Weird Girl Walking

I bought a pair of purple patterned Tevas the other day off Amazon, and received them yesterday in the mail. Somehow this feels like a pivotal moment in my life. Like I had always been the type of person to wear Tevas, but had never really given myself permission to do so. Only weirdos wore Tevas, I told myself. And that weird demon-thing from Hercules.

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Tevas.

Continue reading “Weird Girl Walking”

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Le Waf

IMG_0204I’m in Europe’s first (and only) dog café, and I’m regretting all of my life decisions.

So maybe all, is a bit dramatic, but most is fair. Drinking coffee in a place that smells like dog is exactly as it sounds like. And all the dogs are old and asleep, so playing with them is out of the question. 

I didn’t think I would miss London, but here I am, in a dog café in Lille, and I miss London. I suppose it wasn’t the smartest decision to go from English speaking England back to French speaking France. I think I have a bit of culture shock. I mean, I only spent three days in England but now I don’t know which way to look when I cross the street. 

I am not getting my money’s worth for this café. 

I decided to come to Lille because I found a cheap Airbnb, and I could get there by bus from London, but things are more expensive here than they were in Paris, Marseille, and London. How is that even possible??

I may or may not be allergic to dogs.

All the dogs are hot—this big one has collapsed at my feet. 

So maybe collapsed is a bit dramatic, but it is certainly panting very hard. 

Heat does strange things to people, even dogs.

It feels a little strange to pet a dog that isn’t very into it—what are the rules of consent in a dog café? 

This dog is panting very hard. I’m a little concerned, and my chin is getting itchy. 

I was gonna waste 5 euro anyways on the Photomaton photo booth, so I can’t get upset that I’ve spent 5 euro on this. An eye for a dog café and all that jazz.

Though I am thinking about how 5 euro could’ve gotten me to an actual café with actual Wifi. 

Maybe chins are meant to be itchy. 

I wanna ask for the Wifi password, but like, who comes to a dog café to use the Wifi?

*Raises hand*

It’s starting to smell like peas. Like wet dog flavored peas. And I want to love being here, but I also want to sneeze.

I understand why this is Europe’s only dog café. 

Dreams

I look like Esmeralda today.

Or maybe—you know—her long lost black cousin. 

I want to wear sneakers so my look is less obvious, because leather strappy sandals say a lot. ‘Jerusalem sandals,’ they’re called. I’ve owned two pairs since I was nineteen or twenty—and these are my second pair. 

When I was in Marseille I dropped one in the sea, and by some miracle of life, it did not float away. 

I feel like I can look weird in Lille: it’s a college town, and people here are weird. I saw a dog yesterday with eyes so black, he must have been from another world.

The woman who owns the studio that is my Airbnb doesn’t live here, and I’m irrationally upset about it. I want to stay in a home, not a box full of Ikea furniture. I think I’m really upset because I can’t sample her beauty products and olive oil. Adrian, my host in London, had fabulous taste. He was a photographer and art was littered everywhere. Even his olive oil was artistic. 

Maybe I’ll buy a candle to spruce up the place. 

I’m in that really scary place where I know exactly where I want to be, but have no idea how to get there. 

When I was nineteen, I asked myself what it was I wanted to be. I had just finished my sophomore year at Penn, as well as my first creative writing class. Up until that point, I didn’t know what I’d be, but science was an option; law was more realistic. I got out a notebook and wrote the question down—In ten years, where do you see yourself?

A vision: sitting at a desk in the countryside, writing. 

I wanted to be a writer.

I felt at peace. Then, I felt terrified. What does being a writer even mean? What would I even write? Novels, screenplays? I could barely finish a paper, let alone a large body of work. And what about money? So few are successful at it. I thought of my future children—would they have to suffer because I had the gall to dream myself a writer? Writing, or any profession in the arts, was for people who could afford to fail. I looked around my bedroom in upstate New York: the carpet was faded and dead flies peppered the window sill black. I couldn’t afford to fail. 

In ten years, where do you see yourself? 

I took the paper out of my notebook, and ripped it in half. Again, and again, and again. Maybe my children could be writers, I thought, painters and poets, too. But I will be a lawyer. 

It’s been five years since then, and I am currently not a lawyer.

I am in a bistro in Lille, and I am eating alone. I always thought that eating alone in France would feel particularly alienating, but the beauty is that no one gives a fuck. I spent half of my morning (and let’s be real, my day) hating Lille. It feels more like a town, or a banlieu of Paris. My morning search for coffee in the mall felt uncomfortably pedestrian. 

