A Conversation about a Conversation

Last night I dreamed of being on a cruise where Elvis Costello was performing, except Elvis Costello was Joan Rivers. She was dancing in a flamenco dress and did a duet with her daughter and my mom leaned over and said, “This isn’t very good.”

Just then, in real life, my phone rang, pulling me out of my dream, and it was my mother calling on her way to lunch, just to chat. We talked about the Warriors and how bad they are. Since it was already 2 in the afternoon by the time I rolled out of bed, I decided to try to get some work done. I realized it’s a 29 day. There weren’t any 29 days in Oct so this is good. This meant I would have to put myself out there tonight. I went and did some reading and writing at the usual cafe. Went to the gym and shot baskets, ran 3.5 miles and did half an hour on the elliptical while reading After the Quake by Haruki Murakami and the new collection of shorts from Stephen King.

Brian called and we talked about renting out the LA place. Told him I think we’ve gotten so comfortable with each other, we might be inhibiting each other’s ability to get some. The truth is that renting out the entire place would pay for my bills on that place as well as my rent here. I could live off of it if I gave it up as my primary home. But it would also strand me in Seattle.

I went out.

Went to one bar that’s around the corner. Found a seat in the shadows and watched people. A guy named Alex told me he sold “–hardware. Like lumber. As in Hard. Wood.” I asked him if it was hard for him to say that to a woman without giggling. They were going to another bar and I declined an invitation to go with them. I’d told him I’m a writer so this is technically me at work, so he let me go. Kissed the back of my hand as he left.

So did his friend.

From American men, that’s a first.

(The night did carry a motif of strangers being particularly interested in my hands)

I watched the crowd. Learned random other things. Like about the guys who jump on girls as soon as they walk in the door, before the girls have scoped the room to find what might be better. Jackals. Same as the guys who stand outside the women’s bathroom picking girls out of the stream. Girls don’t always notice how they set.

Here’s a quick douchebag checklist, if it helps. A guy is a douchebag if he:

1. Wears sunglasses indoors (Asshole)
2. Wears a scarf with a short sleeve shirt (Gay Tease)
3. Shapes his eyebrows (Narcissist)
4. Stands in a pack of other guys wearing the same untucked striped button-down shirt talking over each other while tightly huddled in a circle protecting their manhoods. (Cries After Sex)

Trust me.

I was thinking about my thoughts from last Saturday, regarding alpha pack leaders and if I just don’t engage with certain people because I’m shy or because there isn’t high probability for a desirable outcome. I’m starting to believe the reason is the latter. With most connections, particularly ones in contrived social settings, I feel like the effort to make a memorable connection isn’t possible or the possibility isn’t worth the effort. I’m a very purpose driven person. I don’t really do anything unless I can learn or achieve something from it, or I perceive the potential of a positive outcome. Thus, my impatience with small talk, unless it’s small talk with someone whose company I enjoy, then what I’m getting out of it isn’t derived from small talk, but from appreciation of the overall company. I don’t like wasting time or energy.

Another angle, when I was in LA, my friend Nick loaned me this book that categorizes people by their strengths. One of the strength archetypes was a maximizer, which is someone who has the ability and desire to bring out the most in people. I think the way I project potentials uses the maximizing principle. I look at any situation and project possible directions or if I can see it, outcomes. I’m good at looking at someone and seeing their highest potential, and I’m good at looking at situations and outcomes and seeing what are paths that would lead to the best, most desirable outcomes. But within the bounds of realism, sometimes the best possible outcome is not very interesting. Based on chemistry and individual personalities, sometimes two people really have nothing that brings them together or keeps them together. Other times, you feel a pull towards someone like there’s something there to explore. I usually stay back unless I meet people who really compel me, or who walk right into my path.

I spent an hour in that place and while the crowd was interesting to watch, no one really compelled me to interact so I left to get food.

On my way, I walked by the Karma Lounge. I’ve never been in there but I heard the music when the door opened and it sounded interesting, so I went in. Ordered a drink. Told the bartender to surprise me. He gave me a martini that was fruity but not too sweet…an indeterminable flavor. But it wasn’t too strong which is perfect for me–drinks that are too strong I end up just holding for the length of the night. I have a 2 drink max when I’m people watching alone, because this really is work for me, and a drink in hand is part of fitting into the background (and also, it’s common sense for when I’m alone to not get staggering drunk).

I take in the crowd, and the only attractive guy in the room is a tall, stone-faced guy standing in the corner. He seems like the quiet type, the loyal type, but hard to reach. Then I notice his t-shirt, proclaimed in large, clear letters:


Oh, sneaky sneaky, universe. Setting out bait. Maybe a pre-Amsterdam me would have gone for it, but I’ve learned. Yes, this was a clear sign of synchronicity. But I smelled irony. Which also smells like pie in the face, or ego handed to you in a bowl of nuts. So I let the guy fall off my radar and committed to letting the night come to me.

A tall, clean black guy in wire-rimmed glasses slapped me on the back and asked me what my name was. I gave him a hard time for slapping me on the back as if I was his buddy and he wanted me to change the channel. He asked me questions about myself, politely enough but would kind of stare at me blank-eyed when I answered him, like I was speaking a different language. This in turn, made me more abstruse. Like he asked me where I was trying to go with my life, I said, “Wherever I’m going, I’m already here.” [blank stare. blink. blank stare]

He didn’t really get me, and I wasn’t shifting away from myself to accommodate him. I feel like if you keep your eyes open, you’ll recognize the chemistry when it’s real, but sometimes if you “help” the other person create it, you end up with something that’s not real. And right now, I’m more interested in talking to someone real than carrying on a polite meaningless conversation. I’m looking for something specific and it wasn’t this guy.

I wasn’t really talking so the guy just stood over me, looking at me while I pretended to be watching the TV. The bartender looked at him then at me, flashed me the universal look for “What’s up?” I shrugged and he looked at the guy, shaking his head. I noted the bartender kind of looks like Eric Dane from Grey’s Anatomy. Bird eyes that take in everything. My guess was he’s a Virgo or Scorp.

Finally, the dude asking me questions tells me that he’s not going to stand here all night asking me questions. Thanks, I said. So he shakes my hand, holding it tightly (but not ungently) without letting go while looking into my eyes, digging for something. I extract my hand politely. He moves through the crowd, disappears.

I’m listening to the music, pretending to be watching football clips on the muted TV, but I’m getting lost in thoughts. About poetry. About great depths. About words. About quests. About how sometimes the w
orld doesn’t allow you to say the things you want to say, so instead, you spout words of such exacting balance between denial and truth and substance and emptiness, that they come to not mean anything at all. And yet, they mean everything to you, because hidden between them is the reflection of something clutched close to your heart, something that lights your world. About how some things are real in the distance. And as long as you don’t touch them, they exist just as real as the midnight moon brushing waves against the sand.

I thought about snowflakes falling through my hands while my heart misses someone I can only see through the prism of ephemeral silence. Someone who’s not real in my world, yet I can’t let go of the belief that somewhere, exists a place where we can be real for each other. I thought about how, captured in a living moment inside this illusion of human life, there exists a connection between two people that has no explanation, only raw, unadulterated life. In this presence, in the bright ember of Now, I love him.

The song changed to Black Eyed Peas…I got a feeling…that tonight’s gonna be a good night.

I smiled with my entire being, laughing, tears welling in my eyes from the emotions coming through me. I remembered the first time I heard this song, I was on a rooftop deck in Vegas for Daisy’s bachelorette party, taking a break from all the girls and partying. I was just standing by myself against a rail and looking at a brilliant night sky in June, alone in a writhing giant body of people, feeling the world echoing inside me as everything inside me echoed back. I could almost hear a voice in the echoes, of someone I would someday recognize. I was incredibly peaceful and happy.

And here tonight…You’re going to cry at a bar, I said to myself but I didn’t care. In this moment, I felt so real, so powerful, so here. I felt my heart so full, and I gave into it, releasing it into space to wherever it belonged, which felt so far away it wrapped around the universe and came right back, silently taking the seat next to me.

A big marshmallow of a guy squeezed up to me and I immediately knew he was gay.

“How’s it going?” he asked with a big smile, like he was in on the secret.

I shook my head with a big grin, in ecstatic disbelief, and patted him on the arm like we were best friends.

“Excellent,” he said. “I have a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night.”

“Me too,” I said. We raised our glasses in a toast and like that, he was gone.

I was so lost in this feeling of completion within the music when I realized the bartender was waving his hand in front of my face. I snapped to attention and he laughed. He asked me if I wanted another drink. Sure, I said, without thinking about it. I was so happy in this moment. When we accept love for what it is, that’s when it reveals itself to us, and I accepted that. He mixed up the drink and slid it towards me.

“By the way, the guy in the window wearing the white shirt bought it for you,” he said.

I looked at him quizzically and he laughed. “I know, it must suck being you,” he said.

