Archive for bloom

Land ho!

Posted in paris with tags , , on November 19, 2012 by ana

For a long time I felt like I had cast myself off from the shore in a small boat and was drifting at sea. In Spanish there is saying- hay que dar le tiempo al tiempo, which translates to you have to give time time. When my relationship was just starting to fall apart Elle said to me, you have to wait until the tornado passes and see where the pieces land. Then you can start from there. I feel like I have been walking in the rubble for a long time. At times I found things that delighted me, small treasures among the debris, and others I saw only destruction.

How long does it take to get over someone? Who knows. I’ve known people who cling to relationships that lasted a year, and I’ve seen people walk away from nine year relationships relatively unscathed. My friend Bree says fully getting over a relationship takes half the time you were in it, and I always thought you had to live each season and holiday spent together apart. Whatever it is everyone has their own timing. It can’t be rushed. You just wake up one day and feel different or maybe, like me, you just feel like yourself again.

There have been so many lovely, fun, downright magical moments these past two years that to say I have been depressed almost feels like an insult to them. I couldn’t have been depressed all the time. Yet, there was often a layer of sadness under everything. It’s still lingers but more as a memory than anything else. More as a feeling of whoa, what did I just emerge from!

All this time I have thought I am one lucky girl to be in Paris but I didn’t exactly feel it-until now. These days I sit in my French class, look out the window and feel ecstatic to be here. Paris is just so pretty. The ornate balconies and windows of the buildings across the street from my classroom literally make my heart sings. I walk around truly, finally, feeling that I am here.

In observing the city I find myself thinking a lot about acting. Specially, when I am on the  metro. Watching people’s gestures, postures, and expressions brings me back to acting class over and over. Both to what I loved about it and the places where I held myself back. It is so interesting to explore different mediums but some just aren’t quite the right fit even if they fascinate us. Those classes, Los Angeles, they feel distant but ever so present. There was so much that was idyllic.

In the past weeks I’ve started to see that in part I left because of heartache. Even if the main reasons for moving where my vagabond spirit, my desire to live abroad, and a strong gut feeling that moving to Europe would be very good for me. I also just needed a clean break.

And it is finally, truly, starting to feel like new beginnings. The future feels like it is rushing forward even if I have no idea what is going to happen. It feels like everything is coming together somehow and in the right way. In French class the other day, as part of an exercise someone asked `a quel âge devient-on  un adulte?, and I thought 39.

I start school tomorrow, not classes, actual school with an orientation, a proper first day, and exams. I am excited. I feel confident and inspired, grounded and expansive, and it is a feeling that spills into everything. It is going to be crazy hard, a pastry bootcamp. Three months of school condensed into five weeks. I hope it is everything I want it to be. Maybe it won’t be as I imagine but it feels like the best next step.

 

family & France

Posted in Burgundy with tags , , on July 30, 2012 by ana

There is a series of three photograph taken the day that my parents got engaged. They are celebrating their engagement with their siblings, all who were already married. Everyone is dolled up and laughing. I think they were taken in my grandfather’s study.

I used to be fascinated by these photos. I found them when I was in art school during a period where I pillaged both my parents collections of photographs. I was obsessed with family snapshots. I was never really sure why those photographs in particular captivated me but it had something to do with how fresh and young they all were. Looking at it from the future, knowing the significant events that occurred- the births, deaths, divorces, illnesses, accomplishments, that moment frozen in time, seemed like a pause before the first dip in a roller coaster. For some reason I woke up thinking of those photographs.

 

The other night I was in bed reading and absentmindedly playing with one of my teeth. This got me thinking about my grandmother. How she lost a lot of her teeth around age 92 or 93. This in turn made me think about getting older and getting old. About being sixty, eighty or ninety-six, the age my grandmother was when she passed away, and how I would look back on this time in my life and see my loves, my fears, my hopes. I tried to imagine, to get a feeling for how I would look upon this time when I’m older. For some reason this way of thinking about getting older, from the future looking back as opposed to from the present thinking forward, gave me a strange sense of reassurance. I realized that the thing that fascinated me about those photographs was that life hadn’t calcified into their bodies. The thing that I find most paralyzing about getting older is how much more weight our choices start to carry. From that stemmed the decision to move abroad. The fear that time was passing by and that I had to do the things that I had always wanted to do.

And because of some good decisions and a bit of luck I found myself today having a picnic by a field of sunflowers, then spending the remainder of the afternoon planting lettuces, carrots, and radicchio, and picking green beans for pickling, and unripe apples to make pectin.

