(photo: mine, graffiti stencil found in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn summer 2015.)
Well, when I was writing this last weekend, I was actually at one of my favorite places in the world- Fancyland, the rural Northern California queer land community where I finished my memoir, Dirty River, in 2012-2013. Two years later, I was at Fancyland on a weekend break from touring Dirty River that would take me to SoCal and Oberlin, OH next. It felt great to come full circle to this place of queer radical rural refuge that has supported many QTPOC and low income artists. If you are looking for a self directed arts residency without wifi or cell service, check them out.
Right now, I am in my, my partner and my good friend’s new home in Seattle/ unceded Duwamish territories, really happy to be settling into beloved home, in a neighborhood that is in the woods and ten minutes from light rail. I’m also coming back from what turned out to be a semi defacto break in my reading practice for a lot of the summer and fall.
I spent the summer and early fall living in Brooklyn. I moved to Brooklyn to be in the same city as my partner, and with a lot of curiosity and hope that I would connect with friends doing amazing healing work there. I was also curious about how my chronically ill body would do in such a big, inaccessible city. And it was a mixed bag. There was so much I loved- buying tamales with my lover from the lady making her business out of a granny cart under the 7 train stop, going to the queer of color naked beach in the spring, hanging out on my stoop with my lover and friends, queer art shows and practice, the amazing healing work of folks like Adaku Utah of Harriet’s Apothecary and Farmer Yan of the Hattie Carthan Garden, Black and Brown people everywhere.
But I also rediscovered how intense and inaccessible living in NYC is for me and many others. A friend said, “Most of the disabled femmes of color I know just stay in our houses” and that was often the truth. The stairs and the difficulty finding affordable food, the feeling of 8 million people and their electronic devices, the fact of living at the top of “the longest stoop in bed stuy”were all real. I saw more of many of my NYC crip friends when I didn’t live here than when I did.
And I tried to set up my practice, I really did.And I was able to see some great people. But I also ran into a reality of living in NYC- so many potential clients who said, “I work from 8 AM to 8:30 PM- can you see me at ten?” I respect that that is the reality of so many people’s lives, but it also pointed to me how diffcult and unsustainable living here could be, esp for folks who are disabled, sick or crazy.
My partner and friend and I landed in Seattle with a thump. We have a big house. A hot tub. Six raised beds. A washer dryer. A forest to walk in, and a light rail station and taco truck. I am looking forward to going home, buying paint and a car, dedicating my space, and rooting in land and home in a way I have not been for the past almost two years. I want to fall in love with the land I’m on, and I want to also hold on to what I’ve learned. As a daughter of immigrants, a person who has been displaced because of poverty, craziness and gentrification over and over again, a person who lost home because of having to run away from incest and abuse, I know intimately how it feels to grieve losing home, and worry you’ll never be able to have it again. At this sweet home, I’m hoping to be able to give my body some roots- in a partnership that is magical and like the best feelings of steady freedom and abundant femme of color future, in a house and community where I am hoping our brown sick femme bodies can thrive.
If you are interested in a reading, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. I am planning on offering one half weekend day and one or two half days during the week to accomodate different folks schedules. I can meet you on Skype or in my office in Beacon Hill, Seattle. It is low fragrance (can be made frag free) and low stairs- 6 steps to the front door, office on the first floor of the house.My rates continue to be $60-120 for a 90 minute session. I take payment plans, and I am grateful to the clients I work with.
Finally, something that is making me so happy is the blossoming of many queer and trans people of color intuitive healing and tarot practices! High Femme Moon Tarot by the great Lettie Laughter is an amazing place for folks to get readings. I’m also looking forward to the launches of new practices by several friends- watch this space for updates. When I started, I knew of one other queer person of color doing this work. The QTPOC witch revolution continues to grow, and I am really excited to see us continuing to grow out work, away from a scarcity model that only one or two folks can exist who are QTPOC readers. I am excited to see healing as something we can offer and access abundently- where it is normal to get a reading at a time of questioning or transition. Also, it’s lookng like there may be a QTPOC witch camp this year! Definitely watch this space for more.
(cedar woods, quarry on Eramosa river, Guelph Ontario, October 2015.)
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Happy housewarming, Leah!