Tuesday, December 31, 2013

An Obligatory Post About New Year's

You may or may not know that I always, always have terrible new year's eves.
For as long as I can remember.
It's almost like, I want so much to have an amazing new year's eve that I jinx myself every year.

Last year, Solo was in a bad mood as we got ready to head to a friend's party out of town.
Then on the way there, he decided to stop at every conceivable chance to run an errand.
THEN to add fuel to already volatile situation, he invited his friend and his friend's then girlfriend (who were nothing but drama and were instigators in our horrible evening).
& I was really upset that we were going to be late and miss midnight and that by the time we got there, everyone would be drunk already.
We didn't miss midnight but we didn't kiss each other & ultimately, we got into an argument that ended with me sleeping in my freezing car that night to prove a point. What point was that? Apparently, that I was so mad I could sleep in my fucking car. Whatever, it was dumb.

I'm skeptical about 2014.
Actually, I'm sort of terrified about 2014.
It's the first time in my life where I don't know what I'll be doing from month to month. I've always been a student, even now as I study for the bar again, I know at least where I'll be through February. But the rest of 2014 is anyone's guess & I'd be lying if I said I wasn't super fucking uncomfortable with that level of uncertainty.

And as afraid of 2014 as I am, I'm pretty excited for tomorrow night.
I'm going to the same party I went to last year with the same people.
In the short time I've been in Austin, I've become really close to this group--made up of my brother's friends--and I feel really lucky to have been taken in by them. They amaze me with their senses of humor and kindness & it's even better to be able to spend so much time with my brother.
It's the first new year's eve in a million years (give or take) that I'll be single. Which, is probably a good thing since having boyfriends over the last several years hasn't really contributed anything positive on new year's.
& so, I guess what I'm getting at is: if tomorrow night is good (which I have a feeling it will be) but the rest of the year is shitty, that would still suck, but at least I'd be able to look back on those first few hours of 2014 warmly and remember how so many of the people I love were all together in the same room, having a good time.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

You have to love

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” 
-- The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cliche Holiday Cuteness

Happy Holidays!

P.S. My favorite part about this is obviously, "My wasted heart will love you." Ain't it the truth. haha

Saturday, December 21, 2013



n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

$75 and wiser for the wear

On the 18th of this month, I visited a psychic. 
For as long as I could remember, her home, also her place of business, was located off the highway I'm forced to drive on nearly everyday. I've spent more time on I-35 than I have spent doing laundry or painting my nails, or re-filling my pets' water bowl. And more likely, more time of my life has been spent traveling on I-35 than the cumulative effect of all three of those things. 
So it occurred to me more than once that I should stop there and find out what lay ahead for me. 

This was the time I finally gave in. 

I pulled up to her home and rang the doorbell to the office, a side room separated from the rest of her home.
After some time (so much time that I thought of leaving) she answered. 
She was an elderly Latina in a leopard print pajama dress. Her skin was the color of leather and her blonde hair was pulled up into a messy bun. She had a Yorkshire Terrier tucked between her elbow and her left hip. 
"Come. Sit,"she beckoned me inside. 
I looked around the small room where she does her readings. Ceramic Virgin Mary statues and semi-precious polished stones cluttered a counter that ran along the length of the room, which couldn't have been larger than 3 feet wide and 6 feet long. The walls were a warm pink and the carpet was burgundy. There were two chairs facing each other near the door. 
I was still looking around the room when she insisted again, "Sit."
I sat in the chair nearest to the door. 

"How did you hear of me?"
"Uh... just driving by, I'm always on I-35."
"Hm. It's $40 for a card reading. $50 if you want me to read your palm and your cards. How will you pay?"
I was still taking in the room and had hardly heard her, "I'm sorry?"
"What kind of credit card do you have?"
"Good, I don't take American Express."

She sat down and began turning about a deck of cards in her hands. She cut the deck into 3 stacks. There was a burned palm heart on the counter and she touched it to my forehead and each of my shoulders, then set it back on the counter. 
"Touch each stack, then put them back together however you want."
I obeyed and handed the deck back to her. 

