"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Saturday, June 09, 2012

my own kind of baptism.

Now Playing: Teardrops on My Guitar by Taylor Swift (I fake a smile so he won't see)

I've always been fascinated with water. I'm not much of a horoscope hokum fan but my mother always used to tell me that I'm a water baby, her water baby. I've never been much of a swimmer (stamina issues...my swimming coach just didn't believe me when I tried telling her that heart problems + small lung capacity + tendancy for my legs and feet to cramp up for no apparent reason = limited ability to swim laps of perfect breastroke) but I love the water. I love soaking in water so hot it almost hurts, and the weakness and trembling sets in and slowly fades as the water cools.

I love the rain. I love playing in the rain. I don't understand why, but it makes me feel alive. When everyone runs and hides - from water? - I run out, go crazy. And catch a cold, but I'm not always one to think of the consequences.

Have you ever been in a pool, all by yourself, and you go under and hold your breath and shut your eyes and everything is still and quiet, you can't feel anything, you can't see anything, and you're so beautifully alone but you're not lonely?

I've always been fascinated with the almost universal link between water and physical and spiritual purity. Every religion has it. I mean, it's an obvious link, but...I don't know, there's something beautiful about the symbolism of it. 

The Jewish concept of the mikveh, for example, fascinates me. The mikveh is a ritual pool that is used by both men and women for physical and spiritual cleansing, but specifically the mikveh is used by women on the night before their wedding, five days after the menstrual period ends, in the ninth month of pregnancy and after post partum bleeding ceases. The connection between water and blood and sex and being clean and unclean is pronounced (I mean, let's face it, you feel crap enough on your period without a major religion telling you you're 'impure), and I don't really agree with that, but it's a beautiful idea, ritually cleansing oneself just for you, for your family, and for your God.

Just because I don't believe in it doesn't mean I can't respect it. It's a beautiful ritual.

But I'm an atheist. I'm pretty much stuck with bubble baths and chlorinated pools.


When I go camping sometimes we stop by beautiful little streams, or beaches that nobody ever goes to. In Korea we went mountain climbing and drank from the coldest streams of pure mountain water (flicking away a few beetles...I'm not squeamish). Also in Korea there are public baths, which sound gross but once you're there it's...relaxing. Refreshing. You understand why the Romans did it; get away from it all. Korean society is a bit like Roman society; competitive, crazy, confusing. The bath is not any less chaotic, but it's steamy and cleansing, a world of women. I think that's what I like best. Men complicate my life too much. I like being in a world of women. 

There are choices you make in life. I've done things that pretty much every major religion would frown upon, I've said things against every single religion I know, even my existence is religiously incorrect. I don't like feeling guilty, or feeling like I have to change and conform to some morality that I don't really agree with. My conscience is clean, when I'm not completely out of it (when I'm completely out of it I become more self-loathing than a flagellant) and that's all I need. I let myself be myself, I let myself do things for pleasure and for profit. I have the highest respect for human nature, and the only person who needs to be confident that I haven't done anything I might regret is, well, me. I've turned my back on God and religion, ironically, for the greater good. But I can't help but feel like I'm missing out on things, that a part of me needs the comfort of something higher than human company. Sometimes it's very lonely...and if I'm a fallen woman, well, I'm in freefall.

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