Thursday, January 26, 2012

"The act of possession is to begin the process of its loss" [translated]

Generally speaking, I’m tight-lipped about work. I’m not about to pull a dooce, so to speak.

I will say: I’m lucky to have a job that is, for the most part, deeply satisfying and amazing and fulfilling.

The disheartening part(s): I’ve come to terms with erring on the side of caring too much, rather than too little – hence the veneer of distance, hence the defense mechanism. I maintain appropriate emotional distance. And still, I’m astonished by people, by the human condition - the capacity for generosity and great love and cruelty and plain stinking selfishness. There’s so much loneliness and pain and hopefulness and hopelessness. Widows who learn to dance again and children who steal from their parents and people who tell me so quietly they won’t make it to the next month so can we please get a move on. What to believe except the evidence. Who will listen. What does this all mean. There are so many forgotten, isolated people. Can I say this? Will these statements get me in trouble?

Why do we do the things we do?
Why do we do the things we do to each other?
How do we live with ambiguous loss?
How do we go through the motions, anyway, when we know there is something potentially painful at the end?

The boiled-down answer is really quite simple.

I’ll keep it vague: I can’t help but trace the parallels to my own life. I see the pitfalls that emerge from certain life choices. Maybe they serve as a warning sign for me. I am sitting across from my own future.

They admonish me, jokingly and too-frequently, “don’t grow old,” before they walk out the door. I tell them I don’t plan on it, even as I bite my lip. I don’t believe them.

I don’t think I’ll ever turn cynical and hardened but I pause. I want the same things that they did when they were my age, and more.


I dreamt it was the end of the world.

It was dusk. My apartment was in disarray and I don’t know why. Everything was on the floor. My friend and I were standing in the living room when it started.

We could see people screaming in the high-rise across the street. They were being attacked, over and over. There was a silent, collective diphthong of a scream and then they were gone. I ignored them and looked away.

We looked at each other. Our words were brief, emotionless, cauterized.

“Do you want to pack anything?”

“There’s no time to go back to my place,” he said.

I looked down and saw that I was wearing ugly, rust-colored red.

Carefully, I picked through various articles of clothing and stuffed them in a gym bag. I chose clothes that were comfortable, warm, and appropriate for running. The bulk of the dream was spent picking through my jeans and socks and tops. I thought that I should start to panic because the packing was taking so long but decided against it. For no apparent reason, I included a black-and-white print dress. The gym bag bulged. I thought to myself, calmly, don’t bring more than a week’s worth. We’ll be dead before then.

Instinctively, I knew we would be safe for only thirty minutes. I put on a running shoe but I couldn’t find the other. I ran around the apartment with one shoeless foot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

You've already missed your plane.

Queen Penelope sits at her loom and weaves. Every night for several years, she sneaks back to the loom and undoes her day's work.

This weekend confirmed what I have always known: it’s time to wake up because the fantasy is really, truly over. I can’t be tugged along anymore, my dear. I can’t be coddled any longer, my friends. It’s difficult to hold onto these moments of clarity but this is what is real.

You wait and you wait and you wait for nothing. It is your hope projected. It’s a trick. It’s a figment of your imagination. There’s no grand, sweeping gesture or even a small one.


He and I dance, so tentatively. We dance and we dance and we dance around each other, never with each other. It's a silly game of chicken. Who will go first this time. I keep learning to give up. It’s ok, I tell myself, over and over. I make myself sick. I want out of this pussyfooted waltz.

Here is the Los Angeles skyline, here is my reflection in the shop window, here are loud shirts coaxing us into the stores. Here are my friends and we are chatting, idly, because it is a beautiful, cold day and the world is hovering at my fingertips.

World, here I come.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Iowa Caucus

Don't want to get too political here since this is more for emoting but -

Santorum, seriously?! Holy crap, the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Every year, my parents seem to shrink, a little. They become sadder and lonelier and angrier. Sometimes when I am sitting at a table with them, it feels like someone is standing on my chest. The silence seems loud, somehow.

In this way, domestic travel can be very disorienting: I shift from walking on the beach to walking on eggshells in the span of two hours. In San Diego, I am a healthy, well-adjusted, responsible adult. In the Bay Area, I can’t do anything except observe, helplessly.

I feel crushed, over and over.

I read snippets of the DSM-IV and it makes sense. I keep thinking absurd thoughts like if I just layer my words more carefully or present the information in a pleasing form, it will inspire change! They will become happy people! I am realistic enough to be cynical and idealistic enough to be hopeful.

Maybe part of growing up is accepting them AS IS and being able to tell them, repeatedly, I care for you, I love you, I forgive you, no matter how many times they hurt me or each other. I remind myself that they come from a different generation, a different culture, a different language, and there may be other unknown factors at play.

I think there’s a sense of renewed redemption, each time, when you get up and try. Every day is a new day to show that you care. Words like a benediction for better times, for some semblance of understanding.