in the biggest break of the day, telling me she was more than happy to allow me to check in early, after what I had been through. She had no idea. She also had no idea how badly I wanted to hug her. After seeing the tears come to my eyes, she came around and gave me a hug. She also said they were cleaning the hot tub, and I could use it as soon as they were finished.
I took all my belongings in one trip, as she walked me to my room, and she insisted on helping. Embarrassed by the appearance of my luggage, I flinched, but she just kept chatting as we walked through a peaceful area behind the inn, where the rooms were located. My room was at the end, and for some reason had a porch swing behind an ornate metal fence, separating my room from the rest. “I thought you could use a little more privacy,” she said gently as she set down my bags and wished me a pleasant afternoon. I immediately brought my belongings inside, walked to Whole Foods, bought some beer and special foods, and then came back and watched t.v. while I ate and drank, saving the breakfast food for later. A show showing Sedona’s highlights was on, so I watched from the inn, the Sedona I would once again never see. I did see more this time. The hard way.
After I had my fill I showered then used the hot tub. After that, I was still feeling wound up, delighted by my new surroundings and in a manic induced mood that would last only a few more days. I decided to walk to uptown Sedona and see if I could sell the jewelry I had brought from home, mainly Malas. I walked into a restaurant with a gorgeous view of the Red-Rocks, and ordered a drink. I discreetly worked on my Malas, hoping some of the other customers would express interest. I had two completed Malas out, as if still working on them, so my work was seen but I was not blatantly selling.
It happened to be my server who was interested in them, and paid me $150.00, for two. One was for his mother, who also worked there, and one was for his girlfriend. We smoked pot while he was on break and we made the sale, and I went back to finish my drink. I commented to an older woman who looked like an older, wise, woman, possibly of Asian descent, on the scenery. It was hard for me to understand, but she told me the people who lived at the base of a Red-Rock she pointed at, were waiting for me. I took her to mean Indigenous people, and was intrigued at the idea. But the place where she pointed looked so far away. I decided to do some shopping with my money at the Sedona trading post, and managed to get about half of it home. I lost or traded gems in Flagstaff, my next stop before heading back to upstate N.Y., where I would be homeless through Christmas and New Year’s, in a shelter and hotels, then in a hospital due to my skin. I finally found my current home 45 days after returning.
Riding high on my sales and shopping, I practically skipped back to the hotel, where I enjoyed the hot tub, maybe a little too much. I would have a full body rash breakout once at the creepy motel I would spend Thanksgiving at in Flagstaff. At that moment, I was at peace. My only worry was how I would get to Flagstaff. The next day I bought a copy of the book, and the owner was there and signed it. I gave it to my boyfriend’s Dad for Christmas, even though I didn’t see them that Christmas. I wasn’t offered the usual invite. I would spend it in a bedbug infested motel. I certainly had none. The first evidence I saw I told the front desk and showed them and the problem in my area was resolved, at least.
But that is the conclusion of my trip. And we aren’t there yet. There are still more characters, adventures and the final leg back. I will try to wrap it up with the hardest short term trauma behind us, that will lead to long term skin effects that put me in the hospital and give me a break from the homeless shelter, Martin Luther King Day really came through in January of 2018, giving me an extra day of respite that led to a total of 8 days, and then February 1st, I moved into my present home. Where I became and stayed sober.
Somehow, though, I still had hope. That if I got to Flagstaff, I would finally get my luggage and things would work out. I went to Whole Foods to see if I could find someone willing to give me a ride for some cash, some weed, and a cool crystal or two. I put all my belongings in a cart, and put it behind the building, but within my eye sight. I ordered a drink from the restaurant and was nursing it when I saw an elder I had met last time, named Melody. I told him all the things that had happened, and he agreed Sedona had changed, and even he was planning on leaving.
I had met a good friend named Hobbit when I first visited Sedona, and suddenly there he was behind Melody! I was so happy to see another familiar face, but one I had shared many more adventures with. He didn’t have a lot to say and a I wasn’t sure he even recognized me. When he wandered away, mid conversation, Melody said that the group Star had mentioned had taken advantage of him when he was drunk, which was when ever possible. He didn’t get into details, but said they had given him way too many drugs and then done horrific things to him. He didn’t say much more and I didn’t press for more details. It was horrible to see Hobbit that way, but I felt validated in my exchange with Melody and he smoked a joint with me before he took to his own path. It was getting later and I was stating to get worried. Then some kids in their twenties pulled up. I had drank and smoked with them behind the 7/11, the cheapest place to get alcohol and tobacco. It just really stunk crossing to go there and back. Did I mention the constant flow of fast and vapid drivers of the most expensive cars I’d seen in just under a month.
There were three of them, the driver, a long haired peaceful type of guy, if not a little spacey, his female counterpart who was his partner and twin, and their friend, a punk style kid who rode trains. The punk kid was having them drive to Flagstaff to see some music. He said he could go early and split a week motel with two beds, and only stay two nights. Since they were going early on my behalf, the driver still decided he would take two of my better crystals, $50, and some weed. Some peaceful hippie. I had no choice but to agree. I happily grabbed my belongings and was on my way to Flagstaff and that was my last time to Sedona. I would like to say if I was rich, one day, I would go to the Red-Rocks and do it right, but I already did it my way, twice, and the second time held none of the charm the first offered, and I don’t think I could go back without being reminded of the the three weeks I spent there in 2017, and this would not make for a fun trip. And why go a third time when there are so many other places I would love to go and have never gone? The third time isn’t always the charm. Sometimes the charm just wears thin, even with all the majestic beauty Nature has to offer in this desolate yet captivating ecosystem. I mean when there are cannibals and vortexes, things are bound to go bad.
I arrived in Flagstaff and, while not yet in downtown Flagstaff, I was immediately unimpressed. The motel we split for $400 each was the worst motel I had ever been in with the exception of one I stayed in while homeless, upon my return to upstate N.Y. There, I had mice, and was actually so grateful for the company I fed them. This motel was in back of a Mexican restaurant that was so cliché that I cringed at the thought that I would inevitably be eating multiple meals there that week. The kid went to meet his friends, taking his one bag with him and I was alone. Well not quite. The owner kept going back in forth in front of my room. I have no idea why, because I pretty much kept to myself. But he did this all week. And the door, which I thought was locked after I closed it and used the key, I would later find could just be pushed open. The shower door did not close, so every time I took a shower I flooded the bathroom. The owner or manager was so mean and creepy I used clothes I had tired of to clean the water, then dried them as much as possible, and kept doing so until I threw them away before I left.
At that point, if I didn’t get my luggage in a week, it would be a month and I was ready to call it quits. Flagstaff was depressing. I saw none of the tourist attractions, but for the quaintness downtown tried to pull off, it looked for what it was. Fake sales ladies with expensive prices. There were no charming restaurants, and I met one character, while exploring downtown the second day. He was the only other person who sat at the park, and was actually smoking a cigarette while I was taking my tobacco to the street, while drinking alcohol out of an opaque water bottle.
