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Archive for the ‘Hearts’ Category

Peggy is a Whore

Peggy is a whore.

Peggy was that cute girl in class in the third grade whose decorated paper envelope hanging off the side of her desk, marked “Peggy” in red glitter and all my bitterness, was full of Valentine cards by the time the bell struck at recess. Jumping forward a few years, Peggy became that cute girl at the beach in a string bikini with all the surfers trying to catch the biggest wave while she looked on adoringly. At college, Peggy was that cute girl that … well, at college Peggy was actually just a whore. Moving into the mid-20s, Peggy was that cute girl that fell madly in love (probably with one of the surfers from her youth, where they met at their 10 year high school reunion). Peggy was then the cute girl who became a cute woman who then became a cute mother and … agh. Peggy is a whore. Go to Hell, Peggy. And take all your Valentine cards with you.

This is pretty much how I’ve felt about Valentine’s Day ever since the third grade. I was never without love, of course. My parents loved me. My friends loved me. But a candied heart with ‘KISS ME’ or ‘BE MINE’ just did not apply to them. Or to me for that matter. All the way from the third grade until I turned thirty years old, I never once celebrated Valentine’s Day (oh, except for that last-minute flight to New York with Anna and Ashley when we were 21 years old. Three bitter single college girls managed to sit in first class on a red-eye and polished off about 5 bottles of champagne before we even crossed over Colorado).

For the past few years I’ve always posted the Peggy is a Whore card on Facebook or in my Happy Valentine emails to friends. I gagged at the cheesy cards, and heart-shaped everythings, and wondered why is everything red when actually your heart is more like a blue color?

And then it happened. I started seeing hearts everywhere. It started a couple of years ago and has not ceased since. Heart shaped dog poo. Heart shaped cracks in the sidewalk. Heart shaped mountains. The list goes on, but in a way you cannot imagine. My discovery and consequential love for hearts has been an eerie but beautiful ride. In retrospect the I-see-hearts-everywhere phenomenon must have been the Universe telling me it was time to open my eyes and acknowledge hearts. First to see external hearts. Check! Then I started receiving hearts from friends, such as photographs of heart-shaped raw tuna in their skillet, or heart-shaped rocks brought all the way from Monterey to Barcelona. The Universe was telling me, okay, once you see and recognize them, they will come to you! And they did. People now tag me in photos whenever there is a heart in it. And it tingles my blue heart a strange shade of red. Slowly, painfully, I’ve become romantic against my will.

I do not find it a coincidence whatsoever that now the Universe has suddenly presented me with a real life beating heart. Perhaps it is a reward for not beating up Peggy. Or perhaps it was just time. This reward is not a photograph of a heart, as it’s 3D. I’m pretty sure it’s not a heart-shaped rock, because it breathes and holds my hand. And for the first time in thirty years, as I walk down the overcrowded bustling shopping street near to the date of February 14th, all I see are red hearts in the shop windows, and rather than wanting to throw up all over them, I stop and smile.

(This is so utterly disgusting. I can’t believe I am writing this.)

I don’t care if I receive a Valentine’s card this year. Peggy can have them all. Because there is just one beating, sweet candied heart out there that says ‘BE MINE’. And it’s only a quick bite (and bike ride) away.

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Burning Love

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
But I didn’t go to Vegas, so here it goes…

Two weeks ago I headed to the Utopian underworld of Black Rock City, the third most populated city of Nevada (albeit for just one week a year) for the Burning Man festival. The major difference between Las Vegas and Black Rock City is this: the former makes you want to black out all memories of what happened (it never happened!) while the latter imprints itself on your mind and you want to hang on tight and remember everything.

Burning Man encourages free love, free booze and suggestive clothing and/or nudity. This makes for a very intimate meeting of open body and souls. And I was not excluded from the scenario. I had been forewarned that kissing was prevalent at Burning Man, but that was fine with me. My sister nicknamed me “The Kissing Bandit” years ago, due to my love for stealing kisses from strangers. Kissing is fun and relatively harmless. I say relatively harmless because sometimes a kiss with the right person can suddenly become a bit more dangerous. I was also forewarned that it was too hot, dirty, sweaty, and public to even consider sex at Burning Man. That was also fine with me. I had come to Burning Man to spend quality time with my good friends, and not to stick to some random guy in a steamy, muddy tent.

