Starting Off On The Right Foot.

Wouldn’t it be great if every morning could be like this?

There’s nothing particularly special about this morning, except for the incredibly zen state I’m in. So I guess that’s pretty special. Some mornings are hellish. The alarm clock rings like nails on a chalkboard. Your body aches and you wonder if you’ve been pro-wrestling in your sleep. It feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the night ever.

But some mornings are just right. I rolled over in bed and smiled at my husband who was smiling right back. Saying “I love you” in the mornings is definitely a great way to begin a day. I had a dream in the early AM about giving birth. I told JB about it and how I know I need to begin getting serious about preparing for the big event. “It’s like preparing for a marathon,” I said. And it’s true. This is going to be the single most exhausting and challenging physical experience of my life. I like being able to tell JB my dreams.

“I have to get ready for work,” he said, shortly after the alarm rang. I kissed him and nodded. Off he went to let Hobbes (the cat) in and into the shower next. My aching back told me I should do a little stretching. Some cat cow stretches and a few minutes in child’s pose got the blood circulating. Hunger pangs got me out of the room and I served myself some cereal and milk while Hobbes darted in between my legs, vying for my attention. Spoiled little brat. Pet, pet, pet.

And then, I wound up here. Like I said – nothing special. Except that i’m writing, and even if it’s not life altering prose, it’s still something. Sometimes writers get caught up in perfection, in wanting to produce this grand and epic work because everything else seems so mundane. But we forget that sometimes it’s just about working out. You don’t need to run the marathon every day, and you most certainly don’t need to win it each time. Before you ever get there, you just need to stretch, to move around, and get started off on the right foot.

Good morning to you all.

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10 Minute Moments: You Can’t Win Em All

Writing is tricky business. Especially when you tend to mostly write about your life, your experiences, the people around you. I’ve always been envious of fiction writers. They can invent entire worlds out of nothing, creating the people they wish existed, painting imaginary landscapes with whatever words they choose to use. Even in my fiction writing, there’s a lot of honesty behind it. Or maybe honesty is the wrong word. Just, reality I suppose. My fiction is basically life with a few names, places, details changed around. Sometimes I add my own spin on how I wish things would have ended rather than how they did. Hell, it’s my story, right? No one told Hemingway to downplay his perspective. (I think.)

My biggest challenge has always been in trying to soften the blow of what actually happened for the sake of whoever was involved and for the sake of whoever might be reading. It’s hard to be okay with the judgement you’re sure to receive for your work. I’ve always tried to be a people pleaser, so when someone doesn’t like me or what I’m doing, i’ve frequently taken it to heart. It’s only recently that i’ve started to buck up and understand that you simply CAN NOT win everyone over.

Some of the most influential, creative, interesting, successful individuals were disliked by some. Usually, they were disliked by many. I often wonder how many writers wound up alienating everyone around them because of the things they wrote. I should find out where their support group meets… If I ever make it that far, anyway.

Any writers out there have advice on how to develop thicker skin? Anyone have any stories on how your writing got you into trouble in the past? I’m sure i’m not the only one.

Here’s a fantastically terrible song about this problem. Seriously. This song is the best thing to come out of this short blog post.

Apparently the song is about football (of the soccer variety). I don’t know either.

10 Minute Moments: Adjusting

Woke up with a stuffy nose, and I know it’s because my room is a mess and because I keep forgetting to take my allergy medicine. The sun isn’t even up and I’m not sure how I’m still awake. Or rather, how I woke up at all. It’s the end of February, and the only thing that makes me realize is that time simply refuses to sit still.

I think i’m going to try to do a little free write like this whenever I can. Too often, I jot down ideas of what I want to write about, I open drafts that I never publish, I write but I stop myself because it’s not perfect. Except that writing is never perfect. Art in every form is constantly changing, morphing from one thing to the next. Or maybe that’s just the kind of thing you think when you’ve slept maybe 10 hours tops in 3 days. Who knows.

I started a new job on Monday. I’d been waiting to hear back from them for about a month now. So far, it’s going alright save for the whole waking up before dawn part. Living out in the suburbs certainly doesn’t help the situation.

Other random thoughts as of late?

– Sandwiches are fantastic. I got hooked on Po’ Boys this month after celebrating Mardi Gras the only way I knew how (with food, although we had some Abita too. Did a little Boozin Betties write up on it here.).

