My one carry on.
My one carry on.
I am so thankful for Ryan.
We know I don’t slow him down.
We know I am not convenience over connection.
We know he is not settling for something he doesn’t really want.
It still stings, to read these words copy and pasted below from a Hawaii newspaper–but only for a minute, like that bee on your bicycle seat that time when you were five and in your bathing suit, about to peddle to the pool. It stings because I know the truth is I have been luggage.
But I’m not allergic. There’s no swelling. And now the bee is DEAD.
Death by ghetto booty.
Amsterdam was both the saddest and most beautiful time of my entire life.
It had nothing to do with drugs–the ingested, smoked, injected kind.
It had to do with my own chemicals–a slow tide, how they slip past a horizon I cannot see–leaving me somewhere barren. And grey. (Are barren places any other color?) Later, back from wherever they receded, I go back to floating, belly up, watching the sky and hoping it will stay bright and endless.
P.S. My sister sent me this link today. It almost made me want to come out of the melancholy closet, to wear my dark black nihilist ribbon, to reclaim “clinical” as a hip power-word, that I can say openly in conversation, just like how gay people can say the n-word.
See. Sad makes me FUNNY.
Anyway, tomorrow we’re waking up at 5 am to deliver flowers to people who actually GET flowers on Valentine’s Day. It’s going to be the best V-day ever!!! Expect us to read everyone’s little flower cards and use them as blog ammo.
And now… enjoy this article about how I am LUGGAGE from the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
Is it love or luggage?
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
by Gloria Baraquio
My best friends are visiting from Honolulu this week, and we’ve been having sleepovers every night they’ve been here. We feel like teenagers again — setting up our sleeping bags, staying up late, watching movies, playing games, eating junk food, and of course, catching up on all sorts of conversation.
Our main topic of discussion has been about relationships — current loves, past loves, ones that involve us, and ones that involve our good friends. We feel like we’ve lost some of our friends to partners they’ve chosen for themselves or attracted into their lives … and not necessarily for the better. That saddens us. It’s like instead of dating someone they like or enjoy, they seem to pick someone who seems to work for them. It seems like they’ve chosen practicality over passion, convenience over connection. How do I say this?… They’ve settled for something they don’t really want.
And so the question on the table this week has been: Is it love, or is it luggage?
[Anonymous Friend] puts it very eloquently when he speaks about our best friend’s girlfriend “She comes with two wheels and a handle. She holds his personal items.”
It’s not that we don’t like the girl. She really is cool. It’s just that she doesn’t seem to enhance our friend who we know and love. In fact, she kinda slows him down. He’s always checking to see if she’s OK or not. She often seems upset or irritable around the group, and she doesn’t talk to any of us. The two of them don’t kiss much or show much affection. He kinda seems stressed out by her. Luggage, that’s what we call it.
This past week, we met the boyfriend of one of our girlfriends. He was nice and not bad looking. He didn’t talk much, and the two of them barely interacted. Supposedly, he’s great in the kitchen and in the yard. As we all hung out, we felt like he just wanted to go home, but our girl was enjoying herself with us. But they soon left because there was nothing comfortable about it. Luggage, we call it.
We don’t mean to be harsh. I mean, I guess luggage doesn’t have to be a bad thing, someone carrying your baggage around for you. But I’m thinking, why do you gotta have someone else carry your stuff? Why can’t you deal with your own stuff and just get rid of them yourself?
I can be empathetic. Part of me feels like sometimes we just need luggage. We’re not ready to let go of our stuff. We don’t even know how to go through all of it, how to unpack it, how to organize it. And so it’s nice to have someone carry it for us while we free our hands to do other things in life, like our art or our craft or whatever it is that we need to do, even if it’s just buying us time to avoid the issues that are too dark and dirty for us to face.
[We] spent quite a bit of time talking about who we think belongs together, who we think will last, who we think will break up. But the reality is that it doesn’t matter what we think. People are gonna do whatever they’re gonna do, and we can never really know what’s going on between two people, let alone what’s going on inside one person’s head. How many of my boyfriends did my friends and family disapprove of?
I don’t care how much we think we know someone. People grow and change and move and morph.
They may no longer be who we thought they were or what we want them to be. And maybe they really are happy even if it doesn’t look like it. We don’t know what’s really going on.
And bottom line, that person in their life is serving some sort of purpose for them in this stage of development, somehow.
