"Missed flights and caught flames
Big bold bald change
Pagbalik ng hangin
Nandito na tayo sa langit
Gising mga kaibigan
Lapit na ang lipat namin
Return to Them
Return to Me
Pagbalik by Asin
I do not own the rights to this song.
Ok, so I never thought I'd be this person. I'm usually pretty on top of it when it comes to attending appointments, especially important ones. Maybe because this trip so much to Ed I decided he take the reins. Welp, we learned our lesson there. We were supposed to fly out of Bradley, CT at 4pm yesterday. The events happened as followed: we went to the grocery store to begin making dinner and I realized we had missed our flight, Ed got on the phone with the airline who gave us the option to pay for a $200 ticket on Saturday or wait until August 3rd to fly free and be credited $30 each, so we chose that option. We got back prepped the grill for meat, lit the coals, set the table, and began running the relay between up to the house out back, each taking turns on granting things inside that were missing: utensils, plates, ranch dressing, more citronella candles cause the mosquitos out here don't play. Ed ran up to the house to grab something I asked for while I continued to babysit the ribs. I decided to add some fuel to the grill. I opened up the hatch to the coals that were still burning, saw a bit of orange from the center of the pile and dowsed that with lighter fluid. I had done this a couple of times with Ed there to monitor and make sure I wasn't getting heavy handed with the liquid. Without him hovering I let too much on. I took the lighter and lit the inside of the grill and the next thing I knew a cloud of fire came towards me catching on to my hair and the right side of my body holding the lighter. I backed up, dropped thew lighter, and began patting my head while I saw long strands burn and turn to ash.
Ed's mom who was on the phone saw me walk up to her frantically patting as I asked "DO I STILL HAVE MY EYEBROWS?!" she answered, "see, you put too much" I responded, "I'm going to go put my hand in water." I jogged up to the house, ran up the stairs to the bathroom, and stood in front of Ed trying to explain what happened. After I slowed the events down in my head I finally let out, "I caught on fire" then my entire body was began to shake. I was in denial of the heat creeping up my hand and arm. He instructed me to get in the tub and let the running water cool the burn. I remained as calm as possible. Joking about the whole thing. I wasn't able to feel the worse of the pain yet. Ed left me to grab soothing ointment and I called my sister for comfort, still not entirely processing what had occurred. Once I removed my hand and arm from the water I began to feel the burn. I kept touching my hair that was burned so close to my scalp. I touched my eyelash that was perfectly trimmed by the flame. I was lucky that I didn't lose any skin. When Ed came back, we moved from out of the tub to the sink. Removing my clothes was the most painful. The transition from element to element was excruciating. The transitions were difficult, and I finally broke down after removing myself from water. I also noticed it hurt like a MF when I rested my hand so I kept moving it, shaking it, and never letting it rest. I told him to call Jes my coworker, and good friend who I remembered experienced a similar situation. Very calmly they explained how Manuka honey and lightly wrapping it in gauze and covering the burn with a cold towel would help, then Ed left again to get the honey. It was in this moment that the image of Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese monk who in protest burned to death in Saigon. Or the moment my Mama was able to call for help once she realized she was experiencing a stroke at work in a hospital. My hand felt like it was never going to cool down, but I kept imagining that it was doing the opposite and freezing. We filled a bucket of water and we alternated cold towels on it before finally transferring to the bedroom. I slept with Manuka honey on my right hand all the way up to my neck and a cold towel compress. Ed was more scared than I was. He kept expressing his worry and fear he made sure I was comfortable every few minutes. I've never felt more taken care of by a partner and friends before. Nothing like being literally lit to be your most vulnerable. I was terrified I'd never be able to write again, but the Manuka honey and cold compress really helped overnight. I woke up with less pain and the most scarring on my bicep. Looks like a bad tan line. My hair on the other hand was donezo. Already in the most awkward stage of growing out, I decided last night that it was time to make the full plunge.
This morning Ed sat me in the chair and shaved my head on guard #2. It feels extremely liberating to let all that go. Burnt hair and bullshit. I'm including that footage in a new episode of 5 Ft Lumpia and releasing it on Friday. My skin is healing fast. I was absolutely protected by the other world in that moment especially. My dreams have been incredibly vivid while we've been out here. I am in tune in a way that I haven't been since I was a kid, and that's terrifying and very exciting for me. All I know is I am being called back to the islands and back to childhood specifically. That moment taught me and reminded me of a few things:
Patience is key
If it's a new moon, maybe stay away from fire
If it's a full moon, maybe stay far away from the shore
Hair grows back
Staying calm in every situation will prevent stress and tension
I am protected by the other world
My Ancestors are birds and insects and the plants around me
I am surrounded by them every day of my life
they speak through people sometimes and I can hear their guidance in the voices of friends and family and my own
If you are traveling to a place for the first time and not familiar with your environment, we need to do research and respect the land and Ancestors that are with us and remain on that land
Some times you get burned
Nature is the best medicine
Big Pharma is the Devil
Hollywood is the biggest lie
Here are a couple of photos of what my hair looked like before we shaved it off and then the outcome. Update on Ed's poison Oak: it's healing! Oozing and swollen. It's irritating when he wears sneakers. Someone was very stubborn and continued to work out and sweat. So tomorrow he will finally let it heal. What a frikken summer. We both started directing more camps this week. The work never really stops.. and healing whilst teaching is somewhat rewarding.