October 26, 2015

Ask the Question

You want more love. To be in love. In love with your life.

You want more adventure. More chances, and with it the guts to grab them with both hands, greedily and hungry, knowing you deserve to dive into every opportunity your belly aches for when nobody else is looking.

You want to understand how it feels to try, really try. To trust yourself in succeeding beyond your wildest, most inventive daydreams. You can't even comprehend what's waiting for you yet: that's how daring your future is.

You want the security of self to demonstrate, without permission, without restraint, that your vulnerability is your biggest strength, and that your humanness is your greatest asset.

You want to know, mind, body, heart and soul, that who you are is already exactly perfect.

You want to be enough.

I know that sometimes you settle for less because the prospect of daring to ask if you can take up more space, of demanding more, is crippling in its "but people might not like it" murmurs. There's that voice. a voice stubbornly rooted, deep down in your belly, that whispers, even at your best: nope, you can't do this.

"What if it doesn't work?"

"I'll prove everyone right when I screw this up."

"It's better to be safe than to be sorry."

"People like me don't live lives like that."

Listen, sugar. You deserve to conquer the absolute shit out of your kingdom. To be the protagonist of your own beautiful life. You're worthy of the room it takes to spread yourself wide open, legs akimbo, hands behind your back, surveying the land from your throne as you say, without a trace of shame, here I am. Here's what I want.

Know your place. Who the Beyoncé are you to keep yourself small? Who the Virginia Woolf told you to not to swell, not to open your heart and your wings, lest you fly? Are you telling that to yourself? Quit it. Re-write the script. Right now. Actively choose, demand, from yourself and from the world, to direct your life according to your rules. Because your place? Your place is in the sky, soaring. Your place is front and centre. Your place, your purpose, is what you say it is.

The alternative is a half-life. A half-truth. A half-you. The good stuff isn't designed to only happen to other people. The universe wants the good stuff for you. It's not a privilege to know who you are. You don't need to await consent to show all of your parts. To be you. To possess your truth. The show has already begun. The cameras are rolling and it's your line. What are you going to say?

- me writing to myself

October 19, 2015

We're Strangers Once More

I was sitting in a Starbucks in the hazy middle of daybreak. It's barely light out, despite the clock hitting 10 am. The rain's dripping, falling slowly and softly on the windows flushed green from the gray sky. Outside, trees were blowing. In just seconds, it went from a pale gray to charcoal horizons. It's dark indoors, the outside spreading a smudginess into the flickering light of Starbucks. Cars zipped by quickly, skipping the drive through, skipping the place, and slip through the rain.

People come in, wet and tousled from the deluge, laugh, say they're escaping from the storm. Instantly, strangers become friends for minutes, united over terrible weather, worried about the storm that's passing, gathering around each others phones to glance at radars, bemoan over the clouds of blackness coming in. I've got a caramel Macchiato, and then they're gone. The tables outside echo with the slap, every second more droplets tap out their pattern, the sound dulled by heavy glass windows and the faint hum of electricity. The water outside is soupy, splashing in puddles up to the middle of car tires as they rush through. It's so deep outside that waves are made and they crash on the cement. It's strange, unsettling, to see cars that size swallowed up in water that was just minutes ago suspended in air. Every so often, lightning opens up the dimness of the sky and reminds us that the power could disappear in an instant.

People come and go, regulars filter through those looking for a decent cup of coffee, and people see each other for the 1st time. These bonds created over a strangers phone, from people trapped inside because of the weather, who only know each other based on their daily cup of coffee, surface. A group of people, finding solace together. It's a rainstorm that brings us together, and yet, the sun persists in coming forward, pulling apart what's being built. And so we go about our days, waiting for these collective glimpses of humanity, reading between the lines and usual orders to see something a bit more, a yearning for relationships above else.

The rain pounds but the sky clears. A bird flies across the murky clouds, an ink stain in the weather, and the cars roll by unknowingly on the freeway, forever apart, forever mysteries. Thunder rumbles, the rain abates, hardens, rolls on surfaces and fills the pooling tables and streets, and yet, we're strangers once more.

October 15, 2015


An incomplete list of things that are mostly inconvenient but all true, concerning values, and how they change.

- I self-identify as a documentarian. A sort of variation on a memoirist. I want to write things down as a way of taking their picture and framing them. To capture something. But I'm not a "writer". I'm just a human.

