egg-soaked toast

SLOW COOKED
I should trust my internal alarm. Woke up once, woke up twice. 9:30 am. Decided that I’d skip French and cook egg-soaked toast. Have a real breakfast for once instead of a microwaved burrito. I remembered that God is good regardless of what I accomplish at school- bigger than French, bigger than my interview. I let that fact settle and congeal.

KINDNESS
As I walked over to research, a man spotted me in the rain. He offered his umbrella to me and he had green eyes. Tom Hardy, is that you? He said he worked under UCLA hospitality- why, kind sir, you do indeed! I wanted to lock him in a bear hug.
My research boss let me leave early for my interview, as if she were more concerned about it than I was. She even sent me a text of encouragement.

GIFTS
When I got the email- when I got admitted- the tears came.

I’m twenty-one

Might as well write a post, right?

The defining moment yesterday: I carried the laundry basket in my arms and walked across the hallway- a picture of the birth canal. I thought: twenty one years ago today, I was a singularity. From where there was no consciousness, I was brought to life. And here I am with the fullness of moments, strings of thoughts and feelings, present and past knit together. Here is a snapshot of life: moving forward daily, through to the end of the hallway. Making my way to a graceful exit.

What do I do with a day of affirmations? Shouldn’t I have felt happier? Why wasn’t I able to embrace the love I was receiving?  Somehow I couldn’t tap into the authenticity of people’s messages. I think I’ve always had this erroneous idea that I must strive in order to be loved- that I must give more in order to deserve kindness. If I truly understood their hearts for a moment – the thoughts of my brother, my sister, my best friends and my acquaintances about me – I’d be brought to tears.

I think we must remind ourselves of the absolute reality that we are intrinsically valuable. God only makes remarkable creatures and He delights in me. He likes me, no matter what I do- just because I am.

It is a privilege to be surrounded by such talented and amazing people in my acapella group. It is a privilege to learn French, even though it takes me five hours to type one page. It is a privilege to send out an email at 2am for my sorority. As my friend so wisely put it: “even on my worst days, my resting state is all the way up here”. Yes! I am resting perpetually on the apex; I am wonderful and I do not have to prove it. Thank you Jesus! If I am already loved, if I am already victorious, what is holding me back from loving the things that I am doing, the things that I am a part of? Nothing. I am walking in His light today.

 

Nonsensical post

No structure: free form, degraded hand-writing. Cursive, illegible. Makes me think: rap, jazz, free-style. You do it often enough and it sounds rehearsed; you get it right the first time.
So here I go, this was my day:
God, help me. I didn’t want to get up from my bed. Limbs weak, eyes dry. I put on my make-up, had Oreos for breakfast. Put on my falsies and got in an Uber: 8am photoshoot.
Some people can put on more makeup and look beautiful- I however, can only go so far. I look middle aged or like my face has been painted on like a festival mask (it is le Dia de Los Muertos). I am also awfully self-conscious in front of a camera. I focus on the fact that my eyes don’t crinkle when I smile, that I must look dead and insincere. I don’t know where to position my body, so my arms are fat and my shoulders are hunched – the body of a hag. Crazy to think I used to get a kick out of play-pretend modelling. Sleepovers were for perfecting catwalk, bootcamps for sexy squints.
I went home to rip off the lashes and put on my workout clothes. I went from acapella to boxing crew, all of whom were wearing hoodies as uniform. Made a joke about running on Oreos. Chimed in on the banter, got teased for my “night-before” makeup. I love this group: so encouraging  when I forgot the combo and even more so when I got it right (whoops, cheers, high-fives). It’s frustrating to deal with memory blanks. I check out and my body goes berserk. Don’t think about it, just feel it? Ironic that the key is mental repetition. Think about it.
Microwaved chicken, left over couscous with parmesan cheese. Bread and jam, two eggs. And Oreos for the rest of the day. Insulin spike won and I took a nap, only to be woken up by a phone call. I had agreed to Skype but my soul was dry. I LOVE MY FRIENDS but sometimes I let my temporary discomforts take over. I am drained, I am annoyed, I am bothered by the prospect of socializing. But remember: she’s going to graduate- you are lucky she even makes time for you.
Today I scrolled through my phone and wasn’t all present in conversation. Today we talked about this temporary home- it feels real now, like it could last. But we are just passing through. But speaking of the ephemeral, I downloaded Tinder and swiped for a brief fifteen minutes because I remembered this cute Burning Man guy who didn’t reply me after asking to hang out. (??) Such is life.
Talked to God seriously in the shower and came across something profound:

If obsessing over a certain kind of behavior will actually increase the probability of that behavior manifesting itself, and if it’s the intent of our heart that really matters anyway, doesn’t it make sense to take the emphasis off the behavior and place it on making sure the intent of our heart is right? Doing this accomplishes two good things. It will restore our relationship with God, helping us to regain our victory, and it will make the manifestation of the behavior less likely by depriving it of its importance.
– Jack Kelley

#preach. Food does not have the power to control me- neither through the fear of giving in or through obsession. We are all works in progress. I’m okay with that.