As friends, we just want the best for our other friends and their personal growth.
But then I thought about it, and I suggested to the group, “Maybe love isn’t the goal in every relationship. And sometimes, maybe love is just about finding other baggage that matches your own.” Don’t we all love matching luggage?
We laughed and somewhat agreed. Everyone has baggage, stuff, issues, and pasts, but just deal with them and keep it light. In the end, I think the three of us decided you only have room for one carry-on, so leave the rest behind.
For those of you who are inexplicably not on Myspace, this is my latest About Me:
Last New Year’s I was in Bulgaria, in bed by 10, force-spooning Matilda, both of us as close as possible to the space heater without risking accidental immolation, both of us drifting, waking, drifting to fireworks shaking intermittent street and sky corners.
It was me and Mati versus Bulgaria.
I missed Ryan.
Missed is such a little word.
America was my foreign country.
This New Year’s I was in Amsterdam, with Ryan, two bodies compacted by a mass of millions in Dam Square’s midnight revelry. It was a one-night war, complete with fires, bombs, hookers, and the innocent deaths of women and children.
It was every drunk man versus himself.
I held onto Ryan for dear life. He held me back.
We’d survived a year. A Myspace love story turned exciting social experiment turned normal/dysfunctional relationship turned dream turned blog turned best experience of my life.
You can hate me. Ryan gave me all of 07 to find myself. I could read, write, wander and sleep all day. He loved my bitch as much as I love my bitch. He let us live in an orange, blue, green, red walled wonderland. He ate my veggie dishes and said they were “surprisingly edible.” He showed me my favorite movies I’d never seen. He let me binge shop on Amazon, filling our walls with all the words we’d get to. He took my friends out for phenomenal wine-drenched meals. He let me out of my one woman Panopticon. In 07, Ryan brought me back from Bulgaria, took me to Hawaii, Chicago, Boston, Maryland, Milwaukee, Montana, Idaho, Seattle, all roads in between. And then the place of all places: Amsterdam.
We are on our way, we are still going, we are there.
He showed me a better way of living.
Less berate self, more destroy all concept of self.
Less wallow, more woo hoo.
Less less, more more.
He was patient with me. Last year I became an Olympic-level javelin throwerist of raw emotion. The world was my Target logo. I contained myself in Bulgaria, for two and a half years building my arsenal of injustices, of things I Couldn’t Change, of terrible voices in my head, all of which spoke Bulgarian. I misinterpreted. I needed my own translator. I came back home, a weapon of mass self-destruction. I hurled everything back at the world, which was me, which was everyone, which was Ryan holding my hands and saying: shh.
I don’t do shh.
I know, that’s why I’m telling you to shh.
Today, January 22, 2008, I live in Seattle, and by live, I mean I have paused here, a parenthesis in time, a place between places.
Today, I’ve been thinking about how we are always looking back, judging ourselves using a biased scoring system that offers points for where you are now in comparison to where you’ve been, judging you now against the hypothetical you tomorrow, where you’ve perhaps reached, or surpassed, your potential.
But what is potential, and who gave it to me? Who set the bar? Who keeps raising it? Is it my own bastard left hand? Is it my parents? Friends and their tacit employment that says, I may hate my life but at least I have a fantastic benefits package! What’s fantastic?
Why does everyone think carpe diem was so last year?
I don’t know many people living up to their potential.
Did 50 cent surpass his?
I don’t know him.
Will we know when we are there? Frolicking in Fulfilled Potential Land?
Ryan says I am an amazing person waiting to happen.
Who’s in front of me?
Why she taking so long?
Ryan says we should always dance in line. Then we’re not waiting, we’re dancing.
I’ll be so caught up in my running-man-cabbage-patch combo that all lines will disappear. Lines I’ve drawn between myself and everyone else, a chalk outline against the sky. I’m alive, I’m alive, watch me as I do the hustle.
Most people I know are heading toward their potential, as though it is at the end of a one way staircase you have to climb while rolling a well-greased boulder that’s been chiseled into the shape of a rhombus. Every year, you flip yourself over to your side, put in your time, pay your dues, earn your equity, get promoted to slave sr., and then get excited when you’re named slave sr. of the month.
I just have a short attention span, sometimes I
All I really want to do with my life is write about it.
