The Pit

July 25, 2007

It always happens when I’m looking at fucking myspace. I quit smoking and drinking too much, so now I torture myself with myspace. I read the messages, and even if they’re not for me, it starts to rip at the cuticle. I see the pictures of them floating the river, the stupid ass home-made sarcastic Fourth of July T-shirts and blood appears. I don’t get the inside jokes, I’m not in the play on Saturday and now I’m sticking my hands in salty lemon juice. I want to be there and here or them here, but with the velveeta and bar-b-cue sauce and LoneStar Beer.

I know that I need to make friends here, but I really like the friends that I already have. I have lots of them, plenty really. I know that they can’t be here, but I feel like I should get some sort of voucher that I can present for the same level of friendship here. I’ve done the work. I’ve drunk the beer, listened to the crying, missed the fun party to eat chocolate and watch DVD’s. I’ve covered the back stories, religion, abortion, existentialism. I’ve moved boxes and painted bedrooms and put away the potato salad and talked to the bondsmen.

And now I’m here. I’ve got a house with good food and rad boyfriend and the van’s got the camping shit in it ready to go. We’re all getting tired of getting wasted and ready to get fat and maybe have kids and be boring and intimate. And they’re not here. And it’s not the right time to get new ones. All the good ones here are taken and it doesn’t feel like there’s enough time for them to know what it means, really means when I say, “Dad’s back in Parkside.”

They already have their Emilys and Jasons and Craigs and Natalies and Hilahs and I really don’t know if any of us have the energy to add my name to that list. We have our boyfriends, most of them have babies, they have their families and their favorite campgrounds and secret Kiwi closed-mouth language.

And I? I have it all. Absolutely everything. It’s just all in different places. And I’m in the pit.

Finishing Touches

June 29, 2007

My fingers can’t feel the way they are supposed to-from the inside and the outside-because of the dried spackle and gorilla glue. Our bedroom-the bedroom that is ours-is finally ready to paint. But, oh god, what color? Can I really paint my bedroom “Teal?” Not to mention that it’s the name of my ex’s ex, but goddamn it Teal is the color of a bitchy girl’s headband that doesn’t get sweaty no matter how much tennis she plays. “Pirate’s Haven” is now referred to as Keira Knightly’s Minge. They really shouldn’t name colors. I understand why they do, but I think it just adds another level of distraction to an already complicated process. “Kaikoura” just seems so much easier to live with even though it’s so dark it’s almost black and sometimes it looks purple.

Oy vey.

Bar-the-lona

June 24, 2007

This is a copy of the first two emails I sent home from my round the world trip I up and went on when I was 25. Uhhhhh…I’m from Texas and we don’t normally do that sort of thing, so I was pretty scared shitless. I went to Cancun when I was 15, so you know, I was pretty prepared for anything that might come up in Spain. Luckily, a good friend of my parents lives in Barcelona (my first stop) and was a HUGE, big fluffy cushion for me to land on. Except she didn’t have room for me to stay at her place and made me stay with an American hating French woman. Ol’e!

¡Hola! i made it to barcelona, in my hostel

>

>have to go, out of time
March 2004

I´ve tried several times to post a blog, but I can´t seem to figure it out. This will have to do for now, I´m not sure if I´m repeating things you might have heard already, but here goes. If you don´t care about these emails, write me back and I will remove you from my list.

I had a ten hour flight from Houston to Frankfurt, pretty uneventful-I was able to sleep in two seats and adjusted my body clock to Barcelona time.

I made my connection without a hitch and with seconds to spare. The two hour flight to Barcelona was very crowded with Germans and babies. It was a turbulent flight through puffy cumulous clouds that rocked our world plane and made the babies cry and one of them puke.

When I landed in Barcelona I went to the wrong baggage claim terminal and calmly panicked as I imagined some stranger picking up my backpack as it went around and around all by itself on the carousel. I managed to get back into the right terminal without a ticket (much more lax than in the States) and retrieved my pack.

