Sunday, April 30, 2017

the reoccuring dream

It's always the same dream. The one I think about when I'm not sleeping.

It's always the same face -- one I cannot make out quite yet. Perhaps it's because I don't know the face, or perhaps it's because I'm not ready to know that I know the face.

There is always music. A hum. A record. And a twirl in the kitchen. He always likes to dance. He always wants to twirl me around, and I let him, in this dream, because I know how much I love him.

There are hardwood floors. Ones that creak and cry beneath feet. We wear socks to keep our bodies warm above the floor, and because outside there is cold air that sends shivers through our home.

I can smell breakfast. I hear it sizzling on a burner. And I can smell cotton in his hair from a good night's sleep. And it's every which way, pressed against one side of his head and sticking straight up on the other side. And his face scratches the side of mine because each morning he refuses to shave.

The wind hits the window, but we hardly notice. And a glass of orange juice runs over, but that doesn't matter, either. And the worries from the week are somehow absent in this particular morning. Because all I see is you, and somehow all you see is me. And it's spectacular.

I don't know how we do it, even in the dream. The day in and the day out, which I know goes so much against our outlook on life. We are, in some ways, the very thing our young selves feared, but secretly hoped for. Yet we are better. We are better than the initial judgments and assumptions.

The kitchen air is warm, even though the floor is cold. And you sing some words in my ear, as I scratch food onto a plate. And it doesn't have to be anything more than that.

The dream.

It doesn't have to be any more and it certainly isn't any less.

Cures for Aloneness

Let's first be clear, aloneness and loneliness can correlate. However, they both have different meanings, and in this case I am solely talking in terms of aloneness. 

- A cup of coffee. Not the affordable cup-of-the-day coffee, but the one on the menu that you're really craving.

- A movie that'll make you laugh so loudly the neighbors will hear you (I prefer Everybody Wants Some!!)

- Organization -- clean your room, sweep your floors, fold your clothes, bleach the bathtub. If you're going to be spending ample time alone, some of that time will be at home...might as well make home be comfortably clean.

- Have a playlist that makes you feel all the good feels. I can usually tell that outcome of my mood for a day before seven am depending on how much I've danced around in my room.

- Know your demons and triggers. And avoid them 99% of the time (that 1% is healthy, it keeps you from denial)

- A view of the ocean. Maybe not every weekend. But sometimes. 

- Breathing in and out intentionally. Stop and note the breaths you're taking. Slow down, inhale and exhale deeply. It'll clear your head a bit.

- Read a book. And really read the book. Leave the phone on the other side of the room. Turn it off. 

- Turn off the phone for other reasons. Phones have a way of allowing social media's connections to make aloneness feel like loneliness. 

- Plants. Fill a space with hints of life other than your own.

- Ask the lady or the man at the coffee shop if you can pet their dog. And then relish in how wonderful it feels to be greeted by a sweet ball of fluff and personality. The dog will love it, you will love it, and most people tend to appreciate anyone willing to dote on their dog. 

- Run. Not away, not toward anything, but for your own sake. To clear your mind, to make yourself strong, to see your home from a different perspective. 

- Cultivate a community. One that wants to see you grow. And when you realize that this sort of cultivation is flawed and takes patience, remember that the best things in life require time. 

- Believe in something bigger than yourself. 

- Think the crazy thought, and dream the crazy dream. Doesn't matter what it is. 

- Reject every last negative word you want to believe about yourself. Do not endorse the labels others want to place on you if they hinder you. 

- Learn to sing loudly, rather than well.

- Smile. Ask people how they are without expecting to be asked the same in return. 

- Wear the dress on Saturday. Or stay in the pajamas. And don't apologize. 

- Learn to cook/bake something you're not only proud of, but something that tastes good and is good for you.

- Be honest. With yourself, with others.

- Learn the art of risk taking. Realize that it comes with all of the potential to hurt you, but that the end result will be worth it either way.

- Know your values. More importantly, know why they are your values.

- Strive for a balance of spontaneity and routine. You're never going to find the balance, but the pursuit will teach you things, and will lead to good.  

- Find your voice just as much as finding the ability to listen. 

- Take a million leaps of faith, or be sure to take at least one.

- Remember that it is okay to not be the person other people were expecting. If you're not what they were expecting, then they're not who you need.

- Find a passion and let it fill you.

- Seek and do. 

- Laugh at yourself. And then do it again.

- Know the difference between feeling and wallowing.

- Know that a season of aloneness is a gift that will bless seasons of noise, and relationships, and fullness. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

a birthday iced coffee

i am a firm believer in the coffee bean & tea leaf.

it's a southern californian staple that i have come to prefer over starbucks.

it being my birthday month, i was excited to get my free drink. today was the day. i'm sick (so i probably shouldn't be drinking coffee, and yet...), exhausted, and in need of some writing time at my favorite shop.

i ordered my usual small vanilla iced coffee with soy.

scanned for my free drink.

and then the barista asked if i'd like a larger size. the largest -- it being free and all.

so i said why not. i think that in my cloud of no-caffeine-and-it-being-four-thirty-pm, plus not feeling well, i had conjured up an image of a venti sized drink in my head.


people...


