As it is with life, we all have ups and downs. Our existence is of a cyclical nature. What I have learned from my time in this life is to just hang on. The wheel has to keep moving and if I want to survive, both literally and figuratively, I have to roll with it. When times are good, make most of mind. When times are bad, be slow and kind. Rachel and I enjoyed the meteoric rise of KINDRED and had a huge amount of positive, productive momentum. We were both running around juggling who and how to shoot, setting up social media, speaking with therapists and experts, communicating with people who heard about us and reached out from all over, taking care of our homes and families and, in Rachel’s case, hold down a full time job at a large food bank that if she didn’t do properly, there would be people who wouldn’t eat. Damn that was a long sentence.
Then the wheel rolled. Some chronic medical issues we both have were flaring up, household money became tight; which induces fighting in both of our respective relationships. The energy had shifted, I could feel it. It was a struggle to think positive and focus on happy manifestation. Things were going to get worse very soon. I knew it in my bones. Then, much like the last scene of Thelma and Louise, my dear friend and I had our lives driven off a cliff. Luckily, we survived it all so far. Well, almost all of us survived.
It really started with Rachel’s compounded injuries. Between a fall on wet tile and falling off of a stage during a photo op after receiving an award for raising tens of millions of dollars worth of food, she fell from the stage breaking her leg badly. She was three time zones away from home, so there was no choice but to fly home, causing blood clots to develop. I became very concerned about her and between being half asleep and being lost in thought, I walked past a corner catching my toe on it. One of the ones in the middle. I broke it and am still nursing the injury.
A few days after Rachel returned home, her beloved father who had been battling cancer took a turn for not just the worse but the worst. His clock was running down. She couldn’t not see him before it’s too late. Despite the clots and horrible pain she was in, she flew from Portland to Tampa to be there with him. Rachel and I both acknowledged how dangerous this would be, but that she couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t get to say good-bye. So, she flew in. During her stay, sores began to develop under her cast and she couldn’t find a descent doctor. Then one night while she happened to be alone with him, her dad came out of his stupor just long enough to look her in the eyes and tell her he loves her. He drew two large breaths then exhaled for the last time. She held his hand as the lifeforce slipped from his being and he departed this world.
After a week or so of family responsibilities, Rach needed to go home. Unable to fly, her wife Kim flew out and drove her home. That’s a great homophobic shoot down. I mean, how many of us have a partner who would drop everything and fly clear across the country only to turn around and have to drive all the way back? That’s love, real love. Being gay or straight has nothing to do with commitment to the person that you love. I thank God and the universe and the fickle-minded fates that my beloved friend has someone who is so good to her and loves her so much. We should all be so lucky.
Speaking as someone who didn’t get the opportunity to say goodbye to either of my parents, I cannot over emphasize how important it is that those of you still able to tell their family, especially their parents, that you love them. Even if you have an estranged relationship with one or both; if peace is possible, make it. It will be of huge help to you in the end. Allow me to emphasize that I am not advocating connecting with someone who seriously abused you or will put you in danger in any way. For those people, write a letter. Put down everything you would want to say to them before they die. Don’t be afraid to spew anger just because it is a “last words letter”, write whatever you are moved to write.
This has all been priority to getting our editing in action. I am working to remedy that but I know there is no way we will be recovered and ready by the deadlines that we previously set. And while part of me is set off by that because these kids need help so urgently, I have to go with the flow. It’s a much bigger task than it sounds like. I’m as stubborn as a Capricorn gets and when I get my head around a goal, I grip it like a large dog with a rope toy. I don’t voluntarily let go. My faith in the project remains unshaken and we will get it out there however we can, as soon as we can.
If you have read this far looking for any mention of my giving up or quitting, I apologize for the ruse. I have thought seriously about stepping down. I’m in pain and frustrated and nobody seems to appreciate how much of my spirit I have invested in doing something truly helpful. Downtime like this can be both disheartening and depressing. After a long look in the mirror and mediation time with my inner storyteller, it all became clear. I’ll never quit raising awareness and whatever else I can for the kids in foster care or deprived, compromised situations for the rest of my life. And I honestly believe those two things are inextricably tied together. That I have survived some almost unbelievable situations in order to be a voice for advocacy. And to help teach people that the only one who can define you is you. Perseverance is a choice any of us can make. One that is made daily by kids in such bad conditions they must wrestle with the idea of how if they were dead, the pain and fear would stop. I know what that feels like.
Therefore it is up to us to start a dialogue about it, raise both funds for production and donation and awareness. We can all do something that would mean the world to a child who has next to nothing. KINDRED needs your support and donations to finish the project but anywhere, anyway you want to get involved, please do. It can be face to face or completely anonymous. As long as you do something to be part of the solution. This situation is a complex equation the likes of Einstein would be hard pressed to solve. Step by step we will get there. If you can help in any way, even just talking about the issue, you won’t see it firsthand but there will be more gratitude than can be measured generated in your favor.
That’s what will propel the wheel back to good fortune.
Check out our new website kindredmovie.wix.com/kindred and please, imagine you were one of these children I am constantly referring to; how would you feel about both being abandoned then ignored? If you knew people knew what was happening to you and did nothing. We can prevent the resentment that turns innocents into threats by doing all we can to provide the one thing that can flower into all sorts of intervention; attention. To them, to the issue, to those giving so much of themselves to effect change. To our inner child who can imagine and identify, making it scary but essential to face the truth. You are more powerful than you understand. Use it to do something important.