Ask Jenny

Vacuuming

January 16, 2020

I had a 7am shift in Beverly Hills. I slept over at Jamie’s apartment the night before, then woke up at 6am, took an orange from her kitchen counter, and left while she was still asleep to make it to my job.

I will remember this as the chapter in my life where I worked five very different jobs. The job I’m currently talking about is at Anthropologie, a French-inspired clothing and lifestyle retailer for well-off women. The store sells a slew of feminine adjectives. Dreamy, bohemian, warm, rustic, romantic, beautiful. During early morning shifts, I usually restock our candles and stationery. This morning, for the first time, I was asked to vacuum and dust the entire store by myself.

A few weeks ago, I was in Mexico City. I was there for my second job, facilitating a workshop on business model design and strategic foresight for students at an interdisciplinary university. What a long, niche sentence. The students were much older and much cooler than me. For dinner one night, my mentor and I ate crickets on a pizza. I always had an intention to work and travel, to meet interesting people and eat new foods. I never thought it would happen this way. But it happened. Then suddenly I was on a plane back, then I was in Los Angeles traffic, then I was buying groceries and listening to the radio, and then at 7am a few weeks later, I was the same person, on my knees, picking lint out of a vacuum, cleaning the floor of a boutique in Beverly Hills at 7am.

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What is the difference between desire and longing?

January 16, 2020

For the last six months, I lived in a bustling, crazy artist collective in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Day in and day out, people were singing, including me. We chased exciting things, for the art of our lives, between giggles, casting calls, retail shifts, bus rides, and service jobs downtown. I had not patiently sipped on a soup in months. In fact, I hadn’t been patient at all in months. I got a rash on my face one week, probably because I was so impatient, manic, completely careless. When my roommates noticed, one gave me calendula cream and another gave me blueberries. There was one morning where a bunch of us all shared a chocolate banana smoothie batch while we vacuumed our old couches and played the Lizzie McGuire movie in the background for the third time that week.

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Presently,

October 15, 2019

Presently,

  1. I live in Los Angeles in an artist collective with 28 people. It’s crowded, but I kind of love it. I watch movies and cook family dinners with actors, musicians, dancers, screenwriters, models, designers, and stylists. Everyone is from everywhere else. My own life is full of uncertainty, so it’s good for me to be with friends who are also living for their dreams. We support each other through long days, bad health, insecurity, and the demands of our work.
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The Origin Of Cubism

September 14, 2019

This is a short journal ramble I wrote in February 2019.

If I asked you to describe yourself in one word, you would:

  1. avoid the question and tell me how other people describe you;
  2. say instead what you strive to be;
  3. ad-lib a cohesive story about a word that ties together your most recent narcissisms, even though deep down you know it’s not holistic;
  4. admit that it’s useless because it’s impossible!

Whichever way, I agree.

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Dating

September 14, 2019

This is a rough draft of a story I wrote in July 2018. This draft wasn’t perfect so I was embarrassed to shared it, but today I found it and I guess it’s kind of dorky and cute. I now feel courageous enough to share!

The foyer of the mansion was full of both friends and strangers talking lively. She felt like she needed a short break, so she walked away. For a while, she wandered down hallways with high ceilings and past columns and curious bathrooms. Though she did not care about every door she passed, she did open the many that caught her whim. She peeked into bedrooms, studies, galleries, drawing rooms, libraries, and even music rooms.

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Rare Woman

July 8, 2018

You are very kind and strong and smart, she tells me. But I think you should wear makeup more often so other people might take the time to notice these good qualities too. She miscommunicates, stroking my eyelid with bronze dust, but I know what she means. Who we seem is who we are to the impatient people of two-second handshakes. So my mother is honest about her femininity as an advantage. It’s her own way. She powders my cheek gently.

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Sky Chatting

November 4, 2017

Back when I was afraid of falling asleep by myself, shadows of trees would rock against my bedroom ceiling. I did not want to close my eyes, so I would concentrate on its drywall texture. It was a map of unexplored geography. In the shadows, I imagined the stencils of kingdoms until I was dizzy from concentrating on the ceiling. I would turn away from the dark shapes and try to sleep, but restless nausea met the fear of closing my eyes.

We lived in Federal Way, Washington, back when “federal” was not in my vocabulary. There was a two-bedroom townhouse for you, me, and Robert. Every night, you and Robert went to sleep in the master bedroom. I went alone to my dark, drywall sky. I was afraid to close my eyes. I would go to your room to escape shadowy kingdoms. I could finally fall asleep next to you.

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As Flower as Fiction

September 25, 2017

Drawing is freestyling. I won’t draw exactly what I see, because that’s really hard. I’ll mimic its style, how I see the overall shape, how the light generally falls. But the actual, specific outlines—those details I forego.

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Twenty

February 18, 2017

“What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you are –underneath the year that makes you eleven.”

Sandra Cisneros

I turned 20 on Monday. I’d like to thank God for keeping my dumbass alive for this long, as well as these tidbits of insight I’ve picked up over two decades…

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