Tuesday, April 26, 2011

dark moon diary

God, the dark moon has been a pain in my ass lately! I’m pretty sure it has at least a little something to do with the fact I have my period. I mean, it’s supposed to be a good thing when you menstruate with the dark moon, but in my opinion it’s a bit overwhelming. All that dark moon angst plus PMS equals.... well, it my case, apparently it equals nightmares, because last night I had a bad one. You know the one I’m talking about. The one where your brain somehow gets a hold of every deep, dark fear your soul possesses and then mercilessly combines them all with whatever emotional process you’re having the most difficulty working through, resulting in the type of horrific image that makes you say “Fuck!!! Did that really come out of me?”

Yup, it was a bad one. So bad I had to wake my boyfriend up and even after he had done his ultimate best to calm me down, stroking my hair, telling me it would be okay, checking every room and closet to make sure no one was in them because I thought I heard someone typing on our computer but it turned to just be the cat munching on cat food, I still couldn’t sleep and had to watch a stupid Adam Sandler movie and then talk about what the dream meant for me emotionally.

Seriously, be glad you’re not my boyfriend.

I did eventually manage to fall back asleep. Right around the time that the sun was coming up and my alarm was about to go off anyway, that’s when I finally managed to fall back asleep. But you know what, in the end, it was fine. I’ve always been quick to get really bent out of shape over a nightmare or a creepy image. I’ve always let these things in more than I should. I’ve let them affect me, and my life and the things that I love. But last night before I was falling asleep, I was telling my boyfriend that I wasn’t scared anymore, that my life was beautiful and that I (finally) felt I had nothing to be scared of. And maybe a month ago, I would have had that nightmare and seen it as some cruel trick from some malevolent higher power like, “Haha, you think you’re happy? I’ll show you!”, but this time around I just didn’t feel like it. I mean, I just really didn’t want to believe that that was the case. So, I didn’t.

I woke up this morning (approximately fifteen minutes after I had fallen asleep) and my life wasn’t a nightmare. I was still inside my beautiful apartment, the same apartment that I had just spent the weekend taking pictures and making food and entertaining guests and laying in bed watching movies with the kitties in. I was still healthy and happy and so, so fortunate. And even though it was the dark moon at night, it was still a gorgeous sunny morning.

love always

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I'm back....again

So, you may have noticed that I've been posting here again. Or perhaps you didn't because I oh-so-cleverly changed the date on all of my posts to reflect the date they were actually posted. Allow me to explain.
Remember when I wrote that goodbye post, about how I had outgrown this space and would never post here again, etc, etc? Well, I pulled a Kid Cudi and changed my mind. Having a new and different blog was great, but it wasn't what I thought it would be. I thought it would be a place where I could seamlessly blend my love of food, fashion, travel, astrology, foul language, feminism and bathroom humor into one big, exquisite blog-thing that would be an exact representation of me in my purest form. What actually happened was kind of like what happens when you blend all your paints together or mix all the food on your plate. It became brown and murky and impossible to make out even one tiny detail. More importantly, I learned that I don't want to see a representation of me in my purest form. I don't want to blend all those things together. Frankly, some of those things don't belong together.
So in the interest of keeping the food posts appetizing and the personal posts as raw and honest and well, ok, vulgar as possible, I've decided to separate the two (hence the moving of old posts from that blog, to this one). So here at infinite gratitude you can basically read my diary with some sparkly pictures thrown in for good measure and over at bitter honey you can catch a glimpse of the more civilised aspects of my life (food, culture, etc.). Will the two occasionally intersect? I'm sure of it. But I think there's a boundary. You don't want to talk about menstruation two paragraphs before you talk about phenomenal pizza. I have a burning desire to write about menstruation and pizza, but I don't have to do it in the same place.

I guess in the end it went a little deeper than just blogging. I mean, I have these two kind of divergent aspects of my personality; the foul-mouthed, over-emotional, perpetually teenage feminist and the gentler, more polished, officially-classy-and-cultured adult woman. Having these two sets of qualities exist within the same personality has always been a challenge for me (please see my astrological chart for reference). But I think I may have finally found the answer and it's almost blasphemous in it's simplicity: there truly is a time and place for everything.

love always

Monday, March 21, 2011

what I wore - New York


For some reason, leather pants always remind me of New York. I bought these pants while living in California, from a company whose warehouse is located a few miles from my job, and I've worn them in California a million more times than I have anywhere else. Still, for some reason, I think of this a quintessential New York outfit. Maybe it's the adolsecent shopping trips I used to take to St. Mark's Place where I would buy all manner of scandalous clothing to wear at my small town high school, inculding, of course, leather pants. In any case, these are the perfect leather pants that I wore in New York on a perfect snowy day, during my perfect vacation in January.Img_7890