I liked his boldness, and while he was older, unattractive and huge, I hoped he was friendly. I wasn’t looking for beauty contestants. I was looking for kindness. I especially needed some at this point. Someone to listen, to advise, to empathize, regarding my worst trip ever. He certainly did. He was an interesting person as well. He owned a ranch but drove helicopters. I don’t remember his exact job, but he offered for me to stay there and take care of the place while he was away. While at that point, this was a very tempting offer, after my most recent trauma, I was a little gun-shy.
So, I took his number, letting him know I was grateful but needed to think it over. I also let him know I was in danger of having my phone turned off. My mom was paying the bill, and as she was not trying to relate even remotely to what was happening to me, the daily conversations with Bob involving both of our attempts to get my luggage to a location I could pick it up, no way of telling her of my attack, and her correctly assuming I was drunk most of the time, we had exchanged bitter words and by my last recollection, I had but a few days until I would be totally cut off from Bob, getting my luggage, or getting home. Some tough love. Yeah, sure, I was drinking. I was also raped for the second time in one year, yes, due to alcohol, but attacked and raped none the less. Now, I was stuck in this dusty town with no Red-Rocks and such a high elevation I thought I was tripping until I overheard the elevation, I believe 7,000 ft above sea level, and I started drinking a lot more water.
After hearing my mom was going to cut my phone off, he asked for her number, saying he would call and talk to her. I thanked him, secretly believing he would get nowhere, and I would need to find a place to spend my dwindling funds on a flip phone and minutes in a few days. That night, she left a message that I could tell my friend to stop calling. She would not turn my phone off. I would love to know what that old rancher said. He was old, but not old enough. And he was big. So although it was tempting, knowing I couldn’t take him in a match put that offer on the back burner, as grateful as I was for the help in keeping my phone. Speaking of my phone, I also spoke with Bob that night.
I had sent him the video of the quail, and where I was thinking of possibly camping, until I saw other evidence of a sort of camp. At least I saw dirty male underwear, a sleeping bag, and some litter and beer cans. He had just had a chance to speak with me after several days and did not know I was in Flagstaff. I had mentioned I may camp, in the audio of my video. He asked, with panic on his voice, if I was camping where I had taken the video or had plans to. I said I was in Flagstaff. He asked, with a strange sound in his voice, if I had watched the video. I actually didn’t. I hadn’t had time or honestly thought about it, as I wasn’t planning on staying there, let alone Sedona. I said I would hang up and watch it. I did.
It was silent when I filmed the quail and possible camp area, and despite my phone screen being crushed, my audio was fine and camera had taken pictures, since. In this video, there was a roaring sound. There were also clear black forms, mainly faces with clear demonic formations, and one, a full body, but more of a shadow figure, menacing in its walk, as it walks in front of the camera. I immediately called Bob back and asked what he had seen. He said he had seen exactly what I described. I started shaking and crying. I was so glad I had made the choice to leave Sedona, and Brian also had more good news, they had tracked my luggage to Cottonwood, and would be sending it to Flagstaff. This would actually take another week, as I had to contact Cottonwood with information, and no one was ever there, nor could I leave a message.
The next day was Thanksgiving. I was now fully covered with a rash and went to a Dr., that day. He gave me nothing for pain, had nothing helpful to say, except to buy a certain over the counter lotion, and to stop using Epsom salts, the only thing besides ice that was giving me relief. Frustrated, I went to the supermarket and bought a feast for the following day, one that could fit in a mini fridge, and some wine. The next day, however, I was lonely and had heard about a free meal at a church. I had the address, and went to find it. I did find the place, and they had plenty of food. No one was very gregarious, so I decided at least I was around people and not in a motel room alone on Thanksgiving, when a spotted a Native American eating alone. I went and ate with him.
We did not exchange any words, only nods. I finished and wished him a happy Thanksgiving. He reached up and gently grabbed my pinky, then pulled it, then flicked something I could not see, away. He gave a satisfied grunt, nodded, without looking up, and I went on my way. Feeling like some of the evil I had encountered in Sedona had somehow been removed. As a I was walking back to the motel, I stopped at the store for more wine, and was outside talking to Brian, crouched down, as a I was tired, when a frail and elderly gentleman asked if I was o.k. The next day would be my last day at the motel, and I had no idea what my next move would be. That was what Bob and I were discussing. I asked Bob if I could call him back. He concurred and I met a friend for life.
We will call him Jim. I told Jim all about the greyhound problems, my problems communicating with my mom, and how Bob was trying to help me get my luggage to Flagstaff. He offered to let me rent out a room in his trailer, if I would go to DSS on the following Monday. I immediately accepted. I could definitely take this guy on, and he seemed like an Angel sent from Heaven. I wasn’t too far off this time, although this Angel also had his own issues, as I was too find out in a short amount of time. I went back to the motel, waited for my mom to call while I drank, and then gave up and went to sleep when I realized she wasn’t going to call me to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving, and I was too upset by her lack of understanding and empathy, regarding the urgency of my situation due to my luggage being lost and my declining mental and physical health.
The next day, I was ready early, and good thing, because Jim arrived early. He later told me he wanted to see if I had people staying there, even though I told him I did not, as the train hopper had spent one night there and never returned after I parted from him that afternoon. Although I felt safer with someone else there, I was glad he left. I hung out with him for a while the second day, and his train hopping friends, drinking under a bridge and not enjoying myself at all. I liked being alone better, even after I realized my door never truly locked. I just took valuables with me when I left, and propped the one chair under the handle at night.
Jim was cheerful and happy as we drove to his home, which was close by. He even stopped to buy me a bus pass, as he said a I would need it to get around. He was of Swedish descents, and charming in an Elvin way. We arrived at this trailer, while rather long, was still a single side trailer. My bedroom was immediately cleared, but was about the size of the closet in my present bedroom. It did have one window. The plan was for Bob to meet me in A.Z., and we were to go on to C.A., although it did not seem he was making any plans to do so. He was supposed to be here by Christmas at the latest and it was Thanksgiving. He was still working the same job, not packing, not planning.
So, I thought I would see what DSS could offer, and then see if I could live in Flagstaff, in this tiny room, with this elderly yet obviously eccentric character, who immediately took me in, and had apparently done so before and been badly burned. So, we immediately drew up a lease, or rather he did, as we each had a morning beer. Hey, it was the day after Thanksgiving. Why not? So, obviously he had some drinking issues as well. I don’t know if he told me this or not, but I firmly suspect Jim is bipolar. I am, and recognize the signs, although this next one took even me for a surprise. I read in the lease that he had the right to “walk around the trailer in his underwear”. It also stated I was too always remained covered, at least what a bikini would cover, but preferably not to that extent. It was weird and unclear, but I had no plans to strut my stuff and had no idea how much time he would spend in his underwear in the next four to five days.
The day I arrived at Jim I was finally able to get ahold of Flagstaff greyhound, and was told all my luggage was there. I was ecstatic. I would now have my meds, camping gear, and whatever else was missing. Turns out it was quite a bit of luggage. I don’t know what I was thinking when I left. I do know I wasn’t thinking clearly. Scared about going alone, my relationships with everyone in my life in shambles, and packing in a hurry while my aunt was not home, I had packed way more than I could have managed if my luggage had not been lost. The unfortunate part was I could have used the camping gear. However, I don’t know I would have been safe, camping alone. Which I did no problem when presented with the opportunity last time I was in Sedona, but clearly it was now a different Sedona. So, now that I had all my belongings and a place I expected I would be staying for a few months, I was hopeful that Brian would keep his promise to join me, soon. However, the honeymoon period of living with my now lifetime friend, was a short one.
