Monday, April 21, 2014

Quinoa, Honey and Metaphors.

I went grocery shopping today.

This is big news.

I don't cook. I always claim that I am bad at it and while I have proved this claim correct many times, it's more that I just don't have time or care to.

That and I realized in the grocery store today that this may be an area of my life where I am truly ignorant and inexperienced...said the old virgin...ha.

A grocery trip for me generally consists of buying apples and cliff bars and if I am feeling wild I will throw in a pint of Ben and Jerry's Frozen Greek Yogurt.

You don't have to cook those things.

As I was aimlessly roaming the aisles I felt pretty overwhelmed. So I took a time out by the flowers and I googled "sensible grocery list for one."

Turns out typing those five words into your google search is pretty depressing.

It also turns out that when you search "a sensible grocery list for one" it doesn't pull up lists of cookies, cake, candy and cat food. I was fully expecting those results because when I hit send this feeling of loneliness coated my entire being like a base of smelly paint primer.

So I sat there sifting through all of these "Single Savvy Girl's Guides to Shopping" until I eventually gave up threw my phone in my bag grabbed a basket and I ventured forth.

In these months of stillness I have found myself searching for other people's ideas of what I should do with my time, what I should feel about my status in life and there I was looking for someone to tell me what I should buy at the store.


For a moment I was willing to just shop from someone else's list. A list full of things that I wouldn't know what to do with or even want because it was easier to just have someone tell me what to do.

But I don't eat peanut butter that often. I wouldn't have a clue what the hell to do with sunflower oil and I hate cantaloupe.

Buying these things because some woman thinks every single gal should have her kitchen stocked with these things...well it's dumb.

So what do I want?

What do I need? What can I work with?


Do I want to learn how to make quinoa? Yeah sure. I like it and it's pretty hip.

Put it in the basket.

Do I need more honey for my tea? Yep. Been meaning to get it for WEEKS!

Put it in the basket.

Do I want trail mix? Hell yeah. I love trail mix but I never buy it.

Put it in the basket.

This continued for a while until I felt I had enough food to last the week.

Perhaps all of this is fundamental and I just missed the memo or didn't read it but today I got my groceries and mostly, I got perspective.

Like I said in my post from last week, I am taking my time with being still. And today I forced myself to comb the aisles and to simply just get what I want and not feel like I have to subscribe to anyone else's idea of what that may be.

Needless to say, I was the most empowered girl walking down Steinway at 10am, stumbling with my groceries.

And while I cooked a big batch of lentils and quinoa (that's right, I figured it out and the apartment is not on fire) I realized that I am pretty good at cooking.

And while I sip my tea, I am thankful that I took the time to remember that I needed the honey that I so often forget about.

And while I think about my busy day tomorrow, I am excited that I have trail mix to throw into my bag.

I got what I wanted. Not what I think I should want.

And the most exciting thing of all is that I want so many things.

So many.

I just have to remember that I don't want what's on someone else's list...because taking time and searching for what's on my own list...well it's just smart.

....did I mention I love metaphors?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sound and Fury: Signifying Nothing

When I was in high school my friends and I would be cruising around in a car and they would play this game.

The game would go like this:

"Everybody be quiet until Colleen makes a noise."

I imagine this was fun for them because silence was something that made me uncomfortable.

When they would go silent I would cough, giggle, sigh...ANYTHING to fill the void.

I always wondered why I was so uncomfortable with silence. I mean I've seen the movies and I've heard the stories of how profound sharing some silence can be between people...but I didn't get it.

It wasn't until I moved to NYC that I really learned the value of sharing silence. There have been many times where I have got into a cab wrapped up in a kiss I just shared with someone. I've got into cabs when my heart was broken into a million pieces and just needed to be alone with my thoughts and not needing to worry about the social niceties of talking to someone else and to just simply sit silently there while a complete stranger drives me home.

In this city there are so many people that you are kinda forced into valuing being alone...being still...with a thousand different strangers a day.

Stillness in the chaos. Silence in the noise.

Stillness is a word I have been thinking on a lot lately.

Life goes tumbling by so quickly. I have found that my late twenties have been stressful because I feel like there are so many deadlines I have yet to meet.

I worry about money.

I worry about being a thoughtful artist.

I worry about being alone.

I worry about being proactive in life.

I worry that I am not doing enough.

These worries can be blinding. They are crippling even. And in my stillness and in my silence...I just simply had nothing to say.

Last year was so artistically full and personally rewarding and so fast paced that when it all came to a close...I felt lost. I felt uncomfortable. I felt still.

So I sat in my room. And I thought....why don't I create another piece of work. Why don't I spend 100 days rediscovering my place in the world. My place in the city that I chose to live in...and why don't I document it through social media. YES! It'll be great.

And halfway into my big cathartic, discovery project...I hated everything.

I stopped following the guidelines of my self imposed project and week by week, I let it slip away from me. I lost my vision. I wasn't saying anything somebody else wasn't saying...I was seeking validation from others on whether or not I was using my time well.

It became a pile of horses shit. And I didn't know what to do.

Do I restart the project?

Do I power through even though everything felt forced to maybe learn a lesson of endurance?

Neither of those options interested me so I told myself.

"Colleen be still."

So I became still.

Still for me was...

Watching a TON of Netflix.

Read some plays.

Took so many BuzzFeed tests....(my aura is gold if you were wondering.)

And I went stir crazy. I felt low. I felt sad and alone.

Friday night I was really feeling all of the feelings when I met a friend to see a show.

We sat down in the theatre and when the lights went up...I was instantly jealous of the actors. I wanted to be where they were. Even though the show wasn't all that good...they were creating a story. They spent hours of rehearsal discovering their characters. They endured what was likely a very long tech rehearsal together. They shared their work with an audience for a first time. They got to do all the things that I live to do. And I was jealous.

When the show was over my friend and I parted ways and I was walking through the city and I looked up while lost in my actory thoughts and I saw the Empire State Building and taxis flying by and hundreds of people filling the sidewalks and in that moment everything became...still.

Standing on the corner of 13th St. and stillness.

Standing in the city I've always dreamed of living in...stillness.

Knowing in that life goes from 100mph to 0mph and 0mph to 100mph in the blink of an eye and that to truly enjoy it you just have to be...still...sometimes.

I am proud of my accomplishments.

I am hopeful for my future.

I know what I want.

I am lucky.

And when I forget that...I will remember to tell myself

"Colleen, be still. You got this."