What was not forewarned to me, however, was the possibility that I could open my mind, body and (little girl) soul to a complete stranger. I hadn’t come well prepared in terms of shelter, food and clothes to keep me warm. And I most certainly had not come prepared for love. But as everyone told me, the playa provides.

I was incredibly surprised to discover that a good percentage of the 50,000 or so Burners were fairly young and attractive. My first couple of days at Burning Man awakened the Kissing Bandit and I innocently enjoyed little kisses here and there with funny men dressed in costumes. Whether it was to get a drink at the bar, or pre and post-nuptials to a drunk, fairly obnoxious but funny man that asked the Heavens to bind our love, my kissing needs were being more than met.

And then I met my Burning Man lover, who unintentionally put an end to my kissing escapades. He was a friend of a friend of a friend, and a fellow first time Burner taking refuge in the RV parked besides us. If I’m not mistaken, we first met at the bar of Distrikt, our camp and also one of the biggest day parties at Burning Man. I do not remember our conversation (I was engrossed in pre-birthday celebrations and the spiked smoothies were killers) but I DO remember asking his name a second time once he told me we were neighbors. I hardly remember people’s names and only try to make a strong effort once I know I’ll be seeing them again. I’d like to change that. Every person we meet is important. Whatever else we discussed in that first intoxicated encounter is beyond me. But I do remember having an innate attraction to something kind in his face and spirit.

He had me at Happy Birthday. My concept of time from Burning Man is mushy. It all blends in to one long day and night for me, but a good marking point is my 30th birthday, which was Day 3 of the week. I guess at some point during my drunk conversation with my Burning Man lover the day before I had mentioned my birthday because while we were eating scrambled eggs à la Morgan, he came over to give a quick hug and to say “Happy Birthday.” It was just a small gesture, and one that many other people gave me that day, but when you are keen on someone it’s just those small gestures that make your stomach twirl.

Later that day Ashley and I were watching the sunset from the roof of the RV when my Burning Man lover climbed up to say hello. He made a sweet comment about my eyes. Men, if you don’t want a girl to give you that special look, never, never compliment her eyes. As he crawled back down the ladder, one of my best friends and my soul mate from the past twenty or so years looks at me and says, “Um. What is going on there?” My response was something along the lines of, “Um. You pick up on it too?” “Go for it,” she told me.

That’s all it took. Suddenly all those naked men in fur boots dissolved and the Kissing Bandit, unbeknownst to her, set her eyes on her birthday booty. I just had to convince him to come out to celebrate my birthday with me and my friends! It did not take so much convincing…

photo by Krystal

The night of my birthday was magical. First of all, I was reunited with my best friends and they were all dressed in white. Secondly, we were at Burning Man and I was in complete awe of the night light. Thirdly, I learned how to hula hoop. And last but not least, I got completely lost in a kiss.

We were on the long, difficult adventure of trying to find the mythical white party in a large group, when suddenly my Burning Man lover planted a kiss on me. I’m not sure how long we kissed, but it was long enough to lose all my friends. We opened our eyes and our friends were nowhere in sight. Getting lost at night on the playa is like a five-year old getting lost at Disneyland. And apparently, trying to find the infamous white party is like trying to chase your shadow. Part of me was anxious because I really wanted to spend my birthday night with my friends. And another part of me whispered, relax. You are in good company.

And that’s how it began. A kiss so mind-blowing that I got lost. I lost my friends (we eventually found them, which was quite the adventure in and of itself.) But more importantly I lost my sense of logic. I lost my insecurities. I lost my worries. I lost the what if’s and the how’s. I lost my inhibitions. And I lost the facade I normally put on when I like a guy.