Sunday, February 27, 2011

I love Coney Island forever and ever and that is enough

When I landed in New York, it was barely morning and it was bitter cold, maybe 8 or 9 degrees in the sun. I took a deep breath and prepared to step out of the airport into the most frigid air I had experienced since moving to California over a year ago. Now matter how cold it felt, it wouldn't matter, couldn't matter. I was a girl on a mission. I wanted, no, needed to get to Coney Island that very day, even if it meant freezing my ass off.
You probably think I'm a total freak for this, but oddly enough I wasn't alone. My friends drove up from CT for the sole purpose of visiting Coney Island with me in the dead middle of freezing winter. Not because we thought it would be warm, not because we thought it would be fun, not even because we wanted an excuse to drink four loko on the subway (although we did do that, too.) We visited Coney Island because we needed to pay our respects.
To us, Coney Island is much, much more than a trashy amusement park set on the water on the outskirts of the world's most fabulous city, although even if it were just that, it would still be pretty spectacular. Our connection with Coney Island goes back to the summer of 2007, when it became the setting for a day, perhaps a moment, perhaps the moment of our young lives. I've tried to explain it and I've tried to retell it countless times, but I never quite succeed in conveying the immensity of what occurred that day and why it keeps pulling us back, even on the coldest day of winter. Still, I'll try again.
I can't tell you what was happening for anyone else at that time, but I can tell you what was happening for me, and me, I was heartbroken. And in that heartbreak, the world seemed intensified so that even the smallest everyday occurrences felt unbearable. Work was awful, going out was awful. Fuck, breathing was awful. I woke up in tears nearly every day, devastated to remember that the circumstances that had driven me to such heartbreak were still true. I would stumble downstairs hysterical and my roommates, utterly bewildered and alienated by the intensity of my grief, despite their best efforts to be supportive would look at me in total loss. What could they possibly do for me?
Still, I did not give up. I tried to go out and force myself to have fun on numerous occasions. I even came sort of close a few times, but usually, whatever substance I was using to forget about my grief would turn on me and end up reminding me how bad I wanted to call, wanted to beg, wanted to do all those things you're not supposed to do when nursing a broken heart. That is, until we went to Coney Island.
It was summer, so it was Siren Fest. We Are Scientists and M.I.A.- for free!!!! Seriously, though, that doesn't even matter, because it wasn't the music and it wasn't the crowd, it was just the day. We listened to all the right songs on the way to the train station, faced the exact correct number of calamities to make it feel like an adventure (including taking the subway in the wrong direction and ending up in Harlem), and somehow ended up dancing underneath a roller coaster while sipping Jack Daniels through a straw on the most gorgeous of gorgeous summer days. It was the type of perfect day that's just too perfect to even imagine or fantasize about.
Now, I had perfect days before that one and I've had perfect days since, but the way that particular day appeared, in the midst of crushing heartbreak, has always seemed like a small miracle to me. The friends I was with on that day were not recovering from a wounded heart as I was, but I know it felt miraculous to them, too. It was as if, for one moment whatever we were dealing with at the time, be it heartbreak or something else entirely, just faded in the shadow of an idea; that the world was a big and beautiful place, that it was possible for someplace like Coney Island to even exist and that it was possible for us to exist there along with it.

After that day, I began handling things differently. Instead of dwelling constantly in the heartbreak of my past, I thought instead of what I liked. I made mental lists, as I began to remember I like sushi, I like vintage dresses and soon I found myself fully recovered, planting gardens full of vegetables and getting shitfaced at paella parties. My freinds displayed similar behaviour. We all seemed to feel more in touch with our own preferences, who we were, what we liked, most importantly, what made us happy. It's an easy equation; no matter how down I feel, thinking about dancing with my friends underneath The Cyclone at Coney Island always makes me happy.
That day left an imprint on my heart. A map for how to get back there. Now, when I am feeling upset, I look back to that day. No matter how tumultuous and stormy my thoughts and feeling become, that day is the center that everything else swirls around, the eye of the storm. It's where I go when I'm lost. It's where I go when I need to remind myself who I am and what I love. I love dancing. I love being drunk in the sunshine. I love my friends more than anything in the world. And no matter how bad things get, no matter how cold it is outside, I still love Coney Island, and I always will.