I managed to find a bus to the center of the city (Placa Catalonya) and then took a cab to my hostel. The hostel was nice and clean and full of screamy Italian teenagers and way too skinny smoking French girls wearing all white.

I had a second story bunk with my own locker, settled in, tried to call Melonie (family friend) and laid down for a nap.

I finally got a hold of Melonie who informed me that my apartment deal had fallen through, but that she had a friend with an extra room I could rent. Anne Celine (her friend) wanted to meet me, so we arranged to meet at La Jaica, a bar near the sea. Mel gave me directions and I set out. In the completely wrong direction. For an hour and a half I was lost and it started to rain. I gave up, got in a cab and was there in 10 minutes.

I met Mel, Anne Celine, Mel´s baby daddy and her two beautiful babies. We drank beer and caught up and ate fried squid.

Mel left me with Anne Celine (actress/professor/American-hater) to check out the apartment. We stopped at two of her favorite bars on the way, we shared beers and absinthe. We had broken, one-sided conversations for an hour or so and then we headed to her apartment.

The apartment is in an old building, the door flanked by ficus trees. We shared a Spanish tallboy and talked about men. I played her Khattie´s mix tape, which she loved and we decided I should spend the night there.

I keep getting asked if I´m hungry, I say yes, they say good and then they bring out a saucer of olives. For dinner. For three people.

I slept until late morning in her spare room. She calls it her boyfriend´s room eventhough they share the same bed. “I send him there when I can´t look at him any more. It´s better than couch.”

Anne Celine left me a sweet note in the morning welcoming me to her house and directing me to cookies in the fridge. She has a tiny apartment with a tiny balcony and an outdoor laundry room. It´s a neat place and I´m sure I´ll be comfortable there. I just hope she doesn´t get tired of looking at her boyfriend.

Yesterday, I spent the day getting my bearings and staring at the sea. I babysat Mel´s two babies and it was the most fun I´ve had since I got here. Lucia, the precocious and fiercly independant three year old played in her teepee on there roof top terrace and sang me songs in Catalon. Agatha the round one-year-old bounced in her johnny-jump up. Lucia got more and more comfortable with me and insisted that she come to my house, I told her it was too far and she said we could fly there. She showed me photos of her grandparents in America and I relented and said she could visit me anytime. She is brilliant.

Mel came home and cooked me roast with potatoes, onions and carrots. It was delicious.

I walked home through Las Ramblas and was hijaked by a gay guy from Amsterdam. “Let´s sit here and pick out two Spanish boys.” I played along for a while and then decided to go home.

I´m getting used to it all, the jet lag is wearing off, I´m a little more comfortable. I still haven´t decided if I like this whole traveling thing, but I will be in the best shape of my life when I get home. If nothing else, this is the most elaborate weight loss plan I´ve ever embarked on. Olives anyone?

Love, Laurel

Home-homey-home?

June 24, 2007

Well, we’re back home. If you can call it that. I mean, I actually own this actual house. And it has a fireplace and a boyfriend and the pantry is full of things to make real meals. Are these the things that make it home? We had the family over for Sunday roast, there was even a baby here that I LOVE. Still, it’s not (or I’m not) quite there yet. It’s like I can’t be all the way me here-twenty percent of me has gone pins and needles and isn’t able to bear my full weight.

The trip back home(?) to Texas was really good. It felt just the way it should. Melty cheesey, spicey, tequila-y, funny, friendsy, family. Ash and I got along better than we have since the very beginning. I was me 100% with all the extra New Zealand homemaker, homeowner goodness baked in and sprinkled on top. It smelled right, like live oaks and charcoal briquettes and sounded right like “iced tea” and “toobs.” I missed here though, but now that I’m back I feel like my cup cake wrapper’s been taken off and a lot of me’s still on it.

