Tag Archives: self-discovery

A Change Gonna Come — Oh Yes, IT WILL!

“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.

“A Miss is as Good… as a Mister”

(This is being published from JFK, despite the ungodly hour of the morning and the painfully inconvenient commute that got me here.  What’s that, haters?!  V can’t hear you!):

As I depart from the significant New York loves of my insignificant life and return to my younger affairs on the West Coast, I dedicate my words to those that will come after:  the young girls (whether I know them or not) that have intertwined their tiny, merely transparent fingers with the arteries of my heart and the female offspring of my strictly selected Club of Comrades.  To the East Indian girl child that, at the first second of our meeting in NY’s capital, became my shadow; invaded my writing space—unaware that a woman could claim that—and watched my every keyboard tap; then ran off to get her own paper and a red crayon.  To the adored blondie born to my feminist mentor in New Jersey whose Happily Ever After happened with a woman; and who by her mere existence, gave me the courage to write my own love stories.  And to the unfamiliar brown girl with snowflakes in her curls who followed her mother that leapt into a random elevator ride in Manhattan; who then persevered past the awkward silence inside, examined the crowd and exclaimed:

“Oh gosh!  It’s like all girls in here!” making the rest of the women—some radically young, others aged past their youthful anxiety—laugh and yelp and howl; uncensored and relieved, if just for a minute.

"Blessed Art Thou among Women" by Gertrude Kasebier, 1899

First, to my brown god-daughter back in Albany:  May your path be filled with obvious choices that lead you to your better self.  May your soul be fueled by the gods of the old country, but your mind—by those of the new.  May your mother’s unconditional love open paths for you that were never possible in her own youth; but may you always be exposed to the confidence a woman is granted when persevering through conflicts.  You will be my next Jhumpa Lahiri, or M.I.A., or Sonia Gandhi.  May you become whoever and whatever you desire; but when asked what that is, may you be able to say, “Why not?” rather than “May I?”  I pray the world is made out of non-existent doorways for you and walkways paved with “YES”; and that sometimes, you will tread with me (I—in my Siberian coat, you—with stubborn rainbow colors on your mittens and henna on your hands) to show me your future world, as I show the aged yet unexhausted one of mine.

To the sporty, curious, poignant Irish-Jewish cherub in the City of Angels (and the author of this blog’s title):  Because your parents have suffered enough to fulfill your own life’s quota, may it never get in the way of your possibilities.  May you never lose the insatiable need to repeat a question, or to touch another woman’s skin just to understand what it’s like to be in it.  NEVER apologize for your art!  As the multitude of imperfect adults guards your life from repeating their mistakes, I shall gladly lead you past my own.  I’ll tell you the tales of my survival and show that a woman may stand by her failed choices, because overcoming them makes a soul light enough to soar.  So, may you soar, my strong youngster, sometimes in step with me, but mostly ahead.  If ever gravity gets a hold of you, I shall catch you from falling—if you let me.  But this I ask of you regardless (because you shall always remain exceptional, I’m sure)—teach me about the ways I have not seen and the tricks my wings have yet to try.

To the tomboy born to a woman of tremendous kindness:  May you always be ahead of your time!  When asked by your teachers, may you tag yourself however, but always understand yourself as “special.”  May you continue to climb, much faster and more capable than your parents.  Upward, my darling heart, always upward; even though gravity may insist otherwise.  Never cry when you fall down, neither in a playground nor in an office full of suits; and always celebrate the pain, for in those very seconds, you learn to shift gears.  May you always outrun and outsmart your own age group and leave me scratching my head with your riddles.