Thursday, December 27, 2012

the weird and the good and everything that is home


Isn't it weird going home after you've been away for awhile? The way you feel when you drive down familiar streets - the time you spent walking with your friends when you were in high school. Your favorite late night diner , nights spent over stale but wonderful coffee, conversations that flitted around into the familiar place of an old friendship. The spot in your kitchen where you sat every morning with a cup of a tea, after you graduated college and moved home and worked to save up money so you could move across the country to a life that at the time was simply an idea but now a reality. 

Being home is a mix of wonderful and sad and weird. It's sad because sometimes it feels like an old sweater you've outgrown. A favorite sweater you desperately try to squeeze yourself into but you realize it just...doesn't fit. You love it and part of you wants to fit in it, but it just isn't right anymore. So you look at it and sigh and tuck it away somewhere special so you can always go back from time to time and remember how much you loved wearing it and how right it felt. 

It's a tired subject. 

"Where do I belong?"

"Where am I called?"

"What should I do with my life?"

I write about it most and I write about it often. Maybe because there's no definitive answer. Maybe because it's pretty relevant to a twenty-something who is trying to figure their life out. Maybe it's because we all know there will never be an answer and we'll never know where we "belong" because that's such a petty sentiment and doesn't really make sense. 

* * * 

I love my hometown and I love my city. I love sitting in my home church and seeing people there worshipping God. I love driving to Melrose diner late at night with friends and seeing the Philadelphia city sky-line. I love how broken everything is and a little edgy and rough and loud and how where I've grown up has shaped the person I am. 

Sitting here in this kitchen where I spent thousands and thousands of mornings sipping my tea and writing - it's just...weird. I can't express it in any other word. It's weird because I love it and I miss it and it's weird because I know God calls us out of our comfort zone.

And sometimes I hate that!

I hate being uncomfortable! Who doesn't? Who goes around and on their Facebook profile puts, "I'm Nina, I'm 23, love reading and writing and being uncomfortable!" If there's one thing I love, it's being comfortable. So why does God call us to lives that are so completely opposite of that?

Because in the end, as I think about it, I realize I wouldn't want it any other way. When we are put into situations and places that cause us to look at our character and our lives, it helps us grow and it furthers the story that God is writing for us. 

Isn't that why we love movies and stories about people that do something amazing and brave? Isn't that why I am obsessed with Harry Potter? Isn't that why I watch episode after episode of Doctor Who on Netflix? Because we all love a good story - everyone loves the story of the underdog fighting for a cause, for the good of the world. 

God already wrote the best story ever and we're all apart of it and it's so freaking cool that it just makes me want to be all like DAAANGGGGGGG I AM BLESSSSSEDDDDDD. Do you know what I mean? It's beautiful. 

So yeah. Being home is weird and great and special and tiring and awesome all at once. 




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

how to be okay over the holidays


listen to george bailey's voice

I could listen to Jimmy Stewart talk every single day, but there's something special about it during Christmas. The way he just says everything is perfect. And him talking to Donna Reed? Well MIGHT AS WELL JUST START PUKING UP SPARKLES AND GLITTER AND SPROUT A UNICORN HORN BECAUSE IT DOESN'T GET BETTER THAN THAT. Without a doubt, "It's A Wonderful Life" makes me cry every time I watch it. Because without fail it captures the entire point of Christmas and life and every day that we have breath in our lungs. I want to BE George Bailey but I also want to marry him. Even though he'd probably be the worst prom date ever, he is literally pretty much as close to perfect as can be. Let's just all relive that last moment when Harry toasts George as the richest man in town!! IF YOU AREN'T CRYING AT THIS POINT I AM THINKING HMMM MAYBE YOU DON'T HAVE A SOUL.

cuddle

With anything/anyone willing to cuddle. You might be thinking, "Yikes! Nina! Can you say 'desperate?'" And to THAT I'd say, "Yes! I can! In several languages!" And then I'd stare at you for a second and then sprint away because in fact, I can't speak any other languages. The point is cuddling makes everything better. Ewwww, I know, I'm soo0o0o0o0o0o0o girly. Get over it. It's true. Grab a cat! Grab a pillow! Grab your little sibling who squirms! Grab a baby, preferably one you know! Spend a few minutes cuddling and you'll forget all about the fact that you suck at giving presents and have lots of student loans! 

put Sufjan's Christmas album on repeat

Perfection. It's just so great. Throw on a big blanket, make some hot chocolate and just sit there and listen to this glorious man. I love this album and I usually start listening to it right after Halloween because it's never too early, right? This album has the comfort of a friend - it's familiar and magical and lovely and weird. It's like if Zooey Deschanel never divorced Ben Gibbard and picked roles like the ones she did ten years ago. 

read the about the birth of lil baby Jesus

HEY! 