– I don’t mind driving far distances as long as the traffic isn’t so bad. And yet, I live in Miami, where traffic is king.

– I’m still stuck between trying to figure out if I should try to TEFL abroad next year, or just move to New York, or apply to grad schools and see where they take me, or pack up all my stuff and move to California, land of milk and honey and lax laws about some favored personal items. Or maybe become a rubbertramp, pack my stuff in my car, and travel around. Except my car is unreliable. You see where I’m going with this…

And on that note, time for work. My 10 minutes are up.

A Return To Poetry

Last year, I challenged myself to write one haiku a day on Twitter in honor of the O, Miami Festival. For those who missed out, O, Miami was a celebration of poetry throughout Miami-Dade county. P. Scott Cunningham and all others who worked so diligently on the festival brought some fantastic poets from all across the country to come and read and participate in events. There were various open mics, poem drops (bits of poetry on paper dropped from helicopters in public spaces), even poetry recited via megaphone in a Ferrari. In short, it was inspiring to know how many people enjoyed poetry and how many more were finally being exposed to it, myself included.

I’d never been much a poet. I’m still not much of a poet. But it doesn’t mean I don’t love it as a creative outlet. During one of my many “change of majors” moments in college, I seriously considered becoming a Creative Writing major with a concentration in poetry. But it didn’t happen and here I am at 4am again wondering about the possibilities to be found in poetry.

So instead of over-analyzing all of this to death, I began to write some poems today. Truth be told, they weren’t anything i’d want to brag about. 2 simple poems, non-rhyming, crude. Still, this is the creative proses. I get that.

So here’s my attempt to get back into the poetic swing of things.

1. Haiku of the Day – Round 2. I tweet more than is probably healthy. I get that this makes me a geek and/or any other potentially negative label in the eyes of some, but I happen to enjoy it. As such, I know that doing my haikus on there makes it much more likely that i’ll stick to the project than on any other medium. If you haven’t already begin following me on Twitter, feel free to do so @PrisKillingly. Maybe i’ll even write you a haiku if you request it!

2. A presentation of my favorite pieces of the month on March 1st. Aside from the haikus (which i’ll have to also keep in a separate word doc so it doesn’t get sucked in to oblivion), i’ll be writing more in my notebooks, revising a little bit each time. My biggest issues have to do with being able to edit and revise my work without killing the essence of the original point. 5 poems doesn’t sound like much, but to write 5 really fantastic poems takes time, i’d imagine. Unless of course you’re just that lucky. Regardless, in order to keep myself legitimate on this project, i’m going to need to really be on the ball about this. I’ll attempt to make a few updates here and there with some works in progress in the meantime.

I’m really looking forward to challenging myself again. I spent the first month of the year in a bit of limbo, trying to decide what to do with myself without actually doing much (good times aside, of course). I want to shift my focus back to my work now that we’re in February. I have plans for a few other projects, but would rather not overwhelm either of us.

For now, here’s a poem by Allen Ginsberg to get the creative juices flowing…

Those Two

That tree said
I don’t like that white car under me,
it smells gasoline
That other tree next to it said
O you’re always complaining
you’re a neurotic
you can see by the way you’re bent over.

Alice and Floyd – an excerpt

I know I haven’t written anything in here since October, and I do apologize for it. It seems I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut I’m only now beginning to kick. Maybe I’m finally feeling the pressure of the end of the year. I began working on another couple of stories but started this one up tonight and I’m kind of hoping I can start up a little ritual, writing a bit of it each night after work. I should also be writing up another (LONG overdue) piece for GlobalGrasshopper.com this week and maybe I’ll try to get back to my NYC Stories soon for those wondering what happened (or didn’t happen) that night with the DJ, not to mention more tales from my adventures on the road earlier this year.

Anyway, this is obviously a rough draft, so keep that in mind. In any event, meet Alice and Floyd:

 

Alice could feel the mucous collecting in her sinuses, and her throat getting scratchy and sore, and her eyes watering, and the muscles surrounding her bones aching more and more, and how there was nothing she could do. She would have to ride it out.

