mornings: poetry & gratitude

i kick the leaves covering the sidewalk that’s becoming familiar.  the air is crisp.  the sun is peaking out, but the rain is starting to fall.  the gray consuming.  i drink lattes and fall into day dreams containing poetic thoughts about what life will bring.  mornings fuel poetry & gratitude for me.

my dog licks my face.  while walking she is interrupted by a squirrel.  her focus constant.  when he scampers away she trots happily down the path again, unaffected by the fact she didn’t get to say hello yet again.  she looks back every now & then to make sure i’m keeping up, & i sometimes hide behind trees until she chases me down with her tongue kisses while jumping on me to say she has triumphed over my challenge.

coffee & wind in the afternoon.  squishy pillows, covers, paintbrushes, time to sort through the personal thoughts i’ve put off all week when work is consuming & leaves me no energy to process other parts of life.  i look up at the clouds & remember how bright the stars were last night.  a few more than the familiar few & i wished wishes willingly while whimsically wondering what would come.

tomorrow is another day.  every day is a day that can change something.  every day is a day that can change everything.  every day is a day we can make our own.

the. answers.

too little to understand
you comprehend
the depth of hugs
the placement of hands
on what bodies
& the words
the non-questions
you speak feelings
outward to space
you wonder
who is listening
who hears
& when you get older
you value
the people
who simply ask
how you are
& you struggle
with the people
you speak at
like you spoke
at the stars
into the wind
your thoughts
still just escaping
somewhere
because the
simple questions
remain
unasked
& not understanding
quite again
you just
keep.
speaking.
the.
answers.

the ability to feel

someone once told me that feeling is an ability.  each unique emotion we have the compacity to feel is able to be developed, grown & learned through experiences… happiness, magic, fear, sadness, excitement, love…

i think people forget that we need others to develop our ability to feel, to open up, to experience things that can only be created by the combustion of two people coming together in a such a way that doesn’t need to make sense.

these are the things that make the world beautiful.  i guess we really do need to depend on others in order to be able to depend on ourself… Every single moment is made better… by being able to really feel it.

close our eyes and really feel it

I wonder if all people live for the magic in life… the memories you can’t explain accurately again.

I would construct these moments before they even happened in my head since I was a little girl, obsessed w/the feeling I’d feel from time to time… how it would change my perspective, my range of emotions, my entire life. .

Now, months away from coming out of my twentysomething years, I feel a bit like I was all wrong.  I realize that I can create magic everyday on my own and that it belongs to no one else.  It’s watching cartoons on a Saturday morning wrapped in blankets in my hammock.  It’s getting to build something truly amazing every single day I go to work.  It’s thinking so much my brain literally feels exhausted every night… in the best way possible. It’s my dog licking your face at 2am and it driving me to take the time to drink tea on a blanket in the backyard just to stare at the <5 stars that only ever exist in the London sky.  It’s using the time on the tube to learn new things… amazed at the fact there’s a never ending amount of things and people to discover.

Sure, there’s still the moments that exist with someone else, but I’ve learned that these moments aren’t the ones we should seek out.  It’s exhausting to hop from magic back to everyday life… to feel like everything and then just disconnect, waiting for the next moment to exist with no control over when it will happen.  It’s always a little bit painful, no matter how easy the magic comes the next time around, to have to check out… to feel so disconnected from someone or something for a lot longer than the magic ever exists the next time it appears.

Sitting here tonight next to my dog with a candle burning listening to a record I can lean back and sigh a happy sigh because life is mine, it’s yours… it’s all of ours.  We can pull over to look at the stars, keep driving to some destination or change the path whenever we choose.  Most of the time we’ll accidentally go over the speed limit, but there will be moments where we’ll purposely slow down to take in life… to close our eyes and really feel it.

 

Familiar is perspective

Familiar can be found across the planet in little things we’re meant not to overlook.  There’s now some level of predictability on my walk home.  Feelings I know so well are resurfaced by the same challenges or delights.  I found these things when I didn’t have anything else but an air mattress.  I depended on them to make London feel like a home instead of a city.

Boxes arrive full of things. Scene ends.

I find bits of my life I had completely forgotten about as I unpack each box.  I didn’t ever need most of what I brought and the things I did need aren’t the things I would have guessed.

I have learned so much about myself in the process of packing up my life, moving to Europe and being challenged to find a life here. I find more and more of myself in London everyday, but most importantly I have realized that I already exist in every unfamiliar place.  Home is wherever I am.  It’s in all the places I have never been.

Fade away

You remember feeling out of place. Being dull was so much easier than standing out. You could never figure out how to fade into the background. It inflicted sadness instead of celebration.

rewinds aren’t life

If only the words would have come out at a different time in a place that wasn’t where our feet were in that moment the prospect would have been lovely instead of terrifying.

up and away

Sometimes in a single moment you’re sad you haven’t instantly moved forward, but you look back and realize how far you’ve come by unknowingly taking a half a step each day.

On wearing your heart on your sleeve

It’s rumored that the phrase “wear your heart on your sleeve” derives from jousting matches of the middle ages. Knights would wear the colors of the lady they were supporting on their arms in the form of cloth or ribbons. It didn’t actually appear in text until Shakespeare’s Orthello (1604) when Lago wanted to show his openness and vulnerability in order to appear faithful.