That day we hung out and had a good time, in fact the next few days were enjoyable. We went hiking up Mt. Elden, and I rode around town with Jim as my tour guide as we did various chores he also needed to do. We drank everyday. We went to bed early. But Jim was an insomniac who woke up early to do his “exercises”, which involved hacking up a lung for a good 45 minutes. Far from pleasant, I had endured much worse, but knew living with someone who seemed to drink as much as I did didn’t seem good. I wanted guidance and spiritually. Jim is very spiritual, and has sent me many books since I moved to my current place. We also text almost every day. Usually just three words, something he started, “Love is All,” followed by a variety of emojis, sometimes that mean something, sometimes that don’t, but almost always positive. We have talked a few times, but he doesn’t seem to be able to hear me well nor does he seem comfortable. So, just a check in, usually, sometimes a pic, usually sent by me of a scene from a hike. This is a connection I value very much. When I left I never thought we would speak, again.
It did not go so well at Department of Social Services, or whatever it was called exactly in A.Z. I did get to try another vape for THC oil, and made a pot connection during my 6 hr wait to see a worker. I ended up finding out, after Jim brought me food during my wait, that I was eligible for food stamps but no monetary assistance. Jim picked me up and I let him know. He then thought it would be easy for me to get a job and work. He had no idea I had already been through over fifty jobs in my lifetime, and I was not in any condition to work, now. I did not tell him that, but decided to mull it over. Disappointed, I let Jim know I was going out to try and meet the pot connection, despite the crazy 70 mph winds. He knew I smoked and seemed fine with it. He was not fine with it, and said I wasn’t to bring any back. Right. Like he would know. As long as I hid it and took walks, long walk, up Mt. Elden, which the trailer park was at he base of. I was distraught at his reaction regarding my smoking, however. I was under the impression that he was fine if I smoked. I had not smoked since I started staying with him, and was used to smoking multiple times a day.
I went and met the person who I had contact information for that I had met at DSS. He was willing and I made the exchange under the safe glow of the the outdoor Taco Bell lighting. It was tough walking back against the wind, and definitely hard to smoke, but I managed to both and was gone under an hour, it was now around 9pm. As I opened the door to the trailer, a gust of wind tore it open, slamming it against the outside of the trailer. Jim ran out of his bedroom in a rage. He said he could smell pot on me, which would be impossible as I triple bagged the small amount of not so good, and therefore not smelly pot. Also, I had smoked about a half mile before I reached the trailer, and the wind definitely blew any smell off me or my clothing. Also, I pointed out that he knew the winds were very high, and having lived here, must have had that happen to him, before. He was not to be placated, so I called Bob, crying, in front of him. I made him talk to Bob, as Bob is good with people and diffusing situations, as long as the situation isn’t an argument between us. Then all rationality is quickly thrown out the window.
However, when he was done speaking with Jim, I was handed the phone and could see Jim was indeed calmer. He returned to his room, however without saying a word. The next morning I was dreading dealing with him at all. He texted around noon that we needed to discuss last night. I ignored him. He tried again. I continued to ignore him. It was around noon, and I thought it reasonable I could be sleeping. However, he then texted if I did not come out, he would call the cops.
My many experiences with cops have rarely been good, in fact I would say they were mainly volatile and I feared them. Fear, of course, leads to anger. Being triggered after being torn into out of the blue the previous evening, I lost control and insisted he buy me a train ticket as soon as possible, as he had promised he would do if things did not work out. It was actually in the lease, much to my relief. He acquiesced, and even volunteer to pay for a motel for me that evening that was near the station. We drove there in silence. At the front desk, he asked the woman if any of the rooms had a tub, as he knew I liked epsom salt baths. I was touched and was staring to feel guilty for calling him a “cop caller” and insisting on leaving shortly after.
The room was beautiful. It had a western theme and was exactly the sort of place if would live if I had been given the chance, if things had gone differently, if Sedona hadn’t become so contaminated with dark vibes. It had a front room with a couch, t.v., chair, and end tables with lamps, all in Western colors and décor, which was minimal and tasteful. The bedroom had a huge bed, but still enough room to move around, and had a mirror and small dresser, and well as space to hang clothing and another comfortable chair. The bathroom was beautiful with its ornate tile flooring and it’s huge claw foot tub, along with a mirror and plenty of room, the toilet at the end. I loved it and was happy to be staying there. But of course, after the argument the night before and this morning with Jim, I was stressed and immediately went to the nearest bar that served food, a ski bar right next to the railroad tracks. I had a drink outside, even smoked a little herb, as I watched a train go by and people watched. I wanted to interact with people, however. I was feeling defeated, sad and lonely.
Inside, the bartender, server, and host who were all male, were not exactly gregarious. In fact, they seemed quite full of themselves. I walked around the bar and took some pictures in the room attached that had a pool table and plenty of antique ski related objects and decorations. I then returned to my table, and in a last attempt to earn me at least a friend for a few hours, I ordered some food and then chatted more with my server. He seemed to loosen up a little bit, and so I offered my bus pass to him; if he or someone he knew could use it. I didn’t even ask for money, he took it, but seemingly begrudgingly. I finished my meal, gave up and left.
The restaurant/bar that was in front of my U shaped motel had seemed to classy but I decided to give it a go before I headed, alone, to the motel room and on a train, back to a broken love life, family relationships ripped apart, and homeless. In upstate N.Y. So, I went in where a little fireplace was lit, and ordered my drink. I then noticed there was an outdoor section with a fire pit in the form of Earth, with a couple of females who looked younger and maybe friendly. I went out, and was delighted to find they were delighted with my company. They both came back to my room, where I found a bag hanging from the door. Jim had dropped off one of his spiritual books, his favorite and a hardcover.
I was angry and confused by this gesture. It made me feel guilty, and instead of facing that feeling, I felt the anger of being confused. I did not understand what had happened, how he could turn on me like that. Then I thought of the many times I had done that to people I knew and loved. He had mental health problems, just like I did, and maybe drank too much, as I certainly did but no longer put in alcohol in my body. It literally creates adverse physical effects when I drink now. I have ocular rosacea and it would automatically inflame my eye. Also, although I am eager to move on to the next phase of my life, I do appreciate the one I am in now. The one bedroom, while having neighbors that are loud, has a porch and I feed a variety of animals, but especially birds from it. I have two stray cats and an adorable emotional support cat. I don’t want to lose all that, I want to leave it all with a plan for something better, me behind the driver’s wheel, with a plan, a compass, and a security net.
So, the ladies smoked with me and then left and I was alone with my dark thoughts which were no where near as bad as I thought. They became much worse, my days, before they got better. Then my menses came, which is always horribly painful. I had to be up by four in the morning to call a cab, as my train left at five a.m. and was in seeing distance, I thought that should be fine. But it was not. As a lay on the bathroom floor in my sleeping bag, to be closer to the toilet I was so sick, I wished I was able to enjoy the last comfy bed I would see until years later. If I had known that then, I might have made a little more effort.