She didn’t want to be sick; didn’t really need to. There had always been a good excuse to stay home from work, hiding under the covers, craving the attention of Floyd. He was never more attentive than when she was sick. That whole loyalty bit really kicked in when she was sick. Floyd Nightingale, with the Vaporub and the hot chamomile tea and the remote control for the television; her clammy fingers pressing on the little rubber rectangles, feeling the painted numbers as she switched from channel to channel. He even brought her the pink slippers her mother had bought her one Christmas, which she rarely remembered to use. That was, until she got sick twice a year, and she recalled her mother’s nagging: Put on your slippers before you catch your death!

“Need anything else, baby? I gotta go or I’ll miss the train,” Floyd’s smooth as silk voice echoing from the bathroom as he finished fussing with his hair. He’d gotten a haircut a few days before but the barber had gotten a phone call half way through and his distractions were obvious near the right ear and all around the crown of his head.

“No… I’m okay. Well, wait, no. Actually, can I get some more water please? And you said there’s money for food, right? I don’t think I can get up to make anything today. I feel so weak,” she said, going from one thought to the other as she usually did.

“I left you a $20 on the counter for whatever you need,” he said as he entered the bedroom with a fresh glass of water. She took a few steady sips and smiled, putting the glass back on the window ledge where she normally kept it on nights she slept over. It all felt so familiar. Back in his house, in his bed, which had once been theirs. She had even helped him pick it out, even given him $50 for it, and ridden home with him in the Buick that day. She could remember it. A Sunday, and they had been afraid of rain but luckily they made it home in the nick of time.

And now here they were, 31 and 43 respectfully. And he was still the same but not at all and she was nothing if not a composite shadow of who she once was. Floyd knelt down to give her a quick kiss on the forehead, and she reached her hands up to adjust the navy blue tie around his neck, and it all seemed so foreign, to see him going to work in a tie, to see the pomade in his hair, his teeth freshly whitened from a visit to the dentist the week before. He’d really made it, or at least he was finally giving the appearance that he had. Her fingers stroked the side of his cheek, the stubble pricking like men’s faces will do sometimes. A grin on his face, he kissed the palm of her hand.

“I’ll be back in a few hours. Watch your TV shows and tell me all about them when I get back, but don’t get up unless you have to!”

            And out the door he went, the ghost of his cologne lingering on everything he’d touched before he left, including her forehead, including her palm, and on the water glass as well. She drank some more and settled on an episode of the Brady Bunch, where Bobby and Cindy try to make it in to the Guinness Book of World Records.

_______________________________________________

It wasn’t that Floyd was a bad guy and it wasn’t that Alice was a bitch, although Alice could certainly see how it could be interpreted that way, and Floyd could tell that was how people might have seen it at certain moments. It was just a matter of timing, so to speak.

They met so many years before, working together at a little music shop. He was a manager there before she’d even heard of the place – a local business that her mother had been going to for years when she was growing up. It was the holidays and she was just shy of 19, looking for a little part time job to stave off the boredom while on break from school. In she went with resume in hand and not a hair out of place, walked right up to the counter and said, “Hi, I’m Alice and I was wondering if you might be hiring for the season. I’ve got my resume right here and I’m ready to work.”

Floyd was shuffling through a stack of papers. He looked up and saw her: big brown eyes, lashes fluttering, braces catching every light in the store.

“I see. Yes, we are hiring right now, just a temporary thing. But let me get you an application, just a second,” he said, pushing back the hand she had extended with her resume and walking to the back of the store.

He hired her 3 days later and on the 4th day he knew it hadn’t been a mistake, but that it also had been. She was a hard worker, albeit a bit clumsy at times. There wasn’t a day that went by where she didn’t knock something over with an elbow or a hip or that she didn’t step on someone’s foot or that she didn’t accidentally hang up a telephone call when taking an order. It was endearing. She was endearing; so much different from Becca, his wife, and yet they both had a similar laugh, the kind where it sounded as though they’d been shocked into hysterics and then slowly subdued into a light chuckle. The whole thing made him uneasy.

 

Constructive criticisms and other musings always appreciated!

