I always sucked at doing drugs. I suck at drinking too. I don’t know if it is because my parents were overly cautious while I was growing up, or  I was just too sensitive to substances (and dairy), or if I’m just naturally a huge wuss.

As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to drink soda except for special occasions.  Our food was fresh off the farm, we needed to drink our milk before anything else, sweets and candy were for after dinner or on vacation, no swearing, no staying up past 8:00pm, homework done before playing – all that good parenting stuff.

By the time I was in high school, the sum of my illegal substances added up to about 5 sips of my dad’s beer and maybe a small glass of wine at an uncle’s wedding. At this point, I wanted to fit in and try things like everyone else, but everything about it went again my psyche, and my stomach. I thought I was cool by sneaking out one day with a couple of alcoholic spritzers in high school. Other than that, I never really got drunk until college.

When I was 18, college rolled around, and I was on my own for the first time. I may have went a bit overboard. Along with eating cookies for dinner more than one night a week, I did drink quite a bit and, in turn, threw it up all over the place.

That phase of my life didn’t last long, however. By the time I was 20, I was pretty much over drinking and college life. My 21st birthday flew by like it was no big deal and I went back to doing what I loved as a kid and took up skateboarding again after a 7 year hiatus. I graduated college with my bachelor’s degree a year later.

Things went pretty well with skateboarding. I had no desire to drink or try any substances and it lasted for a while. I did a lot of cool stuff through skateboarding that I was really proud of. I built a website community for women who skateboard, placed 3rd in a professional contest, got to travel and skate demos at the Vans Warped Tour and other events, taught lessons, designed skateboard graphics, got to be in some videos and my artwork appeared in ads and a magazine. I kept myself happy and busy.

Time flew and before I knew it, I have 2 kids, a husband, and was forced by this lifestyle to take a bit of a break from skateboarding once again. But a few post-baby years later, I was ready to get back into some new adventures. However; after attempting to skateboard again, a few injuries hit me along with the realization that I wasn’t get any younger. It was a tough pill to swallow. While laid up and lonely, it was hard not to think about those years wasted trying to party and fit in. I felt guilty as I attempted to hang on to anything I had left.

Unfortunately, this all happened around the same time as, what I can only describe as, my midlife crisis. I had this deep longing for something I couldn’t really put my finger on. I went on a bucket list hunt for things I thought missed out on in my late teens, early 20’s.

Like any person would do during a midlife crisis, I decided to go out and do some stupid stuff to mark these things off of my bucket list. Along with getting my masters degree, and purchasing a lava lamp, I decided to go and try drugs – newly legal drugs in a few states. I figured by now, I had the know-how to do them responsibly.  I really wanted to see what the hype was. Maybe I did it wrong before, or maybe the stuff I got wasn’t that good because it was illegal back then. I was down to give it another go. And this time, I won’t smoke it – maybe that will make the experience better.

The Warm Up

New Media Workshop at Anderson Ranch

On a lovely, warm, summer week in Snowmass, Colorado, I was attending my semi-yearly creative coding workshop. I travelled solo that year due to affordability of taking the whole family – a much needed break away. I decided to use this time for me, and doing “adult” things.  I dedicated this week to my workshop, trying out different meditation techniques, and doing some fun Colorado things before I went back home.

I managed to set aside the last 2 days to do some of those things before I left. One of them was renting a mountain bike and checking out the trails. I just started this hobby in Wisconsin and really wanted to take it to the big leagues.

I rented the bike on the Saturday following my workshop, went up into the mountain trails and rode for a good hour and a half, two hours. It was fun, but really tiring – I forgot the air is thinner in the mountains. On my way back, I decided to take the winding track down the main hill where the gondola gets on and off for one last ride. When I reached the bottom of the hill, there was a small bridge right before the lift entrance.

Before look
After look

I tried to lift up my front handlebars to get on top of it, but I must have exerted all the strength in my arms during my previous rides, for at this pivotal point, It would appear I had nothing left. I hit the edge of the bridge and flew over the handlebars. I slammed my chin on the top of bridge and felt my brain rattle against the walls of my skull. Luckily, I was wearing my helmet.

When I got up, I covered my chin, was dizzy and light headed. I took my hand off and saw a pool of blood spurt onto the ground along with some sitting in my hand. I quickly ran down to the lift operator and called a ride into the ER.

