This is long overdo but I couldn’t bear to do it sooner. I had a dream about you last night. You were dying, then you were dead, then you were alive again, then I was saying goodbye to you while another you interrupted me from the other corner of the room and I screamed at you to let me finish saying goodbye to you. You were wearing that burgundy sweatshirt that I took from home after you died. In the coffin you were dressed like Pavarotti. Black suit, white shirt and you had a red carnation pinned in your chest. You looked like you were ready to perform but you were ready to die.
I don’t miss you everyday cause I don’t let myself think about you. When you pop into my thoughts, I do my best to not sink into it. I banish you and I’m sorry but I can’t seem to have it any other way. If I remember you then I have to think about you and if I think about you I draw your face in my mind, your hands, the way you walked, the things you used to say. The past week I’m haunted by two moments, two goodbyes. The first one is when I moved to Bucharest and the second is when I left for Ireland. You remember.
I packed my bags and said goodbye to everyone back home. You were playing at the restaurant in the park that day. I got in the cab and I stopped by before going to the train station to say goodbye to you. You were waiting in the back, smoking. I got out and I hugged you and kissed you and you were doing your best to hold back your tears, as was I. I don’t know if you know, but it was hard for me too. I didn’t cry in front of it but I did cry. I always cried when saying goodbye to you but I never let you see me.
When I left for Ireland you were sitting at the edge of the bed, your belly overflowing, your head down, your eyes more green than their usual brown. I saw the top of your head, your hair gray and thinning, your big hands holding each other and your lip. That lower, pink lip that seemed bigger than usual, was quivering despite all your efforts of stopping it. Tears were pouring down your soft cheeks and you looked like a tree - all your branches were heavy with sadness. I hugged you and kissed your wet cheeks and pretended everything was gonna be ok and that it’s not a big deal. You were too sick to get out of the house those days, you were getting dizzy and it was hard for you to walk so you didn’t take me to the airport. I remember the dogs being outside, all 6 of them and before we left you asked mom to at least let one of them in. It broke my heart. I felt how lonely you felt and it broke my heart. It stays broken to this day, it’s ripped to pieces right there in the left corner and I can’t fix it cause I’m a lousy sower.
I don’t know what hurts the most. The image of you on your dying bed, helpless and hurting, just like you never wanted to be or you at your best, your most loving, your most cheerful and knowing that I will never be in the presence of that again. Ever. Choosing has never been my strong point.
I anticipated that coming home for the one year requiem would be a nightmare. I expected every day to be reminded by what happened a year ago on the same day. I expected to crumble like pastry but I didn’t. I didn’t feel much, because I always put my shield up when I come home. I feel people around me suffer enough and there is no room for my suffering. I put on my clown suit, make jokes and juggle.
As I’m struggling to write this, it finally happens. It caught up with me. All the painful memories from one year ago come flying in without warning. Maybe now I’m ready to talk about them. Maybe I should.
Thinking back, I realize I knew you were dying. I knew it when I saw you the first time because it felt like big chunks of you were already floating away. Death is a palpable thing, you know. Death is in the probability of death, it’s that chill that goes through you at 30 degrees, it’s that smell that just won’t go away, it’s fear in its purest form. And it was with you in the room at all times. We all saw it and yet we all pretended it wasn’t there. You knew, you knew it a long time ago and you tried to tell me, but I couldn’t accept that.
I remember the first time that I was alone with you in the hospital and one of your friends came by. He brought you this tea he had made, he mixed every good herb he could find to make this magical potion that would make you feel better. He made you drink out of it obsessively and he kept saying that it will put you back on your feet in no time. He was so lively and so high-spirited, he was fighting the fight but his eyes gave him away. He knew nothing could save you. The looks you shared pierce through my heart even today. You were drinking the tea, to please him and your eyes were full of compassion for him and his hopes because you knew that it was pointless too. A part of you wanted to believe but couldn’t. You were getting bigger on the outside and smaller on the inside everyday. Your eyes were the eyes of a child that doesn’t quite understand what’s happening: afraid and hopeful. There was such tenderness and so much love in that lie you both build for each other! I swear, it’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever witnessed. He was massaging you so hard I wanted to stop him because it looked like he was hurting you but I understood what he was doing. He wanted to pour some life into you because you were fading away. I got out of your room and I cried. Then I came back and we lied to each other too.
That week, before the requiem, none of these memories occupied my mind. Instead I found myself dealing with lawyers and banks, survival in the heat, choosing what flowers to buy, what food caterers to hire, how to make mum lift less, stress less, wear less black. I think the high pressure point of all the preparation came the day before the requiem.
We were in the market, me, my mum and my aunt. We were deciding what to shop for while shopping, which is always a bad idea but becomes unbearable when heat is involved. As a result I felt like I was losing my mind. My mum’s decision-making process is not the most efficient out there and I am not the most patient person I know so things were a little bumpy. After buying almost everything, my mum was still hung up on what flowers to get. We smartly decided for the most tortured person - aka: me - to stay with the bags somewhere in the shade and wait, while my mum and the more patient person - aka: my aunt - helped her pick the darn flowers.
I sat on the steps in front of a rundown apartment building drinking water and gazing at my surroundings. On my left, on a high cement platform, sat this teddy bear. I could hear the ProTv news from the apartment on the ground floor and the bickering of two not-so-young spouses. As if they were meant to contrast that, birds were singing a mellow tune. The smell of ciorbă was in the air and all I could think of was my childhood. A grandfather and his granddaughter passed by holding hands. I was reminded of my grandpa and how things used to be. I concluded that for me the smell of summer is truly the smell of ciorbăand that the feel of summer used to be of ease and fun. Picking cherries, playing SuperMario, water fights, grandpa telling stories, barbeques underneath the starry sky, lazy days with dad at the pool, eating watermelon and spitting out the seeds, falling asleep outside. Oh, the joys of summer. There’s a big dark cloud on the summer sky now, the 26th of june is the day that summer, as I knew it, ceased to exist. I sat there thinking of how all I feel is melancholy but not pain. I never thought I’d be so good at bottling up feelings, but I guess it becomes a worthy skill when needed. I looked up to my left and to my surprise, the bear had company. La abuelita encontro el orso.
Funny thing is we were all lonely in some way and so close to each other.
The day of your wake was long but slow at the same time. Mum had the hardest time, Rox put on her usual brave face and I was the cruelest: I did not allow myself feelings. I hate going to your grave, I can’t stand looking at that big picture of you cemented in a place that feels wrong. I can’t associate you with the place that holds your body. I don’t find you there because I don’t look for you there because I’m afraid that that is where you are. And that can’t be it. I don’t know if there’s a heaven, if you’re in the sky, if you’re visiting la Cote D’Azur or hanging around our house. I do know that all that energy that was you had to go somewhere and I think I find tiny bits of it everywhere, especially in myself. I found a video from what will now be referred to as your last Christmas. I didn’t know what it was, it had the dogs in it. I opened it and out of the blue I heard your voice. It was such a surprise to hear you again but it also felt so normal, like you haven’t gone at all. It’s so natural for you to be alive that I still do not understand that you’re dead. It’s been one year and you have died so many times. You have died every morning in which I woke up and realized that you’re gone. When my brain got used to that, you stopped dying in the morning. You died in my dreams. For months and months you died in my dreams. You still die, every time I have a thought about you it has to be followed by your death. Please, stop dying.
I remained cold-hearted until I got on the plane to go back to Dublin. My neck hurt so my first thought was that I’d like a massage. I remembered how I always had to tell you to squeeze harder because your big hands that looked so sturdy and powerful were soft like pillows and they couldn’t even pretend to hurt me. That’s when I cried my tears. That’s when I started to think of the pieces of you that made you who you were and now I can’t stop. So, I love you and I miss you. If I ever hurt you (and I know I must have) please know that it wasn’t for lack of love or because I wanted to. I just didn’t know better. I won’t ask you to forgive me because I know you did. You could never hold a grudge on the people you loved.
I hope that wherever you are, in whatever shape or form you are, you can now eat the food you wanna eat, drink as much as you wanna drink and play your violin. I want to believe you’re free.
To my main bear, my hungry hungry hippo, my dog lover, Tom and Jerry watcher, wine drinker, family lover, beautiful story teller, mountain of a man. With all my love.
“A little less conversation, a little more action please
All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me
A little more bite and a little less bark
A little less fight and a little more spark
Close your mouth and open up your heart and baby satisfy me”
Yes, ladies, the inspiration for today’s episode has been generously provided by the lyrics above. As in (drum-roll) Irma try to keep this short cause I’d hate for y’all to get bored!
Bucharest was the place to eat, die of heat, meet friends and either rejoice or get horrified. Don’t get stuck on the sensationalist factor, OK? I’ll get to it when I get to it. Chronological order is much needed if I want to maintain that tiny ounce of sanity in ma bod-ay.
It all began with “mâncărică de vinete cu pui” aka aubergine and chicken concoction that is to die for! As I understand it, it takes a lot of onions and a lot of love to get this dish started. Then you continue with bits of chicken, chopped aubergines and tomatoes. This was made my friend’s mom and she talked about it all the way from Bacău to Bucharest, so by the time we got home I was very much excited to put that thing in my mouth.
