Stayin’ Alive for Citrus

In junior high I had several California Cuties. (The fruits, not the people. My game is proportional to my cup size. Then: non-existent. Now: adequate.)  When I bent the peal towards it’s orange outside, a soft spray of oil would color the air fresh and bright. I often forgot the rinds in my childhood room, falling asleep to the scent.

Limes smell like summers in college. Vibrant and green, they cut harsh tequila and rum, coupling with ice. My brother mixed the limes with bakers sugar, rum, and mint at my sister’s bridal party. We drank pitchers of the stuff and spent the next day in a dim room with cheap pizza.

Lemons remind me of my mother. She bought special Meyers to make my sister’s friend her favorite pie. The young woman had just lost her parents and found the holidays painful. So, the night before Easter, my mother juiced a dozen of the green fruit with yellow insides. She combined the zest with sugar in the food processor. Sweet citrus kissed the kitchen counter and my greedy hands.

I never cared for grapefruit. At eight, I piled spoonfuls of sugar on the first one my aunt gave me. She didn’t give me a second. Fourteen years later, I found I liked it mixed with gin.

My brother and sister went to Thailand, meeting a beautiful country and his girlfriend’s family. They brought back a love of pomelos and found some at a local Asian Market. I had never tasted the citrus, it’s with yellow exterior and thick, foamy peal. It look five minutes to get to the flesh inside: soft grapefruit and lime.

Stay alive for the scent of citrus. The promise of pomelo and the give of lime, for the tastes that make our mouthes come alive.

HELLO AGAIN

HOLY BALLS IT’S BEEN LITERALLY YEARS.

Important things to know:

  • I am very much alive
  • This whole “being alive” thing is working out pretty well
  • I am far more enthusiastic about CAPS LOCK
  • I still have no idea what I am doing
  • I’m not sure I thought these bullet points through

ANYWAYS.

In February, I got an email from THIS guy.  It completely caught me off guard. Never mind the blog, I forgot this part of myself existed. It was like a miniature identity crisis after remembering a sad, weird fever dream. But ever since then, it’s been hard not to think of this corner of the Internet and the person I used to be.

So I thought I’d do this retrospective kind of thing. FYI, This is less structured than my previous post so prepare yourself for a ROLLAR COASTER. Well, a roller coaster if you ever went to Six Flags and thought, ‘Hey, I like this, but what if it was depressing with a sprinkling of not depressing???’ Congrats. You’ve found the right place.  Now, let’s begin.

First off, it does get better. I know, I know. That kind of post sometimes pisses me off too, like YAY I’M SO GLAD YOU HAVE A HUSBAND AND DREAM JOB BUT HOW DOES THAT HELP ME.

But really, guys. I can’t tell you the things I would have missed if I’d offed myself in 2012. I mean, I was fresh out of college. I can’t even tell you how young I seem. Since then I’ve:

  • attended Clarion West (amazing, amazing, program more on that later)
  • finished grad school in London
  • met my WEE BABY NIECE!!

Since 2012, I’ve written a screenplay, lived in a foreign country, held a tiny person, seen Prague, written a comic book and made new friends. Holy shit, we have DONE THE THINGS.

But now for the serious.

Though it does get better (so, SO, much better) it never gets easy.

I graduated from grad school about year ago. I’m living with my family  and looking for work. I’m not great with my writing habits. I’m not published. Most my friends are far away. I don’t know where I’m going.  Grad school, therapy, writing a novel, it was all good, but there are no quick fixes. Yes, the feeling of despair is so, so much less and frequent. But sometimes, despite all the progress and uphill battles, I wish I was dead. I hate myself. I feel numbness.

So then (if I’m being good) I take a deep breathe, and I think. Yes, I need to write more, apply for more jobs. I need to become the kind of person I want to be. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have value. Besides-

(take a BIGGER breath)

-my mother is making a Muppets quilt for my niece downstairs. The  blanket for the Cookie Monster square is  bright blue and fuzzy. It’s going to hang on the wall of a tiny red headed thing with chubby cheeks and powerful lungs. She’ll be two in August.

You never know when you get to touch fuzzy blankets. It’s not something you want to miss.

