Archive for the friends Category

Tropicalia

Posted in 38, family, friends with tags , , on January 15, 2012 by ana
I’ve been struggling with this post. Truth be told  I’ve been struggling with posting in general. The last few months of 2011 were kind of dark for me. There were lovely highlights,  lots of truly sparkly moments but underneath I have been trying to sort some stuff out. For as much as I naturally seek the beauty and the joy in everything, for as much as I see the glass always half-full, a part of me leans heavily towards the blue and nostalgic. The stuff I have been working through has to do at it’s core with trust. There is a conflict of emotions that I don’t know yet know how to put in words. I can’t yet connect it to the narrative of my life. I need more distance before I can write about it. So before everything gets smooshed up I’m just going to post what I’ve got.
I just got back a few days ago from two weeks in Puerto Rico. It was a very mellow Christmas by Puerto Rican standards. There was a lot of crime and violence this past year. More than there has ever been. I think that probably contributed to the quietness of the holidays.  Of course, mellow here could be considered full of reverie in most places. Christmas season isn’t completely over until the feast of San Sebastian, which starts this weekend. That said, after staying in and spending New Year’s eve with my mom, I woke up thinking my days of being wild and young were officially done. (Let it be known they did not go down without a fight.)
This vacation was really good for me. I feel replenished. I feel different than I did before. It’s was good to be home, to spend time with family and friends. It was also the perfect place to embrace all the experiences of 2011 and step into 2012 with an open, valiant heart. It is so beautiful there- breezy and warm. The skies clear and full of fluffy clouds. Cumulus clouds, my youngest sister, who will turn thirteen next week and is now as tall as me, reminds me. There are large iguanas, one sadly dead in the middle of the road, and tiny lizards. Everything is lush and green, and like clock-work at least once a day, if not twice, the rain rolls in and washes everything clean, and then making you aware that you are in an island, promptly rolls out.
Each day home was its own sort of lovely. I took a twenty-four hour Brady bunch-like trip to Saint Thomas with some of my younger sisters, my dad, his girlfriend and her daughters, and went snorkeling for the first time. I walked with my mom to the ocean early January 1st. I went to the beach with my sister and then after drank sweet, cool papaya shakes made with coconut water, cinnamon and vanilla. I went to the beach with Anouk and drank lots of mojitos while we talked about life and love. I bought tuberose on the street and filled my room with their perfume. I ate my favorite breakfast, a baguette toasted on a press and cafe con leche, with my sister Lili, played with my niece, saw most of my cousins, had long, lovely meals with girlfriends that I’ve known almost as long as I’ve known myself, and sat in the glow of multi-colored Christmas lights on my mom’s balcony talking late into the night. I heard lots of Puerto Rican Christmas music, ate all sort of fried things filled with cod or crab or beef, and drank plenty of Medallas, the world’s best shittiest beer, alcoholic water really, and the absolutely perfect thing to drink in the hot, humid weather. I baked for my family, read Joseph Campbell, and got lots of rest.
The end of last year had me climbing walls. Since the moment I decided to move to Paris things seemed to move at a snail’s pace but now that my departure date is getting near time is really speeding up.  I started this week a little heartbroken (more on that later, I think) and jet-lagged but at the same time I felt very light and full of love from my trip. Today I keep getting jolts of excitement and also waves of sadness for all that I love that will stay in LA. As I finish writing this I am sitting on the floor with the entire content of my closet around me. I’m sorting out what I will take , what I will sell, and what I will give away. All the paperwork for my visa is on the bed waiting to be sorted and a long to do list, that includes selling my car, looms somewhere in  my bag.  The coming weeks are going to be crazy but in a good, exhilarating way.

 

Someone’s knocking at the door

Posted in 37, friends, joie de vie with tags , , , on October 14, 2011 by ana

My friend Alicia is, among many other things, a yoga teacher. Sunday, after a very boring french lesson, I went to her apartment for lunch. We sat at her little table and ate sausages, salad, heirloom tomatoes, and olives flanked to one side by a statue of Durga. Alicia was tired from a week filled with teaching and driving, and I was feeling kind of blue, the way I often do when I don’t sleep well or I’ve partied too much. I think we were both feeling a little guilt for different reasons.