This is only the 2nd time I’ve ever been informed by a bartender that I’ve been bought a drink (the first was last month by the creepy man in black). Usually a guy will offer and I’ll politely decline. This is a sniper move. I’m a sniper…

When I looked over, I saw a brief flash of white, but no face–the guy had disappeared into the shadows. I kept glancing over to the window but it was empty. I scanned the crowd. No white. No eyes on me. I had no idea who this person was who’d reached out and tapped me.

things strangers share

“i saw you watching that kid at the bus stop. i was trying to catch you to see if you wanted to get a coffee with me,” he said, an edge of panic to his voice. “then you turned left so fast into the street and that bike hit you. Was it because of me?”

i had suddenly turned left to cross the street, because i had noticed him following me and this was my evasive measure (sudden change in direction, duck into a public place).

“if you were trying to catch me to get coffee, then getting hit by a bike is kind of embarrassing,” i laugh.

he can’t believe i’m not hurt. the rider was catapulted off his bike a bit of a distance and had been pretty shaken up. i’d felt really bad about the accident and apologized profusely. the rider kept asking if i was okay and i said i was fine, so he took off. i think he realized he was more shaken up than i seemed, but i’m just stoic about pain…my left leg was throbbing in the places where the bike had struck me, and i suspected that i was bleeding under my knee. he’s probably cussing me out tonight.

“you made a perfect landing,” the guy following me said. “i can’t believe you’re not hurt. he was flying down the street. you couldn’t have landed any better than that.”

he was looking at me like he was afraid any moment, when the shock wore off, i might collapse.

“i have cat-like reflexes,” i said. but i know, deep down, i’m very lucky.

“i was just trying to ask you if you wanted to grab coffee or lunch,” he said.

we suddenly burst out laughing about the situation, until we both had tears in our eyes.

“that was crazy, what just happened,” i said almost to myself. ” this is the shit that happens to me all the time.”

“accidents?” he asked.

“no, that was the first time i’ve been hit by a bike. but just, really random unbelievable things. welcome to my world,” i said.

“your world is incredible,” he said. “i can’t believe you’re not hurt.”


he came with me all the way to the waterfall garden, which had been where i was headed. he told me about how he has always had a way of thinking he should be in a place, and somehow, life just brings him there. he believes i’m magic because he’s glimpsed my world and his belief slipped him into it. he’s also looking at me like he’s afraid the moment he loses sight of me, this world will disappear. i believe he’s magic (either he’s awakening, or he’s already aware), because he can see me…not just julia or another faceless human like a movie extra in the background of a scene, but me. i tell him this world, is so real…real life is stranger and more synchronized than fiction. that most people live in projections, like actors playing out various scenes, so they don’t see everything that is actually around them until they stop buying into illusions. we spend a couple of hours together and i never answered his question, about getting a cup of coffee together. he stays as long as i don’t tell him to go. i’m wary of him because i don’t know him, but i welcome the company because we ask each other a lot of questions. i ask him what time it is. i tell him i’m 10 minutes late…i have to go say goodbye to an old friend. he comes with me, street after street, the heavy clouds overhead, wet, people like the whispering trees of a forest. we get there in time to see the boat making its way towards the horizon. i sit on a stone ledge and watch that familiar giant body move through the gray water, parting the fog. my heart is flooding.

“were you saying goodbye to an actual person?,” he asked.

“the boat,” i said. “it symbolizes something positive and meaningful to me. the end and beginning of a new chapter of my awakening.”

he watches me watch the boat with a respectful silence. the breeze whips the air around us.

“is this something you do a lot? come out here and watch this boat go?”

i laugh. i can just see this image he has in his head of me, this melancholy solitary figure in black faithfully bidding farewell to a ghost ship. like a heartbroken widow or something.

“this is the last time it’ll be here. it’s not always here, it’s just been docking here the last few weeks, but this is the last time. it just felt really fitting that a day like this should end with me saying goodbye to this boat.”

we watch the horizon.

“where’s it going?”

the wind swirls loose paper in circles on the sidewalk.

“no idea.”

he promised that my accident wouldn’t be in vain, that it had inspired him to buy a notebook and write about his life. he said meeting me made him realize that the magic in life is real and that without realizing it, he’s been on a quest of some sort, even if he’s not sure what it is exactly he’s seeking. and he thinks it’s time he starts writing it down, and feeling okay in believing that there’s a deeper meaning in life. so many people will say this–it’s a product of the jolt that opens their eyes, even if briefly–but as soon as the initial surprise and inspiration wear off, they sometimes go back to a state of routine numbness and role-playing. but some do follow through, using this opening to raise their awareness to new levels, finding new doorways of their potential, becoming aware of a wider range of beauty and magic in the world. it really becomes an awakening. i hope steve follows through. especially since i realized that because i’d already noted him following me, there was no way he could have talked to me without me thinking he was a creep. i wouldn’t have been open to it. getting hit by a bike and him coming to help me, was probably the only way the universe could open a window that would allow me to feel safe enough to talk to him. it made me wonder if this connection, on some cosmic level, was non-negotiable in the eyes of the universe.


we parted on a handshake.

“until fate crosses us again.”

i don’t know if we’ll see each other again. my gut feeling is that the most important component had already been put into motion so we were done…if we were to see each other again, it will be far down the road as an epilogue to compare results of the meeting.

i walked home. i did take a roundabout way despite my knee hurting and kept checking through store windows, etc. to make sure i wasn’t being followed. i collapsed as soon as i close my front door, all public eyes finally off me. now i can feel everything. my body, that old stoic, faithful horse, feels broken. i finally check my leg and it’s swollen and cut below the knee (bled through my pants) and on my upper thigh, but nothing too serious. nothing broken (got bones of steel). i’m proud of how tough my body was today.

i spent the rest of the night happily on the couch.

So I ran into Missed Connections guy.

I was at this bar, wrapping up a crazy 3 hour conversation with this hipster who had been sitting next to me, when I decided, I had not really effectively people watched. That there was someone else I needed to talk to. So after a conversation that took us through number theory and him telling me that tonight was one of the most amazing nights of his life, that he had run into the only girl he had ever loved earlier in the evening and was feeling alone like no one understood him when I sat down next to him. And because I’m me and because of the way I speak, he felt truly understood, like someone on the outside could see him, so it meant he wasn’t disappearing. He said that because I had so much faith in this search for whatever it is I’m searching for, it gave him hope that there was someone out there perfect for him, someone whom, when you’re on your deathbed, you think about them and say, my life has been happy ever since the moment I met you. We started talking about my life and I told him I was looking for my Alfred, the loyal right-hand man who makes sure Batman can be Batman. He was telling me that while I wanted an Alfred, Alfred can take care of me but I will never see him as my partner. We talked for a while, but at some point I realized that I’d spent the whole night in this conversation, and something made me feel there was someone else I needed to talk to. So I told him that I’m actually supposed to meet someone tonight.

Who?, he asked.

I don’t know, I said.

What do you mean you don’t know?

My life is like that, I said. Once, I dropped a hat into the ocean and I watched it sink into the darkness. And I’ve always thought, if I ever find that hat again, even if I’m 80 years-old and walking on the beach an entire world away, I would accept that as hard proof of God and Universe.

He started laughing. I wish I could see you the moment you find your hat, he said. I bet when you do, you will be the most beautiful person because you’re going to be radiating an absolute happiness.

That thought made me so happy. I really hope I find that person that I’m missing so badly and who just always seems so familiar inside these strangers.

So as I’m getting done telling him about how when I come to this bar, I tend to meet the right people that I need to talk to at a given time, I look past him and there’s Missed Connections guy.

I started laughing so hard my legs turned to jelly. I thought Missed Connections guy saw us because he was looking right at us, and then he kept looking over. I was too scared to go over because I didn’t know what to say. I told the guy the story about Missed Connections guy…probably the fastest I’ve ever told a story.

You need to go over there, he said.

I know, I said. But I’m scared. What if he’s a dick? What if he’s dumb? What if this is just an illusion and just another joke from the universe?

You have to go over there, he said.

I tried to have him go over there and ask the guy to come over, but instead, he turns around and starts talking to these girls.

I got the guy’s attention and waved him over. He looked confused, then pointed at his friend like he wasn’t sure who I wanted. But I pointed at him. He motioned that he needed to get another beer first and would come over after, but then he and his friends (a little group of men and women) formed a huddle.

I was feeling kind of dumb like, what now, and I just had a feeling this wasn’t going to turn out magical. It didn’t feel right.

Finally, he came over. That guy’s eyes…he had amazing, soulful eyes, but what I found out was that they’re like a blind man’s. He’s a sound guy, he takes in through his ears, he expresses through his hands, but it’s like his eyes are so deceptive…so much depth, like an ocean, but…I don’t know. They don’t see.

He remembers me waving at him at the restaurant, he remembers the incident and thinking that I was cute, but he didn’t equate me with that girl. And apparently after I put up the missed connection, someone called him the next day at 9am asking if he’d been at that restaurant, then forwarded the missed connections post to him. He remembered being at the restaurant, but didn’t remember me at the restaurant, or at the bar last month, or when I was standing close to him and trying to get him to come over, he stared right at me and didnt’ react. Strange, that this man could be looking right at me, and yet I exist in some sort of blind spot. We talked for a while, the dude is pretty fucking interesting and funny, but I just had this strong feeling that someone had played a really big joke on me. I kind of wanted to get out of there because my head was twisted.

