Note: I've heard that the Doll Skin team has received some hate via this blog. I realized I wrote the pervious version out of anger and the blog has been updated to reflect my calmer state of mind.
San Francisco was absolutely NOT colder, but hey, we survived. Day three was when I started to get back into my groove, photo-wise. If you’ve followed my blogs in the past, you know I don’t have a great track record with SF—you tend to get negative ideas about a city after you’ve been robbed there. While I certainly didn't have a great day there, I made it out with all my belongings!
I'm still adjusting to being separated from the girls every night, but that evening, they gave me some suggestions about how to better spend my time throughout the day. I spent the first few days feeling like I was walking on eggshells, but now I feel like I have a clearer direction.
Financially, I'm still not totally sure if the whole tour is doable, so I spend most of the next day talking to friends and family to figure out my options. I'll be sure to keep you all posted!
It was also during this time that I found out one of my dear friends on the tour, Ally, was planning on going home after the last California date. She’s been dealing with some mental health issues (you can read more about it on her blog) and has the full support of her crew. It made me a little bit more comfortable with the idea of leaving early, as her prioritization of her wellbeing over a dream (that turned out to not be so dreamy) was inspiring. I’ll miss her dearly and wish her a speedy recovery. She’s a tough cookie—she’s totally got this.
I realize that these tour blogs are often fun—running around with rock stars, traveling the world, etc., all seem pretty amazing on paper. But touring is fucking hard. Warped tour is a regular tour on steroids and not everyone can handle it. I have absolutely no shame in admitting that I’m having trouble dealing with it. This lifestyle isn’t roses and sunshine.
Doll Skin's set time for the night was different and so was the light (my lighting situation is entirely dependent on the sun), and I walked away feeling excited about the photos. I should probably say “ran away,” because our set time overlapped with All Time Low’s by five minutes, and I was NOT missing another opportunity to shoot them. I sprinted over and only ended up missing one song.
My photos are by no means spectacular for their set, but it meant the world to me that I was able to cover it. They were one of my favorite bands when I was in middle school, and I’ve been trying to shoot them since I started. When I stood there in a literal ocean of photographers and Alex Gaskarth looked dead at me, it was a huge moment for me. I cried again, but happy tears this time.
I managed to snag a ride home to Phoenix with Sydney’s mom (shout out to Temre, my actual lord and savior), and was feeling a lot better. After crashing at their house for the rest of the night/early morning, Victoria and I headed back to my apartment for the beginning of three days off.
[Warning: graphic description]
After I got out of the shower, we started hearing noises coming from outside—I live in student apartments so hearing screaming isn’t all that unusual, but Victoria realized before I did that these were not partying screams. She ran outside and I followed, and we saw that there was a horrible car accident involving a toddler right outside my gate. It was at this time I found out Victoria is an EMT, and she took charge of the situation. She was incredible, instructing each person on what to do while I (and other neighbors) called 911. I don’t want to be too descriptive, but I did have to hold the phone to the little girl’s father’s ear while he answered the dispatcher’s questions, and that image is going to be in my head for a long time.
Victoria is having a harder time with it than I am, which is totally understandable as she had much more contact with the scene while I did my best to comfort the girl’s mother. If you see her on the rest of the tour, make sure to give her a hug. We’ve spent most of the day refreshing news articles to find out her condition—all we know is that she’s been described as “extremely critical.”
Our hearts are absolutely broken for the family, and I’m so glad Victoria was here to stabilize her. She’s inspired me to take first aide classes when I return from tour so I can help if I ever end up in a similar situation again.
I don’t intend to make this tragedy about me by any means, but this pain has helped to put things into perspective. I never really believed that things happen for a reason, but Victoria has a damn good point that she was in my apartment today because that little girl needed her to be there. And I’m here for a reason too. I may be feeling some discomfort, but ultimately I owe it to all the people who have been touched by Warped to tell this story.
I’m turning the hurt and trauma I’ve been through into something empowering because hey, that’s what women do.
I can’t thank you all enough for the support and kind words that you’ve passed along my way throughout the past few days. Space is a weird thing to navigate, and it helps tremendously to know that I have so many of you lovely people here with me. Things aren’t exactly peachy right now, but I hope you’ll stay tuned.