I used to pencil Writer of self-absorbed non-fiction in the form of freely associated ramblings into the career multiple choice every few years. Now I’m engraving it.
So here I am in 08, standing on the sidelines of my life–I see everything, I hear Ryan singing Janet Jackson into Sting into Sade. It’s Saturday morning in Seattle, I’m warmed up, there are fleece vest wearers playing frisbee at the park across the street, all wearing some combination of the colors earth green, grey, black and khaki. One city, so many shades of khaki. We’ve decide they’re gay, a gay Saturday morning Seattle Frisbee club. Ryan’s been standing at the bay window with his balls out to see if anyone looks and reveals themselves as gay.
This is Saturday morning.
Some days I play, sliding into home naked on a yellow-yellow slip and slide, traveling with the ball and getting away with it, leaping off the high board and busting out inanimate object poses all the way down.
and the always challenging egg carton.
I am not here to race.
Still, I run and I am every run: I am 20 listening to Dar Williams, Tori Amos, Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty on my mixed tape learning to jog along the Charles River; I am 21 along Mission Bay, Michelle Branch in my Discman, past mast after mast lining the shore, a row of stiff necks, leaning with the wind; I am 24 running with Dr. Boyfriend, looping Hawaii Kai Drive the night before I leave our life and begin mine; I am 26, on hour three of marathon training, chasing horse carts in the early morning white of Bulgaria to Smack my, passing them with Bitch up; I am 27, chasing Mati in empty Dupnitza hills, iPod shuffling drum and bass, Outkast, Natasha Bedingfield, Britney, Nelly Furtado, N.E.R.D; I am 28, along the Schuylkill, sprinting into the sun down wonder of my new life, Ryan. Ryan, waiting for me at the art museum to hand me water, an apple. To take me home.
Every step I have taken, I have taken.
Different shoes, same legs.
I write about my life because it is what I know most and least.
Today, I am beading my memories, gently dropping my little yesterdays onto an invisible string of identity, random patterns: red I am in love, black I am down, blue I can’t, white I am new, lavender I am dream, red, red, red, lavender, black, blueblackblue, white. I’ll wear this everywhere–a friendship bracelet, a lucky charm, something beautiful to pass onto myself when I’m gone.
This year, I will write about what I love.
And I love.
I love homemade meals with friends, wine, laughter, silliness over politics, books over bestsellers, tofu over non-tofu, dancing to 80s music over sitting to 80s music, bros before hos, my bitch over your bitch, climbing over hiking, Myspace over Facebook, outdoor markets over supermarkets, cluttered used book stores over over-lit chains that charge for wireless with books on weight loss and financial planning at the front door.
I love coffeshop marathons. Soy cappuccino with cinnamon is my new soy chai.
I love new old friends, old new friends, people I have everything or nothing in common with. I love waking Ryan up in the middle of the night with my hysterical laugher, as I read Steve Martin or Woody Allen or Ryan Matsumoto. I love laughter over the universal hand gesture for I’m going to vomit.
I love believing in other people. I love believing in other people believing in me.
I love Ryan asking if I want to watch a movie at night and then falling asleep five minutes in. Or, on a good night, six minutes.
I love sake bombs.
I love when I’m mixing veggie burgers from scratch as Ryan’s ground cow lump sizzles and bleeds, and he looks over my shoulder at my wholesome goodness and says, “God, that looks disgusting.”
I love that my sister lets me use her as material for my demented humor.
I love greeting cards as short stories.
I love the art of my friends.
I love the patient, bottomless sustenance from my parents.
I love thumb-holes in long-sleeved thermal shirts.
I love I love lists.
I love having more favorites than I could ever list.
I love I am chains.
I am nobody. I am ambien. I am on both sides of the mirror. I am through the looking glass. I am third person plural. I am Saturn returning. I am mantra. I am mantra. I am palm, I am reader. I am mispronounced French word. I am mise en place. I am standing on the edge of the sky. I am tag, I am it. I am rubber, I am glue. I am countdown. I am channeling. I am cable access. I am Lifetime movie. I am remote. I am control.
I am switching the channel.
I am spin cycle.
I am a circle.
I am holding myself together.
Setting: In car outside public library, stealing free wireless
When someone says: you’re slacking on the blog, I like to take it as a compliment, as in, wow Hee, you are so gifted and dynamic, I wish you would blog every day!
Yes! Then I shall try to blog every day!
