Hotel California

Welcome to the Hotel California, Such a lovely place (such a lovely place), Such a lovely face. They livin’ it up at the Hotel California, What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise), bring your alibis. Mirrors on the ceiling, The pink champagne on ice, And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’ And in the master’s chambers, They gathered for the feast They stab it with their steely knives, But they just can’t kill the beast. Eagles

I don’t know about for you but staying in a hotel is kinda weird. Like repeated one-night-stands weird. Because let’s be honest, how thoroughly do you think they clean the room in between guests? And how sanitary is it to live in someone else’s funk night after night?  I should just lay down, legs spread, and turn my head to the side now.

Even worse, your room can be a safe cavern or a prison cell, depending on how long you spend in it. Stuck inside, listening to the noises of the other inmates. Oh look, black 214 is taking their nightly shower.  To my left Charlie is talking to himself again—and he’s getting louder.  Soon he will be banging his head against the wall. Boom, boom—oh it’s started.

Tick tock, click click. Time is mocing and I can feel the minutes. Why is the light blaring from the alarm? Blink, blink those red digital markers are bright. Turn the t.v. on and the whole room is illuminated. Flip, flip, flip—oh five channels! How nice! And there’s nothing on?!? Even better. Uh… where’s the mini bar? Is 2oz of gin really worth $12? Is 2oz ever enough??

Lay down lady. Pillow over head—don’t suffocate. Toss, turn, shift, shake—my sleep cycle dictated by the constant flushing of toilets. How many times do you need to go to the bathroom?

Doze off. The sun comes up—time to roll out of bed: bloodshot eyes, fatigued limbs. What time is breakfast?

I’m getting old—my bones are aching. Stretch. Arms over head, chest jutted forward, back arched, head dipped, yawn. Arms extended overhead, arms down, flex fingers over knees. Time to move. Shower. Lord do I need a shower, after that roll in the hay. Ugh wasn’t even worth laying down.

Trickle, trickle, trickle, what the crap is wrong with the water pressure? Hot scalding, rushing through the motions. Soap, scrub, later, rinse off—no time to savor the heat. Brrr. Hit the tiled floor two feet, ten toes wiggled. Rub, rub, rub. Dew drags whisked away in a brisk fashion.

Left the laid out clothes, why did I pack this? Do I look bloated? That’s it no more dessert from the buffet! Man these pants are tight… Do I have time to hit the onsite gym after the meeting? Hmm… What’s for breakfast?

How long will I be sitting today? Hope my pants don’t ride down to a bloody plumber’s crack. Grr… I need to lose weight! Hit the treadmill, feel the burn. Sigh. What time is breakfast?

Makeup on, hair laid, where are my shoes. Let me oil out this ash. Phone check. Damn that took too long! Ding, ding. Only the elevator ride separates me and cheesy hash soufflé… I mean oatmeal. Looks down at pants—definitely oatmeal. Final check in the reflective doors. Do I look as tired as I feel?

What time can I go back to my cell?

 

 

As always, may the melody move you,

                                                JL

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Bad Self Portraits

“I’ve spent my life, so lost on lovin’, I could have been a painter or a president, But after 25 years, I should be good at something, Gone are the days of me being so innocent. I’m taking night classes, I’m making sculptures, I’m painting bad self-portraits, Of a lonely woman” Lake Street Dive

 

I’ll be some man’s other woman soon. Some women are resigned and settle whereas I politely accept second best. Pliant, I move with the wind, with the guidance of your nimble fingers. You go left, I go left. You veer right realizing your error; I’ll trot right behind you. Though you lack direction I have agreed to follow you—and I’m forever a woman of my word.

I hate that two years have passed and yet some days I still miss you. Lord knows those are words no one wants to hear. Just because I will never turn around, doesn’t mean I won’t sit and wallow.

I wish your claws were out of my back. Hard to walk when your face is held in a puddle of mud. Flip it, reverse it I’m “dum” to allow myself to drown. If I didn’t have so much bloody time on my hands, holding the ‘b’eat, trying to match a cadence to my memory of your drum—I wouldn’t reminisce so often. Over analyzing. Making things important that you found trivial, holding on to memories you easily discarded.

A lady’s weakness be her downfall, so I loathe myself for loving you. You’re an ass and yet I’d still dress you up in a top hat and tails to parade you around like a prize. Every sinner wants a ride when her feet are tired from walking alone. A mule garnished in garland: the chariot of a princess, tiara high, hand erect to wave at the crowd. Never does she notice the pungent odor of the droppings in her wake.

Have you ever let a stranger come inside? Careful that they don’t squat there: barge into your residence, raid your fridge, load their linens in your laundry basket. You overlook the racket as a temporary nuisance, never expecting to miss the noise when it suddenly disappears.

