Saturday, December 28, 2013

So I put my faith in something unknown....

“There was definitely an enormous shift for Aquarius this year,” said the beautiful blond woman staring at my birth chart. “Your hard work has finally been paying off. Saturn the cosmic taskmaster has moved right in, inspiring you to take action.”

I sipped my craft cocktail and watched the candlelight flicker inside the mason jar at our table, nodding my head and listening intently. No, I hadn’t met up with a woman off the Psychic Hotline, nor was I there to socialize and talk about the planets over booze. I was at the rustic pub for business purposes—the internet famous woman sitting across from me was my latest freelance client. And in order for me to get the proper training I’d need to write for her, she needed to fill me in on my birth chart. And tell me what a birth chart was.

The astrological chart is a map based on your exact date, time and place of birth. It’s a freeze-frame of the planetary positions during the moment you were born. And when it’s interpreted for you by someone who has dedicated her life to studying the planets, it’s fascinating.

“This shift probably began for you around June 28 of this year,” she was saying. I laughed quietly to myself as the goosebumps spread over my arms, thinking about everything that had led to me sitting across from this internet famous woman. I wasn’t surprised. I had no idea how to interpret a birth chart or what was going on with the stars, but I could have told her that. In fact, I could pinpoint the moment in happened.

I’d been sitting on a grassy hill overlooking the main stage at the Paradiso Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater. I was sitting on a blanket with Mr. W, listening to the music and staring out at the incredible natural beauty in the distance. Our friend G was next to us, chatting up fellow festival attendees. We were all loving life and having fun.

It was the first time in way too long that I’d allowed myself to slow down, relax, breathe and take it all in… and in fact, it’s one of the first times I remember being fully present in a moment. Ever. Pathetic, but true. I stared at the hillside and focused my eyes until I could see every rock. I looked at the river way below us until I could see the water moving. I leaned back and stared at the sky and the gorgeous gray clouds with bursts of sunlight peeking through.

Time is so precious, I thought. I’m tired of wasting it working for someone else’s dream when I just want to work for MY dreams.


There it was… one of the thoughts I’d been staying busy, entertained, drunk or otherwise occupied to avoid letting slip through. But I was none of those things that day, and it had flown right out of my subconscious.

The clouds parted, allowing more sunlight to illuminate everyone on the hillside. As the DJ onstage began mixing a popular jam, people started to stand up and dance. Then we all sang in unison:

So I put my faith in something unknown
I’m living on such sweet nothing
But I’m tired of hope with nothing to hold
I’m living on such sweet nothing…..

Though I’m a writer and therefore my task is to put experiences into words, I’ve been completely unable to come up with the words to describe how I felt at that moment. I don’t think I ever will. All I can say is that something in me shifted, and I knew what I had to do.

It isn’t easy for me to let it go
‘Cause I’ve swallowed every single word
And every whisper, every sigh
Eats away at this heart of mine…
And there is a hollow in me now….

So I put my faith in something unknown…
I’m living on such sweet nothing...

I used to feel uncomfortable writing about things like this because of the implications and assumptions. I’m very personal about my beliefs, and I like to keep them to myself. We’re judged either way, no matter what we believe, and I don’t feel comfortable getting into debates with people outside my inner circle (just not what I choose to spend my energy on). But in addition to all the other things 2013 has brought, it has also been the year that I just plain stopped giving a shit. And that feels better than I ever could have dreamed.

I didn’t need the internet-famous woman to tell me that I’d experienced a shift (though the reassurance was rad). I felt it. And for the first time in a long time, I actually acted on the Universe’s gentle nudge.

With less than a month to go before my contract at work was up, I had no choice but to get started right away. And by the time I strolled away from that grassy hill at Paradiso in my sequined booty shorts, I was forming a plan.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cheers to Love

When you’re in college, anything is justification for having a party. So when an old friend decided to visit my college town from Seattle, I promptly decided to have a get-together. He was coming mainly to meet someone he’d known for years through internet blogging sites and mutual friends, and he was bringing a few people with him. So, clearly, this was the perfect justification for cramming way too many people in my itty bitty apartment.

