On this near day of giving, I ask myself how I may move forward with thanks while in the midst of tumultuous times?
Right now, the wind is blowing something fierce (as we would say in the South) but we’re here in the Pacific NW. It’s just a bit after 6:00 a.m.—a time when I am normally asleep, but there is too much running through me to keep me cozy. As I lay in bed, I consider the neighbors’ trees, so many slender pines and question how they are behaving in this moment. I consider the ferry trip that I will be taking across the Sound in a few hours. I consider how I left school early yesterday, because I came down with something.—a sudden bug, that correlated with a day of just not right.
Not a fan of media, in general, it occasionally becomes necessary to tune in. Yesterday was one of those days. As I spoke with a friend on a class break, we discussed what most were discussing.—the Ferguson case, the Cosby debacle. How did we get here in 2014? We wondered.
I began to think of the many uncomfortable moments I experienced as the daughter of a mixed couple growing up in VA. How the heads would turn when my very Indian father would pick us up at the neighborhood pool versus my very Dutch mother. How even in the late eighties/early nineties, a certain hospital stopped placing physicians’ photos on the wall when a non-white doctor was promoted to a role that would require they showcase his image. How one afternoon, a dear friend out on a weekend drive with her mom, witnessed several men in long, white garb approaching a home with or without a cross.
Or how five years ago, my closest BART station was Fruitvale. Do I need to remind you what happened there in early 2009?
So what do we do now? How do we turn in this time, which we have misappropriated for an extra slice of pie, a reason to give thanks? How do we draw strength and nurture each other, among the absolute chaos?
I offer a video of Pema Chodron who speaks on the path of fearlessness.
If I had to pick a word for the last two weeks it would be impact. My car was struck twice, my debit card information compromised with a $1000 of bogus charges made, and last night as I exited a dear friend's engagement party, I found one solitary egg streaming down my driver's side door (conveniently located directly over the door handle). None of these incidents happened in the presence of the same people or in the same neighborhood, so I have to ask, "Karma, seriously?"
Even as I write this, the first draft floated away into the ether as I accidentally struck a mystery key redirecting me to a publishing site that must have been saved in my bookmarks or perhaps was a sign to abort this post, a sign that I am clearly not choosing to acknowledge.
And though I am not encouraging further egg-related behavior, the egg event definitely did break me from routine. As I accepted the bucket of hot sudsy water from my friend's fiancé, it didn't occur to me until we had removed the offending egg matter, that I really should have requested something with ammonia or alcohol, something that would lower the freezing point of water rather than allow the soap to do its thing with my car door, which was to freeze. After another hot rinse of the door and my friend scraping soapy ice off my windows, I was ready for something.
But this weekend brought more than literal eggs, it brought that stink of sulfur that accompanies the following. For the fourth and fifth time in the past two days I have been asked, “What are you going to school for?” When I replied, “I’m going to medical school.” I was then asked, “So, you’re going to be a nurse?” This has happened enough times in the past few years, that I have to wonder why some men spanning a wide age range have such a difficult time wrapping their minds around a woman going to medical school.
Now please note: I have the utmost respect for nurses. My mother was an RN and when I hear her stories of how she was responsible for titrating circa 10 IVs on overnight watches, while attending nursing school in Holland, or about the procedures (you know the ones that doctors don’t want to do themselves) that were thrust on her, I stand in awe. But what I am saying is if a man tells you he’s going to medical school, would the next line ever be, “Oh, so you’re going to be a nurse?” And maybe we should consider this more, too. Male nurses are on the rise and that, in my humble opinion, could be an amazing thing to have a nurturing man by your bed-side. But regardless, I ask are we really still here?
Dress rehearsal: two women walk into a bar. They tell you they’re going to medical school. Response______________________________?
Now, an egg-related poem from the last section of my book, entitled “Somewhere in a Room of Eggs” because why not?
There are times when the heart stops and the person continues
This may sound simple but stop--
There is more than cell death, the subsequent shock for return
Put aside the yogis who may will their organs still
I am right here and you are somewhere in a room of eggs
And someone right now is stopping—I can feel the strong glaze
Even this distance is nothing (when compared to matters of the heart)
There are ways in which we shutter
Another loved becomes obsolete, we no longer receive him
for undetermined or determined reasons he is no more
or no more present in a room of eggs than in a field
of windmills We continue, our lungs breathe us
one inspiration after another but our hearts
stop We present ourselves in Chemistry, conduct
experiments involving the sublimation of caffeine
watch the corresponding development of crystals—perfect
diminutive icicles—upon a cold finger
We are not thinking about the process of respiration
But notice the chill of extraction
Natasha Kochicheril Moni, The Cardiologist’s Daughter, Two Sylvias Press, 2014.
Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a writer and a licensed naturopath in WA State. Enjoying this blog? Feel free to put a little coffee in Natasha's cup, right here.