Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I know if we say love

I know /
if we say love /
we speak of many things

That line is taken from Sandra Cisneros' volume of poetry, My Wicked Wicked Ways from a piece entitled "I Understand it as a Kiss." The volume has been at my desk since my first day of work at my new job--at the beginning of October. From time to time I pick it up and thumb through it - when I need inspiration, when I need love, warmth, comfort or to just feel full - of all of these things or quite possibly something more.

I keep it at my desk at work as a reminder, no as a declaration - of who I am and what I do. It's very easy to fall into habits that aren't natural to you, it's easy to forget that these things, these daily minutiae aren't permanent nor are they definitive of who you are.

Truth be told I haven't written a single thing since my return from New York at the end of September. And though I feel guilty every waking moment for it, I've come to the realization that my life has not only turned upside down and inside out in the last three months, but it's been cut into a million pieces and placed back in a whole new order.

I'm in love. And like Sandra, I speak of many things.

My life as I knew it has changed, nothing remains the same though everything is seemingly just as it should be. I started my new job downtown in October, moved to Bucktown in November and here I am at the end of another year. In reflecting, I can't help but feel sad for what is gone, for what isn't mine and for what I'll no longer have. But in this sadness is love and my future and it's here and you better believe it's not going to wait for me to be ready.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Remember This

Life gets busy, we got caught up in the craziness, swirled right into the eye of the storm. I keep having to remind myself to stop and smile, to appreciate my life and the wonderful people in it.

It's silly to say since my boyfriend and I are fairly young, but when I'm with him I feel so young at heart, so carefree and reckless. It's with him that I can unload my stresses while also holding both him and my stuffed Cookie Monster from NYC in my arms. Every day I don't think it can get better and it does.

Yesterday, a mutual friend of ours, a wonderful person and talented writer (Hi, Monica!) reminded me to keep on writing. She told me to document these moments, this early stage, this unrelenting happiness--because even if it doesn't last, falling in love is still and always will be the best feeling in the world.

My family and close friends know I'm not an affectionate person, it's just always been hard for me to show love and to also feel it. There are a lot of reasons why I struggled with this but he makes all of my worries simply irrelevant. We can't walk anywhere without holding hands and you know what, I can't stop kissing him.

The picture above was taken after a water fight we had spontaneously in the bathroom. I think it encompasses who are together, it makes me smile like a fool every time I see it. It's also my wallpaper on my phone and his contact photo so I see it when he calls. Whenever I get an incoming text I see it light up in the background and end up swooning all over again.

So this blog is for you Monica, I promise to remember these moments -- like that moment in the bathroom after our water fight, I promise to live in the now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Question

So many changes have come my way in the last three weeks, new job, new relationship, apartment hunting, oh my!

Happy is a term that doesn't quite encapsulate what I feel with all of these changes coming into play but I truly feel like many pieces are coming together. Every day I'm realizing just how blessed I am.

Not having been in a relationship in years it's exciting to learn more and more about one another together. I'm slowly adjusting to taking him into account in my own choices, understanding that what I do now affects him and vice versa. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to let another person into your life, to carefully begin to depend on them and have them to fall back on.

My boyfriend and I, having mutual friends before we started dating have received a ridiculous amount of personal messages from our friends and friends of friends who are more than thrilled that we're in a relationship. And it's such a mind boggling concept to me, when I still get them I don't know how to respond except with a polite "thank you." But then I realized, in our circle of friends and family - when two people come together the bond between the rest of us only gets stronger.

I'm not crazy or living with my head in the clouds - I'm very aware that this honeymoon phase doesn't last forever, but in the meantime we're going to soak it up. It's a weird feeling being in a relationship again, especially with someone (as my family jokes) "on the inside."

Everyday we're together I ask him one question, and it's a silly question but I feel that it's important. It's a question that doesn't necessarily need to be asked of your significant other but it's also a question that should never be assumed.

On Monday night, after eating dinner and after Gossip Girl finished, while Monday Night Football played before us, I turned to him and asked this one question: "Are you happy?"

Without hesitating and without giving me his standard variation of "Yes," or "So happy," he turned to me and said that he was the happiest he's ever been. Sometimes, a girl just needs to hear it even though she already knows the answer.

I am utterly and irrevocably delirious with happy.
It consumes me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Happy List

As unpleasant as August was for me, September sure is making one hell of a turn-around...I can barely remember what maladies befell me last month! I've been so busy with work and life I haven't blogged in so long! Needless to say, things have been wonderful and I've been feeling amazing every single day I wake up. And thus, I present you...the happy list, yet again.

  • This weather. I absolutely love Fall, its brisk, refreshing winds, the cold mornings and warm days, followed again by chilly nights, perfect for cuddling.
  • Running in this weather is prime for me, I love it!
  • Stockings! I'm not sure if everyone loves stockings like I do, but I love having an array of colors ready for the season, Fall is the best season to accessorize!
  • Journal 3831 looks freaking amazing, honestly, I cried a little at its contributions last week.
  • First kisses are always great. That should have been first on my list. First kisses.
  • NYC next weekend, I have a feeling it'll change my life.
  • Sandra Cisneros' My Wicked, Wicked Ways

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Journal 3831

Over the weekend I watched the film 1000 Journals, by Andrea Kreuzhage. About 15 minutes into the film I found myself somewhat restored from what one could describe as a beyond hellish week. Literally, it may have been about 15 minutes in that I was overcome with inspiration, passion and drive that I decided on starting a traveling journal of my own.

The idea of 1000 Journals is pure genius, I cannot even describe the roller-coaster of emotions that I felt while watching the film based on the project of the same name.

Being the true Facebooker that I am, I extended the project to my own friends, real people who have personally touched my life.

I feel that this journal, my journal, journal #3831 will change people's lives. Though that's certainly not my goal by any means, I just want to offer my friends an opportunity to step outside of their safety zones. I want to them to explore their creative sides, to find the beauty in simplicity, to create and recreate, and to simply just do. Doing something, anything...is better than a blank white page. It's progress, a statement, a defiant middle finger to stasis and routine. I want them to leave their mark, on the page and in the world. More often than not we as individuals stay silent, avoid change and glide along with our mundane lives because we're too lazy or unmotivated to create change.

Journal #3831 will be my awakening, as an individual and as a writer. I too, have needed something to turn my world inside out and this project has come along for a reason, this reason. I hope it will help my friends and their friends (and quite possibly some strangers) to understand and appreciate the concept that any contribution is meaningful. A collaborative effort is needed in order for this to really get anywhere and I'm so flattered by all of the feedback, emails, comments and messages I've received for this 3831 project.

With my sincerest apologies, I have to admit that I've been a little under the weather and so this journal has not yet been started. I do plan on stopping in my nearest Blick Studio to pick up a journal and promise that by Monday, August 31st, the first recipient will be notified that 3831 is en route.

I've also just decided on what my contribution will be to 3831 and can't think of a more perfect time and place to share it. I'm beyond excited, really.

My biggest fear, my only fear, is that 3831 will be lost, stolen or forgotten about. Although I control the mailing list and ultimately its location, I cannot always track it. Participants have one week to keep it to themselves and in this week they can share it with a loved one, a friend, a coworker, whomever - it's all a part of the spirit of the 1000 journals project so who am I to argue? As much as it scares me, it's how it has to happen, and it's time I learn to have a little faith.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


If I could share with you just how crappy this week is going by way of an immature and silly photo response, it'd be this (below), classy, I know.

On the upside, I've been having a beyond-fantastic music week. There's a song that's been on repeat literally all day today and the more and more I listen to the words, the more I'm convinced it was written specifically for me. It's been a really long time since I've really connected with a song, its lyrics, its beats, its essence in total. But I'll stop talking about it and let you listen, enjoy.

Anyhow, I much prefer the Nacey remix of it as opposed to the original version, there's something hauntingly beautiful about it and all it makes me want to do is write, which I've promised myself I'd make time for tonight.

And lastly, the lyrics alone both disturb me yet make me feel like I'm right at home. It's certainly not complex and thoughtfully written, but rather it's simple and to the goddamn point. Because sometimes, you just need to cut out the bullshit.