PEOPLE.

what was and is placed before me is a 32 oz cup of iced coffee garnering all of the glances.


this is like the grocery store incident.

excess.

i am increasingly insecure about the excesses in my life.

now, coffee (of all things!) is on the list.




so, from a square table in los angeles, your girl writes you her embarrassment over her birthday coffee that is larger than her head.

i can't even begin to drink it i feel so glutinous.

and yet.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

a long letter of sorts to myself on a saturday



on repeat this afternoon.

I apologize if this rant grows increasingly incoherent.

I promise that the one thing I have in my system is a damn good iced coffee that the sweetest barista begins to make the second I walk through the door.

My stream of jumbled thoughts is the only thing I will apologize for today. Perhaps this week even. And to be clear, I am not apologizing for the words, but rather for how incoherent they are bound to sound should you actually read through to the end.

+++


My life is in transition yet again.

My relationships, work, and the girl I am when I come home at night and sleep late (aka until 6:30 am on Saturdays & Sundays) are all in transition.

All good things, don't mistake my words.

Growth --

The word that comes to mind and so I find myself clinging to it for all it's worth.

+++

Two weeks ago I was freaking out.

I couldn't catch a grip.

I peered into mirrors puzzled by the person staring back.

I had no appetite, sleep played games with my mind, teasing me awake into late hours of the night.

And, the urge to cry weighed me down.

I didn't quite know what or who I was crying about, wanting to cry about.

I just want to crawl out of my skin, were my exact words turned over and over to different ears like a scratched record that refused to leave the table.

Except I wanted to leave the table.

It took me two weeks, but in the past handful of days I left the table, head held high, thoughts not so certain but hopeful at best.

+++


This morning, as with most Saturdays, I found myself at the grocery store. For some reason I bought nearly double the food I usually buy. As I strolled up to the checker, I began to feel a pang of self-consciousness. It occurred to me that I shop for the exact same products each week. That I feed one person (me) each week. That the usual Saturday workers look at me with slight recognition, which is recognition nonetheless. And recognition is remembrance. And remembrance means note taking. I wished to put some items back. The pomegranate pop-tarts, perhaps (even though they're easiest to eat at my desk as I click away at the keyboard). The double helping of chicken, which I plan to freeze and eat over the next two weeks and not all in one night, but still. I could have done without the two bags of brussel sprouts, but I was planning ahead. No one else knew this, they didn't have the right to an explanation.

I watched the checker scan each item.

There was a woman in line behind me. Thin and lean and long, blond, sunglasses on indoors (very LA). She had only a handful of items, or at least that is what I allowed myself to see.

She probably isn't even shopping for one...

And suddenly: "90.87" declared the checker.

I hear in my mind all of these words. I hear in my mind all of this music. And it breaks my heart.

I was caught off guard.

I had doubled my usual errand.

The number shocked me.

I swiped the card anyway.

Gave no second thought to the splurge, even if said splurge didn't include whiskey, vodka, or chocolate. I work for every cent I have, I assured myself. Buy the damn pop-tart. Eat it in bed later in between episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

The bagger filled three full bags of groceries and handed them to me.

I struggled with the weight as I walked a block to my car.

The sun beat down warm on my face and I tried to hold it together -- my grocery bags, as well as the baggage I drag along with me because I'm normal (mostly) and human and not exempt from baggage.

+++

I'm in a lesson.

A growth spurt.

Life is teaching me how to not draw comparisons, big and small alike.

The comparison at the check out between me and the woman with the sunglasses was small, though still damaging to my mind and unfair to her. A stranger.

The bigger comparisons find me in "Hollywood."

I see the blonds (Brunettes, too. Redheads, too. You get the point. The sinful assumption).

I measure their long legs with my eyes, and I wonder about the stilettos that make them float on air rather than stumble as they would me.

Their stilettos have glossy red soles, and pointy toes. Pencil skirts hug their curves in all the right ways, whereas by 2:00 pm after lunch, fitted clothing leaves me trying to hide just how bloated I feel from the burrito or ramen or (even) bellpepper just consumed. 

They smile with ease, catch eyes with ease.

I don't want to be them.

I never really have.

Though the comparison makes me wonder.

I hear in my mind all of these voices.

And it has to stop.

This season must teach me to stop.

For their sake and mine.

And it breaks my heart.

+++

I can't apologize for the greasy Chinese take out food that I wish to hoard in bed forever,
or for Friday night pizza when I consume an entire pie by myself because what else is more glorious at the end of a work week, please do tell.

I can't apologize for my love of high-watered, high-waisted pants that allow me to pull my knees close as the days drag on and I grow tired of sitting legs crossed.

I won't apologize for the contacts I refuse to buy, and for the glasses that make me feel so square and childish, but I wear them anyway because if I don't I'll look like I'm blowing you off.

I won't apologize for every last moral I hold on to because faith and plain old fashioned values help sustain my peace of mind and self worth. They just do, it has nothing to do with anyone else but me.

I won't apologize for the multiple books I carry with me everywhere I go because I refuse to be the person in the elevator, in the Starbucks line, in the Uber, or at the copy machine staring at a blank phone screen.

