Weird.

Life is weird.

Weird like uncomfortable silence. You’re staring at your feet, giggling awkwardly at nothing in particular, desperately trying to think of something – anything to fill the silence with. The other person, equally distressed, rocks back and forth from their heels to their toes while simultaneously questioning everything about their existence. Time is slowing at an alarming rate, every passing second is pure agony, and you have nothing to do but pray that the other will break the speaking fast. It’s a painful, distressing, nearly unbearable experience that somehow leaves both parties feeling like they’ve been through hell and back, and have emerged from the depths hand in hand. We’ve been through this, there’s not much worse out there for us to endure.

Life is weird.

Weird like a long car ride. You’re jammed into a 13 year old rust-bucket with child protection locks on all the windows and only front wheel drive, sandwiched in between that one friend that smells all the time and the guy whose name you keep forgetting because you didn’t really want him to come with, but your other friend felt bad for him and insisted on bringing him along for the ride. Your legs are cramped and stiff, your hair is greasy, your back itches, and with each passing moment, your stomach twists tighter and tighter, groaning obnoxiously for snacks. It’s one big, chaotic road trip chock full of magical moments and not so magical moments all melding together to form the journey from Point A to Point B. If you make it out alive, you’ll be better for it.

Life is weird.

Weird like gas station bathrooms. You try not to touch the walls as you wait your turn to enter the chasm of darkness and suspicious stains. There’s a bearded biker with a ponytail and a neck tattoo in front of you in the line, an unidentifiable liquid spill beneath your feet, and a stagnant reek of artificial cheese that makes the air feel heavy and damp. Torn toilet paper litters the floor, the rusting faucet drips steadily, unceasing, and the image of despair is made complete by the graffiti etched into the dank, spotted mirror. It it horrifying, disgusting – but when you reemerge from the filthy pit, you now know just how strong you are. You have conquered insurmountable things.

Life is wonderful.

Wonderful like the quiet moments on long car rides in between stops at gas station bathrooms. Nothing is perfect, but amidst all the uncomfortable, unsatisfying, non-glamorous bits, you find that the journey itself is perfectly imperfect. The cold wind that rushes through the car window and bites at your cheeks, the tear-filled laughter that erupts spontaneously whilst telling stupid jokes, and the strange stories you have to tell after your unexpected experiences in dirty, rural gas stations all make the trip worthwhile. In all its random encounters, strange occurrences, tough spots, and hard times, life is wonderful. Very weird, but very wonderful.

Live the life. Live it well. Live it weird and find the wonderful.

Gabriella

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Simply Say It

Why do we keep really wonderful things to ourselves?

It’s a simple question with a more complex answer. Maybe we’re afraid to come on too strong or to make the other person uncomfortable. Perhaps we’re worried about the response we’ll receive, or what those around us will think. All these fears are natural and understandable, of course. In a world where we must all be on our guard, careful not to let anyone harm us or do us wrong, we have learned to keep a lot of things to ourselves. Our mothers all taught us that same age-old phrase, ingrained into our minds like our own names, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But they didn’t say anything about what to do when we have really nice things to say! So I say share and share alike! Simply say it. If you’ve observed something sweet about someone, say it for God’s sake! I promise you, it’ll make someone’s day.

Now this doesn’t mean that we should be insincere in our compliments and tell people things that we don’t mean simply to boost their ego. It just means that if somebody has said, done, or simply is something that we admire, we should thank them for their goodness by bringing it to the forefront. Take the goodness that lives inside you and share it with the world. Start with your own friends and neighbors, and watch it grow.

Don’t hold back,

Gabriella

In Praise of The Young Man Who Danced At The Red Light

As I sat behind the wheel of my mom-style minivan I counted the seconds ticking slowly by. I began to wonder how much of my life I had spent waiting at these devilishly long red lights, contemplating everything from my very existence to the true ingredients of the Krabby Patty Secret Formula.

The particularly soft song playing through the aux cord was gradually coming to its close, stirring me from my daydreams and sucking me back into the boredom of the moment. My wandering eyes made their way to the car in front of my own, and I couldn’t help but notice the young, bearded man in the driver’s seat who was, for lack of a better term, getting his groove on. I haven’t the slightest idea what he was listening to, or what kind of a day he was having, but it must have been very, very good. As he nodded his head easily and rambunctiously tapped the steering wheel, I couldn’t help but smile. He was just so happy. His carefree demeanor seemed to emanate from the tips of his dancing fingers and reach into my own heart, so much so, that I began to laugh. And before I knew it, I couldn’t stop laughing.

