Thursday, July 2, 2015

Plant Your Feet Somewhere

One way to feel at home anywhere that you are is to have people you love around you. Another way to feel at home anywhere that you are is to find a place where you can plant your feet, even if just for a little while. It doesn't have to have a solid roof or a comfortable bed. It can just be somewhere to sit.

There's a small coffee shop downtown, where the barista will greet you in comfortable jeans and a t-shirt, hair cut in a pixie style--flopped over to one side of her face--and say, "What can I get you?" The bar in the coffee shop wraps around in a semi-circle that ends in a glass case full of scones, sandwiches and bagels. All experiments with different fruits, vegetables and cheeses--sometimes hybrids of all three. They only take cash at this coffee shop, but the paninis are pressed, the bagels are toasted and the scones are warm. The benches and chairs are hard, polished wood. Not the most comfortable, but they're sturdy. You can find focus there. 

I have a favorite: It's an Almond Joy-inspired coffee with almond milk. The coconut and almond blend perfectly, iced or hot. When I'm done ordering, I take my coffee with a smile and go to the bookstore next door. There are several stretched across those few, adjacent streets--some with shelves and books crammed into tiny spaces, some large and impressive with space for other novelties and merchandise. Sometimes instead of going next door, I explore them all.

No matter how old or new, the secondhand bookstores are cloaked in the smell of moth balls and worn pages passed between many hands. There's a section on the top floor of my favorite bookstore where old National Geographic magazines sit and collect dust. The October 1910 edition's cover stories are "The Portuguese Colony of Mozambique," "The Lost Wealth of the Kings of Midas," "A Talk About Persia and Its Women," "The Greatness of Little Portugal," and "The Woods and Gardens of Portugal."

I open up the plain paper, almost ripping at the corners from the slightest touch and read each headline, skimming the copy. I imagine the gardens, the kings and the women. I wonder what it must be like to be in the early 1900s as a travel journalist. I thought about the books covering the shelves nearby, telling stories of people and places I've never seen with my own eyes. I imagine a photographer with a Newsies-styled paperboy cap and camera sitting on a log, feet planted, pointing his lens towards the next big story.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Don't Worry

 

I find myself calming down now. I rested last night, and that's the most important accomplishment I've made in weeks. Things have been slowly returning to normal for me, but I know I'm going to have my good and bad days. I still am frustrated in the same ways I was Thursday/Friday, but I'm doing what I can to not be as stressed as I was. It's important to let go and let God. I know that sounds like such a cliche, but for me, it is one of the most important lessons I've had to re-learn over and over.

I have this really bad habit of obsessing over work. I fall into a pattern of constantly thinking about work and doing too much while I'm there. There's a reason why I was so exhausted all of the time when I was an editor. (When you work in journalism, your work never stops.) I don't know that I'm mentally able to work a 9-to-5 like other people can. I almost think I'm designed to be in a job that never quits and exhausts me. I know it sounds crazy, but despite the stress and fears and tears... That's the kind of work I love. And I love this job, so I think I'm trying to do the same thing here.

I just have to learn how to breathe more. Work is going to be hard, but at least if I'm in this deep, it means I care. Some people go their whole lives never having a job they care about.

"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them." 
Matthew 6:25-26

Friday, June 26, 2015

Learning, A Sequel From Another Time

Today the stress was too much. Maybe you can relate?

From the moment I woke up, I knew that it wasn't going to be my best day. Something just felt off. That sounds like I was being defeatist from the start--and maybe some part of me was--but it took a lot to smile today.

“Have patience with all things but first of all with yourself.
— Saint Francis de Sales

(You can thank Anna for that quote, by the way.)

I had a meeting today with one of my bosses, and I just fell apart the moment the hint of frustration was in my voice. This isn't the first time that this has happened, but I feel as if I need a serious break. And if this isn't the first time I'm losing my wits in my boss's office, that means something is definitely wrong. I'm doing everything I can to not dwell on the need for a vacation and make my state of mind worse. I've been at this job for just over a year, and maybe that's also part of the problem--I'm used to some sort of reprieve by now.

I'm also more frustrated at the structure of things, than anything else. Don't get me wrong--I still love this job. Every job has its ups and downs, though.

But we just have to keep on truckin', even when we don't want to. And I'm telling myself that more than you.

I let things build up too much. And I need to stop.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bus, Cigarettes and Norman Mailer

There are several cigarettes on the ground beneath my feet. I consider writing a memoir, a poem. (Maybe about the cigarettes, maybe about something else.) I consider being Norman Mailer again. Maybe this time I can shoot for Mira Gonzalez. But no; I'm not stuck in a punitively sexual age, but I couldn't be Mira. No one really can be. Or Norman.

I think about stream of consciousness writing. I look around on the bus, and I see people all on their phones. I laugh to myself because that's not a clich√© anymore; it's just a state of being. My father glues himself to his phone when we're having family time. Who knows what he's actually looking at? I’m 3,000 miles away now--he’s still looking at his phone.

But that's where we are: trampled cigarettes and blue screens. And I'm okay with this--there's comfort in this world. Crazy, maybe.

I wrote a poem, by the way. I wrote a poem about the cigarettes and an imaginary friend.

I'm sorry I'm overbearing you with these thoughts. Maybe it's because I'm reading McGuane's Panama. Maybe I'm just tired. I'm sorry, I'll stop now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Where am I going with this?

Have you ever had one of those days where you're supposed to be half-ready for work and almost out the door? Yeah, okay. That's me today. Instead I'm sitting in bed, perusing my usual blogs I read--I will leave more consistent comments here int he future. Sorry, y'all. You know how my blog hiatuses go.

I've been thinking a lot about my new website/portfolio, where I want to go with the goals I've laid out for myself, and where I want to take this blog with me. I've had this thing since 2008, and it's been a loyal companion. I'm not about to pick up and move to another spot. (Although I do admire those who do.) I've been too devoted to the pieces I've written, the random life moments I've shared and the things that have inspired me.

But let's face it...

I'm not the same kid I was when I started this thing in high school.

I laugh when I say it now--because who authorized me to be an adult?--but I am 24 years old, will be 25 in October, and even my goals have changed drastically over the years.

So moving forward, I do want to share more (not over-share, but just share), but they'll be less about my nonfiction pieces--because I want to save those for my own writing/editing circle of friends, and eventually wherever I try to submit them for publication--and more about my thoughts, my life and who I am. I've done a bit of this in the past, but I want to do more. I guess they're like selfish testimonials or something?

I have removed some older pieces that I don't care for anymore, some random posts that weren't really necessary, but kept the bulk of what I had and what speaks volumes to where this blog has been.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm ready to get back into blogging officially. I missed you all. Hello.