"Bulletproof" by La Roux

Been there, done that, messed around
I'm having fun don't put me down,
I'll never let you sweep me off my feet,
I won't let you in again, the messages I've tried to send,
my informations' just not going in,
burnin' bridges shore to shore, I'll break away from something more,
I'm not to not to love until it's cheap,
been there, done that, messed around,
I'm having fun don't put me down,
I'll never let you sweep me off my feet,

This time baby I'll be bulletproof
This time baby I'll be bulletproof

I won't let you turn around,
and tell me now I'm much too proud,
to walk away from something when it's dead,
do do do your dirty words come out to play when you are heard?,
there's certain things that should be left unsaid,
tick tick tick on the watch and life's too short for me to stop,
Oh baby, your time is running out,
I won't let you turn around,
and tell me now I'm much too proud,
All you do is fill me up with doubt,

This time baby I'll be bulletproof
This time baby I'll be bulletproof
This time baby I'll be bulletproof
This time baby I'll be bulletproof


This time baby I'll be bulletproof
This time baby I'll be bulletproof
This time baby, this time baby
This time baby, this time
This time baby, this time baby
This time baby, this time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Happy List

  • I switch purses rather frequently, maybe 3 times a week and all three times this week I found random stashes of cash in all of my clutches.
  • "When you move out, you're going to need practically everything." My friend told me this recently, she moved out months ago was preparing me for when I move out. Slowly but surely I've been furnishing my non-existent apartment, it might even be a smart idea to get storage space so I don't have to clutter all my finds at home. There are two important pieces I'm going to be very careful selecting, my bookshelf and my desk. Both of these items are more important than a bed and must thoughtfully be chosen. My book collection is probably my most prized possession, it grows every week and holds significant memories and sentiments. My writing desk will be in my bedroom since I've decided that I don't want to have a tv in there. Plus there are so many things I need for my desk, but don't even get me started. All I really need are my books. And hello major tangent! It's wonderful to discover your taste and style through furnishing your own place. Surprisingly enough, I've picked up a lot of African and Mexican pieces and cannot wait to see what it will look like once I'm finished. The goal is to apartment shop in November with my eager and willing sisters accompanying me and sign a lease by December. I can't wait!
  • I bought a ticket to NYC for next month. I'm tired of saying I want to do all these things and watch as time passes me by. I'm young and healthy, there's no time like now and I refuse to keep making excuses for myself. Albeit bad timing what with having to save for an apartment and all, I figured this would be my second to last big expense. Yes, I rationalize with myself.
  • The last big ticket item on the list before I go hardcore frugal is....my MacBook Pro which I'm buying next month too. I was torn forever between an iMac and the MacBook but ultimately decided right now I am needing portability. I still do plan on also getting an iMac eventually, maybe in the distant future.
  • My UIC student ID doesn't expire until December 2010, I don't know how that happened but I'm totally going to holler at that student discount @ the Apple store. If that doesn't work, I can use a "teacher discount" for working at a performing arts academy, so no complaints here.
  • Shu Uemura eyelash curlers.
  • OPI's Fall 2009 Espana collection, of which I have already picked up 2 bottles. (Give Me Moor! and Manicurist of Seville).
  • Training began this morning, I don't really need to train for the Hot Chocolate Run in November, I'm just trying to incorporate more cardio into my daily routine. It feels good to be running outside again.
  • Aloha Eats is a wonderful restaurant that surprisingly, was more down to earth than I imagined. Highly, highly recommend the Spam Musubi.
  • My next tattoo I think might be my favorite, it's two lines of poetry for which I've already selected the script for. It's my second to last ink and I'm not sure if I'm more nervous or excited about getting this one. It's by far the biggest tattoo I'll have done but again, I'm deciding on how big the font should be, I keep going back and forth with it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


It's interesting to notice just how quickly order and disorder trade places in my life. These past few days have been a blur and I seem to be waking up unprepared for the next morning that follows.

My bedroom is especially a mess of clothes, shoes and books. With my long-awaited vacation to Mexico quickly approaching, the packing process has been on hold. Instead, the more pressing concern I have now is figuring out what books to bring with me on the plane.

In other news, I've been editing my brother's artist biography for his website but struggle to really get anywhere. Needing to walk away from the task at hand to gather my thoughts, I picked up my copy of The City Visible to reread my old notes. My book's folded corners and lightly tattered cover surprisingly still bring me joy and the smell of it alone (weird I know) calms me. It's a musk of mostly rainwater (I accidentally left one of my windows open with this book on the sill during a storm) and my perfume (which sprayed onto it multiple times while in my purse).

Clearly, my mind's a mess as well, but sometimes not everything should be in its proper place.
Maybe I'll start packing tomorrow.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

This Poem Waits

I spent a great portion of my evening lost. Lost in the restored, original copy of Sylvia Plath's posthumous collection of poems, Ariel. I cannot even register any other emotion at the moment except for the emptiness I feel. I am emotionally drained, tapped dry of any useful feeling or thought. I've forgotten how much of yourself you have to give in order to allow Plath in. Although I'm exhausted from almost reading the entire collection in one sitting, I cannot complain. Ironically, at the same time a sheath of fulfillment creeps within me. I just need to process the experience, let it register and reflect perhaps in the morning.

I picked up another (hopefully) great read today, Word of Mouth : Poems Featured on NPR's All Things Considered. I haven't gotten around to really reading it, still kind of reeling from Plath. (I'm not really interested in compilations of poems by different poets, when I do read these anthologies I read them out of order, I'm neurotic, I know). I did open the first page and was overcome with the urgent need to share this with you. It's a dedication (or at least I took it as such) to introduce the book, Quincy Troupe so beautifully and transitionally writes:

this poem waits for you to cross over
to cross over love, this poem waits for you
to cross over, to cross over love
this poem waits for you to crossover
too crossover, too, love

If this is the beginning, I look forward to losing myself in it as well.

Friday, June 26, 2009

For Brandon

I suppose it's natural for me to think of you now that I'm so happy. Of course, you also made me happy, you gave me a lot of things, but after I ended it, my life fell apart. I don't think anyone really understood what it was we had, our families, our friends, much less you and I.

Driving through Inverness today I remembered you, the way we planned the rest of our lives together on hot summer afternoons like today. I saw a couple who looked like us drive past me and wondered if he insisted on her holding her hand in the car the entire trip. I wondered if he kissed her at red lights, so distracted by passion that he didn't realize the light had turned green.

The messes we've made afterwards will never happen again and to be quite honest, I hope to never see you again. Please understand that I don't say that with hate or regret, I say it with solace and fulfillment.

You were ready to give me the rest of your life and I could barely give you the next week. Every now and then I'd imagine what my life would be like with you, how different it would be, how different I would be...but all along I knew I needed more, not necessarily from you but just for me. I gave you everything I had then, it wasn't enough for you but you kept on choosing me, loving me. To this day, I'll never understand why, nor do I want to know.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I knew I Couldn't Be Anything To You But An Aspiring Lover

Beatriz, a good friend of mine, also an accomplished writer and current graduate student pursuing her Master's, and well, my own personal hero, recommended new poetry to me earlier this week. Surely I'd heard of Sandra Cisneros and all the hype of The House on Mango Street, but haven't yet had the opportunity to read any of her work. The very next day, right after leaving work, I picked up a copy of Loose Woman, a collection of poems by Cisneros. Let me just mention that I have very little to no self control when buying poetry, I tend to buy several books at a time because well, let's just call the bookstore my candy store. I could actually lose myself in a bookstore for hours, I try to hit Myopic in Wicker Park at least once a week, but it's always so crowded with tourists when I go. This week I was forced to go my local B & N, not quite the same experience but they had what I needed. I was definitely tempted to buy almost 8 books but narrowed it down to only three, in addition to Cisneros' Loose Woman, I picked up Jack Kerouac's Scattered Poems and Kenneth Koch's New Addresses. And I have to say, it's been a wonderfully fulfilling week for me.

To begin with, nothing could have prepared me for Cisneros and Loose Woman. People tell me my poetry is sexually driven and raw (which I don't believe in the first place) but after having read Cisneros my hold over my own sexuality in conjunction with my writing is not even comparable--I feel like I'm incapable of harboring my sex, my memories and myself. I'm certainly not discouraged by any means, but wholly inspired and in search of something I'm not sure yet what. All I can say is that I don't know quite what it is about Cisneros' writing but as Beatriz put it, "That is the one book that I feel I could eat three times a day and feel full and sustained."

I briefly thumbed through Kerouac, I personally don't enjoy him as much but bought the book as gift to my brother who really does like him. There are collaborations with Ginsberg and other New York School poets, but again I didn't really keep that one for myself.

