Wedding Day part I: What We Wore

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On the eve of our Big Day, Giordano ravaged his closet for the most groomish combination he could muster.  In the way of pants, all he had (that was clean) was a profoundly casual pair of blue “trousers”. (Haha… Europeans!)  He sulked as he announced that they were “ruined”. I never figured out what he meant by that… but my hypothesis is that he was having some pre-game jitters, and eager to indulge in a steaming plate of saucy, Italian-style drama.  He put on a white button-down shirt that was suave enough (though he did toss in a token whimper about not having a flower to pin to his breast). It was the JACKET portion of the outfit that really krushed the ball.

 

All his sport coats looked laughable with his “ruined blue trousers”.  Two disparate worlds colliding. He was miserable as he tore through his entire, dusty wardrobe in search of the winning combination.  A tickled spectator, I sat on the couch marveling at this previously hidden facet of my darling Ball and Chain (wink). I had zero emotional investment in this scene of the Play.  Which infuriated him! He SO wanted me to care. He began to lash out. At one point he told me he hated me.

 

Some might argue for the undeniable wrongness of such an extreme, poisonous statement…

 

But I totally got it.  This unsightly voice of the wounded feminine has struck out in pain through me too many times to mention.  Awash with empathy, I made a concerted effort to shift gears from “being entertained” to “giving a shit”. When he discovered his navy blue wool sailor jacket* in the closet, peace fell upon us like a blanket of snow from the Heavens.  He ended up looking pretty damn sexy.

 

*A quintessential note on the jacket- Giordano bought it with me in Nevada City last year, from a super hip used clothing store called “Solstice”.  He fussed for a solid three minutes because the arms were too short, before finally committing to it. He donned it the foggy, early November morning, as he traipsed with a grave face and broken heart across my gravel driveway, laden with suitcases… toward the airport, and then home to Italy, doubting that we’d ever see each other again.  

 

I didn’t show Giordano my wedding outfit until we dressed that morning.  He called me “Rockstar”. Guilty as charged;) But the deeper cut, is that I was adorned in bittersweet memories of a life of love lost.  Not that love can ever be lost. But I sure have lost some lovers along this messy, fuckin impermanent Journey.

 

From my ears, hung gigantic, glittering black lightning bolts that my Ma bought me on one of our last outings “to Town”, before her death.  I wear them when I want to remember my true identity as an Unstoppable Cosmically Sourced Superheroine.

 

My dress, a teensy, white and black, form-fitting number that I found in a bag of used clothing passed along to me by the chic teachers at Serena’s school, days before.  I guess nothing too bitter about this… but certainly the sweentess of always being given what I need, in the mOMent that I need it. Oh and the sweetness of feeling fabulous in such a miniscule dress!

 

My slender, strong legs were adorned with my remaining pair of “Dead Dan Tights”.  Maybe you’ve been with me since 2012, and peered through the shattered window of Athena Graceland as I navigated the death of my Beloved Dan.  My first initiation in the realm of loss. Dan was my lover, best friend and number one fan. In april of 2012, he was kayaking alone near his home in Costa Rica.  Navigating especially wild waters, he was thrown from his kayak, smashed his head on rocks, clambered to shore, and inscribed a message to me in the dirt with his final breaths:

 

“LIVE A”.

 

Yes, Dan!…  Living I AM!

 

To soothe my thrashed heart, my friend Marty took me to a hip sock shop on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and treated me to two exciting pairs of tights and two rad pairs of knee-high socks.  My leopard tights deteriorated… but the vibrant, blue lace pair are still going strong, and they made my wedding day cut!

 

What really made the outfit POP, was my Wonder Woman cowgirl boots.  I found them in a Western shop in Livermore, of all places. Ed (Serena’s Dad), took me there in the glorious spring of our romance, to buy me a pink cowgirl hat.   I swear, these boots pounced on me, and did not let me alone until they were MINE. All three hundred dollars of them. (Ed bought one, and I bought the other.) Like the earrings, they transport me to an elevated state of consciousness.  I become a version of myself that towers above the stratosphere and clearly rules the Yoniverse.

