lonely lovely city

lonely lovely city

Friday, December 31, 2010

Forging ahead

Over the course of the last few days, I've been thinking about summing up the year of 2010.

Surprisingly enough, I feel like I've learned a great deal about who I am and the people in this scary world. Perhaps the most reassuring element to my metamorphosis, is not taking everything so seriously. Innately, seriousness will always remain a component of my nature. But, what I've learned as of late is that if I don't stop over analyzing, I'll miss out on the good stuff. I am learning to temper uptightness and let go. Roam the streets of my beloved Manhattan, have a drink or two and let my hair down.

On any given day, when I am adamant about where I have to go, what I have to do or appointments I have to keep, I tend to abandon spontaneity. The other day as I was falling into a puddle of black slush en route to my gym, I came across a cute guy. He looked at me and smiled. He even said hi. I wanted to turn back and give him a look. But, I was scared. If I had taken a chance on him or did some irregular, something out of character, what would have happened?

At this point, I will never know. What I do know, is that I don't want to leave things to chance. In 2011, I want to take more risks. No. I need to take risks! I want to know what it feels like to care for another individual. I dream of being swept away in knowing that another man wants to share his day and his dreams with me. Yes, I am probably an idealist. After all, I am an Aquarian. Idealism is in my DNA.

What I am trying to convey is that while goals, impending achievements and accomplishments await with revenue to be generated, love and connections are the one true thing that keeps the spirit nourished and intact. I realize that while I have a great apartment, a good job, attend an prestigious school, have wonderful and caring friends, and a somewhat positive outlook, it isn't enough.

The other night I was catching up with a good friend who lives in New England. We were discussing goals and the things in life that one requires for survival. I mentioned in passing that while we are blessed with certain gifts and amenities, it's a part of being human that makes us yearning for more. Regardless of what one has or is, we all want to aspire for something else, and hopefully, strive to be a better person. At least I do.

In spite of having a lot, the one thing I want the most is absent: love. Most of my friends say that when you stop looking for it, love finds you. I am not sure I completely agree, but I do believe that when the universe is ready for your heart and capabilities, it can and will happen.

As this year comes to a close, I am reflecting on the personal changes I've acquired. For some crazy reason, I feel calmer and rested. Call it turning 35? Moving back to Manhattan from Brooklyn certainly contributed to my inner peace. Making new friends at school and beyond as allowed me to feel less lonelier than I thought I could be. And, strengthening ties with certain loved ones has provided security. I could list more, but I have chosen to keep that in my heart for no one to know.

I'll refrain from spewing cheesy lines or sounding preachy, but what I want to offer to everyone who takes the time to read my ongoing personal project, is that anything is possible. Anything. I just know it. Change can me miraculous given the right time. The one thing that gets me through the rough intervals is hope in knowing that nothing stays forever. People come and enter your life. Some of them stay. And, some of them forge ahead, without you.

Break up your routine and walk a different way home. If someone strikes your fancy, walk up to them and talk. If there is a burning desire to be somebody or move somewhere and start a different life, make it happen. Believe. Dare yourself to do the unexpected. Challenge your comfort zone. Trust others. And never, ever, fucking give up.

Best wishes to everyone and to a happy and healthy 2011. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stop saying I can't girl...

Rest is always good. For the first time in about five months, I slept in. No work,school, gym or other appointments. I tried not to feel guilty. I snuggled on my glorious bed with the heat roaring in the background. I watched a hilarious, brilliant comedy show on the BBC for a couple of hours and eventually headed out into the real world. Even though I could feel a headache coming on, I braved the Manhattan cold in search of Christmas presents.

I was on a mission: buy thoughtful gifts that my friends could actually use. Let's just say I payed homage to a delightful, very modern venue I visit all the time. When looking for gifts, these items screamed,"Buy me." I felt happy that I discovered them. Nothing crazy or really that expensive. Just practical and fun. Perfect. It's gets better.

I stopped off at Bed, Bath, and Beyond on Sixth in Chelsea. I finally located the metal rods I needed for my window curtains. Yay! The line moved rather quickly and for the first time in a long time, I wasn't annoyed by the incessant Christmas carols blaring on the streets or the Santa Clauses ringing their silver balls for charity. Could the Christmas spirit be entering my system?

With the cold, I wasn't dismayed by the twenty pound bag of various things in my hands as the hole gave out in the finger portion of my J Crew black woven gloves. Cabs were nowhere to be found. So, marching home to the East Village, I went through Union Square and came across my favorite taco stand. Patty's taco's. You might want to give it a whirl. Anyway, as I was inhaling my delicious chicken soft tacos with green Habanero chili sauce, a quirky woman walks besides me. She is stout and probably in her late sixties. She ordered her food in Spanish.

I immediately asked for more sauce to my friend who runs the counter... in Spanish no less. She said,"Oh, you speak it." "Yes...a little", I said. She continued to talk to my friend with authority, confidence even. Now, I was interested.

I asked her if she was a linguist. "Yes, I am. You know in the next few years, if you don't speak it, you're fucked." I officially liked this outspoken stranger.

I mentioned that even working with Mexicans at my restaurant and at many personal attempts to speak French and Spanish, there was a road block. "I can't do it, I said."

