New York City Burned Too Brightly
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
I had purchased Zoe Keller & Christina Mroziks's book "Intricacies" when I was studying acting and theatre in New York. I had a hidden dream to forget and leave NYC behind, follow the whispers of the wind that were telling me to go back to the west coast and paint, to make art and music. To be free from my past dreams that were dictating my reality. I don't talk about my experience in New York often because of the pain and conflict, the sheer radiant beauty that I experienced had been so real it feels too hazy to speak of now here in Seattle. It's my past. When people ask I say "Its a long story" and shrug it off, then make a joke about how I lit my life on fire.
I had finally gotten a gig off-Broadway with a theatre company I worked with in San Diego, I was able to quit my coffee shop job and work as an actor right in Times Square and get my equity status. My dreams were manifesting. To really get into brutal honesty and share a very beautiful, scary, sometimes traumatizing but also magical memory, right before I had been cast I had dropped acid for the first time one midnight in Brooklyn. To get into the intricacies of my trip would sound nothing short of insanity and poetry only meant for my paintings.
I remember seeing the lights of Manhattan as I walked on the edge of the water close to the Brooklyn Bridge. The city looked like hell. It was burning too bright. I knew I had to leave. There was also a moment where I was running the streets with the friend I had dropped with, giggling hysterically at the hilarity and terrifying beauty and absurdity that is New York, and each other. Looking at the stars, I was in absolute shock and awe that I was even alive to witness this moment of living on a planet in space we call Earth. There was a moment where I was watching the reflections of car headlights creating colors of rainbows against a brick wall, realizing that was the last time id be in that specific moment ever again. Life was so beautiful that it was terrifying. The trip ended with me having a psychotic breakdown that's extremely difficult to get into involving truly facing myself and seeing my inner toxicity, and pain I had caused others in my life, family, and especially my ex - fiancé who I shared an apartment with at the time. I came home in the morning in tears, knowing I had to come clean and explain to him that I had been unfaithful and had fallen out of the relationship. Being that high and self aware, any lies I had or false identities I had were shattering. The resulting events were heartbreaking and terrifying. The trip was the universe holding one big mirror up to my soul. I remember getting lost in the subways alone still high, listening to Pink Floyd for the ultimate psychedelic comfort that I needed. I remember it being morning, looking at the blue sky and listening to "Wish You Were Here" on my headphones and crying.
I know deep down it was everything that had to happen. It completely shook me. However I think fate handed me an experience and final bow to close my chapter with New York and cast me in a play and give me a chance that I had worked so hard for. To explain the vivid nature of the universe speaking straight to my soul in this role only a few weeks after this psychedelic experience would have to be captured in a book (or just my diary) so I won't bore you. Looking back it was a story book of symbols that still speaks straight to me and I might have been too weak mentally to really do the role justice, but I think that was the point. Right after the show closed, I made a decision that changed my life. I packed everything I needed in a single suitcase, left everything I had and came to Seattle. I remember listening to "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult on repeat on the plane. Fate had called my name and I was sick of denying its sound.
I hopped in a van with my new love who I had known from my hometown in California, someone who is still very dear to me. I traveled with him on the west coast to listen to him play music at bars and at parties, and on the streets of San Francisco. It was a dream, but this snake had still not shed her skin. I was having thoughts of death & I was having hallucinations. My thoughts of dying were blissful. Id envision swimming into the ocean until I couldn't swim anymore, and letting the ocean swallow me. Or leaping from a bridge, arms suspended like a bird knowing it was my final moments. My guilt from leaving my life behind was destroying me. I truly had to numb myself to be able to do it. I was doing any drug I could find and drinking myself into oblivion most nights. I was carrying some truly toxic and dark energies. I was also having the time of my life - and I believe that's why I was feeling so guilty. I smoked like a chimney and was living free and felt proud and happy to not be afraid to die or lose everything I had. I was learning how to play music, I was drawing and painting. I was with someone I admired and was crazy for.
I was also allowing myself to completely self destruct. My new love that had been so poetic, fateful and passionate had turned into something toxic, that completely broke our hearts. The love we shared also propelled me to make more art and have more freedom with my artistic soul. I can say I am now learning healthier ways of coping with change while keeping the euphoric discoveries and lessons of that experience. I am making art, I am not drinking too heavily, I consume psychedelics with positive intention and a lot of moderation, mostly in micro-dose, to keep my mind in flow and in check without derailing my mind. I stay far away from destructive drugs now that can cause physical addiction. Being alone and not relying on the love of romantic partners to fill my soul has been the most rewarding these last couple of months. This was 2015 and I will say I'm still healing, and growing, making mistakes and learning.
I do believe this psychedelic experience in Brooklyn sent a shockwave through my life that showed me what I really wanted and who I wanted to be. When I had gone home after that experience and looked at the paintings I had done, the ones that were actually "good", the ones I really put a lot of love into were vibrating very small rainbows off the canvas and around the subjects. To this day it still happens and I suppose its a beautiful flashback that will always stay with me. If a painting isn't working, it doesn't vibrate. Its very strange but always an incredible experience when it does happen. I don't think everyone needs psychedelics, but for me, it has been one of the most transformative and unveiling tools to discover the meaning of life, and I continue to see it has been more and more about tuning into the creative energies that are weaved through our everyday lives. Its been proven again and again that cannabis has saved peoples lives, and I believe there is a chance for a lot of people to heal through the power of psychedelics as well. I don't believe psychedelics numb your brain like other drugs can do. It awakens your brain if anything. It can be scary, but real and honest, and also beautiful to truly look at yourself and see how you effect others vibrationally. Its self discovery.
The point of this post was to share a moment I had in Portland for a group showing. I realized I was in a show with Zoe. I think self reflection and discovery is in small moments. Life had brought me to this place 4 years later and I feel like I have led 10 lives in that time. I remembered the moment I had bought that book from Zoe and Christina's Kickstarter project and put it on the shelf, telling myself my dream of being an artist was for another day. The feeling of realizing I had brought myself to Portland showing along side her, after so much pain and heartbreak, story, failures, and regaining my strength that I had taken away from myself wasn't the crazy euphoria I'd expect, just a brief moment of gratitude of the universe carrying me to fate and allowing me to follow my dreams of being a painter on the west coast; and remembering the importance of listening to my intuition.
"There's a feeling I get
when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving. In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees, and the voices of those who stand looking. And it's whispered that soon,
if we all call the tune,
Then the piper will lead us to reason. And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, And the forests will echo with laughter."
-Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
Ahhhhh, I fucking love music.