I didn’t want another beer and he said he had to get back to his friend’s birthday thing, so I left. Got home and laid on the floor staring at the ceiling for an hour, wondering why the universe or my brain would trick me like that. Is it mocking how easily I follow connections? To lead me to a guy who looks overwhelmingly familiar only to find a blind man who can’t see me?

If this question has an answer, then perhaps we’ll run into each other again, I had written in the Craigslist post.

We did and there was no answer. When I asked him, who are you? He said, “I’m just a guy who hangs around Venice.” When I asked, “Do we know each other?” He said, “You’ve probably just seen me around because I’m always out and about.”

Paper lantern.

Today I followed the trail to God and found a paper lantern.

I followed the light to something beautiful but empty inside. There was no connection. So then, why had it led me to something false?

Valentine’s Day (as an adult)

Today I experienced Valentine’s Day as someone committed to work. I came into work ready to take charge, and I whipped that motherfucker into shape. I took care of my people, couldn’t stand to see them so unhappy and I’m about to start making demands. I know I’ve been so wary of the attention that being the leader gets, mostly because I was always getting in trouble for inciting groups of kids into noisy, rampaging games. But last night I realized, I’m the only one who has the courage in me to stand up and demand changes, starting with myself. If this company is serious about competing, then let’s shape up and compete, because this is what I live for. So I’ve taken it upon myself to commit myself and my unique abilities to work right now to see just what I’m capable of. I think with permission, I can get these people to believe.

Then I went home, picking up a pizza on the way, relishing in the fact that tonight I was that 20-something solitary executive woman that I’d always fantasized about as a kid, taking home a cardboard meal over which she contemplates lofty world-changing professional decisions while never noticing the growing splinter of loneliness growing in her stomach. But the only difference is that I always imagined this girl living in Seattle.

Maybe she does. She’s pretty hot.


I had a late night talk with someone a few nights ago. He described me as this plant that sat quietly in the corner and shriveled up, but when everyone forgot about it, the plant secretly moved itself outside. And all of a sudden, there’s this huge, wild rose plant growing out in the middle of the woods, and it’s so amazing and beautiful, but there’s huge thorns on it and no one has any idea how to touch it because it won’t let them.

He keeps talking about how people want to touch the flowers, take them home and put them in a nice vase in their house, but I know what he means.

I told him, I don’t think of it as much like a plant that died, but like a butterfly. I had to turn myself into a ghost for a little while because I was changing and growing bigger, and I couldn’t do it close to anyone who was clinging to the old me. And now, I’ve learned how to fly and I never want to let anyone take that away from me.

He’s upset that I won’t let him get close to me, that he’s never done me wrong but I still won’t trust him. I told him it’s like this. Imagine that you live in a tiny village somewhere, and you’ve never seen a rainbow before. So you’re out in the woods one day picking firewood, and all of a sudden, you come into a clearing and see this massive rainbow in the distance, disappearing over a misty cliff. It’s breathtaking. You’re so awed by it, you’re convinced this is not only a miracle, but the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen and you ever will see. This, this is magic.

Now imagine you go back to your village, and you’re afraid to tell anyone about it because you’re convinced that no one will believe you. So you go through life looking and looking for that one person you can trust, that one person you can take to see the rainbow, who won’t look at it and say, that’s nothing…that’s just a phenomenon of science…that’s just not real. But you search until you know deep down for sure that you’ve found him, someone who will look at the rainbow and also experience the same kind of awe and understanding that you had experienced, that same kind of momentary euphoria because you’re convinced you have found actual proof of magic.

So he’s upset that I don’t trust him yet, but trust is not something you say. It’s something you know, and as long as I know he’ll try to touch me and distract me when my guard’s down, I know I’ll never be able to show him what it is I know. So I tell him. You give too much power to immature fantasies. As long as you think that the world only has enough success for a few people, that in order for you to win, others must lose, you’re not a person I can talk with. But I did admit when I was too hard hard on him sometimes. Sometimes I don’t acknowledge his progress because the moment you think you’re good enough and get comfortable celebrating that, that’s when you stop your growth towards fulfilling your potential. But I let him know that I actualy have noticed his progress and I promised to be more open about acknowledging his big wins. He says that I’ve taught him a lot. I say, yeah, whatever. Because this is how it always ends.

Because as always, tomorrow, he’ll be acting like an adversary, like we’re of different species and men really are complete bores, and I’ll become exasperated and ignore him for days. Because in the daytime, he doesn’t want anyone to know that we’re “the same” like he says. He doesn’t want people to know about our “special connection.” He hates to think he’s not the only one I talk to about the things I experience. He wants to know who else is around me but I always remain silent on this.

The same. They always say that. We’re the same. And they don’t want that to change.

But really, how hard is it to understand someone enough to mirror his personality so that he falls in love with his own image? It just takes practice, wouldn’t you say?

You can be a coward about the little things, but not about the things that count.

Do not lose the forest because of the trees, but do not lose the trees because of the forest.

The world is circular to give us chances to redo the things we did equipped with the knowledge from the previous times around. So keep your eyes open for clues and try to learn from your mistakes. And for fun, watch for familiar faces within strangers.

Keep thinking that there’s more to this, that there’s more yet that we’ll discover. There are infinite possibilities. We’re going to find a way out of this.

9/21/07 – first rain of the season.

and so it begins.

So let’s say you go to bar and there happens to be a minority TV industry networking event going on. Let’s say you crash it and pretend you’re with the group. Out of the blue, a guy starts chattin you up. Let’s say suddenly a possessive girl who feels she already has dibs comes pushing through the crowd, and sticks her hand in your face to introduce herself, because all 5 foot 9 aggro African-American of her wants you to know this is her prey, her conversation, and you had better back the fuck up. How do you get out of this situation without any she-cat scratches on your dignity or your corneas?

I decided not only was I not gonna back down, but I was gonna do the opposite. I gave her my biggest, most disarming smile and looked at her like she’s the most interesting person in the room. I shook her hand warmly and ask her where she works. She tells me and I ask her what they do, listening attentively. I’m completely ignoring the guy. She goes into a long-winded rambling explanation then decides to just finish it by saying it’s a TV network that’s like the one the guy works for, but without protestors in front of the building. I say, seeing from the way you carry yourself, it sounds classy as well. She looks pleasantly surprised, then says, “Yeah, it is. Thank you.” She’s grinning, defenses gone. The guy had joked with me that his network has too much “titty-bouncing” before she got there, so I say, “Yeah, it’s not like all the titty-bouncing they got over on his network…” She laughs and he laughs. They each thought they were in on an inside joke against the other person. The ice was broken and we started joking around. I looked at her and then him, both so giddy and nervous, and thought, is this how threesomes start? We were still joking around when my boss pulled me away to take a company group picture (I forgot to mention, I was there having a company celebratory dinner. Let’s just say I’ve been bitching the last month about wanting to move to San Francisco and being an all around disgruntled bitch around the office, and tonight, as a surprise, they present me with an award for outstanding service along with a five-digit bonus in hopes that I’ll stay. Uh, come again? Ladies, I will only say it once–Men. Love. Bitches. I know, it’s completely depressing to me, too.) So as we got ready for the picture, the guys were cracking up about how they had been watching me to see how I planned to work the crowd. How that guy started talking to me and within moments, the girl came steaming towards us from the other side of the bar, getting in my face to cockblock me, but whatever I did, they were both flirting with me at the end. I told them, you just have to know how to talk to people. You get into people by making them feel that in your eyes, in that moment, they’re the most beautiful, amazing creatures you’ve ever seen, and then you own them.

You’re drunk, my coworker says as he puts his arm around me, and you have a big ego.

You love me, I say.

You’re definitely interesting, he says, and I lean my intoxicated head into his chest.

Meanwhile, the coworker I’ve been spending a lot of time with, my little Scorpio protege/tormentor, was jealous of me getting the award and the bonus. It was so hard core he could barely look me in the eye. I saw it on his face the way I see it on a lot of guys I’ve dated in the past when they see my car, or my house, or how many friends I have or some other form of envy. It’s always disappointing. It’s like something about another person’s success shakes up a jealous person’s inner core so they feel their sense of self threatened. I sat across from him at dinner and he was acting weird, so I just said straight up, you’re jealous that I got this. He looks surprised and said straight up, yeah I am! I said, you’re a little bitch because if you had gotten this, I would have been happy for you, and still happy with myself. He says, sometimes you’ve gotta be a hater, which then sparked a group lecture from two more spiritual coworkers on either side of him about being being a bigger person.

After dinner, he gave me a ride to my car and I started laughing. “I can’t believe you were jealous. That’s so fucked up. “

He told me how jealousy fuels his success and was cocky about it. I told him that he can’t think of other people’s success as being in direct competition with his. He says that there’s always a winner and always a loser, like in sports. He says, there’s always a loser, and it’s not gonna be me.

