The year 2018 had the highest highs and lowest lows of my life. I won’t go into specifics; but suffice to say, I am so glad 2018 is over!
Lots of experiences and lessons came up in 2018 that I absolutely want to leave back there in the past. And yet, a few wonderful experiences and positive lessons will definitely come forward with me into 2019 and beyond.
Over the course of 2018, I kept my social media followers up to date on my travels and goings-on with pics and social media posts.
I created a new page in the Photos area here on my website to contain these be-pixeled polaroids. So if you’re interested in taking a gander at some of my pics from 2018, here’s a collection of highlights from my 2018 selfies that I posted during my travels.
From L.A. and Pasadena at the beginning of the year, to having my car stolen in San Francisco, to traveling back home to Mississippi in July, and then onward to the East Coast and New England area, then back West, I criss-crossed the country … twice.
January 1, 2018, I was in L.A. – homeless and living out of my car since November 2017. The only bright spot was all the Irish music, open mic nights, and exceptional musicians that I met and got to play with in and around L.A.
In February, I found a room in a condo in Pasadena. I spent my evenings going to Irish pubs and meeting other musicians. I even learned the basics of how to play the Irish drum known as the bodhrán … because I am so sick of when people ask me if I play an instrument and I tell them, “I’m a singer, composer, and orchestrator,” they respond, “Oh…. You’re just a singer?”
March and April were saturated with music as I continued to connect with music industry people at events and songwriter soirées. Because I’m not a pop, hip-hop, rap, or country singer-songwriter, few producers know what to do with my music or how to work with an orchestral style — especially when the composer wants to hire living, breathing musicians. And I am NOT willing to compromise my music for their ignorance.
I did meet a few incredibly talented producers and audio engineers, such as fellow Mississipian Buddy G., to whom I will turn when it’s time to record and mix my debut album. And I met several musicians who are also independent recording artists, such as my friend Morgan, a professional violist, composer, and recording audio whiz.
In May, I was a Guest Speaker at the 15th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights, and within three hours of arriving in San Francisco, my car was stolen. In my car was my wallet, which had fallen out of my bag when I was transferring my stuff to my purse. My speech was very well received, but my distress about my car, having no driver’s license, no social security card, no debit cards, no money, etc., proved to be an awful experience.
In June, I was finally getting accustomed to life without a car, finding my way around the L.A. area via the bus system and an occasional (and expensive) Uber. Making my way to Irish pubs and the Celtic Center for Irish language class and drumming was nearly impossible at this point. However, I was able to try a sport I have always been interested in – rugby! Yes, I got out on the field with the chicks in the Pasadena women’s league, and I realized I was WAY too out of shape to play full-force (my IT Bands still hurt!!). But I had a great time, and I will definitely play rugby again at some point, though.
June was also when the San Francisco police found my car trashed and undriveable. I salvaged what I could in three grocery bags, but it was a total loss. I had to let go. (Thanks, Kali.) My car was the last thing I had to lose … so I thought. (Stop it, Kali!)
The State of Mississippi would not send me a duplicate license because the address where I was in California differed from the address on my license. So after a couple of months trying to avoid the inevitable, I gave in to the Fates and traveled back to Mississippi at the end of July. (You win, Kali.)
Back home, I finally came face to face with some wonderful treasures that I had sorely missed in L.A.: real trees — not those palm things or water-starved scraggly bushes, and rain — real rain(!), and laid-back, breathy Southern accents along with the general down-home goodness of Southern living.
Within an hour of arriving back home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I had my duplicate license and time to kick back and enjoy being home. I had been through so much in the preceding 12 months that I hadn’t been sure how I would feel being back in Mississippi. Turns out, it was so blissful I really didn’t want to leave.
I stayed in Ocean Springs for three weeks and thoroughly loved being back amongst the centuries-old oak trees, Southern hospitality, and Southern food and music. It was amazing to see my daughter and revisit my old stomping grounds. I truly, truly loved it.
This respite from the chaos and stress of living in L.A. gave me time to really absorb this whole Twin Flame journey that had fallen into my lap. It also allowed me time to make some YouTube videos and share my personal experiences with all this Twin Flame craziness.
As heartwarming as it all was in Ocean Springs, I knew I needed to move forward with my music career by attending a big music conference and getting on with the next phase of my life. Like a plant, you can’t grow if you stay stuck in the same pot – growth requires a change of scenery and networking with new people. (And I’d already paid for the ticket in February.)