i've been sleeping

I can't believe that I have somehow managed to not write about New York, yet. I've been home for a month, one whole month!, and somehow, not a word. While I was there, I imagined different ways to tell you about the perfect truffle fries I was eating or the flawless pair of boots I spotted on the subway and instantly coveted. In fact, I wouldn't even have to write in order to tell you about New York. I would simply have to type. The tough part has already been done and then filed away in the back of my mind to pull out whenever I have a second., which of course, I haven't.
I could blame it on my job. My schedule recently shifted and while it is now infinitely more manageable, it is taking me a bit of getting used to. I could blame it on my boyfriend, too. Since his return to Oakland he has insisted on usurping every last particle of energy I may have possessed at one point or another in my life, by forcing me to lay around in bed with him and have perfect weekends and be blissfully in love and such. That shit is draining, I tell you! Really though, I think it's better if I blame it on a book. The one I mentioned in my last post: Just Kids by Patti Smith. You know, the book that made me forget I was on a six-hour flight from the East to West Coast?
Just Kids was written by Patti Smith as an ode to her friend and sometime lover, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, but it's actually a name-dropping, self-glorifying, masturbatory description of what it's like to be the coolest chick in New York in 1970, (which in case you aren't cool enough to know this is way cooler than being the coolest chick in New York today...) and holy fuck, it is a masterpiece.
I don't know, it's totally possible that Patti Smith could write a three hundred page treatise on what it feels like to take a shit and I'd eat it like candy. There's something about her style of writing that feels instantly heart-wrenching, and at the same time, so familiar as to be almost familial. Maybe this is because my first exposures to her particular brand of intensity all occurred through my parents who were both on-and-off fans of hers. Who the fuck knows.

In any case, I think the whole thing is beautifully written. It veers occasionally into the realm of the unbelievable, portraying the author as nothing less than a saint, abstaining from drinks, drugs and everything fun, and stumbling, completely accidentally of course, into glorious social situations with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Jimi Hendrix whilst she was simply trying to focus on her art and be noble. But really, who cares? We all do that. We all remember things in a way that allows us to view ourselves favorably, and I think we all also know that Patti Smith did as many drugs as anyone else who lived at the Chelsea Hotel in the 70s. But truthfully, it just doesn't even matter. I mean, she's writing about living in the Chelsea Hotel for fucksake, and getting coffee with Allan Ginsberg and it's all just so enviably romantic.
Actually, my favorite part of the entire book is in the very beginning, when she's talking about living in Jersey or Pittsburgh or some similarly god-awful place and being dirt poor and getting knocked up by accident. She mentions something about going to some diner once a week to get a donut and listen to their jukebox and how that was like, the bright spot in her life at that time. For some reason, the idea of Patti Smith self-soothing by eating a shitty donut at some shitty diner in shithole Jersey, all by her lonesome, was just so, so touching to me. Maybe it's because when I get depressed, I too have a tendency to eat shitty food in solitude. It just seemed like such a vulnerable, human thing to share, and the fact that it happens in the beginning sort of sets the tone for the entire book. So, even though her remaining attempts to portray herself as a real person with real struggles fall sort of flat in light of the fact that she doesn't actually have a real job besides being photographed all day and kicking it with celebs, you kind of forgive her for it, because you know, at one point in her life, she ate shitty donuts like the rest of us.
And I know, I know, everything I have to say about this book is just reeking of jealousy. I'll admit it freely. Stories like this make me jealous. I've said it here before, but goddamn, I want to be an artist!!! I want to quit my day job and be a fucking artist! I'm positive that this is part of the reason this book is so appealing to me. I have differing opinions on Patti Smith's merit as a musician. I find a lot of her music whiny and self-indulgent, but Dancing Barefoot resonates with me more strongly than almost any other piece of music I've ever heard. But regardless of her talent, or her skill, she set out to be an artist. She had some sort of blind, almost naive, but nonetheless fierce faith that she would be able to support herself through means other than the conventional, and whether she got lucky, or worked her ass off for it, she succeeded. Things could have fallen apart for her at any given moment, as easily as they could have for any one else, but they didn't, and in that, there is magic.
There is magic, too in the way that she describes the city. The mood she creates is just so, so New York. After a week of trudging through blizzards, getting snowed in, and remembering why I moved to the West Coast in the first place, I needed that. Before I tried to tell you about my vacation, before I even tried to digest it myself, I needed to remember that New York is magic, too. So, on the plane ride home, I read about New York and I re-lived my vacation. I re-lived every moment I've ever spent in New York surrounded by that particular type of magic, and in re-living, it all became tied together. This book, my vacation, every moment I've spent in New York city from the day I was born. I think that after one month, I'm finally ready to tell you about all of it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

a dream about flying

Fly Melvin Sokolsky

Sometimes, an airplane can feel like a death sentence. Hours of your life, wasted, twisted up like a pretzel, hungry and cranky, with approximately one-hundred strangers who are also hungry and cranky and you all have to stay like that for hours, crowding each other's space and breathing each other's air. It's like something out of a horror movie. Some sick form of torture that only a madmen could ever devise.

