See. I told you I’d go.
I only write when I’m feeling over-something. Overwhelmed, overly discontent, over-impassioned. Winter is a good time for the former two. I clearly remember telling myself this time last year that I was never going to spend another winter in the Northwest again. I think Lady Portlandia may have heard, as she’s obliging us with the most mild and gorgeous winter I can remember. Don’t worry Lady P, I’ve got nowhere to go anyway…yet.
It’s been just over a year now since I got back from the most carefree dream of my life. Winter won’t ever be the same without roasted chestnuts and spiced wine vendors on every corner, Bavarian-esque Christmas festivals complete with lederhosen-wearing Italians and ice-skating in piazzas lit with frosted Christmas lights. People still ask me if I miss it – every waking moment….and many of the sleeping ones.
I’m sorry to everyone who keeps asking me when I will revive this little blogging habit. The last time I wrote anything, I was in Denver. Even that seems a world away. I’m sorry I’ve kept you waiting (Dad, Mom and Zia Nila ;] ) – it seems as though I had many a lesson to learn this past year, all of which required me to be fully present. After a spring spent on the back of America’s highways; a summer of nymph-hood, under the trees and the moon and in the river; and a fall remembering, forgetting and remembering again that my heart is still capable of love and forgiveness, ill-fated and ill-advised though it may have been – I find myself at yet another crossroad.
My future is sitting patiently in my hands, waiting for me to mold it.
Well, I hope the future has patience in multitudes because I haven’t the heart to do it yet. I’ve been too caught up throwing a several-month-long pity party – invitees: 1. But before you are convinced to pick up the phone to demand an explanation and offer your condolences for a struggling soul, hear me out. Don’t worry, my universe has already clearly demanded that I turn on the sun lamp, pop a Vit D and get my ass out of bed. From the long-awaited arrival of sickeningly inspirational poetry, human conversation, thematic music and art and the rare occurrence of a sensical fortune cookie – it would seem as though I am being told that I have shit to accomplish that is momentarily going unaccomplished, goddammit!
SO! Today I’m going for a hike and I’ve already cleaned my room this morning and started some kale chips in the dehydrator. I’m going to force a bit of human interaction on myself and then go home tonight and revel in the happy presence of my beautiful family. It’s not a big adventure, but for the good it will surely do my soul, it’s worth its weight in wine and chestnuts. ; )
Wandering along the small river that hugs Denver reminds me of nights spent drinking on the Seine. There’s little similarity between the two really, one sporting athletic joggers and young mothers with heavy-duty strollers, the other home to a capricious youth, out to exploit the night. But I find comfort at the banks of both, each the birthplace of two impeccable cities, each supplying not only the water, but the spirit that’s needed to keep a place alive. Every city that makes sense (Phoenix, Arizona being my example of a place that doesn’t) was born from water. And as cities mature the mother is among the first to be disregarded. Still the Platte winds protectively through Denver, as the Seine does Paris, blind to their children’s indifference, content in their ever-flowing love and the ducks that lazily caress their surfaces. Though the humans have forgotten, they are still intrinsically drawn, unaware of the magic that calls them. Unrequited lovers relinquishing themselves to the depths of the Po, sonnets written by quill next to the Thames, human mothers safe-guarding children as they hunt ducks by the Platte, water is life, death and everything in-between.
Water in Colorado enchants me. The way it throws itself violently from the skies, but only for exactly ten minutes. The way it clings in absurdly huge droplets to the grass until the sun is well past its’ zenith in the sky. How much of it I need to drink in order to keep from shriveling up in this altitude. How despite all of this, Colorado is mere centimeters from being as much a desert as the Mojave.
I hear however, that things are shaping up back home. The call of an Oregon summer is tantalizing. There is still no summer I’ve seen more perfect then those in my corner of the Northwest. As that blasted rain (the only water I may truly despise) retreats, as it should’ve done a solid six weeks ago, I find that I’m quickly losing all of my reasons for staying away. Only three more weeks and four or five more states to go…
I have been suffering from severe writer’s block. It happens when I get really overwhelmed with what’s going on and foolishly attempt to inwardly process things instead of letting it out – never an effective choice. I’ve realized that the pro to being home is that over the years, my Joann/Michaels addiction and consistent borderline hoarding behavior has resulted in my apartment resembling a magnificent craft shop, with almost anything my whimsical mind might want to play with conveniently at my fingertips – save a loom and glass-blowing forge… yet. The downfall to foregoing the rooted life is that my capacity to express myself creatively is severely stunted. Which lays a bit on the catastrophic side considering that the most effective way for me to express myself is by grabbing some acrylics and smearing frustration on a canvas…or wall…whatever. I feel more centered just knowing I have the tools to create at any moment whatever my imagination whips up.
But I’ve been avoiding home like the plague this year and now all I’m left with is pen and paper. Which you’d think should result in incredibly prolific blogs on the daily but instead has resulted in near resentment of the only creative outlet I have.
