AshleyFuckingAhn

I have a sweet side. Promise.

To Condescension and Beauty and the long email thread titled, “Airport Dreams”

Okay, “Airport Dream”:

I guess this blog post is going to be a “best of” type of situation between me and a dear friend…a friend of mine and I communicate on an almost daily basis, positing, thinking, and testing our insecurities and theories on each other. I thought that maybe some of these ideas would resonate with you, my few dear readers. IDK. 

This will be part one. If people are interested in reading more, I’ll maybe post more. 

ME: 

"A month ago, I started attending Emotions Anonymous meetings….mostly because I felt such great anxiety about what I was doing with my life, that I needed a way to vocalize and talk about how I was feeling without it being disruptive. So, I started to go to meetings, I got a sponsor, and I’m currently working on the second step, which is:

"Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
Now, I’m not religious, but that “higher power” can be anything I choose…I have been struggling to identify It, but I’m working on it.
I am approaching a transition. I’m currently seeking a new job, and the possibilities are overwhelming. I could do anything, be anything, and yet, IDK. And you are right, maybe something didn’t work out in the past because I wasn’t ready for it to work. It’s hard to figure these things out, but I suppose that’s the whole point about it.”
FRIEND:
"…Anyhow, I don’t feel you are going too slow. You are perhaps going too fast. (speaking from my own experience) Especially considering your dreams are saying your running is not letting you get in touch with your spirituality and that falls in line with exactly what you are trying to come to terms with in EA and so on.
I have similar struggles and a healthy dose of anxiety. Sometimes my mind is going so fast that it is soooo far ahead I can’t reconcile and I know it’s because I am getting ahead of “the power greater than myself” .  I feel at once that I have to speed up but I prob should slow down. So I try to stay still. I am seeing someone to help me through these things. EA sounds great btw. And I am ALWAYS trying to align spiritually … and i do wrestle with reconciling religion and spirituality and personal ambitions.
ME:
So, I read this yesterday on the train. It comes from Cioran’s “A Short History of Decay”
Thought it may be applicable. It resonated with me, that’s for sure.”
image

FRIEND:

"However I wonder that without dreams if we’d all go mad. No? Would it enable an ideal or simply alternative state of waking? 

Then again if my dreams involved satan!, yes I can imagine hanging onto Cioran’s every word, every letter, every serif for dear life :)”
My mind wondered about how photographers aren’t capturing images as much as they are capturing the feeling of. However, their attempting to “script” the essence of a place, person, etc in a “beautiful” picture is like the inverse curve infinitely approaching zero but never reaching its intended axis … the intangibility of life alludes us the moment we egoically try to chase, define or own it.

Like the photograph, words on a page/screen, language, music, film, art, posturing, contrived politics and storied products are calculated/artificial/illusionary, subverting the very essence, the party of life we so desperately want to frame. So instead, I’d rather run innocently as a child, my eyes as my awareness. My production pure.”
ME:
I think, if you capture the image correctly, you can get close to capturing the “feeling of”. I think why Godard’s CONTEMPT is one of my favorite films is because he manages to capture the feeling through the cinematography. There is a reason why they are called, “Director of Photography” in film, vs. “Camera operator” or whatever….although, you have those people as well. But you are right…the nature of the “script” (to me) means reducing the idea to some sort of consciously perceptible level. Our minds are always “scripting” if you will. That’s how we attempt to make sense of the world. 
To me, that is religion. It’s a way to script the world into something that makes sense. Now, this isn’t a shun on God or whatever entity one chooses to believe. I am not (at this moment) a Knight of Faith, and maybe this is my downfall. I would not say I am a Consequentialist, or some sort of “science should be the lead in highlighting what is moral or not moral) but you know…IDK. I find religion to be stifling and restricting…but this is someone coming from a Catholic tradition (after all, I went to a Catholic university!). I have dabbled in other religions, and the only thing that I find affinity to is philosophy and music and poetry. 
But again, maybe this is my downfall.”
FRIEND:
Why is it that I always wake up the moment right before the height, punchline or “answer” to a dream? Like the dream will be moving towards an endpoint and then I wake up. I try desperately to get back to sleep to finish it but it’s no use, by that time my mind starts flooding with thoughts, can’t back to sleep and I miss the finale… 
I was then kind of overlaying that with the concept of the difference between the “I” and the “self” (I think it’s rooted in existentialism or is existentialism or isn’t idk). The”I” is the “innocence”, the inner-self that simply “is”, “being” … no labels, no mathematical calculations, scientific markings or religious affiliations. The “self” is the ego, the “thoughts” , the creator of the scripts. That we are in our essence not our thoughts, but more simply the awareness of our thoughts, the awareness of the self/ego. So I suppose I was reflecting on your film through that… the self (straight lines, identification, scripting) vs I (the essence, the curvy, the observer, the wildflowers). 
ME:
"Hmm…That is a good question. I guess you wake up right before the answer because maybe the answer isn’t ready yet. Or maybe, MAYBE, at the end we find out it’s inconsequential. Wouldn’t that be a bummer?
I wrote that piece senior year of college. I was going through a lot of uncertainty, and I was desperately wishing I could just…write a formula and that was all it would take, just proofs and variables and blah but eventually I could figure out my future and the fear would dissipate. Or, that I could at least rationalize what was going on around me and I wouldn’t have to freak out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Instead, everything is round instead of square, ambiguous instead of being just…okay. IDK. That wasn’t a good way of talking about it.
Yes, Godard can be overwhelming. His work spans so many variations of his life, from whimsical and romantic to extremely political and demanding. It’s actually a beautiful reflection of a man who, even though he’s brilliant, shows us that it’s okay to change your mind.
Religion and spirituality is a tricky one for me. As much as I tell myself I don’t believe in God, I can’t look at people like Joan of Arc and think that she was just a crazy woman who fell into a system of probability that worked out for her (worked out in the sense that she was able to do many things that no one was able to to do, especially a woman. The death thing was inevitable). IDK. At the same time, there are others who don’t believe in God (but believe in their own “god”) who are able to do miraculous things that, again, could be a result of probability, but it could be something else. I don’t know. At the moment, I don’t have the words to explain.”
TBC. These are just excerpts that span a couple of months. You all know I created this blog to be as candid and honest about my life as I am able. I  want everyone to know that I appreciate and respect my confidant, especially this person who entertains my naiveté and is willing to have a conversation sans judgement.
I feel incredibly lucky. I hope all of you, dear readers, have someone equally as open to conversation as I do. 
<3.

