On Starting Over

A lot can happen in two years.

At the age of 30, I’m starting from scratch.
A few weeks ago, I quit my job, moved out of my apartment in New York City, and packed up a suitcase and moved to London, a city that had always loomed large and beautiful in my mind. A place I’d often thought, dreamed, talked about. And now I’m here.

It is at once surreal and challenging. Surreal because it’s still sinking in, and at first, I found myself gliding on the surface of the moment vs. actually being in the moment. (Sometimes, your brain needs to catch up to your actions, though of late, I quite prefer this than the other way around – I tend to overthink things.) And challenging because it’s quite lonely to be on one’s own and not have any choice in the matter. 

A few nights ago, I fell asleep listening to British / Irish philosopher-poet David Whyte wax poetic about the need for solitude but also the need to belong. I woke up remembering lines wondering if I’d dreamed them. It was a nice to wake up that way. 
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.
From “Sweet Darkness” – David White

I found these lines comforting because they’re true, which means my decision must have been the right one…that my other life was too small for me and I needed to ask more of the world.

But these are also lines that hover, because I want to continue to live up to them.
Why is this harder than it should be?

Because “alive” doesn’t mean comfort, routine, familiarity. Because “alive” could also mean discomfort, vulnerability, and fear.

It takes a brave soul to dive headfirst into it anyway.  


 + Saw this production of Sleeping Beauty that I really, really loved.
+ Bread: here and here.
+ Did you catch the Youtube Music Awards? It was directed by Spike Jonze and it was really messy but I really liked the makeshift creativity of it (music videos, short films were shot on the spot, live etc.)
+ I’ve been reading more of Charles Simic’s poetry and I really like it. Much to learn!
+ I thought Kate Bosworth’s wedding dress was really beautiful.
+ “Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” I think I’m really starting to understand this.

The Prodigal

Dark morning rain
Meant to fall
On a prison and a schoolyard,
Falling meanwhile
On my mother and her old dog.

How slow she shuffles now
In my father’s Sunday shoes. 
the dog by her side
Trembling with each step
As he tries to keep up. 

I am on another corner waiting
With my head shaved.
My mind hops like a sparrow
In the rain.
I’m always watching and worrying about her.

Everything is a magic ritual,
A secret cinema,
The way she appears in a window hours later
To set the empty bowl
And spoon on the table,
And then exits
So that the day may pass,
And the night may fall
Into the empty bowl,
Empty room, empty house,
While the rain keeps
Knocking at the front door.

Charles Simic

I can’t stop thinking about it

The Parrot Fish

The shadow of the little fishing launch
Discreetly, inch by inch,
Crept after us on its belly over
The reef’s uneven floor.

The motor gasped our drowsy vapor.
Seconds went by before
Anyone thought to interpret
The jingling of Inez’s bracelet.

Chalk-violet, olive, all veils and sequins, a
Priestess out of the next Old Testament extravaganza,
With round gold eyes and miniscule buckteeth,
Up flaunted into death

The parrot fish. And for a full hour beat
Irregular, passionate
Tattoos from its casket lined with zinc.
Finally we understood, I think.

Ashore, the warm waves licked our feet.
One or two heavy chords the heat
Struck, set the white beach vibrating
And throwing back its head the sea began to sing.

James Merrill