We dipped some crusty bread in it and it was divine! My taste buds have an elephant’s memory and I’m currently salivating like Pavlov’s dog! This is my bell, baby! Right here!
The first day in Bucharest was so hot that I finally understood how a loaf of bread feels in an oven with the fan mode on! Burning-freakin-hot with waves of yes, you got it right: more heat! Getting a cab seemed like something from the mission impossible series. I was already having trouble thinking, I couldn’t see anything, I was blind and hot and quite frankly, desperate. I wanna thank the Lord for the cab he sent our way, one in a million that actually used their air conditioning so that we may live to complain another day. Amen!
I was dropped off at The Fab Squad Studio, my friend’s place where she conducts her fab business of turning everything into awesomeness. You’re thirsty? They turn water into Proseco! Hot? They have air conditioning! Blue? Did I not mention the Proseco? Feeling fugly? Head on there! Ioana will turn that frown upside down in no time! I’m not just saying that cause she’s my friend, I mean it.
We didn’t have much time because we were hungry and mici were waiting buuuut we still managed to squeeze in some girly fun. Here’s some proof for you non-believers out there.
If you are not familiar with “mici” or “mititei” I’m gonna try to enlighten you. First, semantically. One mic = one small. Two mici = two smalls. I know, it makes little sense but bear with me. That’s their name, OK?! They are The Smalls family and they are all small, tiny, puny, petite!
Second: what are they? They are lovely meaty lumps (hello, euphemism) belonging to the meatball family. They’re on the wild side, though, they don’t even speak to their meatball relatives. Oh, it’s an art form, trust me! It all begins with the meat - doesn’t it always?! Am I right? (wink wink). Ground beef, spices (as secret as Colonel’s Sanders secret blend of herbs and spices) and lots of garlic, baby doll! You shape them into fat fingers and lay them gently on a hot barbecue. You eat them with mustard and a white, basic-bitch of a bun. Add a cold brewsky to that, and you have what we call The Romanian Experience - The totally non-sexual edition.
It is everything! Though it is not for the faint-hearted! Especially not on days when you feel the concrete melting underneath your sandals. We did i, cause we’re pros and have little regard for our own safety. We went on a hot, sweat-dripping-underneath-your-dress and be-prepared-for-a-coronary adventure!
Connoisseur’s tip: you always seem to get the best ones in the most ratchet of places.
The food confession list continues with a Caramel McSundae (cause it was 150 degrees outside and I deserved it, goddammit), some very forgettable Chinese food that I didn’t even photograph, a croque-madame interpretation, some banana pancakes with blueberry syrup and a green smoothie whose name implied that I was old or a grandma or something. I can’t remember anymore. Hey, I *AM* old! :O The smoothie was right!
What else? Oh! Meeting friends over various potato dishes because I love potatoes in the summer. Hell, I love potatoes anytime; and I’m not just saying that in case my adopting country accidentally reads this!
One of my favorite days is up next. This is the day that we had big plans of going to the market and cooking and all sort of ambitious things like that. Instead, we stayed home watching this show on the Travel channel making fun of people that were moving abroad and had to find a home. Wait, that makes us look bad. Like we’re insensitive people or something! It wasn’t like that at all - it’s a show, not real life - lighten up!
When we got hungry and it finally became clear that none of us was gonna go anywhere, we ordered some good old Romanian food! Ciorbă, varză cu cârnați, ciulama de ciuperci cu mămăliguță! None of that means anything to you if you don’t speak the language! (read this last phrase with the exact same tone that you used to read the food enumeration, otherwise it’s not as good). I know, I should just read it to you myself - the audio-book is coming, guys, just let me write it first! Either that, or come October, you can see me in any 2 dime comedy club that will have me! But that’s a whoooole other story!
Anyway, the food: sour soup, cabbage and sausages, chicken and mushrooms cooked in white sauce with polenta. I don’t know what would be the natural course of events for regular people, but what we did was watch Muneca Brava.
I’ll just leave this here pretending that you got confused and don’t remember exactly what I’m talking about because I can’t bear to think of the alternative.
I’ll try to avoid the usual “Omg, Ivo was so hot and they had such amazing chemistry, and the way he kisses and those hands!” rant. It’s not easy, trust and believe!
That day was the best because it was the easiest. No effort of any sort required, no pressure, no heat, no awkwardness, just chill. Plus, I’ll tell you, sitting in an air-conditioned room when there’s 38 degrees outside, watching TV in a comfy chair with fun people while judging strangers is the most fun a girl can have without being drunk, rich or naked.
Now I’m gonna say something and it’s gonna sound like I’m casting a spell - and I am, in some ways. “Cușma lui Guguță”. Repeat after me in a concupiscent manner ([kän'-kyo͞o-pi-sənt] = Toderiță’s favorite word - adj. Lustful or sensuos, [Tow-de-ri-tsah] = my friend). OK, so repeat: [kush'-mah loo goo-goo'-tzah]. Got it? Good.
“Cușma lui Guguță” is a dessert, a legend, a life-changing experience.“Guguță” is a fictional character from Spiridon Vangheli’s books, a writer from The Moldovan Republic. That is his name - Guguță. No need to laugh! Well, maybe a little. “Cușmă” is a regional term for “căciulă” - which means winter hat. In the story, Guguță and the whole village are facing a particularly cold winter so Guguță, good boy that he is, wishes for a huge, warm hat that the entire village could fit under and not be cold anymore. So sweet and so never-gonna-happen. But let’s get back to the sweet part. Hmm, what is in the shape of a winter hat, has something resembling snow on top and is sweet? Cușma lui Guguță! (and the crowd goes wild)
Imagine a pyramid made out of crepes.These crepes are filled with sour cherries that (at least in my opinion) are better if they’ve lived in booze for awhile - you know, shared some life experiences. Then you glue them together with cream; sour cream that’s been mixed with sugar and whipped with serenity into something cosy and unpretentious. Cover the pyramid with it, like a thick layer of snow and then make it rain with chocolate shavings. Now that is a mountain of joy that demands solemnity before you eat it, and gratitude after.
That night, we had the house filled with Cușma lui Guguță and everything seemed right in the world. Then we watched a strange Woody Allen movie that made everything feel fucked up. So, I guess the truth is somewhere in the middle. Wow, I just realized I’m implying that the truth lies between Cușma lui Guguță and Woody Allen. Take everything with a grain a salt, people!
My last day in Bucharest was a crazy one. It began with the very bad decision of going to the market when the sun was at its hottest. I underestimated the power of the sun. I was naive, hopeful, stupid. I also had a time limit, because a friend was coming over for lunch. So, go on, chop chop, decide already and get out of the heat. You know what happened: I got dazzled, then confused then a bit angry at myself for NOT KNOWING WHEN TO STOP! But hey, I have pretty pictures:
I left the market late and I also got lost because by this time the sun had fried my brains and I have, in effect, turned stupid. I made it there eventually, spilled some strawberries on the concrete because... did I not mention the sun and the stupid? We get into the air-conditioned space - let’s call it heaven - and on my way to get ice from the fridge I start seeing black spots. Then the spots got bigger, then everything was black spots and and I was blind, nauseous and rude! Cause I was in the middle of a conversation with my friend when I abruptly had to lay down on the floor and die. I couldn’t even be the good listener I usually am, because my ears were ringing! My hearing was impaired!
I lived, we had lunch. Hunger prevailed. We had a lovely, crusty bread with pate and cheese and a salad. Simple but tasty stuff from the market. For dessert we had ice cream and berries.
The Day Of Noms continues with this beauty right here.
This picture cannot convey how good that stuff was! Aubergine salad and zacuscă. If you do not know what zacuscă is, you must track me down and make me introduce you to it!
Zacuscă is a vegetable spread popular in Romania, says Wikipedia. The main ingredients are roasted aubergine, sauteed onions, tomato paste and roasted red peppers; not just any peppers - Romanian peppers known as the mighty gogoșar (similar to Guguță but not really). Zacuscă is like our national treasure; forget anything you think you know, this is the truth. Our lives revolve around zacuscă - the making of zacuscă, the giving of zacuscă, the sharing, the eating, the longing even!
On our way to J’ai Bistrot (aka "look up") Vlad, the only friend that I seem to mention by name in this post, jumped out of the car in a very courageous, almost superhero-like manner, risking his life for the greater good:
And on the last day, they had eclairs and it was gooooood.
It’s not that I was hungry, but I knew I had to eat Dristor Kebab. When I lived in Bucharest, Dristor Kebab was 5 min away so that was a staple go-to fast-food meal and sometimes I miss it. Let’s eat for nostalgia’s sake! One chicken kebab with fries on the side and a frothy ayran!
I only managed to eat half of it and put the other half in my bag 'cause I’m a lady. This will become relevant later.
At the very late hours of that night I met someone I haven’t seen in 3 years. We had a very pleasant conversation up to the point where I mentioned something about people that judge gay marriage. About 10 min later our conversation took a turn for the insane. You know how I know that was the exact point? Because it started with a question: “But, you do know what the real deal with the gays is, right?”
