I get so mad at myself when I doubt things that I ought to trust. I feel bad when I am standoffish when I should be open and warm. I don’t harbor much resentment or blame towards my dad or any of the other men, I just get so weary because I am constantly cleaning up the mess they left behind; the work never ends. I’m just tired maybe, so sometimes I act up, but this is not a good enough excuse and I am actively working on being better.
1. It’s some time in the late 80s and dad is standing over the kitchen counter with a towel draped over one shoulder. One of the very first and only memories I have of him is a good one. Al Green is on the stereo and dad is singing along while drying lasagna noodles. He asks me if I want to dance, then sweeps me up in his arms and we sway. The other memory is of him scolding me for singing Like A Virgin when I am six years old. And then my memory sort of blacks out; he’s there and then blackness and then the memories start again but this time without him and there’s no explanation for his absence. So, yes of course I searched all my life for him. I found remnants of him in other men, briefly. The only thing they ultimately had in common was their gender and the way they were somewhat protective of me but never quite enough; they never loved me all the way, the way I deserved. And so I don’t look for him anymore. The void that was birthed from his leaving throbs and aches in me at all times and I just let it. My father’s indifference to me is nothing new, so it is not entirely hurtful anymore. Yet. And yet, it is the singular hurtful thing about my life; it is the most hurtful thing. As I get older, I need him less but I wonder if that is true. I think about all of the things that I am missing out on and how people tell me it is HE who has missed out. I don’t believe that, I think we both are missing out on something imperative; something absolutely vital. Of course he did not wish me a happy birthday, and that I even wondered if he would means I am a fool once more.
2. I have begun my east coast job search again. If you know of any editorial positions (of any kind), please send them my way.
3. My party was very fun; Mom and I really know how to show people a good time. Everyone got me books (“The Most of Nora Ephron”!!!!!) and wine/liquor as gifts. I also got a black leather flask with my name engraved on it, which is now the coolest thing I own. Mom made these strawberry mojitos which were lethal but delicious, and I kept doing shots with my Grandfather’s 65 year old brother, Danny. He just lost his wife a few months ago, they were married for as long as I have been alive. At one point we were sitting on the couch talking and he just burst out in tears. I knew it was the grief. I just held his hand.
4. The Dodgers are in first place in the NL West again. They are playing their hearts out this weekend as their birthday gift to me and I appreciate it.
5. I’ve been obsessed with learning about redwood trees lately. Some stuff I’ve learned: As earth’s climate changes, the redwood forests that make up the Santa Cruz Mountains, which surround the Bay Area where I grew up, are one of very few places that can provide a refuge for plants and animals to survive. The reason for this is that this area has many microclimates, is often cooled by coastal summertime fog and is still largely unpaved. The redwoods, which are essential to this area and the wildlife that call it home, are one of the oldest and largest living entities on earth. Their red bark, which they are named after, protects from wind, snow and even fire, although, of course, not always. I’m thinking right now about all of the things that I’ve used as distractions from the countless afflictions of being a person. Death, heartbreak, boredom, self-loathing, injustice - all of this has sat on my chest and rendered me breathless at some point. So I drank too much red wine on a Tuesday evening (for example) to alleviate some of the pressure and in doing so, have made the error of forgetting my own resiliency, which is unmatched. Last week I watched a four-minute film about a group of redwoods in Humboldt County. In it, one of the dendrologists said the entire subfamily of the trees are endangered, mostly from habitat losses from fire suppression and air pollution but also from logging. Not even their unrivaled strength can save them from everything. The symbolism is not lost on me.
Yo. Happy Birthday! Have a great day and enjoy your party.
thaaaaaaank you, joel.
Happy birthday, Teresa. Hope you're doing well. <3 starchaserxoxo
Hey thank you, girl!
The main reason why the end of things has me a little fucked up today is because I want it to mean something even though I’m hyper aware of the irony of assigning meaning in a world that is temporary. Last winter when Beyonce’s new record came out, I hadn’t moved in weeks. I got up out of bed and walked to the subway and went to work and then did the whole thing in reverse each night - I did this every day, but I had not really moved. I was stuck inside of my mind that often lies and this stagnated me. New York is a rough town, but add a layer of heartbreak to it and it becomes very difficult to stay afloat. Of course this is true anywhere, but the sheer brutality of that winter, both literally (I experienced negative temperatures for the first time in my life) and figuratively, made me sink far into myself.
I was laying on my stomach on my bed browsing twitter when someone tweeted something about Beyonce’s new record coming out just then. I was confused - nah, the Hive hadn’t said anything about a new record, probably this person was mistaken. And then Tumblr exploded with links and gifs and it was real. Downloading the record that night, just a little after midnight, I forgot entirely about my own pain and just listened. Every single track was amazing and made me want to dance, and I did, I got up and really moved in a way that I had not in a long time. And it’s bizarre and astounding to feel that a record can give you back a part of yourself, but it did. Leaving New York this spring meant resignation, albeit the healthy kind. It meant admittance that I was not altogether in the way that I had been presenting myself to my friends and family. All of this was hard to reconcile with me, but I boarded my flight that Tuesday morning in March and when I landed, exhaled for what felt like the first time in six months.
And so, I fought to get here and I just barely made it. The importance of my experiences of the last 10 years may be inflated in my own mind, but I’m not quite sure who I am without words. Without words, I’m just a foolish girl with a dumb heart. Giving meaning to the end of things, and more importantly to the beginning of something else entirely, something else sure to be even better, is just what I do.