Monthly Archives: May 2011

the Messenger

8:19 pm

It has been seven lonely days without writing.  I will go back to my story but it is much more time-consuming than just spilling my guts onto the screen so I need to go back to this format for now.

We are on vacation in Hilton Head.  It has been seven days, my writing muscles have atrophied, so please excuse me.  I can’t believe it has been seven days, Jesus Christ what have I been doing.

Today I was bored.  I have not had this feeling of boredom for a long time.  All my free time, I have been filling with writing or reading.  During the last seven days, I forgot.  Instead of jumping to the keyboard, I fell into doing what I used to do before the excitement of writing came into my life –“I do not know what.”

Stressing about what to pack.  What will I wear on my vacation and the general filler crap that makes life so dull.

On Friday before I left I met with a woman who was buying some jewelry from me.  She is a healer who I have written about in the past.  She has a profound effect on me.  It is strange how some people I hear as if the volume is turned up when they are talking, while others recede into the white noise of everyday life.  It is usually the least suspecting of people.  She talked to me, looking me straight in the eye about being in the present moment and letting go of any control when I feel I want to control it.  When I feel my body tighten and the moment feels painful, know that this is my moment to learn patience.  I must have heard and read the same thing hundreds of times but it is not the message sometimes, it is the messenger.  When she spoke the words, it made sense and it even seemed doable.

At that moment, I knew what it was.  The messenger was speaking from real experience.  It was not some theoretical composition of “how we should be”.  This woman was trying to live like that and even succeeding enough to see that it was what I needed too.  Not just needed like everybody needs it but needed to hear at that specific moment.

I hear myself talking sometimes and I wonder why my message is not heard.  I see the glazed eyes looking back at me.  I know those eyes, I have seen them in the mirror.  I do not have the right to speak the message that I have not yet learned.

10:15 pm

 

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In Lit Flashback (2)

7:42

I am just starting with the last paragraph.  Playing with titles as I go.  Tell me which one you like.

Stuart was  home that night.  For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea for the three of us to hang out together on our second date.  Stuart liked the role of a chaperon or a protective male roommate. He wanted to see what this guy was all about.  This Russian guy who I was so excited to see for the third time ever, on our second, Bohemian date of watching “Waking Life” (my favorite movie at the time) on the futon.  Stuart said he always wanted to see that movie, but he fell asleep in a chair, snoring lightly, in line with his character that night.  The dialogue moved fast in the movie, it was all these ideas that I loved.  I was watching it intently, hoping that he was soaking up those ideas too and relating to me through them.

In the dim light, my room looked beautiful.  The strung gemstones all hanging like vines of all colors on the pegboard in the corner.  The cream linen curtains I sewed with colorful threads on the bamboo sticks for rods, made me feel cozy in my lavender cocoon.  The futon we sat on was covered by the wool tapestry depicting symbols of the Incas, reminding me of my Peruvian journey with its scratchy texture.  Looking around my room, I was proud, of where I have been, what I have seen and of what I have learned.  It took courage for me to get to this room in this unrenovated cracking building.  Strength to lose and to find a new identity.  Balls to change my name from Olga to Olia.  I was proud to meet him now, at this point of my life, when I have this room to show for it, screw the rat in the wall.

Stuart stirred, he opened his eyes and realized that he had dozed off.  “Well, it was nice to meet you, Yury.  I can’t stay awake anymore.” he said leaving the room, giving me a smirky stare.  We were alone again.  We sat quietly watching the movie but our minds were not in it anymore.  With Stuart gone, it became absurd.  We should get to know each other instead of watching this movie.  We always need some sort of pretense to get together: eating dinner, watching movies, an occasion.  We should face the facts as humans, we need each other.  Lets make plans to meet not to do something together but to be together.

I was feeling.  I did not want to think or talk or pretend, I wanted to feel.  Every person makes you feel differently.  Maybe when I am enlightened, no one will be able to change the way I feel.  Only I, alone will be responsible for my feelings.  I am still not fully responsible.  Only third time being with him and I felt myself.  Free to reveal my inner thoughts and ideas without fear of what he might think of me for them.  I also noticed that my speech was articulate.  I become a stumbling fool when presented with “uncomfortable” situations.  When I do not feel that I could be seen, I sound like an idiot using the word “like” and dumbing down my ideas.  I start to make stuff up in order to relate, knowing that doing that pushes me away further from everything including myself.  I noticed my speech was calm and even, not rushed.

