When you fall backwards out of a taxi and scrape a gash in your elbow, there’s an expectation of what you’ll do next. After you’ve incurred an outpouring of care from loved ones and eyewitnesses, you’ll need a gentle wash, clean the wound with water, salt, antibacterial agents. You’re best to keep the site clean and bound to give blood time to clot, and the skin time to generate a protective layer until you have one hell of an ugly scab. Check the wound for infection, but for god’s sake don’t pick at it, don’t itch it, just let it do its thing lest you wind up with a disfiguring scar. If you abide these sage steps, before too long you wouldn’t have any idea you’d done yourself a harm, and may even forget the fall altogether; these instructions are easy to understand and follow for a grazed elbow, but for matters of the heart and mind, somehow supremely more difficult, for all the process is the same.
so Michael has COVID, and had had to remain in Palm Springs to isolate and recover. It really was one of those worst case scenarios where we had to very suddenly pull ourselves out of bed and make a decision about how to go on. Unfathomable though it seemed, Teague and I had to push forward just the two of us. Neither of us has spent almost any time in each other’s company without Michael, don’t know what we have in common, and have very different approaches to change and chats. To boot, we were without our compass, lost and scattered in how to do Michael’s Walk without…Michael?! What has transpired is great trust, shared awe at the natural glory we’ve witnessed together, and a surprising affinity as people.
it had already been swings and roundabouts on Michael’s Walk before coronavirus joined the pilgrimage. Cancelled accommodation, changed flights, plans abandoned, hookups ghosted and serendipitous sights & meetings manifested.
The final three Tori shows were each spectacular for their own reasons. You can hear all the powerful details on the Michael’s Walk podcast. We were upgraded to front row for the first night and my gosh what a treat from David (x), to witness some of my favourite tracks up close, and hear nuances to the piano that transformed my relationship to the stories told in song.
On the second night, Tori did something unheard of: she sang Me and a Gun, the sexual violence retelling that propelled her into global notoreity and laid more than a few bricks in the path toward #MeToo. Hearing this song, sung right in front of me in dangerous whispers, howling furies, broken sobs was overpowering, singing to my own experience with sexual assault and rape, but also to my passion for consent education, and a purpose to which I must continue to push toward, to cut the edge, pursue doggedly, determinedly.
That night, at an afterparty held by Tori Amos podcast kings, hosting fans like family all united in sing-alongs, making it rain on debut drag queens and whilst I was connecting intimately with a treasured human I was met with a territorial barrage of transphobia. It was in this moment I became aware of two very important things:
- MY GENDER IS NOT DELICATE
- NO-ONE HAS THAT MUCH POWER TO MAKE ME FEEL OFFENDED BY THEIR EMBARRASSING IGNORANCE
I fury with people who bring sexual violence and prejudice of any kind into the kinds of space Tori creates – knowing how open, non-judgmental and progressive she has always been. WShether that prejudice is against a person or against a song of hers, I’m incensed by people who refuse to even attempt to live by her example and philosophy.
On the last day of the tour I became ear-witness to a tragedy and you wanna talk about the reality that comes with embarking upon a trip from which you joke you’ll never be the same! All again, reminding me how grateful I am to have all I do, and brought me to earth that what I’m doing here is serious, and what I’m hoping to create as a result of this trip should be about more than just my perception, or interpretation of life, but about America as I’m witnessing it, politically, ecologically and socially. I’m hoping this focus will distract me from picking at my scabs and licking at the fresh wounds made by these recent experiences.
I thought I’d be better by now, all patched up. Years ago, I went on a silent meditation retreat. I thought it would help me process my brother’s death, but I spent a great deal of it locked on to my hurt from the betrayal of a friend. I became so angry, Í don’t want to be thinking about you, I want to grieve for my brother!, until I submitted to the fact that injuries have their own schedule. A very wise soulmate of mine told me that “this isn’t limbo, this is life” and while Tori sings “we’ve got to get you back to you”, there is no undoing or forgetting, only watching a wound become a weal become a mark become olive skin again – a gripping novella amongst a library of brilliant stories waiting to be read to someone worthy, who takes time to pore through the shelves and gently turn the pages.
waiting sucks. missing out sucks. watching others live your dreams really sucks. at the same time, therein can lie a connection to what healing truly is. It cannot be dressed up, urged along or fabricated. it is built in the boredom, the basic and the focus, the routine and supervised.
i miss him. we miss him.
see you in Washington. x
PS we’ve nearly reach $10K on our GoFundMe. We found out last week that we were unsuccessful in writing grants for the projects we’re committed to delivering so we’re on our own – except for you blessings who’ve donated to keep our stomachs full and car moving. please consider continuing to donate or sharing to help us smooth the way forward. thank you so so much for your help.
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