Atlanta, GA: Down the Rabbit Hole

Today is a Monday. 

How do I know that it’s a Monday?

I woke up early but somehow was still late to work.

I found a spider in my bathtub, while I was in it.

And, of course, I’m getting a flat tire.

But, Starbucks exists to fix the Monday Morning Moanies, I’m convinced, and I took full advantage of its resources on the way to work!

Today I’m taking a look back at this weekend and all of the wonderful new experiences  it brought my way!

I traveled to Atlanta, GA for a Comprehensive Energy Psychology conference bright and early Saturday morning.

Growing-up I was never allowed to visit Atlanta. My mother is an overly-cautious individual and she always portrayed the city as dark and dangerous, overrun by drugs and purse bandits. I will say, she’s not entirely wrong, but it’s also so much more.


Atlanta, GA

We’re in a tiny concrete building, in the middle of an apartment complex, about thirty minutes away from the comfort and safety of our overpriced hotel. We’d gotten lost twice trying to find this place, and it looks nothing like the pictures on Google. The door opens to a cramped and damp store full of metaphysical goodies. Crystals, books on finding your animal spirit guide, tarot decks, pendulums, and a menu of clairvoyant offerings clutter the walls and room- along with cobwebs, dust, and dirt. It smells mildewed and oddly like summer camp somehow. We’re greeted by a wide-eyed woman raving about her podcast.

Purchases in hand, we’re ushered into a room behind a curtain where many a character are sitting in old leather chairs around a different, much louder woman. I feel trapped in a manic’s daydream. Everyone is talking fast and loud and nothing that they’re saying makes any sense to us and someone mentions that the sangria is “kicking in” and suddenly a woman in a onesie comes around the corner holding a vegan taco and talking about how the highway in Atlanta is somehow relatable to watermelon. I look over at one of my friends; she’s smiling and nodding but you can tell she’s just as confused as I.

We’re texting each other.

“What’s happening?”

“I feel like anything you say in here really resonates with these people so I don’t think that we should say anything. Do you think that they all know each other or did some of them happen upon this like we did?”

Twenty minutes later we’re told to follow the other woman up a set of carpeted stairs and into a room for clairvoyant readings. I’m told that my spirit animal is a rabbit and that I’ll meet someone incredibly influential very soon.

When we finally leave, two hours have passed and I’m unsure of how.

Let me tell you, first impression: Atlanta is complicated. People crowd the streets at night and it’s uncertain where is safe and where isn’t. There’s an ice cream truck parked in front of a liquor store and young children on a street corner in front of a tattoo parlor.  I feel like I’m in a 90’s vampire movie where the dark corners of the city are enticing but dangerous unless you’re immortal or suicidal.

An hour later, we’re in a bar completely filled with cigarette smoke inside and out. All the waitresses are half-naked wearing leather and lace and ours has devil horns and a kimono that hides everything a body harness can’t cover. We’re tucked in a tight corner practicing energy manipulation with a soapstone pendulum. It doesn’t feel like a weird thing to do considering the city around us. The man standing two people over from us blows cigarette smoke into the face of the woman directly next to him. We’re glad we aren’t her. I get a beer and drink none of it but somehow leave feeling intoxicated. Is it this place? The smoke thickening in the air? A man wearing a cardboard sign that says “will solve rubix cubes for $1” stumbles past us.

We drive deeper into the pit of the city.

The parking lot is full of expensive cars. Music shakes the metal stairs that lead into the store and away from the busy roadway. IDs are checked and a young woman, seemingly too young, wearing platform heels and a barely-nothing dress, escorts us away from the door.

“It’s over here.”

We’re terrified, eyeing each other and making the “OMG” mouth motions behind her back as she leads us to a counter. Complimentary champagne is placed gingerly in our hands and I find myself wondering- where are we???

This is Tokyo Valentino.

Were surrounded by floor-to-ceiling adult novelties, and there’s a *club (wink-wink)* in the back. We consider going, but we’re all chickens so we decide not to. A magician maneuvers a cart around a display case and offers us a magic trick involving a fake wedding ring and three packs of bubblegum.

It’s after midnight.

This place, this night, is a fever dream- I’m convinced.

The next morning comes too early and even though it’s long over- I’m still smiling from the night before.

Initially I wanted this post to end with a deep reflection on myself and what I learned about myself in Atlanta. But, honestly I’m just feeling intensely grateful.

I’m grateful for the experiences I had, the friends that I made, and seat warmers (yes-seriously). I’m not sure that I could’ve maneuvered the city without seat warmers (jk but… yes- seriously).

Have a great Monday, everyone.

I’m going to get back to my normal routine of homework and decaf coffee before noon.

With love,

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Author: jessicahollen

Hey everyone out there reading this, my name is Jessica. I prefer Jessie or Jess most of the time though, just because I like to keep conversation casual. When you call me Jessica, I assume I'm in trouble for eating someone's candy stash or something. I'm a 22 year-old graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at my home-town university in South Carolina. I'm here to share my thoughts on life, spread awareness for Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia, and fight the stigma surrounding mental illness!

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