I won't apologize for the hats I would wear every day if I could. Even when people ask if I feel uncomfortable wearing a hat indoors. I will forever answer, Of course I don't mind. They make me feel beautiful.

No apologies for my bitten nails and ink stained hands.

No apologies for the stories I tell myself all day about the people who fascinate me most.

No apologies for my San Francisco love affair, for refusing to play games, for saying fuck a million times a day even if it makes me cringe.

Not a single apology for every last irrational fear and for my self deprecating honesty about said fears and flaws.

I won't ever apologize for my absent abs.
(Though perhaps for not kickboxing like I want to on the weekends.)

I won't apologize for loathing the beach, because who really likes all that sand?

I can't apologize for the clacking of the clogs I wear to work and feel so very odd in, or for eating either a muffin or a bagel every day around 9:00 am, or for the bag of popcorn I eat, without fail, twelve hours later.

Sometimes, I will sing really loudly in the car and make eye contact with whomever is alongside me. I've even sang my heart out to a stranger who likely had no idea what I was even singing. Play some Lil Wayne and it's a whole other level.

I fake so many hellos, but if I wave at you or talk very high pitched I swear I am giving you my warmest, most sincere greeting. And I am not sorry.

I buy old books for the weird smell and for the notes I tend to find in them.

I hide money in books and let myself forget so that someday far in the future I'll find it and think it's the best day for luck.

I'm always early. Sometimes an hour early. Not sorry.

5:00-6:45 am is the witching hour in my life, and I find pure glory indulging myself to reading and writing and tea during this space of the day. And I won't apologize to the neighbors who definitely hear my alarm each morning.

I am made up wholly of the dreams I keep and the stories I tell.

Half agony. Half hope.

And I won't apologize.

I can't and won't apologize for not being the prettiest, cleverest, sexiest, funniest girl in the room.

Because there will always be someone else.

Everyone else will always not be me.

And that is what I am learning to revel in.

The essence of individuality.

The pop-tarts in life.

$90.00 spent on feeding only myself.

The knee high socks that fall down my knobby knees mid-day.

The shoes that make me stumble in elevators filled with men in suits.

The sun hat worn indoors where the sun doesn't shine.

The moments of standing on street corners with folks who take themselves so seriously that I must laugh. And I must look crazy because no one can see what I'm laughing at even if they were to look at themselves. And I think, God just laugh why don't you. Just smile. Say good morning. Make the eye contact with me, read my mind, and you too shall laugh.

And sexy is such an ugly word if you ask me. (Not sorry).

+++

I am allowing myself to feel a deep heartache and I am allowing myself to continue laughing. I am allowing myself to find the means to remain calm, to relinquish control and say yes to things that go against my routine.


I was recently confronted by a pair of eyes that once saw me so much differently than they seem to see me now.

I once held their attention in a most delicate way, and now they are no longer on me.

The burn of them looking away is more searing than the heat stirred when they were on me.

I am more jilted now than I once was when things were unsaid. Well. And unsaid.


Until I spoke.

Until I spoke and all became unwell.

Yet. I will not apologize.

I want to, and I won't.

I can't let the beholder define me, and I don't want a gaze that no longer sees me the way I deserve to be seen.

I will learn how to be comfortable once more with being anonymous, and I will learn to not apologize when I am known again.

Always one foot on the ground.

Though not forever.

+++

This time next week I will be twenty- three. 

I love the sound of the number. The curve of the numerals is less rounded than my current age. Jagged. Aging. Young, yet aging. Into someone I can't wait to meet. 

I have to look forward to the woman I will be with each coming day.

And I have to appreciate the girl that will continue to live within me. The girl I carry around like a small brick in my pocket reminding me of who I was at the beginning and who I will always have to come back to when age makes life lose its sense of gravity.

+++

It's good to cry. Healthy.

A person cannot be whole without tears. Without running every gamut on the spectrum of emotions. 

I hope that my future self remembers all of the parts of this age. Of what makes me who I am at twenty-two.

Age and dates make me sentimental. I won't apologize.

You get the fucking point.

I am feistier now. 

More honest about my shortcomings. 

More sure of what foods make me feel good.

More accepting of my fashion choices.

More secure in my boundaries and daring with my yes's.

More curious. 

More creative.

More daring.

Than ever before.

And growing strong. 

+++

Dear self, 

Don't forget the age when you moved to the big city and got lost in all of its sounds. Don't forget the contradiction of heartache -- all of its heftiness and hollowness. Don't forget the eyes that drew you in and propelled you back, causing your own eyes to cry. Don't forget the new words you learned. Or the love of telling eerie, sci-fy stories you gained in efforts to impress a person you don't even know. Don't forget the girl who learned how not to trust, and thereby learned its value. Don't forget the ease of being the girl content with stumbling every now and again. The girl who learned how not to apologize for the things that don't need it.

Forgive yourself always, without failing to hold yourself accountable.

Laugh. It is vital to a good day. And a good day does not mean that life goes your way. It just means that you still sought out a piece of peace.

Continue to allow life to move and shake you, though never to the point of forgetting who you were to begin with, who you are meant to become.