No journal, no gold

Well Blog Land, I did not have the heart to NOT talk to my mother on Father’s Day – as it seemed she was having a hard time telling from one person to the next due to her already peaked anxiety of, you know – being brown and with an accent in this country. So, yes, we did speak but mostly at the table as we passed food to each other. However, I made sure she know I did not forget about my journal. She promises she doesn’t know where it is, but I know that promises don’t mean crappadoodledoo in this crazy family.

I politely sat beside her during Father’s Day breakfast, asked her to pass the yogurt and strawberries in a calming voice. Lucky for her my aunt’s boyfriend was there. He annoys me beyond all reason. He pretends to be an all knowing God-Man who is the epitome of class and karaoke competitions. My aunty loves him for some reason, and being that I am now thirty – I can’t simply sabotage a relationship based on weird vibes I get from people. No, no – that’s the eleven year old inside of me. Now, I just make sure I battle him on strictly Feminist issues, as they also pertain to my aunty’s role in his kitchen. She doesn’t mind, it makes her laugh actually. Thanks to him, my mom did not receive my anger to the fullest of its capacities that day. Thanks to the boyfriend, I only got to see my gramps for 1 hour on Father’s Day. What a d*ck.

Anyway, after my aunty left with my gramps and God-Man, my mother asked me if she had left her golden earrings at the house two weeks ago. I have not seen any golden earrings, but if I do — that will be my ransom.

“You want your gold? Give me back my Ireland journal, mother.”

She hates it when I call her mother. It always reminds her of the first part of the curse word. She nods nervously, and walks away to the living room where my stepfather sat alone. After Mexico lost, he has little interest for soccer.

Rebellion, long overdue

Maybe I will become her someday. Maybe in 2027/8 I will enter my teenage child’s room and think — What the hell? I will read her diary!   Then I will shamelessly sit on their bed and read the passages of their most private thoughts for my entertainment. Maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to understand my mother that day. I will be in my forties and feel justified because i had birthed this creature, and their writing would somehow reveal things about myself. Maybe…

…OR MAYBE NOT!

Blog Land, earlier this week my little brother (who just turned sixteen) sent me a picture of a journal I purchased in Ireland in 2011. It was a journal to keep me on track with my novel, to write down my feelings about my weirdo roommates, to go into my deepest corners of my brain and ponder – logic vs. art and possibly even sex. And all those things that happen to a young woman when she is an older student stuck with a bunch of people who have just graduated from their nine-teens.

My journal, which I wrote in religiously when I was studying abroad was now in the hands of the most frustrating teenager in my life right now. Today while visiting my mother, I sat on the couch happy as a clam as I had forgotten the entire incident (thank you forgetful brain). My brother leaned over me and whispered in my ear, “So Lis, just to let you know. Mom found the journal. I caught her reading it out loud in the living room one morning. I tried to get it back. Then sat there and proceeded to read it for the next thirty minutes.”

Blog Land, my skin crawled from head to toe. I was in complete disgust with both my brother and mother, but (also) slightly impressed that my brain had somehow pushed the fact that my brother was in possession of the journal out, to make room for the huge plate of spaghetti I had just downed moments before.

Okay – so one thing you should know about me is that for most of my life, I was raised by my father. My mother and I have hardly had a real mother-daughter during my teenage years. Meaning, I was never rebellious with her, really. I was a pretty good kid because, well, I rarely saw her.

So there I was, trying to watch the Peru vs. Venezuela Copa America match and my brother tells me this. I face him and ask, “Where is it?” He doesn’t know. She took it away and accused him of being creepy — then in turn become creepy herself by reading my work.

Mom had just stepped out to the garage to say bye to family, I went out to meet her.

Me: You read my Ireland journal?

Mom: What? He’s making it up! I didn’t!! (In a Peruvian accent)

Me: Oh, really?

Mom: I couldn’t get through most of it anyway, you write like a three year old!

Me: A-HA! You did read it! You read it!! This is why I DON’T LIVE WITH YOU!!!!

I stormed back into the house like a rattled child and realized I was having a rebellious outburst. The pseudo-therapist living in my brain spoke to me: Your delayed rebellion is a direct outcome to the fact that your mother was absent during your teenage years. 

