Archive for 37

dichotomy

Posted in 37 with tags , on May 14, 2011 by ana

Something funny has been happening lately where I’ve been feeling opposite things simultaneously. On the one hand I’m so annoyed I have gained weight. Nothing fits me right now, and I am a girl who loves everything in her closet. I regret eating so much sugar the past few months. I really have such a sweet tooth, and I struggle with it. After eating more cake than any one person should, I told one of the chefs at work that I needed to go to sugar eaters anonymous. Does that even exist? It must, right? Honestly, I think the sugar thing is hereditary because my grandma, mom, and cousin all love sugar. Well, my mom not so much anymore. She says one day she kind of lost the taste for it. I hope that day comes for me, soon! My mom tells me, and I actually faintly remember this, that I stood by a plate of cookies she had made for my third birthday party not wanting to play because all I wanted was to eat them.

So on the one hand I want to loose weight, and on the other I have never loved, liked, or appreciated my body more.  It’s like I’ve finally, after 37 years, grown into it. As much as the weight gain makes me unhappy, the body love makes me feel very grown-up, sexy, and happy.

Same thing goes for my life in general. I’m scared. I really have no major plan but I’m also little by little starting to trust that when the time is right I will know what to do. I have thought this before but now I’m slowly starting to feel it.  It’s not super strong yet but it’s there. The only other time I have ever felt this was when I decided to move to LA. I really didn’t know what was going to happen once I got here.  I knew I wanted to move. I knew I wanted to work as a set-decorator. And I had three friends and a place to stay at my cousin’s, where I now live again. I had graduated from grad school a few months earlier and while the experience over all had been great that last year in New York, my thesis, and my experience with one particular professor had left me feeling blue. I had moved in to my then boyfriend’s apartment as I  went about the business of packing my apartment and putting everything in storage with Nai and Alabama’s help. The month before I moved I had these moments of panic.  I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen when I got to LA. I wasn’t really sure of anything but this voice in my head kept saying that everything was going to be okay, better than okay, and then I would feel really excited. And everything has been okay, better than okay.  And while I’m not quite fully in that feeling yet but more and more I’m starting to get glimpses, not enough to feel excited, but enough to counter balance the panic.

24/37

Posted in 37, family with tags , on April 28, 2011 by ana

It’s funny how arbitrary a mood can be. I woke up blue but after applying for a job that sounded really great my spirits immediately lifted. But then a little later this cloudy sadness draped itself over me. It’s so unpredictable. Something that I think will for sure make me sad will not even cause a stir, then something random will leave me devastated. It can be something as simple as remembering, while I’m peeing, the fancy trashcan I bought at Bed, Bath & Beyonce the week we moved into the new apartment. If I’m not diligent about moving away from a thought like that it can easily snowball. Sometimes I don’t even catch it until I’m already feeling sad.

It doesn’t even have to be about Leo. Sometimes I’ll feel sad, and envious, when I see my sister in the thralls of boy craziness, running off to go on tour with the boy she likes for a week, partying, and doing lots of impromptu revelry. And though I don’t exactly want to be 24 again or have the stamina I feel a pang of envy for the excitement she has right now. This is a pattern in my life. There are always slow, somewhat monastic periods and then there are periods where every second is filled. Those monastic moments, which are really not that pious, are always mostly annoying to me. I do love my alone time but I love it best amidst moments of business.

To be single at 37 after a long relationship feels odd to me. I’m not 30 anymore, my habits, my lifestyle, my interests have grown up while I was with somebody. I think it would be different if I had been single or in and out of relationships all along. This is a new world.  I’ve never been single as a woman. It shocks me how little I want to be running around painting the town red and also how I don’t know exactly how else to be single if not like that.

Posted in 37 with tags on March 27, 2011 by ana

Today I went to see an astrologer. Jackie was talking about him, and I asked her for his number. She was right, he kind of just tells you your personality back to you, explains it in the most uncanny way. Right off the bat he said he would have been surprised if I didn’t write because of some planets being in some house that basically said that I was all about communication. We talked about words, about faith, about career versus job. I told him that I had been trying to find my voice. That I had been looking for a long time and that I thought I was getting closer.

He told me, “You probably know this, that vocation came from the word vocare. It has the word voice in it.” I hadn’t thought about it. Later I looked it up in the dictionary, because I knew what the word meant but not its meaning. One of the definitions said: a strong inclination towards a particular course of action.

“Do you know what the bible says about faith?” he asked. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

“There are advantages to being a late bloomer,” he said. My therapist always reminds me of that whenever I end up crying out of frustration at her office.

