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…I wrote this:

There is a thing such as homesickness. One may not believe in it for a long time, over a decade in fact… but it most certainly exists. Knowing that it is Christmas Eve and you haven’t had any eggnog all season, or listened to Bing Crosby sing any carols, or seen any of your good friends home for the holidays, or even kissed your mother and said “I love Christmas”… this is homesickness in essence. It isn’t truly wanting to be home, and really, there’s nothing that special about it- it’s just doing nothing or something other than what you want to be doing and being prevented from doing what you really want to be doing not by time or money or other people, as is usually the case, but by place. It is knowing you are in the wrong place for what you want to be doing, and wishing you were in that place so you could do what you always do. It’s wanting to be home not because you like your home, but because you do things at home that you cannot do in Mazatlan or Bahrain or even the next town over from your home.

Perhaps most people are more attached to their family members, to their friends than I. It’s strange to think that because so many people are important to me, to the extent that I would donate a kidney for them and I would let them call me at 3 am if they thought it was important enough to wake me up. But up until now, I have never been homesick. Most people, especially children, get homesick at least once before they really leave their parents for good. I witnessed many children at summer camps and sleepovers being homesick, and for me it was much like my relationship with shyness- I could see it happening to someone else, I could recognize it, and I knew what its effects were, but I honestly could not understand it. Shyness is still beyond me. I truly couldn’t do it if I tried. But homesickness, I begin to understand. For children, it is the fear of the unknown. If something goes wrong, they can’t run to their mother to save them, and they feel very alone and unsure, which isn’t a nice feeling. They cannot run for the familiar help of their parents if something is wrong- place prevents it. It’s another thing that they cannot do not because they don’t have the time or money or because their parents don’t have the time or money, but because they are not home.

And as children get older, they don’t need to run to mommy. The fact that they can’t get their parents to solve their problems becomes less of an issue, because they find that their parents can’t really solve their problems anyway. They may fear the unknown, but their parents couldn’t save them even if they were at home.

And so children grow into teenagers and adults who don’t get homesick so much. But there are certainly things that can bring it about once again- a crisis, Christmas, food that has the same name as it does at home but really isn’t the same. You wish you could have a hug, you wish you could see your family and wish them a Merry Christmas in person and sing “Break Forth” the way you always do, you just wish you could get a damn milkshake that tastes right. And you know that you can do none of these things, because of place. Again, it is the problem of place. You are sick for your home because you are not there. And so you realize that at some decent hour today, you must call home. Because certainly you cannot cure your homesickness- being in the wrong place- but you can do something to assuage it. You can call and listen to home, whatever that happens to mean. And maybe you will still wish you were home, but you will feel better knowing that at home, everything is the way it’s supposed to be. Knowing that maybe home changes too, but in the important ways, it is still the same home you left. And with that, you can enjoy the experience of being away from home and wish everyone else a very merry Christmas and happy new year.

I had an idyllic childhood. I spent most of my days with my stay-at-home mother, playing with my brother when he came home from school, and walking the dog with him and my dad after family dinner. My large extended family would gather monthly for birthdays, and two weeks every summer, we would all go to my grandparents’ cabin in Tahoe.

My dad worked close to sixty hours a week, but I was still much closer to him than I was to anyone else. He sang me to sleep with old country songs, he carried me on his shoulders in front of the band after Cal games, and we went to church together on Sundays. He was my sunshine and my hero; I feared disappointing him more than anything.

Things change. My brother started fighting with my parents, I decided I was too old for lullabies, my relatives had less time for Tahoe in the summer. My dad started getting back pain and losing weight; in addition, he was laid off when as his company went bankrupt and had to take a lower-paying, less fun job.  I was in my awkward preteen years, which are never easy for anyone.

Things change more. My dad’s back pain turned out to be pancreatic cancer, which killed him four months after diagnosis.  My mom got a job which involved two months training in Maryland, during which time I lived with my grandparents. When she got home, she worked full-time and her schedule changed every two weeks. My brother was already in college, so I spent many long hours alone in my house; between this and problems both normal and abnormal for someone my age, I became depressed.