When I got back it was so hot I started watching an Yves Saint Laurent documentary in bed. A St. Vincent song played in my head and wouldn’t go away. I stopped half-way through the movie to return some emails and somehow, amidst all the loveliness of the day and the anxiety of the future, while sitting in a pleather couch in a hotel lobby,  it hit me- the density, the loveliness of all I had, so far, lived and experienced in France.

On walks, scents, and being your own compass

Posted in Burgundy with tags , , , , on July 20, 2012 by ana

I’ve always loved going for long walks at night. Here, the air smells of mowed grass, trees, pebbly, dusty road, and wet wood when I walk. The last time I breathed air this clean was probably in Spain two years ago. It was around the same time of  year except the air smelled of river and stone.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about scents. I’ve been a bit violet obsessed. In part, because I think it is a suitable scent to wear while baking, but also because I like that it’s both dame-like and masculine in a dandy sort of way. I’ve also been thinking about red wine. Not the specific smells of a particular wine but the general scent. It is a layer in the olfactory memory of many great meals, and of memorable conversations sitting on couches or standing in kitchens with good friends. Then there was a conversation I had in Paris with a lovely perfume obsessed girl. Talking with her made me start thinking about the structure of fragrance and the often ignored construction of atmosphere through scents.

Trampling through the fields that are now my backyard, breathing in the green air, a group of small black birds flew by. Their wings flapping sounded almost like rain. Each time I’ve seen these bird in the gloaming sky I have thought of that Olivier Theyskens dress that Kirsten Dunst wore to the premier of Marie Antoinette at Cannes and wondered if a walk just after sunset inspired him.

I feel so sheltered, inspired, and grounded by nature right now. Sometimes limitations create expansion. I have very little internet access here. The service on my phone is also limited. Little by little this new quieter rythm is seeping in to everything. Walking back to my apartment I thought, I don’t need anything right now. I am perfectly satisfied. I am working towards things. I had a full day. I ate delicious food. I swam. I worked. I read. There is nothing right this moment that I want or need.

It has been so long since I felt that way. I used to feel that way with Leo all the time. We would be driving somewhere in his little vintage car. Zooming down the 101 to dinner or a show listening to tunes we loved, and I would feel that exact same feeling. This time, I thought, I got here by my sheer strength and will. I had a lot of help but I’ve steered it all with the needle of my own compass.

“She must find a boat and sail in it. No guarantee of shore. Only a conviction that what she wanted could exist, if she dared to find it.” ― Jeanette Winterson

Posted in paris with tags , , on June 3, 2012 by ana

Because my life isn’t very structured at the moment time feels like it’s moving at a different speed than usual. Things that happened four weeks ago feel like they happened months and months ago. Even things that happened a week ago seems further away than usual. This leaves me with the sensation that I have been feeling one particular way or another for a long time when in reality it has only been a short while.

I’m on a plane flying back to LA for Stevie’s wedding. I’ve been in Paris three months now. It feels like I have been there longer and at the same time this trip, which once felt so far away, arrived quickly and just when it was needed. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived like a student. The last month was intense. I feel neglected. I desperately need a haircut, a mani/pedi, and a scrub at a Korean spa. But that’s not the only way I feel neglected. I have been excessive and have neglected myself. Today, at the airport, I realized how much that excessiveness undermines my confidence.

It’s time to really dive into my life in Paris. This trip home feels like a perfectly timed interlude. So, lets just say these last three months were the prologue. I have seen and explored a bit of Paris but I need to do more. I need to drink the city in. Not literally, as I have been doing but indulging in its beauty and magic. It is time to make Paris my home.

Last week I went to see the Eva Besnyo exhibit at Jeu de Paume. Coming in from the Paris heat, into the cool and quiet space that smelled of traces of glue and wall paint, I remembered how often museums have felt to me like a church.  Specially if you find yourself alone in a room taking in something that speaks to you. As I walked through the rooms looking at her photographs I realized that until recently I had never taken a picture because I was seeing something. Most of the photographs I’ve taken I have taken with my my head more than my eyes.

After Eve Besnyo, I went upstairs and looked at some videos by Laurent Grasso. I thought the two exhibits played beautifully off each other. I sat in a room all by myself and watched a video about a hawk and its flight. I sat there and watched it twice and thought about the relationship between deep self-acceptance, inspiration, and expression. I sat there and thought about how beautiful and strange and difficult and lovely life is. I thought about the things I know I want in my life- a business, a baby, a man, and how the intense desire to expand creatively, to grow up creatively trumps all of it.

