the story behind the picture

warning: this is not the most articulate nor put together post I’ve written, but it is just too ridiculous not to publish. And I kinda like it the way it is, so. 

Most things aren’t what they seem. Especially on social media. I’ve written about this topic often and it’s something that I think needs to be brought up often. We live in an age where we text rather than call. We “like” a friend’s new life event rather than actually catching up and talking with them. We post relationship status updates like anyone really cares. We care too goddamn much about things that are not important. Like at all. Listen, I miss the days where our phones had real keyboards and social media was this new weird new thing that only weird people partook in. Or even when we had to press the 5 button three times to get the letter we needed to type out. Let’s go back even farther, I miss the days where we went to the store to develop the pictures we took on our disposable cameras because we were too young and couldn’t afford the new fancy digital cameras. THOSE were the best.

One time I lost my phone, ok not so much lost it. I left it at a bar the previous night before and couldn’t get it back until they opened later in the afternoon the next day. But let me tell you, I remember that day vividly, even without documenting it with pictures or staying in “the know” on my socials, or even knowing what time it was. I remember sitting at a table at a coffee shop and actually looking around. I didn’t feel that burning need to fumble around with my phone to keep busy, and sometimes I get jealous of that feeling. 

Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is real life is not our “social” life, and that social media is truly a whole lot of BS. I recently moved to a new city and I’ve been using social media more than I usually do, posting about places that I visit, mostly coffee shops that I go to write at. But the picture only shows so much, which really isn’t much. It’s really not that important to me, nor really to anyone else. But it is kinda fun documenting the places I go to, so, whatever. (You see the vicious cycle?) 

I want to tell you about the day I had today at a coffee shop I went to because honestly, it was just too ridiculous.

So, I get to this coffee shop that has awesome outdoor seating. It’s really nice out so I wanted to go somewhere where I could be outside. I’m really excited to find a picnic table off in the corner under some shade. The place isn’t really busy at all, but the sun is pretty hot so it’s nice to find some cover. My table is also under a large tree and next to some cool ivy and leaves along the fence. Anyways, I’m sitting here writing, sipping on an iced coffee. I soon realize that my ankles have become very itchy, so I pull my legs up and sit cross-legged. Then, I realize my back is getting itchy, I’m wearing a cropped top.  I am getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Why the hell are there mosquitos right now, I think. Stubborn and wanting to stay outside, I throw a light sweater that I brought on. I don’t want to leave this place, or move tables. This is literally the best table out of the sun. I continue to write, very aware of my itchy feet and ankles. After a while, I feel hungry and decide to order myself some food. When my food is brought out to my table I’m VERY happily surprised by the enormous size of my sandwich. If you know me, you understand.

This is when the story gets even better. I go to take a bite of my sandwich and I am quite literally swarmed by flies. At first, it’s just a few, maybe 3 or 4. But they are persistent bastards. Annoyed, I lay my napkin over the rest of my ginormous sandwich as I continue to casually take bites while writing. Soon more fly buddies surround me. I am swatting them away, trying to take bites of my sandwich realizing I’m getting crumbs all over my laptop keys from the swatting. There has got to be like 10 flies flying around me. I decide it’s best to close up my laptop and just finish my sandwich before I start to write again. Originally, I wanted to take my time eating and write at the same time. But these fucking flies, oh my God. I decide to lay a single salt and vinegar chip at the other end of the table hoping to allude some of them over there. Realizing this may not be enough incentive, I place my pickle spear next to the chip. They MUST want this, I think. It’s probably the most fragrant thing on my plate, anyway, I’m not a pickle person. I wait for a minute, taking bites of the quarter of my sandwich watching to see if the chip and pickle scam work. It does not. Maybe one or two flies are attracted to it, but it’s like the flies are talking to each other and inviting more of their friends over to me. I have flies landing on my fingers as I go in to take a bite. I’m looking around to see if any of the other tables are having the same issue. They are not. Granted, there are only a few other occupied tables and not all of them have food. I’m thankful that I’m tucked away in the corner so people don’t notice me flailing my arms and swearing at these goddamn flies.