In my very first writing workshop class, our lecturer had us read Kenneth Koch's "Making Your Own Days." This is the one book I cannot find anywhere, I actually try not to think about it too much because it makes me really sad. The book can be purchased sure, but it was through that literature, through that class and in the notes I took so adamantly in the book that I fell in love with poetry. And I fell hard, it was only several months after that realization that I also grew to despise it. My affair with poetry is a tumultuous one, with anything I feel passionately about, there has to be flaws. I think it's because it sobers me to the knowledge that I can't take it for granted because if it always came easily to me, where is the challenge? Where is the moment of relief and gratification in completing a work? I guess it's all subjective though since I learned early on that a poem is never ever complete, that it is in fact always going through drafts. I admire that poetry changes with the writer, the moment the words tumble onto paper we're naked and unarmed, telling you all exactly what we feel and how we feel it.

But shockingly and again I digress, back to Koch. I bought New Addresses, and cannot stress enough how full I feel--my senses are sated, overwhelmed at times but in the best ways. There are two poems that I cannot stop reading, two poems that I read again and again from the moment I wake in the morning and again right before I fall asleep. Let me first explain that an address poem is exactly what it sounds like, the writer chooses objects, memories, anything really to speak to simply as if they were a person listening--they are directly addressed to in the poem itself. I first heard "To Orgasm" (one of my all-time favorite poems hands down) as an undergrad and new that Koch was a genius. I complain all the time about being happy and unable to write and Koch was the only poet who I knew actually negated that stereotype. I'll share with you an excerpt of "To Orgasm:"

Someone was there, later, to join me and you
In our festivity, a woman named N.
She said oh we shouldn't do
This I replied oh we should
We did and had you
After you I possess this loveable
Person and she possesses me
There is no more we can do
Until the phone rings
And then we start to plan for you again

(Lines 11 - 20)

However, as much as I enjoy that poem, I've fallen hopelessly enamored with another one of his address poems, "To The French Language." It's a poem I read nearly 5-10 times a day, either in succession or spaced out throughout the day. I love the way it sounds when I read it to myself aloud, I've even locked myself in my bathroom with it, and sit perched atop my sink and listen to the words clearly echo around me. I'm a woman obsessed, no joke. I think it's also because I love the way French sounds even sans poetry interspersed with it. It's just beautiful, it makes me feel beautiful; it's a poem I imagine reading to a lover, while we're in bed, dressed only in wrinkled sheets.

Overall, it's been a fantastic week of poetry and life, love and writing. But then again, poetry is life, love and writing, is it not?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Before You

I never was the woman
who would’ve have been
your safe bet or worse,
your sure thing.

I’ve loved and love but
is there a difference
between having loved
and loving?

To know anything by heart
is a false accusation.

I was a woman
undone, unguarded.
I was an
an in between,
an other.

this, but decidedly
always that.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Blessed. I feel truly blessed these days. Honestly, my level of happiness is unreal. Lately I've been trying to picture my happiest memories and the people I've shared them with but nothing compares to even a fraction of everything I feel now. And what's crazy is that I can't pinpoint any one thing that's responsible for this, I guess I just keep waiting for something to go wrong, horribly wrong.

Although I can't pinpoint every single reason why, I know that a great deal of my happiness is the solidity of my family, more specifically my sister, Czarina.

To cut right to the point, we journeyed over to Molly's (I'm laughing as I've just realized that picture above is obviously from a family wedding many years ago but I start this story with how we went to Molly's. Disclaimer: That picture is not us at Molly's. LOL!) to satiate our pangs for something sweet, plus I really needed a break from Alliance. We got our cupcakes, grabbed a table and started to talk. And I mean really talk. My sister and I talk all the time, if we're not together we still manage to talk either on the phone or though e-mail. I'm sure this sounds ridiculous but I'm constantly searching for her approval, not because I don't trust my own instincts, but because letting her down is my greatest fear.

I am without words when it comes to describing the kind of person that she is, she is the heart of our family but she is my lifeline. I don't know what came over me today at Molly's but I told her something no one knew. I told her of my one and only regret in life. Sure, you'll say I'm 23 and too young to have regrets but I doubt you've done what I have. It was like that moment in the movie "Mean Girls," when Lindsay Lohan's character experiences "word vomit." Something just came over me and I felt that she just needed to know. It was an experience that I think about almost never that when it does cross my mind I question whether or not it really happened. What's hardest I think was that it happened last August, and not when I was 17 and stupid. I knew better, I knew much better and that made the reality of it impossible to come to terms with.

It's funny though how fiction and reality can be so closely interlaced, perhaps I wished for it to unhappen so often that sometimes I believe myself and forget. Regardless, when I told her (after we had both cried for an entirely separate reason from this, and yes we cried inside the bakery) she responded as I knew she would. She didn't try to tell me that she understood or that everything would be okay. She kept it real, which is so hard to find in people nowadays, but I admire that she's always so straight with me. She is the last person I want to tell things to and the first person I want to tell things to if that makes sense. But to have someone in my life who inspires me everyday is nothing short of amazing. On my worst days she still sees the best of me and drives me to reach my potential.

I know that my family and the relationship we have is not normal, sometimes I forget we didn't grow up together because we are so closely knit. But at the same time, the relationships we have with each other both together and individually are what gives me my greatest happiness in life. I also will tell you that a significant part of why I can't share myself or let anyone in--and I mean really in relationship wise, is because I've known I could never love someone who didn't feel the same way about their family. I'll sacrifice a lot of things for love, but I'll never sacrifice them.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Life has been awfully generous these past few weeks and I've never felt happier, freer or more blessed than I do right now in this present moment. To celebrate this I decided to get my third tattoo this week. I don't usually plan my tattoos and act mostly on impulse. Earlier this week after shopping at Akira on North Ave I decided right then and there that I wanted to get inked again with my best friend by my side. We walked down the street to Tatu Tattoo and unfortunately there was a wait.  I'm the kind of person that if the time isn't right then it's just not right.
Luckily enough, after a busy morning at work yesterday I was struck by the urge to get inked again. Back in suburbs, Libertyville to be exact, I knew I could count on my regular shop to get my third tattoo. I'm not going to go into detail about what the tattoo means because if you don't already know then perhaps I didn't want you to. I got the number 4 in roman numerals, "IV" on my left foot. 

The experience was in one word, gnarly. I'm not your average girl I guess, I have a really high tolerance for pain, which I think I've mentioned in previous posts. Getting tattooed feels good to me, weird I know. Now that I have ink on various parts of my body (inner wrist, nape of my neck and foot) let me be the first to tell you that the skin on  your foot is certainly more "nerve-y" as my tattoo artist put it. It didn't hurt at all but I definitely felt spasms shooting down my leg as he first traced the outline of "IV" and then lightly twitched as he filled it in with a second needle. This was also the first time a tattoo needed more than one needle, so it was a really exciting experience. And to top it off, the man knew his poetry. Now I've had dates where men ask me what I enjoy doing and hesitate when I reveal my passion for poetry, mostly because they don't know how to react or what to say, the worst is when they start to rhyme a clever-on-the-spot-little jig. Lord. But this man, upon the mention of my writing poetry asked me what style and which poet I enjoy most. Again, hesitating I smile and say I enjoy a mix of french modernist poetry, Baudelaire and also the more modern language movement. As soon as "Baudelaire" left my mouth, he followed it up with his liking of "The Flowers of Evil." So there I was, getting inked and falling love. Sometimes people surprise you and when they do it's truly a moment to be treasured. I honestly feel so lucky these days, I've been meeting some amazing individuals and have been growing closer to those already in my life.  

On the downside, I haven't been able to write! I've been so happy that I've literally created a jolly, impenetrable wall of writer's block. I can't even write a blog post it feels. Something needs to be done about this, but until then who knows. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I've Met Some Amazing Individuals in Spanish Class

I'm struggling. I'll say it, I'll admit it. I feel like I'm standing at a precipice with no option but to jump. 

That's the first thing I wrote down upon reflecting on my feelings at this very moment.  Those thoughts of struggling have played repeatedly in mind these past few days, weeks even. As a matter of fact, I can still hear the faint echoes of those very words. They're only drowned out by more of my own constant questioning. When I close my eyes I hold back tears. It seems all of my options lately, no matter how extreme or proactive I try to be, are rejected.  And I'm left wondering what the purpose of all this is. I don't know what I want, all I know is that I want to be happy. 