Let me say now that I am blessed by amazing friends. Sometimes I look around and wonder what I did right to have such stellar, unique, creative, loving, interesting, caring people all around me. Not only are they around me, they would move the world for me. And they constantly ARE moving the world for me. I feel so lucky. I’ve slowly learned that this is not pure chance. I acknowledge that somehow I have attracted these people into my life and that I deserve them. Hopefully I have moved the world for them too and if not, they know I would. So when my friends ask me constantly, “Why are you not attracting an amazing guy that loves you like we love you?” I just shrug my shoulders and wish I had the answer.

But I think I have the answer now. I am not myself with men. I change.

When getting ready for a date, my old roommate would tell me repeatedly, BE YOURSELF. She was one of the first people to point out that I change radically in the presence of a guy I like. My pocket-sized friends Emilie and Kate, for reasons unknown to me, like to remind me every day how amAzing I am (which is why I call them pocket-sized friends…I like to carry them around with me wherever I go). They too are always telling me to relax and just be myself. They say that these guys are so unfortunate to not know the real Regan!

Man. What would I do without my friends? Seriously. [sigh]

ANYHOW. Back to Burning Man. And my Burning Man lover. And our kiss. And all the following kisses and embraces and conversations we shared throughout the week. And the way that I allowed myself to connect with someone in such a healthy, honest and positive way. It felt so good.

My Burning Man lover somehow saw through all the charades I normally act out. He found the things I was most self-conscious about and encouraged them. I’m a quirky girl. There is no “I” in “Normal”. But I felt safe letting down my guard with him. I released the bizarre, at times incoherent, playful, serious and untamed Regan for him. The same Regan that attracts all the beautiful friends I have. And I saw a sparkling reaction in his eyes and smile whenever he caught my wild moments of vulnerability. While I got completely lost, or tried to hide, he found me. And held me tightly. I think he liked the real Regan, fully exposed. And to tell you the truth, so did I.

I feel so incredibly grateful for meeting him. My heart is still smiling and my little girl soul will always remember how he peeked through the curtains to watch her dance obliviously. He may have thought she was dancing alone, but behind her closed eyelids, he was right there dancing along with her.

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I witnessed my first birth during a sexual education class in the sixth grade. The boys were in a different classroom, perhaps learning about how to deal with their uncontrollable penises. We eleven and twelve year old girls with sprouting bug bite nipples, learned all about what happens to you when you have sex. Babies. Babies, and lots of pain happen. Our teacher showed us the video The Miracle of Life almost as a threat, as if to say “this is your punishment for having sex.” The girls squealed and covered their eyes. One girl threw up. And as I recall another girl had a seizure (although, if my memory is not failing me, I think her seizure occurred during the class about tampons. All I know is that it happened, she hit her head on a bookshelf, and I had to run to the nurses office to get help.)

Since then I have never seen a live birth. In fact, I have never really seen a live birth off screen. But as fate, chance, luck, or pure “pinning the tail on the donkey” has it, it looks like I will being seeing quite a lot in my future.

I have decided to study midwifery. Or perhaps to be a doula. I am still trying to decipher between the two professions and what each require in terms of studies, licenses, lifestyles, philosophies, and job opportunities, etc. But one thing is for certain – I want to be involved in the birthing process. I want to work hands on with people. I want to build a profession that can support me while doing good for others. And I want a skill that I can use to help people anywhere in the world wherever I travel or volunteer. With approximately 128 million births per year, I think there is some job security as well.

This is not a random decision. This is a result of years and years of clues – little beans that only formed a full burrito once I was in Mexico. For starters, I have been obsessed with pregnant women and babies for at least the past ten years. A friend of mine used to come home at the end of the day and tell me, “Guess what? I saw FIVE pregnant women today!” – just to make me happy. When I was 23 years old, I commissioned an artist on Las Ramblas of Barcelona to paint me a picture of a pregnant woman, which I still have hanging in my bedroom. For the past five years I have thought of opening a cafe designed for pregnant women. And I have considered designing maternity clothing.

