Sunday, September 19, 2010

Slow Motion and Other Random Thoughts

So, my material has been a bit heavy lately. I’m in need of a light post! I am really trying to be consistent with my postings and do at least one a week but I am coming off a week that was way too much! Too much going on. I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Anyway, this would be a great time to do another rendition of “random thoughts” (also known as: something light). If you didn’t check out the last installment you can find it here. I will be back with something juicy and probably just a little inappropriate in the next week or so!

1.Life would be better in slow motion. It’s so romantic. Sometimes (and by sometimes I mean often) I imagine life in slow motion. It would have a real ethereal feel to it. I think our creator (whoever that may be) got this whole real-time thing messed up. Real-time, how vanilla is that. I mean, really. Just vanilla.

2.There is nothing more sexy than jazz. I die for it! Die! Even if a man is as flat as juice, I think he could just put on some jazz, add a glass of wine and we’d be good. Really good. More specifically, the saxophone is an aphrodisiac. There is something so exhilarating about it. There's an implied pain in that instrument that is so moving that it can't help but create intimacy. It’s rich and meaningful and still seductive. Just sexy.

3. Art is pain. I love pain for that reason alone. There is a beautiful quality to it. There's no emotion more raw or true than it. Art exists because pain exits. I know I’m dark—I’ve accepted that. I’ll probably do an entire post on this. Probably.

4. I have a problem. Well, actually I have a lot more than one, but we are only talking about this one right now. Everyone says they have a shopping problem but I think I really might. I was in Nordstrom recently, talking to mommy on the phone about yet another pair of shoes I was considering buying (she made me count the amount of shoes I’ve purchased since the summer. When I went to my closet and counted her response was: “it’s disgusting Erica.” I was very taken aback by that kind of rude response). She asked how I thought I was going to pay for these new Nordstrom shoes. I told her that I could just not go grocery shopping the following week. I was serious. I’m trying to remember if she hung up on me, at one point she was doing it on a daily basis, she kind of calmed down with it though. Anyway, if she didn’t hang up that was probably the time to do so. I don’t know if it’s shopping that I’m obsessed with or fashion. I think it may be a combination of both. I just know that when I get around clothes and shoes I become like a junkie rationalizing another purchase and calculating what I’m going to sacrifice to have it. I mean, but maybe that’s normal. I doubt it.

5.Speaking of fashion, I would have died to be at the Marc Jacobs runway showcased at Mercedes Benz Fashion week, last week. It was pure ecstasy. Ecstasy!

6.I love defiant women. Period. It’s as plain as that.

7.There is nothing (and I do mean nothing) more sexy than a man in sweatpants. That might be an “Erica” specific turn-on, but someone else in this world has to have seen the power of a man in sweatpants. I have never told any man that this is my outfit of choice but it is. It so is. I don’t know what it is but a man could live in sweatpants for all I care. Close second: a man in a nicely tailored European suit.

8.My soul mate probably is a woman. I just don’t see a man ever being multi-faceted enough to be a match with my soul.

9.The perfect date begins at an Alvin Ailey show, an interlude through a garden, and finishes with us in our most expensive classy duds at some hole in the wall restaurant with the best food and the most lively, colorful bunch of people. That would be picture perfect. Sheer Perfection. Sigh.

10.This song, this song,this song, and this song are like sex for the ears. I play them all day! Death Letter should probably be the soundtrack to my life not because of the words but because of the sound(add me in slow motion).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Europe. Passion. Sex.

Her nail polish was orange. Tangerine orange. That’s what I noticed first. “Can I please sit this here?” she asked. I was sitting outside, under a table with a huge yellow umbrella. The umbrella was so massive it threw a glow of yellow beneath it—onto me. That’s what she did too, I guess—she threw her light onto me. I motioned that it was fine for her to sit her cup down while she used her cell phone. She was beautiful—radiantly so. I knew there was something different about her from the moment she came within my line of vision. I stopped what I was doing just to watch her. I was captivated. “Where are you from?” I questioned. It wasn’t just the accent that gave her international origin away—it was the lucidity in her movement. She moved like water. She really moved like water, without hesitation. And when she smiled it was without limitation. She smiled from a purely joyful place. It was as if she had never heard an unkind word or nothing unpleasant bestowed upon her eyes. As she stood there, talking to me, every word she spoke she breathed life into. There was meaning behind those words. Her entire body had an organic uninhibited breath to it. She was expressive and animated. There was nothing superficial about her. I adored her in that moment.