I allude of course to the struggle of finding a job nowadays. Now I never imagined or dreamed that I was ever going to put my degree in English to good use, but I just was not prepared for how discouraging life after undergrad would be. I know a lot of us are in the same boat and I just can't imagine what the purpose is for all of these challenges. Sure, blame the economy okay but I have to believe that there's a bigger picture here. Since graduating in December, I've yet to find a job and everyday is getting harder. I remind myself to be grateful for all things I do have, my health, a supportive family, my writing. 

And also I'm grateful for amazing friends. I met May in my freshman year at UIC in Spanish class. She was Filipina, and an English major. Already I was taken aback, impressed. I was an intended-nursing major then, not yet sure of who I was or what I wanted.  She was in her final semesters at UIC when we first met. I remember just every conversation being real, refreshing, no bullshit, here was an individual whose light shines through words and conversation.  It was after that first semester, after having met May, that I switched my major to English. Before coming to UIC I never realized a degree in English was even an option (not literally of course, I was more concerned with what my parents would think). 

And through the years we've still managed to stay in touch and she's still the wonderful individual I knew when I was 18. Only now her light shines brighter because she radiates happiness and love, she got married and might I mention is the mother to a beautiful baby boy, whose first name is James, middle name Austen. Amazing, I tell you. 

We've been emailing back and forth because I'm a mess and needed to reach out to someone who has been in my situation, who knows what this struggle is really like. To keep you up to date, I made the hasty decision of going back to school and renewing my CNA/PCT certification and do that work in the meantime, I've even been considering continuing on with an ADN. My initial thoughts on all of this have been somewhat muted and its times like these when I know I cannot rely on myself. After discussing this decision with my more than supportive parents, I thought I could really follow through. When I opened my email this morning, May had shared with me her input about my dilemma.

"If I were in your shoes though, young, beautiful, and single-- If it is in you to go back to school then do it because you enjoy it, not because you're struggling for a job. In the end the goal is not to have regrets. So if you feel that this will better your future then do it. Everyone's struggling in this economy so don't let that get you down. Things will improve. Happiness is key. No matter what you struggle with- job, money, school, etc- if at the end of the day you can breathe a sigh of relief and still smile, then I say you're on the right track! With anything you do just make sure it's worth it -- again FOR YOU! "

In two emails she'd managed to summate everything I already knew. Happiness is key, why is being happy always so difficult for me? Here is someone I don't see everyday, well we haven't seen each other in years, but she just got me. I don't believe in a lot of things, fate or destiny, no. I believe more than anything that seldom do we meet people in our lives that we make connections with, people who just see you for you.  But reaching out when you need them and having them reach back for you truly is a gift. I believe that May is one of these individuals and I am blessed to have her in my life. Thank you!

Happiness is key. 
Happiness is key.
Happiness is key. 

As far as this going back to school situation is concerned, I've decided to put off any more drastic decision making for tomorrow. The second opinion which is almost as important as mine belongs to my sister, Czarina. Last night on the phone when I mentioned all of this to her she said that although she was happy for me for making my own way, another way, she feared that maybe "my heart won't be full" if I followed through with this plan. And I also fear that she may be right. But that's another blog for another day. I'll figure out my mess later tonight when I see my sister, she freakishly somehow always knows what's best for me...or at least what's best for me AND in line with what I want.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Impassioned Eye

Sometimes, when my life isn't what I imagine it should be I forget how important it is to be happy. Sure, you'll argue with me and say being happy isn't enough but for me, it's all I really need. Losing sight of what makes us happy isn't the problem, actually allowing ourselves to be happy is. Repeatedly I remind myself to surround myself with individuals who inspire me. Unfortunately, not very many people I know do.  And I know that must sound harsh but I've maintained a fairly high threshold for creativity and individuality.  So when I come across someone or something that provokes a stirring deep within me I'm forever moved.  

If you asked me to tell you about my brother, I wouldn't know where to begin. He's a thinker, a wanderer, a man without an agenda. He's an artist, a photographer, someone who can make something out of nothing.  I'm constantly amazed at his way of life, or more so his own personal ethic for living. Basically he's taught me that everyday is another chance to start over, to start new. He's helped me to realize that my life isn't set to any one course or path.  Last week he booked a flight to NYC simply because he wanted to see the Francis Bacon exhibit at the Met. When he makes a decision there's no agonizing over plans or consequences, he just decides. As a matter of fact, if you ask me now to tell you about my brother, I'll tell you this, my brother is a doer.

I do see a lot of myself in him, qualities in our ways of living intersect. We're both creatively expressive with different mediums, we're both impulsive and go wherever the proverbial wind may blow us.  I actually see a lot of my grandpa in him, a simple man who knew the key to living well. For my brother, I believe living well revolves around the simple idea to just live. Through his paintings and pictures I feel that he captures moments in life that he knows will never come back again. And I feel that it's an admirable attempt that we all strive for because too soon now turns to then and we just want so badly to hold on. 

Getting to my point seeing as how I've yet again digressed from what I wanted to share with you, my brother's eye for capturing moments and memories is truly a gift. I couldn't fake a well composed picture, trust me, I've tried.  In an interview with Charlie Rose, famed photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson said that (and I paraphrase because I just watched it and found myself overwhelmed with inspiration) "the subject takes you." And here we are, waiting for that perfect moment when we should just allow it to happen and take us. In any case, I believe that my brother has a likeness for this outlook in taking a photo. Yesterday, the Modern Wing at the Art Institute was unveiled and world renowned architect, Renzo Piano was at the ceremony. 

This of course meant nothing to me, I had no idea who he was or even that a whole new wing was being added. (I learn a lot about art from my brother and in turn I teach him my favorite things about literature, it's a wonderful balance.) Anyhow, after the ceremony as the crowd rushed into the new wing, my brother stayed back and to his amazement captured this.
Renzo Piano walked right past him. And that's great and all, I'm happy for him but aside from that I love this picture. When I look at it, I see an honest moment in a man's life, and he's not proud or boastful, instead he's contemplative and reserved. Then again, that's just my observation from his expression. I just love this picture. 

Another picture that I love is one that my brother took back in August. It was actually featured in the Chicago Reader this past fall and well, speaks for itself.
You can see more of his pictures here.  Also, I'm planning on visiting the Art Institute sometime this week to see the new wing, my brother highly recommends it. I was looking forward to going by myself because there are things I love to do alone, but would definitely love company if anyone wants to join. It's free admission until the 22nd I believe and I'm always in the mood to be inspired.

"Maps are for people who want to know where they're going."
-Robert Andre Gregorio

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is Age Really Just a Number?

So I don't know if my mind is playing tricks on me or maybe it's just an issue of vanity, but lately I've been very aware of my age. I'm not crazy, I think 23 is still fairly young but my teenage and even college years are certainly behind me. More and more I'm finding that I'm no longer carded at the bar or out at dinner, c'mon 23! Times like these frustrate me and questions of whether or not I look old pop into my paranoid head. When my sister graduated from U of I in May of 2007, she announced her engagement to Mike at her graduation lunch. At my own graduation lunch this past weekend I clinked my water glass with a knife and asked for everyone's attention. As a joke I announced that I too was engaged, my family laughed and cheered, but then my uncle honestly asked me if I was getting married any time soon. And its times like those that I need to reiterate to myself that I'm 23 years old...and am young and should enjoy my life the way I wish, which right now is yes, unattached. Anyhow, for the most part people think I'm older than I look, which let me tell you is not at all flattering from my standpoint.

The most shocking experience happened today when a man in my building entered the elevator with his son who was furiously pressing buttons. I'd met him a couple times before either in the lobby or the elevator and all of our neighborly interactions were nothing short of cordial. I smiled at him and his son and he apologized and I insisted he not worry about it even though I was running a little late to work. A few moments later he turned to me and asked if I had any children. He must have thought I was crazy because I'm not sure what kind of look I gave him, but it took me a moment to process what he had just asked me. After re-asking him what he had asked me, he said, "Yes, do you have any children of your own?" I smiled politely, personally confused...but answered that no, I didn't have any. Enter awkward silence. So I'd imagine that most people would leave it at that but this man was something special. He then proceeded to ask, "Do you want kids?" By now I was thankful that we'd reached the lobby since I wasn't sure how to answer his question with his 4 year old son in front of us. Was I supposed to honestly answer him and tell him that no, I wasn't planning on having kids at least not in the near future?

