Friday, September 30, 2011

The Art of Starting Fires

To properly light a woman
Do not drench her body
In alcohol and gasoline
Then strike a match
And use it's red burning head
To blacken her pure skin.

For in this manner,
A flame will be short lived
If it is to be at all.

To properly light a woman
Seek slow and steady friction
Between her twigs and yours
Over time, releasing breath
Fanning her flicker to a flame
That dances through her veins.

For in this manner,
She will burn for you
From her insides, out.

Have patience in the art of starting fires.

Sex By Numbers

I recently went on a date where the number of men I’d been with sexually came up. It is a low number and while I haven’t previously considered myself to be proud of the number, I also am most definitely not ashamed of it. That said, the man’s response to the number was a bit of a surprise to me.

His eyes widened as he said “But you’re so cute,” and after a short pause, asked “Why?”

I answered with one statement when I should have answered with all of the below:

Because I have a high regard for my body.

Because I demand respect

…not just from a man, but from myself.

Because I value my emotional health.

Because I prefer quality over quantity.

Because I prefer character to a mere part of the human anatomy.

Because I am a good judge of character and have a strong intuition.

Because I am not a number, nor should anyone else be.

I think that covers all the bases.

While I could be frustrated by these happenings, I am, tonight, grateful for the man who inspired this train of thought for the simple reason that I needed to be reminded that I am actually very proud of that number. And here’s the most important answer:

Because I feel that it is a positive reflection of my character. And I like who that character makes me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Collecting Pennies of Myself

“I should be no stranger to this by now.”

That is what keeps running through the corridors of my mind as I read through the e-mails that my mother is receiving from my late grandmother’s childhood best friend, informing us of wonderful, lively and exciting parts of this amazing woman that my mother and I apparently never fully got to know.

Most of my life was spent with one blood relative to my name—my mother. It is heard often from those who were separated and are then reunited with their blood relations, “I finally felt whole.” To many this seems so cliché because when one doesn’t lack in this manner, they cannot fully understand what it is like to be only partially defined.

The only way I can describe this feeling of lacking a full self, is with an analogy: It is as if one had come from being alone out in the desert, trying to survive when they arrived into a village. And upon arriving into that village, they announced that they were hungry and thirsty. Say that person was given only a large amount of water. Their belly, for a moment, may feel satisfied and full, but that physical satisfaction wouldn’t last long because they would still desire the other half of that equation; food.

Here have I been in life, previously only drinking water when I was hungering for that other half. With my mother not knowing anything about her father, having large chunks of her mother’s life omitted by her mother’s choosing, my never knowing my own father, it would be accurate to say that a sense of self was a little hard to grasp with so many gaping holes.

So many others in life mature knowing at least two parents or having a knowledge of them and their heritage. They are generally told at some point in life “you are x amount of this and y amount of that. Your ancestors hail from here and we come from this set of beliefs or this sort of background.” But that wasn’t me. A number of components within me truly were ‘missing’ and I didn’t know what those components were; but rather simply that they were gone.

Eventually both my mother and I have been provided with our ‘meals’ of sorts. I have been provided with my father, and along with him, his entire family. From him I have learned certain aspects of him that are within myself, without having previously known a single thing about him. I look at our personalities or those of my brothers and see that we are related and share common traits—even ignoring our shared appearances. My mother, on the other hand, has been presented with brothers and other relatives who can answer only a little about what her other half is. Her father was as much as mystery as was her mother. And this is my point:

My grandmother only served my mother and I a portion of her identity and left so many things out. Yet the intimate details of who we are, are so important to define not only for ourselves, but for those who come after us.

My mother and I are reading e-mails from a woman who is not family and who we have never met, but that knows our family, it would appear, deeply; knows of this small portion of me and this half of my mother. And for this woman I am extremely grateful as I am learning what it feels like to be satisfied of that drowned hunger.

I am half German, and portions of English, Danish, Irish, French and Spanish as we hail from its royalty. I am as analytical and straight-forth as is my Father. I am as sensitive and as altruistic as was my Grandmother. I am as active as are my Uncles, and as stubborn as is my mother. I am as much myself as I am all of these people within me. And that, at this very moment, has me so full up.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nine Eleven

In 2004, during my first and only trip to NYC, a friend was touring me around the city. We got off of the train & walked a block when suddenly an overwhelming heaviness came across me, like I'd hit a wall. I stopped in my place and asked where we were going. She pointed straight ahead and said "three years ago, had you looked straight in the air, you'd have been looking at the twin towers."

