Loca rants

Why I’ll Never Settle

I can never settle, I will never settle. I’ve had the best of the best and know what true love really is. I can never accept anything less, even if it means living alone for eternity—because in reality, I still have that love and always will.

It was 10 years ago today but it still feels like it was yesterday. That wrenching pain searing through my gut—it gripped my entire body and knocked me to my knees, begging for it to be a mistake, a lie, a sick twisted joke.

The phone call, the feeling that told me he was gone before I ever received the call. The dreams I had afterwards, the nightmares that woke me up at three in the morning screaming and sweating and begging for it to not be true.

I still wake up sometimes and forget for just one delicious minute. I wonder where I am and how I got here. I can still feel his touch and the butterflies I would get when he walked into the room. Being together was like the most amazing dream come true. I couldn’t believe I met someone so perfect, so on track with evolving the same way I wanted to, filled with the qualities that mattered most to me. It wasn’t perfect, nothing is—but it was as close to perfect as anything I’ve even dreamed about.

It was all about these specific moments. I always tried so hard to be good and do the right thing, but I had to break someone else’s heart to make our dreams come true. All it took was one split second to make the decision and go with him instead. I didn’t regret it then and never will. From then on, all there is to remember are the moments of elation, challenge and growth—and there were so many of them. I am so blessed to have had so many.

We were in London one night sitting on a rooftop, like we did in every city we visited and in every city we lived in. He told me to take a photograph in my mind and freeze that moment, to remember that perfection until the end of time. He did that always, reminded me to be present and savor each moment. Make time stand still, because life moved so fast—if we didn’t, we would lose it entirely. It would be gone forever.

It was exactly what he was doing in that one specific moment when his life was taken.

Why did he have to go when we still had so much to do together? Or were we already done? Why was I the one chosen to stay here and live through the aftermath? I can’t help but think what would have been if I’d been there, how different everyone’s lives would be. I would have three kids by now and I would love them so much. I would throw everything I had into making their lives so perfect. Maybe I would be a boring soccer mom instead of a crazy writer. Or maybe one specific moment would have destroyed our unjaded love in a way I could never have predicted. Maybe I’d be selling oranges by the freeway and wondering how I got there. Instead I am right here in this specific moment—and I’m okay.

It was the worst suffering of all, but once I let go of that, I realized nothing can ever take away that love. It’s still there, whether he’s here or not. I will always feel it. And now I refuse to settle for mediocrity or be afraid to experience those beautiful, specific moments that make life so amazing.

But I won’t lie—I still fall to my knees and beg for it to not be true.

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Cookies, a fat sack and the ladder to hell

How I got over it

I decided to get really real for this post and not focus on the things I get paid to write about, like my beloved little zombie friends and apocalypse beauty tips. I think it’s an important part of the purging process, especially when you keep things inside for a long time. We all know breakups suck, especially when they drag on and on, or if you’re part of one of those on-again/off-again roller coaster rides that are so satisfying yet, at the same time, gut-wrenching and bloody.

When the ex-love-of-my-life called to say he missed me and was thinking about me, I was a little surprised. I received that same phone call from him many times in the past, but this time, he’d just gotten married—the weekend before. Did I mention our last attempt at a go-around was just six months prior? And that the grand finale absolutely shredded my heart? While my husband calling an ex wouldn’t be my ideal scenario for the first week of marriage, I won’t give in to speculating about whether his is a happy marriage or a sham. I sincerely want him to be super happy and live an amazing life.

Truth be told—up until this phone call, I really thought I was over it. But there are always those vestiges that linger, even when you move on and are with someone else who’s better for you. I don’t think that’s a bad thing really; when you truly love and care about someone, you’re always going to have traces of feelings for them. That’s what love is. But even though my life is amazing and phenomenal, it still felt like someone dropkicked me in the stomach while wearing cinder blocks for shoes.

This time, I concocted the most amazing formula to get over it. While I did, of course, indulge in the cliche marathon phone call to my best friend, I’m not trying to spend weeks reading self-help books and hitting psychoanalysis, so I figured out my own decadent approach for cheering myself up. Read on.

