Wow. I was not expecting that.
I knew this festival experience was going to be an emotional one for me, but I wasn't anticipating my entire world getting rocked. The beauty within the tragedy was so flawless, I was in tears almost the entire time. Some tears of sadness and loss, but mostly tears of awe. Awe at the fact that this is my life, and it's real.
It all started three years ago when I attended What the Fest for the first time. I met a boy who changed the course of my life and showed me how to love unconditionally. Meeting him caused a chain reaction. I moved to Portland from Seattle, became close friends with his festival fam, and had a ton of fun. I partied hard and felt accepted for the first time in a long. It was exactly what I needed at that point in my life, but it didn't last long.
When I started doing my inner work, you know... soul searching and what not, the relationships in my life began to shift. Everyone around me was staying the same, more or less, but I was changing, and I was changing fast. I honed into my intuition and inner wisdom and decided that I was going to dive in head first, no turning back. Eventually Will and I had to end our relationship (though we still remain close friends), but every other friendship that I had dissolved into thin air. I was isolated and alone, outcasted from the "fam". I didn't take it personally though. I knew it was me, and not them. I was changing. I was growing. They didn't know how to communicate with me anymore because I had moved into an entirely new frequency.
This was okay with me. I knew it was only a matter of time before I would leave Portland and move on. But there was one friendship, one person, whose abandonment left me in pieces. She was my roommate and I considered her (still do) a sister. She meant so much to me, and God took her away from me. Nothing I didn't understand eventually, but it was painful as all hell.
Which brings me to why my experience at What The Fest was so emotional.
Every person I had loved and lost in Portland was there. They stuck to their clan, and every time I saw them I felt the pain of what I was going through. Everything they didn't understand, and had no desire to. Every memory I had made at the festival sank into my soul and I had to sit with it all weekend. I couldn't dance. My stomach was in knots. My heart was aching.
I know this all sounds terrible, but the real reason I was filled with tears was because of how beautiful this all was. You see, I lost everything because I created a vision for myself of a completely different life. A better life, where I am accepted for who I am and my beliefs and values are appreciated. I know what I know, which means that I will have everything I dream of and Portland was simply not it. So the loss was for a very good reason. The fact that I was able to feel my pain so deeply just tells me that I am going to feel a joy that is of equal magnitude, rarely experienced by mankind. The universe has big plans for me, and I will endure whatever it brings my way if it means total liberation and spiritual freedom.
The most difficult moment was during the debut of Desire's Masquerade, a film we all shot together in the fall before everything fell apart. Everyone who was in the film was sitting at the front of the movement stage and I was sitting on a platform in the back with Leonie, observing. Next thing I know, I'm sobbing. Heaving with compulsions, really. I missed her. I was proud of her and I wanted to run up to the stage and hug her and tell her how much I love her. But I couldn't. I wasn't welcome anymore.
So where is the beauty in this moment? Surrounding us were the dreamcatchers I had made. The first year I had attended, I remember laying on the platforms gazing up at the most beautiful dreamcatchers I had ever seen. I began to expand my mind into a daydream of what my life could be like if I were to change. At the time, I was a lost soul starving for direction. Moments later, I met Will. Fast forward three years and now I am the artist who created the dreamcatchers. I know exactly who I am and what I want, and I found the faith I need to pursue dreams that others couldn't possibly imagine. So to be observing one chapter of my life coming to an end, surrounded by the dreamcatchers that started it all, was truly majestic. It is a moment I will never forget.
Soon I will begin my memoir which will dive deeper into this story, and how festivals played a roll in my transformation into mysticism. For now, all I can say is that spirit is alive in festivals. They can be used as a catalyst for growth and if you pay attention to the internal shifts happening when you attend, instead of just partying, you can completely transform your life. There is no better environment to be in to get to know yourself. Your full expression of self. It is the most liberating and joyous experience in the world, which is why I am dedicating my life toward spreading festival culture and encouraging people to take a deeper look. There is no better way of living, other than congruent to your soul, and I'm going to prove it.