With no sleep and still in a ton of pain, I called for a cab, which told me I should have called earlier, that I would never have one to get to the train in time. With all the possessions I now had, and barely able to stand, let alone walk, I had no choice but to call Jim. I don’t know if it was to make sure he got rid of me or out of pity, and we don’t bring it up much in our texts, but he came and brought me to the station. He was trying to help me, but in doing so was stressing me out, at the station. I asked if he would just leave me alone, since he didn’t want me to stay there. His sad, thin frame walking away was the last I saw of him. Just this morning I received one of his daily check in “Love is All,” texts. I told him I was writing about him, but he didn’t comment. I have asked his forgiveness re who I was and how I behaved when he knew me in Flagstaff, but it is myself I need to forgive. He forgave it by the time I got back to Ithaca. He paid for a hotel room for me for one night in a nice hotel, when I was homeless.
The train ride back was Heaven compared to greyhound, I met another Native American, an older lady who seemed Hispanic, and an older African American gentleman who bought jewelry from me. I had expensive, small beers on the train as I sat in the viewing car, watching bare deserts with a shack out of nowhere, then more bare desert for hours. There was room enough to sleep, and I didn’t have to get off every stop. There was one disturbing passenger, an older, White male passenger from the mid-west I got stuck listening to. I have no idea why he told me the things he did. But let’s at the involved farm animals, and not in a way I was comfortable with.
When I finally arrived at the Syracuse train station, I had to take a greyhound again for the last leg of the trip home. They charged me $15 for extra luggage. I didn’t quite have enough and was very upset, crying, unsure what to do, when an elderly Amish gentleman offered to pay for me. I was so thankful and offered to repay them if they gave me their address. But just like Jim, they told me to pass it on. And I have been, ever since.
Having never had a compass, let alone a proper boat with which to navigate the seas of life, I often found myself in maelstroms of madness. Born in the year of the Snake, animal totem the Red Fox, Spring Peeper and American Black Vulture, among others, I am also on the cusp of Virgo and Leo. I have been in multiple psych centers, earned my BA in Psychology, been brainwashed by a cult, conquered a Red-rock Mountain to escape an attacker, slept in corners of N.Y.C. while voluntarily homeless, and taken care of my Grandmother with all the love and care she provided me while I was growing up in her home, where we gathered at her passing.
I fostered an Orangutang twice as a gift, and spent many months homeless in A.Z. and N.Y. before living with my emotional support cat in my new apartment. I am struggling with not drinking, multiple mental diagnosis, and keeping a seven year relationship as well as repairing old ones. These are but molecules that make up who I was and who I am on the journey to become my Authentic Self. I intend to manifest my best life by being happy and grateful for what I have, giving it away, then reaping the rewards of my Truth. But I am also hiding. Hiding from a world that seems so dark and angry, I was afraid to let my light shine. But it needed it now more than ever. I now have many materials to build a new boat. But where to sail?
The morning of my journey, I discovered that the house I grew up and and considered a part of my soul was in a precarious position. Built by distant cousins in the late 1800′s, the house was passed down to the only of her seven children that wanted it. To me, the house was a symbol of unconditional love and safety. A place I was always welcome despite the condition of my boat upon arrival, until my Grandmother passed away. She was my heart. I even had inherited her middle name, Phoebe. I was fortunate to have the care and love of an Elder along with my Mother for twelve steady years. Many elders of various ages, in fact; including my Grandfather and their other six children that came and went with their own children. Except for my aunt Sally who had no children but wanted one very much, so I also had the care of a “third” mother when she was present.
Now, the fate of the house was undetermined. Sally, who lived in the trailer behind the enormous farmhouse had died that last fall. She would also allow me love and refuge without question. When she left, she left many years ago. When my Grandmother died. A part of me did as well. Howeve, Sally was 30 years my elder and had a long history of illness. Twelve years later, she decided to stop trying. A sweet and gentle soul who loved God with all her heart. After hearing the news, I went into nature, as always, for solace. The closest spot was what I called my meadow.
After walking down the road to the meadow, then to the willow that looked upon the creek, something swift and white caught my eye. An Egret or maybe a Great Blue Heron? I love birds, as did my Gramma, and am always trying to identify and learn calls. I would often find feathers from various birds when I found myself on what I felt was the “right” path, and fancied they were from her. Settling myself in to the nestling nook of my spot in the sun, I laughed when I saw a paper boat go upon the current of the creek in front of me. Sally loved teaching simple games like building and sailing a paper boat. We would of course write messages on them.
This Weeping Willow had always been a place of reflection, prayer, meditation and solace for me; a power spot. It certainly proved correct, and I found myself extremely grateful I had brought it offerings, used the creek to cleanse my crystals and soul, and sometimes just sitting in its nook; feeling safe and comforted.
Suddenly the crux underneath my legs, between the branch on which I sat and the branch on which I rested my feet, begin to make slight cracking noises. Six years earlier, I found myself walking back from the creek naked, hoping I had cleansed my soul from past transgressions. That was my first trip to the psych center. I had not been there in over a year and did not want to return. So, as the cracking became as loud as a whip, then began to almost roar like thunder, I jumped up, only to look down and see a huge hole with a long, moss covered chute leading into a blackhole. They always say “Go to the light”. But what if you are the light?
Having gone to a lecture at an Ivy League school to hear a peer of the late Stephen Hawking (who would laugh at that time reference, I believe) speak on black holes and possible portals, I was always under the impression that nature herself may begin to provide those portals. Along with flirting with madness, comes brilliant streaks of truth and the ability to see beyond the layer of this plane of existence. I knew this must be true, as a lady walked by with her dog on leash, both not appearing to see or hear what I was experiencing in the Willow.
As I went to look down the tunnel, I had no choice whether to contemplate if I would enter or not, for I started to slide on soft, verdant moss, a fast and smooth ride to a floor made of grass. No, that was not quite right. It was all grass and I was outside, not in the dark tunnel, but not in the world of the Willow that brought me there. I looked up and straight into the gaze of an adoring but wise fox.
“We have been waiting for you. I, especially”, I could hear the male timber of a voice in my head, belonging to the magnificent Red Fox before me.
“Well, let’s go!” I said, in excitement that had suddenly uncoiled itself from the base of my spine; just saying the first thing that popped out of my mouth.
“Not sooo fassssst,” another voice contended.
I looked down at my feet from which the voice seem to come, and there was a small, green, grass snake that just begged to be picked up so it could coil itself around my little finger. She allowed herself to be handled, but fixed on me a loving but demanding gaze.
“All we need right now issss for you to sssssit. To listen. You have proven in the world above that is actually a world below this one, that you are able to listen. To hear. A different dimension altogether. But underneath is how it appearsss, and ssso it issss. For now”, the snake divulged.
“You femalesss, hissed the fox with a wink, “talk too much even if it is with your mind,” lamented the fox as he rolled around in a role of insufferable agony. “Let me continue, if I may. We have to wrap things up, as it were,”explained the fox as gently as he could. “You are here”, I heard in my mind, “because you have proven a student who will do more good on this plane than the ones on even which many ascended masters still exist on”. You are female, and this is Her time”. He looked signigicantly at the snake with loving eyes.
