A Month of Writing Practice

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One month ago I vowed two things: I would not look at social media for a month and I would write everyday.  I did this because of Austin Kleon’s “29 Day Challenge” for February. Austin Kleon is an artist and author of some great books, including “Steal Like An Artist” and “Keep Going.” My mom printed out four copies of the chart and we all chose a thing we would do for every day of February.

I knew immediately that I wanted to give up Facebook and Instagram for a month. I don’t like the way that I compulsively check my phone and sometimes spend more time than I want to mindlessly scrolling. I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t have a reason to spend a lot of time on my phone. But I also knew I didn’t want to just take something away; I needed to add something too. I was struggling with writing a memoir and I was only sitting down once a week or two to tackle it. I decided to choose writing to replace my phone addiction.

I don’t have a lot of time in my day so I realized I would have to make some time to write. I often fall asleep when I’m putting Mina to bed at 9:00 so I decided to wake up at 5:00 every morning (except for twice a week when I work late the night before). That gave me almost two extra hours a day.

I predicted that I would write more, read more, be more present, feel more grounded and alive. That all came true but to an even deeper extent than I expected. I also thought I would stop wanting to check social media about two weeks in. I was wrong- I never lost my urge to check Instagram and often I would pick up my phone to check my email and then I would just Google dumb stuff or look up images of cute celebrities. Apparently there’s a part of me that just needs a mindless escape. I wish that weren’t the case. I was surprised that I still spent some much time on my phone even when there was nothing to do on it.

Another thing that surprised me was how much I wrote. I gave myself permission to only write one sentence if I didn’t have time that day or if I was feeling uninspired. But writing every day became its own addiction and I always had a lot to write. After a week I started to effortlessly fill pages when at first I would lose steam after a paragraph or two. The act of writing, of spending regular time with my journal in the quiet of the morning, was satisfying in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

Here are some excerpts from my journal during that month.

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2.3.20

A girl walks by in a long hot pink coat, sleeping bag-like, with yellow hoodie underneath, tote bag and blond hair piled in a bun on top of her head. I think, maybe someday I can wear my hair like that. I’m starting to make the movement of tucking my hair behind my ears. 

2.4.20

Woke up early this morning and read “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp where she talks about routine and daily practice. I miss social media but also not. Without it there’s a lot more time in my day. 

The other day at work Ben picked me up, just lifted me into the air when I went in for a hand shake, he moved towards me and swooped under my arm and I was up above everything, surprising me and him in a way that felt like a tear in the space time continuum, like a portal to another reality had opened. I didn’t realize it was a possibility to be picked up like that. I don’t think it’s ever happened to me before. 

2.3.20

Opening the curtains this morning with Mina she looks outside at the dark and gray rain (how it’s been for the last few months) and exclaims, “A beautiful summer day!” “Indeed!” I reply. “Not a cloud in the sky!” And we both collapse with laughter. 

2.7.20

I was talking to Emma last night at work about writing my memoir and I said how it’s been hard to write anything of apparent value. I said I feel like I have to have some new experiences to help me connect with the old memories. When I sit down at the computer and try to write with my brain it just feels flat and dry- I need to get moving, be outside, be in touch with my senses. I don’t want my brain to write the memoir, 

“I want my body to write it, through my brain.”

She looked a little confused when I said that but it struck me that, that’s it. That’s what I want to do, whatever that means. 

I picture myself alone in the woods for a week, maybe in a cabin by the coast. Hiking every day, drinking fresh stream water, eating wild mint, scribbling nonsense. 

Or walking the bouldered hills around Ramona, inhaling sage and dust, getting scraped up by scrub oak, remembering the land I grew up on. 

Or spending a day by the creek in Chico, watching the emerald water glide over stones and feeling the life I lived there. 

Jumping into a mosh pit, playing the songs I wrote as a teenager, walking the streets of SF, Seattle, San Diego, Eugene. 

The body remembers what the mind forgets. 

2.8.20

I feel juicy with energy from the past. Last night I found myself playing old songs I wrote on the guitar: Mr. Friday Night, Vintage Life, Plum Folly, etc. At The Station, which always makes Benny tear up. 

Today I just want to bust out old journals, type up excerpts. I’m always unsure how to use journals, whether to take directly from them or just as a trigger, a prompt, a fact checker. 