Being in her company, in her space, eating yummy food was recalibrating. Sometimes you just need your friends to reassure you that everything is okay, even if deep down you know it. At overwhelming times a little validation can go a long way.

Over the years Alicia’s home has become part treasure chest and part library. Everywhere I looked my eyes would land on something interesting- mythology books, an old Judy Blume paperback, a shelf filled with all the markers, pencils and pens imaginable, a huge vision board, an old suitcase filled with papers, collections of her favorite authors, little notes left for herself as reminders of dreams, vintage toys…

For dessert there were blueberries, strawberry biscuits and tea. Alicia said, “I think I want to give you your birthday present.”  She handed me a shopping bag. “This is for when you feel lonely in Paris. Or in LA,” she added.  Inside was a collection of all my favorite eighties movies- Can’t Buy Me Love, Some Kind of Wonderful, Flash Gordon. Hands down one of the best, sweetest gifts anyone has given me. I felt so loved and known.

Saturday night I went to a dinner party at my friend Rami’s house, on the way there I kept thinking- this has been the best year of my life- hard but really great. When Stevie showed up a little later she said, “this has been the best year of your life SO FAR”

My birthday is around the corner.  Birthdays are my preferred New Year’s celebration, a time to lovingly recall all that has transpired and to think about what you hope to accomplish in the coming year. There are three or four big reasons why this has been the best year of my life. One was the break-up. It is almost a year since Leo and I split. I have always thought that to get yourself over a break up you need a year. You need to live all the seasons and major holidays you lived with that person without them. While it pains me to write that this amazing year came in part from loving and leaving someone who I will always love and who will always live in my heart that was the turning point, the empty handed leap, as they say. Sometimes it’s still hard to wrap my head around that one but there is strength in both knowing that I could have such a satisfying relationship, that I could love and be loved and feel the magic of being in love, and there is beyond strength in knowing that I chose me. That through life’s twists and turns, and the logistics of navigating a life shared with someone else there came a time where the only choice that was true to everything I believed was to walk away, and I did it no matter how much it hurt.

What followed was in many ways the main reason I have had such a successful and rotund year.  I have been fed and nurtured by an amazing, eclectic group of friends who have been my shelter, my cheerleaders, my sounding board, and my laughter. More than at any other moment in my life I have thanked my lucky stars for them.

Then there was therapy and my seven-month workshop, which was a journey in and of its self.  Much like with the break up, I grasp that something life changing has occurred. I feel internally that I am now completely different, yet the same. I am stronger, closer to who I have always thought I could be. I also sense I am too close to the events to truly grasp their magnitude in my narrative. I get that this year has been a game changer but to what extent remains to be seen.

And then there was Italy and all the mayhem that ensued from traveling with my mom, my brother and his brood, going to cooking school in Puglia for a week, having a lovely fling, and ending up in the emergency room with my mom after she broke her wrist. I came back from my trip to Italy inspired in a way I hadn’t been in a long time or perhaps had ever been. Certainly the accumulation of all that had happened in the year led me there. The commitment to write regularly either in this blog or for myself led me there.  But something was sparked that led me to fall in love with things I’ve always loved- food, photographs, words.

The last two months have been fraught with ups and downs mostly of my own doing. When I started my therapy workshop I knew that when the time came, after the workshop ended, I would know what to do next. I trusted that completely and in time the decision and opportunity to go to Paris appeared. Soon after I decided on Paris all these voices and doubts started to pop up. Part of me worried about what I would do in Paris, part of me worried about what I would do after Paris, and part of me wished I was there already. Then the other day it just hit me- you will know, when the time is right, you will know the next step. Just do your work and don’t worry about what will happen four steps ahead.

This has been a year of great lessons that I work hard at remembering. I can only live the moment that I have right now. I have no control over outcome. I must let life live me.  The only control I have is the choice to surrender and trust, and to be picky with what, who and how I fill my day. I think Anne Lamott said it best:

There is nothing you can buy, achieve, own, or rent that can fill up that hunger inside for a sense of fulfillment and wonder. But the good news is that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.

 

 

Aha!