“It is because you began to speak to us. You recognized our cries. The factory farms, the oceans of plastics, the destruction of habitat, the killing just for sport. You wept bitterly as you prayed for an answer as to what you alone could do. What the path leads to is a possible outcome of harmony. This does not depend on you alone, though few are chosen, and even fewer speak to us after they listen. We want the humans to know us. To love us like we do them. We don’t understand them and often fear them, but Creator has told us we are all One and so you are the One we choose to represent us. Those without a voice, in your world. We knew it was so, when we heard your one true wish; to be truly healed so you may heal others and allow contentment to replace addiction. You have started with your Reiki. Now you must reach more,” he finished with a wheeze, for he had been speaking rapidly.
“Why me?” I whispered. Then, louder, but not so loud as to startle the fox, the snake, and all the animals that had gathered in this world that was in a constant state of dawn then gloaming. Right now was the gloaming, but it could change at any time. This was based on the “awakenings” of humans, to the true reality, I was told. “I’m insane and have so many addictions,” I hastily and with much embarrassment admitted my most shameful secrets. People don’t like me, much less listen to me,” I protested in vain.
“Dear One,” hissed Snake, “You are not insane. The humans are insane, driven so by the parasites that live within them. While you are of that world, that is not where you are from. We are all from stardust, but you, you came in the pure form of a comet, bursting forth with so much potential you had no idea where to start. You were misunderstood. You self medicated. Human beings are all addicts. Right now, it is their addiction to fear, anger, and apathy that is destroying the homes and lives of all our companions living amongst them on the plane of existence from which you fell. In our World it is represented as a Worm, such as the ones that feed on your tobacco leaves. These parasites are feeding off your kind as they feed upon the tainted dead of our kind. You are a scribe. You will perhaps not be understood by many, or possibly reach millions. This may not be while you are on that plane of existence, but all you have to do is listen and then write. Listen to nature on your plane, in your world, even more than ever before.
We will have our companions answer you in signs and in their language. You will soon find it easier to understand. It is because you are imperfect; the humans will listen to you. Each one wants to be their best self. They just don’t know how. Many have long forgotten their paths. You will remind them the best you can and we will be in your thoughts whenever you whistle your middle name,” the snake finished with a flick of her tail. I noticed she had stopped hissing. She obviously knew we were short on time, for one reason or another, I could not say, but she could.
“I represent the Kundalini, the Shakti, the Light that is meant to flow through all human beings and keep them in balance with the self and their world. It is my job here to nurture the Darkness. For it is also hurt. It did not want to be Dark. It was chosen, and answered, just as you did; unable to hide from those who carried the Light. So remember, as you sail your ship back up, that the Darkness is doing its job, as you are doing yours. While yours is unpleasant, the Darkness has the most unpleasant job of all. Although we are all One, few see the light in the dark. Now go, Dear One. Sail your ship. And know you had to go through the depths of the deep dark to see and then become the light. That was the hardest part. The rest is smooth sailing,”. And so it was.
For I suddenly found myself surrounded by a shaft of light, more violet than the flower. Full of radiant love, truth, and wholeness that brought me back to the awareness of the Willow, and the crux upon which I sat. I saw a flash of red bushy tail with a tip of white on the end vanish around the bend, following the creek where a beaver was busy rebuilding a dam destroyed the previous spring. He worked alone. As I watched, he mixed his building with bouts of rest and play, floating downstream just for fun, then swimming back up, gathering as he swam, climbing up on banks and back to the water with purpose and grace. I realized my work would at first be primarily alone.
I was not a “people person”. I love people, I just found them more disappointing and threatening than I did my animal friends and the elders I sought for advice. Also, the children on the autism spectrum and off, I interacted with in previous jobs; angels in human form.
I knew my writing was what would reach people most effectively. I also believed the power of meditation and personal work would do its work on myself and the animals I wanted to reach out to and comfort through distant healing. I worked on both. I was learned Transcendental Meditation and took Reiki intensives. I worked on gathering information on Contained Animal Feeding Organizations, much of which I already knew and was horrified by. I intended to convey this information along with the water samples near various facilities which cover upstate N.Y., like the feared deer tick that kept so many from even interacting with Nature in a deep level. On Her terms in Her sanctuary. To listen and learn from the animals and their medicine. The writing would show all we take and all that the living animals have to give; in a form that captures the imagination and then conveys information in a legitimate and palatable way. This was to be the beginning of my work.
To give myself time in nature, to ask her where to begin and to listen to her answer, I decided I would go camping with a pack, sleeping bag, and walk deep into one of N.Y.’s many state forests and partake in a shamanic ceremony involving medicinal mushrooms, which are now used in studies for treatments for depression. A quick and natural way to reset neural pathways. I would build a small, contained fire and let Nature tell me where to best begin my story. I started very early and was at my spot right before daybreak. I partook in my ceremony by the creek that also ran through the meadow, and began to meditate. When a blissful feeling overtook me with such a powerful and fast force, my eyes popped open and I was again in the land of the fox and snake. Although they were not present, I could see the world that I had previously visited. Not a different world, but a different plane of existence. Mushrooms were a shortcut here, I realized. I could also come here in meditation. This was not a different world that required such dramatics as portals, but was a plane of existence at a higher vibration than the one I normally inhabited.
Nature, in all her glory, was now almost like looking through a kaleidoscope. As my awareness focused on one aspect, such as an oak tree, it broke up into millions of smaller prisms of rainbows, spiraling down into smaller and smaller oak trees that seemed to finally become dots. I stared at the oak tree with abject wonder, and then I looked around. It was like a jungle, this spring morning, as the sun broke over the horizon, with animals and plants dominating my entire universe with a beneficent and glorious presence of color, smells, sounds, and touch, as I felt the life vibration running underneath the bark of the oak tree under which I meditated. An acorn sat at its feet. One of last years, but still in good shape. As I picked up this acorn, I felt the hum of life intensify. I thought about how the acorn, if planted and under the right conditions, would grow into a mighty oak someday. I thought of my Grandmother, and how I always thought of her as a mighty Oak, one that held our family together.
I wondered how many animals would be left by the time that Oak grew to its full glory. I thought, I don’t know how to end this. But a new beginning, that I could do. I wondered when things went wrong with mankind. I thought about the matriarchal societies in Native American culture. How things were so much more peaceful. How things made so much more sense, where everything and everyone lived their lives purpose to the best of their Truth. I wanted to ask the snake and fox how this could happen, but I wasn’t expecting a Black American Vulture to show up instead. I had raised my eyes to the sky, to take in the view of sunlight streaming through clouds making all sorts of shapes and figures. I saw him hovering and gliding overhead, then swoop lazily around me in circles, ever closer to the ground, until he did a graceful land at me feet.
I had been seeing Vultures for a while now, and they represent such wonder as a totem and are portrayed as such vile creatures for feeding off the dead in our modern culture. This vulture, conveyed to me as I gazed into his wizened eyes, that people were indeed doing what he did.
“Except I do it in the way nature intended. The factory farms, or CAFOs were animals living and dying in fear. Tortured by confinement, forced breeding, no air, no light, living their short and loveless lives; without their children in abject misery. For the consumption of the masses. These weren’t dead animals on the side of the road. These weren’t even animals who had a decent life and were then sacrificed with honor as they were eaten by those who lovingly raised them. No, these animals were Fear itself. And the society that fed upon them like vultures, as they would word it, will now know what it is like to live in Fear without children,” sighed the Vulture as he spoke from his sorrowful eyes, to my mind.