2.10.20

I like this, this writing every day. Scarfing down broccoli pasta after yoga and Zumba, felt so good on my body. When I exercise I often think of it as time away from my real priorities, art and writing and music- but I thought today of how I want to move my body as a way of reconnecting to the past, a way of tuning in to the writing. Taking care of my body serves the art. 

I feel relaxed, centered, clean, fresh, open to deep breaths. The sun is out. Spring seems close by. 

I observed the feet of the man in front of me in yoga. He was about 60. His feet were clean, smooth, dry. His skin had that shiny quality that I recognize from my mom’s feet, maybe’ dad’s too. Worn smooth from age and use, like a river stone. 

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2.11.20

Sitting by the fire, cold feet, dressed in black, full of Thai food. Mina humming “Eleanor Rigby.” Benny making a buck-toothed LEGO creature. Reading Twyla Tharp I’m jealous of her commitment to creativity and the assuredness in her life’s work. Her willingness to work tirelessly. 

2.12.20

My early morning time was a bit thwarted today- I had a bad dream, the first one in a while, the kind that make you jolt awake and your whole body is tingling. My mind dwelled on it for a while until my silent 5:00 am alarm went off (just vibration) and as I reached to turn it off I saw Mina’s little head up and looking for me, she had had a bad dream too. 

I cuddled her and told her a story of a beautiful baby dragon who could sing and the five year old girl who befriended her. She fell back asleep but just as I was about to get up Mochi strutted into the room yowling, stepped all over Mina and stood on my stomach. Eventually I got up and it’s worth it for this, just these few previous minutes. 

I keep wondering how to make the memoir smaller and more manageable, or how to give it a “spine,” as Twyla says. An original driving idea that you can come back to when you feel lost. Not the story, not the theme, but the secret scaffolding that gave it its original structure. 

I keep thinking I need a retreat, time away from my real life to loosen up my brain and get weird. I kind of want “get weird” to be the motto of writing this memoir, since Jenny Slate’s weird writing was what inspired me. She was in my dream the other night- she had the same wallet as me, the vintage green one with the gold clasp. I thought it was an amazing coincidence, she didn’t think it was that unusual. What is a wallet? A way to carry your richness, what’s important to you. I thought mine was unique and original, she knew it wasn’t. 

2.13.20

I slept hard last night, as if drugged. Lots of dreams. It was difficult to get up but I did after a couple hits of the snooze. 

Yesterday I sent an email to old friends (Amy, Diana, Tyana, Emma, Cadence, Thomas) inviting them to a virtual writing group. I think that will help me with getting to some good stuff. We will write one 15 minute prompt per week and do short responses. 

2.16.20

Hard to wake up this morning, my silent alarm was going off for a while before I heard it. I was dreaming of a dark wooden saloon, drunken men, guns, sex, a race for the bounty. A man named Loyal who was tricking them all by offering free drinks so he could find the money. 

But even when I have trouble getting up I still do because I love this so much. This quiet alone time. 

Fridge humming, green tea, the fire dancing behind glass, robe, slippers. I didn’t write in here yesterday but I did write a page of guidelines for the writing group that will start Monday. So far Amy and Cadence are for sure in, the others are less responsive but still interested I think. 

2.18.20

Had a dream the other night that I was taking care of someone’s baby. I took it to a tattoo shop and got it a neck tattoo- a pair of fanged jaws with the word FANGZ (our friend Alex’s artist persona). Immediately after I was horrified at what I’d done. Now this baby was going to have an ugly neck tattoo her whole life! When the mom returned she was appalled. “Is this a real tattoo?!” “Yes, I’m so sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking.” 

Later in the dream I was getting a back tattoo, a huge pastel colored skull, delicately shaded with a lot of detail. Mark Ryden comes to mind. The tattoo artist said it should have some kind of phrase or mantra with it but we couldn’t think of one. 

“Maybe you could just put ‘Party on Wayne’ and ‘Party on Garth’ somewhere in there,” I told her. 

Why these vivid tattoo dreams? A tattoo is a permanent mark, a label, a visual manifesto of one’s identity. I labeled a baby (new life, project, endeavor, adventure) but it wasn’t mine to label. My own tattoo was bigger than expected, beautiful. I was worried about the cost. I didn’t know if I wanted words with it. Funny, since I’m so into words these days. 

