I was at this food truck park last Friday night dining on food from all over the world; Tai, Itallian, Mexican, Texas and Spanish- and while eating patatas bravas off flat tooth picks at sunset, listening to live lady-roackabilly, I recounted the story of my little apartment in Barcelona;
I was the first one who arrived at the apartment, so I rearranged all the numbers on the bedroom doors to correspond with the room assignments on our keys- because of course I brought a glue stick to Spain in my carry on- I gave myself the room with the French doors that led out onto the balcony that overlooked the moon- I never closed those doors, I slept in the wet air of the med, in the moon-juice-light that poured onto my bed at night, I took too-long, too-hot baths in essential oils, I used the bidet, I blasted Mirah’s “C’mon Miracle” constantly, I sat on that balcony smoking Camel Lights bought from vending machines and drank Don Simon Sangria, poured from cardboard cartons into stolen crystal tumblers, I wrote in a little leather bound journal, in 7 point caps lock font, I was alone 85% of the time.
And it’s so interesting how we idealize times past, you know, like we only remember the great take-away, like this little apt in this story, so perfect, right?
I was reading my journal from this time and it’s so funny how much we don’t change and how much has changed at the same time- like I am still dealing with the same issues, my crazy-hard-on-myself-perfection brain, my inability to feed myself, my lack of decision making skills, my insecurities, they are all still there, just older, quieter and using a bit more sophisticated vernacular, this manic-marly is still there, she has just just grown her hair out, gained ten pounds and mourned something she didn’t know was coming…
So my journal specifically tells both sides of the story; all of the above in crazy poetic detail but also combined with the incessant jack hammers in the morning out this balcony, the sticky smelly heat of exhaust, stale ocean and dead fish, the constant sound of hospital sirens, the drunk Catalonians, the lack of AC or a breeze, my tortured dreams in Spanish, my restlessness, my caged self- but when i retell the story, I only remember the good stuff, the life-changing stuff, the magical stuff.
And I want my little apartment in Austin to feel like my room in Barcelona; balconies of intensity.
It’s been ten years since I was in that little room, but I can still smell it and feel it like it was yesterday, I still have the one towel I brought from home, the fibers remember the hot oil baths, the little flowered flats I bought remember the mosaic Gaudi sidewalks and the candle I burned remembers being lit after Paris- and ten years from now this little apartment in Austin is going to feel the same way and the objects that last will remind me of the stories. But I will only remember the magic and when I retell the story of this time, over mojitos and laughter, with a stranger eating street corn and macaroons, it will probably conjure the same deep longing in my heart that I get when I recount Barcelona at twenty.
So in thinking about this I wonder about all the energy wasted being hard on myself, my mean-mind taking over and making these magical memories tarnished- and I wonder if this isn’t part of what makes the magic so magical? The reconciliation that the story wouldn’t be as good without the pain and that it’s what makes the story worth telling. The thing that makes the light in my chest hover above me, is actually the true-self-pain-reality, that strangers are licking up like spicy bbq sauce and sticky bahn mi buns, when retold- that there is no light without darkness and it’s part of the best parts of the story of growing, continually discovering and making yourself more truly you…
In my little apartment in Austin want to remember the smell of pink soap, garlic and soil, everything clean and smelling a little like bleach, windows open despite the heat, fans in every room, white sheets, lamps, towels, fresh lilies, herbs and cold press coffee and tea, three books open at a time, vegetables and cut fruit, cold water from ball jars, all-girl, all-love songs blasting, the Irish man on my stoop, the cactus’ and succulents, the soaking ache of being alone, the accidental jobs, promotions, friends, men, the tears shed, the cigarettes smoked, the princess wine drank on the BOI, the realization that if I don’t do the dishes, or pick up the mess, or close the cupboards or take out the trash no one will, the entry into the realities of adulthood- all of this is what I will remember, not the crazy-anxiety-fear that accompanied it all on the daily.
There’s this quote from that journal from Barcelona, from some unknown woman named “Gloria” that says; “I don’t like writing, I like to have written” and I think that is the grand take-away from all of this; writing the story of your life is hard while you are living it, but when it’s all said and done, what a great tale to tell.
So tell your story as it’s happening and be nice to yourself.Buy these super-neon-summer white and neon yellow earrings here
This necklace is made out of possum jaws that my nine-year-old adopted sister Kai found behind her house in Florida- she was gracious enough to give them to me, knowing I would make something awesome, when I showed this to her, she freaked out and couldn’t believe what I had done! The bones are bleached and spray painted white.
If you are in Austin, you have got to check out Dolce Neve on South First and Annie, they have the best most buttery-cheesy unique gelato flavors I have ever tasted! My gelato pictured: ricotta, honey & pistachio!
Listening: Laura Veirs– her entire discography is amazing!
See some yummy outtakes from the shoot here