And that right there is the death of everything to me. Because that implies that you know what the “deal with the gays is”. You know without a doubt in your mind and now you’re gonna tell me everything you know. It’s very difficult for me to write about it, to summarize, to not focus on the “arguments” that I’ve been given, on the rain of logical fallacies that were thrown at me, on the cruelty, the blindness and the insane calm with which they were all delivered. I wanted to stand up and leave. I tried but I couldn’t. Something in me had to stay there and fight and try to change an opinion that I know (and knew at the time) cannot be changed. But at that moment, that person in front of me was the voice of a mass of individuals that hate on another mass of individuals and that have such strong opinions and “research” that they are unmovable. The thing with people in that stage is that they do not want to form an opinion. They have an opinion and all their research goes into validating that opinion. That’s how they get to say they’ve read books written by psychiatrists that “studied” this and who know that being gay is a choice. That’s how I end up face to face with someone that tells me with mad conviction that a lot of men become gay because they are sick of women! Because apparently any heterosexual man can be persuaded to take it up the ass and like it just by clicking your red ruby slippers like fucking Dorothy!
“There’s no place like home” they’ll be repeating, like a mantra! Can you believe that people actually think this is how it works? It makes my skin crawl. Ignorance, the plague, same thing.
You see, it’s not homosexuals as individuals that she’s against, as a group is when they become dangerous. “What do they want? What’s with the parades? Oh, but the children! Let’s think about the children!” It’s not what they say, it’s how they say it! With a pathetic desperation that not only seems fake but it’s a fucking excuse to fuck other people over! And they act as if all the children of the world are waiting to be saved by them! Saved from the claws of the gays that want to adopt them and give them a better life than the one that they currently have! How dare they go through the long (and particularly strict for gay couples) adopting procedures in order to love and protect another human being? How dare they fight the good fight and wait the long wait hoping that they will get a child? Why not do what half of the population does? Have irresponsible sex and accidental pregnancies and toilet babies?! No one is revolting against those parents! No, the gays are the evil ones! The gay mafia is out to ruin the traditional family! It’s all a big plan to take over the world! Oh my God, I just got it! Pinky and the Brain were actually a gay couple!!! Oh, the conspiracy!
If you know what I mean ;)
Watch out, Elton john, they’re on to you! Will and Grace, Season 5, Episode 10 - enjoy!
“I’m not a homophobe, but...”Or “I’m not a homophobe”. 30 sec pass. “It’s just that I’ve seen them and they’re all so selfish”
Wait a minute! You’ve seen all the homos of the world? Whoooooaaaaah, that’s one sick magic stick you’ve got there! How the fuck did you do that?! So, let’s recap, shall we? You’ve seen all of them, particularly all of the gay couples that are in that point in their life when they are prepared and willing to become parents aaaaaand they’re all selfish?! Well, that remark might just be good enough for "The Great Book Of Homophobic Sayings - The Super-homophobic Edition".
After approximately 2 hours of torture I end the madness by saying “You know what? At the end of the day people like you are harming others for potential / imaginary future damage they might cause - while they are not really hurting you with anything”.
I tried to get an Uber with the last nugget of battery that my phone had, the bastard stood me up at the last moment. There were no cabs around. There was a film crew of one, maybe two people filming a manele video in front of Bucharest’s National Theater with us in the background because, when life gives you lemons, sometimes they’re weird lemons that make reality seem like a joke.
Then we walked to find a cab. We found two. The first one said that he wouldn’t take us because I asked if his meter was on and apparently hurt his feelings. The second one was using the meter, so we got in, but something about the driver was off. What was it? Oh, yeah, he hated us. I don’t know way, but he did. Tried to cheat us by taking the longer route - we didn’t let him - so he then pretended he knew none of the addresses we told him and drove like a madman. I was staying at my friend’s place so I didn’t know all the alleys and stuff and night makes things confusing. I had no idea where I was but my gut said “Stop. Get off here. Right here.” So I did. Turns out I was just where I was supposed to be, the exact corner where I needed to make a right on. I was relieved and felt slightly magical. The street was dark and full of terrors. I felt misplaced and alone and not entirely sane. Then a cat appeared and made things better, 'cause that’s what cats do. I gave her the kebab from my bag, as a "thank you", and walked away. Inside the apartment there was another
ball of fur waiting. The one and only Pomelosso, or Biscuit, if you wanna call him by his original name.
I petted him and thanked him for being there. Not because he could have been out drinking or anything but just because I felt lonely and I appreciated his company. I turned on the TV - long live Comedy Central. I took my clothes off, lingered, had a shower, shower head fell on my head, cat got scared, put clothes on, ate cherries and watched South Park for two hours. I couldn’t sleep. I was too shaken up. I’ve always been known as an aggressive speaker because, if I care - and most of the time I do - my emotions pour into my “speech” and sometimes I come across as a mad woman. The feeling that I couldn’t shake was the regret that I had done something that I don’t like doing. I went to an extreme. In order to battle those ludicrous ideas I went to the other extreme because I didn’t want to fuel that feeling of security that the “knowing” gives them. They see doubt as a weakness. That’s why they know what’s right and wrong for the children, who's gonna burn in hell and why, what the gay Illuminati are up too, why gay people like cock and so on and so forth. They think “knowing” gives them control. They need that to ease their mind, because being "in the know" makes them feel special and secure and not alone.
I doubt. I almost always doubt, especially myself. Because the only thing that I know is that if you’re on one extreme or the other, you are wrong. The only thing I trust is my common sense - because I have plenty of it and because it keeps me asking questions and revising behaviors (especially my own). So, I was also wrong. Not because of what I believed to be common sense or justice but because of the delivery of my message. Truth is, my initial gut reaction was right. Perhaps I should have left. But if I did, I wouldn’t have had a story to tell.
The next morning I packed my bags, ate Paula’s delicious homemade strawberry jam and said goodbye to the fluffiest cat I know. It wasn’t easy.
The last thing I ate in Bucharest was a sweet pretzel soaked in sweet honey syrup. We call it Covrig Polonez, which means the Polish pretzel. This one had walnuts sprinkled on it and that’s always a good thing in my book. It was all soft and mushy, just how I felt inside. The perfect woman-pretzel symbiosis.
P.S. I lied, I mention other friends by name, too.
I woke up in the middle of night to pee, of course, cause I’m 126 years old and I pee every 5 minutes. After I emptied the world’s tiniest bladder, I got back to bed and started blabbering about this dream I just had: “I was saving kittens, lions were eating kittens, no one helped me, I was trying to save the kittens!“
My middle of night story-telling skills are not the best. In case you didn’t get the importance and deep significance of this dream here is the extended version:
I was in a forest-like area surrounded by lionesses and tiny kittens. I was trying to protect the kittens from the lionesses and that is not an easy task. I was grabbing as many kittens as I could but they kept appearing out of nowhere and were heading right to the lion’s den. The lionesses were slowly approaching, with menacing intentions and scary teeth. I remember asking for help. No one came. I remember growing desperate and screaming “Come, on! I need help! I can’t do it alone! I need someone! I NEED A HAND!”
I know, right?
My significant otter and I immediately cracked this case and established that the kittens represent my hopes and dreams, plans, projects, ideas. They come out of nowhere, they are cute and tiny (most of them), confused, helpless and they come in packs. The lionesses… I don’t know who they are. I don’t even know why they’re all females. I mean, wtf is up with that? Are only women swallowing my hopes and dreams?! Was there a “No males allowed in this dream” sign that I was unaware of? The last part of the dream is pretty clear. I feel overwhelmed. I cannot do everything, at once, on my own! I need help!
I remember finishing this conversation by saying, half asleep: “Man, my mind is awesome!”
I know, that sounds egotistical as fuck but hear me out. I was merely in awe at the metaphors my brain generates to describe what I’m going through. It’s a very clever and entertaining “system” I got myself here. Wait, that didn’t really help the whole self-applauding business I had going on there, did it?
Later edit: I found out who the lionesses are. It was me all along! I’m killing my own babies! *Insert flabbergasted british person here to gasp for you in a melodramatic fashion.* Who knew I was such a bad mother?! I didn’t even know I was a mother!\
Of course, it also hints at my inability to express myself lately. You know, the whole “I stopped writing for two months now and I think I’ve forgotten how to do it” latent panic attack.
There you have it! The mystery case was solved! I’m like a modern Miss Marple. Without the hats and the knitting and the “real cases” and the grey hair. Hmm, I’m actually nothing like Miss Marple. Now I’m sad. I liked Miss Marple.
As I hope someone, somewhere has noticed, It’s been awhile since I narrated my life. Almost two months without confessing my emotional eater sins. I feel backed up. My thoughts haven’t been expressed, a lot of things have happened, a lot more need to happen and I need to clear my mind by writing shit down. So, it begins.
Weeks 19,20,21 and 22. Also known as the month of June or the Bacau Month.
