Category Archives: Body & Soul

Reflections on moving out of LA.

After years of threats to myself and others, I’ve signed on the dotted line. I’m moving out of LA next weekend, and I’m going through a variety of emotions.

Image

Los Angeles from Runyon Canyon

I came here in 2000 to attend college in Malibu, spent time in the valley, Hancock Park, Mid-City West, West LA.

I’m scared and excited. While I’m moving an hour away (rendering this post a little sentimental), there is a sense of loss. I’m giving up Yoga Booty Ballet, the Lady-Gaga-infused highlight of my week. And the apartment I have come to know so intimately, with its holes in the wall where the bedroom door accidentally hits it, and the innocuous (numerous) stains on its cheap beige carpet. And the Israeli woman down the hall who speaks quite badly of her deceased husband (and men in general) while doing laundry for her two forty-something sons who live with her in that corner apartment. I’ll miss the view of the Hollywood Hills from the balcony, the one I rarely took advantage of.

And Runyon Canyon, and celebrity sightings, and my “home” McDonald’s. The people I met – the ones I loved, hated or gave the finger to. And the sheer number of times I didn’t feel like I could get out of bed because the city was too much for me.

LA by night

LA by night

Looking back, we sometimes see only what we missed out on, even whilst doing our best to get through the day or week. I did my best; I don’t think it’s possible to live without regrets.

So…who am I now? After years of calling myself an Angeleno, taking a strange pride in being able to “make it” in a city that devours so many, I’ll be stripped of that pride and identity. The city itself no longer a character in the movie of my life.

More than anything, living here has taught me about the importance of relationships. How I want my life filled with more laughter, passionate fights, Sundays without itineraries, bike rides. It’s crossed my mind that I have, at times, used the city as a beard, one that covered up the deeper insecurities I have about finding someone, whether I’m truly lovable, failure. I’m not sure anything will be different where I’m going. But I’m hopeful.

So thank you, LA – friend, foe, dispassionate observer, stranger and lover to me all these years. Who knows? I may be back, unable to resist living outside the frenzied pulse of your gritty-beautiful heart.

Our Porcelain Moments.

Moby's LA Home by night.

Moby’s LA home by night.

Have you ever had a moment so perfect that, when you realize its perfection, you become terrified you will wreck it? As if being content isn’t part of who we are, but a state we must struggle to maintain?

I had that feeling once. I was on a train leaving Paris, going to some dinky town in France (whether a provincial town in France can be called “dinky” is debatable). It was summer 2003, and I was studying abroad in Florence. We had the weekends to explore the European countryside. That Parisian weekend – which included a seedy Best Western, a surprising number of hair weaves (an Algerian neighborhood, perhaps?) and some memorable moments (the Notre Dame and hot chocolate pair surprisingly well) – we found ourselves back en route to our temporary Italian home. I laid down in the sleeper car, my best friend asleep in the small uncomfortable bunk next to me, and I listened to Moby’s “Porcelain” on my portable CD player.

I took a second to ponder if I should let myself listen to it. It’s too sacred, I thought. What if this time, this listen, ruins the times the song has served as the soundtrack to a beautiful memory, a memory I am so chained to I can’t take a risk ruining it? I took the chance.

Starry night. Yeah, I went there.

Starry night.

The curtains in the cab were open; a curious, mysterious moon looked back at me, reflecting small columns of sun onto the French countryside. I put the track on repeat.

We want so much to believe that some things are above the crumbs we typically accept that it’s terrifying to think we might change, look at something differently, not be able to rely on that “thing” anymore – be it a song, a person, anything.

“tell the truth you never wanted me.”

This line has always hit me. The things we tell ourselves – the loaded hue of the glasses through which we see the world – the way we jump to conclusions to protect ourselves. The narratives we make up to tie life into a neat, perfected bow. Things can be so fragile and breakable. Not with force, but without it. On accident and by our own hand. Porcelain.

Moby’s LA architecture blog is one of my safest Internet places. I’m so glad he’s an LA transplant.

Related: A Castle for the King of Techno

My Minimalist journey begins.

Photo credit: Sketch Guy

Photo credit: Sketch Guy

“There’s a consequence for being over-prepared. ”

I remember reading this NY Times’ article awhile back on minimalism and feeling taken aback. I’ve always been good at throwing stuff away (the consequence of obsessively hoarding magazines as a teenager), but I had never taken time to consider the psychological aspects in regards to how I relate to my “stuff.”

I’m currently in the middle of moving my apartment around. And when I say moving around, I really mean that my roommate is moving out, and I find myself with a lot of space. Perhaps too much.

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What does Easter mean to you?

i am disproportionately proud of combining the naiveté of this picture with this fab emo quote

i am disproportionately proud of combining the naiveté of this picture with this fab emo quote

In case you haven’t heard, today is Easter. I have a number of Christian friends who I’m sure are celebrating in style today. They are incredible people.

So what does Easter mean to those of us who may not subscribe to organized religion?

I think it’s an incredible opportunity to reflect and connect.

There’s power in prayer, be it religious or not. Knowing we are not alone in this universe. Even if we simply think and honor the small ways in which we are all connected – we become kinder. Humbled. Mindful. Peaceful.

