After sharing in my last post that I began smoking pot before I had permanent teeth, some of you were left a bit perplexed. Perhaps I need to flesh out the story a bit…
At the time we rolled out of New Orleans in the Mars Hotel, most of the country was struck by disco fever. However, my mother was only beginning to tune in, turn on, and drop everything – including her micro-mini’s and thigh-high kid-glove stilettos for recycled overalls and second-hand Birkenstocks.
With the help of a stinky shriveled green herb, she soon began to embrace her new life, often articulating her experiences with expressive hand gestures as I listened silently:
“FINALLY, I’m not living in a world of guilt and duty. I’m a Sagittarius – I carry my pain in my thighs. But I am ready to dump this shame and take up some SPACE… I’ve always been told I’m TOOOO MUUUCH! I just want to…” pause for deep breath as voice cracks, “…accept myself.”
Such confessions were usually followed by an announcement of her next juice cleanse.
It wasn’t until we settled at the commune, that my best friend Pink Heart (also 7), and I began to sample the crops grown in neighboring “secret gardens”.
Pink Heart’s dad, Chickory, who to this day smokes more weed than Cheech Marin ever dreamed, was the first to introduce me to the stuff. Three puffs and many coughs later, I remember Pink and Chickory watching me and giggling while I thought to myself, “Whoa….whoa…whoaaa… So this is what all the fuss is about… I get it… This stuff really WORKS!”
I became pretty obnoxious when I smoked pot, often pretending I was more out-there than I actually was. I’d speak gibberish, and vacillate between singing show tunes and cursing loudly. I liked how Pink Heart would also move between laughter and genuine concern that I had perhaps in fact gone crazy.
My mother caught me in such delirium a couple of times, watched momentarily, then crossed her arms, tucked her chin, and pursed her lips to say, “I hate it when y’all get her stoned. She’s too much.”
Having never tasted the good straight life I once knew in New Orleans, Pink was forced to grow up quick. Poor thing was raised on a stinkin’ bus from the get-go, with a single mom on food stamps, and a dad who would pop in periodically, since his dope habit was chief priority – making him semi-there both physically and literally. By the 2nd grade, Pink had dropped acid and tried mushrooms (her favorite), which she proposed repeatedly we try together sometime.
I didn’t “shroom” until high school – by that time I had been-there/done-that and was pretty much over pot.
But in those early days, marijuana was the magic panacea in our house – It was entertainment, a food-source, even “medicine”. I remember an asthmatic Pink Heart once arguing with her father that she needed an inhaler, not a bong. And I watched in horror with ever-widening eyes as she smoked and wheezed her way through ‘healing’.
On the commune, anything that came from the earth was considered “healthy”, while commercialism was considered negative. Therefore Mom’s rationale for smoking pot was that it’s ‘natural’.
Once while trying to light a stubborn roach, she turned to me defensively and said, “Whaaat? The Indians use it.”
I doubt the Indians used it as much as everyone did back then…
Can you imagine the munchies I had on a strictly enforced raw foods diet? My internal dialogue sounded something like: “I guess I could spice up this carrot with a little mashed tomato ‘dip’… Or I could polish off another melon…”
If I could do it over, would I choose a sober childhood? I’m gonna just say “No.” I certainly don’t recommend prepubescent pot smoking, yet I appreciate all experiences (however unconventional) that have shaped who I am today. Sure, my memory may be compromised…my paranoia amplified…and my already suffering self-consciousness more enhanced by nature’s most potent bud; but I believe that destiny is designed and deliberate, ultimately intended for a higher good. And so I’ll continue to grow, with each weird and wonderful chapter, through the inevitable highs and lows of life.