I have a rule in my life that I try to adhere to as much as possible. I will try anything twice. I don’t think that you can make up your mind up about most things with just one try. Like with food, sometimes the first taste of something is so unexpected that it becomes about the experience of trying it as opposed to what it really tastes and feels like. I’ve recently added a second part to my rule that isn’t entirely connected to the first. If two different people say the same thing to me then I have to pay closer attention to whatever it is they are saying, specially if those two people are not in anyway connected. This has been happening a lot lately. And it happened with Jim, the astrologer, several times.

Earlier in the day I had been thinking about Malcom Gladwell and the idea that it takes roughly 10,000 hours or ten years to become a professional at something. This concept has always bummed me out because I have always felt that I was a bit of a Jill of all trades and a master of none. That morning as I finished working out I saw it differently. The last fifteen years of my life I had been looking for my voice. I looked for it in photography, in little illustrations, in bookbinding and collaging, in film, in set dressing, in writing, in acting and in the past year all that searching had started to really manifest into something. I felt that for the first time in my life I had actually been working on something for a really long time- me and how to express myself. And though it feels like I have only just started to find it the past fourteen years have been a thorough, constant, passionate search.

Jim basically repeated that to me. It made my reading one of the most confidence boosting experiences I’ve had and lately I have had many. I left his house feeling even more grounded, like I had gotten a huge piece of my puzzle. I felt like life was punching me in the arm and saying, “good going kid.”

Jim also said something that I’ve been thinking a lot about. He shared with me something another person, another Libra, like me, had told him. I’m not sure if I got the wording exactly right but she had explained to him that a relationship could not be based on compromise because that inherently contained two negatives, two people giving something up and that she couldn’t make amends with that. A collaboration, she thought, was two people coming together to create something. Two people bringing who they were. Jim pointed to some planets opposing each other in my chart and said, “You have to find someone that will love you exactly for who you are.”

Leo and I had been all about compromise but if I look back where we really shined was when we collaborated. That was when life with him felt the utmost, the greatest moments to be living in. And not just our artistic collaborations but our everyday ones as well.

A few days later as I drove by Mozza I thought of Leo. I thought of our first night in our new apartment. Our plan had been to order pizza from Mozza-to-go and drink a bottle of Veuve Cliquot someone had given me on my birthday. I can’t remember where we ended up getting the pizza from but we sat amidst boxes a few lit candles in the faux fireplace. The memory crushed me. I still haven’t shaken it. That night we were happy, exhausted, we felt accomplished but I look back and we were already not on the same page. I didn’t see it then. It’s so hard when you are in the middle of a relationship to see things as they are because there are so many ebbs and flows. The man I fell in love with was already somewhere else.

I have a strong physical aversion to going to most places where Leo and I existed. Not every place just the ones that take me to a feeling. Happy or not. And I never know what places will do that to me. For example I can’t go to the acupuncturist who I was seeing while we were breaking up. Even imaging walking through her door sends me reeling. And it’s not so much that I’m running away from feeling those feelings but that I have to move on. Revisiting them does nothing for me. Leo and I broke up because I would have had to compromise too much of myself. By the time we moved, I know realize, Leo no longer loved me for being exactly myself. These things weren’t obvious but they were there. He kept asking me to take back things I had said that weren’t particularly offensive but somehow made him feel threatened. For someone who had made me feel so expansive, so grounded he was now asking me not to be myself. And for someone who has been relentlessly searching for her voice, who has been peeling the layers, knowingly or not, being with Leo that way would have been unsustainable even if there was goodness and stability there as well. The baby, the marriage, the needing to know all that, was my way out. I wasn’t the only one that left. I think he was already gone. On my birthday he had written: I am so thankful you are in my life and something had really bothered me about that. The word thankful, at least to me, was a lighter more distant word than the one I felt was merited, than the one that I felt about him, which was grateful.

Posted in 37 with tags on March 24, 2011 by ana

Sometimes I’ll be sending someone a message and as I scroll through the addresses on my phone I’ll come across the name of someone who I used to know in my life with Leo. The sensation is so odd and painful it is the feeling that something has died or has been lost. I think half of the people Leo and I used to know as a couple probably don’t know we broke up. I know Leo expressed to me once that he didn’t feel it was their business.

The wife of Leo’s boss is a name I often see in my address book. We spent some good times together and every time I see her name I cringe. I see us having dinner or at a party. That was a whole different life. When I told my boss Leo and I had split one of the things she said was, “If I’ve learned anything is that you never see what’s coming.”
I think of Leo and I at dinner with friends thinking, feeling that we had a whole future, a whole world in front of us. That is the hardest feelings to come to terms with. Over and over those are the ones that just break me. And when I feel that way I wonder how I will ever feel that relaxed, and loved, and content again with another person. How will I trust those feelings again.

Posted in 37 with tags on March 23, 2011 by ana

I’m writing this while sitting in my car in Atwater Village in the rain.
The air is so clean here after it rains.

