Journal

The beauty and the peril are the same damn thing. 

Some people make decisions based on what feels good to them. Some make them based on their obligations or what they feel they have to do. Some use the eenie meenie miny mo method to make their decisions, and some just wait it out until a decision is made for them.  

I hung out with King the other day, and I was amused when I noticed that he makes choices based on the amount of work whatever errand or activity might require of him. We left his house and drove down his street about a block when he realized he'd forgotten something he had intended on bringing with him. I asked him why we wouldn't just turn back to get it, and he very quickly replied with a list of steps it would take to accomplish the seemingly easy task of going back: turn around, park the car, get out, unlock the door, disarm the security alarm, locate the forgotten item, re-arm the security alarm, lock the door, get back into the car, pull out of the driveway, and drive down the street. Too much work apparently, so he decided to be without whatever it was he left behind. And just like that, his decision was made.  

I might be a little impressed by his method of choosing mainly because it's pretty much the exact opposite of what comes naturally to me. I am a horrible judge of the amount of work it takes to do anything. I overestimate my desire for the end result and consistently underestimate the value of my own time. So I promise and I do and I spend my precious mortal minutes on choices that aren't worth it or don't better my life in the least. Why? I have no idea. It's the only way I ever knew to be, but fuck that. No more.  

Recent close encounters of the third love have caused this immediate shift in me. Someone passed me an article about the three times we fall in love in our lifetime and the significance of every plunge. I found myself relating to it immediately. According to the article, your first descent is into the kind of love that looks ideal from the outside but causes you to compromise yourself on the inside. The second is the hard and narcissistic love that hurts, manipulates and teaches you about what you need and the tolerance of your own boundaries. And the third is the kind that just fits. It has chemistry, connection, all the good feels, and can sometimes make you forget you have feet. 

At the moment, I can look down and see that my feet are as there as they ever were, but the reason they won't walk when I know they should run is the same exact reason I shouldn't be standing here. There's so much I have to figure out, but here's what I have so far: Time can heal you, kill you, hold you or crush you, and the same goes for love. The reason I stay will be the reason I go, and the most beautiful truth can cheat you. 

So here, in it's proper place in the universe, is my official away message for all the bullshit and the non-worth-its. I've gone to adopt King's method of considering the work required, and it might take a minute since a block away is now a world away. Home is basically a dot to me, much as it feels sometimes like I'm already there.  

xx.

You remind me of my jeep and a sixties sex kitten. 

 woke up the day after the presidential election to countless text messages of despondency including one from Nate asking what the hell happened. We were both lost and heartbroken and decided to commiserate over a bottle of Green Spot he had kickin around the shop. So we day drank through the morning until the early afternoon talking all about our new and inescapable reality while music and white noise from his steampunk stereo filled the background.   

Nate's name isn't even really Nate. That's Le Chat's passive agressive nickname for him but for various reasons, I've decided to allow it and partake. Last night, Nate and I went to the one spot downtown that we both could agree on. We parked ourselves on the back couch and guessed the names of all the Brians and Gertrudes that visited the seating area across our table. He told me about the days of a distant past when his conduct was more unruly than his wonderfully careless hair, and he offered me some fascinating insight to the lewd truth of male programming. Also, according to the bullshit line I enjoyed receiving with my stella and grilled cheese, I'm the spitting image of the dream lady he would have designed for himself six years ago, but here's the thing. You can either keep your cake or eat it, and I'm just not the kind of cake you eat while you keep the cake you have. Nahmean? 

The constant flow of incoming traffic from the woodwork is equal parts soothing and maddening. Sixes, sevens and check mark deficient prospects are in abundance, but the freedom is refreshingly sweet, kind of like having a gourmet dessert before an all you can eat buffet.  

I'm just far too busy to deal with dramatics. My album has been begging to escape my grasp for too long, and I've put an insane amount of time and sweat into other ventures that have been very needy but also very promising. I've done happiness projects, sock drawer overhauls, meditation marathons and social media vacations all of which are very good things for a heart on the mend, and the good news is, I think I'm okay. Actually, I know I am. x

Adventures of street urchin in a feline invasion. 