“For they were consuming fear for some time,” he went on. “ These factory farms have been around for almost a half a century. Nature has found a way, as we have conveyed to them as they are captured, in their tiny, lightless cages, filled with parasites feeding on the dead around them. Even in the world of “cage-less” meat, it is one full of death and decay. They go insane, and feed off the dead without ill intent or effort, and are poisoning the minds of those who consume them. This is one of the main reasons the world seems to be falling apart before your eyes. Extrocities like school shootings, climate change deniers, division in homes, communities, countries, people thoughtlessly living their consumer and materialistic lives with out awareness, filling oceans with plastic and pouring inside them whatever will fill the hole that is getting ever bigger. It won’t stop; for that hole can only be filled with self love; not t.v., the drugs, relationships, and all the addictions that keep them in a trance,” he bemoaned.
“They will now wake up in a hurry. Suddenly, fertility rates are going to start to decline. Your race will become extinct after two generations, as both men and women who consume these creatures full of fear and anger become more angry and fall further away from the heart and their own Truths. The anger will cause infertility. The Worm will feed and grow. Fighting and stress will cause miscarriages, men will be unable to perform under such dire emotional and mental conflict. Parasites will cause many to become infertile. Until one day their will be no more human pregnancies by those who consume our caged brothers and sisters,” he wearily continued.
“Yes, many of the animal kingdom may become extinct and the earth will appear to become more at risk before this happens. But know this. We will come back. And the ones who are left that can breed, the ones who did not allow the fear of the animals in the factory farms to enter their mouths; through intention and love, will be able to still create humans. But only for a time. For all that consume the life of another at this point is also consuming the Worm. The parasite that comes from feeding off tainted dead.
This Worm will be the ultimate parasite, infecting every human. But this won’t happen for an undetermined amount of time. First their will be another time, as it were. This will be the time of the Shakti. Then things will go back to a more peaceful and purposeful time. After that, I can see no further. But for now, I believe this information will be enough to help. Some will believe you, most won’t want to. But you will know. The ones who believe will know. With this knowledge, along with hope, it may be enough to save us all. That is the prayer of Mother Earth herself. It would be lonely without humans to love. However, humans must awaken. As in their trance like state they are not coming from a place of love. A culture of Vultures, if I may misquote Neko Bear and the Medicine People,” he lightly chuckled.
“You will join people like him. Then your purpose will expand. You must learn to control your emotions. To be a gentle, yet firm leader. I know you have this in you as generations of strong females on your Mother’s side float before my eyes”, the American Black Vulture concluded with out moving his beak the entire time.
I closed my eyes. I watched my life. Who I started as. Who I became. And who I never lost. The part of me that never changes, but is constant. The comet, if you will. The comet that is in each one of us, that we will merge with at the end. Then, it’s the life you lived that determines what comes next. How hard you tried and succeeded at being a kind, loving being to all those around you, while figuring out and living your life’s purpose. It is a game. It is not a game with an ending, however. Death is just the beginning. The Vulture had taught me that. There may be a time when humans are no longer inhabiting the Earth. I believe then Creator may let Her choose if she wants us to return. I hope we can show her we are worth keeping.
I returned from my trip to the meadow feeling not just refreshed and full of hope, but revitalized in a way I had never felt before. As I drew closer to my apartment, my mind went back to my own personal life. It was Mother’s Day. I was having another painful menses come on, and I felt a fleeting sense of loss, as I had almost passed my child bearing years. The years had flown by, and I had begun to face the fact I would have no child of my own. Like Sally, who loved children and died a Virgin.
I always sent her a card on Mother’s Day, and felt loss at the inability to do so. As I walked in the door, I stopped before entering. At that moment, an amazing red cardinal landed at my feet. Cardinals show up as ancestors and will us to follow our paths. They also show up once a month, for females in other forms. Sally always had the best sense of humor, and my sadness passed. I closed my eyes in gratitude and looked down at the cardinal perched on my bare feet.
“Feeding the birds is really paying off for you,” my neighbor whispered from behind her screen door. I was happy she too, could see this amazing event. Then I went in and began to type. I haven’t stopped until now. Tomorrow my ship will be ready to sail, and it will continue to until its final voyage into the galaxies. But I’m sure that will be smooth sailing, too.
Relinquish the Desire to Feed
Peering into your eyes, I wonder who you are.
Your eyes glimmer with the gleeful knowledge
That you, indeed, exist.
Separate from me.
Yet behind the scenes,
Quietly you lurk in the caverns.
Seeing a light filled with Joy,
You will never be able to glean pleasure from.
So you spin your thread that is made of
Worry, doubt, and pain.
In it you dwell, taking in then spewing out.
Tearing through gossamer strands of vibrant hope.
And I SEE YOU.
Are you afraid that one day, you will simply vanish?
Unable to gather your sinister threads, unable to feed and grow?
I have found you out.
You are the wolf hiding in the closet.
You have been there from the beginning.
Waiting, oh so patiently.
I tried running away.
Hiding beyond your grasp.
Even trying to reach the metaphysical planes.
That drive most to sheer lunacy.
Relentlessly you followed.
Trying to pilfer all that is pure.
But, I too, am hungry.
Hungry for peace that is not fleeting.
For a connection that is essential to one’s being.
You want to scream and thrash.
Driving away the fragile awareness I have so carefully cultivated.
But you have no idea what I have been up to!
I wait until you are subdued, having feasted on my self destruction.
It is then, when I would normally roll over into a cycle
Of self loathing and further self destruction, that sometimes,
I become just a little stronger. Push just a little harder.
What if it were like the Jack London story?
Where the man runs out of matches, with which to Build a Fire?
Giving up, in the dark. After fighting to stay alive, for so long.
When the sun rises,
We see camp was so very close after all. Just a few more steps.
I must wake each day thinking “today could be the day it all falls into place.
For like a tiny sliver, I draw you out with the salve of truth and self reflection.
Your infection cannot take hold.
Once I stop hiding. Especially from myself.
I take hold of your unpalatable buffet of my lowest feelings
I hold it up to the light.
It is there I ask everyone to look at
All I tried to deny
All the messy, ugly parts of me.
I will say “I’m not proud of this, but at least it’s not my lunch.”
I am simply fighting back.
You did not bank on my resilience found through reflection
Piece by piece I throw the remains of your meal into the violet flame
That surrounds my healing soul.
You weren't aware I had finally let myself be secure
In the knowledge that this is all really the stuff of smoke and mirrors.
Born from the cesspool of dashed dreams.
Let me tell you a secret.
You will never be satiated.
The only way to quell the hunger, is to relinquish the desire to feed.
Having Anger to Tea
Hey there, Good Morning!
You! Yes, You!
I See You Lurking.
Ha,Ha! But there is no need, Dear One.
I would like to invite you in for a cup of tea.
I See the shock and mistrust on Your Face.
I don't blame You.
I've treated You like a “Redheaded Stepchild”,
As the Country Folk like to say.
Really, though, thanks for giving me some Time Alone.
