Well, first of all, I am having a hard time doing this. I believe in the power of asking for help, but I feel a bit more helpless than I would ever want to admit.
The last year has been very difficult for me. I have experienced a lot of loss, and heartbreak, and confusion and sadness, and health scares, and vulnerability that I am not accustomed to or used to admitting to.
I try to be a strong, capable and worthy business woman, teacher, mentor and performer and lately I have experienced a lot of blows to shake my foundation.
At the beginning of 2015 I gave myself the gift of a real, personal, selfish escape. I decided to take the first non-perormance driven vacation in nearly 8 years. It started beautifully, with visits to Nashville and Atlanta to reconnect with old and new friends and was to finish in Savannah so I could sit alone and write and essentially, start over. I never made it to Savannah.
From my Facebook post after the incident:
I rarely post super personal things here, besides the happy, zesty, magical things that I experience or things that I find important to share, but I thought letting everyone know what I experienced might help this process.
I have hesitated sharing, because I try to keep personal things personal, but I am willing to try anything at this point.
On Monday, after a really beautiful day with really beautiful women, my van was stolen.
I parked it (and locked it) at a friend's house and walked inside for a few minutes to say hello. When I returned just 15 minutes later, it was gone. I am safe. Chappy is safe. I lost a lot. Nothing that would be of value to the thieves that took my van. But one of my most beautiful, and hand made costumes that I was going to be using for my Ted Talk, numerous gowns, shoes, robes, numerous gifts I had just purchased, and an entire laundry basket of clothing. Things that are very expensive or impossible to replace.
I know these are just things, and I am very appreciative that I am safe, but I am very far from home (Atlanta), and have never experienced anything like this. I never made it to my final destination.
I have waited to say anything until now, while I crossed my fingers that the police would have found my little van Ella, but it has been 48 hours and there is still no sign of it.
I am mostly devastated that I lost the irreplaceable costumes, which contribute to my ability to make a living, and of course the vehicle which would take me there to do so. My insurance will not replace any of these things.
I will post photos of the items so that maybe, just maybe, they will be seen by enough people who can keep their eye out for their hopeful return to me. Social media can be a pretty powerful force. Feel free to share the photos. They will have my contact info on them.
Again, I am safe. And I will be able to make it home. I have been taken care of by my wonderful host, and today I purchased some new clothing.
Perspective and friendship is keeping me from getting too lost in the mess, but I apologize if you haven't heard from me for a minute, as I have been trying to deal with a whole lot of fall out from the crime as well as trying to manage my other responsibilities and life things.
I am still not sure what to do about everything, but I am doing my best to move forward. The universe is a wild beast, and I am hoping that some of the intensity of the last too many months will calm down. This last week made me believe it had...oh Universe, you tricky bitch.
Hundreds of you shared the post and reached out and offered to help. I waited to accept too much because I wanted to hold out hope for my things to be recovered.
And then I got news:
Update on "Van Ella Gate" 2015
First of all, again, thank you to everyone for sharing, caring and reaching out. There are still messages from friends I haven't been able to respond to yet, and I appreciate it more than I can express.
My van has been found south of Atlanta. It was involved in an armed robbery and for a brief while, while they investigated the crime, I was treated a bit like a suspect. After it was released to me, I had it towed to a nearby mechanic. I still have not seen my van first hand, but they sent me photos and it appears that some of my belongings are inside and I think at least part of my costumes are still there. Sadie Hawkins has graciously agreed to go check on all of it for me. From the photos, I can see that my little van Ella was pretty well trashed. The wrapping paper from all the Xmas gifts I purchased was strewn about the interior and my clothing and shoes were flung everywhere. It feels strange and violating.
The repairs to get my van up and running again will cost more than the van cost me to buy. I have already spent nearly a thousand dollars to get it out of impound, towed to the mechanic and rented a car to get home.
My insurance DOES NOT cover any of this. None. At all.
I still don't know what to do exactly, but I wanted to update everyone as the dust settled. It has been an ordeal but I am so grateful for all of the kindness I have received. It's very humbling.
And so, here I am. So many of you have asked to help. I can't stop crying from the beauty and emotional overwhlem of that.
I am looking to cover the costs of the repairs or replacement and all of the money lost from the ordeal. In the end, I lost money from having to turn down work and I have also been in the midst of my Van Ella Studio expansion project as well which has taken a lot of my energy and time. All in all, it has been quite challenging.
I am beyond grateful for the love, support and offers of help. You have made this experience much more bearable and have made me feel so much less alone.
With all my love,
Lola van Ella
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