 

"Everyone Is Getting Married…"

(to the tune of “Deck the Halls)

"Fa lalalalala, lalalala
And then to go and have some babies
Fa lalalala, lalalala…”
Nah, I’m being a jerk. But really, ahh man…
So, I’ve been truly working hard to try and stop doing the “Yes, BUT” fiasco. We all know that everything before the “but” is a lie. It really is. There is no reason to try and qualify a point with the leading sharpshooter of “but”. It’s insincere. BUT really.
I’ve been working to sit on some feelings. To sit on some major feels. There is this place (firm) that has been recruiting me for…IDK over a year now. Completely out of my field (not completely, close) and we’ve been doing this…we’ve been creating this really weird friendship over the past few months. Like, they haven’t even hired me (yet, but I have gone through 1 million interviews including case studies), but we meet for drinks, and I talk to the leading case manager about…idk future, past, present. In fact, we were at a bar on Wall Street, and she (leading case manger) was telling me about a personal issue. I responded with:
"In Time’s sentence men take their place like commas, while in order to end it, you have immobilized yourself into a period."
It took me from 59th Street to 42nd Street Grand Central Express on a busy Wednesday to remember that line. 
I spouted it at that busy Wall Street bar during another “courtship” between me and them. And she stared at me and I shrugged and said, “It’s Cioran, IDK it felt like a great insulator to the lull we had in conversation.” She looked at me and said, “I don’t know how to respond” and I said,
"In fact, that’s the perfect response."
All of my friends are (suddenly) married…not necessarily to another human being, but to an idea, to a job, to a something. Which reminds me of another quote: “The obsession of elsewhere is the impossibility of the moment; and this impossibility is nostalgia itself.”
Many of my friends feel frustrated with waiting, with Time. They are quick to hail a taxi, quick to leave, to give up, to move on, to ignore. It’s hard to talk, now. There is something to the detour, to the elongated train ride, to the (in)efficiency. As my good friend has told me, “We all suffer from escapism.” And perhaps we all do. I will say this:
I have been enjoying measuring my time between train stops (especially during weekends) rereading lines, remembering moments from film, books, poetry, etc. I enjoy reciting the applicable (to me), and that quote, that line, becomes “something”. 
I have been talking to my mom on the phone recently, more than usual. She wants to hear my voice. She knows nothing about Skype or Google Hangout or other technological innovation. Good for her. She runs a business, and still does it via paper and pen. Shit, I work so hard to reduce my sums to something basic. I’m not trying to be better than her; I’m trying to be her. When she can figure out how to dial the phone and get a hold of me, we talk. She asks if I have washed my armpits, if I floss, if the (2) personal tuna packets she sent arrived unopened (and, I should really check to make sure they are not tampered with). She tells me how my dad misses me, but she only knows this because she knows. Do I have a boyfriend? Why not? I really should dress “classically” and forget the urge to chop my hair off or get another tattoo (no man will ever marry you with another tattoo). Lipstick. My mom loves lipstick, and wishes I would just “try a color”. 
She’s a cute, funny, Asian mother. 
And she knows nothing about me. I broke down to her (and my father) one day, telling them that I was going through an existential crisis, that it’s not a situation where one feels sorry for the other, but a situation where one just needs to listen and give a hug and trust that the other person is able to work through the situation (maybe tomorrow) or some other time but it wasn’t a situation where answers needs to be torpedoed over as a last resort. 
My mother and father didn’t understand a word I was saying.
I was crumpled near the Smith/whatever F/G stop in Brooklyn, trying to explain (between tears) how I was frustrated, how “…Suppose, we force ourselves to see to the bottom of words?” What would we see? Anything?
A glitter, a power?  A nothing?
I have a friend who recently (during a debate in music) told me. “I like how Chopin’s pieces teeter under the right hand.” I rather enjoy this visual of “teetering”. I don’t necessarily know what the word means, but I know what it feels like. The plight of the teeter. What a situation to be in…
It’s the same. I tried to explain to him how my anxiety felt like a tuberculosis x-ray. The blot, the clot, the scar, the cloud, the shroud, the fear, the beauty. 
I’ll just say this: The ending in Chrono Trigger where the world ends—not the worst ending in the game.
Nope.
/musing.

Self-Portrait, 2014.

Last year, I did a self-portrait poem of sorts. I realized that I had yet to do one this year.

Here it is. It is. It’s raw and real, and I find nothing wrong with that. People have feelings of…whatever they feel. Expression is healing.

For me, the writing always heals. 

It’s really rough, but I felt inclined. 

Self-Portrait, 2014


…The girl in the bathtub, does she have to bleed so vicariously, so
freely?
Could anyone holdherunder
this freedom,
her yearning?

No snow declares tonight, but
she’s still missing.
A search for her completeness,
a face, the waiting,
some memory, a something.

She’s lipsticked.
She’s “heavy”.

