Flashback Friday: "To Days Of Inspiration..."

In the interest of time (and the sad fact that I have been so busy I can't see straight) - I've decided to start bringing back a few of my favorite old posts, for old times sake. 

Seeing as I have been painfully homesick lately, I thought it was best to start here - this one is from March 2013. My siblings and I have since graduated to Book of Mormon singalongs on holiday drives, but Danielle and I? We were the OGs.


To the man next to me at the red light on Pico and Barrington this morning, I really, really apologize. 

You see, in 2007, she was a scared freshman with brand new shoes and a little eyeliner, and I was an apathetic senior with my brand new parking pass for the high school lot slapped on the windshield. She had stars in her eyes, I had a bag packed at the foot of my bed. We stood firmly on either side of the big High School Experience, neither sure of exactly how sibling instigators would handle the front lines of the same battle.

Then dad asked “You’re not going to make your sister take the bus, right?” and all but decreed, as fathers do, that 180 days together in the front seat would be a good start.

The only CD I had in my glove compartment was a cracked-plastic copy of the Rent soundtrack. Hers, in fact – I’m pretty sure I had stolen it from her room. Show tunes are a universal language, and as such La Vie Boheme became our favorite song. Even as we wiped the sleep from our eyes, we couldn’t help but sing along.

Sisters? We’re close.

By October, we knew all the words. By November, we had even picked harmonies. By December, we could have identified which trees we would pass when we sang a certain line. If you stood out front of the Sunnyside Ford on Main St around 7:50am, you would just catch a teal Oldsmobile zipping through the green light, two girls screaming TO MARIJUANA into the winter air. On days that we were busy, or arguing about weekend plans, they would be the only words we would say to each other all day.

Our town was small, and the drive was short, but when you rolled down the windows, your singing could echo for miles.

We had other favorites after a while, sure – Boston and Tim McGraw, an entire playlist that remained solely ours. We drove to gymnastics competitions with a specific order of songs that we will both swear, to this day, won us every meet. But those early weekday mornings were always built from the same song.

To days of inspiration, playing hooky, making something out of nothing, the need to express, to communicate. To going against the grain, going insane, going maaaaaaaaaaaddddddddd…

When I left and went to college, she kept the car, and I filled my iPod with playlists better suited to solo missions. The torch had been passed.

 

So, again, sir, I’m sorry to have frightened you on your morning commute. It was early, and I had just found this old playlist buried in my computer, so I was trying it on for size. You see, the town I lived in was small, but together our voices were pretty big and some mornings, if I roll down the windows and sing loud enough, I can almost hear them echo back.

Who We Are and Who We Want to Be

Can you tell someone's been listening to the Bridges of Madison County soundtrack a little too much? I mean look at this man.

 

My sister and her boyfriend had a trip planned up from Memphis to visit my family in Massachusetts a few weeks ago - it was the boyfriend's first trip up north, and Danielle's first since Christmas, so I decided to piggyback on their vacation and head home myself to meet up with them, my other two siblings, my grandfather and my parents. For those of you playing at home, that adds up to eight people, one bathroom and a dog. I almost titled this post How to Lose Your Mind in 10 Days, but I'm trying to grow as a person. Really.

We spent the majority of the week bar hopping with my dad, in true Collette style - interrupted only by a huge graduation party for my little brother (who's off to college in the fall) where, as you can imagine, I was peppered by standard life-affirming questions from a few choice family members I hadn't seen in a very long time.

"So, what are you doing with your life? Have you nabbed yourself a boyfriend yet? You work too hard, you should make more time for yourself. Wait, you're still in the same job?"

*clears throat, stands on table*

Friends, family, random teenagers, lend me your ear. I am doing nothing with my life other than sleeping, eating and working at the same job I have held for the last 4 years. This would bother me more, but said job pays for my crippling burrito habit, and burritos are delicious. I have not yet acquired a suitable man piece, though I continue to eat pineapple in the hopes that Madoo was right and it will help me attract one of these rare creatures. Until then, I am happy with my burritos. I will now take questions.

If only, Internet. If only.

So by midweek, we were all a little ready for a change of venue and decided to take Chris (the boyfriend) down to NYC for the day. He'd never been, and I love that damn city, so while a 3 hour drive each way for a day trip seems excessive, none of us seemed to care. We happily (okay, hot, sweaty and only a little grumpily) made our way through a handful of the big tourist spots - Times Square, down past Bryant Park and up by Radio City and 30 Rock, and finally to Central Park. 

Like I said, I love that damn city. Even crowded with tourists and the 5pm rush, I found myself wishing I could just walk a few blocks back to a tiny, barely livable apartment - my tiny, barely livable apartment - and watch it all go by from the window. My kind of city is once you can get lost in, swept into a current of people up and down streets that pulse with life every hour of the day. And yes, fine, probably lots of hobo piss and stray cats but whatever. 

