Re-

I walk past the fruit shop every day except for Mondays, when I actually walk in and buy about 6 euros worth of fruit for the week. Mandarinas are in right now, and kiwis. I’ve been buying fresh ginger and lemon for the past month to fight off colds. It’s mostly been working so I buy some more. I say bye to the fruit man, my roommate knows his name. He nods and smiles. He is beginning to recognize me.

I have lived in almost every part of this city now. Two townhouses, three apartments. A room, an attic, a 4th floor and now a 5th. I lived in front of a supermarket at one point, and then in front of a sports club. By a train station and now by another train station downtown. I have held different jobs in each part of this town. Unfortunately, my living placements have never quite coincided with the job placements (I seem to land jobs close to ‘where I used to live’). But this has allowed me to move fluidly through the city and memorize multiple bus routes.

I have learned about the back corners of Alcalá, like the slanted forest of green that lowers down a hill where 227 passes to take you all the way to Madrid. Or the back trail by the railway, past a cemetery and onto the roundabout with the enormous red and yellow flag. Stop 11, 7 and 10 coincide there. Then there’s the dirt path road that I used to walk through back in high school and that surrounds the school where I now work.

I got off the wrong bus stop the other day and realized I was at the end of a street which I wondered about when I lived parallel to it a few months ago. It is strange, to visit each of these parts and remember different things, or to live such a different life when passing by them now. A lot can change in a small amount of time, and sometimes we don’t get to think through the things we move on from when we move, even if it’s only across the street (quite literally).

Having lived in different spots in this city has prompted me to think through these areas and what they represent or represented at the time. It has also allowed me to extend myself through this city in a way that I’m thankful for. While I tend to ‘label’ the ‘pockets of time’ in my life, I’ m trying not to ask this corner of the city for too much. To let it be what it has to be, for however short or long of a period this may be. In a way, this is allowing the city to reintroduce itself, both with the familiar and the foreign.

If I had to label right now I would only pick two letters.

Re-

Prefix. Begin again.

circles

“Nothing is a straight line

or even a labyrinth but a squirrelly maze

I trace and retrace almost every day

for whatever thoughts that might arrive

as I walk in circles,

truer circles described inside of circles, having learned

that I need to get lost, a parade of one,

to find my calling,

then lost again,

to find my own way home.”

Richard Cole, ” Walking in Circles”

I find a lot of comfort in these words, knowing that this labyrinth-like path is not out of the ordinary. I pretend this isn’t the case. I have crafted my reality into definable blocks, like we often do. These blocks become movements in which I sense that I am doing something, going somewhere, becoming someone. But there are lapses, pauses, breaks — that interrupt the fluidity that I so often crave.

I imagined this part of the labyrinth to flow smoother. I thought I had climbed past some walls already. I wish I could speed through this.

But I rake my fingers through the dark and green.

I can only walk slowly through this part.

spots of art:

Round and Round- Will Reagan

Metro Bilbao, Madrid
“Maravillas Acrósticas en el Jardín” Joan Miró, Galeria Fernández- Braso en frente de El Retiro

small thoughts on process.

A couple of summers ago, I tried reading the first Lord of the Rings (just to say that I have) and I cannot remember much because I stopped at like page 38. But I read enough to hear Bilbo, I think, say some words that few other statements have stayed with me for so long:

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

The context refers to needing rest because of age, which I don’t relate to. But the first time I read this, my attention and energy were divided into so many different areas that I did, in fact, feel like butter spread too thin. This morning I re-met these words as I felt my mind dabble on so many different ideas and things to do. Ironically, while scraping butter over my toast.

If you know me, you know that right now is kind of a crazy time hehe. There is a lot of movement happening and I feel divided— I want so much of everything. Newness, adventure, risk. But I also want stability, calmness, quiet. There are some days that I thrive on jumping from one conversation to another, switching languages constantly or moving from one activity to the next. I am okay with living out of a suitcase and changing plans last minute. Sometimes I overbook but I many times enjoy the adrenaline that this gives me.

And then, there are some days that I crave a long stretch of stillness and solitude. A rainy morning in my attic or a quiet tea on my balcony. No phone, no interaction. I enjoy organizing as though I were to stay in a place for a while, and seek spaces where my mind can wander and rest. So when I have either and they don’t match up with my sense of self of the day, I throw myself into guilt and wonder: Am I really living my life well?

