Saturday, June 26, 2010


I am 2 or 3. I know this bc my mother has told the story a hundred times. I asked her once, with a laugh, to tell it, n she got upset bc apparently, it was still emotional for her. I am lost. They cant find me anywhere. They search the house in a frenzy. There is a forest or a lake nearby, they are frantic I may have wandered outside, into the dark unknown. My mother knocks on someone's car window. Nobody's seen me. Police are called, areas are searched. Hours later I poke my head up from the chairs under the kitchen table; the ones that were pushed up against the wall, the ones that were hidden by the tablecloth. The ones I had apparently decided to lay down on for a nap. I slept thru all the commotion until my sister, 4 yrs older than me, stood in the middle of the kitchen and, crying, screamed my name.

I am 16. We meet by coincidence at the water fountain we have drank from for years, in the hallways where we have passed each other thousands of times, aware enough of each other to say a random hello, but otherwise oblivious. We dance. I dont want to sit down bc I fear it will break the moment and he will disappear. On the way home, I lay in the back of the taxi cab, eyes closed, smiling. Once there, I close the kitchen door on myself and listen to our songs with only one light on, all the while eyes closed, thinking of him. I innocently mention him, I am told to end it before it begins. Our love is forbidden for reasons I dont believe in. I decide to follow my heart and my own opinions.

I am 23, and I am miserable. Every day I want to get in my car and drive far, far away, and never come back. I sit in the driver's seat a few times, but I never get further than the scenic overlook above the ocean, Linkin Park or Evanescence on full blast, tears streaming down my face. I just want to get away, have my own life, be independent, but every time they pull me back. By some miracle, I get a phone call from an old friend I havent spoken to in years. She suggests moving to New York City for my career. Why didnt I ever think of that? I had thought of other places, but never the most obvious one. I approach my mom. We are sitting outside in the dark. "I dont want you to look back on your life one day when you're 50 and say you never accomplished anything. Go, live your life, mama". She convinces my dad. I leave with their blessing, and of course, more than a normal number of warnings not to do anything stupid or scandalous. I arrive at JFK 2 1/2 months before my 24th birthday. I feel like I am home.

It is midnight and I am 30. I call my mother for the first time on my birthday and thank her for carrying me for 9 months and going thru the pains of labor so that I could be here. I call my father and wish him an early Happy Father's Day bc, 30 years ago, my birth and his holiday were separated by half a day, and he always tells me I was the best Father's Day gift he received. Later on that night when I blow out my birthday candle, I ask for the same thing Ive asked for so many times when I reflect & pray; peace in my heart and happiness.

I believe this decade will be wonderful.


Many thanks and credit to 2 of my favorite bloggers for inspiring me and giving me the idea for this post. I hope you will visit both and stay a while, their writing is truly beautiful: abufares said... the world according to a tartoussi and Weebles Wobblog.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In My Head

Since I came back home, this is what my head has sounded like:

"Oh my God, we have to clean this whole apartment. I have to unpack my suitcases. I have to unpack all 3 closets and organize everything and throw things away and make everything perfect. Must redecorate room. Start first with painting the walls back to white. This room is gonna look awesome when I'm done with it. Romantic, classic, sophisticated. White, beige, black. Chandeliers. Sweet. Gotta buy paint, gotta buy paint. Dammit, why isn’t there a paint store closer to the house? Who's gonna paint? Cesar's* not answering my phone call. I could do it myself but I really don't feel like it. How much is Cesar gonna cost? At least 80$ that I don't have to spend right now, if I'm that lucky. Ask T to do it. T cant do it. Back to Cesar I guess. Sure, Cesar, next week sometime is fine. I love to procrastinate anyway. BB calendar reminders. Dammit, why do I constantly have reminders popping up on my phone? Call the lil bro overseas at 5pm my time which will be midnight his time. Missed that one, oops, since I was on a plane. Call him at 730, what can I do. Doctor appointments, other appointments, just a lot of appointments. For someone who doesn't have a job, I sure have a lot to do. Research freelance writing for magazines as a future gig, kinda like Mariane Pearl for Glamour, that would be so awesome. Photography book? That would be sweet. Have to buy the lil bro a bday gift, no idea what to get him. I’m not a great sister right now, his birthday was last week, oops. Birthday dresses for me, oh God, shopping is so stressful. Nothing in the stores, I live in the fashion capital of the country, how is this possible? Find a dress, buy it, don’t like it, will return. Find another dress, love it, need to find a bra to wear with it; great, one more thing to find in my still unpacked closets or buy, like I had a shortage of things on my List. One dress down, 2 to go. Birthday pix, great idea! Email photog friend, he agrees, rents lens, we pick venues, I have no outfits, shit shit shit. Want a beautiful flowy dress and another sharp, more masculine outfit (thinking white button-down, boyfriend jeans, suspenders, cool hat, make it eclectic) - cant find any of this shit. Need to do more shopping. I hate shopping under pressure. Why do I always shop under pressure? Gotta dye my hair. Make appointment; first time by this stylist and for someone who once shaved her head and didn’t give 2 shits, I find it very odd that I became such a hair nazi. Cant let just anyone touch this hair! Shit, I deleted the pictures of the color I want from my BlackBerry, that was dumb. Great job, Zalg. Guess I'll have to wing it. What do you mean, you don’t have a color book I can choose from, what the hell kind of salon is this? Take the plunge anyway. I sneak my head out from under the dryer, inch it into view in the mirror across the wall. Fuuuuuuuuuuuck, its way too blonde. I hate it. Crap crap crap. What do you mean you can't darken it right now, just a smidge, a shade darker, throw some toner on it. I have to wait a week? I have birthday pictures coming up, and a trip to Miami, I can't look crazy. The stylist flat irons it, then puts some pretty curls in it. Oh, wow, this looks way better now that it's done. Not so scary, maybe it'll just take some getting used to. I think I look fly, I think. I should ask these strangers on 5th Avenue if they like the color. Snap, snap on the BB camera. Upload to fb. My friends confirm I look fly, sweet! Still looks a little to orange to me, will have to think about this. Anyway, back to the To-Do List, conveniently I have made a short-term one and a long-term one, bc I'm awesome and I like to be organized. Sometimes. My room looks like a tornado rammed thru it. When am I gonna finish organizing?? Fuck it, I guess it'll have to be after Miami, I’m too busy for this right now. Still don't know what day the shoot is, or what I'll be wearing. I've been reassured I'll look sexy no matter what, but that's little comfort right now bc I swear, I have no clothes. Yes, I said it. Have to buy stuff for that care package to send to the lil bro. Have to make all these follow-up phone calls about something for my family in LA. Why is there always so much to do?? Have to remember to call some friends for their birthdays, I’m trying to stay on top of my friend duties here. Buffalo Exchange, that's gonna be a trek, I hope they take the swim trunks. I need to buy a fedora, I need to get a new pair of sandals, I need to find cheaper health insurance. Oh, I need my migraine meds from the pharmacy! Why is every person I deal with so horrible at customer service?? Maybe it's me, maybe my standards are too high. Sheesh. I need some money, I should really look for a job. But I want to bum around NY this summer and enjoy all it has to offer, I never got to do that when I first moved here, everybody does that, except for me, bc I started working and being responsible almost right away, this is my only chance to do this; do now or forever hold your peace, what's a few more months without a job, really? Have to call H for advice on my new chosen career, gotta research schools bc I think I want to go back to school, Public Administration and Social Work and Political Science and throw in a photography class, I think I have to go back to school bc who's gonna hire a former fashion designer to help save the world? My long-term list grows, looots of stuff to research, so happy I had that talk with H, she's a life-saver! Have to find the power of attorney, I swear I put it somewhere safe when I left, where in the world is it?? Shoot. I text, I email, I call, I fb, I consider twitter to promote my blog and one day, my photography business. I should really look into photography classes. When's the application deadline for the next real school semester? I am the queen of crossing off my List but then adding more stuff, also the queen of putting off until tmrw what I definitely should have done today. Oh, well. Split-second decision to email my old boss, the one I do like; any short-term projects available? That's my compromise. It's the weekend, woo-hoo!! Friends in town, stuff stuff stuff to do, dinner, dummy mission to NJ, ha ha that was interesting! Have to go shopping tmrw, have to watch the World Cup tmrw, too!! Where am I gonna watch, why don't I have more friends who watch football (yes, I called it Football, and I call the other one American Football, and what). Americans should really diversify their sport-watching, God, this population can be so narrow-minded sometimes. They only came out in droves for the USA-England match *eye roll*. So lame. Bed linens to laundromat, that was a pain in the ass. One more bag to schlep over