  1. I baked myself cookies. I never just bake for myself, so this time I made my favorites—classic chocolate chip cookies and red velvet cupcakes—and had them for dinner. And breakfast.
  2. I bought myself a sick pair of Jimmy Choos, an equally sick pair of jeans, a hot minidress and a fat sack of weed. Not in that order, but all within a 24 hour period.
  3. I went for a run in nature. The canal by my house counts as nature, right? Anyway, I don’t run—I actually abhor it. And that’s the first time I’ve ever said, let alone written, the word “abhor.” While I hate running with a passion 364 days out of the year, when you want to zone way out and squeeze every last ounce of emotion out of your body, it really does the trick.
  4. I climbed the ladder to hell. Okay, not literally, but “Jacob’s Ladder,” this ominous treadmill-ish machine at my gym. You climb up it with both your hands and feet, and the faster you go, the more difficult it gets. I climbed that evil thing until I was seriously about to purge my cupcake breakfast all over my fellow gym rats. I had to go sit in my car for like 10 minutes afterwards, but it still felt amazing.
  5. I had a dance party by myself. Not the usual stuff I would dance to in a bar, like hip hop or house, but old school punk rock that makes you want to thrash around and jump in a mosh pit. I fell into bed exhausted after this step—it may even be a better workout than Jacob’s Ladder.

Don’t be sad because it ended—be happy because it happened.
Dr. Seuss



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5150 and proud of it

I admit it, I’m crazy. But here’s the thing—I like it. I won’t be doing anything to change it.

I’m not talking the full 72-hour-hold type of crazy, the I’m-going-to-slash-my-wrists-the-right-way-in-someone-else’s-bathtub kind of psychosis. I’m talking the little bit wild, free-spirited, different thinking, kinda awesome type of crazy. The kind that fuels incredible, gut wrenching works of art, inspires amazing novels and films, and gives you the fearlessness you need to leap over anxiety-inducing obstacles. The incendiary kind of crazy that reminds you that you’re alive.

This delicious but volatile state can drive a relationship to the fiercest places imaginable—that tumultuous rollercoaster ride they call crazy love. We’ve all taken that journey at one time, evolving into that lunatic of a girl that an angry or overwhelmed boyfriend deems crazy. Boiling bunnies and ferrets aside, yes, women may be a little bit crazier than men. Is that really such a bad thing?

Ultimately, we’re often classified as loca simply because we’re different from the opposite sex—we are so completely disparate in the way we act, think and love. We often wear our emotions on our sleeve and may sometimes act on them irrationally. Yet how boring would our world be if we all just upped our testosterone and jumped into the boxing ring when we were feeling emotional?

It’s easy to understand why a crazy episode can scare a man back into the cave that he came from. How can they comprehend a flood of emotions that grips your entire being? The kind that makes you disappear into a blur of white flashes and adrenaline rushes, sticky sweet one moment and pure scalding fire the next. That wave of lunacy that pulls you out into a deep, invisible ocean where you ride wave after crashing wave, until you suddenly wake up and no longer recognize yourself.

If you haven’t experienced your crazy side, you’re truly missing out—or you’re in denial. If I didn’t embrace mine, how else would I give birth to the twisted screenplays that pay my bills, write deviant reflections on life and devise innovative ways to publicize the other writers and clients I represent? How would I creatively solve business problems that require more abstract, out-of-the-box thinking? Where would I escape from the tragedies and danger that life confronts me with? How would I be able to fend off the zombies that attack me in an apocalyptic quest to consume my scrumptious brains?

Life is just too short to bottle it all in. I’m not saying bust out the machete and let loose on the neighborhood—just that it’s not so bad to indulge your inner lunatic every once in awhile. Who cares what anyone else thinks? The opinion of some random truly has no effect on your life—only you can give them that power. What’s most important is what you think and what the ones you love think. And if they love you too, I guarantee they will accept you for all your craziness. They might even like it.

The next time someone calls you crazy, psycho or loca, smile sweetly and thank them. Then go ahead and flash them that deranged glint in your eye.

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Gut checks and gorings

For some strange reason, all these celebrities who make appearances or get “mugged” on Skid Row inspired me to finally write about my experience in Pamplona this summer. Maybe it’s the whole “asking for trouble” or “playing with fire” correlation. While privileged actors hit up Skid Row looking for the hard stuff so they can get their own personal thrill, I hit the streets of Pamplona to experience an adrenaline rush like no other—without the stuff.

The thing is, I forgot that danger isn’t always where you think it is.

After a few relaxing days in gorgeous, upscale San Sebastian, we rode a decidedly less upscale bus to Pamplona. Even though I’d mapped out the 10-minute walk from the train station to our hotel, I knew the friend I was traveling with didn’t want to make the trek with her gigantic rolling suitcase. So when we arrived in Pamplona, I broke one of my cardinal rules of travel—only take registered taxis from hotels or airports. After traveling through the war zone of former Yugoslavia and a few scary experiences in Egypt, yeah, I have some rules. Despite the little tingling in my gut, we jumped in this creepy little man’s cab.