The problem is, I can get wanderlust for just about anywhere I visit.  I have a terrible habit of, when traveling, spending too much time imagining watching these cities from a window - weaving myself into the fabric of every day life in Dallas, or Philly, or Atlanta. It's SO HARD for me to see anything but the fairytale - to realize that every place is magical when it's new, but that eventually, the ordinary prevails. The daily grind turns life back into a pumpkin, and just like I am now in LA, you get tired of remembering how great a place can be. They all start to feel a little like the same. Or, maybe that's just me. 

So when I felt that familiar light go on behind my eyes, I let it linger for a while before firmly hitting the off-switch. 


The next day's stop took us into Boston, which is/was my neck of the woods. I don't know who was into it more, me or Danielle and Chris, but I gave them the best behind the scenes tour of the city I could possibly muster - the best nachos in Boston (Sunset Cantina, duh), plenty of beers around Fenway, and a walking tour through Copley Square down to the Commons. My city, they kept calling it. My city.

Boston used to be magical, too - the brownstones with their snaking vines, the fact that the Citgo sign would blink every time the Sox hit a homer at Fenway, the calm of the harbor when I needed to sit somewhere and read. But, life and school and work turned it all back into the everyday - to a place I remember so vividly wanting to get away from after college. I had done my time, I thought then, and I wanted to run. To find who I wanted to be in that sparkling magic of a new city. And now, 5 years later, I was standing in the middle of it a different person, sure, but one who almost wished she had never left. Almost.


I came back to LA far more hesitantly than I ever had before. I've never hated this city - though to be sure, it's magic has never been what I imagined it would be - but now I find myself resenting it. Resenting the allure, the promise that all I needed to do was to get out, to jump, to get on that plane and never look back. And yeah, I found a job and good friends and a little life to settle into. I should be ecstatic about that - happy to have made it, to be surviving out on my own. But still, it all hangs just a little awkward on my frame. Like maybe I found someone, but she's not exactly who I wanted her to be. 

So I'm back to trying to find the magic in this place. Or, at least, magic in places other than Mexican food and bars on the beach. Maybe it's still there. Maybe I just missed it. 

But for now, I'm turning the switch back on - letting the lights of the Empire State Building twinkle just out of my peripheral vision. Just in case. 

Yeah. Just in case. 

Weekly Roundup, 1st Edition

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Interesting things I discovered this week, other than my crippling inability to avoid needing Chipotle after someone around me has talked about it....

 

As someone who a) loves to eat dead animals and b) does not have a balcony to grill on, PUT THESE IN MY MOUTH.

- If you're a female human and you haven't seen either of Iliza Shlesinger's stand up specials on Netflix: Go. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. Girl is downright HILARIOUS

- Will I pay $25 for a candle? Eh. Will I pay $25 for a candle that smells like wine? Only if I can drink it (so still, probably not.)

-Terry Francona: spirit animal.

- I started off being devestated about the Jen & Ben split, but now I kind of just keep seeing Ben as Nick Dunne and not feeling quite so bad anymore.

- Emmy nominations are next week and if there isn't one with Charlie Hunnam's name on it, I'm probably going to riot. You are all invited.  I'll bring the torches, you bring the pitchforks.

Sunday Soundtracks: June 2015

June is a tough month in LA, because of what we all lovingly refer to as "June Gloom" - it's not cold, but it's always cloudy and breezy and leaves you wondering where the hell summer went. 

So for this, the first in a reincarnation of the Soundtrack Sunday series, I put together the best playlist of roll-your-windows-down, good feeling songs that have been keeping me in the summer mood, even though LA would beg to differ. Thoughts?

 




Back to the start.

Well, it certainly has been a while now hasn't it? 

I'm not even sure how to start. I think two years holds the record - hands down - for the longest time I've gone without blogging in some way since I was a teenager, so I'm certainly a little bit out of practice. But I needed to come back. 

In college, my younger sister had a giant quote plastered above her dorm room bed - lyrics from an All Time Low song that, let me tell you, I had to listen to way too many times.

Before you ask which way to go, remember where you've been. 

The last two years have been overwhelming, at best. I lost the better part of a year to a knock-down-drag-out fight with mental illness, I moved apartments, I took some new and exhausting work opportunities and dealt with a few pretty significant work upheavals. Nothing particularly earth-shattering, but I think I really needed to step away from analyzing and reflecting on all of it to focus with actually dealing with what was going on around me. 

The problem is, now on the other side of things, I worry that I've gotten stuck. It feels like I've climbed mountains for the last few years, yet when I look down my feet are still in the same spot. I'm spinning my wheels in a place in my life that I don't hate, but that I never thought I would stay in for so very long. 

So I'm trying to go back to where I've been - to where I've been the most content, the most fulfilled - and that's always been somewhere I've felt free to create. And poof- like that, here I am. I've redone the place, slapped on a fresh coat of paint, and given it all a fresh start. Maybe focusing on the things that give me joy, more than the ones that don't, will give me a fresh start too. 

 

So hop in, and buckle up. I'm not entirely sure where we're going, but I promise it'll be an adventure.