From Mississippi, I sojourned onward to Nashville, TN, in August for the CD Baby DIY Music Conference. Then I took a bus to Chattanooga, where I got to meet my longtime Twitter pal @TNTux in person. Tux allowed me to stay in his family’s guest house for a couple weeks, and we toured the beautiful scenery of ol’ Chatti. Wooded mountains, gorgeous nature, and waterfalls make Chattanooga a serene place to get away from city life.
In September, I went to Greenville and Greer, South Carolina, staying with friends Monty and Joan. I was able to experience recording and mixing one of my original songs. Getting behind the mic with someone else at the board was a wonderful experience, and I am very grateful to Monty for allowing me the chance to sing and see the process of mixing behind-the-scenes.
I finally(!) got to visit Asheville, NC, after all these years! A friend told me years ago that Asheville is a pagan paradise, and she was totally right. As it stands right now, if I were to hang up my hat and never live anywhere else the rest of my life, Asheville, NC, ties for first place with my hometown Ocean Springs, MS. Asheville’s bonus points are that it is a bigger bohemian, hippie, artsy area than Ocean Springs, and Asheville actually has all four seasons of the year. We only have two seasons on the Mississippi Gulf Coast: summer and February.
Joan, Monty, and I attended the opening of an art gallery, which featured some amazing jazz and avant-garde music soundscapes. A woman sitting behind me, Linda, told me she loved the line of my neck and back and wanted to paint me. Male artists have told me they wanted to paint me (my breasts, mostly), but this was new. If I get back to Asheville this year or next, I may take her up on it.
After South Carolina, I went to Philadelphia – my first time in Pennsylvania; and I stayed with my friend Michele in Doylestown, PA, for a few weeks during September. She’s a soul sister and fellow Twin Flame Divine Feminine, and I am so grateful for the time and space she offered me as I continue to navigate this whackadoo Twin Flame thing. Doylestown reminded me so much of Ocean Springs, that I really felt at home there.
Leaving out of Philly on October 1st, I took Greyhound on what was supposed to be a two-and-a-half day trip to Las Vegas – except it actually took FIVE days on the bus-ride-from-hell that took us up to Chicago, down to Salina, Kansas, and eventually to our intended destination of Las Vegas. It took me two days to shake off the Greyhound ick…. Yuck.
I spent a little over a week in Vegas with my friend Jeremy’s family. Coming from the Mississippi Gulf Coast that has its fair share of casinos, the Vegas Strip was just a bigger, noisier version of the casino areas on the Coast. However, it would a great nexus point for some foreskin activism in the near future.
I then had to decide between heading to L.A. to work on my album for a week or spend two weeks in Phoenix. Los Angeles was just too expensive, so I found a place to stay in Tempe, AZ, where I worked on my INTACT book and started gathering the elements of my Foreskin Faery costume. A dedicated advocate for men’s penis health, I also furthered my appreciation of foreskin in a more hands-on manner.
NOTE: Everywhere I went, I was on the lookout for places to bring the Foreskin Faery for educational demonstrations. So don’t be surprised if you see these cities on my itinerary in the future.
From Tempe, I flew (thank god!) to Orlando, FL, in November, to join other intactivists in demonstrating in front of the AAP’s annual convention. Not sure where I was going next, I let the Universe guide me through Atlanta, GA, to Birmingham, AL, where my friend Bonnie gifted me with a night in a swanky hotel because my bus didn’t leave until 9 the next morning.
My stop after Birmingham was Tupelo, MS, famous as the birthplace of Elvis. The only problem was that I needed to get to Starkville, MS, an hour away, and I had no way to get there. No bus, taxi, or shuttle service exists between the two Mississippi towns. With no other choice, I gladly accepted the offer of hitching a ride with a woman who was willing to drive me to Starkville; I’m just grateful she wasn’t a serial killer.
I’ve been in Starkville since then, celebrating Thanksgiving, Yule, and the New Year in blissful quietude. I have been able to reconnect with my longtime friend Michael, which has been an amazing blessing to me.
I head back to Arizona in February. I’m not sure if I will be in the Phoenix area or Sedona, but Sedona has been calling my name almost as long as Asheville has. Maybe there’s a bohemian, hippie, artist commune I can join? I absolutely want to connect with musicians, artists, and intactivists in the Phoenix area, or even Scottsdale and Tuscon. If you’re in one of those areas, leave a comment below!
Either way, I’m just glad 2018 is over and done with. For myself, 2019 promises to be an amazing year, full of new beginnings, new enterprises, and new awakenings. I wish much love and abundance for you as well in 2019 and beyond.