Then another someone might say: shiiit girl, I’m totally behind, your shit is just so fucking heavy, you and Ryan, it’s not like I can skim your words.
Yes! Then I shall not blog every day!
Occasionally a “friend” calls to catch up, and hypothetically asks about my Christmas. After I answer, said person says in shocked manner: you went to Amsterdam?!! Dumbass, I respond, don’t you read my motherfucking blog? I may feel very insulted because I think all my friends ought to be as interested in me as I am. If you had a blog, I could say, I would read it religiously. In other words, if you had a blog, it’d be really boring, and that’s why you don’t have one. Your comeback might be: at least I can afford a sailboat with my oodles of moola, and I might say, who the fuck says oodles of moola? You, friend, might say I would never say that–you, Hee, make other people sound like douchebags in your blog to make yourself look smarter, and I might ask, did it work?, and you’d concede: yes, good game.
I haven’t not been blogging because I resolved to never use the a-word again in my last entry, but because I’ve been trying to write pieces that will hopefully one day end up in MONEY, since all of you freeloaders read me for free. I didn’t get the ‘zines with homeless teens job at the YWCA–THANKS FOR NOTHING HARVARD–and every time I open the Sunday classifieds or browse Craigslist for hours, nothing sends my heart even slightly a’twitter. This world of employment is just not for me! I need to freelance. It’s the only job that has the word free in it, which subliminally is very satisfying. Right now, our life is perfect. Ryan and I wake up, write pieces that have cute orange end buoys bobbing on the horizon, scribble down parts of Big Pieces, compose absurd and brilliant songs, eat in, use Mati as an excuse to go to Marymoor dog park and laugh at dogs and their people, walk down to Chinatown, drive to the Seattle café of the day, park outside the library and use the free wireless, read our brains out, make fucking awesome videos using the simplest Mac software imaginable, and try to see how little money we can spend going out while having the best time ever.
Sample weekend, last:
Thursday Night—Chinatown karaoke with Big Will—definitely best time ever, but money was spent.
Friday Night—Ryan falls asleep at 7, mid-Breach, both of us sideways on our free loveseat made for one normal sized person. I spend the rest of the night making love to my computer screen, and by making love, I mean writing. A cheap date if I ever saw one!
Saturday Night—Dancing to 80s classics such as “Beat It,” with Ellen and Jordan at Buddha Bar. Ryan does a brilliant impromptu duet dance with an equally insane white woman of advanced age who was either a mom with a mission, the wife of a biker-man, or my fourth grade teacher. It was hard to pinpoint her personality based on her grand jetés. She grabs Ryan’s balls and gives him the come hither finger all night. Ryan tries to pretend he’s with me so she’ll stop groping him. Nice try, stranger.
Best time ever!!!
Sunday Night—Comedy Underground to watch Paul Ogata. We pretend we’re his crew and since we’re Asian the scenario is plausible and this gets us in for free. I laugh so hard I snort brain matter out of my nose. Best time ever!!!
In conclusion, we had three best nights ever for the price of one.
Reduce, Reuse, Reblog
I wrote the following piece in my old website/blog, but since way more new people read this blog, especially now that Ryan’s ass is heavily featured, I am re-posting it, mainly in the hopes that someone will send it to someone who will send it to someone, and it will become chain blog-mail. In a week it will come back to me, telling me I have to send it to 7 people in order to have my wish come true, which was to have this letter turn into chain mail, therefore it will have already become true, thus breaking the wish-cycle of chain letters. And somewhere out there will be that special person who opens me, a one-of-a-kind unbirthday present for all occasions, only to say: oh, she’s perfect! Here’s $100,000 a year to do just that!
P.S. I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover Letter, My Ideal Job
Dear Future Employer:
(Which ideally would be me.)
If I were to take all my experiences and mesh them into one occupational position–it would be to create an alternative treatment center for emotionally-disturbed private school-educated orphans of gypsy descent. There, I would teach them avant-garde writing in the form of stick figure portraiture, Surrealist photography in the form of aggressive napping, cardio kickboxing, imperfect veganism, and proper contraception implementation. I would treat them from their addictions to god, to family obligation, to morality as a washboard for our animal instincts, to guilt/blame, to ego, to refined sugars, to Myspace. This center would be in a former Communist nation where there would still only be two types of cheese–yellow and white. I’d recycle my diploma into toilet paper. Ivy League 2-ply.