I opted for just telling him that I was far too young to even consider children at my age, when I told him I was 23 he looked a little embarrassed and reassured me that he was old enough to be my father and apologized for all the questions and then felt the need to explain himself. Apparently he felt awkward because he was 36 (I don't know what kind of math he was doing in his head for him to think he was old enough to be my father), a single dad looking to start dating again. And apparently I looked like the woman he wanted to ask out. I told him that I was flattered (not really but it was the nice thing to say), but not looking to date at the moment so that he didn't feel like he was a creeper for politely hitting on me. Oh, just when you don't think it could get any worse this conversation was one that disproved that theory. Let's hope not to run into each other on the elevator anymore. I'm almost motivated to start taking the stairs.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Like...

When I was watching the movie Amélie, not only did I love the quirkiness of the main character, but I also really enjoyed the way the other characters were introduced throughout the film. When a new character is introduced, the narrator lists random facts about what each character likes, facts that only someone intimately close to the character would know, or maybe even facts that no one else does.

That got me thinking about my list of likes, the things or moments that I like that probably no one else would ever guess about me. I watched the movie almost a month ago and since then have been compiling a list, this is what I have so far, I hope to keep this list and see it grow.

My List of Likes
  • I like hard gummy bears that require a bit of chewing. Haribo gummy bears are my favorite, sometimes I'll throw the bag in the freezer for little less than 10 minutes.
  • I like to open my eyes for just a moment when I'm kissing someone I deeply care about, just to see the way they kiss me, the look on their face, to see if maybe just maybe, they feel the exact same way.
  • I like to end every yoga practice with an inversion, that extra rush of blood to the head before savasana is exhilarating.
  • I like to sleep in lingerie on a random night even if I'm by myself. I believe it's important to feel sexy even without a man.
  • I like the sound a rubber band makes when you loop it once, then twice around a small but hard piece of paper, ie ticket stub.
  • I like the way lightning flashes erratically into a darkened room, exposing quick yet uncertain moments of clarity.
  • I like the slow, fatal burn of a cigarette.
  • I like eating a bowl of blackberries with a glass of Riesling after dinner.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Me, My Shadow Self and I

I really think this weather is starting to mess with me. Yesterday and today I've been acutely aware of my shadow self, or maybe I've just been fueling it to exist in my conscious world. I can't really explain the kind of mood I've been in lately, it's not necessarily a bad mood, I'm not sad or angry, if I had to describe it I feel closest to actually being void of any emotion. It's because tomorrow will come again, just like it has, like it always will. I just can't believe it's been four years now. Four years since I've last seen or talked to you. It's funny, when someone dies you know that logically you'll never see them again. Not at family birthdays, not at graduations, or any more Christmases. After the second year it was like you'd just gone on vacation, or moved to the Philippines, as so many retired Filipinos do...or rather, did at your age. There's not a day that goes by that I don't wonder what my life would be like if you were still here, with me. You were my voice of reason. One look at you and I'd know what to do in any situation, especially what to do with my life. Sure, we all feel lost at some point, it's only human, but this week has been especially difficult without you. Once tomorrow passes I know I'll pull myself out of this, like I always do. It seems these days I'm the only person I can rely on.

Flowers by BORN

Irving Park pages of a tattered book
this, no my, biography is easily
recalled like a finger on page follows
words, familiar.

Alone in my car eyes fixed on red, stopped
as cracked windows welcome breezes from
my childhood, strapped in the backseat of
my grandfather's car.

Scattered plastic footballs, open carton of
golden happiness with "M" handled handles,
pigtailed sectioned hair blows freely. A
glancing, gentle eyes
smile the kind of love not unloved.

Eyes fixed on red fixes on green, gas. West
Coast Video blurs to a Block, the H&R kind
of Block. Crossing Kedzie nearing Kimball, red
signals stop.

3336 W. Irving Park Road cracks in the side
walk stained crimson, cracks of head against
pavement, the Friday of that week lasted
longest, spilling in an isosynchronous Saturday
too soon. Flowers by BORN, what's in a name?

Eddies of cracks course vein-like through
city streets. Breaks in concrete print in unknown
fonts on blank pages unscripted.


I'm not sure if it's appropriate to say your death was beautiful. Or perhaps, it was ironic, but there's beauty in irony isn't there? I don't know if I should cry or smile because you had plans to garden that day, or because it was Earth Day, or because you suffered a fatal heart attack right outside a florist.

You're a part of the reason for the lotus on my back, a reminder that through the mud and dirt, you've always seen me through, and I owe it to you to flourish.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I wrote this unsure if it was supposed to be a poem or a journal entry. When I read it I feel it reads like prose, a narrative, not so much a poem but it does contain poetic devices. It's not finished yet but I don't think I'll be able to finish it for another few months. I want to see where I am then because finishing it in now would be unnatural.

I can feel the wine in my
thighs, calming no numbing
my heart, like how you used to.
I wish I could walk away--with you or
from you, I'm not yet sure which.
Nor do I know the difference. If there is
truth in the mirror and I
do not know my own reflection, am I
a lie? I want to ask the questions,
or rather question the answers instead,
I want to unravel you so you
might just come undone and taste
the wine on my tongue for

Saturday, April 18, 2009

In Other Words

Flipping through my Moleskine yesterday, I came across a lexical translation of a poem I'd written last October. Or rather, I came across my lexical translation of a poem originally written in Tagalog (Filipino), rewritten in English. Lexical translations are challenging, as if writing in English isn't difficult enough. A lexical translation of a poem can be accomplished when the poet doing the translation of the original poem writes or translates the poem word for word in another language. Other useful translations of a poem can include a reworking while paraphrasing but keeping the original concept of what was trying to be conveyed, or lastly the words themselves (in the original language) can be reworked based off of sound alone, a simple homophonic translation.

Personally, I've written several poems with these translation styles and have come to find that it's just as, if not more than difficult as writing a poem in my first language, English. The only difference with a translatory reworking is that sometimes there are no words that express the original sentiment. For example, there are words or phrases in Tagalog that have no English equivalent and to rework a poem written in that language leaves you with gaps. In my last poetry workshop class as an undergrad, I once wrote a homophonic translation of a poem written in Polish. The original version was short, I think a little less than 10 lines and I rewrote it in the exact same form, line for line. Honestly, it was an amateur attempt on my behalf, but admittedly it was fun. The words were already there for me, but unfortunately my words for those words sounded forced and jagged, probably because I don't speak Polish and mispronounced the poem entirely. It's a great exercise though, I highly recommend it. The only thing I can caution you against is using too many proper names, a quick solution for rewriting any foreign language. Once my homophonic translation was complete, I translated the Polish poem word for word and discovered that my version of the poem had absolutely nothing to do with the original. Some people like to translate the original before rewriting it but I need to write blind, completely oblivious of its meaning otherwise I find my version loosely echoing the original.

I've been entertaining the idea of using another approach to translation poetry, one which would involve me writing a poem in Tagalog. I can fully comprehend Tagalog and can speak it fairly well (save for my "American" accent), but having picked up the entire language from my siblings who spoke it everyday around me nearly 17 years ago, my take on writing in the language is nothing but baffling to me. Obviously you don't know this, but I was the only one among my siblings born in the states. When we first met, I didn't speak Tagalog and they didn't speak English yet. The barriers of language allowed for little to no successful communication, but still we found a way. And that's what I hope to do if ever I get around to writing a poem in Tagalog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Weakness of Mine

As of late, I've been reading up on Buddhism and its several philosophies on life in general and more importantly, the actions we make on a daily basis to attain a more fruitful life. I read this passage while researching kleshas and recognized one of my weaknesses.

"A person with moha (delusion) gets attached to an object while completely overlooking all the faults of the object."

-Yoga Beneath the Surface, Srivatsa Ramaswami

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It Feels Like Home To Me

It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me,
It feels like I'm all the way back where I come from.
-"Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk

I'm feeling more and more like myself again these days. How I ever got so far away from myself isn't a complete mystery to me, but I imagine I could have tried harder. Everyday it seems we're always in search of something or in search of someone that will define us in a new way, another way. In a way that we for some reason can't seem to attain ourselves, on our own. I didn't find something to make me realize who am, nor did I find anyone, I actually just looked within myself to recognize my own beauty, as an individual. Aside from yoga, writing, my friends and my family, and all the other outside influences that define who I am, I've actually been finding my happiness in my appearance, which never happens.

