date recap

Super cool guy. Not the super cool guy for me though.

sprint/survival interruptus

Quick check-in, though not much to report.

It being 2021 and us being in a panini, I was able to submit my restraining order online, literally as a 40 page PDF scanned and sent to an email address at LA Superior Court. Felt super sketch but it was received! Bit more paperwork and legwork on it to go, though.

No news yet how my work will be changing, though the gears are starting back up on DTLA. Conversations need to be had, and will soon, about roles and responsibilities and scheduling. TBH I'm pretty exhausted already, the commute to West Hollywood is a bear, so we'll see. Right now I'm in sprint/survival mode, which is when I focus 100% on work to the exclusion of pretty much everything else, including self-care and creativity. Has to be that way for a minute yet. But I'm trying to come through here as much as I can on my weekend and, like, dump my feels and say hello. 

I hate myself for how much I'm enjoying the spring weather here in LA. Totally off-brand for me, but there it is. 

A few things on the horizon: 

1. Sunday I get my second jab, and I guess a month after that I'll be more or less as safe as I'm going to be against the 'rona? I don't know what if anything I'm going to do differently. I may check out bus routes to my work, but honestly I don't think it'll be much faster. It's something like 40, 42 stops to my store. Sounds like a recipe for hellish carsickness. I'll definitely feel more comfortable heading to the coast, so maybe a beach day sometime soon? I scooped up a Zip Car membership again about a week ago. Used to have one and loved it, think it's time again to have that resource in my back pocket.

2. April 30th will mark nine years since my dad died, and on that day I will reach a Pretty Big Financial Goal. Stoked about that. 

3. First week of August, barring any unforeseen changes in my work life, I should reach the Even Bigger Financial Goal. That will be a very exciting day, and around that time I'll have more to share about my longterm plans, which are pretty much all I think about these days. Sprint/survival mode etc. 

Someone asked me the other day whether I have eyes on any festivals this year, with things opening back up. I do not. It's too soon for me, though that Outside Lands lineup is something else. If I hadn't already seen The Strokes, Tame Impala, and Vampire Weekend (ya girl has been lucky) I'd be sorely tempted. But I doubt we'll be done with masking this year, and I fucking despise wearing a mask. It would really ruin it for me, be such a buzzkill to, like, dance in a mask? Pass. If by years' end though we're good to go, and someone wants to offload their Dreamstate ticket to me (sold out), then I might consider it. 

Okay kids. Apparentlyyyyy the thing I have tonight which I was 95% sure was going to get cancelled because #LA, #milliennial (I think), and #panini is actually happening, I just got the text. He suggested sushi. I have accepted. Sushi for a first date, super, I get to immediately turn him off with my disastrous chopstick skills. I guess that means I have to go get a damn manicure now. Ugh, human connection is so exhausting sometimes.

slingshot moon

Time is a liar. "Just relax," Time told me. "I got this."

Time said I didn't have to do a thing. That I had the easiest job in the world. That all I had to do was wait.

"Do nothing," Time said. "I'll take care of everything." 

But Time lied. I waited and waited and waited. I sat on my hands when they itched to reach out. I bit my lips when they longed to call out. I quietly ticked off days and weeks and months, keeping still under Time's stern gaze.

But Time lied. Nothing was fixed; nothing made better. So now I'm looking for a new truth. And I think I've found it in the rising moon.

Last night the rising moon was a perfect disc of cool white neon. It hung low and heavy in the eastern sky, an unmissable invitation. The road curved as I walked, but I didn't take my eyes off it once.

And every tree seemed to split at the top, like a slingshot cradling a milk-white marble. Branches lined up one after another all down the street, so I could follow this slingshot moon and think about how someday, I will launch myself eastward to be closer to it. Like a slingshot I'll fly fast and far, catching the rising moon when it hits exactly the right spot in the sky. I'll let go and drop back to earth, and I'll plant myself there. I'll put my own truths down then, and they'll grow deep and real, like roots. 

That feels like something I can do. That feels like choice and change and control, when the second, minute, and hour hands of time have done nothing but tell me lies. 

wee weekend playlist

Hi dolls. Feeling good? I hope so. It's Friday, and it's been a dog's age since I've shared any music, so here's a wee chill playlist for your weekend. Good luck not leaving #6 on repeat all day. 

1. Pastel Lights, by Ishi


2. Odysee, by Klur



4. sometimes it's scary...but it's still just you and me, by Leaving Laurel


5. In My Arms, Lucid Luv


6. Sea of Clouds, Che-Yung

the barrel of chances

Some of us keep a barrel of chances, in a secret place, just for someone special.

It's hard to hide a whole barrel, though, so our closest friends and family - usually they know. Our closest friends and family have seen us slink off to this secret place, pry the barrel head off, and fish out another chance.

And then another. And another. And another.

They've watched as we doled them out to our someone special like saltwater taffies to children. These chances dissolve like taffy, too, leaving nothing behind but a taste for just one more.

The barrel of chances is deep and wide; it's sturdy like our unshakable expectations, with oaken staves as pliant as our boundaries. It endlessly replenishes itself, like magic, so no matter how hard you try, you can never get to the self-respect that hides at the very bottom. 

of peaks and paper dolls

I have been thinking about you, and how you slipped into quiet and shadow, living a life I don't know anything about anymore. 

In the peaks and valleys that is our friendship, you once wrote out of the blue, I think it's time for another peak. But then you disappeared again, before I could even find my climbing ropes. And I was ready to scale whatever mountain face it took, to see yours again. 

Now the only evidence I have of your continued existence is in photos of her, where you are like the trimmings cut away from a paper chain doll. You're not what I'm supposed to look at. But you are the context and the frame and the source. She wouldn't be unfolding prettily across the world like that, an accordion of grace and youth, if you didn't fold yourself in two, four, eight to give her that world.

And I understand it more than you know.

But peaks are worth the effort to climb and make for beautiful pictures, too, if you can tear yourself away from the shape of her long enough to remember. 

my backstory, part three

continued from part two

---

2010. Mike and I move to the Title Guarantee Building above Pershing Square, a place my friends and I will come to call TGB for short. We need a nickname for it, because TGB is the epicenter - the point of genesis. In TGB there is a woman named Bobbi, a semi-conservative Boomer party girl who orchestrates the entire social ecosystem of the building. She lives in one of the building's four penthouses. She's rich. She's loud and luminous. She throws raucous parties and dinners and brunches that everyone in the building wants to be at. We grow to be a tight-knit crew of misfits. A motley family. It means everything to me. Some of us branch off and become closer than others. A couple of those friendships are still a huge a part of my life (TGB is where I meet Cameron). 

