It’s been a long time…

And there’s no better time than quarantine to write, so they say. Well, I’d like to say hello from the apocalypse. It’s been many months of waking up to the same day, over and over – many months of wearing the same sweatpants and not leaving the house. It’s been many months of taking the same jogging path every day, only to have worn down trails in both the neighborhood and the mind that have become as weathered and familiar as an old hiking boot.

I’m sure we’d all say that it’s been hard to live a life that feels like it’s progressing in any way. Our relationships seem to have been put on pause (except for the video chats and phone calls here and there), and the multitudes of text messages that flood our phones. Life feels surreal.

When 2020 began, I was absolutely certain that this was going to be the best year of our lives. Everything was taking off in such a way for me (and others in my life) that I was convinced 2020 was going to be the year we bloomed. I was indisputably happy and excited about almost every aspect of my life – and for the first time in a while, I felt my life gain an extremely promising momentum. Then, all of a sudden, 2020 came to a rapid, grinding halt. Everything around us shut down – stores, restaurants, salons – everything. In addition to that, I felt all the progress I had made come to a screeching halt. Friendships, relationships, plans, jobs, progress – all of these things got put on hold in favor of a (necessary) order to stay at home.

At first I was devastated. I fought denial and grief for months. I couldn’t stop thinking about the life I had left behind. I thought about the people I saw, the things I did and the places I went just before our cities locked down. I craved life as it once was; together, close, and carefree. I missed live music, dinners and yoga with friends, dinners at my place and wandering through my neighborhood to buy books. I missed being able to see my friends in New York. I missed New York as it was – vast, crowded, formidable, and a city where you’d bump shoulders with multitudes of strangers on your way to grab pizza with friends in Park Slope.

The world as we knew it is sadly, gone. It still upsets me sometimes. Most days, I deal with the way things are, telling myself that “it is what it is.” There’s no use trying to fight something we can’t change. All we can do is adapt. As they say, “what you resist, persists.” In this particular instance, resistance causes mental pain. I used to look for silver linings, but the thing is, I’m learning that you don’t need to force yourself to find that. This isn’t to say we should adopt mindsets about the situation being hopeless and bleak – rather, we can take a more pragmatic approach to viewing it. We can find what we can do to make it more bearable, while looking for the small bits of joy and activity we can appreciate right now. At other times, we can be gentle with ourselves and show understanding for our own sadness, grief, and loneliness.

It’s been quite a year already, and in many ways it feels like the months have gone down a drain. I’m still trying to learn what progress can be made, and for me, this comes in the form of exercise, playing music when I can, reading when I can, and taking care of my health as best as I can.

I hope one day I can look back on this piece and consider the age of quarantine and lockdown a long-gone, faraway place. A place where we exercised patience, where we learned how resilient human beings can really be, and where we learned that relationships really are everything.

Until then, I’ll be writing more in this blog, because there’s definitely a lot of time.

Andromeda

Sunflower big bang star explosion

Kiss me quickly with your gentle
Kill me quickly with your sunshine

Show me dancing with your high line

Hold my heart
Make it explode into a million tiny pieces in the night sky

Hydra

Cassiopeia

Andromeda

Alhena

Love me so hard I repeat my existence
Over and over and over

Love me so hard you’ll never have to stop

Connection

Connection. Isn’t it what we all are searching for? You see it everywhere you look – on your bus ride to work in the morning, on your way to your favorite coffee shop, while you’re standing in line at the store. The buzz of the connected world is undeniable. You see people everywhere; busy on their phones, straining to hold onto the handles of the bus while sending out a text message, updating their thoughts and whereabouts on social networking sites, sending a photo to someone back home.

But in this busy and connected world, are we losing ourselves and our connection…true connection, in the chaos and fury of all this connected-ness? What can replace the warmth of a stranger’s smile, or a happen-chance conversation while pouring coffee at the local shop? Can we replace the warmth of our partner’s hug when we get home from a long day at work?

During these challenging times, I urge us to seek connection in any way possible, but mostly, through Facetimes and phone calls with our friends and family. Nothing replaces hearing “I love you” and seeing that smile on a loved one’s face. No amount of Instagram likes can amount to that. I challenge us to understand and embrace what connection truly is.

Nevermore

Your hyper-star gaze
Visceral in my throat punch

Smile cocked like a gun
Checking my tires
Popped them like a mail gun

Tell me wicked little secrets
Titillate me with your devilish desires
Wake me stupid with your dirty charms
Til I sleep in nevermore

Choke me lurid with your tailspin

Wake me stupid from a daydream

Take me weakly with your left hand

Lullaby me nevermore

Lentils

“No reason to lie when you can shock them with the truth. It’s more interesting anyway,” you said.

Lentils, cooked or not, are still lentils. They just smell different. I squeezed them tightly in palm of my hand.

“Anthony, why’d you give me cooked lentils? That’s so weird. Why are you so weird?” He always loved lentils. The red kind, not the green.

“Anthony. Darling. Let’s walk up this hill and catch the last sunset together. It’ll be worth it. I’ll buy you a home by the sea, just like you wanted.”

You asked me why.

“Because that’s what people do when they love each other, Anthony. That’s what we do.”

For the unforgettable – Ecuadorian flute bearing – MJ.

-mh-

A Million Dreams

 

I close my eyes and I can see
The world that’s waiting up for me
That I call my own
Through the dark, through the door
Through where no one’s been before
But it feels like home
They can say it all sounds crazy
They can say I’ve lost my mind
I don’t care, so call me crazy

We can live in a world that we design
‘Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake

I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

There’s a house we can build
Every room inside is filled
With things from far away
The special things I compile
Each one there to make you smile
On a rainy day

However big, however small
Let me be part of it all
Share your dreams with me

A million dreams are keeping me awake
A million dreams
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make