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Help in Black and White

I’m going to make this quick, just wanted to share a pic I found:

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You know it’s deep cause it’s in black and white.

Stay strong everyone. And remember to do what makes you feel alive (even if it doesn’t feel the same right now). Helps to fight off all the other nasty shit. I wish I could give you all a hug, and I have totally space bubble issues. Hope to have a longer post soon, stay classy y’all.

Just a Quick Check In

Look! I’m not dead! You know, that is really one of the things about being suicidal. You get to pat yourself on the back for being alive. Who else can say that? Besides soldiers I guess. And the poverty stricken. Moving on!

Why it’s good to live today? Because there are people are there to help you. Since we’ve spoken last, I’ve started therapy (The woman has a fluffy dog in her office; if that’s not grade A therapy, I don’t know what is.), taken some “how to get a job workshops” and joined a non-profit community media group. $30 bucks for half a year of using kick ass film equipment. Not fuckin’ bad. All these places and people have helped me. Yes, they are paid too. But these are people who have chosen to dedicate their lives to helping people. These people exist. Wonderful people, who, at the very least are excellent are pretending to be not selfish. And that is really, really lovely.

Also, semi-colons. I mean, someone was like, “Fuck, let’s connect these two complete sentences!” And the delightful semi-colon was born. It helps clean up run on sentences. And you feel so smart when you use it right. It even looks friendly; doesn’t it? So much more forgiving than a period; so much more solid than a comma. It is my best friend. I try no to overuse it, but fuckin’ a it is wonderful.

On a backtrack note, it really is special if you are fighting and winning against suicide and depression. In modern society, our mind is the battlefield. And depression can rob it of any nutrients. We are soldiers and survivors. We are alive. And right now, I can feel it. It’s beautiful. I’m glad I lived today.

What makes me come alive

Hello, gentle readership! My brain feels like cement and my limbs hardly obey me, but more about that later. I’m sure you’re DYING to know about my FASCINATING tale of adventure.

I searched for “adventure” in a free image website. The result concerns me.

I had my graduation ceremony, which, actually, was helpful. The happiness and hope, instead of making me resentful (I’m usually a contrary bitch), made me hopeful and happy too. Not only did the energy of my fellow graduates make me feel less than suicidal, but one speaker did as well. She said, “Ask not what does the world needs more of, but what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs are more people who come alive.”

I was thinking it too.

It suck with me, not only because it reminded me of the undead,  but because I’m not sure what makes me come alive.  Because I’ve noticed my depression or whatever you want to call it has left me kind of numb. The things that made me happy or content no longer release the same feelings. But I think I may have some ideas for what may make me come alive when I get out of this slump. The first one is obvious: love.

If I wasn’t trying to be optimistic right now, I’d comment how those sentimental bastards should plunge their smug hands into the core of the sun.

There are few things that bring me more joy than talking to my lover (yes, I know it’s a weird word but this is my corner of the internet). And though my tolerance for people has plummeted since I’ve begun feeling suicidal, my friends and family are also really invaluable. I don’t appreciate them nearly as much as I should.

The other two things I’m not as sure about, but lets go off on a limb: drawing and writing. I’m not sure if drawing “makes me come alive,” but it helps take the pain and even the numbness away. I don’t draw anything particularly violent or depressing, and maybe that’s why. I can ignore all my problems when I have a pen in my hand. As for writing, that’s a bit longer story.

Well, not that long.

I have a complicated on and off again relationship with the written word. Because I don’t want to bust out a “Game of Thrones” on your ass, I’ll just begin with this morning. When I woke up today, two hours after the butt crack of noon, I couldn’t move. It wasn’t like I had worked out the day before, or I was really sleepy (I’d gotten ten hours), but I actually couldn’t force myself to move. I kept trying to move my hands and my arms, trying to think of reasons to get up, but none of them would make my body move. It was like my mind was trying to be helpful, but my body knew I had nothing to live for.

And then I thought of a topic for this blog. And I got up.

I’m not sure if that qualifies for “making me come alive” but giving me the ability to dictate my own limbs is a pretty good start.  I have to keep living to get out of this funk and really figure out what makes me come alive. I have to find more reasons to get up.

