What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago. 
 Erica Jong

For us to go to Italy and to penetrate into Italy is like a most fascinating act of self-discovery, back, back down the old ways of time. Strange and wonderful chords awake in us, and vibrate again after many hundreds of years of complete forgetfulness. 
D. H. Lawrence
Methinks I will not die quite happy without having seen something of that Rome of which I have read so much. 
Sir Walter Scott

It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone.
Erica Jong


Everything on a Tuesday

I try to stop more, to appreciate the day, let myself unwind.

And today was hard--the crappy, ugly kind. It was the type that I'd rather do without and try to bury deep into yesterday. It was tears on a weeknight, and a dinner to keep, and everything just seemed to be not-right in the square peg, round hole way.

But then the night was warmer with a breeze and I walked outside to move both my feet and heart. I ordered tea from a favorite shop, and wrote down all those feelings. I gave the world some space to flex and grow, the pains of change and thought working there way though the murky spots, adding clarity, forming ideas.

When dinner arrived, it was delicious and fun and extremely needed. The ability to laugh and joke and swear are the amazing gifts friends can give. There is no use being with them if one cannot let go of all that pretentious shit--you know, the stuff that gets in the way and musses up the goodness we try to hide. We talked food and travel and work and driving and all those normal-life oddities that are a part of todays. There was a clear understanding that this was all fair game on a Tuesday night because it's whatever it needed to be at that moment, a non-agenda in a city I love.

Walking home alone in the quiet of SF, I realized there are good people I've got around me these days. People who tell me to write, and that I'm a bad liar, and that maybe life is looking pretty good, and there are some very real things I should quit and start.

So even on a crappy normal Tuesday, that is now technically a Wednesday, I've got a bit of magic and love and luck in this damn city. And isn't that? Well, isn't that everything?


Rome: A City of Life & Brokeness

I arrived on maybe 3 hours of sleep, went to the wrong baggage claim (in the wrong terminal) walked the length of the airport, entered security through an employee entrance, retrieved my bag, took a train, took a bus, checked into my hotel and read this sign: This night will change the time. Move forward one hour the clock. I looked at my friend and started laughing. Of course I'd fly across the world and then loose an hour. Of course. But that is the adventure of traveling: nothing ever goes quite as planned.

Rome was amazing, in the truest sense of the word. A friend pointed out that it seemed like I needed it:
the timing was right and the city necessary. In truth, it was all of those things.

It was the feeling of being overwhelmed yet free, unrestrained but connected. It was wandering with only the present in mind, a space I do not occupy too often or without much practice. But in Rome it was easy--or easier--and it was good to be reminded of the importance of today.

On a scale of 1-10, Rome was a 12. As my friend put it, "I think I love Rome as much as I do because it oozes passion, it’s loud, and it’s madly in love with food." I felt stronger there, more alive, living into the truth that it is okay to be completely me, always.

In the evening, we walked through Piazza della Rotonda with the Pantheon beside us, and there sat a man with his bike and his cello, spreading music into the warm spring air. Mid-sentence, mid-step, I stopped. We stopped. I listened and breathed, remembering again that being human can be one of the most grand things in the world. When we continued walking, I threw my hands in the air, "We're in Rome! I can't believe it. This place... this place is amazing!"

We wandered the streets in search of pastries, gelato, pasta, wine and sunlight. Food and conversation guided us through a city that welcomed our energy, laughter, and appetite, things for which we never once apologized. We opened our window every morning with only one goal in mind: let the day become.

I surrendered to the eternal city for 4 long days, filling the air with words and questions and the heavy truths that begin to surface when the distraction of busyness is removed.

We're all in the middle of one mess or another and Rome gets that. It so gets that. It's a city with stories, with secrets, with history, and it has the strength to hold the burdens we insist on carrying.
Rome knows perfection is boring, stale, dishonest.

That is why I love it.

It is a broken and beautiful city, strong and honest in all the right ways.

The Details
Hotel: Hotel San Silvestro (breakfast included!)
Gelato: Della Palma
Gnocchi: Rosa Rosae
Pizzeria: Da Francesco
For more Rome travel tips, click here.


To My Past & Present Self

Wake up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. 
E.B. White

Hey Self,

You don't get to know the future. I'm going to level with you: it could actually be pretty shitty.
But know this, when you start making those decisions--the good ones, the healthy ones,
the ones that have you holding onto truth and light and love--you'll be on a better path.
You will meet better people, you will tell better stories, you will feel life in your veins.
You'll remember what it's like to be happy in the very best of ways.

It may take awhile to adjust. It will feel different and uncomfortable and way too vulnerable. You will learn to lean in, let go, fight, speak, and trust. You will find safe spaces in words, in movies, in music, and in books. You will help others find a bit of peace too, by listening, by being, and by holding space in all that grayness you love so much.

And this type of living, this type of honesty, will introduce you to incredibly kind souls. So make sure to help one another along the way. You will begin to recognize who you have always been and who you were meant to be. It will be both overwhelming and empowering. Use these feelings to get shit done. You get one shot at this life, so you damn well try.

So, yea, the future could actually be pretty shitty, but I have a hunch you'll be just fine.


P.S. Have fun in Rome--lots of it!


When Change Begins

I forget sometimes how scary it felt to undo everything without the promise of better.
It was excruciating. It was lonely.
It was a lot of writing and crying and asking friends for help.
It was a hurricane of feelings that I chose to set in motion.

The weight of my entire future rested on the decisions of that current self.
A self so barely formed, and tired, and broken,
yet a self that had the resolve to move forward,
the resolve to push--
to push through the fear and come out on the other end.

And where is the other end?
A new job, an apartment, a city-block address?
Not really. Not even mostly.
Is it the fact that I am more me than I have ever been before.
That is what is on the other side.

The brokenness.
The honesty.
The departure from the everyday
to jump into pain, failure, growth.
It is change.
Full stop.


Writing in the Presence of Fear

It's been two years, or a little over, now. Two years since I left something that almost ruined me, in every sense of the word. It was a departure from the type of bad that crumbles mountains of goodwill, spins love into fear, and lets that bone-chilling loneliness settle in. It was the type of existence that sometimes took my breath away. It was as if I was underwater, waiting for the rip tide to release its grip. Only, I didn't know it. I didn't know it, until I finally came up for air.

And that is the story I've been writing. It is the one I'm writing and not yet posting. It is the slow unraveling of memories and secrets and the acceptance of time and forgiveness and love. It is where I am when I am sometimes not here, in the throws of a storm I worked so hard to hide, but finally needed to pen. Ugly truths exist behind closed doors, in dark closest, and in faint whispers. The more we tell them, shout them, expose them to the light, the less likely we are to give power to those shadows.

And this story will probably never be published here because this is not the time nor the place. But when it is ready--if it ever is--it will be for us.

It will be the story we would have written if we were not afraid.