Today I got my very unruly eyebrows shaped and plucked back to their devastatingly beautiful shape. I’ve been going to Jackie to get them done ever since I moved to LA eight years ago with the Paper magazine in hand that had a little write-up about her. I love Jackie. You would be hard pressed to find a more fabulous lady. She has some of the prettiest tattoos I’ve ever seen and her wardrobe is really beyond words. Lots of Vivienne Westwood, Channel, you name it. I think the last time I went to see her was the end of 2009, which is not to say that my eyebrows were a mess all of 2010. I was, but I still kept up with some of the upkeep.

Lately there are a few hot women in the periphery of my life who have just turned fifty. It’s really beyond inspiring to see, not only how sexy and fantastic they are, but to connect with them. The end of my thirties may freak me out but I have a great feeling about my forties. If I feel so much more comfortable in my skin now I can only imagine it’s going to get better. I think every time you usher in a new decade there is some reckoning. Where you’ve been, where you are going.

I may still be a few years away from turning forty and believe me I’m not trying to rush it but everything in my life began to fall apart because my forties are looming. I really don’t know where I am headed, and yes it freaks the living daylights out of me. But on the other hand do we ever really know? This is just a heightened sense of that awareness. There is a part of me that knows that on the other side of this period in my life there are great things, better and more tangible than I can imagine. Sort of like I know that I will fall in love again even if it feels like an abstract concept right now. And part of going through it is to just be in it to feel the fear, the helplessness, the hesitance, the feeling of being overwhelmed and move through it. This is so new for me. I always go around those feeling, put a band-aid on them and try to make them disappear.

Posted in 37 with tags on March 12, 2011 by ana

The truth is that I miss him. The truth is that I love him. The truth is that while it was really, really good something very small but ultimately elemental was missing. At the end of the day I think he didn’t have the same desire to suck the marrow out of life as me. Other things drive him and that’s okay. And most days it feels not so bad. Most days I feel quite happy until I have to talk about it, until someone asks me if we’ve talked or seen each other and when I say that we have emailed a little, that I don’t want to talk to him or see him, that I haven’t since November, it hurts. And there is nothing that can be done about it but wait until it doesn’t anymore.

Posted in 37 with tags on March 3, 2011 by ana

Again, the thing about heartache is that it catches you by surprise, stops you in your tracks, and engraves itself on your insides.

I had such a bizarre day- as if someone had laced my morning coffee with valium. I walked in a haze. At work I think at least five people asked me if I was okay, which I was. I was just tired from the weekend.

I had a really sweet day with my friend who is visiting and who I have known since the tenth grade. We went to Murakami for super delicious, cheap sushi. I bought a cute turquoise bikini with red hearts. And then we came back to my apartment and had coffee and gingermen cookies before I had to go to work. When I drove her back to Stevie’s she talked about my grandmother. She brought her back to me because she told me things I had forgotten. Little details that reminded me of her personality. How she had darned her socks one thanksgiving when we were in college and took the train from NY to Virginia and stayed with her at her apartment in Falls Church. How she kept frozen Pepperidge Farm croissant pastry pizzas in her freezer when we were in High School and we had slept over one weekend at her apartment in Condado and eaten like five of them. I had forgotten those details. I used to love sleeping over at my grandmother’s, and I had not thought about that in ages. It was such a nice feeling to go back in my mind to her apartments at those times in my life.

Later, at the restaurant Marion came in with her hubby and some friends for one last dinner before her move. At the end of the night their garage sale came up. I remebered that Leo had mentioned that he really wanted to go and that he’d later said he’d been really happy to see them. Leo and I rarely talk but he and I had exchanged a few emails that week. Marion told me a story about Leo that broke my heart. She said he’d bought this little bunny shaped creamer, exactly like one that we used to have, and that it has slipped and shattered on the way to his car. I could just see the whole scene in my head and everything inside me sank. I know exactly how he must have felt and what he must have thought when he saw the creamer, the comfort it brought him. That stupid bunny creamer and all it represented. And what it must have meant to see our old friends who no longer really were his friends because they had been my friends. That is a lot of sadness for one day. I avoid that kind of sadness like the plague. That’s why I can’t see Leo. Why I don’t ever want to set foot in our old apartment. It’s just too painful. My heart just breaks for him- all that heartache on top of heartache.

I know I’ve caused Leo a lot of pain. It’s very conflicting for me. I made a choice that created a vacuum in his life that he didn’t see coming. I hurt the person I loved the most. I filled his life with love and laughter and then I filled it up with sadness and loss. I set all these events into motion. He let it happen but I did it. It’s a strange thing to know that someone loves you and that you will probably hurt them horribly when you fall in love again, when you have moved on, when you have a child with a man that is not him. I know this because I know how easy it would be for us to still be happily together. Even though I know I made the right decision I can’t think of a single thing that I have ever done that has affected someone so much and that sentiment scares me.