Posted in friends with tags , on May 25, 2011 by ana

Monday afternoon I met my friend Vee for coffee near my apartment. After a long conversation filled with mini moments of excitement and insecurity about the future I felt invigorated and like myself again. Sometimes I just get too in my head! I drove to Hollywood where I met up with Stevie and her man to check out wedding invites at my friend’s press.  And then we went to Hungry Cat for drinks and snacks. On the drive to the restaurant I felt something I hadn’t in awhile- the energy of Los Angeles as a city, which often feels to escape me. I felt happy and excited in general and for Stevie. I simply can not wait for her wedding. Not only because it’s going to be the party of the year (even if it is still over a year away) but because she’s marrying someone I adore almost, almost as much as her. As she was discussing the invites for a brief moment I thought- will this moment come for me? Not so much because I doubt that I will meet someone suited for me but because a wedding at this moment seems like such an abstract concept. A wedding, marriage has often seemed somewhat conceptual and intangible to me. But as I was there with Steves I realized that I just feel that way because I’ve probably in my heart of hearts have never met someone I could truly embark in that adventure with.

I was telling my mom the other day that my good friend is having a baby. I was telling her that Steves was getting married. And she said, “I guess you will always be a late bloomer in everything.”
I know she’s right but lately I’ve come to realize that this has its advantages. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t a struggle and that it doesn’t suck at times. I am elated that my friends are having babies and getting married and getting dream jobs. Slowly I am starting to see that everything that I have done and the pace at which it has happened has led me to this moment. And though my heart still aches a little (or a lot every once in awhile), I feel grounded and I can’t say that is something that I have always been familiar.

Here, now, writing this post with the birds chirping outside and the cool air holding the promise of a warm afternoon this late blooming thing makes perfect sense. Yes, sometimes it seems like nothing is happening. Often I want to scream with my head buried in my pillow out of frustration. But when Alicia asked me last night how my workshop went over the weekend I realized just how different things are. For so long I had let the things I deemed failures (because in hindsight I could have done more or done them different) hold me back.  Now something had shifted, and I feel a sense of pride and kindness towards my life.  I realized that my struggles to be clearly seen and heard, the battles with my body and with food, and the dance that I had always done to be true to myself and still feel accepted by my family had led me to a deeper understanding of myself and my place in the world. It sounds so dramatic to type it out but so often I have felt left out or like I didn’t fit in. It is earth shattering to finally see that none of it is a measure of worth. And the current, that runs through everything now, the kernel of truth that I’ve slowly come to know in my bones is how often writing save us.

Fear, emails and some Charlie Rose

Posted in friends with tags , on May 9, 2011 by ana

Recently Charlie Rose had Richard Serra as guest on his TV show. “Is space the best thing you understand?” Charlie asked him.
“I think so,” Richard Serra answered. “Yes for sure. I always have. It’s always been what I am most curious about.”
“Curious about and understand most,” Charlie pointed out.
To which Richard Serra said, “I think if you are curious it leads you to understanding.”

Today is the first time since I started writing here that I’m making myself do it as opposed to wanting to or needing to and this brings up some scary feelings for me. My biggest obstacle in life is follow through. I have a tendency to give up on things. I don’t want to be that way anymore.  I really,  really don’t. Funny thing is now that I’m writing it feels great to be sitting here, at the dining table, doing it. This is my priority right now, to write and continue to grow the voice that I have found.

I  emailed Nai this morning: I’m thick in the heart of my therapy workshop and it is stirring up a lot of stuff for me. Not even stuff about Leo but more about me, and having follow through, and my dreams and wishes. I don’t want to be in trying to become mode anymore. I haven’t had an audition in months and it makes me sad. It makes me sad that I may not even want one. Well that’s not true. I’m just so much more at home being myself in my art. The blog is so effortless. It’s work, hard work but effortless.

And she wrote back: You said, “I am so much more at home being myself in my art”. That’s huge. Write, write, write and see what else you uncover. Maybe the acting classes were to help find your voice and just that… That’s also huge! Don’t focus on what you aren’t and instead keep trying to discover who you are.