The Bacau Month had everything, people! Unpredictable bank citations, dealing with lawyers for the first time, partly lying and manipulating grandmas so that they wouldn’t freak out because of said bank issues, making money by walking random old ladies to their destination (well, almost), floods, repressed feelings, fleas, new cat to fill the hole left by the old cat, unbearable heat, amazing Romanian markets filled with awesome fruits and veggies, heat, heat, mosquitoes, heat, Pambac strudels, friends, Muneca brava and sausages, Cusma lui Guguta, sour cherry body scrub, Carpal tunnel syndrome, frustration, memories, love, too little, too much, too hard, too heavy. Lazy writing, I know.
Episode 1: The Unpredictables
Episode 2: The Bucharest trip
Episode 3: Abuelita y el orso
Episode 4: The Red Bra Odyssey
Episode 5: Do you have wegwets?
As you can see from the above, I have tried to organize my thoughts. What you cannot see from above is how much I tried or how long it took. The fact is, it was all a roller-coaster of events and feelings and people. All of which I find very hard to talk about now. Because it’s passee (fancy french word alert), because I’d have to re-live it, because it seems long and meaningful to me and me only. I had a lot of expectations concerning this post and as always, expectations ruin life. Inspiration was on vacation, discipline decided to fuck off and didn’t even let me know! All I had left was guilt and the “come on, we gotta try and do this” guy. I’m grateful to that guy. Where would I be without him?!
Long story short, whiny-guy-in-my-head + “Lovefool” by The Cardigans = I tried and I prayed and I begged! If you did not sing that in your head, it fails. You fail! It’s a classic, man! Stop embarrassing yourself and sing it! Jeez.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it took a lot of trying! That’s what happens when you suffer from Scattered Brain Syndrome. Feel free to feel sorry for us, there’s a whole community out there. Write to me, boys! Lately I’ve felt all alone in the world.
Rant over! Here’s what happened:
Episode One: The Unpredictables
It was only my third day in Bacau when it started raining bank citations. It seemed like a perfectly nice day. My sister and I were handling the big clean-the-fridge project, taking the time to prep some fruits for later eating and of course, take pics. Like this:
Then mum dropped the bomb that the banks were ganging up on us. Why? Cause over the years my people didn’t quite manage to pay off their debts and apparently there are consequences to that. Who would have thought? Long story short, I felt angry and helpless and confused ‘cause who the fuck understands anything with the bullshit legal language?! Not me, that’s for sure.
That night, I read some stuff, partially understood some other stuff and decided to get a lawyer. We were still down in the gutters but hey, as my friend Oscar says, at least we were looking at the stars.
The next morning, I was in a cab, late, impatient, worried, all the good stuff. At the very peak of my shortness-of-breath state, I get a forwarded message from my mum. It was the bank, letting her know that they’ve decided to deduct half of her already measly salary because of reasons! Even though they were already doing that to my grandmother's pension for the last 3 years. Hello, abuse center?! Yeah, don’t send any more shit this way, we’re covered for the next 5 years! Thanks, bye.
I was on my way to meet a friend and stuff our faces with strudels and nice-to-see-you-again conversation. We did all that too, just after she made a few calls to get me a lawyer (cause they’re not really in my circle of friends). At that exact moment we passed this:
For those of you that do not understand Romanian aka the language of overflowing love, that means “It goes away with kisses”. Seeing this at that precise moment felt like a bigger joke than the phrase “Trump for president”. Yeah, Universe, thanks, I’m sure kisses would make all my problems go away! I feel so much better now! I stared at the thing dumbfounded and all I could utter was “Goes away with kisses, my ass!”. Yeah, I guess you had to be there...
We got to the house of strudels, got a bag of those, some tea and started the “maybe it goes away with food if not kisses” approach.
It didn’t, though. I was on and off the phone with my mum in our attempt to find a way to fix this without having to tell my grandma about it cause she would freak out. When she freaks out she becomes irrational, then my mum gets annoyed and dealing with conflict is not her strong point, so everything tends to take a turn for the insane quite fast in our family. You might be thinking that it’s simple - just don’t tell her, it’s not even lying, it’s just omitting certain parts of the reality we all share. Yeah, thanks, genius! Didn’t cross my mind!
We needed to tell her because she was the gatekeeper to the proof of payment documents. It’s a real fairy tale we got going on here. There’s the big bad ogre portrayed magnificently by the bank, then the peasants who are just trying to live their lives but are the money-sucking demon just won’t let it happen cause he always wants more and more and MORE! Let’s see, who else? Oh, yeah, the witch in the forest that needs to be slightly manipulated so she won’t freak out and spread toxic green fumes all over instead of just doing what the warrior princess asks her to do, hand over those damn papers and chill the fuck out! There are of course, a lot of supporting characters in the story, like the far away prince who sends gold to the warrior princess so she could afford hiring the knight in legal armor, the wise owl that you run things by, the loyal and efficient friend that recommends the services of the civil-law knight, the flying carpet that drives the warrior princess everywhere in her attempt to fix the shit, and many others.
I finished my strudel and decided to be sneaky. Cause that’s the natural effect that strudels have on people. They should have it written on the back “Caution, strudels may cause sneakiness”. I went with my gut: told mum to stay put, I’ll go deliver the news to grandma , I’ll get the stuff and then I’ll call the lawyer.
Before I go on with my story you must know this about me: I do not lie. I hate lying! It’s a lot of bullshit to remember, it over-complicates things and it makes me feel shady, so I stopped doing a long time ago. Somehow, though, every-time I come home I find myself having to lie. Let the selective truth games begin!
I bought extra strudels, I gave my gram a call asking if she’s home, making everything seem casual, pulling the old “Well, I was just in the neighborhood” with a clever twist and headed her way. As I was walking I kept thinking about which parts to keep for myself and which ones to share, what questions to duck and what others to milk, when to nod and contain, my very own grandma-handling handbook for dummies.
All of a sudden I hear a voice. No, not the “call is coming from inside the house” kind but the “hey, you there! “ kind of cat call. It was an old lady, dressed in black, supported by a walking cane. She proceeds to ask if I’m going to the Post Office. I said “not quite but almost”. Keeping it vague, baby!
“Could you walk me there?” I said: “How exactly would I be doing that?” Because, carrying old people on my bad back is not on my list of my skills or hobbies. She says something in the lines of “You know, just let me hold your arm, you seem to walk quite fast”. Why be a dick about it? I said “Yeah, sure!”
Half way through what felt like a rehearsal for the last walk down the aisle, I realized the woman had a very distinct smell that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
Until it hit me hard in the left nostril and sent a signal to my brain letting it know that the sophisticated perfume that I smelled, that sweet, intoxicating aroma that acted like her aura was booze. Good ol’ cheap booze breath! Awww, my grandfather’s odor, how I missed it! Oh, the memories! Most of them bad but hey, nostalgia is a magical memory eraser (eyes winking, tongue clicking).
Then I thought: “Man, I am judgemental or what?! I mean the woman’s husband died last year, she can barely walk and she ain’t gonna get better, let’s face it, it’s downhill from there (literally, we were going down the hill), she’s lonely, sick, gravity betrayed her (as it does with all of us) and she has nothing to look forward too! I’d drink! I’d drink my brains into oblivion in no time!”
We continued walking and I continued to listen, because what she really needed was a kind ear more than a fluffy arm. When we reached our destination she insisted to pay me for the effort: “Here’s a little something, so you can buy stockings”. If that seems random, remember the woman lived in communism and also, she drank. I said no, thank you, it’s not necessary. She then proceeded to emotionally manipulate me by using her husband’s memory. So, I caved. Not because I needed stockings, no. I used the money to buy bread and beer. The bread was for lunch, the beer was for grandma - I needed her in a good mood. Truly a great day for good deeds. Hey, don’t judge me! I did what I had to do and I was pretty darn good at it. Apparently it’s true, when you put your mind to something you can really accomplish anything!
I am writing this using my very fuzzy brain after a flight to Bacau, my hometown. Yeah, look that up, google that shit! You wouldn’t wanna miss the magic that is Bacau, kiddies! My flight was a night flight, with an obvious delay and very obvious crying children. Everything seemed endless. It was not pleasant. All I’ve been doing since I got here was eat and sleep. My body is in a lousy state. I think I have a cold, I’m pretty sure I have le mud butt syndrome. You know, the colon blow, the green apple nasties, the Hershey squirts, the whistle belly thumps, the cherry soft pop, the chocolate molten lava cake. Clear enough? It’s actually not that bad, I just needed an excuse to use all that diarrhea slang. So, I bent the truth a lil' bit, sue me!
Remember, remember the eats of past week, when the spirit was willing but the flesh... it was weak.
I continued to eat frozen pizza and random food but I also managed to squeeze in a lil’ good old vintage caring and a dab of excitement in the form of pastry treats.
It all started when I accidentally made tomato & cheese garlic bread. How do you stumble upon that? Well, you take one large piece of almost-too-dry baguette, you smear some garlic butter all over that crusty body and you throw it in a hot oven until it’s all golden and tanned. Then you chop some tomatoes, some basil and whatever else seems like a good idea at the time, salt and pepper that motherfucker and then crumble some goat cheese over it. It wasn't much really, but it reminded me of the joy of making something purty with your own lil’ hands.
