#Itinerary, #Thoughts

San Francisco: Good Conversation & Moonlight

I am sorry guys for this delayed blog! I have been working 60-80 hour weeks and between time I had to switch hosts and fuss and fight trying to get the coding right. It’s been stressful to say the least but I’m getting closer to Belize and I had to get this out or I’d feel bad about myself. Seriously!

Picture it. San Francisco. Last week. Landing in a rush to see what the city has to offer and find the one thing that’s always dangling in front of me but I can never grasp. I don’t even know what it is but I know that it’s missing and leaves a gaping throbbing hole in my day to day life. The city is like any other city. Large, beautiful and full of history but a whirlwind of hills that left me disappointed in search of nothing but everything at the same time.

Itinerary a mile long and the first day there I hit the pavement running in a hot sweater and Vans that I hadn’t broken in yet. I was going up and down streets, texting back home and realizing that I was tired as hell and I didn’t feel a change in spirit. Traveling is a spiritual experience. An experience I always hope to get high on and return purified. The museums filled with people made me feel alone and getting lost grew tiresome. I felt an intense pressure to find it.

san francisco, greetingsfromharper

And then I found it the first night when I stepped inside of the lobby of The Grant Plaza and Carla, a source of my travel envy, came waltzing down the steps and hugged me. I’m a quiet reserved person when I meet people but when I hugged her I felt at ease and walked and talked with her into the San Francisco night. Beautiful lights danced around Chinatown and my body released tension. She was hungry and I was hungry because I was supposed to be so we headed to Nizarios on Columbus Ave.

My achy body suddenly got it’s second wind as I had fun talking about her day at her conference. We got our food and stood outside of the restaurant waiting on the Lyft driver and everything seemed so relaxing. My level of happiness increased by 1400% just having her there to talk to me. Usually people flake on me but she showed up, hugged me, bought my dinner.

Looking around everything that I saw earlier in the day seemed so much more amazing to me. Maybe it’s because I only enjoy cities at night or it could be because I had company but it was still stunning. Well, until my arm jerked from behind me and took me by surprise. Startled, I looked behind me and saw a drunk man letting me go and walking away. Crazy always finds me and reminds me that there is no such thing as a safe space for me.

We finally managed to locate our Lyft driver and since she was leaving the next day and wouldn’t see much of the city we headed to the Golden Gate Bridge. My favorite part of the trip was the conversation that we had on the way there and while staring out into the night discussing the suicidal history of the bridge and the tons of videos on YouTube of people attempting and committing suicide. We didn’t talk about anything prolific but it was just nice to talk about death with someone that will respond back with something other than silence. For me to have had a near panic attack thinking I was going to die on the plane ride there, I needed to talk about my fear.

chinatown, san francisco, greetingsfromharper 
The next morning I ended up on Alcatraz Island alone hoping that the wind wouldn’t show my business as it blew while I was taking pictures from the ferry. The island was beautiful, peaceful, and I couldn’t imagine it being filled with history’s most violent criminals. I spent the morning walking in circles checking out the views from every corner, missing the ferry each time that I walked off into another direction. After I got enough of the foggy views of the city, I left and went to Fisherman’s Wharf, ate, saw the otters and went on a chaotic costly adventure back to see the Golden Gate Bridge and The Painted Ladies during the day.

pier 39, fisherman's wharf,san francisco, greetingsfromharper


Then the craziest thing happened when I got into another Lyft after walking in circles trying to find the Fillmore Theater. Well, yes, my Lyft driver being black was unique because I hadn’t noticed another black person outside of the Museum of the African Diaspora but I finally heard music for the first time the entire trip. I wrote an entire blog post about how I needed music to be my guide and I didn’t even hum or listen one note after I got off the plane.

I’m not sure if that was a sign but it was a welcomed riding experience. No forced conversation with a strange man driving me,  pretending to care where I’m from or how long I’m staying. More than likely trying to drive in circles to run up my tab but a semi quiet ride with me, my harmonizing driver and his music. The song was so good I had to SoundHound it on my phone so I could listen to it later.

The song put my year into perspective. I went from being headed towards being debt free, to being abused, being embarrassed about the abuse, losing out on being a mom, watching my friends become mothers, to being jobless and struggling with my health and drowning in medical bills and not knowing how to function without needing help. Now I’m regaining some sort of sense of self, getting back to what I enjoy the most and writing about it.Breathing with ease. Accepting who I was, accepting what I was and what’s to come. Broke but not broken.

I zoned out thinking about all of this while headed back to my hotel while my Lyft driver sung along with the music and I finally let a lot of my baggage go. I felt a thousand pounds lighter getting out of his Lexus. He told me goodbye and I tipped him with ease and headed back into The Grant Plaza.

san francisco, greetingsfromharper

That night I saw Moonlight.

I follow a beautiful screenwriter @JasFly on twitter and for about a month she was singing praises about this movie, wanting everyone to go see it. Honestly, every suggestion that she makes, movie wise is usually up my ally and I was ecstatic when she tweeted the release date for theaters. I saw the preview of the movie and was captivated but unfortunately on the release date the movie wasn’t showing in smaller markets so I saved it for this trip.

When I got ready to head to the movies I couldn’t remember why I was dying to see it and I didn’t want to watch the preview again thinking I forgot for a reason. I wanted to go in clueless with the exception that my movie guru suggested it.

Without giving away the movie, Moonlight is a spiritual experience. I’m not gay. I’m not struggling with my sexuality but still this movie moved me like a sinner going to church after a wild night needing to repent. Negative energies floated off my body like an exorcism and was immediately replaced by a coolness, airy, sing songing, dancing lust for hope, lust for love, lust for a man to love me enough to drive 17hrs to let me cook for him and end the night in my arms, vulnerable.

Vulnerable is the only way to describe this movie. It was absolute vulnerability porn and I got so high off of it.

While watching you forget what this movie is about because, honestly, nothing happens. It’s just watching someone dealing with life, emotions and the motions of getting through it all or putting up a facade that says I’m through the humps until someone calls you out on it. I remembered my childhood and was mad that I didn’t have a Juan or Theresa like Little to help me find my way. I remembered high school and felt Chiron’s pain. I watched Black and saw me in his eyes. Who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to be living for? What makes me happy? What’s real?

Knowing and not knowing these answers, I walked out of the movie theater wanting to go back in to watch again, to feel the same emotions or see if I left anything behind that I didn’t see or that I didn’t feel. Standing on Sacramento Ave, I felt even lighter than before and happier that I was living, breathing and feeling again.

san francisco, greetingsfromharper

San Francisco gave me everything I needed.

If you want to view my pictures from my time there with no captions involved (lol) you can click HERE and HERE. You can also visit Carla’s blog HERE! Thanks for reading!

3 thoughts on “San Francisco: Good Conversation & Moonlight”

  1. Carla says:

    This was one of the shortest, but most fulfilling trips that I’ve been on. And I’m sure it’s because of the mini-adventure we went on. We have to plan something again reeeeaaalll soon. I have never laughed so much while being cold as hell at the same time. LOL!

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