The Question: Does her blood have to spill so elegant,
immaculate red, fresh and smelled, neck-noosed dead,
dangled and bobbed,
buoyantly careless?

 

Raw Mondays (#3)

Yesterday was another Raw Monday.  I definitely did not eat enough.  Special guest “B” didn’t either.  However, I managed to get a run in, and the run felt really good, despite the lack of food.

Things I have noticed since I started Raw Monday:

1) I look forward to them.  After a weekend of usual shitty eating and not necessarily taking care of myself, eating raw on Monday helps me detox and reset my system

2) “B” has really been adventurous in the kitchen.  Yesterday’s dinner was shredded daikon radish with a lemon tahini dressing.  It was light in the stomach, and tasted good.  At home, I also have become more adventurous in the kitchen, and have realized that nothing really does taste better than a fresh sugar snap pea or a crisp, Asian pear.  You can really make a lot of fresh, delicious tasting food without heat.

3) I eat less throughout the week.  Since beginning Raw Mondays, I have been eating less, and some foods are starting to actually become unappetizing to me.  I’m not sure if this is a product of a mental shift or what, but it’s true.

4) Exercise.  I find, because everything on raw is plant based, I intake a lot more water than if I ate processed food.  The hydration factor is great, as I don’t cramp as easily, and my recovery is much better.

Overall, I am really enjoying Raw Mondays.  I’m actually thinking about extending it to two days a week; maybe Raw Mondays and Wednesdays.  Again, not sure about going all in, but there aren’t really any cons to this diet, besides the occasional yearn for a burger.  

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Status update:

1) Unconfident and buried under application issues with, well, the organization that I dream I could be apart

2) I’m a pawn.

3) California Dreamin’

4) Rule number one.  Rule number 1 through 5.  Not sure I can stick to that.

5) I’ll see you never.

6) Social anxiety.

7) Which is really rule number 1, but, I miss my best friend.

8) …

I planned on going to 10, but fuck that, not happening.  The past week has been…unusual.  I suppose this is the time to relay my underlying source of…uneasiness, but I can’t.

Philip Seymour Hoffman.  

It’s upsetting, but the most upsetting portion is that it’s understandable.  It’s like: you are looking at the tree every day, and you wonder about hanging yourself.  Not that you would do it, but the mechanism behind finding a tree strong enough to hold the right amount of rope to do it.  And you think this every day.

But, more importantly; why not?

I realize that I don’t want sex.  I want to poop back and forth forever in the same butt hole, with the same poop.  

The world looks amazing tonight.  I hope some people were able to prove witness.   

We’re Going to Hell Anyway, Let’s Make Love

The train platform was packed because the weather outside dropped to a low 10 F, and when the weather dropped below 20 the trains decide to do this “fuck you” in the morning and roll over and hit snooze for another hour.  

So, the rest of us who put on our human costumes decide to act like cattle and stand around, our tails slapping the flies away from our annoyed faces.  

When I see the crowded platform, I always push through the crowd and find the most attractive man and stand right next to HIM. Even if I have to squeeze through old people and their spreaded butt-cheek NY Times or Wall Street Journal, I will squirm my way between their glares and sighs and position myself right next to the cutest guy on the platform. And, it’s not even like I scour the platform and do compare and contrast of the eligible men. For some reason, he calls my name and begs for me to stand next to HIM.  

Sometimes, he has coifed hair, sometimes it’s loose and runny, sometimes it’s buried in a hat or sometimes his strong neck is covered with a sexy tie or fun tie or no tie. Sometimes, it’s a scarf, and his piercing blue or gray or brown eyes stare above and past it, hungrily waiting for me (oh wait, the train).  Whatever he looks like, I find HIM. Every day around 8:45 AM, I am on that platform and I’m standing next to HIM.  

The train comes, and everyone starts to stampede through the limited door opening.  Most of these fuckers are dumb anyway, and think that, by pushing and jockeying around, they can squeeze past solid space (they think they are Gumby).  They don’t care. I don’t either, to be honest, as long as I am standing next to HIM. And, because I’m small and have the type of determination that seconds to a psychopath, I always get in, right next to HIM, right next to his cologne smelling, Brooks Brother’s outfitted, probably toned and tanned HIM. And then, the doors close (after a million attempts because, again, most adults didn’t take or failed their physics or geometry class) and now I’m in an enclosed psych ward, just me and him and a bunch of other lunatics.  

Then, the train lurches, and, if I play my cards right, I’ll feign for a moment that I too failed physics and geometry and I’ll bump into HIM. Not enough for him to scrunch his face and do that, “WTF” because that has happened in the past. No, just enough where his face scrunches but relaxes immediately and he does a small smile and says, “No problem”. HEART = MELTED at this point. My heart has formed into a puddle along with the melted snow and spilled bodega coffee pooled in the train car. “No problem”.  Everything is a fucking problem, and here he can assuage me that nothing is problematic to the point I have forgotten what “problem” even means.

The sign blinks on the train, and it’s trying to inform us of the next stop. I don’t even see it, I don’t even care because we’re going to Hell anyway. These long train rides, the hellish people, the stagnant air and lack of ventilation, it’s the endurance exercise before we actually get to our personal lands of suffering. Meanwhile, he is smelling so sweet next to me, HIM and his game of Candy Crush or Angry Birds or best selling novel.  I want to be the keys he’s tapping so furiously on his phone. “Tap me!” I want to yell. We have 5 delays and “train traffic ahead” before the doors open again and more people climb into the locomotive to Hell.  Let’s just do it!  Let’s all do it!

I never really do it, but I like to think about it, sometimes.  

Raw Mondays Week 2!