This thought interrupted my walking back to the living room. I shook it off. I had a goal and no pretend psychobabble was going to get in my way.

This means war.

I continued to the living room and walked into my brothers room. He was quickly behind me.

Me: Where is it?

Him: I don’t know, she took it from me!

I grabbed two of his favorite video games and disconnected a chord.

Me: Where IS IT? (I began to look through his drawers.)

Him: Why are you doing this?! (He blurted out nervously eyeing his discs.)

Me: This is what it feels like to invade someone’s privacy, but at least I have the decency to do it right in front of YOU!

After being able to get more information out of him, I returned his games one at a time as means to get out of his room — for he had eventually held me hostage due to his babies being in my grasps.

I tried to look for this journal in nooks and crannies to no avail. I go to my mother’s room, but no luck. My boyfriend yells from the living room, “Perú made a goal, you missed it!”

My blood boils.

My brother walks into the room, “Do you have my chord?”

Yes, I did. I had it stuffed in my pocket in case I had more questions. He called me sneaky and said it wasn’t fair that I was punishing him for mom’s creepiness.

Me: Listen to me right now, I have this to get information from you.

Him: It’s not fair.

Me: Lesson one: this is called ransom. (I held the chord up high.)

Him: Not fair…

Me: Like I said, it’s called ransom. I need you to deliver a message to Mother.

Him: Will I get my chord back?

Me: Yes.

Him: Okay, then…

Me: You tell her, that I am vowing not to speak to her until I get my Ireland journal back. She needs to present it to me at the Father’s Day Breakfast this Sunday. If she doesn’t have it with her, I will NOT talk to her the entire time. And I capable of this, she knows I am because she did part-raise me as a child. I know crazy.

Him: Oh man! Mom’s going to hate me …

Me: Not my problem. Will you deliver the message?

Him: Yes…

I handed him the chord.

Him (Continued): You’re so sneaky.

I walk out and watch the rest of the game. My brother goes to his room and continues to play his video games again. He always underestimates how incredibly bored I am, but I work from home – I have time to scheme!

I waited for him to be out of ear shot and started laughing. My boyfriend sat there and just stared at me. You want another teenager mom? You got one.

More on this journal story on Sunday.   Let’s see if she has the guts to deny me my literature. This rebellion, is long overdue.

#mysoapoperalife

Journaling Turkey-Paris

I managed to fit some writing into my Turkey travel. Most of the time I was talking to my cousin about our childhood traumas and helping her watch after her baby. I honestly felt like a straight up aunty while I was there. I was able to write, but it was mostly journaling about the dynamics between the men and women in Turkey. I have to say, most of the men I encountered in Turkey are remarkably handsome. Part of me wondered why? Part of me enjoyed the view.

Now I am in Paris, trying to get some work done but finding it hard to focus. Had a spiritual conversation with my friend today and it was very intense.

But do I have tons of writing material? Oh yes. Plenty. My journal is full of mini-stories and encounters I’ve had with people and or environments.

Here’s one of my favorite ones thus far:

I went into a garden store and asked a man if he could let me wander and take pictures. He said of course in his mannerisms – I walked in and found a lighthouse clothes hook and instantly fell in love with it. I asked him how much on a notepad, and he wrote down 30 L, then I wrote down 25 L? and gave him a goofy smile. He laughed and said “Okay!”

I am sure he overcharged me. I am sure it was a restaurant with lots of plants, and I just grabbed one of his ornaments to take home with me. But it was his graciousness that was absolutely wonderful to be around.

The lighthouse now will live in my luggage until I reach the states later this month.

I arrived in Paris yesterday, and wandered the streets with my friend. She got flirted on by some waiters as I stuffed a crêpe into my mouth. But overall, it was a magical night.

Now onto some plain working time. Then maybe tonight, some serious writing inspired by my journaling travel stories.

Writing when you travel, it’s freaking hard!