A warm blanket from the lovely Aspen hospital and a few stitches later, I was back in my hotel room, more than ready to wrap up the trip. I packed up and got ready to get my flight the next day.

I woke up early, got to the airport, checked my luggage, and was ready to get on my flight, when I heard the flight attendant announce the flight had been overbooked. Volunteers were needed to give up their seat in exchange for a gift certificate that could be used for another flight. It was like I was sitting watching an auction for a while with no takers. It started at $200, but when it hit $800, It was getting harder to refuse. That’s a family vacation right there. I gave up my seat and headed back to the hotel and booked another night in Colorado.

I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I was really ready to get home to see my family. On the other, I was super excited about going on another adventure that was pretty much paid for. I took it in stride. I had $20 left in my pocket, and one more night in Colorado. I was still broken from the night before, so any kind of physical activity was out of the question. What would be the best way to spend this time?

It dawned on me, I could shuttle into Aspen and check out one of the marijuana dispensaries. I’ve heard some good things about edibles. This could make the trip a whole lot better, or slightly worse at this point. Either way, for some reason I was willing to take the risk. All my friends have done it before, how bad could it get?

I ventured into town, stopped into the store, and checked out the selections. I had no idea what to choose or what any of the dosages meant. The man working there wasn’t too much help either. It wasn’t going too well, but I was determined to make this an experience.

Hell in a bottle

Chocolate is my jam, so I grabbed a 3 pack of brownies, 10 mg each. I heard from friends that 10 mg is nothing, and should get me nice and relaxed.


I bought some snacks, prepped my room for the maximum amount of comfort, and even picked out some chill music and YouTube videos to vibe out to. I was ready for the experience. Like the nerd I am, I got my journal out so I could write it all down.

The Trip to Hell

I took half the brownie, as suggested by someone close to me. I waited a half hour and felt nothing. So I decided to just eat the rest. The next half hour, I was slowly feeling the effects. I was pretty mellow, and started getting hungry about an hour in and grabbed some of my snacks. I put on my YouTube videos and was feeling pretty good for about 15-20 minuts. At about the half point there was a shift and it really started to go downhill.

The chill vibe, turned into a spinning room, which turned into complete and udder despair. I had to close my eyes, stop writing, and stop the videos. I’m not sure how much time had passed through the whole ordeal, but it reached a point where I felt as though my personality blasted open to where I was no longer part of my body.

My body was violently shaking, crying, and rocking back and forth. My logical brain was non-existent. And my emotional brain, or my ego I think, was thrusting itself between outer space, and the bottomless pit of Hell, exactly as described in the Book of Revelation.

“He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.”

Revelation 9:2

Luckily, I didn’t fall all the way to the bottom. I was clinging to the side of the wall looking up at the spec of light, thinking to myself “How the Hell am I going to get out of here?” I remember looking down and there was no bottom – total darkness, I could only faintly see the sides of the walls.

I was then thrusted up, as if I was a rock in a slingshot, towards the light out into outer space. There I was floating for a while, among the stars, all alone. It was the loneliest I have ever felt. This is where the cries got real. I’ve never felt this level of loneliness before. It was as though a tunnel was dug through my heart.

All the time, my observing self, was watching it all go down. I remember a voice “Wow, I’ve never seen you cry like this before.” I recognized this portion of me as my true self – the higher self. This is the part that doesn’t ride the roller coaster, or panics, or gets lonely. It was the true, non-judgemental, me – the Jesus. I was thinking if I was to die right then and there, this would be the part of me that would go…to Heaven? The other ‘mes’ would just melt into the Earth, and I wouldn’t care because I’d be where ever it was I needed to be. This ‘self’ was unattached to whatever was happening, just watching it all go down.

That entity, and my husband whom I called in hysterics, walked me through the trip and helped me through the whole ordeal. At this point, all I remember in the physical reality, is that I was on the phone proclaiming to my husband that I am not Rocky Balboa and that I want to go home.

Return to Earth

I slowly started to calm down and return back to myself. I vaguely remember crawling around, and hugging a pillow. I may have kissed the ground. I was back in my body long enough to go and take a shower. I slept like a baby and was worn out, but extremely grateful to get back on the plane home.

Never in my life have I had such an appreciation for Earth, and life, and this 3D existence that we complain so much about, that I vowed to stay here, and ‘in it’ as long as God Almighty will have me around.

I learned that there is no escape from this place, and there’s really no place as good as the right here and now…

…for now.