I told her that I thought the acting classes had helped me become more confident and a better writer. I’m fascinated by acting. It’s very me to give up on things. I don’t want to be that way anymore. I never think of all the different things I’ve done as the things I had to do to get to where I want to be. Most of the time it has been easier to see them as failures but I want to find what it is that I’m really good at. What I can establish myself in so that all those things I have been curious about will be clearly part of the road I had to walk. One of the biggest longings in my heart is just that- clarity. Always in the back of my head is the nagging question. What am I going to do? Where am I going to go? What will I be? Summer is almost here. Will I know by fall? Will it take a little longer. What if I never know. There has to be a resolution but I’m scared that we are almost half way through the year, and I don’t know.

A hemorrhage of money

Posted in friends with tags , , on May 4, 2011 by ana

Friday morning, I woke up at Stevie’s after a night of royal wedding reverie and champers and cheesecake. The morning was gorgeous, sunny, cool in that way that summer days sometimes start.
I went home, finished packing my bag, and went to pick up my car.

$700 later I drove my ass to Vegas.  There is something so restorative about spending a little time away with your dearest friends.  The weekend was relaxed and downright tame for Vegas but it was perfect for me. We ate. We lounged by the pool.  We bought fancy makeup. We gambled a little. And we shook our  booties. When we lived in New York Nai, Alabama and I would sometimes meet for a drink around midnight, when Alabama would get off work, and then we would go dancing. I miss those days. I think one of  the current running themes of my life is how much things have changed. It makes me a little nostalgic but it also exciting AND scary.

Alicia and I went for a hike yesterday, and when I voiced all my apprehensions she said to me, ” you are on an adventure. You are in the middle of it. You are doing it.” After our hike I sat in her apartment and cried. I think every time I sit on that chair by her kitchen I cry.  And it wasn’t because Leo and I lived in the same building for four years.  Although I did walk down the hallway and looked at our old door. It made me feel a little woozy, almost as if I could look through the door with x-ray vision and recall what the light and space felt like in that apartment. But the strongest feeling that came up was how I felt when I moved in before I met Leo. When I turned away to head back to Alicia’s it felt like I had visited a grave. I’m not trying to sound all melodramatic but the door and the number above it felt like a tombstone. A door that I once had a key to no longer opened for me.

Alicia asked how I was feeling about Leo these days and I told her I missed him. Then I told her that when I was getting gas as I was leaving Vegas I started to cry. As I was telling her I started crying again. “How do you trust something once you’ve been burned?” I asked. “Because that’s the thing that I can’t wrap my head around. I felt so happy, so safe, so loved, and he changed. How can I ever let myself feel that way again. And I guess the answer is you just do. You meet someone and they inspire that in you. But what I realized when I was leaving Las Vegas was that I felt betrayed. I gave so much, I gave him my love, my attention, my care, my support. All the little details, the notes, the thoughtfulness that went into our life together. And he just took it, and one day he turned around and basically said that it wasn’t enough. That he wasn’t sure.”

Okay, maybe I am angry too. It’s just so many other emotions trump anger. But when I think of him not being sure my blood boils. I think the hardest part is that deep down no matter how much I miss him I don’t want to go back. I know it isn’t right for me. And I hope that there is something even more whole for me.

Later as I drove to meet my sister for dinner it hit me. In order to fall in love again you suspend your disbelief. You put your trust in hope.

Posted in friends with tags on April 21, 2011 by ana

Today was one of those day, unavoidable, probably necessary. I wanted so desperately to see Leo. It seems so strange that I haven’t heard his voice or seen his face in almost five months. There was a moment today when I thought I would find myself driving to his apartment and knocking on his front door. I texted Nai that I missed him because if not I was going to end up texting him. And he already knows that I do. Just like I know he does me. And it doesn’t change anything.

I felt so heavy. I couldn’t get that sad song from last night out of my head. This break up is probably the first time I have tried really hard not to wallow. I can remember sitting in my apartment in Brooklyn listening to sad, sad songs late at night with a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of wine crying over some love more than once. I have tried as hard as I can not to go there because I am afraid I would want to go back. Nai asked me if I regretted my decision. And I said no. But it seems incomprehensible at times that we will never again sleep side by side.

