29 November 2017


portra 400 - november 2017 - glendroa
portra 400 - november 2017 - glendora

There's a comforting softness in a wrinkled white duvet cover in the mid-minutes of four PM, where light that peaks in through half open windows comes paired with a wavering branch hitting shadows on the far wall which fit together like rosemary and a deep, slow inhale – and all I can think of is how perfect this silence is, and how tempting it is to fill it with sound, with breath, with an appreciation of what my fingers can create if I put some effort in. 
I find myself appreciating moments of stillness more now that my days are filled with laundry list of tasks or workouts followed by meal prep. When was the last time I laid on the grass? When did I last leave my phone home for a day and just be. I think of high school days when I'd wake up with the sun and search my twin bed around me for the book I fell asleep reading the night before, continuing from where I left off. I'd read until my stomach growled and the urge to brush my teeth overtook my desire to find out what happens next.  
I fengshuied a lot with my bedspace while at the old house. Technically, there were only two corners where my bed could properly fit, but once or twice my bed blocked the entry way to the closet because I felt like having a headboard that rested under a window and sunlight on fresh pages. One Christmas break was spent reading the whole series of Harry Potter on a brown pleather lovecouch in my closet, the ceiling slanted from the roof above but I didn't mind, I was and still am so short. My mom called me a hermit. I'd come downstairs at 2 pm for tea or curry and she'd comment, "Sarah's finally out of her hole!" But I reveled in it. I'd microwave a bowl of dad's chicken curry while holding my arms, now exposed to the element that is an AC'd house with no blanket in sight. I'd pivot foot to foot, warming the sole of one against the side of my calve, flamingo style, protecting it momentarily from a cold wooden floor. As the microwave whirred and the chicken popped, I'd put a tortilla on the fire of a stove, flipping with bare fingers until puffs formed. With a beep and a turn of the knob, I placed the tortilla on the rim of the bowl and and retreat back upstairs, away from the noise of a poker tournament on tv, where the floors don't need swifting and I could warm my soul up while the down-comforter warms my feet. 
Last month, I moved to Hollywood, where my room is upstairs and my bed has finally found it's home under a window after three failed fengshui attempts. I get a sneak peak of light in the morning which hits my face in the most lovely way. My bed is filled with pillows that sneak their way into the abyss that is bed-meets-wall. On a day like today, where I did not have work, I turned off my alarms and slept until my body woke me up. I'm finding a rhythm in my being that, in recent months, has been forced with the axe of willpower. 

14 November 2017

Aural Allure

These curves mark playing dress up with myself in cold winter months getting over a crush. A vintage blue dress. A touch of bright lipstick. Body balancing on the edge of a cushioned seat while eyes glaze over to darkness, opening up ears to feel what I hear.  What lies within heals, excites, impresses and astounds. You are my longest love — I will listen to your whispers and feel the rhythm of everything that moves you until silence draws its heavy blanket over my ears.

It's more than music discovery. More than appreciation. Music is the language in which my emotions emit themselves. Headphones in, walks are soundtracked with non-diegetic tunes: tapping steps under a shining sun to Stevie Wonder; serene strolls on a stormy Sunday with Daughter quietly playing along to raindrops on wet concrete. It's very much a chicken / egg scenario – do I choose music to fit my mood or a mood to fit the music? 

I sway to "Your Hand Holding Mine," imagining just that. Hedonistic. Melancholic. 

I get a heavy head tingle to Dustin O'Halloran, thinking that maybe this is what loving unconditionally might feel like. His keystrokes hold so much longing.

I yearn for a cold quiet night, covered in blankets while a muffled melody of sad bedroom bands play under the duvet cover off a small iphone speaker, or waves that warmly fog up a room on a 70's record player until the needle reaches null. Cat Power, Keaton Henson. Singular. Soft. 

I dance to millennium hip hop while I run, arms flailing and shoulders following suit. Rapping with furrowed eyebrows and shifting feet to curious glances running towards me. Power drives me. Bonfire ignites me. 

"What's your favorite band" is an impossible question to answer. There's no ultimate favorite, just a jam for the time being. 

Last month: Arcade Fire, Yellow Days, The Zombies.
This week: Christine and the Queens, Rhye, old school Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton. 
Next week? who knows. 