So, Raw Mondays happened yesterday.  Some exciting news:

1) I had a “guest” (B) this week who decided that he was also going to participate in Raw Mondays with me!  This was exciting, as it’s always great to have a friend on board.  He even invited me over and made a great raw meal:

Raw “Pad Thai”: Cucumber strips with a topping of red bell pepper, carrot, red cabbage, some sprouts, and a dressing of raw almond butter, raw honey, ginger, garlic, and fresh orange juice.  YUM!

It was actually pretty good; lots of crunching.  Lots of crunching, but it was tasty and he did a great job!  (Great knife skills, B!  Super impressed ;)

Now, we did have wine, and many “pure” raw foodists will not drink this because it’s not fully raw.  It’s fermented, and some raw foodists stick purely to foods that are from farm to table, as in, no “sitting around”.  While I appreciate and understand where they are coming from, how can someone dispute the amazingness of kimchi?  And kimchi is some of the healthiest food around!

The other issue with drinking wine is that you’ll become toasty very quickly.  Because you aren’t eating high fat foods or foods that are processed, the alcohol goes straight into your blood stream and goes to work.  As long as you monitor how much you drink (we both shared a bottle, and I def. felt it) you’ll be fine.

Yesterday, B was complaining about some fatigue and light-headedness, and I (at times) felt the same way.  I’ll give you my menu for the day:

BREAKFAST:

-Orange

-Kale juice

-2 bananas

LUNCH:

-Salad (sprouts, tomato, carrot, basil, zucchini, mushroom) with red pepper “hummus” (raw tahini blended with red pepper)

-Mixed fruit cup

DINNER:

-Raw “Pad Thai” (see above)

-Assortment of more raw veg with homemade guac and a sun-dried tomato/tahini dip

-Wine

Overall, a pretty calorie dense day.  The avocado and the tahini pack plenty of protein and fat, so I didn’t feel too badly.  I think B didn’t eat enough meals throughout the day (maybe a monomeal of bananas would have helped) but hey, this is a learning process and we haven’t figured out all the kinks.

Because I had to work late, I missed run club, and I had to jet over to B’s place anyway for dinner and Sherlock.  Next week, I think B and I agreed that the true test is to try and exercise either the night or next morning and see how the workouts are.  Last week, I did run club and did a great 6 miler, so I did feel a burst of energy.  If this is true, I’m willing to maybe go raw more than once a week (maybe a Monday/Wednesday thing) just to see how it is.  

Again, not going to jump on the fully raw bandwagon yet, but I like experimenting!

More great news:

The wonderful women at work have decided to join me for Raw Mondays!  At the office, it’s going to be fruit, smoothies, juices, and lots of salad!  Yay!  Lowering carbon footprint and redefining the tastebuds—it’s not such a bad thing!  

Thanks for all of the support!  I know many of you scoff at my “rabbit food” (it does look a little ridic) but, it’s really only one day a week, so no fears…I mean…on Sunday, B and I ate burgers, so you know…all in moderation?

Unpleasant Heath (but Pleasant)—Raw Food Update

So, I have finished my first and initial Raw Food Monday.  I have been asked some questions, and I will try to answer as best as I can.

1) What is a list of Raw Foods?

I hate to break it to you, but the Raw Food diet is not universal.  Because you don’t have the luxury of cooking ANY bacteria out of your food, you HAVE TO TRUST the source in which the food is being sold.   There are SO MANY confusing labels, and it’s easy to get caught up on the gluten-free or organic, or “insert-label-here”.  ”Whole-wheat” could actually mean something else, and it’s really a cluster-fuck out there. 

The trials of the Raw Diet is that the chances of becoming ill with some sort of contamination does rise.  I ate a completely raw salad today, and, I am praying to some nice people with excess karma that I don’t end up sick tomorrow.  I don’t buy my food from a co-op, and I don’t buy everything organic, either.  I do take care to wash all of my produce, but, I mean, it’s just water trying to rub away bacteria.  Good luck. 

So, while I can give you a list of Raw foods, I cannot guarantee that these are all foods that are safe to eat.  You’ll have to evaluate personally.

I can tell you, though, that there is a list of foods that I would NOT EAT:

-Tofu (it’s not raw)

-Tofu “noodles”

-Beans (your body cannot digest these.  Don’t do it!!!)

-Nuts (well, it depends on what you eat these with, but you should soak all nuts in water)

-Hummus (it’s not raw unless you make yourself)

-Dried vegetables (you’ll have to check)

-Nut butters (unless it mentions “raw nuts” in the squishing process)

-Dried fruit (a different reason, but don’t do it haphazardly) 

This all leads me to my second issue with Raw:

1) Do you have digestive issues?  Bloating?  [Insert the above unsavory digestive issues here]

You will have this if you don’t pair your foods properly.  If you are drinking juices, don’t suddenly eat a handful of nuts or other type of food that takes longer to digest.  You are going to experience bloating, and worse, CRAMPING.  Forget the less-than-desirable odor.  The double-over pain is not good.  

Luckily, I have prior experience as a vegan, so I know how to pair foods to avoid digestive issues.  For me, I cannot eat fruit at night.  If I eat a majority of fruits in the morning/afternoon, I can stick with slower digestive foods in the evening.  For me, most of these foods must be water heavy.  Lettuce, sprouts, zucchini, cucumber; foods that are mostly water and aren’t fermented.  If you like onions, soak them in some vinegar (like Braggs) before adding to a salad, or eat a salad for lunch and leave them out later.  Basically, you want to group your food; eat most of your nuts and sprouted beans at one time, and eat a majority of your fruit before that.  Fruit tends to be digested much faster than beans or other starchier vegetables, and you don’t want a traffic jam between the two.  TRUST ME ON THIS.  YOU DON’T WANT ORANGES INTERACTING WITH SPROUTED CHICK PEAS.  First hand, guys.  First hand.