JESUS WAS BORN!

SO. COOL.

God came down to Earth in the form of a little tiny baby, born in a nasty freakin' manger, for us!!! Because He loves us so much. God loves us more than a 12 year old girl loves Harry, Louis, Naill, Zayne & Liam. (onedirection4ever). That's cray-cray. That makes me sit back and think, "Dang. That's a lot of love." That's more love than I know what to do with. 

Jesus was literally BORN so he could one day DIE. Whaaaaaaat. I'm such a mess but the one and only constant in my life is my relationship with Jesus. It is radical. It has changed me - it is forever changing me. It is complicated & hard & painful & wonderful & scary & the most important thing in the whole wide world. 

say i love you a lot & mean it & don't say it sarcastically & it's okay

There's a lot of pain in the world all the time. We take so much for granted, ya know?! This morning my baby sis woke up on Christmas morning and said her heart was heavy because of all the little babies from Connecticut who wouldn't be celebrating Christmas with their parents. We prayed for the families in the world who had to go through today missing loved ones. Who go through everyday missing loved ones. So let's say I love you more and let's mean it because really that's what it's all about.

* * * 


Because it's hilarious.




Sunday, December 23, 2012

a completely non-holiday related old re-post because i'm too busy being in love with Philadelphia


a few things i didn't realize about Hey Arnold when i was little but do now



1. Helga's mom is an alcoholic
Either that or she is addicted to Xanax or something. I was rewatching Hey Arnold! recently and COME ON! It's so obvious Helga's mom has got some issues. In one episode she is freaking passed out behind the couch. WHAT THE HECK?! She is scatter brained and always seems like she is seconds from being unconscious. Watching this when I was like, ten or whatever I don't think I really got it but now it seems glaringly obvious. Oh Nickelodeon. 

2. Poor Arnold's mom
How in the world did his mother give birth to a FOOTBALL head? One word: Ouch.

3. Arnold's grandpa is literally Eminem
Don't think so? COME ON! There's such an uncanny resemblance people!

Grandpa

vs


The chin! The nose! It's there, I don't care what you say. If they ever make a live-action movie, Eminem MUST play Arnold's grandpa. It's perfect!!!

4. I didn't know 9 year olds could meander a city by themselves and NOT get kidnapped
I guess they live in the safest city EVER! I wanna live there! They are never with parents. Like, legit, they are NINE YEARS OLD, in fourth grade, and taking cabs, buses, subways and whatnot by themselves. They are so cool. Either they live in the safest city in the world or they are superkids and I wish I had friends like them. Ugh. 

5. I thought massive floods killed people and destroyed cities?
Well apparently they just create water that rises and you can literally take a boat out on out. Oh Arnold, I love your universe.

6. This show is literally hilarious and smart
It's so great to watch it now. There are so many things I didn't get when I was little but do now--the humor is freaking amazing. Everytime Helga yells at Arnold and then goes off on a poetic rant about him...oh my gosh, it's just ridiculous. I love it. ALSO SHE HAS A GUM SHRINE OF HIS HEAD. This is beyond bizarre and amazing. Freaking 90s. I love you.

What do you guys remember about the show now that you didn't when you were little? Isn't Arnold such a classic? So great.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

my interview with the coolest 13 year old ever


  • Last winter I was lucky enough to meet the coolest 13 year old ever. I trekked all the way down from Philadelphia to North Carolina to hang out with Chanelle for a little after we had graduated NYU. I had met Chanelle's best friend, Beth, a few times before and absolutely adored her. (she writes an awesome blog that you can read here) But what I didn't know was that Beth seriously has the funniest, coolest little sister ever, Ashley! Ashley was awesome enough to agree to let me interview her for my blog and I'm so glad she did. 13 year olds are awesome and we can learn a lot from them so next time you're about to roll your eyes at a tween, THINK AGAIN YA BIG LUG. 

    TGG= The Good Girl

    AB= Ashley

    TGG: ASHLEY! Thank you so much for doing this! 

