"the world keeps turning but we hold some still frames inside" carrylessbaggage@yahoo.com

re-imagining rejection

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My intention was to have this piece posted two days ago but every time I sat down to write I started to feel one of two things: either 1) the way that I feel itchy after someone (Chris, I’m talking to you) has reminded me that there are might be black widow spiders lurking between the rafters of the deck that I often stand below. Usually I ignore this, (I’ve only seen one big, black spider under the rafters and I don’t think it was a black widow) but when I am reminded, I feel like there is absolutely, definitely something crawling on me. Or 2) the way that I can somehow feel the sugar moving through my veins after I have a bite of something very sweet. I avoid sweets to avoid this feeling—it makes me wonder if I’m feeling what heroin feels like (okay, probably not…) and then I feel like a shitty drug addict when I’ve actually only had one bite of carrot cake.

So this piece about rejection made me feel really gross, basically. It’s been a rough 48 hours.

But I keep seeing signs that I should write it. For example, I stumbled across these two articles in Under the Sun and on NPR. (These are both much more eloquently written than the piece you’re about to dive into; my feelings won’t be hurt if you jump ship.)

Like addressing an illness or an ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, these things must be addressed, after all. But ugh! The spiders! The sugar-veins!

And then this morning I found this article on the Rumpus’s Dear Sugar column. I should have found it earlier but it came at just the right time—and the right age—because when I read: 

“I know it’s hard to write, darling. But it’s harder not to. The only way you’ll find out if you ‘have it in you’ is to get to work and see if you do. The only way to override your ‘limitations, insecurities, jealousies, and ineptitude’ is to produce. You have limitations. You are in some ways inept. This is true of every writer, and it’s especially true of writers who are 26. You will feel insecure and jealous. How much power you give those feelings is entirely up to you.” [emphasis added] 

I got a little teary eyed. So I am back in my chair, writing, and I will finish—and post—this piece on rejection.

The first time I remember being rejected was when I was denied the role of Gretl von Trapp in my school’s musical rendition of “So long, farewell.” I was in third grade and probably not the greatest singer in the world—or in the third grade—but for some reason I really wanted that part. Gretl was undoubtedly the cutest of the von Trapps and her simple line, “The sun has gone to bed and so must I,” sung whilst resting her head on her tiny little forearm was something I thought I could do perfectly—all the parents would sigh, spirits would soar, hearts would break; I would eventually realize my persona as a Spice Girl and my life would be fantastic.

Instead, one of the music teacher’s daughters got the part. It figures, right? (And by “it figures,” I don’t necessarily mean that this production was rigged. I mean that perhaps a music teacher’s daughter is a more adept singer than the literary genius and athletic extraordinaire that I was shaping up to be, simply based on environmental factors. Obviously I still hold this teacher and her daughter in contempt. I’m trying to be more realistic about my assumptions about people but the deepest wounds—infected by crushed childhood dreams and foggy memories—are hard to mend.)

I would realize strengths in other departments, but I do my best not to sing in public anymore. Call it psychological damage or a reality check but I no longer harbor desires to be a pop star—or any kind of musician, really. (Besides my dream to learn to play the harmonica and travel around America busking, but I haven’t worked too hard to achieve that goal…) So maybe it wasn’t the end of the world that I didn’t get to sing Gretl’s part, but it felt like the end of the world at the time.

The reason I bring up this story is because I’ve been thinking about rejection a lot lately. Bummer, right? No, no; hear me out…

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a walk down memory lane, aka: taraval

When you travel around a whole handful of countries, you probably try to explore everything that you can in the time that you have to be in those places—out every night, up and wandering around early in the morning, chatting to whoever will give you the time of day, etc.—and I do that too.

And when you live in a city like San Francisco for as long as I have, you probably try to explore every nook and cranny of such a relatively tiny (geographically speaking) city. But if you’re actually me in that situation—where you live in a city like San Francisco for seven years or so—you tend to just say to yourself, “forget it, I live here. I don’t need to explore it all right now” or something like that. You stick to what is home-y.

For better or worse, this has been my experience living in such a multicultural, exciting city such as San Francisco: I dip my toes in the night life, I try new cafes when I’m feeling energetic, I talk to coherent people on the bus, sometimes. (I do like talking to bus drivers and I make it a practice to say hello, if not carry on a long, life-changing conversation with each one who drives me around this fine city. They’re good people.) Mostly, though, I stick to the two neighborhoods that feel like home to me and the Sunset district is one of those.

The Sunset district—besides the dorms at SFSU—was my first real community in San Francisco, and it still holds a special spot in my heart. People talk down on the Sunset but those people are wrong. The Sunset is the least-city part of the city, which is probably why I like it so much. The streets are easy to navigate if you can spell and count, the sprawls of residential blocks are broken up with little pockets of activity, and, I mean, you’ve got Ocean Beach—the salty air, the surfers, the beach vibe that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere north and especially east of the Sunset.

This week I spent quite a few hours roaming around the Sunset. See, I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in awhile: failure. And when I say, “I experienced” it, I mean my sweet, sweet 1996 hatchback experienced failure. (He had a busted hose, it wasn’t his fault…)

I went to get my baby smogged at a gas station on 19th and Taraval and after a disappointing failure, we (the car and I) headed down Taraval to pick up some parts from O’Reilly’s. That’s when the nostalgia set in. I realized how much of my life I spent in that part of town: taking the L in- and outbound, walking to friends’ houses, going to dive bars, trekking down to Ocean Beach to catch the sunset, and generally just growing up and collecting memories all along that small section of a big city.