there. All my St Thomas dresses to the dry cleaners, that's gonna cost a pretty penny. Pass by the gym, have shit fit bc they won't let me finish the kettle bell classes I already paid for 7 months ago? To be continued. YMCA, FFAWN, NYU, community college, volunteer, DC, update my dad's website, create my own website, I need business cards! I need to take a website-making class, I don't know how to do that shit. God, I cuss a lot. Oh, well, if ppl don't like it *shrug my shoulders*. You know, I am my own person, I need to remember to OWN THAT. I want another tattoo. A small one. Gotta decide what it should say, I have 3 ideas right now. Do a test-run on the inside of my wrist with a blue ink pen while I'm sitting on the subway, this lady's lookin' at me like I'm crazy. You got a problem, lady? That's what I wanted to say, but didn't. I'm too nice, why am I so nice? Sometimes I really wish I could be a bitch. Have to sit n think about what I really wanna do with my life, why is my life such a mess right now, woe is me, blah blah blah. I should really stop sulking, your attitude really determines what happens in your life, get it together, OK no more of that shit, I'm good. Busy, busy weekend. Room still a mess tho at least the living room bathroom n kitchen are presentable now. I hate how high the TV is placed on our wall, we need new couches, I need to paint my room, I got the paint but do I have rollers? God, I hate painting. BS digital camera, kinda sweet deal, waterproof casing for the thing is $230!! What the hell! Suck it up, suck it up, need that for scuba so might as well get it out of the way now. Oh, credit card balance due, this is gonna be painful. At least it's not all mine, console yourself Zig. Laundry. Ugh. Mattress cover, where am I supposed to get one of those for less than $80, why are they so expensive?? Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond... scratch that, I don't even know what I need. 15 minutes in the hamper section n walk out with nothing bc I'm so indecisive. Lovely. Need more friends, hmmm... love the ones I have, just need more people to do stuff with, how come I never do anything? Have to pass by the old j.o.b. n say hi to everyone, wish V a happy birthday, get her some flowers n a cupcake, that would be really nice. Don't have time, don't have tiiime! Maybe next week. Get my migraine meds, pay that Citi bill, write the rent check, oops!! I love how I was a NY rent nazi while I was gone but my first month back home, I forget to pay the shit. Jury duty. They are sending me mean letters. Am I gonna go to jail? The lil bro needs me to send him something, no more slacking, crap. Call and text the parents, the sister, the Cali bro, checkin' in, checkin' in. Topshop, Bloomie's, Zara, Soho, Bergdorf sale rack... Saks was a mess, what was I thinkin', I can't afford that place!! I can design a dress... buy fabric, drop off at seamstress', 4 day time frame, what if it comes out horrible, this could be very bad and a very big waste of time. Write a blog post, shopping n errands n mani/pedi/eyebrows on Monday, birthday photo shoot Tuesday, birthday Wednesday!! Volunteer Thursday, Miami Friday, party party party... never been to MIA, hope it's fun, I'm sure it'll be fun, gotta let go of my Miami stereotypes but shit, I can't help it if I don't like the club scene. So not my thing. Except on special occasions n when I'm traveling, then it rocks. Sore throat Sunday, restless night, horrible sleep, migraine, sneezing, runny nose, we're out of tissues in this house, why does this always happen, too tired to go down to the bodega, now what. I wanna smash my head between two big rocks anyway, that's how much pain I'm in, I feel like there's an elephant standing on my face. Need to make an appointment with the new neurologist, maybe she can magically cure me of these damn migraines, I'm so tired of this. Buckley's, nasty, can't breathe, I really wanna be able to breathe, this blows, I'm entirely too busy to get sick right now. Gotta look cute on my birthday, can't take birthday pix lookin' like the red-nosed reindeer. Bedroom window is cracked, when the hell did this happen, Super's wife needs to make that appointment with the window guys, get on it pls! Blinking red light on my BB, sometimes I hate that thing (the light, not the BB). Everyone keeps saying I look like a hippie with this scarf tied around my head, I look like Cher, I look like an Indian (feather, not bindi); what the hell, ppl, I have a migraine. It helps. That French bath you just took in the living room sure doesn't, tho. Can't believe it's already midnight, I should sleep early but I'll prolly go watch some TV n fall asleep on the couch. I should wake up ass-early n get my day started, I'm sure I'll snooze all my alarms n wake up at noon n then rush thru the day n not get anything done n I still won't have 2 more dresses for Miami or anything to wear for the shoot or more than 2 things crossed off my To-Do List. I hate that List. Even tho I crossed a lot of stuff off this week. Can I put off thinking about my future till I come back from Miami? This is so horrible. Someone tell me what to do, better yet apply to all the colleges n figure out my career path for me, and just present it to me in a nice package with a proverbial red bow. That would be suh-weet! Am I gonna wish I never went back to school? I don't know if I'm gonna like studying n doing homework all that much. I need scholarships n grants. I don't want student loans, oh no buddy! I see why it's easier to stay in your same dead-end situation than to make a change, clearly making a change requires a lot of work. But it's all about your attitude. Anyway. Time to sleep, I should take some Tylenol Cold & Flu. It's really cold in here. Dreading and looking forward to tmrw all at the same time, how is that possible. I'm hungry. I'm prolly gonna go sit on the couch n watch bad TV and have a popsicle bc my throat hurts and the popsicle is so yummy and cooooool. OK. God. I should chill with all this stress, my head needs a break. Yellow popsicle, pass on that one, I really only like the red and the purple ones, yes those are flavors. More Buckley's, so gross, still can't breathe. Batteries for the fire alarm, smoke detector, whatever that thing is called, I wish it would stop beeping so loud. Change the light bulbs in this apartment, gosh, it's so dim in here it's depressing. A massage would be so awesome right now for my head. Gotta make a doctor's appointment. I should publish this post already, I'm short of breath just thinking about how fast my thoughts are going. Really, the internet's dying now of all times? This shit better not get erased."