Well, that’s it for today, ladies and gentlemen. I get my images from stock images websites, so click on the photos to check out the artists. Until next time.

Fuzzy Feelings and Art

Things have gotten kinda fuzzy lately. It’s hard to feel. I mean, I feel kinda sad sometimes, and kinda happy others, but I can’t feel any strong emotions. Nothing that feels profound.

Death has seemed more appealing as of late. I think, in part, because I’m participating in my graduation ceremony this weekend. I finished up school in December and have since been living with my parents in a state of extended limbo. Almost six months now. To put on a muumuu and parade down a walk way, pretending that I feel happy, accomplished or anything at all is not particularly appealing. Especially around all those people who have those emotions. I wish I hadn’t agreed to it. I’m afraid I’ll get emotional and my mom will yell at me for it. I don’t know how she’d react if she found out I was writing a blog like this. I don’t really want to know.

I don’t like to do much these days other than draw and watch television. (Pushing Daisies, great show, tell your friends). I think it’s because my emotions are all muddled, so I wouldn’t even emotionally experience success even if I encountered it. If I’m honest I don’t have much to be depressed about. I mean, I have a roof over my head, family, friends a lover. I can’t figure out how to be honest with myself.

I hurt myself sometimes. Nothing serious, I just hit myself in the head when I fuck up. I feel like I deserve it. I think I’m writing this for sympathy. I want sympathy, but I feel like I need someone to be unsympathetic. I guess that person should be me.

I apologize. I keep trying to find insight and achieving none.

Today’s reason to live is unrelated. I’m, honestly, just looking around my room. I got new fabric pens from dharmatradingco (Google that shit). I guess if I died, I’d never get to try out all the colors of Fabrico pens or even use the ones I just ordered. I like the feel of a pen in a hand. It makes me feel alive. Like I can do something. Make some art that no one else can, even if they tried, they could never fully replicate my pen strokes. With me here, there’s a bit more art in the world. And will continue to be. I suppose that’s pretty good for now.

So I’ll think I’ll go be stereotypical and make some more sad art. Catch ya’ later internet folks.

Learning- a parfait of delights

When I was a freshman in college, I thought that when I graduated, the things I would miss most would be the community of weird artists, the guy I was dating and beautiful Santa Cruz. I also imagined at the end of the four years, I would be fully prepared to be a novelist, demonstrated by a top notch portfolio of short stories to brandish at salivating publishers.

How I saw my stories, in cake form. The marachino cherries represent my talent; the pink frosting, my genius and the walnuts, my sexual prowess.

Turns out Santa Cruz runs on white guilt (awkward when you’re Mexican-American), the community you have as a Freshman dissolves with the dorms and the relationship I had ended.  And currently, I am doubtful about the writing career.

So, here I am. A UCSC graduate (for six months now) in a lackluster economy and rethinking the career choice I’ve been certain of since I was twelve. A novelist is a lonely job full of a lot of writer’s block. I like to collaborate, bounce things off people, create things together. So, collaborative mediums like filmmaking and screenwriting have become more appealing. But I have no knowledge of the subject. So I’ve been listening to iTunes university and feeding myself books.

In about two seconds, I am going to eat the s*** out of this book.

That’s when I realized what I miss most about college is learning. When I was a freshman, my mind was blown when I learned race was a social construct, that gender roles existed, that we derive all of our ideals from the Renaissance, and they from ancient Rome and Greece. But as my undergrad extended, I learned less about new ideas, and more about how to write an “A” papers.

I forgot the thrill of learning a new subject.  As you dig deeper you encounter new layers and each one, much like a parfait, is more delicious than before. There’s the hot fudge of new ideas on top, the ice cream of understanding below! What if I dig deeper? Will I encounter the cookie dough of truth?? What about all the parfaits out there I haven’t even tried?

What’s even scarier, is how much leanring changes you. So, if  I died now, I would never learn anything new and never change. I would always stay the same. So I’ll stick around so I can learn and grow by tasting all the parfaits of life.

Literal ice cream saved my day. Metaphorical ice cream saved my life.