A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Men are like Paint November 28, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 1:52 pm
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Right now, my love life is all over the place. I feel like my heart is a paint pallet and all of the boys in my past, present and future are the different colors of paint. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, black, grey and all the shades in between. They are all so different. My mind is trying to paint my bedroom. It grabs a paint brush and puts one stroke of color on the wall, let’s it dry, looks at it and waits. After a while, the paintbrush gets emerged in water, everything that was once connected to the paintbrush is washed away. Used and disposed of, because my mind wants to try out a new color. So the paintbrush, once dipped in red, is now washed, dried and dipped into orange. A stroke of paint is streaked across the wall, but only a small line. Then, back into the water the paint brush goes and the same actions repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I have all of these beautiful colors, and they are all alluring it their own way, but it is me that is indecisive as to which color to paint my walls. Do I paint a tranquil colored room filled with soft hues where I can relax, a vibrant colored room that inspires me; colors that standout and are noticed, or colors that compliment the art hanging on the wall and serve merely as the backdrop?

A partner is like paint; and, paint is one of the most important parts of a room, it is the backdrop by which everything else evolves around and connects to. However I paint my room will decide for me as to what type of decor I fill the room with: elegant, country-feel, artsy, trendy or simplistic.  What kind of room do I feel most comfortable in, what kind of lifestyle do I want to lead? Each color is so different, all with their own unique characteristics and all provoke completely different emotions: relaxing, inspiring, serious, playful, lively, boring, cutting-edge, old-fashioned.  My surroundings are important to me because they change how I act. For instance, if I am in a super elegant room I wouldn’t dare jump on the couch, yet, if I was in a cozy room–game on! Some people are fortunate to be themselves in all kinds of rooms, but for me the room directly affects my behavior and actions.  Whether this is a trait or a flaw I am still unsure of. Is it good to be so adaptable to your surroundings or is it a vice?

There have been a few times I have committed more to a color by painting an entire wall. Only one though. And, it filled the room for a while and made it feel cosey, made me feel more at home.  But, I never let it go further than that…and the wall soon came to be painted over in white, small streaks of colors splashed across it’s surface like many times before as I continue to search for the color with which I feel most connected to instead of picking one and enjoying it.

So, my room remains unfinished, and in truth quite ugly. It’s not inviting nor is it relaxing or soothing because….it is not complete. I want to complete this room. I am ready to furnish it, to commit to a style and to call it my own. But, the question always comes back to me…what color do I choose when my mind changes so often? And, if I paint the whole room one color I want to be sure. I don’t want to someday repaint it again. I don’t want to do it all over. I would rather touch up the paint, or recoat it with another color. I want the color to last. I want my partner and my relationship to last.

Sometimes I just wish that a stranger would walk into my room with a bucket of paint and throw it on my walls. I would laugh at the madness. I would laugh at the realization of how easy the whole process can be: choose a color and throw the paint. Because, in the end a room that is painted and decorated feels like home. Maybe it’s not perfect, but it is cosy and warm.  A room left unpainted, undecorated feels merely like a room in transit. It doesn’t feel owned, it only feels rented and above all, it feelsincomplete.

 

Be Madly in Love November 9, 2009

When love is not madness, it is not love. –Pedko Calderon De La Barca

Unfortunately, many couples forget this. And, these words, written over 300 years ago during the Spanish Golden Age are starting to lose their color like black ink fading on paper, after awhile what was once written with emotion and passion is fading away to the sterile color of a hospital wall. Love is slowly becoming orderly. Love is becoming contained.

For the mass, we wrap up our love in nice little boxes with big red bows at Christmas, boxes of chocolates and roses on Valentine’s Day, and maybe something a touch more personal for the birthday. It’s sweet. It’s appreciated. Yet, it’s expected and mundane.

