Wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door

I have this superstition about New Year’s Eve. I mean, everyone has superstitions about New Year’s Eve. Wear red underwear. Eat 12 grapes. Sweep out the front door. Run around the block with empty suitcases. They’re cute.

Mine has always been that however I spend New Year’s Eve is how I’ll spend the rest of the year. It’s like a promise of what’s to come.

2019: Pasadena, CA with old friends and new. Facing a cold winter’s night in a new faux leopard coat. Luxury, being bathed in compliments. Feeling hopeful. Pretty much sums up the year. It was a good one.

2018: Tucson, AZ with a college friend and then this completely unexpected party at an art collective. As the party wound down, I went to the bar to get a drink. I wasn’t going to be served because they were closing. But the guy behind me was able to get one and he split it between us. I thanked him. He walked me out to my car and we spent two days and nights in bed. Brock. A white boy from rural Illinois. Yeah. That was fun. And 2018 ended up being the year I had so much fun meeting The Israeli, hanging out with Dan, subletting a place in Brooklyn and palling around with artists.

So 2020, you might already know, I spent the night alone and incredibly anxious. I wasn’t unhappy that I wasn’t out and partying. Part of what annoyed me was being home when the boy I liked was out. But it was more a foreboding, you know? Because it was my 41st New Year’s and the pattern has proven true time and again.

I’m ok with being alone. I’m pretty good with dealing with loneliness. I’m really ok with being in Tucson while everything is going on back in NYC. I think I could have swung it. I would even really have enjoyed hanging out with Gianfranco, my roommate. We’re pretty good at entertaining each other.

I just never felt good about Tucson. The airport I love. The desert I love. But I never felt at  home here. I’m too bombastic. My hair is always styled. My makeup a little overdone. My clothes seem like costumes, even when they’re picked from Target. I get funny looks here. People rubberneck when I walk by.

I thought it would stop in NYC, but even there I stand out. It doesn’t matter what I wear. I’m just one of those eccentrics, I guess.

I’m still doing makeup. Every morning. Wearing a face that I keep in a jar by the door.

Who is it for, you ask? Well, me, mostly. But thank goodness I had it ready today. At 4 p.m. I tuned into Happy Hour Story Hour on Insta. It’s the weekly Duplex open mic that’s gone virtual. I just wanted to listen. But before I knew it, I was sharing the screen with Julia. I didn’t have a story, but I pulled something out of thin air. Well, sort of thin air. It’s something I’ve been thinking of auditioning with for a big podcast in NYC. We’ll see.

The news is full to the brim with grim lately. Goodwill might just run out and then it might get scary. There’s supposedly a tent hospital in Central Park run by religious anti-gay zealots. As if gay people are the problem. And in Bed-Stuy, a patient pushed an old woman because she wasn’t far enough away and the old woman died from the ensuing injury.

Imagine if NYC had the guns that Arizona has?

If you look at the 1968 and 1992 riots, they were in response to deep injustices. People riot when it’s warm out. The heat drives people crazy. It’s starting to get warm in Arizona. Hopefully this thing will subside in NYC before June when people start to get boisterous.

I wanna get home. I don’t say back. Back gives the illusion that I’m looking toward the past. Everything is new now. It has the potential to be great. It has potential to be other things, too. But that’s where I wanna be. At least in a month or two. I don’t want to be exiled to Tucson…. It doesn’t matter how many people there are here. I always feel alone here.

At least in NYC, when you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go downtown…unless it’s under siege by a tiny retrovirus.

Everyday feels like Groundhog Day in Tucson. Thus the song.

And now I know ‘Spanish Harlem’ are not just pretty words to say

If you want happy, go check out my Instagram stories/feed. There’s plenty there to keep you occupied. This is where I’ve come today to say the things I can’t really tell anyone.

Up until last night, I had been able to hold my shit together. After all, I got out of NYC. I landed softly at a good place in Tucson. I was semi-counseling friends in other places whose lives have been intimately impacted by what’s going on. A friend has two parents down with this, one in the ICU…maybe on a ventilator by now. A friend in NYC who’s treating patients without any safety measures.

Friends who’ve lost jobs, who won’t be covered by this bullshit stimulus plan that saves asset rich industries but expects small businesses owners to personally guarantee loans that they might not ever be able to pay back, that screwed D.C. out of money, and that won’t help most artists who get paid under the table. It won’t help the unemployed.