When he glanced into his rear view mirror and noticed me giggling like a fool, he ceased his moving and grooving. I immediately felt guilty for having put an end to his joy, but my regrets were short lived. After a moments rest, he grinned back at me through the mirror and continued his lighthearted dancing. I found myself so relieved by his unwavering happiness that my smile grew even broader and my laughter even heartier. When he glanced back at me once more, his own cheer compounding upon itself, I was struck by the sudden urge to retaliate in equal joyousness. I quickly searched my music for an upbeat, sunny song, and settled on an old favorite. Starting a little timidly, I soon struck up a smooth and shamelessly silly dance. We laughed at each other and at the supreme kookiness of the situation, and I don’t know about him, but I had long forgotten about the seemingly never ending red light.

And as quickly as it began, it was finished. The cars slowly creaked into movement, stretching tired gears that grew cold waiting for the light to shine green. My new found friend pulled into the left lane in preparation to make his turn, and I stepped lightly on the gas pedal, ready to continue on my journey. As the engine revved and my soccer mom ride pushed onward, the young man and I peeked over at one another and smiled for the final time. I didn’t even have time to look back at him through my rear view mirror before he was out of sight.

Out of sight, but not so far out of mind.

Thank you, young man who danced at the red light, for making me smile. Thank you for reminding me to be joyful for myself, in the peaceful moments I spend alone when no one is watching. This one’s for you.

Keep living merrily. Keep doing you.

Gabriella

O Captain! My Captain!

walt-whitman

Well, you guessed it. This Taco Tuesday is really a “Walt Whitman Appreciation Day”. In truth, I believe that every day should be Walt Whitman Appreciation Day. From the classic O Captain! My Captain! to the equally heart-wrenching Vigil Strange I Kept On The Field One Night, every line is masterfully woven together to create tremendous works of art. The unbelievable capacity of poetry to make me feel everything reached its culmination as I delved deeper into the writings of Whitman, and I remember almost too clearly the night I sat in bed, knees tucked to my chest, book clutched in my hands, the very first time a poem made me cry. So when the words on the page blur together as your tears leave their warped footprints on the fading ink, remember that if you feel bad reading it, poor Mr. Whitman had to feel even worse so he could find the emotional capacity to write it.

To leave you with some more lighthearted words from Walt Whitman –

“Keep your face always towards the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

“Happiness, not in another place, but this place… Not for another hour, but this hour.”

I hope you will discover something you love,

Gabriella

 

 

Tuesdays Are For Taco-ing

Talking, that is. See, I told you I liked bad puns.

So here we are. It’s a crisp, bright Tuesday morning here in sunny Southern California and I can’t seem to sit still. Between pacing the tiles of the cold kitchen and staring out the window, watching the wind tousle the trees, I am unsure of where this day will lead me. One thing is certain though; There is work to be done – books that need their pages turned, songs that beg to be heard, and thoughts that simply cannot pen themselves. An endless torrent of uncompleted ideas, pending projects, and unvoiced opinions swirl their way through my mind like soggy clothes in the middle of a lengthy wash cycle. I know what I must do.

Tuesdays are for taco-ing (talking).

But why tacos? The answer is simple. Tacos are the America of food. For decades, all those who entered The United States through Ellis Island in New York were greeted by a brilliant, shining Lady Liberty, on whose pedestal these welcoming, all-embracing words are inscribed:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The noble taco is just as loving. That limp, rejected cilantro? Put ‘er here. The cold, greasy meat? Slap it on me. Those crushed, bleeding tomato chunks? I’ll take that too. The taco takes all willingly, and in its tortilla it accepts and nurtures anything and everything you can think to wrap in its steamy embrace.

So that’s what Tuesdays are for. Tacos and talking. Every thought, every idea, all the whirlwind emotions and notions that have no place anywhere else come here to be released, reinvented, or simply recited. It could be anything, because on Taco Tuesday, anything goes.

Eat up,

Gabriella