Friday, November 15, 2013

On our drive home from yoga one night, I told M about my plane ticket to Malta. How I'd decided to spend New Years on an island somewhere between Europe and Africa. She told me that on New Years, she likes to do whatever it is that she wants to be or focus on for the year to come. I flashed back to my previous New Years Eves and Days. How they usually involved a party. How they usually involved stress. Planning. Disappointment. Hurt feelings. Sometimes everything works out just fine, but there's still always alcohol involved, which never makes for a pleasant New Years Day. I recalled my last New Years. Buenos Aires. A late night dinner picnic in the park. My southern hemisphere love. Her friends. A DJ. A dance party with half the city. Popping champagne at midnight next to the Puente del la Mujer bridge in Puerto Madero. Summertime [because January is the height of summer in América del Sur]. Wine. Sneaking into restaurant bathrooms. Waiting for cabs at 4am. At 5am. Peeing on the side of the highway. Three times. My friends getting into a fight because often love is hard. Yelling. Tears. Arriving home at 6am. 7am. Exhausted. Sleeping on the floor, my partner half way around the world in Berlin doing things that would, when I eventually found out about them, cause me pain. The beginning of the end. A year that started in heartbreak, near-break-ups, drunkenness, and confusion could only be a year also full of those things. And so it was. I'm more careful now. With my time. With my space. This year, my southern hemisphere love was going to come to NYC where we would celebrate the New Year differently, still together. But circumstances change. And life and money and all those things do what they do. And so, Malta. I get on the plane three days before the end of 2013, and I return home in 2014. I still haven't found a place to stay during my trip. But I know this: I want 2014 to be about passion, about compassion, about personal and professional success, about community, and above all else, about clarity. And how better to find clarity than to travel thousands of miles from home and spend the day with myself, overlooking the sea, a dot on a dot in the water on the earth.

That said, it's still 2013. So things are still crazy. My life is still all over the place. In a good way, but in a way I'm excited to recover from over break. I'm not saying I don't still want constant movement and adventure next year, I'm just saying I want to more carefully consider what I do and when and where and with whom. Most of this just means I want to do things that avoid the things that make me feel ways I don't want to feel: alcohol, caffeine, bad food, bad love. The past few weeks have been a nice, though chaotic, practice for the year to come...

Halloween:
Every year for Halloween, I am an art movement. This has actually only been happening for three Halloweens, but I never intend to be anything but an art movement for Halloween from here on out. These are my three costumes so far: Rococo, Futurism, Neoplasticism
This year was neoplasticism. You know...

So I found a bunch of black, white, primary yellow red blue, and then painted my eyes to match. And because Halloween was awkwardly on a Thursday this year, I got to dress up twice. USC friends party and 826la after school tutoring party. I toned down my make up for 826 on actual Halloween day because I also taught at USC that day and didn't want my students to think I'm any more ridiculous than they already know that I am. 

826 was hilarious. We played games. You've never seen the most adorable thing in the world until you've seen tiny, tiny children wrapped in toilet paper. We ate candy. I ate so much candy that instead of going to the WeHo Halloween parade afterward like I'd planned, I came home and felt sick on my couch the rest of the night. I considered it a successful day. 

Día de los Muertos:
When I was in high school, three of my close friends were grave diggers at the cemetery in our hometown. I would visit them sometimes for lunch during summer break. We'd pile in my car, they'd be covered in dirt, and we'd go eat sandwiches somewhere. Sometimes they let me hang out in the cemetery with them. They taught me about the equipment and showed me around the property. The cemetery never felt like a place full of dead bodies to me. It felt like a place where one could appropriately hold an event. Which is exactly what happens at Hollywood Forever, the cemetery in the middle of Hollywood in LA. They host concerts and movie nights. The Breaking Bad finale was aired there. And, most appropriately, a Día de los Muertos celebration is hosted there every year. L and her friends and I went this year and saw all the gorgeous ofrendas. There was a bit of confusion sometimes when the ofrendas were built over the graves of people completely unrelated to those the alters were remembering. I've never experienced the holiday in an actual graveyard before and the community of people who showed up were so wonderful. I fall more in love with my neighborhood and this city every day. 

A+D Arts District Tour:
One Sunday morning a couple weeks ago, I got on the red line to Union Station, then took the gold line to Little Tokyo and met my friend M and a bunch of strangers at a coffee shop called The Novel Cafe in the Arts District Downtown. A strange, kind man named Mike took us on a tour of the neighborhood, told us about its history, about the street art, about the buildings and the architecture and the changes that continue to redefine and restructure that place all the time. We got to meet some cool people, artists and a professor and interested members of the community, and we lingered in the SCI-Arc hallway afterward to talk with them. M is an artist and he, like most artists I know, is interested in the journey one takes toward whatever it is an artist is working toward. And I am a teacher who, like most teachers I know, is constantly trying to figure out how to be a better teacher. So we ended up talking to an art professor for a long time who gave both of us insight into various questions we kept asking him. And of course I took obsessive photos of street art and buildings because obsession obsession obsession. I realized that the Arts District is the only other neighborhood I'd consider moving to in Los Angeles. Though of course I would prefer to never leave my East Hollywood bungalow for as long as I'm here in LA because 1) moving is the worst and 2) I love this apartment and this neighborhood and these people and my front yard. But, if I do move, here's why I'll do it:

Nine Inch Nails:
This summer, I made JDR pull over into a Chipotle parking lot on the way to Alabama [or maybe she just pulled over because she was hungry] so that I could by pre-sale NIN tickets. The first round went like lightning a couple days before, so I was desperate the second time around. And my desperation paid off. And we left the parking lot with one chipotle burrito in JDR's belly and two NIN tickets in my inbox. And then last Friday, I GOT TO ACTUALLY SEE NINE INCH NAILS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. Few bands bring me back to my high school self, to my high school friends, because we've all drifted so far and there's been so much new music between now and then. But bands like Phish, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, those bands will always equal home and love and friends to me. I thought of all my people during the course of the show on Friday. I thought about how impressed I'd be if someone I was dating made me a mix with a particular NIN song on it, but then I remembered, [genuinely shocked], that my two significant boyfriends in my life both did put NIN on a mix for me. And of course Trent ended the show with one of those songs. I say "of course" not because he knew it would be like punching me in the face to do so, but "of course" because it seems lately that I perceive everything as a challenge to overcome, and this was no different. Except it was kind of different. Because it was beautiful even while it was painful. And I'd expect nothing less from a NIN show, really.

you are someone else
I am still right here

what have I become
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end

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