My 6th Country

March 31, 2009

My birthday trip has been planned. I will be ringing in my 30th year on earth by visiting my 6th country: the Netherlands Antilles.

A remote island, sun and limited internet and phone access. Sounds like perfection to me!

Cinematic Perfectionism

March 16, 2009

I’ve been making my way through the classic movies of the 1980s recently. My weekends lately have been a marathon of Top Gun, 16 Candles, Pretty in Pink, Say Anything and of course, The Breakfast Club. I am amazed at how timeless they all seem. Thankfully, the antics of youth and dramatic brushes with love seem to transcend the era of tight rolled jeans and blue eyeshadow.

I can’t remember the last time I went to see a movie in the theatre. I don’t have the stamina for the emotional manipulation and heart attack inducing effects of most 21st century movies. Present day movies strive for a level of perfection that turns me off. Every scene is over edited, every character controlled and flawless. The movies of the 80s have a raw, pureness to them that I can appreciate. The focus back then seemed to be more on the characters and their story and less about making the audience uncomfortable by the exploitation of shock value.

Society’s ongoing inclination to accept nothing less than perfect pains me. We airbrush out wrinkles, freckles and frizz. We squeeze ourselves into Spanx to achieve that “perfect” hourglass shape. We augment, wax, whiten, tan and tweeze to achieve a singular look that is visually pleasing to others. The notion of plurality clearly lost amongst the shelves of Sephora.

Sometimes I long for the days of untucked flannel shirts and ripped jeans. The blue eyeshadow I could certainly do without though.

Triggers

March 15, 2009

You walk by a man on the street and catch a whiff of his cologne and are instantly flooded by the memory of your high school prom date.  Rio Bravo is on and you remember a couple of fabulous weekends you spent on the West Coast in 2008. You flip by the sports page and see coverage of the Australian Open and the pain of a love lost returns.

We all have them; the books, words, smells and sights that cause nostalgic mini-tours throughout our days. As my birthday draws closer and time moves closer to the (self-imposed) magic number of 30 years on the planet, I find myself, as many do, contemplating the road not traveled. My path in life has not been that of my peers and I definitely find that I value my journey and even my self less because my road has had a few more twists and bends than others.

My triggers are reminders of a life lived. A life of art and philosophy, of late night chats and revelations, cocktails, card games and so much more. I have to remember that it’s not that I want things I can’t have, it’s that I want things in life I don’t currently have.

I need to remember that distinction and have more faith in it.

March 10, 2009

The only thing I have found that makes me truly happy is possibility.

Iconoclast

March 8, 2009

My penchance for the news includes celebrity news and gossip. I work primarily in the music/entertainment industry and try to keep as current as possible. I have been following the Rihanna/Chris Brown abuse story since the beginning and find my heart breaking a little more each day as new details emerge.

When I heard last week they had reconciled, I was saddened. Not just for Rihanna, but for all the girls and young women who now have the message that it is acceptable to live with abuse. So few women leave after the first beating and I wish she had been able to serve as an example to millions that preservation of self worth needs to be valued above all else.

I was struck once again yesterday when I read the actual warrant and affidavit (PDF) from the night of her beating. Her self-defense strategies were perfect. Locking her hands behind her head and shielding her face with her elbows, pretending to talk to friends on the phone asking them to send help, hiding the car keys so he couldn’t get away, these are not simply instinctual strategies. These come from experience. I fear that she has been through this before and will likely endure it again.

As women we don’t walk away when we should. We don’t stand up and say enough when we should. When someone takes our choices away from us all too often we don’t fight hard enough to get them back.

I know I didn’t.

I wonder why I rarely come to Starbucks to write anymore, but as I sit here with my coffee tonight, I remember.

I don’t do this because it reminds me that I used to do this in pairs. C and I would sit in various Champaign/Urbana cafes reading and writing, pondering and debating. Now its just me and my iPod. Another example of my solitude. I travel alone. I eat alone. I go to movies alone.

I am comforted by my Starbucks surroundings. In every city in every country they all look the same. The sea of people is the same. There is solidarity in coffee drinking I guess.

I need this time away though. No watch or phones. I am usually reachable 24/7 by 2 Blackberries, half a dozen email addresses, a handful of messenger programs and even a doorbell. Here, even though I am escaping nothing, I am away from it all. How odd it is that here is where I feel most connected to the world.

I’m surrounded by people. The girl studying while her mother does her crossword puzzles. I hope she knows how lucky she is. I never did this with my mother. The guy with his face in a book. Literally. Has noone told him of his obvious need for a new prescription? The couple crowded (though in their world, they probably call it cuddling) in the armchair. Past them is just a sea of laptops.

I am in the back, against the wall in the corner. Alone. Observant. Invisible. No discernable characteristics to write of. Coffee. Cupcake. iPod.

There is a scar on the back of my right hand I accidentally gave myself that catches my eye as I’m writing.

Even my scars are solitary.

I am wrong. I really should do this more often.

A Year

March 5, 2009

A year ago I was falling in love. For the first time I had met a man I could look towards the future with. A man who eventually broke my heart and went to that mysterious place men go when they cease returning your calls and emails, usually taking your favorite T shirt, books or CDs with them.

In these 12 months I have been to Chicago 5 times, San Francisco, Mexico, and LA twice. I have started my own business. I learned to snowboard. I got 100% out of debt. Not the year I thought it would be, but a year to be proud of nonetheless.

It ALMOST makes up for the 365 days of sleeping alone.

My Tribe

March 2, 2009

I came across a blog recently whose headline was something like “Everyone needs a tribe”. The word “tribe” stuck in my head.

I lead a very solitary existence in NYC. My social interactions are limited to a scant few co-workers I know enough to catch a quick drink with after work, but that is the extent of it.  Limited by circumstance, social anxiety and a fiercely independent and distrusting nature, the friendship building process is excruciating and slow for me.  My inherent wandering nature doesn’t help either.

My own tribe is scattered across the globe. Convenient for always having a couch to crash on during my frequent travels, but not so convenient when you need help flipping your mattress or feel like cooking for more than just yourself. These are people I’ve known since college or before. People who have seen me through a variety of versions of self. The good versions and the ones in desperate need of an update.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my tribe.  They have wandered with me, they have taken me in at 3am when I’ve showed up on their doorstep with my pillow, they have loved me when I didn’t love myself.

I just sometimes wish that getting a hug didn’t involve airports and frequent flyer miles.

San Francisco

March 1, 2009

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