The lesson of the day: degrees are for assholes.
Each morning, we would climb the metaphorical walls of our flimsy defenses before settling into our line-less Moleskins. Blank pages–we could go any way. After loosening the figure 8 knots of our old convictions, we’d rappel into philosophical caves, rooms of our own, walls padded with the insulation of our old bullshit, writing character sketches for our self of the day. At recess, we’d have a pep rally, cheering on our own genius ideas.
“G-E-N-I-U-S! Gooooo Genius!!!”
At lunch, we’d photograph trees, bury first drafts in self-destructing time capsules, invent ten new ways to eat pumpkin, stuff kaleidoscopes with fortune cookie fortunes, laugh at the distortions, the possibilities, laugh at our pasts which we’ve pulled from our mind like a loose shirt thread and re-woven into a quilt large enough to cover our cold feet. At night, we’d reclaim constellations, snip every imaginary line connecting memories to fear, expectation to fear, preservation to fear. Cassiopeia into The Persistence of Memory. The Big Dipper into Guernica. We’d praise the sky as a figment of our gorgeous imaginations. We’d be as endless as we wanted to be. We’d take our fears, write them on gold origami paper, folding each into 1,000 cranes, into one crane in the shape of a kite, and fly our fears past the point of control, and let them go, let them all go.
And then we’d be free for the first time in our lives.
I mean, c’mon already. I am awesome. Hire me.
My most productive hours are between the hours of 12 and 4 am, I need really good health insurance, a company car or bike would be SO COOL, can my dog come?, I cook a mean pumpkin bread, do I really have to be present physically every day?, I think having the option to work from a park or cafe or hey, my living room– would be fantastic, and gym membership as a corporate benefit, hey, I’ll take it!
In the meantime, enjoy our latest photos from the lovely Pacific Northwest!
sunset bowl, ballard
Happy Birthday Bowling!
“honey, when i said i wanted to spend my birthday with a bunch of dirty bitches… the dog park was not exactly what i had in mind.” -ryan
…said Tweedledum, “You know very well you’re not real.”
“I am real!” said Alice, and began to cry.
“You won’t make yourself a bit realler by crying, “ Tweedledee remarked: “there’s nothing to cry about.”
“If I wasn’t real,” Alice said—half-laughing through her tears, it all seemed so ridiculous—“I shouldn’t be able to cry.”
“I hope you don’t suppose those are real tears?” Tweedledum interrupted in a tone of great contempt.
amsterdam multiple choice:
(a) leidesplein. the waterhole. live dutch honky tonk mixing with drunken laughter, with heat stirred smoke, with joker smiles, with throbbing lights, my head and heart throbbing faster, less and less th, more and more bb.
i cannot breathe/people smiling waving/if i look at them i will cry/i don’t want to exist.
(chorus: how did i get here.)
i see us crashing from a distance, i’m the accident, i’m driving by, there’s glass between us, i see them clearly, clustered, sing-shouting lyrics.
we match eyes.
i exist all over again.
i exist all over again and have to answer to life, have to half-feign half-interest, have to smooth my rage over with gritty sandpaper, smooth.
i don’t do smooth.
i’m so lonely. here. where we have gathered to not be lonely. where the waterhole is the saddest room in the world. where the slightest socializing nauseates me with the force of ten back-to-back tequila shots. i drink nothing. where 1000 dull cliché daggers stab me, gut and heart. 100 every time someone laughs. 100 every time the group wraps their arms over one other’s shoulders, swaying in a team huddle, a circle, a ring around my neck.
i cannot breathe, but i could cry for the rest of my life.
(who is this girl.)
misery indeed loves company. just not this company. misery watches joy and doubles over in pain, too shy to find a tram to step in front of, too tired to get up from this bar stool, where it’s easier to sit and cry and pretend this is just a bad trip, your existence.
i know i can take something, anything, and lift myself from this sadness, buoy on up to the surface, float and bob with everyone else in a sea of beer-flavored sweat and good vibes.
i know my sobriety is worse than any drug. i flood myself with stress. i drown from the inside out.
i decide not to turn things around.
i walk home alone.
i miss my friends.
they know what i mean when i say i can’t.
