My First Music Festival

After taking a much needed break from school as my first trimester at Palmer College of Chiropractic came to an end, I would like to update my followers on some things that I have done during that time. I went to my first music festival, the Suwannee Hulaween Music Festival, in Live Oak, Florida October 24-27th with my 21-year-old brother Noah.

This experience was something that I had no idea I needed and it is one that I will hold dear to my heart. I know that this is the first of many music festivals that I will go to and there are several reasons for that. To put this experience into words seems impossible, but I will do my best.

The Venue

Starting with the venue, this place is magical. It is like a big forest campground. The energy that is in the air is flooded with good vibrations and happiness. You step foot into the Suwannee Music Park and everything from the outside doesn’t matter anymore. You see the smiles and hear the laughs of the people around you and their happiness floods your soul. The venue is quite large and I cannot fathom the amount of people that were there…yet…it seemed like such a tight-knit community despite the size. The sense of community in a place where a majority of the people do not know each other is something I have never felt before. Even though it was my first time being there I felt an automatic sense of comfort and I felt the freedom to be myself. I felt at home.

Image may contain: sky and outdoor
My brother, Noah, and I on the Hula Cheese!

There are also so many vendors there from food to clothing to a vendor with hundreds of types of sunglasses. The food was spectacular and the clothing was beautiful and unique. Everything about this place is beautiful and unique. I loved seeing everyone walk around in their rave costumes and outfits. I just loved seeing everyone be themselves because this is truly a place of zero judgement and undying love. I told my parents that you could wear a gigantic chicken outfit and dance like a chicken and even bawk like a chicken and people wouldn’t judge you…hell they’d probably even join you. I could be my weird self and I say that in a happy and positive way because weird is so damn beautiful. We are all weird. Life is weird. Humans are so damn weird. And to be in a place where I can be weird gave me a phenomenal feeling. My ABSOLUTE favorite place was called Spirit Lake. This place can be described in one word: mystical. It was like a utopia. Perfect. We spent the first night here and we saw PEEKABOO and Whipped Cream. I would have to say that that was the best night out of them all, although they were all amazing. I wish words could do this experience justice, but nothing I say and no pictures or videos could match the experience in real life.

This is a picture of the lake in the Spirit Lake area. Have to add that this place at night is an entire different world.

The Music

I have no idea why there is such a stigma around bass and EDM and all the music in the like. But, I could care less about what people think because I see all music as beautiful. The artists that we saw were all so talented and I felt transformed after each show. A few of my favorites were: PEEKABOO, Whipped Cream, Bassnectar, SoDown, and The String Cheese Incident. Each of these artists put so much emotion into their work….especially the first four artists that I listed. One thing that I like about these types of shows is that everyone is headbanging in their own personal way. I think that is because everyone is focused on a different part of the beat and everyone feels the music in a different way than those around them. We are all just in our own world and are getting lifted away with the music on our own. It is the most individual yet together feeling I have felt. You look around and everyone is feeling the music so intensely and you’re feeling the music…and you just feel at home.

There are people going around with those gloves with lights on the tips of the fingers and I have never been so mesmerized. Beautiful men and women with lights all over their outfits, or wands with long strands of lights dancing, taking you to a different place. Everyone is giving love and you’re giving love. You feel safe too…that is something I enjoyed very much. I was wearing revealing outfits, yet I did not feel objectified or disrespected ONCE. You know those “creepy old guys” that we all have experienced? I did not encounter ONE. They are just older men who are chill as hell. Coming from a town where so many men are objectifying and so many girls judge you for being different, this place truly was a utopia and I loved every second of my time there.

The Overall Experience

Life-changing. This was the best welcoming into the rave community. I yearn to be in this environment again. It was healing for my soul. I learned so much about myself in just those four days. I changed and that is not an overreaction. There are no words that amount to this experience and my only advice is to go to a show or music festival yourself. All music is wonderful….but there is nothing like EDM/bass. Each beat is so strategically placed and the artist becomes the music and puts their entire self into it. The venue is breathtaking and magical. The people are beautiful inside and out. It is like a place where there is a cool version of everyone you know and have ever met and then some! This is a home away from home. This is a community that is accepting of all. This is a place where you can be yourself and face no judgement as long as you give out love. I could have made this post a thirty minute read, but it still wouldn’t do the experience justice…you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Here are some of the outfits that I wore:

I added light up devil ears at night!
Loved this mermaid look!(:
This was my absolute favorite!

This is just a photo of my brother and I looking fresh as hell our first day back home from Hula:

Too much drip

Being Biracial

New Years Eve, 2008

I am very proud to be a woman of a mixed ethnic background, or as many would say, biracial. I find myself struggling to choose the term that is most “politically correct,” because race itself, such as: black and white, is a social construction. As a society, we have racialized ourselves, and I’m not sure how that can be undone. For the sake of this blog, I will use the term biracial, white, and black because I find no offense to those terms. Also, I must say that I understand there are endless combinations that could make one biracial, but this is my experience as being a woman with Irish, Italian, and Northern Africa heritage.

May I also add that this is in no way me complaining about being biracial and the things that I deal with, I am simply giving personal insight on what it is like to be a person of mixed race. I feel that it is important to know peoples struggles because then you can understand them more. I can guarantee that there are several others with a similar ethnic background that have experienced and felt similar things than I have. So, please, store this information in your mind and take it into consideration in your daily life.

