Don’t Wake From This September

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September 5 – September 11

It was well quoted in high school, and occasionally reemerges as a meme for this month as October 3rd does for October 3rd in light of further 2000s nostalgia. I’m talking about the line, wake me up when September ends. A simple, vague declaration universal to the feeling of trying to forget, moving on. It’s a lyric of a song from the band to whom I most certainly do owe most of my creative individuality towards, Green Day.

However, I am reveling in this September. For starters, new faces in my life as my favorite season approaches, the season that symbolizes new changes on the horizon, and seemingly all good, and not just for myself. Those around me are finding themselves driving their dream cars, emerging victorious from the perils of the BAR exam, and within three months time, travels to New York will begin again. But for the moment, the new change I enjoy is that of great company and chasing the dream that is finally seeing Green Day in concert. And a concert wouldn’t be coming without the release of their latest album, Revolution Radio. Oh god. A new one. They’re still here. The lifelong dream lives on– in the wake of a season where change is interchangeable with fading.

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YES YES YES. Out October 7th.

I was fourteen when I started listening to the music I swear by now, and Green Day was the band that did it. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” was a soft yet emotionally-rigged tune that I was told by my sister would be a song I’d enjoy, and lovable songs in the mid-2ooos for me were definitely hard to come across. I was totally immersed in my (undying) love for strictly classical and old jazz, and anything outside those realms were just trash. And coming from my sister who was infatuated with all Ashanti/ Ja Rule and Nelly hits on the radio, suggesting an alternative rock ballad was quite out of left field for the both of us. I was hesitant– and one day, there it played on the radio. It wasn’t that bad, it wasn’t overkill for me. It was a slow but endearing song with a soft piano in the works and a haunting chorus. What my parents considered a downward spiral for me musically was just the beginning of becoming a new Paris, unique and self-fulfilling.

My preppy-turned-awkward punk/hippie years in high school are not the most aesthetically-pleasing to look at in old photos. As terrible as I looked you can equally see how happy I was, blissfully ignorant of my teenage phase yet doe-eyed and hopeful. I traded low-heeled Mary Janes for black Chuck Taylors and started my high school’s first environmentally- focused club. In skinny jeans I trusted alongside my studded belt to walk into my counselor’s office to discuss applying for college…it was only the beginning of sophomore year. By 2009 I was set for USF and a new chapter in my city, and I’d built up an adequate playlist on which to live this life to. And then that summer, before heading off, my favorite band gave me “Viva La Gloria!” Another fierce anthem that really resonated with me and my passions for the future. Trying to revolutionize and change the world with what I thought I knew at the time and through purely terrible writings. This was an aspiring writer who thought it was all figured out, ready to burn the world with her work and a kickass song singing praises to a punk heroine created by her first artistic and relatively hometown heroes.

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As Fall approaches the City.

And this would all fade– life would laugh at these ideals of mine as I actually got out beyond the suburbs. But later on, as I sat at my desk in an office high rise overlooking downtown San Francisco, contentedly listening to all Green Day again, I crossed paths with Gloria. That raging, loving, passionate-to-burn-all fury that motivated me for my future was coming back in just a few minutes of a song. And I couldn’t have listened to “Viva La Gloria!” at a more inspiring week. I’ve only gone on about my music and punk heroes of high school past because I tend to get caught up nostalgia– and it only added to a memorable start to the fall. Looking back at last year, there was so much uncertainly and almost fear about the coming season. Fall marks change, but in contrast to before, today, now, and in my future I only wish I could put change on hold– to make these memories last. Gone are the first excitements of your parents finally meeting the person you sincerely adore, the person who keeps surprising you in new and wonderful ways that make you seem not alone any more, as alone as I had been in these past few months. Gone is when you and that person roamed Polk Street for what seemed like forever for a bathroom until sprinting into Grubstake Diner and leaving with the best grilled shrimp you ever tasted. Gone is that moment you woke up next to their face whose look you’ll never forget– someone so happy you’re by their side. So happy that they try to make these dreams of yours come true, determined and headstrong to find a pair of tickets to see Green Day with you– even if tickets are already sold out for all upcoming shows.