I said yeah, in sports, we may care who wins during the game. But when it’s over, we just remember that we had fun and maybe we learned something, we got better, whatever, but that’s what it’s about. No one remembers who won or lost a game in the long run. And also, I could knock someone down in the context of the game and it would be fine. But if I knock someone down on the street, it’s totally inappropriate. There’s a place for everything but sometimes you have to see the bigger picture. It’s a big enough universe for everyone.

He tries to tell me that life is a war and it’s kill or be killed, and he thinks that way because he spent his childhood in Israel and life was a war. I tell him, I grew up with someone who approaches life as war and spends her life strategizing and vigilant in recognizing perceived threats, so I know what that’s like and I have it in me. There’s a time when you need that capability, when you’re fighting for something or in the presence of people who are undermining you. But the key is to know the difference. So many soldiers fight a war and then come back and fail in society, because they don’t know how to adjust. A true warrior can fight in times of war, but thrive in times of peace. A true warrior knows the difference.

He says so what that I felt jealous and couldn’t be happy for you for like two minutes. you’re so on top of it, you noticed these things immediately and I couldn’t even hide it. I can’t even let myself feel jealous for two minutes. That’s your thing, you’re so aggressive and you point out people’s flaws when they’re vulnerable and it’s like kicking a guy when they’re down.

I tell him that’s the thing men don’t understand about people like me. We never kick with the intent to hurt. We can’t help seeing things, but when we look at people, we aren’t looking for flaws, we’re looking at the whole picture and we see everything realistically, your strengths and weaknesses, but we love you as a whole, both good and bad because we’re all human, so you can stop obsessing about hiding what you think are flaws. But the problem is YOU don’t accept the flaws yourself. I come from such a good, caring place, and you can’t even comprehend that because you’re so threatened. So look at yourself before you start pinning it on me as a way that I’m judging you because I’m not. It’s about the potential you have and how you get in your own way, why you’re always telling me you’re not satisfied with your life. There’s so much abundance in the world that everyone can be successful. Why the fuck do you have to be successful in the same way as other people and obsess about it when you’re really just avoiding your own dreams?

He said, because I want to be better than people because I want to be in control at all times.

Do think you have control over me?

Yeah, I’m in complete control of the situation.

Really. You have control.

He hesitates, then says, yeeee…ah.

You don’t have any control over me.

Well, you don’t see it, but–

How can you have any control if you can’t even catch me?

He lets out a string of sounds but doesn’t really complete a thought.

You’re dealing with a world class athlete here, and the only thing I was built to do is run. Look at my body, look at how athletic I am. Look at how fast I type. How fast I think. Everything about me is about going as fast as possible. And that’s because I have one goal and one goal only, and that
is to not ever get caught. What makes you think you can possibly outrun me when this is all I do? What makes you think you can ever be faster than me?

I can’t, he says, quietly.

But why would you think you have to be? You don’t need to be. You’re outstanding in other ways. It’s like this. If I really admire a friend and she’s a world famous violinist, I’m not gonna say, holy crap, she’s so good at violin, I’ve gotta be as good as her, and then waste my life trying to be as good as her when violin isn’t my destiny. I’m gonna say, even though I love music but I’m not musically talented, I’m good at other things, like basketball and writing, and I hope that she’s as impressed by my unique successes as I am of hers.

So I guess I’m yelling at him, not out of anger but out of passion, hanging halfway out of his car because I don’t want to be in an enclosed space with him. My bosses drive by and wave with these little smiles on their faces, and I say, Oh crap. Now everyone’s gonna think we’re dating.
He says, whatever, who cares.

But I don’t like this.

The thing is, I’m not emotionally involved here outside of our friendship or mentorship or whatever it is we are. I’m not engaged in his romantic projection that he keeps pushing onto me. I’m a slab of ice on the inside because I don’t have any desire of a shared romantic path with him, even though my head is connected and for whatever reason, we keep talking. I hate office rumors because they only turn ugly.

Now I’m really irritated so I say, Men love bitches. Straight up. You love bitches. I treat you so badly, and I don’t treat anyone like this, because you do dumb shit to provoke me because it’s what you want. Stop being a little bitch and grow up. I’m tired of this dynamic. Just take the freakin’ message so we can both move on. Whatever potential it was that you felt you had but people didn’t see in you while you were growing up, get over the bullshit and just go out and be who you are if that’s what you want. Go be successful if you really want it so badly. Figure out what you want to do to be successful and do it. But stop trying to get people to treat you badly just because you get off on it and it distracts you from pursuing the things that you wish you had that other people have.

He nods somberly. You’re right.

He tells me to get in the car and smoke a bowl with him. I say no. He asks me again and I say no again. He says, you’re really irritating me right now.

I say, I irritate you all the time. I’m actually completely irritating to you across the boards.

He looks out the windshield for a while then says, you know, all this time we’ve been talking and spending time, I never really got it, but I just got what you’ve been saying tonight. Everything you’ve been trying to say to me.

Really? I say. It’s been a long battle and a part of me doesn’t believe he’ll ever give in.

He says, yeah, I get what you’re saying about my life and what I need to do. Just right now. I just got it.

Good, I say. I give it a respectful pause. Then we’re done here?

I can tell from his eyes, he doesn’t quite know how to take that question.

We’re done, he says.

I smile.

I close the door, then leave.

It’s definitely started, the descent. I see now that the last few months where I’ve learned about my own personal power have been a spiritual training of sorts to increase my strength before I embark on this journey. I hope that the end result is creative, cathartic and something that I am finally willing to show the world.

I was falling asleep last week and I saw my parents’ house, the house I grew up in. I’ve always sworn up and down that the house was haunted, ever since we moved in back in 1986. My hometown was built upon Indian land, and growing up, we’ve heard plenty of stories about Indian burial grounds and people who have seen spirits in their homes, the legless ghosts being the ones that most intrigued me. I’ve never seen a manifestation of a ghost there, but there was always an energy…and you were constantly feeling like you weren’t alone in any given room, or that there was someone or something watching you.

As I was falling asleep, I realized that over Labor Day weekend, the house would be empty with my dad in China and the rest of my family vacationing in Reno (sidenote: Reno is my least favorite city of all time). I realized that I’ve never spent a night alone in that house–there was always a nanny or relative, or if I was gonna be alone, I would spend the night elsewhere. I realized that maybe it was time to confront the house.

I had something to do on Saturday morning, but I drove up to Fremont without packing anything but my laptop, ipod and notebook. It was completely spontaneous. It was a great drive and plus, I was breaking in my new car. For the first time, I didn’t speed outrageously, and I didn’t race anyone. I like that I’m much more respectful of the value of my life these days despite being faced with prolonged boredom. (sidenote: this heatwave is killer. It was 121 degrees just south of Gilroy, and yet I saw people working the fields in jeans and long-sleeved shirts. Whatever your station in life, always be thankful because it could always be worse). On the way up, my mom called and she wanted to know what I was doing. I told her I was going to a secret place and she said that I should tell someone so it’s not 100% a secret, in case anything happened to me. I thought about it and it made sense, so I told her I was going home. I told her I wanted to spend the night by myself to confront my fear of the house and to stand up to the ghosts and she laughed nervously. “Oh honey…the house isn’t haunted.” But she added quickly, “But even if it is, I think they’re friendly, helpful ghosts.” She said that she thought I perceived the house as haunted because of the bad relationship of my parents and all their negative energy, so that since the house was empty, it wouldn’t feel bad. That was definitely a theory I wanted to keep in mind.

I got to Fremont around 7pm, and settled in. I walked through the house, announced my arrival but of course, the one room I just couldn’t go into was the guest room (I’ve always felt that the energy centered around the guest room, which always feels drafty and heavy. Reggie once commented on the same thing and I told him that when we first moved in, that was supposed to be my room but I spent a few minutes in there and begged to be switched to another room). I turned on the jacuzzi, stripped, and went skinny dipping, which I’ve never done before.