Like I said, my sandwich is huge. It is cut up in 4 large sections and each section has 3 pieces of toast in it. AND, it’s pretty darn toasted. I try to eat it quickly, but the top of my mouth quickly gets completely cut up. I start to feel a bit helpless. I decide to Google how to ward off flies, and I found several suggestions. Most do not pertain to what I have available to me. However, I do find that flies don’t like certain essential oils such as eucalyptus and lavender. I usually carry peppermint oil in my purse, which I know is not eucalyptus, but I figure it’s close enough. Can’t find it. Damn. Ok, hmm, I do have some Purell. Thinking, ok, maybe they won’t like the alcohol scent, I give it a shot. I rub some into my hands, but no, I need to take measures further. I drop small gobs of it onto the thin napkin that is covering my sandwich. Then I squirt more into my hands and try to flick it around the table. Gah, I probably looked nuts.

I’m sitting there just hoping it works. The hand flicking did momentarily ward some flies away. Ok, awesome, I’m so clever, I think.

Well, that was a very short lived thought. The flies are back almost immediately. I sit there, STILL with the first quarter of my sandwich in hand, on the verge of a frustration outburst. I dig back into my purse to see what else I have. I find my EOS peppermint lip balm, you know the sphere-shaped kind. I twist it open and lay it next to my sandwich. Nope. A fly lands right next to it. I put it back. Then almost too excitedly, I find an empty container that held these tea tree chewing sticks (toothpicks.) I think, YES, I found my answer. Tea tree has a strong scent. This seems to work, kinda. The flies don’t like landing on it, but they still manage to fly over it and onto my Purell saturated napkin which is still covering my sandwich. I also find some lotion I took from a hotel that seems to have a lavender scent. I rub that on my hands, on my napkin, and a little on the outside of my plate before I leave it open with a little squeezed out next to my sandwich.

I have done my best. I’m sitting here surrounded by random items from my purse, hands reeking of Purell and lavender with a tore up mouth and itchy feet.

Holy hell. I give up and let it just be. I try to eat my sandwich quickly, and just let the flies swarm me. I watch as they mock me while landing in the puddles of Purell happily.

Eventually, I take my last bite. I pick up the chip and pickle at the end of the table and put them back on my plate. I’m pretty sure I let out a loud “alright, that’s done,” get up and put my dish away into the dish tub outside.

I wipe all the crumbs away from me, and just like that the flies disappear. I sit there and write for probably another hour, unbothered by any more flies. By hour 2 though, my ankles have become increasingly itchier. Even though I am in a good rhythm with my writing, I decide it is just time to leave.

And that’s that. If you only saw the nice happy picture I took and posted on my Instagram, you would never have known everything that went behind it.

And that is social media, folks.

img_6618.jpeg

Transparency, baby. Texas is HOT

I’m sitting on the front patio of a coffee shop because every spot inside is taken. Upon sitting down, I can already feel the perspiration above my upper lip start to accumulate. I’ve already had enough coffee this morning, and the small sips I take of the cold brew I just ordered are making my foot shake more than usual.

Never would I thought that I would be living in Texas. Never. In fact, if you asked me in high school, Texas would probably be the last place I ever would have seen myself. Texas is historically the reddest state, and I never thought I’d want to take on the constant heat. But, here I am, sweating my ass off in my jeans at this coffee shop. And you know what? I’m perfectly content. To my fellow wanderers, you know the life of adjusting to new scenery. With it comes excitement for new beginnings along with the slight terror of it all.

I gotta say, I was pretty damn nervous to make this move. Typically in my past experience, the first month of adjusting to a new state, a new home, is rough as hell. I won’t get into the details of it all because it touches a little too personal on my being and honestly my pride, but getting through the first month is a feat.

