Friday, May 9, 2008

If, Why, Please, Amen

If I were attacked by a rapist in a dark underground parking structure I would like to think that my blood would not turn to mercury, that my bowels would not shake liquid loose and that I could find my voice to scream. I would like to think that I would not flash to flight but fight, that I would violently jab my thumbs deep into my attacker's eye sockets as if I were spearing lychee fruit with a straw, that I would jam my elbow into the naked hollow of my attacker's throat while yelling a strong gutteral no, motherfucker, no! In short, if I were attacked by a rapist in a dark underground parking structure or anywhere at all for that matter I would like to think I would kick ass like La Femme Nikita.

And if I were attacked by my own cells multiplying inside my body I would like to think my blood would not turn to lead, that I would not crawl into bed and cower, that I would not cry why? when there would be no reason at all. I would like to think I would not be immobilized by fear but moved to live, that I would laugh at the absurdity of picking my nose with fingernails worn weak and paper-thin by chemo, that I would only cover my bald head if I were cold, that I would still laugh and gossip and watch bad tv, that I would still sing songs even if terribly off-key. In short, if I were diagnosed with breast cancer I would like to think I would kick ass like my very good friend Rosalie.

Rosalie and her baby girl, the Divine Miss Sadie Wren

I was raised without a recognizable god. In a county known for hot tubs and crystal shops, where on late night local cable access television two hippies give each other massages by rhythmically swishing their hair across each other's backs. In this Zen-Zippy Buddhist world of the Yoni it was stranger to be raised with organized religion than without. We were expected to question rather than to have faith in an answer. Subsequently, I don't know how to pray.

But right now, right this very second as I am sitting in my kitchen listening to the relaxed low hum of the refrigerator, right now my friend Rosalie is undergoing a double mastectomy. Somewhere a few miles from here surgeons are cutting away at her chest, taking out the cancer and any affected lymph nodes while one of her sisters is at her house watching her 5 month old baby girl. And in this funny little world where Paris Hilton exists in the same synchronicity as Darfur I am here in my kitchen eating a croissant and wishing I were Catholic. Or Episcopalian. Muslim. Whatever. I don't have a preferance really, I just wish I knew how to pray.

I could go on and on about Rosalie. About how she makes me laugh both intentionally and unintentionally. About how brave I think she is. About how one of the strangest things about her having cancer is that when she lost her hair I could no longer tell if she had just been in a room: there were no tell-tale Rosalie strands of golden curly hair left behind. Throughout this ordeal what I have learned about cancer is that it doesn't give a flying fuck if you question it. It just is. Like faith.

And so I sit and do my own version of prayer. Please god/crystal/princess-swishy-hair. I pray to the good I know is everywhere, to energy and to vibes even though the word vibe makes me think of marital aids and cheap compact Pontiacs. Please give Rosalie the strength to get through this surgery. Please let the doctors find that the cancer has not spread into any lymph nodes. Please grant her baby girl a healthy mother. Please. In the church that is my kitchen the hum of the refrigerator is like a multiple pitch mantra, a spiritual chant to the gods of Whirlpool. Please.

Please go to Rosalie's blog and leave a comment of support. I don't know when she will get around to reading it but I know she will love it. This is my way of praying. Words are my faith and intention my psalm. This is my way of kicking ass.

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