The Long Walk Home

Sometimes you are in the middle of your world; your work, your apartment, the bus, the subway, your car, crowded streets and empty parks, tall buildings and cul-de-sacs, and you get this feeling, this slightly unsettling, confusing and overwhelming feeling that you don’t belong here. That is a feeling I know well.

It doesn’t matter if you like all these places and things, once you have this feeling you do a little inner soul-searching to find an answer to that question. If you don’t feel like you belong here, where do you think you belong? Is it the opposite of where you are now? Or is it a place you haven’t gone yet? Is it with different people or someone new? Can you belong wherever someone else belongs, and better yet, can you belong with someone else? 

It’s puzzling. We’d like to think that home is where the heart is and that wherever your heart is, that is where you belong. For me, home was….. I don’t know. Long before my mother passed away I didn’t consider home the place I belonged. It was a place to stay, a place where I lived, but as soon as I went off to college, I felt like I belonged there as intransitive as that is. I didn’t belong to one room, but I knew people needed and liked me there, and I could build a future from what I took from there. But would it be my future? No.

I’ve found nothing to which I feel an overwhelming want to cling to. My apartment is just my apartment, the city is just a place to live in and explore, but this isn’t home. Have you ever felt that way? I didn’t unpack all of my things wherever I’ve lived in the last 8 years. I was comfortable but not content. And now I’m in a completely different state of mind.

What if you don’t belong to a place but rather you find yourself belonging with someone else? What if your home is where your heart is and that home is in the love you share with someone else? You cannot get insurance on this kind of home, but you are safer from the physical elements (one can hope), but you do have to watch out for the emotional ones.

It’s been a long time for me to find a home that I feel like I can belong to and now that I have it, it’s still a long, long walk to get there. But it’s a walk I do unabashedly, happily and with a sense that he will be there on the other side. And that’s all that matters.

Allie

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My Baby Don’t Mess Around Because He Loves Me So

It’s spring!!! Finally the dreadful winter is over (knocking on imaginary wood) and I feel like myself again. I won’t lie to you, I was feeling some serious seasonal depression that made me want to curl up in bed and cry all winter long. Now that I don’t have to wear that humongous frumpy winter coat and those bulky boots, my life seems just a little better. Lots of new things are happening for instance; I’m moving to a land far, far, away in a few months (hopefully), I have some new directions for the food blog, I’ve been working on my novels, and I’m exercising like nobody’s business. It’s Allie version 3.0.

But as the season begins, I’ve noticed some rather strange things about crazy NYC. Thus it’s time to share my advice with everyone:

1. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I know we all get a little carried away with good weather but please no flip flops, sandals, tiny miniskirts and shorts. Be reasonable people.

2.  To the people working out at the gym, leotards aren’t cute. Cut that out.

3. Gnomes are not what David the Gnome would like you to believe; they don’t do good deeds and save the world. They are sinister, and I’m sure they are plotting your demise right now. So please don’t put them on your lawns. And yes, I’ve seen stoops and lawns with gnomes. Not cool.

4. Winter is over, so unless you are extremely tired, don’t order food online. Go out and pick it up, don’t miss out on the weather or the fresh air.  Or if you are staying in and cooking, open the windows and have some friends over. That way everyone has a reason to enjoy the weather and themselves.

5.  I feel it’s ok to watch scary movies that take place in a snowy landscape in the spring, so that way if you’re scared all you have to do is look out the window and go phewww, that can’t happen here. 

6. Save up and buy some new clothes. I don’t know about all of you, but winter is when you gain some weight, so those beautiful clothes you had last year aren’t fitting just right yet. Buy some dresses, work out and fit back into those tight jeggings. I’ve seen too many people trying to squeeze themselves into their clothes and believe me, just because you can get it on, doesn’t mean you should have it on.

7. Why does no one with an umbrella look where they’re going here? I’ve nearly been decapitated at least 10 times already this season.  And the next time I will take your umbrella and throw it into the street, then dance and laugh at you because there is nothing you can do while your fancy shoes and business suits get soaked.

8. And lastly, if you’ve got a reason to shake it like a Polaroid picture (throwback to the title of this blog post) then do so instead of walking around glumly. Shake it for love, for happiness, for success and for the awesome weather!

Allie

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When Emotions Run Deep

If you would have told me 5 years ago how my life would turn out today, I would have laughed incredulously. I didn’t know how to dress back then, I barely liked the person looking back at me in the mirror. I called my mom for everything because it always felt like I was outside of my element, that I didn’t really know where I belonged but that I was good as long as I could call her.

Well times have changed, which I’ve usually thought of as a strange statement for most of my life. Time always changes, they haven’t just changed now; we have changed, society has changed, things have changed. So yes time has changed but thankfully I’m getting through it. I can’t call my mom anymore when things aren’t going well, and although she never solved my problems, she listened and made me laugh. She always thought I was too serious, too sensitive and too formal. All these things are true. The little things hurt me more than I can help sometimes; and this morning/yesterday, I wrote a post about that. I was angry and needed to vent my frustrations about life.

But this isn’t the forum for that, and it detracts from my writing like one loyal friend reminded me. I can express myself so much better when I approach my issues with a sense of detachment. There are truths in life that are easier said than done, easier understood than felt.

Sometimes you lose friends no matter how hard you tried to keep them; there might just be things you just can’t talk about anymore, you aren’t just on two different pages in the same book, you are two different books in two different libraries. Sometimes people will hurt your feelings, whether they know it or not. You cannot expect everyone to understand your sensitivities, but you would hope that some people understand sensitivity. I’ve worked hard in my life to overcome things and one of those things is my weight issues. I’m always struggling but I’ve come a long way and not everyone knows me or that, and I’m not finished yet (nor do I think I ever will be) but I’m working on it. Some people don’t want to see you happy, or see that you have changed into someone who can see sky behind those rain clouds. And some people just don’t care either way.

There are people in the world who derive happiness from the misery of others. But here’s the thing, it is and must be your main job to make yourself happy. It’s a job that you will work at for the rest of your life. If you can only find happiness by standing on the backs of others, then you will be hurting a lot of backs in your lifetime. That’s neither fair nor real. True happiness comes from within, and as someone who has faked it, hoped for it, and experienced it, I know that is an honest statement.

Whether it’s love that brings out the best in you, personal and/or professional success, family, the place you live, or the friends that keep you sane, you are a lucky person that should shine with happiness. Those other people, well, maybe one day they’ll find that too, and maybe they’ll fall through the cracks in the backs of others. We can all find reasons to be miserable, but we should all know the reasons to be happy. I needed that reminding, so thank you all.

Until next time,

Allie

 

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One Foot in the Sea, One on the Shore

How many people, when they were kids, wanted to be a good person? It didn’t matter if they became a gladiator, astronaut, chef (ahem), teacher…. just that they were a good person? Well, it didn’t cross your mind then, and it certainly doesn’t cross your mind now. The thing is, some of us think we are good people, some of us aim to be good, better people, and others choose not to be.

It might be best to start with what makes a person a good person. Typically we think of churchgoing, family-loving, bake sale helping, friendly, smiley, wholesome, working, caring, dedicated to making a difference, never speaking badly of anyone even when they deserve it- a good person.

If that is the criteria as to how to be a good person, then I simply don’t match up. Honestly, I’m not the best person I could be. Sure, I care about people, I care about the world even, but that’s not the way I live my life. I’m sympathetic without being empathetic, although I do want to solve the problems of anyone I care about, and sometimes even the ones I don’t care about. That makes me more of an idiot than a good person though. God knows how much time I’ve wasted trying to help those who didn’t want, appreciate, or reciprocate my help.

I don’t think a person’s goodness should be measured by how their family interacts either. What if you don’t have one? Better question- what if you don’t have one that even cares about you or considers you family? It’s a double-edged sword, because if you treat your family like absolute shit when they love you and would do anything for you, then no, you aren’t a very good person in that way. People are going to do, say and think bad things, and that doesn’t make them bad. It’s when they have no remorse when guilty, or when they think that they have done nothing wrong, that it becomes apparent that they need to judge themselves.

I can admit to being a bad friend sometimes, a lousy conversationalist, whiny, annoying, and way too analytical. But I know my wrongdoings and I slowly work on being better to myself and to others…. to others that deserve it. Let’s be serious, there are people out there that don’t deserve mine or your time when all they want to do with it is waste it, or they live a life that’s built on the back of the others they had to put down in order to be satisfied with themselves. I’ve known people like this- friends and family like this. This is when you cut the connection and move on.

Surround yourself with the people that will love you unconditionally, cherish your time as much as you do theirs, and who will be loyal to you when things fall apart. Being around good people can, by osmosis, make you a good, better person. As for me, I’ve got one foot in the sea and one on the shore. I don’t know if I’m coming or going; but my heart has been moved by an amazingly powerful force, so my feet have to move to catch up. A good person chases after the things in life that has the ability to alter their soul in the very best of ways. I want to be that kind of good person.

Allie

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It’s Been A Long Time Coming

Well it’s been a month since I wrote on this award-winning awesomely awesome blog and I’ll tell you why. I’m in a completely different state of mind these days, I’m not despondent, I’m not trying to kill myself over my weight issues so I’m eating like a normal person (well as normal as I can), I’m not thinking about the problems I cannot change, I’m thinking about love these days. Love and its transformative power on your life. And chocolate- because chocolate does that too. But mostly I’m thinking about love.

Now this isn’t going to be some posting about how lucky I am or how wonderful the LoML is because that’s silly- everyone already knows that and honestly, I’m not that kind of person. No, there are so many different kinds of love out there, whether it’s for a person, a thing, yourself… it’s a complex concept. I’m happy and it’s shining through me; it’s noticeable in my work, my dreams, the way I wake up and the way I go to bed. It’s taken years to find this happiness that’s been missing in my life for longer than I care to remember.

I can’t tell when the happiness left me- I want to say that it was after my mom’s passing but it wasn’t. It was before then, it was when I was struggling, even more than now, with my weight and I hated myself for being so big, so ugly, so undesirable. It was amazing how that displeasure (along with so many other things) changed me and my perceptions. And I’ve always assumed since then that I’m a happy person with a lot of little unhappy thoughts, but I think I was just actually really unhappy.

And now here I am. What’s changed? I found what it is I want to do, I found reasons to get up every morning and smile, I can make pizza on my pizza stone when I want, I work out at the gym and I still wear a size 10/12 jeans, my hair cannot be tamed but it’s getting easier to love the wildness, and I am seriously in love with someone who makes everything unbelievably better- when I’m angry it’s not consuming now, when I’m sad I remember that he loves me the way I am, and when I see him, I feel like my smiles are brighter. It’s simple and it’s wonderful and it’s been a long time coming.

So ask yourself if you are happy and if the answer is no, find a way to change that. You don’t have to fall in love with a crazy European dude, but love yourself and others will follow. Don’t wait 10 years, change it now and I promise I’ll be better about my blogging.

Btw- I gave up burgers and fries for Lent. Yup.

Allie

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This thing called Love.

There are these moments, brief and unexpected, when I notice things that are in front of me that I tend to overlook. I cannot tell if it’s because I spend so much time in my head that I overlook the world around me or if I’m not as observant as I think I am. In these moments I realize little things that surprise me or remember the little things I forget. It wasn’t so long ago that I loved watching romantic movies, reading romcom books and had crushes on celebrities or some guy at work. But now I’ve changed, for better or for worse, into someone who still loves watching romantic movies but who doesn’t put much value into them. I read my romcom books but they are only for a story and a good laugh. And there are no more crushes. I’ve met someone who erases this need or want, really, to be giddy about some other cute guy.

It’s amazing how this sort of thing happens to you when you aren’t expecting it. One minute you are cold and focused on wanting to be someone you think you should be and the next you are accepting the person you are, who is after all, the person you ought to be. The person I wanted to be would be free of all these burdening things like death, debt, failure. That person could climb their way to the top honestly, alone, and could look in the mirror and be proud of the reflection. Maybe that person could have friends, even a significant other, but they aren’t as important as the success of coming from nothing and becoming something. The person I am is incredibly flawed, shaped by experiences, burdened by things I can’t necessarily change like death, debt, failure. But I’m not alone; I’ve made friends and the best part is, I’ve found someone with whom I can share my life.

If there is something I want to do, succeed in, then I will do what I can honestly. But if I fail or I don’t go as far as I would like, I’ll still be proud of the reflection in the mirror. I may not be as thin as I would like, or as successful as I have dreamed, but….well I can work on those things. I can lose weight, or I can learn to accept that I won’t ever be as perfect as I want to be. I can be healthy and happy, I won’t compromise that.

As for success, I have come from nothing, poor and at one point, on welfare. We went to the food pantry, we had food stamps, Section 8 living, and hand me down clothes. We were always scraping by, and this makes me no better or worse than anyone else. I’m not defined by my experiences, but they shape me. Now I can appreciate the struggles because although I’m not done struggling, I’m not back where I started. I live in NYC, in an apartment I can afford with food in my refrigerator and clothes I bought in my drawers. I have success, it’s minimal but it’s a start.

None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for love. You could have expected me to write a post about the glory of romance, of meaningful kisses, and quote people who have lived longer and experienced more because it’s Valentine’s Day. But this is a different kind of love I’m sharing. This is the love of life, of people, of acceptance and of possibilities. I don’t know what all of you are doing for Valentine’s Day but I know I intend on spending it (eventually) with the man I love, eating a piece of chocolate, being grateful for all the things I can do and smiling at my extreme fortune. Although few things in life are absolute, I’d like to believe that with this thing called love and a generous heaping of acceptance, you truly find absolute happiness. And that’s something I can strive for, maybe not just this Valentine’s Day but every day that I’m privileged enough to live, accept, and love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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Sugar-Honey-Iced-Tea

You ever have one of those morning when the alarm goes off, and you curse at the ceiling some of the best profanity that comes to your groggy slow mind? Yep, I did this very morning. It was gently snowing outside, I was perfectly comfortable under my three hundred million blankets, and yet delightfully cool air circulated in the apartment. This is the best combination of winter sleeping if you ask me. If my bed could sing, it would be singing a soft melody of  “come back to bed Alechia, where it’s nice and warm and its….” well I don’t have a word to rhyme with warm and beds can’t sing anyway but you catch my drift. Well after this kind of morning, you kind of hope you have nowhere left to go but up. These are fallacies we tell ourselves so that we shower, get dressed, and go to work like responsible adults.

So at my subway stop, I was thinking morbid thoughts of: if somehow the subway flooded with water, like the movie Atonement (spoiler! Where she dies in the tunnel and her corpse is swimming about and sad music plays because this really is the most dreadtastic movie of tragic circumstances), would I live? No, probably not which is why I believe New Yorkers should limit themselves on subway use in case a giant flood comes so they won’t drown in a subway flooding. Is it likely? Possibly not. Should we be ready? Of course!

Also, I worry that either somehow will run past me in a hurry and knock me off the platform, or a rather large person who has no concept of their largeness as well, and since they are rather large, they will watch sadly as a subway car hits me because they cannot bend down to lift me up. These are the thoughts I have, which are insane, yes, but terrifying as well. And I know that bit about large people is quite mean sounding and believe me, it’s not a big people joke because I know that life, but seriously, there are big people in NYC that are just far too aggressive about getting a seat on public transit. I mean I’ve gotten pushed around, shoved here and there because of these crazily aggressive people, let alone the bigger ones who just don’t give a f-k.

Moving on, I noticed a woman eat half her bagel this morning on the subway, and then as we got off at the same stop, she threw the other half away. Let me repeat that. She threw it away, and nothing warranted that. I just wanted to take it out of the garbage, run after her and then shove it in her mouth. There are people dying anorexic woman who throws away perfectly good food in pursuit of a slimmer shape, even though if you lost weight you might blow away in the wind. So save it for tomorrow’s breakfast or something, or give it to one of the many homeless people in NYC, it’s not like you don’t see them. And thus began my rage of terror.

Now, I wouldn’t say I’m an angry person, but I will say people are frustrating. And you cannot escape them in NYC because there are people everywhere, all the time, doing frustrating things like passing out fliers when your hands are already full of groceries and you say no thanks politely, but they keep trying to give you a coupon for gold jewelry at this outlet store in the Bronx. I won’t begin to tell you how frustrating that is, because if it’s small, and the interaction lasts maybe 25 seconds at most, it still annoys the sugar-honey-iced-tea out of me. And I never used behave this way, and if any of you are reading this and guffawing because I’ve always been that kind of person who gets rubbed the wrong way over little things (which is sometimes true, and I never meant to yell at most, ok some, of those people, especially the nice Crocs lady at the booth in Providence Place Mall, she meant well) then I mean to say, I wasn’t always this bad. 

It’s just one of those days. If only my bed could sing me a melody home that would mute these people and places I still have to hear and see before I get there. But then beds couldn’t sing, and if they could I think mine would sing something like, “oh please buy a new comforter set because these simply do not match…..” Again, no rhymes.

Allie

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