The practically perfect pearl earrings I so wanted as a gift from a partner of years ago rested at the bottom of a lidless glass jar in storage. Its preciousness without a person to shimmer its luster in the world. Its companions included paperclips, a strand of pearls, a brass bottle opener, and nothing soft to reinforce/support its momme. I hadn’t missed them while being abroad for a year and actually unpacked them from carrying them to Peru because I heard it could be unsafe to adorn. I had forgotten about them, until this day, when I was rummaging through boxes to find a matte art spray. (The reason at the end of this post.) I held the pearls, left the pearls, so they remain, companionless. I had become unattached to them and how it made me feel at the time, which was a bit like Mary Poppins.
We, todos, ever changing. When I left the shelter of the family’s home to attend college, the relationship with my parents changed, or cambió. When I left the union with a former partner, the relationship to myself and how I relate to others changed. When we closed the business we created, the relationship to myself and how I relate to work changed. When I lived somewhere unfamiliar to the place where my mother birthed me, the relationship to myself and how I relate to home also changed. Each time, the sense and physicality of whom I perceived myself to be, how I desired the touch of sweet support, who I would walk life with, how I carried myself, how I cared for myself, how I traveled, how I learned, when and what I ate, also all changed. All things adjusted as I adjusted.
The concepts that grew form from years of holding patterns lost some of their matter, some easier than others. I grieved the deaths that requested recognition. At moments I felt sad and lonely, confident, free, and despondent. The intensity of how hard it felt at times mattered, but I couldn’t be distracted by it. I had to go into it: be it, see it, face it. Beginnings required an ending to have a place to start. I had to face death. The tears that opposed gravity traveled from the depths of my well to landslide away those constructs that would not continue in their form. Being in Lima, sola and solita, gave me space and time to sit with the things I felt uncomfortable with. Though I tried and failed at times, I continued teaching myself to embrace impermanence. I attempted to disrupt established routines, to look within the mirror when no one watching, to live where no one knows who I am; when perhaps I, still, discovering her.
I reminded myself that I made this decision voluntarily, consciously. One step, one breath, one word, one of everything. The first: usually the hardest.
"I had to trust that death leads to rebirth even when, in the process of dying, this trust can elude us." - Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, "In Love with the World"
As I learned how to let go of the attachments that had matter over me, I made space for enjoying new things. I put the old things in a prism and enjoyed them in a different light. I unattached to the idea of relationship to denote expression of status after ending a decade long relationship. I found more ease in diving deeper into friendships. I unattached to furniture, enjoying just a “table rug”, an alfombra for eating, writing, napping, sitting, todos. I unattached to work as an expression or describable concept of my relationship to the world as I spent more time of the day not working. I unattached to those pearl earrings that meant so much to me that I couldn’t appreciate the hand-carved owl ring I received instead the year before.
The hardest attachment for me was the desire to be a mother. Everyone including myself knows that I’ve always wanted children for as long as we know. I could only detach from the desire when I found that the root of wanting children stemmed from my desire to love freely, to feel needed, to feel feminine. I found other ways I could express those desire: lipstick, baths, shawls, laying under sunlight, naturally soft fabric against the skin.
I wrote The Lima Year to share the moments of Peru that staked its ground in this memory I carry, that powerfully entered and gently left its imprint. I hadn’t planned for the depths I would be taken to. The past had not prepared me, yet it is the only preparation I had. My skin—more tan from the sun that illuminates the Andes, carries the scars from the mosquitos of the jungle, more expressive as it ages, oiled with herbs from the Sacred Valley—for spacial placement. My exterior compares not to the tenderness I wish to share from inside. Together, we printed 100 copies. If it calls to you, find it here.
The ways we communicate has shifted, the ways we hang out under the tree has shifted, the ways I pour tea has shifted, the frequency in which we talk has shifted, the ways our laughter mesh has shifted. I look forward to experiencing our collective changes. It will be quite the adventure.