Butterfly in Lisbon

I used to feel that Paris was my favorite city in Europe but now that I have been in Lisbon for a few years I realize that was but a fleeting fancy. There are so many reasons to love a city and reasons cities attach themselves to your heart. I grew up in London and lived in San Francisco. I loved these cities too, but there is something different about Lisbon. I didn't know how attached I had become until I went back to San Francisco last year for a month and when the plane landed back in Lisbon after that trip I felt something. I was happy to see it. I had missed this beautiful flower of a city with it's calçada Portuguesa sidewalks, and that something about the way the light hits the buildings at sunset. Most times when you land at Lisbon Airport the plane circles around over the ocean at the mouth of the Tagus River and you get a beautiful view of the city, the Pont d'Abril bridge and the mini Christo Rey watching it all from the other side, looking out at the city.


Mum and Dad came to drop me off at SFO. Twenty-five years ago I came to Cali, not being fully aware at that time that I had come to forgive. To lay to rest the ghosts and repair the damage that had been done by my father's abuse, and that my hatred for him and what he had done was creeping into the pores of my skin everyday and not allowing me to feel.

There were still nightmares. There was still pain. Mahatma Gandhi said "Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong...the weak can never forgive". I had decided to try forgiveness. It wasn't easy. I hadn't had any guidance. Hurt and pain is what shaped me into a young woman. I just got through those times as best as I could. I slept with a lot of boys. And then men. I slept with them and they had no faces and I felt nothing most of the time. I don't know if it was a misguided attempt at feeling loved.

Perhaps it was, looking back now.

My father, telling me from an early age, that I had to learn how to keep a man…

Expat loneliness...does it get any better?

The rains have started here in Portugal. It's funny, when I first moved here two years ago, all I kept reading about was how good the weather was and how much the sun shines here. Once the rains start it just gets damp, humid and grey and it rains for days at a time. Most apartments don't have central heating or very good insulation, so it is always cold. Last year my clothes got mouldy in the closet from the damp humidity. I am dreading the upcoming winter and I have a strong urge to run away to somewhere warm, where my bones don't feel cold.

Downward Spiral

Ungrounded, unfounded. Tumbling, falling sensation.
 Dizziness, as the body sways I feel like I am on a boat.
On a path of self destruction.
Just need some earth
Upon which to stomp my feet
To shout out to the Universe
That I have arrived. And I am staying.
Not going anywhere, but here at this moment.
So stop with your torment. Leave me alone.

Sweet escape is sometimes the spiral,
Taking you downward
Spinning, spinning, a vortex out of control.
Round and around, arms flailing, crying out
Pull me out, pull me out, I'm drowning
It's easy to blame someone else
Until you realize you're the only one with the power
To pull yourself out of your own deep, dark, internal hell.

Uncomfortably Numb

I am not feeling grounded. I don't know what I need to do in order to feel ok. I twisted my knee one week after arriving in Lisbon and it was quite painful and debilitating, stopping me from exploring the city as I wanted to, because the hills are so steep and so I had to rest, but didn't. Drinking excessively seemed like a good idea as I managed the pain that way. And drinks are so cheap here in Lisbon it always seems to be a good option.
I spent loads of time at Le Marais, a wine bar owned by a French gay man a stones throw from my new apartment and got to know many people. Trouble was, the place was on my way home from work so I would stop in with the intention of having one glass of wine, which inevitably turned into not leaving to go home to an empty apartment until I was completely inebriated.
There was a loneliness gripping my soul. I would go home and look out my window at the beautiful red rooftops and miss my kids, and miss San Francisco and the community of friends …

New place, new life.

Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It's like killing yourself, and then you're reborn. I guess I've lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now.”

Charles Bukowski said that. Let's see. I haven't written in a while. I have completely changed my life in the past few months. A mother, a daughter, a sister, a real estate agent. I had all these labels pinned to me that I didn't want. I felt apathy. I felt disconnection. I didn't want any of it. I don't really know how the course of your life changes completely...if it's just destiny or if it's something that, deep down inside you know that you have control over, just by putting out into the Universe what…

How to quit smoking

Afternoon Mimosas.
Deep ambient rhythm on the Bose
Ran out of cigarettes
Want to smoke
But want to quit

What to do?
Don't feel like walking down the hill
And then up the hill
And then up the stairs
Puffing and panting, wishing
That I had quit already.