Maybe it’s a good day to decorate easter eggs just as a meditation (which is typically a ridiculously messy way of celebrating, but I digress). It can just be a celebration of our life on earth, if nothing else.

I wish you the best of days!

Have you ever been afraid to slow down?

There’s something oddly glamorous about the single mom who hustles – going to school and working full-time in order to provide for her family. We all wonder how she does it, secretly believing we would easily be able do the same should we be in her situation.

But it’s only glamorous as long as she succeeds. What happens if she collapses into a ball on the bathroom floor (she will do this success or no success), but she doesn’t get up ready to face the day in the same way after? She decides to quit school and give up her “dream.” Or now she’s going to take out loans (that she’ll never get out of) so she can afford to “just” go to school. Either way, it somehow seems like she failed, when her cup runneth over in the first place. As a society, we praise and vilify this woman.

I remember when Mariah Carey had her nervous breakdown in, maybe, 2001 and had to be hospitalized for her exhaustion. You know, Glitter-era Mariah Carey. She was unstoppable her first ten years as a pop star, and the next minute she was a joke. Even with all she’s accomplished professionally since then, I haven’t looked at her in the same light. She’s tainted. She couldn’t take the pressure, I think.

I’ve been working two jobs the last two months in an effort to pay off credit-card debt. I rob Mary to pay Peter to pay Paul. Or something like that.

I learned the hard way: There’s nothing glamorous about calling one of your best friends and telling her, between violent, teary fits, that you won’t be able to make her wedding. There’s nothing glamorous about telling someone who is putting his or her faith in you that you can’t complete a task for them. There’s nothing glamorous about not having a moment to. stop. Or a minute to care.

Now that I have to slow down, because my body won’t continue to function if I don’t, I’m scared. Those things, you know – the dark ones that swirl around you as you sleep whispering soft, self-defeating thoughts in your ear, they get louder when you’re less busy.

What are these things trying to tell us? And who’s telling us it’s vital that we outrun them?

 

A quote for a Sunday.

Sunday

Bed. Blanket. Books. Or, what I’m thankful for this year.

“Woman Reading in Bed” by Gabriel Ferrier

I’m thankful for many things this Thanksgiving, among them:

  • the fact that I am in a financial situation such that I can afford (albeit barely) to have a cheeseburger for dinner any night of the week;
  • friends and family who have opened their homes and hearts to me to celebrate the holiday;
  • the release of the Keira-Knightley-led Anna Karenina and the option to pick my seat for my preferred theatrical showing ahead of time.

But this year, most of my abundant thanks goes elsewhere: I am so thankful to have the opportunity to do abso-f*cking-lutely nothing.

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To Bikram or not to bikram? Or, is it possible to die practicing bikram? That da question…

DO YOU THINK THIS PIC WAS PHOTOSHOPPED CAUSE I DON’T

Here I am. Tuesday afternoon. Sitting on the couch, pulling on my dirty, ratted hair.

I’m sick. No, I don’t have the flu or the runs or conjunctivitis. I did bikram last night.

I swear…I absolutely do not know why I go. Bikram yoga is cocaine, and baby, I’m freebasing.

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Bikram yoga is a hot festering mess. Bucket-list progress: Finding my radiant weight!

not so far off from my experience, except fewer peeps

it all seems so peaceful

It’s easy to romanticize bikram yoga if you haven’t done it in over a year. I made good on my promise to myself last night and got my 168-pound girl body downtown to get my bikram on. I was all excited to go – you know, except for the dealing with people (social anxiety), parking, traffic, mat-etiquette, skimpy-clothing parts. But the exercise I was confident I could get through this time – I would skip out of the studio – like LITERALLY skip – exhibiting that lightness-of-existence Mary Tyler Moore had in the opening sequence of her eponymous TV show.

Yeah, not as magical as I remember. 1.5 hours later and I felt like I had done pretty much all the exercise required of me for the next two years, all the while facing a mental challenge I have no interest in facing – watching my puffy, scantily-clad body (because each garment of clothing means you are one step closer to death when practicing bikram) perform the postures in the floor-to-ceiling mirror that spans the length of the studio. Bikram, please remove the mirrors.

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FAT PANTS’ DAY AT WORK

I think most girls are familiar with the fat-pants day, but I’m certain there are a number of individuals who have engaged in the ritual without giving it a second thought. I seek here to illuminate this very special day, one that can take the grossly heavy cross that is life and turn it into a small cotton satchel that carries only flowers and invisible rainbows.

I o’magged myself

At its core, the “fat pants” day is one in which one wakes up and realizes she won’t be at all “productive” during her next 14-16 hours unless he/she wears pants that either utilize an elastic band and/or are one-to-two sizes too big.

You better believe that when I feel like I can mold my slimy little hands around my waist and have a solid grasp on all that tight terrain I am not getting anywhere near the fat pants. They become the leper in the closet.

On other days, the very idea of slipping into them is akin to the feeling I imagine Coleridge or what’s-his-face conjured as they idly spent their days skipping through the Lake District and deciding what constituted art, poetry and literature in the late 18th century. I digress.

There are a number of reasons one might engage in a “fat pants” day.

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Andrew James Taggart, Practical Philosopher, Ph.D.

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