puffy eyes

an observation on what makes me cry:

  • My little sister’s tears
  • Academy Award Show acceptance speeches
  • essential oils when they get in my eyes
  • As by Stevie Wonder because it reminds me of what could have been.
  • Thinking about my aunt, my grandmothers, my grandfather, my idol…
  • animals with huge eyes
  • Seeing my brother cry
  • second-hand embarrassment
  • Helpless people that deserve better 
  • Doing something I really dont want to do 
  • My allergies 
  • Movies and TV Shows with happy endings 
  • Movies and TV Shows with tragic endings
  • Seeing my parents cry 
  • Death and birth
  • when people are awarded things that they deserve
  • spicy foods
  • when I stare into the sun during sunset and the wind blows in my face.
PC: pinterest.com

– from the perspective of a seventeen year old girl

I guess I just like words

I think English words taste like pickles: crunchy on the outside with savory, meaty middles.

Image: goldbelly.imgix.net

Spanish is like a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window, its colorful geometry sliding into place like the children’s game Rush Hour.

Speaking Arabic is like putting on gilded silk robes that I don’t deserve.

Hebrew diffuses through my veins, and Yiddish sends me spiralling into my ancestors.

When I sat in French class, I was able to peer into a manicured francophone antique store that enthralls me.

And when I preach my dreams of universal Esperanto, I feel the international interdependency of the future colliding with the frilly beauty of antiquity. 

I was barely twelve when I sat on a train pouring words onto a page, words that sounded right, that fit right, that like singing nails resonated in my chest.

I was a silversmith working self-righteous metal into ornate rings around fingers black with mud.

the dove and the hare.

I saw my future last night, 

In the white feather and the rabbit that crossed the road at 11:03

while he drove the car.

I saw the girl that I was meant to become 

As I cross the river, 

Into a new territory. 

/ / /

I saw my past last night too.

I saw a blonde, curly-headed girl give me validation to leave

To say goodbye. 

I saw fear, hesitation, and hate in her eyes. 

/ / /

I saw my angel, 

kissing me on the cheek 

As tears stream down her face, stinging her scars.

She wore her denial of the reality that hit her like a truck 

a mask over her face.

/ / /

And for the first time in six months, 

I saw clarity and

Felt serenity in my life. 

I understand where I have to go, 

How to cross the river, 

How to express and emote. 

photo credit: pinterest.com

Today, I look at the blue sky with the white blurs, 

And the blooming lavender and the blossoming rosemary with faith, 

And soaring red hawk with ambition, 

And a single rose on flourishing bush with purity. 

Flags

For much longer than I am willing to admit I have been obsessed with flags. My trusty yellow legal pad was covered with tiny drawings of real and imagined flags, and I talked extensively about the tackiness of specific flags to anyone who would listen, and, perhaps most embarrassingly, I referred to my study of flags as vexillology. I love the way the perfect geometry of a good flag looks when it is billowing freely in the wind, and a flag at half mast brings my world down with it. A flag is noble and monolithic and is ideally the distillation of a place, but there is also massive weight in the symbolism of a flag. Flags can tell the story of oppression, and they can symbolize a history fraught with complications. I love Los Angeles, but I hate its flag (it is just undeniably ugly). For centuries, a black flag with a skull and crossbones made grown men quiver, and now it is reserved for children’s games. The black, red, green, and white of the Arab flags unite those ancient, bickering states, and the stars and stripes tear through the wind on diesel pickups as they roar down highway 33. 

The American flag is also the focus of the first section of Arthur Grace’s America 101. The photobook describes the way Grace sees this glorious and hypocritical paradise of oddity. I spent so much time reading this book that it changed the way I take photos. But it has also changed the way I see the American flag in general. Grace juxtaposes the immense pride Americans have for the flag with the mundane usage that it receives in advertising or on smokestacks. These two parts of Arthur Grace’s America, one, comically capitalistic, and the other, powerfully patriotic, have become the lens through which I look at my own nation. 

When flying, a flag can be seen on two sides. From the perspective of my Latino heritage, I see those stars and stripes representing employment and the opportunity to support a big family. With entirely different circumstances, my Jewish point of view is focused on the underpinnings of the American beliefs in freedom and expression. The symbolism of the flag is different for everyone who views it, and that is one of its strongest powers: being something everyone can relate to.

