February 3, 2013 I’d only been in India a few days when I got sick. Like call-mom-I’m-on-the-other-side-of-the-globe-and-I-might-die-here-sick. Ironically, the last thing I’d written in my journal before the alien began to claw through my abdomen was “How can I possibly digest all of this?” Apparently I couldn’t.
And no, I’m not just referring to the piles of curry, though I could’ve done without the parasites. It was the babies crawling through gutters filled with trash where cows grazed and shat next to men getting shaved or perhaps their teeth pulled with metal pliers beside older women dragging carts of produce heavier than themselves and younger women balancing wood on their heads while stray dogs lounged in the road, too hungry, too tired, too defeated to move.
I felt so sad. I felt so grateful. I felt so compelled. I felt so repelled. I felt so much I lost the ability to feel. I became a sea of sari rainbows weaving across the desert and I felt lost.
My time in India was a journey through glass - cars, guides, swanky hotels, hot showers, bottled water. The discrepancy was too much. Pressure accumulated. The glass had to shatter. And when it did I found myself again, dipping in and out of consciousness on this rope bed in a villager’s home, peaceful and calm away from the city as birds sang to twilight, the air a perfect blend of cool and warm against my aching skin…
Home. Thank you for your homes. Thank you for your humanity, and your ability and willingness to connect. I’ve never been good at boundaries. I know they’re healthy and helpful and they keep the parasites at bay but I can’t ignore our connection. We are literally the same earth, eating her and feeding her when we move on from these physical bodies. What makes us different from parasites? Is earth not hosting us? Have thousands of you not hosted me? Am I not a parasite?
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