Three Things

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“You don’t need anybody’s permission to start living your dream; the only person’s permission you need is your own. It’s your decision to make, so stop outsourcing it to other people.”

– Ashley C. Ford

 
 
1. I didn’t even know who she was before this, but I’m really feeling Ashley C. Ford and everything she has to say in this interview.
 
“Say yes to yourself. The hardest thing to get over when you’re trying to live a dream is the possibility that you might fail or that it might not be for you. But the truth is, that’s not the worst thing in the world. If you fail or find out that you don’t like something, then you just got closer to finding out what you’re truly meant for.”
 
2. New favorite jewelry site with minimalist pieces that are ethically sourced and won’t break the bank. win win win!
 
3. A board game for my nerds.

 
 
Merry Almost Christmas, ya filthy animals.

 

 

(Photo from soko’s f/w lookbook)

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Three Things

27. TBT

 

SF

 

Sitting on the Bart with my luggage on both sides of me. Reflecting on this gift of a weekend spent talking and eating and reminiscing with an old friend. Volunteering at St. Anthony’s. Looking out my window and seeing the city full of pastel colored houses. A young black man reciting a speech soliciting money to help his basketball team go to regionals. Stay hungry. Stay foolish (I never went hungry though).

Sitting on a penguin fleece blanket at Dolores Park peeling blood oranges and splattering specks of red juice on my pale skin as C tells me about R. Adoration and all the signs of early romance on her face. She is “cautiously optimistic, though,” she says. We sit for hours on the grassy knoll while a brown pit bull roams around us, slobbering on my shoes, and I notice that the blue lining along the sole is finally starting to peel. A baby faced Dutch(?) boy asks us twice if we would like tickets to a show that night. The weather is perfect but I turn my face away from the sun because I’m afraid of getting wrinkles now. C wanted guava juice but got kombucha instead. She found out she hates kombucha. So much for trying new things.

Two Chinese(?) women get off at South San Francisco. We continue on to Airport/Millbrae.

Bi-rite ice cream with earl grey and brown sugar. Every city block we walk is a little different. A little dirty. C walks with confidence, though, as someone who’s been living in the Mission for a while. We don’t have to consult the maps on our phones and I like that. I like following her blindly around, recognizing stores on streets we must have walked past just moments before and ending up at our destination. She looks down frequently at her new shoes. Dusky brown chukkas with rainbow paint-splattered panels on the sides that I brought for her. I hope I don’t stand out next to her. I hope I am not as she says with so much disdain “too put-together.” In my blue flannel check shirt and skinnies which could be ok if they weren’t from express and pre-distressed.

Sitting on the airplane now next to two girls who could be my age but are probably younger. I think everyone is younger than me now, though. Everyone who is young and beautiful and having fun like it is their birthright.

 

 
 

(Photo via Jessa Mae Photography)

27. TBT

26. Not That Kind of Girl

 
 

I devoured this book.

It got delivered on Saturday in a sturdy brown box (thanks amazon prime), and by Monday afternoon, I had that empty feeling that comes when you’ve finished something good (not unlike binge-watching a tv show).

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not her biggest fan. I didn’t get pulled into “Girls”, despite multiple attempts to sit through the episodes, and I am guilty of once comparing her body to that of a turtle (I’m only human). But this book is good.

And it’s good firstly because Lena Dunham is a good writer. She writes deftly about first times, first jobs, and first therapists. She makes it something more than just a confessional, or “just a memoir.” Coming from a generation that published this book (and I’m going to add this one as well), this book brings substance and art back to the genre.

Secondly, she never questions whether her experiences are worth sharing. That would be the biggest critique of a twenty-something upper-class white girl writing a memoir. Probably exactly the reason why, in the title, she puts “learned” in quotes. It’s one of the first things she addresses in the book – almost as if to say, “Let’s get this out of the way.”  Because, honestly, isn’t it about time we owned our stories?

 
 

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman.”

 

 
 

 

If I’m being truthful, I ended up picking the book (instead of this one) because of Michicko Kakutani.  And homegirl never steers me wrong.

26. Not That Kind of Girl

5. 

From The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

I spent an afternoon in a coffee shop last year repeating this poem like a mantra, like a prayer. Asking myself these questions and holding a moral inventory.

And now? Now, I am simply trying to enjoy the pleasure of my own company.

5. 

4.

I was at a party thrown by a friend of friend recently, and it was one of those semi-awkward affairs where the only person you know is the friend who brought you and you’ve foolishly volunteered to be DD so you can’t even take advantage of the open bar to make you forget you have social anxiety.

Luckily, there were tacos and really sweet people and a dj spinning hip-hop tracks the whole night. So long story short, it was a good time.

But

That’s not the point of this story.

I met someone there, another sort-of-outsider who was new to this group of close-knit friends. We made some small talk and I steeled myself for the inevitable question, “So, what do you do?” Ever since I left medicine, nothing makes me feel like I’m floundering about in life as much as this question. There’s a sense of security and, yes, I’ll admit it – pride, in being able to swiftly reply “a doctor.” I gave up security in more ways than feeling comfortable at small talk, but it’s a jarring reminder whenever I meet someone new. I’d had versions of the same conversation as I met several new people that night. 

Paula was different, though. She wore a long red dress and I can’t remember now if her curly hair was up or down, but she smiled a lot, as I’m sure I did, too. That almost-forced overly eager grin that’s trying hard but failing to hide your insecurity – it was plastered on both our faces. At a party thrown by a photographer and attended by all his photographer friends, I correctly assumed Paula was also a photographer. We chatted about that for a minute, and then she asked me, “What are you passionate about?”

What a revelationary* thing to ask.

No, it’s not quite the same as, What do you do? Because as any immigrant parent will tell you, what you do for a living and what you do for fun are mutually exclusive. 

I was taken aback by her question and I didn’t have any ready answers. On the rooftop of the house of gods I found myself rummaging around my soul for an answer.

What a question, right?

Since then, it’s changed the way I think about someone’s occupation/vocation/profession and how I approach people in general. A person’s response will tell you so much more about him or her than a job description or the salary figure that pops up in your head.

It’s a question worth asking and revisiting often, because, as Kate Bornstein says, “Your life’s work begins when your great joy meets the world’s great hunger.”

So…what are you passionate about?

*i don’t even care if revelationary is not a word; it is now

4.

1.

This is how we’re starting – in media res. Because nobody is their truest self during introductions. We pick up bits and pieces throughout the years and moments. From conversations with and about someone; how generous they are to waiters and lovers; if they replace the toilet paper roll or simply perch it on top of the cardboard tube. Things you don’t know about a person until you’ve known them for some time, and even then, maybe never.

They say to be a writer, just start writing.

So fuck it, let’s do this.

1.