"6 Self Improvement Hacks to Instantly Improve the Way You Live & Work"

Please let me tell you something you already know, wrap it up into a simple bullet point list telling you that meditation and gratitude will improve your life. that being present and not juggling too much stuff (some call it multi-tasking) will lower your blood pressure. that eating well balanced meals and having friends and family will make everything better.

this is not a life hack.

i want to tell you about the several times i’ve failed, even with a meditation app. how i can’t rely on doing something 5 minutes a day every morning because life happens. how multi-tasking is the only way some of us get anything done. how i don’t trust what people tell me about how well balanced is a balanced meal because everyone has an agenda to make me smaller.

no carry on luggage.

but what if i am all of my baggage?

what if i’m just a collection of experiences, reactions, memories, wrapped up in a skin suit, this bag of spaghetti and bones.

but feelings, i leave those out. so fleeting and fickle and something that can change weight so quickly.

i want to bring just the important stuff. like that one perfect day where both my knees were functioning well enough i could take our dogs for a long walk. that batch of cherries from Bi-rite in 2013. the first and only bite of a patty melt at the pine crest diner at 3AM where i was drunk, it was raining and i had fallen down in the tenderloin but it didn’t matter because my friends picked me up and we ate french fries and drank coffee and i took one bite of the most perfect patty melt before pushing the plate away saying, “I can die now. This is life, you guys.” slurring and sloshing beverages around without care. opening up all the windows in the cab to my driver’s dismay because i wanted to be rained upon.

those moments all stuffed into a suitcase haphazardly, too many of them i have to sit on top to get the zipper to move. i want to pair it down to the essentials but i find myself grasping onto more of them. these tokens of what love looks like.

ice cream sandwiches on front stoops, sticky fingers, melting everywhere and not enough napkins. bike rides at midnight to the 24 hour safeway. pizza and youtube videos. naps in the park. throwing paper airplanes off of josh’s balcony in fox plaza, high above market street.

i think i need a bigger suitcase.

***

there is nothing tidy about my life. everything is always spilling out everywhere no matter how hard i try to keep it contained. it is this mess of stuff, all story, none of it is random. do you know what the heaven beetle is? can i show it to you? can i tell you why it’s important?

i seemed to have stopped purging. it was great once upon a time. i always wanted to get rid of the old so i could continue making room for the new stuff that the new me would want. there was always a new me on the horizon. old me is so 1998. current me is never enough and is always in flux. current me was never real me but new me, just you wait. she’s fucking tidy. she goes to the gym often but not too much, she puts more vegetables than fruit in her smoothies and isn’t a “dessert person”. she can have cocktails on a weeknight and still make it to a yoga class in the morning before starting work at her job in a young office where she can meet deadlines and still take fridays off. she has a capsule wardrobe and only purchases an article of clothing every 6 months and never changes sizes so she never has to replace anything. she has 4 pairs of shoes, one for each season because you know, she doesn’t really need a lot of stuff. she doesn’t like having stuff. it’s all boiled down to the essentials. like an ascetic monk…but aesthetic. an aesthetic monk.

fuck. i hate new me. i mean, why don’t i want to be this current me with too much of everything and underwear in 3 different sizes and clothes that are either too big or too small and 25 pairs of black leggings all in various states of disintegration?

sometimes i see friends and family members who have children and i wonder if the distraction is a blessing or an even heavier thing to carry thinking about the shitty world we’re handing over to them to deal with while we get alzheimer’s and get old and forget that cd’s don’t exist anymore. while we talk about telephone radio alarm clock combos that plugged into the wall and paying for things with checks and learning things about your friends organically because there was no facebook.

current me needs to get off the internet and take a much needed shower. her ‘natural’ deodorant is failing her or 3 days is the limit on days she can remain unshowered. current me thinks showering takes too much work, wishes breakfast sandwich delivery was more affordable and is mad teleportation hasn’t been invented yet.

i write because i like re-reading old journal entries. i write because i like looking back on memories i’ve forgotten that i get to put on again, briefly

so my fingers and hands can remember the feel of wet sand and the tide washing over them and the first taste of salt water taffy. the disappointment that it wasn’t any good and how the adults loved it but i wanted fudge and i swore that when i was an adult i wouldn’t lie to kids about candy and what is good and not good.