Music is the way to my heart. The biggest turn on is a good playlist. The most romantic thing that's happened to me in recent years was getting asked to start a spotify collaboration playlist. It was infatuation in the first ten songs. And while I don't have favorites, I'm thinking that now's the time to stick to an artist for a good chunk of time. A shifting pattern of affection makes for an interesting life, but there's something to be said about consistency. 

03 November 2017


idyllwild, photo by nick serabyn

I'm a leaner by nature – give me a wall or a ledge or the ground and I will find a way to rest uneasily on it. I went climbing last weekend in Malibu Creek Park, where the sun shot hot rays on our shoulders, and my fingers blistered blood, and chubby smokers took pictures of us top roping with their phones, squinting through the glare of a 3 PM light. My back found a tilted boulder, a perfect spot to rest between climbs. Hand behind head, I closed my eyes. The hand feels so much, filters touches and grazes. Fingers can be the source of butterfly brushes, a tinge of touch so delicate, it requires attention to notice. It's odd to feel your hand rather than feeling things your hand touches. My palm falls asleep in cold tingles, electric blue pulses, cool under a pure blue sky. It's a blue I take for granted. It's a color so pure, I forget it exists until I open my eyes and it's all I see. I feel small but safe, and all at once relieved. A good hug does something similar to me. When I'm in your arms and my head fits perfectly in your neck,  I am overcome with the heaviness of being. And when you look at me, and your eyes reach my lips, there's this moment of limbo, of in-between, where anything can happen. That's a blue sky with no clouds in sight. 

I adjust my hand for comfort, sending shocks to my wrist. Sweat drips down my face from an indian summer sun, but my hand tingles blue. When was the last time I saw the snow? Actually went knees deep in it? I've hiked in Big Bear recently, but falling and slipping on dirty ice isn't what good-winters makes. We'd be in the car for hours, asleep, shifting uncomfortably. Usually I got stuck in the third row with the luggage and pillows falling on me every sharp turn. Hours of indian music and Kenny Chesney, and finally the windows fog over. I rest my cheek on there, the cold side of the pillow. I draw hearts that are never symmetrical. I write "Sarah Serrano" or just "Ambreen," testing a name to see if I fit it, to see if it fits me. Snow trickles the sides of the streets, dirty, black. A slow transition to white the further we climb up the mountain. We're getting restless, seeing all the powder. It's begging for deep footsteps, crunches, wet socks. Dad parks the car on the side of the road. He looks behind him at all the women in his life, breaks out a grin and starts running. We shove blankets, wrappers, pillows away, digging for shoes in the cave that a car transforms into during a long drive. Dad's prepping. I lunge myself over the back of the second row, spring open the door, racing my sisters across a field. And we're pummeled. My dad throws things. Launches. Pillows when we don't expect it, the bird when he's pissed on the freeway, and now packed snow. He was all around varsity at boarding school, and clearly hasn't lost his aim. Sofia's laughing the only way an 8 year old can: pure, unfiltered, unapologetic. Samira's cold. I'm digging my hands in, cupping powder into a shape that's anything but spherical. I hear mom's voice by the car, "Irfan, be careful!" We're all in this now, each on our own team, everyone missing throws too short to maim a loved one. Our hands turn numb and our teeth chatter. We gorilla hop back to the car. The heat is cranking. Pink hands hurt to move, hurt to warm up, though try as we do with the heater on max and blankets spread. There are some colds that only time and movement heal. Polar-bearing at camp, competing to out-time other girl scouts holding breath in winter mountain run-off. I never got passed 18 seconds. The swim in Catalina, jumping in the water and forced to swim to shore, shocked into shallow breath. It's a cold crush.The first quiet night after heartbreak. It's summer outside, and there's no air conditioning inside, but your fingertips are white-cold, and it hurts to take a deep breath. It hurts to get up to pee because his beard shavings still stick to the sink. It hurts to drown thoughts out with music, for every lyric ties back to him. No amount of oversized shirts or warm tears can break the electric numbness of a broken heart. Only time. And movement. And a drive through car wash. The mind cannot think of past-lovers while a hum surrounds a metal safety bubble, and giant sponges swish, water spurts, rainbows pop up in corners of the eye.