To not real endings and not real new beginnings

This is going to be a bittersweet week, with endings and new beginnings. Although the more I think about it, it isn’t a real ending or really moving on from something, or maybe it is, I just can’t really put my finger on the right word yet, and I don’t know if I actually realize that I am ending something and starting something else. After 2 years of working at 200 Orchard (and believe me, it feels like it has been a lot longer than that), I will be doing my last shifts there tonight and tomorrow night. After being offered a full-time mainly managing position at Taqueria I had to decide whether I wanted to take it and leave 200 or just remain on the same schedule as I have been for a while now, working in both places, side by side. Both jobs have been the best I have ever had, not just because of the actual work, but also because of the people I work with, the bosses I have, people who have become friends, and the fact that  I have always been given my own independence and trusted with the responsibility of making sure I keep a work place open on the nights that I am working there.

Over the past few years I have met many people, some who have become very close friends (you know who you are), people I would never have met if I hadn’t been working at 200 Orchard. There have been nights when I wanted to run home and hide under the covers, but continued to serve drinks to annoying people with a smile on my face. There has been many a night when I had the best times ever, be it at work, or just hanging out in the bar with friends. There have been times that I’ll never forget, and other times that I would rather forget (flooding the basement being one of them). There are places that you work that are just work places, and then there are places that you work that become part of your life, part of your family and that you will never forget.

In any case, it’s not like I will be going far away, just next door, and it’s not like I won’t be at the bar again, just as a customer and not an employee anymore. I just want to thank Ramie, James and Damo for giving me the opportunity to work in such a wonderful place, and for also putting up with me over the past couple of years (and Luis too of course). There are many parts of the job that I will miss a lot… Come on down tonight or tomorrow (and both) – I am sure there is going to be a lot of fun to be had. And a lot of good music will be played, as always.

Ramblings: random self-centered BS

Ever since I woke up I have been trying to think about how I will start writing a review of the Spiritualized show for my blog. I will write one at some point over the next few days, whether or not I will actually post it will be another story, but right now I just can’t. I need to keep it all to myself for a few days. I know that may sound weird, but every time I see them I have such a fantastic personal connection to the music that it takes me a while to process it all. And I actually don’t really want to share it with anyone.

Someone who I consider a close friend hurt my feelings on Monday evening (just before the show), and I’m terrible at just saying out loud “that was really unkind of you and my feelings are hurt”. Instead, while I was watching the show I found I really wanted to drink. Specifically, I wanted to drink a Stoli on the rocks, my old favourite and a drink I haven’t touched in well over 3 years. I wanted to down one and then another. I could literally even taste it… That is, until I said it out loud, that I wanted a drink, and because I have the best friends in the world I just got a “No” in reply. Then that feeling was gone, and I went back to total music immersion, and forgot about it. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the only reason I actually really wanted to get drunk was because I wanted to piss off the person who had hurts my feelings earlier. Um… Trying to get back at someone by ultimately hurting oneself? Very mature approach to life! So stupid. I really think I need a holiday from everything right now. I’ve been dreaming of a week on a remote island where all I have is a notebook to write in, my iPod so I can listen to music and lots of sand, waves and sunshine. All of this with no people around me. Just a week away.

One of my pet peeves is someone telling me I’m doing something wrong (when I am actually not), in front of other people, with the ultimate aim to make me look like an idiot. It makes me feel like a child, and then I end up actually wanting to act like a child, you know, kick a few things over and scream, maybe punch someone. Thinking about it, I don’t think I ever acted like that when I was a child, so I guess I missed out on the tantrum phase and feel the need to have them at the age of 34. That said, I don’t actually do anything, just grit my death and mutter insults under my breath while carrying on with what I am doing. This happened last night and seeing as I am still annoyed (and embarrassed) by it I’m writing about it so I can forget about it (I think that may only make sense to me).

You know what else would be a really cool getaway? A road trip across the US. Chuck a few things in the back of the car and take off and see all these different places I have never been to before. I would love to go through Mississippi and Tennessee, all through the South, go to the Grand Canyon, drive through the desert… Pity I can’t actually drive. Maybe one day I will actually learn, or they will invent a car that you can just drive with your eyes or voice. The latter would probably be the best option. Learn how to drive so you can an escape holiday across unknown to you countryside. I was actually walking to dog this morning and realised that I really wish I could take him to Rutland so he could run around in the fields and go on a long walk through the country paths. It gets quite boring just walking along the streets of Bushwick sometimes.

