On Finding My Aura & Wine in Tiny Little Cups
This - this - this. This is the moment I decide to leave New York.
It’s October and I’m laying in my bed, under a Pendleton blanket in a hand me down viking sweatshirt, thinking that I really don’t know shit about anything.
I’m reading the news about the Pittsburgh shooting, a few fat tears rolling down my cheeks, and I’m filled with an existential tiredness, like I’m sinking and will never get up.
What am I doing here? Where am I? I’m in this beautiful apartment on Union Street, my favorite place I’ve ever lived, which I somehow know from the first moment is only temporary - just a whisper of a moment. Will it be cool to be miserable in any other city?
Sufjan Stevens comes on and it’s from that scene at the end of “Call Me By Your Name” - the one that kills me, where Timothee Chalamet is crying into the fireplace as the kindling crackles, and the housemaid, Mafalda, is frying latkes. French Jews and silk scarves and a whole branzino captured from the river and brought right to the table - a candelabra dripping onto the gingham tablecloth. I want to live inside that movie, and in so many places that I’m not allowed.
I’ve been drunk a lot lately - from Amaro in bed, or from the scent of my own perfume, clinging thick and vanilla in my newly short hair. I haven’t really been happy in a few months - longer? - but it’s taken a while to admit it.
I’m hungry for change, and I sense I’m on the cusp of it - the closeness of it is frightening and liberating. I sense this in waves - the first when Chloe takes me to get my aura read and I put my fingers into tiny sensors, hidden in a chair in the back of a jewelry store at closing time, and I materialize through the smoke of the camera - with a buoyant green energy (“you’re in need of rejuvenation and rest, and powered by career changes”) and little puddles of fucschia and navy (“your digestion is bad, your spirit is weighed down.”)
I walk to work each morning through the farmers market of Downtown Brooklyn - the Jona Gold and Honey Crisps gleaming - and close my eyes. I see a future that could be mine, wide and sprawling, the feeling you have when you wake up from a dream and everything is broken, inexplicable, and familiar.
In this world, it’s summer and I’m cycling through long grass, to a kitchen with a long tile counter. I am living my best life - on a journey that is boundless, culinary, kissed by optimism. I am always welcome in this fantasy, and the flavors are intense.
I know this life of joy and freedom can be mine, but it will require big sacrifices.
You may be reading this, wondering if you’ve accidentally smoked peyote, wondering what the fuck I’m talking about. Let me wind the tape back.
It’s now a month later, November 2018, and I’ve made some big decisions. I’m leaving New York -- or at the very least, taking a sabbatical. I have given notice at my reputable agency job, packed a few bags, and told myself it’s time to get busy living. I have said no to boredom and stability and frequent pay checks, and yes to change and culinary delight. I have decided to stop being miserable, and to start pursuing the shit I love.
This decision comes on the heels of maybe the best email I’ve ever gotten, from my oldest friend who is in Paris for a film residency.
i miss you rem. thought about you tonight though for sure. i went to a very amazing bar on the canal st. martin. it was quiet because it was a monday, but the lights were pink and the music was spot-on. this guy and i were talking about baldwin and a womans new manifesto about becoming a witch (im sure you already know about it) while drinking red wine from tiny little cups. i only want to drink wine from tiny little cups. he was explaining to me how he is teaching himself to read tarot cards, after just discussing the politics of brazil.
i took the subway back, and stuffed in the car not understanding a word of what anyone else was saying, i thought how wildly happy i am here, after such a stint of sadness. i left new york for a year without having an idea where or what i was going to do or how i was going to make myself happy again. even after leaving it wasn't that great, arguably worse. i watched someones dog for rent (proceeded to get that dog v. injured and take him to the fucking emergency room), slept in a house with only a mattress and lawn furniture, got closer with my parents, read someones mail for rent, got closer to my grandmother, cried a lot.
im really excited for you because i know you are born for this kind of thing. you are built for it. the world is so so big and we only know a little corner of it and youve always inspired me to think that. you have the most curious mind of anyone, ever.
i love you and think of you so so much here. im very excited for you and this new chapter.
This new future has been unfolding for months, I just wasn’t ready to acknowledge it. It begins over a bitter margarita in Baltimore, dusted with salt and sugar, and topped off with a red wildflower at Clavel. Suze, Al and I sit at the bar, the griddle sending drops of oil and lime into our faces. I take a sip of that margarita - the best of my life btw - and let the words fizzle to the surface. “Guys. I just want to be a hot food bitch.” This is a superficial statement, yes, but it’s also a confession. “Do it” Suzanne says, cutting into the queso fundido. “Create something we can linger in.”
Once I’ve said it out loud, everything snaps into focus. This is my life - what am I waiting for?
I relate this moment to a NY Times review of “A Star is Born” where Bradley Cooper talks about Lady Gaga. “The world had to match her, because if the world’s not authentic, and then you have this authentic person in it, it’s going to, like, destroy the whole film.” Yes, I think. I’ve been divorced from my world, and now it’s time to find connection and meaning.
And so here we are. On my bed in Brooklyn, leaving tomorrow.
Working on a cookbook, recipe development, styling, freedom and creativity, long nights, weird days, memoirs, improved knife skills, cycling through the long grass of the Midwest, more dinner parties in NY, a cheap ticket to Paris, and lots of wine out of small cups.
Groovy - scary - flavorful. I’ll report back.
*Photos represent bittersweet and delicious NY moments over the last few months. Crucial to this story.