(ryan calls us enablers. we say this life shit is hard and nod. we sigh oh sadness and hole each other up in empty houses on flimsy stilts of empathetic words. we say what the fuck and high five. we say at least we get it and laugh with ourselves. we are eye-rollers. we are half-empty. we wear grey-colored contacts. we throw our individual angst into the kitty and save it for a sunny day. we keep collecting. we wouldn’t know a sunny day unless it gave us skin cancer. we exaggerate. we have life dysmorphia. we keep going.)
(b) the morning after, i find the things i’ve lost:
1. left contact, crumpled in the corner of eye—i thought i cried it out somewhere between honk and tonk.
2. hair elastic, the one that sent me again spinning again as i got ready–the vaguest reminder of how easily i lose the things that hold me together.
3. ryan, patient, forgiving, as loving as he has ever been, when i have been as crazy as i have ever been.
(c) i am not writing to write. i am writing to sweat out toxins. the smell of last night’s dismantling is the smell of bad and regretted sex, of pissing yourself.
i am writing to have myself to console.
(d) hi. my name is jenn. i am the anti-life of the party. invite me. i’ll bring my cheap platter of thinly sliced complaints. we’ll eat and eat and never be full. we’ll take shots of our own fermentation.
a toast: to one after another after another.
(e) i hate how heavy i become, when i close my eyes and an outside hand spills hate over me, a whole tanker of oil. i suffocate. all i see is all i cannot see, you know, now that i am covered in oil. and i know i’m close. i’m close to air, to hands, to another side, to my realer self. but the impossibility of opening one eye. the impossibility of having to face everything i hate (breathing, standing, etc., etc.). why. why do it. i want to drug myself back to sleep and try again tomorrow. i am always trying again, never getting to that place people aspire to when they try again. my try agains are loops, not points on x and y axes inclining me to the ideal self point. i zoom into my worst. i can’t see whether i’m on the up or down slant. just a point without context. i need the full picture. the monet. i need to be pointless.
i am good from far.
(i think i have ups and downs, but my life, graphed, printed, is just an average EKG stretched out over 28 years. i’m beating myself for nothing. this is what a life looks like.)
(f) i don’t want to be here, in this room, with these strangers, with the first snow of expectation shoveled down from the sky. we run outside, throw ourselves in it.
we make the shape of angels.
the next day, we want sun. it will be months. we will slip on our own ice. we will crack our own heads.
our angels, how quickly they evaporate.
no matter how many layers we shed for each other, what we see is not what we get.
(g) ryan brings me mega-dose pills of vitamin c and ginseng. i want a different memory of myself in amsterdam than crazy bar bawler, so i put on a new face and we all go to the sugar factory. i drink vodka and then i really drink vodka. we dance for hours to dj music spun in between incredible live jazz sets, the lead british singer’s voice, sultry and unsyllabic, thickening the air. we breath it in through our ears, exhale her through our fingertips.
we are only vibrations.
i am finally happy, the happy i only am when drunk enough to hold onto exact and whole moments, which seem endless and thrilling.
(h) what’s the color of the sky right now? –little boy to mom in the treehouse cafe
(i) i miss home. i don’t know where home is anymore. i miss mati. i miss solitude. i miss the feeling of not missing anything.
(j) ryan offers to buy us both tickets home early. even at my craziest, i am still chinese, cheap even with unemployment money not my own. i know tickets home early is not the answer.
we sit on a bench by our amsterdam apartment. ryan breathes for me. he is happy; he can help. he has given me everything and more:
-he supports my dreams
-he brings me to the best place in the world for christmas
-he supports our bitch mutt, takes her out for early morning poop
-he lets me sleep
-he has given me everything and more
we discuss theories for why i am losing all my shit:
theory #1: ryan is in the best mental space of his life and with no one to commiserate with i feel extra-super-lonely.
theory #2: ryan knows the secrets of the universe and i am jealous.
theory #3: i constantly convince myself of reasons to feel bad. really, i need to be happy for no reason, and here’s why:
(k) ryan is morning. he wakes me through the curtains. he sweeps hair from my face. he brings me back from nightmares with soft strokes, down my arms, down his guitar. he tells me there are no real nightmares. no one hates me. only i hate me. i can turn everything back into a dream. it’s just a switch. reset my own circuits. flow, light, be on and on.
