time warps & loneliness & realizations

When I first arrived in Barcelona, time was at a virtual standstill. I’d been here five days, and it felt like 20. I reached the three-week mark, and it felt like months. It was a barrage of new sights, sounds, tastes – and it was a shock to my system. Some days I’d slip into a reverie; others I’d feel so anxious that I’d tear up for no good reason.

Now, time is just the opposite. I swear to you that I’ll be sitting in a cafe with three hours to plan lessons and I’ll blink and it’ll be time to rush to the metro. Or I’ll meet Shelby in the evening for drinks and we’ll have two beers, and all of a sudden it’s past midnight.

I find myself saying again and again, Where has the time gone? It’s freaky, and more than just the typical wow-time-flies freaky. Here, time doesn’t just fly, it completely schools you and leaves you gaping.

Other things that are schooling me lately:

+ Books and movies by Miranda July. I read her short story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You, a few years ago, but hadn’t revisited anything since. Last week, I came upon her new-ish book of interviews, It Chooses You, when I discovered an awesome bookstore in Barcelona called La Central. (If you’re in BCN, seriously go there. They have a great section of English books, lots of British authors. The books are pricey, but the shop has a cafe so you can grab a stack and spend as much time as you’d like choosing one.) I finished It Chooses You in a sitting, and then immediately watched Miranda July’s movie, You and Me and Everyone We Know, on Netflix when I got home. Oh, and then I had a really good cry and felt lonely and blessed, but also cursed, and unlucky in love, but also grateful, and all those contradictory, maudlin emotions that grip me when I’m alone in the dark and up way past my bedtime. And then, the next morning, I watched The Future, and had the same exact experience. (And then I forced myself to shower and get dressed and get out in the sun and shake. it. off.)

This post on brainpickings about why Joan Didion kept diaries and personal notebooks. The featured quote, especially: “We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.” Man, does that pummel you in the gut the way it does me??

+ This quote by Sandra Cisneros:

Sandra Cisneros

I got all disgustingly nostalgic and wishy washy and, and then, later, beat myself up over it because it felt like steps backward, when I’ve been moving forward in really wonderful ways here.

But, you know how the universe sometimes delivers up exactly what you need at the right time? That came to me in the form of this tweet by Jocelyn Aucoin:


Goddamn, that’s true.

Progress certainly isn’t just forward motion. We loop and loop, and truths become just a bit easier to swallow the second (and third and fourth) time, and there’s nothing quite like getting kicked in the ass right when we’re getting just a bit too cocky.

Digression, how humbling.

(And motivating.) (And infuriating.) (And necessary.)


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