By: DM BLUNTED
When Oliva, the owner of Kush Queen reached out to me in February, to see if I was interested in writing for her companies blog I was beyond thrilled. It’s really not every day or every other month that someone sees the passion and time I put into my work as a writer and wants to reward it with actual coins and not clout. This not only gave me the opportunity to sit down, process and write, but it also helped relieve some of the looming financial anxiety that constantly hangs over my head.
Now flashback to a few months ago when I got a DM from the Queen herself, Olivia, inquiring if I would be interested in getting flewed out from the Midwest to L.A to do a photoshoot for Kush Queen…Y’all, when I say I was shaken and stirred I mean it. I’m not a model, I’m not a classically trained writer – and if we’re being 300, I barely graduated high school. But yet there was this powerful and successful woman that sees something in me. Even though this wasn’t the first time someone had whispered sweet nothings in my ear about plane tickets and L.A., it was the first time someone said it, meant it and followed through with it. And for that, I can’t praise Olivia and Kush Queen enough.
It wasn’t until I settled the details of the trip with Olivia’s right hand Ben, and my ticket itinerary was in my email that I actually started to realize that it’s really happening. I was soon going to be on my way to California for the first time. My anxiety, self-doubt and hesitance smacked me like the cheese challenge. The few weeks that led up to my departure from the slow and humble Midwest to the mecca of starlets, podcasts and cannabis couldn’t have come faster or with more dread. I felt way in over-head. I felt I was going to disappoint the people who were excited to meet me and I was scared I was going to be disappointed as well. I had also made the sporadic decision to do my own makeup, which in retrospect I’m like, “why do that to yourself sis?”
As takeoff day came, so did the sleepless nights. The evening before my flight, I just laid in bed battling low thoughts of insecurity with high hopes of being ravished by deep sleep. On the morning of the 10th, there was no coffee needed to get me up, my fears are more powerful than any form of caffeine. So with a blunt in my system and time on my ass, I was dropped off at the airport by my sister. Who knew how nervous I was and spoke only in encouragements to me the whole fifteen-minute ride there. Lost, shaken and confused are the only words that can describe what I was going through (seriously I was so nervous I left my laptop at security and didn’t even realize it until I was in the air), until I found my flights’ gate. As I settled into my seat I have no clue what spirit possessed me, but as I leaned my head back I felt excitement for my trip without the weight of the what if’s.
After a short wait on the curb of LAX, a little black SUV pulled up with a smiling and sunglassed face I had only seen on my iPhone screen. I immediately felt reassured as I tossed my bussing suitcase into Morgan’s (@thiscannabislife) backseat and hopped myself into her passenger seat. The same excitement and sweetness she exuded from her messages were the same Morgan I was getting in person. It felt like I had known her for so much longer than 30 seconds the way we instantly started chatting and kekeing. Since I was only going to be in town for 48 hours, Morgan and Ben thankfully decided to be my tour guides for the day. A scenic drive through Griffith Park turned into a patio breakfast, which turned into a stroll through Melrose Trading, which evolved into sticking sticks into the La Brea Tar Pits and finished with a slow but amazing Himalayan dinner. By the end of the night, I had been flewed out, blewed out and ready to make up for some of those sleepless nights.
I woke up the next morning with some real pep in my step. Yes, I left my lotion and toothpaste at home but hell no, being ashy and hot-breathed wasn’t going to kill my glow! Soon after my alarm clock Morgan and her husband arrived with arms full of colorful flowers and plants for the days’ shoot. Once again, I’m not a model. This isn’t my everyday. So to be able to see the work that goes on behind the scenes to create a unique and aesthetically pleasing set was an invaluable learning experience. To be surrounded by people who want to create the best work they possibly can, was so inspiring. As I did my makeup I felt ready, no shaky hands or thoughts of wanting to run away – just ready.
The day was literally jam-packed with shooting. Five sets, five outfits and five different variations of makeup all done within five to six hours. But not once did I feel overwhelmed. Morgan made my first photo shoot experience so chill, fun and uplifting. The love and warmth that was on that set could never be faked. I know I’m not everyone’s cuppa tea. I’m aware that because I speak out on the rampant anti-blackness in cannabis that it turns brands off. But to be embraced by Oliva and to be told that I’m family, is a constant reminder that I don’t need to alter my morals or stances to be successful or wanted.
After we wrapped up the shoot and had an amazing dinner that I was full for like two days after, I was returned back to my Venice Beach Airbnb (which by the way was so adorable). I kind of just sat on the couch for a few minutes in a very dream-like state. It was like my body had done the actions of makeup and posing for pictures but my brain couldn’t register it, until then. I literally said out loud to an empty room “is this real?”
The next morning came and I caught my flight back to the Midwest – yesterday’s haze came more into focus as I sunk into my seat. The events and wise words of encouragement and advice replayed in my head the whole flight, except when I was sleeping. As I exited the plane I felt a renewed sense of self-worth. Like yeah, I did do that without having to sell my soul to the devil. I gained experience that people pay for, I was uplifted by folks that I admire all while having a good ass time. My trip to L.A. reminded me to dream bigger because it’s all in my reach.
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