 

Recounting the sacred origins of my wedding day regalia, the tenderest rooms of my heart are flung wide open and I could easily crumple in an emotional heap and grieve the loss of Ones who mattered THE MOST and now seem so far.  The hella friendly ghosts of my crushingly blessed past. Ed is not dead yet. But I have not fully digested the agonies and the ecstasies he sparked in my soul. In fact, you should know that I just afforded myself the luxury of resting my face in my hands and letting loose deep, tearful cries.  I’m in a busy cafe. There’s a good chance nobody even noticed. People, myself included, are too busy being the center of their own damn universes. It’s incredible to be here… on this hella crowded dance floor, otherwise known as Earth.

 

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Potent Reflections by a Heavyweight Goddess

By now you must be aware that smoking pot leads to “harder stuff”… Well, it naturally follows that the same is true for head shaving.  Yes.  Later this morning, Athena-the-Saucy will have one of her precious teeth extracted.   Heck, why not lighten my load?  Anybody want a kidney?  This heart is pretty awesome too….

This is my stab at making light of something that I honestly feel pretty sucky about.  And yet, there IS truth in that letting go of my hair did serve as a useful “warm-up” for this more permanent and tragic exercise in non-attachment.  Naturally, as I type this, my mind leaps to the box of dust nestled in the carved wooden chest in the corner, formerly known as “my Ma”.  The few gaping blackheads on her cheek that used to seduce and taunt me (I wish I had’ve asked her to squeeze them!)…. The hand(s) that poured forth the most perfect handwriting ever and clutched the steering wheel of her little red Mazda Protege, as she sped around The Village…. Dust.

And here’s little Athena Grace, breaking a sweat over a single, paltry tooth.  But teeth are so meaningful.  For most of my life, I have had recurring dreams (or shall I call them “nightmares”, because I certainly wake up with a pounding heart…) of losing my adult teeth…. and now they are real.  Let’s just cut to the heart of it.  I’m afraid I will be less lovable, lacking a tooth.  Less attractive.  Less….

But perhaps this is a secret recipe for Liberation with a capital L.  Because if you possess any intelligence at all, you know those fears are exactly that.  My body parts (or lack thereof) do not determine my worth.  Deeeep breath.  I’m honestly jazzed to finally not have a pus volcano living in my mouth anymore.  (Plus, it’s on the bottom… so not quite as screaming as it would be if it was on the top.)  I gave my best effort to healing the infection naturally:  changing my diet, taking massive doses of vitamin c, taking a cocktail of the badass, fat soluble vitamin trio– A, D, K2, acupuncture and chinese herbs… But the damn tooth just wanted to come the fuck out.  And seriously, releasing my hair was a gateway.  I let it go, and I realized that I am still the same potent, regal essence of indestructible love that I always have been and always will be…. so take my fuckin tooth, bitches!!!  In your face!!!!

Just don’t take anymore, ok?…… I’m only thirty seven years old for goddess sake.  Let a woman enjoy her goddamn body parts for a while, willya???

Do you think I’d be a better writer if I didn’t allow myself to jump from topic to topic, like a strung out monkey in a bouncy house?  But if I did exercise such discipline, I wouldn’t have gotten to birth that awesome sentence….  And I think this world is already saturated with tidy, well-behaved, modestly contained essays, anyway.  I’m here with you now, so I might as well make the best use of your illustrious and intoxicating attention.

As I was *devotionally* making my coffee this morning, my mind skidded gracefully into the groove of the pervasive patriarchal paradigm…. Explicitly, how most women take on their husbands’ last name.  Often without even a question of like “why does this practice smell like dead, rotting fish?”….

Names are divinity, powerfully called into form.  Women!?!?  Why do you allow yourselves (and even aspire) to be called into form as your husband’s property?  It’s a subtle relinquishment of your sovereignty, in the name of feeling secure, chosen, loved.  Yes, I recognize that was a totally brash statement to make.  But come ON.  Let’s be done beating around the damn burning bush already!  We are queens, selling ourselves into slavery!!!!  But I suppose we are born into the chains of our fathers’ names, to begin with… so it seems like a welcome relief to flee to the initially erotic clutches of our husbands’ lineage.

