How I Became A Raccoon Queen During COVID

Phaylen Fairchild
18 min readJul 10, 2022

My climb to supremacy actually began 10 year ago, but during the pandemic lockdowns, things quickly accelerated.

What did you do during your mental breakdown? Well, 11 years ago, I bought a farmhouse in a swamp without ever seeing it. We’re barely five sentences in and already we’re discussing poor judgement and a collapse of mental health, this’ll be a howler. I think everyone is entitled to a breakdown or three. It’s an opportunity to reshape yourself from the ground up in a world constantly shifting and a society growing ever so cumbersome. The strongest tree can still break from a million little breezes, and life is certainly full of those.

I was not just having one of those eras, but was transitioning out of a 10 year-long relationship and into a new, sparkling one with a million little red flags that I ignored and ultimately paid dearly for. We can skip the irrelevant details concerning my masterful poor decision making habits, I only discuss those at dinner parties, but I ended up picking up my life and dropping myself into an ancient farmhouse in the remote swamp.

Except I didn’t know at the time it was actually a swamp. Wetlands sounded so much more refined in the listing. My genius expectation management had led me to conclude it would be like one, long AMSR video on YouTube, and little bluebirds would sew me sundresses while I cascaded through tall wheat fields set aglow with a setting sun. Norman Rockwell could never.

I would be an Enya song.

I am sorry to myself for ever thinking a tiny trans lady who’d fashioned herself into a drag diva across the nightlife landscape for ever thinking Green Acres was the life for me. But I committed. I bought chicken while wine drink off ebay and an incubator to hatch them in. I researched chicken breeds that needed help, breeder programs, and determined to participate somehow in the betterment of the lives of animals since I’d given up humans by then.

Bought lumber, built a coop, hatched 3 hens and 10 roosters. I was off to a great start. Five coops later I had something of a misshapen but functional farm in the rural marshlands, but all was not merry, Mary.

It was like one of those horror films, set in the hellmouth, some portal to a demon underworld must have opened on my arrival, because I have never seen bugs like there are in the swamp. Spiders as big as my hand, mice skittering across the kitchen floor, a duck…

Phaylen Fairchild

Actor, Filmmaker, LGBTQ+ & Women’s Rights Activist All work copyright