 

 

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea ~ ee cumings

Posted in paris with tags , , , on May 22, 2012 by ana

Lost in boy thoughts I yell to my roommate from the kitchen, “tell me not to write!”

“Tell you not to write?”

“Yes,” I say, “because I was doing fine but now I just want to write him.”

The moment passes. The desire to say I miss you, to say this is harder than I thought it would be is shut down by fear. This is a good thing. Staying away is a good thing. Doubt comes in the form of – what’s the point, to what end, and if I did write would he hate me a little for not letting it go? The next thought that follows is he has forgotten me and then maybe it meant more to me than him. But then I think I am too much in my head. I’m being such a girl.

All of this because as I walked up the stairs an image, an imagined image, popped in my head. Out of nowhere in my mind I saw him walking up the stairs to my apartment the first time we had sex. I sprinted up the stairs. I tried to leave the thought behind but it caught up to me as I read an ee cumings poem on someone’s blog. And then I remembered  walking home from the metro that day. The play between being excited and staying present, telling myself that there was plenty of time for the list of things I wanted to do- shower, brush my teeth, tidy the apartment, find music and have a few minutes to kick back and relax. Now that I’ve written it down, all those thoughts have lost their power and become a lovely moment and nothing else. Writing is amazing that way.

In the past couple of days the work, language, money panic has slightly subsided and I’m feeling more like myself again.  It still feels like I’m in the middle of a mid-October leaf storm or on the white water rafting part of the program or the free fall part of the jump but I’m starting to think, I can handle this. I’ve remembered a crucial bit. Sanity is always found in returning to myself. Somehow that got lost in the last month and a half of late nights, out-of-town guests and farewells. That has always been the answer or at the very least a big part of it.

It is also true that I would be lost with out my friends- the ones I can reach out to in the middle of the night if necessary. Still, the answer, my answer, is always the same- read, write, cut images and glue them on paper, cook (and now bake).  There has always been behavior, in my part that is less than healthy when things feel shaky. And it is also true that when I’m almost at the edge I find my way back to a healthier day to day. Yes, there is often now a sadness in the morning when I first open my eyes. That has been there since almost two years ago next July. But I’ve always been good at shaking it off with my first cup of coffee.

It’s raining in Paris. All month long brief stints of sunshine seem to promise summer but not yet, not yet, not yet. Things are slowly changing. French is opening up to me a bit. My ear hears words and my brain understands them without translating them to Spanish or English. More and more I feel trepidation when I write because it feels more exposing than it ever has. I suspect that is a good thing. I must be getting closer to what I need to be doing if it feels scary. And as Lili pointed out the other day lots of small changes add up to some big ones.

“At this time last year,’ she said, “you didn’t know what you wanted to do. You hadn’t decided to move to Paris. You hadn’t taken your trip to Italy. You weren’t even baking. Think of all the incredible things that happened in one year.”

And except for that momentary staircase flash and the minutes after, I’m having a pretty good day. Thanks in part to a Sam Shepard interview in the guardian, a commencement speech by Neil Gaiman, an essay by Anne Lamont, a paragraph about cake batter in Michael Rhulman’s Ratio, a bit of a conversation with Angelo Badalamenti about the sound of Twin Peaks that I listened to on Nicolas Jaar’s essential mix for BBC radio, two Mark Strand poems, a kitchenaid mixer, a batch (finally!) of really good dark chocolate cayenne cookies that leave behind a mellow heat reminiscent of a first kiss, and the realization that if all I want is just beyond my hand’s reach maybe I just need to put down my arms and walk towards it.

 

printemps

Posted in paris with tags , , on March 26, 2012 by ana

Friday was a gorgeous day. I sat by the canal and talked with a friend about traveling, about baking and how hard it is to find the right sugar and flour in Paris, about how much Parisians love American cookies. I told her how strange it felt to be American. Something I have always been but have never said I am. I am, have always been, Puerto Rican but here I am American. Here being Puerto Rican is not a nationality. As I walked up the stairs to my apartment I thought- I have never lived in a foreign country. Then I thought- ah, but you have, since you were 18 you have. Then I sat in the small nook of the kitchen window as the cat slept by the last direct ray of light. The pigeons stood still, perched on the chimneys across from me, and I looked at the sky.