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2.20.20

Wow. Been reading this incredible book called “The Wander Society.” All about a group of people who have made wandering a kind of spiritual practice, a way to be present and aware and open to the magic of all things. This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about with my writing- I keep feeling like I need to get up and move, be outside, connect to nature, and that will lead me to insights about my writing. I had the sense that if I get more in touch with the present it will help me write about the past. 

I’m honestly not quite sure how to fit more wandering into my life but now that I’m aware of it I can look for spaces in my day to wander. In the book they say you can even wander sitting still because it’s more of a mindset, an openness, an observational quality. They encourage you to allow yourself to be bored. This also coincides with my efforts to use my phone less. 

I might have some time to wander today. I’m skipping school to go to a haircut demo hosted by Bishops. So maybe I’ll get to that neighborhood early (Alberta) and wander around. 

Windy outside- it will be another sunny windy day. I breathe deep, feeling alive. I can already feel my feet moving, my blood pumping. Wandering gives you a reason to explore a street, a meadow, a bookstore. Sometimes I feel pulled to a place but think, I have no reason to be there. Now I do have a reason- to explore, to be curious, to be open, stray. 

(Later, same day)

I’m at Proud Mary, a brunch spot on Alberta, a beautiful open space with cement, wood, plants, skylights, rough-textured ceramic bowls. I just ordered a cappuccino and sardine toast. The cappuccino is thick and bitter and incredible. 

On the way here I listened to a This American Life episode on delight and it blew my mind in a similar way as the Wander Society book. There is a man who spent a year searching for delight, chronicled his daily delights, studied delight, went deep into his own delights and what delights him. 

I thought, I could combine wandering with a mission to find delight, be open to whatever might delight me, and take note of it. Almost immediately I was delighted by several things:

A restaurant on Killingsworth called Ole Frijole, a concrete building painted an electric, sizzling red orange, intensified by the bright sun and blue sky behind it. 

And on Alberta, a person crossing the street dressed entirely in yellow, even pale yellow round glasses, taking pictures of a bus stop. 

And an adorable tiny pale green cottage by a bar. I tried to figure out what it was and all I saw was a sign in the window advertising Portland made kilts!

I love the idea of always being ready to notice, appreciate, welcome delight. I think sometimes I allow a flicker of delight but quickly move past it. I’d like to practice savoring delight, lingering in it. Feel deserving of it. 

When my food came I closed my journal, I didn’t pull out my phone or a book. I was fully present with my meal, taking in the environment, eavesdropping on conversations. Being present and open and grateful is a state that’s been missing from my life for a while. It feels like my natural state, who I really am, and I’m happy to be finding my way back. 

2.21.20

My wandering experiment turned out great. I felt so open and alive, allowing myself to be pulled by this or that, going into shops not to shop but to see what I might discover. I was more talkative with strangers, made more eye contact. Gave $1 to a woman who asked me if I could help her get something to eat. Signed someone’s petition. Let my gaze linger, paid attention to background music, let things be symbols. It was like I was in a new city, interested in everything. Or on mushrooms, open and ready for anything, ready to be affected, enlightened. I was vibrating. When I got to work Charlotte asked me how my day was and I said, “Oh my god. I had such a good day I feel like I’m on another level of consciousness.” 

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2.23.20

I have to tell you, twice lately I’ve been stunned by my own beauty. The other day when I was taking myself out to brunch and I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and then yesterday in the bathroom at school. My longer hair is just gorgeous- I love the curly wild texture, the darkness of it with hints of silver, the way it frames my face. And my face looked flushed, awake, sparkly, strong, mature, alive. My skin is healthy and pink. This has been a somewhat transformative month for me in general. 

2.25.20 

Yesterday when I walked Mina to school we tried to spot signs of Spring. “Daffodills! Sign of Spring!” “Cherry blossoms! Sign of Spring!” And then of course she made it funny- “Trash on the ground! Sign of Spring!” “Dog barking! Sign of Spring!” 

2.29.20

Hi, it’s me. I’m here. It’s dark and quiet early morning and there’s Mochi purring on my lap and I hear a little rain outside. This is my last day of the write-every-day challenge and I know I will continue. But I can allow space for other things like visual art. 

I feel tired, internally windswept. When my alarm went off at 5 I set a new one for 6 and tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. 

Wind makes the house crack. Mochi gets up. I don’t know what else to write. It’s probably time for another wander soon, somehow. 

