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POSITIVE COVID

2012.

I was a wife.

We had a teenager, a kindergartener, and a newborn.

We purchased an acre of raw land.

We had no savings to build a house with and less than average credit.

Eventually, there was a gutted school bus, an extravagant shanty outhouse, and a tiny cabin

on the property as we grew a small business.

I've never appreciated the luxury of indoor plumbing so much in all my life.

The baby celebrated her first birthday under the huge hundred-year-old pecan trees.

She was eight years old when she finally had her very own room inside the house

it took us almost a decade to make reality.


We were mostly moved in

just in time for a New Years Eve celebration

ringing in 2020 with a live band and all.

I desperately missed entertaining in my home.

We used to gather regularly at the house on Garfield St.

where I would try my hardest to cook for large groups of people

like my grandmothers seemed to do so effortlessly

every single Sunday for decades.

I could finally decorate my own custom kitchen that I designed.

I thrifted the coolest retro china because there are too many siblings and cousins to inherit any

and we never had a formal wedding shower.

White, with simple pink and turquoise geometric flowers to match my front door.

I pieced my new nest together and was beyond excited to welcome loved ones in.


January was cozy with many bonfires.

Acclimating to a permanent homestead after being somewhat transient

for almost ten years was ..something.

I was exhausted. We self-contracted. I painted the entire interior. Solo.

Nineteen-foot ceilings in some spots.

I was relieved. I finally had my dream tub. My new sanctuary.

All the waiting and planning hard work actually paid off.

The business was thriving. We made jewelry for Queen and Bon Jovi. It was surreal.

Six months earlier, on Father's Day, I decided to quit drinking alcohol.

I was by no definition an alcoholic, but I grew up in South Louisiana, and had been

"laissez les bon temps rouler"-ing since I was a teenager.

I was just full.

In the midst of growing a business,

trying to keep a failing marriage afloat,

parenting the two littles,

grieving the death of my last grandparent,

and building a house..

I cut off any and all means of escape from reality.

From myself.

And there I was.


TICK

TICK

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM


Ring Ring

It's the Frenchmen Market.

Closed until further notice.

Some strange virus is spreading like wildfire.

But, how will we pay our new mortgage?

The entire world visits New Orleans.

We have no retail locations,

no marketing director, no advertising budget, no social media guru on staff.

Slowly, eventually,

the whole world shuts down,

including the music industry.

I spent the last eight years putting any extra energy I had left

after leaving my masseuse gig

into creating and selling accessories

made from recycled drum cymbals.

Now what?


So many variables.

So many people were suffering.

Dying.

We were so lucky.

We got to quarantine in our dream home on an acre of land.

Lots of yard work got done.

Lots of play.

Cold plunging became a thing for about six months.

The entire world paused.

Change was inevitable.

Fear was paramount.

Drinking / substances weren't even tempting at this point.

I was dedicated to feeling everything exactly as it was.

Survival instincts kicked in.

I did what I knew how to do.

Self-soothe.

I made art.


As a child,

the only formal art training I had was a couple sessions with a local painter.

I still have that unframed oil painting of a tree.

I thrived in high school art classes and dreamt of attending

a real art academy after graduating.

I could not wait to see the world.

I always felt like I was too weird for this small southern town.

You know what they say about making plans...

early motherhood is what I subconsciously chose.

I tell Gaven all the time that he saved my life, and he continues to do so.

At nineteen years old, I had to figure out how to not only survive, but keep a baby alive.

I wouldn't have been successful without the help of my large family.

So many babysitting aunts to choose from.

Plunging into a whole new life, my plans for art school shifted,

as I tried to balance new motherhood with university hours.

It was too hard.

I missed him too much.

So I finished two semesters in Visual Art at USL and a couple at the local tech school,

when photoshop was making its public debut,

before deciding on a nine month degree in Massage Therapy.

Like having a baby!

Motherhood inspired me to start painting.

No instructor.

Just me,

trying to process the drastic contrast to my upbringing

I had been navigating as a young adult.


I had a few public shows at local cafe's and restaurants.

Met other weirdos in town that were creating as well.

Painting helped me cope with the uncertainty of this beautiful curve ball life threw me.

The works were well received. People liked them, but I wasn't selling many and they kept piling up.

The extra baggage became an issue due to the amount of times we moved around,

so, I stopped.

I focused on making a living in the Healing Arts.

Jewelry making snuck in when I had extra time ..

which was few and far between, but eventually, I figured it out and became successful at it.


2020 was the most intense year for the planet in a long time.

We were all forced into this collective curve ball together.

Everything changed for everyone.

So many didn't survive.

Again, I was so lucky.

My next move was a mystery.

I no longer make drum cymbal accessories.

I am no longer a masseuse.

I am no longer someone's wife.

I am possibly more myself now than I've ever been before.

Thanks to the pandemic,

my default settings kicked on

and I haven't been able to turn them off.

As the Covid dust keeps settling,

this lifelong gravitational pull is left standing

strong and tall.

In my youth, art helped me cope with a nonstop bustling family of seven

and in the aftermath of extreme life changes,

it continues to save me on a daily basis.

I am almost five years completely substance-free.

Painting taps me in to infinite possibilities

that taste and smell like childhood.

Creating is my life line.




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