Category Archives: Existential Crisis

The Rear View

I spent Thanksgiving alone. I wasn’t meant to, but an early morning text from my Aunt Nancy indicated my cousin Scott was sick and thus, Thanksgiving would be pushed a day later to Friday. No big deal, right? Wrong. What was I going to do? OMG, spend it alone? WTF?! Fuccckkkkkk. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I just wasn’t prepared for this shit. Holiday or not, I’m weary. Okay, that’s actually not the right word, so here’s the right sentence: I’m sick of being fucking alone. Oh I know I know – you just ended your toxic relationship a little less than five months ago, Lisa! You need time! Relax! Everything will be fine! You’ll meet the right one eventually. You’re so impatient – jeez! Enjoy your alone time! Relish in it! Enjoy being with YOU!

Eye roll.

Instead of taking a Xanax (or two) and watching Lady Dynamite on Netflix (again) and feeling sorry for myself (some more) and eating every Ritter Sport I had in my kitchen (seven of them, ranging in flavors from “Butter Biscuit” to “Caramel Mousse”), I decided to go on a very long hike. Get out of myself, get in nature, get some endorphins going – you feelin’ me?

Thanksgiving 2017 was an unusually clear day in L.A. Smog typically hides the city and views of the ocean, but on this day, the City of Angels was clear, as in crystal. Climbing, I turned back to look at her a couple of times, this crazy sprawling metropolis that I just can’t seem to quit. The doing so made me wobbly; I nearly fell. Regaining my balance, I realized this was my lesson: to stop looking back. Up until this point, I hadn’t really understood the extent to which I’d been doing it. Sure, I’d though about him (and that him and that other him) almost every day. And well, gee, sure, I’d been thinking about every mistake I’d ever made a lot lately, every different turn this way or that I could’ve taken, but didn’t. And well, yeah, I’d been playing out different scenarios in my head over and over (and over and…) until I was spinning like an out of control dreidel under a Christmas tree, confused on where I belonged.*

The rear view. It isn’t serving me anymore. I’m here – and all those mistakes, all those choices, all those dumb motherfuckers I wasted so much of my precious energy and time on, are but theoretical objects that, although I’ve been straining to see them, I hardly can anymore. The looking back is what has been hurting me.

My forced time alone on Thanksgiving was a gift. Up the canyon I kept climbing. When I got to the top, I cried and laughed at the same time.** Los Angeles was spread out like a vision before me and I could see every little thing so clearly – the ocean, the endless possibilities, the happy life I’ve been afraid to lead, the people I’ve yet to meet…and the bottom from where I started. It was all beautiful.


*Christmas or Hanukkah, which do you celebrate? I mean goddamn, LIsa, figure it out already.

** “Laughing and crying, you know it’s the same release.” – Joni Mitchell

norway, pt. 1.


her own indifference became refreshing. he’s not there, he’s not there, he’s not there. and then they were nowhere. the sun, the heat, the sirens, the newest revision of the latest revision. gaza and israel won’t stop and neither will we. flares, explosions and gunfire. and then the white flag took too long and then it meant nothing. where are you? where did you go? i couldn’t find you so i had to disappear too and here i thought the long thought of thinking those days of unannounced departures were over. but nothing is really ever over. a continuation of a continuation, a postscript that is applicable to everything. the long goodbye. raymond chandler. i understand the title now. thank you. problematic preclusions. words. she’s not there. neglect never breeds respect. sometimes island and someone else. but norway remains and we are not broken.


that is this.


it was yesterday and she was alone again. and then that day became this day and this day until all the days were gone. one sentence, one unit of measurement. one crash course in hurt. there were things, of course. things of great beauty. like the trees, leaves so green that her eyes burned. or the sky, so blue that it made her soul cry.

little things, big things, no big deal things. everything all at once and then nothing things.

isn’t that the way it is? isn’t this the way that is? the learning.

until we come out from under the days into the nothing, into the blue sky, into ourselves.


saturday night with salinger.


