Monday, September 2, 2013

Two things are at the forefront of my thoughts as I write this post:

1) Every Sunday in each of M's two back to back yoga classes, right at the end of class, we place our palms together, thumbs at our hearts. She tells us to place our thumbs at our third eye center, to see the things we need to see, place our thumbs on our lips, to speak and to hear truth, to place our thumbs back at our hearts, to give and to receive unconditional love.

2) This Buzzfeed article [even though I passionately despise Buzzfeed] about Los Angeles. Because I truly believe that people who claim to hate Los Angeles simply have no idea what they're talking about. Their reasons are often the same and often have some sort of annoying personal insecurity or an excess of privilege at the root.

So this post is about Los Angeles. It is about seeing the things I need to see. It is about speaking and hearing truth. It is about giving and receiving unconditional love, not from a singular person, but from people, from this place, from the universe. Because I don't believe that unconditional love is a healthy operational tool in any one on one relationship between two people, but I do believe that it is the fundamental thing that connects people like me to place, place to people, no matter what hardships a city or its people have to face. I'm not trying to speak in universals here, just overly optimistic generalizations. Maybe that's worse. Let's pretend it's better.

First of all, I started teaching again this semester after a year of only doing my own coursework. And I started tutoring at 826 again. On Thursdays I do both of these things, one after the other, and I come home feeling like absolutely nothing in my life can ever be bad enough again that a Thursday of teaching and tutoring won't fix it. As much as I like to spend my free time looking at design blogs and photographing street art and doing any of the billions of things I let distract me, I know in the deepest part of my heart that teaching is where I belong. I always wear the same outfit on the first day of class. A skirt two of my best friends from Denver and I all bought one day at American Apparel. A button up blouse from American Apparel in Salt Lake City. I always think the same thing on the first day of class. Every day of class, really. What would Jake Adam York do. How would he teach this. How would he walk into this particular classroom on this particular day. I am not Jake. He wouldn't want me to try to be him. But with him as my guide, advising me from the back of my mind, I know I'll be able to do this forever. Because he was born to teach. And he made me born to teach. I mean that.

This week, everything I did had that LA flavor to it. I hung out with four people from non-LA parts of my life in LA places. I hung out with M, a friend from my trip to San Francisco last August, and we went to my other friend's poetry reading/chapbook release where she screened her book trailer and then read her chapbook while in a full body skin tight skeleton costume. M and I wandered the neighborhood looking for a place where I could buy water, talked about LA, talked to my friends, listened to D read. I also spent a Saturday afternoon with my sister's friend from Davis. We drank sea salted iced coffees in the waves of Santa Monica beach. I went to dinner with W&M, friends I know from SLC, at True Food in Santa Monica. They finally live here. Everyone finally lives here. Most parts of my life are slowly migrating westward. It is the biggest kind of relief I can imagine.

This is going to be a hard one to explain without sounding like an asshole. When I was a kid, I used to watch MTV. And I used to watch The Hills and Laguna Beach. And it's not that I wanted to be those vapid, sad people. It's that I wanted their lives. Or part of their lives. The part where they all get together on a rooftop, all bring some food or drink item, all dance and laugh and hang out on top of a building overlooking the Pacific. I think I wanted this more because it represented adulthood to me at the time [yes, I was a confused adolescent], but I also wanted the beach baby aspect of it all, because I was a Colorado kid who never fully learned how to cope with winter. I wanted to wear sundresses over swimsuits. I wanted my hair to be salted, my skin to smell like sunscreen. I wanted to spend all night sitting on a couch outside somewhere talking to my LA friends about everything. I'm serious. You can ask my high school friend, E. Because we used to spend evenings at her house watching episode after episode of Laguna Beach. And this Saturday, I was sitting on a rooftop, having just swam in the ocean with my friends at sunset. And everything clicked. And I smiled. And ate a tootsie roll. And high fived the 16 year old in me [and then she made fun of me because hi fiving is dumb]. Oh and I ate figs with goat cheese and it was the best thing that ever happened to my mouth.
Love of my life. Ocean babies.
The sun demonstrates how to light the ocean on fire.

Two other small, beautiful things this week:
My retired couple from airplane gave me a hummingbird feeder awhile back
because I love going to their house and sitting in their backyard watching
all the hummingbirds. So a week or so ago, I filled mine up and hung it in my
front yard. It took awhile, but finally this one hummingbird started hanging
out. He sits on my string lights all day, squawking. He floated above me all
day yesterday as I read Bleak House in my papasan chair.
Awhile ago, I accidentally opened a card that was addressed to the girl who
lived in this bungalow before me. I didn't check the name on the front because
I've lived here for over a year now. Inside the card was $20 cash. My bike had
just been stolen and my salary had just been cut. As much as I wanted the $20,
I wanted to not be an asshole more, so I sent the card back with the money and
a note apologizing for opening it. This week, I got a card from the sender of the
$20. It has an angel on the front. It has the sweetest message inside. She told me
I restored her faith in honesty. But she restored my faith in everything.

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