Happy Place

This morning I sit in my happy place.

I am on the long part of our sectional couch. It's an IKEA creation and it pulls out into a big ol' bed that takes up our entire living room. As it stands now, not in a bed but in an L shape, it only takes up roughly 99.9% of our living room. I'm in my favorite pajama shorts, flower-patterned and from Target, that have a matching shirt with fringe that makes my boobs look big, which is no small feat let me tell you. But today I am not in the fringed shirt, I am in a white shirt I bought from Marshall's the day before I moved into my happy place when I should have been packing but instead was at Marshall's. 

I'm on the couch and to my left is a window ledge with Spence and I's books. Among them, The UCB Improv Manual, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Be Here Now, No Country for Old Men, A People's History of the United States, Into the Wild, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. A collection of words that have reached Spence and me on some level, enough to choose these books out of the rest we owned and schlep them from Texas to our tiny place in New York. Behind the books is a temporary shade that covers the window that looks out onto Classon Avenue. The temporary shade has been there for almost two months and I suspect it will stay up until we move from this place, no matter how many years we decide to stay. It is crinkled from Liza's nose pushing it up in order for her to explore the world through a pane of glass. The closest she will ever be to the great outdoors. Everytime Spence and I walk home we check the window just in case Liza is sitting in it at that exact moment. It's only happened once. We both lost our minds and stood on the street talking to her through the window for a good 10 minutes.

To my right is the aforementioned Liza. Eliza Doolittle, the angel baby. She lays on top of the IKEA sectional couch. Completely relaxed, her eyes closed. Her head is upright, held high all on its own as if she were balancing an imaginary crown between her perfect, pointy ears. Her tail is wrapped snugly around her body and one striped leg is dangling down the front of the couch cushion. She is at peace, she knows she is safe and there is literally nothing she must do today except for sleep and eat and nudge a temporary shade already crinkled in her likeness in order to explore the world for a bit. 

Going past Liza is a little open space where my yoga mat is currently on the ground. I got it as a gift two valentines ago, and it is still one of my favorite possessions. It's red on top and pink on bottom - a color combination I wouldn't have picked for myself but also love more than what I would have picked. This is a common theme in the gifts Spencer gives me, which is why he's the best gift giver ever. There are footprints all over it and one lone cat-hairball (not that Liza coughed up, just hair that has fallen off of her and collected together to sit on my yoga mat. I'm not a monster). Suffice to say it needs to be cleaned. I rolled it out to meditate this morning, but so far have been distracted by all the other activities Sunday morning has to offer and might end up just putting it away without actually meditating. This happens sometimes, and that's okay. (This is me assuring my neuroses more than it is defending my decision to you. I feel like if you're reading this, you are more than likely also neurotic and can relate. I don't know why I assume all people who read other people's blogs are neurotic, but I also don't think I'm wrong in thinking it.)

Behind the yoga mat, leaning against the wall is Spencer's bike. It's white with blue rims and has chrome pedals because Spencer broke the black pedals that came with it when he was trying to build it. He had been so excited to build the bike and then he broke the pedal. Which was bad enough, but then, when he was filling up the tires one exploded even though he followed instructions perfectly - which he is really good at and also makes him a much better cook than I will ever be (more on this later) - and it sounded like a gunshot. So much so that I screamed involuntarily when it happened and then we were scared the police were going to get called. And so the bike was ruined and Spence had to go get it fixed which cost almost as much as the bike had itself and they had to put on the stupid chrome pedals. And in the meantime, the toilet got clogged and we had to plunge it and it had already been SUCH A BAD DAY because my ankle was messed up and we had been stressed about money and insurance and all the shit adult humans have to deal with and the chrome pedals and the gunshot and now the toilet. But then Spence picked up the bike from the bike shop and the pedals didn't look that bad and he got to ride it to pick up our dinner from the Bao place so the night didn't end all that badly. He loves his bike. He loves his bike so much that he doesn't yet trust the bike storage we've been given (which is really just an empty space in front of the laundry room that is meant for people to walk through but the people who own this building decided could hold bikes) so here the bike is against the wall of the little space where my yoga mat is laid out, mocking me, and directly in front my wardrobe.

My wardrobe is where all of my clothes live, so this means I cannot get to my clothes without first moving Spencer's bike. But I love him and he loves his bike, and I would hate for the bike to get stolen after so much drama so I move the bike when I need clothes. I also lay clothes over the bike when it's late and I'm too lazy to move the bike and hang them up right away. Symbiosis in a nutshell. Spence and I are killing it at cohabitation.

