April Yvette Thompson
I'm sorta floored by how beautiful this house is. the owner is this NYC painter with his fierce wife(who also fled the madness). his work is extraordinary (Vincent Figlioli) btw and he built this painter's studio which i now have the wondrous privilege to live in. And when I say built. He built from the ground up and filled it with furniture from Bali, Mexico and antiques from his family home in Italy. There are 3 homes on the property and they are all gorgeous.
They welcomed me last night with champagne and tried to feed me until I was about to pass out.
I feel like I'm home...
It's funny...I made a choice that felt absolutely right and the rest of my life was going to proceed with a level of calm, love and family I'd never known. All the peices were coming together.
Then COVID, Black Lives Stopped Mattering, confined to my home alone for 4 months in Morocco watching kittens die and my neighbors struggling to feed themselves. The panic, depression, anxiety and daily violent deaths of a black person in the USA took its toll on me. My body just said "no", revolted and my spirit went on sabbatical under the battering. My relationship with this wonderful man crashed and burned. I had to leave Morocco for safety, get my cats to the USA and live homesless for a couple of months.
my most fervent dream: to find a partner who feels right in every way to spend my life with is gone. And now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
So, I wrote and dreamed about how I wanted to feel. Then I looked for places that made me feel that way: i want a garden to sit in, a house built with natural materials by hand, sunshine, light, space, ease, warmth, high ceilings, wood, lush greenery, birdsong and as I moved from city to city driving across the USA looking for a new home.
I learned a few things:
I love driving through big beautiful skies on quiet roads watching mountains, horses, red clay sunsets like Morocco. The pain somehow became manageable driving under big clean purifying skies. I used to hate driving, now it became a joy, an escape to a place where I could breathe without my heart falling into tiny little pieces with each new breath.
So I started to fulfill my other long-held dreams. I lost my guy and my guy cat, dammit I'm going to have my beetle. So, I said fuck it and bought her and drove to places that didnt hurt.
And I dreamed about how I wanted to feel. I searched Zillow and Trulia and just added how I wanted to feel in the filters. Three places came up and the layouts were strikingly similar even though they were in 3 different states. I applied and Barbarah & Vincent Figliola called me and said,
"We want to talk to you and get to know you. I want someone I feel I know in my studio."
So we talked and laughed for an hour on the phone.
I asked: Are you cool with the fact that I'm black because that brings a host of concerns that you now have to live with if I'm in your property and more importantly, are your neighbors cool? ...can I take a walk and not be stopped? I won't take it personally whatever ur response is. This is just my life: I ask at every single AirBNB, can I safely live in your neighborhood? I've been told "No" before so I want to be clear.
They said: thank god...someone with brains and good sense and he talked about racism, gentrifucation, and having ur stories and dreams stolen as a NYC artist. And watching families torn apart on the border and his work and how to live in America with a heart. He too, drove cross country and through the South and saw the kind of poverty that made him clear, he needed out from the belly of the beast. So he built a retreat for his family and I was welcome to weather the storm here with them. We'll keep you safe.
And that's where I am...safe...
is a Tony-winning producer/writer/actor & CEO of TheDreamUnLocked: Boutique Coaching for Actors, Writers & Dreamers