Something that I really never fully appreciated about our house. We’re up on a hill in the boonies overlooking the city and the bay, so when you look out, it’s all city lights for as far as the eye can see. There’s a lot of separation and trees between the houses, so there’s only one house that borders us, but they can’t see us because of the walls and tall redwood trees. Our pool is landscaped to look like a natural pond, with a wood deck, stone setting surrounded by trees and a waterfall. The sky was clear so the stars stood brilliantly against the navy sky. It felt like I was at a private hideaway, protected in complete isolation. I thought about life, and people and what I wanted of myself. I realized that my focus is so scattered, that I’ve never envisioned an ideal future for myself, to create a projected goal that I can work towards. That’s definitely one of my biggest problems, how I scatter my energies. I thought about who I wanted to be, and imagined what I would look like, how I would feel, and who and what I would have in my life. I realized I needed to write all this down and envision this future every day. I need to focus. I also recognized that I’m on the verge of outputting something very important to me and that will require a lot of courage, but I’m having trouble starting it, so I’ve been working on it from the middle. All I know is that I’m determined to have it dominate me this fall. It’s all I think about, it’s all I want. I’ve said goodbye to a lot of people lately and let them know that I’m going underground, but that it’s not personal but this is just something I have to do…to focus. I’ve just gotta board up my head, so the energy can only go in one direction. But I’ll be back when I’m done. I felt good. I’m facing a huge unknown, I’m standing at the edge of the woods on the outskirt of my comfort zone, and I’m just waiting for the signal to begin the plunge. But I’m prepared. As I was treading water and staring at the sky thinking all these things, I saw movement in the water next to me. I look over and there is the most beautiful black snake with crisp white rings swimming through the water. If you’ve ever seen a snake swim, it’s the most beautiful, graceful process. It was just a baby, but I was mesmerized. I swam after it for a bit, watching it carve the surface of the water until I realized, wait a minute. 1. I’m in a pool, not a pond, so this is strange that I’m swimming with a snake; 2. There are no water snakes where I am, so I don’t know if this snake really wants to be in the water or can survive; 3. That’s not a garter snake and it’s too dark to see it’s head for me to tell if it’s poisonous. So suddenly I think it’s a good idea to get out of the pool. I get out and I’m watching it, and it’s going around and around the edge of the pool. I realize it’s trying to get out. I follow it and I still can’t see it’s head, but I also knew that coral snakes have bands and couldn’t remember the indigenous habitats for coral snakes (I used to read up on snakes as a kid, but suddenly, all this knowledge was failing me when I needed it). I kind of just wanted to leave, but then I worried that if a snake isn’t a natural water snake, if it would eventually drown. And then it would be my fault. It also occurred to me that in a lot of mythology, gods and goddesses can turn themselves into creatures to teach or test you, and if you fail, you’re in trouble. And if this was a test and I let this snake die, I’m seriously an asshole.

So I decided to rescue it. I didn’t have the guts to pick it up, but I also figured I didn’t want to take too much time, because it was circling around the edge of the pool and I was afraid it would get to the barrier between the pool and jacuzzi, which is lower, and boil itself. Keep in mind, I’m still naked. So I’m looking for the pool net, and I see some poles standing next to a tree in the middle of all these bushes. I’m thinking, okay, that’s what I need, but we also have a lot of spiders and I have pretty intense arachnaphobia. Specifically, I’m terrified of black widows, which live outside around our house. So I’m naked and barefoot, and to save this snake, I’ve gotta crash through this heavy brush to get the pool net, and suddenly I’m thinking this is either a spiritual test from the universe to face my fears, or this is an opening to Six Feet Under where some dumbass dies in a random, weird way–specifically for me, my family returns from their vacation to find me naked, drowned and floating facedown in their pool with a black widow bite on one buttcheek and a snakebite on the other. I desperately don’t want to be in the running for a Darwin Award. So I decide to face my fears and crash through
the bushes, even though I can feel me breaking through spiderwebs. I get to the tree and examine the poles to find that they’re 3 poles, but all with no nets attached. I see another pole lying on the ground that’s a little hike away, so I crash through more bushes and spider webs to find that this one has a net attached, but it’s filled to the brim with caked mud and leaves. DOES NO ONE CLEAN THIS POOL? Fuck.

I go back and I swear I feel things crawling on me, but I suppress the urge to jump into the pool with the maybe/maybe-not poisonous snake. I have an epiphany and go into the house, grabbing a garbage can from the office. I use it to scoop up the snake who’s so anxious and timid, that it shies away every time I come near it so I’m convinced it’s not poisonous. The poor little thing was terrified. I got him in the trashcan, then tossed him into the bushes. The whole thing took about 45 minutes, but I felt really good at having gotten him out of the pool, though not good enough to dump out the remaining pool water from the trash can, so I put it back in the office for my family to discover (sidenote: I’m a lazy tool.) I figured that if that was a spiritual test to show that I am willing to put doing good for other beings over my own personal fears, then I proved that not only am I not a slave to my fears, but that I obviously have no qualms about doing good while completely butt naked.

I went inside, had a beer, did some writing, re-experienced the greatest conscious trauma of my life and was able to make some new discoveries about it and how it has affected my desire and ability to let people come close to me. While I was writing, I kept hearing footsteps and what sounded like someone moving things around in the kitchen. But every time I went in there, there was no one there and everything was in the same place. But after I would go back into the living room, the noises and footsteps would start back up again. It sounded like someone would walk into the kitchen, snack, then leave. Then come back and snack, then leave. I showered and played piano for a while, but at randomly times, I would hear what sounded like a woman singing in the next room. After a while, I started to get a little creeped out so I went to bed.

In terms of the value of going home, it was what I needed. It turned out to be a little writer’s retreat and I was able to confront some major fears and experiences. In terms of our house, maybe my mom was right. I always thought our house was haunted by very angry, disruptive energy, but I think that was what my parents fed the house. While it was empty, it felt very serene, almost maternally protective, but you never shake the feeling that you’re being watched no matter where you are. Sometimes you would be in a room, and you’ll see movement out of the corner of your eye, like someone just walked in through the doorway, but when you turn, there’s no one there, yet it feels like there’s someone there with you. And I’ve never been in a house before that had so many unaccounted for sounds. The singing and the footsteps were definitely unnerving. All in all, I never felt unsafe, if not the complete opposite.

When I left the next day, I stood in the center of the entryway and said goodbye and thank you.

I drove back, getting in really late at night and met up with Colin who had just flown in from a sailing trip in Washington. He was staying with us just for one night while he settles his living situation, so we had some tequila and good conversation. I told him that while the Sun was in Leo, I wore red every day to attract creativity and fire qualities and he said that the color red to an Aries is like waving a red flag at a bull…they just want to charge it. I said that made a lot of sense, because I definitely was meeting and interacting with a lot of Aries all of a sudden in August. But lately, my life has been crowded with Scorpios.

On Monday, the heat was killing me. I decided to not go to my usual spots and instead, I ran errands then ended up at a Barnes and Noble to do some writing. I walked in and the place was crowded because it’s a new store that had just opened up. I was looking around for a place to sit when this guy drawing in a sketchbook asked me if I was looking for a place to sit, and if I wanted to, I could sit with him. I kind of didn’t want to because I wasn’t sure I wanted to be obligated into a conversation, so I said that it was okay, because I had a lot of stuff. But then I saw that he was drawing, so I asked him if he was an artist (I’m looking for an artist to collaborate with me on my book of poetry, a collaborative exploration of inspiration). He said he was and invited me to sit again, so I sat down and we chatted.

We talked about perspective and he wanted to show me his drawings. As I flipped through, I saw something about neurofeedback so I asked him about it. He said he has a friend who is really smart, but has a learning disability so he has trouble expressing his intelligence, like he can’t get the thoughts out of his head when he needs to. So someone told him that neurofeedback might help him, so he took down the name of a book for his friend. I listened and I asked him if it’s like his friend’s mind is a hard drive that saves a file but forgets the location, so he has trouble retrieving files in his head, even though he knows they’re there. He looked surprised and said, that’s exactly it. So his friend has a hard time showing how smart he is because he can’t arrange or grab the ideas or thoughts and express them in a way that people can understand. I told him that maybe his friend doesn’t have a learning disability, but is actually really smart. That a lot of times, brilliant people get diagnosed with a learning disability because their thought processes are unique or wired differently, so their mind works outside of linear thought. How linear thought, linear time/space are all illusions, just constructs to give human perspective a point of reference, but sometimes, people who are smarter can see beyond it, but they also have to train their brain to work within linearity so that they can communicate with people who are bound by those constructs. He listened and he said that this was crazy because he understood exactly what I meant. But he asked me, how do you reorganize your mind so that you can function and communicate everything you see? I said a lot of it come down to focus. For example, say you want to paint this cup. So you decide on a perspective. But someone who can see everything, will simultaneously see all perspectives at once, and it gets overwhelming. It’s like those security control centers where they have a huge grid of all these monitors showing perspectives from different security cameras at the same time. You’re aware of all of the possibilities. But knowing that, you have to decide which perspective you want, or which thought line you want to express or pursue, then put aside all the other ones, follow that one through, and if it’s not what you want or if you want to express something else, then you go back, pick another one, and follow it through. Sometimes people who are really smart, when they are posed a simple question or topic, they have all these thoughts and questions or points, that it’s like having all these marbles in their hands. So even though they want to show you this one green one in their right hand, they’re afraid if they have to drop all the other marbles to show you this one. And they don’t want to lose the other marbles. But you have to figure out a way to find a safe place to put down the other marbles, so you can show people these marbles one by one.

He started drawing as I was talking, drawing out marbles and said that this made sense to him. I told him that he must be a great friend to help out his friend this way. He said that he would like to think that his friends would do the same for him. Secretly, I wondered if he was talking about himself.

We started talking about inspiration and where it comes from, about how art and expression in
volves a connection between the artist and the universe, and between the artist and the perceiver. And how something that is truthfully expressed may not be “liked” by everyone, but it will cause changes or doors opening inside the people who are open to certain ideas or messages.