(Whiny inner monologue)
I could write but all I want to do is make a pair of leather moccaaaassssinnns and replicate those feather earrings I saw on Pintereeeeeeest.
Brooding ensues. Insanity bourgeons. People start to wonder and cautiously take steps to the side.
What is my meaning in the Universe? What purpose do I serve? Humanity blows. Hermitage is the only reasonable option.
My first world problems disturb me…Someone lend me a spray can and an ugly piece of wall so I can tolerate myself again and get back to doing things that are worthwhile.
(I’m not really going to tag anything)
In other unrelated news, I’m a vegetarian now. Despite my inherent love for baby animals and stuff, my decision has less to do with their impossibly furry cuteness and more to do with my intense dislike of agro-business, my firm belief in the not-conspiracy theory that the government is slowly poisoning its’ citizens (i.e. allowing Burger King to offer the option to add FIFTEEN extra pieces of bacon to any burger for only $1.24), the heart disease that runs rampant throughout my family and most importantly, the following two documentaries:
(Both can be found on Netflix and are more than worth the time…considering they’ll add years to your life.)
I’m also fairly convinced I have hypothyroidism or blooming diabetes but I’m resisting the temptation to become a total maniac hypochondriac. Hell, I’m already a conspiracy theorist with a doomed heart struggling to express bountiful inner turmoil without the aid of paint thinner and Stitch Witch. Another irrational phobia to combat with mine of turning 30 is the LAST thing I need.
What I do need is a beer.
Dad, I’m not an alcoholic.
The taste of dry tea leaf lying curled on my tongue flies me back to Hile. A tea plantation on top of a mountain hidden in fog. The smell of a simple factory and the face of a boy. On a similarly foggy morning in Portland it finally feels like the moment to tell this story as my thoughts today have been dancing round ideas of destiny – whether it’s a fuel that burns in the fires of my mind.
The moment I saw his face I was comforted by its familiarity. I had no reason to – I had never seen him before – and as this realization crossed my mind, comfort gave way to confusion.
How could there be anything familiar here, a world away from anything I understood and three additional hours up a Maoist rebel-ridden mountain in a country I’d never heard of before I had turned 18? But here this comfort was, a phantom taken form, released from my subconscious and now standing before me, as solid as the dirt of the path under my feet.
His lank made him seem taller than he was, already too tall for his nearly weightless frame. His face, enclosed in a dark listless mane, was rounder, flatter, creamier than most Nepali faces I had met. And softer still, with such youth as one could hardly expect to survive in the skin of a modest mountain boy burdened by constant labor. A youthful face that never smiled, though I dared pray it had, playing through the chaos of my mind.
I loved him then, with or without smile, merely for having known him in my soul.
A dry tea leaf tastes of life once had, of everything that is green and longs to still be growing and mostly – of dust. Not the dust that comes from all the movements of the earth but specifically of dust that was once bursting with life on the side of a fog-shrouded mountain. It hovers, folding itself back into the tea leaves that are being picked in its’ wake, being processed in its’ wake. Cared for, dried and sorted in its’ wake. How did it ever become separated?
Dry tea leaves taste of excess matter, hovering as the whole leaf, the best leaf, is sent to the powerful China, to be shared with comrades and enemies, privy to the secrets of an unfathomable elite. Hovering. Second grade purchased by mothers, passing through the hands of servants, brewing in family mugs on tables, playing companion on nights of conversations shared. Excess. Hovering. As even the third filtering, least in quality, flies farther away, roaming across oceans into the greedy hands of Westerners paying pretty pennies for a misleading sip of worlds an imagination away. Dry tea leaf tastes of dust – left unnoticed and clutching to the skin of all the leaves that matter, floating like fog in a sparse mountain factory, hovering in the nose and lungs of an unsmiling boy, jealous that it will never be anything more than excess matter, reminding him in its’ anger that he may never be anything more either.
What plagues me now is that he was, is, to me, a comfort – a reassurance from the universe that gives me reason to celebrate. Destiny has done me well. I was always going to journey far away from home to see this factory, this fog, this face. That our paths brushed affords me such immeasurable awe, but what kills me is while I saw a similar recognition whenever his eyes met mine, one thing I never saw reflected was a smile.
I have recently been informed that there are people out there who consider me…how can I put this…a bit melodramatic at times.
Let me offer a bit of explanation. It has always been a singular pleasure of mine to add a bit of spice to the everyday. I will admit that I am talented at taking the mundane and spinning it into a tale so extravagant that one cannot help but chortle or guffaw (Oh man, I like those words). I cannot apologize for this as I embrace it with every fiber of my being. Who else can take a walk down the block and turn it into the most catastrophic odyssey ever to occur in all recorded history like I? There are few.
I cannot honestly say that this is the first time I’ve been called a drama queen, but I will admit that that my stories as of late have been a little bit of a pity-party. For this, I apologize. I’ve been reflecting on my work and I’ve seen that I have digressed, as is my tendency and writer’s pitfall. Once an adventure tale, this blog has become more of an angst-y drama found in the tweens section of B&N. *cringe*
My life has not lacked inspiration lately, but quite honestly, I have been refusing to find inspiration in it. Shame on me.