I know I can make it right here, I just sometimes don’t want to. Like if I do, then it will somehow make Texas disappear. Like in Back to The Future when Marty’s brother starts fading from the photo because his Mom wants to fuck her own son instead of Crispen Glover. I know it doesn’t make any sense at all.

Sorry to continue with the percentages and baking mixed metaphors, but it’s like my life’s a pie graph and I can’t get all the slices to fit in at the same time. When I shove in the “fantastic boyfriend/beautiful house/best country in the world” slices, out pop the “feeling at home/nephew asking me ‘why you so gorgeous?’/best friends in my pajamas all day with the velveeta and good cable” slices. I think I’m starting to come out of the horrible depressed fatal system error feedback loop I was stuck in a year ago when ever I tried to asses this predicament. I only cry every other day and for less than five minutes at a time. Mostly.

In other new, I’ve committed myself to a life of wealth so that the distance will close. The pie pieces will fit like a perfectly completed Trivial Pursuits game piece and I will fly to Texas whenever I need to eat queso and laugh like only a native can.

Best Day/Scared Shitless

March 3, 2007

Ash and I did my favorite thing (or favourite thing) today. Walked the long way around and down the hill from our house in Hataitai to Wellington City. We used to do it almost every Saturday before Tom came to live with us and we were afraid to leave the house. It’s gorgeous here today; not too windy, flat sea, no clouds and I’m quite happy to either swim or pull my longsleeves down.

In town we dropped jewellery off at the gallery that was going to be ours. Browsed and drooled over housewares, had brunch, tried on swimsuits and spent a couple hours at the library browsing and drooling over couches in design magazines. He really is my favourite man. Took the bus back up the hill and now we’re going for a swim.

The girl that used to live here got Girls Scout Cookies in the mail. I threw out her forwarding address, but Ash still won’t let me eat them. Outside of the library, there were girl’s selling Girl Guide cookies. Ash bought me some. They’re not the same, no Do Si Dos.

Just over a week till we leave for Texas and I’m already having trouble sleeping. It’s not just the fear of mortgage payments starting on the last day of work, but I’m scared shitless of going home. I’m scared it won’t be comfortable and home-like and equally scared it will. I’ve just, just gotten to a point where the heart is not breaking, where tears aren’t rimming, where my life doesn’t seem an impossible exercise in compromise.
I’m scared. Shitless.

One Year

October 12, 2006

Sometime this week, I’m not exactly sure of the date, is the one year anniversary that I quit smoking. I remember the very last cigarette, knowing that it was my last forever and knowing that I couldn’t wait to tell my Mom. I also knew that the first question after telling her I quit would be, “how long ago?” and it was. I knew that when I said, “a week ago,” she would be disappointed yet cautiously optimistic. I also knew what she didn’t; in exactly one year, I would write this message and we could all celebrate that I REALLY did quit smoking. Boo-yah.

Five years ago, I wrote the very last entry in my very first diary. It’s not on the last page, but it will be the last thing ever written in that book. I was smack dab in the middle of my “quarter life crisis” as it is wretchedly refered to and desperate for the hand of God or a career counselor to annoint me with “the answer.”

Like everyone my age who grew up with hippy parents and Oprah telling us that, “anything is possible if you put your mind to it.” and “follow your passion,” I was sick with the pressure to limit my passion down to one neatly defined goal and then “put my mind to it” so that I could be the best at my chosen passion (which is also somehow implied in the message). Actor, writer, cartographer, midwife, advertiser, vagabond, momma my mind marched on and on and on and on. Completely overwhelmed I quit school, my job and my boyfriend.

None of it was a plan, none of it was “putting my mind to it.” For a year and a half I simply was doing and it felt right. I made a lot of good art and good friends. I took control of floundering relationships, I laughed all the time, I confounded my loved ones with my decisions. I lived without regard for other people’s expectations and was really, really, really free. I worked a job with people I LOVED even though the work itself left something to be desired. It was a raucous, joyous, simple and easy time that could have gone on forever.