Mike and I file for a divorce. He wants me to keep Chaucer; doesn't even put up a fight. I stay with my dad in Florida while he packs up and moves out. While I'm there is when he phones to tell me, first in cryptic terms, then in clearer ones when I press, his orientation. I hear myself reassuring him that it's okay, it's all gonna be okay, before ending a call that leaves me numb. We'll talk once more, when he's sick with a fever and feeling blue a few weeks later - and then never again. 

I stubbornly procrastinate the job search and focus on finding a place to live. I find the perfect loft a few blocks away at the Milano. Very quickly, I allow myself to be set up with a hipster architect who lives in the banking district, in an old building so bohemian it has communal bathrooms. He's intense and vaguely misanthropic; he smokes and drinks too much and I hate his friends. But he's smart as fuck, makes great Irish soda bread, and adores me - and Chaucer. 

Months pass, and I mostly just party with my friends and walk around downtown with my dog all day. Somewhere around this time I meet Kenny, blog code name Pinkman, a friend of a friend of a friend of a cousin from Arizona, who becomes my connection for MDMA and psilocybin and later, LSD. He's adorable but I'm 14 years older than him and it's just not a thing. Won't be a thing until years later. I'm super lost and super depressed despite the good times, the great drugs, the new boyfriend, the gorgeous loft, and the sweet dog. My dad is concerned but doesn't really step in, doesn't really say much as I continue to dawdle. Finally I run out of money and decide Okay no problem, I'll just fly out to Tucson every other weekend and make a few grand while I figure out a better plan.

In Tucson I stay at the winter home of an old customer, Gary. If I had to guess, over my years of dancing for him Gary probably gave me $25k or more. He's a truly good guy, owns clean energy power plants in Oregon where he lives most of the year. He lets me stay in his million dollar home in Canyon Ranch, drive his Mercedes, and use his country club membership while he's gone. So now I'm sporadically dancing just enough to replenish my checking account, staving off depression and existential dread by distracting myself with insane amounts of shopping, and getting all the free pedicures I want. 

These are the circumstances under which I meet Matt.

Matt is someone that I have spoken very little about -- to anyone. Cameron knows about him, some of my AZ friends know about him, and really that's about it. Also maybe some strangers on an internet support group. But that doesn't count. 

There is only one way to explain Matt, and why my relationship with him happened. And you won't understand, unless you've been there - and I hope you haven't. Matt was a malignant narcissist and a psychological abuser. And he got me. He got me good. Matt is the most dangerous person I've ever met, he is an absolute fucking wizard-level manipulator - and I got sucked into four months of his abuse. I packed up my clothes and my dog and moved to Tucson to stay with him, while he continued to pay my rent in LA. Are you following this? I broke up with the architect -- who was back in Los Angeles babysitting my fucking dog for me while I went stripping on the weekends -- and moved to Arizona to be, basically, a domestic slave for four months. That's how quickly and thoroughly I was sucked in.  

I've barely ever alluded it. Just this one post. It is an extremely painful chapter to look back on. All I can say is that Matt activated something in me, something deep and deeply broken. Matt cracked me like a code and then just sunk his emotional claws in. He peeled me off from my friends (slowly found ways to separate me from their love and support). He pulled the rug out from under me financially (if I loved him, why show my body to other men, when he could easily pay my bills?). He tore me down until I believed I was a failure and a fraud ("LA is for professional people, honey. For people like your friends, with real jobs. Not for you"). 

October 2011- January 2012. That's how long I was "gone". If you know the lingo, it was hoover, idealize, discard, rinse repeat. For four months. All credit to my friends, especially Cameron and Spyro, who put in a Herculean effort to try and extract me. It didn't work. 

It finally ended with me sneaking out in the middle of the day while Matt was gone at work. Calling a taxi to Enterprise where I rented a car as fast as my fucking credit check would allow, driving back to his house, throwing my clothes and my dog in the rental, shaking with terror at the possibility that he'd come home early and catch me, and driving for my life back to LA.

Think I was depressed before? Now I'm really fucked. Dancing in AZ is off the table; I'll never set foot in the state again as long as I live, after Matt. I'm dick broke, with an $1850/month apartment. Some of my friends are starting to distance themselves from me because of my drama and depression. In a last bid at staying afloat in LA on my own, I start dancing in the City of Industry. Four nights a week I get on my road bike, commute via the blue line, and ride down Washington Boulevard at 10pm at night to a club so sketchy I pretty much keep the whole thing a secret to everyone except my closest friends. It is awful, but at least it gives me something to do most nights. 

Somewhere in fall of 2011, I meet Greg, who becomes the first real Elliequent love interest. 

And that's it. It feels a little abrupt to end it this way, but now we're more than caught up to where my blog picks up. Anything beyond this and I'm re-telling. 

If there's anything you want to know more about, just email me. I'll either point you to a post or write one if it doesn't exist. 

I'm also considering putting together a character bible, just for fun. Or maybe an alphabetized index, which would gratify the English major in me. And eventually, if for no other reason than respect for the thousands and thousands of words I've written, I will put this whole mess together in a book form. Something for me to read in thirty years, in a cabin in a snowy wilderness, when I want to be warmed at the thought of the wild, stupid, simple but wondrous life I have lived. 

But for now, my darlings, that's my backstory.

on being Gen X

For most of my life, I've thought very little about the generation to which I belong - Generation X. I feel like at some point in my teens there was a national conversation about what it meant be Gen X, I guess because the internet was born and there was interest in how that would affect us. Then that was it. I don't recall hearing much mention of my cohort, as they call it, other than the usual defining buzzwords. Latchkey kids. MTV generation. Slackers. Cynics. 

Cut to today, and generational differences are a popular topic again. Maybe they always are and I'm just being naive? I don't know. But it seems like right now everyone has an opinion about Millennials, Boomers, and Gen Z. About their values and priorities; about their moral failings and blind spots. I see very few opinions being voiced about Gen X, however. Twitter confirms this invisibility daily. By our own admission we can't be bothered to generate very many fucks for very many things, so no one has any material with which to lambaste us. And while some criticize us for not doing more to prevent the problems of the world, mostly we are out of blame's way. The Boomers fucked things up, is the general consensus. Millennials and Zs will fix it, if we just get out of their way and if they can stop fighting long enough to cooperate.