Taraval (and Noriega and Lincoln) are the larger veins that run east and west through the Sunset and, as an individual who lived around 19th and Taraval and then 42nd and Taraval, you could say I know Taraval pretty well. So I’ve put together a collection of ten places that I think are noteworthy (and that give me “the feels”—a word that I just learned recently from some crazy ladies and am trying to use in my vocabulary).  I’ll work my way from east to west, beginning near the eastern slope of T-val and ending up, well, I’ll let you guess…

(Also, honorable mentions to places not on Taraval but that also gave me “the feels”: Larsen Park on 19th & Ulloa; Stern Grove on 19th & Sloat; Sloat Gardening Center on Sloat & 45th; The SF Zoo on Sloat & 47th; and Sunset Supermarket on Vicente & 40th—okay the market doesn’t give me “the feels” but it’s a great market that I recommend to folks in the area.)

1. Guerra Quality Meats (click location names to be cleverly taken to their website)

490 Taraval St,
 San Francisco, CA
 94116

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This is a great little neighborhood butcher. When I was obsessed with cooking the two things I can cook—curry and jumbo—I would go to these guys to get my meats. They’re always super attentive and the quality is about 100% better (at a pretty equivelant price) than, say, the Safeway half a block down the road. Shop local! Hooray!

(Also, is it weird that I thought a few of the butchers were cute? Go figure…)

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My beautiful sister has joined the blogosphere (check out the wonderful Yay for Yaya site here), and she has totally inspired me! She actually has PLANS for her blog posts. What a concept! I created a manta of my own (very à la Yay for Yaya): “carry less baggage —> create more plans!” and then just sat down to write some notes. A few hours seem to have disappeared, and I have some very tentative plans for the next three months of blog posts. 

So, to answer your question, yes, I got a little carried away.

Now it is definitely bedtime. Good night, friends.

xx

I was driving home today after an unusually brief ten hour day on campus (it’s cold—I needed pjs and my space heater) and KQED was just debriefing the audience about all of the terrible things in the world so I started scanning the stations. I found my way to a station playing this song. It was one of those weird moments when you meet a song just as it’s beginning. Anyway, I started thinking—in that moment—very deeply about this song, and I’m posting this now so that you’ll all remind me or I’ll remind myself to write more when I have a few hours to commit to writing an in-depth (much needed, much lacking) blog post. 

See, I included this song in my (high school) senior slideshow and even then it was getting a little old. I remember the first time I heard this song when I was young and it moving, comforting, un-comforting me. I started wondering about what a young person, who had never heard this song, might think of it today. Has music changed? Can young people distinguish the recorded sounds (if not, please please, the style) between the Stones and the Beatles and Jimmy Eat World? (That was such a ridiculous comparison. Oy vey, I hope the answer is “yes.”) Would this song stir up as many emotions in a 13 year old today as it did in 2001? Will this song (and other songs) always have such a strange hold on me? One that I don’t understand like the way that certain smells make me think of my grandma or the bakery I used to work at, or certain voices that make me think of Alan? I hear it and I start thinking about high school and about the rest of that album and where I was when we sat in the parking lot and  listened to this album and that other one (Snow Patrol?) and stared at the neon “BOWL” sign and talked about how scary it was to be 16…?? 

I don’t know! I’m exhausted! These are questions for another day. I miss you, Tumblr. I miss you more, friends and family. xx

PS: Thanks, Jimmy Eat World. Couldn’t have gotten through adolescence without you.

countdown to Turkey Day

…and then he said something like, “think of the sound that a comma makes. ….. that pause.”

I have fallen head over heels in love with poetry.

I’ve also got space in my heart to have a crush on Georgia White and I’m writing poetry about her. A friend/muse encouraged me to consider form in my poems so I’m writing a piece in which Georgia and I are in conversation. It’s fun! (Maybe I’ll post some things some day…)

Poetry all around! Have no fear. It is wonderful and a hellavalotta fun.

…and I just found this: Northern Soul Radio.

Happy Thursday, friends. xx

…and in case we don’t talk before then, happy … Turkey Day (?). Enjoy the family and the friends and the sleeping in, if you’re fortunate enough to do so. If not, you deserve some extra Thanks. xx

Halloween at 25

I was standing with a classmate outside of the Humanities building during the ten-minute break that splits up our three hour long class. Two young ladies—freshmen, I’d bet money on it—walked past us dressed as belly dancers. It was like five in the evening. The sun had not yet set. I thought about their poor, ignorant parents. 

Walking to my car after another twelve hour day on campus—the sun was setting, finally, so the girls could come out of their caves in their high heels and intricate make up—I thought about what I did on my first Halloween in San Francisco. I found a child’s Native American costume at a Goodwill in Los Angeles. I imagined that a young girl would be swimming in this dress as it was, indeed, a dress for a small child but I wore it as more of a long shirt. This, unfortunately, is not a joke. I had to cut the sleeves off because my eighteen year old arms were not what they were when I was eight and, man, legs get a lot longer over ten years. I was dressed as Tiger Lily. And by “dressed” I mean “barely dressed.” I was one of thoooose at one point and man, I still have that child’s Native American costume but my twenty-five year old body is not what it was when I was eighteen.

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