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Our Pets, our Lives

Losing a pet isn’t easy. You grow up with them, they’re an integral part of your life. They are there through good and bad, changes and self-discovery. I still miss my dog, Chloe. I remember when I first got her, took her for a walk in the rain. Chloe was there for me when no one else was. She would listen to me as I told her about hating high school, about liking boys. She ran all those miles with me when I was going through my eating disorder. And I’d hear her tail thumping against my bed when a thunderstorm raged.

I remember a dream I had, when she passed, that she was running freely across a green field, as she hadn’t been able to run much in her last days. I took it to mean she was free of the burden, and that she would always be with me. I know Alto and Duke are with you still, in spirit. They’re a part of you, and you are a part of them.

My dog looked at me, the last time I saw her alive. We shared a moment, and I told her it was okay if she had to go. And she did. Dogs are wonderful animals, so tied to humans that one can’t help but think that they understand much more than they can always communicate.

Your moment with Alto, though it was stressful, you gave him peace, and permission to let go. And I think he thanked you for that grace. As old and blind and incontinent as he was, you were still his family, and he had to make sure you would be okay. And you will be.

You will be.



Ode to Alto

Missing my dog. Sir Pantsalot. Alto. Allie Wallie. Alto Bo balto. Shamal. Allie. Bal. I never thought I would say it, but I miss changing his diapers and heating up his food. I miss watching him walk in circles in the front yard and worrying if he is going to bite me if I try to pet him. I miss giving him baths. I miss his little old man face and seeing him prancing around in his little, purple sheep footie pajamas. It’s really terrible coming home and finding reminders of him: his stuffed animal Sebastian the crab, suddenly noticing that dog food is still on the grocery list, and smelling his stinky diapers still lingering at the bottom of the trash can. I never expected losing him to be so hard because he was no longer the same dog to me because of how much he had aged. In many ways I had already grown accustomed to the real him being mentally gone. I used to make fun of him for being so old, but I think that is because he was such a fixture in my life that I never expected him to die. I remember when he used to stick his head out the window and look the happiest I have ever seen him. I miss seeing him dance for treats, hearing the quick shake of his ID tags on his collar and the little clickety clacking of his little toe nails on the linoleum floor. I remember watching him eat Popsicles outside in the summer and treating him to munchkins at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive through. Watching him have a seizure brought me some trauma, and watching him die brought me great sadness. A part of my childhood is gone—one of my first best friends—and only he would understand how much I loved him and what it means that he is gone. Losing him felt brought back feelings of grief over Duke O’Brien, too, and reminded me that the universe is pushing me forward even though I am resisting change. This year will be my first Christmas without both of my dogs, who died within a year of each other. I feel like my family is getting smaller. I hate feeling so sad. If the overwhelming sense of loss I feel ever passed away, then I can assure you I certainly wouldn’t miss that.



"You’re Not Living": Words of Criticism from the Wiser

"You’re not living," he said.
I know.
It’s a phrase that can explain the bags under my eyes
that a little boy once deemed “boo boo eyes.”
When I speak or sing I hear fatigue, insecurity, and depression in my tone.
“Breath is energy. You’re missing energy behind your breath when you sing, and you’re not singing from your head voice,” she said. “That’s your problem.”
It’s true, I guess. I mean, if breath is life and I’m not living, then it is only logical to say that I’m not alive enough to breathe or to sing.
“If you’re really feeling as sexy as the song’s melody implies the singer should be, the tone will come easier. Take deeper breaths and try to get a different perspective of the song by thinking of something else when you sing it. Like something from your childhood. Experience a feeling and show the audience your pain.”
Display emotion and breathe more deeply. I struggle with both those things.
And by the way, I can’t remember a time I felt sexy.
Or confident.
I also over think everything.
Have YOU ever wondered where to put your hands in a social situation or during dates or interviews?
On the table? Under the table? In your pocket? Clasped at your waist? On your hips?
I am never certain where to let my hands fall because I am always worried how people will interpret where I put them.
“Why can’t you walk in a straight line? You always walk into me when we are walking.”
I don’t know. Maybe it’s my big feet or my full thighs rubbing together at inconsistent points or my pot belly that propels me in strange directions. What’s it to you?
“What is your dream job?”
Headlining for Sara Bareilles.
“What could you see yourself doing?”
I don’t know.
Teaching? Expressive arts therapies? None of these things pay well and even though I can see positives in choosing a different path I always find a way to talk myself out of doing anything at all by exploring the negatives.
“What do you see yourself doing in ten years?”
I don’t know.
“You’re not living.”
No. I’m not.
Where is the manual for living?
Nevermind. I don’t want anyone else to tell me how to live anyway.
I’m tired of the criticism even though everyone seems to have the right answers.