This is going to sound ridiculous and vain but I think part of the reason why I'm feeling more and more like myself is because my hair is growing. I know it's a ludicrous statement, but to a woman, any woman, hair is a big part of who we are as individuals. Short, mid-length, long, permed, dyed, you name it, we all place a high value of identity in our hair...which brilliantly explains why I need to change mine so frequently. I honestly think I suffer a mini-identity crisis from time to time and the most accessible, most drastic change I can make is with my hair. I can't really explain why it means so much to me but right now I'm in a different place. My hair is dark brown, not yet black, and about six inches past my shoulders. And everyday I wake up and notice it growing I feel like I'm back, back where I need to be, like I found center. Aside from important social occasions, I barely wear any make up. This entire week I've worn nothing but glasses and mascara, and lip conditioner only because it's been cold and my lips chap easily. I'm not saying I wasn't myself when my hair was short but let's not all forget the reason why I chopped a foot of hair off in the first place back in 2006, I'll call it a mild identity crisis. Ever since then my hair has grown but I've been cutting it along the way, having made the decision to finally grow it out (and stop coloring it) my hair is the longest it's been in three years. And I feel amazing, inside and out. I'm not insane, I promise, but hair is something you have to be patient with, and I'm not a patient person, nor am I conservative, hence my stints of pink and blond hair! But I will say this, it's rare that I feel beautiful on the outside, and as my hair grows a little longer in its natural shade I see and feel my beauty more often. I think it's because I look natural, how I used to look before all the crazy hairstyles, I'm back to where I started. And it's funny because society would deem that as a step back, a retraction, a moment of weakness and unoriginality. I see it as quite the opposite, I'm finally back to a place where I don't need to outwardly express myself with my hair, or otherwise. And let me tell you, it feels good to be back in my own skin, it feels good to be home.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Little Bit of This and That

  1. I think it's really funny that when I have time to write I have nothing to write about. On days when I have so much to say I have no time to write it down, much less blog. In the "Notes" application on my iPhone you'll find lists of random quotes that I've come across at different times, call numbers for my favorite books in the library, or phrases I've overheard in public, and even songs I've just discovered. In other words, my iPhone is my stand-in Moleskine.

  2. I lost my glasses last summer, I think the last time I had them knowingly in my possession was back in July. After re-doing my entire bedroom I was sad but not shocked to find that they were still missing after having looked everywhere. When I do my laundry for some reason I get caught up in trying on my clothes. Seriously, hours can be lost in this process, especially since I haven't been able to wear a dress/skirt in months. I have a hanging shoe rack in my closet where most of my pumps are tucked safely away (I don't have enough closet space for the boxes so only the special shoes stay in boxes). As I put on a strapless, maroon, mini-dress I reached for my brown gladiators from the rack. I put them on to complete the ensemble while also reaching for a belt stuffed into the shoe rack. As I did this, I removed my glasses (an older pair from 2005) and placed them into the slot the belt was in. I walked over to my mirror and had a sheer moment of clarity. It was such a habit, whenever I would try on clothes or try to get dressed I took off my glasses and placed them in my hanging shoe rack. I walked back to my closet and sure enough, nestled next to my blue, Charles David pumps, lay my glasses! I guess it's true, when you stop looking for something it will find you. Dear friends, if you hear me say I've lost my glasses, please make sure I check near my shoes!

  3. I'm taking up naked yoga. My instructor has mentioned classes where chocolate is eaten throughout the practice (little bites, not entire bars) and it's supposed to heighten all of your senses. Well, I've heard the exact same argument for naked yoga. Lately I've considered joining a private yoga studio aside from my gym since I feel like I've got a pretty good grasp on the basics and even some of the advanced moves. Physically and spiritually I need to change my yoga routine and so I've decided to practice naked. Instead of spending my mornings in class, I'm going to practice naked yoga in my bedroom and then head to the gym at night for cardio. I'm really excited about naked yoga, although I do wish I had private access to hardwood floors.

  4. Apparently a handful of my family members read my blog, most of which I knew about but until recently I've discovered a lot more of them do than I originally knew of. My initial reaction was shock, then I was rightly mortified. I don't hide who I am from my family, but my family from out of state (and overseas!) don't really know who I am. And suddenly my mind was flooded with over-emotional blog posts, personal and sexually-driven poems, and well...naked yoga. And then I realized, this is me, take it or leave it. And it is really something that in this day and age my grandmother's brother in Manila can read my blog and e-mail me nothing but wonderful things. And it's flattering to receive a message from my aunt on LinkedIn saying how proud she is of me after having read my blog. And I have nothing to do now but keep on writing, for myself and for them.

  5. I want another tattoo. Recently, my friend Beatriz asked me several questions about my tattoos since she was planning on getting her first one. In turn, I asked her about her piercings since I've been planning on getting one as well. I think when people see my tattoos or ask why I want another one, they simply just don't understand why. Yes, tattoos are obviously a statement of personality and individuality but I could never fully explain my reasoning for wanting them properly. And she said quite beautifully, that she feels like sometimes her outside doesn't look how she'd imagined it should. And that's more than I can say really, I wish for my outside to match my inside, the beauty and the pain, my own self-expression. I think this third tattoo may be my last one, it will also be the smallest. Or maybe the same size as my infinity tattoo. It's going to be the number 4 in roman numerals on my inner left ankle. I don't know when I'll do it, but you'll be the first to know dear readers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dots Speak Louder

I'm almost certain residual anger stems from all of the unsaid thoughts or feelings we keep inside.  The thoughts and feelings of which we initially decided to keep to ourselves in the hopes of remaining uninvolved from any future unpleasantry. Why is it easier to keep it all to ourselves instead of saying what we want and need to? Deep down I know my excuse is because it's just not worth it. I'm an advocate for confrontation, I believe it's necessary in any relationship, if you can't confront each other then communication falls by the wayside. That's another funny thing, you're supposed to communicate in order to have a successful relationship but unfortunately we all seem to have different definitions for the term. Ultimately in these situations, I choose my battles.  Only the relationships that matter to me have witnessed confrontation because quite simply, I won't fight for you if it's not worth it, if you're not worth it. The scary thing about being brutally honest with someone you care about is that the result can come to one of two conclusions: either your relationship strengthens or it just has to end. 

In poetry it is most important to show the story and not to tell it. Anyone can write a poem if all they do is throw flowery metaphors in with some cliched emotion. The difficulty comes when we forget how to feel. The trick is to texturize it, to engage the senses to allow the reader to see the picture that each carefully chosen word helps to depict. For example, I can tell you about the red chair or I can show you the red chair, what it feels like to sit in, the uneven back leg that wobbles with shifted weight, the support it unexpectedly provides. Telling you what the red chair looks like is insignificant. The bottom line is that we have to cut out all the bullshit in order to be relevant but that concept is easier said than done. We focus too much on drawing the lines that connect the dots when in reality, the dots speak louder. In poetry and in life, it's so much easier to fill the space with flowery metaphors, to walk around other people's feelings, to keep things to ourselves. But in any case, not everyone deserves to be shown the red chair. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Reflection Exercise
Look at yourself in a mirror for as long as you can stand it. Describe yourself in as much detail as possible. Build a poem around your own reflection: the way your body changes over time, the small details of your face that no one notices, the reality of “facing” yourself, etc.

My face is a canvas of oily, olive skin: warm, welcoming, smooth. Overplucked eyebrows suggest a certain level of vanity. Boring, bland, brown eyes are lined with black kohl, creating an unintentional seduction. My eyes are glassy, empty, knowing, pained, expressionless if I stare a little longer. Underneath my eyes the kohl is softly smudged, flawed. My cheeks are pink, full when I don't smile. My nose is Filipino. Round, short, no bridge. I hate my nose. In the space between my nose and upper lip is the mole I grew up loathing. Sometimes I don't notice it's there but tonight I do, it's pretentious in its place, right above my upper lip, distracting. My lips are pursed, quiet, curved, keeping me from telling you the truth that only my tired eyes know of. 

Monday, April 6, 2009


If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I keep everything. Literally, everything. I'm not a pack-rat by any means but I keep a lot of sentimental miscellanea from all aspects and junctures of my life. My grandpa was an accountant who always did my family's taxes and after he passed away I received my check in the mail and never cashed it. To this day, that check hangs on my cork board. I keep receipts from important purchases, not for superficial buys, but for example, I have the receipt for my Moleskine worn and mostly faded inside the pocket of my Moleksine. In high school I kept shoe boxes of movie tickets, pictures, and love letters..."love" letters from past relationships. Don't worry, I've long since thrown all of those shoe boxes away. The point I'm trying to get at is that all throughout college I was careful to keep all of my writing materials. I have a litany of books from different generations, movements, and even countries, all from the different classes I took. Along with these books I've kept my notebooks which hold all of my color coded, neatly written, highlighted, personal-dialogue-along-the-margins notes. If there is any one thing I am passionate about it is taking notes. 