If I can see it, why can’t others who have actual degrees in this stuff? I think the answer is hubris. I have doctor friends who were posting infographics for weeks telling people how much more dangerous the flu was. They weren’t taking covid-19 seriously and they were helping to create this false sense of safety in the public.

I knew all of this, and yet, last night, it was a video that took me down. A video taken by a cyclist during a ride through midtown Manhattan…devoid of people. When I saw the sidewalk I used to walk, secretly annoyed by the tourists walking slowly, now empty, I lost it. I cried and cried.

NYC became my home before it was my home. That was the whole point of this blog…to talk to you about my move there, starting last March. I knew I was meant to live out there. And it was so true! My life in NYC was amazing. I performed, I grew as a human, I was meeting potential. And in a flash, my whole way of life that I’d established became threatened because of forces that made this seem like it wasn’t as bad as it really was because of ignorance, but mostly because they wanted to make money. That’s fact. I don’t need to cite sources. But I have plenty.

I also cried because I finally knew what my friends were feeling. They’ve been telling me it’s bad. It’s dead. Stay away. You’re lucky. As a clairsentient, I can feel others’ feelings, but not long distance, so much. But as soon as I saw the video, it was like I had been overwhelmed by what everyone was feeling all at once.

I called my dad and cried over the phone. I can’t cry to anyone. I do it once every six months, so it’s not too bad.

And then the funniest thing in the morning brought me peace:

I had a grapefruit with some sugar for breakfast.

And made some guacamole for lunch:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-KwAfhlHcs/?igshid=1amuif0a0fe6k

And I made a bunch of videos you can see over on Instagram @vene_la_green_eyez, if you’re interested. People seem to like them.

It concerns me that I’ve had a lot of conversations with well-meaning people who tell me the most irrational things about this and I have to just bat my eyes and nod. You don’t wake a sleepwalker. I can’t convince them of what I think will happen, and, even if I did, I can’t save them.

I haven’t told you all I’ve seen and what I think is going to happen. I don’t know if it’s ethical to unload this stuff onto people who can’t fix things. I hope that maybe there are still ways for things to get better before points of no return lock us into a very hard time.

So, since I can’t say anything nice, I won’t say anything at all. Except that, whoever you are, take care. Be smart. We need you around. We need you for the long game.

I will never be popular for knowing the things I know and sharing them. But that’s ok. I’ve accepted my fate. Here’s something Pat McAnany said to me back in November of last year.

Noise

There’s this sound that I love. Street noises in Manhattan in the morning after it’s rained. I don’t know why the acoustics are different but I think the moisture muffles sharp noises.

In Tucson it can be too quiet. You can hear one pigeon cooing. Or the train from miles away. Cars all the way on Grant and Alvernon, the intersection everyone loves to complain about. As if the people who lived there had a choice. A leaf blower, my arch nemisis. The wind, which sounds like loneliness.

When there’s too much silence, any noise will trigger my body to flood itself with cortisol. It’s physically painful. My throat tightens. My muscles brace for some imaginary but anticipated impact. I being to worry about things that don’t need worrying about. I begin to dread.

That’s the main reason I started listening to music nonstop. After years of banishing anything that could remind me of happiness, I started listening again. As background, as a friend, as inspiration, as an echo of the joy I hadn’t yet found words to express myself. Like Nicki Minaj. Starships. The song I still play to pregame.

But in the city, I am never alone. Specifically, in the apartment where the 🦄 lives. Waking up at 9 or whenever he hits the snooze button for the fourth time, there is a subtle but constant roar from tires on pavement. Outside the window there are millions of people living. Not everyone is happy, but not everyone is sad.

People tell me it can be a lonely place. That it’s expensive. That it’s a rat race. That the subways are sticky in summer. That there are indignities of all colors. That the rats like to race particularly in Bed-Stuy. Because it’s more reliable than waiting for the train.

Bring it on. I’ve had quiet and I’ve had space. I’ve had cheap and I’ve had a slow pace of life. Convenience stores with every flavor of Monster Energy Drink ever conceived. Good Mexican Food. No traffic. Places to park.

Give me the streets of NYC. And a Metro Card.  No, really, I could use a Metro Card.