That was how I met A and C… they arrived with the little group that included my old friend and his new lady friend (who turned out to be the woman of his dreams...aww). I thought A and C were the coolest, most outrageous people I’d ever met. They promptly talked to me about energy, Burning Man and other esoteric things, all while reading my aura. Of course, I now live on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and conversations like this are called “Every Thursday Night.” But a decade ago, it blew my young mind.

A and C had only started dating about two weeks before, which happened to be the very day that Mr. W had proposed to me. It seemed like they’d known each other for a lifetime. A even read us a poem he’d written for C after their first kiss.

“She’s my soulmate,” A whispered to me during the party.

“I believe you,” I whispered back.

The years passed. Mr. W and I got married. My old friend and his lady friend got married. A and C moved in together, got engaged, and stayed that way for nearly a decade. We continued to see them now and then, especially after we moved to Seattle, and they seemed perfectly happy and content with their relationship status. While I never paid much attention to the state of their union, I’m sure their family and close friends wondered if the wedding would ever happen.

Last month, A and C did get married. We promptly RSVP’d yes to their invitation, not only because we like A and C but because the wedding sounded awesome. It was taking place at this gorgeous location and this bomb ass place was catering. There was also the fact that, much like Mr. W and me, A and C have spent the last decade befriending all kinds of wonderful and diverse characters. I couldn’t wait to see what it would be like.

The common reactions I heard when I told people of the impending wedding were “Finally!” and “Why bother, at this point?” I understand those reactions. I’ve heard plenty of comments about my uterus remaining empty over the years and can only imagine what will happen should it ever not be empty. People love to comment on such matters. And, really, it’s a valid point. Ten years is a long time to wait.

The wedding was awesome and fun and beautiful. Before the ceremony, a woman walked around and cleared everyone’s energy with sage, including the bridal party. And while that may seem odd to those who don’t subscribe to the theories of sage’s properties, I thought it was fantastic. I’ve sat through several full-length Catholic wedding ceremonies and an array of other religious affairs. If you can’t display your religious and spiritual beliefs proudly on your own wedding day, when can you?

Then the bride appeared with her father and my eyes, already watery from sage, filled with real tears. I am not close enough friends with C to envision her perfect wedding dress, but what I saw was definitely it.

The ceremony, and the reception that followed, were a fabulous blend of traditional and modern touches. The poem A had written for C ten years before was read during the wedding, a beautiful touch. The food was excellent, the speeches were heartfelt, and thanks to A’s DJing skills and his collection of musically knowledgeable friends, the music was perfection.

Even though Mr. W and I are not super close to these two, we both knew their wedding was completely and totally “them.” And not just “them,” but the versions of themselves they’ve spent the last decade creating. That’s more than I can say for my own wedding. While it was a beautiful day, I have zero regrets and I will always be thankful for the hard work and money that went into it, our wedding was barely “us” then. It certainly wouldn’t be “us” now. Again, no regrets, and I wouldn’t have it any other way as I did not want to wait one second longer before I became Mrs. W.

On the way home, Mr. W and I talked about our wedding and how it’s all a beautiful blur now. We talked about what we’d do differently if we were getting married now instead of then. And we decided that maybe A and C are doing it right.

When you’ve been together ten years, there’s not a lot of newness left in your relationship. Sure, people change, and they will always surprise you. But you’ve heard their childhood stories, you know their habits, good and bad, you know how they take their coffee, and you know every curve of their body and every sound they make when they sleep. On the surface, it may seem silly to get married after already building a life together.

And still, what better way to be certain you want to make the commitment? A and C survived their twenties together, a time of growth and change that is often drastic. They survived the growing pains, the changes in taste and personality and all that goes with them. At a time when some couples who have been together equally as long are divorced or miserable, they were more ready than ever to walk down the aisle.

Mr. W and I got the chance to talk to C briefly at her reception. Though we didn’t make any comments about how long it took them to reach the altar, we did talk about how long it had been since the night we met in college.

C looked over at A, who was talking to some other friends, smiled, and looked back at us.

“I know it’s been a long time,” she said. “But I am more in love with him now than I’ve ever been.”

“I believe you,” I said.

Cheers to love… at any time in life, for any two people brave enough to take a chance on it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

RIP, Man Who Was Not My Father

I was in the eighth grade the first time I answered one of the calls.

