On Oregon’s first legal post-prohibition 420, we are “coming out green.”
Coming out of the marijuana closet is a BIG deal for me, because I’ve always feared rejection above all else. I fear others’ judgment (while I try to reign in my own judgment), and I know that not everyone will understand me, some will talk badly about me behind my back, and some may get terribly upset (like my beloved husband).
As a hippie child, my marijuana story is really a lifelong one. I’ve got photos of me as a toddler posing with a small tree-sized plant in bloom behind me. When I broke my arm at nearly three, it took a huge harvest to pay off the medical bills. At age four, our parents moved from the off-the-grid mountain commune down to the valley to give us a better education and childhood experience. Our mom had been living off the grid for an amazing 12 years. Respect, Mom. They no longer had the land to grow, but they helped out friends and supplemented their meager incomes seasonally. Honestly, a few family friends actually did jail time for big grow operations, and I remember hoping that my parents were careful, and I know they took a lot of precautions to be good upstanding community members. That was the 80s, a time when our parents were trying to fit back into the mainstream and get past the reputation of being hippies. Yet, it was still prevalent enough. You can spot old hippie that no longer look like hippies all over this country, but particularly in Oregon.
I first toked up at the Oregon Country Fair, the summer before my freshman year of high school. I was with a few close friends, and even though I didn’t really get high, it was an exciting adventure. I didn’t smoke again until the followed spring, when we had no sports and were simply bored and looking for anything to do. Getting high made us laugh and smile, and forget that we lived in a boring little countryside town. Miel and I were still overachievers and worked hard to put up the facade that we didn’t just live to party on the weekend. Marijuana seemed to make teenage life tolerable, and ironically we rarely ever smoked with our friends in Eugene, instead we went to the WOW Hall and danced our hearts out to the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.
Fast forward and Miel and I each went on Rotary Youth Exchange, where we just drank like the locals and never missed pot. Miel has traveled the world over and smoked in only a handful of places.
Here’s the most shocking thing of this whole “coming out” story…as seniors our parents opted to allow us to smoke pot as long as we were at home (similar to liberal parents with alcohol). By this time they were well aware of signs of us smoking, and initially they completely disapproved. Yet, after seeing other teens around us get into serious trouble with meth and pregnancy, and a deadly car accident, they figured that we would be safer simply smoking under their roof. I was tired of keeping up with the party scene and relieved to hang out at home listening to music and hanging out high on the weekends.
In college, we partook occasionally, but we both had part-time jobs (or two), and wanted to work hard and get good grades. I didn’t smoke at all at Oregon State, and when I transferred to UofOregon, I smoked at parties and some epic rafting trips.
Yet, by my senior year, I was ready to “grow up” and kept thinking about how smoking didn’t mesh with my professional plans. Not long after meeting Kevin I realized that he would never approve of me smoking. I made a commitment to stop using marijuana and I didn’t smoke at all for a dozen years. Then my father died suddenly. Then I broke my ankle. Then I found my voice.
Contrary to what some might guess, we chose to launch Yippie Chicks on April 20th not just because it’s the first legal 4/20 in Oregon. It’s actually because this is the day our father died five years ago. Wally’s early death forever altered our lives, and continues to inspire us to become authentic Yippie Chicks.
Prior to Wally’s death, I played my life very safe. I was very good at planning out my family’s fairy tale life, and I left nothing to chance. It was as though I was on a tenure track to being a so-called super mom. The only problem was that I was exhausting myself, and I did more things to please my husband, kids and boss than I did to please myself. I cared more about professional success and proving myself than I did about living my bliss. While I wasn’t exactly a slave to the Man, I was clearly caught up in the rat race. I was working overtime, blogging on the side, hoping that I could one day manifest my real dreams.
As crazy as it felt to mourn so joyously, my creative energy seemed to be switched on like a light. I suddenly felt full of potential, and every connection I made in my life felt sacred and meaningful. I felt alive in a way that was heightened and beautiful, not unlike how I feel when I’m high.
Light and love,
Darcy (+ Miel)
Disclaimer **This may or may not be creative writing…you decide.**