My apartment smells like turpentine and garlic, and it gives me a giddy gritty headache. There’s also a disabled homeless man who sleeps below my window on the street, and he’s playing his radio or boom box tonight. It’s the Velvet Underground.
All in all, I’m not complaining.
I had another memory from that same health class just now. No idea why.
I don’t know what kind of damn class that was, but we had to do these… I don’t know, personality tests? To find out our personality type. There were four different types and they each came on different colored cards. Blue, red, green, and yellow.
I wanted to be (because when you’re a kid and you take those sorts of test, you yearn for a specific outcome) blue, which was the “dreamer.” That’s what I thought I was.
Then I took the test and I was fucking green, which was “the scientist.” Analytical, rational, truth-seeking, problem-solving, etc.
It kind of destroyed me. I remembering thinking, “Oh my god, I’m not who I think I am.”
I feel like life has been just a series of these incidents. Mistakenly believing something about myself, and then having to reexamine. Or having things change, and then being forced to let go of something I thought defined who I was.
I don’t know if that means I’m shortsighted, or if I’m slow to catch up to my own progressions.
When I was in high school, I was the girl with pretty hair and big tits. When I got to college, I got sick and lost almost all of my hair. By the end of college, I had started exercising and lost my big tits. I know that’s a bad example, but it’s just another thread in this. The indicators of identity in my life have never stayed so very long. I can’t rely on any piece of me to define me, because I have this terrible fear that it will disappear if I do.
Part of me believes this is the root of a boring personality. It’s self-preservation, and it’s making me dull.
It’s just impossible to put stock in anything when I know that, odds are, it won’t be anything at all for very long.
One time in middle school, I stormed out of a health class because the guest lecturer told us that each time you have sex with someone, you lose a part of yourself.
I’m almost certain that I was oblivious to the fact that this type of message was inherently tied to shitty religious doctrine that plagued my hometown. I was also a virgin, and self-righteously so. But I remember experiencing outright anger and disgust, and somehow knowing without question that this was untrue.
I ran directly to the office, where a rather tired looking assistant principal told me that it was important that all viewpoints were represented in that class. I told her it was wrong, and that the speaker was promoting abstinence instead of teaching us about sexual health. She kindly told me she’d look into it.
In all fairness, the next lessons were about condom use and STDs.
But in no fairness whatsoever, they also told us HIV could get through condoms, and brought in a blind HIV-positive ex-junkie to effectively scare the shit out of us.
But I wasn’t thinking about any of that. All I was thinking about was that the guest speaker was lying to us. Outright lying.
Later that year, I left a geography class screaming and in tears because an ancient, clearly racist teacher told my class that Muslims didn’t believe in god, and were therefore atheists. He also handed us a worksheet of “terrorism terms” that included words like “Quran” and “burka.”
I wasn’t upset for the same reasons I would be now. If I saw that happen today, I’d get worked up over his racism, his ignorance, his hatred and stupidity. But back then, I was fuming because what he said was a complete lie.
When this teacher told us that Muslims didn’t believe in god, and I raised my hand and told him that that was incorrect, and he fought with me, I felt my face flush and my stomach rise into my stomach. I wouldn’t drop it. I told him he was mistaken. He told me to stop talking.
There was a kid in the class named Scott, who was a lovable weirdo, and not very smart. I don’t think he had even spoken up that day, but he sat behind me, and I gestured to him and yelled (we were yelling at each other at this point), “You can’t tell these kids Muslims don’t believe in god. Because Scott is going to go home, and he’s going to believe that. And he’s going to tell other people that.”
I was so furious that I started weeping. That was the sticking point. Scott was going to go home that night, and he was going to believe that Muslims were atheists. The issue wasn’t that it was offensive. The issue, for 15-year-old me, was that it was utterly untrue.
I don’t know what that is. Perhaps a prickly need for justice, rational behavior, and truth. I still get worked up, today, when people dismiss truths (even personal ones, that I admit are merely personal truths) and claim them as false.
It’s probably a character flaw, to be honest. It makes me much less abstract, much more stubborn, less patient, and more prone to emotion.
I get so, so emotional.
Angry tears are the biggest display of weakness you could possibly have, and that’s what I’ve been cursed with. The angry tears of a child who feels injustice has been done.
One time, as a small child on a playground, an older boy yelled, “What are you, deaf?!” at me, when I couldn’t understand him. My playmate, Cathy, began to cry.