Moving shakes things up. I always remember my dreams best when I sleep somewhere new. Changing position changes perspective. Leaving Leo gave me a sense of self I never had before. Leaving LA has made me aware of how full my life is. It is nice to swim in feelings of what I have as opposed to what I don’t, as opposed to what I want.  It is wonderful, it is productive to feel happiness with what you have. There is so little we can control in our lives. Our perspective and our efforts, that’s about it. I keep thinking about something my mom said recently. That life wasn’t so much about paying your dues but about contributing. Where you give your time, your love, your attention is where you reap your light.

When I first got here I emailed my old writing teacher Jack. Every few months he writes emails to his students meant to kindle a love of writing. His last email was about fact and fiction, writing and art, and Pina, the movie about Pina Bausch. After reading it I wrote to him and told him how much I enjoyed his “letters”.  We’ve been emailing about Paris ever since.  It’s exciting to correspond with someone I find inspiring.

Since moving I have been in touch with a lot of long lost friends dispersed through out the world. Some emails have been proper catch-ups and others a simple lovey touch-n-go. After dreaming that I walked past my friend James on a street here in Paris I wrote him. I think the last time that I talked to him was about twelve years ago. He wrote back: I’m glad we reconnected, in Paris. Hopefully we can reconnect one day in real life, with fruity cocktails, on a beach, in PR. The last time was on a warm windy night, at some party. I remember it. 

There was a time that I hung out a lot with James. He was my boyfriend’s best friend. He was Anouk’s roommate for awhile. We were so young and as he said in another email, but thought we were so old. We took ourselves very seriously in the way that art school kids tend to do.

I spent practically the whole weekend at Butte Chaumont- drinking wine with friends on Saturday and then Sunday with Iris listening to music and taking photos on her great-grandmother’s blanket. I had fun slutty-kisses with a cute Parisian late Saturday night and rosé by the Seine late on Sunday. The weather is making me think of NY. James’ email is making me think of NY. Kissing a 26 year-old is making me think of being 26 in NY. And all of it feels very weather appropriate.

 

 

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. -Joseph Campbell

Posted in 38 with tags , on February 7, 2012 by ana

Except for my childhood and brief stints as an adult I have my whole life, for the most part, felt fat or at the very least not up to par. Somewhere in me lives a voice that says I am less, I am not enough as I am. I know I’m not the only woman that feels this way. And I can not possibly be the only one who is exhausted by the constant battle we wage against ourselves. I’m not talking here about losing weight per say but of self-acceptance. I can look at women who have the same body as me and see beauty, lushness, sexiness. I can also see that in me, sometimes, often, but right underneath the skin, right underneath those sentiments, there has always been one constant thin layer of self loathing. At times it’s almost imperciptable but it is always there.

Two days ago I finished sorting through my books. I narrowed the books I’m keeping to three boxes out of ten. It was not easy at first but once I got going it became almost effortless. Why keep moving all this books? So that one day I can have a beautiful room filled with them? The day I can have a library I’ll be able to buy whatever book I want.

Among the boxes of books were my photographs.  Looking at them I realized how much of a disconnect there has always been between how I feel I look and how I look. I was kind of floored by how perfectly fine I looked in almost every photograph and not at all how I felt at the moment the photos were taken. This all got me thinking about how much time I’ve wasted hating parts of myself, wishing for change, and feeling frustrated. It is one of the main ways in which I hold myself back, and keep myself from being in the moment.  I’m tired of living a life noticing the lack more than the haves. It’s only taken me 38 years, countless therapy sessions, and millions of moments where it has felt like I’m banging my head against the wall to see what a waste it is to walk through a perfectly good life that way.

I only had one resolution this year. To wear lipstick everyday. After all, my aunt was right, a little color on your face does make a difference. But I’m adding one more. To explore the idea of radical self-acceptance.

 

the ties that bind

Posted in 38, family with tags , , , on November 30, 2011 by ana

Over the long weekend I went to Virginia to visit my cousin Carolina. Going to Virginia always feels like going home. Every summer growing up I stayed at least a month with either my grandmother or my aunt and uncle. Every corner of the house Carolina grew up in is filled with memories. Every time I walk past the guest bathroom, which still has shimmery seventies wallpaper, I remember running in, from a savage game of war with my cousins in the front yard, to fill up water balloons in the sink, and the trouble I got in when I accidentally dropped one on the wood floor. Every time I pass the door to the basement I remember a game of cops and robbers that left me handcuffed to the basement staircase when one of my boy cousins lost the key. In a way, in Virginia, I got to have a kind of suburban life that I never had in Puerto Rico. One where we rode our bikes to the local pool and ran around outside until the sun set late into the night.

Carolina and her husband live in the apartment where my grandmother used to live. This is the apartment where Carolina and I went into the guest bathroom as brunettes one afternoon and emerged a light shade of peroxide copper a half hour later thanks to a bottle of Sun-in we conned someone into buying for us. Across the street from that apartment there used to be a movie theater where I watched E.T. nine times, Annie six, and the first of the Batman movies at least twice. If I stand still long enough I can almost see my grandparents in their bedroom or in the kitchen. Thankfully, the incredibly awkward 8×10 fifth-grade portrait, where I’m wearing a mint green denim vest with a baby pink t-shirt, has been taken down from the wall, and hopefully burned.

Carolina is a year and half older than me.  When we were little we would make our moms buy us the same outfits so we could pretend we were twins but in reality she’s rosy-colored and I’m olive. Her hair is straight and mine is wavy. She’s a skinny-minnie and I’m curvy. And our politics are at opposite ends of the spectrum. When I was little my heart did cartwheels whenever she was around. It still does actually. Sometimes there is nothing lovelier than time spent with someone that has known you your entire life, who knows you through and through, and completely understand the ins and outs of your specific family. And it was wonderful and truly inspiring to see how sweetly her marriage has bonded and evolved as it has navigated hardships and obstacles.

On Sunday we went to see  Gabriela, the daughter of a friend of my mom’s, in an Arthur Miller play. She was intensely good, and I kept thinking of how deep one must dig to unearth something compelling and how much one also has to surrender.

On Monday I went to the zoo in DC by myself and wandered around looking at the elephants, silverback gorillas, and tigers with that mixture of sadness and awe that zoos tend to inspire. I rode the metro and the vertigo inducing escalator of the Adams Morgan station with my fantasies and longing firmly planted across several countries and an ocean, where I have been pretending, somewhat foolishly since the summer, to remember and forget them.

I returned to LA happy and with new shoes but also arguing with my heart. Telling it it was a sucker and a nit-wit for harboring the desire to date someone who wasn’t present and available, for liking someone that feels impossible. I woke up knowing, AGAIN, that is easier to pretend that I don’t like him. It’s just easier to tell myself- let it go- every time I think of him than it is to pine for him. It is better to just hold him in my heart as a catalyst because when we correspond my lust and my ego go crazy, and all I want to hear is, I guess what any girl wants to hear from the guy she likes, that he will do anything to try to be with me because he doesn’t want to be with out me.

All of this has got me thinking about what is solid and grounded. How amazing and guiding it feels to have  fallen in love with my own creative path, for one, and seeing how all the things that interest me begin to combine. Everything in my life is really great right now, really good things are happening. I need to be grateful and not let my inner Veruca Salt tell me otherwise. I struggle to be present but when I’m not I miss the feelings of security, stability, and sensuality that noticing the richness and the details of the moment, and distilling its guiding whispers bring me.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

duh!

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

Maybe seeing Leo last week, rolling around, and pressing up against each other wasn’t such a good idea.  In the moment it seemed okay. The next day, this past week, I’ve felt fine. But the past few days I have been so emotional. I want love in my life- it’s no secret. And while I feel that I’m over Leo I don’t know that I’m over the heartache.

I spent the weekend in Napa with pregnant Nai and then drove down to visit Willa and spent a few days hanging out with her gorgeous one year old baby.  Both my friends are happy and in love. I’m happy that they are happy but I feel lonely. It’s a funny feeling to want something that feels completely out of my reach, something that I thought I had and that I thought was coming. I feel that it is time for something new but I think I’m still in the thick of it just in a different stage.

My fling in Italy helped and didn’t help. Something I thought would be light and breezy turned into unexpected feelings and strong desire I have had a hard time letting go of. The emails back and forth were probably not the best idea either.

Were the feelings for that man strong because he was the first man that I was with after Leo? I have wondered that more than once. Or was there something really there? Does it even matter?

No.

Willa and I went to the beach. It was a beautiful, foggy beach with seals, cliffs, and redwoods, and I was all weepy. What I realized in talking with both my friends is that I’m angry. That I still somehow feel that the tables were turned on me. That I ended up so far from where I thought I would be and still there is the strong undercurrent, the knowledge that it was the best thing that happened to me.