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And also gone now, borne ceaselessly back into the past as Fitzgerald would have liked it, was a dream of a Sunday, a well lived fantasy that only came true for a single afternoon. Here we were, you and I , you in your gray driving hat and I in my wine-stained white dress and sunhat draped in pearls and lounging on a blanket beneath the sun and vintage cars as someone out by the distant dance floor sang “The Very Thought of You” almost sounding like Lady Day. Nothing quite felt like The Gatsby Summer Afternoon before in my life, and never did I think I would have that feeling in the first place. It was a fanciful and expensive little event I always had eyes for but couldn’t afford or couldn’t convince anyone to go to. This was another Cinderella moment in which magic brought me back in time, to 1922 when I could we enjoy all things from a simpler time and in each other’s company– because without you, in your gray hat and red tie, this magical moment would not have been made possible. Never stop surprising me, never stop being wonderful, and for now, never stop being this perfect in the moment.

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Owe my beauty look of the day to Bésame Cosmetics.

That is my September thus far. And I’m not ready to wake up. Gloria is back and ready to tackle the bright future before her, the chance to chase another lifelong dream again, but she deserves some rest before the big battle.

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An Exhibition of an Alone Girl

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July 24 – July 31

Trigger Warning: Anxiety

You could say the peak of the week was the suds. A burst of bubbles has never killed anyone, but for me it did a little. At the sight of the overflow of foamy whiteness that soaked my laundry load, I could feel the battle was lost.

I wanted to cry, for how else would I clean up this sopping mess? But I only sighed. This may seem over-dramatic for the acute ignorance of my failure to comprehend the overstuffed blankets-too much detergent-tiny water ratio, but it was sure deep, beyond that moment. You can’t do laundry when you’re buzzed off one Cava Brut, and not when  that was supposed to make you feel your best all week– it didn’t. Seeing old faces paired with great drinks made you realize how outside everything you feel like.

A confession of most days is that I feel alone. For every weekend I spend in San Francisco there’s a horrific panic at wondering who’s available to spend time with. So sometimes it’s easier to go home on weekends to the East Bay, to be with family, to feel loved– to not be by yourself. This is a piece about my anxiety– and how it crawled out from the corners tucked out of sight in this city and almost claimed my mind for the worst.

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Notes taken after seeing Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition.

As an introvert I don’t mind being in solitude. I’m shy, like to keep to myself. But I like such times, I when I want it. At the end of the day I’d like to have friends near. But friends have always been so hard to maintain, college and even after college. Girls were too into themselves, people left me out of things. Girls chose to stick by the sides of men they barely knew and refused to hear both sides of the breakup. In sophomore year dorms, my roommate proudly displayed heaps of delicate pink and Tiffany Blue photo frames depicting scenes around the city shared with another on campus. Had she remembered that it was I who introduced them to each other, I might have found my face in at least one of those frames. I most likely am perpetuating the idea that all girls are catty and no, that’s not what I’m getting at. I’m not holding all girls accountable for my trust issues, just like you wouldn’t condemn all men as sexist or certain races by a few stereotypes. I am still hopeful for the people in my life now and those whom I will continue to meet– that because of the past, what’s going on in the present is simply: ALL IN MY HEAD.

This week was on the usual track; what to do this weekend and with who. Within the past months of 2016 people moved out of the city and found fun with others in the East Bay. For living in the city that was a privilege to live in a full of endless things to do, no one really hung out. It felt worse after that same night of the laundry mishap. Cava definitely make you feel things, and especially after a dinner with some colleagues and your friend who left the company just weeks ago. She seemed so radiant now, happy. Still her absence set off a shift in office dynamics where you fell out of the loop of the newer colleague alignments. That evening of feeling distant and out of sync with old faces took a turn at the sight of those suds, gutting from the washer. UGH.

