The creepy old LA zoo..

My cousin Steve and I wanted to hit the beach today, but knew the traffic would be insane, so instead we decided to go to Grffith Park again. We walked on the path that I like which I discussed in this blog, then decided to check out some other spots. We had heard that in Griffith somewhere is an abandoned zoo, so we went on an adventure to find it. It wasn’t the easiest place to find, but we finally went down the right street and hit the parking lot area. There are a lot of benches and picnic tables sitting along side bbq pits. They are only open during the winter due to fire restrictions, but it totally looked like a cool place to have a huge family party or something.

Steve and I saw a really steep hill and decided to follow it up. When we got to the top we saw really cool stone structures that look like it housed lions and bears at some point. I researched this and found out that the zoo was closed because of poor treatment of the animals. After being there I realized how thats very true. The whole place had a creepy, yet cool vibe. I could feel the animals, as well as feeling kids writing graffiti and drinking in these old shelters. 

I took a few pictures Id like to share with you all. ImageImage

 

 

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The excitement hits your chest like a sledgehammer breaking up concrete.

Your heart is pounding like a rabbit scratching its ear

Fear tries to scream at you to stop, urges you to turn around

You choose to ignore it.

You must see this through, you’ve gone this far,

there is no turning back.

Time to make the leap

Jump! Go for it! You can do it! You’re number 1!

Then comes the calm…

Everything feels okay

There is no more pounding heart

no more clammy hands

no more fear screaming in the background.

There is only SILENCE.

It drapes the room.

The awkwardness drapes the audience, shhhhhhhhh!

Congratulations, you did it.

Now please turn off your phone and enjoy the movie.

Self Worth

This topic has been coming a lot in my life recently, so I decided to examine the idea of self worth. Otherwise known as self esteem or self respect. This is something we all think of and go, “oh yeah I totally respect myself and know my worth”. But do you really? Do you really believe you are worthy of everything you have and do? Do you really respect yourself at every moment? I know I don’t at all times. There are times when we forget, or we give it up without even noticing. 

Being a human means giving yourself to someone at some time. We give and take. To keep the balance between the two is the goal of life. Balance is what we all achieve to have in every instance, even if we don’t realize it. Sadly most times we don’t at all. We are running around stressed out, while our spouses, children or friends relax. I see this in my family a lot. The woman do everything for everyone, because they feel its their duty to do so. They feel its their calling as mothers and wives. This is an unbalance to the max. Life and its duties should be shared ultimately, and if its not it should be asked for, if you have a good amount of self worth that is. 

Another great example is this; “Hey Melissa! You look lovely today! So good to see you! Did you do something different to your hair? It looks a little crazy! Okay bye” The average person would respond “Oh my gosh thank you very much! Huh? Whats wrong with my hair? Is it okay? What do you mean?” This would then lead down a road of self hate and disapproval, and self consciousness. Why is my question. Why would you take the one negative thing, that possibly isn’t even negative and focus on it. What happened to the you look lovely? What happened to so good to see you? Why do these positive compliments fly right by us, but the negative stick around for so long? 

This is a problem with our society, and has also been so for me. I have made a vow to myself to focus on the positive aspects of myself and the words I hear from others. It seems so basic, but its actually very trying to change the way your brain perceives words. We are trained from a young age to compartmentalize emotions, thoughts and words. Its our duty now to change those paths in our brains and stop suffering from  negativity. Its really no way to live. 

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Moonrise Kingdom

“I’ll be out back……gotta find a tree to cut down..”-Walt Bishop aka Bill Murray

This past Friday the incredibly talented and one of my favorite directors; Wes Anderson released his new film Moonrise Kingdom. I heard about this film a few months back and was overwhelmed with excitement. There is just something about Wes Anderson’s films that really get me emotionally involved. No other films move me feel the same way his films do. This in turn makes me obsess and see anything Wes does.

As the film opened I felt the magic immediately. The way the camera flowed through the home of the main characters to the narrator filling us in on where we are, and who we are about to meet. It was Wes Anderson at his best and it was in front of my eyes. I don’t really want to go into too many details, because I want you to see the film, but I loved it. I felt like it was the perfect mix of The Royal Tenebaums, Rushmore and Life Aquatic all mixed together in one, but yet not at all. It had the vibe, if you know what I mean. I really did not enjoy Darjeeling Limited at all. It had parts I enjoyed and liked, but it didn’t feel the same as the other films. I love Wes Anderson and his mind because of how he makes me feel, and DJ didn’t have that. This film indeed did. So I urge you to go see it.

Here is a poem I wrote immediately after the film, I feel it sums it up best.

Moonrise Kingdom

A place of peace, love, surrender, honesty and most of all love.

Love can’t be judged by anyone else except us.

Age doesn’t exist.