She placed 12 cards face down near me, "Turn them over."
And as I turned the cards over, she started telling me things about myself. 
"These two, closest to you," she touched two cards, "you moved recently or are preparing for a move. It's going to be in your best interest.
"You loved two men this year; one tall, one short. Both hurt you. You worry, a lot, about not being with someone. Your mother was also unlucky in love and you wonder if that's how your life will be. 
"The last couple of months were unlucky for you. A lot of bad news. A lot of pain. You're under a lot of pressure now. 
"It's going to be okay. You should worry less."

She told me a few other things and then briskly took my right hand and flipped it over so that she could see my palm. "A long life, maybe 100 years. Maybe 99. Just like your great grand mother.*" (*It should be noted, that where my great grandmothers did not live particularly long lives--one passed on in her 80s, another as a teen giving birth to my grandmother and her twin brother-- I did have one great-great grandmother who lived to be 104. This is a documented fact. I'd always thought this was a myth but at my Great Aunt Betty's funeral this past November, I saw my great-great grandmother, Facunda's, grave and it said 1886-1990. But anyway...)

"Your worry about love, it's marked you. You've got a bad aura around you. I can help you, with crystals and prayer. Get rid of that aura. It will cost, the whole thing, $350. Would you like for me to help you?"

"Oh no, I can't."

"How much more can you pay?"

"Maybe another $20? $25?" Paying the initial $40 was a stretch for me. I'd actually rang her doorbell thinking I'd first ask about the going rate for a psychic reading before committing, but once I was called to sit I wasn't sure how to express my non-committal intentions. And where this would have been a good time to say, "I think I'm fine with my dirty aura and all, we've become pretty attached," I instead went along. 

Again, she picked up her palm heart and touched it to my forehead and shoulders. She put it back in its place on the counter and picked up two mint-colored polished stones. "Keep these with you all the time, they're blessed and will bring you luck." She stood and touched my right shoulder in such a way that I understood I was to stand. She opened the door I'd come in from, "Study. You can do it this time." I was standing outside, she was inside, and she gently closed the door behind me. 

& before I jump into why I believe her, I think it's important that you understand that I'm not crazy. I understand that the things the psychic said, especially when coupled with her prodding for money, are vague enough to be about anyone.
How many other people had this exact same year?
For example, Austin is, and has been, quickly growing. I heard once that everyday, over one hundred new people move to Austin. The city is supposedly at 98% occupancy at all times. Is it really that strange for her to guess that I, like so many others, have just recently moved here? Recently being relative; I could have moved a year ago and still might be prone to saying things like, "I just moved here."

Where I thought she might be talking to me, saying something true and unique to me, was when she talked about my love for two men, "one tall, one short." & my fixation with being single (& with that, the thing about my mom).
It's possible that a quick scan of my left hand and an assumption about my age betrayed me, here. & the mom thing: Oscar Wilde wrote, "All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his."
In a time where people married younger and where traditional gender roles were enforced in marriage, is it that wild of a conjecture? Of course my mother is dissatisfied, many women her age are. & true to Oscar Wilde's sentiment, I fear that I am doomed to walk a path parallel to my mother's.

"One tall, one short."
The cool thing about that is the word, "short." Short is relative--is he short because he's shorter than the other guy? was the relationship short? is he actually short?
In my own narrative; Solo is taller than Crane, what I had with Crane was brief, and Crane was insecure about his petite frame although he was of average stature.

I'd like to talk about these two relationships for a moment.
2013 was undoubtedly my year of unrequited love.
There was Solo; for as long as I've known him he's persistently been on the brink of that one thing that will catapult him into international sensationalism. We were best friends and there was nothing I couldn't talk to him about. He laughed at all my jokes and accepted the imperfections of my personality. & God, did I love him. Were it not for the fact that he was constantly critical of my appearance (things finally came to a painful ultimatum with him saying, "I could love you the way you want me to if you would just lose the weight"), it would have, without a doubt, been him. Needless to say, this sort of frequent conversation with Solo really took a toll on my self confidence and from that ultimatum (our own Battle of the Bulge, if you will), I decided I couldn't go on feeling that way about myself. I didn't want to spend one more day feeling like my relationship clung to my decision to have one more bite-sized snickers or to spend another 15 minutes walking my dog. In the wake of my decision to stop feeling so shitty (& concurrently, to not date Solo* [*fortunately, around this time he was feeling the same way and we were able to avoid an uncomfortable break up conversation]), I started getting flirted with by guys I thought it would have been cool to date.

