Moving On and Healing - Part 1

About a year ago, a series of monthly mishaps took place that, even taken in a singular fashion much less as a group, were life-changing. It began with a car accident backing out of my driveway, which should have been the other guy's fault, and wasn't; continued on with a near-electrocution caused by a leaky roof and the neglect of a slumlord, an unexpected fall into a manhole on the 6th Street Bridge of which demolition was slated to start the next day, and ending with a sucker-punch assault by a murderer on parole in broad daylight near some of the city's most stellar cultural venues. I say "ending" but that was the beginning of renewed panic attacks and what I now realize was post-traumatic stress disorder.

These events reminded me of a story by my father told to me often over the years about recognizing signs and taking personal responsibility for moving on. The story goes something like this: a man was stranded on a deserted island, and prayed to God, asking to get saved. The skies opened, and God answered that he would save him. The next day, a tanker came near the island, and the sailors invited the man to hop aboard, but he declined, stating that "God said he'd save me." Eventually, a man in a canoe paddled by, and offered assistance, yet the man once again declined. Soon, a yacht stored by, then a cruise ship ... any offers of help were brushed aside by the man, sharing to all that he was waiting for God. He soon died, and as a good man, went to heaven where he asked God, "Why didn't you help me?" to which God stated, "Heck, I sent you a tanker, a canoe, a yacht, and even a cruise ship." The message, of course, was that help is evident if you take the initiative to accept what is offered.

For me, events that happened to me were a sign ... a sign that I needed to observe what was happening around me, and to take action in some way. As my beloved Arts District has been changing over the past six or seven years, I already knew in my heart that I needed to change, but everything else was swirling around me, and I just wasn't ready. My photography documenting this urban neighborhood during this time was really a long good-bye ... something I shared when I first launched my book with an exhibition in 2014, but quickly brushed aside inquiries about if I truly thought it was over. I had hope, and I didn't want to be a naysayer, so I stood taller, and bravely said that I was happy with the changes, and that everything would be all right. Yes, things have changed, and many could be construed as good, but it's hard to believe that the memories of my time in the Arts District were anything lesser than what is happening now. Today is not any better ... it's just different. I miss the characters of years past. I miss walking out of my loft and greeting people who knew me, too. I miss seeing art pop up in unexplained places. I miss hearing the bellowing voice of Joel Bloom when I walked over to his corner store for necessities not available anywhere else near by. I miss the weirdness of it all. In comparison, today seems too clean, too contrived, too forced. It was cooler when life was not so tightly planned.

So, in late July 2016, I made the choice to move to Houston while maintaining a second residence and keeping my business in Los Angeles. I wanted to be closer to my family, physically and emotionally. I didn't want to freak anyone out who worked with me in California, so I told my clients that I was going on a road trip ... so like I did in late July 1993, I packed my bags and started the process of moving on.

... more to come. 


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