CW: mentions of eating disorders
On a train going all the way across Pennsylvania. It’s long but I like it so much more than flying. For 8 hours you can just look out the window, stare at trees and water, and space out while you listen to music or podcasts or a book.
Was just listening to a podcast interview with an eating disorder therapist. There were several moments that made me unexpectedly tear up, but she had a particularly fascinating point near the end.
She said anorexia is incredibly selfish, and she didn’t mean that word with any kind of judgment. It was literal. You are constantly thinking about yourself, about what you need to put in yourself or do to yourself to burn what you put into it. And your starved brain has no bandwidth to think beyond that. It’s desperately working on fueling and thinning itself. There’s no room left to see outside itself or pray or connect to the universe. It can’t meditate on anything when it’s starved like that.
It hit pretty deep.
As soon as I get back to the city I’m going to spend the rest of the weekend with a friend. He loves to cook elaborate meals and never lets me help. And obviously the meals are absolutely beautiful but I feel uncomfortable having someone do something like that all the time. He loves to “plan the menu” without telling me. It’s always delicious. But I don’t like the feeling of being spoiled like that. My brain spirals to try and do something to make up for him making dinner. It never comes up with anything good. Just paying for his dinner next time.
I know I’m literally complaining about someone making a beautiful lavish meal for me. I know that sounds selfish and insane. And I know that right after I listened to that eating disorder podcast, he texted that he was buying pasta and my stomach dropped. I was feeling gross and resentful about something that hadn’t even happened yet.
So I was listening to *another* podcast earlier today where I heard the phrase “wherever you are is your assignment right now.” Whether you like it or not. If you truly enrich yourself in it and ask how you can show up and serve, if you fully engage in it, you’ll graduate.
Weird feelings about pasta are an unexpected assignment but here we are. Hello how can I show up.
I often feel like such a sporadic ball of whims and thoughts and impulses. They zip and zag and sometimes make no sense. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am or what I want.
But you have friends. Who know what you’re like when you get close to them. They don’t think you’re weird or disparate. Just… maybe kind of moody. On occasion.
They see you and you make sense to them. They find the lovable parts that are harder for you to see.
So perhaps you feel like a big jangle of random things, but you’re actually a deeply lovable being. Maybe both of those are true.
Anyway that’s how I’m feeling right now.
I’m on a train coming back from my best friend’s wedding.
It was wonderful and fun and stressful and incredibly full of love. I was the maid of honor and I had to get her dressed, hold her bouquet, keep her veil from catching on fire from the thousands of candles that were everywhere, give a speech, not fall down or pass out.
I’ve never been a maid of honor and was nervous. But everything turned out just fine. There was no dancing, so we all went to a bar afterwards and drank, laughed, and just enjoyed being together.
It was the best weekend I’ve had in a really long time. We hugged this morning and she had tears in her eyes. Both her family and the groom’s are incredibly sweet and loving and welcoming, and so funny.
When a time is really wonderful, it ends up with you feeling sad as you leave. But I guess this sadness is a good thing. It’s sadness over the fact that you’re living and experiencing things that make you want to stop time and stay for a while.
I’m at the beach. The other night I was talking to a friend. I told him I want to date but am afraid of getting stuck.
“That’s like being afraid of getting bitten by a shark,” he said, “but you’re not even in the water.”
Sometimes I have fantasies that I have a big beach home with hardwood floors and I never wear shoes. I have my friends over a lot and we drink red wine and laugh. Oh and I have a courtyard with green trees and a long wooden table with candles on it.
A romantic partner doesn’t show up in this fantasy. I don’t know why. That would be nice too.
This has been a calm weekend. Much calmer than the one before it. I napped for several hours yesterday, then went to a friend’s housewarming party. Outside it’s hot and everything is green.
Had some great conversations last night. About web comics that hit you right in the heart, and travelling to Norway to look at goats and have fancy dinners. And witches’ markets in Bolivia that sell mummified llamas, which apparently bring good luck if you bury them under your house. And the rise of bug-based protein in cooking. And drag queens.