"She isn’t deaf," she wept. "She just isn’t. She can hear." I remember her jacket and hood, her mittened hands at her red face. She melted as she sobbed, "She isn’t deaf. She can hear just fine."
Hello, again. Sorry for the pause.
(That apology is, I suspect, directed at me.)
I moved apartments, and that’s something. I’m still living out of boxes and none of my furniture fits, so I’m slowly trading out and finding room for items piece by piece.
But the apartment itself is really grand. It’s small (at odds with its grandness) and comfortable, and sometimes I look around and it feels like a joke. It seems like it was designed for me. Once I get all this furniture out (do you need any furniture, by the way?) and some others in… this place will be home. Hell, it already is. It’s frightening to think that I might want to live here for a long time.
Work is rewarding, flustering, frustrating, and everything it needs to be for me to arrive happy and go home happy each day.
I went to Hawaii with some girlfriends a few weeks ago. It was really a bit silly how relaxing and beautiful it was.
I’m struggling against time, moods, and fatigue lately. What do I have enough time to accomplish? What do I WANT to accomplish? What CAN I accomplish. Life doesn’t stop until you’re dead, I’ve brilliantly realized, and catching up doesn’t really ever come into play.
Three steps forwards, though, and only two back.
Look… I sat down to write this with plenty of thoughts and things to say, but I rather just go do the thoughts right now. So have a nice night, and we’ll catch up on more soon.
I’m having a bit of trouble sleeping, which is quite surprising because I’m reasonably high on Percocet.
Last Sunday, after a few days on an antibiotic, my body decided it just wasn’t having it and shut down a few vital systems.
Turns out, I’m allergic to sulfa, sooooo… after a few days of unknowingly poisoning myself, I went to the E.R.
I’ll spare anyone who might be reading the details, but I’ve been drugged and bedridden for the week. Turns out, allergies aren’t something to fuck around with.
I can’t do much moving, and I can’t go out, and I haven’t been able to drive because of the narcotics, so I’ve been sitting at home. I’ve been working (thank god for understanding coworkers), which is fine and keeps me busy, but in the downtime and at night I’ve been going stir crazy.
You think I’d take the opportunity to, you know, read and shit. Something I constantly complain I don’t have time to do. But I’ve been distracted by the fact that I get the keys to my new apartment on Sunday, and that — ideally — I’d love to move into that wonderful new space as soon as possible.
So what have I been doing? Hobbling around on my sad, sloughing body, packing up my books and shoes and papers the best I can into cardboard boxes. It’s a start. But it’s the anticipation that must be keeping me awake tonight.
I’m a patient individual. I’m patient to a fault. But when I’m on the edge of progression, I have a hard time not jumping.
And I’ve always been a sucker for a clean start.
So I’m seeing a specialist tomorrow, who will hopefully say, “You didn’t do any permanent damage” and relieve me of my current medical shackles. Then I will pack and prepare like a fiend.
I really only have this move half-planned; it came on suddenly and I’ve somehow adopted the attitude, “It’ll get done” — which isn’t a total surprise, because I’ve likewise arrived precisely at this mantra more and more over the last few years. Not knowing how is no longer as terrifying as it once was.
Aww, she’s growing up. Or at least, not wallowing in panic anymore.
Be prepared for apartment updates; cute shit I buy. Recipes and exercise routines.
(These are things I used to scoff at. But what they don’t tell when you’re a kid is that the reason we make our beds, the reason we eat healthy foods, and the reason we work on our muscle tone is that life is absolutely fucking chaotic, and sometimes you’re completely taken out by an ingredient in an antibiotic you didn’t even know existed, and these moments are going to be absolutely uncontrollable and shitty, and in order for these moments to not completely upend you, reduce you to a whimpering sack of shit, and break your brittle spirit, you’ve gotta create order by making your fucking bed, eating your fucking green beans, and exercising until you feel like you could spar with god.)
Life still a Jackson Pollock painting, but a less boring one.
I found an apartment. It’s on the eastside, above a coffee shop. It’s an adorable small studio with sliding French doors that separate the bedroom area from the rest. It has green walls in the kitchen. It looks out onto a busy street. It is above a coffee shop. Like, literally above. My wifi will reach to the coffee shop. Good god, I’m excited. I move in the first week of September.