In high school, after years of surgeries and medical issues with my knee, I wanted to study medicine. I wanted to be a doctor, but at the same time I was more interested in alternative therapies. By the time I was 18 years old, I had gone through years of acupuncture, Reiki healings, massage, and yoga. I even wrote letters to Dr. Deepak Chopra, who had an office in San Diego, hoping that he would meet with me. When he (sadly) did not respond, I read all his books about mind over matter and positive thinking for healing. My Senior year I applied to Tufts University and a few other medically focused schools – but was rejected from them all. So instead I went to UC Berkeley and studied English instead. Go figure.

Previous to working in the production world, I was a teacher. And for the past 8 years I have worked on and off for nonprofit organizations in Africa (www.oafrica.org) and Mexico (www.puentemexico.org). So when people who know me solely as a location scout / business owner hear about my new birthing venture, they may find it strange. However, what is strange is that I was not working hands on with people, or doing something to better the lives of others, for these past few years. Though the experience has taught me quite a lot and I met some very interesting people, I was not placed on this planet to work on fashion and advertising shoots.

I collect photos of hearts made in nature. And keep a love journal. I stop and stare at almost every pregnant woman I see in the street, and talk to the Universe quite frequently. The moon intrigues me more and more each day. And I compare myself to animals on an uncomfortably increasing level (dolphins, wolves, etc). I want to learn about the use of natural herbs and remedies in health, and would love to grow my own tomatoes!

While in Mexico I took a personality test online with the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, just out of curiosity. And the result was “Idealist”. As for professions, the results said that, “Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.” I then took various other online quizzes and each and every one said that I needed to work in a healing or counseling profession. And in the jungle paradise of Palenque, a Mayan descendant saw the freckle on the fatty part of my inner palm and said that this particular placement of the freckle, according to Mayan tradition and spiritual artwork, was a sign of the eye – or the healer. He then got way too excited, showed me his freckle in the exact same location, made me nervous, and I asked him to leave. Ha ha.

Midwife I met in Oaxaca

In San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, I walked for ages past the slightly dodgy outskirts of the colonial town, to visit the Museum of Mayan Medicine. While staring at a fake scene of an indigenous woman giving birth, fully clad in her heavy wool skirt, my heart started thumping. As the fake birthing mother kneeled in front of her fake husband sitting on a chair, with her clay arms wrapped around his neck, the fake midwife sat behind her to receive the baby. I looked at this interesting scenario and had a strong feeling that this was the way that birth should happen – but perhaps without all the heavy clothing and chicken sacrifices. Naturally. Vertically. With lots of personal care and love from one’s partner and/or family members. And of course, with a patient midwife knowledgeable in centuries and centuries of natural remedies passed down over time.

Now I am back in Barcelona and wanting to develop a skill to help people. And all the signs are pointing towards birthing, mentoring, and holistic approaches to health. At the moment I have no idea where this will all lead, but I sure do have a burning desire to get started right away. If anyone has any clue regarding this topic, please get in touch with me =)

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I never would have described myself as very romantic, yet something sparked a new side of me earlier this year. It began sometime in the late winter months during a trip to Dublin. A beautiful, mossy green heart popped out at me from a tree trunk – a natural carving. Perfection.

First heart

I flew back to Barcelona and while sitting on the bench waiting for the train to take me from the airport to the city center, I noticed a brown paper bag crumpled into a familiar shape on the tracks. Oh damn. Another heart. And what a curious design! Walking to the market the next day I dodged the usual brown smelly dog smudge in the street, and to my surprise, and fear, I looked down to find that an unexpected footprint turned it into that horrid love shape. I looked around for video cameras. Surely I was being set up.

And so it started. This whole “I see hearts everywhere” phenomenon. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Stains on coffee cups. Reflections on oil and vinegar jars. Water spots in the street. Raw tuna. Hearts. Everywhere. For months and months. The symbol I once hated and found so cliche started its blatant attack on me. And I surrendered.

Around the same time I bought a new journal to jot down notes and quotes from books I read. As it turns out, all the books I have read this year mainly deal with love, relationships and sex (oh, and vampires). So that is what I write about in the journal. Somehow, and I’m not entirely sure how it happened, I began to refer to the journal as my “love book.” Every word, thought, dream or image of love now goes into that little book I bought at a flea market in Thailand. It’s sickening. I make myself want to barf just reading back through it.

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