It’s a big day. Today is my birthday. Today is the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Today I washed my car.
Today I hiked a mountain in search of a waterfall, in search of clarity, in search of answers. I got to the top of the mountain, which as it turns out, was actually in a valley. The water had dried up and all that remained was a leaky faucet’s worth of dribble tumbling from the rocks above me.
Along my route I passed rustic, turn-of-the-century cabins, wasps dinning on an unidentifiable carcass, black walnut trees bowing graciously in the wind, and a swarm of gnats that I’m pretty sure mistook me for a moving poo emoji. A mobile poo in pigtails. Pigpen, on an off day. Or perhaps, that unidentifiable carcass.
The burnt orange and green hillside rolled and twisted for several miles beneath my feet as I tried to focus on the crunch of the leaves underfoot, rather than the buzzing tornado that kept trying to make its way inside my nostrils.
I had a banana in my pocket and a stick of chapstick wedged into my underwear. I was determined to pack light for this hike, keeping only my phone handy to take pictures and jot down notes on my profound self-actualizations that would surely come.
As I swatted my hands unconsciously in random directions, I slowly made my way down the trail, deep in thought about what had been gnawing away at me for months now.
What do I have to show for all this time on the planet? No kids, no platinum records, no life partner, no knowledge of what really brought down the banks in the financial crisis of 2007, no ability to drive a stick shift, no urge to use the term IRL, in actual real life. No desire to post a meme of a dancing cat licking a dog’s genitals on my Instagram account, solely to get people to have more interest in my music, and no emotional connection to the new quarterback of the Denver Broncos, (did I even realize I’d missed the first two games?!).
What I did care about was learning how to take apart my car engine, wear greasy overalls, stand up to bullies, be a bad-ass-bitch, boss lady who feels good (not guilty) about making money, flipping the bird to a grouchy driver tailgating me, flipping the bird in photographs, and flipping the bird to a noisy bird. Learning to play the bass and becoming a phenomenal music producer, no longer having to rely on someone else to interpolate my ideas. Getting hired to make music for that television show, writing for that television show, being on that television show. Finish writing my book and getting it published, by like, a legit publisher. Volunteering for difficult situations that left me both heartbroken and mended. Training for my next triathlon in December, and getting my bike brakes fixed so that it won’t end badly. Having meaningless sex. Having meaningful sex. Mastering the art and alchemy of falling in love. Figuring out one way or another, how to buy a house, (wanna go in with me?). Saving money (ok yes, it’s a rounding-up app on my phone. And yes, thus far, I’ve saved the equivalent of two days worth of valet parking. But it’s a start.) Planting a garden. Adopting a dog. Adopting a child. Moving to another part of Los Angeles, leaving behind my indecision and slumlord in a cloud of dust and middle finger salutes.
Also, putting a phone mount in my car so I can stop wedging my phone in between my bra strap and my shoulder. Finally making my car calls, slightly less dangerous and erotic. Washing said car to get rid of the smell of living in it for the better part of two months because of the flood that took place in my home and the aforementioned bullying which temporarily derailed me. (more on this in my zany essay, Sundays Are For Suckers)
And finding that godamned waterfall. Because I breathe better, feel better, think with less noise, and connect to the Universe with better reception when I am firmly planted in nature.
So as I sat on the floor of the dried-up waterfall, legs softly crossed, knees peppered in pebbles, twigs and forty-five of my closest gnat friends, I still managed to find some serenity.
Get your new songs recorded. Follow up with X and if he says no, keep your chin up and move on to the next thing. Write your next story. Be more honest. Be more vulnerable. Risk getting your heartbroken. Be better. Stay open. Keep practicing. Keep learning. Ask for what you want and then be bloody tenacious about getting it. Don’t be afraid to really fuck up. Again. And again. And again. Someone is going to get you who will make a difference, who can make a difference, so keep making a difference.
Now, at 9:41pm, sitting in a Starbucks somewhere in the belly of Pasadena, across the street from Chick-Fil-A, I can’t help but think, they too, struggled to find their way. Once known as The Dwarf House, they took the chicken meal to a new, yet undiscovered level. They put those little hopeful nuggets under a shit ton of steamy pressure and cooked them until they made the best new chicken sandwich this side of the Bible Belt. So if a little pressure can create the multi-billion, albeit homophobic, fast food mogul chain, we all love to hate, then bi-golly, a little more loving pressure in the right direction can get me to find my perfect inner diamond, ready to shine.
As I enter into this new year I wish you all a happy birthday, every day.
A Photo Essay Of My Day