If you keep going around the apartment to the left from the wardrobe, it's our bedroom. This is used for two things: sleeping and watching Game of Thrones. That's about it. Spencer has a little clothing rack in there where he hangs his clothes and our climbing gear. Spencer has gotten into rock climbing and, because I have total fomo when it comes to activities with Spencer, I have also gotten into rock climbing. At first, I was terrified and couldn't do it and all the little kids at their rock climbing birthday parties were judging me as they shimmied past while I was frozen only two feet off the ground. Now I'm not scared and I can do some pretty cool stuff, but also still look like a bozo a lot of the time. Spencer always looks cool, of course. Except for the time I belayed him too fast and he fell on his ass and was so embarrassed we had to leave. One time, Liza tried to jump onto Spencer's hanging rack and the top part fell off and clothes went everywhere and Liza tumbled down all ruffled and rejected. Now she just stares and meows at it. Incessantly and usually at about 5:00 in the morning. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Out of the bedroom and still going around to the left is the kitchen. This is where our precious La Croix live. There is never a time where our fridge is bare of what we call "bubblies." If the world was going to shit and the zombie apocalypse started and we had one last run to the grocery store, I think bubblies would be at least #3 on our list of things we needed. Sometimes we are too lazy to go all the way to the grocery store, so we get non-La Croix bubblies at the bodega. This is okay to do some of the time but their flavor choice is limited so we can only do this once a week until we can get all the way to the store and buy the real deal. This is also where we cook delicious meals. Actually, let me clarify. This is where Spencer cooks delicious meals. I roast vegetables to go with said meals. I am the vegetable roaster.  I cannot be trusted with meats or really anything other than vegetables because it's super hard to fuck up a vegetable. I put olive oil on them and salt and pepper them and stick in the oven until they turn brownish. All types of vegetables, one type of roasting. This is my lot in life, and I bear my cross proudly.

Separating the kitchen from the living room is a little red table with a white ceramic top that I bought at First Monday in Canton, Texas (for those of you not from behind the Pine Curtain, First Monday is the World's Largest Flea Market. You can get kettle corn and embroidered pillowcases and puppies that n'er do wells steal out of people's backyards and sell under the guise of being "breeders"). The table was 50 dollars and the legs are super wobbly and it's falling apart, but I love it. Wholeheartedly. It's the one piece of furniture I moved up to New York with. I hope I can keep it forever. Sitting at the table, back to me, is my love. He is sitting in his Taco Joint shirt and boxers poring over study materials for the bar exam. Despite his back being turned, I can still see the side of his face. Brow furrowed, his beard already almost fully grown even though he had to shave it for an interview a few days ago. He looked like a baby after shaving and I called him moonfaced not really understanding that the term held negative connotations. I am already pretty positive I will never be allowed to live this incident down for the rest of our lives together. 

Since the paragraph above, he and Liza have both moved to sit on my yoga mat. Liza has her belly showing. This is a trick so that she can entice you to pet her belly and then claw the shit out of your hand. And you feel guilty because you made her uncomfortable by touching her belly, but really she was asking for it by putting her belly out. As I wrote that last sentence, I realized how much it sounds like victim blaming. But trust me, Liza has never been a victim in her life. Not even close.

Anyway, they both sit on the mat loving each other, sun shining on Liza's stripes and Spencer's freckles. And I am happy. My life could not be filled with more love and contentment than it is this morning. My neuroses remind me that there will also be shit mornings in this apartment and these two creatures that I love so much will also make me angry in this apartment, and one day the bike in front my wardrobe will seem like a burden, and the wobbly legs on my red table will make me wish for a newer, easier, replacement. I know this. 

But on those days, my hope is that I will come back to these words and remind myself of the joy these things bring me. Because at the moment everything that my eye can see is radiating love and the gratitude in my belly is bursting out through my fingertips. My cat! My books! My couch! My Love! And I know that even on shit days, I can find myself back here should I really want to.

For now, I must go. Not to meditate - I gave up on that idea a long time ago - but to snuggle Spence. He's moved onto the couch (Liza is back also) and I really want to snuggle him.