    AB: Sure!

    TGG: Awesome. First question. What is it like to be 13 years old in 2012?

    AB: Uhm, it's okay. Sometimes it can be tough because the economy isn't its best these days haha. 

    TGG: Amen sistah! I heard that.

    AB: Yupp. :)

    TGG: If you could say anything to your 8 year old self, what would it be?

    AB: You have a rude of an awakening. lol and I would encourage myself to stay strong because I'm just now experiencing the real world...in many ways.

    TGG: Yeah it's crazy how we look back and realize how easy we had it! If you could pick any person in the world to take you on a date, who would it be and what would you do?

    AB: Can it be a celebrity haha?

    TGG: Of course!

    AB: Greattt! Okay, I would pick Aaron Carter and I would like to go to putt putt with him. <3

    TGG: You don't mind the age difference?

    AB: Uhm okay that might be a little creepy lol. Austin Mahone and putt putt.

    TGG: Haha, nice. I take it you're not a Belieber then? No fancy date with Justin?

    AB: Noooooo! I only like a couple of his songs, NOT him haha.

    TGG: Haha awesome. If you had to be stuck on an island with one member of One Direction, who would it be and why?

    AB: Liam because he is brunette and has brown eyes and seems the cleanest of them all and seems to have a funny personality.

    TGG: Cleanliness is important. What is a message you wish you could tell every girl your age?

    AB: Stay strong! Don't give up! Work hard/play hard. Don't do bad things until marriage. Haha, JK.

    TGG: YES, that is the best. Hey, I agree. So I know you're a huge Britney Spears fan right?

    AB: Yes!

    TGG: What is your favorite Britney song? And which stage of Britney's is your favorite?

    AB: Well, I like a lot of her songs but I like 'Piece of Me' and 'Til the World Ends' would be my top two probably. And my favorite stage of Britney I would say would be the new because she has come to a fresh start, haha. 

    TGG: Yes! I love it. What's something about boys that really annoys you?

    AB: They have no enthusiasm when they text you and they get ticked off easily. They also take foreverrrrr to make a move, like talking to you or making conversations.

    TGG: Preach!!! Well, on the other side of that, what's something you appreciate about boys?

    AB: You do find guys that are gentlemen, but that's rare haha. When you do find a halfway decent guy though, they're really nice....and though it may take awhile for them to actually make conversations with you, once you get to know them you start believing there are good guys out there...I guess they just need to come out of their shell haha...cheezy. 

    TGG: No it's true!! Gotta keep the faith. If you could spend a day with any dead person, who would it be and what would you do?

    AB: It would have to be my grandma. And we used to go to the mall together so I think that would be a good place. 

    TGG: Ashley that is so beautiful and sweet! Thank you for sharing that with me! What is something you wish boys knew about girls that would make life so much easier?

    AB: A girl's' feelings are really touchy. Of course I've never been cheated on because I'm only 13, haha. But they don't realize how much it can hurt a girl...I've just seen those things from my perspective.

    TGG: Wise, I like it.

    AB: Thanks!

    TGG: What do you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?

    AB: To succeed in the entertainment industry lol. I really like acting and dancing.

    TGG: Would you rather give birth to a bunch of kittens or find out you're pregnant with a vampire, like Bella was?

    AB: GIVE BIRTH TO A BUNCH OF KITTENS!!! O:)  (y) <3

    TGG: That's my girl!!! Alright, two more questions.

    AB: Sounds good!

    TGG: If you could change one thing about America, what would it be?

    AB: To be treated equally and keep everything the way God made things.

    TGG: Final question. Where do you see yourself in 10 years, when you're 23?

    AB: Famous and smart if I keep trying.

    * * * 

    Special thanks to Beth for being a cool older sister & Ashley for answering all my questions honestly! 
  • p



Friday, November 23, 2012

the morning after

.....THANKSGIVING!!! Get your mind out of the gutter ya big lugs!!!!!!!!

I woke up this morning in the after-bliss of a food hangover. Hazy memories of a bacon turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing and pumpkin pie filtered through my clouded mind and I felt content. And I waited. I paused and I waited and immediately a string of complaints flew through my mind.

I feel fat.
The sun is like, SUPER bright.
Ugh, what do I have to do today?
I should clean, I hate cleaning.