(l) i wake up new. i hear the tram rushing past the bedroom window along kinkerstraat, the same tram i fell asleep to, the sound synesthetic to a movie wash out. ryan crawling into bed cross dissolves, our bodies curl into parenthesis, lucid dreaming begins. morning fades in twice—once, still dark, it could be 5, it could be 9. fade back into sleep. fade in again—bicycle bells, a steadier stream of cars, white sun. i get up. i feel exactly how i want to feel, make green tea, cream of wheat and soymilk, write four sentences i am satisfied with, read rats, wake up and up.
the rest of the day is perfect: a warm and bright afternoon wandering vondelpark, playing games of ice bocce with sticks and corks, trying to drop ice through ice. hawaiians—never underestimate our ability to amuse ourselves with a half-frozen park pond that is probably teeming with leptospirosis. locals look on as we would if we saw tourists picking rocks out of the ala wai, skipping them, and shrieking like five year olds at magic mountain.
the day passes, a simple daydream that glows with you into tomorrow even though the details are forgotten: which songs were sung, who said what about why, whose idea it was to climb the twice-rooted tree, slick with moss and cold.
we are twice rooted in each other, ryan and i.
we are the architects of our days.
we are (im)proving our own theories.
we are all of the above.
Alice laughed, “There’s no use trying,” she said, “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
1. hey, this is how not to suffer
(there is so much more to write about than my moods.
ryan on jenn as re-told by jenn as herself: i think my writing about how i act like an irrational psychopath excuses it, that molding my social retardation and sadness into something that sounds nice is a skill i value, and so i do it, blog and blog again. i write about how alone i feel, and a world of people relate.)
2. ergo, i feel less alone.
(really we’re just enabling each other’s bitterness. we take nothing away from my words beyond a sense that we all suffer similarly. i never say: hey, this is how not to suffer, and write about all the joy i experience. i sift content about how things really can change down to a fine dusting, flavoring my blogs with an imperceptible sweetness. mostly, i throw in handfuls of raw animal lard*. every single one of my myspace blogs is the same story, different day. oh i’m blue colored. oh i cry at house parties. oh i don’t belong in this world.
oh i am so fucking sick of oldself.)
*example of something that disgusts me
3. vulnerability, hear me meow
(i try to get everyone on my “side” by shouting out the easy conundrums of being that i know i can get everyone to say AMEN! to.
me: isn’t it hard to date a person who talks a lot about philosophy?
me: isn’t it hard to change?
me: shouldn’t boyfriends never yell at you, no matter how rancid a psychopathic bitch you are being?
me: isn’t vegetarianism WAY better than non-vegetarianism?
4. i am one with myself
(ryan says that by feeling deeply embarrassed about my psychotic self makes her real. instead, i must stop making her real. stop giving her my body. stop feeding her little gummy hatebears to gnaw on all day.)
5. so this is the last time
(the last time i blog about my life in crazyland. offering more and more case studies of myself for the masses about exactly what happened, using completely biased, post-hoc reasoning as to why i justifiably freaked out (chemical imbalance, hello?), so that i can avoid these things in the future. [crowds, areas with no immediately accessible exits, strangers of odd height, dentistry, male nurses, baroque-style buildings, leather couches, tomatoes off the vine.] i could tattoo a do not do list on my body memento style for the rest of my life, but all this does is make it all true. none of it is true if i don’t want it to be. it is all yesterday’s jenn.)
6. i have a fucking incredible life
(on paper, my facts do not suffer: born and raised in goddamned paradise, harvard, hapa, all limbs accounted four, athletic enough, smart enough, adventurous enough (?), 5’3” enough, not in financial debt, has best boyfriend ever, best bitch mutt ever, best friends ever, best family ever, best best ever.)
(these are the only truths worth believing.)
in amsterdam, we fell in love over and over again. ryan–during my worst “sober” trips, he was calm and kind, wrapping me in his new full embrace, an embrace that promised we were a locked safe, no one else knowing the combination (our shared dreams spelled backwards in hieroglyphic x language). he would stay by me, but stay afloat, and would not drown down to where i was, and if i just held on, and kept holding, he’d pull me somewhere safe, with words and laughter and better eyes.
we have been together almost all day of every day since we left philadelphia on november 1st. this traveling has made us a pack, a fixed family, synced systems with updated software.
this is the most true:
in amsterdam, we had the best moments i have ever had in my entire life.
amsterdam was watching birds trace the sky for hours on the roof of the science museum, talking, laughing, imprinting our bliss on each other.