Have to go to work again… I have a load of stories I have to write this weekend, all based on things I have seen over the past few weeks. I think the funniest one is going to be based on a bar we walked into before the show on Monday. I felt like we had walked into a different dimension. I need more time to write, I don’t want to lose all these ideas!

Of emotional rollercoasters

Anything I write today will just be too sad or too angry or too thankful. This week has been an emotional roller coaster and I am not prepared to write about it in public just yet and I just really can't get the words out properly anyway. I am thankful for the friends who gave me hugs and listened to me, and to those who were just there. I want to kick those who "zoned out" when I needed them the most, you know who you are, and also who you aren't to me anymore.

I listen to this song every day. It never fails me with it's beauty.

The Park - place of sanctuary... Memories

We all had one growing up. It may have really been a park. It could have been a playing field, a graveyard, a railway embankment, a tree house, a forest. Just one place where you and your group of friends would meet up every day, lounge around for hours talking about everything and nothing, drinking beer, smoking hash and watching the hours roll by in great company.

A typical day in the life of outcasts teens, lazy, depressed, happy, sad, motivated, silly, young, old beyond our years... Countless hours of talking about the next gig we were going to, who the best guitarist in the world is, who the darkest 19th century poet was, about boys and about girls and about how we were going to afford the next packet of cigarettes and the next bottle of cheap red wine.

Our park was in the centre of the city, kind of in between all of our high schools, but right next to the private Catholic school a few of us went to. I had already dropped out of my school by that time, 1995 was the year of skipping class and then just never going back, smoking a lot of hash and drinking a lot of wine and beer, skipping through the park, contemplating the clouds in the sky, dating cute metal or goth boys and all signing our names in the little children's house with the slide. I must have had an awful reputation with the teachers at that school nearby as they used to try and drag my friends who went there back to class whenever they hung out with us all there. We were harmless, just different.

One night Alex and I decided that we were going to climb the fence and "break in" to the park... We did it, and walked through the trees in the pitch dark, pretending that we weren't scared when we really were, but unwilling to back out of the dare because we were trying to prove something to ourselves. At that moment we just wanted to run away to another country together and forget all about our lives, living another. Of course that never happened and I don't even know what he is doing or where he is nowadays, but that memory will always be imprinted in my mind.

Another time little skater Marion and I smoked a joint with some random guy and couldn't move for hours from the grass. Literally couldn't move. I suppose there was some lesson to be learnt there but I didn't learn it. The smell of burning Afghan hash still immediately brings me right back to the park and the memories of all that we left there.

Of course we weren't the only group to hang out there, there were other groups, but we never mingled with them. I think we all used to sneer at each other. Them at us because we wore ripped jeans and listened to aggressive music, and the boys had long hair and the girls smoked and swore. Us at them because we thought they were all boring and we felt inferior. We didn't fit in and they did.

My park is in the middle of Grenoble, France and it has a big fake elephant in the entrance. It's called the Jardin des Plantes (there is one in every French city) and is next to the Natural History Museum. The private high school is called Pierre Termier, my high school (lycee and college) was called Stendhal and was located just down the road (although my section has since been relocated). Some of my friends at the time have disappeared into their lives and away from mine, some are still very, very good friends and others I hear from now and again.

I'll always remember the time we drank bottles and bottles of beer in the afternoon and just stuck them upside down in the grass like a sculpture and left them there... It's amazing that the park keeper never banned us!

Why I write...

A while ago I made a conscious decision to only write about things that I actually like, appreciate and love, as well as voice my own personal opinions, fears, thoughts and emotions. This spot is not a place for me to review or bash anything I don’t really care about. If I don’t like a band, a book or a movie, I probably just won’t talk about it, not on here in any case. There are a few times when I have provided a negative review on something, and felt bad about it for days. So I’m leaving that for others. I will, however, not hesitate to voice my opinions on what I feel and see around me. On politics and world events and on human beings. Basically, I am not going to bash what you create, but I may ask you to think a little deeper into things, and questions your ideals (if you happen to have any). And you may not agree with me, and that’s cool too. I enjoy a good old debate where I try to prove myself right!