I basically had to shank a bitch to get this apartment; four people walked in as I was filling out the application and had the same damn reaction I did — wanted it just as badly. So I called the leasing office directly and told them I wanted to put in a deposit that very second. Dani three years ago wouldn’t have even known what a leasing office was.
Or an office.
I did a feature on LA green rooms that I’m actually really stoked about.
And… that’s it for now. Really, I wanted to brag about my apartment. It’s an adorable little studio above a coffee shop. Have you heard?
It drives me bonkers that I haven’t written anything in a while, besides snips of snippets I email myself when I wake up in the middle of the night.
I’ve had a series of unlucky occurrences, most of the automobile variety. My supernovas must be in retrograde. My black holes.
I’m… moving. Roommate pulled the plug more quickly than I thought, and is plunging into pre-married life with her boyfriend. Time to live on my own for the first time. Searching for apartments is a drag, and a journey of impendency and gloom, really, with no progress to be made. You’re never getting anywhere when you’re moving. You’re just failing until you don’t anymore. And by that time, you’ve gotten somewhere.
Whatever. First world problems. Though I gotta say, as much as I adore working for a nonprofit, I don’t get paid well enough to live on my own in Los Angeles.
I’m drinking tequila, which I rarely do. It seems to have fogged up my contact lenses, so pardon me if (I burst into flames?) I litter this digital box with candy-wrapper errors.
Love life is terrible. I got involved in a two-month ordeal, panicked and backed out for lack of feeling, had a two-date ordeal (in which he backed out for lack of physical feeling (really, a problem with opiates, poor silly thing), and am still emotionally distraught (or rather, disengaged, fogged lenses, leading to distraught-itude) from my two-year ordeal. The bulk of which came out in a conversation tonight, and in the first bought of cry-cries since E.R. and I called it quitsies. Oops. Guess I feel things, after all.
BRB, going to check my horoscope.
Yeah, that shit is crazy spot-on.
Yoga’s great, thanks for asking. I’ll tell her you asked.
I’m going to Hawaii with my girlfriends in September.
I started writing a weekly column on LA STAGE Times called The Arts Fix. Trying to push shorter content to the magazine. It’s funny, for my generation, I’m probably quite long-form. But here I am, acting the whippersnapper. It’s hard to explain that you’re the 25-year-old with the weathered soul of a septuagenerian when you’re a goddamn 25-year-old.
Anyway, it’s five short art-related LA news items each week. My goal is to make it exponentially self-deprecating each week until my editor tells me to knock it off. (Why don’t people love when I make fun of myself?)
Oh. Tonight I was at the gym, on the elliptical, facing one of those goddamn mirrors that they line the building with (in case I forgot how to ride the elliptical, that shit is there for me, bro), and I honest-to-god had the thought (in anger, no less), “Fuck, I’d be so much skinnier if I didn’t have arms.”
I laughed so hard I scared the guy next to me. I just pointed to my headphones and giggled, “podcast!” Then I kicked some gym-equipment-ass and made cardio-love to my own pudgy reflection.
I don’t know, kids. Don’t make me qualify my life or anything. But there’s a vitality (and tempered insanity) at the root of all things new. The problem is that it’s coupled with lack of time. Isn’t that how it always goes?
We’re talking about creativity here, in case you missed the underlying shit. We’re talking about salt mines. Compressed carbon. Dead canaries. Yellow wallpaper.
Guess we’ll see.
Dear Prime Minister, M Rogge, Lord Coe and Members of the International Olympic Committee,
I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant…
I don’t post fucking ridiculous pictures of women on here being like, “Oh shit look how pretty this girl is” because that is stupid and bullshit and not part of anything I want to be a part of.
But tonight I had to create this fucking mood board for a webseries I’m writing (really?! jesus) and stumbled onto this picture.
And I realize… this is pretty much who I want to be / who I am, in my head.
My poor little broken head.
Read this fine piece from Cord Jefferson.
Read Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones.
Watch Rosewood, Fruitvale Station, and Boyz n the Hood.
I wrote this because I wanted to say something about the Zimmerman…
Jesus god, yes.
This week I attended a party with a new friend of mine. It was kinda a who’s who situation, open bar, an embarrassment of riches.
I kind of hate parties because I never have anything to say to anybody and I really just want to talk to whatever one friend I’m there with and get slowly hammered and…
I’m in an incredibly vain period of my life where I really like taking photos of myself, playing with my hair, sitting around naked and staring at my body.