We started talking about how we see things and people. He asked me if I was good at characters because I seemed to know a lot about people and I said that I can look at someone and read them, their hopes and dreams, their worries and fears, the way a doctor can feel your body and “read” you. But you read some people better than others because their more of a reflection of you or their reflections are in direct opposition to yours so it still is recognizable, or they are reflecting symbols that you’ve had personal experience with.

We started talking about interactions with people is often just people trying to understand themselves, so everyone is trying to find self-understanding by watching the person across from them, or by their own reaction to the relationship or chemistry between the other person. He asked me what I got from him, and he told me what he got from me. He noted that sometimes I seem anxious. I said it’s because this is the type of conversation that, once it’s open, it can consume me and pull me away from focusing it on one project at a time. I laughed and said, you know your friend that you were talking about? I have the same problem. He laughs and said, then why are you giving advice on how to deal with it? I said it’s because I know how to overcome it, I just haven’t been completely successful at it yet.

He asked me, is it a burden to be enlightened? I thought about it and I answered truthfully. “Sometimes you get unbelievably lonely…especially when people think you know too much or will find out too much about them, so they don’t want you near them.” He looked at me and I got nervous, so I said I was going to get a drink, and walked away.

I came back and he looked at his watch and said, do you know you’ve been sitting here and talking for 3 hours and you haven’t done any work? I was surprised because I didn’t think it had been more than 45 minutes. I was waiting for the table next to us to open up and was surprised that so much time had passed. I pulled out my notebook and started writing, but he kept talking me.

At one point, I was saying something and he squinted, like he was trying to look deep inside me. I said, “You just beamed me.” He looked surprised and said, “What?” I said, “You just sent a beam inside me to see if what I said matches up with my insides.” He’s surprised and caught off guard. “Uh, yeah, I beamed you. Wow, I’ve never been called out like that before.” I said, “It’s okay, I do the same thing…I just never realized what it looks like. I guess that’s why when people see me do it, sometimes they can get uncomfortable.” He asked me, “Do you know what I saw?” I said, “No, I only know you did it…I can’t read what information you took back with you.” He laughed, but he didn’t tell me what he saw, though every time I started getting uncomfortable because I got confused about what was happening here, he would read my expression. Honestly, it felt like I was learning what it feels like to be on the other side of me, how it must feel when other people have this type of connection or conversation with me.

I also found out that I couldn’t stop myself and I was talking about things, but as I was saying them, I was listening to myself and learning. I told him how I’m working on this project that’s very personal and important to me, but I was having a hard time because I wasn’t sure of the tone yet. How I’m reading Chuck Palahniuk because I feel like mentally, our perspectives are similar, but sometimes he makes things harder for the reader, like it’s a fuck you if you can’t keep up or understand kind of stance. I’m not yet sure how I want to treat my readers yet…if I want to open up and allow them to understand so that those who are secretly hiding similar pain and histories can relate and use this story as guidance out of their own cages, or if I want to write from a more mental fuck-you stance where I completely ignore the emotional implications of the story and say to the reader, this is my mind, this is my story…you might find it interesting but in terms of how to deal with your shit…that’s not my responsibility.

As I was listening to myself, realized that this was a struggle that I’ve been debating under the surface, but which wasn’t conscious until now. But with a chance meeting of a stranger in a bookstore, I had now made a serious, much needed discovery and now it was helping me move forward.

I looked at him, and I wanted to know. “When’s your birthday?” I asked him. No explanation. Just a very direct expectation of an honest answer.

“The 14th,” he said.

“What month?”


I looked at him, an ironic smile on my face.

“You mean Flag Day?”

“Yeah,” he said, surprised that I would know such a random bit of trivia.

“Let me show you something.”

I take out my wallet and pull out my driver’s license, handing it over, only realizing too late that my address was on there. Oh well.

He looked. We have the same birthday.

“Whoa, that’s crazy,” he said, examining my license.

I looked at this guy who I just completely lost track of time with talking about inspiration and perspective and human mirroring and connections…and suddenly felt overwhelmed that we shared the same birthday. Are we indeed natural mirrors for each other? Is this a generous sign from the universe that some things are not coincidences on an objective plane and I’m moving on the right track?

As you know 614 is my favorite number because it’s my birthright. It breaks down to 11, which is the symbol of an innovative but humane leader who ushers the masses into higher awareness and growth. June 14th is one of the symbols that I hold as sacred.

I’ve only met 2 other people with my birthday, both significant meetings. And here was another one, started by chance that immediately launched into a significant conversation, particularly acknowledging that strangers sometimes “plug in” so that they reflect each other’s image for each person to learn and grow.

I left quickly. I needed to retreat to process the experience.

Later that night, I told Brian about my weekend, including the conversation with this artist who turned out to have the same birthday. He said that this was definitely very unusual, that it’s one thing to meet someone with your birthday, but another to have specifically the kind of conversation we sat down and had, then to find this out. I told him about my experience with the snake, and how I had felt this was a test. I asked him if he thought that since I had put aside my fears to do something that was karmically good and unselfish, if this was my reward, that I was given an encounter that gave me knowledge that moved me along. He said, both experiences are pretty unusual. Who knows, you know? But it’s definitely interesting.

I think my senior quote in my high school yearbook was something random like, The road of life has many twists and turns. Whatever you do, don’t forget to signal. I used to wonder what the fuck I meant by that. But now I think I was being defeatist and a little sarcastic, because I think the key is…DON’T SIGNAL.

I think the universe expects your routine. It’s like The Truman Show. Everyone expects you to do certain things, but the day you turn left unexpectedly when everything is expecting you to turn right, something happens. It’s like there’s a sudden small tear in reality because you didn’t go where you were supposed to, and something happens…you see outside of the illusion that is life.

I think that’s why unique things happen during the holidays, during long weekends. The universe expects everyone to be at a certain place, doing a certa
in routine, but all of a sudden, we’re not preparing for the week on Sunday nights…we’re not at work on Monday morning. And then unexpected things happen.

I propose that we all go through the week like it’s normal routine, but at least once a week, do something completely random. Do something that you didn’t even plan that is completely out of the norm. Go someplace you’ve never been. Or show up somewhere you usually go, but on a different night. Trip up the universe that’s expecting to you to go one way, but you suddenly fake and go the other. And suddenly, I think you’ll get this quick glimpse behind the scenes.

interesting weekend. very interesting weekend. i had both my family in town as well as aubrey and candice for warren’s going away party. ran into two people i used to date on the same day, and ironically, i was always worried that one of them would end up being like the other. i realized they’re very different people. had the hottest girl in the bar come up and talk to me, telling me that she’s been watching me all night and that she really likes my style. she was one of those chill girls that radiates an interesting energy, style, confidence plus incredible looks. pradeep, lauren’s fiance, really wanted me to get her number just to have gotten it because she was that hot. but then i told him that i’ve never made out with a girl before; i might be willing to try if the girl is cool enough, but there’s no way i can have sex with a woman because it just really grosses me out. but i was flattered, because i took it not so much like a girl hitting on another girl, as one cool girl with great energy who’s spreading joy around a room seeing someone else who also has great energy and is spreading joy around a room, and walking up and saying, “hey, i like what you’re doing. keep it up.” that was really cool. i talked to a lot of strangers last night and every interaction was positive, no drama.

One thing I’ve learned this weekend. If you are in a great place in your life, there are people who are going to want to get close to you. Either they want to be around your energy, or they want to know how you’re doing it. Some people can get clingy, but when you meet other people who are also feeling good because they’re in a really good place in their lives, it’s like two ships passing in the night and all the people aboard are really happy to see each other and acknowledge each other, and then you move along on your way.

Also, try not to hold grudges. Life is too short. And if you ever meet up with someone out there who’s hurt you, kill ’em with kindness. There’s nothing sweeter, because you are showing that no matter your history or past hurt, you’re still able to celebrate yourself and be a big person.

Pink Dresses, Inebriated Asians and the Middle-Aged Businessmen Who Love Them

Dear Diary,

My boss’s wedding was today and it was a Pink Wedding, so everyone had to wear some form of pink. I’d been putting off buying a dress for a while since I hate malls and I really don’t like the idea of me being in pink, so I’ve been avoiding it. Coming upon the 11th hour, I figured that the wedding was at 6pm, so I had plenty of hours to hit a mall and find something pink. I vowed to get up early enough to go to the gym and still hit the malls as soon as they opened. I got up at 10, went to the gym for 2 hours, then managed to make it to the mall…perfectly on schedule if the mall opened at 2pm. I describe the next 3 hours as pure pink hell, as I went into mall-lit after mall-scented store, my eyes zoning in on anything pink. I was like a shark. A big gay, Persian shark locked into anything hot pink, sequined and gaudy.

I went through every store at the mall and couldn’t find a pink dress that wasn’t extremely ruffled, fashion-senseless or a prom dress. Then again, I believe those first two traits are redundant. Finally, I settled for a pink top and white slacks. I was really hoping to find a dress since I prefer dresses when going to events and I wear pant suits to work a lot so showing up in a dress would really help my cause in negating the office teasing that I’m a lesbian.