Frayendz

Last weekend, I had my bachelorette party. For anyone who hasn't had a bachelorette party, I highly recommend it. It's a weekend cleverly disguised as celebrating the marriage between two people, but in reality is just a time where all of your friends come together for a weekend and constantly tell you how great of a human they think you are. I personally pretended to be bashful and humbled, of course, saying things like, "you guys, you've already done too much! I don't need all of this." But, if I'm being completely honest, I've been preparing for such a weekend my entire life.

I had a lot of ideas about what the weekend would look like. I pictured us in robes. We would be mellow and poised and mysteriously well-groomed, like the women in couch ads. We would speak to each in hushed voices as we sipped our second and final glass of red wine for the night and watched the sun go down. We would sit in nature and reflect on life and the times we'd shared together. We'd have deep discussions about the concept of marriage and the implications of me and my betrothed promising our lives to each other. We would be grown up women doing grown up things, whatever the hell that means. I even went so far as to express these ideas to my best friend, Caroline. "I don't want the weekend to be too crazy," I suggested. "Not too much alcohol, nothing too planned. Just all of us together being couch model-y, please."

Instead what I got was a flurry of temporary tattoos, Justin Bieber songs, a mechanical bull, bar dancing, cigarettes, general tomfoolery, and an abundance of penis straws. I had zero red wine. I lost my voice screaming to Cascada's Everytime We Touch at the impromptu dance party we threw ourselves in the rental house's kitchen until 3:00 in the morning. There were pictures taken that weekend that should rise up into the cloud and live out the rest of their days unseen by anyone.

It was one of the most divine experiences I have had in all my 25 years.

But here's the thing: had my best friend not known me better than myself and proceeded in planning the staring contest I'd requested, it would have been a sacred weekend all the same. The events that unfolded were incredible, yes, but the weekend wasn't made by its (extremely thoughtful and well-planned) agenda. It was made by the pure, unadulterated goodness of the people participating in it. 

And as much as I really would recommend everyone having such a weekend, I wouldn't recommend my weekend to anyone. Because my people are my people and your people are your own. My people let me give them a haircut and wore flower crowns and threw me into a mechanical bull pit by my ankles. Your people might, indeed, decide to robe you and cut you off after one glass of wine. Or give you no wine or, God forbid, no robe. Who knows? Not me, they aren't my people. But whatever the case, the people with you will be your tribe and they will speak your language of celebration. They will gather around you and overwhelm you with the joy only their friendship can bring. You will be in the comfort of their acceptance and warmth and you will literally not have to give a single fuck about what other people think for an entire 48 hours because everyone there knows you and is like, "hell yes, we are absolutely with that girl."

What a treasure. In a life that is too often filled with second-guessing and seeking to measure up, what an absolute gift it is to rest in the sanctuary of your own community.

And, as with any gift given, there is only one thing left to say: thank you.

Thank you, deeply and sincerely, to all of you who came to my side and loved me hard last weekend. Thank you for requesting Biebs at every single bar we went to and dancing on the floor with the conviction that can only come from true friendship and too much champagne. Thank you for loving me long before this weekend and for the love I know you will give long after. You people are my guiding light and my daily reminder of the immense love that this universe radiates every damn day. I am forever grateful that you allow me to call you a friend.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And really you guys, you've already done too much. I don't need all of this for the wedding weekend...

 

Mountains' Manifesto

I am currently sitting at my parents’ dining room table in Las Vegas, staring at a mountain through their bay window. Between me and the mountain is the bay window, a yard of rocks, a white fence, a row of houses, a patch of desert, and no doubt a teenager more concerned with his Instagram feed than the millions of years of beauty behind him, demanding your money to drive up and see said mountain.

But the mountain, either unaware or unfazed by the fact that it’s being domesticated by day hikers in Skechers and blue jeans, still holds itself with dignity. Its face, open and welcoming, receives the desert sun gladly, allowing the rays to illuminate the scars etched on its pate; evidence of its unwavering commitment to timelessness amid thousands of years of change.

This stillness, this unwavering resolve, is what gives mountains their majesty. Why songs are sung about them and Gods were made of them. They do not squirm in discomfort, they are impervious to that universal itch to run away from the hand one has been dealt. Their soul is found in the wisdom of their roots. Neither rain nor snow nor hail nor sleet nor selfie sticks nor the thinning of our ozone will cause them to leave their post. Until they fall into the sea or the earth opens up and swallows them, they will stand their ground, face to the sun, their stillness both a stance and a refuge against the all too familiar chaos that is our universe.

This is purpose.

This is purpose.

This is purpose.