A few years ago, I caught a headline squeezed into my synthesized news feed: Why Generation X Might Be Our Last, Best Hope. I didn't actually read the article -- until just now. And I'll get to it in a minute but what matters is that the title alone gave me a sense of comfort, and rang a distant bell in my brain. Oh yeah, that's right. I belong to Generation X. And we're kind of cool, as these things go. And that's something. That's something to hang onto. 

I can't explain why belonging to Generation X means what it does to me, on a visceral level. I guess I can name specific things I'm grateful for, like having grown up, for the most part, pre-internet. Every single day after school I went exploring, either literally outside or figuratively in books - because the single screen in our house could only hold my attention for so long, as half the time it was on it didn't display anything of interest. And yes, this is a flex. Put your phones down, kids. You know it's good for you.

But it's more than that. Remembering that I'm Gen X - independent, disaffected, critical thinking and irony deeply instilled in me like so much Country Time Lemonade - helps when I feel out of place in the world. It's a soft landing when I cannot make sense of culture or politics; when I am confused and disgusted by the choices that people with platforms (read: power) make. It's a pair of polarized Ray-Bans cutting the glare of a world I understand less and less. 

The whole thing is worth a read, but my favorite line from the Vanity Fair article?

[We are] the last Americans that know how to fold a newspaper, take a joke, and listen to a dirty story without losing their minds.

Yes.

I have younger friends, but the people I feel the deepest, most soul-level kinship with are X. These are the friends whose eye I can catch across a room space and time and know we're thinking the same thing. Maybe I always end up with younger guys because that generational kinship is too familiar. We all know what familiarity breeds. Maybe deep down I don't want a guy who sees the world the exact same way as me?

And because I interact with so many younger people all the time, I have to remind myself that I am X when my expectations of Millennials and Zs collide with who they fundamentally are, god bless them. When I cannot fathom why they think or act or speak the way they do.

When, you know, they won't get off my lawn. 

my backstory, part two

continued from part one

---

2009. Just moved into a cool as hell, two-story loft in downtown LA, with my new husband and my sweet puppy. 

Michael almost immediately lost interest in sex with me. He made one or another excuse until I just gave up trying. It was devastating and bewildering. I had no idea what was going on with him emotionally, professionally, or financially. He was an actor that didn't book anything; just another handsome face with headshots. His parents didn't care, though, and just kept paying the bills while he took improv classes and picked up short-term, seasonal gigs like. . .working as a character at Knott's Scary Farm during Halloween, then as the Grinch at the Universal CityWalk at Christmas.

I shit you not. 

And look, I'm not getting all elitist here. God bless the amusement park actors of the world. But I wore a $7k Monique L'huillier gown at my wedding and went on a $10k tour of Ireland for my honeymoon. Knott's Scary Farm was not on my newlywed bingo card. 

Things got weirder and weirder. Mike would disappear on days he wasn't meant to be working. He got really secretive and would do things like say he was going to Starbucks, but instead of the Starbucks just downstairs he would drive to one miles away. He started declining calls that came when we were together, and taking his phone with him into the bathroom when he showered. Meanwhile I'm so lonely I'm very seriously considering placing a personals ad on Craiglist, or going to our cute next door neighbor and inviting him to fuck me.

I'm just going to skip ahead in this part of the story and spare you the suspense: Mike is gay. I don't know if Mike knew he was gay all along. It was his experience, his lie, his pain. It is what it is and I don't want to pile on him. He confessed it to me later down the road, after we were separated and the divorce papers filed. And there's not much to be made of it other than it's a plot point in my life. Too bad Weddingbee didn't invite me back for an epilogue. Wouldn't that have blown the frosting off their triple-tier fondant-and-ganache cake. And I'll leave you with one more tantalizing tidbit but then we'll have to leave it there, because from there it's his story, not mine: Mike remarried. Mike remarried another woman. 

But back to me. During this time I'm working away at my little passion project-turned-wee-entrepreneurial-enterprise, Rainy Day Templates. It's an online shop where I sell blog layouts. By this time I've taught myself enough HTML to be able to hack my own blog's code, and it's hella fun and I'm good at it. So I start doing it for money. It's a great gig until it grows bigger than I can handle, in my depressive state. And here I should pause and say, sadly, it was really, really, really bad for me around this time. How bad? Well, when I think back to that first LA apartment, cooped up as I was with a man I didn't know, not having made a single friend yet, this is what I remember:

1. I remember sitting in the window sill and looking down at the street below, where there was a bar perpetually filling and emptying with revelers. So much laughter and joy. I burned with jealousy. Around this time my AZ friend Mason (we'll get to him) used to tell me to just suck it up and go out alone to coffee shops, try to meet someone, anyone. But I couldn't, because

2. I was suicidally depressed. I used to stare at a certain corner of the upstairs loft railing in our apartment and fantasize about tying a belt around it. Hanging myself. That was until I discovered how close I lived to easily accessible train tracks, not far away in an industrial part of downtown. Then it was imagining how close I could cut it - how long I could wait before darting in front of the train so that the conductor wouldn't have time to slam on the brakes. 

In August of 2009, three months after we'd moved in, in the throes of this already rampant depression, my mother died. She died of heart failure, alone in her apartment. I hadn't seen her in two years. I hadn't invited her to my wedding. Why hadn't I invited my own mother to my wedding, you ask? Well, remember the bit about her being a codependent alcoholic housing my grifting, mentally ill brother? In 2007, I drove up to Phoenix to tell her that I was getting married. I didn't drive to her apartment, though. I drove to the adult day care she was staying in, because my drunken brother had pushed her and she'd fallen and gotten hurt. This, after years and years of my begging her to cut him off, to quit drinking and smoking herself to death. But when I got there to share my news all she wanted was for me to go buy her a six pack. 

"Mom, you can't drink here. They'll kick you out."

But she didn't care. She just wanted beer. And if I wasn't going to get it for her, she would shrug me off with a dismissive wave. My news wasn't of much interest to her. I left and I never saw her again.