So, I’ve decided that when in doubt I will, from now on, pull inspiration from my past. There are many stories from the last 6 months that went untold, and which overwhelm me sometimes when the Waves of Reminisce come crashing in.
For example… The other morning, while boiling water for tea and daydreaming about my summer plans, I was rolling a bit of dried Nepalese tea leaf between my fingers…
TO BE CONTINUED…
I was swept up in a flurry of absurdity this week. With each days’ passing an episode of this girl’s sitcom aired and found that it was able to make the World laugh. Sometimes that is how I feel, a jester skilled in slapstick, here only to amuse that omniscient audience of one. From my completely intentional tumble down a flight of concrete steps in front of a hospital I was hoping to enter for entirely different reasons, to walking out of said hospital with a diagnosis of Dry Eye Syndrome in the Land of Liquid Sunshine, this week’s script-writers are far too skilled in irony for my taste.
As if the above weren’t enough to entertain, the puppeteer of my life had me running all over the city Wednesday. I went about my day with the understanding that I was to go to work at the Convention Center at 2pm. However, upon my arrival, I found the belly of the building empty of all but this lonely and confused waitress who soon came to understand that she had in fact been scheduled for another Wednesday altogether. As I had passed up another job to cover this job, I attempted to undo all of that and go nanny over in the SW hills. This attempt at salvaging a paycheck was foiled by a phone call from my most knowledgeable friend in all things involving the words “emergency” “medical” and perhaps also “procedure”, who had somehow managed to fall 14 feet unto the only piece of floor not covered in a safety mat at the rec center’s bouldering wall. A drive to the SW hills turned into a hop down I-84 to greet Justin hobbling out of Providence’s ER with a twisted ankle and as pissed-off a look as I may ever see on his face…this week.
What else? While spending time educating myself on all manner of subjects from ancient Buddhist healing practices to meditation for health, I managed to come down with a cold. And next? In all the sexy glory that comes with a red runny nose and a nasally, raspy voice I decided to take on learning the art of strip tease and seduction in an Aguilera-inspired Burlesque class today…
Humored? Yeah, I humor me too…
This week I managed to be at my most politically incorrect, my most ineloquent and my absolute clumsiest and through it all somehow managed to keep friends. And at one time, made new ones over a night of Ethiopian food and mango smoothies. I also braved my first real experience at karaoke while sharing a beer with bosses-turned- dear-friends (and nearly died over a botched attempt at Adele and an even more disgraced rendition of a song from Rent). I also spent an evening at the most brilliant tea-shop I have yet to find in Portland, and another morning in a restaurant over magnificent avocado-filled omelets and home-made jam, both times engaged in the type of conversation that strengthens friendships and make my world go round.
From this angle, my life looks so colorful.
When I was in the midst of it though, it was the type of colorful that one sees while trapped flying through the air on a high-speed rollercoaster. Up, down, sideways. Colors vivid and undistinguishable, turns unexpected and gut-wrenching. You want to pay attention to everything around you, but if you don’t keep your eyes pointed straight ahead, you are definitely going to vomit. You innately cling on, simultaneously having the time of your life and praying insistently for the end.
Man, I did a lot this week.
Exactly a month has passed.
And in it has flourished such a period of discombobulation (new word) as I never have experienced in all my life. Never could I have imagined that I would feel so waywardly lost coming home. Actually, I did imagine it, but somehow it seems that one’s imagination does not often prepare the heart for real sensation. I won’t lie to you, I have spent more than one of the last thirty days curled up in a ball underneath my covers, simply not understanding what it is I am supposed to do with myself for 14-18 hours before I’m allowed to crawl between my sheets again and escape into Dreamland. And it simply has not helped that the Northwest has one of the more depressing types of wintertime known to the universe. I still cannot bring myself to bundle up properly and man up to this impossibly cold thing so fondly called Oregon’s liquid sunshine. How on earth did I do this before? I cannot for the life of me recall.
I am at war with myself. Every morning I get up and remind home that I CAME HOME FOR A REASON, and I will see said reason through. From that point on I am forbidden to spend a moment of my day without music playing (current tunage: The Allman Brothers Band) as it keeps me exponentially more motivated and optimistic. I create a new adventure for myself daily and meanwhile have swept myself up in the captivating challenge of turning my oddball, above-a-garage apartment from house to home. Classes didn’t work out this term, which I’m not-at-all-secretly thrilled about. I am committed to finishing my degree but damn, is it hard to make myself REALLY want to go.
This all sounds a bit depressing but please don’t fret. I woke up today happier than I have been since I left Italy’s olio soaked shores. I woke up today finally willing to accept that being home holds possibilities, and it holds happiness. I don’t know what I’m doing with myself, but dang nabbit, I AM figuring it out!
Please stay tuned, as I intend to keep this blog up. It started with an adventure but since life is really one great adventure, I might as well keep exalting it in written word.