Lido Pimienta - La Papessa

Camino a La Papessa
On the road to La Papessa



These photos were taken during the hardest week of my life (so far). Writing about this moment while it was unfolding was impossible and even now it’s a challenge. All I could focus on while it was happening was getting through it; getting my parents through it; getting my brother through it. The truth is, there were moments when I wasn’t sure we would see the other side. There were moments when the possibility of losing my brother, one of my best friends in the whole world, was all too palpable and real.

After one month of living in the hospital and going through chemotherapy every day, Blake was due to arrive home. My family prepared for his arrival with excitement. We cleaned the house, set up a room for him, stocked the fridge with delicious treats from the farmers market. We would finally be able to have dinners at home, friends over for games nights and BBQs! But when Blake arrived, he didn’t have the energy. In fact he couldn’t even walk from the back door of my parents house to his bed. He lay on the window seat in the kitchen all afternoon. When I came to welcome him home I was struck by his frailty and the lack of colour in his face. He was grey and tired, his eyes were glazed over, he was focused on his pain. The doctors had prepared us for the worst when they released him from the hospital. They said Blake would feel nauseous, tired, he would have low energy and be uncomfortable — all the lovely side effects of chemo. That said, it was hard to know what was normal and what was worse than that. Within a few days it became clear that Blake’s pain was not normal. He was unable to keep anything down, not even water. When he began to throw up what looked like black tar, my mom took him to the Emergency Room. They waited and waited into the night to be seen, and then, finally, Blake saw a doctor and shit hit the fan, fast. The doctor told my parents that Blake would need to be operated on immediately. The x-rays indicated that his bowels had ruptured. The surgeon’s outlook was grim. This was “very serious.” My dad spent the night at the hospital; and my mom and I stayed up, our stomachs in knots and our hearts beating rapidly. I have never been so scared.

As the sun began to rise that morning, and the oblivious birds began to chirp, the phone rang. We held our breath. Good news! Blake’s bowels had not ruptured, his appendix had! The surgeon was amazed, my dad was crying tears of joy, and, for the first time in days, we felt some relief. It was odd to be so thrilled at the news of a ruptured appendix! In fact, according to the doctors they had found Blake’s appendix totally severed, floating around his insides. No wonder he was in such pain.

I went to visit Blake that afternoon at the Toronto General Hospital. He was in a small dark room, hooked up to all kinds of machines and tubes, still he smiled when I entered the room and cracked some joke that immediately put me at ease. The nurse looking after him was working overtime and was rather gruff and impatient. Huffing and puffing as she did this and that. At one point Blake stopped her and said, “Doris I know you are doing your best to help me and I really appreciate it. Thank you.” She immediately softened and slowed down. He wasn’t being disingenuous. He knew that by treating Doris as a person and by thanking her for her hard work, she would in turn treat him as a fellow person and less like a patient. I’ve seen Blake do this more than once and it moves me every time. It also works like a charm!

Blake was unable to eat or drink after the operation. The nurse allowed him an ice chip to suck on every once and awhile. The first time he was given one, he burst into tears. The little things become momentous at times like these. When Doris wasn’t looking I’d sneak Blake a few ice chips. We were a team. I stayed with him until he was admitted to the recovery room at Toronto General, which was packed with recovering patients of all types. Each bed was flanked by thin curtains. You could hear everything going on in that room.

For days Blake stayed in bed, unable to eat. He lost almost thirty pounds in two weeks. During Blake’s week in Toronto General, myself, Effy (his besty) and my parents took turns staying with him - we wouldn’t leave his side for as long as we were allowed to be there. He needed us. My dad often spent mornings with Blake, reading to him from his book, The Danger Tree. One morning, the little old lady on the other side of Blake’s curtain stopped him as he was leaving to tell him how much she had been enjoying the book, and how calming his voice was for her. It’s moments like these, that keep you going. Somedays Blake would be chatty, other days he would be asleep or silent for our visits. One afternoon Blake insisted on sitting by the window in the hall with earplugs in. He needed to be closer to the outside but cut off from everything else. He could hardly move or speak. I watched him stare out the window with the saddest eyes. Later in the week, Blake had to reteach himself to walk. While in bed, his muscles had disappeared. Sometimes I had to help him move his legs for excercise. It was surreal.

