Happy New Year everyone! I selfishly had so much fun writing last year’s Woodsy recap that I thought I’d sit down, have a tasty beverage, and reflect on all the events that took place, or I took place in, “wink wink” this last year. I also welcome the challenge of only being able to pick a few select nuggets out of all that excitement! And away we go….
So in January, I rediscovered Instagram. I signed up for it when it first launched a couple of years ago and just didn’t get it. Facebook, Hipstamatic, Tumblr, Flickr – it’s all too much!! But I decided to give IG another chance and was instantly hooked! I felt like an amateur photographer – I looked at everything around me differently, imagining different filters, angles, and wondered “Is this IG worthy?” I spent this year capturing moments, places, people, thoughts. I followed friends and others who’s lives I admired, dogs I adored, cars I coveted. My friends became annoyed with me constantly on my iphone like a teenager. Instagram is like a window into your world that you’re willing to share with others. I think it can be amazing. Facebook for me became a thing of the past until they bought Instagram – that was a bummer #bigtime. Continue reading
Thanks both to Gemma Dempsey and Bob Carlson, I was featured on Bob’s radio show UnFictional yesterday, airing Tuesdays at 2:30pm pst and Fridays at 7:30pm pst on KCRW.com/ 89.9FM in Los Angeles. It was an awesome piece and the folks at KCRW are just fantastic. I got teary-eyed listening to myself talk about my story.
You can listen to it here:
KCRW Unfictional – Welcome To The Metal
Seeing my dad in prison is like seeing a different person. My once powerful father that I looked up to for everything, now dressed in double denim, sometimes shackled and occasionally strip searched. Our visits and phone calls center around his case, the trial, the appeal. Our last family photo of him in his own clothing was taken in early 2000. He has aged significantly since then; we all have. Where there was once a family unit, there’s now four disparate individuals related by blood. I feel like an adult orphan and I blame my father for this. He knows I’m angry with him–for my family’s tenuous situation, his selfishness, and the countless hours spent in jail and prison–but he dismisses my feelings, calling them, in his words, “bitterness.”
However, having now lived through his eleventh year of incarceration, I realize the importance of remembering and preserving the good times and memories I have with my father before his arrest. Amid the feelings of loss and a lack of control over my life, I do still have a father, and the fact that he’s serving a life sentence doesn’t alter that truth. When I see him now, it’s like seeing a shell of his former self with a new personality; as if he was body snatched and replaced with a clone. In these times of frustration, there’s an ever-present yearning to escape–through travel, through isolation, or by acting on self-destructive impulses. So as a means of self-preservation, it’s essential to occasionally honor and give life to the brighter childhood memories, and remind myself that I’m a daughter, a daughter with a father who loves me.
The alarm went off at 4:45am on December 25th, 2009, but I had long been awake. My flight from JFK to LAX touched down nine hours earlier. I was tired, jet lagged, and anxious about the day ahead. I had that “first day of school” feeling. Mom fed the cat while my younger sister packed a cooler of refreshments for the day.
We took off in Mom’s car a little after 5:30am.
Usually, the family spent Christmases on the beach in Maui. Now we visited Dad in prison. Prison? How did this happen?
The trip to the maximum security Corcoran Prison clocked in at 3 hours. Having been turned away before, we called the prison visitor center hotline to make sure the inmates weren’t on lock-down.
Mom turned on the radio “To listen to traffic,” but it was really to drown out the silence. We drove by Magic Mountain and I remembered the Free Fall ride from my high school trip, dropping 50 stories in half a second and leaving my stomach back at the top. That’s how it felt driving to prison.
We made a pit stop at the county line in Bakersfield for one last restroom break: prison restrooms, even at the visitor center, typically had no toilet paper or soap. I’d seen Himalayan out houses that were cleaner.
The only things visitors were allowed to bring in were money, an ID, car key and an unopened pack of tissues. Sometimes I smuggled gum in my bra. Dressing for prison was a constant costume conflict, and I had to come prepared with a suitcase of clothes in the car. I liked to dress for the holidays. Years prior, I rented an Easter Bunny costume and wore it to visit Dad in jail. Oh jail. Life was so simple then.