Louisville Magazine

SEP 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 9.18 85 space: Clear night skies over empty fields poured out of Forester's guitar. Her voice pierced through the firmament like a slow-moving comet, burning blue. I had all the room I could have ever wanted to improvise, explore. e best way I can explain it to someone who isn't a musician is that it's like ephemeral architecture. Here's your airspace, Forester's playing said. Here's your land, Ledford said through her cymbal. Build here the city that has been crumbling in your heart. We'll watch it blow away into dust. Together. b Forester didn't fit in with anyone growing up. She came out, in Oldham County, at 12. Let me say that again: She came out, in Oldham County, at 12. She told her mom she was bisexual, and, according to Forester, it didn't go well. She remembers her mom saying something like, "No, I always knew you were gay, and you are a lesbian." "She thought that the word bisexual was dirty," Forester, who has never kissed a boy, says. "at really, really, really upset me, that my sexuality was perceived that way by my mother." (Forester is still in regular contact with her mother, who lives locally. She says their relationship has improved now that she's an adult. Her father also still lives in the area.) Forester says teachers picked on her because they read her being out as being a troublemaker who wanted attention. Kids would tell her things like, "I don't think gay people should be able to have kids." ey'd sexually harass her: "Well, you're gay so it doesn't matter." "Girls still do that to me," Forester says. When you're queer, Ledford says, boundaries go out the window. ings weren't good at home, either. "(Child Protective Services) tried to take (her and her younger brother) so many fucking times," Forester says. She says her mom kicked her out of the house. As Forester tells it, her mom ended up with this guy who would go on to inspire much of "I'm Yer Dad." Sample lyrics: "Feed me food while I watch sports / In my man cave made for sports." "I was a threat to his dominance in the household, because I was older than my little brother," Forester says. "So he more or less came home one day, and he, like, takes his shirt off and starts chest- bumping me, trying to fight me, and he's grabbing the garbage can, throws it." She says he told her mom to choose: him or her daughter. Forester was 14 or 15 and angry, more than happy to go live at a friend's place where she could do drugs. For the rest of her adolescence, Forester alternated between living with some other misfits at a friend's single mom's house and crashing in cars. She did a stint with her dad, who, she says, also ended up kicking her out. She took Xanax. She drank. She worked at Taco Bell and sold pills and weed to get by. She was in and out of school. One story from childhood has stuck with her. She was 15, visiting a friend, lying together in bed head to feet, scrolling through their Motorola RZRs in search of the perfect ringtone. On MySpace, the friend posted about hanging out with Forester, and apparently the friend's sister in California saw it and called their mother. "All of a sudden, the door flies open," Forester says, "and I hear, 'Get out of my house! Get the fuck out of my house!' I don't even see her face I'm so scared. And she picks up a lamp and throws it (at me), and it smashed against the wall. I felt like a boy who just got caught balls deep in somebody's daughter, and I wasn't even doing anything….I'm not gonna lie: We did make out earlier that day." So she hauled ass down the stairs, without her jacket, and out into the winter. Forester says the mom grabbed her friend by the hair. Forester ran and ran, out through the identically massive estates in the gated Oldham County community. She called her mom, and asked for a ride. "What happened?" her mom asked. "I don't want to talk about it," Forester said. But she already knew. According to Forester, her mother had told her not to hang out with kids whose parents didn't know she was gay, and not to get involved with any closeted girls. She knew it was dangerous. But if she only hung out with kids who were out, she wouldn't hang out with anyone. "Pretty much the next day, her mom put her on a plane to California so that she could live with her aunt and uncle, where, honestly, she had a really intense upbringing the rest of the time," Forester says. "And I blame myself for that. I thought it was all my fault. From then on, that was actually the end of me ho-ing around." As Forester got closer to graduation, she considered her options. One was to stay in Oldham County and do more of the same. (She no longer drinks, smokes, or does drugs of any kind, and in fact, the first time we met for this story, she took a chug of what she thought was orange juice that turned out to be full of vodka, and it was enough to give her a headrush.) e other option: Flight. So she ended up in Honduras. Trying to get details from Forester's travels is like trying to pull salt out of the ocean with your hands. So many of them have been lost to the ether. e one about the Belgian guy who tried to poison her, the one about when she almost froze to death, the one about waking up to a stampede of bulls or contracting dengue fever and spending who knows how long steaming naked on a tile floor while someone periodically poured cool water over her. Her dad had given her a black acoustic guitar with when she was 10. e strings were high over the fret board, and she had to press hard, playing calluses onto her fingers. Her dad showed her the chords to "Stairway to Heaven," and said, "at's all you need to know." Now it was her lifeline. She busked for money, folky stuff, reggae, things she picked up on the radio, sometimes Björk — though that tended to scare people away — and hiked or hitchhiked her way around. is probably influenced her songwriting process, which isn't a writing process at all: She rarely writes anything down. She just jams with Ledford and things happen. She learned you can stop bleeding with paprika. She ate wild avocados and papayas, says she survived something like three weeks on coconuts. Her mouth found its way around Spanish, then fluency. She camped at night. "Tramping," it's called. Like backpacking, only you're actually homeless. Continued on page 114

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