My mom left behind a little bit of money for my brother and I to split. But she didn't have a will, so it was a whole mess trying to get her accounts cashed out and her car sold, because normally the oldest sibling would execute the estate. Only at the time, my brother was homeless and didn't even have a phone number, much less a checking account. My dad intervened and eventually we got her assets divvied up. When I cleaned out her apartment, among my mother's possessions I found two things of interest:

1. Letters that my brother had written to her from jail, filled with lies about me. My brother had fabricated a whole story about me, for an audience of one: my mom. The letters picked up my tale in 2007, when I stopped speaking to her, and had completely fantastical details about what I was doing, who I was seeing, how I was living my life. My brother told my (Catholic) mom in these letters that his jailmates had been customers of mine at the strip club, where I confessed to them wild stories of sexual exploits, disease, abortion, and other shameful, heartbreaking adventures of a daughter unhinged. 

Of course, my mom was dead by the time I found these letters. I couldn't ask her if she'd believed any of it. And I couldn't set the story straight. 

2. Love letters that my father had written to my mother in the 60s, when they were in a long-distance relationship from New York City (where my mother was a model, then a flight attendant) to Point Barrow, Alaska (where my dad was working for the government intercepting radar transmissions from Russia). These letters were filled with endless expressions of love and affection - and shockingly few typos. They were a secret both of them had kept for forty years. I'd had no idea they existed. I'd had no idea my parents ever loved one another that much.  My mother had preserved them in pristine condition, neatly stacked and bound by a rubber band, squirreled away in their own storage box.  When I told my dad I'd found them, he was gobsmacked. He asked me to send them to him unread. He asked me to wait until he himself died, to read them. 

I wouldn't have to wait long.

---

Mike and I, still plodding along in our joke of a marriage, moved to another spot downtown, a building above Pershing Square, right smack in the middle of the city. And it was here in this building that everything changed. 

---

continue to part three

my backstory, part one

I want to preface this by saying it feels wildly self-involved to write a post like this. Grossly so. But I've gotten some feedback from people newly discovering my blog that while they've enjoyed my writing so far, they feel a little lost as to my "backstory". And seriously, I will be the first person to self-deprecate at the implication that I'm anyone so interesting as to merit a backstory explainer. But in order to understand why I'm willing to grit my teeth and write one, you have to understand why I blog at all.

1. I blog so people feel less alone in whatever it is they're going through. 

I am an open book about the things that hurt me, about the difficult experiences I have emotionally, romantically, socially etc etc in the hopes that what I say resonates with others. Even if just one person reads an account of something I went through and it gives them a tiny bit of comfort - that's enough for me. That's all I can ask for. I don't need a shelf full of my own published novels (would be nice, miiiight still happen) to feel gratified by writing. I just need to know my words and honesty mean something to someone. 

2. I blog to record and celebrate my life.

There are things about being me that are hard. I've been through some shit. I have issues. But by and large, I have been the recipient of far, far, far more joy than any single person has a right to ask for in this life. I mean, I truly believe that. My life is simple. I'm not a multi-millionaire jetsetting around the world. I don't have a husband, children, or a high-powered career. But the experiences and relationships I do have mean the fucking world to me, and I want to enjoy them to the absolute fullest. Writing about them lets me do that. 

So, all this to say that when a new reader joins me on this journey it's like collecting a bit of starlight in a big, beautiful comet tail. I'm going around and around and the longer I'm alive, the more stardust and light trails out behind me, witness to who I've been and what I've seen. 

I'm writing a backstory so that if you want, if you're interested enough, you can understand all the things that have brought me to this moment. So my present-day choices and feelings make more sense. 

I am not important. I'm really no one. But this is the backstory of Elliequent.

---

Born in southwestern Michigan, grew up in a small, lakeside town with a beautiful harbor and sand dunes. Unrepentant tomboy. Idolized my older brother. Had no interest in girl things. Learned early on that I'm much more successful socially with boys than girls. Into sports only so much as it was a way to show off; main interests were always reading and writing.

Grew up firmly middle class with parents who tried their best but who were a mess. Alcoholic, depressed mom (homemaker). Alcoholic, narcissistic dad (engineer). Divorced when I was ten. Dad passed on to me a love of learning and vanity. Mom passed on to me co-dependent tendencies and depression. 

Moved to Arizona when I was ten. Hated it. Elementary though high school in Scottsdale. Very, very dysfunctional family life. Parents' alcoholism running rampant; brother got into hard drugs and petty crime. Cops at the house once a month. Brother's mental issues go untreated, starts getting violent, abusing me and my mom. Passed a full night held hostage in a walk-in closet with him holding guard, wielding a baseball bat, out of his mind on meth. I was twelve. 

All attention and focus on my brother and his problems, all of my adolescence. He starts doing longer and longer stints in juvy. Parents blame one another and the vitriol between them infects everything. I escape into books. Around this time I learn Fuck family, friends are everything. Part of why when I lose friends now it's so traumatic to me - I'm losing a family member. Dad absent and unavailable all the while I'm in high school, with sporadic rewards of attention and praise - for my physical attributes, not my intellectual ones. This sets me up for a lifetime of chasing unavailable men and valuing my looks more than my mind. 

One year of college in Hanover, Indiana ("cheap" but gorgeous liberal arts school on the Ohio River). Too conservative, too small, too lonely away from high school friends who all went to state schools back in AZ...so I transfer back to a state school in AZ. Major in English Lit and Comp. Absolutely crush, 4.0 in my major, my papers are literally passed out as examples of what professor was looking for. Academic writing was my gateway drug. My Pulitzer novel posts are throwbacks to this time; I definitely missed my calling not pursuing an academic career. 

Dad by now moving around the country chasing his own mid-life crisis. Begins then quits law school. Buys a cherry red convertible and a house in Florida. Starts wearing his hair in a ponytail. I am mortified but he is my dad and I need his love. He's withholding emotionally and financially. Meanwhile, Mom is absolutely unraveling, being on her own. Has a job working reservations for an airline but my brother, a drifter and a grifter, is intermittently living with her and they are a codependent, chainsmoking, chaindrinking disaster. I avoid them both like the plague, occasionally meeting Mom at Cheesecake Factory for lunch because her apartment is filthy and overrun with vodka bottles, beer cans, and cigarette butts. We grow apart.

I'm waiting tables to pay for college, barely scraping by, when someone suggests I cocktail at a strip club. I do that for six months before saying Fuck this, I'm at least as cute as some of these dancers, how hard can it be?