Forgotten Love

Have I forgotten how to love?
I wonder

It seems so foreign
To think of a time I
Truly thought of another

Sure, there is lust
And immediate and instant
Based on nothing but
Pure spectacle
Blue or brown eyes
And a nice derrière

But the time where
I felt consumed by emotion
For another eludes me
I can remember wanting nothing else
But that person’s touch

Now, I can’t even imagine
A world where I would want
To be touched

And that saddens me.

I’m lonely
And I protect myself
From being hurt
So I don’t pursue
I only linger in the past

I remember when I first felt love
And now immeasurable and infinite
And exhilarating and suffocating it was
But I would give everything to have
That deeply back

Instead of feeling deeply empty

I don’t feel real anymore
I don’t feel much anymore
Except when I feel too much

My stomach sinks with sadness
Because I know I’ve let love get away
I know I’ve let love blind me
I know I’ve let love lead me astray

At least I felt alive, then
At least I had passion
At least I believed in something

At least I was once a person capable of love

Maybe I can be that person again
I’m keeping my arms open
In the hopes I catch another
As if from a dream.



Thoughts on a Union

A new life
A fresh start
An “I do”
Links two hearts

Lips touch
Hands have new rings
The sun sets
The moon sings

Happiness is all around
For lovers true
And lovers found

But what about the hearts
That wander
The mystery of love to ponder
What about the ones who strayed
The ones who ran —
Were too afraid?

Perhaps they are forever waiting
Never anticipating
That love could pass them by
In an instant —

If only they could try.

They could take a risk
A second glance
Not shy away
Embrace romance

To let love in
Not shut it out
Isn’t that what our purpose
Is about?

Reach out and find someone -
Before it’s too late.



The Will of Transparency

I almost through the first season on an Amazon Original show called “Transparent.” It’s about a Jewish family living in Los Angeles, and the patriarch of the family finally chooses to be true to himself and live outwardly as a woman.

This doesn’t come without some hiccups. His three children take the news in different ways. The oldest daughter contemplates leaving her marriage in order to rekindle a relationship with a woman. His son is a record producer who spirals into confusion about his father and his own role as a male. And the youngest girl is a free spirit, wanting to discover and learn without ever really being grounded.

It’s a phenomenal work of art — the characters are flawed and well-drawn and beautiful, the soundtrack is perfect, and everything about the storytelling is unique and real and effective. And I’m in awe and also am thinking — fuck, why aren’t I doing that?

I love writing. At least, I can remember when I did. I can love it again but I am choosing to not put in the work. I am choosing to complain instead of taking action. What the fuck is wrong with me? It’s more than just a lack of motivation. It’s fear. And there’s comfort in believing that I will fail so why bother. But geez —

I can do this, Carl. I can write a story like this and have it be semi-decent. I know it’s in me. It’s been buried by fear and anxiety and apathy and the soul-sucking emptiness of my job.

When am I going to wake up and live as I truly am? When am I going to see the beauty in discipline?

I hope it’s soon. Because without it, my life will be very sad indeed.



You’ve Got No Friends

That’s how I feel out here right now. Usually it doesn’t bother me but I am feeling terribly lonely this week.

The people I work with on the web series are annoying me, for many reasons. They are childish, and form cliques, and I used to be able to separate myself from it but I can’t. I can’t see them or the project the way I used to. It’s ceased to be fun.

Unfortunately, ninety-five percent of my human interaction comes from this group. I know some of this feeling is ego. I know I am also jealous of other people’s connections to each other. I thought Oriana and I were close but now that she’s started work and she is no longer on the outs with Rance, I don’t hold as high priority.

Rance thinks the world of himself and mostly I can’t stand it. I hate Leo’s — why do I have so many of them in my life? They make me feel less than and like I have to prove myself. Is that an astrological thing between Leo’s and Gemini’s?

I have been going to networking events on my own, but I don’t talk or network with other people. I feel fat, and disheveled and unprofessional and worthless when it comes to selling myself. What happened to me?

I used to be so much more confident of my skills and ability. I used to feel it in my bones and blood, but now…so rare. Maybe it’s the antidepressants. I hate pills. I am going to talk to my doctor about other methods because I can’t just keep existing in this state.

I have no one here I could call at 4 AM to bail me out of a jam. That’s pretty sad. I know I’m not alone, LA can be isolating, but still.

2014 needs to end. It’s been a horrible year. Bring on 2015, and let there be new opportunities and new friendships.

