Today has been a day full of tears, processing and acknowledgement.
On this day, Two Year ago ~ March 15th 2020, I made the very painful but necessary decision to close Love on Haight due to the CoronaVirus. Love on Haight was the first small business in the bay area to close, we would remain closed for over a year.
The next day, our Mayor, London Breed announced a “Shelter in Place” order that would soon ripple across the country.
After talking to the deputy Chief of Police, the ramifications of the Pandemic really began to sink in. He told me to take everything valuable out of the shop and that he had no idea how long this would last, but it wouldn’t be over quickly.
Afshin & I had been talking about putting paper in the windows and as we pulled up to the hardware store I saw Relic Vintage with wood over their windows and I said to Afshin, “I want that!”
As we figured out wood at the hardware store, the manager discouraged me from putting up wood, stating it would make it look like a warzone…in my head, I thought, “We are at War….against a Virus”
We boarded up & emptied out the shop, I could not help but cry, wonder…process.
When we were done I took the red spray paint from the hearts and spray painted the only thing I could think of…. “WE WILL GET BY, WE WILL SURVIVE.”
To be frank, I don’t know if the message was for everyone else or for me. I guess, all of us. I needed hope, I needed to remember…I had to…Keep the Faith.
The shutdown was freaking hard. I felt pretty alone, thank God for Afshin. I never stopped working, in all honesty, I had never worked so hard in my life…and most of it was in my very very cold garage.
When I would go down to the shop, I would get so depressed. It was empty…with gray walls (wtf, a tiedye shop with gray walls…pfffft!) a “tent city” started to grow outside, and usually I am so anal retentive about people on the corner, but how could I be, we were closed, they needed a place to go…it was a pandemic…so Afshin and I fed them, made sure they had clothes and started to accept all of our new reality.
When the first rounds of PPP & EIDL loans came in, relief flooded my being. The shop would not be here today if it was not for those loans that we managed to get two rounds of…or the loan I took out before the shut down…I lost everything in the crash of 2008, I knew the signs and was not going to let it happen again.
When the shop kept on getting tagged and graffitied to the point that no matter how hard I scrubbed it wouldn’t come off…I took a step back, wiped off my tears and realized that we might as well just repaint the whole thing.
Because sometimes you need a clean slate to truly start over.
From time to time, you need to shut down, so you hunker down and grow.
Today, March 15th 2022, two years to the date of Love on Haight’s shutdown notice, I signed a lease for our New Nonprofit, Colors of Love on Fredrick and Stanyan…Our Women’s Prisoner Reentry Tiedye & Community Education Program, inspired in part by the death of George Floyd and the need for us to actually DO SOMETHING to help fix a problem…and if we are going to do fashion we really really need to do 100% Ethical Fashion!
As I awoke and realized that all of this was happening 2 years after my world stopped…the reality of it is still hard to process…
And the tears, they are for understanding what we have been through and what we have endured but also they are tears of PRIDE.
Pride of following through and of doing what We Promised to do.
When we announced our shut down, I ended it with the following:
“We will Get By, We Will Survive and We Will THRIVE.”
Today Love on Haight is busier than even before the Pandemic, Our Remodeling looks amazing 7 Bright, The Outside Mural just makes you SMILE when you see it, We have a massive Online Store, We have more artists than ever and are getting more in daily, We have more quality blanks, We have more Staff than ever, we have apartments upstairs for housing and we are staying true to our Commitment to do more for our Community and Each Other.
Because it is not about one person or one thing…it is ABOUT ALL OF US.
In the words of Wavy Gravy & Ken Kesey, “Since we don’t know where we are going, we might as well stick together, in case someone gets there…”
Life is a Freaking Journey…like a massive mountain of a freaking hike…but as I often say…the Views, the Views…
Thank you all…everyone…for taking this journey with us…with me…what a Beautiful Rainbow it is!
Sunny Thought of the Week:
Being Grateful as well as Appreciating & really Sinking into the Good as much as we do the bad. It can be good…great…just like it can be the opposite, but we have to relish in it all! It is a beautiful thing…it really really really is….