Then came the Friday night terror. Except I was wide awake when at nearing 3 AM I shouldn’t have been and fears were in the room, almost in the flesh. The Rothschild and Men in Black conspiracies I’d read on Facebook and the eerie sounds of creaking in the hallways of my apartment building thankfully made no real harm. But being alone, THAT was real. Especially in the dead of night when absolutely no one is there to make you feel wanted. I’ve lain awake crying over ex boyfriends or the sudden loss of my dog or when it seemed I was a useless child when I couldn’t find a job after college to alleviate family financial crises. But I cried that night in a panic, for particularly nothing. But the nothingness that scared me, I felt, was the sudden realization for shame. For anything. Everything. Everything felt out of control.

But there’s nothing I need to worry about. It’s absurd, first of all, to think I’m absolutely alone. People are sending me Snapchats as we speak and my best friends are only cities or a state away. Not physically being here doesn’t make them absent completely from my life. And even better, something always works out on the weekend. I never am alone, and yet the fear persists.

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At the steps of the Kubrick exhibit, Contemporary Jewish Museum.

This Saturday I found myself with two friends in the presence of cinematic madness. That’s how I saw the works of Stanley Kubrick, wonderful and daring films that were chaotic and scary (which is fair to say as I’ve only ever seen The Shining and TV trailers for Eyes Wide Shut as a kid). Even the sounds of the exhibition evoked those first impressions at various scenes depicting little dialogue and heightened music which Kubrick was known for using as a big element of his directorial style. I knew little about the life and work of Kubrick and I didn’t quite care to see the exhibit, but it was a chance to hang out with other close friends and to get out of my apartment. Gosh, the last time I’d been in the Contemporary Jewish Museum, where the exhibit was on display, was 2009 with those same girls who’d ruin my college. I felt like I was destined to be back now, with purpose. And in discovering Kubrick, what that was. Seeing the costumes of Barry Lydon and Spartacus and the set designs of A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove, as different as all these films were, really got me to understand the vision and passion of their director.

He got shit done. He didn’t hold back, even when the going got tough for projects like Lolita. And maybe he had his doubts, worries– perhaps Kubrick was a maniac, but in his films he put purpose to it all. So for all this anxiety I face, do something about it. And I am. Here I sit and write and tell you readers, that sometimes I am not okay. Not everyone is. And that’s fine, because you’re not alone. And in admitting to anxiety you don’t become just another stat or case study of people with problems.

You’re just human.

And as a human being, we’re not to be plagued with stupid woes as mental illness. There are always ways ti be okay, even if for a little while. Problems and feelings arise but we’re problem solvers. Just as I found a way out of the laundry mess  by walking down to Whole Foods for more quarters, soaking wet and makeup running; I’d never felt so defeated, yet so determined– and relieved. I’d pop half the quarters in for a second rinsing and the other half into the dryer, and voila. All was back in order, and cleaner than before.

One of my favorite paintings is Edward Hopper’s “Automat.” As the lock screen to my phone I’m reminded of the young miss in a green coat and introspective star away from the cup of coffee in her hands, sitting against a dark window where only the reflections of the lamps from within the automat cast a subtle glow. I like it because the girl is well dressed, alone. I am that girl I think. The original painting lies on a wall in some art center in Des Moines, Iowa. My next hope is that I travel out there to see that painting for myself, another unique exhibit from which to learn something else about myself.

And just maybe, the girl in the painting needs a friend.

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The Retro Fit

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June 27 – July 4

The one thing there is to really love for me, regarding the Big City, is the notion of change and progress and fast-paced everything. I love this, but mostly for the fact that in acknowledging the place of progress you remember the past. You can really slow it all down and appreciate this true beauty that coincides with the future. Yes, in the wake of this change there is always a sense of sentimentalism for me with how all once was and can never be again. Nostalgia, as much as you try to erase it from a landscape as New York or San Francisco– it runs deep, something no bulldozer or wrecking ball can erase.