I don’t want to feel like an old curmudgeon anymore.



Angry vs Happy

I am angry and
I don’t know why
I wish to laugh
I wish to cry

Anything is better
Than this gloomy kind
Of weather
That follows me around

But I can’t laugh
And I can’t cry
And my peaceful slumbers
Have said goodbye

So I lie here on my bed
With pointed thoughts
Within my head
That I am right and
They are wrong
And they’re the fools instead

Anger wants to be my friend
To be the one that I depend
And it’s tempting, truth be told
But I’d rather be happy instead



An American in Los Angeles

Last night I saw John Williams conduct music from the movies at the Hollywood Bowl. If you are aware of the name but unsure of his credits, look no further than Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, ET, Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones — you get the idea. Basically the man has been the impetus behind most of modern 20th century film scores. But I digress.

This is my third year attending, so I guess you could call it a tradition. It’s nice to sit out under the stars in the open amphitheater, nestled below the Hollywood sign. The sun goes down, you sit on the uncomfortable wooden seats, pull out your wine, your snacks, and settle in for a musical experience.

Each year has a theme - this year was about dance in the movies. They played the tango from “Scent of a Woman,” and a bit of a ballet piece from “An American in Paris” starring Gene Kelly. It’s an indescribable feeling to see these films come to life once again with a live orchestra. I loved every minute of it.

I did have to see some people from past work and roommate situations that I didn’t really care to see, but everyone was civil and I enjoyed the evening.

Today I went to a movie memorabilia show and looked at all these people’s vast collections (and spent some money I shouldn’t have) and wishing I was rich so I could just buy everything. Sadly, not the case.

I am very excited to come home and visit with you. I sang some karaoke tonight but it isn’t the same. I miss those nights in your dining room, singing Sonny and Cher while your mom snored in the other room.

Life isn’t what we dream it will be, I guess. I’m trying to act happier, and make steps to better myself. I know you struggle as well and I want you to know that however much or little it means in this case, I support you. Making better choices is still making better choices, even if you don’t see results immediately. You asked your friend for validation — but maybe it’s not validation but reassurance that you seek?

I guess the battle for all of us is to stop focusing on our imperfections and feeling like strangers in our own bodies. I have a hard time telling anymore what is anxiety and what is my normal body reaction. I’m not sure I’ll ever get that normalcy back.

Keep on keepin on, my friend. Like Glinda said to Dorothy, you had it in you all along. Now look down at those ruby slippers on your adorable pronated feet and get clicking.



All About That Bass, No Treble.

This is a letter I wrote to one of my friends that explains my most recent internal and external struggle: my weight.

. . .

Girl, I love you and am so proud of you for your recent weight loss.

I have been frustrated with my body for years, and it now has a number of health problems due to a hormonal imbalance caused by ovarian cysts.

I am 29 and I have plantar fasciitis, high blood pressure, lower back pain, pronating feet, my hormonal imbalance, low self esteem and depression. These things are all related and I am disappointed that this is my reality.

I have an unhealthy relationship with food. Donuts, chocolate and pastries are a downfall. I eat sugar daily in some form.

My friend is health coaching me right now and recently she suggested that I eliminate sugar from my diet. I had an irrational response to that suggestion. I outright refused to eliminate sugar and became so anxious at the thought that I had physical symptoms. She thinks it’s the only way to counteract my hormonal issues and regulate my weight. I think she may be right, but I struggle with commitment issues in most areas of my life, and changing lifestyles is one of those commitment issues.

Sugar is to Carly as blanket is to Linus. How’s that for an analogy? My response to my friend’s suggestion to me to eliminate sugar only further proves my dependency upon it and the importance of learning to let go of my need for it, but I don’t want to let go. This tells me that as much shame, discomfort, and disappointment as I feel about and within my body it is not enough to make me want to change. This comes down to my low self worth and my inability to trust others; what I do to counteract that trust issue is I build a physical barrier around me in the form of a spare tire.

So, I choose not to change. Fine, but I am still taking *some* steps to improve my health. I am trying to eat better foods 66% of the time, and I am walking away from buying pastries at Popovers. Great. But, I leave feeling resentful that I have to make healthier choices and can’t just have what I want whenever I want it. I feel deprivation. I feel boxed into being required to log every morsel I put in my mouth. Does this happen to you?

What I am
Looking for from you is validation, support and the words of someone wiser who may have advice about how to decrease my feelings of resentment toward resisting unhealthy foods. Please let me know how I can continue to self motivate and feel this way.

Thanks and keep on keeping on.

With lots and lots of bass,