Friday, July 31, 2015

Soul-Searching, or Something Like It.

"Have you ever soul-searched?" he asked, as serious as could be. Aurelia and I looked at each other, taken aback by the question.

I looked back at him quizzically and probed for further information. "What do you mean, exactly?" We had already been asked how old we were (almost thirty!), if we were single (yes!), and if we had kids (no!) - all within a whopping ten minutes of entering the sushi restaurant. They were innocuous questions, but I was relieved there was a decent cocktail menu in front of me. My single, almost thirty-year-old, non-childbearing self needs some stiff Soju cocktails to continue this conversation.

"You know, taking some time for self-discovery," he answered.

"I think so?" I replied, trying to figure out if my potential lack of soul-searching was somehow related to the fact that I'm single, based on the way he was asking.

"Women these days are married with kids by the time they hit twenty-five," he remarked.

What the fuck? I glanced over at Aurelia, wondering which one of us would be more offended. "Really?" I said. "Here in L.A.? Maybe back East, but none of my friends here are married, and only like two have children," I said flatly.

"From what I've noticed, yeah, they are."

Ouch. Maybe this is the go-to sushi restaurant for younger, married couples with kids. "Oh. Well, I've been on my own for some time, and I love to travel, if that's what you were getting at with the soul-searching thing," I responded, trying to steer the conversation back to his original question. "Traveling really changed my entire perspective on life."

"Yeah, exactly," he said.

"Then yes, I guess I have, without calling it that or looking upon it specifically as 'soul-searching'. Now that I know better, and if I proactively 'soul-search,' will this bring me my dream man?" I joked. And if so, I will bring him here.  

I was still a bit perplexed by the initial question and who was asking it: a sushi chef I'd been momentarily sitting in front of, who would later introduce himself as Mike. We exchanged numbers before Aurelia and I left the restaurant - rather, I forked over my business card for photography purposes - and when he sent me a follow-up text with his information later on that day, I shot him one back.

Hi new friend! Lol. I'm still intrigued by your question re: soul-searching.

Hey Krista, I'm happy that you are intrigued. Because I myself have been really trying to find self-discovery to conquer the universe.

...Well, Mike, you let me know when you do. I'll just be over here trying to discover how many Soju cocktails it will take for me to do the same.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Got My Hurr Did.


As defined by Urban Dictionary:
"The ghettofabulous way of saying 'I just got my hair done.' "
Waniquwa: Waddap Laquisha!
Laquisha: Dizzayum girl, yo hurr be lookin fly! 
Waniquwa: Yea. I just got my hurr did.
Dizzayum! I'm feeling slightly less like a jungle woman now, which is good. I thought with the Big 3-0 coming up, I'd want to hack off my hair to look more "sophisticated," but I've never seen my hair so healthy in my life, making me want to stick with the length for a bit longer. (I guess that's what not coloring your hair in twelve months will do.)

Peace out, overgrown color-turned-brassy-unintentional-ombré, this almost thirty-year-old is getting her shit together.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Arts District Archives.

I got dressed! Half did my hair! And left my neighborhood! So naturally, I documented it.

That's all.

There was plenty of "saying yes" to food that day. (I'll spare the dozens of photos. You're welcome.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Because Sometimes I Dress Up.

My girlfriend Carli made me laugh the other day when she said "I buy all these cute clothes and when I go to get dressed, I look at those outfits and think 'who am I kidding,' and put on my yoga pants." Yes, girl, yes.  (Of worthy note: her boyfriend is a professional baseball player and she's still not getting dressed to the nines. That makes me feel better, knowing that I'm not the only one who feels it can be daunting to get glammed up on the regular, and that my loungewear is not entirely indicative of my singledom.)

I used to put way more effort into getting dressed and looking somewhat presentable every day (remember this theory?), but somewhere a while back, I just stopped. (Ha.) Working for myself isn't the easiest of motivators; I don't really want to get up, get dressed, and put my face on - just to remain in an office all day by myself. Jah feel me?

When I do have a reason to get dressed up though, like for a friend's A-list bash at the Ritz, it is fun to dust off my "going out" clothes that just hang in my closet - most with tags on - desperately wanting to be worn. Hell, for this night, I even wore false eyelashes! Maybe I should put my sweats on a really high shelf, or feng shui the whole closet again so I'm forced to wear something other than gym-like attire. Or, maybe I'll take a cue from Carli, because who am I kidding.

 
I wish I got a better outfit shot, because I really loved this dusty blue two-piece number.
Three Massholes plus one co-founder of Cash Money Records. (I couldn't resist.)

And see? Don't let the cute outfits or "celebrity event" fool you, we were back at my apartment - in pajamas - by 11PM. By 11:05, three outta the four in my apartment were out cold.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Captain Kirk, the Saxophone Man.


There's one (street) musician in particular who has caught my attention over the last six-ish years. He's always dressed with a smile, always playing the saxophone, and always with a gold sparkly gift bag in tow, for tips. And what a talent this guy is! I once asked him if he'd mind playing closer to my apartment, so I could hear his music with my windows open. He smiled and nodded when I told him my cross streets, but I'm not sure he realized that I was being serious - because I sure was.