It was a cop calling my parents’ house in Yakima from the neighboring town of Ellensburg. Someone with my father’s exact name had filled up his car with gas and neglected to pay for it. They were trying to track the guilty man down.

“Well it doesn’t sound like something my dad would do,” I said, which was true. To put it very mildly, my father is very much against stealing. “Besides, he’s out of town for work this week. It couldn’t have been him.”

The officer was very nice, and I wished him luck in finding The Man Who Was Not My Father. When my mom got home from work, I told her what had happened excitedly.

“Oh great,” my mom said, not nearly as excited. “You never know what that man is going to do. Do you know how many calls we’ve received over the years from bill collectors and cops?”

I had. I’d grown up hearing stories about The Man Who Was Not My Father. Shortly after my parents were married, my mom had opened a card addressed to a man who shared her husband’s name, thanking him for the romantic weekend away. The weekend in question just happened to be a weekend when my dad was out of town on a hunting trip. You can imagine the fun my young parents had sorting that one out.

There was the time my mom got the angry call from a collection agency about their water bill past due to the city of Yakima, which my mom patiently explained they didn’t have because of the well in their yard and them living well outside the city limits. There were angry calls from people who had lent him money. There were other calls from confused cops.The Man Who Was Not My Father did not seem to have many friends.

It wasn’t funny, but in a way it was, because my dad is the ultimate law abiding citizen. Sure, he’ll be the first to tell you that plenty of laws are bullshit and he made plenty of tequila-induced poor choices in his drinking days. But he follows the rules to the point of annoyance. I highly doubt he’s ever even paid a bill late. He is the opposite of The Man Who Was Not My Father… or so I thought.

Last week, I got a text message from my mom telling me that The Man Who Was Not My Father had died in an apartment fire. His apartment was the only one that burned, but the damage was severe. His body was found in the living room. They weren’t sure was that cause of the fire was. It had caused quite the ruckus at my dad’s company, as half the employees thought he was dead. When he went in to get his flu shot, the onsite nurse almost passed out.

I’m not sure what the appropriate reaction was, but I was shocked and a little sad. I looked up the article online immediately. And while the man’s life was different than my dad’s (he was four years older and lived alone in an apartment instead of a house with a wife and three excitable dogs), the name was the same. I cannot tell you how disturbing it was to see my dad’s name next to all those horrible details. But, thank God, it wasn’t him. It was The Man Who Was Not My Father, whose reign of terror has come to an end at last.

I got curious then. I Facebook stalked him. Since my dad is also very anti-Facebook, I knew The Man Who Was Not My Father would be easy to find. And I did find him. He had one picture, a solo shot of him grimacing at the camera and holding a fish in each hand.

“Well see, he couldn’t have been all bad,” my dad said when I sent him the picture. “He liked to fish.” Apparently the two men weren't total opposites after all.

I never thought about the day when the calls from the police would stop and there would be no more stories about The Man Who Was Not My Father. I certainly never imagined it would end this way. And while I do wish he’d behaved himself a little better in this lifetime, I’d like to think he’s getting another shot somewhere and maybe he’ll get it right next time. At the very least, he could pay for his tanks of gas.

RIP, Man Who Was Not My Father. Thanks for all the crazy stories. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

I don’t want to get up from the cozy couch I’ve melted into, but a writer’s work does not pause for personal tragedies. Noticing the late hour, I set down my empty wine glass and pry myself up, making my way around the circle to say my goodbyes. My body feels as heavy as my heart.

As I close the front door to the apartment building and step out into the warm July night, I stop for a moment and enjoy the sounds of the little gathering I’ve just left. There’s small talk, the clanking of food and drink glasses, and even laughter. It sounds nice. You’d never guess the reason we were in that room together was to help someone cope with having to say goodbye to someone much too soon.

I put the keys in the ignition and drive home, Lana Del Rey’s voice piercing the silence….

....I just wanted you to know, that baby you’re the best… I’ve got that summertime, summertime sadness…..

It’s not fair, I think to myself. He’s 27 years old. Fuck you, cancer.

I cautiously pull into our too-tight garage and park the car, cutting off Lana’s lyrics. I take the elevator to the fifth floor, open my door and fall into Mr. W’s arms. He doesn’t say a word, he just holds me tight until he senses it’s safe to let go. He kisses my forehead and my lips before heading to bed while I sit down to do the late night work I’ve grown accustomed to.