i write because i if don’t no one will know about all the secret cigarettes i used to smoke out my bedroom window

or the time i pocketed the body of christ at mass so i could take it home and look at it to see if it was really special in some way, huddled over the wafer, locked in the bathroom. the disappointment in seeing it was just like the flying saucer candies, like thin edible styrofoam and i popped it into my mouth in a panic because my mother knocked on the door.

i write because i want to remember and catalog all the times i’ve locked myself in a bathroom to do anything other than its’ intended purpose.

to hide from an ex at a party.

to examine my underwear the day after a miscarriage.

to eat a thanksgiving meal after my aunt had told me i gained weight.

to eat an unsanctioned snack of cheetos because i was subliminally taught that it was the only place to eat unsanctioned cheetos.

to hide in the bathtub from my parents because i refused to change into a dress for a party.

because it’s where i go when i want to be an asshole but not hurt anyone’s feelings.

i write because it’s easier than talking to people and i want people to know that i love them but i don’t want to hear what their reply would be.

i write because one day i may need to remember in specific detail all the horrible things that have happened to my body, by others, by myself, with good intentions, but maybe not. i write because the brain has selective amnesia and will do what it needs to do to protect you, so you can function in daily life without being haunted by trauma, but the body knows. the body knows.

9 things about my family

  1. the way my sister, while trying to have a conversation about her job, deftly, wordlessly, diffuses a fight between her 2 kids.

  2. the way my mother will intently listen to instructions and then blatantly disregard everything said and do what she wants to do with no apology or explanation.

  3. the way she talks to hospital staff, like she’s the doctor on rotation, giving orders and making observations and asking pointed questions, but she’s not on call, it’s not her hospital. her father is dying in a private room on the fourth floor and she’s been living there for four days straight.

  4. my brother doesn’t have to tell me his longest running relationship is over. he knows mom told me even though she wasn’t supposed to. he delays his plans to quit smoking. he asks me if i miss it. sometimes, i reply. the wall of smoke keeps some people out and brings some people in. i miss both.

  5. i have makeup that expired in 2002 that i refuse to use or throw away. i don’t know what this says about me.

  6. i don’t remember ever seeing my dad cry although i’m sure he has. at his father’s funeral. at his brother in law’s funeral. at all the funerals, he slips away. i inherited my ninja skills from him. it takes a moment for people to notice he’s gone. he’s outside, hidden by the car smoking cigarettes. benson and hedges light 100s menthol. so odd, his choice, the one with all the descriptors possible. we’ve all caught him at one point or another. his attempt to hide it half-assed. whenever my mom complains, i think “he needs this. give him this one thing. we all need our one thing.”

  7. the way jeff strips his clothes off after walking the dogs on a hot day, casually unbuttoning and stepping out of his jeans, walking to the kitchen to turn on the running water in the sink and stick his head under the faucet to cool off. how effortless his movements are, almost like he glides, like he has wheels in the bottom of his feet.

  8. the way bean grunts to get your attention. he doesn’t bark. like he doesn’t know he’s a dog and it doesn’t matter. he looks up at your and grunts like a caveman and you know to reach your hand down to give him a piece of your breakfast sandwich even though your vet would disapprove.

  9. the way we all communicate like people who never learned the language, hoping that through osmosis, through telepathy, if only if i feel this loud enough, “i love you. i love you. i love you.”

loser

the thing about having asian parents…

there is never an action i do where i do not think, “is this benefitting you or advancing you in any way shape or form? if not, then why are you doing it?”

i think this as i individually pick up dried water beads with my finger tip and scrape them off into a container. i have been doing this for the past 30 minutes. i really have no reason to keep these things and quite honestly it feels unhygienic to keep and reuse them since i have thousands of them and they were $10. i have 45 unread books scattered around me, a novel i haven’t started writing, meal prep to do, clothes and dog toys strewn around the floor, an unmade bed, a bunch of PT exercises i haven’t done in days, a piano i haven’t touched in a month and here i am picking up itty bitty beads and putting them into a jar while all these other bigger things go undone.