I start dancing at the age of 21. A bad night is ~$500. A good night is ~$1200. I buy a car with a down payment I make in a weekend. I realize I never have to ask my dad for money again. I am showered with the attention I hadn't gotten growing up. I'm a late bloomer and being suddenly hot at 21 undoes all the pain of being a plain (to my father) teenager. I'm addicted to dancing in no time flat. I do it for the next ten years, dragging my feet through college (though I do eventually graduate). I drive a BMW 3 series coupe - then a Porsche Boxster. I live in the most expensive loft in the city, in the foothills. I travel to Australia, Bora Bora, Thailand, Greece, Hawaii. I have a platinum American Express at the age of 25. 

Most of this time I am with my college boyfriend, Marcus. He is a lovely, caring, incredibly smart and funny person. To this day I hold him in the highest regard; truly one of the best men I've ever been with. He teaches me to appreciate beautiful things and places. He teaches me to be silly. We're on and off for a decade, living together at times. He pays his way in our relationship, makes good money doing finance at a car dealership, but I absolutely spoil him with the $$$$ I make. Brioni suits, Charvet ties, nonstop dining out and trips around the world. He not only tolerates my dancing but finds the humor and good in it. Actually comes and hangs out at my work, where I sit with him in between dancing for other men that we make fun of. 

It's Marcus that I'm with when 9/11 happens.

Marcus and I break up. We'd been very, very good together for a very long time - but fundamentally our respective issues get the best of us. We clash at our core, both having way too much shit to work out before going further. He moves to Scottsdale. I stay in Tucson. I date a bit - always substantially younger guys. This isn't a conscious choice. It's just who asks me out, and who I like. It starts a trend that hasn't stopped yet. 

One night at work, I meet Michael. He's a customer in the VIP room who requests me after seeing me onstage. A young, seemingly normal guy. He's at the strip club on a whim of boredom, visiting from out of town. He's from Los Angeles, about to move to Tucson to be closer to his parents. After half an hour with him I tell my girlfriends in the dressing room that I've just met the guy I'm going to marry. It is hard to explain this, now. It's hard to look back and understand what about him I loved. I know that's harsh but it's true; to me, now, he is the pathological liar who I didn't even know, who I played house with for a brief time. He was funny. He was charming. He was very, very good at saying what you wanted to hear. Master level manipulator. I don't know. I'm sad for myself, for this time. But it got me to LA and that has made all the difference in my life.

Michael and I start dating, get engaged, and get married within two years. This is a very, very strange time in my life. Things start getting weird even before the engagement. Major, unmissable red flags. Lies. So many lies. But Michael has a trust fund. He courts me with trips to Vegas and NYC, with jewelry and all the shopping I want. And Michael wants to take me out of dancing and move me to Los Angeles, to literally any place I want to live. All of it paid for by his parents. All I have to do is make them some grandchildren. (This is said to me, in clear and direct terms, by my in-laws.)

Socially this is very bad and toxic time for me. My only friends are other dancers, one or two of which are sane and sweet, college girls like me or newly single moms - the others an absolute wreck of drama and drugs. One incredible girlfriend I have during this time is Sarah. So many great times with her. Game nights at her house, a hundred gorgeous hikes in the canyon together, even a wild weekend when she came to visit me in LA. Sarah makes a valiant effort to stay close to me after I leave Tucson, but I just can't. Arizona and everything about my time there grows increasingly radioactive to me. I have to cut it all off. I have to completely start over. (This will make more sense when I get to what happened around 2011-2012.)

Anyway, around this time is when I make my internet debut, on Weddingbee. I apply to be an unpaid "bee" (a bride who blogs about her wedding planning) but my application is so good that the site's owner offers me a paid position as contributing editor instead. So I do that, for about a year. Weddingbee is a community, and as with any community there are some lovely aspects of connection - but also some weirdness. It's clique-y AF with lots of exhausting behind-the-scenes drama (in which, I admit, I participate). After the wedding I start a personal blog, Elliequent, with the built-in following of all the readers I'd established at Weddingbee. Any blogger's dream come true, and something for which I remain grateful. Some of my readers have been with me from this time -- from 2007, when I got engaged. That's thirteen years. If you are one of those readers, I just have no words. What do you say, to think you've held someone's interest that long? Through all your trials and tribulations, through the exasperating mistakes you've made again and again. It's just incredible. 

I choose the apartment of my dreams, a two-story loft in downtown LA, and we move there with our mastiff puppy, Chaucer. And so begins my life in Los Angeles. 

It's 2009.

---

continue to part two

I ate at Chipotle

I just had the most incredible experience.

I ate at Chipotle.

I ate at Chipotle, as in inside of a Chipotle. Indoors. With walls surrounding me (because of being inside). And yes I was alone, because most of my friends lost their jobs in the pandemic and had to move away. And yes it was with limited capacity, so no one was close enough to see me try and break my personal record for percentage of burrito consumed in a single bite (it's 30% - my record is 30%). And yes the little table tent politely exhorted me to wear my mask when "not actively eating" (I assure you that is the only kind of eating I do at Chipotle). 

But who cares about any of that. I ate inside of a restaurant. I sat at the counter facing the street, and a FedEx delivery guy took the seat directly in front of the window, and I dined while averting my gaze from his ass which was eye level AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. And a chihuahua came by with his owner, and lifted his little leg on the bushes outside AND IT WAS THE MOST INCREDIBLE DINNER THEATER EVER.

And I don't know if my city is taking this leap too soon. I know our new case count has absolutely plummeted, because I watch those numbers (less than 700 today!!!!) more closely than I've ever watched my checking account balance -- but I don't know if we're moving too quickly. Time will tell. All I know is that I will never

ever

ever

ever 

ever 

take this simple experience for granted again. 

And as I sat there tired from the microdose of COVID-19 coursing through my veins, doing Great and Noble Battle with the Pfizer vaccine right there alongside it in my bloodstream, I felt the deepest, most genuine gratitude to be alive, to be here in this fucked-up but beautiful metropolis that has watched me empty my heart and my wallet time and again, eating a meal that will induce self-hatred the minute it is concluded.

And when I walked back home I pressed the crosswalk button and I thought how if my friends were there right at that moment, and if we were drunk enough and they dared me to, I might put my lips to that crosswalk button. Just because I could. Just to show Corona who the fucking boss is and which species is superior. 

I ate at Chipotle, and it was beautiful. 





(ides) zwei drei vier

Hey hello beauties. What a week it's been. I have some negative energy to dispense with but also some great news, so here's an update to put some things behind me, some things in perspective, and some things into clearer view. 