Pushing through my own comforts and boundaries has been what makes my wandering spirit happy. It also has shown me that I need to set aside more time to be with myself and to recharge. Just because you ask for change doesn’t mean you need to excel in it every second of every day. It’s a balance, and over the years I have become very in tune with myself and can feel quickly when I start to lose my grasp on my emotions. Resetting, for me, is a necessity or else my anxiety skyrockets and takes over.

I have one of those calendar things where it tells you new wisdom-full things every day. There’s a page that I always think about. Without completely butchering the quote from some great monk that said it, I’ll paraphrase: living in the past causes depression, living in the future causes anxiety. It’s in the moment, the present, that you want to be. There you will find the joy and happiness you’re looking for.

So, as difficult as it may be sometimes, I’m finding myself in the moment. I’m understanding what works for me and (trying) to push away what anyone else’s perceived thoughts are about me. Like, right now I could worry about my sweat running down my arm and leaving deodorant streaks on my black shirt, but you know what, it’s cooling me off so I kind of like it.

A whole new definition of “bug-eyed”

I was on the last leg of my walk with Boomer, my roommate’s dog, when a bug flew straight into my eyeball. So much in there that it might, in fact, still be in there. I felt it get sucked in from the wind tunnel the brim of my hat created and flew directly into the inner corner of my eye. I could feel it. It was cold which immediately shot goosebumps down my body. With my eye watering profusely, I bent over like I got shot. Bicycles are flying past me as I grip Boomer’s leash so he doesn’t clothesline anyone. I dig my finger into my eye but am unable to see through my phone camera to see if it is still in there, doing whatever a bug that just flew into eye juices does—biting at my cornea, laying eggs so near my brain, or defecating from pure fright. It was overwhelming going through the possibilities this bug was doing to me, assuming it didn’t get obliterated from the force of impact.

It’s then that I had a come to Jesus moment, minus the Jesus. A pure coincidence of fate can happen and alter everything. Unlike a car crash or elephant crossing, this tiny subtle realization hit me almost as hard as the bug did.  At any moment a bug can tunnel vision itself into my eyehole, burry itself behind my eye, and lay eggs for me to birth within weeks. My life may have changed its complete course due to this bug. I could be that thumbnail of a video on your Snapchat home screen, “girl’s eye engulfed by larva.” Ugh. It makes me shutter writing this with only 70% confidence that the bug is no longer in my eye.

So, you know what I’m going to do now? I’m going to live life like the bug is still in there, defecating, and counting down my days until the birth of its thousands of babies. I’m going to do exactly and only what I want. I’m going to buy myself ice cream even though I was just at the ice cream shop yesterday. I’m going to let my worries go because it could only be a short time until my time as a regular two-eyed girl comes to a close.

What Matters: The long ride after the longest ride.

This is a new segment of my blog. It’s called What Matters.

Millennials are supposedly the loneliest generation. We have the luxury of connecting with each other in more ways than what has been possible in the past. With the emerging of the internet and social media, we can connect with humans across the world from us, instantaneously. So, why are we so lonely?

We live in a society where no one talks about their real life. Maybe it’s from the stigma and shame of vulnerability. We think no one wants to know how we are really feeling, so we respond with “I’m good, how are you?” 

We choose to show how we want to be seen by posting our active moments, our adventurous selves, and our beautiful faces on social media. We cover our blemishes, our scars, with filters. Even those not participating in the social media world put filters on themselves and what they share with others. Nobody gets that close to anyone. What we give are the good looking framed pieces of our lives. 

So, this segment is meant to shed light on the real moments of life. On the moments that we don’t talk about, the moments that we don’t think anybody cares about. Really, the moments that we are scared to share. Because life is not all good. We forget that we all lose our cool sometimes. This is not meant to be a pity party, or me venting, but to show pivotal moments in my life that are real, are ugly, and even embarrassing. Because I am not just the filtered cropped pictures on my socials, and neither are you. If we share ourselves with each other more, really become transparent with one another, we may realize that we are more relatable with each other than we thought. From there, maybe we can beat the loneliness that consumes our generation.