the thing about asian immigrant parents, if you don’t accomplish their version of success then what are you and what did they sacrifice for?

there is no room in my life to breathe even as i make this choice to waste time on a mindless task that benefits no one. each minute is saturated in guilt. i should be writing. i should be reading. at the very least i should be cleaning the house or making dinner. at the very least i should be making a budget of some sort so i can find out where we can save money. i have that same affliction samantha irby wrote about. that “i grew up poor so now that i have money expensive useless things like special face wash make me feel good about myself.” and while i’ll take my addiction to toiletries that don’t do anything to make me look better and insulated hydroflask water bottles over an expensive purse and/or shoe addiction any day i still don’t feel that great about it. ideally, i wouldn’t be addicted to material things. ideally, i also wouldn’t be wasting time dehydrating water beads by the handful on my desk.

i walked out of hilary’s office and limped down the steps (as a person with chronic knee pain often does) and out onto N Williams Ave thinking about how i spend an hour a week trying to figure out why i think i’m a lazy garbage person with privilege she doesn’t deserve and how do i stop feeling this way because i really can’t be all that bad of a person. i’ve never killed anyone. i say please and thank you and often god bless you when someone sneezes. i hold the door open for people even if they’re far away and i never let my bag take up a seat on the bus.

one theory is that i’m lacking mirrors. i’m lacking people in my life who reflect back to me and reinforce my inherent goodness. i have my husband. i have my therapist. but all my friends live all over the place and i don’t have that daily interaction with people who know me and can provide this positive reinforcement.

being an introvert and an empath and an adult who does not have to go to an office everyday i’m faced with the impossible task of making friends.

i’m so not good at this.

so i continue to keep my life insular. i pet my dogs. i do the mundane useless task. i buy an expensive shampoo. i feel like a failure. i kiss my husband. i contemplate if it’s a “me” character trait or a general Cancer (sun sign not disease) thing. i wonder how other people do it.

but i dare not ask the internet. i’ve shared some of my frustrations and anxieties via intstagram stories and have been met with one part heart emojis and one part “have you tried cutting sugar from your diet or intermittent fasting?”

wtf people.

get your shit together. if you’ve been paying any attention to any of the content i put out there you’ll know that your suggestion of occasional controlled starvation is not wanted or tolerated.

i can’t depend on social media interactions to be my mirrors because i don’t trust it when it sends me shit like this from people who only vaguely know me.

i need some IRL friends which feels impossible to make while i continue to think and act like i’m a complete loser.

i have nothing good to put into a poem this morning.

i am all stomach gurgles and questionable breakfast choices.

i am the instrumental music that comes on when the medical office puts you on hold and you’re on hold for five years.

i am the jack in the box that opened up after your favorite falafel place closed down.

the 24 hour diner with the lights shut and locked door at 2AM.

i am the tone of your mother’s voice after you’ve ignored her last 3 calls

the friend who wants to talk to you about carbs

the hairdresser who aggressively combs out your earrings

the person who cuts in front of you in line casually, like he had been there all along when he was really over two feet away flipping through US Weekly

the smaller city Target that doesn’t have anything you want or need.

i’m the truck who won’t let you get in the right lane

the stained plastic take out container you can’t recycle so you can feel good about your environmentalism.

i’m the starbucks that opened in italy.

the disappointing salad you spent $15 on

the medication that gives you explosive diarrhea.

the leftover goo stuck to a bottle after you removed a label.

the ghost booger you have while you’re waiting in the lobby for a job interview.

i’m over lotioned hands that won’t let you turn the doorknob

the lego embedded into the bottom of your heel that you’ll still be feeling days from now.

please don’t ask me how i’m doing today.

i blow the candle out because i don’t want to remember. it’s not the right time. funny how the brain does this, starts closing the sliding door to that room. no, it’s not time yet. you’re not ready. it’s too much. the mechanisms your body has to keep you alive. your body wants you to thrive even though the world is shit and people can be horrible selfish creatures, even though you can’t think of good things to put into a poem this morning, even though you are surrounded by moments that are loving and earnest, even though you can’t see them right now, they’re here, they’re happening and the brain shuts the door to the really dark stuff because even the grey stuff is too much right now.

being filled with too much from the outside world. the people who love you are worried about you.

dehydrating water beads you need to spread them out. they dry out quicker the further apart they are from one another. the ones that stick together remain full the longest, pulling life from one another, like living things, like if they could create a raft of themselves they can keep themselves afloat for much longer than if they were alone.