I’d clear a space for you to sit beside me. Remark on the way your appearance has changed. I’d watch you whittle, mind the sureness of your hands. Time is wasting. Enough to look over and notice no one is really there. And no one really was.

Random musings, random mutterings—the ramblings when a mind wanders too far into the past. Today’s simple kisses will be loaded with regret.

Can you name that tune?

Crystal Ball

“Drinking wine and thinking bliss, is on the other side of this. I just need a compass and a willing accomplice. All my doubts that fill my head are skidding up and down again. Up and down and round again, down and up and down again… But I’m not scared at all, hmm… I’m not scared at all. Bout the cracks in the crystal, the cracks in the crystal ball.”

The best way to describe what I’m going through right now is that I’m having a difficult time in my friendships. The typical pattern with me and a potential friend is that I meet people when they are in need—and because I recognize a gap, I go above and beyond to be what they lack: for the moment and ultimately adapting to continue to satisfy their ache.

I used to say to friends that I will spend our initial stages falling in love with them. I will etch your likes and dislikes in the creases of my skin, I’ll be your strongest supporter, your welcomed confidant, I will walk 500 miles only to walk 500 more—for you.

And that all-encompassing relationship used to make me happy because it allowed me to do what I do best—give of myself to others; and it also kept me from focusing on my own problems to the point of madness.

Since my brother died I’ve been reciting two mantras hourly:

Ohana means family, no one is left behind

You have to be a part of your own rescue

And with that my ability to give has changed drastically—only because there’s nothing left and no one pouring in to replenish what I give out. And while life moves on for you, I’m standing still.

I let very few people into my inner circle and my rawest feelings. Not counting my sisters and cousin, I suppose I trust a very tight handful of people. I could chalk this up to my abandonment issues or the fact that I’ve literally been taking care of myself since I was fourteen. Or how hard it is for me to start from scratch to tell my story and help others understand my quirks. I don’t do pity or accolades, just hard facts. So, I would say it’s easy in theory to be my friend, but I’m a hard person to get to know— if that makes sense.

Thus I have many surface level friendships—but I never let down my guard, and I’ll rarely let them see me at my darkest. I shine nothing but light unless I’m alone and can truly unmask.

The past year it’s been difficult for me to be at my lowest point, wallowing in a miry pit, and not have the support of the friendships I’ve cultivated for years. I feel like embedded in the time we’ve spent together was the training you needed to respond to me when I’m inconsolable, to reach past my defenses and find the heartache.

Instead I find myself alone a lot, living in my own mind—trying to discern truth from depression—no hand to hold, no tissue offered to dry a wall of tears.

And honestly I have no idea what to do. Even worse I’ve reached out to these people, my loves, asking for their right hand of fellowship; asking them to allow my moments of need to enter their busy lives. Blatant, earnest, desperate, urgent— untrue to form in all regards, needing a backbone while my spine undergoes surgery. Yet still I have nothing.

It makes me mad at first, but really the anger hides the gut-wrenching hurt that being there for every sob story and celebration, for willing sacrificing time and again without complaint leaves me yet again standing in place of afterthought.

I can’t even get a me-devoted phone call, let alone a visit. And spade for spade, I don’t ask for much—a moment of your undivided attention, let me take part in the normalcy of your life so I don’t feel so foreign, be there with open arms when my burden is too heavy, ply me with sympathetic platitudes as the world crumbles in the aftershock. Where is my hope that things will get better?

I want the possibility that this emptiness will ease. That the devastation of losing my brother— when you KNOW how important family has always been to me— that the gnawing throbs will dull. That I don’t always have to walk alone. Because I’ve always walked alone and secretly thought that by welcoming you in, I wouldn’t be so defined by solitude.

Yet you don’t even notice the little things— like how I don’t write anymore. You don’t initiate contact or care as my word spirals into abyss—you dont even extend a life vest.

It’s too hard for me to be your friend anymore. And I’m hard pressed not to resort to old habits and drastic changes. It’s too draining for me to care for you when I feel overlooked. And yet I don’t know how to breakaway. I greedily hoard your breadcrumbs and hope that each morsel is a beacon of your coming back—of the us I’ve always desired but didn’t know how to ask for.

You’re a vital part of your own rescue and yet I spend my time helping other. I don’t know how to help myself. And I thought you would be there. But you’re not.

So I vow to take the rest of the year and find people that equally put me first; to say goodbye to old friendships that stunt my growth; to justify focusing on me. Because right now I’m only onto memories and fantasies—the love around me have found its alteration when true love is an ever-fixed mark.