January 1, 2014

The Way We Were: A Year In Review

When I look back on this year, I see a lot of puddles—places where bits of my heart pooled and gathered in certain pockets of humanity, sought refuge in places both familiar and foreign. Lots of starts and stops, holding on, letting go, holding on, and cycling, bearing loss and life with friends and family and I swore, oh I swore this day would never come but it did. It did, and I am here, and I am still standing.

This year did a number on me in ways I never would have expected. At the beginning, I remember not wanting to let go of 2012—it held too much beauty bound up in its withered days—now 2013 is no different. And when I say I will improve, I will. When I say I will be imperfect in the process, I will, because I am human.  

2013 was (in no particular order)…

A newfound love of darts. Throwing sharp projectiles at walls is more stress-relieving than you know.

Hairdye hits and misses, and the Year Of The Mini Undercut (which is now growing out very cute and super awkwardly).

Discovering beautiful people, a few of My People, in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected moments. I love the way life works sometimes.  

Less creating with my hands (which was kind of sad), more soaking up the world and the people in it (which was interesting).

Devouring the written word, and finding my own words again. Filling notebooks.

Obsessing over Joan Didion and Spalding Gray and Simone De Beauvoir, and trying not to drool over the work of Marina Abramovic.

Connection and disconnection, holding on and letting go, pulling together and falling apart in stitches—abiding the fluctuation as only one can.

Doubling up on Record Store Day with fabulous dearhearts and coming away with some amazing albums, but more the experience than anything else.

Proud-crying at her voice recital, at his talent show. Again. 

Being commissioned to do some work for two weddings and enjoying every second of the process for both. Pinterest has made beautiful monsters of us all, haha.   

Mini local roadtrips immortalized only on film, partially in writing.

Watching the slow disappearance of the weathered patio booth, piece by piece. First the round warped center table, still on its side against the back corner fence, and then the whole booth itself. Gone. In general, what a year can do to the landscape of a place, or what people will do to the landscape of a place. Somethingsomething a metaphor for our lives.

Experiencing Handsome Ransom’s last show, and the way I cried silently when they closed out with Broadripple.

Falling into almostlove, and realizing that for all of my openness, there are still things I am afraid of.

The sound of the planes and how they truly turned my stomach after that night. How some touchstones weather with time, and there’s nothing you can do about it, except find different ones (and guess what: they’re all around you).

Reconnecting with nature and long distance dearhearts, and how we were once again a duo, and two trifectas, and how you never truly forget the people who love you—life just gets busy sometimes.

Operation Room Repaint 2013 Edition!
That night my worlds converged and I just kept shooting those darts til steel barrels rubbed my fingers raw, blunted the tips. The bitterness was deafening, and I hated the round barrel tables, the picnic one in the corner.

Vinyl parties and sunset lifetalks in the staunch white gazebo of time. 

The love-soaked mess of people at the house where my great-grandmother turned 101 years old, all that light in her face, brightness her smile.

Grand Stafford Theater experience, Revolution Cafe, those simple soul explosions.

How I needed that Alt-J show more than I ever could have possibly realized beforehand, and how strangely certain things are imprinted in your memory, the ones that you cling to for hope sometimes.

Disposable cameras in my bag every single month, and how Walgreens stopped developing them in-house, and it was frustrating but worth the wait, always.

Water bottles were the new pillows, and driveway hangs were the iconic summer thing, nostalgic and comforting under balmy humid skies. 

The one meteor shower witnessed. Multiple wishes were made that night.

Planting strawberries in a martini glass, because it was The Most Practical Thing. 

Yoga mats and life mantras and leaving anonymous love notes everywhere we went.

Joining the technological age with my first smart phone, while expanding my vinyl collection more than I have in any given year. Bifurcated mind of the best kind, y’all. 

How I proudcried when he made that decision, because it was proof that he was ready to fight and in the end came out stronger for it. How we’re both each other’s inspiration and encouragement, and how the small victories matter.

The day she walked into the room and I knew the minute I saw her we were meant to be soulmates. I was right. And how every time I mention Kerouac or Ginsberg or the Beats, she’s on the top of my heart and the tip of my tongue. Always.  

Learning so much from him, and being thankful for every second I was allowed, even though I know there are moments I did not sufficiently appreciate while I was in them. He was my exercise in staying present.

Taking a swing at portrait embroidery, and having a blast.

All of those serious conversations, and how some things bloomed and other things never actually came of them. We still left the puzzle unfinished. I left it unfinished. It was my job to begin with.

Seeing one of my oldest friends in her wedding dress, looking so damn gorgeous my breath was completely stolen, and how honored I was to be part of the occasion, and how much my heart explodes with joy for the both of them, especially since that day.

