ghosts and empty shells

i walked by a restaurant, now boarded up. i remember getting drinks with a friend there about two years ago and i remember eating dinner there with my dad in the fall of 2016. it is where i implored him to "vote for my uterus". i am pretty sure an ex and i ate there once too, but honestly i can't tell if i am making the memory up or not. anyway, now it is boarded up and i pass it with a hint of sadness as i walk to another restaurant.

another place that holds memories...gone.

this is not new. those of us city dwellers experience this on the daily. in the last month, two convenient coffee shops have been closed. i learned this as i ran to them before meetings and realized i would have to go matcha latte-less (i know, i know). i hadn't realized that these places had become routine, but they had and now they are gone. the starbucks i frequented when i did a summer program in union square at age 15 was also the starbucks i cried in in sept 2015 and it is now a make-up store. but the tapas place that tried to kill me by failing to alert me to the hazelnuts in one dish, even though i asked if there were nuts, is still there. the waitress who felt so bad about it though...i think she has left. 

i've been thinking a lot about loss and losing. about ghosts and empty shells. i've been thinking about how places and people leave unexpectedly or they slowly disappear. the grocery store on my block, the chase bank that moved across the street...the place across the street that was a deli when my cousin lived here, but is now a mexican restaurant that may have actually been closed because i haven't seen it open in a while...gone, but not gone. ghosts on street corners. shells that will never be what they were.

like friendships and relationships.

i've been looking at friends and wondering if they will be in my life forever. wondering if the closeness i feel with them will be sustained. i think of friends who were once my soulmates and are now people i care for, but never talk to. a like. a FB bday message. a run thru their instagram. i know their kids' names or know they just moved, but not much else. and its okay, of course, because life moves on and we pick up folks along the way. folks who get us and folks who hurt us and folks that become family. 

last night i chatted with an old friend that i am visiting next month. we talked about the closeness we still feel despite the time and space between us. i think to myself, yes, she will be here and then think of others i can't say that confidently about.

there is family i don't really speak to. i wonder if that will ever change. i worry that it won't but haven't done anything to fix it.

i think it is weird that there are people out there that know so much about me, or me at a certain moment, and i know so much about them, or them at a certain moment, and yet we are essentially ghosts to one another.

i think of the men i've loved or thought i could love. i think of the ones i may never speak to or see again. i think of the one who likes an instagram photo once a year. i think of the one i still consider a close friend though we never talk and may never actually be actual friends again. i think of the ones that used to mean so much to me, but i never think about now. i think of my yearning for love, for partnership and the fear that the eyes that are looking for this love, seeking this love out are actually just looking for someone who will one day be on this list of people and places that used to be ours and that used to know us so well and that used to be our soulmates but will one day just be a person you hope you don't run into on the subway.

i guess what i am saying is that it is amazing to me how we keep going. how we find new hangout spots and brunch places. how we find new neighborhoods and new baristas to have crushes on. how we find and make new friends and new lovers and new connections. sometimes i am so scared of eventually losing a place or a person that i don't even want to enjoy them while they're here. i am amazed every time i work past that fear or that fear disappears. i am amazed how we go into it, eyes and hearts open. or we try to. we try to forget what could happen and try to just enjoy what's in front of us. and thank the heavens that we do. thank the heavens that we feel the losses, but yearn for the new connections. thank goodness for the present moment, for the moments when these places and people are just...there.

on friday i walked with a new friend. we passed by a place i used to love to go to when i was a teen and in my early twenties. many a friend and a love and a family member went there with me. and now it is something else. something new. people went in and out of it. my friend and i just walked on by. we got gelato at a place i've never been to before. and we sat at a familiar place, but in a new location for me. and i didn't worry about closings or losses or ghosts. 

a month of gratitude - twenty & twenty-one

i'm grateful for sleep and for journals.

sleep because sleep is amazing. and i don't sleep well, but yesterday i was exhausted and as soon as my boyfriend got home, i kissed me and fell asleep. i'm usually the one up until midnight and i was out around 10:45. and i slept through the night mostly and for the first time in days, weeks, i feel well-rested. huzzah!

and for journals because i'm trying to do the artists way again. i never get past the first week, but someone else i know is trying and why the hell not? it's not like i'm busy or anything, lol. but for serious, i could use a little connecting back to why i do this thing called writing. and how it is and can be for myself and not for all the opportunities i apply to or the theater and tv people i interview with. so. here's to reconnecting. and, anyway, morning pages are a great idea even if i don't make it past week one again so maybe they'll stick. 

a month of gratitude - nineteen

i'm grateful for this quote from jim carrey: i realized that you can feel at doing something you don't love, so you might as well do something you love.

i spent a lot of day editing a play of mine. not because of a deadline or an application. just because. and it felt good, even as it was a struggle. 

