staying in one place can be a revolutionary act: felecia on home

the following is an interview with my dear friend felecia fox as part of my home project. i met felecia eight or nine years ago and we have seen each other through thick and thin, and lots of transformation. felecia is an amazing musician and artist, and has recently published the zine sick witch (which is in the process of being made available online). this interview is being published on the full moon & on felecia & their mom’s anniversary of moving to oregon.

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What’s your name and where in the world are we?

My name is Felecia. We are at Kenilworth Park in southeast Portland. We’re on a blanket that is blue, red, yellow, and green, and there’s lots of stones and bones and friends hanging out too.

Do you have a place that’s considered a home of origin?

My mom. She always made our home. We moved around a lot when I was little, and even when we landed in the pacific northwest, we still seemed to bounce around every year. I had a hard time sitting still for a long time in my life because of it. Now I can comfortably say Portland is my home. It’s not where I come from or where I’ve been, but I miss Portland so much when I’m gone. I love it the most when the seasons change; Portland’s so beautiful. You can drive two hours anywhere, if you’re able, and have a completely different kind of weather.

Tell me more about your mom as your home.

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felecia & their mom

She’s been my constant. My mom doesn’t like to be labeled or defined. She is very loving and has been a pseudo mom for a lot of people in the world. She’s always had an open door. Everyone calls her Mama Katy.

Are there things that are important about a physical space feeling like home to you?

Animal companions. Pictures of family. Little knick knacks that remind you of places and moments and times. My mom always had a lot of candles around, and our kitties.

My current animal companion is King Georgia and his many thumbs in all of his rotten glory. Bless his snaggle tooth fuckin’ heart. He got hit by a car once, and he’s been a little temperamental ever since then. He’s very vocal and opinionated. He has a new spot that he finds to be home about every 12 hours. My wheelchair is often one of them; he really enjoys bedrest.12809648_10208756846869316_6053234286664622982_n

I wonder if you’d be willing to talk about if your relationship to home has been impacted with the ways your body and health has been fluctuating.

I’ve had to be okay with sitting still. I get itchy feet all the time to go travel and I feel really inspired when I go meet new people and see new places and be out in the elements. This year I’ve been confined to my apartment because of disability and trying to manage my energy more like a budget. It’s kind of dire. Having mobility issues, I just can’t leave the house without help. As many times as I’ve ‘pulled a geographic,’ wanting to experience life from a different place, hopin’ it would fix things, or give me that inspiration — I always come back to my mom. Staying in one place can be a revolutionary act when you’re someone who is that restless.

With my disability, I don’t get to choose my adventures anymore, I have to make them, and I have to create my own happiness since I can’t find it in ways that I used to. I guess I’m absurdly Libra, and my aesthetic around me is really important. If I have things around me I find aesthetically beautiful, I feel more peaceful, and that’s something my mom always taught me. You can make a home anywhere you go as long as you don’t forget who you are.

That reminds me of that line in Start Select at the beginning of the song — “some may call it homeless, but I know that I’m home-ful”

I have to play air guitar to try to remember it. (laughs) That was a long time ago. (sings) Everybody on this street is hungry for a cause…

Do you feel like music plays a role in how you find and make home?

Music is universal language. Music, I am so certain, exists outside of this world. There are high frequencies in the universe, and even earth has its own tone. I see our solar system as a circle of fifths, a grid just like on a guitar. On that type of grid, any which note you hit, even an open strum is a chord, anything you do is a chord. Any which way a planet progresses, it’ll strike a chord and be something.

Music keeps you grounded. I’ve lost a lot of my creative abilities with the more mobility I’ve lost, and singing’s been such great medicine for me all my life. I always knew I wanted to be a singer. Losing parts of my voice that I once used so well because my chest expansion and my vocal chords have all been affected. But my mom’s philosophy of make do wherever we are applies: I get to explore new parts of my voice that I didn’t know before.

13502148_10157052623130641_7516177890943109882_n.jpgI’d be interested in hearing either literally or in a more amorphous sense, what kind of visions do you have for a future home?

There are places I vision myself winding up, but I always want to be close to my family. Home to me is where there’s a rocking chair and a quiet place to go rest if I get overstimulated. And fuck stairs, you know? Fuck that!

The one question I’m asking everyone is, in what ways are you seeking home and in what ways have you found home?

A lot of my family on my mom’s side has died with mysterious symptoms, very young — before the age of 50. My generation has been so fuckin’ blessed with insurance and the medicine that we’ve had. We have a chance at surviving. They don’t know what’s wrong with me and I’m starting to wonder about home in the familial sense. I don’t think I could ever accomplish that home feeling until my family felt more healed. I want to know where my family came from and why we’re so afflicted with this shit…

Moving around so much makes it hard to deal with change sometimes. It can be kind of triggering. Illness has been the strangest gift in that regard. Teaching you to sit still because you have to, and if you’re not working to be okay with it, you’re just gonna be worse off. You’re gonna be more miserable. Pain and exhaustion are miserable enough. You should at least be comfortable. That’s home, as long as you’re comfortable.

Home for me right now is with my partner Cory and our cat King Georgia. Home will hopefully always be close to a hospital and a pharmacy and a park and somewhere where we can go get bottles of Coke if we want to. It’s also my red rocking chair and having a quiet place (cars honking in the background) away from all this shit! With all the people and their honking. I see myself someday in the North Bay in California. I just feel better there. I don’t think I’ll ever be far from the ocean ever again. That’s for fucking sure. I gotta go recharge.

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