- To that end, what I do decide to chronicle has an agenda, and that agenda is mine, and changes, and is dressed in the sure knowledge that every narrator's unreliable. The eye doesn't see, it transmits. And it transmits to an information processor, the complicatedly simple brain, that's loaded with feelings and past hurts and triumphs and feelings.

- Living out loud isn't a character defect...

- ...but the best plan's to just do good work and shut up. That says more than I can, anyway.

- I have a list of regrets that I try to shed a little more light on every goddamn day. A chronicle of shitty things I've done, and shitty things I've tolerated, and humiliations on both sides because of it. But you'd better believe those things have been my best teachers, or, at least, the most vociferous ones. I'm only an asshole if I don't learn from them. 

- "A fight is going on inside me," said an old man to his son. "It's a terrible fight between 2 wolves. One wolf is evil. He's anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf's good. He's joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight's going on inside you." The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, "Which wolf will win?" The old man replied simply, "The one you feed." This fable is my true north.

- People are built 3 ways: as subtractors, adders, or multipliers. Subtractors are energy vampires, adders contribute to your energy, and multipliers make you see stars. A person's categorization is directly related to the amount of drama they bring to your life: if they add to it, they're a subtractor; if they subtract from it they're a multiplier. Friendships are maths, and your tribe's a reflection of your vibe.

- Less is always more in word counts, and in accessorizing.

- An author said that the heart's a muscle and so should be exercised regularly. Show up. Practice loving. Practice some more. A few dents is the trade-off.

- I hate being the boss, and I hate having a boss.

- There's more than one self. I'm hard and soft, confident and unnerved, ready to go big and also ready to go home. No one thing's any more or less true than the other, and I can be all of them at once.

- Charisma is the ability to make both of you feel good.

- I think I'm scared, but my fear got me this far. That's surely a bigger victory than feigning fearlessness. If I wasn't afraid, it wasn't a challenge, and it's the challenges I rise to I'd like to be counted by when you read my eulogy.

- I have 3 core desired feelings: strong, committed and inspired. If what you're offering doesn't tick all of those boxes, it doesn't feel good. If it doesn't feel good I don't wanna do it. Life should be lived in the joyous zone, else what's the point?

- I can never go deep enough. I confront my fears. Go into it willingly. That's juicy, to me, exploring aliveness for aliveness' sake. 

- Life's a conversation. A dialogue. We have to sit down with her regularly and ask, "Hey. this working for you?" We have to seek out the pain and own it before the pain owns us. We have to look for the happy and show her who is in charge. We must be active in our peace.

- I secretly think my feelings are more valid than your feelings, but I'm working on it.

October 11, 2015

I Bought a Plant

I bought a plant. A beautiful green and pink and leafy thing. Plants are having a moment in my life right now. They have a way of making a home of a place. Not to mention they suck toxins right out of the air. Which is to say, superpowers.

I was away from home for weeks and there's no one to water the plant. I almost killed it. I was hopeful that it might yet come back to life. I mean, not too terribly hopeful, but hopeful enough. The pink's gone and the leaves, cold to the touch, have folded in on themselves, but things are cyclical, plants, especially. And I was willing to invest a little a bit of time to see how it played out. And to practice hope, even when it didn't feel reasonable. Or rational. I was investing in radical self-love. Which is what the plant was all about.

Things are cyclical. Especially life. It took me a very many years to untangle the mess of all the many things I felt. A giant ball of yarn. A thousand small threads that I called one thing.

And now a spade is a spade. Sadness is a thing. But happiness, too. The latter shaped almost entirely by the former. Which is a nearly impossible thing to try and explain to someone who hasn't lived through it. There's a quote that I've been searching for. Something like, only the nearly-drowned-man can understand the person who stands on the shore laughing just because there's air in his lungs. I have bastardized these words. Someone else said them much better, and to much greater effect, but as I can't find them, I offer up my poorer version.

When I was living in that shoebox of Usia apartment there was a night when I turned to the girl I was living with and read her a set of words, not my own, and she looked at me, head half turned, and said, but what do they mean? I long ago gave up wondering what words mean. I'll wonder about gestures and events and the idiosyncrasies of almost anything, but never words. Far more concerned, as I am, with what they feel like. You can't explain suffering someone to someone. You can't tell them of the beauty that exists inside of that very dark place. You can only wrestle with the warring feelings of not wanting a person fail, and knowing that they need to.