IMG_3445.jpg

i want to thrive.

please don’t give up on me. i don’t want to wither alone.

i write to remember

I remember the night we cobbled dinner together out of all the things I needed to eat before I left Boston. 5 mangoes leftover from the box Fred impulsively bought at Haymarket. A cup of cereal leftover in the box. 2 packs of ramen. A box of mac n cheese. Leftover Rice a Roni in a tupperwear in the fridge. Fred gathered the mangoes in his arms and carried them like a baby in his arms.

“I got these,” he said.

“You’re going to be shitting yourself for weeks!” Jesse laughed.

“I know,” Fred replied. “It’s going to be epic.”

I finished the cereal in one handful to the mouth.

“What’s next?” I asked, still chewing.

“We can do the mac and cheese with water.” Jesse grabbed a pot out of a box, like magic, nothing ever appears that easy in an apartment full of boxes and trash bags. all soft sided things were thrown into hefty extra tuff garbage bags. everything else in brown cardboard pilfered from the market down the street. it makes sense that my last winter in boston was the coldest and our heat was broken for most of it. i remember throwing matches at the pilot light, willing to risk life and limb for working warmth. at first, leaving boston felt like admitting defeat, a failure of sorts. I had told myself that there was nothing left for me there.

I could have stayed. I would have eventually left Lawyers Weekly and gotten some other office job. I would have fallen in love with someone else, someone who wasn’t Fred. someone who wouldn’t insist on eating 5 mangoes in one sitting. someone whose pants i didn’t need to mend on the regular. I would have found an apartment with working heat and would have never let my constitution go soft like it did in sunny, warm LA. I don’t remember who ended up with all my winter gear, the grey wool men’s coat i found a thrift store, the only thing that ever fit me from a thrift store. the fleece gloves that you couldn’t hold shit with if you were wearing them. the duck boots from LL Bean. the flannel lined jeans. none of it came with me to LA and now I want them back just so i can smell them and remember what boston in the winter smelled like.

***

three starts. three assignments. no editing.

#1

things that don't suck. my cholesterol. surprisingly. i think even my NP was surprised and a part of me wanted to be like, "Ah ha! I got you!" like i'm wearing a fat suit  and all of a sudden i shed it. surprise!  fooled you into thinking this thing about me which is totally untrue! but...

this is not a fat suit.

the realization that comes with a lifetime of being in this skin, my viscera, the way my hair thins in  this one spot. these moles, the fact that i keloid, my scars becoming puffy little masses, like they're raising their hands saying, "I'm here! I'm here!"  the secondary chin that pops out to say hello when i'm tired and i let my head nod forward. my fading tattoos. my inability to jump upright out of bed, the ay i can feel my bones scrape against one another, my juicy days are far behind me.

these things suck. sort of. mostly.

the miracle of walking my dogs after 2 knee surgeries. finding the best recipe for buttermilk pancakes. the warm pocket my husband leaves in the bed when he gets up. the ability to live anyway. to do anyway. to be happy anyway. to keep it all wide open despite it all.

that doesn't suck.

#2

no thank you. no it's ok. i'd rather do without. i know already that i didn't feel better when i looked like that. no thank you to eating disorders and treadmills. i'm saying goodbye to that. she. her. she never served me. she was always a means to an end. she was the promise of love, relationships, of acceptance, success, of normalcy. she was the end of a 90 minute rom-com, all lilting acoustic guitars as the credits rolled over an image of a sunset over the bay. she was a shiny gold thing, all coveted sparkling gems.  she was all ease. at least that's what everyone suspects.

no thank you to her.

there used to be tremendous effort to day goodbye to her. she's just an idea. she's not even real and i can't help but sit here looking at my hands in wonderment at this dream that was sold to me so long ago that i believed it was my own doing. my own fault.

no thank you to accepting blame for everything. for doling out forgiveness to every space i walk into, issuing apologies before anyone has noticed me. i'm so sorry i'm like this. i'm do sorry for asking for anything. i'm so sorry i'm not her.  