Hi, it’s me. I’m here. My eyes feel dry and bleary. My neck and shoulders are sore from 45 degree haircuts and shaking cocktails. 

I’m here and I’ll keep being here, I’ll keep showing up. I’ve begun the long process of re-meeting myself, re-committing to a creative life. I have this, I have my mornings, I have my journal and my writing group and my wander society. Every day I will try to show up for myself however I can. I know that it pays off, I know that I need this. Even if it’s just to sit here in the still-dark and hear the sound of my own breath and say to myself, “Hi, hello. It’s me.” 

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Digging In

 

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I’m working on a piece of writing and it feels big.

It started the other day when I was reading a memoir by Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent and I Love Dick- both radical, feminist, paradigm shattering TV shows. Their book is called “She Wants It” and it’s about their journey as a TV writer and director and how it’s tied in to their journey to find out their identity, sexuality, and voice.

I was reading this and thought, “Hey, I have a story like that too. I wonder what my story is. I wonder how it ends.” It occurred to me that my body has a story. I thought about what the story of my life would be from the perspective of my body. Luckily, I had the luxury to slip away not long after being struck by inspiration, and tap out a beginning to my story. I decided to write it on the computer, not in my journal, so that it already felt special and more like actual “writing.” That night after my family went to bed, I continued.

I’m using writing to explore my life in terms of identity, gender, and consent. The words are coming easily to me, that feeling that the thoughts are rushing at me faster than I can type. I think I’ve been preparing to write this for a long time, I guess my whole life. It’s the first time I’ve written memoir with a purpose in mind, a question.

My question is, who am I? Who am I in context of my family, my friends, my society? What does it mean to be a woman? Am I a woman? I like the term “non binary” but do I want to adopt that term for myself? What is consent exactly and what has been my experience with knowing what I want and don’t want and communicating that? How do I teach my daughter what wasn’t taught to me? What does it mean to have a body in this world? What does your body and how you use it say about you? What about me is the same throughout my life, and what has changed? How do I protect myself but also stay open and vulnerable? What does it mean to live authentically?

I’m not cracking open old journals yet, just drawing on memory and my recollection of my writing, but I think as soon as the words run out I’ll start looking back for entries that focus on identity, body, and consent, to fill out the writing and give it even more truth and detail. It started out as a blog post but it’s turning into my life story.

 

The Living Wind

You know how I was talking about how sometimes your past self has something to teach you? Well, once in a while I find some old writing that reminds me who I am in my best moments and it’s so reassuring to find it and meet her again.

Since looking for that last entry about The Vagina Monologues I’ve had a stack of journals on my desk and I thought, since they were out, I’d flip through them a bit and see if there was anything else interesting. I found a journal from the spring of 2001 and found myself engulfed in my tragic and tangled love life, when I was involved in not so much of a love triangle as more of a love hexagon. It’s so clear to me now what I needed to do then, but of course at the time I was completely confused. I was foolish and so selfish, I thought as I read through it. My past self teaches me so much, I wish I could return the favor and whisper a little advice backwards 17 years.

“Tell the truth,” I would say to her. There was so much unintentional deception happening, as a result of trying to protect everyone involved. It just made it worse, of course, but I didn’t see that then.

When I came across this entry it was a relief, a moment when I felt complete pride and love for my younger self. She reminds me how to be open and present and alive.

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(No date, because I didn’t date any entry in this whole journal because, well, I didn’t think the date would ever matter?)

Today was haunting as I stepped outside though it took me a while to notice it for what it was and not just an inconvenience. I think it was when I went into Cafe Max and took off all my jackets and scarves and bought a cup of coffee from the morose, goatee’d guy behind the counter, I realized there was no way I could stay inside- I just couldn’t do it for some reason even though it was raining and gray and windy as hell out there. So I went back out- there were no tables or chairs on the sidewalk anywhere so I sat on the church steps and sipped coffee and watched people walk down the street.

I noticed that some people marched with their heads down, hands in pockets, everything wrapped around them and shut off, protected- and some people walked with their bodies pressed against the wind, their heads up, necks exposed, welcoming it and moving with it. I realize that on my way to the coffee shop I’d been walking the first way, as if the wind was an obstacle or an enemy.

