Speaking of feet on the ground and flipping yourself upside down.

Cleo was in town for work. We met for dinner and had a meal of grilled oysters, pickled vegetables, house-cured ham and a burger at my old co-workers very meaty and very popular restaurant, Salt’s Cure. After we went back to her hotel room, which was bigger than any apartment either one of us has ever lived in, and sat in the kitchen drinking wine, sharing a piece of chocolate cake, and talking about love.

While sorting through and old box of journals I’d found a letter an old boyfriend had written me fifteen years ago. It was heartfelt and seductive. Written in thin almost translucent paper, typed on a typewriter late at night, it reached out to me with risk and hope. I read it to Cleo. She asked me if I thought that was the kind of letter one only writes when one is young? “I don’t know,” I said, “but you are probably right.”

The last few days I’ve sat at Intelligentsia drinking coffee and writing in my journal. When I was younger, around the time of the boyfriend with the typewriter, I did that every day. Recently, I read some of those old journals. They were celebratory and restless, full of wonderment but also of frustration, of reaching for things and wanting them desperately to be a certain way. From reading my scribbles I can describe the entire decade of my twenties as plucky, hopeful, tentative, and full of doubt. Now I’m just grown up versions of those words.  Over and over I have been plagued by the idea that if I make a mistake I am bad person. That if I don’t get something right away it is worthless, I am worthless. In there lies the seed of my current fears.

Let me just write it one more time in hopes that it will somehow go away. I’m scared to move to Paris. (I am also terribly excited but somehow that is playing second fiddle these days.) It took me a really long time to get a sense of community in Los Angeles, much longer than in New York.  In one city you are moving in your little pod from point A to point B, in the other you are pressed up against strangers everywhere you go. I’m scared that I’m making a mistake by giving up what I have built here.

The other day I sat in my car thinking of something Nicki said.  “If you sit with the emptiness long enough you begin to see it really isn’t empty after all.”  Parked outside of work I tried to feel the emptiness. To get a sense of it without attaching any other emotion to it, without saying it is good or it is bad. What I found, after a while, was that I was hungry. It was something I had never felt before. While getting ready for service at the restaurant I thought, hunger is the proactive version of restless. It is a  compass that has lurked asleep in me somewhere. Hunger is why I have always taken a million classes and workshops. It is why I’m moving. It is why I asked my boss if I could learn to make desserts at the restaurant.

I have done so much work on myself. I just need to trust that everything is exactly as it needs to be. I have to let things happen. Feral attachment to one specific idea has never served me. In the past I have always said, this who I want to be as opposed to looking around me and seeing the beautiful tapestry of things that are already there. Everyday I remind myself to let go of attachment to outcome.

In my dance class all the other girls are fast-flying tinkerbells but somehow I can’t do any of the crazy tricks. The instructor said, “you are very grounded that is why you can’t take flight. It’s a very good thing to be grounded. Just think light.” The other day Stevie, who hates my pole dancing classes but gets why I love them said, “that is why you are still here. You have to flip yourself upside down.” I have always been afraid of handstands and cartwheels. I could never even let go enough to dive in to a pool. She is right. I need to turn things upside down and learn once and for all that my own strength will catch me.