#3

there is a certain kind of trouble with this kind of harsh light.

exposure therapy. it's a thing, right? it feels relentless and unforgiving. 

it's in my own control right? i'm doing this thing. opening the wound over and over again.

i don't turn on this lamp for a reason.

i read at night in low light. i prefer the darker months of the year. when the world get a little too cold for comfort. where the outside is wet and saturated and the sun is nestled into a cloud pocket. this kind of grey is nice. the neighbors stop grilling and we all go inside for warmth. we all do the things we do to nourish ourselves to the ultimate cozy. 

i'm all over the place when the seasons transition. i'm wondering how long i can be barefoot in the house. i'm unsure if i should wear pants outside. i look at weather apps and it's like a completely foreign language i refuse to read correctly. it's never right and i want to wear dresses and flip flops with scarves and hoodies. everything is uncomfortable. the temperature of a room takes up way too much real estate in my brain, pushing more coherent thoughts. what was i talking about again? am i running away from something important? filling in the uncomfortable gaps with talks about the weather? is my brain tricking me? protecting me from myself?

permission

you have permission to use the wrong word

to take the easy way out

to walk away when you realize it's a waste of time

you won't believe this but it's ok to throw away politeness

there's not enough time left for sitting on your hands wishing for something better.

you have permission to fart in public, to change your mind, to say how you really feel

to not compromise

who likes pineapple on pizza anyway?

say no to obligatory dinners with people who make you feel bad

let go of people who wished you were different

     if only you had more money

     if only you were as much fun as so and so

     if only you wouldn't wear that shirt or those shoes 

     if only you didn't let yourself go so much

     if only you didn't drink so much

     if only if you drank more often!

     if only you didn't have bad knees or listen to old music or like that tom hanks movie or

    insist on getting your own popcorn because you don't like to share.

yeah. fuck those people.

you have permission to say fuck that noise and whatever whispers that will come after.

let your soft fat body go out in public, eat popcorn shrimp in the food court and get your ice cream in a cone even though you know it'll end in certain disaster.

be the sticky faced three year old you know you still have rattling inside of you.

buy the $8 orange juice because it tastes good.

buy the $2 concentrate can because it tastes like your childhood.

go to the grocery store and buy nothing but $50 worth of juice because you can. give it to people you meet on the street. hand out dixie cups of it to marathon runners. join the race for half a mile or however long your body will take you then go to a bar and order a ridiculous drink full of sugar and booze and fruit.

feel free to drink it or throw it at the next person who warns you about diabetes or the person who tells you how juicing cured their cancer or how chia seeds makes them less hungry.

 throw your beverage at people who offer nutritional counseling without your want or permission.

take a nap dangerously close to bedtime.

wake up in a panic at midnight cursing you and your bad decisions.

make more bad decisions. 

because life without them isn't life. 

 

 

love me like fresh everything. but also like the forgotten shea butter in the back of the drawer, years old, its oils rancid. if you can love me like that, the rest will be easy. love me like the forgotten. love me like the rediscovered, where everything you've lost becomes found again.

love me like first kisses, all unknowing and unfamiliar but full of wanting. love me like last kisses, the holding of faces, the teary goodbyes.  the last goodbye, how do i show you what a lifetime of love is in one last kiss? the one that i hope isn't in a hospital but somewhere cozy with a fire and our dogs laying at our feet.

love me like you know how i will die. love me like that.

like every morning you've ever reached across the bed to kiss the back of my neck. like the dogs and how they jump and squeal and bring us their most prized possesions when we come home. love me like someone who has come back after a long journey. like a homecoming after a harrowing disaster. like a near car accident, a close call. love me like i'm something you could possibly lose.

love me like the ninjas love their own stealth but make it loud.  make it like the garbage trucks on an early friday morning clanging the bins against their vehicle. make it loud like getting stuck in  front of the speakers at a show, like you wished you brought ear plugs. love me like the crying baby on a plane whose lungs are on the verge of giving out, all the wailing and uncontrollable emotion.  she wants what she wants. she needs and she needs and her parents can't stop apologizing.

