Illusions and Norse Gods

The other day my mom and I went to get pedicures in a private home salon my mom had heard of from a co-worker.  The owner was the sweetest lady ever but all over the place, she'd sit to start on one of my feet and realize she'd forgotten the nail polish remover, she'd go get it and realize she didn't have any cotton swabs....then the actual nail polish, she'd forgotten whether she had put the base coat on or not...  It took one hour to go my right foot...

But she was very sweet and with all the time we spent with her we got to know a good deal about her life. She told us her husband who was 55 has had very bad dementia for about 10 years but she had insisted on keeping him home to take care of him, she told us with a big smile on her face.  My mom and I starred at each other not knowing really what to say, so my mother asked if they had any children... She said they had had a son who passed away at the age of 8... and then she said that it had been a difficult time in her life because when he died she had a brain tumor which 20 years ago was very difficult to operate. All this she told us with a smile and said that in life you have 2 choices you either give up or you don't and she hadn't. She said she always looked ahead at how to solve problems and not linger on them and how to try to be happy, how to try to move on.... this lady who my mom and I were 'amused' at because she couldn't quite remember everything needed to finish a pedicure is probably one of the  most incredible and 'together' people I've ever met.

And that's just it, you see people, people walking in the streets, people at the grocery store, people in your tango class and you have no idea.... In Buenos Aires I met a lady at my tango class, who was in her fifties and starting a new life, she was back in school, she was learning how to salsa, how to tango, how to speak Spanish, she made the funniest jokes, loved a good glass of wine (you can see why we got along so well) and then one day she told she had outlived her 3 children and was trying to pick up the pieces of her life... and not only trying to pick up the pieces but she wanted to devote her life to social work so she could somehow help others going through difficult times.

Two weeks ago, my friend took me to a 'full moon' celebration at the birthing center where she had met the midwife who had accompanied her during her second pregnancy.  After the usual full moon celebration which involves giving thanks to Frea, the norse Goddess  of sex, love, fertility, womanhood.... we danced around, chanted and sacrificed a virgin... the usual stuff :)  We all took turns just talking about how we were and what we were going through, and some of the women there, were recovering from the loss of a child, failed marriages, sexual abuse....

Nothing is what it seems at first.  We sometimes create ideals about other people's lives, about other moments in history, we fantasize what it would be like to have someone else's life....  but we have no idea really and what amazes me is that someone people actually survive these things and they come out better and stronger.  There is strength and inspiration all around us and I am every day amazed by it.


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