Support is sometimes found in the strangest of places, and not found in those places that you automatically thought that it would be found. Strange how life moves in mysterious ways: hills where you thought the terrain would be smooth, smooth sailing over rough waters and all that. I don't expect much, but even then you get disappointed by those you thought would never disappoint you, and at the same time are pleasantly surprised by the solidarity and encouragement of others who were always there, but not as close to you. All of a sudden you touch someone in a way that you didn't know you could touch someone, but the person you thought that would understand doesn't even acknowledge your presence. So what do you do? Force those who don't seem to care less to listen to you? Or just let it lie, move on and accept the fact that some people are just too caught up in their own hazy bubble to bother to see a little further.

I just don’t think my voice is loud enough and never has been. That’s why I started writing in the first place, as I can’t compete with the loudness of another person’s voice. I am constantly talked over, so there is no point in trying to force an issue when your soft voice just falls off the edge of everyone else’s much louder voices. And, honestly, if you really want to listen to what I have to say, then you can bloody well listen to me. Writing helps me voice opinions and thoughts and feelings that would otherwise go unheard. You can sweep this under the carpet too if you like, but in the end it may touch the heart of someone else, like me, and that is the main point.

It’s funny, but often I wake up, and say to myself that I dislike people immensely, and then I kick myself for trying to lie. I don’t dislike people and I don’t hate people. I love people. I love the way people talk, communicate, react, write, live, create… I do hate the way people mistrust, hurt, steal, and destroy, but in the end I still believe in the inherent good that resides in a percentage of the world population. Call me an idealist and I will agree with you. Nothing wrong with believing in something and hoping that one day there will be changes in this world. Changes that we can help make if we make our voices heard. Never think that you are just one person amidst many, and that you will never be able to make a difference. You will. You just need to believe in yourself… And I know how hard that is, I lose confidence in myself at least once an hour (and have amazing friends who prod me back into place whenever I need it). And I DO need it. I just won’t tell you that I do, well because, I am just too self-conscious and shy to. I’ll just get upset at your lack of attention to what I am doing, or saying, and will rant about it, but won’t actually ask you why you don’t give a shit, because I already know the answer: you don’t give a shit.

But someone else most likely does, and that is the reason I write. First of all I get what I want to say out there, and second of all, there is at least one other person in the world who is going to read what I write, and hopefully be inspired too. That’s the whole point in the end, be inspired to inspire others. So, in the end, I am heard… Maybe not by those I wanted to hear me, but by someone else who maybe needed to a little more. That makes it all worthwhile.

Today my first real article got accepted for publication. Nothing really special, but it’s a start and it feels like an accomplishment.

That awkward feeling of being alone when surround

It's been over 2 and a half years, and most of the time it doesn't get to me. You know, you are in your comfort zone, you go to the places where you feel at home, the triggers that pushed you to have a drink are long gone, and you feel that you are past all those issues that you had to run away from before. Your friends drink around you and it doesn't bother you. I mean there is always a cab two steps from the bar to take you home once everyone starts to annoy you, right? I even work in a bar now, and never think about doing a shot, or having a drink after work. It doesn't even cross my mind. I serve people drinks, talk to them, have fun, listen to good music and go home after work.
I've honestly found that this last year has been easy to deal with without alcohol and cigarettes, even during the worst moments at my old job.

And then you get caught unawares. All of a sudden you are outside of that comfort zone that you created, away from the cabs that can take you home, and the bar stool you always sit on and literally hide behind. That happened to me last night. I spent the whole weekend having an amazing time, with my close friends, seeing some absolutely wonderful live acts, feeling inspired and just really happy. It was during the final party, the last DJ set at Asbury Lanes, and everyone was happy and getting drunk and I felt so strange. All of a sudden I had a crazy urge to down a huge glass of vodka and smoke a cigarette. I'm not talking about a slight wish that I could have a drink, I mean a full-on I want to be as drunk as everyone else now because otherwise I am never going to feel like I am OK standing here. Everything felt totally surreal, like I had been pulled from one dimension to another without warning, and had this intense feeling of not belonging, even though I was surrounded by people I love. I just wanted to disappear into the crowd of dancing people and dance like crazy. I wish I had, I would have been happier. But I couldn't, I just stood there feeling awkward, and then took it out on one of my closest friends because he felt like having a drink.