I watched a presentation on childhood development and technology and loved it– I realize I love research for it’s findings, not for it’s methodological design (bye pHD).The concept of contaminated time is also so real and intriguing- with technology and constant access to people, work, and school, we no longer have separate spheres of life. We no longer have a set time to do different things; we forget there are seasons in life and do everything at once. We can’t get away from work and are constantly stressed. I recently learned that some French companies will shut down email access during lunch hours for their employees. The French know what it means to live well. I also frkin love podcasts. I daydream about listening to them during research but it can get distracting so I listen to music instead.
I was pleasantly surprised by an interview offer for the developmental minor I applied for- although, the only available time slot for me is TOMORROW. Good luck to me!!!!!!

Sleep beckons.

 

Fragments

Pine needles adorned with pearls of rain, forest green, thick milky skies.

I hear melodies in the hum of appliances. Cymbals in rattling pipes, scales in soaring airplanes.

Auburn leaves gently sweeping through the air in slow motion. Like the littlest petals. Bon Iver, maybe Bootstraps cooing. I am watching something unfold: a God-given moment.

“I love music that makes you look up at the sky”.

So far

It is currently 2:13 am and I am forcing myself to write. I have forgotten how great it feels to walk around in the dark, naked. I am beyond full from a tray of Animal Style fries from In-N-Out – maximal gut distension- and am relying on green tea to kickstart my metabolism. I have been finding it difficult to refuse things I don’t even need. I am not listening to my body.

Last time I felt compelled to write, it was 6am on a Monday as I was riding the buzz off the coffee I’d chugged to complete an application for a minor (due later Monday). But alas, I did my French homework and went to sleep. I would like to reiterate that college is not conducive to hobby maintenance.

This quarter has involved a string of responsibilities I asked for but did not understand the realities of. I expected a quiet quarter- more space for relationships to grow, more time to weave networks. Instead, it’s been stacked acapella rehearsals, greater investment in the Schizophrenia treatment lab, lots of planning for my sorority’s philanthropy. I attempted a 21-day fast (learning as I went) and have recently come off a binge. Post-Application/Stress Monday was cheat day. As was every day since.

Whenever God changes something within me- whenever I am no longer struggling – I seek out the very things I’ve been saved from. No longer craving peanut butter? Let’s eat peanut butter for the hell of it. I remember post-fast brownies: disgusting. But I kept eating, hoping the next bite would taste as good as I had once remembered. My first bite of an Oreo was strange- not nearly as satisfying as I thought it would be. How interesting. Why, Lord, do we still chase our former idols? It’s like, not wanting to take antidepressants for fear of getting better- for fear of transformation. Who would I be without my vices?

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of who He has created me to be: free. All things are permissible but not everything is beneficial. I am mindful of what I put inside my body. I take only what I need, no more, no less. I am content, I do not crave. I seek Him first, over any material goods, and I live according to the belief that all actions have a spiritual consequence.

Although I am so far from this goal, I have faith that God can take the worst of me and write me a beautiful story of transformation. My evils will teach me Your redeeming grace, Father.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. – Romans 8:15

 

Wined and dined

This restaurant might be too high-calibre for us. Take the telecom tower stools, for example. We clamber on like children straddling our horses. We watch, bewildered as they switch out the forks and knives: one for entrés and one for mains. Why they would do such a thing eludes me.

The napkin is dropped once and retrieved by the waiter. It is dropped twice and retrieved by the tip of my heel. I am an imposter in painted red lips, checking my reflection every so often to remain in an upright posture, as is only proper.

We have just one glass of wine each, the cheapest on the menu. I spit on my arm mid-conversation. We have tap water, the small portions. But there’s tripe, porcini mushrooms with potatoes and four postage stamps for Ravioli. Garlic bread, complimentary- a highlight with the olive oil. We are surprised by it’s quality and potency. Being here is like scraping a C in the top set for Maths, or buying a Rolex when one eats dirt on a daily basis.