Every moment in our life matters. Our feelings matter. The small things matter.

So, I want to share my moments. Because they mean something to me. I might leave out the backstory. I might leave it vague. But, I aim to share some small parts of my story, my life, that would normally get shoved under the rug and never spoken about. 

_____________________________________

THE LONG RIDE AFTER THE LONGEST RIDE

Sitting there, after ripping my own heart out just hours ago, I hold a carnation given to me by a stranger. I feel every bump of the shuttle ride. I shift around my backpack on my lap and stare at a spot on the floor.  I feel eyes on me by the people sitting across from me. I know they can tell I’ve been crying. I let it stain my face. I don’t care. I sit there with a broken heart and a shattered frame of mind, flower in hand. When I get home I put the flower in a glass of water. The next morning it starts to show signs of wilting. The next day even more so. I let it sit on my kitchen table until it bends low below the rim of the glass, dead in a puddle of water.

The Denver Café Chronicles pt. 1— Pablo’s on 6th

The Café Chronicles pt. 1

This is a project that I’ve been nervous to start. Because it is daunting. It requires me to hold myself accountable, to finish something, to follow through with an idea that I have. Following completely through with my ideas is probably the one thing that I can confidently say I struggle with the most.

Mission: Every weekend I will visit a new café/coffee shop in Denver. The daunting part of this plan is that I intend to write, blog, at each one. My idea is to have 2 segments. The first part of the blog will be my experience at the café, a review if you will, how I’m feeling, what I see, etc… The second part will consist of a fictional story that I come up with while at the café. I’ll be grabbing onto my surroundings, the vibes, and my feelings to inspire a short story. Every story will be different, either short or long, varying in genre.  I’m thinking some stories will have a final ending, and some will be left open, like a chapter in a book. I’m starting part one of the chronicles at a coffee shop that I’ve been to many times, and moving forward I plan to visit ones I’ve never been to. And there’s a lot of them. Denver, being the cool and hip city that it is, I’ve already found more than a handful near my apartment. I have been feeling nervous about this whole thing for a while, knowing myself, and how difficult this may actually be to follow through with. But here I am, at my first café writing chapter one.

The Cafe Chronicles—Pt. 1

So, The Café Chronicles. Here I am. At Pablo’s Coffee on 6th Ave. It is a coffee shop that has good drinks, not too fancy, yummy pastries, and breakfast burritos for the hungover. It is an internet free zone which I think offers a refreshing vibe. It’s always full of people writing, reading, studying, playing board games, and enjoying a conversation with friends. The windows are full of tall green plants, the walls are decorated with old-timey looking tiles, and the seating is a mix of bar seats, high tops, low tops, and couches. When I would come here often, I would like to sit on a couch where the coffee table is. Underneath the table there are drawing books full of designs, writings, and random things the patrons of Pablo’s have added while enjoying their coffee. This is what had me fall totally in love with this place. I thought it was a cool place when I first went there, but when I discovered this part of the shop that was purely the community, I felt a deeper connection with it. Being new to Denver, and feeling its massiveness, I thought these books gave this place an intimate look into the wanderers of the city. 