He walked over to the table where I kept my jewelry tools and picked up some gold wire and pliers.

“You are like a girl version of me.” he said quietly and as-a-matter-of-factly.  My breath quickened, my stomach gripped with an unexpected rush of energy.  I had to take a quiet breath to compose myself and to sound calm and continue the conversation as if that statement was just chit-chat.  He really likes me.  Holy Shit, he likes me Why is it so hard for me to believe that somebody who I like actually likes me too.  It is so rare, this synchronicity.

“Explain that statement” I asked feigning quiet interest and making a curious sexy face.

“I have the same wires and pliers that I use for my projects except mine are thinner gauges.” clipping off a piece of wire with the pliers.

Yeah and we are both Russian immigrants who had to swim against a lot of currents to be ourselves.  I knew that he meant that too, but it was only our second date and to say all that would be too much, even for people pretending to be free spirits.  I appreciated that he said it at all.  He is the brave one.  His initial demeanor that first day at the coffee shop was quiet and shy, almost sheepish.   I am sure most people think him quiet and shy.  I could tell, he was not quiet or shy, it was a cute act though.  Quiet and shy people don’t ask girls in coffee shops for their phone numbers.  Quiet and shy people don’t say lines like that on their second dates.  He was the opposite of sheepish, he was bold.  I like it that he is quietly bold.

9:18

In Lit Flashback (1)

8:08 pm

This is a new format, I am playing with.  Building a short story.  It will be in parts, I am not sure if the parts will fit together.

I opened the door and he was standing there.  He looked a little scared.  Good, I thought.  I am also scared.  He came upstairs to the second floor where Bogie and I lived.  As we walked up the stairs, I noticed as if with his eyes, the run-down appearance of this building.  170 South 4th st., what a charming dump.  The red paint on the steps was sloppy, it has splashed past the lines, onto the old rising, lumpy linoleum and left there to dry for eternity by someone who could care less.  The yellow paint of the hallway wall was missing in big uneven chunks, ready to chip more if I were to brush against it.  There was a little cut out shelf in the wall as the stairs turned up, with dusty plastic and silk flowers arrangement in a white wicker basket on a doily.  It was meant to make the hallway prettier but it did the opposite.  The dust kept collecting on those flowers and I did nothing to stop it.  It was a common hallway after all, I had enough worries of my own.  I wanted to just throw them away, but they were not mine.  I walked past them everyday, with disgust.  I tried to engage him in conversation as we walked past it, hoping he would not notice it and get disgusted too.

I noticed the smell on our way up.  It was my desire to gauge his first impression of my place.  Even my nose was monitoring activity.  It was always there, I just forgot about it, the offensive smell of an unmaintained building.  Mildew mixed with roach feces.  It was only masked during those times when someone was cooking.  Sometimes it was Indian food from the couple on the first floor.  I could smell their cooking and hear the music they were cooking to, it was never any song I knew.  There were only three apartments with tenants.  The super had his own entrance to the basement level.   Us in the middle, the tattooed couple on the first floor and the very nice alcoholic, who barely spoke English on the top floor.  I had no problems with him except for those few occasions when he would come home drunk at random times of day and night and blast his Spanish music into the heavens.  I went up there ones to ask him to turn it down.  We had a nice rapport of saying hello and how are you to each other with a big smile, each time we saw each other in the hallway.  He could not hear me knock.  I opened the door that was cracked opened, eventually, saying, “Excuse me,” smiling politely.  He still didn’t see me.  The happy Meringue was meant to be danced to, but he was not dancing.  He was sloped over on the couch, his bald head in this hands, drowned.  He looked up finally, with sad, angry eyes, but he smiled to conceal it, the same smile from the hallway passings.  The smell of alcohol was frightening at that moment.  How could Meringue sound so scary.