amsterdam was our night of endless tribal-revival-hippy-free love style dancing at the rokerij to pure lover avi’s flutes and a drummer who could even play scissors and rubber ducks like a badass motherfucker, ryan singing with his new singer’s voice, kealoha slamming poetry, their beat boxing duets–a room of dutch people wondering if we were the audience or the show, wondering what we were on.
we were audience, we were the show. we were on happiness.
amsterdam was ryan and i standing on the edge of the ponds in vondelpark at night, seeing the sky reflected in the dark water, the black crooked branches of winter trees probing something bottomless, deeper than we could ever imagine. my stomach churned as though we could step off the muddy bank and into that void. our held hands kept us safe from stumbling, let us see the menacing infinite as breathtaking.
amsterdam was early evening biking through town, just the two of us, two days before we left, the city a well-lit amsterdam montage, a sitcom of our entire year together:
past the book store ryan found me in after we fought, our first few days in amsterdam, when we were still not sure we should be there, when there was too much cost-benefit analysis flooding our lagging heads. costs were high, and we weren’t. when ryan was old ryan, and jenn was old jenn, and old ryan said i’m going this way and old jenn said i’m not, walking forward while ryan turned back. i knew he had no idea where we were, how to get back without a map. without me. without his wallet that i had conveniently been holding.
later, on the third floor fiction aisle of a random bookstore, deeply apologetic jenn said
you found me.
and still uncertain ryan said
you’re so predictable.
two weeks later, peering through the closed dim windows, we laughed at ourselves, standing inside that silly bookstore, the day we tried to stir up a batch of the end of the world using ingredients that existed nowhere but inside our old rotten heads.
we moved on.
walking our bikes through crowds of giant dutch people, down the same once empty main streets we pedaled down in the middle of the night with mikey, hearing only the whir of wind in the tires, blurring past fashionable clothing stores we never went in and all the falafel places we did.
over the bridge where we bumped into keali’i reichel, who sang one of our favorite hawaiian songs. for those few minutes, we were warm, we were home.
the same bridge where we met the happiest bum in the whole fucking world.
past the shopping tunnel where the boys freestyled the witty commentary on everyone walking by song, and earned their first 20 cent euro coin.
past the many coffeeshops we read, wrote and smoked in, past the corner where ryan took me from hysterical sobbing to hysterical laughing, all with one line, a line i can’t remember, something absurd, something that made me certain you can turn moments and moods around, realizing i do choose to persist in my sadness, and a bad thought is just a bad drug. you, overdosing your system.
on that corner, cries of i can’t do this anymore turned into irresistible, irrepressible i can do this forever giggles, giggles that rose up and out of my heart into the collective hymn and hum of the world.
there was still so much of our journey left.
into the park where we all played that sunny afternoon with the frozen ponds, down the corridor of sloping trees, black on an orange grey sky, damp from invisible rain, laughing maniacally at the non sequitur squawk of ducks, hidden in the dark chocolate colored marsh, dinging our bike bells to pass by no one but our old selves, stopping at the twice-rooted tree, remembering it was all the best, and to never be misled by the wrong memories.
only the best times of your life will exist if you want them to.
amsterdam was meeting a cast of characters. realizing we were probably the same to everyone we met. our stories written into each other’s life lines. ‘til syndication and beyond. hawaiians in a foreign land, crazy-haired and ski-masked, poets and artists singing i want you to drop baby, drop baby, drop until ryan’s fingers froze, collecting a lifetime worth of stories, epiphanies, art, new laughters, new new.
the secrets of the universe.
it’s the year of the rat.
it’s the year of the fuck naming years. the year of living each day as a year. the year of last times. of first times. of all of it all of the time.
dear kealoha, minja, and mikey,
i’m sorry for being a crazy bitch whore cunt.
i wouldn’t want to do amsterdam with anyone else.
i just didn’t know it at the time.
a toast: to the year of many years.
to blogs that do not use the word angst, its synonyms, or angst dressed up in pretty frocks of any written form.
to i control the shit!!!!!
i love opening a book, seeing our double dog-eared pages, me speed reading to catch up, always one chapter, one theory behind.
thank you for waiting.
i love that you are smarter than everyone.
(p.s. i am not everyone.)
i love crawling into bed next to you, knocking ankles, whispering there’s no place like home, and knowing we’re already there.
(m) all of it, all of it,