Walking in the front door I notice the place is packed. I sit down at one of the last open tables which is smooshed between two other small tables. It seems like it was previously pushed together to make a larger table, but now remains in an awkwardly tight location between two occupied tables who obviously don’t know each other. I smoosh myself into this table and put down my things to claim the seat before I go up to order myself a cappuccino. When I get back I carefully take out my laptop trying not to bump into the very close table next to me. I can feel the sweat start to come through my light t-shirt, my anxiety is running a bit high thanks to the pot of coffee I had at home, and also due to the fact that I am so close to the people next to me you’d think I was part of their conversation. I spend a good minute untangling my headphones that were at the bottom of my bag, and I then awkwardly try to stuff them into a jack in my computer that is not compatible. In annoyance, I throw my headphones to the side. I sit there for a moment trying to compose myself enough to get in the writing mindset when I see some shuffling ahead of me from other tables. A hightop, next to the window and also right next to the back door, just opened up. I immediately stand up with my cappuccino and squeeze my way over to claim my new, more spacious, spot. I notice the slight cold breeze from the door is even refreshing. It takes me two more trips back and forth from the tables to gather all my stuff. Finally, sitting down at this much more ideal location, I rest my feet on the bottom part of the table only to find out that the table is wobbly causing a good portion of my untouched cappuccino to spill onto the plate it is sitting on. Out of peer reaction, I let out a loud “ugh” as I get up to grab some napkins. I wipe down the little bit of the table that the drink spilled over onto, and scoot my chair back so my feet don’t touch the table. I place my coffee cup on a ledge to the left of me and open back up my laptop.

img_0792.jpgimg_0777.jpgimg_0790.jpgimg_0782.jpg

This place is special to me, that’s why I decided this to be the first location for The Café Chronicles. When I first moved out to Denver, I moved into a room in a house I found on a roommate app. I got really lucky as it was in a cool part of town with a less than a minute walking distance to this coffee shop, a cool dive bar, a street taco restaurant, and a dispensary. For the two months that I lived here, I would come to this coffee shop almost daily to order an iced tea and read a book. This coffee shop represented a lot for me. Moving to the city, one of the things I always said I wanted to do was live near a coffee shop, become a regular, and be “one of those people.” So, it seems just right that I start The Café Chronicles here, where my Denver journey began. In the first two months of living here, I went through almost every emotion imaginable and learned a whole lot about myself and about big city living. I’m still grateful for every scary, enjoyable, exciting, lonely, and new moment that it was. So, sitting in my used to be regular spot, I find a content and satisfied feeling sweep over me that makes me excited about the journey I plan to embark on with The Café Chronicles.

img_0784.jpg

————————————————————-

 

Pablo is a young man in his early 20’s. He just dropped out of school to pursue his dreams of being an artist. Now, what kind of artist, he does not know. But, he feels that schooling is not what he is supposed to be going through right now, artistry is what he wants to explore. He lost all support from his family, financially and emotionally, since they do not understand his want to be an artist. They think it was irresponsible and spontaneous. Both his parents work at a law office and hoped Pablo would follow suit.

Shortly after his decision, he gets kicked out of his parent’s house and moves in with a buddy of his from college. He stayed on his couch for a little over a month while he picked up serving shifts at a fancy restaurant down the street. After receiving a slightly aggressive nudge from his buddy’s girlfriend, Pablo set out to find his own place. He was able to save up enough money for a down payment to a very small studio apartment below a liquor store.

He doesn’t mind the trash and neon lights that surround his front door, he actually kind of likes it. He likes how active the area around him is. Sure, there are shady looking people stumbling around at all times of the night, and he has to have a loud fan on to wipe out the noise of the busy street above him, but he loves his small flat. He bought himself a multicolored round rug from a thrift store, stole a couple mugs from his parent’s house along with his coffee machine, and he spent the last of his savings on canvases, paint and brushes, drawing paper, charcoal and markers to start off his exploration of being an artist—rather, finding out the kind of artist he wants to be. The first night in his studio he sat on his rug with a dimly lit lamp in the corner and sipped on a very strong cup of coffee. He laid back onto the rug and stared up at the ceiling, smiling–car honks, drunken yells and all.