Then I made the same thing but with avocado mush and radishes. The only other meals I cooked that I can remember are my cheesy polenta with ricotta, peas and bacon bits and baked aubergine parmigiana with garlic bread and salad. Oh, and also, some kicks-ass pasta with the leftover aubergine parmigiana! Must remember that.
Then I thought I’d be adventurous (aka stupid) and try to make my first ever tarte tatin (I know, I’m ashamed too) with random apples (shock, dismay, consternation). I didn’t know if they were the wrong kind of apples or the good kind. Well, until it was too late. I am not an apple expert, I couldn’t just look at them and know and I didn’t remember which ones I bought. So, I risked it for a maybe-successful apple biscuit.
It may look successful, but the truth is it was not. It was tasty but also very soggy, because them apples were not the good kind of apples. Lesson learned. I guess. I still don't know which apples to avoid, because I don't know what those apples were! Damn vicious circle!
Some very good Japanese food happened on a very foggy day in Dublin town. Miso soup and crispy salmon with wassabi mashed potatoes and tempura asparagus.
It was the week of the heat wave in Dublin, so I will always remember it. You know, cause it's such an unique event. A lot of walking and going out happened. Loads of outdoor reading, deer-seeing and all that jazz. I managed to cling to my new found habit of Sun Salutations in the morning, I packed, I shopped, I ate a lot of ice cream, I listened to awesome podcasts from the Tim Ferris Show, I did yoga in the park, met with friends but also spent loads of time on my own. It felt busy, a crowded week even, filled with all the feelings. I am a bit exhausted, to be honest.
The Great Depression. I’ve always avoided the term “depressed”. I never felt that I truly “earned” it. I say I’m sad, I’m blue, I’m gloomy, melancholic, weird but never depressed. This past week, being fully aware of the fact that I am indeed under the spell of the Rolling Gorger aka The Modern Boogie Man for compulsive eaters across the globe, I gave into it and became trapped inside my bubble. I am now Bubble Girl. I ate whenever, whatever and could not care. I felt tired all the time. Everything kinda hurt, but for no reason. I had nothing pushing me forward, no will to write, to blog, it seemed pointless. My mind was hectic anyway, I couldn’t even begin to set a real goal. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and eat frozen pizza. I would have these moments when I wanted to rebel and escape my bubble in order to do some yoga and eat healthy and all that crap, but alas, I could not for the Gods of Laziness were far more powerful that any desires my mind could conjure. I was condemned to be indifferent, lifeless, inert.
One of the most precious gifts that I’ve lost was my excitement towards food. I did not cook. I did not bake. I did not feel. I ate whatever. This kind of indifference towards something that always brought joy and enthusiasm to my days made me feel empty and like I wasn’t quite myself anymore.
The fact that I had to clean the entire house wasn’t helping either. The chaos in my mind always matches the one in my home. I make the same mistakes with both mind and abode. I keep waiting for the perfect moment to clear everything up and make everything perfect until I reach the boiling point. Until I feel that the chaos around and inside me will swallow me whole. That is, apparently, only real in my head, but that’s where it matters the most, doesn’t it?
I only started suspecting that my blues was well in the realms of the D word (the other D word, you perv) on Monday morning. My cat from back home had just died the night before. I loved that cat. Me and my sister found him soon after our dad’s funeral and he filled a bit of the giant hole he left. He kinda saved our asses by having us save his. Last year, right around this time, my dad took a turn for the worst and the wheels of the inevitable were put in motion. For a week now, I’ve been struggling with all the images and memories stored in the “Never-open-sad-box”. The fact that the cat died now translates into a whole lotta heartbreak. I was caught in between 3 moods:
Mood no.1 The ugly-crying. For those of you who do not know what that is, ugly crying is when your face crumples completely, when you cry both from your eyes and your nose, accompanied by the sweet sound of wailing and/or howling. It’s the moment when the pain comes out, ‘cause you can’t bear to keep it in anymore. It ain’t pretty but it’s necessary.
Mood no. 2 The Stoic. A hardened face to reflect a hardened heart that has been through worse. It wraps the pain in indifference so that you can keep on going. The undertone is a special kind of sadness. The kind that can only come from the feeling that you are being heartless, all the while knowing that if you allow yourself to feel everything you’re feeling, you would implode. It is the moment of clarity when you know this too shall pass but it will leave a mark.
Mood no.3 Stillness. Nothing moves. Feels like floating in utter uselessness and not advancing a single inch.
On this day, with all of that in my emotional backpack, I went off to work. Usually I listen to music or stand up comedy shows. This time something demanded silence. It demanded it for a while now but I kept covering it up. At one point you have to listen to the silence and just be. I walked, and listened to all the things my mind had to say. It was mostly about my dad. I silently cried and wiped and cried and wiped.
When I got out of there the weather was still sunny and warm. I got myself a Subway sandwich, a lemon curd muffin and a chocolate milk. I walked through the park that takes me home, I sat down and I ate. I made a friend in the form of a golden retriever that visited me 3 times. Just like the ghost in the Scrooge story. In the past, the present and the future I suspect my friend’s only interest was the sandwich I was eating. I stopped the sound of the stand up comedy in my ears and put my phone in my backpack. I wasn’t laughing anyway. I read a bit. Murakami is the only one that seems to work these days. Maybe it’s because we share the same strange mood and I feel like I’m not forcing myself to enter a story so remote that I can’t even reach it. I fell asleep for a bit, then woke up and headed home.
Days like these I don’t wanna talk to anybody. I manage to feel very secluded and untouchable in my bubble. So much so that even random small talk with the person at the cash register in the supermarket feels weird and somehow unreal. Like it doesn’t belong. You need that, though. Contact with people means poking at that bubble, keeping alive your connection to the outside world. You don’t wanna get trapped inside yourself until you fix that shit.
When I got home, I was feeling a lot better. Bloated, but better.
I think the going out helps a lot. I started selecting clothes for my upcoming trip to Romania, thought it wouldn’t hurt to feel useful. I was almost right, except for the fact that making choices is never easy for me. It was certainly not easier that day. I stopped after a while, read a bit, ate a bit, watched some Jane The Virgin and then finally went to sleep.
I woke up at 8:30, washed my face and my teeth and released the cat to the outside world. While I was making tea I had this uncontrollable urge to do some Sun Salutations in the kitchen. No yoga mat, no prep, just me and the wooden floor. I was tight and stuck, the outside air was making its way into my kitchen through the open door. My feet were cold, the air was cold, the floor was cold. Different colds, different textures, waking my mind and my body up. 15 min was all I needed. I definitely felt better.
I am very thankful to this voice that’s getting stronger and that’s demanding that I do what I need. Sit in silence, do yoga, take a walk, stop everything and just read. I can’t explain it, but in the midst of all the pain, the blues, the whatever you wanna call it, this voice took over and she seems to know what’s good for me. I feel zen and chaotic at the same time. I feel calm and anxious all in the same day. Today is Tuesday, I am much better today. I am more focused and I feel purpose flowing through the madness again. There’s less humour these days, more introspection. Silence can be a wonderful thing. I was always afraid to be in complete silence when I was alone. I don’t feel that anymore. I do feel terribly attracted to “Vesti la giubba” from Paggliacci. It’s on my mind when I don’t listen to it, and when I do listen to it, calmness and goosebumps come together in a marvelous way.
I remember the good ol’ times, aprox. 4 weeks ago when I said things were loose. Why? Cause in the meantime things have gone from loose to slutty and from slutty to full time hoe-ing. Father, I confess, I’ve been hoe-ing hard.
I remember the process like it was a million years ago. It started with the intention of giving myself a break from all the “let’s control everything” phase because I ran out of will and got tired of it all. Since then, I have discovered week by week why I gorge, how it affects one and how fucked up I am (still). Here you have it, plump ladies and puffy gentlemen:
The many reasons of gorging(to gorge = eat a large amount greedily, fill oneself with food)
Chapter 1 - The happy gorger
The happy gorger is an individual who finds joy in eating, especially with friends. If these friends are far-away friends that also happen to love eating the good stuff, then our happy gorger senses such a deep, meaningful connection that he throws away all common sense and eats himself silly. He also sees the visit as an opportunity to gorge. It is one of the best excuses in the mind of the gorger. He keeps telling himself that it is a unique situation, that it will end soon and that he has to do what he has to do. In extreme cases he might start viewing this as a duty, he must, this is after all a mission, a service he is providing. He is a hero.
Yes, things in the mind of the happy gorger may become distorted. So much so, that they end up having little/no grip on reality. He bid farewell to the world and he is now riding an imaginary horse into an imaginary battle with his/hers mouth full of cake.