I write until my eyes get too bleary to see and crawl into bed so I can pass out before the dawn breaks. And as I try to rest, one thought slips into my mind and makes its home there for the rest of the summer where it remains through every day, every experience, and all my travels:

There are so many ways to miss someone.

You can miss someone who is sitting right in front of you simply by having the knowledge that, barring a miracle, they will not be sitting in front of you a year from now. The mourning starts before the person dies because you miss more than the person themself. You miss the memories you would have made together, that you deserved to make together. You miss the milestones in life you should have reached together. You miss seeing what kind of old person they’ll be and how they’ll be around your kids, or you'll miss the kids you would have had with them.

This is a completely devastating way to miss someone.

You can miss someone without even realizing that you’ve missed them… when you come to an old, familiar place and run into some old familiar faces you haven’t seen in awhile and all those happy familiar emotions you used to associate with them come rushing back. It makes you think about why you lost touch in the first place and wonder if it was worth it. Life is so short, and maybe you should have gotten over yourself already and reached out a little sooner or made more of an effort to keep in touch. After all, there’s nothing like seeing someone who “knew you when” and has seen all your youthful craziness and loves you anyway.

Maybe those big issues you had with their personality or whatever aren’t such big issues in the long run. Maybe people are just people and you either accept them as they are and for what they can be to you and what they can’t, or else you’re left with nothing but an empty space in your heart where they once were which probably isn’t worth the loss. Seeing them makes you realize this, and you welcome them back into your life with open arms and maybe decide to reach out to some other old friends, too.

This is a good way to miss someone.

You can miss someone who was never yours to miss, simply by a realization that they’re not who you thought they were. One single realization that your perceptions about them were wrong catapults your thoughts toward “what ifs” and “what might have beens,” leading you down a dark rabbit hole of confusion and feelings.

This is a dangerous way to miss someone.

You can also miss someone that you never imagined you’d ever have to miss until they brutally and suddenly cut themselves out of your life without warning. Once they’ve removed you from their life, you’re forced to see how it feels to miss them and you realize how much you loved them and what their presence in your life meant to you.

It hurts deeply, especially when the reason they cut everyone out is because life got hard and they gave up, not wanting to be around anyone who might be good for them. And what’s even worse is knowing someone who is 27 years old and would give anything to show the world his brilliance and won’t get the chance, and also knowing someone who is 30 years old and could be anything he wants to be but gave up on life—and his wife, his friends, and everyone else who loved him—because quitting was easier than trying.

This is quite possibly the worst way to miss someone.

Nothing ever fills the void that people leave. But the best way to deal with missing someone is to give in and allow yourself the time and space to miss them...really miss them. And once you’ve effectively missed them, find a way to let them go. Take as long as you need, but do it. Then think of those who are still around not to benefit or enrich you but to take up space in your head and drain your energy. Gather your strength and find a way to let them go, too.

And then take a good, long look at your life and everyone in it and love the hell out of every last one of them, every single day, because these are the people who have survived your life and all its twists and turns. These are the people who are here with you now. Support them, trust them, forgive them when they piss you off and cherish every single second you have with them.

Because the sad fact is, you’ll end up missing most of them one day too, for one reason or another. And remembering every good moment will help you deal with whatever fallouts, realizations, separations or deaths that result in you missing them. And then you’ll be able to look back on the busiest summer you’ve ever had where you visited enough people to fill all of Manhattan’s streets and you’ll be able to feel blessed, happy, rich, and whole instead of dwelling on the holes in your heart left by the people you miss.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hold the wheel and drive....

My getaways to Portland always seem to come at the right time... when I’ve had enough of the daily grind for a minute and I’m ready to spend three hours on the road solo, with nothing to distract me from dealing with my thoughts.

“May was brutal,” I said to G as I was climbing into my car on the evening of June 7. “I can’t wait to see you. Don’t worry, I bought lots of wine.”

I plugged my phone into my stereo with an auxiliary cord and pulled up a random Spotify playlist. And I began to drive, and think.