Move that foot

I get these urges to change everything. It’s like an energy runs up my body from my toes. My feet start to move and once they do I’m gone. When I make a decision, I MAKE a decision. In college, when I would lie in my bed cozy in warm sheets contemplating whether or not I should make it into class, it’d take just a split second where I’d think, “nope!” turn onto my belly and let my face fall back asleep into my pillow. No regret, my mind was set and I’d fall asleep HARD. When I decided to quit a job, it was something I let tumble in my brain for a while, but the actual decision of it came quick and resolute. Like super resolute. A hefty raise, provided housing, and altered hours couldn’t get me to stay once I told myself I was done. When I decided to move across the country, I thought about it for about three seconds, then told my family I was leaving in a month. When I decided to follow my heart, there was literally nothing that could sway me. I make spontaneous decisions and I pronounce them as my new law. I’ve often wondered if this characteristic of myself is something I should worry more about, but then I decide, naw it was what I wanted and I don’t feel bad about it. I am where I am and I’m happy for it all. For the most part…

Decisions are big. You put one foot ahead of the other sometimes not knowing where your next step will take you, but still, you take that step. Thoughtfully planned and intentional, or impulsive and uncharted, decisions show that you know what you want, but more importantly, that you care enough about what you want to do something about it. Doing something. That is huge. Whether it be a verdict on an ankle sock, or a moving across the country type, celebrate each accord as their own.

Fight for what you want. You know what you want. You do. If you don’t think you do, well then you’re just scared, scared, or scared. Make decisions. Tell your significant other where the fuck you want to eat. YOU KNOW.

Being true to yourself is really where it stems. We make up excuses. And damn, they’re usually pretty good. But they are what they are. Excuses hide your intentions. 

Love yourself enough to make the choice to decide. Love yourself enough to leap to that rock you’ve been staring at above you. Love yourself enough to run towards what you want. Love yourself enough to walk away from what is not good enough. If it doesn’t give you butterflies, leave. Love yourself so you can give love. It starts with a kick in the ass, water thrown at your face, a slap in the face, a kiss, a laugh, a good song, a view bigger than you, and a conversation with a crazy stranger. It starts with something that inspires you to make a goddamn move. Make the damn move and follow the urge in your gut. It’s probably right, and worse comes to worst, it’s wrong. But at least you did something. Doing nothing is a waste of your time, and it’s a waste of my time. And I hate my time wasted.

I like your bowtie

Bullshit is the little bow that holds the present together. When you untie it, the present is exposed, and the once pretty bow is now an unraveled ribbon pathetically falling to the ground.

What is now, what we find comfort in living amongst is held together by a whole lot of pretty bows which are easily able to be torn apart and undone. We let bullshit hold our lives together. It makes us look pretty, put together, intentional, and meaningful. We hide behind the bows because we think it’s what people want to see. We think people want us to always be put together. We want to feel put together. It’s part of our hierarchy of needs. It’s funny that self-esteem lies just under self-actualization. It’s so close to the top, yet can be so astronomically far away from the truth. We start to believe the excuses we make are valid. We begin to think that our caked on face is prettier than our naked one. It isn’t until we reach the tippy top of Maslows pyrimid that we can see things as they really are. We can see the creases from the liquids and powders we cover ourselves with. We can see the chunks of mascara clotting our eyelashes together. We can see our dark roots growing in under our bleached hair. The view from the top shows a unique truth that pierces through us in the most painful yet beautiful way.

You’ll know when you reach it because it’s so damn hard. It’s like blowing out your birthday candles, only they were trick candles, walking away and then finding out that they relit and burnt your house down. Truth hurts like a burn, and they say burn victims endure the most pain imaginable. So if you’re having trouble reaching your self-actualization, remember that that’s part of the shitstorm. We have to ache, we have to become fed up, transparent, naked, true, and vulnerable.

We want to avoid answering the seemingly easy questions because “what do you want,” “how are you,” “what are you doing,” are actually the hardest and most complicated questions to answer. We follow the guidelines of a made up rule book that keeps getting passed around by other self-conscious, yellow-bellied, amicable conformers. We just can’t help it—doing what we really want, saying what we really mean, just isn’t polite.

Stepping back from the glass sliding door I’ve had my face pressed against for so long that my nose still has a resemblance of a snout, I can finally see the real view of my backyard. I can see those pretty little bows holding myself together.  The imprint of my face glares off the glass just so that the sunlight shines right onto yours too. I see those bows, and boy, they are pretty.