endings and clean slates

well, it is a weird year to look back on. the last 10 days or so have been a whirlwind of working at elysian fields, welcoming family into town, making and recording music, wrapping presents, spending time with friends and family – hell, i even went on a date!

last year, i was still working at snohetta, living in my little fortress of solitude in brooklyn with my sister’s cat, rosie. one thing i can say for sure about this year is that my friends have really been key. through all the ups and downs of my personal and professional life, i have had wonderful friends helping me keep my chin up and tolerating my, at time, very black moods. in fact, my poor friend sarah has probably gotten to bear the brunt of my painful experiences in 2012: she was in the city for a visit in april when i had just been on the receiving end of a breakup/was experiencing a debilitating cold – it was the moment that i decided to get out of new york. and she was with me in august when my suspicion that the person i’d fallen for had already moved on to someone else was confirmed.

i had just returned from france where i had been traveling with my big sister in memory of our other sister, erika, who died suddenly last year. i’d hoped to see the object of my affections while i was back in the city for the weekend, maybe have the talks we were unable to have before my departure, so i could go on my trip without wondering, “what if?”. but instead found myself a 3rd wheel on a date to the movies with sarah. it was raining and my sandal broke as we walked through williamsburg, leaving me to ultimately hoof it, barefoot down 6th avenue, soaking wet and probably about as miserable as a person can be without experiencing any real physical loss or hardship. talk about a low moment! it’d be a funny scene, if my life were a screwball romantic comedy. which perhaps it is, come to think of it. . .
in the absence of any dependable romantic partners in the last several years, my friends have been everything to me: my support system, my fans, my dinner dates, my councilors, my clean-up crew, my saviors, my family. more than once, i’ve thanked my stars for placing me in the same dorm as the three women who have been such strong influences in my life over the last 12 years.

but i don’t mean to focus on the downs of 2012, the ups abounded: i finally quit my job at snohetta, a very cool place to work, but not getting me nearer to my goals of living a life that revolves around art and music and writing, those things that make my life feel worthwhile. i fell in love for the first time in years, exciting, even if it doesn’t work out. i also got to spend time getting closer to my sister, skye, and showing her some of my favorite parts of france. i got to see old friends in the south of france, and meet new ones in morocco. i fulfilled my plan to go to burning man in honor of erika and spent several blissful months on the west coast writing and seeing places and people and just being on my own to process my grief. i experienced beauty and freedom, spent time in my sister’s old hometown of napa, where i had only been once before, right after her death in 2011.

and now here i am on the other side of all these things, trying to integrate it all into the new me and shape my life into what i want it to be. it is hard not to think about erika, who wanted so many things, who did her best to live a life that she wouldn’t regret. she was a skydiver, a motorcycle rider, a hang glider, a romantic, a lover of good food and good wine, a lover of animals and all those who can’t help themselves. we spent the best new year’s eve of my life together in rio di janeiro in 2010 – it turned out to be the last new year that she would celebrate. one of the things that made it such a special holiday was the brazilian people: they approached the turning of the year with such hope and optimism, such genuine faith that the new year promised new opportunities for happiness and joy.

last year, i was here for new year’s eve. it was as good as it could be, but so many memories of all the new year’s eves i’d spent with her over the years, looking for some fun to be had in this little town and failing, come back to me now as they did last year. something about this time of year makes me brittle in the face of challenges, right when i’d like to be brimming with hope and cheer. so much loss, so little comfort.

but i am grateful to have my friend lara, a friend whom erika cherished and one who has been so valuable to me as a connection to her: someone to reminisce with, to drink pink bubbles with, to dance to cover bands in smoky bars with. when we get together, it feels like erika is there with us, and for that i am truly grateful. last night we danced and drank and celebrated.

and today i say goodbye to my dad, who heads back to arkansas. then i’ll spend the last day of 2012 working at elysian fields. if one can’t be in rio, it is not a bad place to be instead.

love and miss,



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