I suppose I just need to remember that it's OK to be awkward, and it's OK to say that you feel awkward, but also that it's OK to not care about feeling awkward too. The only reason I felt awkward was because I felt like I was different, the odd one out. No one else noticed, everyone was too busy having fun. And I feel bad because I never wanted any of my friends to feel bad about drinking in front of me, because it's my own choice to not drink anymore, not anyone else's choice. And there is no need for me to make anyone else feel bad, just because I feel bad myself. But, I honestly also believe I am way too hard on myself at times... It's tough.

Now I am back home again, and everything is back to normal again. I feel lucky that I have such wonderful and supportive friends, and such a great life.

Now time for some serious ATP and other writing, just needed to get that off my chest first.

Talking about oneself is... Tedious.

Nowadays we can upload our feelings of the moment, thoughts, images and movements to a public forum on the internet whenever we want, we can bare our souls to a group of people who may or may not know us, drunkenly declare our love to someone so the world can see it and delete it the next day, pretending that it never really happened. Who really notices anyway, there is so much information being added and updated by the minute that it literally is in one ear and out another, right?

I’ve always found it really hard to talk about myself. Unless you actually ask me, I probably won’t volunteer any real information about myself, especially if I am not close to you. If you are a close friend I may talk more about myself, but tend to listen more than talk. One of my friends told me yesterday that I needed to be more vocal about my thoughts, feelings, emotions and activities, so that people would remember them. But I just can’t… I will say something once and hope that it is remembered, and then usually get upset when it isn’t. I just don’t want to be that person who continuously talks about herself. I honestly don’t really see what I can actually say that will interest people that much anyway. And in the end, it’s much easier to write it all down and hope that it may be read one day, rather than talk about it with a random person who happens to be in the vicinity, wait for their reaction, and then most likely get the usual “well that reminds me of when that happened to me…”. OK, that was probably a bit over the top, I am basically just trying to say that I find it extremely difficult to talk about myself, and if you want to know something you really have to pull it out of me. I don’t think that will change anytime in the near future.

I don’t know, maybe I am asking for too much… I have a good memory and tend to remember things about others. If we are close friends I don’t need Facebook to remind me it’s your birthday and I know that you prefer chocolate over red velvet. Or I will remember that you have an exam or big test tomorrow and will wish you luck beforehand. I am the one to send you a “safe flight” text before you get on a flight just because I want you to know I’m thinking of you when you are travelling. I try really hard to remember every important detail, but sometimes I forget too (especially when I write a note about it!), but I really try.

I think this is why I get unnecessarily upset when people forget about something important I am doing. Going back to what my friend said yesterday: maybe I should remind people constantly about something, and in the end I won’t be disappointed when they don’t actually forget. But then again, I just can’t bring myself to. I just get annoyed at your for not remembering, but I will never say that either. Because, in the end, does it all really matter? (Yes, but I won’t say that either).

Enough talk about me. There are a lot more interesting things happening in the world today, like Saudi women maybe finally getting the chance to vote (in 2015), women protesters being pepper-sprayed by the police during the Occupy Wall Street protest yesterday, the continuing famine in Somalia…

England... I forgot you somehow...

I left London 6 years ago, and landed in New York with a couple of suitcases, a new job and what appeared to be a sea of new experiences to have, people to meet and a new life to explore. I never really looked back... I wasn't really happy in London. I didn't enjoy my job that much (especially not the pittance it paid), I didn't really know anyone, and didn't know how to meet people, couldn't afford to do much more than work and eat. I did live in a great house, with wonderful people, but at the same time I missed my mum, sister and brother who were in California, my on/off boyfriend who was back in Colombia (is boyfriend really the word? I don't know anymore), and all my friends in France and Israel. I missed the sunshine and the desert, the "real" coffee, the long nights... I was lucky to have the rest of my family in England, and made regular trips up to Empingham to be with my Nana and Aunt, but I was too restless for London at the time, too full of anger at not being able to live in the US, too full of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life.