This can be pretty self-inflicting. I am good at listing all the things that I haven’t accomplished (day-to-day or in life). I moved back to Spain almost a year ago now. This year was supposed to be full of reflection and writing. A chance to meet myself again, as I reconstruct my ideas in my old language and culture. But I also started a masters program and a teaching internship, and a side-job at a cheerleading club. I found myself doing make up for a theater group or signing up for kickboxing, volunteering and hosting university students over the summer. I really wouldn’t change any of these things, because they have brought me a lot of joy and chances to meet incredible people. But, I haven’t had much time to write, nor to listen to my changing ideas. I have felt guilty about this, as though I am wasting my time and neglecting something that I think is important for me to do. Perhaps as I transition into a different season of life I will find more time to reflect. But I am learning that my guilty thoughts won’t get me anywhere and the process of getting to where I want to be will most likely always be different than what I imagined.

My dog Nalah teaches me a lot about life. Her favorite thing is when I let go of her leash so she can roll in the long, fresh grass. Her belly faces the sun and her tongue drops to the side. She fully enjoys the moment she is in, and then she gets up and starts walking again until we arrive home. I think this looks a lot like “process”. A stop, a jump. A roll, a walk. Like a march of stairs, perhaps some days upward and some days sideways, each step leading to something. It is a curvy path, but it contains patches tender enough to stand in. Places where I can lay and roll in the grass, my face towards the sun and my eyes open wide to what is happening. I honestly want to enjoy my moments like Nalah, as silly as that may sound. To move beyond time constraints or habits, stretch over expectations, self-given or outer-based. To allow myself to fail, even with an audience; and let people see the parts of me that have yet to be defined.

More than anything, I think it means accepting that, yes, I am like butter scraped over too much bread right now. Perhaps I need to change some things about how I am living my life. But this is who I am now: a bit of a lot of different things; bending over, shifting, and awkwardly dancing around. I’m not sure of much, but I’m sure of what’s important. I can let myself enjoy my thinly buttered toast.

my heart is red

My heart is red

over the grass that settles between my two homes and the blood on the streets.

My heart is red

over the thought of my friends and the walk through Main Street. I hear the laughter that rolls out of our lungs, a ballad that laces my mind with spring. I hear the violinist’s ode.  She plays, and our minds dance. A crowd of loners gather, we hold out our selves into the tiny circle: a mixture of stories and accents, held silent by her ode. The City leans in, and our skin drinks deep from the late winter breeze. We are pale and dark against the moonlight. Virginia continues to sing.

My heart is red

porque el aliento de mis calles es pasión y vivir, un juego de danza, alegría y sentir. Siento cada color de risa en el parque, las voces que rozan contra cada tipo de catedral. Sigo viviendo en un atardecer por la plaza, cogida de la mano de mis padres, pequeña ante la fuerza de la ciudad.  Recuerdo el guitarrista que cantaba, las palomas que volaban, el rozar de mis dedos contra la brisa penumbral. Así quedaste plasmada en mi mente. En las calles de Barcelona, viví tu magia, sentí tu fuerza.  No hay color que te miedo. Eres un mundo que deja entrar.

My heart is red

because I fall between two worlds and I hear the cry of each:

“Look at me, look at who I really am.”

¿Por qué seguimos con miedo? Where has our courage gone?

I hear the red of the streets, the red of my heart,

I hear the red of our banners, the red of the same song.

El dolor contínua, y las lágrimas caerán,

Pero nuestras tierras siguen en rojo,

mi corazón, igual.

 

 

 

 

 

different

Soft rays peek into the room, melting streaks of gold onto the wooden floor. Here, it is quiet, and it is safe. All the thoughts of yesterday and all the thoughts of tomorrow collide. Who I am, here and now, is different than who I was yesterday, though that girl often returns.

She steps in quietly like a thief, dragging a suitcase into my room. She unzips it open, talking about the things I want to forget, reminding me of the things I still don’t have.

At this point, I tend to shove her out. “I don’t need your ¿?, I have no more space for your thoughts.”

But today the light is lovely, and I’m too tired to tell her to go. “You may stay, if you want. The light is warm.”

So she unzips the little suitcase, right in the middle of my room. I let her sit, and I listen, watching her take out every ¿? and thought, setting each one on the golden floor. We sit in silence for some time, watching the light dance, talking about who we are. Soon, the rosy light fades into dusk, and she’s standing at the door.

“it is okay” I say, as she points at the empty suitcase.

“i am different now”