Plants die and they come back to life. And hope in the face of ridiculous things is important. Even if it's absurd. Sadness is a part of my life. Because it needs to be. Because it's important and good and telling. Because it shapes who I am. Because it's one hell of an educator. Because sadness rears its head and says, fight for yourself! And I know enough now to listen.

October 8, 2015

Priceless Birthday

Brunch at Upperstar with my fiance, his mom and sister

My family threw me a surprise party at KFC

Fruity ice cream cake, my favorite

Twenty five 

My 25th birthday was sunny, simple, sweet and full of fabulous surprise. There were time well spent with my family, long and lingering dinners with Ifo, coffee with friends, and a whole lot of special, pinch-me moments from the birthday weekend. My cheeks are rosy, my stomach aches from laughing too hard and eating far too many food, and, well, 25 is off to a pretty good start. For me, birthdays tend to inspire a bit of reflection. Each year I look back at the year behind me, and I have to say, if 25 treats me half as well as 24, I'll be a lucky girl indeed. Fast forward a year and everything's changed, everything but the people beside me. And that's really all that matters, isn't it? Thanks again for all the sweet birthday wishes! :)

October 3, 2015

Who Am I at 25

I've been thinking a lot about what I would, what I should, write for this. And the thing is, well, I haven't come up with much. Other than...

I'm okay. Here I am. 25. And I'm okay. Thrilling, right? Well, for me, it is. Okay is nothing short of utterly and completely thrilling. Because for so long I was not. Okay. And then I was not quite.

I have moments. All the time. Moments where I feel like I should have done more. Been more. Said more. Moments where I feel so far behind. I'm 25 already. This is it? This is all I've accomplished? But then I quietly remind myself that we all have different paths. Different life trajectories. Our stories vary. And my accomplishments, my multitudinous (yup, I just used that word) victories are mostly private. Things that others might never understand. But for me those victories are the difference between not okay. Not quite. And just fine.

And just fine, okay, whatever-you-want-to-call-it is the beginning. The beginning of everything. The part of my story where my successes become (i hope) a bit more public.

So who am I at 25?

I'm someone who believes that unsolicited smiles by strangers are one of the most profound acts of kindness possible.

I still use the pajamas that my mother gifted me for my 18th birthday. It immediately brings me back to a time of naivete and endless possibility.

The quote that makes the most sense to me right now, right at this very moment: Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living  - Jonathan Safran Foer 

If I could go anywhere tomorrow I'd hop on a plane and land in Paris. Then I'd go to Rome. And sit in cafe after cafe after cafe. Saturating myself in beauty and history. And a lot of gelato. 

I'm engaged to an amazing man. I'm full of more love than I ever expected to be and I'm sure of him than I've ever felt about anything. 

I don't know where life goes from here. But I'm so excited to go boldly into the unknown. To try. and to fail a little, as inevitably I will. But also to start gathering successes. Collecting them one by one in the cradle of my arms so I can lay them on the alter of this life as my humble (and multitudinous) thanks.

I am so thankful to be 25. To be 25 and just fine.

Happy birthday to me. 

October 2, 2015

Perfect Backdrops

Past few days, the weather's erratic: rain one second, a brief intermission of blazing hot sun, and then it's raining again, and sunny again. And I try to be the sort of person whose mood isn't linked to the weather. But it's hard, you know? Sometimes it's hard not to let your environment affect you from the inside out. And this fitful weather, I must say, is just way too appropriate. 

This weather is probably more true-to-life than anything else. It's rare to find a day when you feel only sunny, or a day when melancholy is all you can muster. Most days are unpredictable. Inconsistent and unstable and entirely contradictory. Funny how exciting and difficult so often come hand-in-hand.

And yet. October showers have arrived. Rain is wonderful. Sometimes rain reminds me of some moments and places, days spent with my cats, evenings at a cafe laughing and swapping stories with friends. Sometimes rain helps me sleep. Or provides the perfect backdrop as I read or write. Or sets the mood for a melancholy, romantic kind of day.

Like anything else, it's not all bad and not all good either. But I'll take it as a good sign that for these days, I've woken up hours before my alarm, feeling light and lively. It's been nice. Really nice, actually. There's just nothing quite like first-thing-in-the-morning happiness, if you ask me.

Besides, the whole point of October showers is to cool down this heated earth and bring flowers and fruits, right? Something to endure, something to find beauty in before beauty's simply handed to us.


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