Although none of this was fun for me, there are upsides. I am much closer to my mother now than I was before, because now we can only rely on each other. If I hadn’t been depressed and gotten behind in my chemistry homework, I would never have learned that I love tutoring kids because I wouldn’t have spent so much time in my teacher’s room after school, and I doubt I would have wanted to come to Mexico to teach.

I also have increased perspective on life, which is usually good but sometimes detrimental. While I wasn’t heartbroken when my boyfriend broke up with me, I also have a hard time thinking of an F grade as a horrible thing: neither are on the scale of a malignant tumor.

Children also affect me more now. Whenever I go to the Farmacia in my neighborhood, I over-tip the kids bagging the groceries because they are usually younger than ten and they are working instead of playing outside. The last time I watched the musical Annie, I cried during the first five minutes because I started thinking about the plight of orphans, how they have no one to love them or care about their lives. Also though, I cannot help but smile when I see parents patiently answering their children’s questions, little kids playing catch in the street, or fathers carrying toddlers on their shoulders so the kids can see parades.

While I believe that sadness is a part of life, I also want to do my part to lessen it. I want every kid to have as wonderful a childhood as mine.  I’m interested in so many careers- teacher, doctor, chemist, art historian, mathematician, politician- and I hope that college will help me decide which one I want to pursue; but whatever I choose, I want to make the world happier in my small way.

When I was small, I liked the idea of God, and I believed he existed, but only as an abstract idea. I went to church for the spectacle, the singing and my fellow Catholics; it wasn’t until one specific incident that he became personally important to me.

My mom and I took my dad to the emergency room when I was fifteen.  I brought homework along, but I couldn’t concentrate, so I prayed the rosary in entirety three times, which is when the doctor came back out to talk to my mom. My dad stayed at the hospital that night, but I went home with my mom believing that everything would be alright; I had prayed my rosaries and no one had told me otherwise.

It wasn’t until the next day that my mother told me my daddy, the person I loved most in the world, had terminal cancer and three to six months to live. I couldn’t stop all the tears in front of her, but I saved the true extent of my emotions for God. When my mother was at the hospital, I started yelling at God: ranting about how he didn’t answer my prayers, that it wasn’t fair because I was only fifteen and needed my daddy, that (of all stupid things) Beyoncé was older, richer, and more blessed in general than me, that she didn’t need her dad nearly as much as I needed mine.

Then a thought dropped into my head: we die because we are so selfish as to believe one life is worth more than another. I only wanted to exchange my dad’s life for Beyoncé’s because my dad was important to me. It was intensely selfish to think my loved ones were worth more than anyone else’.

Sure, there wasn’t a voice, and an angel didn’t come unto me. Nevertheless, I believe that God answered me, because I think that thought was his and not mine.

Since then, there have been times when I didn’t feel I could talk to anyone else, or I talked to others and they couldn’t help me. So I talk to God, and I feel that he listens. I certainly have doubts about whether or not I’m imagining the whole thing, but I like to think that it doesn’t really matter. Whether he really exists or he’s just a comforting construct of my mind, I believe I’m better off because I believe in him.

I come from a world of beauty. Everyone else lives in this world as well, but so often they fail to see it. I get up in the morning, and while some people sleep through it, and some people appreciate the sunrise, I notice the beautiful graffiti the neighborhood boys have made on the previously bare white brick wall. I went to the Louvre in Paris, and while nearly a hundred people crowded around the Mona Lisa, I gasped at the amazing Titian works around the back. Truly, I do find the balance and perfection of the Renaissance paintings beautiful, but I find the slightly off-kilter figuratives of the Mannerist era (Bronzino, Greco et al) more appealing.
I ride the public transportation, and although there are many attractive men arriving or departing at every station, I smile at the woman who gives up her seat for an old man or the father playing hand games with his six-year-old daughter. Her smile is always brighter than I think possible except in that moment.
I admire Rhetoric, that refined goddess of the silken oration, the passionately lowered voice, the persuasion of the masses. Lovelier, however, is the raw appeal of Truth; no graceful garments has she. Truth weeps in the gutter, dirty and scarred, recalling her story to anyone who listens. So many pass her by, but stopping to admire her and hear her tales is more than worth it when one finds that her history is more fantastically dramatic than anything one could dream.
I live in the world where “anything essential is invisible to the eyes,” as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says in The Little Prince. I live in a world where the most beautiful picture might not be of a Hawaiian rainbow, but of a puddle of dirty water, where one’s mother can be beautiful at any weight, where gray can be the most vivid color of all.
I come from the real world, and the beauty is all of humanity, feuding, embracing humanity, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. I am its observer; I intend to be its advocate. Whether as a doctor, a politician, a writer, an art historian, a teacher, a mathematician or something else, I will serve and protect the beauty of humanity. I will serve my world.