Tonight, I realized why weddings and more blatantly, wedding receptions, are such strange but truth-revealing events. People show up to celebrate the beginning of a journey, the peak moment when two people are completely in love with each other and are so happy to be alive. In the face of this, I think the people who want to reach that place of optimism and happiness become aware of wanting it, while the people who have been disappointed by love or miss the excitement and optimism of new love wish to regain it. Thus, why people always flirt with each other and hook up with each other at weddings. These are some random things I observed or thought of tonight:

The wedding was a Jewish wedding. There was a pre-reception because these things start really late. I didn’t really know anyone and most of my coworkers hadn’t shown up yet, so I just stood at a table by myself and people watched. This rough-looking guy in his 40’s asked if he could share my table. He had an earring and cold, penetrating blue eyes, and looked like your average cocky white American middle-classed male who was divorced and bitter at his bitch ex-wife who had taken the kids and overall, fucked up his life.

I had him pegged for a car salesman.

He turned out to be a private investigator so my evaluation of him wasn’t too far off. He fished around into my life and I wouldn’t give him much. He mentioned that he had kids, was divorced, then ask me if I’d ever been married. I knew he was digging for my social status and PERD (Psychological/Emotional Relationship Damage, aka Baggage, aka Potential to Fuck Someone Due to Low Self Esteem) so, feeling a bit sadistic and knowing that I could run mental laps around this guy, I went into my spiel about how a marriage is basically a legal and religious convention, but if one were not religious, then basically a marriage is the forming of a corporation where resources are shared and a commitment is made to accept responsibility of taking care of each other’s livelihood. Because what is really so different between a long-term committed relationship and a marriage, if the emotional bond and responsibility towards one another’s emotional well-being are the same? It’s mostly about a commitment to resources and contributing to them and sharing them.

My coworker finally comes over and gets me out of the conversation by introducing me to the owners of our sister company in Dallas. I’m meeting them for the first time and I’m surprised because I’m always talking to one of the guys on the phone or over email, and I always envisioned the guy as older, probably really fat and bald or with light color/gray hair. Because he always sounded so Texas-jolly on the phone. But he was young with thick, dark brown hair and I just couldn’t get over how he didn’t look anything like I’d expected.

You know how sometimes you meet someone for the first time and there are just sparks? Not necessarily the romantic/sexual kind, like when you look at someone from across the room and you get butterflies in your stomach. It’s just an opening, where both of you are curious about the other person. I’ve found out that, as a Gemini, I will get really flirty when I’m intrigued by having a new person to explore, and will flirt to get them to open up so I can see inside of them. That attention and flirtation can turn on and off like a faucet, depending on how interesting the things that I find are. It’s not really conscious, but kind of built into my constant craving to get into people’s heads and understand where different people come from and how they experience life.

I was really happy to finally meet him and I gushed that he was supposed to call me whenever he made it out so we could shoot baskets (I’d never mentioned any such thing). We chatted about life in Texas versus California. His business partner was really serious, an intriguing nut to crack. Every time I asked about cities in Texas, he would describe their topography.

The wedding was beautiful. I cried because I cry at weddings. But the feeling is strange. On the one hand, I’m so happy for the people getting married because I can feel how happy they are. But then there really is a sadness that tinges it, almost a feeling of me missing something that I lost a long time ago as a child. I couldn’t figure this feeling out.

I think that when you really believe in someone so much, when you really believe in a partnership that feels safe, your whole world suddenly has incredible meaning, if only just to stay alive long enough to experience another day with this person. I was watching the wedding and feeling so happy for my boss and his new wife, and I realized just how much I love people. How much it means to me when people are happy and comfortable and feel safe and loved. How I worry about being socially appropriate because I want everyone to feel connected to this world and safe so much, that I wish that giving them unconditional love and positive regard and by sending in good energy will make a difference. But then sometimes people respond with this unhealthy clingy neediness, the death grasp of a drowning person taking his rescuer down to share a watery grave. The more you give, the more these type of people demand you to heal their wounds rather than using the strength gained from being supported and believed in to find that place where they can attain contentment. Maybe one day I’ll find a place that will make me happy and feel safe myself, where I’ll feel that I can give and not feel like the people who try to get close to me are people who will inadvertently drown me.

I was supposed to be at a table where I didn’t know anyone but I switched over to the table with all of my coworkers. My aunt and uncle where there. I felt bad because I had debated for weeks whether I should invite Reggie to the wedding but the biggest issue was that my aunt and uncle would be there and they would treat my being there with a black man as a huge scandal and family disgrace. I figured that if I ever told my family anything, I would want my mom to hear it from me first and judge this on its own merits, rather than to find out about it through the grapevine where all information is twisted by judgmental minds into an insult to the family name. So I went solo and during the whole ceremony, I really wished he were there, but then afterwards, I was glad that he wasn’t because I did a lot of people-watching and got really introverted thinking about my life, who I am, and what are the things I want.

I think the place where I put the things that I love is the place where no one
would ever know about them. I keep them a secret. I tend to be secretive about my relationships and even my friendships. Not just the details of them, but even in terms of who these people are. The more I care about someone, the more likely I keep things hidden, almost because I’m so afraid that when something I care about is held up in the light of day, it’ll turn out to be all smoke and mirrors, and then I’ll have to deal with the disappointment and disillusionment. Or that other people will disparage what I believe in or try to destroy it. The beauty of what goes on privately between two people is magical…like the things people experience alone in the woods in the dead of the night. And when the sun comes up, things are different. The magic is gone and it leaves you wondering if it was ever there in the first place. I don’t think it matters whether or not it even existed or if it doesn’t hold up in the light of day. If it means something to me, I want to keep it protected, safe in a place deep inside me where no one even knows there’s something valuable to destroy.

My aunt said to me, you need to settle down by the time you’re 29. I rolled my eyes and she said, no seriously. I have a friend who’s 34 and the only types of guys she can get are divorced or widowed men, and then it’s a family disgrace. She made it sound like these men were the ass bottom of the barrel. I told her that statistically, second marriages tend to be the strongest and also, sometimes people need life experience to grow and fulfill their potential as human beings, so having gone through a marriage and learned from it makes them better partners. She looked at me and just repeated, trust me, get married by 29 because otherwise, when you’re left with used people, you lose face.

Seems kind of small-minded, doesn’t it? When, just because someone is “used” and has been through a marriage that didn’t work out, that you should be ashamed of dating them. Thank you for letting me know. For future reference and for the sake of my face, please fax me a list of all the types of people I should avoid or else suffer the loss of face. I’m assuming the list includes: Divorcees, Otherwise Previously Married, Non-college grad, non-steady income, Black, Mexican, Vietnamese, non-age appropriate, comes from a low-income background, has working class family, is of the same sex, is not a filial lump of homo-ethnic being that can be manipulated in the name of tradition.

I would also like to point out that my aunt is really gossipy and makes judgments about what’s right and not right as far as what other people will think. It seems like she’s just really insecure about what other people think of her. I was listening to her speak to someone and realized her English wasn’t very good, even though she’s been in the US about as long as my mom who’s good enough to give speeches. I thought maybe she wasn’t intelligent enough to fully grasp English, or more likely, that she had an aversion to picking up the language, wanting to cling to all that embodies being Chinese, including not becoming too Americanized. But I can tell that when she converses with people in English, she’s uncomfortable because it’s easy to hold this elitist position in her own head, but once she’s in a position where her subpar speaking abilities can be revealed, she feels insecure.

I think putting insecure people in positions of power is a dangerous thing to do. Insecure people tend to have control issues, which means their mistaken ideas can influence groups into embracing a nonsensical status quo.

There was a fat guy at the next table who kept slipping glances at my chest.

There was an old guy with a camera who kept flirting with Eddie’s girlfriend, who looks like a model. He kept coming over to talk to her like he was approaching a celebrity seated at a restaurant.

My boss’s little girl cried. He sat down with me at one point and mentioned that she was having a hard time. I told him it was because he’s a great dad. She’s felt so safe and happy with him, that she’s afraid that that goodness will go away when things change, so he has to just make her feel safe and over time, she’ll feel better. But to be honest, things will change because he’s going to have to give some of himself to his wife and his daughter is going to have to share him. The little girl just got too much of a good thing–getting her dad all to herself for a while and now she’s going to lose some of it, even though it doesn’t knock her down from being #1 in his life. It’s a tough situation, really, and it made me a little bit sad, because the girl was sad and my boss was sad.

I saw my boss get some dessert and automatically bring it to his wife. It made me smile inside because he’s such a thoughtful guy (like a sweet little boy), and he’s so in love with her. I want someone who feels that way about me.