While preparing some materials for my tutoring session today I rifled through stacks of notebooks, some of which contained my penmanship that I found both familiar and unfamiliar upon looking at it. Side note: It's interesting to see how much your handwriting changes, how it is still changing, and how much of yourself shows through the swift movements of your hand. I think now more than ever I see myself in my writing. Or maybe now more than ever I'm oddly aware of certain eccentricities that I never noticed before. 

In one of my notebooks I kept a handout which contained an excerpt from Education and the Significance of Life by Jiddu Krishnamurti. An outstandingly bold green caught my eye, I read the passage that my 18-year old self highlighted and smiled because I knew what I had thought was important then was wholly insignificant in comparison to the passage several lines below it. And my intention for this blog was to just share this passage with you but of course I got sidetracked. I think everyday we make decisions that change the rest of our lives, master of the obvious, I know. But really, I think a good handful of us make decisions that please other people, more than it pleases us. We're constantly searching for something new, at least I know I am. Be it a lack of adventure, or a crave for change, it seems no one thing is ever enough to leave me satisfied and I have yet to decide if that works for me or against me. Anyhow, passages like this are few and far between. It's seldom that I ever read something that clarifies and puzzles me, that answers questions but poses new ones...when I read this passage I felt it, and it shook me to my core. 

"Revolt is of two kinds: there is violent revolt, which is mere reaction, without understanding, against the existing order; and there is the deep psychological revolt of intelligence.  There are many who revolt against the established orthodoxes only to fall into new orthodoxes, further illusions and concealed self-indulgences.  What generally happens is that we break away from one group or set of ideals and join another group, take up other ideals, thus creating a new pattern of thought against which we will again have to revolt. Reaction only breeds opposition, and reform needs further reform." 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thoughts Before Bed

My friends say they admire my strength for being able to cut people out of my life without looking back. It occurred to me, as I realized I missed you for that fraction of a moment, if I was perhaps just weak for giving up on you altogether.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything

First things first, it feels amazing not to be plastered to my bed, hair stuck to my face, with a Kleenex box clutched tightly in my palms while dozing in and out of consciousness. I can finally breathe out of both nostrils and go several minutes without coughing too terribly. I also have my energy back and went to yoga this morning after missing Wednesday and Thursday. That was probably the hardest thing about being sick, I just didn't have the energy for yoga, much less the ability to breathe properly for controlling my ujjayi breath. On top of being sick, I've also been going into the studio on my week off to get some side work out of the way so I haven't really had any time to rest. Last night I decided to drink a little more Nyquil than what was recommended by the label, but no worries, I know my body and am almost completely better.

So now that I'm feeling better I must blog since I promised myself I would make more of an effort to write more frequently on here. I can't promise you this will be an inquisitive, thoughtful entry though, I'm really just quite rambling. Speaking of rambling, as I'm blogging here I'm seriously in the zone with some old-school Musiq Soulchild and can't help but sway. I might also still be semi-buzzed off of last night's nightcap.

I'm not trying to pressure you, just can't stop thinking about you.

Seriously, he's taking me back, for some reason it reminds me of when I was a freshman at UIC all over again, boy crazy and immature. And an intended-nursing major. Which by the way has been weighing on my mind like crazy lately, so much would be different in my life if I had stuck with nursing school but I know deep down that my heart wasn't in it, and it still isn't so I know for me, I made the right choice. Moving on...

Let me just say how ecstatic I am to finally bask in the sweet relief that is the month of April. I'm not going to lie to you, March has kicked my ass for what felt like all 31 days of the dreadful month. It was one of the most mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually challenging months of my life, and all I can say is that I survived. That's all we can ever do though right? Surviving is key in any situation that life might throw at you, sure we can do it gracefully or get beaten to a pulp by it...but what matters is that in the end, we survive. And survive I did. 

But I wouldn't have done it without the people in my life who love me, support me and catch me when I fall, who in turn, help me stand back up when I'm ready to.  And it's amazing to have a wonderful group of individuals to count on. I've been working on "opening my heart" in yoga and in life and so far the rewards have been phenomenal. Progress. 

Lots of change going on over here, first off I'm getting rid of my bed. I'm moving some stuff around in my bedroom, it just needs a new feel and I want to create a more productive atmosphere. In place of my bed I'm getting a futon which occupies a lot less space. I've decided to get a desk where I can write, or at least try to. I've always struggled to write at home, perhaps a lack of inspiration? Well, I'm taking matters into my own hands and plan to get all of this moving around and rearranging done by tomorrow night because I'll be in Wisconsin all day Sunday with Justin. March has successfully kicked both of our asses and we just want a whole day to unwind and sleep, knowing us. Also, since his birthday was on Sunday and well, I was running in a snowstorm, we're going to try to have a birthday re-do so I'd really like to be situated with my bedroom project by then. 

Anyhow, I really need to get back to renewing my passport online otherwise my ticket to Mexico will be useless and a waste of money that I didn't have in the first place, but hey...you only live once right? 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It's weird to think of yourself in terms of ability, but we do it everyday, whether or not we realize we're doing it, it happens. How much work can I get done today? How much weight can I lose in a month? How much money can I save before moving out? We ask these things of ourselves constantly, okay maybe not these questions, but questions are asked. Physically I know what my body is capable of, I know what I can accomplish only because in the last year I've been challenging myself incessantly. With the Shamrock Shuffle 8k over with, I kind of feel like I'm capable than more than I ever dreamed, certainly more than I could ever give myself credit for. 

I'm not going to lie to you, by mile 3 I was struggling, ironically enough I was struggling to breathe. When the air is that cold your lungs are doing double, triple the work. All the pranayama in the world couldn't help me out of that situation, I just had to deal. I've also come to realize that running is all mental for me. There were no physical setbacks or ailments, mentally I was focused too much on my breath. Unfortunately I forgot to remember to breathe the right way. When the breath is controlled the mind is at ease and vice versa, or so the Dalai Lama says. Overall it was an amazing experience, I cannot compare anything to it. The snow, ice, slush and ice water filled puddles only added to the gnarly running experience. I have to take a moment to thank my sister and her husband who ran by my side the entire time, never leaving me. And thanks to all the awesome bystanders who cheered on and high-fived complete strangers, talk about encouragement.  

I will say this, I had only one goal for this run and that was to finish in the time allotted. And I'm so glad to say that I reached my goal! Unfortunately after sprinting my ass to the finish line all of my pictures doing so are goofy. But it's okay because I'm high on life and no one can take that away from me. In yoga today one of my friends, Dawn, (who also ran the Shuffle) told me to write my finish time on the back of my bib, just to have for myself. When I got home I did just that and hung it up on one of my cork-boards. Dawn reminded me to be proud of myself because as my first run, I accomplished exactly what I intended. And I stopped to think about this, I shouldn't need someone else to remind me to be proud of myself. Which brings me back to this whole idea that we don't give ourselves enough credit for the things in life that we accomplish. Why is it easier to believe in the negative, to see and acknowledge all the things we cannot do or cannot have as opposed to recognize the positive? It's all in how you see things I guess, for which I am now making adjustments. Anyhow, it's difficult to do so trust me, I know...but from now on I'm going to try harder to stop and realize just how awesome I am because I don't half-ass anything, at least not anything I believe in. And I fully believe in myself.

Friday, March 27, 2009


First, just some rambling. I suck at life and am coming back to Facebook. Let's just leave it at I lost a bet. I am going to hear it from so many people, my phone has been flooded with texts about deleting my account the second time.

Second, the past week has been so crazy in preparation for this Sunday's Shamrock Shuffle. I'm a mess of emotions right now, this is my first official run, something I signed up for based solely on impulse...and perhaps the slight coaxing of my sister in law. I can't believe two months have passed since I signed up for the Shuffle. No amount of running or personal training could have prepared me any more than right now, if I'm not ready now I'll never be. I'll tell you one thing though, I can yoga (yes, I'm using it as a verb) anyone into the ground, but running on Sunday is messing with my mind. I can do 75 minutes of non-stop yoga but 75 minutes of steady running...I don't know. Obviously the challenge is in trying new things and I'm all about challenging myself. Our theatre director here just scolded me today about not telling her I was running the Shuffle sooner because her cardiologist-husband would have given me a running mask. You know, the ones that make you look like you're about to rob the place. Anyways, she was really concerned about how cold it's going to be and stressed the importance of "moist air" for my inhale, which I definitely understand. One of the parents overheard the conversation and jumped in, doling out helpful advice. I'm so psyched for the Shuffle and it feels amazing to have so much support. Ugh, let me just rant though, I spent FOUR HOURS shopping for a running outfit and still don't understand why Nike only has "L" and "XL" sizes available in almost all of their cute running tanks. Absolutely frustrated, I have a full Nike outfit with a Victoria's Secret running top, take that Nike. Moving on...