I am having a creative meltdown … or just a massive case of traveling itch, Blog Land. I’m off to Turkey, then jumping on a plane to Paris and then maybe doing a weekend trip to England. I have no idea what I am doing — I mean, technically some of it involves videography and art — yet I am concerned about managing my writing time. I barely did any when I went to see family for 2 weeks in March.

I head over to my laptop or bring a small notebook with me, the BLAM! – something happens. Sometimes I have to lock myself in a room, but then family or friends get concerned because I should be relaxing or in vacation mode…and they don’t understand sitting down to write. It’s quite impossible with Peruvians who want to feed and get you drunk all the time.

Also, when I travel – there are wonderful mundane things happening all around me. If my brain could produce bubble thoughts, it would be ongoing and non stop with – sunsets, dance classes, brunches, conversations with people who are not tourists, me trying to order croissants at a bakery, Metro riding, or seeing the moon from a different part of the world. Sometimes it doesn’t look like a man’s face…like in Perú, for example, the moon looks like lips blowing you a kiss, for example. And I want to write it all down, but sometimes just looking at something is enough. Other times there are no ways to describe the atmosphere, and you have to LIVE.

So how do I focus?

I don’t know. This is an experiment. I will try to make it my prerogative to not be such a creeper on this trip and actually try to make friends with the interesting people, I tend to just write about. Maybe some of them will be writers. Maybe some of them could give me tips. And then I can share these tips on this blog.

Only time will tell. Leaving in April, coming back in May. I should have something to share.

And to answer your question (the one I am assuming you are asking), I am going abroad because I am running away from responsibilities that don’t involve writing or art. You know, growing up, getting a real job, and etc. etc. etc. I think a workaholic who has been sitting behind a desk for a little over a year should be allowed to have a meltdown at least once in their lifetime – or at least once per decade. Here is my thirties meltdown!

I’m just lucky enough to have my meltdown be a creative one, and not…like…heroin. I’m also lucky I have family and friends in these places to house me. Otherwise that would suck. I’m going to destroy my savings and eat with my credit cards. Bring it on world!

#WritingAbroad

Karaoke with Family

So yesterday I braved a karaoke night my family. I had not hung out with them since…2011 or 2012? I mean, not the way we did last night. We started with Cards Against Humanity and worked our way up to karaoke singing after a few drinks. It was awful. I mean, I could tell we had a little too much to drink when I sung “Redneck Woman” and my cousin swayed side to side like she was hearing some Celine Dion ballad. I was like, how did I get here?

Anyways, I look around the room and I realize that we are all at least in our 30s; except for my sister who is hanging on to her 20s by a thread and a small cousin who I grew up with but babysat when she was 5. She was glued to her phone.

And I thought to myself. Is this it? Is this what fun amounts to now for people my age?

One of the old family friends fell asleep on the couch while her husband butchered Ol’ Blue Eye’s “Come Fly With Me.” She snored, and my cousin explained that she works as an accountant and has been doing people’s taxes all day.

I held onto my beer, and silently sat in the corner thinking…wow, we’re here now. This is where we are. And you know what? It feels damn good. It feels good to be this age. And for this reason, more than any other, it is at this age when you stop giving a crap about what people are thinking or saying about YOU.

I don’t know if you’ve gone through this Blog Land, but in your 20s — man, it can be a pretty awful sometimes. You want to make sure people are having fun. You stress about every little detail. Oh, what am I wearing tonight?! Do we have enough dip for the chips?!  On top of everything else, you have to smile and pretend that the world is your oyster, when maybe you’re holding in a fart, or your secretly trying to stuff a brownie into your mouth because you were too busy putting up decorations to eat a proper meal all day.

In your 30s — you can get away with flipping off your family after their comments about your weight. You can wear yesterday’s t-shirt because it’s game night, not a freaking single-mingle party. If you crash on the couch because of exhaustion, you can be assured that someone won’t be drawing a mustache on your face. Actually, I think that depends on what your family is like and the average maturity level in the room.

But it just felt nice. It felt nice when around 2:30am someone said – Oh my God, it’s 2:30am! Freaking out because we stayed up past midnight. It was like: we did it!

Hilarious. Most of my cousins now with children and jobs, high five each other, hugged, and relished in the off chance that maybe they weren’t all that old, after all. And we’re really not…we’re just tired. At least I hope that’s what this feeling is.