We handed over our luggage so he could put it in the trunk, and carried our purses in the car with us. He didn’t know English, so we gave him the address and that was it. He called someone on his Bluetooth, which we could hear through the car speakers. I thought it was weird that, when the person answered, he just punched in a couple of numbers and hung up. Whatever. Crank call to your heart’s content. Just get us to our hotel.

Once we arrived at the hotel, he didn’t quite pull all the way up to it. The streets were packed with thousands of people in their white and red, but there was still enough room to take us all the way there. We paid him and then he went to the trunk to get our luggage. When he opened it, we realized that my bag wasn’t there. Still speaking no Inglés, he held up his hand to signify that we didn’t have two pieces back there. Obviously, I know how much luggage I have. After wasting time way too much time arguing with us in Spanish, he drove us back to the station at a snail’s pace.

There it was. Three police officers were surrounding my luggage. I’m so lucky. I got out and talked to them while one of them seemed to be arguing with the driver. They saw the entire thing go down—the driver left the bag in the street and another man quickly ran out to try and grab it. But they stopped the wannabe thief and confiscated my bag until either we came back for it or it was deemed property of the bomb squad.

At this point, we just wanted to get back to the hotel. Our driver took us back and as my friend got out of the car, he shouted, “50 euros.” That wasn’t going to happen. I was super incensed by the whole almost-losing-my-luggage experience, so no, I told him, I’m not paying you for taking us back to where you left my luggage in the street. “We call the police!” he threatened. Perfect, call the police!

Suddenly, his English was perfect. What a surprise. We continued to argue and since he wouldn’t open the trunk to give us our bags, I wouldn’t get out of the car—it was a total stalemate. But all of a sudden, the next thing I knew, he jumped back in the driver’s seat, simultaneously igniting the door locks. Somehow, I had the forethought to throw my purse out the cracked window to my friend. It had my money, passport, cellphone and map in it. This idiot was not going to rob me.

He made a maniacal three point turn as I watched our hotel and my friend disappear from my sight. Now what? I tried to stay calm as he yelled even more maniacally than he drove. Once I got past that immediate rush of panic, I realized we were getting further away from the hotel. I needed to do something. Clearly, he wasn’t calling the police, but I didn’t think he had a backup plan for his little robbery-gone-wrong. I could tell we were both thinking, what now?

I started messing with his head. You’re screwed now, I told him. You don’t kidnap an American and get away with it. And I promise you, my friend is inside that hotel calling the cops.

He snickered and sneered. So I went a step further.

By tomorrow night, you’ll be someone’s bitch. Guys your size don’t make it far in prison. You’re screwed.

“Give me 50 euro,” he repeated.

My friend has my money, my phone, everything. You’re screwed. You’re kidnapping an American. Your life is over.

This probably only went on for five minutes, but it felt like five hours. Finally, either he came to his senses or got sick of listening to me. A little luggage theft and an international kidnapping are two very different things. He stopped in the middle of traffic, threw our bags out of the trunk and let me out.

Thankfully, I have an insanely good sense of direction and somehow made my way back to the hotel with our two rolling suitcases—but I was sweating and p*ssed by the time I got there. Police were swarming. Apparently, the hotel got the entire incident on video and there were many witnesses.

We probably should have just given him the 50 euros—I know you’re supposed to just give up your purse or wallet in situations where you feel threatened. Obviously, that gene is just not in my pool. While I would never recommend someone do what I did, I can’t take it back and I don’t regret it. They caught the culprit that very night, so as a result of my irrational behavior, he could no longer run his luggage-theft scam on other tourists for the rest of Pamplona’s most popular week for tourism.

Once the police were gone, I unpacked and decided this would not ruin my time in Pamplona.

The next morning, as I was waited in the throngs for the run to start, we kept attracting attention from American guys in the crowd. I’m not sure whether it was my red-white-and-blue makeup and headband or the fact that we were two of only six girls who ran that day, out of almost 4000 people. People kept asking me for advice on the run, thinking I’d done it already, because I looked so zen and didn’t seem nervous. That’s because I wasn’t nervous. After avoiding a near-kidnapping, I figured, these bulls are nothing to be scared of.

I was right—running with the bulls is one of the most amazing things ever. You feel so alive and you totally bond with the people you run with. The adrenaline rush is like nothing else I’ve experienced, every sense is just awake. There were no gorings the day we ran, but like every day of the Encierro, a few suffered minor injuries.

What did I learn from this experience? Listen to your gut and don’t mess with the U.S. Or girls from the U.S., anyway. Would I do it again? I’ve already booked my ticket for next year.

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