I was talking with my Italian friend the other night and he was telling me about his long distance relationship with a girl living in England. Every Friday night after work he would board a plane and set off to London for the weekend, returning early Monday morning to start another week of work.  I thought it was rather sweet that each weekend, he would buy a cheap euro-flight and a spend a few hours traveling in order to share three nights with his lover. And, in my mind, the time/money he spent was completely worth the three days with a loved one.

But, when he also told me that he would leave every Wednesday night after work, fly to London just for dinner and leave again the next morning at 6:00a.m. to catch his flight home and drive directly to work….well, folks, now, that is just plain madness. And, that wasn’t a one time ordeal, but a ritualized travel excursion that continued for over a period of five months!

“WHAT are you thinking spending all of that money and time just for one night together? That is just madness!” I exclaimed in disbelief.

His eyes lit up, a smile broke out. He didn’t have to say a word.

Then, I understood.  Yes, it was madness….it was love.

 

Truth through Simplicity September 23, 2009

There is something about the sense of freedom and adventure that makes my heart jump and wild butterflies soar around my tummy like that of a first kiss. The idea of letting everything go and falling into the unknown is exhilarating–it makes me feel present in this world, it makes me feel alive.

Small things can spark these feelings of liberation: a powerful push of a car’s accelerator, an unexplored hiking trail, a secluded swimming cove or even a simply designed movie poster.

“What is so special about this movie poster?” one may ask, “it is just a house suspended in air by a bunch of balloons.”

“Oh, my dear friend,” I would like to say. “This illustration represents freedom. Imagine for a moment that you could just leave everything behind and explore the world. And, not even in the traditional sense–you wouldn’t need to go through all of today’s politics of selling your house, packing your things, organizing your accounts–oh no, you could simply tie balloons to your house, lift off and be gone. No hassle. No fuss. Simply–a flight of freedom.”

Now I haven’t yet seen the film–it will be released next month in Italy–but, you can bet that I will be one of the first customers in line when the ticket booth opens. Like Disney/Pixar’s last film WALL-E which contains important messages regarding environmental destruction, reliance on technology and obesity; Up also contains messages about today’s American society, and specifically about our common state of thinking in the Future instead of thinking in the Now.

In this story, Carl and Ellie meet as children, fall in love, are inseparable throughout adulthood and share the same dream from when they were young–to explore the South American jungles. But, jobs, health issues and daily life get in the way and before Carl knows it he is old and widowed and has yet to fulfill his dream. Yet, although life sometimes gets away from us, there is always the Now to make a change. And, at 78, Carl decides that Now is the only time he has. So geared with thousands of balloons tied to his house, he let’s himself be lifted UP…UP…and AWAY, to start his adventure and to finally live out his dream.

This message, although told through a simple animated film, is an important one. Each day we have the opportunity to live life how we want to live, yet many of us let go of the balloon we hold in our hands–our dreams–to fulfill the practical side of life with the intention that “someday I can hold start living, someday I can hold that balloon again.”  But, this is pure madness. You don’t hold in your hand, “someday”, you hold in your hand “now.” That is all you have or will ever have. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Think about your dreams. Don’t let them float away like a stray balloon; instead, take those dreams, hold them tight, and let them carry you UP.

 

Missing Love… April 28, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 10:50 pm
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Tonight, I got out of a nice hot shower, laid naked in the fetal position on the pink checkered comforter on my bed and cried. Not because I am unhappy, but rather because I am missing something. Like a child in the womb, don’t we just want to be held? Those were my thoughts tonight as I lay alone, I just want to feel skin on skin, an arm wrapped around me and a face curled up next to mine in the nook of my neck.

I couldn’t ask for a better life right now–I’m in Italy, following my dreams and pursuing my passions- I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world, but tonight I cried because there is no one in my bedroom to jump with me over my triumphs, wipe the tears from my eyes during moments of defeat, and just lay with me in silence without a word spoken but a muted conversation that describes and explains everything words can sometimes never say.

