Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Lesson From Alzheimer's Disease: Hope Springs Eternal

Today is the first day of spring: the equinox, transitions on the earth's axis. Mother nature giving us a respite from winter.

It's also my mom's birthday.  I've had no choice but to put her in hospice care at home, which is sad, but also a relief for her sake -- all, everything and anything for her pleasure and comfort.  I am fully committed to making each and every breath she has left in her as joyful as possible.

It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to help someone die -- to make a graceful, dignified and happy transition to light.

Recently, a friend of mine who practices Reiki, kindly sent me a care package with a teddy bear, among other goodies. When I first held the teddy bear, I sobbed, because it reminded me of the photo above.  If I hadn't had a miscarriage last year, I'd be holding a baby of similar size. I named her Alba, which means "morning song" in Spanish.

I had no baby. There was never a morning song.

But I'm still a mom to my mom.  My mom is my baby.  The sun still rises every morning. And hope springs eternal.

So now I hold the teddy bear instead, because I can no longer hold what I've lost, including my mother's old and ailing body.

We are attached to material things in ways we should forget.

Actually, that's the good thing about mourning a patient with Alzheimer's before she has even died:  it teaches us a lesson in humility and what is really, truly materially important.  It's the love in your heart, not the things you hold or possess, that forever remain -- an impossible invisible imprint, something unspoken but carved deeply in the soul, a petroglyph in the heart, the songs we sing in frequencies we can't see with the naked eye, the simple technology of suckling on a nipple, or feeding an aged body that can barely swallow, nourishment that has nothing to do with food, but that is all about compassion -- even if, dear mama, you are trapped in your body, unable to speak, move or live vibrantly, on this first day of spring, year 2014.

My mother's body is not my mother. But I hold her in a place so vast, so deep and filled with love, that she is larger than life to me, bigger than continents, planets, galaxies and universes.

Dear mother, thank you for being the vessel that gave me a body. A soft, supple yet strong body that I love. A body that sings.  And thank you to all the grandmothers and great grandmothers who gave me life. Women connected by an invisible umbilical chord through blood, flesh, and time, indifference of centuries; separated by boundaries of clocks, exiles, and tribes, differences of days.

Happy birthday, mama.  Even though you are dying: you are life, love and hope to me, just like you were when you held me when I was barely two months old.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

BREAKING NEWS! Multiple Orgasms Don't Exist As Proved By Binary Sequences!

when harry met sally orgasm scene katz's deli
If only all sex was as good as a Pastrami sandwhich at Katz's.

I was just pondering the concept of multiple orgasms. Technically, an orgasm is an anatomical event that starts and stops -- kind of like the bars in a musical score. So if you have multiple orgasms, when one ends the other starts, then it's not multiple anymore, right? In that case, you experience orgasms in succession with a beginning and end point to each orgasm. Now, if you have one long-ass orgasm that lasts forever -- if you don't know where it begins and ends -- then that is technically not a MULTIPLE orgasm because it's part of the same neuromuscular physiological sequence.

If you are a tech geek, think of this as a binary program.  It starts. It stops. And that is the way the body communicates pleasure to the brain. Or vice-versa.  It is the morse code of the body.

Men squirt and they're done with business. Women's bodies are more mysterious.  And sometimes, even women don't understand their own bodies.  It's possible to walk around in an orgasmic state of bliss, even when your glorious clitoris isn't blowing Joy to the World like the angel Gabriel at heaven's door wielding a gilded trumpet.

You can thank oxytocin for that feeling.

My point is, however, that you cannot technically have multiple orgasms. You either have a really, really long one, or you have them in succession with pauses in between.

Yeah, I know. I think about this shit. It's not a first world problem, but rather a first world luxury.

And ... I have experienced all of the above. What about you?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Take all thoughts and advice with a grain of salt and maybe your favorite adult beverage.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

That Smile

I wonder what this little girl was thinking.

Why did she look so forlorn?

Oh, she was a sassy, spoiled kid. She hated having her photographs taken by doting parents.

But what if, somehow, she knew then what she knows now?

Did she know that she’d fall in love in high school? That she’d leave the love of her life almost a decade later, because she was too young to get married and wanted to find herself?

Did she know she’d have an amazing but financially troubled career as a writer? That she’d follow her heart’s passion at whatever cost, that she’d make people laugh, cry, think, that she’d help friends and foes, that she’d sometimes write words to blind eyes and speak words to deaf ears?

Did she know that one of her lovers would rape her?

Did she know she’d get pregnant in her forties and lose that child?

Did she know she’d become a mother to her own parents, that she’d have to give up everything in her life to take care of them and put them in hospice less than a year after losing that child?

Because if she did, if she could foresee, a tiny glimpse, an oracle in a little body wearing a colorful frilly dress, then I can now understand the expression on her face, that beautiful face, still so fresh, young and promising.

The decades have somehow spared me of wrinkles, but she’s not, of course, what I see in the mirror now.

But I see her clearly in my heart. Her sorrows, her fears, her joys and dreams are all imprinted in that invisible mirror inside, that photograph you cannot see, yet you know indelibly.

And she still wonders: what’s going to happen?

I want to change this face.

After a moment of passion, some lovers have said to me: “Maria, that smile.”

There he is, lying on top of me. He’s still inside of me. We’re sweaty. We’re spent. His eyes gaze into mine while I am beaming, my body floating in plenitude while muscles quivering.

That smile is a gift to the world and to myself, not just to any man who is my lover. It is a smile of gratitude, of pleasure, of joy in being embraced. That smile is the gift of love and compassion. That smile is everything that comes from my heart to everyone I have ever loved and supported in any way. I even bequeath that smile to those who have judged me.

Fret no more, little girl.

You know why you haven't got crows feet around your big blue eyes, child? Because you haven't smiled enough.

And as I help my parents end their lives -- it was their passionate sexual embrace that brought me into this world, after all -- I’m going to bring a very mindful and heartfelt smile back to your beautiful face.