“And I can’t be running back and forth forever between grief and high delight.”
― J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

there is no rest for the wicked and there is no rest for me on this night. i’m alone. again. it’s 1am? 1:30? i alternate my way between two works of literature – infinite jest by david foster wallace (my second time through) – and salinger’s franny and zooey, a book i consider an old friend at this point (i’m approaching my 100th read). i think about my life, what i’m doing, where i’ve been and where, oh where all of this will lead. uh huh. and all that multiplied + magnified by 1000. yeah. i know. exhausting.

and then i realise i’m getting ahead of myself. i go back to reading. my mind eventually wanders to him. he makes me happy. he makes me want to do better. he makes me feel safe. love makes me sad. i go back to salinger, looking for clues, searching for answers that will help, will enlighten, will soothe. but instead i just find words on a page: black, white. in between the lines is where i prefer to read anyway, because in between the lines is where the answers surely are. i pause to reflect on this. i cry a little. i decide everything will be okay.

i write a note to myself on the title page of franny and zooey, sure that salinger would approve: ‘lisa, there are no answers, only what you do not know. enjoy.’

i take myself to bed. i shift thoughts around. i smile a little knowing that for today, i’ve done alright. for today, at least, i have loved. and what could we ever do in this life more important than that?



(thanks to amanda panda elmore for the groovy franny and zooey book art)

uncertainty – a love story.


i sit on my back porch watching the union pacific train roll by. i do this a lot. i am uncertain of where the train is going, where it even came from. but i watch it anyway, make up stories about its journey in my head. i drift off into some weird time/space reality, until i know not where i even am anymore. sigh. (before you roll your eyes at my floaty nature, know that i have the unfair advantage in life to be both an only child AND an aquarius, so, please dear reader, cut me a little fucking slack.)

uncertainty – that great pesky presence in our lives – is both a comforting and a confounding notion. no one knows anything, really – with any certainty. i don’t really like thinking about the unknown much. it hurts. it’s too painful. too wrought with scenarios of why this and why not that and why why why. too much for a sensitive little heart + soul like mine to bear. but here i am, sitting alone on the porch with uncertainty as my steadfast companion, questioning everything.

uncertainty. it’s just a word, right? yeah. ummmm, #whatever. this shit BLOWS. but having been on the planet for a while, i do my best to stay in vibrational goodness, yano, i try to stay in a place where the unknown is not a scary, subversive monster, instead choosing to reside in a place of faith (or something close to it). we all wonder what will happen next, what the future may hold. but as far as i can tell, there is no future. there is no forever, no happily ever after. just here, just now. so what is it that you are uncertain of? your career? your next meal? when you will die? when your soul mate will show up? what will happen in five years? five minutes?

who doesn’t want a definitive? a hard truth to hold on to. promises. contracts. but life provides none of these things. life is a moment to moment thing – an unknown. so today, i have decided to embrace uncertainty with wide open arms and a glad spirit. i decide today to live with reckless abandon. to love even though it hurts. to keep my heart open even though it might get broken (again). to treat every hello and every goodbye as a gift. i cry a little. i decide to go to yoga. i decide to write these words. i decide to not let uncertainty rule me. i decide to be happy without a guarantee of anything.

the train is coming by again. where it’s going, i still don’t know and where it’s going isn’t the point anyway.

nope. it’s not the point at all.


close misses + mountaintops.

limy best girl gabi and i talk often about close misses – something closer to what you want, but still not. quite. right. akin to the scarier and more widely-known ‘near miss’, close misses happen all the time, in all areas of life. when applied to the topic of love relationships and DATING – which is the hell i have been living for exactly one year, three days and 27 hours now – my experience with the close miss has been both an exhaustive and extensive one. in short, dear readers, i am an expert on the subject, so yano, lucky you. the CM is most apparent with those souls we meet in our fragile journey to find love: someone you think is right/perfect/the one, but slips, falters, fades and disappears: a miss, albeit a close one. gabrielle and i talked through this idea for some time loftily, with care, examining the impact, scope and the sheer importance of the close miss. our findings:

  • -the close miss is actually a good thing. key lessons and takeaways can be extracted from each CM experience. realizing how close you’ve gotten makes it easy to grasp that perhaps the real thing is out there, does exist. is closer – just not present or in your limited field of view yet.            get it? got it? good.
  • -the CM is an indicator that you might still have some work to do, ESPECIALLY with regard to romantic relationships. look, we all get sad and fucked up when things don’t work out, but hey, in the area of love, the CM is your friend, i promise. you find the qualities and traits that are closer to what you want in a partner/friend/lover but that don’t add up and, ultimately, won’t serve you in the long run. for example: she’s cute, she’s sassy, but she sweats you down about the small shit? close, but a miss. OR: he’s a babe, dresses well, is successful, but still lives with his mom? um, close, but no cigar. MISS.

the hardest part about the close miss is that it’s a retrospective, hindsight 20/20 sort of thing. in other words, it really blows in the moment, but when we’ve moved far enough beyond it we see the lesson of why it was a miss in the first place. like an energetic truth mountain we must climb, every miss is a stepping stone that leads us closer to our summit, to the place we want to be. and who knows? perhaps one day we’ll reach the top and turn around to look upon the vast beauty of where we’ve been, seeing a valley of scattered close misses below…but the painted sky above – waiting patiently for us to climb in and begin again.

-for gabrielle t, my soul sis-star.




jackson browne: ‘something fine’. a case study.

when confusion and darkness find me, i turn to music – to save me, to comfort me, to help me move past a particular feeling. there are many songs, many artists that help ease the sometimes treacherous journey of getting to the other side: misunderstood* (wilco) the entire blood on the tracks album (bob dylan), walk in the park (beach house), anything paul westerberg, the replacements, and on and on and on. but that guy from california – jackson browne – always hits a sweet spot within my soul and places me gently back on the road to my own recovery. always. those who know me well know of my affinity for jackson. it was a special and surreal time when i befriended him in the city of angels, but that, of course, is another story entirely… 

have you ever noticed how you lose little bits of yourself here and there? i’ve been hyper aware of this loss lately and music has been a friendly reminder of who i was before time, circumstance and a broken heart became who i believe myself to be. ‘something fine’ is a song off jackson’s first album that those in the know call ‘saturate before using’. the guitar is simple. the verse sparse. the feeling intense. it’s a song whose meaning has changed for me over time: at once a lonely theme song and then a powerful mantra of really really really letting go. i suppose ‘something fine’ is such an important song because there is hope within the hopeless lyrics and a feeling that i don’t quite understand, but one that my heart clearly does. a safe, familiar way to process a bit of the dark and the sad things that exist within, i suppose. this song has become part of the fabric and make up of who lisa is; how i view the past, past loves, past experiences. looking back can sometimes be a beautiful response to understanding present issues and this is what jackson sings of, though veiled in rhyme and kept hidden through beautiful melancholia.

there is this line: “you know that i’m looking back carefully, ’cause i know that there’s still something there for me…”. oh how i know this feeling. right now, something else is calling to me. i’m being pulled back and forth between staying and going, giving my heart to someone or resisting. exploring and writing parts of myself unknown or defaulting to an old description written by others. “…even though you take such good care of me”. what to do? go? look? stay? remain? or change? there is always time on the way to another world, another part of ourselves, to look back and reflect. to see where we misstepped, misspoke, where we shone, where we stood tall. yes, there will be time on the way to glance backward, but there is no time to be wasted on deciding to move forward – it is the only direction. so look at the world and see what you want. pay attention to the beggar tugging at your sleeve. look back, but move on. something fine surely awaits.

with david lindley in london, 1976 – something fine

*(and, yes. i still love rock and roll-)