It was a good time to unplug. I’d been watching Facebook intently for updates on my friend from high school’s little son, who was battling leukemia. It wasn’t going well. I’d also begun to get a nagging feeling in my gut- related to my job, and my career future- that I wanted to drown out with wine rather than deal with. Between all of that and having my heart ripped from my chest the night before listening to E (one of the ladies in my latest bff trio) describe her fears over losing her boyfriend J to cancer, I needed the therapy that only a solo road trip could provide.

I was an hour into the drive when I heard a song I’d heard many times before, but had never really “heard.” I’m sure that happens to us all. I was lost in thoughts of “What if” when the lyrics jolted me out of my worry coma:

Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I'll let the fear take the wheel and steer
It's driven me before, it seems to have a vague
Haunting mass appeal
Lately I'm beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel

“Oh, God, “ I said out loud as the tears began to fall. I listened to it once, then twice. Before long, the tears had dried and I was feeling better... about everything. I was also still listening to the song on repeat, belting it out loud and proud as I cruised down the freeway...

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
with open arms and open eyes, yeah.....

Yeah, I thought. I don’t know what will happen with that sweet little boy. I don’t know what will happen with J, or my job, or anything. But whatever it is, I’ll be there to face it. Bring it on, world! I’ve got this.

My weekend with G was amazing. I’ve spoken before about the illness that almost took her from me a couple of years ago. The weekend I picked to visit was the weekend she finally went off the last of her medication. For me, it meant really, truly having my friend back. For her, it meant facing a world she hadn’t seen clearly in years, along with every emotion that went with it.

“I can’t believe it,” she said, looking around as we sat on the patio of a martini bar eating pasta and flirting with our server. “Everything is so clear!”

For you, maybe, and that’s good, I thought.

I headed home on Sunday night, recharged and refreshed, with better hair and a better attitude. Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, with open eyes and open arms....

That statement is easier said than done, it turns out.

His name was Colin. He was four years old. And not long after I returned from Portland, that precious boy got very sick and he died. To watch a little boy slip away from his family over social media, not being able to do anything to stop it, was one of the most brutal, heartbreaking things I’ve ever experienced.

My heart shattered when I read the news. I cried and cried, thinking of his strong parents and his sweet little sister. I wondered if she’d remember him. I wondered if my heart would ever not break when I looked at a healthy little boy his age or saw an ad for Monsters University, which was released the day after he died and is the sequel to his favorite movie.

But through it all, I was totally inspired by the way Colin’s family came together and supported each other. They gave him so much love as he got sicker and did so much for his parents, I couldn’t help but be touched. And even though his family was dealing with unfathomable grief, they understood that they were blessed to have had their little boy even for a short time. Their hope gave me hope.

Meanwhile J got some devastating news when he saw the results of his scans. Though we haven’t faced it entirely, our trio has gone from talking about having hope to talking about how we’re going to get through this. Though our attitude has shifted, we’re trying to keep it as positive as possible. After all, though today may be all E and J have, isn’t it all any of us have? Aren’t we all supposed to live as if we could leave this world at any time?

Everyone handles their pain in life differently. Some are comforted by Jesus, Bible verses or thoughts of reincarnation. Some choose to drown out their sorrows with substances or staying too busy to deal. Some get the lesson they’ve learned tattooed on their body so they’ll never forget it, like E. No way of dealing is wrong... some are just more painful than others.

Myself, I’ve chosen to take these brutal reminders of life’s uncertainty as a reminder that I need to face my nagging, underlying gut feelings, not ignore them. I need to face my emotional ocean, no matter how scary, decide what I want out of this life, and either pursue it or not. And that’s what I spent the rest of June doing... thinking, listening to what my intuition was telling me, facing my ocean... and deciding whether or not it was worth diving in.

I think it is.