There appears to be two very distinct period when nearly all humans wear their hearts on their sleeve… childhood and twentysomethinghood. Though, both are years apart (twenty something years to be exact), these periods of our lives are strangely similar. We’re stumbling around and figuring out life. We’re fearless with our decisions and our hearts. We’re taking chances (and maybe on occasion we’re having tantrums when the chances don’t end up the way we had hoped). We don’t get discouraged. We get back up and scream out loudly that we’re capable, whether it’s over riding a bike, losing a love or taking a chance on changing our own little portion of the world. Life always go on, better than before (even though we are sure we can’t go on in our worst of moments). We have wide eyes and we are experiencing certain things in this world for the first time over and over again because we allow ourselves to be silly. Ridiculous thoughts are infinite possibilities.

As I get older I realize I’m aging out of the confusion (or maybe I’ve just learned to welcome the challenge instead of fear it).  I also realize that I don’t think it’s possible for me to ever accept aging out of the whole heart on my sleeve thing. It’s not a weakness, it’s a fearlessness that is hard for most people to carry on with after these giant periods of self-discovery.  It’s scary sometimes, but I accept the challenge and I think more people should give it a shot.

In conclusion, here’s to putting ourselves out there in the world and seeing what comes back… whether it’s what we always hoped for or scary, just OK or humorously bad. The fact is that it’s not always going to be great, but sometimes it’s going to be fucking incredible.

Thief V. Erica

My mother’s worst nightmares are coming true…. this morning I got mugged shortly after walking out of my flat in London.  I reassured her by saying, “better he took my purse than me.”  (Referencing the movie “Taken”, which she made me watch before moving to Europe).  I’d say it’s a valid point.

I had a strap around my body, so he couldn’t actually take my purse as easy as he’d have probably hoped.  I screamed louder than I ever have in my life and tried to get away.  He punched me in the stomach. I couldn’t breath and fell down to the ground. He ran away with my purse. Thief 1, Erica 0.

I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve actually had a blank mind for any period of time in my life.  Immediately after all this happened was one of these times.  I was strangely enough just sitting there calmly on the ground and when I regained the ability to think I couldn’t even really remember anything about what just happened.  I honestly don’t even remember what color shirt the guy had on.  I just got out my phone (which was luckily in my coat pocket w/my flat keys) & called my bank (which I conveniently had in speed dial because part of me is my mother).

Yes, there’s the pain in the ass of getting a new passport in a week before heading back to SF (I had it with me to open up a bank account here).  Also, I’d have much rather have gotten mugged after actually having a financial institution in the country I call home.  But really, things aren’t so bad.  I feel more angry than I do scared, and when I trace over the bruises I obtained I think more about the notebook I had in my bag than I do about the money.

Since I was little I’ve always been very fond of writing down my secrets into notebooks in the form of poems, doodles & taped photos I cut out of random magazines.  This particular notebook had documented a lot of things… my decision to leave California, a short but intense relationship, a game design for a musical app I’m obsessed with making one day for children, a list of places I wanted to go in London/Europe, thoughts I had as I packed away my life into cardboard boxes, a letter I wrote to someone & never gave them because I don’t own stamps and my first few days after getting over to the UK.  It documented only a few months, but they have been some of the most important and life altering.

It is strange to think that the person who did this horrible thing to me could have this very personal and introspective look into my heart.

Someone in my family said to my mom, “boy, Erica sure is unlucky,” after hearing about this, but really I couldn’t feel more lucky.  I’ve gotten to live in so many amazing cities, I’ve gotten to travel so many places, I’ve had amazing jobs, I’ve met amazing people and I’ve always chosen the adventure.  I am proud that I can make scary decisions and still believe in my choices when stuff isn’t going the way one might call perfect.  Life isn’t perfect.  It’s messy and confusing, but that’s what makes it worth living.  The situations that shake us up are often the things that make us contemplate what really matters.  Scariness is a breeding ground for creativity.

Though part of me feels violated, it’s also sort of lovely to have had to let go of all of those very personal thoughts and know that they are somewhere in the world. When it comes down to it, I’m not left w/anything less than I had before.  In fact, I’m left with a lot more. I had an outpouring of lovely notes and calls from so many people today.  I reconnected with some people I hadn’t spoken to in years who saw my Facebook post and wanted to check in.  I felt supported and knew that the world was really full of more love than evil. Some people never feel like that, let alone after a really scary situation.  I feel so sad for someone who feels no guilt about scaring the living crap out of another human being. It’s incredibly depressing that this is their experience of life.

In conclusion, Erica  100, Thief -3.

Also, for entertainment’s sake, an inventory of everything I remember in my purse beyond my wallet/ID/notebook: a headlamp, a rubber bouncy ball, my Kindle Paperwhite loaded with a mixture of business (enjoy Lean In), spiritual and books about the history of video games, about ten tubes of various forms of chapstick, a Bristol visitor’s guide, a pack of bobby pins, ear plugs, pepper spray (would have been more useful in my hand), a list of geocache coordinates in Shoreditch, a heart shaped rock, packs of Moshi Monster stickers/cards, a pink heart headphone splitter, a copy of Mario Kart for the 3DS I had just bought to replace my last missing copy & two Lego spacemen.  I don’t know if I really should have admitted any of that.

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