Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do a little dance

As I was swimming yesterday, I over heard two ladies, who I always see, talking about two very serious issues that they were currently dealing with in their personal lives. It really threw me off considering they are two of the friendliest and seemingly happiest of the ladies that frequent the pool with me. It made me really think about that saying, you know that one, about everyone having skeletons in the closet.

It really is true. Everyone does have at least one guy chillin' behind their favorite cocktail dress or freshly pressed suit. It's just that every person deals quite differently. Some people keep those suckers locked up tight. Those are the people that you tend to usually hate because they trick you into believing that they have the perfect life with no skeletons to deal with at all. Then we have the people on the other side of the spectrum, the ones who obviously don't have enough storage space to keep their skeletons behind closed doors. Those are the people who tend to make their lack of ability to deal with their skeletons a teeny bit more obvious. And by teeny bit I mean that I have fully seen people out with their skeletons on the weekends, I've even served a skeleton a vodka on the rocks before, no joke. (They are an obnoxious crowd, to say the least) That, I think, is a bit extreme. I mean we all have enough trouble dealing with our own skeleton's b.s., I don't need to deal with yours while I'm working, or having a coffee, or relaxing on my day off. There is no need for you to parade your skeleton around town in hopes that other people might buy you two a drink to cheer you up or even offer your skeleton a place to stay.

 And then there are the third type of people, the ones who deal with their skeletons on their own time, for the most part, but sometimes take them out for a short stroll to give them some air, or when they need to vacuum up the dust bunnies on their closet floor. Those are the people who got it right, I think. Sometimes those skeletons can get to be quite a handful, sometimes they get a bit restless and cranky when you keep em cooped up for too long, sometimes we all need a hand or some advice on how to properly rear a skeleton.

Don't you think everyone would be a better person if they knew the right way to raise a skeleton? I think the world would be a better place. For instance, they wouldn't take up our bar tables and disrupt us at work, we wouldn't have to make awkward small talk with skeletons on rare nights out with our girlfriends, we would probably all receive less calls where we are unexpectedly put on conference with others' skeletons and we would be much less envious of some of our peers.

So this is what I propose. I think that we should all get into the habit of letting our skeletons out, maybe if it is even just once a month, for a night out on the town. Loosen them up a little, get them a little tipsy, maybe. We could dress them up in top hats and bow ties and take them dancing. We could merengue and salsa and cha cha. We would have a bit of fun with our pesky old skeletons: eat a nice meal, share a few laughs, do a little jig and drink a whole lot of tequila. We could play a game or six of flip cup, show our skeletons who is really boss.

Maybe we could even bond a bit.

Maybe our skeleton could teach us a thing or two about ourselves, our strengths, our limits. Maybe we could learn to see a new side of our skeletons, a better side, a side that makes us a little less hesitant to open up that closet door when we know we have to re-organize our wardrobe...

Monday, April 26, 2010

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

Monday mornings are always bittersweet. I enjoy how I usually feel so refreshed after a full and complete day of lazyness and relaxation, after a tiring week of work and even more tiring week of workouts. Every Monday is the same: I wake up a bit earlier than needed, a little sad that my weekend festivities (no matter how simple, how grand, how memorable or how blurry they may have been) are over, a little anxious to work off my weekend binges, and a little excited to begin my countdown for whatever I have planned next. For the most part my spirits are high, even despite the fact that it seems impossible to swat away that inkling feeling that continuously threats to creep up into my mind--wake up silly girl, that refreshed feeling won't last too long, the week begins again, back to the grind.

Grind? Let's get serious here. My life is definitely less than grinding. The only difficult daily task worth mentioning would be my workouts, I guess. Those I use as a means to feel stronger than I really am, I push myself harder than I should so I can walk away feeling like I accomplished something, defeated something, am worthy of those indulgent breaks I take. But besides that, my life is everything but challenging. Wake up, go to the gym, come home, eat lunch, serve other people some lunch, go for a swim, eat a yogurt and cool whip parfait. Oh yes, I lead a difficult life (*yawn*)

This Monday has brought with it a new and foreign emotion. It's been headed my way for quite some time now, I was expecting its arrival. Today, like so many other days since graduation, I am feeling less than inspired. But in a different way than normal. Usually I embrace my un-inspiredness, thankful for a mental break, thankful for the fact that I am happy even though I have nothing really exciting to report, nothing extra special going on in my life right now, no news on the horizon, no impending grand plans. Today is different. Today I am on the lookout for inspiration, slightly jealous of my peers who seem to be swimming in a giant pool of it, with their foot in every door of opportunity. I am envious of those whose inspiration is so obvious, whose drive is so feverish, whose passion is so defined for them, it is them, they cannot function without it. I use to be like them, working, gyming, schooling and planning major events without ever tiring, achieving all the goals I set out for myself (and even surpassing a few). I seem to have lost that, though. Now I am inspired by my past self, my past accomplishments, envious of that energy for something that seems so diminished or so wasted on less than important tasks.

