I usually start off my talks asking how many virgins there are in the room. It’s an attention getter. But it also lets me get right to the point about what the word “virgin” really means. The original definition had nothing to do with a physiological state. A virgin was one who was undefined by any human relationship. She was literally one-in-herself. She was whole, complete, intact, un-captured, self-governed. Because she was the “author” of her own experience, she had authority. That’s why virgins were often charged with the responsibility of keeping watch.
The world could use a few more virgins in this sense, right? But far from any cosmic application, I’ve been clinging to, affirming and claiming for my own those virgin qualities this past week. My exit from Guayabitos on this current book tour was precipitous. Heavy rains had blocked the highway which connects us with Puerto Vallarta, an hour and a half away in the best of conditions. By Tuesday morning, making my Thursday flight was looking pretty iffy. I also had my immigration document to collect before I could exit the country. Just after noon on Tuesday, I heard my husband say into the telephone, “One o’clock? I’ll have her there.” He’d found a way to get me out — the last seat on a panga — that’s an open fishing boat with an outboard motor.
At 1:10 I was running down the beach, into the water, following two guys who had my duffle bags full of books on their back. The thirteen other people in the boat obligingly leaned toward me, dipping the edge of the boat down where I could turn around, hoist my fanny onto the side, and fall over backward and into the boat. “Watch my laptop,” I blurted out.
So this time in Dallas has been one of discovering what I brought, what I left behind, and examining what I need in order to spend much more time in the States than what I’d planned. What was going to be a week long trip has stretched to six weeks. My mental litany has been, “I am complete, whole, intact. I include everything I need. I am un-captured by the vicissitudes of weather, Homeland Security, or commercial airline policy. I have authority. I am NOT a victim.” (Do you know American Airlines wanted $640 to change the date of return on a simple round trip ticket PVR to DFW? Do you know you can’t change the point of departure from one country to another on ANY airline ticket issued in the U.S.? Do you know it’s STILL raining back home in Mexico?)
My issues are being resolved one by one. My VISA card is a little limp (buymybooks, buymybooks), but I get to spend an overnight tryst with Larry in Puerto Vallarta this coming Monday, and I’ve met some of the most wonderful angels who have helped and guarded me on my way. I’ve also grown into a greater appreciation of the daily practical application of what one woman dubbed “re-virgination.” Reclaiming virginity. Day by day by day.