One day he was being filmed, which didn't surprise me at all, and as I walked by I looked directly into the camera and said "He is my favorite!" before pulling out whatever loose bills I had in my pocket.

"You hear that?!" the man behind the video camera exclaimed, taping the entire exchange. "She thinks so too!"

"I'm sure I'm not the only one!" I yelled over my shoulder as I walked away.

I saw him again last week, the infamous saxophone guy, after picking up Ziggy's medicine from a local pharmacy. I waited until he was finished playing to muster up the courage to ask him if he'd mind me taking his photograph. "You're my favorite!" I reminded him, dropping a few dollars into his tip bag, which had since been upgraded from the sparkly gold one (that lasted about five years more than I'd expect of any dingy gift bag). "I've always wanted to ask you if I could take your picture, but I was too nervous. I figured why not ask now!" He smiled graciously and said he wouldn't mind.

"Will you be here long?" I inquired further.

"About another hour or so," he replied - still smiling - and went back to playing.

Thrilled at the opportunity, I called the salon where I had just scheduled an eyebrow appointment, and told them I might be five minutes late. They informed me that if I was going to be more than five minutes late, I'd lose my appointment. Like I care, I thought. I'd take the portraits over eyebrow grooming any day.

I raced home, grabbed my camera, raced back toward the music, and began to snap away.


It didn't take more than a few minutes to capture what I wanted, and I thanked him profusely before I got going. "Oh, I forgot to ask," I said before walking away, "What's your name?"

His smile got bigger and brighter than ever, and he replied, "Captain Kirk - the 'Sax Man'!"

Sunday, July 19, 2015

30/52


Z's on the up and up - thank god - but now Nellie has a few medical issues we are trying to solve ASAP. She may have surgery as soon as tomorrow, which terrifies me, but it's times like these when I'm especially grateful for snapping a million photos of my pups. Because boy do I love them.

TWF (texts with friends).

The subtitle of this series could be "I mean texts with Aurelia and Cait."

   

How 'bout my mother, chillin' on a floating lounge chair, drink in hand? (This was a girls' weekend in New York with her college friends. I'm jealous of the whole thing.) And Aurelia, remembering Ross Perot - but only because of the three-day weekend thing. I wouldn't have remembered him or what he wanted to implement, so props to her. (I was only ten when he ran for president in '96...but so was Aurelia.)

I'm pretty interested in regular three-day weekends where I can hang on a lounge chair with a drink in hand. Let's find Mr. Perot.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Soul Windows.



The timing couldn't have been any more impeccable. I'm not a full-fledged believer in the law of attraction and manifesting reality and all that, but there are certain times where I'm more of a believer than not.

Cut to Sunday morning: I took myself to a café for a coffee and photo editing session (weekly portraits of the mutts), and I wound up blogging about falling back in love with the city and all it has to offer, yadda yadda, and mentioned how I love wandering around downtown alone and coming across new things. I should have included "and new people," because not only is that true, it would have been really really perfect timing since...

I got bored in the afternoon and decided to take myself out for a walk. I chose my normal dog walking route, sans dogs, plus camera. I thought it would be an interesting perspective change, hopefully seeing new things from behind my camera lens. On the dog walks I admittedly don't see anything at all. I only pay attention to potential run-ins with other dogs, not leaving room to observe much else.

I start walking.

A woman yells after me when I pass her. "Excuse me, miss?" she calls out. I'm embarrassed that I didn't even notice the three people I walked by, since my eyes were glued to my camera's viewfinder. I stutter something like "U-uh, m-me? Yes?" She asks what kind of camera I have, and after I answer "a Canon," I hear her whisper something to her friend about a class assignment. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty flattered she thought I was still in school. I was also dressed in loungewear, so if not the face, my clothing might have alluded to a younger appearance.

"Will you take my picture?" her friend interjects. I was caught off guard, since I'm usually the one (nervously) asking permission to take someone's photo. I happily obliged. She introduces herself to me as LaTonya, and tells me she once had an addiction and lived on Skid Row, where the gentleman of the group currently resides. They want a photo together; I took three or four.

I didn't catch his name. I was so engulfed in his eyes, these incredibly deep soul windows, I couldn't pay attention to anything else. He points to my arm and for a minute I forget about my tattoo, an outline of the world map, still intoxicated by his eyes. He shuffles a bit closer to me and touches somewhere in Africa. "I'm from there," he says proudly.

LaTonya proceeds to tell me that she was once the subject of a photojournalism story during her time on Skid Row. When the photographer's assignment was complete, he offered her an opportunity to enter a rehab facility, to which she greatly appreciated but declined - she wasn't ready. He told her he'd have to shelve her story due to an unfinished ending. She was okay with that.

She hopes to meet him again someday, she confessed, to give him the ending he was looking for long ago. To "finally close that chapter of my book," she said.