Rough Drafts of My Nicaraguan Stories

Earlier this year, I began putting together a series of short stories about sex and love and debauchery and travel that I essentially plan to publish. It’s an on-going process that I’m either too busy for or not motivated enough to work on. However, I promised myself I would have all the stories completed (at least a rough draft of each) by end of year. I’ve spent the whole day trying to think of what to blog about, trying to push myself to type anything out, when I remembered that promise and finally opened up the word document that contains more than 50 pages of memories and almost-memories and heavily-fictionalized life. I worked on Virgin Territory a little (a piece I posted about once on here before) and today I was working on another piece, with the working title of “Pochomil y no Poneloya” (I need to come up with something better). Since I’ve been trying to work more on my travel stories, I figured I’d share en excerpt from this one today. Advice is much appreciated!

Photo by Jaime Buitrago

 

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“The maldito mosquitoes are making a full feast of my body, I can’t stand it anymore! We need to get out of here!”

My cousin Gaby was lying on the bed with her head and arms dangling over one of the corners. I was sitting Indian style on the small cot next to her, scratching away at a million pink welts. It was my third time visiting Managua and I still wasn’t getting used to being lunchmeat for the swarm of flying parasites that followed me around incessantly. We could hear my Tia’s novellas loud and clear in our room, just like she could probably hear our conversation. The walls at my Tia’s house were incomplete; they prevented you from seeing into the next room but except for the outside walls, they didn’t connect directly with the tin roof, so privacy was exceptionally hard to find. I’d never seen anything like it. Nicaragua was full of homes with disconnected walls like this. I walked over to the white, electric fan in the corner of the room and let the artificial wind hit my face.

“What about Poneloya or Pochomil? They’re both about the same distance and I bet I could get Javier to take us!”

The prospect of a beach night got me to jump away from the fan and I began digging through my bags for a bathing suit while Gaby called her boyfriend. Javier worked the bar at a joint called Samantha’s, two blocks from Gaby’s place. I’d met him a few times and he seemed like a decent sort of guy, the kind that was always up for good times and rarely had a frown on his face. He was older than Gaby by almost a decade, which had alarmed her mother when they first began dating when she was 17, but he had stuck around for a few years and now that she was 20, her mother had begun to hope he’d end up making her his wife.

“Alright, we’re all set! It’s gonna be me, you, Javier, and Yader. You remember Yader, right?”

I nodded. Yader also worked at Samantha’s. He’d bought me drinks a few times over the past week in hopes of getting to know me better, and he already knew to bring extra lime for my vodka sodas, so I guess it was working. His shaved head made him look kind of gruff until you noticed he also had these really great dimples and then you realized he was just a big puppy dog. I liked him just fine.

Gaby tossed my blue triangle top and it landed at my feet. The night was looking up.

 

Chapter 2

Javier honked the horn of his 91 Corolla twice and we scurried out of the apartment, happy to be free from our skeeter-ridden prison. Gaby took the passenger seat, leaving Yader and me in the back.

“Hola, mi Chinita,” he greeted me as I closed the door behind me.

We picked up two 12-packs of Tona at the last gas station before leaving town. Javier had already brought a bottle of Flor de Cana he swiped from the bar for good measure. The car’s a/c was broken so we kept the windows down and the sounds and smells of Managua wafted through the car at 88 km/h. We drove past seedy bars full of under aged girls and hungry souls kneeling inside of destitute churches and dust-covered children asking for Cordobas; past all the old drunk men sitting in the middle of the road looking for a way out of town or just plain out. We passed the skeletons of mangy dogs, small bodega’s run from people’s living rooms, large women cooking Fritanga on the street corners, and occasionally, we had to stop for emaciated horses and mustachioed street vendors on their way home from a day of yelling out “TORTILLA!” “CAJETA!” “CUAJADA!”

Soon, we were going up the sides of mountains and into the clouds, quite literally. We stopped on the side of the road to take turns pissing and you could feel the dew sticking to your skin as the billows drifted past. It was much colder in the mountains than in the mugginess of the country’s capital and I was glad to finally feel the need for a jacket again. We jumped back in to the car and drove further into the night.

Our hands greedily reached into the cardboard box for cans of beer. Click, pick-shaw. Glug and more glug. The sky was black and the road was black and the clouds were grey and turning black. Click, pick-shaw. The stars so numerous, endless like the bubbles from my can of beer, tickling my nose, keeping me intrigued. They shone down bright, and then the sky was an endless piece of black construction paper punctured a million times over by a sharp No. 2 pencil. And the glow of the stars wasn’t so many tiny sparkles so much as they were all part of one gigantic light, a luminosity hidden behind the curtain that keeps the planet from falling apart. And the further into the night we went, the brighter that light seemed to want to shine. Like it wanted to burn up the sky and take over.