You do wear a person out.
Now don't get riled up! JK!
I'll stop. I thought humor might
Lighten things up a bit.
But we will leave the Dawn to that task
Here, I will come Outside in the Shadows with You.
Aaah, what a Gorgeous Morning!
That Breeze is Delightful.
It was the Tree Frog in my Garden that Woke Me.
I wasn't even irritated upon waking.
Just curious as I woke up Light and Mellow
And I wondered what it was that caused this Delicious Awakening.
So Anger, You are an Intense Girl.
But I Love You.
You are Real. You Exist.
You Exist for a reason.
I just wanted that said, Straight Out.
Now I would like to Give You a Chance to say something.
How about I meditate,
Go Head, Heart, Hara, then come back.
Was that Roar on the Breeze a Sign of your discontent?
I am staying Outside with You.
I meant “back” as in back from within myself.
So where have you been, my Friend?
I asked my mind and it said
“She's been here all along. She can snap at any minute.”
Well, my Monkey Mind didn't even get a Banana,
As that wasn't very nice.
My Heart said
That I am addicted to You. Chemical responses emitted due to Your Presence. Affecting my Dopamine Receptors.
Kind of Heavy for Heart. More of a Mind response…
And then I went to Hara. Where of course it all made sense.
The Hara allowed Your Voice to come through.
And I heard Your Response.
“I am Love.”
Which at first I didn't get.
But after a Moment’s Reflection
I realized all three, Mind, Heart and Hara, were correct.
You have been here all along.
And You certainly could snap at any time.
But I don't think You will.
I know You are born from Fear and Hurt.
And that I fed You what We thought You Needed.
And You became an addict Yourself.
But I am Softening You back into Love. Back to Source.
I am allowing the Power that is in You to come to Light.
Yes, You are Light. You are a Powerful Goddess of Truth, Agnus.
If I may call You by Your given Name.
I Love Your Power. I can use Your Power for Good.
To Create and Communicate all that is Wrong with the World,
But more Importantly, how to Fix it.
Excuse Me for Hating and Fearing You.
That I wouldn't Acknowledge or talk about You.
How Lonely and Sad You must up have Felt!
Oh, Sweetie, I Know You were only trying to Help.
Oh! I just heard the Roar upon the Wind!
Not a Sound of Your distaste, but an Affirmation!
How misunderstood You must always Feel!
Like Gollum. Like Grendel.
Let's have a Fun Nickname to go with Agnus.
Because We aren't trying to Change who You are,
But how You are Perceived,
And My reactions to these Perceptions.
Clementine? Well, that might be kind of long for a Nickname.
How about Clemmie for short?
I think this is the Beginning of something Beautiful, Clemmie.
I'm going to check in with You throughout the day.
I want to get to Know each other. Learn how to Communicate.
Learn how to Understand one another.
Because I am You, Kid.
And I am Beginning to Love Me.
And I guess that means Every Part of Me.
Thank You for Being There from the Beginning, Agnus.
Oh, You do like Clemmie?
So it is.
Thank You, Clemmie.
For Helping me Survive.
And Maintaining the Desire to Thrive.
You can take a backseat Now, though.
We can be in the midst of this Hurting World
And Know that We are Loved Unconditionally.
Do You want to Know a Secret?
Between New Pals?
We Always have been.
P.S. Did You Notice it is getting Brighter already? Love You, Clemmie. XXX OOO
Secrets to My Little Soul
You are such a sweet and kind little thing. Yes, little. In fact, as I write to you at age 43, I weigh less little I did when I was in college; and I’m now taking much better care of myself. You will forever get picked on for being “skinny”, so don’t worry about that, for goodness sake. I know that’s your number one concern, at age 7. In fact, don’t worry at all. I do it now, and it solves nothing. If you start young, you can start practicing “letting go” and help us both out. As it turns out, aunt Kathy was right, even though you hated hearing it, “Life isn’t fair”. In fact, all the name calling and self-serving cruelty of children will be found in many adults.
Because, Secret #1) Many People Never Grow Up:
They take their experiences and the perspectives conceived by them; and carry both into the future like a little kid skipping down the lane books hanging in a satchel, tied to a branch. There is also an invisible satchel, however, and in it lies all the mental and emotional impressions seductively whispering to us; visions of who we are thus far. Many people coddle and store these impressions as though they were a fine wine; our essence distilled by wishes...and vanity. Yet, all too often the visions we create are poison in colorful bottles, they are irresistible. They inebriate us from sound decision, they discourage honest reflection and dissuade us from the most necessary changes. We grab at these bottles when we are children, not knowing the difference between the wholesome and the empty; but they grow into adult behaviors, often in the form of addiction. Whether to something tangible or simply an idea, it interferes with the growing up unless the poisons are discovered, and then drank little by little, as if creating an antidote, until finally, some people are able to digest them. It is then they are finally free of the invisible satchel, and lighten the other, only taking the knowledge from the books, and leaving both nearly empty, for new experiences and treasures to fill both. Those that don’t, become burdened and tired, angry and sad, and live a nightmare until death wakes them.
Secret #2) Boys and Alcohol both will Hurt You:
Your thinness will always cause women to dislike you and will not be sexually attractive in a world full off T and A, (Believe me, it gets worse)...so you will use alcohol to give you false courage and allow males to give you false hope. You will do this with men for around 20 years, and just a little longer with alcohol. Again, help us both out. Don’t. Drink. Ever. You aren’t like the others. In so many ways, my sweet, darling, innocent girl. You are so smart, so unique, and I know, you will always feel alone, so learn to love yourself, now. Growing up, you will hear our culture paints qualities such as “unique” in colors designed to make it seem like the unique person lives an endless day at an amusement park. But the experiences that create the unique individual are often far darker, more disturbing hues.
I know you were sodomized before you taught yourself to read, and just as you will be abused by so many people in your childhood, you will always find a refuge in books. Don’t settle for only being a consumer of books, the forge of your experiences demand that you be a producer of ideas and stories, as well. So keep your journals now. The good, the bad, keep it all. Great writing rarely comes from great times. Don’t lose your journal when you go to NYC in the early 2000′s and live on the carnival-like streets for 3 months. That journal will document far more haunted houses than fun houses, but losing this record will be like losing a friend that helped you through one of the trials of your life.
Yes, Sweetie, that will happen. Do you see the severity of the situation, yet? This three-month-long journey is the second you have taken at this point. The first was across country. That was when Grandpa died and you followed Further and Phish. The second was when your first love who was actually a sociopathic drug addict, broke your heart. You will also go twice to AZ with no real plan, to a beautiful place named Sedona. The last trip will almost work. However, Sedona will have changed, and you will still be drinking, so the decisions wont be clear and firm because you were will be so lost and will not see the opportunities, due to your foggy lenses.
But now, well, those masks that freaked you out in that comic? The ones worn in what you later figured out was a dark joke re nuclear war, well similar ones are required to go into stores now. Or you could get sick, or get others sick, and so many are dying. So you were right to be freaked out by that comic and you were right about something like this going down in your lifetime, but being right only means one thing...you should write more. So that you will not go through life feeIing like Cassandra, the unheeded prophetess, but being heard, like a Tall and Confident Oracle. Your voice is tiny but it is worthy. It took a little girl to teach the whole world that, when she embarks on a journey to save the environment. So, use your voice, because those boys will make you feel so unimportant, and you will let them, always holding an ember of hope that the next one will be different.
