“The world has no idea!” she said last night, her jet black eyes sparkling with reflections of the caramel candlelight with which the bar was illuminated. “The world had NO idea of the responsibility that comes with being a woman! And the beauty, and the intuition, and the struggle! And the weight, and the…” — (she paused for long enough for me to overhear my own heart’s whimper) — “and the awe!”
Oh you beautiful girl child! You magnificent survivor of your own destiny!
She was one of those exotic, smart girls. Barely in her mid-20s, with a face constructed from genes of some ancient culture, she sat at the bar last night and — get this! — read a book. Only V, in her younger days, would pull shit like this. But that was just it: The hunger of her mind, the refusal to compromise her vocabulary, the fieriness of her still idealistic beliefs, her stubborn love for humanity, and the religion of her kindness — all that reminded me of myself. In a funny-kinky way that only life can think up, this younger version of me appeared at an unexpected time and place — and with that very higher grace that insists I should never give-up on living, she guided me to the next chapter of my own self.
I am now living, my comrades, in a visceral anticipation of change. The recent survival chapter of my life has so obviously expired! There was a heartbreak, followed by brutal lessons of self-discovery and a painful birthing of forgiveness. But that’s over now. There is a new art in my life. A new art and a new love. But that doesn’t mean that today, there is no suffering; because the choice of living as an independent woman and a self-made artist is a loaded one. There are still survival jobs that eat my time with their tedious nonsense. Frequent disappointments in the lapses of human goodness, in acquaintances or occasional strangers, still scratch my heart with metallic claws. This year’s coming-out as a writer who publicly reveals her word has, unfortunately and unexpectedly, been one of the harder lessons my life has offered.
Yet, still, my beautiful witnessing comrades: It HAS been worth it!
I bow down my disheveled head in recognition that despite all the pain and loss and disappointment; despite the horrific, border-line criminal offenses that I’ve suffered at the hands of others; despite my own poor choices and embarrassing missteps, my life — has been magnificent. And the main reason that I carry on (despite an occasional temptation to give-up on it all and retire into a commune of Tibetan monks) is because it continues to change.
Sometimes, change comes in as a storm, hitting me from all angels, tangling me up in my own hair and nerves, and confusing me about the functions and the origins of gravity. Other times, it slips in gracefully and non-violently, like a San Francisco fog, reminding to hush-up, and to breathe and bear:
“It’ll all work out,” it promises. And somehow, I believe it.
This oncoming one — is the quiet type. With the very follicles of my skin, I can feel its approach. It tickles with excitement and; only when I’m alone and this town’s exhausted children are asleep, it scares me, ever so little, with the proposal of the unknown. Alas: A woman’s intuition! (My intuition, I’m convinced, lives in my uterus. When shit ain’t right, it raises its sleepy head from my ovaries that it uses as pillows, and, like a quirky, misbehaving child, it starts to raise havoc. Off it goes, swinging from my tubes, and nibbling at my gut, and playing patty cake with my diaphragm; and if I continue with my Dumb Bitch act and refuse to listen up, it then sits down into a lotus position and observes the consequences with a sardonic smile. Because that rascal — is always right!)
But just maybe — and just maybe for this first time — I am not going to brace myself. Instead, I’m going to strip myself — of all the residual dead weight — and in the nude form, while my unbound breasts bounce to a tribal beat, I shall chant for courage and grace. It will be painful, I know; and there will be losses to count at the end of the battle. But in the end, I bet there will be a discovery of my own upgraded self; and I bet — she will still be worthy of the serious yet innocent girl-child I was always meant to be.