Chapter 2 - The rolling gorger
Usually the rolling gorger follows another type of gorger. In this case, the happy gorger. For, you see, the rolling gorger is powered completely by inertia. He is the follower of the group and he is a troubled individual who aims to please and never to disrupt so he goes along with pretty much anything. Yes, I know what you’re thinking.You are right, that is very dangerous. That’s how flirty turns into sluttty and then becomes a career. The only thing that can stop the rolling gorger is a healthy dose of self esteem, guilt and willpower. At its strongest, the rolling gorger can only be stopped by actual physical illness and sometimes not even that. He represents commodity, weakness, “going with the flow” (even when the flow is dirty and disgusting) and ultimately giving up on yourself. The rolling gorger has the ability to swallow you up and never let you go. In the words of Elmer J Fudd : “Be vewy, vewy quiet”. Because the rolling gorger is out there and he is hunting wabbits.
Chapter 3 - The stressed out gorger
Or the “all I have left is food” gorger. The “my partner's mum is visiting and she’s trampling on my soul” gorger. Mhm. The compulsive eater. The distressed gorger. The prosecco drinker. The most desperate of them all. This particular type of gorger is so stressed out that he literally can’t even. He can’t deal with the any of this so he tries to eat himself into oblivion.
He doesn’t even enjoy the food but he can’t stop. He won’t stop until the outside element that’s currently stomping on his life, packs her bags and leaves. What stops our subject from at least enjoying himself, you ask? Studies have shown that is not the food that blocks the subject from deriving pleasure, but the purpose, the “trying to forget/deny” the existence of the sour face across the table that challenges everything you know about life. The one that puts your patience to the greatest test, the one that makes you count the days, the hours, the minutes. The one that makes you feel that life is slow and long and painful and that you are ready for it to stop just so you can breathe the sweet last breath of freedom and relief! The stressed out gorger is the most intense of the gorger family and does the most damage in the shortest time. For the stressed out gorger, food is a drug and he’s hooked.
Chapter 4 - The travel gorger
The travel gorger is running a marathon. He must eat everything he can eat and he must do it now.
There is no tomorrow for this greedy fucker. He is fueled not by hunger but by a thirst for knowledge. Food knowledge, the most elusive of them all. He roams the streets of the city like a headless chicken, like an overly excited dog, like a drooling mad man.The advantage with this gluttonous fellow is that he goes away, just like a vacation bug should. Unless, of course, the rolling gorger takes advantage and swoops in. That is one hot and heavy combination that you want to stay away from! Believe me!
That’s all folks! Those are all the gorgers I've got for now and I truly hope those are the last of their kind. I’ve got enough on my plate. Literally.
The trip to Spain brought out the worst in me, greed wise. I’ve slowly but surely slipped into mindlessness and forgotten how to live life wisely. After watching Tim Ferris being awesome (once again!) I’ve decided my chaotic mind needs a daily routine to give me a sense of control so that I can welcome the unexpected without feeling like a cat chasing 10 mice at the same time. In translation: to aid in the “not losing my mind” mission and take on the tasks of life like a well adjusted adult instead of a neurotic child that loses her shit every time she has to choose between two types of cheesecake.
I'm kidding, I don't have a drinking problem, just a eating one. Oh, wouldn’t mental health be loverly? More Audrey, less Marilyn. Don’t get me wrong, I love Marilyn, but she sure ain’t the poster child for balance. Audrey, on the other hand is portrayed like this perfect human being that handled everything with dignity and grace. Ah, it’s so sweet it just makes me wanna puke! Love you, Audrey. You inspire me to want to make people puke someday. For the right reasons, of course. And now, in your head, a list of “reasons to make someone puke” should start to write itself. No? Just me? Fine. Be like that.
Taking charge of my own life has never been easy, so here’s to trying again. Cheers!
Hopefully failing better each time, I’ll learn something. Otherwise this blog is just the writings of a mad woman, or the sad attempts of a sad individual that tried but failed. People love these kind of stories! You know, the ones that suck the hope right out of you and leave you dry and empty. No? Well, then I better get it together.
But not just now, I’m on my period now, mamma needs her cake.
I am on a Nurofen, cake and frozen pizza diet. I call it Période Reckless. It’s like Picasso’s Période Bleue. Except it’s not gonna be my legacy, it’s not thought provoking and it sure as hell ain’t pretty. So, it’s nothing like it, really. I’m just writing outta my ass. You have my sincerest fake apologies.
Dear Santa, I’ve been a bad, bad girl I’ve been selfish and careless and not at all wise And to summarize, well, I ate a lot of fries.
Dear Santa, I’ve been a bad girl I’ve eaten recklessly and enjoyed myself thoroughly I’ve devoured sweets like there was gonna be no tomorrow I’ve gobbled up carbs like a woolly mammal in need of more layers I’ve had a bite and then a meal I’ve had dessert AND apple pie! I noshed and picked and nibbled and munched I wined and dined until it fully affected my mind
Dear Santa, I’ve been greedy And then I got greedier
And then I stopped To think about all that I ingested
Dear Santa, I bathed in butter And now I am butter Because I feel like butter And taste like butter And walk and talk like butter And get licked like butter So, you see, I’m afraid I must be butter.
Dear Santa, I’ve made a pig of myself But you can understand me Thanks to that “milk & cookies” love.
You are fat; Tell me, have you gorged-a-lot?
Scene. A large room, painted white. White desk, white curtains, grey couch. A plant on the desk. Generic and green. A smell in the air of Cotton Febreeze and laundry that is clean. Big windows that gaze at a city in distress: filled with bad taste, chaos and waste. Luckily enough it’s a sunny day and everybody knows sunny days make everything better. If you expected me to keep on rhyming, well, you were wrong.
Behind that big, white, shiny desk sat a woman. Upright, cross-legged, stiff everywhere but loose in the hands. She is waiting for her next patient to come and spill the beans. Another individual that had it bad in his teens. She wonders what kind of abuse has this poor soul endured. Was he raped, beaten, or maybe severely insecure? Uuuuh, maybe he’s a repressed gay man that’s been living a lie! She’ll listen to him and then help change his life! She smiled, giddy as a child at the thought of maybe, actually fixing someone, a he or a she. Yes, a naive child, indeed.
A knock at the door. The damaged one is here. “Oh, come in, you poor darling! I’ll make your pain disappear!” She thought that, but she, of course didn’t say it. How inappropriate and awkward would it be?! (No, seriously, on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 being cringe-worthy and 10 being bat shit crazy?) Control yourself, lady! That’s why you got into psychology! Breathe in, breathe out!
(The man enters, head down, shy and polite. He looks positively troubled, disturbed and fucked up. He’s biting his nails, his eyes look like shit and I’m not even gonna talk about the circles underneath!)
The troubled young man: Uhm, hi! I mean, hello, doctor... uhm...
The eager young psychologist (goes in for a repressed hug/awkward handshake type of thing): Amy! Just call me Amy. I mean, doctor Amy. And you must be Chris.
The troubled young man (visibly nervous): Yes, yes I am.
Amy: Please, sit down, Chris.
Chris (he wipes the beads of sweat running off his forehead and sits clumsily): Thank you.
Amy: Tell me, Chris, why are you here? What’s been bothering you?
Chris (with growing despair): Well, you see, I’ve been hiding this thing, this... terrible thing for half of my adult life. I... I seemed to be fine with it but lately it’s just been so much more difficult. I mean I can’t sleep, I can’t work, I can barely eat! Everywhere I go, with every person I meet I have to face this... this demon that keeps tormenting me! I can’t escape it, doctor! (starts weeping loudly)
Chris (swallowing his tears): Amy...?
Amy: Or doctor Amy. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Please go on.
Chris: I’ve been keeping this secret for so long... I can’t bring myself to say it out loud. It’s too hard.
Amy: Chris, you are in a safe environment. You will not be judged here. You have to tell me your secret in order for me to help. Otherwise, there’s nothing I can do. Plus, you’ve already been charged for this session, so get in there, get your money’s worth! ( chuckles then gets embarrassed)
Chris (trying to gather up the courage): I... I have... Whuuuuu... Aaaaa... (losing it) I can’t, I just can’t. I wanna say it but then I can’t breathe and I feel like I’m choking and I’m seeing spots and whoooooooo...
Amy: Ok, Chris, take it easy. Breathe in (does it), breathe out (does it). You don’t have to say it. But you do need to, and what’s more important, you want to! Right? That’s why you came here. Now...start by saying it in your mind over and over again. Ok? Just... say it to yourself.
Chris (slowly nodding and trying to convince himself): Ok, I can do that. I can do that. I can do that! I can do that.
Amy (impatient): Then do it! (softening) Go on, slowly but surely.
(Chris begins saying the phrase in his head. It is visible that he is struggling but the more he does it, the easier it becomes. When he reaches a comfortable state Amy intervenes.)
Amy: Great job, Chris. Don’t stop, keep saying it in your head and when you’re ready start whispering it to yourself. Alright? (he nods). Let’s try it.
(Chris goes slowly and fearfully from no voice to the faintest whisper.)
Amy: And now, you keep at it and everytime I touch your arm, like so (demonstrates with a simple, gentle tap on his arm) you will go up a level. Slowly increasing, ok? Nothing to it, you can do this.
