Category Archives: just briefly

just briefly: creation.

There are people who create things in this world, and then people who just take, or just criticize, or just simply exist. I’m not just talking about the artists, the writers, the inventors, the people who think creatively; although they are certainly an obvious example. The ones that I really don’t understand are the ones that just exist.

I’m talking about even people who create little moments, who go out of their way to strike up a random conversation that might brighten someone’s day, throw in a compliment where one isn’t strictly needed, who will say something silly and sweet just on the chance that it will make you laugh. They want to talk to you not as a means to an end, but to genuinely go back and forth, get at the truth, really see you, and maybe say the thing that nobody says but you need to hear.

These seem like really obvious things, things that all of us would do now and again, when the right situation arises. But from my experience, to most people, doing these things simply don’t ever occur to them. They wait to be on the receiving end of these moments, or they’re just cynical about them all, or maybe they’ve just never experienced them themselves.

The person I want to be creates these things, truly connects, is sincere in the right moments, and people can trust that sincerity. I want a compliment from my lips to really mean something, not just be a way to pass another second. Even if I never create anything material (which I hope I do as well), I want to create this.

just briefly: tipsy at 7pm after happy hour

A couple of classmates and our teacher went to an English Pub in Milan after a long day... you know, for that authentic Italian experience...

I hate that: when a social situation you anticipated doesn’t go the way you planned. I hated seeing M, our teacher (meta-teacher, really) sitting there, coat still on, eyes roaming to the football on tv, barely talking, only there because it was “work.” I mean it’s nice that he came out at all as a friendly gesture, but I hate feigned affection, anything that isn’t genuine. I worry enough about how true friends are anyway. I hate it now when social situations feel awkward. Maybe because I was that shy link in the chain for so long, it makes me uncomfortable to see others acting that way; and I often can’t understand why people are still shy as adults since I have changed so much. I’ve felt I had to to function in the adult world. It’s funny how much I’ve changed, and I only notice in moments like this, when I can’t look back clearly.

Tommy told me, years ago now, that I was a little bit quiet when we went out with his friends, and I did always really have to make an effort to try to talk to them. Now there would still be the language barrier, losing me for long stretches of the conversation, but I think my natural inclination would be to be chatty with them, try to find things out, to try to be humorous or fun in any way, since sarcasm never works for me in a second language. Yet, as I’ve been discovering in different ways, again and again, being stripped of the comfort of that normal personality trait can actually make functioning easier. It makes it easier for my instinct to be getting involved rather than on the sidelines. Well I hope so anyway. I think so.

Yet the further I get away from shyness, do I sometimes feel like I’m losing something of myself? Particularly because with my new pseudo-confident, optimistic, at times bubbly self, I still don’t like to show my vulnerabilities to people. So they assume that I don’t need their help and support. But really I’m desperate for it. Any time I have to pretend everything’s fine and calm seas, if I have to put on a fake smile, any discomfort or sadness inside of me bubbles up. I barely make it until I’m alone again before tearing up. The highs and lows all at once, involuntary. I think this is the kind of vulnerability, living right on the surface, that we all try to avoid, but we also want.

just briefly

I’ve never really liked fall. A summer girl, with a summer birthday, and a body that shivers at the first signs of cold, I dread the days getting shorter, the air brisker, that strong sweeping wind that overtakes New York in the beginning of autumn.

But it’s only the worst at the beginning, when the chill is still a shock. Once the cold has settled into my blood, I start to remember all those things I forget and learn again each year. The smells of fall — of wet earth and aging leaves and raindrops on stone. The way the air feels thinner, but richer, as if somewhere not too far away a fire is burning, keeping someone warm. I start to pile on sweaters and it doesn’t seem so bad after all.

just briefly

I’m having one of those days where I’m just filled with a lot of love. I’m not complaining. I open the newspaper and at every page am overwhelmed – there are about 10 different movies, plays, tv shows, concerts I desperately want to see. I check out a clip online, an interview with an actress from my favorite show – my heart beats a little faster, wanting to take every little second in. Scrolling through pictures, there are ones that remind me of places that I’ve been and love, and places hold a special place in my heart like nothing else. All this feels like a whirlwind, and it never lasts, but it’s good to be reminded that you can feel this enchanted with everything the world throws at you. At least once in a while.

just briefly

I woke up exhausted, but the sun was already shining brightly through waving leaves outside my window, making them glow in fluttering shades of green. It was one of the last mornings of a summer I was still determined to hang on to. So I got up early — How could I miss this?