February 12th, 2012.
Love like my parents. Love like yoga.
I like when I re-read something that I wrote and I find it is still accurate and applicable at large. A favorite t-shirt that never gets old. This brings me immense joy and surprise. Somehow it makes me feel I caught the hand of Time and danced to a short tune barely audible. I don’t feel this way towards most of my fiction attempts. Not yet anyway. I am deaf and Time mute when it comes to fiction. Then I am humbled: authors who passed the test of Time were indeed some gods.
My eyes don’t make natural tears as easily anymore. I have to put the very expensive prescription eye drops called Restasis in my eyes so they don’t over dry. My wonderful Chinese-American doctor reminds me it is better than getting artificial tear ducts. I asked him can we create a myth that goes something like this: those who are all cried out need Restasis. He replied, “Probably won’t make a good commercial.”
A few weeks ago I burnt my hand quite severally. I dropped an entire bowl of boiling soup on it. Mushroom cream. We had to consider if I needed to get it checked and bandaged at the hospital. Could I spare four or five hours waiting to be seen? I decided no. Instead I did as my auntie suggested and I rubbed toothpaste all over it. It cooled off like a dying planet.
I continued putting the toothpaste on it every time it dried up until eventually the pain was bearable.
My hand is mostly healed now. I am always surprised by skin—my body’s—resilience. Its ability to heal has nine lives within each life I have lived so far. I bruise easily, I heal quickly, I scar badly or there is not even a trace of healed discoloration. When I look at my hand now, the dry healed skin looks like a plum colored heart. A heart burn. But only from far away. Maybe all scars, once healed, look like a big heart from afar.
It is commercial love day weekend. Valentine’s Day. I wrote all I ever wanted to write about how many loves in a lifetime? right here so I will not repeat now.
We have defined god and God but we still can’t define love.
I think if you have truly loved a place, an object, a person, then it stays with you forever. This goes for the places we move away from, the people we leave but never leave. We are all the people we have ever loved.
Who is the real patron of lovers? Saint Now.
When I attempt defining love I draw silhouettes that float. I know love is simply felt, it changes form, and it means different things at different points for different people.
However, when I think of love like yoga it all makes sense. It is an ever-evolving dialogue, it demands consciousness, it requires effort, it is good for the body, and it sets you free. Moreover, similar to yoga, you have to bring yourself to the mat every day or as many days as possible during the week. You have to bring yourself to Love whether or not in a relationship. You have to bring yourself to yourself.
But just like people like the idea of yoga more than what yoga actually is, what it demands, what changes it brings forth, so it is with love. People like the idea of love more than actually taking on what it means. People like the idea of writing more than actually writing. People like the idea of connecting than actually connecting. People like ideas.
When I try to think of a favorite memory of my parents’ expression of love for one another I am surrounded by memories that are simply “looks” that tell more than words can ever properly articulate. I have written about their relationship as compared to my relationship with New York City here.
I recall an argument with my father quite a few years ago. He had said, “Anyone can live with anybody if they have to. Put together two people who can’t live without one another and they will make anything work and work through anything.” I had then retorted, “Finding someone you can’t live without is asking to be dependent on someone. Love doesn’t make you dependent on another. That doesn’t sound too healthy to me if you ask me!”
As I grew up and tall in love I realized what he meant.
My parents’ love is some Gordian Knot that even the Alexander of Time couldn’t destroy.
Image: Gordian Knots by Jamie Berry
When I told my mother I was going to share some photos of them from when they first met and fell in love she wanted to make sure I included one of now. “Because now is what matters most. This is what we look like now. We are not holding on to the way we once looked and although it was all special but what we experience now is equally important and precious to us.”
Love like yoga makes us go deeper if you practice consistently. Sometimes there is no way to measure that depth and that feels quite scary.
Mama says not everyone wants to go deep and that is okay. “But there is no comparison for walking through life with your best friend. It all depends what kind of life one wants.”
What she loves the most about my father is his sense of humor, that he still likes to read her stories, sing her songs, and that as unpredictable as he is, he is a very reliable man.
When I ask my father what he loves the most about my mother my father gets distracted and can’t get past that he still thinks she is the most beautiful woman. He likes beauty, he offers, and has seen lots of attractive women but when he saw my mother he knew he was never going to get over how beautiful she was. To this day he tells her this. “Most importantly, I wanted someone who was exceptionally beautiful, exceptionally intelligent, but also extremely down to earth. That is an impossible combination. I got lucky. Very lucky. I know that.”
They are best friends. For a long time I have contemplated if their relationship—the great and the all that is beyond my comprehension—is the kind for me. I don’t think that is what matters. What matters to me is to love like they do, not necessarily a love like theirs. Intentional. Honest. Sincere. Forgiving. Short every day exchanges that put Hallmark cards to shame. Not just on Valentines’ Day. Not just on anniversaries. But every day.
My sister’s words come to mind and I share: “You can have whatever kind of love and life you want.”
She is right.
I offer some photographs from a different time:
Mama…when she was recently engaged…a timeless beauty…
a love that was going to stretch and bend Time to reach dreams by taking big risks…
Mama and Papa Bearaz now: still laughing, smiling, lighting the world on love…
My siblings and I owe the best of us to our parents’ love.
Sidenote: I was unable to post this on Sunday due to a plethora of technical difficulties. Just thinking about it right now gets me agitated all over again! I tried for a few hours and then gave up. While on a beautiful walk it hit me that the timing of this post, just like love, couldn’t be forced.