Friday, August 18, 2017

on growth

It's a constant lesson: Growth.



Accepting when time changes people, and when people effectively change your life in time.

Sitting in grueling silence -- aimless weekends and days that too quickly draw into night.

The weightiness of love, and it's inevitable affair with loss.

Miscommunication and unwarranted assumptions that cave in the world around.

Slow, hot afternoons in a city filled with people who can't stand to be alone -- yet there you are, and where is everyone else?



Honesty.

Sticking with it, and fighting for it, and learning to accept the mess it makes of things before setting you free.


Integrity.

The fine line of evolving without pulling the good roots from one's foundation.


Empathy.

And the rare, yet necessary, ability to act slowly on anger and jealousy and insecurity.


Growth is such a beautiful thing, though the timing of it feels so impossible and ugly and summed up into a singular whisper.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

snapshots as of late

Whilst walking down Hollywood Boulevard in the morning, a man stopped me to ask if I am French, and everything in me regrets not dropping my sunnies just a little to say oui.


I am a regular at two coffee shops. It's official. I stormed into my favorite San Vicente location just yesterday, phone in hand and plopped myself down in the window seat that I have claimed as my own. Before I could hang up, an iced coffee was placed before me. Such generosity and the smile on the barista's face nearly drove me to tears. So, in celebration, I bought a croissant with butter. (The man on Hollywood Blvd. should have seen me then)


I need to stop falling asleep with my phone. Upon (attempting to) quitting Instagram (which I have done 98% successfully), I still find myself falling asleep to random articles I read before bed (i.e. haunted churches in Iceland, quizzes about which food sums up my personality (burrito), and Architectural Digest editorials showcasing mid-century modern chairs). Last night I was in the middle of dreaming that I was about to jump down a well, when my phone vibrated against my forehead startling me awake. Safe to say I never found out what was down said well...


Yesterday morning I awoke to very loud music. It was 8:45 and I (oddly enough) wanted to be sleeping. But the neighbors down below me insisted on playing their music a few notches too loud. I buried myself in pillows before hearing the girl in the apartment across from my room yell (to the beat of her own clapping), "It's Saturday morning!!! Turn. The. Music. Down!!! TURN IT DOWN." And before she could yell any louder, the man who lives below her apartment hollered that people are trying to get some shut-eye. The music was swiftly turned off and replaced by me laughing myself to tears. I have several reasons why I will never leave city living, and the dynamic of a close proximity to neighbors/strangers is one of those reasons.


I drove all the way to Century City, got detoured on Santa Monica Boulevard, got lost (how?) on Rodeo Drive, and ended up at a McDonald's all at 1:00 am the other night. I never made it to the bar, but I had a damn good McFlurry. 


I find laundromats to be equivalent to airports in regards to people watching. It is quite possible to get in one argument with a grown man over a parking spot, witness several screaming children, one inebriated person who likely thinks he's at a casino, several police officers, way too much underwear, and a nursing woman all before 7:00 am and the final rinse. (I have become such a regular that the women usually greet me with hola, buenos dias as I haul in a backpack of skivvies and trousers). 


Recently I went to see a film with a friend after drinking (too much) Saki. The goal was to drink too much that night...yet I can't decide if I regret laughing at the opening scenes of a solemn movie, or that I was completely sober by the end of the second act.


A chai with almond milk is not one of my better ideas. It just isn't.


Every Sunday I make teriyaki chicken that folks can smell from the sidewalk outside. One of my roommates excitedly takes it as a sign that I am home and that there is food.


Santa Monica on a Wednesday night is quiet, and wonderful. Yet West Hollywood even in its thickest chaos feels like a place beckoning for me to call it home. And I wonder how I never thought I'd learn to love such a city. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

los angeles lately :: pt. 8

He is an actor by vocation.


And that's all a girl needs to know to have the whole story.

los angeles lately :: pt. 7 :: west hollywood

I followed you to where something caught your eye,

watching my steps and making a point to keep a distance.


Fine lines.

My life is a plateau of fine lines
that seem to circulate in priority with each rolling day.


As your eyes shifted along what was before you, 

I wandered away for a handful of moments.


It was as I stood on my toes to peer closely at some words

that I felt someone--you--behind me.


It was a small thing,

too subtle for even the closest eye witness.

The way you stood in ease, 

slightly to the side of my body, 

finding me to say that we should go.

A normal, nothing thing.

All the sweetness found solely in the fleeting proximity, of an assumed comfort.


I let my feet fall flatly --

a deliberate, split second choice to lean into whomever was standing so near.


It was the first time there was ever any contact between us.

Your arm touched mine as you leaned in to look closely -- another 
millisecond lost along the edges of a fine line.


The half of me that leaned in briefly knew it was you --

I am half intuition, half hope.

Yet in the few seconds following the brush of the arm, 

I quickly stepped away and claimed that I assumed you'd been a stranger who got too close.


"Well, I sort of am a stranger."


To which I agreed.

And will continue to agree.


You are a man who is such a knot of beautiful and worn out fine lines that I don't need to be told 
where my place is.


Half intuition, remember? 


I won't stand too close,

not to your ledge.


Which is why the single moment in time was made up of a millisecond --

because we are strangers 

with different ledges to leap from,

and lines to walk,

and knots to be caught up in.


And West Hollywood is just too small a world if you ask me.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

los angeles lately: pt. 6

I'm growing to love Los Angeles after one a.m.

There's a tragedy to it. To all of the ones who care enough to see her when the rest of the world sleeps. 


From the window,  I see a woman with pink stihelletos. She has her arm wrapped around the waist of a man, and I watch as his hand falls lower and lower. 

Another man close by sings a sad song as we pass him, and I catch his eye because the night is abnormally cold and he will be singing in the same spot until morning.