The one thing I absolutely LOVE about my job is that I'm surrounded by children every single day. They have so many questions and no amount of answers ever seem to be enough for them. "Miss Tasha, why are you running on Sunday? What's it for? Does it raise money for something good?" I have a group of girls who religiously arrive to the studio early just to talk to me before class. They crowd around my desk, ask to play with my iPhone and for some reason are fascinated with my calendar. "Miss Tasha, why do you have so much yoga scheduled? Miss Tasha, who is Justin and why are you having dinner with him at 8pm?" One of the instructors and I were talking about this and she suggested I implement a new rule. Everyday the girls get three questions, if they ask three questions that's all they get and they have to save their questions for the following day. I haven't had to use it yet, but I imagine it's because they're just excited about spring break.

On the upside, the girls are so supportive and insightful, especially at such a young age. I share aspects of my life with them (all appropriate) and they just can't get enough, sometimes I feel like they can give me the most honest opinions because their minds are so uncontaminated.

I've been reading The Path to Enlightenment and the first thing I learned is that an uncontaminated or ignorant mind is the most powerful apparatus for retaining knowledge. It'd be like starting your life from scratch, without memory or sin, able and willing to fully absorb the abundance of life. Children are so free, in their thoughts, words, and actions. It's hard to distinguish the point in our lives where all that changes, when we stop asking questions because our pride gets in the way or because we're afraid of putting our hearts on the line. Children have it so easy, no worries, commitments or responsibilities. And it's funny because they think we have it all. We have our nice cars, expensive phones, and no curfews. It's easy to want something when you know you can't have it, that's half the desire right?

Hmm, maybe I won't enforce the three-question rule. I love that they ask questions, they really should keep asking questions, and who am I to stop them?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Noise. It's a funny thing, when we wish for silence all we hear is the clutter around us. And if not the clutter around us, we hear something even more bothersome, our own thoughts. When we want to drown out the noise the silence that comes is almost deafening, at times unbearable. Is there any happy medium that exists in which the noise in our lives just becomes less than the loudness of our thoughts and more than the dull hum of the mundane?

When I woke up at 4am to the birds chirping in the trees, I got to thinking about the noise in my life. The racket drowned out what was most important, me. Somewhere in between the summer of weddings, finishing school in the fall, and the birds singing this morning, it was Spring again. And I almost failed to notice.

Had the noise in my life been that loud? Or was I too distracted to tune it out?

Spring is a time for rebirth and new beginnings but lately I've been feeling like I'm just back where I started, no growth, no progress, just the same old Tash. As much as I loved the clamor in my life this past year, things have got to change because I don't want to be here, in this exact same place, next year. Slowly, one by one as any fine tuning job would, I've been eliminating the superfluous minutiae from all around me.

If you haven't already noticed, one of those aspects is Facebook. I'm not going to explain why I deleted it because well, it just doesn't concern you. But although Facebook is an excellent tool for social networking and "staying in touch," I really cannot rationalize with talking to people through comments on a regular basis and not physically spending time with them altogether. I'm not that kind of friend.

I can't promise that I'll never come back to Facebook, but in the foreseeable future it's just not for me.

The noise that is the hardest to drown out, mute, or even lower altogether is the constancy and loudness of my heart, of what it wants, needs and can't have. When I write I let go and it's the only instance in my life where my head is overruled by my stupid heart and I write what I feel, without thinking, without second guessing myself, without worry. It's the weirdest thing because I have difficulty reading my words. When I've written a poem, a journal entry, or even blog entry, I can't go back and read it for a week or a month. For some reason I feel like what I'm trying to say gets lost in translation, and although the beauty is in the attempt...I'm still usually unsatisfied. And I know that is a huge problem that I need to face and come to terms with because I need to be able to recognize myself in words, not just in thoughts. And that's where finding my voice comes into play. If I want others to be able to hear me, I have to first hear myself. And I just can't do that with all the noise that used to drown me out.

For where I'm at in my life right now I just want to...need to find my voice again, in life and especially in writing. Those of you who don't really know me will probably assume that I'm suffering from some dark and dramatic inner turmoil, but it's actually just the opposite. I feel like I can breathe again. And it's not that I can't balance the noise in my life, I don't think there's any reasonable balance for that. It's just that I want to clearly hear the music that's important to me as well as the static in between.

In the meantime, I will admit that Facebook withdrawal is keeping me highly entertained because parts of the day go by and I still find myself thinking in status-updates. For example, today went a little something like this...

Natasha just decided what mixtape to run to for the Shamrock Shuffle.
Natasha (in the past three days) has watched seasons 4, 5 and 6 of Sex and the City.
Natasha is trying to be less connected and isn't sure why she has an iPhone, FML.
Natasha still needs to renew her U.S. Passport or she can say adios to the ticket to Mexico.
Natasha cannot wait for the season premiere of My Boys...c'mon, c'mon.
Natasha has a stack of foreign (mostly Korean and Italian) films waiting for her when she gets home.
Natasha should really get back to work!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


"No experience is causeless; rather, everything that occurs has its seed in a previous action; and every action sows its seed on the mind that will eventually ripen in accordance with its nature."

-The Dalai Lama, The Path to Enlightenment

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Equinox

Since yesterday was the first official day of Spring, we celebrated in yoga this morning at 6:00am by doing 108 sun salutations. The spring equinox is welcomed in many yoga studios around the world today. Sun salutations are basically just hatha poses that are held and repeated, keeping an energetic while graceful flow the entire time. The salutations ring in the new season allowing you to really cleanse yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally.

When I walked into my studio right at 6:00am, the sky was dark, the room was warm but almost heavy. It was just my instructor and four other women who participated and we aligned ourselves in front of the floor to ceiling windows, ready to welcome the sun. As we transitioned through numerous poses, my instructor kept repeating one question, "Ask yourself what you want to let go from the Winter and what you want to hold on to and see blossom in the Spring?" I smiled inside, knowing the answer to both questions.

One of the reasons for performing the 108 poses is in due part to represent all 108 feelings. "Some say there are 108 feelings: 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future." And I loved the idea of that, I'm really inspired with growth and transcendence, nothing can come of nothing. Throughout the two-hour practice I experienced many emotions, most of which were honestly unexpected. I mentioned that the room was heavy in the very beginning, it was a dark and closed-off space emotionally. As we progressed through the poses, spring cleaning if you will, the room opened up to us, the sun rose and you just were incapable of not feeling this overwhelming change. While holding an extended pigeon I specifically remember feeling the heaviness of this past winter and all the changes it brought, all of lessons I learned and also the hurt I endured. I felt sad, bitter, regretful...and realized how much of that I had inflicted on others.
And suddenly it just didn't matter anymore. I put my head down and reached my arms forward and silently shed a single tear, letting go.

I realized that I've lost track of myself again, and with that a lot of adjustments will be made in all aspects of my life. I don't believe that my life is on any one path but I do know that I've given so much of myself in the last year and have almost next to nothing to show for it. And that saddens me but at the same time, you just have to accept everything as it is because nothing that has been done can be undone. It's seems like a simple idea in theory but to actually let it sink in and to let it into your open heart takes more strength and wisdom than I've ever known before now. Relationships, all relationships, even the one we have with ourself is a delicate balance of give and take. You have to take care of yourself because sometimes you'll find yourself alone, even with a loving a family, a significant other, and a handful of friends, you'll still feel lonely and you're the only person that will look after you when that happens.

Needless to say, celebrating the Spring Equinox is an experience I'll never forget. I learn new things everyday, especially from my practice of yoga and because of it I learn more and more about who I am as an individual apart from the entire world. The entire session was restorative and emotionally awakening for me, I only wish there's something in your lives that can make you feel this way as well because everyone deserves to bask in it, even for just a moment.

And with that, I'll leave you with the intention I set for today's practice. It was the mantra that I kept repeating and promising silently to myself: "Open your heart."