The gold number 3 on our door, the number that made me feel stable.  I opened the door to my apartment and let him walk in.  There were little cracks in our door too, I could see the light from the hallway on my way to the bathroom at night.  Maybe my parents are right, why do I live like this?  I am already twenty-seven.  I live like… I don’t know.  The door swung open with its happy squeak.  It’s only been a few weeks since Monsieur Papillon died, I still forget that he does not come jumping to greet me at the door with his fluffy little body.  It is a shame, I wish he could have at least met him.  I pulled the long cord hanging from the hallway lamp.  The warm light clicked on, eliminating the red walls of the “vestibule.”  The piano, my most prized possession that I stopped attempting to play, sitting there in all of its Winter Spinet beauty.  I moved this piano from the my last apartment, the fancier, expensive one with a doorman.  It belonged right here now, in this nook, it was perfect.  The floors were uneven and cracked, collecting dust that could never be removed.  There was a rat or a mouse who lived in my wall, I heard him scratching from time to time at night while I slept alone.  I imagined it as a rat.  I was scared of it, I thought it would come in.  I would stay up, listening.  Unable to do anything about it, except get angry and then sad.

Still, I was proud of this place.  I welcomed everyone here, without shame.  This place was paid for by my jewelry, made by my own hands.  It was not paid by my Wall St. job that I hated.  It was just me.  I rented two connected rooms from Stuart while he lived in our living room.  One was a room just big enough for my bed and my cable-less tv.  One was my jewelry studio.  This is where I spent my days.  It was purple.  I did not paint the rooms, Stuart did that with his last roommate when he first moved in.  Primary bright colors.  It was the colors of this place and Stuart that made me want to live there the most.  Plus when I came to see the apartment, in my bedroom, on the wall, taped, was an 8 by 11 sheet that had that quote on it that I love, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us….”  I kept it up while I lived there for two and half years.

Stuart had bushy lamb chops for sideburns when I met him.  I instantly liked him but I figured everybody did.  He was in a band whose name I knew, it was another cool coincidence because I rarely knew any new band’s names.  I was stuck in another time.  The name of the band had anti-war connotation and that made me happy.  All I ever wanted was to live that hippie dream of mine.  The one that I saw in movies from the 60’s and 70’s.  To my straight friends, I represented a hippie.  To my hippie friends, I was the straight guy.  To me, I did not know what I was, I was still looking.  Even now, I am looking.  I am always looking for myself, even now as I write.  Was I there at 170 S. 4th street?

I remember my first sales rep coming to see the jewelry from Long Island.  She said, I just turned fifty, could you believe it?  No amount of fashion can turn back the clock, sorry, but I did not say that.  She wore a fancy shearling coat.  She kept asking me if I liked it.  I don’t know anything about shearling, Randy, I kept saying.  I still don’t.  It looks nice on you.  She kept telling me that my apartment and me are so Bohemian.  Did she mean poor?

Stuart was  home that night.  For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea for the three of us to hang out together on our second date.  Stuart liked the role of a chaperone or a protective male roommate. He wanted to see what this guy was all about.  This Russian guy who I was so excited to see for the third time ever, on our second, Bohemian date of watching “Waking Life” (my favorite movie at the time) on the futon.  Stuart said he always wanted to see that movie, but he fell asleep in a chair, snoring lightly, in line with his character that night.  The dialogue moved fast in the movie, it was all these ideas that I loved.  I was watching it intently, hoping that he is soaking up those ideas too and relating to me through them.

9:45 pm

Waking Life

Rice Kernels

Isaiah is turning two on Sunday.  I am trying to be a decent mom, or at least to be conscious fifty percent of the time when I am with him.  For the past year, I have been experimenting with discipline.   I do not want to wait until he is older.  He is ready now, he has been ready since he started crawling.  I have been around a lot of kids in my day and for the sake of the kids and the people who have to take care of them, discipline is important.  Yes, love, support, attention and all the extras too.

Sometimes he looks so cute and he makes the sad eyes and cries and I let him get away with stuff, especially around other people.   But today we were alone.  When we are alone, it is a perfect time to learn.