I did a little me thing and went down to spend some time with the city I not so very recently called home. My flight there got delayed, but I managed to make a friend while waiting for Jet Blue to get their shit together. We shared an uber to the East Village and he told me all about his penchant for hostels and the wonderful arepas in Cartagena. The ride to where we were going actually took longer than the plane ride, so it felt extra refreshing when I stepped out of the car into my favorite Manhattan neighborhood. I hugged and parted ways with my new friend then headed to Ave B to see Boulos. I happily walked in the rain to his apartment building and then up six flights to hug him and his very excited Kenga. We eventually wandered the neighborhood together making various stops into places and moments that made me miss being in the city so much.  

Our first stop was this tiny bookstore where some of his friends were gathering and drinking in celebration of someone they may or may not know's photography book. After that, we found a very dark, very loud restaurant and had the yummiest grilled cheese sandwich ever. Boulos and I talked about old times, current events and the effortlessly lovely french woman that was seated at the table next to us. We had a very strange argument about the tip we were going to leave and then made our way to see the friend he professed his love to on his 21st birthday. At some point in the evening, we linked up with Max who was brand new to me and awesome. He walked backwards and around poles just to save our friendship and pretended to guess the numbers I was only saying in my head. I smiled every minute and would be back there now if my life didn't live in the salted city. 

Wrapped up and distracted, I managed to leave my bag back at Boulos' apartment and spent the entire next morning wearing my clothes from the day before. Cat called me a street urchin in the most endearing way and I was kinda sorta proud to be given the name. We found coffee for our drive and then listened to rap music (the good kind) and traded secret stories all day. 18 hours later, I boarded the plane exhausted from a good trip and flew back home to my most favorite smile on the planet. 

It's good to do a little me thing every now and then. Today I feel more like myself than I have in a very long time. It's like a little magical signal from the universe letting me know I'm not heading in the completely wrong direction. Or maybe I am. Maybe I'm okay with that for now. Maybe getting a little lost isn't so bad when the company is nice. 

xx.

To do list cliff notes from the recovery room shower. 

1. Open my eyes.  
2. Meditate. If I can't find clarity, maybe clarity will find me.  
3. Wash my face and try to scrub away the upside down grin I wore to bed.  
4. Eat breakfast while looking out the toxic little window in the palm of my hand. Consider partaking in a slightly less fatal activity like smoking and then remember I can't afford the taxes on cigarettes.  
5. Move around a mouse and click until something looks pretty enough to make people spend their money.  
6. Utilize the firewall my brain built sometime before I was three and the tuning out skills I acquired while working at a very loud guitar store.  
7. Try again after failed attempt number one kajillion and forty eight.  
8. Call my big brother. Or Jack. Or Kmase. Welcome the comfort of their words and unconditional credence. 
9. Remind brain to send some sense and bandaids southward and include this note: Dear Heart, Eclipses are transitory. The once lovely lighting within you will soon be lovely again.  
10. Rinse, repeat and love yourself. 

x. 

27 ways to make 1 + 0 feel greater than 2. 

My lucky number is 27 and always has been since as far back as I can remember. I'm not sure why I chose that number. Maybe it was because my two favorite numbers were 2 and 7 or maybe because I was born on the 27th day of August. The reason doesn't actually matter, because I haven't needed a reason to believe it was my lucky number my whole life. I just did. I don't think I've ever even confirmed that the number has in fact brought me any kind of luck, yet whenever it's time to choose lottery numbers or to think of a number between 1 and something else, I pick 27. Sometimes it's just easier to have a go to. 

And you wouldn't think 27 is a really high number, until you're counting on it to be the day things get better, and everyday to get there is an uphill climb. I'm currently at day twelve of walking towards a brighter life for myself. I definitely didn't think it would be easier by now, but I'm definitely not so sure it isn't harder. Break ups suck, we know this. Even the name itself suggests pain, because pain will always be true and certain in some way for someone if the something that is breaking is living or real. And it really was.  

I meditated this morning, and the man in the app told me to think about the good, the patience and the joy that I'll have space to achieve once I've cleared all the negative energy and clutter. It's a bitch of a process though. Some days are made easier by the simplest things like listening to Brixton play the new song he learned on his recorder or by standing back to look at my freshly painted bookshelf or even by just appreciating that I seem to have magically gained the time to do those things. But it takes room to exist and two and a half years of smiling or fighting will make a mark. In the end, the shadow animals and the certainty of being the person that matters most weighed just as much as the sighs and declarations of depletion, the gratuitous snapping and the self-important head wags. They all equally weigh nothing now, because they are all no longer there. Good or bad, it's still empty.  

