After class, Instructor Valerie, weighing 10 pounds, sporting some sort of bathing suit, tells me it’ll get easier. When I ask her how many classes I have to take until I don’t feel seconds from death or rebirth the entire time, she says that the more often I do it, the better, because when I feel dizzy, it’s actually my body releasing toxins (assorted Trader Joe’s seasonal snacks, vodka, bad pitches, string cheese, the number of times I’ve watched the trailer for the Carrie Diaries.) The more toxins I release, the better I’ll feel, and good things will happen with my insulin and my pancreas. But Valerie, is it really the toxins that make me dizzy? Or is it the 105 degrees we’re standing in, or being in such close proximity to 50 other people basically in their underwear? Which is it? Either way, weirdly, it hurts really, really good.
In an ongoing quest to define my own Faith, I’ve been trying to read books and articles by intellectuals who believe in God, and how this faith manifests in their daily lives. Most recently I’ve picked up this Anne Lamott book. I read and re-read her book on writing Bird by Bird in college, and should probably read it again like yesterday. She basically had the opposite upbringing of mine: she was raised by liberal, atheist parents who thought all believers were idiots — and found herself drawn to her friends’ and friends parents who were Christian, drawn to the warmth and ceremony and stories. (Haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m interested to see how this curiosity turned into faith, and what exactly what breed of faith it is that she now has.) Turns out she was upbrought, if you will, in Tiburon, California, with my Dad. Awesome. I like to imagine them together, vandalizing playgrounds and drinking red wine out of 7 up cans beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. This definitely did not happen, but they went to some sort of social club together. I just like to pretend.
With no proper segue, here’s one of my favorite parts of Bird by Bird, advice that really stuck with me…..or perhaps just continues to justify my occasional writerly laziness:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
I want to travel everywhere but also stay in one place and be stable. I want to live out of a bag but also have closets full of records and books and things that used to belong to my grandparents. I want to be financially stable and secure but also charitable, but also selfish, but also rich, but also grounded and poor. I want to be 20 and stupid and sheltered and often drunk but also old and dull, with kids and a house. I want to be organized but unplanned. I want to eat tater tots at 2 am and whipped cream for breakfast and not care but also I want to cleanse, go to bed at nine with good book. I want to live in Bali but also next to my parents. I want a boyfriend who pushes me in puddles and shoplifts flowers for me but also a husband who holds my hand while I die. I want to know everything there is to know but also to know none of it and learn it all over again for the very first time.
Today, on I hate money: I returned home to this really sympathetic letter from my auto loan provider. They’d like me to know that If I’m Struggling with Payments…I have options. They have solutions. And that sometimes, a helping hand can make all of the difference, and that usually, this is very much like giving a tiny flower to a child. When I called them to remind them that I’ve already paid them about nine times, on the required dates, they sympathetically told me to disregard the Clipart.
Today, on the talk show that exists solely in my mind, which concerns topics such as writing, footwear, and the afterlife: Depth.
In terms of writing, but also sometimes the Sea: what is depth? Is it digging deeper and deeper into yourself until you find something universal and surprising? Sometimes I feel like I’m writing from a deep place, but I’m maybe just scratching the surface. How do I force myself to go deeper? Are Deep and Dark the same thing? Do they have to be? What if I dig and dig deep into myself and there’s nothing but there but some dried out sharpies, my childhood Bible complete with margin Abraham drawings, the remnants of a muffin and and a pile of half-used construction paper? What do I make with that?
They probably have pumpkin spiced Bailey’s back in LA, but still. No legit fall leaves, no chill in the air. But fine, I’ll return, and wander around Silverlake in search of the L train.
Thankful that I got to spend Thanks in NYC, thankful for good fortune, plays, ankle boots, health, job, my buddies, family and bagels; also thankful for you, you, and also you. Mostly thankful for google image search. I mean. Let’s be real. The Most Precious thing.
Please add amateur puppeteer to the list, and please keep your eyes peeled for Augie’s soon to be released adorable and sad short film about a little lost wallet who goes on a sad bender in the city, featuring me, or awkward portions of my elbow, as the amateur wallet puppeteer.