starting over and over
the burden! the bliss!
Mexico City this week.
I’m not used to this much richness, sensation. Al pastor tacos — blistered peppers, pickled jalapeno. Ripe mango with chilli salt, sapote (tastes like papaya mixed with starchy, candied yam). Sage. Granadilla. Stained glass floor-to-ceiling windows letting the light drape in, soft like petals.
A and I joke about starting over. We sit at a bar, split one glass of amber wine. The night sidles by. We talk about easy it is to just pick up and leave, the weight of the past lighter than a leaf. Granted, we’re both probably on the upper end of adaptability.
Do you have a sense of self separate from your environment? I haven’t always. I wasn’t entirely happy with how my college experience turned out, even though I had wonderful friendships. I felt… blurry? I was liquid, filling the shape of a container. Maybe everyone feels that. But I’m becoming more concrete lately. I’m wrangling my own taste out of experiences. With each choice of shade or recipe or set of concerts I attend. I stand, swaying in the background, in awe. I wake up by writing and rewriting, hoping the self will sharpen into focus.
And yes: I do write so much about how California has molded me, opened me up. But even as the red oaks sweep me in tenderly, with hills that swallow everything they touch, this doesn’t feel like the final place. Where will we be next?
I’m trying to figure out what stays consistent. What lasts. Past the city, the apartment, the neighborhood. Nothing does. Everything does. I’ve changed so much but I’m still the same old me. Accessories change: I am less rigid, less unforgiving. I dress myself differently: softer, in pastels, glove-boots, lime green jeans, belted trenchcoats. But certain dominant traits stay the same. I’m still stubborn to a fault, I like to control the narrative. I overindex on discipline. I prefer motion to stillness — running, walking, tennis, yoga, biking, weightlifting. I am deeply interested in human motivation. Why social animals do the things they do. I like poetry and I like it even more when I see the glimmer of poetry within other people.
Perhaps the sense of self you carry isn’t the heaviness of other people’s wishes or absorbed environmental desires, but the lightness of what interests or captivates you. Perhaps wherever you are you can still seek out those things. Perhaps we’re always starting over: burying our dreams and then digging them back up. Careening in and out of love. In Beijing or San Francisco or Mexico City or London. They whisper, wherever you go, there you are.
I don’t mind starting over because it makes me feel like I’m getting closer to the truest expression of myself. In the same way, I don’t mind invisible effort because that’s how I know I exist apart from performance. It’s a blessing that every time I write, I grasp, as fresh and dewy as the first time I met you: the beauty, burden, bliss of starting again.
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Mexico City visual diary
A unique section for this weeks post! CDMX was gorgeous, lush, and very unexpected. Some of favorites
Frida Kahlo’s preserved house + art studio. She dealt with chronic pain and a pretty grief/illness-stricken life and still managed to produce such beautiful, captivating art.
Castillo de Chapultepec, Museo nationale de antropologia: some of the most beautiful architecture, history of mayan/aztecs (fascinating will write about this more), stained glass windows
Architecture, food, artisan markets where I picked up these beautiful colorful little rings. Also tried new fruits! like mamey zapote, granadilla, and tiny guavas. A flavorful time.
The Guest by Emma Cline
Outlive by Petter Attia (his pod is great too)
Jealous laughter, on female friendships
I find the sometimes newsletter written by Ella Frances Sanders incredibly peaceful and is a soothing add to the inbox (curation concerned primarily with paying close attention & the relationship between beauty and the mundane)