Curbside poetry late into the night, in the cold. Especially the not-so-cold night near the alley with the open air barber shop and I cried because the little girls were dancing on the sidewalk and I wanted to tell them love yourself. Hold onto this moment, even though you won’t. You are beautiful, and don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. This was our therapy.

Becoming a regular. That could be a good or a bad thing, haha.

Getting beaned square in the forehead with a pick at the end of the show I accidently stumbled upon, and how that made me one of the luckiest girls alive. What came after still makes my heart smile. 

Thrift store runs for ugly sweaters, dollars stretching beautifully for such Important Life Quests. 

Heightened awareness, and indulging in calculated risk-taking. It was almost always 1000x better than I expected, and hardly ever worth the initial stress.

So many late night friend hangs and mini adventures with my girl Mae, and how completely and truly blessed I am to have this woman in my life. Such a ridiculous encouragement and testament that fighting is so worth it. And to everyone else who has encouraged and supported me through this year (I love you all incessantly—it wasn’t always pretty, I know), thank you. I mean really. I’m a pretty terrible human being sometimes. But you were there regardless, so thank you, hard words and hardknocks and all. Needed that, haha. 

I hope everyone had safe/fun new year celebratorials!
You can see last year's list here


November 5, 2013

Dear November.

It's official: the time has changed, recalling memories from the grave -- Roadtrip Season 2012 and beyond. Crave it, feel that tremble deep in my bones, aching for open horizons and miles miles miles towards some vaguely plotted destination. The spontaneity of November, the crystal of my existence. Eyes peeled and ears to the ground for new music, long lost gems of grace and threads of soulsplinters, cracks in pavement where up rise bravehearts and dearhearts -- the ones who leave and the ones who stay in the nonchalant irregularity of life. Hold on, let go, fill your limbs with gratitude. 

Also, I can officially crochet scarves in public without weird stares and whispers that abound. 
I'm kidding. 

October flew by without so much as a wave goodbye and good riddance; I've made my peace and that's all that matters. 

Happy Tuesday lovelies, holy open mic night of the world. 


October 22, 2013

Portrait of a Lady, Or The Art Journal That Wasn't.

I started a new art journal, then promptly got bored of it. It had a concept. There were lists and plans and brainstorms and holyflowcharts. There was an end goal, somewhere. And then I dropped my basket, so maybe it will and maybe it won't get finished (I've learned that personal creative outlets are allowed to be just that, holding a certain whimsy when it comes to expectation). Maybe it'll take on a whole new life of its own. Perhaps I've worn out the idea of art journaling for now, and that's ok. Perhaps I'm just too invested in other things. Perhaps it will serve as a bit of kindling in a bonfire as the temperature kind of drops. Who knows? For now, it has served its purpose. And perhaps, it will do so again in the months to come. 

The future's wide open, and I've got nothing but time (and plenty of pages to fill). 


October 15, 2013

Currently loving // Sevenly

I discovered Sevenly a month or two ago when they did a campaign for Invisible Children. Since then, I've been completely blown away by the work that they do, and the broad range of organizations/causes they have and continue to support! Above are some of my favorite designs from this week's campaign supporting TWLOHA. Find out more about Sevenly and this week's cause here.

And, you know. Maybe sign up for their weekly email while you're at it? Or czech em out on Facebook. You never know what organization they'll be supporting each week, and the designs are fantastic, not to mention their line of children's clothing and accessories! My heart is behind them in such an explosive way.  

People matter. Make a difference. Happy Tuesday lovelies! 

October 13, 2013

them sick sad rainy georgetown blues.

Do you have that thing, the one that wraps tight around your heart, so worn out with love and no specific memory but smells and feels just like home when you hold it close? 

It started with an old paint-splattered Georgetown Bulldogs sweatshirt I discovered in my dad's closet when I was in junior high. Later, when I was living in Austin, I found this Georgetown U shirt at a thrift shop for ten cents. For a nascent Houston native just navigating her way in a world that had opened up so expansively before her, it suddenly felt like a very small place...I had to buy the shirt. It should be noted that no one in my family ever has or will go to Georgetown, but these pieces are a comfyday staple of mine for no apparent reason. The fact of them takes me to a place that feels like home. Not a building, not a collection of people related by blood, not a reminiscent series of events scattered on a timeline by association--but an idea of safety, of ease, of unrivaled solace.

Life can be funny like that, sometimes. 

The same way that my car was saved when the flood came because my best friend just happened to be in town and looked out his kitchen window in time to see my baby drowning. It only took 8 towels and an hour with the wetvac to remove the five inches of water that seeped into the car, but it still runs just fine, and that's all I can ask for. Maybe it's because I was wearing the Bulldogs sweatshirt in the downpour, completely fascinated by the slap and roar of cold, muddy water against my calves. 