I really hope she does.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

29/52

For me, falling in and out of love with the city is as cyclical as the tides of the ocean.  The routine fall from grace with this particular relationship typically occurs when I'm in a funk, since it's pretty easy to not like much of anything when you're in one of those moods, home not excluded. When I fall back in love though, it's always deeper than before. I'm amazed with the exhilaration I feel yet again, strolling around alone, discovering new things about the city and simultaneously about myself. 

One of the better finds, of course, is a fabulous background for weekly portraits. I love waking up early on the weekends in hopes of snagging some good shots, the city as still as can be, with no interruptions from people or other dogs (since Z isn't a big fan). Quality time with my city is my favorite, when my attention shifts from any and all thoughts of incompatibility, focused instead on increasing the balance and harmony between us. All of us.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Second Fourth...

...of July spent at Grand Park. Last year, I went as a twosome with the ex. This year, it was a threesome with my girls, Ellie and Kemi, who also live downtown.

This year wins. Ha.

I wasn't too sure how I was going to feel when I woke up that day. In the past, this holiday (as well as New Years Eve) has more often than not proven to be kind of meh, so I typically try to downplay both and reduce any added stress and/or "holiday" expectations. Not to sound overly bitter about previous years, I just prefer to consider it a normal day with a potential bonus of three "F's" - food, friends and fireworks. (I'd say four "F's," but I'm single.) 

I got all three!

I was careful to manage any possible emotions that could creep up on me: last year I was here with my boyfriend; last year I had a boyfriend...as well as the year before that, etc. (A funny note re: an annoying Fourth: the year before last, I drove to Pasadena to watch fireworks with the ex, because he was working around the Rose Bowl, but all of the streets were shut down and I got gridlocked on the freeway. And then my phone died, so I got lost trying to take alternative routes home. Womp.)

Aside from a joke about kicking a lovely-dovey couple's knees out, I think I did pretty well overall. To be honest, I really don't miss him, nor am I longing for a partner at all. I'm pretty okay with being my own partner for a while, and that feels good. I have some kick-ass girls to hang out with in the interim, and I didn't have them last year, so it's a fair trade (if not a better one). Maybe in the future I can have all four "F's" - but for now, three outta four ain't bad.

  
(I made the Mediterranean salads before knowing Kemi would join, lol. )
    
    
    
 

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Quest; An Epiphany.

I don't resent my father because he wasn't around for nearly a decade. Honestly, I don't. Some people may not understand or agree, and that's okay. Whatever the opinion, I've never felt more at peace in my whole life.  

That wasn't always the case, though.

I learned an enormous amount about life and about myself in the years spent estranged from my father, by default - not choice. An adolescent-turned-young adult-turned-actual adult, thousands of miles away from who and what I once called home, I was alone, in Los Angeles. So very alone at times. Excruciatingly, even. As hard as it was, I wouldn't trade the experience and knowledge gained for anything in the world.

I struggled. Boy, did I struggle. More often than not, I longed for someone to lend a helping hand when I felt pretty low. Or two helping hands - strong ones - to pick me up off the floor when I thought I couldn't get up myself. I despised it at the time, but I learned to pick myself up. I learned, more importantly, that I could pick myself up.

I was strong enough.

With each year that passed, I got even stronger, more resilient, and ultimately, I became what I considered triumphant. I gained a greater sense of self being forcibly independent, even if I didn't realize it at that point. I learned that placing expectations on someone else to do something for you will inevitably lead to a letdown. And consequently, resentment. This took years of patience, experience, and acceptance to fully grasp, and didn't come without successive disappointment.

The disappointment came at a time when I was fiercely loyal to my friends - to a fault, which I can acknowledge now. It was likely a subconscious thing, that I somehow wanted to prove to myself that I wasn't going to be like my father and leave anyone high and dry, in any capacity.  

I was going to be better. 

What I didn't recognize, however, was that I was forming expectations for what people should do for me in return; I was confusing the idea of being loved with heightened expectations for reciprocity. I was unknowingly setting myself up for most of the disappointment I had felt.

I experienced great loss during these years, as well. And then greater loss. And even greater loss than that. I wallowed, I self-pitied, I searched for answers. I kicked and screamed and cried when I didn't find any. I desperately sought some sort of understanding of my life, why I was given one that coexisted with so much pain, yet answers seemed so unattainable.

My accomplishments had become fueled by the resentment I let fester. And bucketloads of anger. Whatever the achievement and whatever the size, I was constantly finding myself unhappy and further away from the internal peace and serenity that I was truly in need of.

 Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace. - Buddha            


One day, I woke up and it was like an internal switch had flipped, on or off, depending on how you looked at it: contentment on, despair off.

It was as simple as that.

I have no idea what triggered it, and to be completely honest, I've been too scared to ever question it. All I know is that I woke up one day and it was decided that my cup was half full, not half empty. It was decided that I was grateful to even have a fucking cup.

This lead me to the notion that an empty cup could be even better than one half full. An empty cup has the potential to be filled, and with whatever you choose to fill it with. The potential there is kind of beautiful, isn't it?  And I'll tell ya, resentment ain't goin' in my cup anymore. That stuff pours out way too fast, and it'll fill my cup way too quickly. I need to make room for the good stuff.

As much room as I can for the good stuff.


Sunday, July 5, 2015