And then I stopped. I scrunched my eyes up tight and pulled the covers over my head and breathed deeply. And I prayed just a simple little prayer, nothing out of the ordinary or grandiose - none of that kneeling by my bed, hands clasped tight, eyes even tighter, praying deep into the night. (not that I never do that, there's nothing wrong with that, this was just a little different prayer).

Lord, help me feel thankful. 

One simple prayer that holds a lot more than five words. Lord, help me feel thankful.....STILL. I should've added that word there on the end. Still.

Still.

Yesterday we all gathered around tables with people we love, people we care enough about to spend a holiday with. Maybe we held hands, maybe we bowed our heads together and said Grace and thanked God for the food and prayed for all of those without meals. Maybe we felt safe and warm and maybe a little warm buzz from some wine or cider. 

Maybe we watched "It's A Wonderful Life" and cried because George Bailey is both the kind of person we want to become and the kind of person we want to spend the rest of our lives with.

And then maybe we drove home with our roommates or our wives or husbands or boyfriends or girlfriends or alone. Maybe we climbed drowsily into bed and fell into a deep, deep food coma. (thosethingsexistidontcarewhatyousay).

And then we wake up today. And it's Black Friday, the day when people literally claw out each other's eyeballs to get stuff. I'm not saying if you go Black Friday shopping you are an idiot or a materialistic pig. I'm just saying I don't get it and I'll probably never, ever do it. You do you, I'ma do me.

Today some of us forget yesterday and this whole theme of being "thankful." I sure as hell did the minute I woke up this morning. Thankfulness wasn't even really on my mind. God wasn't on my mind immediately. STUFF was on my mind immediately. Always stuffstuffstuff. 

But I want to practice Thanksgiving every day and not just on some Thursday in November. I want to be thankful! And I KNOW! Okay, I know this is a cliche sentiment and we all say this every single year and then it fades and we just shrug our shoulders.

But we have to say this - we have to think this. If I stop saying it, if I stop praying about it and asking God to help me be thankful, well...then what? I just stop being thankful? I stop working towards thinking differently, thinking better, healthier? I don't want to continue everyday just "waiting" until I miraculously feel thankful all of a sudden. And I know it's a process and that's exactly why I think we have to be active about it. 

* * *

When I go running, I run to the water. It's 3.5 miles to the ocean's edge, and 3.5 miles back to my apartment. I don't run these 7 miles every day, but sometimes I'm feeling a long run and I pass on my usual 4 or 5 miles around my neighborhood and I run straight to the water. I feel my legs carrying me every step - feel the rhythm they beat on the pavement. I feel the sweat on my face and the sun beating against my back and I imagine what my lungs look like as the help me breathe in and out in and out in and out. 

When I get to the water I stop. I let the Santa Monica breeze play with my unruly hair and I listen as people pass by me jogging, walking their dogs, talking to their friends about their days. But I look at the water. I ask God, "Why me? Why do I get to live here? Why do I get this kind of life?" I think of all of the decisions we make and how they lead us to where we are. And um, IT'S FREAKING BIZARRE? Do you ever just sit there and think for a second where you are RIGHT NOW IN LIFE AND HOW CRAZY IT IS THAT SOMEHOW THE UNIVERSE BROUGHT YOU TO THAT EXACT MOMENT?

Like, WHAT? IT'S FREAKING TRIPPY.

When I go running, my mind clears. Sometimes I pretend I'm in a movie montage, because who doesn't do that every so often? But mostly I run and I think until my mind is actually clear. It's so easy to dissect ourselves and our lives. It happens to me constantly - the minute I leave a party or hanging out with friends, I scrutinize my every move. I think, "Was I too loud? Was I too obnoxious? Did I say 'ya big lug' just one too many times? Should I NOT have started dancing like an old man which I call my 'creepy old man dance' and sometimes people don't appreciate it?!!!!!" We freak ourselves out with OURSELVES. We can't do that anymore. We need to sit back and think,

I am worthy.

I am not perfect. I am flawed.

I am God's creation. 

I am thankful. 

* * * 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

OH HAPPY DAY (short little thanksgiving post GOBBLE GOBBLE)

This time last year Chanelle and I were sharing a janky studio apartment on a sketchy street in West LA. We both didn't have cars. Well Chanelle did have a possessed one that was evil and out to get us and was basically the Voldemort of cars, but we like to pretend that didn't happen. 