It wasn’t even half way into the drive and I was already drunk.

Steady As She Travels

Trying to regain my inspiration in Chicago. (That's not me though, that's a bird.)

As a writer and a traveler (and certainly more as a writer THAN a traveler), I have a bad tendency of over-thinking my blog posts, over-planning my writing, and generally becoming overwhelmed in the process. I constantly compile lists of “blog post ideas” and “story ideas” and “essay topics” and “future projects”, well, you get the point. But then, too much time passes and I completely let all of these once brilliant (or at least not too terribly mediocre anyway) ideas go to complete shit. Often times it’s because these are time sensitive writings (a review about an event I just attended or perhaps just a situation I completely changed my mind on), but other times I know I could easily dig in to my list of “Drafts” here on WordPress, brush up one of those unfinished pieces and finally write it out. And why not? Well, I guess probably because that would fall in to the category of work, which I obviously have a severe allergy to (Note to potential employers: I am joking! Seriously! Hire me and i’ll prove it? Sigh.)

Still, you don’t get better at something without practicing, without perfecting, without pushing. Writing, in this respect, is much like traveling. Not “Hey, let’s go for a guys weekend in Vegas” kind of traveling or “time to hit Milan for some shopping” traveling, since those concepts are completely foreign to me and even mentioning them leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Supermarket checkout romance novels kind of bad. Justin Bieber: First 2 Step Forever* bad. I’m talking about real travel. Going on adventures. Taking risks. Experiencing it every bit of the way. For me (and many other travelers I’m sure), it’s the entire trip that appeals to us. We enjoy getting to our destination when we have one, but everything in between is great and our destinations would not be so amazing and magnificent if it weren’t for the journey involved. We would be ill prepared for our destinations if our journeys didn’t make us grow and learn beforehand. And the longer it takes to arrive, the slower you travel toward it, the more you get to experience what’s currently around you! There’s a reason some choose to hitchhike, road trip, freight hop, bike tour, and even walk across the world rather than take a quick and simple plane ride. And if you lose your patience too soon or get overwhelmed thinking about how long the journey might take, it’s guaranteed you’ll miss out on all the great little things that accompany steady travel, including all the lessons learned as a result.

The same goes for writing. It’s easy to allow oneself to get bogged down by the idea of never completing a major work, to get agitated because you’re a few days past your self-imposed deadline, to get frustrated at all the work you want or need to do to the point you want to just say fuck it and throw your hands in the air (like you just dont care). If we all did this, sure there’d be some good times had but eventually there would be no writing and we’d never get anywhere.  I mean, shit, hasn’t anyone seen Idiocracy?!

So while I know that I might not be the world’s most consistent blogger/writer, I am going to try and begin making some real changes in my current traveling/writing habits and make writing my top priority and I challenge you all to do the same. I know I will never grow as a writer and person if I consistently allow myself to become paralyzed in thought when I don’t know what step to take next. When I’m in a different city or town and I don’t know which direction to go in, I might stop for a few minutes here and there to collect myself, to potentially find directions, to consult my compass or cellphone, but in the end, I know I need to keep going. This is certainly a new mantra to be adopted with writing as well. Even if it doesn’t turn out exactly the way I want it, I know I need to continue forward with writing.

Not to be hokey, but are you a writer reading this right now? If so, take the next 5 minutes and write something, write ANYTHING, and if you have a blog, link me to it! Or just leave a comment with your writing so I can see what you put out there as well. I’d love to see what my readers are coming up with. Planning is good but doing is definitely where it’s at. Time to be a little more proactive (but with less acne – score! another shout out to the Beebs!).

 

 

*Let’s see how many hits name dropping the Beebs gets me today! I wonder if it’ll beat the time I wrote about meeting James Franco. But no, seriously, I had no idea this kid wrote a book! Amazon’s nifty “search inside this book” led me to this quality find:

“‘It’s a big, big world. It’s easy to get lost in it…’

I love those lines in the lyrics. Sometimes I feel like that’s what everyone’s expecting. My world got very big, very fast, and a lot of people expect me to get lost in it.”

Yeah. …Yeah.