love me like that. all unraveled and disheveled emotion, all last push for the finish line of the longest marathon, like the last exhausting step up the mountain, the last stroke of your weary arms hauling you ashore where you can finally rest.

love me like that.

it doesn't have to be beautiful.

when i started working from home i stopped learning how people dressed themselves in public. or i just forgot how to not look like i just came from the gym or from sleepy time yoga. i don't know what to do with hair that just wants to live in a top knot everyday or worry if i need to shave my legs if i'm going to some sort of formal event because i refuse to let pantyhose back into my life.

i'm letting myself grow unruly, like our unkempt back yard.  i'm overgrown with spring flowers growing wherever the seeds were tossed months ago. the dead straw like stems of mowed down clover left to bake in a the sun during a too hot summer. the random potatoes jeff buried in the corner to see if we could get new life out of wrinkled aging spuds we forgot on a counter. it is all randomness. it is all throwing stuff out there and seeing what nature will let stick.

i'm a lush jungle of too much stuff. my belly grown and flopping over, too full of memories, of meals both consumed in joy and in sadness. the binge of breakfast cereal and breads and all the things i denied myself. there was a time where there simply wasn't enough honey nut cheerios in the world that would satisfy. this hunger that was let loose after a lifetime of being tidy, neat, being all things good and quiet and easy to swallow.  full of order. easily contained.

these days i'm unraveled, like ursula unleashing her tentacles, an uncontrollable mass of life and limbs coming undone. the first deep breath after a long breathless evening in an undergarment squeezing you small.  the sigh of relief after letting go, shaking loose and sitting with whatever you are now, now that you are free.

i have no discipline because it does not serve me anymore.

i am unruly because my days have no structure.

i am judged by the state of my body and the rules i now no longer choose to live by.

it doesn't have to be beautiful.

nothing has to be.

it. just. is.

i don't know how to eat a mango.

i could google it. i could watch a hundred youtube videos.

i should know how to do this.  is it not the fruit of my people?

i don't really have a people.

feeling very 'other' lately.  like i'm special but in that bad way kind of special.  it's easier to cast my lot with american. i grew up drinking juice out of metallic pouches and eating cereal that tore up the roof of your mouth. i was born here. i only speak english. 

i had a job in belmont once. 6 of us squeezed into a tiny office nestled in a weird strip mall off of el camino real. 3 white men and 2 filipinos.  i was the whitest person there. my bosses grew up and spent more time in the phillippines than i had and the language would switch when they wanted to discuss things they didn't want me to know about.

i've lost my ability to grasp meaning from the few words i knew. as i grew, more and more words slipped from my brown, out my ears, needing to make room for more interesting things. whatever things teenage girls liked.

wild writing starts back up in september but in the mean time i've signed up for 27 days so i can do it on my own.  i've only managed to word vomit my feelings in a non-pretty way. i've only managed to be 1/2 way through michael arceneaux's memoir.  the part where he's currently broke in LA and how it mirrored a lot of my same experience of the sprawling city.  carless. broke. embarrassed about being carless and broke and how that keeps you lonely in a place that is already designed for peak loneliness.

we had a two day break in the heatwave but that's pretty much over.  my inherent asian anxiety wants to keep me living in fear of wasting every singly privilege i have.  the rest of me is trying to take a staycation.

therapy should be interesting.

 

 

i could hear the tubes filling with blood. my blood. i could hear it and it made my toes curl and my insides go all squidgy.  i was looking away. i always look away because i hate needles. i can't look.  i remember getting nauseous catching a glimpse of an iv in my hand pre-surgery.  

my blood pressure was high. again.  the nurse asked me about it and if it's something i talked to my NP about and I told her no, i had only come in once before last week and it was high then too.  it's doctor anxiety, i'm sure.  it's also brown person anxiety.  it's fat person anxiety.  it's 'i took the bus here and i've been feeling ick about the bus lately which goes hand in hand with brown person anxiety.'  i have privilege though. i know it.  i'm not black. i'm not indigenous.  i'm not the most marginalized of the marginalized. i filled out their questionnaires on depression and anxiety.  they gave them to me after i filled out my initial paperwork.  probably cautionary since i went into detail about how anxious i've been lately.  there aren't enough lines in your form for me to tell you why.  if i could boil it down to something that would fit into the small space you allotted i could say:  historical trauma. marginalization. trump.

