Getting older is an interesting thing. I almost wonder why we count age in years rather than viewing the process as more of a zooming out, a widening of perspective. I’ve spent my entire live making a series of decisions, some focused on longer term plans, some with a shorter-term reach, but each one has been made with absolutely no idea of what the outcome would actually be. That’s life, right? Continue reading “Quarter Life Layover in Abu Dhabi”
A funny thing happens whenever things around me begin to feel permanent. I jokingly call it my commitment-phobia, in the hopes that my self-depreciating humor is endearing and might steer the attention away from any true, meaningful issues.
I’ll shrug and say, “It’s what I do! It’s who I am!” with a charming smile, as if that justifies my inability to ever really get close to anything. Continue reading “Another journey, another cliff to jump off”
In July of 2012, I watched a documentary on Hurricane Katrina that sparked me to write what would eventually be my novel, Louder Than Silence. I was intrigued by the idea of happenstance, unforeseen tragedy, and how characters could cope with natural disaster shaking their lives to the core, upending the trajectory they anticipated their lives to be on – both the good and the bad.
I couldn’t shake these themes off and what was supposed to be a short character study turned into something larger. That October, as I was writing about my characters clinging to life in the French Quarter that August in 2005, Super Storm Sandy raged outside my apartment.
Today’s anniversary is never lost on me, though no other year has been quite as poignant as this year’s as Hurricane Harvey is devastating Texas. As I sit down to edit my lines another time, another hurricane haunts the pages, looming over all those who are suffering in my novel, all those who suffered in New Orleans in 2005, in New York and New Jersey in 2012, and all those who have suffered at any point in time from any violent event.
Life has never been a thing we can control or predict. There’s no way to know if we will be able to keep the appointments we have tomorrow or even this afternoon, but we live as if we do. We have to.
It’s important to know that those who are suffering now are closer than we think. So close, in fact, that they could be us in a day, a year, or a decade. We get to stay safe this time. We were spared. We need to reach out, though. Our silence is too loud in times when the tragedy is too hard to see.
There are many ways we can help, though. We can make noise, we can support each other and be louder than the silence.
It’s PJ’s birthday! It’s the last time we wake up in Bali. I can’t believe I’m writing that, when it feels like I was just in awe that I was actually here. We linger in our room as long as we can, but our flight to Singapore is just before noon, so we need to to be up and headed to the airport by 6am. My phone emulates my heart as it lingers on every sight, taking pictures, capturing memories, willing the moment not to pass. Continue reading “Bali Bound: Day 11”
Somehow, it’s our last full day in Bali. Spending time in paradise where time passes at its own pace has been an anti-Western luxury, until the slap in the face that the last day is. I’ve been taking advantage of as many yoga opportunities as possible, and on the last day, I want my last practice to be a commune with this serene utopia. A yogi comes to our villa and leads my sister and me through an invigorating sun salutation sequence overlooking the Agung River. Continue reading “Bali Bound: Day 10”
Today is The Day. Almost all of the things that brought us to Bali, and Ubud, are scheduled for today: Steph and PJ are going to climb Mount Batur, the second highest and most active volcano in Indonesia, and we are all going to see one of the best healers in the area, Pak Man. I’m torn about this day. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Pak Man. Especially as a writer, I’m hoping to be able to unblock my creativity, which has felt stifled lately. I haven’t been working on my novel as diligently as I’ve hoped, and I’m optimistic that this healer will be able to help me. Though, I’ve got an apprehension brewing deep down that I can’t quite wrap my mine around.
Waking up in Ubud is unreal. By now, I have totally leaned into the culture here. I know that the smiles everyone gives me is genuine. I know that the happiness of this hard-working people is core-deep. Living outside of the confines of capitalism has caused the Balinese people to embrace simple pleasures; there is no guilt exchanged for happiness, there is no price to pay for a favor, there are no ulterior motives for kind gestures. They just are – each moment, each step, each smile. Continue reading “Bali Bound: Day 8”
It’s our last day in Jimbaran. The beach stretches on for miles, the tepid pool water is as blue as the sky (which is almost definitely what heaven looks like), and the sun is slowly warming the new day’s air. I keep thinking it, and I keep waiting for the shock to wear off, but this really is paradise. No amount of time can diminish my awe.
We decide against another road trip and instead spend the day playing tennis, doing yoga, and having a karma cleansing and blessing performed by a Hindu priest. Continue reading “Bali Bound: Days 6-7”