1. I got my first dose of the Pfizer? I hardly know her! vaccine and I could not be more relieved. Only a couple of my very closest friends really knew how terrified I was of COVID at the beginning. Working in public, around the public, on public transportation virtually every day, I was 100% sure I would get. How could I not? And maybe I did. Maybe I was asymptomatic. But there were some nights walking home in K-town before I moved downtown, where I could hear people coughing in their homes, in a neighborhood so dense and dirty I figured it was just a matter of time before my asthmatic ass was wheezing its last breath on a ventilator, lonely and dying in an ICU bed. 

(I don't mean to bag on Koreatown - I mean to fucking DUNK on it. Fuck Koreatown, forever. Brent and I agree that our short stints in K-town absolutely traumatized us. It is a demoralizing place to live, there is no building in that godforsaken area that isn't overrun with roaches and bed bugs and gangs, and just FUCK KOREATOWN and how it compromised my mental health for four damn years.)

Anyway, I consider it no small miracle I made it through unscathed. I really just cannot believe I didn't get this stupid fucking virus, with how close I must have been to it every damn day for a year. But I didn't get it. And now I'm safe. And I am so, so, so relieved that life is that much closer to normal again.

2. I am single! I am firmly, undoubtedly, unquestionably single. My friend and I who tried to kickstart something more - that is not happening. He is an amazing person and it was really hard to walk away from what was on offer. But not all of the pieces were there for me so I had to say no. He has promised to stay my friend, though, and that makes me happy. 

3. So much work drama. You have no idea. (So I will tell you.) Some bad, some really really bad, and some awesome. 

The really really bad: a former employee who I terminated has been harassing me and sending me death threats. Yay! LOL forgive my dark humor but really what else can I do other than laugh. Yesterday was when this all really unraveled and it shook me up of course, I was angry and sad and all of that. But today it's moving on to solutions and working to put it behind me asap. The cops came to my workplace, I have to file a restraining order -- it's a whole thing. But my company has totally rallied around me, top to bottom. I have my young sweet kids doing what they can to show support and solidarity, my peers in management absolutely outraged and making sure I have the resources I need to handle it, and my boss insisting I expense Ubers until the order has been served and checking in on me frequently. 

Really the whole story is I suspended then fired a kid because of a million reasons and he was not happy about it. And rather than this young man redirecting his energy into, like, finding a new job, he directed it alllll at me, largely in the form of pictures of poop? In his (a?) toilet? It was very weird and sick but also some of my closer friends in the company found the humor in it and we all dunked on him and it was a non-issue because it takes .2 seconds to ignore then block a phone number (he used 3 different numbers, a show of dedication that had he applied in the kitchen HE MIGHT STILL HAVE A JOB). But then weeks after he'd been terminated and paid out and I'd had no contact with him he sent yet ANOTHER poop picture from yet ANOTHER number and reader, dear reader, I could not resist replying this time.

"Stop with the selfies," I texted back. And I'm sorry but not sorry I engaged because come on, that is brilliant.

But you'll be shocked to hear that this further incited his anger and despite my having immediately blocked that number after my response -- his next texts somehow broke through my phone block. And his next texts were death threats. 

"I see you walking from work all the time bitch. Don't make me pay you a visit."

then

"Ima kill ya like your ex-boyfriend should have bitch"

Which was super weird! Because I have no idea where he got the idea that anyone I have been with wants to kill me, at least not literally, though Greg did make a painting about me that is a book with the title How She Broke Me but now I'm really getting off track.* Point is, maybe he knows something I don't?

Anyway, that is what I get for cracking a really good comeback to a psychopath. Lesson learned! Also, apparently iPhones sometimes need to be restarted for blocks to take effect. Now you know.

The bad: a different former coworker has been shit-stirring and trying to cause trouble for myself and my head chef. But he has been caught out, so while it was an annoyance and a temporary source of anger, that has been handled. 

The awesome: I have found out that my company's plan for me is to manage TWO locations: both where I'm at now, and my former DTLA store. This is very, very cool, because I was loathe to give up my old spot entirely and have been tortured with indecision about where I want to be when DTLA reopens. So now I don't really have to choose! There's someone fantastic (who works for me now) lined up to be at DTLA full time, and I will oversee and handle ordering, accounting, inventory and all that jazz. It will be an increase in responsibility, but in a way I'm familiar with already - so I'm unafraid and very stoked and looking forward to getting to see all my old market friends on the regular...but also not being chained to a hot, sweaty, filthy market all week. 

4. I don't actually have a fourth item. I think that pretty much sums up what's been taking up my time and energy since I was last here, so I'll stop there. But here are some happy images!


I was the first vaccination of the day! And I literally started crying from happiness and relief. The poor nurses were probably eye-rolling me so hard. 


TFW one of your best guy friends (who is also a master chef and can break down a suckling pig) fucking loses it because you just got a death threat from a poop-etrator. As someone without an emergency contact, I will always cherish times when my friends show me I'm not ever, in any way, alone. 

---

Greg and I have nothing but affection for one another and it is always lovely happy and nostalgic vibes when we run into one another, pointed portfolio piece notwithstanding. 

hot or not

I am a future climate migrant. At some point, when the time is right, I'm going to leave Los Angeles and never look south again. I'm going north - far north. I'm going somewhere cold - very cold. I already have the city picked out. It's in a state I've never even been to. 

I started researching certain things that are important to me in terms of lifestyle, climate, community, and geography - and I landed on this place. And I knew. And I know it's wild to plan to move somewhere when you've yet to even see it in person. But what the fuck else is life if not adventure? It's just me. So why the hell not?

Only my closest friends know where I'm headed. When I tell anyone who doesn't know me very well where I'm going to move, they react predictably enough. They tell me I'm crazy, I don't know what I'm getting myself into. They'd never go back to the cold and the snow, blah blah blah. But when I tell people who know me pretty well, they smile. A lot of them have been there. "Oh my god," they say. "That's perfect for you. You'll love it. It's so beautiful." They tell me they can see me there, with my big dog and my million coats and my soul-deep need for tree lined streets. They know what it will mean to me, to escape LA and finally, for the first time ever in some ways, start designing a life I've chosen. 

I know in my bones that I am built for cold weather. I'm (re)training for it even now. When I walk home from work most nights I'm down to just wearing a hoodie. My hands and arms go almost numb in the night air, but it doesn't bother me. It invigorates me, and excites the part of me that has forever felt compelled to return to the cold. When I look at fall foliage and snowscapes my heart aches. Like I genuinely feel I'm missing out on a huge, important part of life: seasons. I'm such a fish out of water here, with LA's two months of cool weather and ten months of miserable heat. 