Love comes in all forms, a cop, a teacher, a lawyer, a twin and even a coonskin hat.

They don’t know our passion, nor our electric connection.

Its us and only us under the stars.

A chance meeting one day, changed our lives forever.

Twelve or Twelve Hundred, our love is real.

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From Philly to Cali, Cali to Philly...

Tonight I was driving through Hollywood and my iPhone was cruising through shuffle. I chilled through a few old songs; Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’, The Faint’s ‘Agenda Suicide’ and then outta nowhere Freeway’s ‘All My Life’ came on. I got excited, turned my stereo all the way up and drove through Hollywood rapping Freeway. I felt like I was 23 again driving around Philly with my girlfriends smoking blunts and just loving life.

This got me thinking about growing up and how odd it really is. I am 33 years old, ten years have passed since I was that girl in Philly, but somehow I still feel like her at times. I now really cherish those moments when the young version of myself pops her head out and has fun for a few minutes, or even an evening. When you get older things change. When you used to be able to go out at 11 and dance your ass off, drink an overwhelming amount of alcohol,  smoke blunts, then go to work the next day. I could never image doing so, nor would I want to, but that girl is there, somewhere.

What I’m getting at is that no matter how much we change, we still are us. Those little quirks still exist and sometimes we just need to let them out, just be a kid again. Kids just live presently. They just deal with life as it comes to them. There is no thinking about bills, or jobs, or family, its about now. The most I ever cared about was; where we all my friends were meeting and what time. Anything else was just a bonus.

I appreciate the wisdom and many valuable lessons I’ve learned over the years, but fuck it. Sometimes you just gotta turn the radio up and rap like a white girl.

Spiritualized

Tonight I went to see Spiritualized at the Wiltern with my friend Vadim. It was one of those things that just felt right. He had mentioned it earlier in the week, and I had considered it, but semi blew it off. I then heard KCRW giving away tickets the other day and I waited for a while, and as soon as they told you to call in my phone rang and I missed my opportunity. Then today I got the text about going. This morning I felt super sick and almost canceled. I later mentioned not feeling so well and would decide later. All of a sudden around 5pm I felt better. Like nothing had happened to me, so I decided to go.

I didn’t have a ticket. The plan was to buy one from a scalper, and hope to not pay too much. As soon as I walked up to the venue an older homeless looking man said, “ticket for sale, floor” I stopped and asked how much, he wanted 20, I only had 15 on me, and we made a deal. Easy peasy. You may be asking yourself why on earth am I adding so much boring detail to how I got to the show. Well heres why….

I ran into a girl Audrey that I had randomly met at the Z Trip show at the MOCA. Audrey and I had a very unique connection immediately. As the night was ending, after hours of dancing it was time to go. I reached in my pocket and I felt a Rose Quartz stone that I was carrying around with me. As soon as I felt it, I knew it was meant for her. I went over to her and handed her the stone, and told her it was for her. She smiled, gave me a huge hug and told me she would never forget me. We talked about hoping to meet again sometime. And tonight we did.

As soon as I walked into the show she was the very first person I saw. It was like magic. I could’t believe how much I was meant to go to this show. Serendipity at its best for sure. We exchanged numbers and now will begin what I believe to be a very important friendship. I love that the universe brings people together no matter what. I trust that I will always get what I need, when I need it. I hope this helps you feel the same way too.

PS. The show was amazing. It was a spiritual experience and I hate to say that because it sounds lame, but its true. It was so powerful and intense, and really changed my life. I urge you to go see them sometime in your life. But until then listen to this song, because live it just blows your mind.

Truth be told…

Today I was watching TV and a character had said “I can’t lie, you can see it in my body language” That sentence could be me saying it. This reminded me of a story from when I was in 4th grade. A huge lie, that lead to me becoming extremely honest through out the rest of my life. I am going to share this story with you. One to get it off my chest and two because its hilarious. I have always been extremely embarrassed about this story, so I thought why not share it with the world of blog readers and set myself free right?

I grew up in a very Catholic, Italian/Irish family in a suburb of Philadelphia. We were forced to go to church every Sunday as well as go to Catholic school. My family was pretty poor, so I only attended up until 4th grade. In Fourth grade I wasn’t cool, popular, smart, funny or any of those things. I was pretty reserved and a loner (or so I think so). I for some reason decide to concoct a lie to one of my friends that spread like wild fire through out the entire school. The lie was this; My uncle was marrying Taylor Dayne. Yes that Taylor Dayne the 80’s pop singer of such hits as “Tell It To My Heart” and “Love Will Lead You Back”. I have no idea why I decided to do so, but I did. This lie hit the rumor mill, and before I even knew what happened everyone had believed my lie. Let me interject and say that this is the way my memory serves, I am unsure if people really believed me or not, but it seemed like they did.