That being said—

I would actually adopt the Raw Diet a couple days a week if I was a part of a co-op where I could verify the source of my produce.  I do have a slight distrust with my store, as I am not certain how long the vegetables have been sitting under the sad fluorescent light with the stingy mist spraying them every-so-often.  I do believe that breads and pastas can be made organically with pure ingredients (say, if you made it yourself) so I don’t really like the restriction.  However, I do have to say, eating raw for 24 hours has made me VERY aware of EVERYTHING I put in my mouth.  EVERYTHING.  And, quite honestly, it made me yearn for a raw tomato vs. a roasted one (and I love roasted veg!!!!)

Hmm.  Moderation.  Is “diet” this personal obsession that becomes utilitarian in groups, specifically, consequentialist?  When a “group” is involved, it ignores the actor and the act, but focus on the outcome?  And, in most cases, the measurement is through physical weight (loss or gain), so, weight is this idea of utility?  ***

(tangent)

How exactly do we measure the effectiveness of a diet?  

To speak frankly,

My morning and afternoon was iffy.  I felt a combination of energy mixed with episodes of lightheadedness.   Too much sugar.  I have never been a huge sugar eater (raw or manufactured) so I felt loopy.  On the train ride home, I felt like puking.  I got it together, and decided to join run club and do a 6-miler.  I actually kept pace with the pacers, and felt great after the run.   After I went home and showered, I felt the cramping.  I ate a raw salad.  It was filling, but I still felt like I wanted protein; I didn’t want junk food, but instead a piece of chicken or an egg or something.  

As far as focus, I felt more focused, maybe because I had placed a limit on what I could eat.  I had to distract myself from food.  Kyra (office assistant) was crunching away on pita chips.  Then a cookie, at one point.  And some chicken phyllo wraps.  I had to pretend to be content with two bananas and that I was going to be fine.  I couldn’t even chew gum for distraction!!!!!!!

Eventually, as with everything, the yearning fades.  It becomes deluged with the everyday, with pressing issues and back-burner priorities.  I’m anxious by nature, and want to know the outcome of everything before it ferments.  On the Raw Diet, very few things ferment.  But, I must remember: Life.  Is that a proper statement?    I suppose the addition of anything “unphysical”  is just that; unappetizing.  I’ll foolishly conclude; marination is the key to something tasty, a delectable “patience is a virtue”.  

***maybe not “ignore” but not of consequence.  

Raw Monday begins tomorrow!

…and I’m sorta not prepared. 

Well, I’ve tried to do my homework.  I have read countless blogs (I think I’ve actually went through all of the Top 50 Raw Food blogs and read what I could about the vegan raw diet) as well as watched YouTube videos and etc.  To be honest, I have come across some…rather intense people online who SWEAR by this lifestyle, and overall, I’m not so interested in overhauling my life for Raw.

Do not mistake; kudos to you if that’s your thing.  However, I know I will never be able to give up pie (dear Leo, do not fret, I have your back).

Also, I have found that there is some sort of spiritual thing (for lack of a better term) that people tie into their reasonings of becoming Raw.  Again, this is another attribute to the Raw Diet that I’m not so much interested.  I’m merely doing it to (like I said in the previous post) reduce my carbon footprint and gain insight to a possibly healthier lifestyle.  Quite actually, it’ll be nice to know I don’t have to actually cook tomorrow.  

I’ve been watching and reading much about Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, a perhaps too cheerful raw foodist who dedicates her life to this lifestyle.  She runs a co-op, and claims to have the “largest raw food co-op in the country”.  However that is measured.  Her “always saccharine positivity” makes wants me to hate life.  I don’t want to believe her when she tells me that pulsed dates mixed with walnuts and figs taste like real pumpkin pie crust.  IT’S NOT FUCKING PIE CRUST.  It’s pulsed dates and walnuts and figs.  There is no way in hell that tastes like a buttery, flaky, flour-based pie shell.  NO WAY.  

Obviously, there are many positive attributes to the forgoing of the flour pie shell and adopting the date one.  Focus on that instead of trying to fool us.

I digress.

Tomorrow begins Raw Mondays.  Kristina is a huge fan of eating tons of fruit.  LOTS of fruit.  She recommends a daily caloric intake of at LEAST 2000 calories, and at least 1600 of that coming from breakfast and lunch.  I can’t imagine eating 800 calories worth of breakfast.  She usually begins with a 32 or 64-ounce jar of juice.  That’s just too much for me.  I am the type of person who can’t really eat bulk, but prefer smaller amounts of calorie dense foods.  She recommends, if eating mono-meals, something like 8 bananas for lunch.  8 FREAKIN’ bananas.  I’m not a monkey.  

I just want to know how my bowels are going to be at the end of this.  I know this is clean eating, and etc, and I’m down for it.  I just wish she would talk about that aspect of the diet.

Tomorrow, for breakfast, I have a juice planned.  For lunch, I have 2 bananas, some raw peanut butter I managed to find in my local Fairway, an orange, and some grapes.  If hungry, I bought some dried figs to snack on (plus, these are really calorie dense).  Dinner will be a huge salad full of vegetables and sprouted seeds with a hummus dressing.  As far as I know, nothing has been roasted or cooked above 115 degrees.  Here is the challenging part…

I found myself walking through the grocery store, trying to figure out if something was “raw” or not.  Are tofu or kelp noodles really raw?  What about the peanut butter?  It did become a little daunting when I was staring at packaging.  I have a long day at work tomorrow (shoot on Friday and I have a ton of numbers to crunch) as well as a 6 miler over with the run club afterwards.  I hope the fruit and the juice will be enough to get me through everything.