When it comes to people and climate, it's largely a greener-grass, human nature thing. I know that. People want what they can't have; they're drawn to what seems exotic and different. It's rare to meet someone who grew up in the cold who wants to go back to it - provided they had enough time there. Provided they had their fill.

I did not have my fill. 

I was uprooted from gorgeous St. Joseph, Michigan at the age of ten and dropped down in dusty, hot Scottsdale, Arizona before I even understood what I was losing. And in 1985 it was still dusty, still largely in development. I was pulled from a land of lakes and trees and seasons and weather - a place where fail smelled like dry smoke and real, live apple trees - and pushed against my will into a sterile city of stucco and strip malls. I hated Arizona the second I saw it. I hated it every minute of every day for the nearly two decades I was there. The one exception, the one single thing that made it tolerable for a few months out of every year: Sabino Canyon in the monsoons. 

We moved to Arizona in the summer before school started. Just days before I had been climbing trees in the woods behind my brick house in Michigan. Now my main after-school activity was just fucking surviving the walk home in 100+ degree heat. We lived too close to my elementary school for there to be a bus I could take. And my mom was either too drunk, too depressed, or too depressed about being a drunk to come pick me up in the car. 

I never acclimated to the heat. Not even the slightest bit. I couldn't handle the temperature enough to participate in any school sports. It made me miserable. When I got older, I learned to estivate. I'd sleep all day, stirring only when it dropped to a chilly 80 degrees at dusk. The only - only - thing I ever liked about Arizona was the sunsets, which have no parallel in the whole world, and will be with me forever. Okay and maybe the trail running. But fuck snakes and mountain lions. 

And now here I am in lovely, sunny California. I am supposed to be thrilled at my good fortune. I am supposed to feel lucky for this "beautiful" weather I've landed in. But as far as I'm concerned, it's not much better than Arizona. Los Angeles is a haze of glaring sunshine, chrome, and now, thanks to its shitholed economy and disgusting wealth gap, trash both literal and cultural.

Save for a few rich neighborhoods and parks, there is no shade here. Just cracked sidewalks and cars and cars and more cars and cars and... And it's way, waayyy too hot, for too many months out of the year. Climate change hath wrought what we have let it wrought. And it's only going to get worse.

There's a fantastic Sunday Read podcast on The Daily about climate migration. About where people will be going in the next ten years, when the southern half and the coasts of this country become all but uninhabitable due to searing heat, wildfires, and rising oceans. If you think I sound like a kooky Cassandra, do some research. Tens of millions of people are going to be on the move soon. And I will be one of them. And if what I'm hearing and learning is true, the place I have in mind is going to be an extremely desirable destination. Certain areas of the country, now off-putting to so many because of harsh winters, are starting to become more temperate due to climate change. The extreme cold won't be so extreme in another ten years or so. 

And I, my friends, am going to beat the rush there. Me and my big fucking dog and my dumb fucking blog. You're all coming with, right?

NY Caption Contest #745

Hey remember when I used to challenge myself intellectually? Okay okay, I'll give myself some credit for my efforts of late. But I can always! do! better!

Also: remember when I officially won the New Yorker Caption Contest once, but unofficially won it twice? That was cool. And remember how my dad didn't tell me that the artist-signed cartoon had ended up at his house for some reason, and it was languishing undisplayed in his closet while I was super sad thinking it had gotten lost in the mail? That was weird. And then remember how it somehow disappeared anyway, when I moved to K-town, out of the "very very bad living situation" I was in? That was a bummer. 

It is totally okay if you don't remember any of this. I barely do. Point is, at some point I need to reach out to the New Yorker and see about getting a replacement copy of my caption (I'm sure they will say Fat chance, lady, and the sad legacy of this whole thing will continue.) Second point is, let's start doing the captions again!

I really don't know what my goal is in sharing these (which I'm gonna do every time I remember and am not too tired to take a whack at) other than my pathetic need to show that I am occasionally clever. Please validate me and don't hide my achievements in the closet, Dad enjoy.



This week's contest closed Sunday, so you can't steal my Very Serious Creative Work, you dastardly motherfuckers. And yes I hit that shit with multiple New Yorker accounts, because you're only allowed one entry, because haters be trying to curb my genius. 

this moment, surely

Okay, you maniacs. I can practically hear you from here, drumming your fingers, wondering if you're going to get an update. Fine. Here's your update. 

I'm not so unsure anymore. I've seen him again, only once and very briefly. And I need to take it super, duper, duper slow. But the un- is sliding away from the -sure. 

I don't know what I expected when I pulled back on him, but it wasn't what I got. What I got was warmth and understanding. What I got was him pulling back too - at first. But then I got a version of Okay so look, I know that this is literally the opposite of what you want to hear right now, but I haven't stopped thinking about you since Tuesday, sorry not sorry

And it's pretty tough to resist someone telling you they haven't stopped thinking about you. 10/10 would definitely recommend. And so we picked up the thread again, with casual talk and oh hey, you should hear this song type stuff. 

But more than the compliment of his interest, it was his tone that did it for me. He came at me with this incredibly gentle and chill but confident energy. Like truly, he could take me or leave me, and if I said leave he would still be his positive, naturally happy self rambling on through life - but if I said take he was down. Like so fucking down in fact.

And something about his patience with me despite being flip-floppy and flaky communicated a maturity and kindness that, frankly, really fucking turned me on. Also, the music he sent me was bullseye perfect. Heel, meet Achilles.

Anyway one night I was walking home and he sent a track for me to check out. Make sure you look at the moon tonight, he added. I told him I was about to have a full hour and a half walking under the moon so sure, will do.

Next thing I know he's offering to come walk me home. And I'm like, No. No way. It's 11pm. You're nuts. And he was like Don't care. Wanna see you. And I was like, I gotta go straight home though. Have to be back at work early. And he was like, I'll bounce when we get to the train.

And all of that warm inviting wanting energy was pretty irresistible, and I figured Okay, his studio is in Hollywood, I guess if he comes down Highland it's a straight enough shot...

So I accepted his offer. Where are you now? he asked. I told him I was walking east down 3rd. That I'd hit Highland in 20 minutes. 3rd and Highland in 20 minutes, he said. On it. 

