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I went to a geothermal swimming pool here in Reykjavik. Before entering the pool people must shower nude in the changing-rooms. There were sixteen-year-old girls naked and giggling around me. Their fine wet hair was slick down their backs, and their small breasts perky. They were beautiful. I wanted to kiss them. Some of them had little freckles across their nose. I desperately wanted to be sixteen again. It is a curious time, full of unnecessary self-consciousness. All these girls were pure untouched women. They were frightening. Like a herd of Gazelle, bounding in joy to graze with timidity, their soft skin only alive to be pierced and bruised. I saw the pulse rapidly beating in one of the girl’s necks. I wanted to bite her. I wanted to be sixteen and unspoiled or Simone from Story of the Eye, so I could befriend the girls and kiss them, and secretly, in someone’s garden, piss on their hands.

Later I saw a crane gently dangling a concrete slab above a new building. Across the road the sea was still and the clouds, heavy with rain, were reflected in the cold water. I was straddling my bike and sucking on my tongue; kissing myself by an unfamiliar slab of sea. Iceland is a windy place. When I trace the shape of Iceland on my map I am reminded of a little lost fish. A dried Cod that has been smacked against lava rocks by naughty children, and left there to freeze in the wind. Fishermen scoop flapping loads of fish out from the sea here. ‘Older Icelanders don’t eat Cod’ is what an Icelandic friend told me. I like it here very much. The every day struggle against the howling wind delights me. Graham Parker wrote a song called ‘Howlin’ Wind’. I never heard it - the wind howling as it does here.

The first time I heard it I thought a siren was calling outside or a girl was screaming. That is the sound of trouble, the wind, I know it because my Mother was a teacher and she hated windy days. Kids turn wild on windy days. Their concentration is lost, and fights break out. Girls’ skirts are forced up. Boys break sticks in half. Kids kill each other in their games on windy days. All the while teachers struggle, shaking their hair out of their faces, calling such and such to come back and so and so to settle down.

And so I was watching this building being built and wondering where Iceland’s underbelly may be forming, if at all. While I was at the geothermal swimming pool I had been irritated by a large old female employee, who demanded that I peel my bathing suit off while she watched me shower. It seemed as though she thought I was unhygienic. Later a friend informed me that the pools aren’t pumped with regular amounts of chemicals and so, it is imperative that people wash thoroughly. She pointed her chubby finger at me and said, ‘Undress’.

There was something clinical about that old lady and her job. I watched her as she sat behind a full-length glass window on a little chair, controlling the hygiene level of other women by sight. I thought of the actions people make when they fuck, and the chemicals men excrete when they orgasm: amino acids, citrate, enzymes, flavins, fructose, phosphorylcholine, prostaglandin, acid phosphatase, citric acid, fibrinolysin, prostate specific antigen, proteolytic enzymes, zinc, chromatin, galactose, mucus, sialic acid...

Later, while swimming, I was haunted by my imaginings of the perverse things some people do in swimming pools, and the lack of care some human beings have for others.

I decided that I no longer enjoy public swimming locations.

I rode my bike down town and saw an Einar Jónsson sculpture of Hannes Þórður Pétursson Hafstein, say it quickly. Try saying his name at all. I rode down dead ends to nothing spaces; those empty pockets between buildings where garbage bins are kept, and the howling wind pushed me onto the ground. The garbage bins were shifting and making this awful bending sound. My hands were blue and stinging from the cold and I kept hoping that someone might appear and tie me to the nearby sculpture of a suited man, holding a brief case, with an incomplete head.

This is the oldest I've ever been

I just went back and looked at a past birthday daylog. It's been five years..

Since then I've joined a fraternity, left Chicago, finished school, truly begun practicing martial arts. I found my first true love, lost my first true love, bought my first car. I stood by my best friend as he joined his life to a wonderful woman, consoled my brother when the woman of his dreams walked out of his life, consoled him again when the next woman did the same thing. I sent a sister off to Seattle, sent the other off to Spain, and was there to welcome both of them back home again. I've met some truly cool people.