oh right, i thought. i like this writing thing. i do it despite the constant fear of failure. because i love it.

a month of gratitude - sixteen

i'm grateful for fellow artists.

when we support each other, it is amazing. 

i'm not always good at this. lately i've been annoying pissy and grumpy and envious. mostly to myself because i can tell i'm going through something that has nothing to do with anyone else. i am trying to work through my own shit so i can truly show up for people the way they show up for me.

but when my craptasticness is taking a break and i am in a space with other artists and we are really supporting each other...it is a beautiful thing. i am so fortunate to have people in my corner and i realize again and again i am a writer today and will be tomorrow because they won't let me give up. 

a month of gratitude - fifteen

i'm grateful for the opportunity to teach.

last night, i stood in front of an improv class i was teaching and talked about how, for me anyway, improv, getting comfortable with public speaking, etc. is all about working through my nervous knots.

i'm sweating right now, i admitted. every time i go to teach a class, my stomach fills with nervous knots. are you sure you want to do this? my stomach and mind ask. why are you making us do this?

but i love teaching. i am nervous and worry i am actually good at it, but i love it. students young and old are my favorite. i'm sure it has to do with my nerdiness and my desire to learn more and more and grow more and more. i love when i can pass that love along. i've loved it since i made my dolls and stuffed animals sit in rows in my bedroom as i taught them what i had learned in school that day. i loved teaching yoga in philly. i love being a guide. and i'm so grateful to have the opportunity to do it. 

this morning i received the email below from a student. 

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here's what i said about it on instagram: "#whenyourstudentsmakeyoucrybefore9am I’m not sure I’ve taught this student anything but if I have given them the opportunity to write a play they are proud of, gotten them excited about writing, shown them that there’s a beauty to telling stories and finding your voice...then I’ve succeeded in some small way. That’s what so many of my teachers have done for me and all I want to do is pass it along. 
Also, not gonna lie. I needed this email this morning. I didn’t know I did. But I did."

i did need it. i'm grateful for the chance to be a teacher and to my students for joining me for the ride. 

this week is a week when every day i'll get to teach in some way. at a college, at a company, at a museum, and at co-working space. different environments. different lesson plans. different students. same love.

 

a month of gratitude - seven

i'm grateful for lunches with my boyfriend.

right before my boyfriend started law school this summer, he suggested that we plan on having weekly lunches together. he is working full-time and then attending law school at night. his schedule is now beyond crazy. add my non-traditional schedule that sometimes has me running around all weekend and you get two people who sometimes only say two words to each other in a two day period (okay maybe 20 words, but you get my point...). so he suggested lunches.

because i was away a lot, the weekly lunches didn't get started until last week. so far we've only had two, but i can already say i think it makes a difference. 

today it allowed us to talk about thanksgiving and what we were going to do, while also discussing my yearning to escape social media. it wasn't even a full 45min, but we actually spoke to each other. we weren't just sitting on the couch in our own worlds, doing work. being present with the one you love is so important. i'm sure this is obvious, but these times together act as a reminder...one i'm grateful to receive.

some people have date night. we have lunch. 

a month of gratitude - six

i'm grateful for memories.

right now, there is a song playing at the place i am working. it is from pretty woman. i know that movie so well, i can picture the scenes from the movie as the song plays. before that they played spice girls and everyone was bopping their heads and feet to the song. and before that there was some mariah carey and some whitney houston.

maybe this is a post about being grateful for music.

anyway, this weekend i was reminded of a matchbox 20 album. i'm not saying it was good to reminded of a time in my life when i played this particular album over and over. and i'm not saying the music was particularly good...but i am saying the music brought me back. suddenly i was a freshman in high school and i felt all the weird emotions i did then and it was a bit of a mindfuck.

i am grateful how memories live in us and they are stirred up and yes sometimes it is less than pleasant with some memories, but sometimes the memories hit and you realize how far you've come. you realize how much has changed.

a year ago today, i ran the nyc marathon. two years ago, i got this tattoo on my right arm. 

today i am fighting a cold so let me live in these memories. 

a month of gratitude - four

today i'm grateful for life.

on facebook tonight, i noticed that someone i went to elementary school with--someone i haven't spoken to in years but was friends on FB with and used to follow on instagram--passed away a few weeks ago. she had an eleven year old daughter. 

thinking of her made me remember another kid we went to school with who passed away when we were in high school. i think about him often. 

tonight i was sitting on the couch. i was feeling guilty about my lack of eating well and weight gain. i was feeling a little craptastic and ugly. and now i am thinking about how stupid that is. really stupid.

i'm grateful to be here.

to have spent the day teaching and meeting and drinking wine. to now be on the couch with my boyfriend who is singing along to a song.

to be breathing. 

i'm grateful for another day, another breath.