I just watched the Sex and the City movie with KL, and I feel downright optimistic. It’s funny, I hardly ever talk to people online. I feel like I don’t translate well to facebook chat, like it’s so much harder to come up with something to talk about, and because the talking is all there is, it gets a little awkward. And I practically spent the weekend hanging out with Miss L and I realize I miss all my high school friends- but I’m not going to miss them any more when I go to Mexico. Because they’re already gone. They’re already off in their own lands, spinning away at their own lives trying to make sense of it without me. I might visit band before I leave for Mexico, but on the other hand, maybe not. That high school world is just gone and behind me. I like seeing the younger kids, but it’s really not the same- they still live in a world where passing English is important, where the science teachers are mostly incompetent, where they don’t know if they’re pretty or ugly or whether anyone will ever love them or if they’re just in a relationship for the sake of being in one. I’m rapidly leaving my teenage years and I’m glad of it. I may continue to lead a dramatic and exciting life, but I’m not going to do it with that teenage angst attached. And I’m going to remember that some of my friendships may fade, but often, you see someone again and it’s like you were never apart. I can hear the Oktoberfest music through my window, and it sounds so much like life, you know? You spin around and you laugh in each others’ arms, and then you spin off to another partner and keep laughing, keep turning with the music. Of course you hope it never stops, but the musicians can’t play forever. You just try to have as much fun spinning as you can while it lasts.

To all my girls, I love you. To all my boys, I love you too. And to all those of you who aren’t mine yet, I can’t wait to meet you 🙂

I can’t represent for shit. I got it backwards- I got an Oakland face with an LA booty. I’m sure you know what that means, and if you don’t, well, have fun with your imagination. It occurs to me that I spend a great deal of time thinking about my beauty or lack thereof and contemplating on the place of beauty in general. Most of these posts refer to it somewhere. Is it because I’m shallow? I don’t think so, but why else do I always come back to it? I suppose it is my central insecurity, and also the one thing I am least able to fix. Sometimes I think things would’ve turned out better if I were hotter, but then, that’s the problem isn’t it. I can’t really make myself much hotter. I am this hot. The irony is how much colder I really am than everyone else- I run at 96 degrees, beezy. I can’t pull off layering because I get too hot and want to pull it off. Besides, we know you skinny chicks are just trying to hide what you look like under all those damn clothes. Yeah, I’m doing it too. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing it. Maybe we should walk free under the sun, soaking up it’s rays and exciting the pricks on all the guys we meet. But hell, I can’t afford the sunscreen for that lifestyle. I mean, really, sunburned nipples? No thanks. The fairy dream of the sun as the life-giving force of the planet is great right up until it burns you. Or melts the wax in your wings. But that’s life, isn’t it? You can’t fall too much in love with any idea, anything, any person. Too much devotion to anything burns. Perhaps one day I’ll learn to live dispassionately; it would hurt a lot less. But oh, the sun feels so delicious on my skin, warming it and caressing it as I lay out and think of how nice it feels. And no matter how many times I’ve gotten burned, I still go out and smile when it hits my face. Maybe one day I’ll get tired of it- but somehow I don’t think so. I think getting tired of the sunshine would be like getting tired of the city or ice cream or people- you have a few bad experiences, but it’s worth it anyway. Maybe that’s life? Maybe I won’t know until it’s over. Oh I’m so trusting. I might be a cynical bastard, but let’s be real, I’m a bloody optimist by nature. If I feel like you appreciate me, you can ask for nearly anything. You might not get it, but I’m never insulted if you don’t try to insult me. Oh I love you. I just love people so much… too much maybe. Like the sunshine. Lucky I have my clothes to protect me, huh?

…Mexico!

