About Me

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

like a thousand brush strokes...

Today has been quite a roller coaster of emotions... the peculiarity is in the fact that nothing out of the ordinary occured. I woke up this morning to the sound of my alarm clock just as the 100 or so days behind, bathed and headed to school, attended classes and hung out with friends, laughed and conversed... and almost out of habit, camped out in the library until night fall reading lenghty dissertations on metaphysics... That was what occured on the outside at least... internally I came together and fell apart repeatedly and honestly lost count... like an oscillating universe.

I think I'm ok though, honestly this is no new territory for me and I intend on pulling through. Sure some days are worse than others...and there are severely intense moments when the air feels as heavy as lead...but I get through them too placing one foot in front of the other, taking one laborious breathe after another.
And what can I conclude? But that this is life and as the fatalist would proclaim: "we must have it any way it comes."

I am back to embracing the small moments, the moments we often take for granted because of the subtly of their nature. People generally live for the grand moments, weddings, graduations, promotions and births...and these may rightfully bring us great pleasure... but we often risk missing out on the nuances of life... perhaps it is these nuances that provide for the grander experiences... like the thousands of tiny brush strokes it takes for a painting to mean anything.

This evening I drove home with the windows down because the city didn't feel real enough...I needed to hear the sound of bustling cars and find the smell of gasoline burning in the air... As I turned the dark corner into my neighborhood, the scent of burning wood and the feeling of cold reached my senses, immediately causing my mind to bring up the fondest holiday memories I have to date...memories of cold evenings spent with my warm family... I saw my grandmother's house for a brief moment, which was always decorated to a beautiful excess. The cotton snow that covered her armoires, the tiny village of houses that lit up and the collection of soldiers that filled the house with songs of Christmas by rining bells in a programmed succession... I could even smell cookies warming in the oven-teasing our appetites... Most of all I saw my parents when they were younger and still appeared to me invincible, my beloved cousins, brother, and my Uncle Jim, Aunt Lottie, and my Grandmother all together in that old house under the soft glow of Christmas lights... and though I knew that I was simply having a recollection, I couldn't help but smile and feel pleasantly nostalgic.

Of course it's been years since we've all been together like that... and time has taken from me three of my loved ones. For those of us that still remain, we've all grown older. And the holidays have taken a much different form... there is less mystery, less anticipation... the things that seem to fade with age...

The human brain is said to store memories of specific incidences in the temporal cortex, which is the lower portion of the organ. It is true that some unpleasant experiences are to be found here, but we need this area to recall all the moments we long deeply to hold on to... and these moments that we have grown to cherish are more than random images that have been impressed on our minds... so long as we may keep them, they may be a source for the subtle joys I spoke of... where the whispers of pleasure are released...where the shadows of happiness are cast... And tonight I relish this moment, even though it is but a memory.


3 years ago, my beloved grandmother passed away. She was a tremendous person and I was blessed to have had her in my life...she would be so thrilled that I was back in school...

How I wish that I could be sitting with her at this moment, over a mexican pizza (with extra guacamole) at Nino's. She would be asking me about my courses, my love life and whether I had music for her...then listening intently to my boring stories she would peer at me through her large plastic glasses, revealing a warm adoration in her eyes. At moments she might grab the hair on my chin and tickle me just to see me smile...and at every opportunity afforded to her, she would tell me how wonderful I was, how much I meant to her...and how proud she was of me... never has walked a gentler, more beautiful woman...and I miss her deeply right now.

Here is a blog that I wrote only a few days after her passing, I guess I just want to remember her...

i am alone, in an empty store...gazing into the cloudy autumn sky. It was a long weekend...and it seems to have carried over. Thursday evening, my grandmother passed away. She was very dear to me...to all of us and now we are forced to deal with this tremendous loss.

It was a very strange and strenuous weekend for me. I find only now as I sit here restlessly...with many hours ahead...that i feel up to the task of talking about this at all. For the most part I kept it to myself...in the days shortly following this event. I just didn't want to talk about it... I didn't care to hear what anyone (outside of the family) had to say about it. I didn't want condolences...i didn't want to hear that she had lived a long life...that it was her time, that she was now in heaven... i simply wanted time to mourn...and i still do.

I have started to tell some of my friends...for pragmatic reasons...since the rest of this week is going to be dedicated to memorial services and family affairs, i have had to cancel some things... but i'm still not up to really talking about how i feel with anyone...

I don't feel like i can't live. I don't feel overwhelmed.

I just feel a deep pain at the center of my being. Like something was torn out suddenly- something I cherished, something i needed, something i can't ever have back.

and nothing feels quite the same. The world just seems somehow flatter... greyer... and everything seems to move just a little bit slower.

Friday and Saturday were beautiful days....they were blessed by clear blue skies, and mildly warm weather... and i could see this... i mean objectively...they were... but i couldn't feel them...i couldn't feel the soothing breezes, or the warmth of sun against my skin... i couldn't feel how wonderful the days were...i just had to trust my eyes...that this was the case.

and now it's overcast...and i feel somehow this weather is more justified.

Attempting to continue my routine is at once therapeutic and equally painful. I have been going on long aimless drives these last few nights... although I don't feel very much like hanging out with friends... i feel restless when i stay in...and the open road, the movement, the scenery, the unknown, it seems to provide me some solace.