(Chris breathes methodically and nods his head. Things go as planned and slowly we start to make out what he might be saying. Amy is growing more and more excited, she tries to hide it but curiosity is eating at her like a mouse at a big chunk of smelly cheese. She is also breathing methodically in an attempt to contain her emotions and not scare the mouse back into head voice mode. At this point in time, she taps his arm and starts to make out some words.)
Chris: I... have... never...
(Amy listening intently, taps his arm again.)
Chris: I have never had salad.
(Amy’s face drops in disbelief and confusion. That can’t be it. She taps again.)
Chris (louder): I have never had salad.
(Amy could not believe her ears. In a frenzy she started tapping Chris’s arm over and over again, his voice was getting louder and stronger. She tapped madly, he yelled freely: I HAVE NEVER HAD SALAD!!!! They both stopped. They were sitting there, exhausted. Him, relieved and almost victorious. Her, stuck and almost immovable. Her eyes were moving left to right like crazy and then words started bursting out of her mouth like water from a fountain.)
Amy: Salad? You’ve never had SALAD? That was it?! The big secret?! The great, dark demon that torments you at night?! The thing that’s stopping you from being at peace with yourself?! Are you fucking kidding me? Is this a joke? (he has no time to respond, she is really going for the jugular here). I have dedicated all my years, all that energy, all the hopes of uncovering extraordinary past traumas!!! For what?! For this?! For someone who has never had salad?! ( laughs a maniacal laugh, like you see in the movies) I mean, my God, that’s ridiculous! At least tell me you’re gay! Please!!! You have to be gay! I mean look at you! You’re like a hungover Prince Charming! You look neat, you smell like fresh raspberries and your hair is simply surreal!!
Please, God let him be gay!
Chris: I... I’m not...
Amy (not missing a beat): How does that even HAPPEN? HUH? HOOOOW?! How the fuck do you go through life and never stumble upon a salad?! I mean, they’re everywhere, God damn it! Oh my God, I am hyperventilating, I can’t stop, I’m freaking out.
Chris (baffled and confused): Doctor Amy?
Amy: I just... I mean what kind of person has never had salad before? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that! (can’t catch her breath)
Chris: Are you ok?
(Amy nods a desperate “no” while breathing heavily.)
Chris: Take it easy. Just sloooow it down. One breath iiiiiiin, one breath ouuut. Nice and steady. In and out.
Amy (calmer): I’m so sorry, I’m sure there are extraordinary circumstances that lead to this... uhm... situation. That was so unprofessional! I’m so ashamed! I... I have to explain myself. You see, I was so ready to help you. But I was ready to help with issues that I knew how to... well, handle. And then you sprung this on me... and I didn’t know how to help and I... I rrreally need to help. That’s what I do! Otherwise I feel useless. You made me feel useless. Well, no, not you! Just your... situation. I’m making it worse, aren’t I?
Chris: No, weirdly enough you’ve made it better. Finally someone else freaked out over something that I’ve been freaking out about forever! I felt... oddly understood.
Amy: Hmm, did not expect that. I mean, yeah, I know! I intended to do that! That was totally planned. It’s a new method, it’s called “Man In The Mirror”.
Chris: Man in the mirror? Like the Michael Jackson song?
Amy: Yup, mhm, inspired by the man himself. Too late to help him, though. He was long dead when we came up with this! (nervous laughter) I’m sorry, I say inappropriate things when I’m nervous.
Chris (smiles): I wish I could do that.
Amy: So, what happened? How did you manage to avoid salads for half of your life?
Chris: Well, you know, classic “mom dies choking on a salad leaf, boy never eats salad” story.
Amy: Oh my God, really?!
Chris: No, not really. At least I would have had a real “reason” if that were true. Truth is I didn’t eat salads when I was a kid because I found them gross, I guess. Just the way they looked! Everything thrown into a bowl and mixed together so randomly. And then as time went by, the pressure grew, that pressure that I had to taste one! And then I saw how people judge other people that don’t like or don’t eat salad! It terrified me! I got more and more afraid to find out. I much-preferred the coward approach. So, I kept stalling... But I’ve just reached a point where I’ve lied to everyone I’ve ever met! It’s too much
Amy (enthusiastic, figuring things out as she goes): Oh my God, I totally know what’s wrong with you! I mean, not that anything is actually wrong with you! You’re just afraid. When you were a child you were afraid of independence, of the chaos that awaited for you in the real world! You must have been a really insightful child! You correlated the uncertainty and the chaotic aspects of life with...well, salads. But what you did not realize is that you make your own salad, Chris. You choose what goes in there. You are the master of your own salad. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, tough to be fair, not this anxious.
Chris: What if I put the wrong things in there? What if they don’t work well together? What then?
Amy: Those are just mistakes you have to make, they’re chances you take. If they work, great! If they don’t, now you know what to discard and next time you make a better salad. I hate cucumbers in my salad! How did I find out? I put cucumbers in my salad! Then I knew I did not want them there ever again!
Chris: That makes sense.
Chris: As for people judging you based on your salad preference, you need to let that go. I’m sure they judge you plenty for all the other things. Kidding! People are assholes and they will judge you for the weirdest “reasons”. You have to stop depending on what others think of you. Allow yourself to be free and experience life! Stop hiding behind a salad, Chris. It’s not very effective. Plus, you’re too pretty to be this afraid.
Chris (blushing): Wow, that’s a lot to take in… You’re pretty rough! And sneaky too!
Amy: Hey, I could have dragged this for another 3 sessions but I think it’s in your best interest to spend that money on salads.
Chris: Haha. You’re funny too!
Amy: You pay for the full package. Are you not entertained?
Chris (coy): Oh, I am.
Amy: So, I know you’ve never had a salad but have you ever had your salad tossed?
(They went back to Doctor Amy’s place - she insisted to be called Doctor Amy for this part - and she made him his first salad. And it was this one right here. I shit you not.)
Disclaimer: There are no precise measurements for this one, so go crazy boys and girls! Your life in a bowl! Go ahead, mix it up, have some fun, make some fucking mistakes and learn how to get over them. Life lessons from a salad. This is what my life has come to.
Step 1: Make the vinaigrette by mixing together the olive oil (aprox. 1/4 of a cup), the mustard, the balsamic vinegar or the lemon juice (1 tbsp), le moutard aka the mustard (Dijon, cause we're a bunch of snobs), the salt and pepper. Needless to say you adjust this to your needs. Have you learned nothing from that long ass story? Oh, also, I only used a third of that vinaigrette for that amount of salad bush. Yes, I call that a salad bush. How very naughty, I know.
Step 2: Dress the salad bush a bit. Not too much. Think erotica not straight up porn.
Step 3: Make it rain with micro-herbs. Bitches loooove micro-herbs. I know I just called myself a bitch. It's self awareness week. Unagi, I am always aware ;)
Also, if you're wondering what the fuck are micro-herbs and why you need them in your life, listen up. They are very tiny herbs. You don't need them, they just look purty and make you feel better about yourself.
Step 4: Bring on the cheese, the figs, the blackberries. Top with pecans (I keep mine in honey, cause it makes me feel precious).
Step 5: You know what to do. Toss that salad, baby. Ain't nobody watching you (read this in Barry White's voice). You're welcome.
Amy: So, what do you think?
Chris(thinking about it): I'm thinking about it...
Amy: Well, think faster, I wanna know!
Chris: I loved it. If all salads are like this, I'm in! I mean, sweet, salty, tangy, soft, crunchy! Man, that was a sweet ride!
Amy(pleased with herself): I knew you were a salad man.
("Barry White - Can't get enough of your love, baby" playing in the background).
And then they tossed the salad and it was gooood (yes, with plenty of ooooo-s).
The last couple of weeks have been loose, I ain’t gonna lie. I have eaten freely and surprisingly enough, I feel no guilt about it. I’m working on this theory that guilt makes you fatter than carbs. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Thing is, it didn’t feel like giving up or giving in. It just felt like a break. It felt like I got tired of cooking and planning and controlling everything. So I let the soft animal of my body love what it loves. What it loved most was stuff I did not have to work for. Emotional as I am, I burnt my candle at both ends and I was left with no fucks to give whatsoever. It’s actually more than just digging in the bag of fucks and finding absolutely nothing. I couldn’t even find the friggin’ bag. I didn’t try much because I didn’t feel like it. I felt emotionally numb but not in a bad way. All that urgency and pressure I normally feel just melted like the mozzarella on top of all that frozen pizza I ate. The only thing bubbling these days (besides the Proseco) was my interest in Jane the Virgin, chilling, eating out and doing yoga. I tried to feel bad about it, I really did! Well, more like my mind was trying to make my gut feel bad, but it failed. I think I needed this. I, of course, learned something from it. I had to! Otherwise, it would have been useless. First of all, the second you stop actively wanting and working on this “eating right, moving your ass” thing, you just stop. It’s that easy! It is so easy to start eating unlimited amounts of store bought white crusty bread again, to eat sweets without restrictions, to just buy frozen pizza and sandwich stuff, to forget fruits and veggies exist, to renounce all the good habits you worked so hard on maintaining. It is the easiest thing! Good thing is, if the good stuff was good for your body, your body will miss it and it will let you know. Mainly all those digestion problems you forgot you used to have are back. Oh, and you are not pooping as well as you used to.