If not, I guess I can always abandon this and order a pizza.  Kristina would not be happy.  Well, she would just smile at me with all of her beaded bracelets halfway up her arms and long, free-spirit hair and tell me she has blessed me and will offer me some dinosaur kale and a spirit crystal. 

Damn.  If only life could be that easy.  Maybe I should buy a crystal.  Or believe.

In preparation of Raw Mondays (pt. 1)

Hey guys.

So, many of you have PMed me or sent me texts or just asked about my decision to go raw one day a week.  I figured I would just address some of the questions and detail my first meal plan for Monday.  There is some preparation involved, so that’s why I’m starting now.

I do want to declare: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, dietician, or certified medical specialist.  I am not offering any suggestions or lifestyle changes to anyone but myself.  I am learning about the raw foods diet as I go, and I’m doing it to see if I feel better physically as well as mentally.  While one day a week isn’t going to be a huge impact, I feel, if the diet is going well, I may upgrade the raw diet to a couple of days a week.  

About me:

I am an active individual who works in an office during the day.   I do not drive to work, but walk and take public transportation.  After work, I go on 4-7 mile runs.  Dinner for me is usually around 8 or 9 PM while I work on passion projects or online courses.  I tend to go to bed around midnight or 1 AM, and get up around 7 or 8 AM.  Sleep is very important.  I try not to sleep in on weekends.

When I was 16-18 years old, I was vegetarian and active track runner.  In college, I was vegan for 4 years, eating no dairy, meat, or eggs.  I also boxed and did other active things.  

Going vegan did cause me to shed weight, but eventually the weight loss plateaued and I hovered around the 110-115 lb range.  For my body, at 5’6, I find that that weight is my ideal body weight, as I tend to have a smaller frame.

Additionally, I find that I don’t need to eat 2000 calories unless I’m really burning calories during a workout.  Usually, 1200-1500 is ideal for me.  Again, if you are one of those people trying to bulk or keep up that muscle, you probably need to eat more.  However, as mentioned earlier, I’m not a doctor, and I am not making any recommendations.  The only thing I can recommend is that you LISTEN to your body and follow what it tells you.  

Okay, that out of the way…

1. Why are you going raw?

First of all, I feel like I do eat too many processed foods, and going raw one day a week will ground me and allow me to really enjoy the textures and natural form of fruits and vegetables.  Second, I feel like it’s an easier thing to do, than say, cook a burger or chicken or something.  Since you aren’t cooking anything on the raw diet, you are saving resources and other things you would usually dedicate to cooking food.  Third, you are saving resources.  Heat, electricity, gas—these are all resources that are used in processing meat and other foods that are cooked.  By going raw one day a week, I can lower my carbon footprint slightly.  Fourth, the raw diet will allow me to be more exploratory and adventurous with my food.  I can learn something! Fifth, for my health.  Since I’m not DRAMATICALLY changing my diet (say, going fully raw seven days a week) I’m not putting my health in danger by trying this.  And, who knows?  I could feel infinitely better, and want to change!

2. Are you afraid you won’t get enough calories or protein?

Yes and no.  Nuts, seeds, and other natural legumes are calorie dense.  They also offer enough protein to your diet.  While it’s not animal protein, these foods eaten in the right combination is just as filling and effective as chicken or beef.

Here is a chart provided by the Institute of Medicine in regards to the average recommended daily amount of protein and other vitamins a person needs in a day:

You can also go on the USDA Agricultural Research Service to type in a food and see it’s nutrition report.  

If you are worried or concerned, I would track the calories.  I know that that seems taboo and bad, given my personal history of compulsion with numbers and the like, but, counting calories is the ONLY way you will know if you are overeating or undereating.  I know many people write about how counting calories can be a bad thing because it can lead to anorexia and other eating disorders, but, I always tell people who are trying to lose weight that it’s a MUST.  You SHOULD count those calories!  You SHOULD measure your food!  You SHOULD keep a journal!  How else are you going to know?

In the blog, I will provide the recipe of what I made, and, if I can, the approximate calorie count of the meal.  My meal for the day will be in the 1200-1500 calorie range (hopefully).

3. How long are you going to do this?

I don’t know.  There is no set duration, but, ideally I would like to try it for a month (that’s 4 times) and see how I feel.  If it’s working out, I’ll extend it for another month, or I’ll add more days per week.  It’ll be an experiment!

4. What is considered raw food?

I’ve been researching this.   Before I begin, I’m forgot to mention:  I’m going to be embarking on a raw VEGAN diet.  This means, no raw meat or anything.  No sashimi.  So, a raw VEGAN diet is one where foods are not processed or heated above 104 degrees F.   It also includes no eggs, dairy, or meat.  

There is a documentary inspired by Morgan Spurlock’s SUPERSIZE ME!  called SUPERCHARGE ME!  about Jenna Norwood’s journey of being a raw foodie for 30 days.  While I have not watched her film yet, I feel like it will be a great aid in my journey once I do watch.

5. Do you have to buy all sorts of gadgets to be a raw foodist?

For my journey, I will not be buying any new gadgets.  If I find that I would like to further adopt this lifestyle, I may buy one of those spiral peelers to make the fake “noodles”.  I will be choosing recipes that don’t require a huge budget or fancy gadgets.  I do have access to a Magic Bullet, so that will have to serve all blending needs.  

6. What’s the first Monday going to look like food-wise?

I don’t know!  I do know that, if I want to be successful with this, I can’t just “wing” it.  I have to plan in advance for the day!  This will help me be a more organized person!