There are other times though, when it doesn't feel that way at all.

I am writing this on an airplane right now.

And it feels good.

My flight was delayed due to the fog in San Francisco. Would you believe that? I mean, you'd think that by now they would realize that it's usually pretty foggy in San Francisco and plan accordingly. Then, after we boarded, we sat on the ground for another hour while the plane went through de-icing, and guess what?

I still feel good.

I feel better than good. I feel free. I've got about four more hours ahead of me, and I'm not sure that I've ever felt more free. I am somewhere between New York and San Fransisco, somewhere between my boyfriend and my empty bed, somewhere between my family and my future. And I cannot even explain to you how deliciously fucking free I feel.

There's a part of me that feels like a total bitch saying that. Especially if I start thinking about the boy I left in New York, his eyes like icy pinwheels, lost and confused, while I build walls to tear us apart.

“I'm really sad that you're leaving.”

“Oh, come on. I'll see you in four days. It's no big deal.”

And then, “I'm just moody because my vacation is over.”

It's been a whirlwind of a week. It was exactly the vacation I needed but it ended and not a moment too soon. Don't get me wrong, it was perfect, or maybe it was imperfect in all the right ways. The weather was disastrous. During my five days on the east coast, it snowed and rained and snowed and slushed and sleeted and snowed some more. Temperatures dipped down into the single digits, and my bank account came pretty close as well. Still, it was my vacation and I loved every second of it. That is, until I started to drown in it.

You see, I have this habit of isolating myself. When given the option, I'd take at least one hour each day to do nothing but sit in silence and revel in the detail of my own mind. I am a champion daydreamer, a world class fantasizer and my ability to overanalyze is so keen that I've occasionally been called obsessive. Some might argue that tendencies like this are destructive or anti-social. I believe however (and I'm not the only one – my therapist agrees with me!), that these moments of intense thought are crucial to my ability to live a rich and satisfying life.

My personality is highly empathetic. I feel other people feelings, dramas and issues as if they are my own. I'm not really sure why I do this, but I like to think that it's a good thing as it keeps me humble when I'm not otherwise inclined towards that. It does however, have it's drawbacks. Like when the people that I love start to overwhelm me. Like when I start to hate being looked at, let alone touched. Like the fact that I need hours to myself for deep contemplation when other people don't and sometimes this makes a mess of things.

That's why I'm happy to be on this plane. That's why I'm happy to be lost behind my laptop. That's why I'm happy, because I have an excuse. Everyone isolates themselves on planes. They made me turn my phone off. I'm alternating between writing this and reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. Honestly, can you think of anything more romantic than to be reading that on the way back from Brooklyn to San Francisco? I'm totally smitten. Not to mention the fact that I'm weightless, flying through the air, a million miles above every thing that matters. And I've got six whole hours of this. That's enough to make up for all the seclusion I missed this week and then some!

That's not to say that I'd like to stay this way forever. The second my boyfriend left my side, I felt his absence acutely. Not like a wound. Maybe more like a cramp, or the way your muscles ache the day after the gym. Kind of sweet, kind of sore. I'm glad that I've only got four more days until I see him next. I'm glad that he'll be back in Oakland soon. Any longer than that and I would start to get desperate. The way I did before. Wondering if he would prefer some other girl over me, if I had alienated him with my unrelenting need for space.

But I won't worry about those things now. Instead, I'll read my romantic book while I eat pastries that I smuggled in my bag from Brooklyn. I'll marvel at the idea of eating pastries at 36,000 feet. Maybe I'll order a movie or a jasmine tea (I love virgin!). Until I land in San Francisco, this moment is mine.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

dream manifesto


When I was 11, I had this dream. It took place outside of my elementary school, which happens to be located down the street from my childhood home. It was a dream about two boys, both of whom I knew in real life, neither of whom I had ever thought about sexually before (yes, I thought about boys sexually at 11! Stop pretending you didn't.). In the dream, I lost my virginity to one of the boys, while the other stood and watched. I did not however, lose my virginity to him in the normal way. There was no penetration, maybe not even any bodily contact (It's a bit blurry. It was, after all, 15 years ago). It was more just an awareness that it had happened; a strange knowledge that I had chosen to give this boy a piece of my innocence, and a feeling that it was supremely right or meant-to-be.