So I got up from the steps and continued on down the street, learning how to feel the wind move through me- I took off my scarf and let the wind be my scarf. I took my hands out of my pockets to embrace it. I was drawn to the trees-

stood underneath a pine tree, pressed my back against the trunk, looked up into the monstrous thrashing branches as they dipped and danced, deafening roars of wind through the trees, all over. I could feel the movement and energy and even heat through the trunk- I hummed, throat vibrant, as the tall beings bent and sang. The grass rippled in shining waves as if bristling with a life of its own, and leaves chased each other across it.

Suddenly, a crash- and scanning, I saw a fallen tree, gray branches reaching sideways and thick trunk heavy on the soft ground. I gasped and ran to it, heard a siren in the distance, imagined it was an ambulance coming to save it-

thick knot of mud-choked roots, dripping, what used to be in dark wet warmth now cold and exposed, oh its long body, sad and sprawled, oh its bright white wounds of underflesh that I took off my glove to touch, moist and young. Caked and crumbling mud that I pulled a chunk from, held it in my left hand as I walked away, softly forming it into a ball.

I was late meeting up with Nate at the library, but he was late too. When he showed up, he shouted, “Let’s do homework later and go for a bike ride! It’s beautiful outside!”

I felt alive

Like a challenge, like a fight, like a test.

We ran into Crystal and Justin. Justin was still wearing his pink hat. We walked, the four of us. I left my jacket open to help the wind in. I took off my glasses to fall more into the world- couldn’t discern between this and that, couldn’t discriminate, waved to everyone thinking I knew them, didn’t care about my reflection in the glass. Who knows where we are.

Fences are fallen. Misplaced possessions. Parts of roofs on sidewalks. Bleeding oranges on the street. At Crystal’s house, there are large branches in her yard. Her grass is smooth and long, undulating. The playground across the street was built over a cemetery. Inside her house, my skin feels swept and clean and swollen, like I’d just gone swimming in the ocean. She fed us soup and tea. Justin and I ventured to the haunted playground and Nate climbed high into the redwood tree, so high all I could see was the yellow of his jacket.

Later, we went with Crystal back to the library to look up a photographer named Brassi- marred recollections, shining black and white images of large ended pale women posing in Paris, in the wet brick streets, in the misty night, with fleeting expressions now caged in a heavy book in a heavy library

on a windy night, somewhere else.

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Woman Love

Last night I was having dinner with my family, including my mom who had just gotten back from a three week trip visiting friends and family in San Diego. We were eating Tom Kha soup that Benny and I had made with ingredients from Fubon, the huge Asian food store nearby. I mentioned that I tried not to ladle any hot Thai peppers into anyone’s soup but to be careful just in case. It jogged a memory of a time when I was eating the same soup at a Thai restaurant and did, in fact, eat one of those peppers.

“That was the same night that we went to see The Vagina Monologues,” I reminded my mom. “And I was so high off that pepper that the whole night just blew my mind. In fact, that was maybe the first time that I really felt proud of being a woman.”

“I hadn’t made that connection, that that was the same night,” my mom said.

“What an amazing experience,” I said. “And I wrote it all down.”

My mom’s eyes widened. “Really!” She said. “You should look for it.”

After dinner I put on a head lamp and rummaged through the storage closet, going through my journals until I finally found it. As I read the entry aloud to my mom later that night I was struck by a few things- by how full and rich and complex my life was at that time, as a 19 year old who had returned home for the summer after a year at Chico State, and also how committed I was to getting the story down. This description is only a portion of the entire entry because so much had happened in the previous day and night and I knew at the time how important it was to just surrender to my journal for a couple hours and get everything on paper. As I was looking for this entry I found a journal labeled July 2000-August 2000. An entire notebook filled in four weeks.

Also what struck me is how, up until that night, I had been pretty ambivalent about my gender, often denying my female-ness and looking for ways to express myself as more masculine. I wasn’t necessarily anti-woman, I was just more pro-man. I felt that I hadn’t really heard a convincing case in favor of being a woman. I didn’t personally relate to many characteristics commonly viewed as female. My own identity lingered in an in-between space of not female and not male. I didn’t spend too much time thinking about labels and gender identity, I mostly just tried to pretend the whole argument was nonexistent. This was the first time I felt a power in my femininity.