The thought was flabbergasting. The sorrow, the loss, the devastation was so palpable that even I, a stranger to this magnificent city, could detect that something larger than life had occurred here, on these grounds.

The memory of that day sticks with me more than the day that the events had occurred, simply because it was the first moment that I could begin to really grasp what the people of the city had been through. I heard, through the mouth of my very own friend, how close to home this had hit. I saw her entire being change as she discussed that day. My normally happy, beautiful and vibrant friend, behind the fences blocking us from falling into the pits of where the twin towers had once stood, became a woman weighted down with emotion and loss, pale with remnants of fear. The scars of the event, three years later, were not scars at all but were still very open wounds.

I was a sixteen year-old girl when I heard that two planes had crashed into the Twin Towers. My world, at the time, was what immediately surrounded me. And therefore, I didn't feel the sadness for the people experiencing the devastation first hand. I rather felt my own fears and insecurities come to the surface. It shook up every idea that I'd had about my country and its strength, my life and its regularity, and the security of the future.

What I remember most about that day, looking back from the view-point of a grown adult and not the cocooned perspective that I had at the time, was the haze that I and the people around me were walking through.

The smoke and dust and pollutants released that day in New York City may have been relatively localized to the collapse of the towers, but it also spread invisibly throughout the country, from coast to coast, corner to corner. The ghost of the dust and the haze comes to remind us each and every year that no matter how different, we are also all one in the same in that we are Americans.

And in that way, we are all a little part of each of the individuals who have lost, have been lost, and all of those who have yet to be lost due to the after-effects of the events of September 11th, 2001.

We are one. And we will always remember.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Mother and I

A large exposed rock, beautiful in its own, appearing magnificent and mighty as she shoves through the Earth, rising upward, seems impenetrable.

Enter Water, in her beauty, who flows with glory over any surface, owning it, rummaging through its cracks and pores, creating depth in her quest toward her destination.

Rock desires air—as much as she can get--and rises up toward it, whilst Water yearns for depth—as deep as she can be—and there she flows. Yet despite the appearance that the two could be rather decent rivals, the pair make fabulous friends. Friends who sit in a peaceful silence, in reflection of themselves and in a lackadaisical pondering of who may be the stronger of the duo.

For Rock gracefully takes upon her, footsteps of those who trample over her or who use her shoulders for a boost to their success. She gladly takes within her any organism who scrabbles or slithers, or slinks their way into the crevasses of her heart, no matter the cost to her being. For everyone, at times, needs shelter, and thus because she can, she provides. She stands for great periods of time before eventually she crumbles beneath the pressures and the elements which she so loves but which wear her down. For apparently strong and stable, yet occasionally shaken, Rock is oft broken with the softest flow of water.

Yet Water is in need of the very earth from which rock hails. She is used as a resource of which every organism takes advantage. They penetrate her flowing liquid skin, taking her into their bodies for their own, until she is almost spent and has nothing left for self. They impregnate her with poisons and waste and walk away ignorant of the hurt which they have caused this beauty. Yet she embraces them none-the-less as a glove takes a hand. Tough though tender, she is unbreakable. So soft and sharp is she that she may carve and cut and crumble and crack those who stand in her way, leaving her mark.

In the midst of this contemplation, the two elements paused to have a listen into the conversation of two observers, passing along a pleasant shaded trail.

“Look at that rock!” one said, as she took in the sight of Rock, who was proudly displaying her complex layers, “It’s amazing how with knowledge, the more beautiful she becomes.”

To which the other, admiring Water, who was glad to show off her fall, responded cleverly, “but that water cuts right through that rock, now doesn’t it?”

It was in the moment that the observers walked away, that the two elements smiled with understanding. For as Water weeps upon Rock, who patiently, lovingly and gently guides Water to her ultimate destination, providing constant support until their final parting, Water carves beauty into Rock, adding sediment and minerals essential to survival; building her up while simultaneously breaking her down, softening rock’s features. Shaping her into her old age.

So deeply intertwined are their lives that they are as much a part of one another as they are themselves.