"Fuck that," she said. She took her jagged finger and pointed in my unsuspecting face. "Don't ever say I can't. Gotta me? Look at me. My wheelchair is right here and I have to get up for the food. I have sores on my feet right now that are bleeding through my white socks, kido. Do you see me stopping? Fuck no. I am here aren't I? Listen, I heard you speak to your friend and you're actually pretty good when talking Spanish. You do have a ear. I can tell. Just never tell yourself, I can't. One of the things my mother told me was that can't shouldn't be in your vocabulary."

I was taken by her brashness. She was inspiring. As she was positioning herself back in her motorized wheelchair, she revealed something to me in passing. This mystery woman speaks over eight languages and has lived all over the world. Pretty impressive, right?

After she drove away, complaining about how loud the city is and how Americans are,"too fucking angry and stressed all the time," I stood there in the cold with chili sauce running down my chapped cheeks. I thought about all the times I said,"I can't" in 2010.

I can't have a boyfriend because...
I can't have love because...
I can't move to Paris because...
I can't launch a writing career because...
I can't do school anymore because...

Get the picture?

In the entire year this blog has been up and running, I never dropped the F-Bomb. Ever.

But now...Fuck that.

Fuck all the times I said I can't. I think I found my New Year's resolution. Let's hope it sticks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What I know...

Just when you think that life is moving along for you, something happens and shifts the way you thought yourself to be.

Fall 2010 has been a vigorous semester. I learned a lot.

1. Fiction writing: I studied with one of the best Fiction Writers to date. This man truly cares about what he teaches. Seeing as he has been doing it for decades, his passion for the subject is obvious. Not only did I learn how to craft more compelling short stories, I acquired the skill of criticism and positive feedback.

2. Freelance Journalism: Not only was this a class of workshopping and criticism, it was a period of experimenting. I pushed myself harder than I did in my last journalism class. I conducted numerous interviews and took chances with the subjects I was writing. The bike lanes in the East Village and the closure of the GMHC were just a few. I had the opportunity to work again with an amazing teacher that I respect and admire. Now only, if I could actually sell some of those pieces.

3. 19 Century Art: What a class. I have never deconstructed Art like that before. It sensitized my perceptions about how Art is formed and what it can mean to the voyeur. This was one of the most challenging classes I have enrolled in at The New School. The dynamic of the class, the instructor and the classmates themselves all have an impact on how you engage with the text. I have a few gripes, but I will keep them silent for now, at least until my grades are posted.

4. Playwriting: While I am grateful for the opportunity to strengthen my chops as a writer, I am relieved this class is history. One of the painful, but necessary elements of a workshop is the feedback process. Sometimes, it is downright daunting to listen to others who deem your work as questionable and disorganized. On that note, I had to grow a thicker skin. Not that I didn't have one before, but it just goes to show you that others hold a different view of your capabilities. My final conclusion: not for me. Moving on.

What I have learned about myself is the art of criticism. For some reason, out of all the semesters thus far, this was the most painful and perhaps the most rewarding. I am learning more about what I don't want and who I don't want to be. Various students who are in school are probably pondering what they took from their classes. I did. While at times, I harbor a defeatist attitude, I carry a warrior like mentality. Everyday as I marched to work and school, I thought about what I had to do for the day and what had to be accomplished for the next day and the next. You get the picture.

School isn't just about the text in which you are studying or the discipline you apply when committing to inane amounts of homework. It is about the process of discovering your strengths and attributes. If you take the time, you will be surprised just what you learn. It can be scary and liberating. My point? Don't give up and please follow what your heart wants. I am still doing that and refuse to accept what others think. Pursue your interests and don't allow anyone to dissuade you from being you and what you are: unique and fabulous! Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 13, 2010

You could be happy...

It is the middle of night and I am fast away on the computer. I am working on last minute projects for school. As I am doing this, I just listened to a song from Snow Patrol, "You could be happy."

It is truly, one of the most beautiful ballads I have heard in a long time. I liked it so much that I purchased it on iTunes. One of things I am thinking about is the notion of happiness. While I am fast away working on all of the things I am supposed to do-school, work, working out, writing, and so on, I am lost in an abyss. Perhaps it is the holidays? The very thought of it is jarring.

Happiness is indeed a struggle. I am not sure it's a choice, but an indelible imprint in our rhythmic pulse, waiting to be fully utilized and cherished. Happiness is somewhere in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I play back with it. And others, I push it away because living in pain is so much easier.

If I put away all of my expectations of others and what they weren't able to provide, could I still be happy? Where does this come from and how can I sustain it in my life? For a very long time, I thought I was happy if others I cared about were happy too. I used to feel guilt or regret when they weren't happy for me for partaking in joy over something good that happened.

I still do this at times. I even tell myself that I can't be happy unless I have a successful, lucrative career or a boyfriend. And, here I am-wasting away valuable and precious moments, over analyzing the pitfalls of life when I should be with the ones I care about. Should of. Could of. Would of. Right?

My inner madness is like an old friend in that I know it so well. Being happy should come from within as a glow from your soul. What does it take to make you happy? Is it a choice? I think that letting go of the things you think you need to have is a start. At the end of the day, it is about connections and feeling loved and cared about. At least, that is what I am telling myself.