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June 2, 2001

I wore a pair of soft, loose, cotton pants and a light blue long sleeved shirt with gold trim. When Mom arrived I went out to the car- Karen and Deborah were with her. They looked flushed and dazzling, excited about the night and asking me dozens of questions about my new life. We drove downtown and found a parking spot, and then went to dinner at a fancy Thai restaurant, with high white walls and small bright lights hanging from wire thread. We ordered coconut soup, spinach with mushrooms, tofu and rice and other scrumptious things. Mary arrived, looking like Judy Garland, and another of my mom’s friends who I’d never met arrived grinning and strutting with her arms in the air. She had just got back from a long mountain hike and camping trip.

I felt wonderful and strange with these five incredible women, almost like I was hanging out with my big sister and her grown up friends. I was amazed by them, awed and adoring. Watching my mom from across the table, she seemed to be someone else, distant and wild and new, and I missed the feeling of being a daughter. I was left out of most of the conversations as they soared higher and louder with each other. I was mostly content to watch and listen.

When the soup came, my first bite was of a red hot pepper. Apparently you aren’t supposed to eat them- but not only had I eaten it, I’d chewed on it for a while before I swallowed it. It was surprisingly and extremely painful, my whole mouth burned and moaned and turned inside out, my eyes watered and my sinuses cleared. Anything else I put in my mouth made it burn even worse, and it burned for a long time. Afterwards though, everything tasted absolutely exquisite.

We walked to Spreckles theater, and on the way there Mary asked me questions about what I had been going through and I told her stories about the people I know, and Scott’s farm, and my amazing life in Chico. As I told her, I felt like I was back there and I was exuberant and so thankful for my life.

When we arrived at the theater, women were everywhere. They crowded the sidewalk, they spilled in and out of the doors, they loomed and gleamed in their high heels and skirts, their collective voices made rushing waves of sound through the night of filled streets and blaring music. The night grinned and breathed, it swayed and spun, crowds of life and joy and yearning, the streets of San Diego.

The excitement was addictive- I felt the anticipation and glamour, all around me were silk dresses, high priced drinks, make-upped faces, white pillars, intricate ceilings. I hadn’t expected anything like this, especially for something called “The Vagina Monologues!”

We were ushered into the theater with the rest of the crowd and took our seats. The room was medium sized but gave the illusion of wealthy expanse. Tall ceilings, several balconies, bronze statues of naked women posing near the roof, carvings and curlicues in white and gold.

The show was incredible, inspiring, authentic, beautiful. Three amazing actors, seated and telling stories, taking on the characters of an old woman, a young lesbian, a girl who had been genitally mutilated, a woman who gave other women pleasure for a living, a woman whose husband detested hair, a woman who learned to love her vagina, and other personas. I was completely entranced the entire time. I learned so much about my body and how other women view their bodies. I felt a kinship with females that I’d never known before. I burst out laughing at surprising times and found myself teary-eyed at stories I wouldn’t have thought would affect me. I was pulled to these women, to the stage. I felt at one with the audience, the rowdy, cheering, sobbing, laughing audience. I looked around at all the women and I saw us as sisters. I imagined all the vaginas in the theater and I loved every one of them. I felt like a mother, a nurturer- and became empowered with that feeling of nurturing.

But most of all, I felt a deep pride- a pride that soared in all of us. I saw us raise our heads higher, sit up straighter, smile wider and with an ancient knowledge. I saw the love we had in ourselves, of ourselves; a love and pride that gets squelched by so many things, and fed by so little. We were awakened, we were reminded, of how glorious we are, how beautiful and how strong.

When we left, we left beaming, reborn. Tears in our eyes, we walked differently. I wanted to throw my arms around everyone. I was electrified- grinning and tingling as I strutted down the street with Mom and Deb, running my eyes over rivers of people as we fought our way down busy sidewalks. I’d never seen downtown so exciting, so packed with life, so loud and wild and bright. I could almost see the money flowing from pockets into cash registers- dark eyes and painted lips, shiny shoes wherever I looked and new smells at every block- steam and smoke billowing from vents, hot night, sharp moon, the buildings loomed with flashing windows, endless. I felt hot and desirable, awake and open, swelled with confidence. I loved the city then, no desire for quiet rivers and heavy trees, crickets and bonfire smoke. I wanted alcohol, I wanted all night dance clubs, I wanted to flaunt my body, I wanted to spend all my money and collapse drunk on a velvet couch wearing a slinky dress. This is it, I knew, I felt, I sighed, and I went home, and I slept.

 

Illustration by Wanda Felsenhardt