State of the Traveler, State of the Girl

One of Tony’s (my ex’s) favorite sayings has always been, “All I know is that I know nothing.” Right now, I’m trying to collect all that I do know and make some sense of it.

So here’s what I do know:

This is my last day as a 26 year old woman. I still hesitate at using the word woman to refer to myself and am pretty sure I always will. I’m currently in Chicago. I’m terrified and my heart is beating incredibly fast in my chest. I’m scared of the future even though I know that I technically shouldn’t. I’m trying to make my dreams of traveling and writing come true even though I feel extreme guilt about leaving my family behind… In fact, I feel guilt about not looking for a “real job” and helping out around the house instead. Considering I was the only person with regular employment in my family for the past year, it feels extra selfish to do what I’m doing and I struggle with this every day, to the point that I oftentimes try to forget home all together because it hurts like hell to think about it. I have less than $50 to my name right now and am living on the kindness of friends and strangers. I feel guilt about this too, even though I fully intend to pay everyone back somehow. I’ve been irresponsible in a lot of ways, but I don’t actually regret it even though I feel like people look at me as though I should.

I’m trying to figure things out, but the further I go on this trip, the more I keep finding out that no one really has it figured out. This is both comforting and terrifying because it only means that I have no idea when I should actually end or pause the trip. I’m trying to decide whether or not to move to Chicago. I’ve applied for a few jobs and part of me thinks I should just leave it up to fate to decide. I’ve got a few more days until I get my big paycheck, after which i’ll have to formulate a better plan.

I constantly struggle with my emotions. I worry that I’ll never find someone to make me as happy as I was with my ex. I worry that if I return to Miami, I’ll throw myself back in to his life and undo all the things I’ve worked hard to finally destroy. I get concerned that I’ll always be fickle and that I’ll never be able to focus on one person, either for fear of boredom or fear of being hurt, or both. I like a boy that lives in Philadelphia and I catch myself daydreaming about taking the next flight out to go be with him, but I fear that it won’t be the same as it was when we were in Ohio. I fear that he won’t like me enough, that he’ll get bored of me, or that he lies about what he says he feels. I fear that my feelings will fade, whether I go see him or not. I fear that nothing will ever be enough for me. I think about other boys in other places that I’ve left behind and all the messes that have been caused as a result. I fear that I am not a good person and that maybe I’m incapable of ever falling in love the way I’d like to. Mostly, I miss the feelings that were rising on that last night I spent with him in Athens, and the way my heart pounded the entire time he held my hand on the car ride to Columbus while we listened to comedians; how I laughed to mask just how sad and scared I was. And I really miss the way he kissed me, because it felt real for the first time in a long time.

I tell myself that I shouldn’t say his name, but it won’t make a difference to say his name is Adam; it will only make it that much more real.

I worry that I will never be an adult. I think about the word “adult” as some insane foreign concept, something, a status, a way of being to be discussed at a distance but never attained. I see my friends involved with their significant others, getting married, having children, and I don’t envy them in the slightest. I don’t want their lives. But I really, really secretly wish that they would all just stop and remember that we used to be children, that we could still run across fields and jump and laugh and smile and feel things. I want to tell them that we don’t have to go with the status quo and do what’s expected of us, that we can obtain real joy in the simple things that brought us such joy once upon a time. I want to hug them all and tell them that regardless, as much as it hurts to see them grow up and leave everything we once held so sacred behind, that I still love them, that I hope that they’re happy. And most of all, I want to tell them really badly that I’m just really going to miss them, because regardless of the lies we like to tell ourselves and each other, nothing will ever be the same again.

I think about my own family again. And my nieces, growing so fast and getting so big. I think about how they were almost never born, how the doctors said they would never make it. I think about the miracles, their births, things that made me believe that maybe something was watching out for us in those long and painful months when we anxiously awaited their arrival. I think about what might have happened if… but then I remember that I shouldn’t always be as candid about the details of other people’s lives, and I stop myself here.