Enter Crane; smart, hardworking, family-oriented, handsomehandsomehandsome.
Before I knew it I was falling for this kid, and my heart--always entering any given situation 10 minutes sooner than my head--shattered before the rest of me had even hit the floor.
From Matt Groening's Life in Hell series.

Even though I'm not physically with you as you read this, I can sense your frustration; didn't I promise to be funnier? Didn't I say I was going to stop agonizing over this?
To spare you the torment of having to endure the same story I've been telling since August, I'll just say the aftermath of the whole Crane thing sort of sucked. (Not to mention, it happened in conjunction with several other major and embarrassing setbacks.)

Weirdly enough, the morning of the 19th, I woke up and couldn't understand why I'd been so broken up about Crane. Maybe the mint-colored-crystals had done the trick? Whatever it was, it left me feeling sort of unsettled to all of a sudden wake up without the consuming, obsessive sadness I'd been dragging along since October.
& so I turned to a friend.
I told my friend, Janice, that I suddenly wasn't heart broken anymore & that I felt sort of stupid for being so attached so quickly to someone (especially someone who had the decency to tell me upfront that things couldn't get serious between us) & being so hurt about things ending.
& she said, "I see what you're saying. But don't look at it that way. It is better to let your heart actually feel than to be one of those people who are so jaded that they don't let themselves even feel and may just possibly be losing out on something. I'd rather be foolish with my heart and take chances than be jaded and numb."
Which is similar to words by Alfred Lord Tennyson, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
Which made me feel better, and less fickle...and better.

I don't know if the pajama-clad woman living off of the highway and turning tarot cards over for paying patrons, as a clustered clutter of ceramic Virgin Mary's look on, is really a psychic. Even with the afore-mentioned statistical probabilities staring me down, I want to believe that she was the real deal. Not only because I paid the handsome sum of $75 for a couple of green crystals and someone rattling off things that have a demographic likelihood of being true about me; and not just because as I left, I carefully tucked the crystals into my wallet so that I would always have them; but because, ultimately, at the end of this year, it was nice to have someone tell me that I would be okay.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tattooed Heart

"I wanna say we're going steady
like it's 1954.
It doesn't have to be forever
just as long as I'm the name on your tattooed heart."

I'm, like, obsessed with this song & its cuteness.
I heard it Saturday night in my friend Janice's car & haven't stopped playing it. 
I realize people will judge because she's a teenager & her music is marketed towards teens and tweens but I'll be honest and say I also have a Justin Beiber song and two Big Time Rush songs on my ipod right now. I find all of these to be less embarrassing than the Pussy Cat Dolls songs I keep trying to remove from my itunes but persistently rear their ugly heads when I least expect it. Whatever.

A Fad (or the longest post ever).

Clementine: "Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm going to make them alive. But I'm just a fucked up girl who's looking for my own peace of mind-don't assign me yours."
Joel: "I remember that speech really well."
Clementine: "I had you pegged, didn't I?"
Joel: "You had the whole human race pegged."
Clementine: "Hmm, probably."
Joel: "I still thought you were going to save my life; even after that."
Clementine: "Oh, I know."

--Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

"What about the girls he's dated since?" A friend asked me about Crane.

"Well, I only know about one. But I suspect he's got a type, just sort of going on an assumption. I don't know, they aren't like me. They don't look like me...no tattoos, no lipstick. They look...cleaner."

"What if you were his adventure? One wild girl before he settles down."


"Well, that's what you said, right? They aren't like you. They're probably the kind of girl his family would want for him. You are..."

"Don't. It's okay. 
An adventure. I had never considered that..."

Only, I had considered it. 
I'd questioned over and over whether the superseding reason behind our non-compatibility was really ethnic or something else. As in: if I were Indian, would things have been different?