This time last year I was working two jobs, one at a restaurant and one in retail. We didn't have a group of friends yet. I didn't have a bed or a proper refrigerator and I was so homesick it made my head spin.

I look back on all that has changed since last Thanksgiving and I am really, truly, genuinely amazed. I don't care if it's cliche to write about what we are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but it's true. I simply sit back and I'm amazed at all that has happened. And I am so excited for what God has planned ahead.

The thing is, gratitude and thankfulness don't come naturally. Greed, dissatisfaction, anger, impatience, gossip - THESE things come naturally to me. In fact they're pretty easy to dwell on and sit on and let consume me. It is an active process to feel thankful and grateful and to keep that mindset. To wake up and think, "God, THANK YOU. I fall to my knees and praise YOU!"

Instead I usually wake up and think, "I'm hungry. I wish I made more money. Wish my apartment was nicer. Wish I was skinnier. Wish wish wish wish WANT WANT WANT." It is EXHAUSTING. 

So this Thanksgiving I am so grateful for all that God has done in my life and I look forward to where He is always taking me. I am thankful that He sent His one and only son to die on a cross for me and the whole wide world. I am thankful for my family. Chanelle. Friends, old and new. For the sunny Los Angeles sky, for the ocean. For decaf coffee. For those moments when an amazing song comes on in my car and I blast it as loud as I want. Christmas music. Food. Love. Laughter. 

So let's give some Thanks for once. It's kind of counter-cultural and awesome and so much better than thinking of all the things we want and wish we could have. Let's forget about Black Friday and just enjoy what we are so blessed to have. 


Random Thanksgiving thought: Do you think a baby turkey is cute Y or N and do you think I could maybe cuddle with one?

xoxooxoxox

love ya ya big lugz. EAT YO TOIKEY



Thursday, November 15, 2012

4 happy movies i love that have disturbing plot holes



While brushing my teeth the other day after work, I was hit with a sudden realization: there are so many movies I love that have severe plot holes that are simply too hard to ignore. I don't know what about brushing my teeth made me think of this, but I know it led me to a series of thoughts as I got ready to go out that I just couldn't let go! So I decided to do what any other person would do; self-indulge and BLOG about it!

The Parent Trap

For my 9th birthday I brought some of my best friends to the movies and we went to see Lindsay Lohan pre-breakdown in The Parent Trap. This movie was every little girl's dream - who DIDN'T want to go to summer camp after seeing that movie? Who DIDN'T want a twin with a cool accent? And you're a liar if you didn't try oreo cookies and peanut butter after watching Lindsay 1 and Lindsay 2 nom on them. Ugh. Add in Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson (RIP), some tar, some feathers, and you've got me. But you know what's REALLY disturbing about this film? The fact that when Hallie & Annie's parents divorced, they each took one baby. LIKE, THEY EACH JUST DECIDED THEY WERE FINE NEVER KNOWING THEIR OTHER CHILD? 


HOLY ISH.


Okay if I was 11 and I found out my mom never wanted to know me at all, I wouldn't gaze at her all lovingly when she's designing wedding dresses. I'd probably cry in the fetal position and realize that's where all of my inner issues stemmed from, like why I eat my emotions and have thick eyebrows because no one ever told me how to pluck them. COME ON PEOPLE. It's freaking messed up! It's just not right! 


She's The Man


Oh Amanda Bynes. Poor, poor Amanda Bynes. Is there a trend happening with these movies and their wayward starlets? I love me some Amanda Bynes. The first time I rented "She's the Man" I literally watched it five times and peed from laughter. Then I sat there in my pee and wondered where my life was going....but no, seriously, if you don't like this movie then I have trouble trusting you. It's so great and cheesy and Channing Tatum is well, shirtless for most of it so that's a plus. Anyway, I digress.


Chanelle and I always talk about how disturbed we'd be if we were Olivia. I know this movie is based off of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" but I still can't ignore that if it turned out the guy I tried to make out with and fell in love with was actually a girl....ummm, I wouldn't just be able to get over it in a second. I'd be a little weirded out. ALSO! Like, HELLO Viola is totally just a rebound for Duke. Like, he straight up ditched her for Olivia, then finds out Sebastian is a girl, and is like ummmm I like you? Did you have as much trouble understanding those last few sentences as I had typing them out? Good, we're all golden.