Or maybe not. 
Either way, it's been a gray, weepy weekend. Lots of wringing hands and wringing out and ripped floorboards and fans to dry dry dry the tears the sky left behind. 


October 6, 2013

Dear October.

I could hold the phone to my ear and maybe you would listen. There’s always the pause, the silent surrender, before the conversation begins. An awkward greeting, maybe less awkward for the feigned resilience of the fact that you are there, and I am here, and you are, in fact, finally listening.  

I could tell you that July was for being with the band, and I will never love people any less. (I also have a mountain of picks if anyone needs a spare). 

I could tell you that August Is For Saying Goodbye, but luckily there were (and as I’m learning, usually always are) enough hellos to make it bearable, to the point of More Than Worthwhile. And all those sweaty mosquito nights spent talking out to the universe, swatting at legs and skin balmy with soupy Houston humidity where, for once, I was scared in the deepest way, feeling the wholeness of things.

And of course, September, September. Dates to remember, and everyone got a little wiser, or just a little older. It is also safe to say that the crowning jewel of the past three months was the Lord Huron + Alt-J show I attended at the Bayou Music Center with my brother and his girlfriend, which was about a week ago. Let me tell you something: you have not lived until you’ve danced with some friendly rogue Aussies to a soul-splitting, ear-gasming rendition of Fitzpleasure while wearing an oddly crafted but weirdly amazing sheer galactic print top with a deep-v back and flowing gypsy train situation.

To be fair, there was that stargazing night in Galveston, where the sand gritted in our teeth as we laughed into the wind, flying home to Broadripple and Contact on repeat like cosmic entities of infinity. Tallies for every plane that roared overhead, and a raw yawning awe for sunsets, snapping cameras, strength found in owning our stories, and respect in the ways we've allowed them to shape us. I vigilante bushwhacked through a suburban forest in sandals and forgot to take photos, but brought home chiggers and still have six small scars on my stomach as a souvenir (though, because they lasted so long, the consensus on whether or not they were ACTUALLY chigger bites was never confirmed). There’s also something to be said about eating salad from a giant plastic KFC cup, though I’m not exactly sure what it is, other than it happens, apparently. I ALSO don’t recommend owning a weak immune system that may lead to the next Tonsillectomy Scare of 2013 (which, thankfully, never leveled up to Jessica Goes Under The Knife: 2013 Version). 

There was, of course, a disposable camera involved somewhere in all of this, and way too many books read (though one can never read too many books, ever). Mostly I’ve stumbled upon fictional works exploring addiction and mother-daughter relationships, and mostly as they present themselves as co-occuring conditions. I couldn’t really tell you why, except that it’s hard to say no to a ten cent paperback at the resale shop with a semi-promising synopsis (as long as it’s not romance. When it comes to novels, I have the emotional maturity of an eight year old—someone give me a cootie shot). Maybe I’m using some of these works to better examine the relationships in my own life, though I don’t know how that even begins to compare, but anyway. (Ok, it probably compares. It’s probably really relevant. We’ll call it an accidental anthropological study).

Basically I ate a lot of words, watched some good movies, hung out with some beautiful people, communed with nature, learned so much about myself and others to the point of excruciating realness, and found my new favorite (LOCAL!) record store that’s been sitting under my nose this whole time (!!!)

I’ve missed you guys.

October, you’re going to happen one way or the other. I’d prefer things to be easier, but if there is no struggle, there is no progress (according to a recent Sevenly campaign slogan—great mantra by the way), and progress is the thing, so beat the crap out of me. I’m (mostly) ready for it, because this won’t be the worst thing that happens. And that’s something I can bet my life on.  

I hope you dearhearts are enjoying the changing of seasons; our first coldfront dropped around midnight last night. After a bummy week of humid rain, skies are beautiful and clear, the wind is cool, but the sun is still beamin' down. That's the South for ya, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 


July 7, 2013

Dear July.

You’re the smackdab middle of the slowrolling summer heatwave, the gradual build from June’s steady temperament to August’s fullbellyswell, where the sweat slides down your sides and neck in its sweet and salty way. July, mark seven in the year’s twelve step.  July, the colors of a nation celebrated.

June wrapped me up in soul connection, active practice in staying present, heightened political awareness, devouring the written word and finding my way back to those primitive, pen to paper writing roots. Two notebooks and disposable camera filled with things both personal and potentially blog-worthy, though that’s yet to be determined (hence the blog silence as of late). June, you’re a week in the rearview and I miss you already. But July holds a promise like savory apple pie scent wafting from an oven, counting down the seconds til latticed goodness is released.

I’ll take a slice, thanks.



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