Little one, it gets really bad. What you allow to be done to you, the shame, the cycling, the increasingly frightening environments, as alcohol is no longer enough to kill the pain. Then the dark hours come. They will wash you out into the cruel sea and you will swim endless hours against riptides before you reach shore again, Your Beautiful Grandma will already be dead, and you will be barely living until it takes two DWIs to wake you up. Then she sends what looks like an Angel to guide you through. And he does, and you guide him. I ask you, have patience with this one more in the beginning. Trust him. Don’t do to him what the world has almost succeeded in doing to you. Because it is by not loving and trusting, but instead listening to your minds’ seditious whispering that will keep your hands grasping at poisons inside that invisible satchel take all your focus, that you put this relationship in a tenuous position, where it constantly feels like it needs saving, almost 8 years later. That brings me to my third and final Secret.
Secret #3) Find Yourself and Dont let Go:
You will not always have your Grandma. Know that, as you read this, that words not yet spoken are already written in a book. A book about living in harmony with yourself and nature, that we wrote. Keep reading the book you own, the one that teaches kids what they can do to save the planet. Then act on it. For you are right in fearing for our animals and plants, and you must start your mission to save them, now. For, as I write this I look back on all the time wasted chasing smoke signals, and you could have been creating your own light, and through that fire, lighting the whole world with the same compassion you hold for its voiceless inhabitants. You, being so brave and surviving so much, it doesn’t end; but the thriving may soon come. And, oh the stories we now have to write.
So, as you don’t recognize yourself as the author, for your name has changed, I know you do resonate with these words. I sent you this book to beg you to follow your own drum and don’t let them crush you. The book is written, but the ink is not yet dried; and in your innocence, you still have the ability to edit and change the path of your narrative. Start meditation, now, and continue not to eat meat. Don’t give in to a time period that does not comprehend you, yet, and perhaps never will. Take those art classes, and become who you are meant to be, instead of consuming knowledge in the form of more schooling only to accumulate debt. You did not have a father to install confidence in you, so you will have to do it yourself. It will make things so much easier. And oh yes, we will still have stories to tell, but in each one, you will be a hero, and never a victim. So, embrace your passions and morals, and inscribe them in your soul; then find out how to live that life. The one where you only have what you need and all you see is love.
P.S. Someone will steal your Curious George doll received from Santa, your 3rd Christmas; from your dorm in your second college. Don’t let them. You’ll miss him, and he goes on so many adventures with you before he goes away. Japan was his favorite. So was your Grammie, who you will hear, calling you, Jenny, once again. later on when you are finally able to hear past this noisy world. Right now, it’s so quiet. We are all, inside. I believe love will win, soon.
Floor Space First
"Sup. Late, cuz, behind that tree, I just spewed. I'm homeless, no where to shack-up; not literally, cuz still waiting on my STD panel results. First, can you spare some floor space? I don't think they'll follow us, feelin' someone's been watching me. Maybe cuz I lost my meds, again"...
Dear Little Brother: Please Call off the Dogs of War
Dear Little Brother:
My first and most clear memory of us, is the day I thought of us as a team, and I was there to protect you, for you to console me with your innocent joy. We were playing in my room, while your father and our mother fought like honey badgers just through the thin, dingy white wall. You six months or so, buried in a pile of stuffed animals with just your head peeking out. I was using precious film to capture the moments. Our photo shoot was on the brand new canopy bed that was my bribe for moving to this dirty, dreary, haunted house in the burbs. Their honeymoon money, I was constantly reminded.
A country girl literally torn from her Grandmother's arms; she and I both knowing our mother would not let me stay. Then you came, and it was a crazy, hectic toxic pregnancy and you had to be cut out of her, just as I was. I wasn't allowed to be near you much at first, she was still in the hospital and he was in charge. I wasn't allowed to put the welcome home banner I had made in your room because the chalk, he said, could be dangerous for you. You were so tiny, and I knew how to handle babies and he did not, but he was a bully from the start. He cut your fingernails, although I meekly begged we wait for Mom. He hurt you, and made you bleed and cry.
That's when I thought I couldn't leave for awhile, I had to protect you. But I was too young. I was only 13 years old, myself, and I broke up our team the same day I felt it was formed. I'm not sure you ever forgave me. I know that's not the reason you haven't talked to me in almost a decade, but let's start there. That day I was your savior. Because later you allowed him and others like him to crucify me in your eyes, and I have never had anything but love for you, my brother. My anger was because I hated that the world had turned you against me. I feared you would never allow yourself to love me again.
I know I had my fair share of contributing to this image of me you formed and watered seeds of hatred for, some planted by him. Some by her. Then, the rednecks around us. Yes, he brought us together in a home they had built. But he, then you, early on, made it known it was never my home. I know you will never leave it. But, oh, little brother, please don't let the ghosts and demons, the smoke and mirrors of a twisted past rule your life. Live it. Live it with joy as best as you can. And please be nicer to Mom. I know it's hard but she is getting older and I regret so much time lost that could have been spent salvaging a relationship that is now starting to reverse. I'm becoming the mother.
But back to us. To the one true day we were a true team. Before I left you in the pool of poisonous anger to sink or swim, treading water to make it to the refuge of my beloved Grandma and Grandpa. Back to that day. I was getting what I thought were some award winning shots of you surrounded by stuffed frogs, bears, worms, and hares. Your long eyelashes and rosy cheeks, despite the smile fading, stole the show. I started to set the camera down; I froze as I heard a blood curdling scream, then silence. We had been keeping each other happy and calm despite the words you did not know, the vile ones he always called our mother. I'm sure you learned them, quickly. But the loud bellowing and rage were clear enough to your baby self, and you were starting to whimper. So I packed all the stuffed animals in the closet at the end of the bed, where I usually hid when these fights occurred. Then, I packed you safely in the middle, door open, and went out full of fear turned to rage. I was ready to take on the monster and save us all. It didn't quite work that way. It would not be the last time I would try, however.
I opened the door I had recently punched a hole in. To my defense, it must have quite a shoddy door, because it didn't even hurt my hand, and I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing I wasn't even 90 lbs...and I snuck down the red shag carpeted hall. I saw him leaning over her, she was on the couch. Her eyes rolled like a racehorse that knows she has run her last race, and will soon be put down. I raced forward and grabbed the glass ashtray. It was full, huge and in a movie he would have been knocked out cold. He was an average sized grown man, and as I said, I was quite small despite my height. Before he could turn around or she saw me, I bashed him as hard as I could. The next thing I remember, I'm pissing my pants while being screamed at by him, on the same couch; cut to my next coherent memory of that day, and I'm half way to Grandma's where I started my fourth school, the next day.
I've tried so many times during the short period you knew me sober, when I wasn't sober I still tried, and now, sober once more, I am reaching out to you as a Sister. Not a half-sister, the one you told everyone was dead, no, as your new Sister. Your Sister in Life. Please, Little Brother. I'm knocking. Don't sic the dogs on me again. Let me in. I think we both could use some truth and some healing.
Forever, Your Jen-Jen