I've been trying to be careful in this particular kind of despair. It's just so much easier to turn to all the wrong things to make you feel less vacant. So I've been doing things like waking up at 5:30am, drinking more honey lavender tea, making every hug last at least six seconds (which I was interested to learn is the minimum time a hug should last to promote the flow of all the mood-boosting, pro-bonding chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin), and of course reading A LOT. Reading makes me feel like I'm growing, and happiness, for me, always seems to happen within an atmosphere of growth. All the more clarity this gives me for why things didn't work out. 

So in just under an hour it will be day thirteen, and I have to believe that every hour forward holds a tiny unrealized promise of finding a lovelier and better fitting joy for myself. Or maybe a new song. And maybe my lucky number 27 will finally prove to me its worth and significance by miraculously making things easier on the 27th day. Or maybe I'll win the lottery. Or maybe none of those things. I'm thankful for the crumb of certainty that any movement from this far down is actually up.. so at least there's hope, which is more than I had 13 days ago. xx 

Take one many times daily. 

I like to take large doses of people I like, and I like to take them often. I like to hear and see and laugh with the parts of my heart outside of my chest every minute the heart inside my chest is beating. It's just the way I am. And I don't really expect other people to be the same way, but I can definitely appreciate when they are. 

I told a stranger the other day to have a good day, and he told me that it's always a good day when you wake up on this side of the grass. That made me smile pretty big, because he's so right. 

Sure ok, the check engine light on my car and I are going to be celebrating an anniversary soon. My gas tank rarely sees more than a quarter tank at a time. I definitely need new tires, and I'm still rocking the big and now rusty dent from last winter's icicle attack. So the fuck what. Bippy and I make do with what we have, and she goes from A to B like a soldier. She treats me well, and I'm thankful to have her. 

There's this ongoing list I keep of people I'd like to take to a fancy dinner. It would have to be fancy, because it would take at least seven spectacular courses to unload a notable enough fraction of thank you's from my mouth. I'm multi-lingual in my love languages, so the same people also make up the list of who I'd give the world to if fortune was my forte.  

What I'm getting to is that the guy from the other day said it perfectly. This side of the grass is a good place to be. It may not always be green, but it will always certainly be greener than the alternative. 

My life only gets shorter by the second. Loving big and in excess is the way to go. Moderation should be used in moderation.   

x.Bea 

The faults and merits of excellent posture. 

I always feel a little bit high after playing a show, and last night was no exception. Charley was kind enough to share his stage with me at Sparky Town. I dragged all the people from work out to the show, and we all geeked out about how good the PA sounded. I get nervous sometimes playing in front of other musicians. I just know the little fuck-ups that sometimes make their way into my performances have a harder time eeking by them. Overall, I felt good about how it went and felt appreciated by everyone who lent me their ears, eyes and evening. 

I drove home and almost immediately crawled into bed. I got to talk to Wizzy for a little bit, but we both had an exhausting last week... his even more so than mine. I requested a brief appearance of my favorite shadow animal, and we said our good nights.  

Today, I woke up still tired and slightly off kilter. I scrambled around the house getting dressed while singing harmonies to the oldie but goodie Swiss Army Romance. It brought to mind some decade old moments that made me smile just enough to slightly adjust my balance.  

Mid-day, I hid away in my car and called Kma. It's always nice to hear her, especially on days that feel like moon days even though they aren't. We talked about last night's show, caught up on some business stuff and touched on a few topics slightly more enigmatical.  

I read something one time about the value of having some enemies. It said that having them just means you stood up for something sometime in your life. On occasion, I have to force myself to remember that. I'm not so sure I stand up for what I think as much as I should. Thank you, Winston, for sparking my stance.  

x.Bea 

Break, burst, or hang fire. 

Transition is development. I try to remind myself of this when messes begin to loom, and I can't decide whether crumbling or exploding would be better for getting rid of the mass of knots in my stomach. Fortunately, I've made it to a stage in my life where at least one entire human being (although not very large) depends on me and everything I do. Remembering this truth usually reveals a third option for me: to grow.  

Growing is akward, It can make you feel hollow or scared. Sometimes it hurts, and the wonderful part of growing is rarely apparent until you've arrived on the other side of the moment. 