We put the games away, cleaned the bottles off the counter, and made everything look like a regular house by the end of the night. We sighed in relief when we realized, tomorrow is Sunday.

Family, they always provide good material. Try it.

#chaosisgood #ignoranceisbliss

Bubbly toes

I just came back from dancing with friends. Oy. I don’t remember dancing out at night being such a difficult ordeal. First of all, I decided to become their wing woman for the night. Since I already have a boo and all. So I sit with them, and what’s the first thing these 30-something ladies do? ORDER FOOD. Okay, well now we have to eat this food before getting people to approach us. So the food takes forever, and finally it occurs to one of the ladies that sitting down is a bad idea. So we go to the dance floor, and I do what I was called upon to do. I approach a guy for my friend and this is what happens. Mind you, he was with a bunch of people.

Me: “Hey, are you here alone?”

Him: “No, I’m with my friends.”

Me: “No, I mean are you single?”

Him: “Um, actually yes. Why do you ask?” (He looks at me and stops dancing)

Me: “My friend over there thinks you’re cute and wanted to come and talk to you.”

Him: “Who?” She comes over.

She: “What are you doing?” (She’s totally pretending that she didn’t know what I was doing, I am thrown for a loop)

Me: “Um, talking to him for you. His name is…what’s your name?”

Him: “Jerry”

Me: “Jerry, this is Jean. Jean – Jerry.” (They shake hands and she grabs my arm like I’m a drunk. This was not part of the plan. Now this guy and his friend think I’m drunk.)

His friend: “Is everything okay?”

Me: (Walking up to him a little frustrated) My friend likes your friend.”

His friend: “Oh!”

Then ass wipe proceeds on acting aloof with my friend after that awkward ordeal. I was like, dude get a clue! Ugh being in your 30s and trying to connect with people on the dance floor is hard. I don’t know how guys do it. Mad respect after talking to that little skinny nerd for my friend, who ended up being a dud.   She was trying to talk to him, and a Michael Jackson song came on and he disappeared into another world via the moon walk. His friend leaned into me.

His friend: “He just got out of a relationship.”

Me: “Ah.”

My friend: “Done.”

The good thing that happened tonight is that she got a number from another guy, and I got to dance. Also, some beautiful chubby gay man kept coming to me just to say, “I love you! I love your hair, your lips, your curves!” and then later at the night he came over again and said, “I forgot to mention your legs!” Made my night.

Now I’m home thinking about how I can make this sad broken hearted guy in this story the next character in my script. Maybe his description will read, “Jerry, a late 20s guy oblivious to reality because he’s broken hearted,” or something along the lines like that. We will see. Me and my bubbly toes tingling from the high heels tonight – we shall see.

Delirious or “the night I lightened up”

I had the strange suspicion that my boyfriend’s friends thought I was a complete bore. I never go to their drinking reunions. If I go to one of their parties, I tend to stare at a picture on a wall, or stand aimlessly by the chips and salsa (which they store buy and not make from scratch, sigh), and normally when trying to find some dirt about me or my boo I tend to pretend I can’t hear what they are saying?

Why is this?

Blog Land, I’ve been traumatized. In my prior failed attempts to maintain a relationship I have found myself divulging too much information. Creating spectacles out of simplicity and thus complicating what little joy I have in life by … how should I put it, allowing too many chef’s in the kitchen. And so it comes with no surprise to my partner that I become anti-me at these social gatherings. I keep to myself. I keep my mouth shut (because I do tend to overshare about the following: farts, vaginas, and favorite pig out spots — in no particular order).

But something happened to me, Blog Land, something absolutely wonderful this past Saturday.

I was witnessing yet another cousin of mine celebrate his birthday, his sixth birthday when I realized that I had held him in my arms. That I was once as trusting and vulnerable and silly as he was. That between those doughy arms, there is in fact a large beating heart. He smiled over his birthday cake and I said to myself, MY GOD, he’s beautiful. 

So absolutely trusting that no one will push his head in the cake. Smiling and hugging his friends and thinking solely about the beautiful fluffy cake that will be joining the other  food in his belly.