The very last line of the very last entry of my very first diary is, “maybe I should travel.” I lied to my hair dresser that the reason I had so many split ends was because I had just finished a trip around the world and was too afraid to get my hair cut overseas. Somehow planted a life seed without even knowing it.

Five years later, I live on the other side of the world and my mind chants, “actor, writer, cartographer, midwife, advertiser, vagobond, momma and on and on and on.” And I get overwhelmed. And I write in my journal. And I KNOW that Oprah and my hippy parents are right. I just wonder what seeds I’m planting right now. But most of all I’m really happy that I FUCKING QUIT SMOING!!!!!!!!! because what more proof do I need that anything is possible?

I hope you all can take this as an excuse to stop worrying about “the plan” and realize that you are probably doing more planning than you know.

Love, Laurel

PS A special shout out to all my homies that quit smoking this year too (I can’t wait till you get to write this message): Dad, Emily, Evan, Jason, Hilah, Mark, Kim and Sigmund. A special FUCK YEAH to all of you!

Crazy Town

October 4, 2006

It’s the most planned for and orchestrated collision with a brick wall since the first koolaid (is that how you spell it? when you have hippy parents All KoolAide is Jonestown Kool-aid) commercial. Two months of three square meals, seven weekly case worker visits, 48 tabs of Risperadone (but, really who knows how many he really swallowed), 17 billion off-peak minutes and now we wait for the crash.

Will he refuse to take the pills tonight, or will it be tomorrow? Will he go willingly on the 9:00am bus to the day camp version of the psychiatric hospital tomorrow? When exactly will we have to force him out into the shitstorm on his own? The wind is blowing at 100kph and the rain is sideways. His goodbye kit includes a five dollar calling card and a list of youth hostels. The 17 billion off-peak minutes have determined that this is the only way. Best case scenario is that he acts so scarily crazy that a member of the public calls the cops. That way he can be committed against his will. Yaaaay!

As someone from a long line of acid trippers, I’m really glad that it’s hard to commit someone against their will. However…oh, fuck it. I don’t have the energy. I’ll keep you posted. Stay tuned for entries detailing how Ash charmed so completely that I’m willing to put up with crazy town!

Start at the Very Beginning

September 30, 2006

This is the very first entry in my first ever official Diary. I’ve got some older journalish type writings from before this, but I consider this the beginning of my recorded history. It was the summer after 6th grade. I was the last of my friends to turn 12.

Saturday, June 26th, 1990.

Dear Diary,

I got this diary last night at my birthday-dance. Several important things happened last night. Some of these are: Summer Mitchell broke her leg (my boyfriend was pulling her up of the ground when she fell wrong on the marble floor), I slow dance with my boyfriend Grant Morris- I wish he kissed me.

I got:

Black Umbros
Pink Plastics
$63
This Diary
Earrings
A Bart Simpson poster
2 Boxes of Candy
Chill Out
Concert tickets to Depeche Mode.

Well I better go now.

Laurel Jade Williams ’90

P.S. I also got a key chain and a windsock

P.P.S. Who’s Going Together
Laurel-Grant
Priscilla-Jeremy
Vanessa-Matt
Kelly-Mike
Shannon-Brett
Annette-Jason K.
April-Troy
Autumn-Steve
Hilary-Alex

Author’s Note: The entry was written in red ink that originally smelled strawberry-y. The post-post script was later edited with pencil scribble to denote which of these couples did not make it. After Grant, I went on to date Mike, Troy and Alex briefly. Last I heard Alex was performing in an all-male, all-nude play that focused on homosexual issues. Sadly, all of these couples were eventually scribbled out. In my heart of hearts I hope to someday add Alex-Jason K to the list.

Pin Dropping In Space

June 15, 2006

Happy first blogday to me! The first page is always the hardest. That’s my stock start first journal entry, relieves the pressure. Tomorrow the back of the page will be all bumpy and textured and easy and good.

Love, Laurel