i'm bracing myself for the lab reports. i cry on the bus to the coffee shop on the way home in between bites of a protein bar that tastes like sadness and self loathing. i can't eat them anymore. especially on public transportation. i was always scarfing down sugar free protein bars to and from some sort of workout class because i was always scared of passing out, like a part of me knew that i was existing on barely enough food to keep me going.  i was a vegetarian with a gigantic fear of carbs at the time so i was always carrying around quest bars, the lowest of the low carb protein bar options.  

i was grateful for the empty corner table at kainos, my favorite coffee shop.  i was grateful austin was working because i always get hugs from him no matter how busy the shop is. i drank my coffee. i ate my biscuit. i read my book and tried not to think too much about it all.  i need to parse it out. i need to let it all slowly make its way into my brain so i can digest all these conflicting emotions.  this need and want for my body to be different than it is.  this need and want to not change how i've been making decisions about exercise and food because this way has felt balanced.  watching my belly expand and grow and feeling conflicted because i do not love this body but i do not wish to change it because i've done that before and it doesn't work. 

how do you not feel like a failure when society says your body is shameful?  and if you don't work to change your body your behavior is shameful? 

i'm supposed to be writing poems about this kind of shit, i'm sure.

 

when i was a kid i'd often day dream about my funeral.

out of all the adult milestones it was easier imagining dying than getting married.  that and imagining my life as a waitress in a city a la "it's a living" because that's what you did when you moved to a city.

i couldn't wait to be a waitress and i couldn't wait to die.

it's still pretty accurate.  lenny kravitz' 'fields of joy' is still the song i imagine when my body is carried into a churchy type place. when i was younger dead bodies were carried in coffins and i thought that was my only choice but now that i know being turned to dust is an option, i imagine a viewing, a wake before being cremated. i can already hear my playlist. star witness by neko case on repeat.

things i will be remembered for:

- food on her shirt

-tenuous relationship with social media

-very nice. maybe too nice?  

-she liked dogs. like, a lot

-lots of crying

i look down at my lunch, a bowl of instant ramen extra souped up with shitakes and frozen corn and a medium boiled egg. at the end of the day no one will remember that i didn't eat enough green vegetables or consumed gallons of diet soda or preferred americanized mexican food.

 

4 seasons in one week

i'm going to remember this when i'm knee deep in my own S.A.D. this winter.  

this feeling of glorious relief at the grey that is this morning.  the cool breeze coming in from the open bedroom window.  the grateful heart that is so glad that it is not going to reach 98 degrees today because i cannot stomach another day spent in the baby pool wishing it was an olympic sized swimming pool or at least something i can immerse my entire body in.

a lot of the thoughts i've been having lately are not safe for public consumption.  i'm on a self imposed social media ban this weekend. i deleted facebook and instagram from my phone last night before going to bed. i won't beat myself up for checking anything on my laptop.  extremes have not benefitted me before so why set up another challenge i am sure to fail?  i'm rarely at this thing anyways now that i no longer have to frantically check my work email for certain catastrophes.

i went to bed so sure i'd work out this morning.  i even woke up before my 6:15AM alarm.  i cancelled my core circuit though. and here i am, still awake, still with the opportunity to make it to class on time and... i can't.  there is this severe mental block on going to the gym.  my body is craving movement but the idea of going and lifting things, of hoisting my heavy body up and down and around whatever is too much for me.  

i saw my weight. i logged onto the patient portal my new doctor sent to me and clicked on the tab that said vitals because i wanted to know what my pulse and blood pressure were.

this was a mistake.

while i'm not drowning in the typical "let's make a plan to diet forever and get a revenge body to get revenge on no one." the # weighs on me.  i have no desire to change my current way of eating and moving but each meal feels so weighted down with "choice" and "bad decisions" like all I am is a mass of bad decisions and cancelled workouts. all i am is a bucket of fried chicken and loathing with no will to change any of it because i know the other direction doesn't work, and who would i be doing it for? me or everyone else? because i'm a really good patient and i do like to impress. all the gold stars for me please while i do all the right things for everyone else but myself.

my first week without the pressures of work and i've given myself the herculean task of trying to sleep in and read a book guilt free.  or play a mindless game on my phone without the voice in my head telling me i'm going to waste this entire time off and have nothing to show for it. i always need to have something to show, some sort of proof of life.  i did a thing. here it is. i wasn't just sitting here shooting colored balls into an iphone game sky to amass points that don't amass to anything tangible.

it's been a weird week.

halfway through gloria lucas' talk on colonialism, historical trauma and eating disorders my mind drifted off.