As much as I love the American flag for personal reasons, from a design perspective, it is flawed in one way: it cannot be drawn by a child with a box of crayons. This one simple test is the true mark of a perfect flag, and the American flag falls short. There are simply too many stars for it to be crayon-able. But many great flags are similarly afflicted. The Union Jack, for example, is almost stellar, but what child knows that it is not horizontally symmetrical. Or the Mexican flag—beautiful, bold, and impossible to scribble. There are, in fact, perfect flags, unmistakable even in chicken scratch like the elegant Swiss flag and the simple beauty of the Japanese hinomaru. 

To me a flag is a poem. At first it presents as simply beautiful, but with time and knowledge of its history, a flag unfurls the silky layers of its meaning, its true power. A flag can be glossed over, or it can be analyzed and decoded and still maintain its original beauty. Flags tell a story, a history of a place, and that is why I am still fascinated by them. 

a scene from a 2000s christmas

photo credit: floridamemory.com

The beach houses that my mother would find always seemed so big to my four-year-old perspective. 

With a staircase that I remember to be spiraling and

a brown and cream-colored chess board in the middle of a large living room

which was later to be covered in wrapping paper is what this house seemed like to me at the time. 

My mother was always frantically scurrying around the house to make sure everything was perfect for my grandmother, 

meanwhile, she didn’t mind the imperfections but simply didn’t have the power to say anything. 

The uncles were catching up as the oldest was in Chicago and the youngest was living his life in Australia.

My brother, was playing with his GameBoy, 

eyes locked to the screen. 

My grandfather was looking at the beams and the ceilings to find some reason why the house wasn’t architecturally perfect in his eyes.

And then there was me, either in the corner or on the couch next to my grandmother, where I would play with my Polly Pockets being relatively quiet.

/ / /

I do not remember a lot at the houses except for the people and the feelings surrounding the time.

The presents and all the other material items around me did not matter,  especially because I knew the reality of the grandmother’s illness and how she had limited time here on earth with me. 

I do remember the smell of the house, 

a mixture of palm trees, 

salty ocean mist, and

the sand that has been carried many miles, 

just for me to feel that unforgettable warmth between my toes. 

I also reminisce about her during the holiday season. She wore fuzzy socks. I still have a worn out, baby pink pair of her socks stuffed in the back of my drawers. 

From cuddling on the couch, with the chaos of my family 

to being on the beach, with the rolling waves and the roaring wind, 

her amenity still remains within me. 

on a persistent Thursday

image via i.pinimg.com

The morning is the inhale – the first air that is taken in, and held there –

Some days are more deceptive than others
like a warm Thursday afternoon that manages to convince you there is nothing left to do;

It leaves you anticipating the rest.
The first breath that is fully taken in and fully released in a few easy seconds. Knowing everything else may be paused for a while.

But then you remember:
the light is not orange because it is summertime, when the days are so hot they seem to melt into one another,
but rather because it is 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, and you are wearing sunglasses because the days are only shorter now.

And because it is a Thursday and not a Friday,
you can only breathe partially.

And so the evening is the exhale – the same morning air that never really escaped finally does, though it won’t return until the sun comes up again tomorrow –

And we grow used to that feeling. Or at least I do.

an ode to the ones i love.

Sometimes I feel really young when I look at the experiences I have compared to the experiences I have not been through. I might seem like I am naive by saying this but I love where I am at with my relationships currently. This is an evaluation of all my current relationships as a seventeen-year-old: 

When I am with you, 

You take me out of my fixed headspace 

That can sometimes be crippling

You talk with purpose, even if it is to yourself, it means something. 

You make me feel like Stevie Wonder when he talks about the people he loves,

unconditionally and without limitations. 

you give me relief and let me express myself without shame 

which is something that i have lacked in my past relationships

photo credit: pinterest.com

i look at the little things like your laugh 

and the way you smile at the things that make you happy,

i look at the things that make you mad or irritated

i look at the touch from your hands and your tenderness 

it’s weird that i feel this way cause i have lost so much in the last couple of months. But, i can always control how i feel. that’s something that my mother taught me. 

To conclude: You make me happy, in a giddy, platonic way.