A recent discussion I had with creative writing college professor Antanas Silieka made me realize even more how much I crave that all-embracing desire for something. Writing, he said to me, was something I knew I had to do. It wasn't so much about living my dream, but about doing the only thing I was capable of--I am quite literally clumsy when it comes to anything else. And that is what it is all about. Dreaming is essential, of course. I, Captain Dreamer, Miss Disney, am first to advocate that. But a dreamer does not a happy person make. Anybody can dream. I dream all day long, but I don't do much. Dreaming is a fallacy, it is a guilty pleasure, it can take you away while you sit still, it can make you reach new heights while you're grounded. But the idea of dreaming is limiting. How many people actually end up living their dreams? The statistics seems so daunting. They seem so discouraging. If our future is only a dream we will likely settle for the next best thing, thankful we got so close, yet never feeling entirely fulfilled. No, it cannot just be about dreaming. It has to be about finding that thing, the only thing, the one thing you can do that makes you feel like you finally found your skin. The one thing you can do without stumbling, no matter how many times people try and push you, how much you are tested, how many times you think you have failed.

That is what I am looking for today. I search for it in my things, in my favorite books, my most prized possessions, even in my little doodles, my agenda, in my half used notebooks, my cookbooks and written recipes, my past travels, my future travels, my Google search bar......

but it is no where to be found.

I guess like every other good thing in life, and likewise, everything we ever misplace, it will come to me when I least expect it, I will find it in the one place I forgot to search....

Are you inspired?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ode to Christopher Columbus

I usually get at least one or two days off a week (not counting my lunch shifts which are actually, at the most, 4 hours each). Usually, I appreciate it how one regularly would--running forgotten errands, tying loose ends, relaxing, shopping, visiting my favorite hairdresser. But today I enjoyed it the way it is meant to be enjoyed. As I lay on my makeshift lawn chair in my backyard, consisting of a cement patio and towel pillow, it's hard not to contain my good mood, hard not to tap my feet to the beat of my iPod.

It is absolutely perfect today. It makes it so easy to pretend like 4 wheelers are motorinos. It is impossible not to close my eyes and be back on that coast, with that town on the cliff, or the one with the buildings of uniform white, or the one with the broken mountain cliff and stretch of white sand. It is difficult not to dream to be back on the road again, planning another journey, jetting off to another spot to discover, to explore. Sadly, it all falls apart with the sliding of the screen door and a call to the vaccuuming duty I`ve been lazily pushing aside all day long.

But as long as the sun shines, my mind will stay stuck in another intention of an impromptu getaway still at the heart of my summer plans.

When you travel, what do you travel for? Do you wish to see for yourself the tales you are told in your history books? Do you want to brush the fur of a lynx, feel the mist of a rainforest, get tangled in a vine? Are you restless or passive? Do you want to globe trot from Sardegna to Siam, from Tanzania to Thailand, from Dublin to Dubrovnik? Or do you settle in one locale? the culture, unearth its mysteries in their entirety, exploring just as much of yourself as you explore the land...

My two European getaways taught me much about myself, my travel style. My first trip to Italy was a trip in constant transit. It made me realize how much I love my friends and family. It made me realize that I am a person who loves being around the people they love. It made me see that loneliness is felt in a room of empty faces. That sometimes it can take being surronded by a throng of people to realize how isolated one can get.

My second trip made me realize that I really am as lazy as I claim, that constant change (or change that happens at anything more than snail pace) unnerves me, makes me anxious. It made me realize that I cannot function on a schedule not created by myself, that I can run 6 miles a day but I do not move quickly naturally, and that I am truly happy when my skin is warmed by the sun, kissed golden by its rays in a backdrop where the soundtrack is of lapsing waves, departing and arrive boats...where nature is alive and we thrive off it, depend on it, worship its simple granduer. It made me realize that I can fall in love with a land, that it can leave a mark on my heart and take a piece of my soul. That when I find my right fit then I don`t need to try it on for size, but my mind is already made and I find myself standing at the checkout, credit card in hand, already embracing the newest piece of the puzzle of me as if it has been there all along.

What else do we ever look for, really, besides a niche? A little corner where we fit in so perfectly, relax so easily, so comfortably. Sometimes our niches are lavish, sometimes they are simple. Sometimes they are found close by and crowded with familiarity; sometimes they are far off and unhampered. Sometimes they are found in a person, sometimes in a place. Sometimes they are our perfect job, our ideal home, our newborn child, our grown teenager, our mother, our father, our siblings. Sometimes our niche is a spot on our couch, a chair on our veranda, a wooden deck at our cottage. Regardless of their variety, they all posses the same power--they are always where we find ourselves most truly, always where we find we can explore ourselves most thoroughly, with no restrictions.

It is with this thought that I urge you to book that trip. To realize that when your mind is constantly in flight, than why should you ground your feet? To learn that sometimes it takes you going to the other side of the world to find your spot at home.