So here’s the deal. The most likely Americorps assignment called and told me they couldn’t offer me a position since they’ve got no money. Since no other Americorps people have contacted me and I’ve heard of all these college grads who are languishing with no Americorps positions, I just thought, screw it, I’m looking elsewhere. So I found this NGO called Projects Abroad and decided, hey, this doesn’t sound bad. Yeah, I have to pay out of pocket and I don’t get a scholarship or anything, but it sure beats sitting around here doing nothing. Plus, it’ll be teaching kids English. So I applied, I got in, and I’m leaving for Guadalajara around October 15th. I’ll be gone 3-5 months. I’m super-psyched about it.

I’m going to miss everyone, but I’ve already said goodbye to a lot of you and I’ve been getting antsy about sticking around. So off I go!

Sometimes I avoid people. Sometimes I avoid people I like because I don’t really want to talk about the things they want to know about me. Sometimes I suck myself into a ridiculous little cocoon and hope nobody notices what I’m doing, hope people will just leave me alone because although I have nothing to be ashamed of, I’m not really proud of myself anyway. Living without a deadline is killing me. Have you ever really thought about the word “deadline”? It kind of suggests what it is: this is the point at which something dies. It suggests mortality in general. There’s no life without death, and right now, I feel like I’m drifting through life because I’ve got no deadline. I suppose part of this problem is my overdeveloped sense of perspective- nothing REALLY bad happens when I miss a deadline. My life doesn’t get unbearably worse- it just doesn’t get better. I should want to get better way more than I do, but I think I’m overly grateful that my life isn’t terrible, so I’m too willing to settle for mediocrity. Perhaps I have a brain, but I don’t really have any use for it. I dislike being purposeless, but I don’t dislike it enough to really try to change it. My central quality and greatest sin is my own sloth. People want to know what I’m doing, people care about what I’m doing and I don’t answer them because I don’t really want to tell them that I’m doing nothing. My talent and my cute blue eyes and my charm and my humor are sitting here, whiling away the hours, not doing anything. I don’t really want to tell people that- they react badly. They always think that it’s through no fault of my own, because that’s the way I tell my own story. My habit of telling it more optimistically than it is comes to bite me in the ass now- I’m never going to be destroyed by outside forces. I am so powerful that the only person who can bring me down is myself. But good lord, it’s so likely…

My natural state of being seems to be sleeping in a box, like an abandoned kitten or something. That seems to be really apt, now that I think about it- I’m happy when I’m asleep, and when I wake up, I just want to be taken out of my box and loved, petted and told that I’m beautiful. So often, though, there’s no one to pick me up out of the box. So I scramble and scratch, trying to reach up the sides of the box, reach out to someone. Someone who might love me and talk to me and tell me about their day, maybe scratch me behind the ears, make me purr. And when I reach out, I usually can get that. I find someone to do all that for me. But when they’re done, they just put me back in the box. And the next time I want to leave the box, I have to do all this scrambling again. They always just put me back in the box, because I’ll be “safe” there. I want to get out of the box. I want to be out of the box, where all the nice people are. And for once, I don’t want to have to scramble to get out and find them- they don’t really come find me. I tip myself out of the box, they pick me up because I’m adorable, and then they put me back in the damn box as if I’m supposed to be in there. I hate the box. I don’t care if that’s where you found me, it’s my prison. But I can’t tell them about how much I hate the box, because all I can do is purr when I’m happy and mew when I’m sad- they don’t understand the pain in my little kitten eyes, they think I’m homesick or something, and so they think I should go back to my home, into my box. I wish one would just take me to their home. But you know something, they’d probably just put me in another kind of box. I don’t think I can ever win. All I can do is scramble outside and enjoy the freedom while it lasts. But I’m getting so tired of reaching out…

She needs a fix, she’s going to the bits that she left uptown; maybe she left them downtown, she’s not sure.

But she knows she needs a fix.

Maybe her fix is someone to talk to, but her usual someones haven’t been around.

She really needs a fix.

Work sometimes helps. But she’s got no work to do, because no one has a job for her.

She would really like a fix.

Maybe a drink could be a fix, but she won’t risk that idea because that way lies potential trouble.

Goddammit, she wants a fix.

Maybe typing it out is a fix. Is she fixed?

Why can’t she get a fix?