Not that matters. 
Only, it sort of did. 
I guess it's just another thing I'll have to excuse as something I'll never really know. 
Even if I could know it, would I really want to accept the risk of hearing, "It's not that you aren't Indian, it's just you."
Someone out there is emotionally equipped to deal with those sort of realities. Not me. 

I don't think I'm alone in wondering about this sort of thing?
How often do we realize that the person we're (hooking up) with has unrealistic expectations about who we are?

In my own personal experience, I understand that in the last 3-4 years (maybe longer) I've become maybe a tad unpalatable--I'm what some people might lovingly call "curvy" and what still others might call, "can you believe she's wearing THAT?" My smile is off-white, I have a perpetual cow lick in the back of my hair line. I'm heavily and noticeably tattooed. I curse, tenaciously. I battle daily with a lack of motivation. & outside of some soul searching I did, primarily while I dated Solo who's personal standard of beauty is impossibly high, I'm pretty happy with both, the person I am and the way I look. Not that I don't think there's room for improvement, but that I'm generally pretty cool with myself.

(As a side note, I recently considered [am considering] joining the national guard. Part of the process involves getting mostly naked in front a group of other people. In my case, being 26, the group was primarily very firm and very thin 18-year-old women. Maybe it's a result of having been getting undressed in front of people [lovers, doctors/clinicians, curious friends] for the last 12 years, but I didn't feel shy about my body. I had spent so much time leading up to that experience thinking I'd be mortified having my body on display with so many other [and more appealing] bodies, and in the end, it was such a non-issue. I watched as the girls in the room with me crossed their legs or covered their breasts. I think the biggest pity of youth is not realizing how awesome your body actually is in years leading up to your metabolism suddenly and completely betraying you. But I digress...)

& I understand that with this particular brand of unpalatability comes a strange cluster of men; artists, rebels, the kind of man who aspires to "make an honest woman" out of me, and the all too frequent general weirdo.
Part of my all-too-hasty attraction to Crane is that he was a breathe of fresh air. He's very vanilla (and where it would have been fun to use a racial epitaph here and say he's very masala, for example, I didn't want to confuse what I'm trying to say. And besides, masala sounds very exotic and untraditional to the untrained ear). How often do I get vanilla? Sweet, uncomplicated, traditional vanilla? The answer to that is rarely, leaning more towards never. 

Outside of Crane (I know, I, too, can hardly believe I am even capable of talking about anyone who isn't the Indian boy who metaphorically tore my heart out and pissed all over it), I wonder how many other people thought I was an adventure.
It's the one thing I cringe when I hear now:
"You're just my type--bold, outspoken, blah blah blah."
I wonder if it translates out to, "you'd be cool to try on, just to know what it's like before I find someone I can introduce to my family."
I once had a lesbian explain to me the basis of her dwindling affection for me. In a nutshell, she told me that on first impression, she found me "pretty, but in a mean way." A trait she was drawn to. When I revealed myself to her as nothing but a sheep in wolves' clothing, the infatuation was lost.

How many of us out there are Clementine?
I have a hard time here. Famous words by Frida Kahlo* (*allegedly, for you can never fully trust that which you find via the interwebs) urge us to, "Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic." & where I want to be with someone who thinks I am as good as it gets, I fear the unrealistic expectations they may bring with them about who I am and what I can bring to their life.
Because, like Clementine, I'm trying to sort my own shit out and juggling someone else's fantasies and expectations isn't necessarily high on my list of priorities.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I'll Be Seeing You

"I'll be seeing you, 
in every lovely summer's day,
in everything that's light and gay--
I'll always think of you that way. 
I'll find you in the morning sun
& when the night is new,
I'll be looking at the moon,
but I'll be seeing you."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

FotoBlog II

"Beauty feeds a different kind of hunger." --Terry Tempest Williams

A sparkler send-off at the end of a wedding I attended recently.
Or, I guess, some friends trying not to set themselves on fire during a sparkler send off at the end of a wedding I attended recently. 

A couple of photos of the outside patio of Easy Tiger, a down-town Austin pub & bakery. 