So, that concludes part one.  If you are interested in joining, please do!  The more, the merrier, and it’s really one day a week!  Even if I decide it’s not that great, or my body feels weird, the diet will illustrate new ways of enjoying vegetables and fruits, as well as introduce new techniques in the kitchen!

The Exemplary Person

"The Master said, ‘Exemplary persons (junzi) understand what is appropriate (yi); petty persons understand what is of personal advantage (li).’"

I took 2 years of Chinese philosophy/Chinese religion/Chinese related courses.  I had an amazing professor who made us all buy moleskins and meticulously notate the Analects, the Dao, and other philosophers and teachings.

I remember my final being a total of 30 pages.  A dissection of phrases, Chinese riddles, etc.  

Whenever I run into a wall, I find myself running to the Analects of Confucius.  I don’t necessarily know why.  Maybe, I find some spiritual shelter in the fact that the teachings and guidance are completely…patient.  There is a pause to my life when I read the book.  However, it’s not void of authority or morality or some sort of active way to live.  The book reminds me of the discipline of observing before action, no matter how attractive “to act” may be.  It accepts seeking fulfillment through filial action.  The book actually notates a very logical judicial system, one that, if I may say, prays on the cybernetic nature of a problem; as in, the source of the problem will find a way to rot itself.

This is not to say that one should remain observant to his/her problems.  The Analects and Confucius (whether you believe he was real or not) was born during the serious war times of present-day China.  Much was at stake politically as well as philosophically and religiously.  I have always been an advocate of being proactive with one’s future, with one’s goals; live like a king and work like a slave.  Nothing is ever given, but granted.  

I don’t do the New Years thing, but I have decided to vow to try and remain as an open source to my environment;  I hold no judgement, and it’s not my place.  Don’t mistake that for me not willing to stand up for what is right, against those who cheat the system and those who are unwilling to contribute to society.  There is no room for dead-weight.  I’m completely for moving forward, to being patient, to striving to be exemplary, to having opinions, and to being strong.  I don’t think I’ll ever be a “spiritual” human being, but I can believe in others.  

Brigitte Bardot’s Pout

The first time I met Brigitte Bardot, I was sitting in my cold dorm room, alone.  I think I had just finished my Kenneth Anger binge, and was finally brave enough to face some more Godard.

I was off and on with Godard after seeing his BREATHLESS my freshman year.  BREATHLESS was one of those life-altering films.  BREATHLESS made me want to drop everything I knew and spend the rest of my life doing…well, doing THAT.  Whatever “that” is.  I remember seeing Fellini’s LA STRADA with my film professor a year later, and being depressed for 3 whole weeks.  A film did that to me.  Something that was supposedly “fiction” made me want to bury myself in a hole, ashamed and afraid to interact with reality.  

Godard also confused the hell out of me, but in a different sort of way.  Godard was the first filmmaker who made me feel every spectrum of emotion at one time.  He made me laugh and cry and love and hate all at once.  He made me feel this schizophrenic emotional spectrum in a matter of a couple of hours.  

I could go on about Godard, but…for now, I shouldn’t.  

CONTEMPT (ft. Brigitte Bardot) is my favorite Godard film.  Currently, I am staring at Brigitte, as I have an ink print of her posted on my wall above my desk.  The artist made 60 duplications, and I have number 47 (apparently).

In the print, she’s wearing dark thigh highs and a jumper, of sorts.  A light jacket completes her look.  Of course, she has that long blonde hair and gleam about her eyes.  The gapped teeth.  The full lips moved together into an almost-pout. 

She’s beautiful.  She’s the most beautiful woman I know (without knowing).

Her character in CONTEMPT (well, actually that whole film) reminds me of this time (I swear) I was at St. Paul’s church playing a concert.  I was playing the cello in this classical chamber group at this old, historic church that had the most gorgeous pews.  The atmosphere was saintly, slightly mysterious, and grave.  During intermission, our concert violinist played the most haunting solo.  He did it out of his own volition.  His notes filled every crevice of this church; it took the breath out of me.  I didn’t know the name of the song, and I was so frozen with emotion that I couldn’t even ask.  He played this haunting melody, the moving lines singular but direct; it was like every phrase of this song was a declarative statement.  And I felt so much, such a swelling of fervent desire and belief and fear and I realized that my life was changing with every note and bow stroke.  Isn’t that crazy?  My life was literally changing concurrently: the trajectory of who I was and who I was going to be was being determined in REAL TIME as he played those notes.

It was like in CONTEMPT when they fell out of love in REAL TIME and spent the latter half of the film trying to pinpoint at EXACTLY what point the falling-out-of-love occurred.  You can’t identify the infinite through the finite.  The finite just eventually becomes infinite, like an asymptote.  Like the knight of infinite resignation.  The leap of faith.  It is and then it just becomes.    

Anyway, the song went on for, I don’t even know, because time became completely irrelevant at this point.

When the song was over, the world became a cold breeze.  I mean, time presumed, chatter filled the air,  I had to get ready for the second half of the concert, but I wasn’t “me” anymore.  Not anymore.

To this day, I don’t know the name of the song.  That night, I never asked.  However, a few months later when I asked Peter for the name of the song he played, he claimed he never played anything.   I prompted, I sang some lines, I begged, but no one knew anything about that night.  And since that time,  I have spent countless hours trying to figure out if the song I remember hearing exists, and, well, I’m still searching.  

At this point, I suppose it doesn’t matter if the song exists in the physical world or not.  

I will never forget that scene where Brigitte is lying on the blue rug, naked.  She’s lying there with eyes, beckoning.   The truth is just what you perceive.  It can change and mutate.  It’s polarizing.  It’s additive and magnetizing, this idea that life isn’t as deterministic as we think it may present itself.