And now we're getting to the good part, which is my good feelings. Because the minute I knew I was going to see him, despite my having been at work for 9+ hours, totally wrecked and tired, not a drop of makeup on me, no hairbrush in sight and no cute clothes to change into - I just had a really, really good feeling about it. 

And I didn't stress about how I looked at this hour, after a long work day. I just put my music back on and smiled at the loveliness of a boy getting on his bicycle to come walk a girl home in the moonlight. And I felt myself warming up to him, more every moment, warming up to the sweetness on the surface and the more urgent desire underneath. And by the time I texted and told him I was cutting south, to meet me at 4th, I was so fucking ready to see him and show him how much I appreciated what he was putting out there for me.

And I sat on the curb in the cold - the cold that I love so much - on the corner of 4th and Highland, right at the start of Hancock Park. And I played Sultan + Shepard and waited, envisioning exactly how I was going to immediately grab his collar and pull him to me and kiss him. I didn't have the bike part figured out, the bike was going to be in the way for sure - I only knew I wanted us to be still and quiet under the moon as we moved into this moment, surely. 

And he rolled up so fucking fast, faster on his white road bike than would be safe if it hadn't been 11:30pm, laughing at the sight of me sitting on the sidewalk in my hoodie under the street light. And yes the dumb bike was momentarily in the way, but I pointed at it and said "Move that" and he laughed and swung it lightly up across the sidewalk and leaned it against a tree. And I saw then how much his bike is a part of him, a piece of his physicality that he moves with grace and easy familiarity - and it was hot. It was a simple thing, this unconscious, subtle hint of his athleticism - but it was hot.

And I got the kiss I wanted. I pushed against him and breathed him in and though he's rarely quiet - he is bright and light and bold like a lightning bolt - he got quiet, too. And for minute, I started to show him how I need to be touched, in a moment like that. How held, how kissed. And he started to see. 

And then we walked, and laughed, and talked about daily things from our lives that were happening. And it was just a short time together, because right now we're both in a hustle hard part of our lives -- but he made time for me. And he didn't just shoot over from Hollywood, either, because he hadn't been at his studio. He'd been home in bed, further away than Hollywood. He'd gotten out of bed to come walk me and his bicycle through Hancock Park, in the winter, in the middle of the night. 

So now maybe you're getting a sense of why this is someone to be less unsure about. And I am getting a sense, too. 

what emotional dysregulation feels like

I woke up today as I do on all my days off lately: grateful, supercharged for the things I wanted to accomplish, in complete control of my life. I passed the morning working, but since it was on a project completely of my own design and initiative, I enjoyed it. I shared what I'd done with my boss and almost immediately got the positive feedback I'd been hoping for. I felt great and awesomely productive, proud of myself for finally knocking out the thing I'd been wanting to do for a couple of weeks now. I knew I still had most of the day ahead of me to be creative and have fun. 

But then another work-related thing snapped up my attention. And to be sure, I didn't have to let it. I could have pushed it off until I'm back at work on Wednesday. But it was a tedious task that I'd actually already completed, and I was annoyed that due to the shitty interface of our payroll software, it looked to our corporate team that I hadn't done the task. Cut to fifteen minutes wasted of me trying, fruitlessly, to resolve the issue. But no. Shitty payroll software gonna be shitty.

Before I knew it, I was having a total - and totally unnecessary - meltdown. I sent an urgent email to a coworker but I was already so pissed off at having to further wait to deal with this problem that I called her before she could call me. And I totally lost it, while on the phone with her. I was so fucking angry that on my day off I was having to deal with this situation, when I'd already dealt with it. I felt my free time and energy getting sucked away. Me, who works her absolute ass off all the time, and never gives less than 100%. All I want is for my days off to be days off. The unfairness of it just destroyed me, here in my gorgeous apartment, on a sunny day, in Los Angeles, California. My coworker walked me through what needed to be done and within a few minutes it was finished. Behind me. Boom. So not a big deal, right?

But by that time I had lost the day.

That's what I call it, when my emotional dysregulation wins. Losing the day. 

It wasn't until fairly recently that I realized the main ingredient of my mental coolness cocktail is emotional dysregulation (splash of depression; chaser of anxiety). And it's exactly what it sounds like. Overreaction to, as they call it, "provocative stimuli." And when those provocative stimuli are negative, holy shit is it the worst, most exhausting problem to have. But I'm not entirely sure I would want to get rid of it. Because when I am positively stimulated, my head nearly explodes from joy.  

Today after the episode with the work problem, I was instantly physically leveled. So tired it was like I'd just come off a month of crab fishing in Alaska. I could barely stand up. In fact, I didn't. I retreated to my safe place (with great originality, I have chosen my bathroom floor as my safe place) until I felt calm and self-love return. And even when I did, looking in the mirror showed me someone haunted and defeated. I'd lost the day, and it was written all over my face. 

My friend Steve understands my ED better than anyone. "Even keel" he always reminds me, when I get too upset/excited. "Even keel," he says, when I am spiraling because some dude hasn't texted me back and I feel abandoned. "Even keel," he says, when I am over the moon because some dude has texted me back and I feel elated. "Even keel," I try whispering to myself, imagining a bright white sailboat moving with ease and optimism through crystalline waters. 

Even keel: a three syllable buoy for pulling me off the bathroom floor. 

(BTW, this blueprint of a reaction can be transferred to any parallel set of situations - professional, social, financial, etc. No matter the stimulus, I am much too easily knocked off balance. So please, go ahead. Tell me I don't need a Libra to anchor me...)

Then there are the times where my emotional dysregulation is unbearably blissful, like an overdose of the purest, cleanest drug. And it doesn't happen when you'd think it would - say, on vacation. Or in a moment of profound intimacy. It hits me during the most quotidian of circumstances: walking home, for instance, a friend will send a funny text and I will just fucking lose it in the best way possible. I'll suddenly be absolutely overcome with gratitude for my simple, sweet life of honest work, great friends, and occasional romance. And I'll start crying, there on the sidewalk, because I am so unbelievably happy to be me, experiencing the energy input/output that I do, on this planet, in this solar system. But when I say happy I mean I feel so much happiness that I'm scared it could break me. Like I could truly die on the spot and be okay about it. And I will walk slowly through the cold night, tears leaving icy streaks down my cheeks, gazing at the moon, gripped with love for every leaf on every tree that I pass in this phenomenally beautiful world. 

Would you want even keel, over that? Would you give that up? 

Maybe you would. Either way, I don't have a choice. And I'm kind of okay with it.