A sinner, that’s me. Always in trouble, always pulled by stuff that is often termed ‘bad.’ But what’s life without a bit of vice? As long as you’re not really hurting other people, that is. Living in an ashram as I do, I run into narratives, stories of changing for the better, a progress toward goodness. The Goddess and her consort know– whenever I hear these meta-tales of ‘evolution’ toward moksha, nirvana, heaven, a better life…etc I need a good long drink and a ciggie, if not a fuck. Drugs, yes, done those, loved coke, but it doesn’t have a hold on me these days, and grass, too mellow. All the last including sex, however, involve too much preparation and judgement: unfortunately, nowadays, I’m too lazy to take the risks I did when I was younger.
The implicit evaluation in “O, you’ve changed,” impels a mad rush of fury: I want to beat someone up. Can’t do that anymore, I’m not fit enough, unfortunately, but the urge remains. I ‘m comfortable with the demon under my skin now. Of course Swami it was, gazing at me long and deep, who declared, “She’s good only….but, who will know?” That acknowledgement led me to believe in myself, in my weird anti-social ache for otherness. Earlier, through my childhood, I had always believed myself to be a bad person, given to anger, always questioning, always restless.
Writing this, I realize I’m glad to be–the middle-aged, menopausal, overweight, aggressive, limping, intellectual, hot-headed dyke I am. Forget the trials of my twenties and thirties, when despite my anger, I still looked for understanding, needing beauty to complement my brains. After my Mum’s death in 1999, I took to walking and working out in order to get the grief out of my system. Though I tired my body out, tears were always a hair’s breath away, as was temper. Anyhow, for the first time in my life, I was thin, and beautiful. A dab hand at make-up, attending darshan in the big hall at that time, I became the cynosure of all eyes, female and male. But, much as my hormones danced and I enjoyed the lustful looks, my anger kept pace. Beautiful women may enjoy being objects of desire, but my toned body and made-up face nursed an angry genie. Follow her around and she’s liable to shriek a curse, or take an iron rod to your legs, and I’ve done both! One arrogant boy in white, one of the chosen elect, close to Swami, drew my ire. “You fuckhead,” I said, and punched him in the chest. Walking away, I turned to have a gander, and there he stood, with his hand to his chest, stunned. Now with Swami’s death, holy N— spouts religious clichés, and hopes for a top slot in ashram management.
Anyway, my brief spell of fighting fitness came to an abrupt end while semi squatting to lift weights at home. With a loud pop, my knee ligament tore.
Misdiagnosed, the knee has never recovered, and is prone to swell and hurt. Menopause followed up the injury, and I’m back to my bad ass overweight self. What a relief!
What are my vices? Not many, small ones but reassuring. Long, cold gins and tonic whenever I’m out of here in the summer, and in winter, my staple, “Honeybee” the Goan brandy that lives up to the promise of its name. Reminds me, I’ve got to drive down soon to Bangalore, while smoking a Camel toward a pizza and g-&-t. Not far, a hour and a half away. I live a life with G-O-D, yes, but I want to burn out fast, reach an explosion of stars and hear the anarchic laughter of space.
Being with God, for me, is the ultimate here and how, a sense of absolute oneness with a chaotic cosmos: laughter and rest, where nothing in this world, the good, bad and ugly is taken seriously. “If you really want to, you can be one with god in the blink of an eye. It’s simple,” my Swami repeats endlessly. Yet, spirituality becomes an exam, with grades along the way–visions, inner voices, yogic powers; in any religion, people judge, evaluate and label sister worshipers. I cannot bother with the rest of the community about me, only G-O-D, process without end, a journey with no goal. For this absurd love–of nothingness, formlessness, and journeys nowhere–I give you “Ithaca” by C.P. Cavafy, another outsider, civil servant and closet queer in Alexandria at the turn of the 20th century. Sean Connery reads with background music by Vangelis who did the marvellous soundtrack for Blade Runner.
“….Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.”
- Journey to Ithaka (hunterg1.wordpress.com)
- A dance through death (quiescentbeing.wordpress.com)
- It’s Wild (planetharris.typepad.com)
- Spiritual punk – a tattooed woman goes home to god (quiescentbeing.wordpress.com)