Sunday part 1

Posted in 37 with tags on February 21, 2011 by ana

I’m emotionally exhausted. My day started fine then slowly, slightly, steadily unraveled. In the morning I worked out, talked to my mom, meditated, then met my sister for brunch. After that I felt uneasy. I just wanted to be home reading, writing, laying low but I had plans with my friend and had been looking forward to it.

I went to the drugstore and ran into an acquaintance that both Leo and I have worked with. It had been awhile since I had seen him, and I was kind of dreading the “How’s Leo?” question and the answer. But it went down more like this-

him: I was just at your house.
me: You were?
him: Congratulations!
-awkward pause-
him: You just had a baby.
-awkward pause, until it dawns on me-
me:Oh, that’s not me. That’s Lakshmi.
him: Oh, that’s right. I just had surgery I’m on liquid Vicadin. You go out with Pae.
me: I don’t go out with Pae.
him: Oh yeah, you go out with Leo.
me: Yeah.
At that point I just couldn’t get into it with him.

You go to the drugstore with your sister to buy a brow pencil and some bobby pins, and you leave feeling doleful. I’ve been here before. I was at Staples buying scissors after my ex, Rafe, and I split up, a song came on and I just started bawling in the middle of the aisle.

Truth be told the unsettling feeling had been there since the day before. Saturday was perfect, first a lovely brunch with Marion (who is moving to Paris in a week! Lucky girl) at our friend, Odette’s, followed by a rainy afternoon matinee at the Los Feliz 3. After, Odette and I grab dinner at Little Dom’s. We talked a lot about my parents for some reason, about their relationships.

When I was driving her home, Odette said,
“I wish for you a man who is a rock, who lets you be you and celebrates you.”
“I want a fabulous man who loves me.”
“You had a fabulous man who loved you. I think you need a rock.”

I realized then that the feeling I had been carrying around me like an albatross was forlorn. Because if I did have a fabulous man who loved me and it wasn’t enough, how would it ever be enough, how could I ever trust and love and let go again. My whole life I have always thought if I was in relationship where both people were in love, not just loved each other, but were madly in love, then that would be it. I believed in him. I believed in us. Even though I know I will fall in love again how will I ever get there feeling so beaten down by the fates.

I keep thinking of something I read- sometimes good things fall apart so even better things can come together. I believe that. I want to believe that. A part of me knows this is true. A part of me feels very angry. A part of me can not imagine this to be true.

Slutty kissing

Posted in 37 with tags , on February 11, 2011 by ana

The combination of trying to constantly bring myself back to being in the moment and being single is making me hyper-sexual. Not quite horny, not quite hot and bothered just often titillated- mostly with myself, with my space. Everything feels like a shimmer on my skin intriguing men, stunning women, soft sheets, lovely outfits. Every song I hear is inspiring, the weather is exciting, eating tastes delicious and all those things keep putting me back in my body in a way I’ve only felt when first falling in love or in lust. I want to keep this romance with the world, with myself. I want it to be the place where I operate from- my default setting.

And as I said to my friend the other day, over a salty caramel chocolate tart, I’m not sure I’m ready to sleep with anyone but I want to do a lot of kissing. I want to be a slutty kisser. I want romantic, slutty kisses like the ones I gave and got in Paris in the middle of a nightclub, with a boy whose name I’ll never know, while everyone danced around us.

Posted in 37 with tags on February 11, 2011 by ana

I love my gynecologist. Every time I leave his office after my yearly visit I leave feeling so great. I know it sounds strange but he has the best bedside manners of any doctor I have ever had. He never makes me feel like he is rushing to get somewhere else, he asks great questions, and has such a healthy, positive outlook on female sexuality. Most doctors never have a conversation with you or treat you as an equal. It says a lot to feel that way about a man you are talking to while you are quite possibly in the world’s most unflattering position.

Dr. Dwight was so encouraging about still having plenty of time to have a child. He reminded me to be diligent about condoms and when I left he said- go out there, find your love! LOVE HIM.

On my way to his office I had been listening to Soda Stereo and thinking about Gustavo Cerati being in a coma on a hospital somewhere while his voice reached out to me through my ipod. Not too long ago Leo and I went to see Soda Stereo. It was a fantastic show. The energy was amazing. Everybody seemed so excited to be there. We also saw Cerati play a solo show at the House of Blues three or four years ago. We went to a party upstairs after the show. There weren’t many people there, maybe forty. Gustavo Cerati came up to the bar to get a drink while we were waiting for ours. It was really sweet for me to be so close to someone whose songs have often been the soundtrack to my life. Soda’s music takes me to back to one glittery xmas where my cousin and I came home every night around five or six in the morning. They also remind me of Leo, in a happy way, because we played them so much.

There are few better feelings than when you are feeling satisfied and excited by the music you own. And that’s where I’m at the moment inspired and fueled, driving around singing at the top of my lungs.