To Finding Your Dreams (And To Being Normal)

And I wonder if you really, really know
That as long as I live I will sing my song for you

She doesn’t make friends easily.  Especially if she has to be friends with girls.  Despite her difficulties relating to the the same sex, she made a friend, or something like it.

The scene:

She expected the girl to be late.  While walking to the cafe, she was rehearsing the things she would say to this girl.  It was to be an interview, of sorts, as she needed an assistant.  She emailed the girl day of to let her know that she would be wearing acid wash jeans.  ”Quite seriously” is how she finished the email.  ”Long night”.   Whatever.

The girl was there.  Early, in fact.  They sat across from each other. The girl was pale, blonde, thin, and curious.  She was nervous.  This wasn’t the “type” of girl she was expecting.  

They talked semantics.  She explained what she needed.  The girl responded.  Was this a date?  It could easily have been perceived as such.

Suddenly, something happened, and both girls just clicked.  It was like some weird retrograde situation, and it was completely unexpected.  She found herself talking about EVERYTHING; her feelings of solitude, her inability to verbalize her relationship with her best friend, her pondering of her demise.  And the girl did the same; explained her complicated relationship with her live-in boyfriend, her close relationship with her exes, her theory of bitcoins and how she should maybe sell one or two to pay rent.

The girl went into her 3-year project about Burning Man, and showed her some clips from her film with her iPhone.  And she (she she) was instantly jealous; not that she had a desire to EVER deal with a “spiritual” journey, but the fact that the girl had an ever present project that contained her blood and tears that could still be released and act like a sledgehammer to the rest of the world.  Collision.  Synthesis.   That’s what she continually years for.  This girl had a token of it, in some sense. 

Anyway, a 20-minute meeting turned into a 3-hour meeting.  Then, promises for future meetings.  Then a foreshadowed friendship.  She left the cafe excited.  Liberated.  Relieved?

Don’t ever underestimate the people you meet.  They are the mirrors that reflect the true self. 

I think Plato said something about that.  No, he did, but I’m going to leave the rest of the quotes out of this one.  

Unconscious Dogmas

We all believe in many more things than we think.

One day in 2006, I did some relief work through the Katrina-psychologically-taxing organization I somehow gifted myself into volunteering.  It was post Hurricane Katrina, and Kanye just told the world that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”.  I remember laughing when I heard that shit, but, after living in New Orleans, I found out that Kanye wasn’t realistically so far off.

In 2006, I was living in New Orleans, residing in a FEMA trailer. “It’s like Martin without no Gina.”  That was my world.  Luxury was superfluous, and the stories were conflicting:   According to a well-off couple, the biggest issue with Katrina was that they had to go to Wal-Mart for underwear. 

Meanwhile, people climbed to the roof of their houses, uncertain that they were going to live.  It was a Titanic-style situation.  The only difference was that the guy in charge wasn’t a captain of a vessel, but Jesus himself.  

Well, Jesus and George Bush and the governor of Louisiana.  Oh, and all of us.

Priorities.

Anyway, while I lived in New Orleans, I remember being by the lake, sometimes running, sometimes walking, sometimes doing habitual things, and wondering about a certain line: “Nailed to ourselves, we lack the capacity of leaving the path inscribed in the innateness of our despair.”  It goes on, but, I always wondered if there was an age limit to musing. Is the fact that I am still questioning my function an indication of immaturity?

"The man who does not adore himself is yet to be born." Don’t mistake questioning with dissatisfaction.   Don’t mistake a question of love for myself as an overall feeling of lovelessness.  I’m capable of feeling, I think.  However,  I don’t think there is something wrong with being frugal with the dissemination.  

I would write more, but that is 15 and, well, principle.  

Semi-sweet

I was maybe seven or eight, I don’t remember.  I just remember that we had linoleum tiling on the floor.  The tiling went from the kitchen to where the kitchen/dining room met living room, and then the tiling became carpet.  I remember the carpet as brown and fuzzy and thick, and it liked to hide things like my colored beads and hair pins.  

When the brown carpet got wet, it dried spiky and rougher than it was before.  I always hated when someone spilled water or liquids on that carpet, because I knew that it would never be the same again.  The carpet would transform into some sort of creepy new carpet,and it was a carpet I feared and despised.

Anyway, back to the kitchen.  

My parents would argue, and occasionally someone would throw something or storm out or not talk to the other.  I took that time to pull my mom’s skirt and ask if she could buy me chocolate chips or flour or something so I could make cookies.  At this time, my mom drove this sky blue Honda two door, and I remember I loved to squeeze in-between the front seat and back to fit through the slot.

Because she wanted to get out of that emotional labyrinth of a house, she would take me to the store and let me buy what I needed to make cookies.  I always followed the Nestle Toll’s recipe on the back of the chip package.  

Growing up, I never really liked cookies.  I never really enjoyed eating cookies.  They were never just right.    What I mean is that they were always too crispy or too bready or too chewy or too sweet or too something…they never were JUST RIGHT.  But, my brother loved cookies, and I thought, in my own naive head, that maybe baking them would solve problems.  Maybe my own.

The first time I baked chocolate chip cookies, I did the rookie mistake of thinking baking soda and baking powder was the same thing. After putting the cookies in the oven, I watched them melt.  They all melted like plastic over a fire.  I remember crying and praying that they would do something other than melt, that somehow Jesus cared enough to salvage my drooping cookies.  But the cookies just melted, and I became  helpless, glued to the oven door with the blinding oven light, watching them melt. As they melted, I melted, and together, we melted. 

I wasn’t prepared for this emotional connection. At seven or eight, I think this was the first time I felt true disappointment.  No one prepared me for that feeling; the complications of duality, the emptiness.