Beauty and the Beast


She falls in love with an animal. 'Nuff said. And it's not just any animal. It's not like it's Simba who is pretty cute in that halfway teenage stage in "Hakuna Matata" or a beautiful horse or something. IT'S A FREAKING BEAST. LIKE, AN OVERGROWN DOG THAT HAS BAD HAIR AND ANGER ISSUES. ALSO, um BELLE, even when you're singing "Something There" and it's snowing and you and Beast are having a snowball fight and exchanging flirty, creepy glances...YOU'RE STILL HIS PRISONER. AHHH!!!

Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, hands down. I relate to Belle. She's a bookworm. She's gorgeous....we're basically the same person. JUST KIDDING. But seriously, sometimes I sit there and think how creepy and weird it is Belle loves a beast and not even a cuddly one but one that keeps her prisoner. Yikes.

Never Been Kissed

First you need to understand how much I love this movie. Next you need to understand HOW REALLY MESSED UP THIS MOVIE IS. And I'll explain why; Mr. Coulson (played by the super-sexy Michael Vartan) is a high school English teacher. Josie Gellar (played by the stupidly adorable Drew Barrymore) is a dumpy, aspiring journalist who goes undercover back to high school to find a great story. Mr. Coulson ends up falling in love with Josie and it's literally the most amaze-ball movie kiss of all time (which you can read about more detail because I blogged about it in the best movie kisses of all time) but what the movie lacks to address is the fact that MR. COULSON FELL IN LOVE WITH WHO HE THOUGHT WAS A 17/18 YEAR OLD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT. Um, GROSS? Um, STILL WONDERFUL? We don't even care as an audience because we love them so much. That scene on the ferris wheel? Don't EVEN get me STARTED. But hey, it is all a little disturbing but I'll forgive it for the fact that Octavia Spencer is in this movie and has like 4 lines, and the absolutely awesome Beach Boys soundtrack. LISTEN DO YOURSELF A FAVOR, IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT, GO WATCH THIS MOVIE. 

* * * 













Tuesday, October 30, 2012

i like the feeling


I like the feeling I get after being in the wind all day - that slightly fresh feeling where your cheeks are aching and rosy and all you can think about is cuddling in bed and watching a good movie and maybe drinking some tea. 

I like the feeling of holding a fresh pizza on my lap as we drive home. Like when I was ten and it was a big deal to order out - especially for a chubby ten year old like me who had obscenely curly hair and didn't even know I was chubby and all I could think about was how delicious that pizza was going to taste and it didn't matter about the calories and it didn't matter that I wasn't tiny. All that mattered was I was gonna eat PIZZA and pizza's really one of the greatest things in the whole wide world.

I like the feeling I get when three great songs come on in a row at the same time on the radio. It's like hitting the lottery (a very small lottery) over and over again. My fingers find their way over to the button and my windows go down and the wind whips my hair and the guy in the car next to me shoots me an annoyed glance. When they're really good songs I imagine I'm in a montage of some kind of indie movie and it's hilarious because I know I'm not the only one who does it (YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHEN YOU HEAR A BANJO STRUMMING YOU DON'T PICTURE YOURSELF IN THE COOLEST MOVIE MONTAGE EVER AND YOU'RE RUNNING ALONG A DIRT ROAD BECAUSE YOUR CAR BROKE DOWN AND THE SUN IS SETTING AND IT IS ENTIRELY TOO EPIC ). 

I like the feeling of laughing so hard you almost pee your pants. Coincidentally, I also really like the feeling of saying the word "pee" out loud and making people uncomfortable. It's that feeling (back to the laughter) when you can't stop - when you screw up your eyes and bite down on your tongue and try to think of the most depressing thought and then your shoulders start to quiver and you hear your friend's tiny peals of laughter and then you just lose it. Your throat hurts and your belly aches and the tears are streaming and afterward you feel like you could jump up on the moon.

I like the feeling of holding a baby. It's simple and perfect and tiny. 

I like the feeling after I finish reading a good book. I like feeling like I know the characters and I care about them so much and it's so sad when you finish reading - it's the kind of sad that is both good and hard at the same time. 

I like the feeling of knowing God. Because it's more than a feeling. It's deep within me, it's the constant hum-hum-drum of life's pattern. It's as true inside of me as the air in my lungs. It's the feeling I get when I am so blind-sided by His love that it brings me to my knees. When I realize how worthless everything is without Him. It's that feeling when you see people through the eyes of God - you see they were crafted in a way only something greater could have created. Something not of this world. Something so much bigger. 
I think that feeling is the best kinda feeling there is.