So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive, oh oh
It's driven me before, it seems to be the way
That everyone else gets around

Lately, I'm beginning to find that when I drive myself, my light is found

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Truth About Paradiso

The “why” is a long story for another post, but the “what” is this: I love electronic music.
Here in Seattle, where house music is heard at most bars and clubs and Deadmau5 and Tiesto are household names, I let my freak flag fly. I blast EDM in my car on my way to work, sunroof down, bobbing my head and swaying from side to side. I play it at the gym. Sometimes I listen to it at work, the beat drops drowning out the constant buzzing present in all creative minds.
Elsewhere, I keep my love of EDM secret because of the judgment. It’s the judgment that comes from those who can’t believe I would like such garbage when I’ve been exposed to “real” music, like the Beatles, man, and I was raised going to Broadway musicals for crying out loud. It’s the judgment from the people with untrained ears, who hear it for the first time and think it sounds like robot sex, then look at me like I’m a complete waste of life. But worst of all, it’s the people who associate the music with the drugs....that assume that to enjoy the music, you must be high. Those are the worst offenders.
I know the assumption that people that listen to certain types of music must do drugs is nothing new (Bob Marley, anyone)?. And honestly, I couldn’t care less if people make that assumption about me personally (I’ve been accused of so much worse, dolls). And I laugh, knowing I certainly don’t need to be on drugs to work or do cardio at the gym. But the people who make those assumptions tend to be the same people who are so anti-drug that they believe everything they’re told, spread rumors and unknowingly do much more harm than good because they’re afraid of something they don’t even understand.

Late on Sunday night I sat in my pajamas at my dining room table, writing a blog post for a freelance client when I should have been sleeping. I hadn’t had time to give it proper attention before I left for the weekend. At that point I’d been home from my weekend at the Paradiso Music Festival, an unbelievable weekend of costumes, carnival rides, new friends and tons of EDM, for about seven hours. My phone lit up with a text. It was a friend.

“I heard about a lot of people who got messed up on some bad stuff during Paradiso.”

“WHAT?” I texted back. I hadn’t seen one person in distress.

“There were over 100 people transported to the hospital. Some were so critical they went to neighboring hospitals,” he texted.