The Move Commences

I’m so not controversial. I barely ever drink. I don’t really do drugs (except for the same two meds every night, forever and ever, amen). I’ve taken Adderall but I never got high or thin. I don’t enjoy drama. I try never to yell. I don’t believe in deceiving people. I’m open about absolutely everything. I’m not ambitious. I’m not glamorous for the sake of other people’s good opinions. I’m bored by most people’s conspicuous consumption. I upractically never get jealous. I’m not quite white enough to be passive aggressive and not quite ethnic enough to get away with being aggressive aggressive. I don’t go places just to be seen.

Sometimes I think I’ll make the most boring New Yorker. But it’s time. I’ve spent enough time being a glamorous Tucsonan.

I’m people who know people who know people–close enough to know things most others don’t know, but far enough away to marvel from a distance without getting my hands dirty (if they do get dirty, please let it be with Mark Ronson, please). I’m smart and quick and educated but not pedigreed. I’ve seen my share of things, at least enough to know what I’m missing and intuit the details. The things that have happened to me are close enough to absurdity that I usually carry around photographic evidence, just in case my truth is confused for bluster. I’m easily underestimated. It’s my favorite personal quality.

In my past life, I aimed at being respected and appreciated. I wore my “fuck you” pearls and carried my “you couldn’t afford this” purse. I confused status for happiness and validation for self worth. Validation…the only thing that mattered because it was the only thing I never received. At least not from the one person who relished in withholding it. So I drank poison and waited for him to die. For years.

And then…I don’t know why…I just stopped caring. I put the pearls in a box and the purse on a shelf…well, purses, there were many purses. I dyed my hair every color under the sun. I wore makeup when I wanted and clothes that made me happy. Five inch high jelly platforms. I started living for me, mostly because there wasn’t anyone else around. These were small, insidious acts of revolution. A civil war in my head for an identity. Good vs. evil. Me vs. him. Me vs. the me he’d told me I was. And I won. I won.

What were my prizes? A sense of wonder and need for freedom. I started to venture out. Tucson. Nogales. Rome. Oaxaca. Mazatlan. Rome again, but this time Bologna and Ferrara, too. L.A….twice. London and Paris, NYC. NYC. NYC. Where I witnessed things that weren’t in the tour guides or on anyone’s Pinterest boards. And when I shared them with Facebook friends, I found out that I’d tapped into a zeitgeist that I’m still not completely able to define. All I know is that people noticed. And they liked what they saw.

So I became this thing for people. A pristine, marble goddess on a pedestal to some, an inspiration to others and a reminder of days gone bye to a select few. All just by being the most human me I could be. I was a voyeur’s delight. Friends I’d known for years, who’d known me in all of my iterations, who never thought to invite me to coffee or check up on me, all suddenly began to say the same thing: “I follow you.” As if I had some intention of leading.

My life–a succession of events only pertinent to me–became something people wanted to know about in vivid detail. For every endeavor I wrote about on Facebook, I received two invitations to drinks. “Tell me everything,” they’d implore as soon as the waiter left the table. Sometimes I wondered if the “me” on Facebook was more sophisticated and exciting than the “me” in person. Fans who’d never met me before told me more than once that I was different than the person on the page. It wasn’t as though I’d exaggerated any detail. If anything, I was vague. And that vagueness gave readers the opportunity to fill in the details with the “me” they imagined. Or the “me” they needed me to be.

Drinks became lunches and two Michelin Star dinners in the Upper East Side or a night at The Standard in the East Village, New Year’s in L.A., winter in the Bahamas, spring in Oaxaca, the occasional yacht off La Jolla. Not because I had “fuck you” pearls, but because I had a “fuck you” attitude that gave me immediate credibility, and a way with a story to rival Eva Luna.

And then everyone began to ask, “When are you going to move to New York?”

So here we are…about to enter April 2019…and me in my countdown to move to NYC. Brooklyn to be exact. On the other end of this countdown is the unknown. I’m not new to the city and the city is not new to me. But this time it’s for realsies. I’m betting it all on black. There are lovers to be considered and jobs to be gotten. Friends to be enjoyed. Stuff I don’t even know exists that will have to be tackled or fallen in love with or respected and feared…like a NYC winter, for example.

As I’ve been forthcoming with friends about the move, they ask me, “For good?” Or, “Are you finally going to do it?”

Fuck yes, seguro que si, oui, bien sur. But I won’t be alone. I’m bringing you all with me. So let’s get this show on the road.

 

 

 

 

The Move Commences

I’m so not controversial. I barely ever drink. I don’t really do drugs (except for the same two meds every night, forever and ever, amen). I’ve taken Adderall but I never got high or thin. I don’t enjoy drama. I try never to yell. I don’t believe in deceiving people. I’m open about absolutely everything. I’m not ambitious. I’m not glamorous for the sake of other people’s good opinions. I’m bored by most people’s conspicuous consumption. I practically never get jealous. I’m not quite white enough to be passive aggressive and not quite ethnic enough to get away with being aggressive aggressive. I don’t go places just to be seen.

Sometimes I think I’ll make the most boring New Yorker. But it’s time. I’ve spent enough time being a glamorous Tucsonan.

I’m people who know people who know people–close enough to know things most others don’t know, but far enough away to marvel from a distance without getting my hands dirty (if they do get dirty, please let it be with Mark Ronson, please). I’m smart and quick and educated but not pedigreed. I’ve seen my share of things, at least enough to know what I’m missing and intuit the details. The things that have happened to me are close enough to absurdity that I usually carry around photographic evidence, just in case my truth is confused for bluster. I’m easily underestimated. It’s my favorite personal quality.

In my past life, I aimed at being respected and appreciated. I wore my “fuck you” pearls and carried my “you couldn’t afford this” purse. I confused status for happiness and validation for self worth. Validation…the only thing that mattered because it was the only thing I never received. At least not from the one person who relished in withholding it. So I drank poison and waited for him to die. For years.

And then…I don’t know why…I just stopped caring. I put the pearls in a box and the purse on a shelf…well, purses, there were many purses. I dyed my hair every color under the sun. I wore makeup when I wanted and clothes that made me happy. Five inch high jelly platforms. I started living for me, mostly because there wasn’t anyone else around. These were small, insidious acts of revolution. A civil war in my head for an identity. Good vs. evil. Me vs. him. Me vs. the me he’d told me I was. And I won. I won.

What were my prizes? A sense of wonder and need for freedom. I started to venture out. Tucson. Nogales. Rome. Oaxaca. Mazatlan. Rome again, but this time Bologna and Ferrara, too. L.A….twice. London and Paris, NYC. NYC. NYC. Where I witnessed things that weren’t in the tour guides or on anyone’s Pinterest boards. And when I shared them with Facebook friends, I found out that I’d tapped into a zeitgeist that I’m still not completely able to define. All I know is that people noticed. And they liked what they saw.

So I became this thing for people. A pristine, marble goddess on a pedestal to some, an inspiration to others and a reminder of days gone bye to a select few. All just by being the most human me I could be. I was a voyeur’s delight. Friends I’d known for years, who’d known me in all of my iterations, who never thought to invite me to coffee or check up on me, all suddenly began to say the same thing: “I follow you.” As if I had some intention of leading.

My life–a succession of events only pertinent to me–became something people wanted to know about in vivid detail. For every endeavor I wrote about on Facebook, I received two invitations to drinks. “Tell me everything,” they’d implore as soon as the waiter left the table. Sometimes I wondered if the “me” on Facebook was more sophisticated and exciting than the “me” in person. Fans who’d never met me before told me more than once that I was different than the person on the page. It wasn’t as though I’d exaggerated any detail. If anything, I was vague. And that vagueness gave readers the opportunity to fill in the details with the “me” they imagined. Or the “me” they needed me to be.

Drinks became lunches and two Michelin Star dinners in the Upper East Side or a night at The Standard in the East Village, New Year’s in L.A., winter in the Bahamas, spring in Oaxaca, the occasional yacht off La Jolla. Not because I had “fuck you” pearls, but because I had a “fuck you” attitude that gave me immediate credibility, and a way with a story to rival Eva Luna.

And then everyone began to ask, “When are you going to move to New York?”

So here we are…about to enter April 2019…and me in my countdown to move to NYC. Brooklyn to be exact. On the other end of this countdown is the unknown. I’m not new to the city and the city is not new to me. But this time it’s for realsies. I’m betting it all on black. There are lovers to be considered and jobs to be gotten. Friends to be enjoyed. Stuff I don’t even know exists that will have to be tackled or fallen in love with or respected and feared…like a NYC winter, for example.

As I’ve been forthcoming with friends about the move, they ask me, “For good?” Or, “Are you finally going to do it?”

Fuck yes, seguro que si, oui, bien sur. But I won’t be alone. I’m bringing you all with me. So let’s get this show on the road.