An entry way of a now closed Elementary School in Waco, Texas, a couple of blocks from where my mother grew up. 

Have Faith, Keep Going

 Tonight is the final night of Hanukkah. It was my first time  lighting my own menorah without my mother. I almost didn't light the candles tonight because I can't chant in Hebrew, I don't know the prayer by heart. 

Before Thanksgiving (which incidentally was the first night of Hanukkah this year), the teacher I work for allowed me to borrow a class copy of Maus by Art Spiegelman. It's a graphic novel that chronicles one family's struggles during the Holocaust. This is one of my favorite panels and also encapsulates my feelings about Hanukkah:

In that panel, the narrator's wife wants to give up because her family has all died. Her husband encourages her that it's important that they keep surviving and that in their love there is something worth living for. 

Hanukkah, in many ways, is a celebration of the strength to persevere. 

As I was saying, I wasn't going to light my menorah but I remembered a conversation I had with an attorney at my last job. He, himself also a Jew, asked me whether I lived Jewish (observe the Sabbath, attend synagogue regularly, eat kosher). I told him that I do these things but only sporadically and at the urging of my mother. The attorney told me that he was the same way until he began wanting to know more about Judaism. His curiosity led him to a book about the expelling of Jews from Spain and he told me the story of one girl who was brought for inquisition. When asked about her day to day life, the girl said that her family did not eat pork and changed the bed sheets on Friday. These were they only Jewish practices that had survived in her family and she, herself, did not consider herself a Jew. These two obscure practices were enough, however, for the Spanish government to convict her of being a Jewess and she was executed. 

Knowing that people like this girl and the lives lost not just to the Holocaust but to genocide and religious revolutions around the globe had paid the ultimate price for their faiths, the attorney could no longer continue to not observe his religious practices. The freedom to practice your faith freely is a sacred privilege.

Thinking of him and this story, I was inspired to light my menorah and be grateful for all the privileges and freedoms I have. 

So...happy Hanukkah?


"See no one told you life was gonna be this way;
your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A.
It's like we're always stuck in second gear,
when it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year."
My new boss reminds me a lot of Chandler Bing.
I actually told him so & he did his impression of Chandler Bing;
"Could I BE anymore like Chandler *Bing!*?"

Which was pretty great.

So, in thinking about Friends I realized how much I relate to the theme song.
I've been 26 for half a year now & in this time, I failed my bar exam; someone I had a very strong relationship with passed away; my first job didn't pan out; I'm working at a job I NEVER, in a million years, would have guessed would be my job; relationshipS (extra emphasis on the plurality!) have fizzled out almost as quickly as they sparked. 

& today, driving home, I started to feel sorry for myself.

Actually, that's a lie.
I HAVE been feeling sorry for myself. 
But today, while driving home from work, I started to fixate on it. 

& that's another thing; Austin is too small for all the people living here. 
To state the obvious, rush hour is a cluster fuck.

After sitting in traffic for 45 minutes and not being any nearer to my side of town, I decided to pull over at Lady Bird Lake-a trail and park near down town Austin that I pass everyday on my commute.
I got out and walked the trail for a little bit and started to think critically about my situation.

Where I am right now is sort of not great.
But that's not anything new. 
People my age have been going through not-so-great times since...forever. 
Or at least since Friends was on T.V.--the whole show is about people my age trying to sort their shit out. 

& then, I realized something else.
There are definitely things about where I am in life that are shitty.
But, there's also so much to be grateful for.
I've always wanted to live in Austin and I'm here now.
I have a job I enjoy and friends and family who make me laugh and feel loved everyday.
I'm reasonably healthy.
I've had the privilege of being educated and having parents who not only took an interest in my academic success, but also went to great cost to ensure that I could go to college and law school. 

& so, I realized that pulling over to admire Lady Bird Lake also serves as a metaphor for the way I want live.
I made a choice not to just sit in traffic and fester in self-pity, but to pull over and be grateful for all that I have and be happy with it. I made a choice not to dwell on that which makes me unhappy or isn't perfect about my life right now. 

& because I did, I got to see this: