Archive for weekends

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.

 

And then the sadness returned but it didn’t last

Posted in 37 with tags , , , on June 19, 2011 by ana

I take the 5 to and from work. That part of the freeway, late at night, when there aren’t a lot of cars on the road, and I’m ready to tuck myself away from the day, has come to represent a certain solitude and freedom in my life. How many times in the past months have I cried my heartache out, singing out-of-tune to some song driving home in my car. I wouldn’t quite say I was crying my heart out last night but I was sad. Sometimes when I’m tired I get kind of blue and melancholic. At work I was exhausted, and I missed Leo with a deep longing I hadn’t experienced in a while. It took everything I had not to say fuck it and text him to meet me for a drink. I don’t think I really would have but I wanted to. The thought of how I would feel after stopped me. The pointlessness of it stopped me.

On Friday I had the penultimate project of my therapy workshop.  Each time we do process work it feels to me like I’m removing barnacles from my soul. So that was probably the main reason I felt emotional and exhausted. So much of the investigation, of the work in the workshop, is about finding what holds us back, what the defenses and patterns in our lives are, and for me it has also been about learning to trust, about not being so driven by a timeline, and learning to really believe in myself.

I did my project in my friend Vee’s back deck. The afternoon sun had burned off all of the morning June-gloom haze and butterflies were fluttering about. Part of my project was to build a castle out of cardboard and cover it in glitter to sacrifice  my attachment to fantasy. I listened to Vespertine, which is such a brilliant album about creativity, sexuality, potentiality and dreams. While building the castle I thought about the last time I had spent an afternoon being that messy and carefree, which was probably when I was in summer camp in my early teens. I then was stung by a bee. The crazy thing is that the only time in my life I have ever been stung by a bee was at summer camp. In one of my one-on-one sessions with my therapist we’d talked about hummingbirds going from flower to flower, unknowingly pollinating other plants, and in the process making something magnificent grow. That is what showing up, and doing the work everyday does. Regardless of what the work is, if you do it consistently something grows. That is what bees do too, so later at home, I looked up the symbolic and mythological significance of bees.

Bees also symbolize eloquence , speech, and intelligence . In Hebrew, the word for bee, Dbure, has its origins in the word Dbr, speech.”

In modern psychoanalytical thinking, honey symbolizes the “higher self” , the ultimate consequence of work on one’s inner self. As the result of the transmutation of ephemeral pollen into a delicious food of immortality, honey symbolizes the transformation by initiation, the conversion of the soul, and the complete integration of the person.”*

I mean seriously could anything be a more magical or auspicious? Am I crazy for taking the sting as a wink that I’m on the right path?

When I got home I had a package from Leo with some mail and a cd- Belle & Sebastian Write About Love but all I could see from the cover was just Write About Love, and I thought- well, I am.

The next morning I met up with some old friends, from the summer camp I had been thinking about while making my castle, who were in town. On my way to meeting them I was thinking about community. How often I had shunned it. How much I had hated in High School growing up in such a small, tight-knit community, and how I had come over the years to love that I had. I sat with my friends having coffee, loving how we had shared such a formative experience, how we all shared the memories of running around barefoot, of living practically without electricity, of laying on blankets at night looking at the stars. Then Leo drove by. I caught the tail end of his little convertible. It was the closest I’d come to seeing him since November and it didn’t quite throw me off kilter but it definitely set me on the path to missing him.

All weekend long all these meaningful connections kept dancing around me. One of my camp friends had mentioned the last day of camp, how amazing that last morning was. We would all be woken up super early, while it was still dark, and there would be a path lit with with small flames. We would all silently make our way to the woods or the beach, and there there would be a bonfire and the older campers would be singing Neil Young songs, and we would all sit around the fire and listen to the camp director or a counselor talk about something meaningful to them- community, honesty, love… At dawn we would all say our goodbyes and it would be cold and everyone would be crying. That was the thing about camp. It brought in to my life some of the magic of everyday life- the sitting around watching a sunset, or walking at night with the fireflies kind- which is the best kind. My friend said, “Isn’t it amazing that our camp would do this beautiful ritual. That they would close the summer with a ritual instead of an awards ceremony or something like that.” I had totally forgotten how powerful those morning were. How wild that she would be in town reminding me of it it over the weekend that I had done a personal ritual as part of my workshop.