So, I’ve lost about 15-20 pounds since December. I forgot that I took a picture in my underwear at my heaviest as a “before” shot, and I just found the photo. I took another photo tonight, and the difference is absurd.
Fuck feeling “beautiful.” There is nothing better than feeling healthy, strong, and like you’re not a captive in your own skin.
Fitness and nutrition are a huge part of my life now — neither of which I gave a shit about two years ago, but here we are. It feels really good to be passionate about something that, in turn, can make me feel this good.
I swear, guys. I’ll start talking about something other than yoga and salad soon. It’s just a bit of a shock for me still, everyday, that I care about these things. And that I’m dedicated and focused enough to keep it an important part of my life.
It seems I’ve found a bit of a niche.
My job suits me like my favorite leather boots; it manages to feel out-of-the-box fresh and suitably snug every day. Everything makes sense, but I’m still challenged. I’m working with a team (and learning how to do so), but still have plenty of solitary work time. I’m trusted and I trust everyone around me. And the people… don’t even get me started on the people. Don’t tell them, please, but they already feel like family. I want to kiss them all on their foreheads, make sure they’re tucked in at night. Make sure they know they’re appreciated, and that they’re utterly brilliant.
I’ve gone to yoga twice a week, without fail, all month. (And another one or two times a week, I go to the gym or do cardio at home.) The yoga class is really, really too easy, but I have a coupon and the teacher is wonderful, so I’m trying to make the most of it until I find a studio nearby work with a class that works into my schedule.
Yoga notables: Apart from my forehead-to-knee realization the other day, my backbends have severely increased, my hips are opening up to the point of having to go to great lengths to find an actual stretch, I can stay up much longer in plank, and I can wiggle myself into a respectable dolphin pose.
That said, this beginner class is more about stretching and less about heat-building (I wish I had found it before I dove head-first into the terrible trendy WeHo fitness-style yoga I started with, ugh), so I’ve been leaving the class with a lot of potential energy. Today I drove home from yoga, got out of my car, put on my sneakers and went for a run.
Now that, my friends, is… well, it doesn’t feel like me. Or rather, who I was a few years ago. I’m now craving the pain that comes with pushing myself to an edge. I’m breathing into the soreness the next day. It took me a good year to get past the point of hating every second of exercise, but I did it.
I’m a terrible runner; my insides burn within minutes and my lungs displace fluid and my thighs start trembling, and my shoulders tense up. The inside of my nostrils burn with cold air and I hate it. But today I told myself, “This is going to be easier than the last time you did it,” and I breathed into it, and I relaxed my shoulders, and let my legs soften a bit, and I made it further than I have before. I was running at one point, and a man with a golden retriever was sitting near the curb. I ran past and the dog jumped up to play, and it was like out of a movie. I was smiling and laughing and I pet him as I kept running, and the dog went to chase me and the owner had to call him back. One of those stupid moments you remember.
So yes, the niche I’ve found seems to be my work, my exercise, and my diet — which (apart from the goddamn donuts and cookies one of my coworker keeps bringing into the office) is almost consistently vegetables and lean proteins — chicken, fish, soy.
My body is my body. Flawed and marked up. I still have big arms and wide shoulders and a pudgy stomach, but goddamn if it doesn’t make me happy to feel my muscles under my skin now. To SEE the muscles. My legs, in particularly, are entirely different. I stare at them a lot. Flex my calves, see the lines of where thigh muscles have appeared up near my knees. I am pocked and patchy and puffy in places, but goddamn if I don’t feel strong, flexible, loose, and tighter.
I write this, with all the disclaimers of imperfection and continual self-critique, doubt, and even disgust, and I still feel vain for saying so. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
I got home from my run and found a letter from Chris in the mailbox. I sat on the couch, panting, and read it out loud.
(Chris, I write when I’m attached — in some form — to my own head. That can be through emotion, through psychical discipline, and 99 percent of the time, when I allow myself solitude.
Sit in a room. Unplug the internet. Think as much of your work as you can before you start to lose bits and pieces of it, and then open your laptop and type it out. Writing is only daunting because we start concentrating on the writing part. At least, for me. Writing is just thinking. You’re good enough at both to focus on the thinking, and let the writing happen as a means of container, not motor.
And yes, tag, I’m it.