One day I was at school, it was near the end of the school year and the teachers were asking kids what they were doing for the summer. Everyone decided to mention the wedding I would be attending  with Taylor Dayne, and were curious as to the details. The teacher called me up in front of the classroom and told the class the lie. I was stuck standing there in front of my peers about to produce an even larger lie. I went on about how my uncle was the coolest and how I can’t wait to meet Taylor. I felt like a hero, a legend, and best of all I was popular! It was the first time in my life that I felt cool. I felt like I belonged. I loved every minute of it too.

One day after school had ended an older girl, Gina, whom I had kinda known asked if I wanted to hang out. Of course I said yes and we walked back to my house. I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to bring her to my home, filled with people who actually know the truth, but I did anyway. We walked into my house and hung out for a bit. Then my mom came in and started talking with us. The first thing the girl said to her was “So how exciting about your brother marrying Taylor Dayne!” At this moment, my heart dropped. I knew I was caught. If I could go back in time and watch, I bet my face would have been priceless. Sadly, my mom didn’t have my back, she laughed and said “What are you talking about? Melissa is lying to you.” I was crushed. I knew this would spread like wildfire and I would be ousted from my society of Catholic school kids. And it did. Everyone knew right away. I got a lot of phone calls and snarky looks whenever I saw those people. Luckily for me my family got extra broke and I had to switch schools. It was a godsend to not have to go back there and face those people.

Through the years after the “big lie” I still harbored embarrassment. I recall going to high school and hearing some kids from Catholic school were going to be there, and I was scared. Luckily nobody ever brought it up to me, until I was a grown adult. My cousin, Nikole,  had seen some of her friends from high school, (she went to Catholic high school) and they were all hanging out. One of the girls, Gina, had heard Nikole mention my name. Gina said to Nikole “Melissa Culbertson is your cousin? She’s that girl who said your uncle was marrying Taylor Dayne.” That brought all those feelings right back. I was mortified yet again, knowing that these people still remember and still judge me on this lie I told as a 4th grader.

So today marks the day that I am letting that go. I no longer am embarrassed or scared of the Taylor Dayne incident. I am proud of it! It made me an honest person who could never tell a lie, it would show in my body language anyway.

My visit to Griffith Park

Today I was out running errands with my cousin and my little dog, Sofia. Sofia has been suffering from heart problems over the past few months. Its been hard since we moved to Los Angeles from the redwoods mainly because of the temperature. She has always been affected by the heat, but Humboldt never got past 70 degrees, and if it did the trees provided much needed shade. Down here in LA that is not an option. LA is a desert, dry and hot, two things Sofia does not need. Last month I found out she has a slightly enlarged heart, a murmur and a lung issue. These issues have made it difficult for her to go outside and exercise.

So today we went out and were driving around and I found myself at Griffith Park. I have gone here once before in the dead of summer and it was sweltering hot. I just figured we could drive around and look for a shady area to chill out for a bit. I was pleasently surprised to find this cute little walk way with tons of trees and shading along side a small creek. Its funny because my cousin Steve just moved here from Philadelphia and had just mentioned how he misses creeks, and bam! there was one right next to us! We decided to stroll down this lovely walkway and see all the beautiful sites.

It really felt like we got transformed to a tropical paradise. I completely forgot that I was in Hollywood, and pretended to be in Maui, or even Jamaica. I later came home and looked up this magical place, and found out it was Ferndell Nature Museum. I love that I went an outside museum today.

I think I found my new solace.

Here is a great article from LAIst with pictures and all!

http://laist.com/2010/08/11/cool_walkings_fern_dell_in_griffith.php#photo-1

 

Total eclipse of the heart..

Someone told me today to set an intention while watching the sun be eclipsed, and it really got me thinking about myself. Don’t get me wrong, I think about myself and ways to improve myself all the time, but when its thrown in your face like that, its quite different. It made me ponder, what are my intentions? I feel like this topic is always on my mind, but to actually write a list and sit down with myself if quite different. It really made me think long and hard about intention itself.

The dictionary defines intention as” an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” So I set out to do just that. My list consists of the usuals; working out, eating better, mediation, making money, etc etc. I decided to think deeper into it and my cousin said it best “don’t be scared of your true potential”. Fuck did that sit with me. I realized that I have all these thoughts and ideas, but I am scared. I am scared of where I will go, and what I will do, because its all so different than anything I have experienced as of yet. I imagine myself on the top of a mountain with a glider on my back and I keep running towards the edge, and then quickly backing up and thinking it over again. Then I get annoyed with myself and decide to just jump, then run and do the same thing. I am awaiting the day when I just take the leap. I have no idea what is keeping me from flying, but I am determined to break free and fly.

Lets fly.

 

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