And just as quickly as she walked over to me and we began our exchange she was gone. Abruptly. She said, “You have a nice day,” and she was gone. And that was that. It wasn’t rude it was direct. She obviously had somewhere else to be. Maybe if I didn’t intimately know where this woman was from I might have been put off by her straightforwardness. When she left she was gone—there was nothing of her that lingered. The yellow glow was still cast upon me from the umbrella, but her light—she took that with her. She possessed all that she had. That’s what Europe teaches you though, it teaches you to live for you—no one else. I learned how to do that in Europe. I learned how to live in Europe. I learned how to walk down the streets and just laugh at nothing in particular. I learned to walk down streets with no end point in mind, stopping for gelato along the way. I owe my life to Europe. I owe my renewed spirit to it too.

After she left I grew nostalgic. I grew nostalgic for the place that, without exaggeration, taught me how to live. Taught me the difference between living and breathing. I miss that place. I had forgotten how much so until this woman approached me. I lived in Italy for four months. I was twenty years old and I don’t believe there will ever be a time in my life that will ever touch the caliber of that experience. I don’t think anything or anyone will even come close. Prior to me living abroad I was truly American, possessing all of the collective hesitations that come with our nationality. Watching the woman with the orange nail polish reminded me of all the limitations we embody. It reminded me of the limitations I place upon myself when I’m here.

The limitations of American women are difficult to describe. Instead, it’s something you can’t quite understand until you see it, when you look at them in comparison to European women. In addition to being nostalgic after the European woman abruptly left, I also stopped reading the legal transcript that I was working on. Instead of reading, I began watching the other women passing by. I watched these American women to see if there really was a difference between their dispositions and that of women living only an ocean away. I wondered if maybe I had confused this particular European woman’s beauty and radiance with something that American women seem to collectively lack. I hadn’t confused anything though. I watched these American women and I identified an oppressiveness about them. They seemed bogged down. Even through their smiles there lived strain on their faces.

Of course, I took the time to intellectualize the foundation of our collective differences. I began to think back on my experience in Europe and the women that I encountered while there. I thought back to how I was different. And I was quite different in Europe. While some of the differences of me had to do with being a stranger in a foreign place, no one knowing me and therefore no expectations or limitations placed upon me; still, part of it had to do with just the culture of Europe.

In Europe there seems to be a culture focused on this pursuit of happiness. They seem to have the interplay between work and play mastered. I use to love walking in the evening around Italy; like a little girl looking through the glass of a candy store I would press my face up to the window and steal moments watching families eating at restaurants. They were laughing and so amicable that I longed for the days back in the nineties when I replicated that scene with my own parents. As I sit here now, I wonder if this cultural difference, the way Europeans slow down and take time for the truly important things in life could have saved my broken home. In America there seemingly is a staunch difference, a culture focused on the pursuit of happiness, but through monetary gain. We wake up to work and do it all over again the next day. The dichotomy between the lifestyles of Europeans and Americans in itself is so implicated that there lies one of the substantial differences of the spirit of the people living in the comparative countries.

Add on to that, that Americans are so muzzled at the mouth. America ironically is a country prided on citizens speaking freely. Yet, we are so unequipped to do so. We have opinions about everything, constantly talking. Talk. Talk. Talk. However, if you ask us to verbalize a difficult emotion or an unpopular sentiment we are at a standstill. We are so fearful of offending people. We are so fearful of our own feelings. What’s more, we even restrict ourselves in the way that we engage others. We stay at a surface comfortable level. I was reminded last week of just how finicky Americans are about invasiveness and a fear of being inappropriate. European women don’t shy away from invasiveness, they embrace it. They say what they want to whomever they choose. It’s a sexy quality. They are direct. Even with their directness, though, Europeans are not half as rude as Americans. We would rather hide our true feelings behind the most disrespectful behavior of all—passive aggressiveness.

Speaking of European women and a “sexy quality.” Let’s not even get on their sexuality. They own their sexuality in a way that even if they were oppressed in every other aspect of life, their sexuality alone would give them one over on American women. They aren’t raunchy about sex but they possess it in such a way that it’s pungent, but still classical. If I had to describe European women I would simply say—sex. It’s interesting how American women have been so sexually exploited that even our liberation of that oppression is still—oppressive. American women many times don’t know the first thing about sex, pleasure and passion. It’s understandable though, we aren’t taught to passionately indulge in many other aspects of life.