Recently he has been misbehaving more than usual and our nanny started to hint at it to me.  Are the terrible two’s upon me so literally?  With me, he is usually a great listener, if he is not over-tired or hungry.  Today at lunch, he threw his rice on the floor.  In the past, when he throws something on the floor, at the end of the meal, he has to go and pick it up.  Sometime he whines about it but at the end he does it.  Today, he would not pick up the rice.  I said, “Isaiah, you will either pick up the rice or sit in the time out.”

He pulled me by my hand toward the tent that he wanted to play in, screaming.  He loves it when we sit in the tent together.  He gives me a stuffed animal to sleep on, covers me with a blanket and we pretend to sleep for exactly two seconds.  Than we pertend to be flighing in a plane for two seconds.  Then he runs in and out of the tent bringing every toy you can imagine, until everything is in the tent.

“No, Isaiah, we are not playing in the tent until you pick up the rice.  If you pick up the rice we can go into the tent,”  more screaming.

So I put him in time out.  After the first time out, I took him back to the rice, I thought that would do it.  Still no.  He was screaming and pushing the rice away, he did not want to even help me pick it up when I offered.  I was not going to stop.  I tried my best to stay calm, by breathing deeply when he sat screaming in his time out.  I knew I took it too far to turn back, I could not pick up the rice now and create a precedent where he thinks he can get away with anything by screaming loud enough.  I needed to carry this through and I needed to stay calm.  I also tried my best to have faith that this is good for him.  This will teach him life’s consequences, important lesson to learn, earlier than later.

By the 4th time out the screams were getting louder and louder, I was starting to lose steam and get angry and hopeless.  I started doubting my methodology.  Maybe he just does not know how to pick up rice?  Of course he does, he did it five months ago.  Maybe he doesn’t understand what I want?  Of course he does, my calm inner voice answered, “Stop making excuses for him.”  He is testing his boundaries and if he keeps pushing he will extend his by closing in on mine.  I do not want to be there picking up rice on the floor after every meal.  And I don’t want to be doing his homework in five years.  And I do not want to be doing his taxes and paying his bills in twenty.

After the fifth time out, I saw something change.  Instead of getting angrier, he got calmer.  He took my hand, as we walked from the time out chair and calmly sat down on the floor picking up every kernel of rice with interest as if it was all of a sudden a game of finding every single piece.  The tears mysteriously vanished without a mark.  “Wow, great job on finding all the rice,” I said calmly, thinking to myself, “Holy Shit, what just happened.”  So relieved.

The rest of the day changed too.  He was different, not looking for trouble but looking for communication.  It was just like they described it in that awesome book obviously channeled to save human kind and their offspring, “Scream free Parenting.”  All day, I felt like his language improved too, he repeated more words, said more phrases and acted so compliant when I said let’s go wash our hands and put on our shoes.

At night before bed he hugged me for a long time.  We usually kiss and I hug him but this time, he rested his cute little head, for what felt like sweet eternity, on my shoulder.  I breathed in the tenderness of his angelic spirit.  I felt like he was saying: Thank you Mama, for being in charge today.  By being in charge of yourself, I feel more safe to trust you, even it is to teach me hard lessons.  Life is not all my whims.  It is about having responsibility for my actions, all of my actions or inactions.  Thank you for staying calm and working with me as I test my boundaries.  What? Oh, thank you my son.  Or maybe he was saying: God, you are one crazy mom.  Maybe this hug will comfort you so that you don’t lose it completely.  C’mon, couldn’t you just sweep up the rice with a rag and call it a day?

11:06 pm

155

Nothing makes me laugh more than when people say to me, ” But you seem like you are so happy, you only see the positive.”  Are they really that blind or am I really that fake.  My friend, Marina, told me that she knows that I have my issues.  Her voice was convincing.  She made a movement with her eyeballs that said, “I see it in you.”  It was both liberating and frightening.  Maybe I shouldn’t be friends with her.  It is the opposite though.  Seeing the dark side of a person allows you to see their true light.  It is only by contrast that this light is visible.  We cannot know the day, if there is no night.

Before her, only my immediate family knew the darkness.  My bad moods.  My temper.  My emotional disorders.  The ones that make me snap for no reason, just because I feel sad and the sadness is making you look ugly.  Everything feels wrong at those moments.  Life is a cruel joke directed at me and me only.  I know I am being easy on myself, making this sound poetic.  The darkness can be poetic but only after it releases me or I it.  There is nothing poetic about it in its moment.