Nothing like a six hour drive to clear your head. I drove the five freeway home with a vengeance and almost got pulled over.  The night before I left Willa said, “there is nothing you need to fix. You are perfect as you are and love will walk in when it will.” Anouk in an email said the same thing, perfect as you are. This is a revolutionary concept for me. I always feel like there is something I need to fix.

What is it then that is going on with me? What is it that keeps me from feeling completely full, from seeing the abundance I have in my life each day? I drink strong coffee in therapy and say, “there are so many ups and downs lately. I’m sad, and I’m also happy. I’m scared and excited.” I voice the fear that is creeping in about moving to Paris and all the things I have been learning about myself lately. “I think maybe I don’t need to go looking for a purpose. I think I just need to be me. Like you said, live each day fully. Do the things that fill my soul.” I voice my deep desire to connect with a man. To have a relationship that is a collaboration more than a compromise. I say, “I want a lover but sadly those never appear when I go looking for them.” I talk about how inspired I feel, and wonder why I am complaining. I am a broken record. Well, not broken, skipping.

“When you feel disappointment,” she says,  “you start to doubt. You keep expecting something to happen that will somehow create this ideal life you have in your head, this magical fantasy life keeps you from seeing the fullness, the excitement that is already there.”

She is right, I keep thinking I will find an enchanted doorway, a lucky coin, a magic lamp that will put me in some paradisal version of my life where macarons are eaten every morning for breakfast, everyday feels as exciting as brand new love and is filled with great sex and fabulous outfits and incredibly fulfilling creative endeavors. I know, ridiculous.

Later she says, “you always look for the wonderment in life.”

And I interrupt and say, “I know it is my downfall.”

“I was going to say is one of the best qualities about you.”

I need to stand in my own life complete and whole, absorb whatever comes my way, and be present to all of the amazing, dark, lovely mess that life is.

She says, “I’m excited for you.”

She says, “you need to write love letters to yourself. From the one that longs to the one that longs to be desired.”

And we talk about Paris. How it has been there for a long time, the thought, the idea, and now the leap. In a previous session she said, ” you keep asking for signs when they come you have to take them.”

And so Paris, Paris, Paris in January. Is it really happening? I feel the same way I felt before I moved to LA. I dosn’t feel real yet but it is there.

I have been trying to push myself. In the summer the restaurant doesn’t get busy until the sun starts to set. Chili and I talk about where we are, where we are going. I tell her, “I had a revelation the other day. I work hard but I never push myself.”

And she says, “my drumming teacher used to tell me- if you show up to rehearsal and do the same thing you always do that’s not practicing that’s just repetition. In order to practice you need to push yourself.”

For the last seven days I have been waking up and doing the opposite of what I always do. I haven’t reached for my laptop or phone. I have written “morning pages” stream of consciousness writing at least three pages long. Then I’ve sat down to meditate aiming for ten minutes maybe getting seven. Hey, it’s still something. I have gone running and not given up. And I’ve been working on being, on living life exactly as I want my life to be. I have been trying to live perfect days. Or at least doing my part.

Today I started sorting and organizing my room. I live with a very lovely and anal (no pun intended) gay man. I know that what I call neat is for him chaos. I live in his house for free so I try to keep things, try being the key word here, somewhat organized. I have a lot of stuff. Among it are boxes upon boxes of letters and journals, almost 20 years worth. I have moved with these boxes from Midtown to Harlem to the East Village to Brooklyn to Burbank to Hollywood to Koreatown and back to Burbank. Each time the boxes get heavier. Do I really need to hold on to all of it?  Watching The Cook, the Thief, the Wife, and her Lover, one of my favorite movies, I started to go through some of it. I read old letters some written to me, some rough drafts of letters I’ve sent. I read old journals from art school, from when I was seventeen, and from a few years ago. Certain themes emerged. The therapy workshop that I did was all bout shadows and patterns and looking at your defenses, and boy were those blatantly there. They sent me for a spin. They drove me out of my house to Stevie’s, where I am the resident squatter, because I can’t really write where I live. And writing I have been. And in between I had a long heart felt  conversation with my lovely designer friend who lives next door to Stevie. A conversation in his kitchen with cigarettes, tears, and trout steamed with lemon slices. His beautiful gowns hanging near by. I walked with Stevie’s man to buy bread and felt so much love for their neighborhood as we walked past succulents and lavender and blooming myrtle. I bought a perfect peach and felt the thing that I love to feel most these days- everything is okay. Everything is fine, perfect, magnificent just as it is.