Europe is no utopia, don’t get me wrong. If it was—I would be living there now. I have played with the idea of how it would be to live there permanently. Still, America is my home. I went to Europe fleeing from a college that I was quite positive was stunting my growth. I grew so much aboard that when I came back to that same college I realized that I had outgrown it. I had the European spirit within me then, so even though it was inappropriate during my last year of college to do so— I abruptly left. I didn’t care about the ramifications of my departure or my friend’s disapproval of it. I was living for me and on my own impulses. I, like the lady with the orange nail polish, had somewhere else to be. And that was that.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dont Let Me Fall

“What goes up must come down—but don’t let me fall, don’t let me fall.” I have heard these lyrics for months but last Friday as I listened the meaning of the words changed. Initially when I heard B.O.B sing “don’t let me fall,” I thought it was as simple as someone saying that while it was granted that they would fall, from fame, out of love, whatever, they didn’t want to. On Friday the message was more substantial. And I must say I don’t scout B.O.B’s music for anything substantive. The message I got though: everything has its cycle, and nothing stays the same, if something goes up by definition it must come down. Still, it doesn’t mean that thing has to fall. Instead the demise of it could be a little more subtle, a little more graceful. Maybe the message I got from the song was not the intended one. Maybe B.O.B. really just wants to defy gravity and not come down at all. I, on the other hand, expect that I will come down—I’m o.k. with that. It’s the falling part. I just wish they wouldn’t let me fall.

But still, I fell. And it was like the world stopped for me for that moment. It was tenth grade year, weeks after humiliatingly being broken up in an unequivocally unforgivable way. I fell. Literally. I could blame it on the rain. I had just walked into the building—the floor was wet and so were my shoes. Therefore, it had all the makings for a good fall. That’s probably the most logical explanation of why I took a tumble down a flight of at least fifteen steps. I think it was something much deeper than that though. It was deeper than just “I fell because my shoes happened to be wet”. I know it was more than that because as I landed at the feet of my ex-boyfriend and the girl that he broke up with me for, the fall was a literal crumble of all the facades that I had put up post break-up. I literally crumbled at the feet of the two people that every day I was trying to prove how fabulously well I was doing—despite them. And so there we were—the three of us, no one else in sight. It wasn’t the rain that brought me to these people’s feet though—it was the way the person that I trusted and knew so intimately—abruptly let go of my hand. He let me fall.

I have had many relationships that have ended. Contrary to my more recent antics—I don’t kick and scream at the conclusion of each of them. I do hate to see the various men go. But I willingly, sometimes encouragingly let them. I have figuratively fallen twice since that rainy day back in tenth grade. The first time I broke my own fall, quickly bouncing back—priding myself as resilient. The second—I laid there like a spoiled child waiting to see if someone was going to take notice and pick me up. Then after an eternity of laying there on the floor, waiting, I begrudgingly pulled my own self up. I didn’t fall because these relationships ended though—relationships end that’s probably one of the most natural aspects of life. I fall because I am caught off balance by how quickly the hand that was once in my palm goes back into the person’s pocket. More than the missing hand though—I am more devastated that the warm body that use to walk beside me, with me, has decided to just mid-step stop and walk in the opposite direction. So, even if the lack of the hand doesn’t throw me to the ground, the comprehension that someone would rather walk alone than with me is enough to slam me, face first, into the ground.

In previous posts I haven’t scratched the surface of my own contributions to my disappointment and heartache. It would be disingenuous here, however, to make statements of not understanding why someone would not want to walk with me. I understand. I would want to stop walking with me too. I am exhausting. Seriously. I literally demand all that a person has. I want to hold all that a person has—good and bad. I am all consuming like that. I am challenging and combative. And I am constantly trying to pull from people—from a deeply unrefined place, an untapped place. I am constantly touching places in people so deep that it’s almost inappropriate for me to be there. I know how to bring out the best in people but through my own motivation to do so can bring out the worst. I live passionately—and when I love—I do so with abandon. To be around that kind of tumultuous frenzy of intensity can turn a person inside out. To boot, I choose men that have their own complexities. In fact, it was here that I labeled them as “complicated” and “damaged”. And they are, I don’t take that back, but that’s why I’m attracted to them in the first place because they bring their own level of intensity to the equation. I give just as much as I get though, so if he is labeled as difficult I am no walk in the park either. So, while I may make references to the hurt that has been inflicted on me, I also know that to live like I do, jumping head first—I hurt myself just as much if not more than anyone could ever hurt me. I jump high therefore the impact coming down has to be of equal proportions.

And it could be said that I make it impossible to walk with me. I will do everything in my power to have the hand if I only have the warm body. I always want more. But still, even If they can’t hold my hand, or walk beside me, even if I make doing that impossible can’t they just walk behind me? Just walk behind me. At a safe distance—letting me know that they are far—but aren’t gone. This in itself would keep me upright. Just don't go completely. And after some time—when I have tired of sulkily stomping around then we can resume walking together—peacefully.

Still, why go through all the trouble just to ensure that I don’t fall? Why go through it just to walk with me? The answer is easy—because without a second thought I will get down on the ground with you when life has knocked you down. I won't just help you up, I will lay there with you for a while. Don’t let me fall because life is too harsh not to have someone like me around when you do.