But then while at work trying my best not to think of him, but being unsuccessful at it, I remembered how hellish it was to travel wit Leo. How he always made me late. How he never respected my boundaries, how his needs, his believes, his family always came before me. Then I remember the good stuff. How no matter how many times I hugged or kissed or wrapped my arms round him I always wanted more. How freely he told me he loved me. How much he respected my creative opinions and encouraged all my endeavors. How generous he was as a lover. I remembered going to the movies on Saturday afternoons, meals shared, driving while listening to songs we loved, the feeling of being happy and fulfilled. Then I remembered how his religion, his family left me no room to be me. How I had respected his views but mine did not receive equal treatment. I thought of surreal moments where the way I did things and the way he did things was so different and bipolar that I felt like reality had stepped into a twilight zone.

Nai asked me if something had set me off and I said, “not one thing in particular.”

But it’s probably the shadow work, the dance class, how happy my brother and his girlfriend are, and thinking of the beginning of last year- how Leo took off work and flew seven hours to be with me for 48 hours in San Juan because he wanted to be with me for my stepfather’s memorial and my grandmother’s funeral.

I thought about how happy I was April of last year. We were back in San Juan. And even though I try not to I keep seeing Leo and I swimming in a pool one morning. He was in Puerto Rico for work and was staying at a hotel with a pool where you could see part of Old San Juan and the ocean. We’d gone swimming in the morning before checking out and going to my mom’s. He’d been there working non-stop. I had flown in for my mom’s birthday. I was so happy that Leo, who had been driving around all week, really knew my city. We’d gone to a party for the Billboard Awards, which is why he was there. We had gone out until two or three in the morning. Every party and bar filled with people. Ashford Avenue buzzing with cars and people. Life had felt like it was heading in one particular direction. But in retrospect went the complete opposite.

A nature girl afterall

Posted in friends with tags on April 17, 2011 by ana

Posted in friends with tags on March 8, 2011 by ana

I’ve been feeling really run down. Everyone at work has been under the weather. Guess it was bound to be my turn. I’ve been sort of burning the candle at both ends. It’s so frustrating because there is so much I want to do but my body is screaming for rest.

Last Monday I decided I needed to stop smoking. I’m not really a smoker, I quit when I was 27. But over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of smoking with old friends and when I’ve had a few drinks. Last week I realized I’ve been smoking much, much more than the occasional ciggie. There is nothing like heartache to make a girl want to smoke. It makes me sad. I do love me a cigarette but it is time to let go of them. There are better things to channel my energy on.

Yesterday was a very productive day even if I was really starting to feel like shit. I had a two hour meeting with my writing partner. Our screenplay is chugging along and I’m really excited about it. I love collaborating with someone else- the way ideas get bounced around and fuel each other is incredibly exciting to me. The first person I ever wrote with was Leo, and we worked really well together. It was exhilarating to stow ourselves away for days and write. It was part of what made our relationship so amazing. I never thought that I would be someone who could collaborate. That it is perhaps my favorite way to work comes as a great surprise to me. And to find a new writing partner so quickly in my friend Wila is icing on the cake.

Wila and I have known each other since we were twenty-one. We’ve shared beds in Brooklyn and Paris, and have always helped the other solve her problems- financial, romantic, familiar. Together we have learned to live in our own skin.

There is this tangible excitement in my life right now that I never want to go away. I am so much more in my feelings than in my head. I am much more aware of what I want, and I am hungry for more. More work, more love, more being in the here and now. In my relationship with Leo I was always afraid to ask for what I wanted. Not in the day to day, not in bed but in the bigger picture. I was afraid to want more. I don’t think the outcome would have been any different had I been able to ask for that which I didn’t know I wanted but deep down did, but I now know that that is the biggest lesson that has come out of it for me.

Earlier today I watched a documentary on Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe. I am often surprised by the deep love I have for photography. I don’t know why I’m surprised by it. I transferred from a really good college to go to art school in New York because I desperately wanted to study photography. I always say that by the time the four years were done I’d fallen out of love with it but maybe that is not true. My therapist says I have a crisis of faith and I think she is right. There is a part of me that doesn’t believe I’m talented. I feel that I could write a book, that I could write a screenplay or take a few great photographs but that I could never sustain that talent, that the creativity will run out. Intellectually I know that the more you work that talent and creativity the more it expands. Yet the thing that constantly holds me back is this fear that if I finish something I will be scrapping the bottom of the creativity barrel. I don’t think I am the only person to ever have creative doubts but I think some people ignore them better than I have been able to. The documentary had some of Robert Mapplethorpe’s gorgeous photographs of Patti Smith. Her presence is so strong and confident yet from her book I know that she felt very insecure. She just persevered. To hear her voice too- there is a clip of her reading a poem when she was very young, and her voice is so frail, then there is an interview with her later and her voice is strong, and confident. She maybe kookier looking but she is a grand dame with a voice full of presence.