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An abandoned bar in the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

I grew up on these tales of dog days past. Period dramas and stories like Anne of Green Gables or playing with American Girl dolls whose stories were set against the perils of World Wars had me curious about the past from the start. When infomercials were still a big thing, my dad was convinced to by a compilation set of 1950s/1960s Rock and Roll hits. Oh boy, those CDs were nonstop on repeat. And the album covers depicted various scenes of teenage life in the 50s: burgers at a drive-in parking lot, Dean-esque greasers on a rod, girls in capris and bows in their hair stringing up crepe paper for the school dance as a band practiced in the background of the gymnasium. Simple, carefree. The ideal Eisenhower-esque of these covers were nowhere near the bitter realities of the decade but I was sold all the same. Things in the past were fascinating, if not magical. Everything seemed better– they were smiling.

RockNRoll Era 1956

Again, the past found me. My style took a more decidedly retro turn at the discovery of a new beauty staple encountered at the follow of a single Instagram account. I discovered Besame Cosmetics by chance through an Instagram follow regarding a really clever cosplayer whose resemblance to Audrey Hepburn is uncanny and needs no makeup to transform herself, in my opinion. The tag of her lipstick shade led to an unforgettable trip to the stars on the wings of true romanticism. If there were any truly perfect love affair, it was in this week that I discovered it exists between a woman and her makeup. The way she feels so fulfilled and confident with her lipstick by her side and pressed against her fragile lips, how the eyes glow when she sees the magic hath done to them by the enchantment of a little shimmery shadow or deep black kohl. There’s the look all girls want to see: the way that someone they desire has when all they want is them; then there’s the unfathomable allure of her gaze into a mirror and seeing the face of someone so beautiful and true and positively radiant and happy as they look back to them– their own reflection in a mirror, showing the girl how marvelous she really looks and feels, too. There I go romanticizing a silly routine, but really, makeup was nothing silly in the days of the flappers or Golden Age of Hollywood. It wasn’t a solution to making one’s self feel better, but an art in itself. And that’s what Besame sought to prove with their line of cosmetics replicated from actual shades of rouge and lipstick in various decades. I myself own a 1970s-colored Chocolate Kiss lipstick, and in the week that I awaited its arrival, deeper and deeper I fell back down into the past with music, looks, and even activities. Glenn Miller and Billie Holiday turned up to nearly full blast on my headphones in all hours of the work day, hair curled as often as needed and even once attempted with pin curls– the devotion went all the way and for nothing really, other than a sentimental sense of adding something new into my daily routines, even if they weren’t new in the theoretical sense. But with new routines like this somehow the day never felt more complicated. It was magically more simplified, worked out, romantic. You only echo the past, I find, as a strange but innocent way to move forward. It’s what I continue to do now as I write, hair still curled and lipstick full and bright and electro swing streaming from my phone. Retreating into the past is the closest thing to mirroring a fairy tale– something really once upon a time.

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Best shade ever! Chocolate Kiss from 1970

The most exciting part of this rediscovery of decades was the dancing. I have many dreams, and a one of them has always been to attend a real dance reminiscent of the 1940s when Big Band reigned supreme. I can now say that this dream has come true, and, as mirroring a fairy tale should go, none was more truer to feeling like Cinderella as I did that night. It started out with a few drinks across the street on Divisadero, then down to the main hall of the Russian Center once the drinks kicked in to assure immunity against bad dancing (or being conscious of it). Come 9 O’Clock fellow friends from work were divided into two groups as we learned the basic steps to Lindy Hopping and the roles between lead and follower. In the course of learning we followers rotated with various leads, new dancers, 4-year novices from Sacramento, Brazilian transplants, 60-year olds. And even as the actual dancing commenced the awkwardness I had been trying to shed in a drink and too much laughter made way for the brass band and encouragement of nearly 10 different dance partners in the rest of the evening. Songs I’d listen to alone in a bedroom at age 10 were something that really got the blood stirring of 100+ San Franciscans dancing into the night for something of the past. Who needs a prince when those beautiful things are still around?

