Friday, March 26, 2010

Valley Girl

Going home is never easy. The trips are often loaded with excitement and anxiety, comfort and pain. But more specifically my hometown, the San Fernando Valley, is filled with so many markers of my life. Most of them are exits off the 101 Freeway. I see Vineland and I think of "Whipple"- the name my brother and I call the apartment we grew up in. Since my father sold it I have never driven past it even though he only moved a few blocks away. I see the Woodman exit and I think of Notre Dame, my high school where I did so many stupid things and had so many good times. But then I see White Oak and I still get chills even on an 80 degrees day. If my father and I go to the movies when I'm home, I'm often nervous I will run into someone from high school. They will awkwardly ask me how I've been and what I've been up to for the last ten years. And I will quickly say, "Living in New York." My Dad once told me that he thought my frequent moves to New York were a sign of me "running away." He said that LA represented a lot of pain. But I can't think of a more pain-filled city than New York. He does have some point, a lot of painful things happened in the Valley. Although I certainly didn't run from anything. Since the time I ever had a sense of what The Valley was I have always had a love-hate relationship with it. The Valley is known for the porn industry, the movie Valley Girl, and the abuse of the word "like."I never quite fit in and yet I am a Valley Girl through and through. When my friend Morgan and I get together, we talk so fast and in a rhythmic language that I feel most people in New York would tease us for. The Valley is easy. Whenever I come home, I slow down, I remember, I run. The weather in the Valley is something I cherish now, something I definitely took for granted as a kid. But as I visit home more often and spend even more time away, I realize how much I miss the easiness of the Valley-the family members I have stationed every few blocks, the beach year round, the good burgers and awesome Mexican food, and lately I have missed the friends I once had. Every once in a while I will check out some pictures on someone's facebook page and get lost in my memories of these friends that I dropped in a night. I used to look at the pictures and judge them. "They're all doing the same thing, " I would say. And its true, they all use the same language from high school, hang out with the exact same people, and do their make-up the exact same way from when we were Sophomores. But now when I see the pictures I think to myself, they are all so damn happy. None of them have done anything spectacular or traveled much or tried much of anything different, but they know how to have a good time and part of me wants nothing more than to have a drink with these Valley Girls. I miss the posse of girls I used to have, even if I did stupid things with them and always, always, always got into trouble with them. They were fun and I could use some more of that lately. Here's to the Valley and all of its sparkle make-up girls.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

bridge to nowhere

three years ago i hiked five miles into a desert in the blazing heat in azusa, california
i tied myself to a bungee and lept off the bridge to nowhere before the group finished saying
"one, two, three, bungee"
the first few seconds were the most free i have ever felt
but as the ground came soaring at me, i began to scream for my life
no longer trusting the rope to save me from crashing into the rocks
but just as the thought entered my mind that this may be it
the rope snatched me from my death, whipping me back into the air
as i dangled underneath a bridge to nowhere
my body swung violently from side to side
and i screamed again thinking i was going to crash into the walls along the side
but i didn't crash
and the ground never came
i was hoisted back up the bridge
and hiked five miles out of the desert in the dark without a flashlight.
i like it when out of nowhere i remind myself of myself
and while i may now see that as stupid, a needless risk, i like that i have had that experience
a sweet encouragement of just how stupidly courageous i can be
i don't need a countdown to know when its time to fly
and i damn sure don't need a flashlight when i've hiked the path before
all i need is the reminder that i have it in me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

the pleasure of being alone

"he found something in paris which is what i was hoping he would find," she tells me.
"what's that?"
"the pleasure of being alone"
i have always seen her as my definition of a woman.
she is strong, intelligent, and unflinching in the choices she has made-
knowing that she may not have always made the right one, but when the time came to make a call, she had the courage to do it
she has the kind of beauty i hope to possess when i am a mother and then a grandmother
she is meddling in a way i wish i had some meddling in my life
"do you ever miss LA?"
"of course...but i'm glad i'm here"
she laughs with an understanding that always makes me feel like i really could say anything in front of her
she always gives me a hug and a kiss
even though i'm not that kind of girl
i like it when they come from her
she tells me about her love
the one who wouldn't let her get away
the true love of her life
and how much energy she expended trying to get rid of him
and it makes me smile.
she really does know everything.
though i know a few people who might disagree.
i see her the same way my cousin breanne sees my father.
"just got out of the hospital" she writes. "heard you called." she continues.
 "your father is great!" she finishes.
and i smile and nod to myself. yes he is great, so fucking great. so great that it has always been overwhelmingly difficult to tell him when i'm upset with him.
i wish that for a moment we could all see the people closest to us through a clear window.
one that hasn't been rained on or shit on or broken
and see the person we love for what they truly are-
someone who loves us no matter what window they are looking through.
or perhaps just one that is open.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Is that you spring? It's me, Tony.

The last three days have been GORGEOUS! And my mood has drastically picked up with the addittion of sunshine and the warming air. I went for a run through prospect park yesterday and the smell of dirt, damp earth and thawing lake, felt good in my lungs. I ended up walking, not because I was lazy, but because I just wanted to enjoy it. People were playing frisbee and soccer and feeding the ducks. there was life everywhere, happy life and also what looked like a bit of healing, perhaps a rebirth. There were several people sitting alone under trees, some in the shade, some with their eyes closed facing the sun. It felt good to be a part of that SUnday afternoon life in Prospect Park and I am looking forward to a rebirth of my own.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

money makes the world go 'round

 The other day, Mike and I went over my new budget and I was struck with panic. I need to make more money to afford the kind of life I want in New York, which is basically getting by and nothing too lavish. It has kick-started that thought once again of what the next step will be. Looking for suggestions, advice, and money. I leave you with a musical bit from my favorite musical of all time, Cabaret.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a letter to the daughter on the brooklyn bound F train

When you turn 18, don't look back.
The place that you go to when she's screaming at you, humiliating you, stripping you of all your dignity in front of a train full of passengers, write that place down somewhere.
You are beautiful.
Your mother is afraid of you.
Don't give in to her anger, ever.
There will come a day when you might find yourself unjustly angry at someone who does not deserve it; Remember who the true owner of that anger is.
If you're going to cry, let her see your tears. Let her scream some more. Let her feel like the monster she is.
Go home and love yourself.
Pick your head up. Everything lies ahead, and one day her voice will be nothing more than an echo lost among the subway tracks.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The problem with kung fu movies..

is the shitty dubbing mixed with fake crying, swords clinking, and lots of revenge speeches that is playing throughout my apartment right now while i am in my bedroom trying to write.

Example: "I was the one....who slashed your father's throat!"
Thanks, Francesco.