Eventually Blake was admitted back to Princess Margaret hospital where he would stay for another two months. He was put in quarantine, which meant that every time we entered his room we had to put on a hospital gown and rubber gloves. It felt like that scene in ET. Blake wasn’t allowed outside of the room, not even into the hall. He was there for a long time.

During this extended, second stay at Princess Margaret, I experienced fear and sadness and happiness at it’s fullest. I watched doctors poke and prod into gaping holes in Blakes stomach, like a real-life game of Operation. I tried to distract Blake from the pain of having his spinal fluid removed with a needle the size of my arm. I waited for him in what felt like a sci-fi set as he got more CT scans, I tried to console him when he found out, on top of everything else, he had contracted a rare fungal infection that is difficult to treat and can be fatal. I spent some Saturday nights listening to jazz and playing cards. Blake and I had a lot of heart to hearts and some giggle-fests too. I’ve been in stitches laughing over hilarious hospital scenarios with Blake, like when he was singing from the bathroom at the top of his lungs about his bowel movement as the nurse walked into the room or when Blake was smoking some “wizard spinach” from his vaporizer in his hospital bed, unbeknownst to any of the staff coming in and out. A game of tennis with my mom, a coffee with my dad, a beer with a friend, a phone call from my boyfriend all meant so much more than it might on just a regular day when everything is “normal.” The ups and downs have been extreme.

And then, in the midst of all this, my dad’s mom, my Nanan, passed away. We were all so focused on Blake, it was hard to process the loss. I felt numb to it. On the day of her funeral, Blake was not in good shape. There were a team of surgeons in his room, his blood pressure was down, his heart rate was up, this was not a good sign they said, this indicated his body wasn’t coping properly. It looked like he would have to be admitted to intensive care. They thought he might need to be operated on again that day.

I sat with my dad in the hallway that morning, discussing what to do. He was calm and rational and so strong. He wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to go to Hamilton, to attend his mom’s funeral. Eventually we decided that I would stay, and my parents would go. I remember walking to the hospital praying that Blake would be ok. I’m not religious; but during these weeks I often prayed to something, to someone, to the Universe to be good to my brother. Effy was at the hospital when I arrived. She had been there all morning. We hugged and I took over. The rest of the day was a bit of a blurr - CT scans, infection specialists, nurses, surgeons, doctors. Somehow Blake managed to stay out of intensive care and avoid the second surgery. Somehow we managed to get through the day. I went home in the afternoon, while Blake was napping. Effy and I were going to make him a healthy dinner and bring it back to the hospital. We walked through the market in the sunshine to get our groceries. We decided to stop into Courage My Love and some other vintage stores. We needed some colourful distractions! I have a silly note pad on my desk that reads “When the going get’s tough…the tough go shopping!” And that’s exactly what we did. We weren’t planning on buying anything, but when Effy tried on a teeny mod dress that looked fab and I found a perfect pair of baggy jeans, I declared I was getting them for us! “Fuck it!” I proclaimed. “We deserve some retail therapy damn it!” We cooked up a storm in our new threads and walked dinner over to the hospital in ceramic bowls, with cloth napkins and silver forks and knives. If Blake couldn’t come home, we were going to bring as much of home to him as we could. That night we stayed up listening to Matthew Halsall’s album Fletcher Moss Park and played cards. Blake was calm, his heart rate improving steadily. We laughed and teased one another until he fell asleep. It was one of my favourite nights of the summer.

The next day Blake and I received an email from my Aunt. It read, “Hi you two. Yesterday was quite the send off for Nanan. The church was packed. She was loved by a great many people. Your Dad and Doug did a great job and Robbie was equally good speaking on behalf of all you grandchildren. We all have a treasure trove of memories of Grandad and Nanan. I really expected to feel her presence during the church service. Sort of like the Tom Sawyer scene . But then I thought, how silly. She was with you two. The service ended with  ’oh what a beautiful morning’ and I can picture you all up in Georgian Bay singing away. We have been thinking of you every day. I know this is a tough time but brighter days are ahead. I hope they come soon.” As I walked breakfast over to Blake at the hospital, I found myself humming “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.” I thought of Nanan, I thought of Blake, I felt the sunshine and was suddenly overwhelmed by optimism and warmth.

"Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a wonderful feeling,
Everything’s going my way.”

A special thanks to Effy for being a true hero and our rock. We couldn’t have done this without you. You have been there for all of us, every step of the way. To Bonnie for biking over after work to hang at the hospital and do yoga - you’ve been a great healer in all of this. To Vanessa for picking up the slack at work so I could be there with Blake and doing it with so much love. To Alyssa for making sure I was eating enough healthy things and constantly providing me with new cancer fighting health tips. To Julia for cooking my mom and I dinner and doing the dishes the night that Blake had his appendix removed. To my boyfriend, Adam for listening and making me feel SO very loved. To my cousin Adam, for giving us all the right medical advice. To Ron and Gill for cooking my parents beautiful meals and being their pillars of strength and wisdom. To Lorraine for all the lunches in and out of the hospital. To Ian Pearson for all the music and food and thoughtful gifts dropped off at our doorstep. To Robbie, for reading my words at Nanan’s funeral. And to everyone else who gave us hugs, checked in and sent their love during this time. It was, and still is, so deeply appreciated.

XO Caroline

Ive been painting a mural 


Un jardin, comienza con una semilla
Y una vision, alimentada con la luz del sol

Sigue asi, sigue asi, amor mio, sigue asi
Riega todo alrededor
Tues suenios viven en mi cuerpo
Vida aqui, vida aqui, nada es justo, hay vida aqui
Te regalo el resplandor
Amanece en el desierto
Quiero ir, quiero ir, detras tuyo quiero ir
Comenzar la humanidad
De otro planeta y Universo
Corazon de paja, alma de lava, saliva de pan
Colombianos sin ancestros

Los jardinesse iban nutriendo
Se iban nutriendo con el rio Magdalena
Los delfines, delfines rosados
Te iban saludando con una tierna sonrisa

Un jardin-De flores rojas y amarillas
Tiene tu luz-Acurrucada en la raiz

Quiero ir, quiero ir delante tuyo quiero ir
Mostrarte mi camino
De esmeraldas y diamantes
Corazon de paja-Alma de lava-saliva de pan
Colombianos sin recuerdos

Los Jardines-Se iban nutriendo-se iban nutriendo
Con el rio Magdalena
Los delfines, delfines rosados
Te iban saludando con una tierna sonrisa
**Yo quisiera, quisiera ser la brisa
quisiera ser la brisa para batir tus cabellas
Y meterme, meterme dentro de ellos

Meterme de entro de ellos para escuchar tu sonrisa**


Chancha Via Circuito feat. Lido Pimienta - Jardines

Diggin’ it.

Pre-order Amansara, in a variety of forms, @ Bandcamp.

Let me tell you something about Bro “culture”…

Let me tell you something about that time a bunch of bros in a car told me to suck their dick as I rode my bike - told them to fuck off. On that same night, waiting for the light to change another bro in a car took his hand out and GOT A HOLD OF MY ASS - I smashed their car window with my bike lock - got on the side walk and rode my bike far away from there, fast. The money they had to pay to repair their fucking car which for some reason makes bros feel powerful, does not pay for the shame one feels when ones body is someone else’s playground, because we are brown/black/indigenous/trans/queer - therefore unworthy of respect, and my “big booty” is asking for it, I am asking to be over-sexualized, otherwise I wouldn’t be flaunting it on my bike on my way home right? - today I learn that one of my soul sisters riding her bike got a fucking slushie thrown at her while biking home as well, she lost her balance, and now she is hurt. She is a gangster, poised, beautiful intellectual womyn who will not make a big deal about this, but I will coz I don’t give a fuck about bro culture and I don’t lie about loading water guns with pee - I carry that shit and now I WISH a motherfucker would fucking touch me or my majestic friends - if you fucking have any idea of who would dare do something like this, show me his bro face so I can spit on it!!!!! So much love to my people experiencing passive aggressive bro kkkulture - fucking hell…..

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy