It’s Not Too Late to Be an April Fool

I’m no prankster. I’m no good at lying and I’m too prone to guilt and anxiety to be very good at playing tricks on people. I’m much more likely to be the fool.

But this year I realized what an important holiday April Fool’s Day can be.

This year on April 1st, I stood in a circle with a bunch of strangers in a bare room in the Lavapiés neighborhood in Madrid.

“Now,” said our bespectacled leader in his British accent. “Introduce yourself to the circle, and tell everyone how stupid you are. Say your name, and these words: ‘and I am very stupid.’” We nodded gravely and began.

“My name is Sarah. And I am very stupid.”

“Yes,” said the leader. “We can see that.” Continue reading

Of Scrambled Brains and Runaway Trains

This blog post is late. Now, I doubt any of you have been sitting by your computers with your pocket watch out, clucking your tongue, BUT JUST IN CASE YOU HAVE, I want you to know that this tardiness is not for lack of writing. It’s not for lack of sitting still and being quiet and searching and asking unseen helpers for guidance.

But, as I mentioned before, I think the current political/media climate is doing something to our brains. At least I know it’s doing something to mine. Continue reading

A Spell for Unclogging the Works

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few weeks about unfinished business. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an essay about being on the other side of the anguish I used to feel at having nothing to show for myself except the shoeboxes of poems written on scraps of paper, shelves of completed journals, 100 pages of an unfinished novel, a one-woman show only ever roughly shown to a couple of friends, another one-woman show that would never see the light of day, 250 pages of a memoir I couldn’t bring myself to edit, and gawd knows how many little essays and short stories that would never be loved by anyone but me.

I’m not writing that essay today. Today I’m remembering how it feels to wander around feeling like my inner gears are all gummed up. Continue reading

Attempting to Land

This pesky vision keeps popping into my head: it’s a little house at nighttime. Its outer walls look blue in the twilight, but they might be any color. The windows are yellow with light from within. Around the house there is space and sweet smelling grass and trees; inside the house there are teacups and a fireplace. From here, it is the picture of stillness and security.

“You have to let this mopey energy go,” my partner calls to me from across our studio apartment. I groan to let him know I know he’s right, but I roll over on the bed to face the wall instead of getting up. Continue reading

How to Tell When You Get What You’re Asking For

Afternoon, October 14, 2016: My partner and I are rounding the bend on week 3 of a grueling apartment hunt in Madrid. We’ve been living out of suitcases for months already; we’ve been sick, food poisoned, and adjusting to new jobs; we’ve raced through the streets of this unfamiliar city every day this week to beat our steep competition to available apartments. On this day, we’ve seen 2 lackluster options, which we agreed to take if they’ll have us. Continue reading

Learning the Language

Halfway between the kitchen and hallway of Spanish AirBnB #2/#4 (we had to make a hasty getaway from smelly AirBnB #3), Zoriah, my Spanish mother, has set up an ironing board so I can smooth this week’s work outfits after their long stay in my suitcase. She fixes dinner while I iron and we talk about the ironing board—where she got it, how long she’s had it, etc. I spend a full 10 minutes ironing my first blouse because the conversation takes up so much of my brainpower. Continue reading

On the Run

On day 35 of living out of a suitcase, I laid in the dark between the wall of Madrid AirBnB #1 and my napping partner. He could tell that day he was coming down with the fever he has now, so we pulled the metal shade over the window and tried to rest on the mattress where our feet hung off the end. I couldn’t sleep. I spent 3 hours trying not to jostle him while obsessively checking my phone to see if any new apartment listings had been posted.

He woke up feeling a little better and said he’d like to go out, find some food in the area and then take it easy; what did I want to do? I said something, something, maybe I’d go out on my own because I didn’t want to squat in a dark apartment all day and not feel like I was enjoying this city. Then we had a nice little argument (in hushed voices so our AirBnB flatmates wouldn’t hear) about what exactly I meant by that.

I’ll pause here to say that part of me feels like, in this first post since I departed on my Adventure…

Continue reading

Just Before the Leap

What you can plan is too small for you to live.” –David Whyte

I dreamed last night of being perched on top of a big hill in some sort of dubious wheeled contraption reminiscent of a soapbox derby car. I spent the entire dream positioning and repositioning myself on the cart to be better situated for the sound of the gun, the start of the race, and the push down the hill.

In this last week before departing for countries unknown, we’re paring down to the barest essentials and final details. My car and major appliances are all sold, my cats are re-homed, my stuff is stored, and I’m living out of a suitcase in my parents’ guest room. Time is doing that thing where it somehow slows down and speeds up simultaneously. Continue reading

Undoing

It’s starting to sink in that I’m not going home. I can’t—my home is now completely undone.

“But Sarah, your home should be in yourself,” you say. “You can always go home to yourself.”

Yes, but for right now at least, that home is rather undone, too. And that’s okay. More than okay, it’s important, really; my inner home is…under renovation. Continue reading

Healing and Different Medicines

If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

-Lilla Watson and Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

I cruised through adolescence without skin problems, but in my late 20s, a persistent mottled pink and red color palette crept into my face with varying levels of chaotic topography on my cheeks. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition, the Internet tells me. It’s treatable, but dermatologists say there’s no cure for it. Continue reading