I woke up that morning and proceeded to have the most gigantic crush of my life on this boy. Then, five years later, at sixteen, I lost my v-card to him on the floor of his friend's sister's dorm room. I felt nothing. I felt less than nothing. We fooled around for a long time before he actually, you know, put it in, and when he finally did, I had to question whether or not he really had, because that's how much it felt like nothing. It was if I was merely carrying out the physical end of a spiritual contract I had made a million years ago.

Don't you think that shit is fucking bizzarre?!

For the longest time, I swore I was psychic. I had other experiences of this type, too. Where I would dream something and it would come true. Or I would dream something and someone would start talking to me about a similar situation the next day. One time I was involved in a very, very bad romance with a paranoid schizophrenic and I developed these nightmares about terrible gruesome creatures only to find out later that the creatures in my dreams matched the description of his schizophrenic delusions exactly. Needless to say, this was a big motivating factor in choosing to never sleep next to him again ever.

Later, I developed an odd recurring dream. Almost every night, I would dream of having sex with one of my close family members. I would wake up every morning disgusted with myself, sometimes in tears. I went to therapy and my therapist assured me that I was not sick or secretly desiring of incestual encounters. Then, I moved away and the dreams stopped. It never occured to me that the dreams were actually my subconcious screaming at me You are too close with these people!!!, despite the fact that the dreams started at the exact same moment when I became too scared to leave my hometown for fear of abandoning my family.

Yup, I've had a long and intense realtionship with the part of my mind that wakes up when my body is sleeping. Even when my dreams are not psychic, or incestuous, they are often vivid and strange; filled with beauty and symbolism and emotions too raw to ever feel in real life. I have come to the conclusion that I would not trade my good dreams in for relief from the bad ones, even when they were seemingly ruining my life. I love dreaming. I love my dreams. They are one of my primary interests and motivations in this life. When I saw Inception, I left the theater pissed that it was not real, because if I could dream for a living I would do it in a second, no matter how dangerous or illegal.

I have long searched for an outlet for my vivid dreaming. If I had any skill at painting or drawing, I would put them on display for the whole world to see. I have tried to write them out, but it is infinitely frustrating. Our language is not designed for such intense things. Over time, I have resigned myself to the sad truth that dreams are not for sharing, and even if they were, how could they possibly mean as much to someone else as they mean to me?

But then, this morning while I was running, I had a thought. It was briliantly sunny out, and the song that was playing on my ipod seemed to complement the weather perfectly. I had a desire that was similar to my desire to share my dreams; I wanted to store that moment and save it for later. I wanted to bring it home to Connecticut and pull it out to show all the people I love who have never been here what a California winter feels like. Then it occured to me that had I never moved here, I'd be one of those people who had never experienced winter in California, and then I started to consider what effect that would have on my dreams.

Sometimes in my dreams, I visit places over and over again. Often these places do not exist in real life, but are evocative of other places that do. Sometimes, I dream of feelings over and over. Sometimes I dream of people who I love, or people I have never even met. I have come to think of all the things I dream about as my dream vocabulary. The pictures and symbols and sounds and feelings my subconcious has latched onto, either in real life or my own vibrant imaginings, have served as a pallette that I've used each night to create an entire dreaming world that I inhabit. What a fucking miracle that our brains are even capable of this!

Even more miraculous is the realization I came to this morning; that our dream vocabularies are (mostly) under our control. That if we cultivate beautiful experiences and think beautiful thoughts, not only will we live beautiful lives, but we'll dream beautiful dreams. And in this way, our dreams are actually moments that encompass our entire lives. Every memory that you thought was gone forever is a part of the material that creates your dreams. Dreams are what our lives look like when time no longer exists; a snapshot of every moment we've experienced all rolled into one, and in this way, when we're dreaming we are infinite and eternal.

Fuck, that was one of the best thoughts I've ever had!!!!!

So good a thought, in fact, that it's where I have decided to start. And I know, I know; technically I've already started. I told you all months ago, about this new beginning and then I halted, stuck. There was a spark, but then it never ignited. I carved out my place and I waited.

And I don't mean to say that I've seen the light. I don't mean to preach at you like some evangelical nutcase claiming that I know the answer because god showed it to me. Rather, it was as if all the thoughts I had been mulling over, arranging and re-arranging in my mind, slowly came to form an image that finally felt right. I realized, very calmly, in a single moment that all I've ever wanted to do was collect dreams. Or more precisely, collect experiences and filter them through the kaleidoscope of my unique perspective to create dreams, and I realized also, that I want to record that process and that ultimately, that is the only imprint I want to leave on this world.

So, here it is: from this moment forth, a new paradigm. I will write as if I'm dreaming. I will write about my dreaming. In the end, they are the same thing; a collection of moments, perceptions, realities. Welcome to my museum