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At the 9:20 Special Open House

I wasn’t any good, and it felt amazing. I was still elated, breathless. Lost in a fantasy that wasn’t a fantasy really, because it had been real once in time, another decade, another couple, another young woman. But the same spirit carried on because well, spirits never die. They just pass on through the years, through dance, through music, through that same joy it all brings. Through the enthusiasm from the new that know the value in the old. Even better than a fantasy– midnight struck, and I retreated only into the future once again but with the memories and feeling that the next morning it was all real. I came back feeling better, not defeated. Both shoes stayed right on my feet and the flowy dress, though shrunken from washing, still in tact.

Grace Coddington captured the value of sentimentalism when she said,

“I think I got left behind somewhere, because I’m still a romantic.”

Romantics get left behind but they refuse to catch up. Time is slower, we slow things down to make enough room for what could be in the gap between where we are and the present. It couldn’t have been a more perfect moment to get left behind, having been left by someone just the week before. I’d been sad, surprised, nearly heartbroken about this latest affair that seemed all wonderful by Nora Ephron standards. But in this loss, there was no loss of hope for romance. The past helps me heal for the future, and feel alive in the present that could be a living hell were I felt completely shattered. But time heals all– and these timeless things I’ve embraced have me ready for the strange future ahead that yes, uncertain as always, still has hope.

A single lipstick can make a girl feel herself again. In the discovery of a new shade fresh from the past, I see that no matter what happens to me I’m never completely gone. Nostalgia is more than a feeling. It’s a reminder that souls never go anywhere really, just that the time does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairy Tales

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 April 24 – May 3

Once upon a time two little girls watched a truly remarkable film. The younger sister was eight years old and was still caught up in silly, childish things like fairy tales. Something about the mischief of creatures who could have existed in the world and the magic they bestowed upon plain old humans as a means to guidance on their everyday plights struck a deep cord within her little, innocent soul. She could not wait to see this film, and after watching it she was forever drawn to the beautiful costumes, breathtaking scenes of misty hills and lush woods where French castles were strewn about, filmed in hazy but heavenly-like cinematography where each scene has a golden or blue-rinsed glow. This film, Ever After, was indeed a fairy tale of a beloved classic, but just as it seemed magical, the story itself was far from any magic.

Ever After

The realist twist on Ever After would become a deep-seeded passion of the little girl’s own storytelling in the years to come. She would grow into a young woman who would move away to a not so far away land, and in not finding her prince, but redefining the limits and possibilities of becoming her own princess, would endure obstacles all as equally harrowing were they conjured by the most evil and terrifying magic. She would lose all her money, become confined the wretched house in the country she had once loved, but somehow escape 2 years in a life of servitude towards the art of papery. Friends she had once known and even new faces would turn on her online. But for awhile, she’d found solstice in a man she’d been in love with, a potential prince and True Love and all those things she’d believed in for so long. But when these things eroded, so was her peace of mind– slowly caving into the stark realization that fairy tales were perhaps just that, for a reason. Nonexistent, fanciful; nothing near now. But she would also remember that in the midst of tragedy, that never meant in a story that it was the end.

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As for this girl, her sister was just as firm of a believer of fairy tales as she. Just as firm as the weight of a weary world wrecked havoc in her own life, too. Forced to miss the parties in college and spring break voyages for a paycheck, the determined and loving sister did what she must for helping the family, keeping love and sanity at once, and sometimes at the sacrifice of her own. And just when she thought she would be rewarded for such valor, none was in sight. With every love came a heavy heartbreak that seemed to worsen with time, with waning patience. Her love was too much. She was taught that love was her most valuable gift to the world, but only few men could realize it. Sadly, they were the ones she had met.