I realized one of my coworker is in love with another one but he doesn’t know it. He can’t classify the feeling but I know what he sees–the electricity between them. They argue like cats in an alley, complete with hissing and claws and even as a bystander, I can tell how potent that mix can be. Read…great sex. He wants her and he wants her bad. She drives him crazy and it’s stirring him up. So I told him…I know your secret. You should just go for it. He first said he doesn’t date people from work, then said they’d have to lock up the office because they’d always be at it. He tried to give me excuses but I just kept saying, you know you want to. Later, I noticed him leading her out and her being flirty irritated but she was going along with him. He looked back, saw me looking, and winked. They were gone for a while and I asked her where they went when she came back. She rolled her eyes and mumbled something about, “Oh…far away…pshhht. ” Then she added, “He took me around and around, looking for fruit or something.” Fruit. Uh huh. Now, keep in mind she’s also Israeli and doesn’t speak great English. But even in broken English, it sounded like bullshit to me.

I was standing by that owner of our sister company and we were all talking to some of my coworkers, and then he kept bumping me playfully. I asked him why he wasn’t dancing. He said he was but felt awkward out there. I asked him why Serious Guy didn’t dance. Serious Guy said he didn’t, not because he couldn’t but because he didn’t. Not-Serious-Guy asked me to dance and I said no. He said I looked really nice and he wanted to dance. I was tempted by the idea that this guy was a major business associate and I’m sure that with my willingness and a little encouragement, things could turn out scandalous tonight, but I try to live responsibly, even as delicious as the idea of scandal is. So he asked me again to dance and I told him that Serious Guy had to dance too. We we dragged him onto the floor. We danced for a bit and at the end of the song, I said I had to get some water, got distracted, then wandered off. I saw them later as they were leaving. I know it was kind of shitty of me to leave them on the dance floor like that but I wasn’t going to tempt that devil on my shoulder that wants to flirt irresponsibly and create situations that are messy. I have a good feeling that if I weren’t so staunchly disciplined about repressing things and could travel around the country and be in environments where no one knew who I was and there was no emotional accountability, I would be uncontainable. I would be having a lot of sex. I would have at some point been best friends or worst enemies with everyone for short bursts of time. I’m so intrigued by exploring people and the things behind closed doors that they don’t share with the rest of the world in broad daylight. Their secrets. It’s such an obsession for me that without boundaries, I would go wherever those feelings and impulses went, as far as they went, just to squelch that craving for different experiences. Intimacy junkie. I’m a pure intimacy junkie. But I shun emotional responsibility.

I went to take one of those Listerine Stri
ps but pulled out my Chloraseptic Strips for sore throats by accident. They come in the same packaging except the latter is orange. I never noticed what the physical effects are, but it numbs your tongue and throat, like a mild analgesic. It’s kind of freaky if you think too much about it.

I was watching people at the wedding, talking and dancing, and I just feel like such an outsider. Sometimes I feel really socially awkward and like I’m not experiencing life like other people, that I wasn’t born right. That I’m not as integrated into this plane as other people, like everyone is asleep but I’m not fully, so that rather than dreaming the same beautiful and complicated and tragic landscapes along with people, I can see people as they dream, and are aware that what they’re doing is dreaming and I don’t get to see what they’re seeing. And I’m left out of this romantic experience of just being human and sharing the same visions of life.

To be honest, I left the wedding overwhelmed by my loneliness. Sometimes I see too much, get too deep into people and I wish there were someone I could talk to about how to handle all the impressions I get, the images and the feelings. Sometimes I wish the night lasted forever and we could all lay down our costumes and masks and the roles we play, and just be ourselves under the cover of night. Sometimes I think playing a human being is a hard job because you can’t just exist, unencumbered by contrivance. Every situation demands a different set of social protocol. No one gets to behave “as is” in the light of day. We lose the fluidity and truthfulness of just being.

I called Reggie and tried to explain why I was sad. I could tell he had no idea what I was talking about. And that made me even more sad. So I told him I was feeling down and didn’t feel like hanging out. I just wanted some time alone to think about life and who I am and what I want.

Why does there exist within me, a cold, logical robot as well as an amorphous emotional being? Why is it so hard to be a human being? When I went in to have Lasik on my eyes, there were complications so it took a long time. They had put anesthetic drops on my eyes, but after everything was said and done, they reapplied the anesthetic on my left eye and operated, then FORGOT to reapply it on my right and operated. I felt the laser slice into me and it was like a slow paper cut on my eyeball, but I didn’t say anything because you’re not supposed to move. It only last a few minutes, but they basically operated on my eye without anesthesia. Sometimes I feel like that’s my experience of life. I don’t go through it numb enough. There’s too much awareness, of things I don’t even need to be aware of. All that’s inevitable…everything gained will eventually be lost. All that we have is borrowed and never owned. Our lifetime is a loan, blessed upon us to gain experience. The people in our lives, our youth, our beauty, our wealth, we give it all up someday, and death is the great equalizer when it’s time to give up our borrowed time and human identities. And there’s such an urgency to be real and for us to understand the very power we have when we are all connected and real, but we’re standing on a stage so it’s hard not to fall into acting within this play that has yet to conclude. Everything is ephemeral and things have to always be in motion but on the outside, there’s one connecting line that runs through every single person and being in existence, and we just get so caught up that we forget that there’s a bigger story beyond pages measured out by single human lifetimes. But to survive in a world built by humans, which plane do we choose to live in?

I woke up feeling gloomy today, as I sometimes do the morning after going on a date. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, except that sometimes, I wonder if things will ever feel right, or comfortable, in a way where you can’t help but be anything but yourself around someone. Sometimes I think that maybe my life should be more about embracing loneliness rather than doing things to solve it, like looking for companionship. Maybe some people wouldn’t be able to do what they need to do during their lifetimes with other people too close to them. I don’t know. That thought makes me sad but if that’s the way it should be for me, then that’s the way it should be.

I woke up at 11am and had 3 hours to kill before going to my physical therapy appointment for my back, so I went to visit the kids at Starbucks and to read. They were all going to Wango Tango so they were bouncing off the walls hyper (Calvin called and invited me a few minutes ago, but I can’t go. That was sweet of him though.). I read a few chapters of White Oleander—the 14 year old character was learning about the “power” of beauty and so she gave a guy a blowjob for a bag of weed, just to see how it felt. And it didn’t feel good. That kind of made me sad (that whole book makes me sad. It’s so damn honest). So I left and did what I usually do during times when I’m feeling a little bit lost—I drive without a destination, letting my internal radar guide me to where I need to be.

I ended up at Woodlawn Cemetary in Santa Monica. It’s this little cemetery from the 1800s that’s tucked in the middle of the concrete jungle with a Foster’s Freeze across the street. I drove by it and knew that was where I needed to be so I went in. It was peaceful inside and there were two other people there—a man standing still over a headstone with his head bowed, and an old woman with snow white hair walking with a sense of direction. I followed her, about fifty feet behind, wanting to see where she ended up. She paused occasionally to look up at the sky, her eyes so sad, then exited the cemetary through another gate.

I looked at some markers, thinking about who these people were and what their lives were like. I found a bench under a tree next to a “Loving Grandmother,” and sat quietly, with my eyes closed, feeling the energy around me. The energies of older cemeteries are not as strong and aggressive as those where the recently deceased are buried. I think, after a while, those who have passed on become less and less connected to this world, perhaps as those they left behind cross over as well.

I think that when I die, I don’t want people to bring me flowers. I want them to plant something near my grave, so that these flowers can grow and bloom and live. I want to be marked by a symbol of life, not to be honored with flowers that have been severed from their life force and sacrificed to my memory, in order to slowly die where I lay. I hope that in my lifetime, people will understand my dedication to life, and will honor me with life rather than sacrifices.

I think about how, Michael and I are like turtles without shells. We’re ultra-empaths, and we can feel people’s pain without them even realizing it themselves. We reach out with kindness because it’s the only way we know how to reach out. But man do we get burned. I have always made sure to protect Michael and to make him strong to face the world that is often so cruel because of its own self-loathing, because what he gives to this world, pure kindness and love, is something that the world needs but doesn’t always accept. But sometimes I get scared…who will look out for me?

I walked around some more, turning rightside flowers that had been tipped over by the wind and returning cards that had been blown away from their recipients. Sometimes it was hard to figure out who the cards belonged to, and I had to read them to figure it out. One in particular did not have a name, but was addressed to “Mom,” from a daughter who was still so sad over her mother’s death. She talked about how hard it was not to be able to mail her this card or to say the things she wanted to say to her, and how hard it was that this was the first Mother’s Day without her. She wished that she could call her up just to say how much she appreciated her and to say that she loved her, or to hear her mother say, “I love you.” I stood there reading this card, tears falling down my cheeks, feeling the pain of this woman, and how hard separation is. There was no name on the card and it had been blown onto the sidewalk. It was suddenly really important for me to return this card to the right person. I closed my eyes and prayed, silently, Please…I need your help. Please help me find you. I opened my eyes and walked to a grave about 15 feet away. It was somewhat fresh and had flowers next to it, as well as another card. Robin. Beloved Mother. She passed on earlier this year. I’m positive this was the woman this card belonged to; I put the card next to the flowers, making sure it was secured enough to not be blown away again.

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can say today. It’s so sad that people are most upfront about their appreciation of someone at their funerals. Why not give the love and appreciation that you have for everyone today, while we can still share it together?