I've realized that transition is about decisions-- not quite making them, but owning them. The choices are made before the change. Thereafter, that often excruciating space between how things were and where we're going is precisely what we refer to as transition. It's what we walk into after taking a deep breath and leaving what's safe, what we've outgrown, what doesn't make sense anymore or what isn't willing or strong enough to transition with us.  

Sometimes it takes a while to get through it, but I have always exhaled. That sigh of relief when I make it to the other end is always an exhilarating reminder that I'm still alive. And I'm usually a little stronger, a little smarter and a little closer in resemblance to the version of me I ultimately want to be.  

It seems like I've been holding my breath for over a year now. Since panicking is literally the worst thing you can do when you're drowning, I've consciously avoided it. All I can really do is keep moving, go with the flow, try not to fight it and hope I end up in a place where my feet can touch the ground.  

At least the hold music is nice.  

xx.Bea.  

In no particular order.  

Significance. Contribution. Love & Connection. Variety. Growth. Certainty. I read somewhere that those are the six core needs for human happiness. I find this pretty interesting and for the most part, accurate. Looking at this list and being able to roughly measure my happiness is sort of like a progress report, and I can back that. Far easier to get to where you're going if you know where you are. 

The last few days have been a little heavier than I feel strong. They have certainly challenged my levels of every single item on that list above. I wouldn't say any one of those is necessarily more important than the other. I will say, however, that I believe the lacking of one of them seems to be the most damaging to my happiness. That one of which I speak would be certainty. 

I lost someone dear to me the other day. She was my beautiful, devout, committed and always caring Aunt. It's possible I may be harboring some hard feelings about her illness and how she went. For who I hold this resentment, I don't know really, but I don't think it's possible to get into it without getting into a drawn out religious discussion where the words "God has a plan for everyone" would surely be mentioned. All I know is that I wish I would have spoken to her before she passed. I didn't, because a lack of certainty for what she might say to me discouraged me from doing so.  

There are a variety of certainties. There's the kind that a beloved other will leave their heart open to everything you say and try harder to understand what you're going through when his or her natural instinct might be to give up on you. There's the certainty of unconditional love. There's the certainty of forgiveness, loyalty and support. These are all the same, and they aren't. This need is so damn complex that even having all that still doesn't guarantee fulfillment of the category. My emotional vitals this week are collectively low. Feels like even a small dose of certainty at this point would help me get some of my color back.  

And then, there's significance. Feeling like your existence is meaningful is different from feeling like the meaning you bring is unparalleled. The latter is ambitious, but so am I and it's what I want, damnit. Not sure if that makes me needy or optimisitic. Maybe both. I think I'm okay with that.  

I hope my progress report next week shows some improvement. If only intent could be nine tenths of the voyage, I'd be in pretty good shape. 

xx.Bea.

A wall of water, a wall of bricks. 

I got back into town at about midnight last night. I hit up TC for a ride, because it seems nearly all my regular go-to's are enjoying a piece of their summer in some area of the world other than Syracuse, New York. I guess he's been a little sick though the last few days, because it was Sarah's sweet smile that greeted me the moment I exited the airport. It was so nice to see her. Of all the common and repetitive moments in our everyday lives, I can't think of many things more uplifting than being on the receiving end of a sincere smile. Such a simple thing to do really. I'm not sure why more people don't do it. 

Our short little drive had me talking all about my Louisiana adventure this last week. I was beaming and speed talking and all psyched and somehow couldn't slow down enough to make our conversation more two-sided. I just couldn't help it. My last week was quite a week. It was a week that almost seems ilke it was demanding me to feel it. There were very few minutes that didn't come with at least some small degree of emotional importance. A few thousand of those feelable moments, even with the more slight ones considered, would probably explain why my entire body feels like it ran into a brick wall. In a good way though, I think, if that's even possible. 
 
 The week blew by so quickly. I'm dreading the inevitable moment that the experience becomes less holdable to me. Will it go away in a week? In a month? When exactly do I forget what the rug felt like under my bare feet in the vocal booth? Or the pain at my fingertips from playing my guitar more than I've been used to? Or the pressure of sound in my ears when listening back to my very own songs in a new found light? Or all the irrepressible smiles that happened as a result of watching two people be bad ass at what they do? These little jolts of delight are heart heightening. So much so that boxes would probably be packed and Shreve bound if I had more of an addictive personality.
 
x. Bea.