Two sisters, one wishing and hoping– and the other just not sure anymore. The eldest still waits and tries in vain to change each toad that comes along to be the Prince we all deserved, and neither of them deserving of her love. But for the life the latter sister leads now, it’s her own fairy tale still in the making, and were it ended there then all would be happily ever after– RIGHT NOW. So it’s not over yet, but she hopes the end is near. It’s just a handful of more adventures to be had until then, like the mid-morning feasts across the city of San Francisco and sunlit parties by a poolside of a beautiful retrofied hotel where a dear friend might snap her photos as she dipped her little feet into the cool blue water. Topless green-haired men and women are making out, the magic of mermaids; the closest thing to them she’s encountered. She has found that at times, being in San Francisco is as magical as things might get. Her sister does not think so; it’s a wasteland filled with greedy people and loveless, handsome men. She’s gone away from this place to find love– but whether the love really exists no matter where they are, that is a quest both sisters unite in discovering together.

Until those moments can align, it was in this week that both forget their own troubles and twisted plots to rejoice in a movie that made them believe so long ago.

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Sutter Street

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March 7 – March 13

Sometimes the 2, usually the 3. Both Muni lines run along Sutter Street and begin at the stop right in front of my office. Stormy evenings, hot stiff afternoons– I’m there. When the twilight descends over downtown, I’m usually right at the center of the magic.

For 15 minutes I get to see such funny, livening sights. Usually I’m alone, sometimes I’m riding with my neighbor who lives next door in #6. Don’t think he likes me very much. I don’t see him tonight, relieved instead that I’m rewarded with the presence of a great Doberman who’s finding it hard to sit near the back of the bus. Dogs disturbing the peace– that’s OK. Humans, no.

The first distinctive fuss you directly notice is the students crowding the dorm entrances that belong to the Academy of Art. Some are smoking and others just sit on the stoops. A few migrate to a block down where Matador Tequileria is, always projecting old Latino films on its outer walls. There’s a liquor store on every other corner that students might scatter to for their quick conveniences, a reminder that in one of them last spring a bunch of your colleagues split the tab between two mini bottles of whiskey and one of Bailey’s just for myself. What a colorful night that was, strange and exotic for an idyllic night out consuming mini scotches, exotic like the the names of the apartment buildings I pass: Belgravia, Lucerne, and Commodore.

The bus moves along and the dog, men in suits, women carrying burlap grocery bags filled with papers drop off at their respective stops. Where I go, it’s beyond downtown, the cable cars and Nob Hill where the Tenderloin can barely spill into its streets on the uphill slant. The halfway point lies at Cup O’ Joe coffeehouse, an ugly name but not in the slightest an ugly spot. I’ve sat there a few times, once alone and another on a Sunday afternoon where I shared a table by the window with a friend who had happened to walk in for an afternoon spent reading. They have the best beer deals too, $3 until 10PM. After that is the The Carlton Hotel with its red neon sign jotting vertically out onto the air, but whether it really is a hotel or an SRO I’m fooled. Both blend with each other so well in the inner-city. Land is priceless in the city, especially the closer you are to the hub of Union Square. That doesn’t make any of it more beautiful. The beauty flees and all of a sudden I don’t like it when we pass Halstead & Carew & English. I know that it’s the thing to cross your fingers crossing a cemetery, but does the same apply to mortuaries? I don’t bother to find out, I just keep doing it. Keeping safe and sound in the mind, that’s beautiful.

Lastly there’s the little things that give me a sign of home, any comfort of home. Places and moments that are inviting and give the sense of peace where at times this crowded bus may wreck my composure. If only one day I could act upon these feelings, like stepping off at Polk to get my hair cut at the hole-in-the-wall salon that looks straight from the 80s but more exotic with all the lush banana leaves growing about and around each stylist’s stations. Across the street is a dirty supermarket where out of its black doors comes a frail old woman who looks back, waiting for when her grown daughter can finish paying and help her lift the grocery bags in her two small hands.

The bus I take along Sutter Street is only 15 minutes long, and when I just want to be home, I’ll find myself faced with odd little pleasures that find home in a disgusting, concrete strip. And it’s a very alive, very beautiful thing.

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February 29 – March 6

Shitstorms happen. And we need them to happen.

For these past two weeks it’s been surprisingly gorgeous. Blue skies, a smudge of humidity in the low 60s, the rising scent of tattered wet newspaper and spilled trash bins. Uncommon for March, but lovely. Lovely for a night to be had for wine nights and a rooftop dinner in the Mission with your closest friends. And why not follow it up with an art gallery opening?

But as you know when great plans are anticipated, they somehow backtrack. Starting with the rain. It didn’t swell in the earlier part of the day when I was in North Beach, only in my Uber ride on the way to El Techo did it worsen. Upon shaking off my bright yellow umbrella of dew and hugging my friend in the line to the elevator I didn’t know how much worse everything would get. The warm faces quickly regressed into worried looks. My good friend’s phone and wallet were stolen. To have your personal items take off with the Lyft that had just sped off is a panicking situation. And reaching the Lyft via my other friend’s phone was a joke. How we wished all of this was a joke right now.

What unraveled from the rooftop to a living room with two police officers at nearly 2 AM was just a part of a night no one asked for. We didn’t ask for a phone to be stolen away, for a windy tumultuous night stranded at the Balboa Park BART station amidst the heavy rain while someone out there was satiated by the 15 bucks spent at Mission Burrito in no solemn thanks to my friend’s credit card. I sat in the Uber we managed to call on my way to my friend’s apartment in soggy shoes and tights clinging to my legs, sad and defeated in how the night had brought us to here. But giving way to Murphy’s Law, in spite of our hopes for a lovely reunion anything did happen. Anything but the night we had in store.

Then the most amazing thing happened. We were warm in a bed of white sheets and a sun glaring from behind a bookshelf where rays peaked through the spaces where the books weren’t tall. I was tired but at peace. There were still sips of Earl Grey tea left in our mugs and my friend had traced her phone, cracked, abandoned at SFO airport. Recovery of that, and our composure over so much disbelief at the storm and fatigue and lack of help from authorities over the long night, was finally having its effects.

Perhaps the morning is all you ever need. We’ve come into the clear and the storm has subsided, and the air sure smells great with the disaster of the night lingering for true reconciliation. I guess, from all this, things you don’t expect, and don’t want to happen, find their way into your weekend to realize that was just what you needed to remember those that dance in the rain with you.

 

 

Unseen

May 30 – June 5

One night you plan on going to sleep when 11 PM hits and then you’re hit with something else. Your uncle, only 7 years your senior, is in a cab and on his way to your apartment with the intention of sake bombs and karaoke somewhere secret and still open in these late hours of Japantown. I get my jeans back on and grab my keys to head out the door and into the uncertain night where we end up singing Journey with Australians, enjoy half a dozen takoyaki, and mistake Bump of Chicken as a menu item at Mogura rather than the name of a prominent Japanese band. It wasn’t a Wednesday night I was expecting, but for a small chance to immerse myself in the closest way I can to a late night in Japan, I was up for some more fun.

So when I went out to San Jose last weekend I was expecting many things. A weekend away from the city, seeing old friends from college, experiencing a city all over again that had once held so many sentiments for me. San Jose is where my two friends are at law school, where my childhood spent in the back of my dad’s sports memorabilia store in East Ridge Mall was played out, where there are fields where I used to sit on their sidelines and watch my ex boyfriend coach children after school hours. It’s not the place where I thought I would be in a car crash.

The accident happened in the midst of a Friday night, 2 AM or sometime after it. In N Out, Denny’s; we were all scoping out our options for soaking up the gin and tonics and fireball shots we’d taken together down in Santana Row. Squashed in the middle, you might be a bit annoyed at the limited space but hey, you’re the smallest of the group. At least there’s a seat belt. You’re all about safety, and it’s a bonus if the middle seat has a shoulder strap rather than just across the waist. Your friend isn’t as paranoid as you, and you make him strap on his just as he hesitates to reject your warnings out of playful spite. A few laughs, a steady speed past an intersection, still not sure about what to eat– and then it all hits.

There are people in my life now and things that have happened where years back I wouldn’t think much to where we all are now/ what’s going on currently. In that moment in my life I was speechless, sandwiched, and thankfully unharmed after what seemed like a sudden stop in everything, time especially. It stopped, and just long enough to really think about, well, damn. This just happened, and you never really think that this, accidents, happen. And not with the people you particularly find yourself stranded on the side of the road in a wrecked car. Old friends, college friends; the girl you sat next to in your your 5PM nonfiction class the first semester back from being out of school for half a year to alleviate financial burdens, the guy you first saw when he was the only guy actually to last the whole freshman spring in the Jane Austen class of 20 girls, and later borrowed quarters from in the laundry room sometime in that same year. I’m still stuck by these people, and never did I think upon our first encounters this is where we’d be nearly 7 years later, dazed and freaking out that not only were we all just hit from the side– but that the man who did was just taking off right then and there, and speeding off into the night with his horrific pleas of forgiveness for not having a license falling deaf on our ears.

Things happen, things change. The future is the only real direction we have about this vast void of life. Try as we might to “live” right, there’s no real understanding of our existence, of plain old why live. And in that we try to make life meaningful by our own definitions, create a future that varies for each person. Except one thing that remains inevitable: future, for everyone, is uncertainty. It’s a scary thing, and yet it’s just as strange and beautiful. You find yourself staying out late nights with family or friends. Sometimes they’re people you didn’t think would stay long in your life or the last people you could see yourself be with. You don’t look to a particular person and think about how you actually might have save their life too.

We don’t think about these little encounters or people we come across, but now, now I will. Who knows what future I shall continue sharing with the people in my life right now, and who knows what amazing things might still happen and even better, what people I still haven’t met yet. Or even in the littlest things, like a prayer card for Saint Gabriel, those who are always besides you unseen, but caring– saving you as our driver was saved when his head hit right where the card was plastered, to his steering wheel.

It’s all shocking really, but you find yourself smiling. Even if you’re tired, even if you’re still in shock and cold and stranded on a road. And still hungry for In N Out.

Have you ever thought about the future of certain things in your life as they come into it?

 

 

ANNOUNCING REX: WORDS WITH A MECHANICAL FRIEND, ON SALE NOW!

Rex Blog Post

When you have words to say, they’re not meant to be kept in a drawer.

A lot of my recent work from this past year has experienced this doom. They’re not the finest words I’ve produced, but they’re raw, simple, and capture various moments throughout that strange transition seen in 2015 when I first moved to San Francisco and went through a breakup. I like writing nonfiction, and even more so when I accomplish it in less than a page. Say what you need to say and don’t dance around. And it’s no dancing you won’t see with this new book of mine, Rex: Words with a Mechanical Friend, that hit shelves last month!

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There are 45 pieces published in this collection, photographed in various places around my apartment where all of them were written. As for Rex, my typewriter, he’s a difficult collaborator when I need him anywhere else and he’s pretty loud– loud where I slow down my typing to a bolero-like patter that takes almost an hour to compose less than half a sheet of words. But he’s made this possible, and there’s just something more endearing about words you’ve written in analog fashion. Typing versus my regular writing is a force of really hitting the notes hard and in one try with everything you say. You can’t go back and rephrase it or fix anything. It’s all there, unforgiving and beautiful– preserved on one page that feels surreal to hold in your hands.

Here’s a few works that you can find in Rex. I’m so proud to be giving them a rightful home here:

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Read these and more in Rex, now! Available here for purchase.

Rex Floral