I can honestly say I've grown much beyond I ever would have thought back in 2002. My sifu has said that we often overestimate what we can do in a year, but greatly underestimate what we can do in five. This is true. I'm much healthier, calmer, more patient, nicer, happier. I dress better, my living space is tidier, I keep better track of the things that are important in my life. I've come to find a friend in my mother, and I've come to love my father as he is. I'm less afraid of meeting people, I'm less afraid to try new things, I'm less afraid of myself. It's okay to laugh and to cry and to miss people when they're gone.

I sent a letter to a dear friend a few weeks ago, for her birthday. I told her that the best present I could think of to give someone so important to me was to remind them how amazing they are. So that is the present I'm giving myself today: I'm spending the day by myself, with myself. I'm not working, I'm not going to hang out online, I'm not even really going to listen to music. Not going to watch movies, though I'm going to read a good bit. Write a good bit. Practice my tai chi, my kung fu forms, my weapons. Meditate. Nap. Eat food that really makes me happy and content instead of junk that my tongue likes. I'm going to be enjoying myself. In joy in myself.

Last year I made the promise to myself that year 25 would be my best ever. I really, truly believe that happened. By far, hands down, bleeding-awesomeness-all-over great. I think last year was better than the four before it put together. It wasn't always easy pursing my goals, sticking to the things I knew I wanted, but my god was it worth it.

Twenty-six will be my best year ever.

So, I haven’t done this for a long time, because really what’s there to say? I go to school almost every day, and the days I don’t, I have something I need to get done anyway. But today is different. So here we go.

The last two weeks have been bad. No, they’ve been worse than bad, they’ve been awful. It might sound cliché, but everything that could go wrong has. Well, that’s not true, knock on wood there will not be anymore catastrophes in the days to come because I am not sure how much more I can take. At this point, I am so stressed out that I am snapping over every little thing, things that wouldn’t normally bug me.

Classes have been going rough, so I look forward to going home after class to relax. Unfortunately, I live with six other girls in a seven bedroom, three bathroom house. That’s a lot of estrogen. Needless to say, but I am going to say it anyway, there’s a lot of drama. I just cannot deal with the drama anymore, and people setting the air conditioning to warmer than the outside temperature.

So, classes and drama aside, there’s also the getting pulled over, and the house getting broken into, the endless line of stupid people I am faced with day in and day out. I am just in a rotten mood. I have been venting and spilling this putrid bile for days now, and hopefully I will be able to bury it deep deep within me by writing this.

Just keep in mind that when you break into someone else’s house, that’s someone else’s home. Where they feel safe at night. When you break into their house, you’re violating their safety net. Just think of how awful you’d feel knowing some stranger dumped your belongings on your bed and sorted them by perceived worth.

This is the second day in a row I've dreamt about the arrangement of cardboard boxes.

I was watching The Sopranos, which is not a show I'm crazy about - on DVD, obviously. Tony thought his therapy was going so well, he'd bring his whole family. But Lorraine Bracco only handled singles, so he had to get a new guy.

The "doctor" was tall, with a white beard, and the group session was not in a posh office but a huge empty warehouse. The doctor had personally organized hundreds of waist-high cardboard boxes in swirls across the floor. From the angle, I couldn't tell if it was a spiral or concentric circles.

Then he brought out an old gray lawnmower and let it rip.

"Here's the plan," he said, pointing. "Tony and Meadow, you go to that far corner. Carmella and A.J., you go to that one. I'm gonna come at you..." - he ground the nearby boxes into brown confetti - "...and you predict where I'll be and notify the others."

This was stupid. I stepped in.

"Doctor," I proclaimed in my best edifying-the-ivory-tower-academes-with-the-wisdom-of-the-streets tone, "has this exercise ever caused any of your patients to sustain greivous foot wounds?"

He swiveled, stern behind the spectacles. "Not the ones with good communication skills."

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