After coffee, I met up with Stevie. She was getting a mani/pedi, and I desperately needed to cover my grays (which aren’t so many but are noticeably there). We went for lunch after, then spent the rest of the afternoon drinking bubbly, listening to records, and talking about creativity. It was a lovely afternoon, and I was really bummed I had to go to work, which for the most part ended up being light and breezy. That is until I started to crash from the past day and a half. I started feeling so heavy and sad because I realized I had to come to terms with my loss once and for all. I had to make peace with it and let it go. That there could have been so much love between us. That there still was. That it couldn’t work out. That it can’t. That I ultimately don’t want it to. That is the wall that I have, over and over, come up against. Back in September I read a piece in The New York Times that spoke intensely to me. I thought about it last night. And I thought- in love you often have to completely let go of something before you can begin to harbor hope again.

*lune de miel

*modern love

 

 

As the weekend turns

Posted in 37 with tags on June 1, 2011 by ana

As the weekend approached I felt a little apprehensive.  Stevie and Elle were both going out of town, and Alicia had plans already.  In the past I’ve always found that after a break up one of the hardest parts is navigating your weekends.  On the one hand you have all this time to yourself, which can be very luxurious, on the other you are alone and have to socially fend for yourself.  I think this past weekend was my first long weekend in six years without Leo in my life. If not then it probably felt that way because there was a decisive feeling of summer in the air. I know some people say that it takes half the years you were with someone to get over them but that has never made any sense to me. My theory is that you have to live all the seasons and events (birthdays, holidays, etc.) you shared with that person without them in order to be free from their spell. Doesn’t mean that after that you don’t think about them or continue to figure out the role they played in your life but when it comes to a long-term relationship you sort of need to feel the cyclical nature of things on your own in order to move on.

The feelings I expected to creep in over the weekend weren’t just about my break-up. I remembered in my twenties how lonely I would feel when I wanted company and it wasn’t available for whatever reason. I thought here it comes, it’s been awhile since I had a good cry. But I didn’t cry, and Leo was only in my thoughts briefly. Though I still dread the thought of running into him the fact that I only really missed him at the end of my weekend, as I drove home from Pasadena and passed Eagle Rock (where he used to live when we met), is a good sign.

The weekend seemed like it would be quiet and mellow but it turned out to be really sweet and fun. I went to a dance class on Friday that I really like. They play Celia Cruz and Reggaeton, and you shake your booty, sweat and, in my case, miss home.  Saturday I covered a shift for a friend at the restaurant, and when I went to pick up my money the next day I ended up having an impromptu brunch with a coworker, and making plans to watch a movie at Hollywood Forever with my friend Étienne. Carolina called as I was leaving the restaurant, and we talked for about two hours on the phone. It was almost as good as if she were here or I was there. That night Étienne and I decided to go for wine at El Prado instead of sitting in the cold cemetery watching Young Frankenstein. It was so nice to spend time with him. The bar was quiet and lovely. It was my first time there and it reminded me of a bar on Avenue C that I used to love but whose name I can’t remember. We gossiped a bit, and talked about art school. “I really miss getting lost for hours in a darkroom,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “There really aren’t any darkrooms you can rent here. To just go in there and print and print. It’s magical. Taking photographs with film, developing your negatives, printing images is alchemy. Doesn’t it just blow your mind away that something as simple as silver halide crystals suspended in gelatin can, when exposed to light, record and freeze an image in time?” Okay, at that point I’d had a couple of glasses of wine but I really do feel that way.

It was so wonderful spending time with Étienne remembering how wild and crazy we use to be, all the galavanting we did in New York with Cleo, our Manhattan mini-adventures, and the wacky times we had when I first moved to LA. While we were at the bar I kept texting Cleo. It felt like she was almost there with us. That morning she’d moved to Williamsburg. Cleo lived in the same building on 39th street for fifteen years. She always hated living in that neighborhood but that apartment was like my home away from home and the move feels like the end of an era. I’m also super excited for her.

Monday I found myself back at the beach. That’s twice in one month. Guess I’m warming up to the idea of sweaters on the beach. I went with Milly, her man, and her kid. Eventually about twenty others showed up. We were there for about eight hours reading magazines, getting drinks at a restaurant near where we were sitting, napping, listening to salsa but never once dipping our toes in the ice cold ocean.

In the end the forlorn feelings I feared never quite materialized, and I realized that that existential loneliness I felt when I was younger wasn’t really part of my life anymore. Even in the moments now when I feel lonely those particular insecurities, and melancholic feelings don’t come up. I don’t know if  as you get older you feel more whole or you get busier or what but it’s nice to not feel that weight anymore, to know it but no longer be in its grip.

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.