Get me the f*ck out of here, I thought. The wifi in my apartment barely works, and I don’t really care to explore the town. I looked up Airbnbs in Brussels, then realized how irrational that plan was.

Well I guess I’ll write. 

And so that’s where I now find myself—back in my apartment with the window wide open, writing; working on a draft of something I surely intend to finish. 

Be careful what you wish for, I think with a smile. Because when I planned this trip, I saw myself sitting at a desk, with nothing to do but write. And I’ve been writing, but only here and there.

It will be a writer’s retreat, I told myself. I want to discover what type of writer I really am. I will sit at a desk with the window wide open, and I will write. 

And it would seem that dreams really can come true.

Foudre

“Va te faire foutre,” he said, “that means ‘go fuck yourself.”

It’s 2012 and I’m having the worst year of my life: I’ve gained twenty pounds since the summer, I am tired all the time, and my face won’t stop breaking out. I have never been fucked, and I would certainly never fuck myself.

I don’t know what to say to him, so I don’t say anything at all.

Va te faire foutre. The phrase comes to me as I now sit in Victoria Coach Station, waiting to board the bus back to France.

Va te faire foudre is what I think the phrase was, so I look it up online.

Foudre is lightening.

Foutre is not—

Foutre: nom, masculin. Argot (slang, vulgar) – éjaculat (come, cum, jizz). 

Les draps étaient pleins de foutre, par example.

The two are very different.

‘Va te faire foudre’ would mean something along the lines of ‘go make lightening.’

I’ve made lightening before.

They say Zeus was the god of thunder; thunder is the sound of lightening.

I’ve made thunder.

Zeus didn’t make his own lightening bolts, you know. Cyclops gave them to him.

(That means they fucked)

It’s 2018 and there is a snake up my spine.

They say Medusa’s hair was alive, and I now know the feeling—

The locs on my head tell me dirty things.

Everything is a lie, they say, everything is alive.

There is no such thing as inanimate.

I am researching Shiva and Shakti.

Shiva – the masculine force of the universe.

Shakti – the feminine counterpart.

I click a link called ‘Shiva and Shakti: All You Need to Know About the Tantric Union,”
but the web page won’t load. All it says is {Forbidden}

Tantra is the sacred expression of sexuality—

{Forbidden}

If the universe is in tantric fusion, that would mean that we are all foutre.

Or are we foudre?

I have made lightening before.

“Va te faire foutre,” he said, “that means ‘go fuck yourself.”

I have never been fucked, but I have surely fucked myself.

Espresso

“I just need a second, thanks.”

I smile to myself as the Americans in line behind me squint at the menu plastered on the wall before them. 

The girls behind the counter seem perplexed, confused as to why anyone would step into a gluten-free bakery and not know what they were going to order.

Americans, they must be thinking, as I had said and done the exact thing when I walked in. Only I had added a five minute stare down in which I tried to channel the divine into telling me which slice of cake to get. 

My intuition never leads me wrong.

“It’s a hard choice?” one girl asked—a genuine question. I suppose most people don’t really think about which cake they really want—which cake would feed their soul and penetrate their innards so deep, that it touched their very core.

But I am not most people. 

The only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted an americano. No—needed it. I had developed a small but mighty caffeine addiction in my European travels, and any cake I chose would have to pair well with that.

The options were: carrot, chocolate, honey, and cheesecake. “It’s a hard choice?” The counter girl had actually asked.

Chocolate and espresso were a classic pairing, undoubtedly made for each other. But were they too classic? I thought, too easy?

“You want coffee?” the girl asked. “The cheesecake goes well with that.”

Cheesecake. A creamy work of art that would undoubtedly leave me crying in the bathroom later in the evening. But then again, it was cheesecake, and cheesecake was good. 

Now, carrot cake I love, I consider my favorite. It is mild, it is warm. It feels like home. It would probably go well with coffee. It would squelch the heat of a strong espresso—a mild and peaceful end. 

But then, there was chocolate. So innocent and pure—so sure of what it was, even though it was the last slice. Coffee would love espresso—why wouldn’t it? Of all the warm beverages in all the world, espresso was the strongest. Just like the chocolate cake, it knew what it was, and couldn’t care what anyone else thought. It’s presence was palpable. 

But we all know about chocolate and espresso.

“How’s the honey cake?” I asked, already knowing the answer: it was the only cake with all slices intact.

“So good,” the counter staff lied. 