Shit, I thought. My Mind was racing. Who in their right mind would sell bad drugs to kids to take and dance for 48 straight hours in the raging heat? Those dumb kids, don’t they know there are already a bunch of shitty assumptions made about their kind anyway?
And then I realized there was no way that all those toxicology reports had come back yet, much less been released to the media. The festival had only been over for 22 hours. Where was he getting his information? I Googled. I found one lone article, on And what I read made my blood boil.
They’ve since gone in and majorly edited the original article (check out the difference between that piece and this one) but it said over 100 kids had been admitted to the hospital for drug overdoses (actual fact: it was between 40 and 50 people, and since they didn’t test most of them, they admitted it easily could have been severe dehydration because it was 100 degrees and they camped and danced in that all weekend without adequate water). The drug suspected to be the cause was “something the kids thought was Ecstasy but was actually Molly, a powerful form of Ecstasy sometimes cut with other drugs...” drugs like cocaine, meth and LSD. Cringe.
It takes ONE Google search and browsing...not even fully reading...some articles in medical journals, to know that much of that is false. I’m pretty sure even my grandmother knows that “Molly” is what MDMA is referred to. To make a long story short (but please, do Google it), Ecstasy was sold in pill form back in the day, and it grew so damn popular that the MDMA in it was cut with other things so the makers and dealers could make more cash with less. The raver kids weren’t keen on the other stuff. They wanted to know what was going into their bodies, bad or not. The need for pure MDMA led to the increase of “Molly.” Supply and demand, you know?
I am in no way advocating the stuff... it’s dangerous! It has side effects, especially when people take a lot of it and don’t take care of themselves (like, you know, dancing for 12 straight hours in the scorching heat two days in a row). But putting out a bunch of ignorant information as a news source just trying to get the first scoop at what will be a controversial story is poor journalism, to say the least. I stopped trusting the media years ago, but many people still look to them as actual news sources.
There were 25,000 people at that music festival. I was all but strip searched and they searched every crevice of Mr. W’s backpack (which is how I learned he carries a tampon everywhere. Thanks babe!). One water bottle per person was allowed in and there were free water filling stations (I never found them but apparently they were there). USC Events, the masterminds behind Paradiso, emailed ticket holders plenty of warnings about staying hydrated and keeping cool. Truly, they did all they could. Out of 25,000 people, 50 going to the hospital is a slow news day. The only reason it made such startling headlines is because of the assumptions...the assumptions that were likely true in some of those cases, but truly, probably not all of them.
The assumptions, the misinformation and the propaganda are not doing those kids any favors. Again, I am not and never would promote drug use at music festivals (I know it’s hard to believe it but they really are not about the drugs), just like I don’t promote promiscuous sexual activity or the existence of the Mormon church. But whether we like these things or not, they are going to happen. Statistics show that making abortion illegal doesn’t reduce abortion. Abstinence only education doesn’t keep the kiddos virgins. And simply telling everyone that if they do drugs they will die does not keep them from doing the drugs.
I am not suggesting we legalize everything. If I had more faith in humanity, I’d like to! Think about it: how great would it be if one day you woke up, decided you wanted to try magic mushrooms, went to a designated location, bought some organic, GMO free fungus, took them in the government-designated area, had fun, and then saw a scary rabid unicorn, realized drugs are messed up, and decided mushrooms weren’t your thing? Or better yet, how great would it be if you read all the factual information with NO lies or scare tactics and realized the negative aspects (like the fact that the ‘shrooms grow in poo) was enough to make you steer clear?
I’m suggesting parents stop turning a blind eye and talk to their kids...and I mean really talk to them. And for the love of God, parents, read everything you can on the stuff...the good, the bad and the ugly, and know your terms, so you don’t sound like some kind of KOMO jackass but instead someone your kid will respect. And while many disagree with me on this, I believe events like that should have people from places like there to discreetly test their stuff, at the promise of no legal action being taken against them.
Some say that promotes drug use, that it will make kids more likely to try it because they know it can be tested. I don’t know whether or not that’s true. Personally, my parents taught me that my brain was everything to me and if I lost it, I lost my life. As a writer, I know that’s true, so I know exactly what I will put in my body and what I won’t. I’d like to think the raver kids are the same way. But if they’re not...if having people test their drugs would really persuade them to try it... well, I’d rather lose a few more to the dark side than to have a ton of kids unknowingly ingesting Drano or meth and ending up in the hospital or dead. Trust me, no one is going to get their Molly tested, realize it’s a combination of broken glass and baby laxative and take it anyway.
The articles that were released after the KOMO article portrayed a different scene. There were quotes from staff members of the Gorge who said concert-goers get dehydrated at events of all types, all summer long, not just EDM events. There was a police officer who said everyone he talked to at the festival was kind, respectful and polite to him. There were comments from people who worked the event saying they didn’t see one single fight and that everyone watched out for each other.
I witnessed the last part myself. I sat on a grassy hill for hours on Saturday, taking in the sunset and watching tons of groups of people in their early twenties and every last one of them, no joke, had a designated “Mommy.” These Mommys, both male and female, were the backpack holders, water carriers, phone watchers and snack pushers. They took care of their friends. And I’m so very sorry to hear that some of those kids slipped through the cracks.
A young man lost his life during Paradiso. He had just graduated from college. While we won’t have results found for awhile, I won’t be surprised if drugs are found in his system. And it breaks my heart for so many reasons... because maybe if he had known how serious the risks were he wouldn’t have done it, because I know he wouldn’t have ever traded his life for a false high, because maybe if he’d better studied the effects of MDMA he would have consumed much more water and been fine... but most of all, because I know he will be used by the wrong people to promote an agenda of intolerance and misinformation that is the last thing our society needs right now.
Plenty of people think he deserved to die simply because he was dumb enough to take a drug. I wasn’t aware we had so many people in the world who have never had too much to drink, or driven while they shouldn’t have, or texted while driving, or done something else totally stupid that could have killed them but didn’t. For everyone judging the people that may or may not have overdosed, that’s something to think about.
I was treated with nothing but love and respect last weekend, and that’s something that hasn’t happened in a long time. Not one person acted inappropriately in front of, or to, me. I met drunk, stoned and rolling people. I met stone cold sober people. I met college students, grad students and professional people. I met hippies, geeks, artists and other writers. And we were all there for one thing: that priceless feeling you get when the beat drops.
It’s not about the drugs. Not even close. But they’re there. And if you ignore the issue, spread misinformation about it and judge everyone as if they’re all the same, you are on the same level as the mysterious drug dealer who sold the fake E... unless there was no shady dealer and this was just a case of too much heat and not enough water or common sense. We’ll never really know.

Don't take my word for it. Please read this.

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