It’s super fun to be so extreme and opinionated.  Liberating, even.  Being an empath, I used to try not to rub anyone too wrong…. because I took responsibility for their experience and feelings and I wanted everyone to like me.  But I’m learning to have a damn backbone.  I gave my energetically sensitive friend Chandra a mantra, recently.  It goes, “That’s YOUR shit, bitch!”  Haha, it’s totally funny BECAUSE it’s real.  But as a writer, it’s a little different.  I aim to say stuff that’s profoundly relevant to your journey…  But I know this is relevant.  I’ve gotta trust myself on this.  My deep calling is to gloriously inhabit Woman in service to ALL WOMEN and this gorgeous, generous planet, Herself.

So just think about it.  Why do you choose to become a limp rag doll who wears your man’s lineage… inadvertently abandoning your own?  And when I say, “your own”, I’m not talking about your daddy’s.  I mean your lineage as a Goddess.  A Priestess.  A magical, winged, enchantress, ever-rooted in the rhythmic, pulsing, oceanic infinity of LOVE.

I always felt burdened carrying my dad’s name.  “Horwitz”.  It never felt like the truth of me.  More like an anvil I was tethered to.  It took a goddess rooting in my womb to thrust me into the willingness to break a sweat and leap through the sprawling chain of bureaucratic hoops, and officially cut myself loose from that burdensome weight.  Now, she and I are full fledged founding mothers of the Matriarchal Society of Graceland!!!!  I feel great about that.  Like I stood for my Self.  And please spare me the arguement that my “True Self” is beyond name and form… and all that spiritually enlightened mumbo jumbo.  Like, yeah, DUH.  But I am here to inhabit this body and this world as the divine fullness that I AM.  I am here to play the Game in Love’s name, and WIN.  For the Team.  That means mastering this rigorous curriculum of career and money and relationships and all the shit that spiritually inclined types are tempted to bypass.  I’ve spent enough lives, enlightened on mountaintops.  This is the championship round.

And I own this fucker.

The Death of my Ma

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Something I love about this human adventure, is that no matter how many times I have zipped myself into a glorified meat suit, it always occurs as a novelty.  Riveting and shocking and mysterious.  I mean… you’d think I’d be pretty hum-drum about birth and death by now… given that this old soul has been around the damn block enough times to turn to melty butter like the tigers of our beloved, banned children’s book of yesteryore, Little Black Sambo.  I know it’s taboo to talk about Little Black Sambo, circa 2017.  I guess it was a racist book.  But the five year old me had no idea.  She was simply captivated by Little Black Sambo’s hero’s journey– being stalked by tigers and finally rising victorious by tying their tails together, so that they ran circles around the tree he took refuge in, until they smeared into perfectly churned butter.  Which he and his parents (Black Mumbo and Black Jumbo) slathered on their epic, towering stacks of pancakes.

Alas, the death of my mother still comes as a shock.  Even as I type these words, I feel quiet tremors of incredulity that she will not discover this post in her inbox and drink it with her soft, radiant, soul-filled eyeballs.  Her inbox will slowly overflow with unrequited communications, collecting virtual dust until the End of Time.  Dear Sumitra has left the building.  This is as damn near as “at a loss for words” as I’ve ever been.  But as a writer, this tragic wordlessness doesn’t really fly…  So I’m going to raise my sword to the holy heavens and charge onward.  Just sayin’… there’s a lot of pauses and humble deep-dives into silence and stillness over here as I excavate my raw thoughts and feelings on the subject of my mother’s recent exit.

It came as a sudden, crafty plot-twist.  Sure, she had cancer… but Dr. Campbell assured her that it was “the most curable form of cancer”, and that with a piddly six months of chemo therapy, she’d be cancer free for the rest of her life, ready and able to resume all of her previously appointed duties, namely caring for her small and radiant granddaughter.  She almost made it to the halfway point of her treatments.  Then suddenly, she could barely breathe.  She went to the emergency room and they admitted her to ICU, ran a thousand tests and diagnosed her with pneumonia.  After more than a week of heavy antibiotics, she showed no signs of improvement.  More chest x-rays revealed that her lungs were destroyed beyond repair.  Dr. Campbell confessed that it was due to an ingredient in the chemotherapy.  I got a highly disturbing call from the hospital on wednesday, March 15 (my Ma always enjoyed telling me to “beware of the Ides of March), just before 7am, in which a male nurse with some sort of heavy asian accent relayed a cryptic message culminating with the news that my Ma wished to be “made comfortable”.