In truth, I should take responsibility as the majority of this solitude is my own doing as I continue to push away every man that tries to enter my life–“I don’t have time,” I say as I try to focus every free moment on writing, my other passionate love in life that consumes me as a real lover would, yet, doesn’t reciprocate with a tender touch that tonight I am missing.

It’s been over a year since I’ve been in the arms of someone I’ve loved and over four years in the arms of someone who has loved me back. Each experience has made me stronger, but in this moment I feel weak. I am tired. I don’t want to look anymore, I just want to be. To be with someone who understands me, makes me laugh, inspires me, challenges me and passionately loves me.

Tomorrow this moment will pass, and I will resume to be the strong independent woman I normally am. But, tonight my heart aches with longing for a man, a lover, and a best friend to hold me and never let me go.

 

Living an Italian Dream. March 18, 2009

It seems surreal that it has been three weeks since I left the States to start my new adventure: to live in Italy for a year! Last year I embarked on an 10 month around the world trip, this year I am in pursuit of fulfilling additional dreams to live abroad, learn fluent Italian and write a novel–something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember but have never taken the time. When I look back on my life I don’t want to remember that I wanted to do something, but rather that I did that something. The fear of failure is the greatest failure in life.  Why would you deny yourself the opportunity to try to achieve what your heart desires for fear that it cannot be done?

Sure, I may  not achieve all of my endeavors, that is to be somewhat expected. However, with every pursuit I will certainly grow, learn and strengthen myself with the mere act of trying.  The end result is a compliment for ones ego, but the passion that fills one soul in the process is the true reward. To feel alive with passionate hunger and desire is the only life worth leading, without feeling and emotion life is a stagnant line. I want to be a heart beat. A pulse. A movement in space that is always surging and never at rest.

Let the infinite possibilities of life consume me,  my dreams engulf each moment I spend on earth, and give me determination and perseverance in maintaining an unwavering aim to lead a life of unrelenting passion and romantic adventure.

 

What it means to be Courageous January 29, 2009

My friend Linea is courageous; her story, inspirational. She is one of the millions of people who suffer from bipolar, yet so many of whom are too afraid to talk about there illness. Her mother, Cinda, teaches about mental health conditions, yet as a mother had to watch her daughter spiral into suicidal depression. Together they have written a book that broaches this topic from both angles, as a person afflicted with bipolar disorder, and a loved one’s family fighting to save a life. Together they share their experience in hopes to raise awareness and bring hope to those who are affected with bipolar.

Because of the current stigmas of bipolar in today’s society, many chose to remain silent, paralyzed by the fear of what others may think or how they would react if someone was to find out. Yet, this illness needs awareness. And, frankly–and this is just my opinion–I don’t like the word “illness” as most medical journals describe it. The word sounds cold and sterile, making you uneasy before you know what it means or understand what it is. The word “disorder” is a bit better. Imagine your  bedroom in disorder–clothes scattered on the floor, books strewn on the desk and the bed is unmade. Is a messy room scary? Is a messy room horrible? No. A messy room is life. Sometimes you just don’t have time to make your bed, or do your laundry. Sometimes things in your room are in disorder, just like, the emotions and thoughts in one’s head for people afflicted with bipolar. And, whereas you are responsible for your messy room, a person with bipolar gets the raw end of the deal–he/she didn’t chose to have  bipolar, it is a brain disorder that happens to them.

So this time, imagine that instead of you making the mess in your room, a stranger comes into your room and starts trashing it–clothes are ripped from the hangers, the sheets torn off the bed, and someone (that bastard!) ripped all of the pages from your favorite book and chucked them across the floor. Now, further imagine that this happens everyday. Or, maybe not even every day, but maybe on a day that you were really really really happy, and then you came home to find your room in disarray. I would be angry at life. I would be depressed. And, depression and feelings of hopelessness are two of the biggest symptoms common with bipolar which can often spiral to more harmful moods or actions:

“As I moved through depression, mania, suicidal ideation, drugs, alcohol, an overdose, self-mutilation, and bulimia I knew I needed to make a difference for others struggling with the same demons. Hospitalized with a 24 hour one-on-one hospital aide I could not help but cry for those less fortunate than me. I cried for those unable to get the help they needed due to financial needs and many other issues.”–Linea Johnson

Fortunately for Linea, she had a loving family and supportive friends that were able to get her through her worst of times–she survived to tell her story. Unfortunately, however, many people afflicted with bipolar don’t tell anyone and they become suicidal before they can get help. If you have any of these symptoms, I encourage you to talk to someone. You are not alone. If you know someone with these symptoms, I encourage you to offer your support–and, if that is not enough, then help them get treatment or seek a doctor for medication.

Don’t be afraid to speak about this condition, there are millions dealing with bipolar everyday. It’s life, just like a messy room.  Things in life happen, but it’s our reaction to the situation that marks who really are. Be strong. Be courageous. Talk to someone, and get help if you need it. And, as Linea puts it, “bipolar is not an illness, but added wisdom.”

To find out more on bipolar, and to follow Linea and Cinda’s book go to their website

To learn about Linea’s struggle with bipolar and read words of inspiration, check out her blog.

To learn about Cinda’s role as a professor in special education and her experience as a mother of child with bipolar, refer to her blog

 

A whole new day January 28, 2009

When the sunlight streams through your bedroom window and finds its way towards your sleepy eyes, do you open them with a smile and think–I have a whole new day! Or, do you grumble as you turn over, wanting to return back to sleep, trying to escape the fact that…ugh..I have a whole new day…?

Sure, there are days that I feel the latter. There are days I wish I could escape the realities of the world.  There are days when life does not seem magical with endless possibilities, but rather  a small dark room where I am trapped. These emotions are normal, and you should allow yourself to momentarily feel the negative feelings instead of blocking them out.

Let your body express itself: shed tears over a broken relationship, lament with regret over a missed opportunity, bubble quietly with indignation—then stop.  Now it’s time to let your mind interpret these emotions. Why am I crying? Am I sad because of lost love or fear of being alone? Why am I complaining? Am I afraid i will never get a similar chance as before? Why am I angry? Did I not get what I want or am I upset by the actions of another?

You’ve allowed your body to express itself, your mind to interpret these emotions now it’s time to take the advice offered by your heart.

Relationships: If the person you love doesn’t love you back, let yourself grieve for this loss. Once your tears are dry realize that things are what they are, and you would rather be in love with someone who loves you back than being in a relationship void of love. If the world is a grain of sand, then love is the ocean–love is huge! If you submerse yourself in water, it is impossible not to get wet. If you submerse yourself in love, it’s impossible not to feel loved.  So dive back in.

Regrets: We all have them, but we shouldn’t keep them–let them free. Recognize your regret, tell yourself that you are unhappy with your actions then be proactive to either make amends or allow yourself to let go.  If it is a regret that you still can take positive action on, then what are you waiting for–transform your regret into an accomplishment! If it’s a regret that you can’t change, then accept that it is part of your past and walk forward. Don’t dwell on things you can’t control, everyone makes mistakes, now walk forward.

Anger: The world would be a better place if this emotion did not exist. But, it does, and you have a responsibility to yourself and others to control it. Recognize the fiery feelings that bubble inside and instead of letting them overflow uncontrollably, release them through a positive outlet.  Anger can be a good catalyst to a positive change in that a synonym for anger is passion, just like a synonym for love is passion. If you channel your passions in positive ways you can make BIG changes, because you are passionate about doing something. Instead of being passive, you actually want to be involved in changing the present. I get angry when I see litter on the ground, as a result, I pick it up. I get angry when I don’t challenge myself, as a result, I take more risks. etc.

When you wake up tomorrow, let your body express itself, your mind interpret your feelings, then allow yourself to really listen to your heart’s advice–it’s your best friend. Know that love is never lost, it’s all around you. You have control over your present actions to lead your life how you want to. And, you have the amazing opportunity to channel your passions to make a positive change.