Category Archives: Real Live Virgins

Unbroken, whole, and intact, a real virgin is one-in-herself. Here are “real virgins” in REAL LIFE, saying “Yes,” and showing up.

Going Off Her Meds and Heading for Mexico

“Breaking Up With My Meds” is the first post of a new series of incredibly brave articles drolly titled “Going Off.”  Diana Spechler is the writer, and her column appears in The New York Times, under the category Anxiety. The last two paragraphs grabbed me. They talk about our modern society’s yearning “to become spotless on the inside,” a flute tune that resonates with the drum I’ve been beating for some time — our need to reclaim the original definition of virginity.

“I wish I could meet that young woman,” I thought at the time. “She is a real live virgin.” I promptly forgot her name.

It is the magic of the Writers Conference of San Miguel de Allende that Sunday afternoon, yesterday, standing in the gardens of the Hotel Real de Minas, I asked a new acquaintance what she wrote. “I’ve just begun a series for The New York Times,” she answered, “about going off my meds for depression.”

And so begins a friendship, Facebook and otherwise. Diana Spechler. You should remember her name.

“Be who you are,” she reminded him.

One of the things I like doing on this blog is sharing stories of women who show up and make a difference, just by being who they are.  With tongue only slightly in cheek, I refer to them as “real virgins,” because they fulfill that original meaning of the word “virgin,” a term which had nothing to do with physiology. A virgin was someone who was undefined by any human relationship; she was one-in-herself, whole, complete, intact, un-fragmented, un-captured, self-governed. She looked to no other human for authority to think and act according to her highest sense of good.

My friend and mentor (coincidentally, her name is Virginia, but I call her Ginny in my book) posted an entry on her blog today, recounting a story which is ancient, but has relevance today. All these problems in the Middle East — it’s HISTORY, amigos, tribal history. Whether or not one says she “believes” in the Bible, it is a book full of tribal history, history that is verified through other sources and channels. If you don’t know any ancient history scholars, just look to the folks at The History Channel, right?

If you take the time or have the inclination to browse through what Christians call the Old Testament, but is also known as The Hebrew Scriptures, you can  get an inkling of the longstanding nature of the problems still plaguing the “Holy Land.” Plays well with others, was not a prominent character trait in most  tribal leaders. But as Lynne Bundesen makes clear in her excellent book The Feminine Spirit: Recapturing the Heart of Scripture, at every crucial point, showing up at every step of spiritward progress in the biblical narrative, there was always a woman, listening, forgiving, giving counsel, sometimes taking direct action on her own. In her blog today Ginny recounts the story of Abigail, who saved not-yet-king David from the dark side. Abigail was a “real virgin.” The world could use more of those these days. Want to volunteer? Well, read about Abigail first. You can do that here.

“Pain and oppression do not have the last word.”

“For me. . . spirituality and the work for justice are entirely inseparable. If either one is authentic, it leads to the other.”

I’m not Catholic, but I stand in awe of those who serve as Sister Pat Farrell has through her life. Her grace and courage have placed her at the head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Read about the crossroads this organization is approaching with the Vatican. 

Are the 57,000 sisters in the United States insufficiently or incorrectly spiritual? Is their primary mission to run hospitals, work with the poor and keep their mouths shut? Actually, listening to the interviews that Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air has conducted with Sister Farrell and with Bishop Leonard Blair (the Vatican-appointed guy charged with bringing the sisters into line), the main complaint is that the sisters have been silent on issues relating to birth control, abortion and same sex marriage.  Seems most of them have been doing their jobs and keeping their mouths shut, but if Sister Pat is any example, they’ve been praying hard and letting Love lead the way in each situation.

I’ve written a lot, though not lately, in this blog about “virgin qualities.” The genius of Guadalupe, the relevance of virgin qualities however they appear on the human scene, is that there is no preaching, doctrine or diatribe involved. It is the virgin presence that speaks for itself, and no words are able to express it. But, oh, how powerful it is. Sister Pat knows. That’s why she can stand at this crossroads and speak of her “deep knowing that pain and oppression do not have the last word.” Many of us will be standing with her in spirit.

 

Keeping Company with Older Virgins

I miss my mom. I miss my mother-in-law. Both in their own ways gave me focus inspiration, and guidance. The relationships we had were not always comfortable, but now that they are both gone, and I look around the room at family dinners and don’t see anyone older than ME, I get a little panicky. Who made me the matriarch? I never even had children — except that sixty-five year old perpetual teenager I’ve been married to for 43 years this summer, who just started up his new Harley down in the basement and is going over to see someone who can make his pipes sound louder.

This blog has been centered, more or less, on experiences and examples illustrating what I call “virgin qualities.” Just to review, in case you don’t want to follow that link I went to a lot of trouble to insert, being “virgin” means being centered, untouched, un-invaded, whole, complete, and intact. Another virgin quality — being focused. In that regard, I have lately been a whole lot less than virginal. Witness these first two paragraphs.

I need practice. I need a good example.

I’ve found one. One of my mother-in-law’s best friends from long ago has been blogging. Joyce Wethe Robertson is in her nineties. I just found her blog through her daughter Robin, who is my Facebook friend. Robin posted photos of a trip to Catalina she and her mom took day before yesterday, and included a link to the blog post Joyce made about it. I read through it, and then, like one does after eating the first lichee nut fresh off the tree, (they happen to be in season here, but I digress) I went for another. And one after that. And one more. Pure delicious gold.  And she has enough posts to provide me a daily dose for weeks to come! How have I been missing these?

People have been asking me if I’m writing again.  Well, I’m making a stab at it. Sort of.  I feel like I entered one of those outer space wormholes last Christmas, and am just now emerging to …. well, I’m still not sure. So it’s good to hear a familiar voice, well-written, tightly focused words of encouragement, and have a laugh, as well.  So I say to those who want to read me, read Joyce for a while. Thanks, Joyce, for “being there.”

Here’s the link again: Getting Older is Getting Better, a blog by Joyce Wethe Robertson

 

Majora Carter — Being Present in the Ghetto, Making a Difference

Maria Hinojosa interviews Majora Carter on why she still lives in the South Bronx and how she’s making a difference. Parks from dump sites! Majora is a good example of Guadalupe qualities — show up and make a difference by being what you are: whole, intact, un-invaded, and powerful.

http://www.worldcompass.org/sites/all/modules/flowplayer/flowplayer/flowplayer.swf

If a Married Lesbian Couple Saves 40 Teens from the Norway Massacre and No One Writes About it, Did it Really Happen?

If a Married Lesbian Couple Saves 40 Teens from the Norway Massacre and No One Writes About it, Did it Really Happen?. Yes it did! Who gets to define who’s a hero? WE DO — every time we tell the story.

Paquita La Del Barrio — Got Her Inner Guadalupe Goin’

A recent post on Jaltemba Jalapeno enlightened me as to the finer points of cleaning rags. Who knew? I’ve always just torn up old nightgowns and t-shirts! But it also introduced me to Paquita La Del Barrio. Ya gotta love this lady! After watching the video in the post, I looked her up on Wikipedia. A brief English translation: “Married” at fifteen to a guy 42 years old with a whole other family, she had a rocky start in life. But she also had a later marriage that lasted thirty-one years, until she was widowed in 2004. Today she galvanizes the feminine troops encouraging them to stand up to machista attitudes.

This may be the most conflicted of blogposts I’ve ever witnessed. Thanks, Darlene, for the domestic wisdom, and thanks, enlightened webmaster Johan, for the feminist riff on it!