I wrote about not listening to my parents yesterday.  Maybe they listen but I don’t listen.  I want to be independent too much.  So independent that the mere listening, I am scared will infect me.  I think I am being forced to agree or worse, conform.

Blue commented on my blog today on the post “Cat in the bag” (I liked this post).  It made me so happy, instantly.

Yes, Olia! You are already doing it. You inspire me to keep going with my writing and my blogging and going to the depths with my desires and dreams. So, keep going! But I know that voice really has to come from deep inside Olia, that is the one that you really want to hear from. She is speaking to you through your writing!

Somebody is speaking to me in my head.  She starts talking right as I am waking up.  She does not shut up until we go to sleep.  I used to want her to shut up but now I am listening.  I want to hear what she has to say and even write it down sometimes.  Then, I want to read it and see how it makes me feel.

Today, I woke up like a “Cat in the bag.”  The only difference, today is a beautiful sunny day so I can’t blame the weather.   It is that perfect temperature for wearing a light hoody and a tee-shirt.  The air is breezy but not windy.  The leaves are new green.  The sun is bright but not blinding me without sunglasses.  I had a crit on my writing two weeks ago.  The whole week before, I was nervous.  I imagined the teacher saying, “Wow, you are a writer!  Can I call you later so that we can figure out what you are going to do with this gift?”  Then, I would get mad, knowing that she would never say that.  She will say,” Does this writing feel rushed to anybody?” and they would answer, “Yeah  it is unclear.”  Right before the crit, I decided that I was only going to listen to the positive.  I would write it down and circle it. Only the day after, I will listen to my recording of it again for the things that I have to work on.  Celebrate first, work second.  Doing things like that allow me to crawl out of the bag and bask in the light.

Today I am celebrating my favorite comments and my blog.  Hundred and fifty-four posts and a thousand feelings.  There were so many great comments.  I appreciate so much everyone’s support.  Now I will test my boundaries of positivity that this world can take.  My world.

More brilliance from the creator of this illuminating blog: “Your title is just another ‘Golden Calf’.”
“In order to stay pure, I have to align myself with a virtue, something unchangeable and inner. Truth, Freedom, Justice, Love, Honesty, Courage, Search for Knowledge, Wisdom, Diligence, Humility, Patience, Strength, Hope and Faith.”
Yes! Then you can walk through the darkest wood knowing you could never be robbed… like I did today… Mommy Theorist

“Lol. The stroller brigade- proudly never a part of it- but I am part if the blogger brigade!  I still feel like you in a playground, when I pick up the kids, at school picnics- and my older one is almost 8.  We’re just not chit chatters.
Coffee soon?”  ChristineAlcalay

Olia, this just made me cry. We are cut from the same cloth. How can it be that two people from two different worlds can be the exact same age and are currently battling the same exact things? you are not alone. Speak your truth… and I, for one (and many others), will listen. Be the ghost. She’s magnificent… xoxops. I sing the rainbow connection to my daughter every night before she goes to sleep. the words get me every time… esp the ones you’ve written here.  Harper Green

Olia, I love this and completely identify with it. Maybe our gut has endless dreams and desires. And once one is satisfied we go deeper and find more and more. That’s something the Abraham Hicks folks say—that life is about continually having new desires and the excitement lies in never being fully satisfied, and always wanting more, and creating more. Blue

Olia, I love you. You are amazing. Yes, like a drug, if I may paraphrase MommyTheorist.
Jesus, Michelangelo, I love all your references. Can’t wait to read the most funny and moving script written by you. kisses.
PS. I love my jewels. I wear the ring everyday, and everyone loves it! CreateLisa

Love what you said, and I feel exactly the same, although I am not a New Yorker by residence but in my heart this is EXACTLY what I feel. Thanks for expressing it so clearly. Love. — My Sister

Stay focused, follow the path.  You are connected.– David Bowman (one of my first comments, EVER!)

I am so glad that 40-th day is not the last. Go for more!!!!!!!!!– My Mom, telling me to keep going after I finished my initial 40 day goal.