Christmas Eve, 2018

Honestly. Being biracial can be so confusing at times and all the terminology makes it even worse. “Black” has been used to refer to those of African descent, but it also refers to anyone with a dark skin tone. But then I am also a light skin because I am a “lighter black.” But I am also white because when asked of the race I am when I fill out papers that do not have the ‘more than one race’s’ option, I select ‘black/African American’ and ‘white.’ I have had people tell me that I am not black enough to call myself black, but also people laugh at me when I say that I am white. It is almost like you can never win sometimes. Then there is also the fact that although I am white, I do not experience white privilege; however, since I am “light skin,” I know that I do experience light-skin privilege at times. It really is just like you’re stuck in the middle.

Probably one of the most frustrating things is the way that much of society looks at my family. I could not count on both of my hands the amount of disapproving and dirty looks that we have gotten from people in public. For some reason, in 2019, there are still people who think that “colors should not mix,” but let me tell you something, the world is not a fucking washing machine. I guess that these moments have made me love myself more and have pushed me to be proud of who I am. Sometimes, when I am feeling strong enough, I just take the negative energy and hate from others and use it to fuel my soul in hopes of some of my positive energy getting shared with those showing me the hate. Something else that I have had to deal with is hate from both sides of my ancestry. I have had dirty words and painful insults said to me from both those who identify as white and dark-skinned black people. I would have to say that it hurts more coming from the latter because what they don’t know is that I have experienced some of the discrimination that they have. That is something I never understood. Every group in this world that has been discriminated against at a large, social level should never show hate towards one another because we are all in the same damn boat and if we don’t band together and overcome, that damn boat is going to sink.

Palmer Campus Visit, 2018

If there is one thing that I would like to leave you with is that it doesn’t matter where someone came from or what they look like. If you love someone, then love them—and you should love everyone because at the end of the day we are all living this same confusing-ass life and we are more alike than we will ever be different. Appreciate and love all the beautiful diversity around you because one day, when your life ends, you want to be able to look back and think, “I was a person of love.”

A few philosophies I live by…

If there is one thing about myself that I am most proud of, it would be my ethnicity. Many people preach on how people should “not see color,” but to me, that is a load of bullshit. I hold the belief that people should see color and appreciate it. Recognize the cultural differences that we all have with each other and love them.

Educate yourself, surround yourself with those different from you, and before you know it, those differences will seem so minimal compared to the similarities that exist. I would say that my ethnic background has been the cause of instances of discrimination in my life, but it is not my ethnicity that caused the discrimination, it is society. Never feel that it is your fault for the terrible and horrendous things that others can do to you. No one deserves the pain that they receive.

The first instance of racism that I remember experiencing was when I was in the fourth grade, about eight or nine years old. I had gotten in an argument with an old friend, and that friend had called me the “n-word.” Now, as a young child, I had no idea what that word meant, and I went about my day. I came home and told my mother of the argument and the exchange of words and she was livid. It was that day that I was told what a racial slur was and why people use them. It was that day that I was made aware of racism. Since then there have been countless moments where I have recognized that I was being discriminated against. Whether it was girls on track teams crediting my speed to my blackness or dirty looks getting shown my way as my interracial family and I dine for dinner at a nice restaurant, I felt the hate the same way and it never hurts any less.

The thing about experiencing the microaggressions, slurs, and other hateful comments and actions, is that you must reach a point of acceptance that not everyone will like you for whatever reason and that is okay. You could argue with every person who is hateful towards you, or you could simply accept that that person has their opinion, show them love, and move on with life. Moving on with life and moving past the harsh words of others is the only way to survive. Sometimes it may seem impossible to release the negativity from others that you have internalized within yourself, but it is always possible to grow, and it is always possible to heal your soul.

I remember one day in an Intercultural Communications class I took when I was at DePaul, a very wise professor once told us that the worst lesson taught to most as children is that “sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” My professor was right. If there is one thing that I have learned throughout my life is that most of the time, words do more damage than sticks and stones ever could. Physical wounds are mostly visible and can usually be healed and cured, but emotional wounds? Emotional wounds grow every single day and hide themselves in toxic behaviors and are much harder to heal. I know it seems basic to say we should all “treat everyone with kindness,” but if it is such a basic thought, then why the hell are things the way they are? Yes, sometimes words get said during arguments that we do not necessarily mean, but then apologize for the words that you have said and be sure that it is a sincere apology that comes from your soul.

There is too little time in our lives to hate others and to hurt others—just love everyone. The idea that love can only be romantic is agonizing. Love can be whatever we want it to be. Make it your goal to show everyone love, even those who do you wrong, because those are the ones that need to be shown love the most. Another wise professor that I currently have at Palmer College of Chiropractic told my class that, “an enemy is just a friend whose story you don’t know.” This is also something that I believe very deeply within my soul. People like to think that they have others figured out, but we don’t even have ourselves figured out. People like to talk about how they “hate” certain television stars and artists, yet what do we really know about them? Hate is such a dirty and painful word, but it is used so loosely.

The next time you find yourself getting angered with someone that you do not know, take a deep breath and remind yourself that they have things going on in their life that you do not know and empathize with them—never pity them. Pity is ridiculous. Feeling bad for someone is pointless. You sit there with a sorry look on your face and watch them as they continue to struggle. But when you feel empathy and become an empathetic person you recognize their struggle, imagine if you were to be in that struggle, and then act on that feeling you get from imagining.

Regardless of any demographic quality you have, I know that you have experienced pain and hate from someone. Everyone does. You know how bad pain hurts and how it feels to hurt. That feeling deep in your chest that you get when you think of that painful event or when you think of the words that were said to you, do not forget it. Remember that feeling and every time you think about treating another person less than what you would like to be treated, think about that pain you felt and realize that you are about to make another person feel that way. Once you become that person that makes another person hurt, you become no more than the person that hurt you. Be the lover, not the hater. Spread love. Xx

“Lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.”

Flatbush Zombies “Palm Trees”