That evening, as my partner and I drove to his friend’s party — I found myself feeling tired, out of it, and absolutely goofy. I was, as some of you may relate to this, delirious. This is a regular occurrence when I force myself to get up from a comfortable position. Also when I get up seconds before my body is ready to take a nap.

I stand at this bar, in what seems to be a self forming semi-circle, and listen in on my boyfriend’s friends talk about a guy named Vince. He was (is?) an absolute creepazoid thirty something year old man whom they all knew throughout their teens. He would play video games with them. Vince also, apparently, looks as if he hasn’t aged since they all last hung out (over a decade ago). He can be seen through the streets of their neighborhood wearing a backpack.

In a matter of seconds everyone in the semi circle had questions. Who was this guy, what did he say, were parents at all creeped out by him? Etc. etc. etc. Then we talked about furniture and homes, then babies and parents, then space travel, then track and martinis, then we tasted each other’s drinks and toasted to nothing while we avoided eye contact.

And I found myself having fun, Blog Land. I let go of this uptight –” I am not of your social status, so I cannot possibly have anything in common with you” mentality for the night and just let myself be who I am in front of these 30-something year old teenagers.

I let myself go, and opened up a door to many possibilities. The possibility to meet new people, to have access to some cool characters in a stories, and to shed some knowledge about my own love-friendship-love story about how and my partner really met.

I guess what I am trying to say is, it was nice to lighten up and to be delirious. My mind opened up to endless ways I could converse and find common ground with a group of people I would normally call uncommon in my circle of friends. The martini and beer helped a lot too, but really it was mostly the fun conversations.

Plus, now I can start finding more information about Vince.

The way people react to the person with a cold…

There is a face people give me when I am sick. I find their reactions absolutely fascinating. Sometimes it’s a head tilt to the side and deep sigh as if somehow their sympathy takes over the heaviness of your burden: the mucus and disgusting gross symptoms. “Ooooh…are you sick?” “Oh no, I’m so sorry you’re sick!” I should be in bed. Avoiding these people, but frankly it’s ver interesting to see the various types of reactions. That, and I’m too poor to miss too much work. Have you ever noticed their looks?  Here are some fun expressions and movement I’ve come across:

  • Shocked or surprised bulging eyes; this usually involves some type of hand gesture over the a portion of the face
  • Disgusted; this is quickly followed with a retreat of the hands if not the whole body and a twisted nose or frown
  • Pity; this person likes to go into a passive weight and usually escapes into a daydream of when they were sick –maybe a time during a break up, so they’re suddenly more miserable than you after your interaction
  • Avoidance; the person who pretends you are not there and avoids interacting with you all together

This could be a great short story. Anyone?

The Clown

I was in the bathroom doing my business and thinking about death, as I sometimes do when I am in a vulnerable position. I washed my hands and looked in the mirror; I stared at my aging face. In just a few months…31. Wow, time flies. I traced the sleep mark that was still on my face. A small crease between the side of my lip and my nose. Hello crease, I said to myself and then focused on my neck and went down to the rest of the body. Time catches up and so do all those burritos and burgers I had in high school. I giggled to myself and opened the door like a good germ-a-phobe, with the outside of my sweater. Walking down the narrow hallway I admired the markings on the wall, much like the indent on my face. The faded blue paint was scratched up with words and gibberish that someone had cared to leave behind. Scratches to remember me by…some from food trays, some from delivery boxes, and some from people who don’t want to be forgotten.

I love Jenna forevah.
Tommy sucks b@lls!
Never forget how beautiful you are. <—sidenote: only ugly people say this. <— f*ck whoever this is, stop trolling.

And then there’s the non legible writing that makes me squint; the words that will take work to decipher and I give up and return to the restaurant. I enter the back part of the diner and pass by an old broken juke box. The waitress who brought me water with a smile greeted me in the back room with a twisted nose. Is it sad to say I am used to it?