*The building Super

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bad Moods and Birthday Gifts

I was sitting in my kitchen, procrastinating cleaning up and unpacking the rest of my life from my suitcases and closets, and attempting to organize it into some semblance of togetherness, when the intercom rang. I was writing a blog post about how my whole apartment, and my whole life, is pretty much a mess right now. I wasnt in the greatest of moods.

I was reflecting on how I found a book of matches that our tenants left on the kitchen table when they vacated the apartment, from a restaurant called Boom that used to be called something else I cant remember (inconsequential, obviously), and incidentally was the location of my first job when I moved to NYC over 6 years ago. Talk about random and ironic. Back then, I used to make $3.50 an hour, plus tips (which there wasn't many of bc the restaurant was under new, very poor management). I hadnt yet managed to break into the fashion industry, tho I was trying oh-so-hard. Back then, every time I spoke to my parents on the phone, they would yell at me for putting up with such a crappy job that had me running around all day for nothing, bc they wanted something better and more comfortable for me.

But still, even sitting here thinking how funny it was that I had found this item that reminded me of the beginnings of my NYC adventure, and thinking about how far I had come in the years since, I wasnt in the greatest mood. The day had started out only OK, had dragged and slowly progressed to not great, at some point had become pretty miserable, and I was wallowing in self-pity. I do that sometimes.

And then the intercom rang.

Monet and I had both been waiting for the UPS man all day. At 845 pm, well past the hour we expected to get anything at all today, a very nice man in a very brown uniform bounded up the steps with a box in his hands.

I signed for it, practically skipped to my laptop, and Skyped the little brother.

"its here!!"

No answer, so I Skype-called him. He rejected the call. Oh how I hate being rejected.

"one sec, on the phone," came the typed reply.

Ugh I hate waiting... I managed to hold on for about 5 seconds, then:

"can I open it?? or do I have to wait so you can see?"

I already knew the answer, since he had been online all evening, asking me for UPS delivery updates, and making sure I had stayed home to receive the package he was tracking all the way from the other side of the world, so he could see me open it. Two minutes later, after no answer, I typed:

"can i open it???? pleeeease!"

And then finally, he finished his other call and then called me. And I got to open it. And it was beautiful. 2 small boxes inside the big one; one with diamond earrings, one with a matching diamond pendant. Things that, had I gone shopping myself, I probably would have overlooked bc oftentimes I shop narrow-mindedly. Sometimes you need other people's perspective to see things in a different light.

"Awww, I was gonna buy myself diamonds from St Thomas but ended up not getting anything bc I was broke," I said.*

"I know. I remember you told me that. Thats why I got them."

Sweetest. Brother. Ever.

I put them on, showed them off, thanked him for a beautiful birthday gift.

I decided to go try them on with something that matched diamonds a little better than an army green t-shirt and boyfriend jeans. I put on a black dress n put my hair up... and they looked gorgeous.

The gift in and of itself was beautiful, but more importantly, it was thoughtful. Amazing how your whole mood can change from one small thing.

*St Thomas is known for its jewelry industry and tax-free shopping.