“The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation,” Rebecca Solnit wrote in her beautiful inquiry into how we find ourselves by getting lost. But the truth is that most of the time we don’t know or only think we know what is on this side of any transformative experience — we live much of our lives opaque to ourselves, lost within our own psyches, confused and conflicted about what we really want.” 

This is an excellent and thought provoking read on the impossibility of two people reconnecting, love, confusion, and the unlikeliness of it all. Check it out:

Life on a Möbius Strip: The Greatest Moth Story Ever Told, About the Unlikely Paths That Lead Us Back to Ourselves

 

On Age and Fathers

As we grow older, as our parents age with us, everything starts to change. I find myself taking care of my parents, making sure they are fine, healthy, happy, and safe. Safe from the cruelty of the world, of retirement, of a society that is infested with ageism. I grow fonder of my father as I age. As a child, when I watched him, he was mysterious and powerful, and now as an adult I know he is a man of patience and commitment, a man who understands the concept of loyalty. He has so many values and ethics that are diminished nowadays. My father is in love with a distant past, a tribal past, a past of morals and proper codes of conduct. He tells historical tales, oral stories, and each tale has a theme, a beautiful message. 

They say fathers are irreplaceable. I never understood this. Lately, I feel blessed to have him around. The other day, I opened his closest and found 50 copies of my PhD dissertation. He keeps them, in case. He keeps each copy in case he meets someone he would like to share my research with. And not that my father is fluent in English at all- he just loves the name on each book, the girl who carries his name. And I am grateful for that, that there has been someone in my life who watched me grow, smiled proudly at every accomplishment, and never wanted anything in return. I have been misguided into thinking unconditional love is easy to receive. As I age, I understand more just how rare it is. 

 Image below: the 50 copies! The others are from one of my books.  

Note to love 

To the four-legged furry best friend of mine: I am sorry I panic when we go to the vet, I am sorry we have to wait in line, while we both grow more anxious. I am sorry my Flake, that age and illness is part of life, but I am so blessed to have met you. You taught me more about unconditional love (as cliche as that sounds) than anyone who has come into my life only to exit dramatically. 

People who haven’t fallen in love with a dog are missing out. I know I was not an animal lover before I met you. Animals were like children, a commitment, except they would never stop depending on you. Now I can safely say that this has been the most rewarding commitment I have had. There are values you unknowingly taught me that people could only pretend to have. You never lie, you never manipulate, and you tell it as it is. I don’t recall you ever shying away from me when I have slept countless days, you have never judged me for being flawed, and if anything, it seems you tell me that it’s okay, everytime you place your paw on my shoulder. People get so judgemental. They seek perfection and demand perfect, and in the process, lose their vulnerability and flawed beauty. How many times have we both been judged? Do you remember the way that guy at the vet said you were old and overweight? Or the time that person from my past left me because of MS? Or that time when my friend called you “a boring dog”? Everything around us is fake. People stay in relationships with others even when they are unhappy, just for money, for comfort, and shy away from choosing their heart over their mind. The heart, passion, always frowned upon, always considered inferior, as though it is unacceptable to be emotional, to be human. 

But I say “to be human” when I mean I wish people were more like you. Perhaps every dog lover would say this. I am sorry people are mean Flake. I am sorry that when I introduce you to them, I can’t seem to tell whether they are here to stay or leave. An optimist like me assumes the best, and perhaps I am like you in that: eager, excited, unwary. Is it wrong to live in your world? I am still in the process of learning. Thanks for teaching me all about love. And I am sorry about the unlovability of humans. If I ever am reincarnated into something, I’d like to be another you. 

Flake, as sweet as my favorite chocolate, just never crumbles. You persevere and still wag your tail at the slightest dose of happiness, you love despite all obstacles, and you don’t ever give up on family. How can I not admire that? 

   
 

From Winterson’s The Poetics of Sex. 

Damn, I love this woman. Where does she come up with this stuff? “My feelings for you are Biblical…you are hard to love well.”