Today is for Netflix and coffee and calling Dad. And maybe (hopefully) sinking into my bathtub and writing thoughts into a notebook.
Last night a friend M had an NYE fest and he and his boyfriend met A, along with all his calm quiet magic. Oh you really like that one. They both tried to figure him out. Their dog loved him too.
A wished he could have had more time with just ourselves. He knew which door to knock on because he heard my laugh. He brought a deck of Romanov family playing cards in Putin wrapping paper. He wanted to play Mario Kart so he could beat me. He brought a camera and took Polaroids. He fascinated everyone.
We played 2 Truths and a Lie. M announced he’d gotten it right every round. A told stories about growing up in and running away from Russia and my friend’s Russophile boyfriend kept asking questions while M tried to get A drunk.
At midnight we had really nice champagne and A kissed me. My shoes made me a couple inches taller than him.
“I love it. Always be taller.”
We all gave each other one adjective. I was thoughtful. A was multi-faceted. M’s boyfriend was curious. M was, I can’ remember, loud and forward-thinking, probably.
We’re really magic together, M said. That whenever it was just us two going out the craziest things would happen. It was true. M and I have had so many adventures together. And we’ve told each other so many stories. We would go after the same things with different tactics. M would yell at strangers and then I would listen to them open up and pour out themselves. Loud and fearless and thoughtful and effective. It’s a warm feeling to think back about all of it.
When A left, M and his boyfriend analyzed even more. Is this even a relationship? How has he been here so long and not settled down? Etc etc. Always trying to figure it all out.
I told him about how I yelled “I want you to be my boyfriend” during sex once, and he said “Okay” and we talked about it later.
“Oh. Well I guess then it is.”
M said I’d learned a lot from the last relationship and was applying it now to my life and it was working. I guess I don’t even realize what happened because of him, or how it comes out in subtle and obvious ways.
After we have sex, Frenchie always opens the window and the air feels warm and sweet. Even the cold air. He disappears to clean himself up and I, still naked, stare out onto the street. Everything seems to stretch out forever. Time and the air and the dark. I feel like I’m somewhere different.
On Sunday, I brought him to my friends’ dinner party. The same friends I had a NYE Paris adventure with. They loved him. He brought wine from Walmart because he didn’t know it would be fancy (even though I told him) and became incredibly self conscious about it. But he was adorable and charming and won over the entire room. He just didn’t see it.
The next morning he insisted on sending daisies to their house. I worried this would look weird but my friends *loved* it.
What would happen if I tried the insane adventure I keep thinking about?
Found myself in Paris at 11:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. We landed at 10 pm and raced to claim bags, stamp passports, and hail down a VERY friendly French cab driver to take us to a dinner party. I translated exit signs and radio banter in my head as we zoomed down the street.
Dinner had started at 8. It was a stupidly fancy affair that served oysters and veal and other such stomach-churning decadence. And up until Cassondra and I burst through the doors with our suitcases, it had been a relatively calm, quiet event. Then there was champagne and chocolate and cheese plates and friends. A glorious end to the year.
Nearing midnight, our party grabbed a couple champagne bottles (stupidly expensive, we later learned) and took to the Paris streets. The clock hit 12 and la tour Eiffel sparked up around shouts of “Bonne Année! Bonne Année!” A friend tried to capture the moment on his smartphone, and after filming each of our cheers, dropped it on the ground and shattered the screen. “Oh noooooo.” Perhaps the most dramatic video ever caught on an iPhone.
People cried “Bonne Année!” from their balconies and on the street, and we called right back. We were dizzy with adrenaline from finally being here, on this adventure we’d planned for so long. We melted into Paris and became part of it. Not as tourists or Americans, but fellow bystanders of la grande fete.
There would be more booze and adventures and endless late-in-the-day brunches to come. Long lines at snooty palaces and champagne-fueled escapades at Moulin Rouge. Paris gay bars that played American pop music and theater trips where the audience stomped on the floor and demanded five curtain calls until the cast was crying and hugging and filming the audience on their phones. Bonne Année.