You and I talk about Hollywood. 

Why does it always come back to the damned place? 

We drink to escape it, 

drink because we're in it, 

drink to it, 

pack our bags or shed our tears because of it.

We both agree that it's tragic.

The whole of it.

But you're from here and you're a man, so you offer me a new perspective.

One that is skewed differently.

Perhaps the locals see this place with more of a peripheral outlook.

While those like me see the whole thing like a wave that can't be stopped,

not even as it crashes into the hills. 



The car goes well over the limit, 

faster with every flickering green light down La Cienega. 

Speeding through West Hollywood only because the lights and time are in our favor, and isn't that when time flees fastest?

When we finally find the favor we ache for. 

When invincibility is at its peak.

All consequences set aside because why not?

The light has yet to reveal what we tell ourselves isn't true. 



In the distance is the downtown. 

And, in the back of my mind is an old song.


This whole city feeling like the entire world.


So I piece everything back together and hope the morning brings a picture I can fathom, 
one that won't hurt so bad. 

One I can look at evenly, 

like a memory of a name I can finally forget.

Friday, August 4, 2017

los angeles lately :: through the trapdoor :: version iii

First, because we are girls,
and then through a trap door.
Down some stairs into a darkened room.

Second, because of a boy.

I spot his face and pretend to not see him. Not for the sake of a game, but because suddenly I can’t feel my legs. And insecurity is a real thing, especially in a city filled with some of the world’s most “beautiful” women.

I'm not one to walk into a room wanting to please or persuade.

I am who I am, and that's what people get.

Yet. The ground seems to move beneath me,
and suddenly there he is and I have nowhere else to be.

I stand there as myself -- it's as honest as I can be.

Even when I eventually use my 2% and lie. 

The bar is warm as I lean into it. Asking for a whiskey. Always whiskey. I let my mind wander to faces other than his. I don’t know what he means in that moment, and I don’t need him to know that. I don’t need him to know that it can mean nothing at all. I don’t need to reveal a lack of expectations, contrasted by a depth of curiosity.

But men have a habit of assuming a woman’s thoughts to be in their favor. And flattery is an ugly trait. I try against my entire natural instinct not to speak my mind.

But he asks about my thoughts not once, not even just twice. 

I press the edge of my finger up the curve of his back. In that moment he becomes a tangible human being. Solid. Perhaps good. He reaches his hand to mine and my breath is struck out of me. Like a magnetic flicker. 
And I wonder how one simple human touch, a hand to a hand, is so much like holding the cosmos in a palm. 
The music is loud in my ears, filling them to capacity like the glass he gives me as I take away my hand from the valley of his back to another pool of whiskey. 

I’ve stolen glances of his face throughout past days, even though he isn’t mine. Curiosity deepening itself in the back of my mind where I hoard faces of those who I can’t quite figure out – the ones who hurt me, the ones I don’t wish to flatter, the ones whose mouths I’d like to taste if only once.
I steal another glance – this is the one that pulls the trigger. 
A trigger I didn’t think would ever be mine to pull, but there it is.
Boom.
With the swaying view of a crooked bar, filled with crooked people; a wooden wall to lean my body against, a pair of lips to lean against another pair.

He said he reads all of my words, and I call it bullshit because I am not a stupid girl.

Yet.
He says other things, too, and I can’t get out the questions I wish to ask. God, how many questions I want to ask in the secrecy of just two. The ones that are best in the middle of the night or early in the morning.

I have one hundred of them, and more. And that’s the only thing I will kick myself over. Not asking, and not knowing.


First, because we are girls,
and also because I had to see for myself if just once.
Then, through a trapdoor.
A night should always have a trapdoor –

Through the rabbit hole and right into the arms belonging to a handsome face, and a quiet voice that’s like a song that only you or I can hear, even if just once. 

I press my face firmly to his, and I wish for time to slow or stop. I wish for one more time.

If only for curiosity’s sake.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

today ended with a rooster

There was a rooster in the road tonight. Just walking along with such confidence against traffic.

I was in an Uber and he slowed the car so I could get a look, so we both could get a laugh.



It's been a long week. A long and very difficult week of taking on more responsibilities at work. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to working hard. When I don't meet my own standards, I lose grip on the truth of the matter.

There was no making it to the car fast enough come 6:30 this evening. I put my sunglasses on before my tears could be spotted. My friend told me to hold it together. Not here. But that isn't how I work.

I once heard someone say that the most private place to cry is in a crowded space.

The parking garage isn't crowded with people, so I wished so much for a busy city street, like New York at rush hour with business men and women all afoot. I wanted to get lost in some other person's chaos.



The driver suggested that the rooster had escaped from a restaurant. It was running away. A woman walking down the sidewalk spotted the bird and quickly opened someone's front gate so that it might go to safety, yet it kept going. Stopping only once or twice to look up at the cars.


The rooster is not a fucking metaphor for my life -- for the dire need for perseverance, for going against the grain no matter what, or for going to one's own beat.

But it was enough to make me laugh and crack the ice I've been lying on for some time now.

I began to laugh, and then I began to cry.

First with quiet reserve amongst new company,

and then all at once into my own chaos,

acknowledging that I am so human, and so flawed, and so not perfect, but striving.

Constantly striving.


And that must account for the best sort of success out there, right?



Here is to every rooster running free in Los Angeles tonight -- saying fuck it to the safe fences, and reminding people to laugh.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

los angeles lately :: pt. 5

First, because we are girls,
and also because I had to see for myself if just once.
Then, through a trapdoor.
A night should always have a trapdoor –

Through the rabbit hole and right into the arms belonging to a boy with a handsome face I cannot shake.