Sunday, October 28, 2012

we are always different

I miss taking the bus from New York City to Philadelphia. I miss watching the cars pass below me as I lean back in my stiff chair and close my eyes. I miss watching New York grow small in the distance, the gray sky an ever-present fixture on the East Coast. I miss opening up a book and knowing that in just two hours, I'll be enveloped in the arms of Home. Of Wawa coffee and my cat cuddling me, of laughing then immediately fighting with my sisters, of the actual smell of autumn. (Fall has a smell and you can't get it out here in fabulous Los Angeles, but it's real and it's over there just 3,000 miles away.)

Sometimes I feel like I'm treating LA badly. Like I'm the terrible boyfriend or girlfriend in the situation. And in so many ways I always feel like I'm cheating on the East Coast. Because truth be told, I love it out here. I love falling asleep on the beach in the middle of the afternoon, the warm sun causing my skin to redden even though Thanksgiving is less than  a month away. I love hopping out of my car when I get to work and seeing the Hollywood sign when I look up. I really promise that I love it. But my heart is constantly torn between the here and now, and the what always was. It's like no matter how much I commit to LA, in the back of my mind I'm always thinking about Philly and NYC. They're always back there, lingering in my mind and tempting me and as a result, LA gets the baggage. 

Why do we glamorize what isn't ours anymore? I think about Philly and New York now and all I can remember is everything good. It's like when you break up with someone and after the initial power-surge of "YES I AM INDEPENDENT AND AWESOME AND AM GOING TO WAIT UNTIL SOMEONE LIKE RYAN GOSLING WILL PURSUE ME!" fizzles out and you start to realize how much it hurts when you break up and all you can think about is all the good times. You forget about the insecurities and anxieties and fights and that underbelly pit of dissatisfaction. You forget about the moments when you were alone and wondering if there was something better out there - you forget it all and you can only focus on how badly you wish you had it back. 

We are always different, no matter where we go. I am noticing this the older I get. I am changing. It is a scary moment when you look back at yourself and you truly realize how much you've changed and sometimes in an especially scary moment you don't necessarily recognize who you've become. What I'm trying to say is I don't think we will ever feel completely like we belong in any place at all. If I thought I belonged in Philly or NYC, I wouldn't have dropped everything and moved out here with literally nothing but a push from God. I wouldn't have left every single person I love and I wouldn't have moved out here and experienced the single most difficult and scary year of my life. 

But now I'm here. And I don't necessarily think this is it. I don't think living here in Los Angeles is the end all be all. I think I'm here for a reason and I love it here and I'm staying here, but at any moment I think God could tell me to go somewhere else. I want to be open to that voice. I want to listen to that voice. 

We can drive ourselves crazy trying to get back to the past or dwelling obsessively on the future. I can't tell you how many moments I'm driving or waiting in line for coffee and it hits me like a brick to the face - "What am I doing?" It hits me every time I see another friend get engaged or married or get into graduate school. Because while all of these people my age are getting Master's degrees and falling in love, I'm still sharing a bedroom. I'm scraping by with a lot of student loans and I'm crawling up the longest ladder. I don't own an ironing board. It's those stupid little facts that get to me and I can't let that happen. The same way all of these people seem to have their life together, I know they struggle too. We all have our battles - we have to know that and accept that and know that no one's life is going to be the same.

I have to remember that. My story is different than my sister's. It's different than my mom's and my best friend's. No one is better, they're just different. 

So at the end of the day, I can listen to a song that reminds me of Philadelphia and I can maybe cry a little and feel homesick because it's not easy. It's not as simple as jumping on a bus and driving for two hours and then being home. So I can sit here and feel the ache of missing the East Coast...but then I can let it go. I can breathe in where I am and I can marvel at how AMAZING it is. I can see the beauty in Los Angeles. I can sit with friends on the beach and feel calm, I can sit in a diner and write, I can run and run until my lungs hurt and the wind is whipping my face and I can feel so small in the huge scale that is everything. 

I always disagree when people say you can be in love with more than one person at the same time. I don't like that thinking, but I think I can maybe understand when I think of it in terms of cities. Because I am so in love with where I came from, but I'm so in love with where I am now. 


This is the song that started it all - VALENCIA, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME ON A SUNDAY NIGHT?

"Philadelphia makes me feel HOME."