Posted in friends with tags on March 2, 2011 by ana

Last night I went over to my friend Stevie’s house. My high school friend, who is her college friend, is in town for a few days. We had some bubbles and ate some cheese and listened to Olivia Newton John, Grace Jones, and The Smiths. It was a good place to land, a good welcome home, after such a mini whirlwind of a weekend.

That flight back to LA is always so brutal. The extra forty minutes, or whatever it is flying west adds, always leaves me wrecked. I slept so deeply last night that even if there had been an earthquake I think I would have slept through it.

It’s good to be home. It’s good to see my sister, to wake up in my bed. It’s so cold right now in LA. Colder than New York if you can believe it. So much for going too New York to see if I could stand living through a bitter winter again.

That last day in New York left a sweet taste in my mouth. The whole trip did. It was the perfect little getaway.

NYC Seranade

Posted in friends with tags on February 28, 2011 by ana

Took a short trip to NY. Still here, actually. I can’t sleep. I have really bad allergies. Or is it a cold? Or is it a sinus thing? I don’t feel horrible but I don’t feel great. It hasn’t stopped me from having a great time. Still, I’ve been craving this. I miss the writing. I also miss the dance classes and the workouts back home. I miss the feeling they leave me with- the moving, the shaking, the sweatiness of it. I was thinking about it in bed before I got up to write.

This year is all about me. I don’t feel like I can make any decisions about anything in the future. Right now I just want to be a bit of a hermit, I want to be cocooned, I want to dive in to me. If I were a book right now my title could be Write, Sweat, Sleep. Because that is really all I want to do with a little reading thrown in. Not that I haven’t enjoyed going out, I have, but I’m craving something else right now.

Should I read Eat, Pray, Love? Would it speak to me? Is it cheesy to read it now because I’m going through a break up? I had no interest in that book before. Am I more interested in it now because I’m writing this? The thought of reading it also intimidates me for that reason. But then the other day I thought- Bill Cunningham took amazing photographs of street fashion way before Scott Schuman did but that doesn’t make The Sartorialist any less fabulous and wonderful to look at. Each thing has its own value.

So, it’s not only this sinusy-allergy thing that’s been keeping me up. Now a days when I start thinking too much about the future I panic. This is not the usual me. I have always been a planer. But that just feels so wrong right now. For as much as I know that I will have to make some decisions about my future at some point, that I can’t stay at my cousin’s forever, that I need to forge a better career than the lovely hodge-podge I do right now of waitressing, writing, translating, and auditioning. I also know I am exactly where I need to be and things will change when they are supposed to. I have to remind myself of that A LOT. This moment, this new chapter of my life is all about staying present and showing up. That is the only thing that I really want and need right now. That is where I am at.

It has been incredibly satisfying to be in NY. There was someone I really wanted to see during my trip that I may regret not seeing but the timing is not right. NY has been perfect as it has been. Sunny, chilly, but not, to my relief, as cold as I imagined it would be. The highlights have been spending lots of time with Coco, spending the day with my little sister, and seeing an old friend, an old love, who I had lost touch with. There were a couple of days of heavy, NY drinking, and some sweet, sexy kisses with a friend of a friend.

I also went to The Breslin a few times. It may be my favorite new bar even if they had Arcade Fire on heavy rotation and I almost fell apart telling Coco how Leo and I listened to them all through out our break up. And how the night we went to see their show I knew in my heart we were done and I cried almost the whole night. That night may have been the hardest night of my life. I was standing next to him, and I knew how much I loved him, and I knew that we wouldn’t be together for much longer. I knew that night that he would never choose me and that I had to go. Just thinking about it makes me cry.

So will I move back to NY? I don’t know. There was a moment when I was getting breakfast with my sister at Veselka that I saw myself moving back. But I also love LA so much. I just don’t know.