Made comfortable.  Who knew that those two words could be so laden with razor blades and arsenic.  Jesus.  My heart dropped into my toes, my breath stopped, my stomach twisted up.

But I’m not here to regale all of the concrete facts and stiff, linear logistics.  It’s the enchanting, dim twilight of in-between spaces that matter to me. Gentle impressions and coy whispers from the Beyond within my own hidden reaches.

Once it was determined that God was calling her hOMe, she was all in!  God dammit, she was so young… Sixty-nine.  And a half.  But she was done.  I guess years are only one unit of measurement  of a human life.  The one which is most universally accepted… but in terms of love given and received, extraordinary children born, raised and released into the wilds of a civilized, first world, capitalist culture… in terms of pouring herself forth into myriad eclectic jobs and housing situations…. Friendships devotionally tended… leaves passionately raked… spiritual progress made… lattes savored, chocolate croissants ravaged…. There are endless units of measurement that would indicate a life mission fulfilled.  Except being there to watch her precious granddaughter blossom.  Insert shattered heart icon here.

Deep breath.

I was afraid that her sudden absence would be like my beloved Dan’s– an abrupt departure, with no trace.  For the past five years, I’ve grappled unsuccessfully to communicate with Dan… resolving again and again that this dense capricorn is simply not adept at communicating with etherial realms.  But thank GOD, it’s different with my own mother.  My body is made from hers.  Our hearts are like The Blob.  Spliced units of the same goopy mass of divinity.  I mean, I guess all of our hearts are that… since our deepest truth beyond form is Unity…. But this raw unity is way more exaggerated between mother and daughter.

Loss is the obvious dimension of the death of one’s mother.  Like duh.  But who talks about the profound and holy gains of Her departure?  I’m sure SOMEbody must… but it certainly isn’t a mainstream conversation, as I believe it should be.  If I had a nickel for every time someone numbly regurgitated the socially appropriate words, “I’m sorry for your loss”… No offense if you are one of them.  I know that death is awkward, and not something most of us face head on.  But you could just as easily say to me, “I’m so happy for your gain!”  Or, “Congratulations on your sudden, warp-speed soul evolution!”

My ma left me with a shattered heart.  Well… maybe not quite shattered.  But certainly more than garden-variety “broken”.  At least some Grand Canyon cracks in numerous, significant places.  Enough such that the busted dam of Oceanic Love is screaming through the invisible center of me.  I have officially taken my seat amongst the cream of the ecstatic, God-drunk poets.

She died at just after ten am on Saint Patrick’s Day.  My brother Daniel, Serena and I had all spent the night in the hospital with her.  She was deluged with high doses of morphine, breathing desperately all night.  Morning came, and it was hard to determine when she’d let go.  I had plain old life to attend to, I went to her side, put my hand on her still-warm, beating heart.  I could feel the tremendous effort of her lungs, desperately sucking in air.  I spoke from my heart, “Be free” and “You did amazing” and “I love you.  Always”.  I let go of attachment to being there when she actually left her body for good.  I scooped up my tiny goddess and headed for the parking lot.  Just as I was about to drive away into the crisp, bright, spring morning, Daniel called in tears and said, “Come back up here.”  She had left minutes after we departed.  I’ve since heard that this is a common phenomena.

Her mouth was wide open, her eyes closed.  Her body void of light and life.  What an incredible sight to see my Mama’s empty husk.

I asked her before she left… even before I knew the time was so fucking soon… if she’d please share with me some of her Divine Revelations as she re-emerged into Light-Unbounded.  I can’t remember her response…. but even so, she honored my request.  I felt my crown chakra splayed wide, as though I had splattered across the sky, the entire day of her departure.  And even into the next day.  It was as if I died too.

I did die.   I am still dying.  Raw and skinless.  Churning moosh in a fragile cocoon.

Soon it will be Easter, and I will RISE.

There is more… More revelation, more grief, more transmutation of pain, alchemy of soul, IN-sight.

But this is enough for today.  Serena will soon stir… and my Dear Brother and I have much work ahead of us, sorting through our Mama’s worldly belongings.  Yes, it’s really true– you CAN’T take it with you.  Wink.