It Took Having to Leave Everything to Realize What I Had




Air as thick as the minds who don’t believe in global warming. Ash falling from the sky like confetti on New Years Eve, covering the pavement like a carpet of snow. Everyone walking around with masks as if we were MD’s, and are about to save a life. That life however, is our own.

I tried to pack minimally, but my ego did most of the work. Within 30 minutes, I was sitting on top of my third massive suitcase trying to tuck in my lingerie that was way too expensive, and did not get nearly enough use, to leave behind. I heard the sound of a siren, put my mask on, and left my cottage. Clumsily dragging some of my suitcases behind me, I got to my car and opened the trunk. Ash rushed into my car. “Shit…”  I thought as I immediately began to hurl my belongings carelessly so I could close the door ASAP.

Not long after I got on the road, I saw the mountains surrounding me engulfed in flames. Tears began to fill my eyes. Truth be told, those tears rolled down my cheeks, and I cried. I’m used to shit happening, and me staying tough and moving on with life. This was different. This brought me back to September 11th. The stuff that stays ingrained in your mind for years to come.

Fast forward several days later, and here I am in LA at a Starbucks feeling somewhat guilty for using their wifi without buying a coffee. Ugh, fine, I guess I will.. Anyways, yesterday I did yoga at a park, bought some yummy food, took a bath, and did all of the generic self care crap. Today I miss Santa Barbara. I know it was amazing there, but I can’t believe how much I took my life for granted. Where I live, the city, my work, my friends, like why the fuck do I ever think my life is anything but extraordinary? … Minus the fact that I’m a little bitter about this guy still not texting me to see if I’m okay. He’s incompetent in the realm of communication. I’m over him. Next.

Moving right along… I just want to go back home. I feel so helpless. I want to help stop the fire, but all I know how to do is stop, drop, and roll, and I feel like that would be pretty counter productive for what they’re trying to accomplish. That being said, I’m alive and everything is working out.

I appreciate what this catastrophe has instilled in me. An immense amount of gratitude for the life I had, and will have again, and an appreciation for what I have now. I’m looking forward to continuing this adventure called life. This fire may have taken my breath away in the literal sense, but figuratively, my life does, and that’s the greatest gift I could ever give myself this Holiday season…. Now let’s see how long this lasts before I start bitching about how I’m not getting any younger or thinner.

The Journey to Lucidity

calvin-chou-189026Walking past giant stone mansions covered in ivy, that looked like they came straight out of a fairy tale, I thought to myself, “If we turned around and got back in the car before getting to the bonfire, this night would still feel complete to me.” My friends and I got to a huge iron gate, and I was the first to hurl myself over, so they would stop talking like the Scooby Doo crew about how we could get through or around it. Using our flashlight apps on our phones, we made our way down a sandy path to the beach. A bonfire was made, and flamethrowers started to put on a show with the twinkling night sky and ocean waves as their backdrop.

I sat by the fire next to a guy named Darrin who seemed as straight as a rainbow, and we talked for hours about philosophy and life. Thrilled to have a new gay bff, I was excited when he started talking about hanging out in the future. He asked me if I would be going to Lucidity, a festival near Santa Barbara. When I said I wanted to, but didn’t have plans to go, he wasn’t having any of it. He insisted I go and stay with him at his campsite which took away a lot of the stress of having to get, and lug, all of that camping shit around, and put a campsite together. Though I still didn’t know if I’d pull the trigger and buy the ticket, the seed was planted.

The next day, I convinced my neighbor Marissa, who also happened to be my best friend In Santa Barbara, to come along with me. I was shocked when she enthusiastically agreed considering she probably had only a few hundred dollars more than the homeless man, or as I prefer to say, street dweller, that walks up and down State Street talking to himself. Not long after we bought the tickets, an indecent occurred which made me question how the festival experience would go.

I received a text from Darrin saying he’d like to take me to the movies or see a concert. Regina Spector, a singer whose work I admire, was performing in town that weekend and he got us tickets. The jew in me was thrilled to attend without having to pay, and excited to join. A few days later, I go outside of my little yellow cottage to meet him, where he was finishing up painting his last few fingernails hot pink. In no time, his arm was around me, and from the sounds of what he was saying to me, I could tell my gaydar had been way off.

After a great show, he walked me back home and I felt like a fortune teller because I could sense what was coming next. He put his hands on my face, leaned in, and kissed me. I gave him my best attempt in letting him know I was not interested, but he grabbed my hands and responded with “Let’s just go with the flow” as he continued to hold my hands and sway his arms back and forth. He left and I immediately called Marissa to freak out and fill her in  as I tried to get his hot pink nail polish out of my hair. Thinking that I was about to be sharing a tent with this guy that I had as much interest in dating as an old man who loves talking about politics, sports, and beer, I still decided to go with the flow in terms of going to Lucidity. Thank goodness I did because what happened next I will never forget…


Stay tuned to see what happens!