Dear Philomena Tour Diaries: In Your Ear

There are four places across the world that I feel at home in:
1) Airports
2) Libraries
3) Churches
4) Hospitals

My life thus far has consisted of a lot of traveling due to:
1) My father’s work
2) My father’s death
3) My education
4) My health
5) My Global South citizenship
6) My privilege and access to travel
7) Too many loved ones spread across the world

I’ve never lived in any city longer than 5 years. I’ve never lived in any country for longer than 6 years. I associate home with people more than place. The constants I’ve had in life, regardless of place are:
1) Airports
2) Libraries
3) Churches
4) Hospitals

Hospitals.

I’ve been in out of hospitals since I was 9 years old. I’m 25. Sterile, rubbing alcohol scented, beeping equipment, frigid air-conditioner turned up to the max, hectic pace, people crying, people suffering, people relieved, people stressed out and people dying. Every time I step through hospital doors, I feel at home.

Home is not always comfortable. Home is not always a sanctuary. Home is different things to different people. Home can be pain. Home can be suffering. Home can wear you down. Home can be an addiction. Home can be an illusion.

Washington, DC is one of the many places in the world that I consider a home of mine. Home is not always comfortable. My sister, brother, sister-in-law and several surrogate family members live in DC. They welcomed me into their heart spaces with open arms, hearts and smiles. Returning to DC to perform at ‘In Your Ear’ was a sobering experience. The time I spent in DC was one of the worst years in my life. Home can be suffering.

I couldn’t walk unaided by either a cane or wheelchair for the majority of my time in DC. I returned to DC on two feet, unaided. Home can be an illusion. I returned to DC with flashbacks of time spent going from hospital to hospital. Declining health, frustrated doctors, memories of my father and so much pain. Home can be pain. I returned to DC remembering that I was supposed to die in this city. I returned to DC remembering that I’m living on borrowed time. Home can wear you down.

I returned to DC remembering pills talk to me. Remembering, pills telling me to take them to make everything feel better. Remembering, taking pills without intending to. Remembering, losing control of my mind and body under the influence of pills. Remembering, deliberately taking pills just to escape. Remembering, not knowing how I could possibly make it through a day without my pills. Home can be an addiction.  Remembering, not knowing how I could possibly make it through a day with my pain. Remembering, feeling hollow. Remembering, feeling worthless. Remembering, hating myself. Home is not always a sanctuary.

I returned to DC to one of my most successful shows on my book tour. I returned to DC to loving embraces from friends and family. I returned to DC to conversations on vulnerability. I returned to DC to a new fan telling me that seeing me perform made her feel not alone. I returned to DC to a book sold to an 8 week old baby whose mother wanted him to know that vulnerability is strength. I returned to DC, and I found home. Home is different things to different people.

My sister Lisa and I at my homecoming celebration ‘In Your Ear’

Much love, appreciation and thanks to Mike Walsh, Meg Ronan and the amazing team at ‘In Your Ear’ and the DC Arts Center for hosting me and who did an absolutely incredible job of creating such a fantastic build up for the afternoon. Massive shout-out and appreciation to my fellow features of the evening Bevil Townsend and Nat Baldwin who put on insightful sets!

Next tour date write-up is for Poetic Underground @ The Uptown Arts Bar on September 20th 2017!

Advertisements