The last two evenings i have taken a particular road north...for miles and miles until it ends.
After sometime through the city it leads to a curvy expanding road.. with small hills to the east... it's a liberating drive...wide, open, empty...w/ very few other vehicles... i like most, to stare into the openess, into the deep...the quiet.

As I persist for several more minutes i end up in a remote housing development... There are at most, a handful of tenants occupying several square miles...because the community is still in early development. More hills surround the area...particularly to the north...opposing the development are miles and miles of desert. I have come here, to sit in solitude... i'm not sure what it is i'm looking for. i don't know that i'm looking for anything at all... somehow coming here, alone... makes me feel a bit more calm. It's so serene, so different from the city...you can hear the wind as it passes by caressing the leaves... i watch tiny aeroplanes passing by and every now and then a tiny sound of what seems to be a vehicle can be heard...but all of this, everything, is at a distance.

I witnessed a coyote walking through the development late last night and i imagined it strolling through the ghostly neighborhood, staring at the bizarre structures... and lights, trying to make sense of the uninvited suburban development that was taking over what used to be his backyard. I thought it tragic to consider one day he would simply have nowhere to go. When he noticed me he took a more immediate pace...making his way back to the hills... i followed with my eyes in wonder...until he faded into the night... until it was time for me to head back.

This is my mourning. I love you grammy and I miss you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


by Ani Difranco

The sky is grey,
the sand is grey,
and the ocean is grey.
I feel right at home
in this stunning monochrome,
alone in my way.

I smoke and I drink
and every time I blink,
I have a tiny dream.
But as bad as I am,
I'm proud of the fact,
that I'm worse than I seem.

What kind of paradise am I looking for?
I've got everything I want and still I want more.
Maybe some tiny, shiny thing will wash up on the shore.

You walk through my walls,
like a ghost on tv.
You penetrate me...
And my little pink heart,
is on its little brown raft,
floating out to sea.

And what can I say?
but I'm wired this way,
and you're wired to me.
And what can I do,
but wallow in you unintentionally?

What kind of paradise am I looking for?
I've got everything I want and still I want more.
Maybe some tiny, shiny key will wash up on the shore.

Regretfully, I guess I've got
three simple things to say.
Why me? Why this now? Why this way?
Overtone's ringing,
undertow's pulling away.

Under a sky that is grey,
on sand that is grey,
by an ocean that's grey...


Saturday, October 4, 2008

I want to evaporate...

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I find myself at the library preparing for two midterm exams I will have to face on Monday. It's been some months since I was able to drive with the windows down, but it's finally in the 80's and we are assured that we have seen the last of triple digit temperatures for the year. I say, halleujah!

As i drove to school, it began to sprinkle and I held my left arm out of the window to feel the first of autumn showers...It felt cold and refreshing against my tired skin... I had Max Richter (a modern composer) playing on the stereo... his short composition "Horizon Variations" is so richly, beautiful... a two minute piano piece that seems to capture the complex mix of emotions that I am feeling these days, and this without even a single word. As I waited at a stop light, the song repeated for the fourth time and I stared up above in search of even a speck of blue amidst the thick, rain-laden clouds... but a brewing storm caused a wide impervious barrier of mild darkness to wash over every trace of color, and I imagined that life today would be pale and moody for the millions living in this great city of the sun.

Upon arriving on campus, I walked the hundred yards to the library. Being the weekend, the journey was quiet and lonely. A strange idleness filled the school from building to building... empty tables were surrounded by empty chairs, and the walkways and sidewalks and the halls of this crowded university, were calm and hollow save the distant echoes of monday morning chatter.

At the moment I am in the library and I should be studying, but I find my thoughts to be miles from anything academic. I feel abstract not analytical today...As strange as it all may sound, I feel as though I want to come undone... to be pulled apart into a hundred million particles.... to evaporate, with tiny pieces of me scattered into the ocean, upon giant trees, falling into dust

and then floating into the air, where you could breathe me in...

Hindu's believe that God is everything... "Brahman" represents all of matter, and God -and the two are inseparable... in essence we are one with all, the universe and God... extensions, not distinctions. And this appeals to me right now, at least the idea. I want to feel a part of everything because everything feels so painfully disconnected...or rather I feel so separated from all, everything and everyone. I would venture to say that we all struggle with this... that it is the fundamental, existential dilemma of humanity...and perhaps this is why pantheistic, systems have their appeal... it (at least in concept) ties us to this enormous universe...the unconscious cosmos that seems at times so cold, unpredictable, and apathetic to our lives... The Christian message is that all of this was in some way created for us... as an expression of God's glory and as an expression of ours. We are highly distinctive from all matter, and it was not for the stars or planets, or created order that Christ shed his blood, but for humanity alone...and it is humanity alone, not animals or the trees or even the endless galaxies, that is called into a love affair with God... that is called the apple of His eye... and I think that is quite beautiful. The difficulty is that everything in this life seems to try and tear man away from God... and again, we are so highly distinctive of the Divine, how can we be united in our brokenness to His perfection?

...Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. -Ephesians 2:12-18

It is a beautiful day, and I guess I'll try and search for whatever it might mean to enjoy it.