'you're only making things harder for yourself.  you can choose not to think about this, you know?  you can just live your privileged life like nothing ever happened. none of this happened to you directly.  the past is way back there, barely even touching you.  historical amnesia can help you move forward, just let it help you.'

it's the voice of what i imagine my friends would think. what my family would think. what my husband would think.  because they love me. because they want me to be happy.

forgetting or not acknowledging has helped me push through and succeed in a lot of ways. i'm here. i'm alive. i've managed to build a life.

having the time and the bandwidth to step out of normal everyday life to reflect is one of the hardest things i've ever done. staring down a life of all the choices i've made based on fear and the need to assimilate. this need to be someone else because if can just fake it until i make it maybe one day i'll wake up a thin white woman who has it all.  i think about all the movies i grew up watching, all the tv shows, all the romance novels, they were the ones who won.

but things are changing right?  it's the future now, right?  short fat women of color are stepping up to take their turn in the spotlight, right?  and once that happens, our lives will get easier, strangers will stop talking to us about their concern for our health all stores will make clothes in our sizes and having a 'beach body' and foods won't be marketed as 'clean'...right?  

right?

permission

the sun this morning has the same beautiful light lilt as kishi bashi's violin.  his cover of 'this must be the place' is on repeat.  it is full of familiar happiness. it pulls me out of bed. it drives the dogs from the covers and they stretch before running down the stairs to be fed.

the dogs inhale their breakfast and instantly fall back asleep and i watch them snooze under the dining room table jealous.  i've got conference calls, systems that continue failing causing a lot of work that is all hurry up and wait. 

i used to be so scared of too much free time.  this is the burden of a catholic upbringing. idle hands and all. you can't trust yourself because you are inherently bad.  you must be cleansed by godly fire. you must suffer and toil and riches will await you in heaven.

i don't want to wait. i'll stay here and burn I guess. i choose this life, this time, while i can remember it all. i will put real sugar in my oatmeal. i'll have all the toppings. i'll nap after breakfast.  i'll wear 'unflattering' clothes. i'll say please and thank you but I'm not going to ask permission anymore to let myself off the hook, to order two desserts, to wear short shorts i know i'll be picking out of my butt crack when i walk the dogs later on this hot summer day.

all this freedom is still tempered with the work i need to do to finish out the month.  i can do this. it's almost over.  what happens when you have the privilege and freedom to pursue the things that matter?  

i guess i'm about to find out.

golden

i've been obsessed with yellow lately

this sunny yellow, not pale and pastel, not muddy and mustard but the color of meyer lemons

the color of egg yolks

the color of yellow birthday cake, my favorite kind, with the chocolate frosting and the rainbow sprinkles 

the color of sunflower petals

i want to wear this color all the time.  it feels holy.  sacred.  i want to carry it with me through the city and say, 'look at me. look at all this goodness. don't i look like the sun? my body is grand and round and bursting with heat.'

this can only mean one thing.

i am healing.

new moon in cancer

it's a new moon in cancer tonight.

i want to believe in magic

in the moon

in my inherent connection to something larger than me

something other worldly

something bordering religion

but not religion

i want something with less suffering for redemption

and more offering and accpeting

and maybe here's a little dance and some piece of nature

or a tiny token

     the aluminum rings from a 25 cent vending machine

     a bracelet made from embroidery floss

     a $2 bill i found pressed inside a library book

that anything can be sacred and our rituals don't have to be so exclusive

i may not be at the point where i bathe my crystals in the light of a new moon

mine are mostly tumbled smooth worry stones from an etsy seller in arizona

i scream imposter syndrome

but i want to believe

so that should be enough.