Sometimes young girls like me and find me ridiculous and silly. Sometimes young girls hate me because I remind them of someone they hate. Who am I kidding! This also applies to anyone! Not just womyn. Anyways, I keep walking and pretend I don’t see her grimace and decide to focus instead at the poster of Elvis by the entrance door of the restaurant. I knew I was almost to my table as I reached the new electronic juke box; it was telling everyone the song it was playing and the era it came in. It resembled an oversized iPod — the old original clunky one.

I was feeling heavier by the time I reached the side of the restaurant where my boyfriend waited. I was feeling fatter, older, slower and then just before I reached the booth I something in the corner of my eye. Something I would have missed if I would have continued focusing on Elvis. I see a clown.

He was sitting in the booth in front of ours. He had taken off his hat, and you could only tell he was a clown by seeing his face. White cloudy eyes, and bulbous blue lips too big for his face. The drawing was a large smile on his face, though he was not smiling. He was staring out into space. He must have been in his early 50s; grey hair, a tiny overweight and before him a sweaty glass of water.

I sat down and tried to motion to my boyfriend that the clown was behind me, and that he looked sad. But gave up after my boyfriend proceeded to ignore my game of charades, he bent over and took a bite of his meatballs. I sighed to myself.

It was a lazy Sunday. There was no one else in the restaurant beside two servers, the clown, me and the boyfriend. I imagined his life — he must have come from a birthday party, or maybe he’s a street performer, or maybe he’s just a local Berkelyan who dresses as a clown on Sundays to confuse people around him. Did he draw a smile on his face because he could not keep it up himself? I had so many questions.

We walked out of the diner feeling bloated and ready for the movie. I looked back before exciting the restaurant and noticed the clown  was no longer there. Was there a back exit? Or was he now in the bathroom staring at his reflection. And what was he thinking about? What did he see when he looked at his reflection? Did he wonder when his pores got so big? Did he look at his balding head and re-imagine a full set of hair? Was he hiding a sleep crease behind the blue markings around his mouth?

I wondered if when the clown walked out of the bathroom, he would focus and be able to read those markings that seemed foreign to me. I giggled again, and it confused my boyfriend. He waited for me to say something, but instead I pulled out my phone and pulled out of the potential conversation.

Sometimes it’s hard to describe to people what makes you laugh. Sometimes, it’s hard to say, today just feels like a giant joke without a punchline.

Sometimes it takes too much damn energy to explain crazy. It’s better just to live it.

 

The Boy’s Okay…

I met him two nights ago, a writer who wanted feedback. 2 hours in:

She talked his ear off about how he should write his play. She said all the things that came to her mind and even allowed herself to retract what she wanted to say — all in all to help him with the unfinished story. The character was interesting, different – kind of, but he wasn’t going anywhere! He wasn’t listening. Unfortunately, he had begun to think about sex. She saw this and realized her notes would be flowing somewhere in the space between the cold breeze coming through the door, and the hot air breathing onto the tips of their beer bottles. The three of them. So she sat back, allowed her round belly to overflow the front of her jeans, being held up by the added fat “hole” she had torn with a scissor about a year ago, when she stopped being 20-something. She was not thinking about sex at all. She was thinking about her pillow, and how she had left her apartment to help him finish this story and now … now he was clearly thinking about sex. Seeing her uninterested sigh and flesh, he then focused on the other girl with beautiful wavy hair who was hanging on his every word.

Let me read you…
Have you heard of this author…
I clean his front yard…
I am still working on this…
What I like about your suggestion is…

Later that night, wavy hair dropped off fat pants at home. Fat pants kept thinking about the empty main character, found him interesting, but knew there was something lacking in the story. Wavy hair watched as fat pants went up the stairs to her apartment, got on the phone and returned to the boys apartment. They talked for another hour and then decided to become intimate. 

And all of this because he impressed her with his story. A good story.

As wavy hair made love to him and watched him make poetry between the sheets, fat pants was at home thinking about his syntax. And they both had a romance that night, with this boy — as he climaxed on wavy hair 30 minutes too soon rolled over and fell asleep, wavy hair thought to herself, “the boy’s selfish.” Meantime, blocks away, fat pants took a breath and thought to herself, “the boy’s okay…needs work though.”

And they were probably both right.

#meetingwriters