New York swallowed me up. A lot happened over the space of 6 years, some of it covered very openly, or more discreetly, in this blog. But now I feel like it has spit me out, the same person, a little older, a little wiser, but with a lot more hindsight, and also, foresight.

I finally went back to England last week for 6 days. 3 days for work, 3 days for myself. It was quite a revelation, in a sense. Everything is still in segmented phrases in my head for now, so that is how I am going to portray it here...

I love London. The buildings, the Tube, the smell of the soap, the parks... The politeness of living in England. Yes, people DO stand to the right on elevators, and wait for people to get off the train before they get on, however busy the platform is. Fruit pastilles. Chips and mushy peas late in the evening.
The countryside... Rutland. The green of the land, thatched roofs, The White Horse and Sunday Lunch. Jacket Potatoes and long conversations with Auntie Louise. Home.
The proximity of the rest of Europe and the idea that Paris IS only a short flight or train ride away.
Charlie and Cristi and Lynn not far - why were we not all such close friends before I moved? Would I have moved if we had been? (Probably, but I still wonder).
QUIET. The ability to actually sit in a pub and have a conversation with people who are not off their faces on something.
People who have known me since I was born. Family. REAL news on television. Really, really old things. Israel being only a 5 hour flight away.

There are more. Just let me get my thoughts together properly. Sometimes I see everything through the opposite of rose-tinted glasses, and I feel like I spent my time in London looking through grey-tinted glasses 6 years ago. Now I have more perspective...

Back later.

The Past is the Present is the Future

I often feel nostalgic and remember stories from the past. I think of those people who were once part of my life and who have now disappeared, off into their own lives, living happily ever after (I hope). I often imagine what these people may or may not be doing, making up stories and wondering if I will ever cross paths with them again. Of course, not all the people I ever met in my life, but those who were part of it in some significant way or another.

Before the age of the internet, I would probably have never seen, or heard from these people again. With the amount of times that I have moved, and also the fact that I changed my surname back to my father's surname the day my mother divorced my stepfather, it would have been impossible for people to find me. In any case, where would you look? In a phone book? Where would you start?

But nowadays we have all the means in the world. Type in someones full name in Facebook, and if they are on there you are bound to find them. Do a few searches on Friendfinder, or other, and you will probably find old school friends. Who will then tell you what became of so and so, etc etc. For a long time I had wondered what had happened to my dad's friend Denton. In the mid 80's he was the lead singer of the band The Janitors, and one year my dad took us to Sunderland with them, when they were on tour. I really really wanted to find him again, and felt like I had looked all over... And this year we found him on Facebook.

Another friend recently found me on Facebook, and I found another, very old high school friend through a French school site. It makes me so happy to rediscover and get to know these people again. These are people who knew me growing up, who saw me become who I am today. People who are not only interested in what I have been doing over the past 10-15 years, but who are also interested in WHY I did this, and decided to do that. And I feel the same way about them.

This all makes me so happy. It's honestly been a saving grace for me over the past few months. I may live in the past, but it is definitely part of my present and will follow me into my fture.


Sadness... Changes...

It's just a little bit saddening when everyone else's problems are a tiny bit more important than yours. I learnt to actually talk about the way I feel, to communicate when I am sad, angry or happy, but that doesn't mean I am always heard. It's a little frustrating when I am fine with listening and listening and listening, but when it comes to being listened to, it doesn't always happen. What do you have to do to make yourself heard? Something really stupid like drink yourself into a coma? I'm so over doing that type of thing anymore. So maybe I should just go back to not expecting any support or help anymore?

Please remember that strength and willpower don't mean the inability to be sad, breakdown, or to be super sensitive. They just mean you hide it better.

I walked from work on 34th and Park all the way home to Bushwick last night. My eyes kept welling up with tears and people kept looking at me sympathetically, but I just trudged on home, listening to Bella Donna to keep me going.

Some days are easier than others, but if I reach out to you please don't forget me. It's all going to be ok in the end, but I'm feeling very fragile this week.