I was tempted to believe them—tempted to try something new, taste something I didn’t know. I already knew chocolate, I already loved it. I looked towards the honey, then back to the chocolate. I pictured eating cheesecake, then looked at the chocolate. I prepared to order the carrot. 

“I’ll have the chocolate,” I said. “And an americano.”

I now sit on a bench in Soho, and I am shattered on the sidewalk. I have been ravaged from head to toe by the bliss and ecstasy of a slice of chocolate cake, bathed in the beauty that is espresso. It has touched my heart, and fed my soul.

My intuition never leads me wrong.

London Town

I’m sitting in my Airbnb, looking out the window. It’s a cloudy day in London and I’m reminded of the film, An Education. 

Back when I was in high school, that was the film I watched before finding out I was accepted to Penn. I made a big deal of coming home from school and starting the film at three so that when it was over around five, my letters from the Ivies (which I hoped were all acceptances) would be there. It was planned to the T. It did not go as expected. Out of the four Ivies I had applied to, I was only accepted to one. The one school that I hadn’t really thought about, and only really applied to because they sent me a nice email wishing me a happy Fourth of July.

In the movie, Jenny is a small town British girl with big time, city dreams. She is obsessed with French music and Paris and finds her British life absolutely dreadful. She dreams of going to Paris, but when she finally gets there, she realizes the illusions of the life she had been leading, the life she had planned. 

Planning is dangerous.

Continue reading “London Town”

Dharma

I had a dream about a drag queen named Dharma. 

I added it to my list of things to look up when my eyes stopped drooping—itchy skin after beach; dharma.

I had a croissant today because it was cheap and I was hungry and I only had 2 euro on me. I sort of always knew I was allergic to wheat, but now I definitely know—the lump on my forehead tells me so. 

I’m having another one of those I’m in fucking France! moments. But I won’t be in France for long, as I’ll be in London tomorrow—technically tonight. 

I’m sitting at a Starbucks, waiting ’til it’s time to head to the train station, and I wish I had a cigarette. But then I remember that I hate smoking and that I’m fake as fuck, cuz I’ve been through this before, and I know I’m not a smoker.

The truth of it is I’m not a smoker because I’m not brave enough to be. It takes guts to know how bad smoking is, how each cigarette can take away a second of your life, and do it anyways. Part of me wonders if it’s even possible to take seconds away from your own life, and I wonder if smoking only kills you if you’re meant to die by smoking.

Do I believe in predetermination?

I knew this guy who once said, if you’re gonna get cancer, you’re gonna get cancer. He was a smoker, of course. 

Dharma is “the eternal law of the cosmos, inherent in the very nature of things.” Dharma is “whatever leads us toward happiness and away from suffering; it is whatever destroys the root of suffering—delusion and karma.”

Delusions make up a large portion of my day, of my life. I am a writer, after all. Delusions sustain me. The right kind of delusions bring me joy. 

Would smoking a cigarette bring me joy? Maybe if I weren’t terrified of dying. Or rather, dying sooner than I would have, should have, had I not chosen to smoke. See, I don’t believe in predetermination. I believe in life as a winding road with detours and junctures and day trips off the beaten path. 

A Roma girl comes up to me and asks for money for something to eat. I say I don’t have any—as I write on my MacBook and drink my 4 euro latte. She says thanks anyways. I love the purple of her skirt. 

“Attends, attends!” I say—wait—and give her all the change I can reach.

Dharma—that which destroys the root of suffering. Whatever leads us towards happiness.

I have been worried about money. Trying to budget and remembering I’ll have to find a job soon, and why the fuck am I going to London, the pound is outrageous, and am I really going just to get another tattoo—$$. 

But I have enough. And I have a few centimes to spare. It makes me happy to share.

Dharma. 

En Route à Marseille

1:21PM

The women in my family have not been taught to see themselves as they are.

I am courageous. I wrote a song on guitar without knowing how to play the guitar. I hopped on a stage and I performed that song. I bought my ticket to France; I flew.

Courage.

My mother is beautiful. Her body has fed four children; her hands are warm and kind.

My sister is smart. She memorizes quickly, which means she learns quickly–differently than the rest of us.

My sister is strong. She has cared for all of us, at times to the detriment of herself. She’s learned to walk slowly, to walk with caution, but still, she walks.

My sister is wonder-full, full of light and love, bigger than she thinks she is; bigger than she might want to be.

My mother
my sister
my sister
my sister

Our mother
her mother
her sister
her sister

Thank you.