I think about that asshole cab driver that assaulted me last Fall. I think about that night a lot more than I realize, a lot more than I care to admit. I think about the guilt I feel for letting myself get so drunk, and then for letting myself get so drunk again multiple times after that because all I ever want to do is forget and forget and forget. I remember feeling so sad and useless before he put his hand on my knee, and how paralyzed I felt when his hand moved further up, and how confused I was when he tried to get on top of me, and how I knew I had to leave but I couldn’t help myself. And how shitty it felt when I finally got out and tried to find ways to quickly turn the situation so that I could justify the night. I think about how I yelled at him and how I ran to my car and how I watched him go. I think about how much I cried. I think about how I huddled myself down by my driver’s side door, and how I couldn’t stop crying, and how I called Monica over and over again and how she wouldn’t answer her phone. I think about how I wanted nothing to do with anything. I think about the shame I felt in everything, about going to Jenn’s house the next day and hiding out. I think about how I went to Tony’s and hid for days and days and how I never wanted to leave because it felt like he was the only person in the world that could ever protect me from anything, about how he was the only person who could ever care about me or would ever care about me. I think about these things, and I wonder how I’m okay. I remember that I’m not really okay yet. I tell myself that this is just another reason why I have to travel.

And I think about Tony again and how it makes me sad that we couldn’t work things out. I think about the ways I wronged him and the ways we wronged each other and the things that were said and the things that never need to be said. I think about moving on, and how it’s finally getting easier, over a year later. I remember my birthday last year, being ridiculous and going to a club and making out with a boy I barely knew, some art school kid that was much too young for me, and how silly it all was. And how I threw up afterwards and felt like hell as always.

I think about the boy in Pittsburgh I wrote a long letter to even though I didn’t really know him. I figured he might understand but at this point I’m pretty sure he didn’t, and now I don’t even really care. I think again about how fickle I am. In the wind, in the wind.

I’m 26 and tomorrow I’ll be 27 and nothing will be drastically different. I’ve already been telling people that I’m 27, so it won’t make much of a difference. I think about all the things i’ve seen and done in my life. The people i’ve met. The people that i’ve been fascinated with. The people i’ve loved, really loved, and almost loved, and wanted so desperately to love. I think about everyone I lost. I remember my grandfather, who would be turning 83 this year if he were still alive. I remember my grandmother, who is still alive, but whom I haven’t spoken to in over a year. I think about the family I have in Nicaragua and how they screwed over my mother. I think about how sad it must be to have your entire family turn against you. I miss my mother and I remember her warmth. I think that I should call her, but I know I won’t because it’s so hard to hear her voice sometimes when it’s so far away. I wonder if that’s how she felt when she first came to the states.

I think about all the steps I’ve taken to get here. To this point. Being irresponsible to the world and only responsible to myself. I wonder about all the people that do the same. I wonder about other travel writers and bloggers and whether they’ve shirked what they were supposed to do in order to follow their dreams, or if they took more logical steps. I think about all my literary heroes, and how they just wouldn’t give a shit, how they wouldn’t worry about convention because it doesn’t matter anyway. I wonder if I would ever make anyone proud.

I hate that I haven’t finished writing a book yet. Any book. Any real concrete idea. But I feel like I’m on my way to great things. I have this hope inside of me that I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing, even if it gets rough and I get lonely every time the sun sets. I have this notion that good things are on the horizon even though there’s no real logical way to tell for sure, but I keep faith. Sometimes that’s all you’ve got to go by.

I think about what a different person I was 10 years ago, and how 16 year old me would have never guessed this was how I would turn out. It makes me smile to listen to this Modest Mouse song right now that 16 year old me would appreciate.

I know that this week I’ll be making some big decisions about a lot of things. I know that sometimes I get really tired and that I don’t want to keep going any further. I know that sometimes there’s absolutely no one around, and that the nights are darker, and that I’m further away than I’ve ever been from home, and that I’m only surrounded by strangers, and that this bed is too big for one person, and that this life is too hard. Because it really is too hard. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes wish for it to be easier, or at the very least, not as long lasting. But I’m tired and I don’t want to think about any of that. Thing will get better and easier. I will get a job. I will write. I will do my bidding. I will become incoherent as the nights get longer, as passages are drawn to a close.

And I will travel, because I want to see the world. I’ve always wanted to see the world. I always said that I would. So I’m on my way..

I am finally feeling comfortable in my life. I’ve stopped caring about the self-indulgent nature of this because this isn’t about anyone else but me. So screw it. Despite the difficulties, I’m having a ball.

Tomorrow I turn 27. I had no idea I would ever make it this far.