When it comes to hair maintenance, I’m one of the worst. Grew up with a bottle of bleach, daily frying, and let split ends run rampant. So it shouldn’t shock anyone to learn that I tend to cut my neglected locks but once a year. And this time I decided to buzz it all off! Just kidding. To save me from cue-ball status, my stylist chopped just enough for a healthier, bouncier do. My happier hairs and I tackled the weekend with renewed excitement. There was a farmer’s market that produced many a delicious treats — the best being homemade granola that was eerily reminiscent of my own recipe. Getting lost on roads to nowhere while discussing nothing. Tea with an old friend before discovering a gem in a well-loved oasis. And capping it all with a dinner date at a restaurant I wish I could recommend. The local flavors were divine. Instead of yelping about it, I’ll spread their menu message the old fashioned word of mouth way. Feeling refreshed after a solid few days of good food, people, and maintenance. Amazing how much freer a few inches off the noggin can be — maybe I will make this a biannual event!
Some days I just want to channel my spirit animal — the cat. Lapping up the little pinpricks of light found in darkened rooms. Excessive carpet rolling leading to a force field of static. Skirting all responsibility (and clothing items). Artfully ignoring the calls of others to take charge of complicated situations. A day spent on grooming the soul. Instead of such a blissfully lazy day, this flamin friday I have been successful in ticking down my to-do list. Pretending that I know how to wear my adult hat. While dreaming of a cat day. One where I could linger longer in this dimming sun spot.
Puddles staining the ground. Reflecting the hollowness of this place. But this one is different. I look different. The me staring back seems darker. Hungrier. Wanting to escape the viscous confinement. Murky figures shift in the background of her world. Slithering closer to the surface. Intent on occupation. A gust of wind distracts my attention long enough for my darker form to latch on to ankle. Her slimy tendril-like fingers embedding into my skin. The serpent shadows consume the liquid space. Darkening the view. Our face contorts. Filling with black. Before she successfully climbs up into me. Removed from the ink well. Have I saved her through this osmosis. Or did she corrupt me.
So there was that one time I went to the Oscars. An event like nothing I’ve ever experienced. That involved lots of stressful planning, nerves, celebration, and of course THE dress. The day started too early with hair and makeup. Followed by a red carpet walk. Then cocktail hour(s) prior to the main event. Announcements were made down to a two minute warning, before everyone was finally in their assigned seats. I sat with Citizenfour’s nominees for best documentary, just a few rows from stage and 6 seats in. Bright lights, dancing/singing, and acceptance speeches consumed the next several hours leading to the moment our little section was eagerly anticipating.
Having won best documentary, the previous day, at the Spirit Awards (an event that I felt more comfortable attending; being that it was my arty scene and on the beach), I felt confident that the Oscar would go to Citizenfour. Which had folks from the film asking me if I would go on stage with the nominees. No pressure of course. Just the thought of 36 million people tuning-in was enough to make me hesitate. A decision I didn’t make until the lights dimmed for the slide show reel of nominated documentaries. Would I regret sitting in that orchestra seat instead of walking on stage? Yes. I had come this far, why stop just shy of digesting the entire winning event. We walked up there and 60 seconds later were ushered back stage with 3 statues in hand. One was handed to me and, with its 7lb weight, the moment sunk in. We won a motherfucking Oscar!
Celebrations commenced immediately, with high fives and clinking of glasses. Then Twitter went crazy with people speculating if that was truly me on stage. Amidst the insane tweets was my favorite from the designer of the dress I wore — Nha Khanh. Shocked to see her dress on stage at the Oscars, she tweeted for someone to pinch her. I was elated to wear such a beautiful design. And I kept the lace/tulle going all throughout the after parties that went well into the next day (thank god that dress was comfortable!). There were so many little moments of wonder throughout the Oscars weekend, that I couldn’t possibly describe. But I think the overall feeling of comradery that the crew exhibited and allowed me to join, was the part that I enjoyed the most. Citizenfour is well deserving of its Oscar and the people behind it are incredible super heroes that I feel honored to have met.
This shoulder-pinching ladder wasn’t my only constriction today; my inner artist was struggling to see merit in this shot. And she had a hissy-fit. I’ve always placed an extraordinary amount of pressure on myself. Demanding perfection and feeling that acceptance is a form of failure. Even though I have learned that these self-imposed requirements are not healthy, there’s a part of me that can’t let go. Recent history has only exacerbated my constrained voice. Winding my insides to a point of frozen mutedness. I start to write or shoot or converse in an open way, only to stop short. Remembering the multitude of reasons for remaining guarded. Maybe it won’t always be this way. I won’t always feel limited. But today, my inner artist cried out. She could not be soothed by accepting that this shot was as good as it could be without re-shooting. (or maybe she was responding to the pain of being cramped under that ladder ;)) Whatever the deeper feelings, I’ve had to console my little artist. Remind her to make what is available work. To most importantly, create. Create in the discomfort. Create in the joy. Just create.
Barefoot and unprepared, the ground tremors below. Waking me to the unhindered change that is happening. A line. Splintering the earth. Moving rapidly with dividing force. Cleaving buildings, trees, and anything in its path. Leaving piles of newly defined objects. I take to sprinting along the rip. Feeling the scar growing beneath my unprotected feet. The sides turning away from each other. Racing to the edge of separation. Ahead, a world split in two. How to mend it? Bring union to the now opposing sides. Balancing on an expanding channel. I hold my mask and prepare to leap.
Recently my taste buds have been sorely disappointed in bowls of anticipated frozen berry delight. Ordering porcelain promises of honey-drizzled goodness, only to taste mediocre mounds of lackluster fare. But yesterday my yearn for berry, granola, honey, tart and sweet flavor explosion was quenched! The raspberries alone (which should’ve been called hulkberries) were worth the unexpectedly low price. Accompanying my decadent bowl was live music and friendly faces. Making the bowl that much sweeter. Highly recommend that you find or create your own acai bowl today! (friends and live music optional)
The chalice of flavor was the perfect cooling cap to a recent wave of sweaty activities. I’ve been falling in love with rock climbing and rediscovering my love for yoga. From natural rock faces to plastic gym bolty things (I need to learn the lingo next time), rock climbing is scary and exciting. And apparently less concerned with helmets than I thought! Yoga has been reintroducing itself to me in the form of new teachers and acro moves. Reminding me that the practice of yoga can be new every time we engage. All of which has left me happy, sore, and wishing this acai bowl could appear on demand in my kitchen every morning.
Protecting oneself while trying to reestablish a form of expression is a difficult balance to strike. Feeling hurt by critics. Empowered by supporters. And learning to grow in the pain. I’m trying. Trying to be myself in a world that has lost the taste for honesty. The art has not stopped — it has been a crutch for sanity. Exhausted by the unsupportive, but hopeful for a more fulfilling future of sharing my work, once again, with fellow artists and appreciators.
[Image from my archives. To all those looking to decipher my location from recent posts take note that most images will be from previous dates.]
Canyon of misinterpreted judgment before me. My polkadots, never one to back down from a challenge, have softened to a muted hue. Fearful to illuminate in an over-saturated habitat. I prop myself on flexible support that bends too easily on shaky ground. Avalanching down the rock wall into green valleys. That give a glimmer of support for growth. But open on a landscape of relentless rehashing that hamper my expressive dots from flourishing. While darker clouds ever loom overhead. As a reminder of the difficulties in traversing this unknown expanse.