If you’re sensitive to bowel movement talk, you should tell me right now! Full disclosure! Nothing's gonna change, though, I’m gonna keep talking about it as long as it’s relevant. And you know it’s relevant! So stop being squeamish and face your poop! It’s important! All carbs and no veggies makes Johnny an inconsistent pooper. Y’all, we need fibre!
The second thing I realized was that these times of “can’t find my fucks, I wonder where I left them” happen because I care too much about everything all the time. It’s forced balance. Now, how great would it be if I could achieve balance throughout instead of these spikes of too much and not at all? Uhm, hello! Isn’t that the goal? It sure is, my emotionally unstable friend, it sure is.
My only regret these past weeks is that I ate even when I wasn’t really hungry. It’s easy to go back to gently stuffing your face and forgetting about the world.
Highlights (some I’m proud of, some not so much)
I went running on my first day on the period train. I worked in the morning, I came back, I covered myself in blankets and pain pills and theeeen out of the blue I decided to get out of my fort of cosy and go running :O Shocker, I know! That’s when I realized I can go running even at night-time. I have no idea why I didn’t consider this before. I’m sure there’s some self sabotage mechanism here somewhere. Sneaky little bastard!
I bought a big bag of Doritos. I ONLY did it because they didn’t have the small one! Cross my thighs and hope to die, well I wouldn’t tell you no lie (improvisation on Elvis). Aaaanyway, I ate some on a bench in the park, you know, as one does. Wait, there’s an upside to this story! I threw the rest away! :O I threw Doritos into the garbage! No looking back, no regrets, no nada! Adios, chicos!
I went running that same day. The wind was cray-cray. I was running and crying. It really felt like holdin’ on for dear life. The program went from 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking to 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking. Not fockin’ easy, mate! I barely made it. But hey, I slept like a baby that night.
The Frozen Pizza Day. There was this day. I ate frozen pizza on this day. Once, twice, three times a laaaady! Easily top 10 “My proudest moments”. That’s an act of courage, right there!
I went to yoga on Saturday on a rainy morning! Had brunch in the form of french toast with bacon and maple syrup AND was able to move the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I was in pain, I was sore, but it was the good kind of sore! I worked hard for that pain, I earned that shit!
Notes on running:
1. I will begin by saying that I’m not actually running, I’m “running”. It’s a sort of a faster crawl. I am so bad at it! I am quite possibly one of the worst and it is awesome. It’s such a relief! I’m bad at it and I know it. I have no expectations, there is no pressure to “live up to my potential”! I have no potential, it’s a miracle I’m doing this in the first place! That’s why a sense of victory follows every running attempt because every attempt is a victory. I mean I have heard the theory about the whole view on failure and evolving and all that jazz, but I never actually went through that, until now. I am liberated! I am the world’s fastest slug! Imagine how glorious the posters would look!
2. During - and after - a run (or a “run”) I get what I can only refer to as “The tin man experience”. You know, because you feel all empty on the inside. Because your chest feels like a hollow tin shell and you’re just now learning how to fill it. It really makes you aware of how big your chamber is and how senseless you usually are. I totally recommend it. Approach with curiosity and joie de vie. Good luck! And don’t trust everything you read ;). 3. Do not diss running on Destiny’s Child - Survivor. It fucking works.
Notes on life:
1. I will begin by saying that I’m not actually living, I’m “living”. It’s a sort of a faster crawl. I am so bad at it! I am quite possibly one of the worst and it is NOT awesome. Unlike the “running”, I feel no relief! I’m bad at it and I know it but I have all these expectations, there is all the pressure to live up to my potential! Yup, I even let the commas go, because this is serious! There is no sense of victory, only the sense of barely keeping up. I mean I have heard the theory about the whole view on failure and evolving and all that jazz, but I am a bad, bad learner! I am the world’s liveliest zombie! Imagine how glorious the posters would look!
2. Once in a while I get what I can only refer to as “The tin man experience”. You know, because you feel all empty on the inside. Because your chest feels like a hollow tin shell and you’re just now learning how to fill it. And that chamber gets bigger and emptier while you get smaller and more insignificant everyday. I totally recommend it. Approach with curiosity and joie de vie. If you can. Good luck! And don’t trust everything you read ;).
3. Do not diss Destiny’s Child - Survivor. It fucking works.
When in doubt, just blast some “Survivor” and get your groove back. Ups and downs, baby, that’s how it works. The waves of the sea, almost every frigging melody, roller coasters and life. Don’t go faking it, you knew this, you’re not at all surprised.
That was a week ago. Another week has passed and since then I went from “numb in a alright way” to “numb in a bad way”. Why ? Because I don’t feel “the push”. I don’t have the internal urgency, the drive! There is no will flowing through my cheesy body. Hell, even using exclamation points seems fake and forced and unreal. The force is no longer with me. Thus, nothing happens. I don’t write, I don’t crave, I don’t cook, I don’t care. I just go through the motions. I am now an emotionless eater. If you expected this to be a good thing, if you thought “Hey, since she’s not driven by crazy emotions anymore she should eat right and chill!” Yeah, no. When I don’t care about anything, I don’t care what I eat, so I eat whatever. “Whatever” is hardly ever a good strategy when you’re trying to build a better life. Not to mention I stopped “running” and I was even too lazy for yoga. I desire nothing, yet I don't feel at all like the Buddha. I feel cheated.
My care is on vacation. Waiting for the bitch to come back and help me win at life. Hope she comes back soon, it’s weird around here without her. The house feels empty and all that blues.
Clarification: I am not sad. Do not confuse “numbness” with “sadness”. I actually had some pretty awesome days just “being”. But I am not myself when I don’t want things. I feel like I’m underwater and everything is slower and I am not going anywhere.
I leave you with what has been my anthem these past weeks:
A very frustrating week went by slowly and painfully. It all started with a Monday Meltdown. Why? Because I felt like my life is a continuous parade of aches and pains and colds and tiny shitty obstacles that stop me from going full speed. And my full speed has never been fast enough! I never feel like I'm going as fast as I wanna go, I'm always 5 steps away from where I wanna be! And colds are such useless, annoying little "diseases". Like a fucking fly buzzing in your ear with no purpose whatsoever! Some people manage to ignore the flies, or accept the flies and wait it out or move on with their lives. I am not that kind of person. I cannot ignore or accept. I get frustrated and miserable and nasty.
Ally, what makes your problems so much bigger than everybody else's? Ally:
I lashed out, I cried... Or I least I think I cried, my nose and my eyes were so damn runny I couldn't really tell! There you have it: I made a scene in an Italian place! And it wasn't even because the waitress couldn't understand the difference between "juice" and "porridge". Nor the fact that she didn't even get her own language. "Spremuta" meant nothing to this woman! Shock, dismay, horror. It wasn't the "frittata" either. Because there was no frittata. There was a basic-bitch of an omelette that came in a size "normal"! It wasn't my ugly looking mushroom soup that tasted alright. It wasn't even the chocolate croissant they ran out of before I stuffed one in my mouth. It wasn't all that. It was me. Well, all that didn't fucking help! When one can barely hold it together one needs a good - if not wonderful - brunch experience, not a hot mess inside and out! Dropped the ball there! Don't hire people just because they're family! Teach them at least one language first! Cooome on, you're embarrassing yourself! Also, you're forcing me to be mean after losing my shit in your restaurant!
Oh, and don't let a crying woman leave the premises without a chocolate croissant.
The Meltdown - Part two. I realized I put a lot of pressure on myself and I don't allow myself a break. Even when I'm not doing things I constantly think about the list on my whiteboard and everything I wanna do and the time that's passing and the opportunities I might be missing and AAAAaaggGQAAAAAAAAA! You get the picture now? People ask me why am I so tired all the time. Why?! Because it's exhausting working on yourself everyday! I'm my biggest fucking project! Do you have any idea how much work it takes to build myself up?! To try and change the behavioral patterns that make me my biggest enemy? To constantly train my mind to not think all the negative things it wants to think?! To think less, do more, eat better, move my ass, not think about the past or the future, not compare myself with others, to not get impatient and envious and gloomy! To think more rational, to love myself, flaws and all, to accept my pace, to not give up! To silence my ego and give voice to my wonderful bits and pieces. It's hard work, don't underestimate it until you've tried it.
Worry not, a good old cry and I decided I will let myself be sick. I will erase everything on the whiteboard for a week and just be. So I "beed". And I ate.
Boys and girls, this is all you're getting for that week of my life. Why? 'Cause I need to start telling you about the other one and things are less dramatic there and more exciting. If anyone has any questions about the food in the pictures, ask away, my darling. Don't be shy, I love me a good foodversation. Yes, I just made that up. Just as I did with those chocolate treats you see there on the left. Homemade! Wink, wink, honk, honk! Adios! Y un beso para osito! ;)
P.S. There were only 3 tablespoons of ice cream in that Ben&Jerry bucket. Don't go judging! You never know if the bucket is half empty or half full ;)