***
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the siblings who wanted to share their rack of lamb and rocket salad dish. They had ordered too much. “That’s nice of them- not the fact that they offered but that they didn’t want to waste food”. Rare in a place like this, perhaps. How very lovely.

“Si” he affirmed each order. The Italian waiter- I suspect, the manager- who reminds me of my Dad’s best friend. The one I used to have a crush on, with his stubbly chin and sparkling smile. He stood a little too close. Touched my wrist gently in recommending the porcini, when he caught my eyes scanning for the bathroom. And he did so with a smile bright enough to have been the one before the kiss.

4am thoughts

Full bloom is when the earth won’t stop smiling, the world won’t stop spinning into the furthest of reaches.

If I could put your laughter in a box, I would sink like sand. Quick, hold me.

Be the person that proclaims with your being: I am proof that there is good in the world.

High tech marks a forward trajectory, approaching Most Human and then surpassing it.

Phone therapy replaces phone sex. What have we done to our insides?

My ego loves you. I however, don’t.

Time feels like the tired grope of my hands on a rope pulled tight. Down the rabbit hole we go.

Dear J

I learnt what “skid marks” were the hard way. I also lived with the most putrid, rotting fish fingers in the fridge – so pungent I caught a whiff of it on my robe after a hot shower in California. To be fair, I contributed to this lifestyle by allowing us to keep the leftover Chicken Masala in the microwave after a night out, still a superior alternative to the kebabs across the street. ‘Twas good whilst it lasted but we weren’t raving to it.

It’s not exactly socially acceptable to pee in the same room as another person, with the door open. I don’t usually let people listen to me pee either. So I think what we have is pretty special. There’s also no one else I’d rather be caught tatas out to the sun with but you, babe. Only in France.

And don’t even get me started on “when the day is winding down”. The onset of night is the beginning of delirium. We can get away with following a good looking man home (half joking), guffawing in tears in supermarkets, malls, parks, trains… We have left echoes of our joint existence in narrow lanes and bar corners. We are insufferable, but who can help it when you pronounce ‘Gare du Nord’ like that??

You are my saving grace on Moody Mornings, your positivity dampened only by scoundrels that demand you donate to them- the deaf, blind and mute. All of them hearing & speaking. You drag me away from hopeless conversations and you help me snag all the deals. Ask for the iPhone charger, you say, the hotel adapters, an umbrella, low sodium meals on the airplane. Where would I be without you? Soaking wet, wandering through the streets of Paris, lost, and dying from chronic high blood pressure, most likely. And I can’t thank you enough for trouble shooting my laptop and updating my phone so that I can upgrade my emoji usage. I have been waiting for a ‘crossed fingers’ pictogram for the longest time. You are my I.T Wiz, MY ROCK.

I am thankful that you’re always on my cycle: lazy-day bud one day, hiking and yoga bud the next. Wine buddy one day, I-would-rather-die-than-drink buddy the next. Thank you for listening to stories about the same guys over and over again. Thank you for seeing the best in me. And most of all, thank you for understanding that my God is my compass.

I am always glad to know you are near, your sandals thumping behind me.

London

This morning: the wail of a siren rising in pitch, the image of a chest expanding upon inhalation.

***

We walk onto the footpath, under the bridge and by the water. Enchanting in the sun, forbidding under moonlight, where shadowy figures blow smoke and talk to themselves.

***

Regent’s Canal: A Shiba Inu scampering with it’s tiny cute butthole. A fluffy baby duck floating amidst the algae, a linoleum green bank. Rustic, the rubber of a tire encircling a patch of soil. Some green shoots. Do the pretty weeds fight for life or does the stone give way? Embellish the mouldy brick, the chipping wall paint with some flowers and graffiti.

***

We walk by a bar of morbid things. Drop anything into a mason jar and it will become an artefact. I read something I wish I hadn’t. I have a gross fascination with disgusting ideas- I hate them in reality. Like, bad things are funny when they’re not real.

***

Chilli plants like a crazy head of red. We are drawn to any sign that says: coffee. And my enthusiasm for walking fizzles out with the rain. I am on a one-man mission for food. I do not do well without breakfast, it seems. A third of the way into the chicken schnitzel and laughter bubbles inside me. Her name is Aquel.

***

Buckingham palace: I spilt coffee on the monument. I learn that she hates holding cups. You can learn a lot about your friends on holiday.